“How do I brain?” The persistence of the willfully uninformed.

I love when vocal Republicans on Facebook broadcast the fact that they’re liberals through the issues they care about. “No, I’m just a Republican who believes social welfare programs are all grossly & negligently under-budgeted while money is wasted elsewhere.” Congratulations, you’re a modern Democrat. “No, no, no, I mean all our money goes abroad and to excessive immigration instead of helping the folks here at home!” Oh, well then let me revise that: you’re an idiotic modern Democrat. Let me google that for you…. Here we are. In under 2 seconds I have a pie chart of Fiscal Year 2010′s budget expenditures by department. Simply click to enlarge! Immigration Services falls under the Dept of Homeland Security, btw.

Fy2010_spending_by_category

 

“You see? Homeland Security is a huge piece of that pie!” Oh…okay, you think the Immigration office costs more than surveillance bunkers, the coast guard, or FEMA equipment. Ignorance was cute in the olden days, I guess, but OK, let me google that for you again…. Oh, in three seconds flat I have unearthed the FY 2010 Budget of the Dept of Homeland Security. Yeah, that Haitian assistance and backlogged Immigration paperwork is killing us.

Seriously, it takes people longer to write a derogatory Facebook post about falsehoods than it actually would take to learn about the falsehood. Ignorance is a cardinal sin in the Information Age. Ignorantly blind partisanship is bad enough, but willfully blind partisanship is just unfathomable to me. I essentially met someone whose logic is: If I gave a shit for long enough to learn about the issues I care about, I would feel differently about the issues I care about.

 

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So close, buddy! Better luck next election. Maybe someday you’ll cognitively get there.

 

 

Fifty Shades of Whining

What’s a girl to do when public transit makes her miss her Capital Fringe Festival show downtown on a Saturday morning? Why, rage-read this decade’s ‘Twilight’ alternative at Starbucks and livetweet the experience of course! “With so many copies sold, it can’t be bad!” Yes. Yes it can. By definition, having that many sales means it’s just bad enough to court the lowest common denominator. I am immediately mistrusting of a work with an audience that wide. Today my concern was validated.

It was worth a chocolate croissant and a venti coffee. It was especially worth all the awkward judgey looks from repressed mothers [who secretly read it while their husbands were at work anyway, so who cares?]

 

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Should be titled “Spoiled woman gets dream job only 2 years out of college and is cursed to look down on average work forever”

This morning’s bummer moment: I mused that I would talk about my real work (read: not school work) once in a while, but I’m so disillusioned by it now. No rooftop sushi cocktail-hours in Seattle, no first class bullet trains to NYC, no photos of me holding a Kodak appearing in Bill Gates’ TED Talk camtasia slides. “Pfft. Write a training script? How dull! Where’s Bill?! I want him to ask us to build a library in Tibet and then gush about it on TED Talk.”

Now I work in the public sector, and nothing is snazzy. I had to get a Master’s Degree to liven up my professional life. What does that say about my career, that I yearn to return to spoiled intern status?

The Many Dating Pools of Meh

Moms of the world, cool your cheese on the dating pool recommendations. When the Jewish mother voice wants to come out and teach me what’s-what over in babytown, please think again and keep your pro tips to yourselves.

RE the college pool: “You’ll find nice boys in college.”

I sure did, but who the hell wants to boink their college buddies? If they’re not in your buddy circle of “nope”, then they’re clinically depressed, hooking up with six other people, and/or high for half the week. I went to a “smoke your feelings” kind of school, so in my case it was all of the above at once.

RE the workforce pool: “You’ll meet nice, professional men at the office.”

For every 99 men over forty, there is a young-ish man with an OK face. This mini-pool is anxious about its goals, oscillates between completely desperate and completely noncommittal, or (if attractive enough) is still hitting it off with a college sweetheart. But all right, I’ll bite. So I date two guys at work, and boom…. having exes in the office is damned uncomfortable at lunch time. Who would have thought?

RE the graduate school pool: “Sharp shooters aplenty at grad school!”

My experience has shown that by this stage the men are married, house hunting, and popping babies out of their wives. This is probably program-specific; however, my graduate program is definitely targeted for an older, more settled crowd seeking highly niche professional development classes. Woe is me and my ladyboner with my professional credentials and lofty PhD goals. Now I’m too intimidating…. grand.

