The Russell Brand Effect: Socially Engaging Politics

I think everyone can agree for the most part that politics are a very confusing, murky, heated and boring topic to engage in. Especially when the legal jargon used have the majority population scratching their ears because they’ve lost the context of the subject being discussed. I find it difficult to watch any traditional news media outlet to provide me with the most transparent information available because there is a certain level of fear to each institutions department. Along with all that news needs an angle, but that’s usually away from what needs to be pointed out. Because when there is that phantom hand clenching hundreds ($$$) in the hand ready to squash any employee which doesn’t align with their criteria, why try to deviate from the plan? And why should there be? You choose that company as your workplace and career path because you believe they hold similar beliefs as you do.

I also believe (more like I need to) that people are becoming more engaged in issues concerning their livelihood, community, and prosperity. Social media has become a new means to presenting transparent information. Many young adult novels written in a dyspotian/post-apocalyptic style has readers learning to recognize the signs of politics gone wrong. I think it’s fair to ask why the Walmart family is #8-#11 on Forbes billionaires with a combined net worth of 245 BILLION and growing still when the average household in america is about $52,000 ….. $52,000 to $245,000,000,000 just blows my mind. But that a whole different discussion, and off topic.

I loved Russell as a comedian, and I enjoy seeing his efforts on the political front for his fellow British citizens in need. He has a flare for the drama, as you can see in his television appearances and biographic novels. You can clearly tell from reading them that he wrote them at the most, or at the least had a strong involvement. You can tell when a person has a love for words as they use them to an excessive amount. Best way for me to describe Russell style of writing as it being similar to giving a toddler some paint by number project, but instead of following the numbered colour to paint with, the Toddler spends an extra 20 minutes creating an elaborate (different) colour to work in that provided part of the painting. “Same Difference” essentially. It’s in this manner which I think many people look to dismiss what he tries to get across. The execution may be shaky, but his goal stays the same. Engaging the public who want to be herd but your standard parameters won’t accept them to be valid under their rules, ideals, and expectations. Like open field battles vs guerrilla warfare; your expected on the open field and should you run a muck with guerrilla style tactics  it is dishonorable or not respectful enough to be acknowledged. That may be a poorly outdated example, but I hope you get what I’m trying to say.

I think that’s the beauty many people see in YouTube. You don’t have to ask permission to make a video, you just put it on the website to exist. Where as news outlets require some upper management level exec. to give the thumbs up. This new generation of youth where they’re constantly surrounded by technology gives them the opportunity to come across a news story which otherwise wouldn’t have been placed on traditional newsstands. That’s the beauty of Net Neutrality, the downside of it…. sounds boring and confusing. This is where I would say watching John Oliver comes in handy. He’ll break down the most confusing and elaborate piece of information to the point where teenagers could get the point he’s trying to tell. HBO was brilliant with posting episode segments to youtube as well,

Doesn’t hurt either that these comedians deliver  their news pieces with a dark humour that leaves me in stitches as least.

What I take away from Russell’s “Trew News” is that he want citizens to become engaged in matters affecting their community, use alternative means outside the prescribed norms to get out the message, and understand it’s not a matter of squashing one group of people to better another rather its making sure the companies and institutes that need to be held accountable are, instead of just a “compromise” that unnecessarily has people without the means to pick up the pieces to do so and then when they can’t afford that, beat them with a bat….. figuratively.

I posted three videos below from Russell’s youtube channels which follow a housing situation that occurred, there are more videos regarding new era estates. This group of 93 families from this housing estate were able to push out a multinational billion dollar property development corporation from uprooting them. They were successful!

Russell's banner image for his youtube channel
Russell’s banner image for his youtube channel

I’m unsure of how many other people feel about Russell Brand’s voyage into the political world, but for me I find his Trew’s episode to be helpful for me with filling in gaps in combination with other news related articles I may come across.

Just recently Russell was put on Prospects list of “World’s great thinkers.”

http://www.itv.com/news/london/update/2015-02-21/russell-brand-makes-list-of-worlds-great-thinkers/

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Rise and Shine: Maunawili Falls Trail

This is probably one of my favorite trails because it feels like such an adventure, you experience so many different landscapes during the hike at one point you may be tempted to holler like George of the jungle. My adventure didn’t even start at the beginning of the trail, it happened on the side of the highway. I’ll explain.

