Monday, September 30, 2013

As Usual, Something "New" and "Different"

I was sittin on the bus the other day, and I noticed an advertisement inside the bus for a speed dating organization. They touted themselves as "different" from the rest because they offered "categories." Through the miracle of inner-bus billboards, I learned that such "categories" unique to said "different" organization included:

Singles in their 20s.

Singles in their 30s.

Singles over 40.

Christian Singles.

Jewish Singles.

Muslim Singles.

I'm sorry. But...if you're offering me categories that can be considered "different" from those OTHER speed dating organizations...shouldn't the categories I mean, goodness knows I've never tried speed dating (although it might be fun..ny), so I guess maybe I'm not one to talk, but think about it this way:

As if the mere existence of multiple speed dating organizations wasn't SAD enough, now we come to find out that "most" of them (?) don't actually offer "categories," but when they do, they are the dullest and most obvious/redundant categories one might possibly be able to think of.

Thus, in response to the ad, I made a little list in my head of categories that might actually make me choose one service over another...were I ever to find myself bored enough to take a drunken run through a few speed dating shin-digs. Here's my list of categories that would make MY speeding dating worth calling unique.

Democrat Singles

Republican Singles (only if I haven't been INSANELY ANGRY in a while and need to feel that burn)

Traveling Singles

Steady normal job Singles (only out of curiosity)

Pothead Singles

Pothead Democrat Singles.

Singles who don't like real beer or whiskey. (avoid)

Singles who LOVE real beer and whiskey.

Singles who like to tell jokes.

Singles who don't laugh at anything.

Singles who fart only when alone.

Singles who fart most of the time. (not unlike my relationship with Target, I will look everywhere else for him and then find exactly who I was looking for in this very category)

Singles who laugh at farts.

Singles who don't laugh at farts.

Singles who love food.

Singles who don't love food. (or Singles who mostly eat just chicken fingers)

Messy Singles. (no more lying to myself)

Organized Singles.

Singles who don't mind Being Single, but occasionally have moments of despair, during which they weep at the overwhelming thought of being alone forever and being eaten by their cats.

Okay. There are more. I could honestly go on forever. But I won't. You get the picture.
If you want, feel free to comment (anyone with a gmail or google account can do so!) with categories that would make YOU get off your tookus and grab life by the speed dating bell.

Until next time, my lovelies.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Anyone can Master's Degree

I was thinking the other day, an activity in which I often indulge, about the process of writing a paper, or a thesis...if you will. I find myself most days getting carried away when I find a work, such as a film or a play, that lends itself to numerous topics of discussion/research/basic delving. And the truth is, anyone can write a research paper on absolutely anything that suits his or her fancy. Freshmen college students have trouble with it because no one has ever given them the power of choice before, but once we all get a little bit older and more...attached to our belief systems...we often have less trouble making decisions and running with them. Thus...the thesis of this blog will be:

You can write a master's thesis!

Picture it: One day, you're lying around on your sofa watching sports...ball, and you keep seeing commercials for Bud Light, and you're like "Why is everyone in these commercials so happy with their beer? Bud Light is gross. In fact, the majority of Bud Light drinkers appear to me to be Bros...and Ho..s." Then, maybe you giggle or chortle at the thought...but upon further thinking...this topic becomes a little more...urgent. "No, but seriously...why?" I'm sure anyone and everyone could end the thought right there by chocking it up to bad breeding, lack of adventure, But not you. Not now. You've got to get to the bottom of it.

If I learned anything in Grad school, it was that I needed to eventually make a solid choice to say something that had never been said AND backed up with research. SURE, most people joke about the Bud Light demographic...but very few people, nay, no one has really gone out on a limb to research this phenomenon. Why not you? Seriously. Anyone can do this.

So you start googling. Maybe you find a few articles here and there, but you don't really find the mother load until you spend the better part of three months pouring over J-Store. It's this awesomful website where researchers in the liberal arts have access to an ass-ton of scholarly articles on all sorts of topics.


Then you get excited! Things are moving along! You are inspired, and that inspiration is driving you. So what if you spend most of your time locked in a small room, staring at your computer screen, surrounded by mountains of printed J-Store articles in piles that kind of resemble organization. You can no longer be bothered with parties and bar hopping. You are on a journey...NO! A QUEST!

And maybe your friends call you, and beg you to get out of the house. And maybe you do hit up a party or two wearing a giant sweatshirt. And maybe your friends notice that you can't stop blinking (probably because you've been drowning in computer screen). And maybe you start to think that this blinking thing is more than just the you have turrets's POSSIBLE.

And then one day you share what you've written so far with one of your friends that you KNOW is smarter than you are, but she returns it to you with the note "This is terrible writing. You may want to take a class on writing because this is impossible to follow." And maybe you get a little angry, and crouch down on the floor of your room, screaming into a pillow. Then, ripping up all the draft papers into shreds, you begin to throw them around the room in a raging frenzy, and when you run out of paper, you collapse into a ball of tears and anger on the floor.

