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Monthly Archives: October 2010

Civility is cool

Being a single woman and a part of generation Y the statistical probability of my political leanings being slightly skewed to the left are significantly higher than the chances of getting struck by lightning. But today wasn’t about politics. It was a day where we could make fun of ourselves as a country as well as appreciate it. Where we can turn to our political opponents and have reasonable conversations. A day when all of us in the middle could drown out the shouting of the extremes with the jolly cheer of the majority. I will not be the first or last blogger to talk about the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, but dammit all I will commemorate it just the same.

Fortunately, being unemployed means that I have plenty of time to drive/fly out to Washington D.C. and get my kicks in. Unfortunately, being unemployed means I have no disposable income with which to drive/fly out to Washington D.C. to get my kicks in. So of course I sat down in my favorite swivel chair with a bowl of dry cereal and watched it being streamed live on my favorite internet. I’m so very glad I did.

Turnout looked amazing. The entire area was filled, and what several sources cited as 250,000 people showed up for the actual event, and public viewings popped up around the nation with hundreds tuning in from the comfort of their own cities. The acts were entertaining (Colbert’s entrance says it all), the crowd was positive and civil, and the underlying message against mainstream media and the us vs. them mentality continued throughout the 3 grand hours.

This rally was meant primarily for humor, and for humor’s sake it will be remembered. We, the people of today, prefer to make fun of things and laugh, rather than point angry fingers and shout. Laughter is the cure-all for life’s woes and tribulations, and the madness of our world today counts as a tribulatory woe.

I am in no way under the assumption that this will actually change anything. There will be no uprising movement of a “satire” party, Jon Stewart will not run for president, and the moderate middle will not silence the outliers.

We are, however, uplifted. Because of the amount of people that showed up today and didn’t break into fights, because of the messages that were sent and the laughter that followed, we in the middle know that we are not alone. The people of this nation have not completely fallen into the shit hole of the world, and all hope is not lost for the reasonable and civil. If anything is to come from this event today, it is the understanding that what we see ourselves as a nation is only, in the words of Stewart, a “fun house mirror” reflection with “pumpkin shaped asses”. And for this I am glad, because in all honesty fun house mirrors scare the hell out of me.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Every gamer is 13

Or at least the ones that go online apparently. I hear this a lot for players on Halo, when their own teammates will babble random vulgarities that possess absolutely no grammatical coherency. Instead of inciting images of a proper British meal, tea bags suddenly become insulting. Any word composed of more than four letters is conveniently forgotten, and people who could potentially be sweet and gentle in person are transformed into little monsters spitting hot lava from their dirty mouths. This is no isolated incident; playing Modern Warfare 2 on the PS3 brings me the same results. What’s interesting is that it always sounds like the same person; a little 13 year old boy  who sounds as if they have recently started struggling through the process of puberty. Maybe it’s a first person shooter phenomenon?

What is it about these games that bring out such horrible conversational skills? Do they honestly think that holding a semi-automatic weapon in a digital world actually makes them “badass”? Not even just first person shooters, but any sort of game from racing to rpg’s. I’m not going to lie, interrupt me while I’m on multiplayer or a ridiculous boss battle and I will throw the nearest projectile at your head. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be civil: I’ll apologize for that act. Later. After I’ve pwned some n00b ass.

Come to think of it, it’s not even restricted to video games. Starcraft players in our PC restricted war simulations? Just as bad. Only without the audio. Players will lash out in texted fury not only if they lose, but even if they win and they simply believe their opponent to be too far below them. It’s basically another outlet for trolls and their pent up nerd rage.

Rage. That’s the word. It’s basic, primal, and smears its name across every platform in existence.  No game is safe, no gamer is too mature. The power that we hold in our clammy hands corrupts all of our minds and we regress to our inner angry child, demanding that the world listen to our woes as we stomp our feet and scream till we’re red in the face. Hell hath no fury like a raging geek pumped on caps lock.

 

OMFG $#&% DOGS #@& $#*! @#! (%$.

UPDATE: Of course I find this article *after* I post my shpeal. Thanks, Gamepro. http://www.gamepro.com/article/features/217085/the-psychology-of-anonymity/

 

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Winter cleaning!