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Anyway, moms, I’m perfectly happy doing my own thing and being a satisfied, busy late twentier enjoying life. I just wish older generations would catch on that it’s completely O.K. and that I’m not secretly ten minutes away from overdosing. Stop sharing “advice” about “where to meet a man”, especially if your life is a paramount example of why I should continue giving zero fucks, or your knowledge on meeting men consists of high school, a community dance hall, or the grocery store. The grocery store! Nope, I’mma wear my sweatpants and last night’s smudged make-up to Harris Teeter. Sorry.

 

The Holy Roman Empire versus the modern Catholic Church: less poison, same amount of rape and money

John J. Myers, the archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, comes to this vacation home on many weekends. The 4,500-square-foot home has a handsome amoeba-shaped swimming pool out back. And as he’s 72, and retirement beckons in two years, he has renovations in mind. A small army of workers are framing a 3,000-square-foot addition. 

This new wing will have an indoor exercise pool, three fireplaces and an elevator. The Star-Ledger of Newark has noted that the half-million-dollar tab for this wing does not include architects’ fees or furnishings.

There’s no need to fear for the archbishop’s bank account. The Newark Archdiocese is picking up the bill.

-excerpt from A Church So Poor It Has To Close Schools, Yet So Rich It Can Build a Palace, Feb 19 ’14, New York Times

 

It’s funny, every now and then I pick up a dry historical text called The Bad Popes and read a few chapters. It’s easy to marvel at early Holy Roman Empire corruption and politicking and cognitively keep it separate from today’s Catholic Church. After all, it’s 2014, right? That’s how generations of Catholics have dealt with the cognitive dissonance of being a willing, contributing member of the perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition. But then you read about archbishops and their four-story vacation homes, and I get a flashback of, oh, every medieval pope one might ever read about, and I think….nope. Just another Saturday. These are humans, after all, and humans don’t create something so magnificent and lucrative and then become selfless. Power and money is simply power and money, and 945 or 2014, that reality remains the same.

Catholics, I’ve changed my mind. I’m totally not atheist anymore. Take me back! I want to be rich.

The Marriage Subtext

“If anything, sex is less commodified now than when my great-grandparents were courting. Before divorce; before reliable, effective birth control; before women’s advancements into the higher levels of the workforce; marriage was ALL about economics. Now that women are able to leave abusive and unhappy relationships, support themselves financially, and choose when/if to have children, we don’t need marriage anymore. It’s no longer an economic imperative, which means that people are free to be choosy about who they marry. So you’re damn right marriage rates are dropping and people are marrying later. It’s because we’re getting better at it.”

-Lindy West

Thsi right here. It’s reasonable for me to be upset that since age 19 my family asks me, upon every visit, if I have a ring yet….. but at 26 the same people supported my brother in waiting (and encouraged him to wait longer if he wanted to). As my 27th birthday approaches, I feel the projections growing stronger and more shameless. Here’s to another year of I feel like my body is dirty, so I’m going to ‘remind’ you that yours is too subtexts rolling off my relations in waves.

Newsflash: If you think your body is dirty, a magic piece of paper will never change that.

Opining on the Superhero Genre

A friend was telling me about a new comic he thought I would like. His opening line for me was that “there are no superheroes. There are scientists!” I smiled gleefully at how well he knew me–better than I knew myself, because it wasn’t until that moment that my mind opened up and went full “Nope!” on superheroes. My partner and most of my friends still find enjoyment in all flavors of superheroes, from DC to Marvel to indie comic artists. You could say I tolerated the genre over the last 15 years. I saw all three Iron Mans (Iron Men?) in the cinema, as well as both Thors, a Captain America, every Batman to date, every Superman to date, every Spiderman to date, the first Avengers, and I will likely seek out Ant-Man purely for the lolz (c’mon, it’s Paul Rudd! I have to!)

Yet when I look back, I very much enjoyed superheroes as a child. They were, to be redundant and obvious, my personal heroes–especially Superman and Batman. I was never a Marvel girl with the exception of X-men, which I had access to because of the Saturday morning cartoon and video games. My parents weren’t comic book buyers, so I watched media that the whole family enjoyed and played whatever games they picked out at Christmas. I would dream of Clark Kent in his glasses, of Christopher Reeves rescuing me from Niagara Falls, of Professor X accepting me into Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, and of Michael Keaton awkwardly trying to mouth to me “I’m Batman!”. While I didn’t have strong Wonder Women media to draw from (even at a young age, the obscenely sexist costume kept me disinterested), I still admired the idea of her and would make up my own Wonder Woman stories and costumes in my head. And you know what? Judge away, you trolling denizens of the webz, but I liked George Clooney too. He did just fine. In fact, George Clooney’s off-camera personality, though not immediately clear that he’s troubled and self-loathing, emits that fearlessness and low-key chill factor that I think goes well with a Batman interpretation (aside from the obvious playboy millionaire crossover). And lets not forget about the beautiful, soulful calm that Val Kilmer brought to his Batman! He and Nicole Kidman were on fire, a fire that no one but Seal could have made more sultry.

