Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Breaking News: Multibillion Dollar a Year Oil Company Doesn’t Really Care About the Environment or People!

I am shocked at what I hear about BP on the news. Don’t get me wrong, I am not shocked to hear that they knew the oil spill was much, much larger than they first said. I am not shocked to hear that they could be using four times as many boats to help the cleanup effort but aren’t because it is too expensive. I am not shocked to learn that they were knowingly operating under unsafe conditions or that they are trying to cheat the people that they hurt out of compensation. What I am shocked about is that everyone else seems to find this surprising.

I am guessing that there isn’t a single person in the United States that doesn’t know about the effects of the oil spill. If you turn on CNN, MSNBC, or even (gag) Fox "news", the coverage is basically streaming footage of the oil soaked pelicans, the pools of dirty ocean water, tar balls and interviews with fishermen and women who no longer have a source of income. It is all very poignant and disturbing and I am glad that they are showing it but I still think that there is a very large part of the story that they are leaving out.

There is an old expression about journalism that says, "if it bleeds, it reads". In other words, heartstring tugging footage or violent scary stories generate more interest that a report that focuses on things like statistics and in-depth analysis of an issue. Media today is centered a lot more on revenue than it ever was before so I get why it’s happening. However, people should know that things like the oil spill (and Haiti and Katrina and the Tsunami and many others for that matter) all have a common thread, they are caused by neoliberalism and greed. In other words, our profit driven system of social and economic policy (i.e. capitalism!) is to blame.

In the eighties, the whole idea of neoliberalism and free market economics began to emerge. This meant that governments (and the US was definitely in the forefront of this) began to take a hands-off stance on big business. The free market policy has a good sounding name, especially in the US where we love the word freedom almost as much as we love McDonalds and SUVs, but what it basically means that trade and commerce are free of government regulation. This means that companies like BP can run a company that endangers its workers and the environment without being shut down.

I suppose there are some of you (out of the millions and millions of people that read my blog everyday) that are saying "Wait a minute, what do you mean they are allowed to run them that way? Didn’t you see on CNN where it said that BP violated like 800 safety codes? If they violated them, obviously there are regulations in place. And haven’t you heard that the government is going to make them pay for they did? Obviously they aren’t just being allowed to walk away from this mess that they made."

You’d be right in a sense, but think about it for a minute. They did violate safety codes, it is documented that they were told this…but the operation was still running. That’s the thing, there aren’t nearly enough regulations in place and the ones that exist aren’t enforced that much. In other words, they get a slap on the wrist if they violate the regulations and there are a bunch of other ways that they should be regulated but they aren't.

Last year BP was fined $87 million dollar for having "willing" errors in safety violations. $87 million sounds like A LOT of money but last year alone BP had a profit margin of 14 BILLION dollars. Billion! So $87 million is only 0.6% of their profits!So, for knowingly operating in hazardous, life-threatening conditions, for every hundred dollars that BP made, they had to pay sixty cents

Paying a little fine must have seemed like a pretty inexpensive fix compared to what it would have cost to fix the safety problems. I mean, there was also the lives that were lost when the rig exploded, the livelihoods that were lost by ruining the economy of the gulf, not to mention the poisoning of an enormous ecosystem but those loses don’t come out of the BP pocketbook so those don’t really count right?

One way that it is justified is that it creates jobs, even though the system also advocates cutting any and every job possible if it means that the profit rate could be increased even more. Another reason people say it’s good is because it fosters business growth, which I guess means that we should let big businesses operate dangerously without punishing them so that they can get even bigger and have even more money to pay fines instead of fixing problems.

Either way, for every person in America and around the world that isn't a multimillionaire we are letting ourselves get screwed by rich people so that they can make more money. Right now, The wealth of the top one percent of US households exceeds the combined household wealth of the bottom 95 percent. That means that if 95% of the people in the United States put all of our money together, it would still be less than the richest one percent! And not by a little, the top one percent have more than fifty percent of the wealth in this country. They are the ones that are making the money out of ruining the environment. They are the ones that willing put workers' health and homes in danger in order to add to their billion dollar a year profit margins. And we let them, cause someone who was really eff-ing smart put the word "free" in front of trade and convinced the American public that it was our patriotic duty to support this insanity.