Everyone knows about Spring Cleaning. The clean and crisp springtime breeze dancing around the home through welcoming windows thrown open in celebration. Vacuums and dusters and Windex bottles jumping out of old storage bins and linen closets, joining in the festivities of new life and clean furniture. The squirrels are furiously mating, the flowers are blooming, and the scent of laundry detergent perfumes the very air we breathe. Spring Cleaning! The opportunity to throw out all the garbage and refuse of the past year and cast it into the sunny light!

But on the other end of the spectrum, we have the lesser known and dreary cousin, Winter Cleaning. That time of year when we realize that we cannot live on short sleeves and flip flops alone, that we must once again venture into the depths of storage and pull out our winter clothes and heavy duty comforters. Life is giving us another opportunity to clean like there is no tomorrow, and I have embraced it wholeheartedly this year.

I’ll admit, usually cleaning is the last thing on my mind, and there are several tricks of the trade that I use to prolong the vacuuming/dusting ritual as long as possible. For Winter Cleaning, however, we take no prisoners, leave no dust bunny alive, and fully open the windows (for just a minute) to get the full ceremonial mood set. Bathroom mats are washed, showers are scrubbed, mirrors are polished, and after a few hours we are giddy because of the residual chemical fumes our accomplishments. Bed sheets and pillow covers and comforters, the whole shebang (what a potentially vulgar word) are thrown into the laundry machine while we replace them with winter colors and warmer fluffiness.

Closets are somewhat reorganized, but if you’ve ever lived in Colorado you know it’s never safe enough to pack away your t-shirts and shorts. But the climax of the whole event is the part where I walk around with a hose vacuum in my hand like a shotgun, striking out with a vengeance at the dust lingering in my untaintable atmosphere. I imagine that anyone who sees me from 20 feet away would think it odd, watching me stalking the house with a plastic pipe while glaring at apparently nothing, but the untrained eye has no place in Winter Cleaning. This is for the professional cleaning splurge, and I will not be denied!

At the end of the whole ordeal we mark it with a hot shower and a cup of tea, and our only option is to sit back and heavily sigh with satisfaction. For the next few days it will be a battle of the wits as I try not to freak out about every strand of hair that falls onto my flawless, white carpet, or the water droplets that will immediately smudge my bathroom mirror, but for now I enjoy the constant humming of my dusted laptop (yes I even clean out the inside of my laptop) in my fresh and spotless room. I grudgingly admit to myself that spending hours upon hours in a mass cleaning frenzy is a grand experience.

It’s a damn good thing it only happens twice a year.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Reformed and educated

The past seems to have a strange relationship with us, and in return we call it by multiple nicknames. In moments of nostalgia, we look back and call it “the good ol’ times”, where your weren’t afraid of your children being abducted and raped and suave gentlemen existed who opened doors for ladies. Other times, we look back at past societal notions and call them “backwards”, adding little captions that further dub it “racist, sexist, bigoted, conformist” and many other smear campaign derivatives. Child abuse was rampant, wives were sub-human, “the white man” openly snubbed the lesser colored folk and walked around in the same grey suits and ties, living in the same cookie cutter homes, raising the same 2.3 kids and dog, driving the same massive, classic American cars. Drinking and smoking was more common back then than texting is today. Woe was the individual who stood out amongst the masses, the business driven wife, the aging and lonely bachelor, the disobedient child. Psychological and physical abuse and trauma ran amok!

The decrease in smoking and surge in suit color varieties has brought good to our lives, no doubt. But sometimes I really do wonder how “enlightened” we’ve all become compared to the past. Parenting manuals tell us not to treat our children like “back then”, that occasional spankings will scar them for life, and “cramping their individual style” will make depressed alcoholics out of the lot of them. If these things truly were as scarring and psychologically dangerous as we make them sound, shouldn’t our grandparents and the parents before them all have been raving mad and emotionally disturbed? Sure, we call our grandparents loony now, but that’s because they’re old and senile and can’t keep track of their teeth or remember how to use a remote.