And maybe a few days later you notice that you've begun to break out in hives, and you tell your mom, and she says that maybe it's not hives, maybe you have meningitis, and you're like "WHY THE HELL WOULD IT BE MENINGITIS?!?" But then maybe it is meningitis and you'll be dead in a few days and who really cares about Bud Light anyway because it's A STUPID GROSS BEER FOR LAME PEOPLE THAT DON'T LIKE LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously. Academia doesn't belong solely to the elitists.

Then, finally, you are done. The paper is complete. And, after a panel of your most trusted and respected friends ask questions about your findings, they all shake your hand, including the friend that told you that your writing was atrocious. She even apologizes for not taking into account that you had clearly given her a draft that you would eventually re-work into a glorious achievement in research.

Now you're ready to get back to working for a living because you have to pay the government upwards of $30,000 for supporting you whilst you were researching the significance of social stratification/social construction and its influence on beer choice.

I'm just sayin.

I have a Master's Degree and so can you.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Oh man. I used to be such a victim. I used to spend all my time whining to myself about how much of a victim I was and how nobody understood. I mean, it was hard not to assume when, on a typical day, my driver's side power window on my Honda Civic broke with the window not completely up, it rained buckets, and everyone else but me was in a relationship all the time ever. I was totally justified. I know.

It changed though. It was mostly gradual, but I can definitely put my finger on a specific time and place when I began to stop crying to myself about how lame my life was. Outside of extensive therapy and a lot of googling of topics like "nobody understands","I don't have anything to wear","does my dog hate me", etc, there is one moment of exemplary protest that seems to be the greater of the catalysts shoving me in the direction of a more positive self image.

I was shopping for vegetable plants at Home Depot for a vegetable garden I was planning on growing at the house into which I had just moved in Atlanta (it's a prepositional phrase party!!). I had purchased some Black Cow, Mushroom compost, and the Bonnie baby plants that allowed me to skip the seedling process (it was too late for it at that point anyhow, but we can talk about gardening timelines in another blog), and I was attempting to load them into my car. Luckily, no one was parked next to me which made it easier to transfer the items from the cart to the car while leaving my car door open all the way. UNTIL, some car that I can't remember drove up and, despite the fact that there were numerous parking places available, decided to park in the one next to me that was currently occupied by my cart and my car door...and ME. REALLY? REALLLLLY?

So she honked. YES. She freaking honked at me.

I pulled my cart out of the way, shut my car door (mid transfer of items) so I could press my body against my car to give her enough room to back into the space.

And there I was. Totally at the mercy of this woman and her car...and her stupid heels (to Home Depot)...and her gum...and her bling-ey phone....and her stupid bug-eye sun glasses.


As she walked by, I mumbled "you win," like the experienced victim I was, but she heard me, her head snapped in my direction, and she spat, "it's not a competition," in the smuggest way possible.

I finished my car loading, pushed the cart all the way back to the garden center because I am thoughtful and responsible and nice and AWESOME, and I shuffled back to my car where I had a piece of gum that had already been chewed resting on the lid of the diet coke I had been poisoning myself with all day because I refuse to throw it out the window. It NEVER GOES AWAY, PEOPLE.  Oh delicious ABC gum...stuck carefully on a plastic lid...left behind in a warm car...slightly melty enough to turn into a long string of gum when I pulled it off the lid.

And then I had an idea. I looked at the gum, looked at the car backed into the parking space next to mine, looked back at the gum, checked to make sure I had at least one more piece (I love chewing gum), thought back to moments ago and those heels and sunglasses, rolled down my passenger side window (which worked), took a deep breath, and flung the gum onto the mean lady's carefully parked car.

It's not a competition? It's not a COMPETITION?!?!


I win.

And that was when it all changed. started to change a year or so before that during a yelling match I had with an old lady and her dogs...but that is another story for another time.

What I'm trying to say here is:


So watch yourself. I play to win.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Spanish Steps are in Rome

It's often difficult to write about experiences mid-experience. How can one be truly present and in the moment whilst continually drafting the next story in his or her mind? (Listen. I'm just going to use terms such as "whilst" because I'm pretty sure they're very impressive. If I'm wrong, I don't want to be right.) Honestly, how? Shut up. It's impossible. That's why I can't find ways to inject moments from my life that everyone has been begging me to write about until long after they've passed.

Remember when everything mattered so much? When the whole world was surely paying very close attention to you, especially whether or not your legs were too hairy? Remember?

I found myself, eight or so years ago, sitting on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy, Tiramisu Gelato dripping down my hand and wrist, chocolate in the corner of my mouth gaping just enough...watching the children splash each other in the fountain at the bottom of the steps. Of COURSE I was watching children play in a fountain in ROME. I swear I'm not being overly sentimental. These are the kinds of things that happen in these places. It is ridiculous.