And as for BP and the government making sure that the lives of the people in the gulf are restored to what they were before the oil spill? Well I’ll believe that might have even a tiny possibility of happening as soon as the victims from hurricane Katrina aren’t still living next to ruined houses in the "temporary" FEMA trailers that they were given five years ago.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Some Torture then The Bookstore

Ugh, had a dentist appointment this morning. I was going to write a longer post about being home for the weekend and all the stuff that was happening but it will have to wait until my face isn’t throbbing. I hate the dentist, hate it more than anything in the world. Its not even the pain that I hate so much as the needles they use to numb your mouth…basically makes me want to pass out.

Correction, it usually makes me want to pass out, today it actually DID make me pass out. I got super dizzy and then kind of woke up when the dentist was like "she’s looking awfully pale, (which must have meant I was REALLY pale, cause I am basically albino to begin with) are you ok?" I answered "eemmm uhhuth ermmmm" because my tongue was numb and his hand was in my mouth, but what I meant was yes, I am fine please continue to shove long, scary needles into my gums.

As soon as that was over, N. took me to the bookstore. I love the bookstore even more than I hate the dentist. When I was a kid, I remember being bribed into getting cavities filled or getting a shot by the promise that we could stop at a bookstore on the way home. Usually this resulted in me following my mom around the store with an armload of books and a lopsided, half-numb mouth trying to convince her that I needed a new Goosebumps book, a new Sweet Valley book AND a new Babysitters Club.

Luckily N., who normally tries to politely remind me about electricity bills and the rent when he sees that I have collected a pile of books and am still looking, is pretty charitable when it comes to post-torture bookstore visits. So even though I am dead broke after paying for the dentist, he bought me three new books. Ah, love.

I watched that show "To Catch a Predator" for the first time today. Kind of sets a weird precedent for what the media can be involved with in terms of law enforcement but I can’t really work up any anger towards the makers of the show because I have no sympathy for the yucks that they are busting. I was actually glad that those people were shown for what they are on national television. If I had it my way, I think the punishment actually might be a little worse, maybe some scarlet letter justice. They could have "disgusting pervert" tatooed on thier forehead or something.

Still a weird concept for a show, it is a little too disturbing for my tastes. I mean the content is obviously disturbing, but I also felt like a big weird-o for watching it. Have you ever read Fahrenheit 451? (If you haven't, why not? You should go do it as soon as you done reading this, its amazing) There is a scene in the book where the hound is chasing Guy Montage, the fireman, and it is broadcast on everyone’s tv walls. When I was watching that show, I kind of felt like that and also like I was being entertained by a show centered child molestation. Creepy either way.

But enough ruminating about the perversion of the media, I am going to put on my pajamas, crawl into bed and enjoy one of my new books until the pain pill the dentist gave me knocks me out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Emo T-Rex....(mostly rambling about high school)

About to go home in the morning, or rather, to my parents house. I haven’t lived in that town for six years but I still think of it as home, which is weird because from the age of like, ten the only thing I looked forward to was turning 18 and moving far, far away. That is exactly what I did and I would never move back but I am getting to like visiting it.

It wasn’t because of my parents that I disliked it. I mean, of course I went through the usual teenage phase of being totally and utterly mortified but every single thing that they did but for I actually have a better relationship with my parents than almost anyone else I know.

Back to my original point, it surprises me that I have gotten to the point in my life where visiting my hometown is actually exciting. I remember when I was in high school I’d throw tantrums, not just whining, not just complaining, but full out bawling, screaming teenage tantrums BEGGING my parents to send me to move or send me to a boarding school or let me live with a relative in a different town. To let me do anything that would make it so I didn’t have to go back to that school.

I can’t exactly remember what about it was so horrible. It wasn’t like I was teased or bullied, in fact even though I was never popular, I had a few very close friends, liked most of the people and there were only one or two people that I actively disliked. Just never really fit in. I somehow managed to get a reputation for being wild, which was weird because while I smoked cigarettes, besides the normal experimenting a few times, I didn’t really drink or do drugs. Nevertheless, there were a lot of people in school that thought I was a pretty big party animal.

My closest friend through school, we’ll call her T, who did even less "bad" things than me was also considered fairly wild. Which is pretty funny, because there were many, many times when we would get invited to a party or asked to go do something but instead would go to my dad’s house (now this is where you can tell I am insanely wild) and would spend the night…reading library books. Seriously, we’d get home from school, put on comfy pajama clothes, and talk and read in the living room until we felt like sleeping. If we got bored with that, she would play the Sims on my dad’s computer while I played the piano or watched TV. There were times when we would be at a party and pretend that we were going to another party and just go back to one of our houses, to read. I was like the opposite of every other teenager in the world, instead of lying to my parents saying I was going to sleep over at a friend’s so I could really go to a party, I lied to my friends so I could get out of the party so I could sleep over at T.’s to read books. FYI, I still talk to her about every other day and when we get together now, as adults, we usually do the exact same thing.