I could try to take some time for deep introspection and come up with a hundred little things during my development that ruined this genre for me, but it’s not necessary, and might even be false. No Freudian analysis necessary. I didn’t grow up and grow “out of” superheroes. That’s not a thing! We all know that it’s really quite simple: We’ve been saturated. I mean, fucking saturated, like dropped in a vat of molasses, and my inescapable exasperation with this fucking genre is the sticky molasses that never comes off because vats keep getting dumped on me and I can’t shower quickly enough between dumps. 15 years of non-stop dead horse beating. Thor is the only franchise I actively seek out anymore, and it’s because I never had access to it as a kid, and I also love the mythology aspect to it. *Ahem* Hormones may also play a role. Everything else I begrudgingly attend because others take me along. I role my eyes at superhero cosplayers at cons. Superhero anime is all but ruined for me. I haven’t re-watched my beloved early Batmans or Supermans in nearly a decade. Any franchise that my partner doesn’t love, I actively try to avoid. I still have not seen half the new Spidermen, no Hulks whatsoever, no Fantastic Fours, few new X-Men, no animated attempts to cash in, no Kick-Ass, no Green Lantern or Hornet, no Hellboy, and HELL NO to a Punisher movie. I don’t even care for the Blades, despite my dark movie philia. I’m just….done; so beyond done that the word doesn’t cut it anymore. I need a new word for “done” that encapsulates the roundness of my lethargy.

And that’s my shower diatribe for today.

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A New Year of Options

The tiresome act of new year’s resolutions came and went this year without much attention. Self betterment doesn’t come to mind during times of high self esteem. It creeps in when you’re at your lowest. I suppose in 2014 it took a month for the full swing. When you’re working for two, the artful side shuts down in self-preservation. “You don’t have time for self betterment, hobbies, or new pursuits,” the left brain tells the right. This state of mind is emotionally draining, and I’ve discovered that it has slow, creeping effects that might hit all at once one night while you start to cry after losing a game of chess. *cough*

As my partner becomes gainfully employed, my subconscious is allowing me to become acutely aware of options–options like self enrichment.  Three years ago this blog was supposed to help me do just that through activity logs. I’m one who enjoys making lists (sidebar: That’s putting it mildly. I frigging LOVE making lists) and staying organized, and so here again I aim to get organized for the purpose of expression, pursuits, and mental health. My latest goals demand the following from me every week:

  • Go to bikram yoga at least twice
  • If no, go to local gym and run/bike at least thrice
  • Take time to read from a leisure book (textbook doesn’t count, Mary. Neither do web articles.)
  • Watch 1 documentary
  • Write in the blog at least once
  • Perform 1 de-stress activity for enjoyment that doesn’t involve Netflix. This could be a puzzle, a board game, a long walk, a concert, etc.

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These are perfectly reasonable goals. I’m not setting myself up for failure here. I believe these simple self improvement steps will go a long way to elevating my self esteem and mood. It’s so easy to forget (or claim inability) to perform these activities week after week when pulling overly full work days, worrying about money, giving into lethargy, fighting anxiety, and earning a Master’s degree by night. If I lose myself in the routine, I’ll be persistently unhappy. It’s time for a change. This blog just got an unusual dose of REAL TALK.

As a side note, I also need to adopt these measures for improved mental health in order to avoid further physical damage. Let me know if you have a similar stress symptom, but I compulsively crack my wrists and pinky fingers when I’m stressed. And I can’t stop; I do it until I have physical pain in my hands and wrist, even all the way up to my elbow. It’s now every single day. I put on a wrist wrap to apply pressure to the crack points, which helps make the act less frequent. However, my nervous system is quickly growing accustomed to the brace and beginning to ignore it. So, chill the fuck out, stress, so that I stop giving myself early onset arthritis! Jeezis.

Fall Trumpeting

I too wanted to utilize the pool deck more often this summer than I did. I too was briefly (but so acutely!) despondent as the water drained and the cover was tied down. Warm sunbeams, coconut-smelling lotions, and margaritas… yes, I loved it too, and now it’s over.