Have Fun!
Trail Entrance
Trail Begins
Wide view of entrance

This is another trail I’ve taken via public transportation, the bus. There’s a bus that frequently travels between Kailua and Honolulu downtown, either #57A or #57. The easiest thing to do is ask the driver when to get off for this trail because they’ll know easily enough what your referring to, way easier than saying the name of the stop your told on Google maps because the pronunciation of Hawaiian names is difficult and chances of butchering the name are high. Maunawili is pronounced more like ma-na-wili, the u being silent. So you’d hop off the bus on the side of the highway and walk down the road, right by the stop, for about 15 minutes. This part itself has a jungle-y feel because of the over hanging trees with their limbs and vines interlocking making it feel like nature’s own tunnel.

Let's get muddy!
Let’s get muddy!
A couple muddy areas
A couple muddy areas
There will be steps along with trail
There will be steps along with trail
Be sure footed ascending these paths
Be sure footed ascending these paths

This hike will take a few hours in total to complete, but that’s hardly noticeable while your actually trekking this hike in the middle of Oahu The various terrain and landscape makes it so much fun. Plus, overall it’s relatively an easy trek to do apart from the muddy parts. I felt like a kid pretending to be on some adventure, yet no pretending is necessary. There’s the jungle, the stream crossings, stairs, muddy areas, summit clearings, ascents, descents, and the grand finally… a waterfall! You can jump off the rocks the waterfall is coming down from, or there’s a 40ft drop jump you can attempt that’s just off to the side of the waterfall. I went a couple days after some rainfall so I think that’s why it was slippery when I attempted the jump, I had proof but I have no clue where it went. There use to be a 60 ft jump but its been reclaimed by nature with over growth, and more than likely safety concerns. The pool is deep enough, so no need to worry about gravity crashing you to the water bed. I took the jump and didn’t feel the ground, there are areas where you can stand in the water to loiter around about. The water is so refreshing to drip into after trekking about in this jungle. It’s those kind of moments that I get so wrapped up in my head emotionally, because they’re just the perfect moments to be reminded of how lucky I am to experience such a sight as this. Ever had that feeling?

A stream to cross
Hip Hop across
Easy crossings
Easy crossings
There's about 3-4 stream crossings
There’s about 3-4 stream crossings
All easy to cross
All easy to cross

I’ll say, be prepared for muddy areas, there is a reason why it’s lush with greenery on this trail and its more than likely the abundance of rainfall it receives. Wear an old pair of runners you wouldn’t mind getting dirty, and possibly bring a spare pair of socks? Not sure how comfortable it would feel to put on some dirty sweaty socks after a refreshing jump on the water.

Waterfall: slide included
Waterfall: slide included
Can you hear George of the jungle?
Can you hear George of the jungle?
mystical lighting
mystical lighting

If you are travelling by vehicle I will say please be courteous when driving to this trail. It begins right in a residential area, and I know they tend to be very prickly towards drivers (aka tourists) who park in spots too close to their homes and make loud noises in the morning. Essentially waking them up because many hikers show up to start around 7.

I’d say this trail is a 10/10 and happy trekking to everyone who goes.

Book Windup: These Broken Stars

*Chances this will contain (minor) spoilers*

I wanted to read this book because of the mix reviews it was getting and I wanted to get a clear satisfactory opinion of it on my own. This novel was co-written by an Aussie and an American. The american writer is from Washington, DC so I imagine when they were writing up the draft for this novel she provided the backdrop information on the multi-planetary corporation LaRoux Industries. Their business is terra-forming uninhabited planets for colonization and scientific exploration… but is operated by what feels like a business-sociopath. The Aussie, Amie Kaufman, providing the sci-fy aspects.

Overall I really liked this book, some topics of the book were only vaguely detailed which I took liberties of filling in the gap. The story just drops you off in this particular time frame with no real history or origin story to provide better understanding of their kooky society. I’ll try explain why, however! Some information is backed-up with reading a short story called This Night So Dark by the authors released for free to be read, book #1.5 you could say, that tells how Tarver Meredsen received his medal of honor. That’s not a spoiler, it’s all apart of the pre-text as to why his character is on the Icarus mingling among the “elite social” class to begin with.