In our age of psychological enlightenment can we really look back on the “good ol’ times” and honestly call ourselves that much better? When we’re self medicating left and right for every mental and physical disease we can create and becoming increasingly depressed, angrier, fatter, and not to mention the surging emo population. We’re trying to pass laws on bullying, for crying out loud. Do our playgrounds and conversations really need legal enforcement? For being so proactively individual and self supporting, we sure do try to get the government to help us out a shit ton with our parenting. But that’s a whole ‘nother post for a whole ‘nother day.

Even physically there are some strange side effects of modernization that even the past can’t compete with. Sure they used to have chopped up human and roadkill parts in our food while adding lead to our paint. Got rid of that? Great. But we have a higher chance of getting cancer now than ever before.

Maybe we’re only understanding that we’re more depressed and angry. Maybe this whole thing about individualism and opening ourselves up to the possibility of mental illnesses is only exposing what has always existed? Maybe our grandparents and family before them were always depressed and sexually frustrated, they just couldn’t show it. Maybe the stiff upper lip of the past has always been a cry for help and understanding.

Psshhhhh.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Leash yo doggay!

A nice thing about having a dog larger than the palm of your hand is the fact that you feel obligated as an owner to take them for walks on a regular basis. It’s healthy for them, healthy for you, and gives you an excuse to wear that cool looking “athletic” windbreaker even though you haven’t played in competitive sports since elementary dodgeball. For every positive though there is always that lingering, scathing negative part of your happy go lucky world of dog walking in the neighborhood park. And we’re not even going to touch the concept of dogs in purses. No.

You see, in most public parks there are these nifty signs that tell you important information. What time the park closes, what number to call if you see graffiti marking hooligans, and usually a line mentioning that your dogs must be leashed at all times. There is no addendum or separate clause for “friendly” dogs, or “tiny” dogs, or even “half blind senior” dogs. All dogs.  There is no exception to this. It likes smelling butts and sticking its nose in dirt? Put it on a leash. (This standard can include small children as well).

But many owners seem to consider themselves the exception. Which, as I just mentioned, doesn’t exist. You claim your dog is so small it couldn’t harm a flea, so letting him run around the park only adds to the adorableness factor of our property value. You can claim that your dog is ridiculously friendly; it would never attack another dog or human, so training its hunting skills by having it chase a neon colored ball is perfectly safe. You might even claim that you have such good control over your furry friend that one word from you and it will cease and desist all pleasurable rompings.

I don’t give a damn. Because you see, my dog is not of the tiny, cannot-harm-a-flea variety. He is nearly 80 pounds of tiger-hunting-wild-boar-slaying ancestry. (You only wish I were joking) And he does not take kindly to your runt, specifically if it’s a male runt yipping around his feet. Your entire dog could fit inside my dog’s mouth, and he would probably still be yipping.

The overly friendly dog? On certain occasions I’ve noticed that overly friendly is synonymous with stupid. As in the “I’m so happy with my new friend that I’m going to charge at him with joyful glee even though he’s growling at me and showing off his sharp sharp teeth”. I have a soft spot for dogs, even stupid dogs, so when I see some idiot puppy come bounding over in hopes of frolicking I have my dog sit while I place myself in between them so I can test the waters. I don’t know if my dog will reciprocate the lack of stranger danger mentality, and I’d much rather not find out the hard way.

For the amazingly obedient-dog owners: show me proof. There are ways to be certified of your amazingly professional dog training skills, and until you show me you are I will distance myself and my dog away from yours as much as possible; which you should be doing on your own anyway. In most states there are variations of the “one bite” rule; meaning that if your dog bites another dog or person even once, there are potentially devastating legal repercussions. I put my dog on a leash because even though he’s friendly and well trained, there is always that off chance of a testosterone/domination/plain out I don’t like you skirmish that can happen, and I am not willing to put myself or anyone else through that anxiety. So use that leash!

Or take them to the dog park, it’s like 10 minutes away for crying out loud. Jeez.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Burn, baby, burn!