But fear not, fellow peasants! Let’s poke each other out of our post-Labor Day slump and get ready for the thrill of my favorite season. I’ve already made a pumpkin pie, two batches of pumpkin butter, and two Halloween wreaths. In my area of North America the leaves have already started redding, and the squirrels are going bonkers about collecting nuts. Did you know that the Samhain festival, the mother of our modern Halloween, originated in what’s modern day Ireland? Of course you did! You love fall too!

Oh, you weren’t really in the zone yet? You aren’t that keen to fall’s arrival? Still pining for summer? You want to wait? Well, LET ME FUCKING HELP YOU OUT!

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autumn_pumpkinpie

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autumncoffee

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I want to drink my pumpkin latte, sitting on my bed with the window open and soaking in the cool fall-smelling breeze as I pound through my Stats homework, followed by a session of fall Etsy crafting and Halloween party schlepping. Then I’d like to wash that down with a hot apple cider and a delicious home-cooked crock pot dinner and an evening, spice scented candle-lit romp through a pile of leaves. Then I’ll wrap up the weekend with a trip to the greatest Fall destination in the region: where cider/meade combos get you drunk, the beekeepers pour free samples of local honey down your throat, and juggling tumblers are framed by gorgeous fall foliage, cool weather, and smells wafting from the bread bowl soup stand.  Damn it, Fall is the best!

 

Frootcamp: Week 13, Horned Melon

hornedmelon

Look at this freaking thing. I admire the spikes–it adds a whole new flare to the food, even a tinge of grunge. Orange is also one of my favorite colors (thanks to my Halloween fervor that borders on obsession). No one’s denying this is an alternative, attractive specimen. But there are few–perhaps in fact NO–meals in my life where I want to have the opportunity to ask, “What is this green goop in my mouth?” Horned melons don’t need the horns to avert potential predators… it is literally the most disgusting fruit I’ve attempted to eat yet. I actually thought it might be rotten, and so I took to google to investigate. But it turns out these busted innards are perfectly normal.

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A pox on your houses, all ye whom I loathe

I am blunt, I am unforgiving, and I have standards to which I hold the people of this particular region. These are the archetypes I loathe. Add your own in the comments.

People who think pictures of their kids covered in tiny pieces of food is adorable. It’s not adorable. It is gross.

People who clap while they laugh. Sometimes I catch myself doing it, and then I immerse myself in a cold bath. YOU WON’T TAKE ME ALIVE, LAUGHCLAPPERS!

People who insist on frequently using direct address in written media and doing so incorrectly. Don’t make yourself look the fool if you’re going to use direct address without the comma. Were you addressing me? I couldn’t tell. I thought my name was part of the story. FUUUCK, it’s not difficult.

People who back into parking spaces. I’m talking to you. It takes three times longer and holds everyone up behind you. I like to pull into the space immediately after the person passes it. I’m parked and locking the car door by the time his or her reverse lights even come on! There’s middle fingers and shouting, but I won’t see it because I’m already walking into the store. THAT’S how stupid backing-in is.

People in the office who shout into phones to the extent that the entire hall cannot focus because all we hear is your blood curdling project updates.

People who think they’re “so ugly, hahaha” or “soooo fat, hahaha” in their facebook selfie that they clearly spent 40 minutes prepping for. Don’t giggle like it’s not thang. There’s nothing worse than a premeditated selfie.

People who don’t know the answer at pub trivia who then go “ooooh”, “of course”, “mmhmm” after nearly every answer in a futile attempt to appear knowledgeable retroactively.

Jaywalkers. Just, jaywalkers.

People thoroughly preoccupied with others’ perceiving them as alternative/unique to the extent that they stamp even mundane, average activities with terms like “crazy”, “ultra geeky”,  “we can’t go anywhere!”, “who lets us out in public? gigglegiggle” Yes, you must be so crazy and unique. I’m sure there aren’t billion dollar industries built around the alternative multiverses of grunge, punk, yoga, crunch, or anything. Also, way to demean the struggles of actual handicapped folks with your giggling, wide-eyed newsblasts to others that you’re just too cRaZy and interesting to ignore!

People who realize they have the right-of-way, yet decide to make things take longer for everyone in order to wave through drivers who are otherwise correctly yielding to them. Just, why? Right-of-way exists because it is efficient and can be universally understood. Your whims are not universally understood. STAHP IT.