So I'm sitting there, sticky, mouth breathing, chocolate all over my face, just like that kid in junior high that was in love with me...the one I could NEVER take seriously because the amount of chocolate on his face was never his first order of business when it came to impressing upon me the level of his admiration, which, for me, was a death sentence. Because what my face looked like...the number of boogers in my nose, the placement of my hair, was far more important than how delicious the chocolate  I was eating was, or how gorgeous the day was. GOD IN HEAVEN those things meant so much in those days. The terror of looking a little out of place outweighed everything I loved/wanted to love about life.

Of course it's not until we truly understand the power of that weight that we can live without it. And we have to respect that power because, as Dr. Ellie Satler so eloquently states in one of the greatest films of all time, "You never [have] control. That's the illusion. I was overwhelmed by the power...But I made a mistake too. I didn't have enough respect for that power and it's out now." What else is Jurassic Park if not a tale of the Everyman, struggling to control the outcome of his existence? We proudly state, "I have found a way to achieve happiness through meticulous attention to detail!" Except instead of being happy, we just hate everyone, especially ourselves, and we invite our friends to the party only to have to watch them be hunted down by our demons, ripped to shreds in a tropical storm, or blinded, paralyzed, and eaten alive by tiny lizards. Spoiler alert, the old guy dies in the book.

The weight is a gift, and as soon as we acknowledge it and respect it, it lifts from us. And we find ourselves on the Spanish Steps in Rome, covered in chocolate, giggling at kids in a freaking fountain. And it's AMAZING.

OR...we never give it any respect, and we get hunted and eaten by a Velociraptor.

*I may have taken a few things from that quote out of context so as to bend its meaning to my own will. You're cool with that? Right?

*Also, see any comma splices? Let me know. Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chapter 1

That's right, folks. This is officially the first chapter of the REST OF MY BLOG. For this new volume of work, I promise to stay I promise to try to find the silver lining...without being annoying. I promise to be just cynical enough to impress upon you, my readers, just how important it is to understand how unimportant MOST things are. I promise to be honest, without being dismal. I promise to tell jokes. I promise that I am, if nothing else, incredibly ridiculous. Seriously. I'm kidding.

I now live in Chicago, IL. It has yet to be winter. If any of my posts seem particularly Chicago-centric, please understand that it's not that I think my city is more interesting than your city. I don't. I am leery of jokes based on things that happen to someone "because" they live in New York or if saying you live in a particular city automatically makes you the expert teller of jokes about....basically everything. Everyone experiences life the way they experience it, and one way isn't actually better or more fulfilling than any other way. I have lived happily in Texas, Memphis, Georgia, London, and Pilsen. My life in Chicago is different, but not funnier or more exciting. I am still me. Except I can ride my bike more easily, and I'm pretty sure I don't have enough tattoos. Also, I may have to wear more clothing than you do during the winter. But, it's whatever. No big deal. 

Finally, and I swear this is the only time I'll be annoying/emotional. I am probably happier than I have ever been in my life. It's sad, but true. My worst fear has come to fruition. I've been terrified that, after years of struggling desperately to keep my head above water, I would eventually stop struggling and start enjoying myself. Heaven forbid my inner monologue start saying things like, "oh man. I don't want a boyfriend! I'm so happy. I  just want to hang out with people and listen to them and get to know them. There's no rush. I love working. I get to go to work, enjoy the shift, and make enough money to live a life that I'm perfectly satisfied with (my credit's pretty bad, though). AND I'm good at what I do. I'm actually talented. I'm not kidding. I know it. I know how to do what I do, and I know how to do it well." That's pretty much what it says most all of the time. It also says things like, "I feel no shame. I love who I am, where I am, and what I'm doing. I have a rockin' bod, great taste in pretty much everything, my face is a work of art (even my crooked nose), I have a fantastic sense of humor, and my brain is hungry for more. Don't even get me started on my brain."

Sorry...? Except...Should I really apologize for finally finding a mountain of self worth deep in the recesses of my soul? Why am I apologizing for that? My joy is 0% derived from anyone's pain and 100% derived from my desire...nay, be content and to love myself. Anyone can go on the same quest. Anyone can find it. You can find it. I found it. I mean...seriously....I found it. ME. 

Finally, and here's that cynicism I promised, life isn't easier. Yeah. Sorry. That, I am truly sorry about. I can't say it's easier, or that it's been easy. It's not and it hasn't. My brain isn't always so nice. I still have days when my brain says things like, "ugh. I'm lazy. What's the point of not eating all of the cookies? My Thighs!! Thai delivery is going to take more than AN HOUR!?!? LOVE DOESN'T EXIST!!!!!!"

The only thing I can say with full confidence to you right now is that life is BETTER. And, honestly, that's enough. tell you some jokes...