In our home we have an unofficial, undignified, and usually haphazardly unannounced tradition: the annual blazing glory. Which is to say, we gather all the dead shrubbery and vegetation in our lawn to create a controlled fire in our quaint (read: massive monstrosity of a) garden. They’re pulled, chopped, and tossed onto the dirt to dry for a week, after which we light it up and become heathens for an hour while we madly dance around the inferno.

And by madly dance I mean my mother sits off to the side in her lawn chair and drinks coffee while the rest of us frantically grab hoses and shovels. Good times.

Somewhere in the back of our minds we realize the plume of white smoke rising up from our backyard could cause a neighbor to mistake it for a house fire and call the fire department. While this would be slightly embarrassing, and probably costly, we continue our fire dance in hopes of a better year, that the ashes of today will seep into the soil and fertilize the cherry tomatoes of tomorrow. And strawberries. And lettuce. And green onions. And… you get the picture. I’m sure this could be used very easily in an analogy about life and rebirth and growth and such. Maybe bring in some yin yang terminology about life balancing destruction. Somewhere along the lines we could probably even add a picture of an awesome phoenix. Damn I love phoenixes. They’re so cool.

But honestly, this is just about gardening delicious fruits and veggies for below the market prices. And fire. Everyone loves fire. While “pyro” may be a negative term used for rambunctious youth and overly excitable adults, I believe all humans have a little pyro inside of them that adores watching flames. The fact that in this case the fire is helpful and negligently harmful adds to the greatness of it all. All families should bond over a fire dance at some point. It crackles and dances and taunts you with light and a warm fuzzy feeling that spreads all the way to your toes and leaves you staring starry eyed at its dying embers. If fire could be made into drug form, it would be more addictive than meth. And from what the ads say that stuff has almost a 100% addiction rate. Why is there no market for packaged fire?

This has got to be one of the most off-track posts I’ve ever written.

 

Damn. So cool.

UPDATE: Never mind. There is a market, they’re called lighters and torches and matches. You’d think I would have realized that with my butane torch sitting on my desk waiting to be refilled. Alas, senility strikes early.

 

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Moments of self reflection

Human nature demands that we all possess the self confidence of an upturned cockroach. We’re laying there on our backs wriggling about in self conscious loathing, acutely aware of the eyes looking at you in disgust, and the awkward angles of your limbs, a sharp stick figuratively poking at your exposed underbelly. Plus you’re a damn cockroach. No one likes you.

 

Please flip me over... please?

 

But as if our human nature wasn’t enough to constantly make us feel like fools, there are those moments in life that we all go through that shift us from fool to  regretfully idiotic. A few examples.

1. Stubbing your toe on an inanimate object you specifically tried to avoid for the past three minutes. Twice.

2. Rinsing the water off of your toothbrush after brushing your teeth and getting a fine mist of water/toothpaste sprayed in your eye. It burns. It cools. It’s a sick sensation.

3. Waking up in the middle of the night because it’s cold and pulling your blanket over yourself, only to accidentally punch yourself in the face.

4. Walking back up the stairs for the umpteenth time because you immediately forgot what it was you went downstairs for. Then remembering why the moment you get all the way to the top.

5. Instinctively answering “you too” to the employee at the theater telling you to “enjoy the movie”. This also works in response to waiters/waitresses that say “enjoy your meal”.

6. Dipping your veggie in soy sauce when the ranch was clearly on the other side of the plate. You eat it anyway.

7. Holding a leash while exiting your garage, only to realize moments later that your dog has not been attached to it yet. You shuffle back inside and wait a few minutes, hoping the neighbors that just saw you won’t be there when you leave again.

8. Calling your supervisor/coworker by the wrong name for a week before looking at the name plate on their desk. Act like nothing happens and slip their real name into the next conversation several times for good measure.

9. Search frantically for your glasses for ten minutes before realizing they’re still on your face, and that you never take them off because you’re blind without them anyway.

10. Gulp down a glass of milk in record time because you accidentally poured milk instead of juice, but don’t want to waste what  you’ve poured. End up not drinking juice because you’re suddenly full and uncomfortable.

Lesson here? Er… you’re going to end up looking stupid at some point in life anyway so don’t even bother avoiding it.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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