I think part of the reason people thought that I was sort of a bad apple was because I missed a lot of school. I am sure most people thought that I was skipping with my friends (which is something I did exactly three times in my life and got caught and in a ton of trouble every time). I did miss a lot of school, but it was usually because I was sick or hadn’t slept the night before. I have fibromyalgia but didn’t get diagnosed until I was 19, so it wasn’t until then that I realized my chronic mystery illnesses and insomnia (AKA going two or three days in a row without sleeping) had a medical reason. I used to get in trouble with teachers a lot for it too, especially one teacher who acted like me not being there held everyone else in the class back too. Though to be fair to her, the only thing I know how to say in French, which was the class she taught and I took it from 7th grade to junior year, is "I speak English", "I cannot speak French", and some random numbers, nouns and swear words.

That was a long rambling tangent, but back to the high school thing, it wasn’t just that I didn’t feel like I fit in at the school, I felt like I was a big weird-o compared to almost everyone else in town. I didn’t care about the football team, school spirit and gym class was the bane of my existence. I didn’t like to go four wheeling, snowmobile, ice fish, fish, hunt, shine for deer, play sports, drink alcohol, go to parties or go to school dances (never went to a prom, homecoming, or anything like that in my life, and even though multiple people told me I’d regret not going I never have).

So yeah, like a billion other people I didn’t really like my hometown or high school, but I am getting to the point where I can at least appreciate my hometown and get excited when I go and visit my family and the friends I have that still live there. But I’d NEVER move back, I need to live in an area that has a bookstore, mall, museums, and restaurants in easy access. From my dad’s house it is almost an hour long drive to even get to a Wal-Mart, so if you need anything you have to try and make it into town before like, 4 o’clock to see if it might be at the Piggly Wiggly otherwise you are out of luck. Speaking of being way out in the middle of nowhere, don’t expect another blog post for a few days. My dad’s house has no cell phone reception or Internet connection (‘cause apparently the house is located in 1992).

Side note, I am watching a documentary on birds (because I am really cool like that). Did you know that ostriches eat rocks with their food to grind up their food for them? Did you ever hear of a terror bird? It’s like a Baby t-rex and an emo combined. Also, I would really like a pet owl. They look neat. Ha, I just noticed that I wrote emo instead of emu but I am going to leave it because the visual that I get when I think about an emo t-rex is pretty amazing. Just picture them running around, wrist bands on their teeny, little arms and dyed purple, floppy hair over their big heads. On that note, good night.

The Crabby Feminist.

So got to work today and wore my engagement ring. I usually don’t have it on when I am there because I have to wear plastic gloves a lot and I’m always worried the ring will rip the gloves. Anyway, for the first time my coworker saw that I was engaged and asked when we are getting married. I told her not until N. is done with school next year at the earliest and then she asked what my name would be when we got married.

When N. and I do get married, he is taking my last name instead of me taking his. When I told her this (and after having it happen so many times I don’t know why I am still surprised) she looked at me like I was nuts and was like "why?" Ugh! What the hell do you mean, why? Because. Because we want to do it that way. That is the only reason, there’s no back story, there isn’t any big reason we just decided that when we get married he’d become Mr. J instead of me becoming Mrs. N. Why the hell SHOULDN’T we do it that way? Granted, to be fair, there have been a lot of people that were like, oh that’s cool and stuff like that but even that reaction makes it seem like it is something really out of the ordinary, which I don’t think that it is.

N. was actually the one that first suggested that he take my name after we had a discussion about how my mom kept her maiden name when she got married, and how my step-mom kept her last name when she married my dad. N. asked what I wanted to do and I said I’d never thought about that much but that I didn’t want to do the hyphenated keep both names things. After that he was like well I’ll just change my name then. So that’s what we are doing, you would think though, by people’s reactions, that it was the craziest, most unheard of thing to ever happen. I mean, come on, its 2010 guys. There was even one person who said that N. "wasn’t a real man" if he took my name. WTF?

So anyway, that happened right before she left and then I spent the night stewing about the situation. I also saw a bunch of commercials that annoyed me by being super sexist, though I am sure I was a little more sensitive to it than usual because of the whole name discussion. One was for this sheer cover makeup. It was a lady talking to an audience, and it was like this.

Lady: "Ladies, what is the most important day in a woman’s life?"
Audience enthusiastically answers: "YOUR WEDDING!".
Lady: "And what will you being worrying about most on that day?"
Audience: "HOW WE LOOK!"
Lady "Exactly! And with new sheer cover you can make sure that you blah, blah, blah."