People too bashful to even stand in a line at the counter anywhere. Oh, you were in line? How could I possibly have known that? You are literally standing 5 yards away from the person “in front” of you. Literally, not figuratively. If you’d like me to not “cut in line”, could you maybe not leave two car lengths between yourself and the register?

People who take the same tongue out, deer-in-the-headlights selfies every day to show people how “quirky” they are. Oh, you’ve got your tongue out! That means you totes mcgoats don’t care what people think! I also know this because the description of your photo is “I totes mcgoats don’t care what people think of me!” Nevermind that you clearly spent thirty minutes prepping for this photo – freshly pressed outfit, carefully placed and tilted hat, three layers of eye makeup, and skin so orange I know you’ve been dropping dollars at the tanning salon for months. But you–for sure–don’t care what people think.

People who know literally nothing as they pundit me. I am using the word literally here to mean literally, not figuratively. They LITERALLY know nothing about the topic they supposedly feel passionately about as they try to pundit at me. As in, I know more about the topic from twenty seconds of googling than they do from their passive viewing of a news channel opinion piece or overhearing some idiotic conversation from equally uninformed people. Trust me, I like to pundit as much as the next person, but I at least have the self respect not to embarrass myself if I’m not 100% sure of my position (which, counter to common idiot opinion, DOES include limited background knowledge on the subject).

Creationists. This needs no explanation. I met one for the first time a few weeks ago, by the way. It was, erm, entertaining? Depressing? Worrisome?

Frootcamp: Week 12, Watermelon

Ah, watermelon. Wherefore art thou fruit? A food by any other name would taste just as sweet….

watermelon-slices

I guess it’s official. This project has produced three or valuable experiences that lend to long term change: the regular (read: DAILY. Yeah, for real) consumption of bananas, apples, and now watermelon. Once there’s three fruits I tolerate on a regular rotation, I can no longer label myself a fruit hater, right? Touche, Frootcamp project…. well played.

Watermelon has no fat, saturated fat, sodium, or cholesterol, and it tastes just fine–like a watery diet food that’s actually edible. I don’t think there’s a single downside to this fruit. It can even be carved into badass shapes. …….Have I met my match?

This is how I imagine watermelon’s reaction when I bought it for the second time: I’m a fruit, and you love it! …….. dealwithit

 

Frootcamp: Week 11, Nectarine

“Try the nectarine,” he said. “No, it tastes nothing like a peach, whywouldyouevenaskthat,” he said.

Well, I’m sniffing it, and it smells like a peach. So, I already know we’re going to have problems here. I don’t even want to take a bite because already today I’ve been LIED TO re: peachhood.

 

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I do NOT. TOUCH. PEACHES. This was the agreement when I took on this project. I will force-feed myself any fruit EXCEPT FOR THE PEACH. Apparently the nectarine is like a peach lite, a mini peach, an orange mush-ball aspiring to full peachitude.

Fuck everything.

Frootcamp: Week 10, Kumquat

kumquat

The most ridiculous of fruits, kumquat, came in at #2 in the “most looked forward to” category of the Frootcamp lineup–right behind dragon fruit, because, dragons. Look at these little guys. Why should tiny oranges warrant such a hilarious name? They don’t have polka dots, spikes, or humorous genital shapes. Truly I didn’t think they were very special. They were just incredibly tart, poppable oranges (the true poptarts). Like if popcorn were healthy, sticky, and required a whole minute to peel. Like a bag of sour patch kids that aren’t fun to eat and aren’t accompanied by that renegade, digestive glee of breaking down gelatin (‘fiery poops’ if you can’t read between the lines).

All in all they weren’t bad.  I won’t embrace kumquats into my daily lunchbox (as I’ve done with apples, bananas, and watermelon), but I also won’t stick my nose up at this creature of the plant world and say “Nay to thee!” All I can do is the Obama face, really. No other reaction seems appropriate.

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Frootcamp: Week 9, Raspberry

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down there, raspberries. I’m not trying to incorporate you into my lunch schedule. I’m not even trying to eat you right now. All I did was put you in my champagne sangria to acclimate my mouth to your flavor so that maybe, mayyyybe I’ll try you for real tomorrow. After all, I can’t think of a better way to deal with force-feeding myself lumpy, red beads with fur coming out of them (?!?!) than to smother said beads in sweet, sweet alcoholic nectar.

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Next Day Update: I ate one. …Yeah, no. I’m vetoing this week.

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