Hello Space
Hello Space

How I herd this book being summarize was “like titanic, but in space…. then survival.” The only real comparison between the two is just the ship “sinking.” Otherwise Tarver and Lilac both prove to have the necessary survival skills to get off Icarus in the only escape pod able to deploy. I guess to create some sort of fun dialogue between the two initially they used their division of “society classes” since it’s their only familiarity on a planet that’s not so much familiar. Apart of the reason as to why I felt extremely freaked out at certain moments along their journey to the crashed ship was because I read it after a couple glasses of wine around 2 a.m., so I felt extra paranoid, in the dark. Regardless of the wine, these moments T&L had with these “whisperers” really had me feeling vulnerable and scared for what could happen to them. It’s not until closer to the end of the book that the whisperers were able to acknowledge them and assure them they meant no harm, even though they had many opportunities to do otherwise. I was along the mind frame they were being “killed with kindness.”

Space hyper-speed: While the characters in the book try to attempt explaining the ships ability to travel hyper-speed I’ve translated into terms I think better clarify whats being attempted. SO! Imagine time is a straight line, however hyper-speed requires the manipulation of folding the fabric of space (they call it rifts I believe) to cut down travel time between colonized planets that are millions or billions of light years away.  How they created this technology isn’t explained fully is so were bypassing this origin story for the time being.

rough sketch
rough sketch/ Sorry it’s crap- made it on Paint

The planet which Tarver and Lilac  crash onto was a terra-formed planet in the final stages of colonization yet left alone because of the scientific experiment it had been running commissioned by LaRoux Industry. The concept that this planet had an alternative energy source (life-related) which they were able to contain between the outpost station and the mirror moon creating this great energy, very unstable clearly, that can influences the atmosphere’s gravity and its strength. I believe they initially thought they could use this energy in conjunction with the mirrored moon as a way to improve hyper-space travel. Ever played Mario go-cart? when you drive your avatar over the arrows on the road it speeds up the cart significantly? So i imagine this is the type of concept/theory they were grasping for.  The amount of energy a ship holding over 50,000 people to travel hyper-speed to planets millions of light-years away must be insurmountable, which is why LaRoux Industry attempted this research. In the ships case, it clips a little too close to the atmosphere (and gravity) of the planet because time is “folded” at this point this “friction” rips the ship apart. Like tectonic plates.

However from the information given in book #1.5 questions were being raised in terms of the safety of such a creation happening by the head scientist conduction the research.  It’s insane to think a corporation has so much power that it has the ability to hide a planet! That’s why I think there’s more than one of these types of planets existing, hence the question marks scattered on the rough sketch.

Another really unspoken matter was just how much Lilac was able to hear and understand the whisperers were saying towards the end. Why she was targeted so heavily in comparison to Tarver? Might be because of how little emotional attachment she felt towards returning to her planet and father? The universe’s wealthiest and most powerful man. It’s the only way I can justify her actions and doing what she did, or else how would they have been able to destroy the blue energy source from behind the door in the communication building’s basement floor. Taking the whisperers out of limbo, didn’t they? confused.

I haven’t completed the series, so many of the incomplete answers to questions I have may still be answered in book #2 or #3 which are from alternative duo characters. Not from the ship, but the universe itself so most of my questions are more related to their universe and society. Overall I’d give this book an 8.5/10.

Last Note: This series might be converted into a television series. Not sure how that’ll work out.

Midterm and Finals Study Strategy: Annihilation

Sherlock is ratting me out!!
Sherlock is ratting me out!!

Like the rest of the population who think they have better things to do instead of studying before exams (eating, sleeping, watching movies, blogging), there does come a point in all of this when your brain rings the alarm bells “EXAM!! EXAM!!! TOMORROW MORNING YOU HAVE AN EXAM!!” I’m no exception as we speak. I don’t see myself ever having that eureka moment and apply myself to my studies as wholeheartedly as I’d like. The best way I’ve found is to create game plan, a strategy that will make exams less painful. That way when I’ve finished it feels less like a sprint (and being winded) and more like a easy jog.

even looking at these pictures are distracting me! ha ha ha
even looking at these pictures are distracting me! ha ha ha

1) Mark a Calendar:

I’ve never done well with planners, they’re always an out of sight out of mind type of tool for me. Instead I print out generic month calenders, nothing fancy with design or colour. That way when I fill in the days with exams (or assignments) it will stand out loud and clear. This way I’ll only feel the need to glance at it once a week, if that depending on the month.