Seriously? I mean, are you eff-ing kidding me? I love N. more than anything else in the world but I don’t eff-ing tell me that the most important day in a woman’s (and apparently this applies to ALL women) life is her wedding. I am not saying that it isn’t an important day, but I am pretty sure that when I am celebrating finding the love of my life with my family and friends my inner monologue won’t be "Good God, do my pores look too big? Can they see that zit on my chin?"

Add to that, a bunch more commercials about makeup work out plans, diets, diet pills, and tummy slimming underwear and I finally just turned off the TV and read.

I am glad that I was born in this time period instead of earlier, but man, there is still a lot of sexism out there. For example, when I posted on facebook that I was about to graduate from college one or two people were like, "yay, congrats." When I posted that I got engaged, it was like a flood of congratulations. I mean, I am glad that my friends were happy for me, I'm not trying to sound ungrateful, but based on how much attention one got versus the other it was pretty clear what was more exciting. That kind of bugged me, but don’t think I am saying that I like my college degree better than N. Obviously I am head over heels in love with him and my degree and me are barely even speaking at this point because it hasn’t done sh*t for me in terms of finding a job. My point just is that based on people’s reactions, it was clearly a bigger achievement for me to get a husband than it was for me to get a degree.

But I am probably overreacting, you know how women can get so emotional over things….

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Here are some random ramblings

1. I’ve become addicted to surfing through blogspot and reading strangers’ blogs. Most of them I just skip over (especially the ones about people’s babies, their businesses or art ones) but there are a few I have found myself reading like they are a novel. I’ve decided that there are a lot of single women who blog about dating and it is all very Bridget Jones-ish. Interesting though. It makes me super glad that I have a guy who is funny, affectionate, a genius and very respectful…also glad I found a guy that is not chauvinistic and doesn’t expect me to do the household chores just because I am the person in the relationship who wears a bra.

2. I graduated from college a year ago (crazy!) and I have been feeling very nostalgic for my friends from school and the town of Superior in general. Scratch that, I have been feeling nostalgic for Lake Superior and Duluth, the only way that I could feel nostalgic for the actual town of Superior is if I loved bars and boarded up businesses…which I don’t. But I do miss the group of girls I used to live with in the dorms, even though I have lost touch with some of them…on the other hand there are still a few that I talk every few days. I also REALLY miss being politically active (I haven’t been able to find anything political to do around here except for a few postings about democrat functions and I’d rather do nothing at all then hang out with people who didn’t get it) and the people I used to hang out with in that whole period in my life. It makes me bummed out that during the last few years of school, I lost touch with a lot of those people and now I have to resort to lengthy rambling blog posts (like the one about Afghanistan and the other one about trying to find a job) just to get all my annoyances at the way the world works out of my system. And of course I miss N.’s family (he is originally from Superior so when we lived there we had a whole extended family thing in the area).

3. I think I should go on that show intervention for my extreme Diet Coke addiction. I just read the list of ingredients and the only ones I recognize on there are carbonated water and caffeine. I feel that it is not an especially healthy drink. I don’t eat or drink dairy products because I am freaked out about what is in them but I guzzle down about five of these cans of tooth decaying chemicals every day. But I know myself, I still probably won’t stop.

4. I am going to find out in about a week if I am going to have a niece or a nephew! I am so excited, I am not ready to have kids for a few years but now I will have a little person to buy adorable outfits for and read all my favorite kid’s books to. This kid is going to be the first grandkid on our side and on his or her dad’s side, so everyone is pretty excited.

5. Two more days and I get to go home to my parents’ houses. My dad is moving and he called to ask if N. would come down and help him move furniture. I think that my dad is pretty psyched that he now has other guys in the family and I am hoping that while they are moving the piano and large appliances I will get to hang out with my sisters. Fun fun.

Well, that’s enough random thoughts for now, its time for me to go to bed…

Monday, June 21, 2010

My ad for the Personals section: CEF seeking ARC for FTE.

You know how when you are little you daydream that as soon as you are ready, you are going to find “the one”? You hear about it in books and movies and from your friends, and it seems like it happens so easy for other people. They decide what they are looking for and then go out and find it. I have been searching for over a year now, trying to be outgoing, trying to let it “just happen on its own”, hell I’ve even tried looking on those internet sites that try and help you find a match. All this work and all I have found are dead ends but I am done searching the old fashioned way, I’ve decided that I am just going to take out an ad in the personals section. Its going to read: CEF seeking ARC for FTE. (College educated Female seeking A Real Career for Full Time Employment).

Yeah, har har har, I was talking about finding a job, not true love. (Side note, cause I know he reads this, I have found true love). But back to the whole job thing, I busted my ass through college to get my degree…OK “busted my ass” should probably read “attended most of my classes on at least a weekly basis” but I did graduate with honors with a Bachelors degree in Sociology with a minor in English and do you know what kind of stellar job I have found? One that pays exactly one dollar over minimum wage, has no benefits and where I only get 32 hours a week.

Don’t get me wrong, in some ways I love my job. I work at a residential facility for physically and cognitively disabled adults and I love the time I get to spend interacting with the people that live at the house. Unfortunately, I work from ten o’clock at night until six in the morning, so the time I spend with them is exactly none at all because they are asleep. So yeah, basically I paid thousands of dollars to get a degree to get a job where I do house work and occasionally bring a glass of water to someone who wakes up thirsty.

I look online every single day trying to find a job that is either more interesting, pays better, or has better hours. I wouldn’t need a position that meets all three of those conditions, just one of those things would make me happy. (And notice I didn’t even mention benefits in that list, that’s not even something that seems remotely possibly to me) But every time I look for jobs, and like I said its every eff-ing day, it’s the same thing. The jobs are either limited term employment, part time, or minimum wage.

My favorite thing is when I see a job that looks like exactly what I want to do, which incidentally is working with disenfranchised populations, I am not looking to be CEO of Fortune 500 company here. But anyway, my favorite thing is when I see a listing that sounds perfect so I click on it, see that I am perfectly qualified, the pay is good, and…that the position offers like six hours a week. And here’s the eff-ing kicker, usually these postings say that they are looking to hire, like, 10 people. Seriously? Instead of paying one or two people a LIVING wage and benefits you are going to hire ten people to work like six hours a week?

But that’s the system that we live in and that every flag waving American swears that they will die to defend. OK, I know that seems like a pretty big jump in thought but let me explain myself. So in the United States, there was a very long battle to get labor rights, things like a minimum wage, benefits for full time employees, safety standards etc. So companies in the US had to hire its workers and make sure that they could at least survive.

Seems simple and logical, but this system cost big companies a lot of money so somewhere along the line someone figured out that hey, if it costs too much money to hire workers here, why not hire workers in developing countries? Why pay $7.50 an hour when you can pay 13 cents a day? (FYI that isn’t an exaggeration, a worker in countries like Thailand and Cambodia really get paid those kind of wages).

So all the jobs got sent to other countries. Here is why this system will ultimately ruin itself. Say you own a shoe factory and your shoes cost $50 a pair. You make them in the United States and after you pay wages, make sure safety and environmental standards are met, and provide benefits for your workers you end up with a $10 profit on each pair of shoes. But, since you are paying your workers and since car companies, toy factories, clothing makers and other companies are also paying people in the United States money to make things, people here have the $50 to spend on a pair of shoes.

But ten bucks isn’t a big enough profit for you, so you decide that you are going to make your shoes in China, where it only costs five bucks to make the same exact shoe, and then sell it in America and get a $45 profit. Brilliant. You just more than quadrupled your profit margin! However, every other manufacturing company sees the idea and sends all their jobs overseas so they can quadruple their profits too. Sounds great right?

Wrong. Once all the jobs go to other countries, all those people that used to work in manufacturing will be unemployed so they won’t have $50 to buy your shoes…or the cars, or the toys, or the clothes or anything else because you took away all their jobs. So what you have done is eliminate a GIGANTIC portion of your consumer base…but hey, not all Americans work in manufacturing right? There are lots of other people who work in medical fields or administration or retail…they are all still getting wages so they’ll be able to buy your crap, right?

Wrong again. Since so many jobs went overseas, and so many people became unemployed, the job market is FLOODED with people willing to do whatever they can to get a little bit of money. So now, companies that can’t outsource can offer ten people jobs where they will only work a few hours a week. This way the company gets out of having to pay for benefits or retirement funds or anything like that. Companies also don’t have to try and lure employees in by offering high wages, they can do the bare minimum and still have people lined up outside fighting for a paycheck. So basically, this system takes 95% of the population and makes them too poor to have any purchasing power and soon there won’t be anyone left to buy that hypothetical pair of shoes we discussed earlier. By allowing companies to take all the jobs out of our country, we completely and totally ruined the United States economy.