Blank: fill only with necessary information
Blank: fill only with necessary information

2) Post-it:

Professor never tend to use to whole textbook they assign for their students, and sometimes even jump particular chapters. It’s such a waste of my time to flip through those pages trying to find the particulars. Using post-it tabs to mark the start of reading sections have made studying all the more bearable for me since I no longer get frustrated, annoyed, and put off all together. Make concise words on the tabs that make sense so you’ll know where to look. For example: “ch.1,” “pg.101-15,” “read,” etc.

These are my general go to tabs
These are my general go to tabs

3) Ask Questions:

Professors tend to be forthcoming with exam information. They want you to pass and do well, they’re always a few rotten apples but we’ll pretend they’re not one you currently have (unlucky for me). Asking them particulars about what to expect in the exam will do no harm to anyone. It’s really helpful too when its classes involving formulas or structure charts that need specific details.

  • how many questions?
  • multiple choice? short answer? fill in the blanks? T/F?
  • how much time?
  • what chapters will it cover?

If this is too much to ask, like me as an introvert, email the prof. Quickly though as they might not answer right away and you’ll want to give them a few days or the weekend to reply.

Love these motivational quotes that speak to me
Love these motivational quotes that speak to me

4) Practice! Practice! Practice!

If one of your exams involved writing out formulas as to explain how you got the answer, lots of practice can go a long way. You’ll start recognizing trends and terms used for exact types of equations (ie. balance sheet, cash flow, etc.). Your mind will lock that away in a muscle memory type box. So while your in exams your brain will recognized the words or terms being used and automatically jump into the question. I’m pretty sure that’s how I just passed my finance exams seeing as how I opened the text just 6 hours beforehand. PRACTICE!

gather everything you need... and don't move for until your done!
gather everything you need… and don’t move for until your done!

This last suggestion only works when both you and the person your working with have the intention of studying, any indication of a social hour occurring will ruin these efforts.

5) Study Buddy:

If you have someone to bounce off thoughts and better understanding of concepts discussed, but not fully digested in class its always helpful to have an second head. Asking questions is also helpful because while your partner answers you have to make sure she has it correct, and if not? explanations from the inquirer will be needed and that itself is a type of study tool.

except remove the laptops... they're distracting
except remove the laptops… they’re distracting

What I have found convenient about these tricks is 1-3 take 5 mins each to do, which is appealing to these procrastinator. Take the time to do those and a significant amount of wasted studying time will go away with it. Seeing as I now have an accounting exam coming up I will now put 4&5 to use ad cross my fingers that all goes well.

Ain't this the truth
Ain’t this the truth

Note to self: Google is off limits too….. way too many things on the internet to get distracted from, like these images.

How To Restart Weightlifting

*lifts her pathetically sore arms to commence typing….ouch*

Go Hard in life in general, but start with the gym.
Go Hard in life in general, but start with the gym.

I started weightlifting when I was about 13 years old. I was at a plateau in terms of my throwing abilities and needed some additional training to help it along. My old friend and teammates mother had kept in touch with my town’s throwing coach from the track club who started up his own “athletic” group. Which was a mixture between athletics and weightlifting, varied in size from 2-6 members over it’s 5 year life span. Once I started it was go go go! I ended up competing once or twice at the junior national level, wasn’t my thing though so it never bothered me that I placed 2nd/3rd place at whatever competition I was in. Plus, there were other girls who loved the sport more than I did, so when they performed well it was this contagious excitement energy. Of course they had to wait until the end for celebrations since the lifting wasn’t finished yet.

It’s definitely a different experience travelling for a each sport ; different people, personality, mentality…mainly a heck of a lot more crazy testosterone energy. While there were a couple guys I trained with, I never looked at them in a crush like manner and I grew up in a female dominated household so these kind of encounters with boys were totally off my equilibrium. Plus! I was 16, while most girls my age had boys on the mind I was more concerned about my sport and making sure I kept that up so I would look appealing for some american school to recruit me for their program.

weights!
weights!