So, yeah, the next time that you start to blame the economic state that our country is in on ridiculous fucking reasons like too much social welfare, immigrant populations, unions, or the insane fantasy that the government is being taken over by socialists, remember that the reasons no one has a job is because companies like Nike, The Gap, Dell Computers, and about a trillion other ones sent most of the jobs overseas and left millions of people to fight over the ones that are left.

And now that there are hundreds of people competing for each job, do you think that the companies are going to increase or decrease the wages, working conditions, and hours that they offer the workers? If you are unsure about what the answer to that is open your nearest “help wanted” section of the newspaper.

Since this blog is already WAY too long, I’m not going to describe what this system has done to economies in developing countries (spoiler alert: they’re fucked too) but I am going to leave you with this one thought. If you were a huge corporation, would you want desperate workers willing to do whatever you told them or would you want workers who knew that if you provided a shitty job they could reasonably expect to find a better one somewhere else? Remember that the next time you vote Republican or Democrat or any other candidate that is sponsored by a big business or the next time you want to run your mouth off about how the government should not be able to tell companies what to do.

But now that we have looked at the big picture and I have written this eloquent and intellectual post, is anyone out there interested in hiring me? Please? Pretty please? Pretty, pretty please??

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Nerdiest Crime in Recorded History: books I’ve read so many times the covers are falling off.

Yeah, since this is my blog and I doubt many people are ever going to actually read it anyway, I figured I would do a super long post about my five favorite books. If you aren't a huge fan of reading, but are just DYING to know what else I think about, skip head to the other posts because thats basically all that this one is about. I love to read and have no idea what people do with their time if they never read. I don’t mean that in a "oh wow, look at me, I’m a literary genius" kind of way, I just mean I seriously can’t picture how you would pass the time if you never picked up a book. If you like to read here are some suggestions and if you don’t, well, you’re weird.

5. We the Living by Ayn Rand.

OK, lefty friends don’t freak out. I KNOW Ayn Rand is Spongebob Psychopants and that all the crazies in this country have picked her as their leader, but hear me out on this one. This was her first book, she said it is the closest to an autobiography that she would ever come. The plot line is kind of like a Soviet Union Gone with the Wind (minus the slavery and racism…and the hoop skirts). Oddly enough, the hero in this book is a man named Andre and he is the most devout socialist featured in any of Rand’s fiction, and he holds onto his ideals until the end.

Out of all her writing, this book has the fewest references to her nutjob politics, at the time of the writing she wasn’t such an extreme fanatic of capitalism. Unlike The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged, the characters in this book are very relatable and human. It reads more like a memoir than propaganda (which is basically what I consider her other works).

Overall as a writer, I have to give her credit for being able to present her theories/philosophies in a clear manner but this book is a real story, whereas her other novels are very two dimensional backdrops that she projects her nuttiness onto. But back to my original point, We the Living, is a really good book, lots of really vivid details and I would recommend it to everyone.

4. Any short story by Steven King, in particular, The Moving Finger.

Kind of a big jump from Rand to King, but to anyone that thinks King is just a paperback, bestseller lowest common denominator kind of author you are wrong. Personally, I think that King uses dialogue and voice better than any other writer I’ve ever read does. I don’t just mean his use of dialect (i.e. all the old men from Maine in his books that say a-yuh all the time) but the way that he is able to give each character, even in some of his huge novels like The Stand or The Dome, unique personalities and characteristics.

The Moving Finger is a story about a guy who hears a tapping noise in his bathroom. When he goes to investigate, he sees a finger poking out of his sink drain and it is moving around. He thinks he is going crazy and every time he tries to show someone the finger, it disappears but when he is alone the finger just keeps getting longer and longer with more and more knuckles. The end of this story is pretty gristly but you’ll have to read it yourself to find out what it is.

Doesn’t exactly sound like the best plot ever, but the way he wrote this story made this weird little idea of a finger poking up out of the sink drain scare the hell out of me. I’m twenty-four years old and I am not going to lie, sometimes when I take a bath or do the dishes I still push the bubbles out of the way so I can see the drain…you know, just in case. My point is, anyone that can make a grown adult afraid of a finger coming out of a drain is probably a pretty damn good writer.

3. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

This story is one of the saddest and most beautiful stories that I have ever read. The story is about an immigrant family that moves to Chicago in the meatpacking district in the early 1900s. They really trust the system and think that if they work hard they will get the "American Dream". I guess when it came out Sinclair was hoping to show the American public how flawed the capitalist system was by showing how this industrious, immigrant family came to the US and got screwed over no matter how hard they tried to make it. The reaction he got though was that everyone learned how disgusting the meatpacking industry was and there were a lot of reforms made in order to make the food that was coming out of Chicago more safe for consumption. The meat stuff is pretty gross, but so is the meat industry today. What I loved about the book was the story of the family and this is one of the first books I ever read that made me really realize that I was a socialist.

2. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

For anyone that thinks they know this story based on the James Dean movie, the plot is so much bigger in the book. The first time I read this book I literally finished it and started it over immediately because it was that good. It is the story of two families and goes through multiple generations for both of them. There is such a intricate plot that there is no way that I could attempt to explain it in a blog post that is already getting to be too long. The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck, like The Jungle, was another of the first books I read that made me start to really care about politics, but East of Eden is his best book if you are looking at it in terms of how enjoyable it is to read. It has a lot of biblical allegories in it, particularly Cain and Abel. If you haven’t read it and you like to read at all, you should definitely go read it.

So, my very favorite book ever is…

1.A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Francie Nolan, the main character, is a little girl that is born in Brooklyn around the turn of the century. The book details her life from her birth until she is about to go off to college. This book is the best example of American realism I’ve ever read. Smith doesn’t have any unexpected plot twists and the characters in the novel all lead regular lives and have regular jobs. It is just the story of a girl who is born poor, has a difficult but sometimes happy childhood, and then grows up. But it’s a beautiful story.

There is one part in the book where Francie and her brother Neely are talking about how Neely got drunk for the first time. I can’t remember the exact wording but Francie asks how he felt and he says something like it made me dizzy and like the world was spinning around me. Francie replies that if that is what drunk feels like, she got drunk once when she saw a tulip for the first time in a park down the street from her apartment. I mean, she says that the flower was so beautiful it made her feel drunk. Yeah, so that’s why this book is my all time favorite, that scene alone is probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read in my life.

I’m actually on my second copy of this book because the first one had been read so many times that the whole middle section would fall out every time you picked it. Side note, anyone who went to my high school after 2001 (the year I was in 9th grade) may not have gotten the opportunity to read this book. I liked it so much I literally stole it from the school library. Only time I have ever stolen anything in my life. I think that might be the nerdiest crime in all of recorded history.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dear Sir or Madame, I would be pretty eff-ing stoked to attend your fine institute of learning.

So I think I have finally found the program that I want to go into. It’s a Mental Health counseling masters program at UW Stout and I am pretty eff-ing stoked about it. (That’s what I am going to put on the application too, "Dear Sir or Madame, I would be pretty eff-ing stoked to attend your fine institute of learning…")

The program lasts for two years and afterwards I would be licensed to be a therapist in Wisconsin…which would be pretty sweet. The program also doesn’t require a GRE, which is a pretty big bonus for me because my math skills are fairly nonexistent. Which isn’t fair because all of my family is like insanely brilliant about math. You know the whole Irish American family stereotype about people getting drunk and then fighting? That’s how thanksgivings are at my grandma except the drunken argument will be about something like how the imaginary number E factors into an equation. (Not joking about this, it happened. There was actual yelling and swearing) So yeah, my grandfather was an engineer for NASA, a literal rocket scientist and my grandmother was a professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering but I still get confused about fractions. Not cool, DNA, not cool at all.

Anyway, point being, I am glad that my admittance will be based off my GPA and work/volunteer experience and not anything to do with a math test. Plus I have been looking at all the UW schools for a program for counseling that is practice based and not research based (UW Madison is primarily research based) and this is the only one that I found.

This is a rare, totally serious thought from me, but I really am excited I found this program because I have wanted to work in this field for a long time. My older sister suffers from a mental illness and I have spent my whole life seeing her and other people with similar illnesses shoved through a system that doesn’t have a whole lot of empathy for them.

I know that there are some people out there that honestly care and advocate for disability rights, but I feel like mental illness somehow is treated differently than other disabilities. Maybe its because it isn’t one that you can see right away, like when someone is in a wheelchair, or maybe it is because society has everyone convinced that anyone that suffers from a mental illness could snap at any moment and go on a murder rampage. And news flash to people (like some people I am friends with hint hint) "bipolar" is not a personality trait, when you use that word to describe someone that you think has a bad temper or is annoying or THE DAMN WEATHER, you sound like a eff-ing prick. Its a disease, one that puts people into the hospital and that the people who have it cannot control.... ugh, the whole thing just disgusts me.