Back to the purpose of this post, I’ve been lifting weights for ages. I think I can comfortably say I’ve got about a decade of experience under my belt. The thing I find interesting about athletics in general is the strive for perfection us athletes have. We’ll never get it, because we generally always view ourselves as “work in progress,” so there isn’t any perfection unless your Nadia at the Montreal Olympics. High five if you got my reference! *smack*

Again, I’ve slipped off. STOP IT EMMA!

Since I’ve returned to school I’ve been slacking on the gym effort more than I should. I get on the treadmill or go on walks at various places in town, but proper weightlifting was benched for a few months. Came back to it this past week, and I’m generally good with taking it easy starting back up. My body has the memory of my peak performance, but the muscles went on vacation so I have to start off on the little weights. Unfortunately to get back in the swing of things I’ve gotten my fellow gym fanatic Nikki* to help get me started and motivated. She on the other hand is like the energizing bunny it’s insane. Works 8-12 at a logging mill 30 minutes away from the school, and workouts for an couple hour, than goes to school from 2-9 and then either hits the gym again or goes swimming… she does this 5 days a week! Definitely makes me feel like I’m not moving enough.

This past week we decided it was time to hit the weights, since the previous week we did circuit training to get the short burst muscles going and just getting the blood pumping through the veins. For re-introductory I did push-press, back squat, leg press, and that machine you pull down the bar for back and shoulder strengthening. I’m not the biggest fan of all those big weight machines. I get they’re good for isolation work, but Olympic weightlifting has your body doing explosive movements that require the lifter to be 100% in control of their body.  A part of having control of your body is being able to read the signs it’d giving you. All that being said, these are a few tricks/tips I try to remind myself when getting back into the swing of things for lifting.

a stretching partner is always good
a stretching partner is always good

1. Long warm ups/downs

I usually spend as much time warming up and cooling down as the whole workout, so if I want to workout for a solid hour than collectively my cool downs and warm ups would total an hour as well. I’m not sure if that sounds extreme time wise because that’s my normal and the reward is a quicker recovery time. Walking on the treadmill before or after does count because I can’t see how effective a jog on the treadmill can help develop endurance and strength when compared to an actual jog.

stretching's good
stretching is good

2. Always start low

I see no shame in starting at a significantly lower weight from what your last proper workout (before the prolonged break) was. The body is waking up again, and even though it’s been through this whole routine a million times it still needs a few sets to gather their wits (yes, muscles have brains :P). Say if your usual start for push press is 30kg, go down to 20kg and have an additional set. Squats starting at 70kg? try 60kg instead.

3. Know when to say stop

I know I’ve had these moments many times when working, because your always given a warning of some sort. The inability to complete a rep, the pinch from a muscle, the body shaking from exhaustion mistaken for adrenaline, etc. My weakness is squats, I always keep going even when I feel the quads tightening and then….I go a pull a butt muscle. This is a constant reminder I need to give myself, otherwise my legs more than likely wouldn’t want to hang out with the rest of me.

Damn... they look thirsty.
Damn… they look thirsty.

4. Keep on Drinking

I’m prone to leg/calf cramps in the middle of the night. I was young when I had my first encounter with this experience so I think it shocked both me and my parents when I woke up in the middle of the night screaming in pain. The crux of it all is that the best way to make the cramp is by flexing!! AHH, hate it!! Why the cramps? I know there are many ideas of why they occur, but the one I follow is because the body is dehydrated and the muscles go into a spasm from improper muscle contractions that were caused by dehydration to begin with. Not enough fluids and energy in the body will have it revolt. Drinking as much water as possible is my method, there’s always a new suggested amount of daily water consumption but I just make sure I have a water bottle on stand by at all times of the day.. even in bed, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night thirsty so I’ll search in my bed as I usually have a few lying around.

Just skip to the 50 second mark of the video and it kinda gives you a visual of what I’m talking about.

I wanted to add a clip of my weightlifting, but that’s only possible with the premium blog setting, and I’m only on basic. So the best “action” clip I can provide is a highlight reel of us “wahine warriors” from an old conference competition, I’m the first thrower but watch the whole video if you like. I was top finisher for my team in the event, 3rd overall.

Yes, I grunt.

Mad Love for all the Bloggers!

Just wanted to make a quick post to say I’ve got mad love for all the bloggers out there in WordPress world! Feeling all these feels. Got to say I’ve had no regrets starting this blog or “public journal” I sometimes call it. It’s a challenge to maintain a steady output of posts, but also developing a personal identity through my writing. Pretty sure every blogger out there has felt this kind of challenge, so to that I say BE MY VALENTINE AND WRITE ON!!

Photography: The King Tut Exhibition Part. 4

Since I’ve been working on restoring some of the photos I lost while clearing out the media library on my account I’ve been pondering about the amounts of photos I’ve been uploading for these King Tut posts. Upon reflect of what I thought was a decent amount of photos for each post (15-20) I’m starting to feel like its insufficient in volume. I’m not sure what’s considered a good number, let me know below what you’d considered to be a fair share. So in this post I’m going to try and complete this series of King Tut Exhibition. If there are any stragglers I’ll figure out come way, but for now let’s assume this is the last post for this series and ENJOY!

'12 summer new camera 452

'12 summer new camera 453

(I think) It’s a headrest

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Alabaster “Ungent Vessel”

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Wooden Chair, used by the king. The details of the legs being shaped to look like hounds legs is very cool to me.

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Miniature figures
'12 summer new camera 476

Small boat, for the king’s use in the afterlife. (It’s meant to transform into a life size boat)

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Canopic Stopper, view 1

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Canopic Stopper, view 2: apart of the canpoic jars which held the pharaoh’s major organs in 4 separate containers. Intended to resemble the buried pharaoh, there are alternative theories which believe this bust were meant for another royal burial, but allocated because of the abrupt nature of this young kings death.

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One of the four miniature sarcophagi from the canopic vases.

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Statue of Soped

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One of two ear rings

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Wooden Chest

'12 summer new camera 502'12 summer new camera 507

Image above: Golden Flabellum, ceremonial fan used to provide the pharaoh with shade and a breeze for a relief from Egypt’s arid desert.

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Golden Finger/Toe Stalls: wore by the deceased pharaoh as a way to protect them from mortality and decay. Gold never tarnishes, so it was used to represent the immortal flesh of the gods. (which is what the pharaoh’s believed themselves to be)

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Golden Sandals: The pair which were originally found on the body on King tut in his coffin. Written beneath the sandals would be a prayer for all pharaoh’s essentially saying “may he trample/walk over all enemies he may come across”

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Burial amulets: found within the linen folds of King Tut’s linen wraps.

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Gold necklace with scarab details

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Emblem of Anubis

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Golden necklace and amulets: buried within King Tut’s coffin on his body wrapped within the linens. These treasures were meant to help identify the pharaoh in the afterlife of his significance. Amulets apart of the mix used as protection for the young king.

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An important part of a pharaoh’s burial was the glyph’s dictating the burial ceremony from the book of the dead. The above image is after all the proper mummification  of the body has occurred, but before the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony. That act is usually done by his heir, but because of his youth and no apparent heir the position was filled in by his highest ranking official; the Vizier. Many archaeologist have debated whether or not he was behind the death of the young pharaoh.

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Above Image: other various images on the walls on Tut’s tomb also depict his everyday life or acts he’s done in his time.

I truly love ancient Egyptian history and all the mystery it holds. I was really close to switching majors over to anthropology because of my studies in school in regards to Egyptian hieroglyphics. I was even accepted into  the summer program my professor runs over in Egypt, a archaeological dig at an oasis on the outskirts of Cairo where the Nile delta had previously ran through. Unfortunately that same year Egypt was going through some major political unrest and rioting in the city center with females being targeted for no unjustly reason. The field project was narrowed down to essential bodies only, safety concerns were always present, and he even hired a private militia to guard the worker’s house at night and dig sites during the day. I was gutted.

Upon inspection of my photos I’ve decided I’ve got the skill level of a busy family dad whose trying to juggle the baby in the carrier, one in the stroller with and ice cream cone melting all over their fingers, and another one tugging his hand trying to get smallest bit of attention. So I take as many photos possible with varying angle degrees in hopes one of them will work. Thank god for digital camera sometimes. Going to work on this skill, for nothing less than pure satisfaction of elevating my photography skills.

Cheers

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