Its like, if someone had cancer or a broken leg, you wouldn’t be weird about it or embarrassed or whatever but whenever I mention to someone that my sister has bipolar disorder they change the subject real quick like I’ve made them awkward by bringing it up. So I figure the best thing I can do is go to school, learn more about and work within the system to help people. Not that I am like some holy martyr or anything like that, but it would be nice to be able to make a difference in someone’s life. And lets face it, NASA and Milwaukee School of Engineering aren't exactly knocking down the door asking me to come work for them so I better find some kind of career. N. still has a year left of school though so it wouldn’t be until fall of 2011, so I still have some time to figure everything out.

It would mean that we would have to move again though. I just counted the number of times I have moved in my life and the answer is 24. I am only 24 years old (to be fair my parents got divorced when I was a kid but lived in the same town so I’m counting every time either of them moved). But seriously, that is a lot of times to move. But one more won’t hurt me, plus who else can say that they have lived in that many houses?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Last Day Off...

About to go to bed after the last night off I will have for the next eight days. It was a pretty good night even though N. was at work until 1am. I don't wake up until around 8 o'clock (I work nights fyi and I stay on that schedule even on my days off) so I didn't do too much before he got home.

When he got here, we had dinner and then watched the blue planet documentaries (which I loved) while we played scrabble...yeah, we are pretty wild like that. But really those are our fav. things to do. After he went to bed, I played around on the Internet, talked to one of my closest friends from college (who luckily is just as big of an insomniac as me which is nice because all my other friends don't like to chat on the phone at 3am).

Then I painted, nothing too impressive but still a nice way to spend my last night of freedom before more than a week of work....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cartoons and Anarchy

Maybe its because I have been writing this blog or maybe its because I am in my mid-twenties and am going through a quarter life crisis, but either way I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what kind of person I am. When you watch TV or read books, it seems like everyone fits into one easy category; the cheerleader, the emo, the jock, the Goth, the party animal etc. I know that fictional characters are represented this way in order make them easier to fit into a plot line but lately I’ve been wondering just what clichĂ© stereotype other people think that I’d fit into.

The thing that really got me thinking about this just now is Netflix. So N. and I got Netflix a few months ago. After you have it awhile, it starts to suggest genres of movies you might like. Netflix suggested two genres to me based on what I usually watch: Dark Fight-the-system documentaries and Classic Children’s Animation. So basically an automated computer system tracked my interests and decided that I want to start a revolution…or watch some cartoons. Pretty accurate but just a little bit odd.

I kind of feel like weird juxtapositions of character traits have been a consistent theme in my life. The first time I thought this about myself was when I was a freshman in high school and took a creative writing class. To give you a little bit of background, in ninth grade I was your typical 14 year old girl, kind of shy, super giggly when I got around my friends, I was a cheerleader and got pretty good grades…a pretty normal kid. Our first assignment was to write a short story on whatever subject we wanted but it had to be fictional.

Everyone came to class and we had to read our stories out loud. Most of the girls wrote about love, or at least the fourteen-year old girl idea of love. The guys tended to write about hunting or sports. There were quite a few kids that wrote about a teenager fighting with his or her parents and some people wrote about a fight among a group of friends. By the time everyone else had read theirs and it was my turn, I started to feel pretty nervous.

Here is a basic run-down of my plot line. It was set in the future and it was about a guy that had committed a crime so he was living in a forced labor camp. He wanted to run away from the camp but the government (which was a huge, evil entity of course) had implanted a tracking device in all the prisoners’ thumbs so that they couldn’t get away. My story was about how the guy drinks a bottle of stolen vodka, breaks the bottle and uses the broken glass to cut off his thumb. He then runs through the woods, with a trail of blood behind him, until he finds an abandoned cabin. He sleeps there until he is woken up by one of the guard of the forced labor camp kicking him in the back telling him he cut off the wrong thumb. So, yeah, basically the shy, sometimes giggly cheerleader, stood up and announced to the whole class that she was a gigantic weird-o that made up stories about people cutting off their appendages. Needless to say I got a lot of weird looks.

I continued this trend through most of high school. I placed second in the science fair but then got called to the guidance counselor because the chemistry teacher thought that I had a drinking problem. I’d get praise from my English teacher for taking night classes at the local college for fun, but then sell black market book reports I’d written to most of the kids that were taking her class (FYI pretty profitable business, I made like $200 one semester).

In college, it was the same kind of thing. From one point of view, I was a shy, polite girl who worked at the campus bookstore, tutored English for the university, edited the college newspaper and volunteered on the weekends at a homeless shelter. From another point of view, I was the sarcastic girl, who spent a lot of her time drinking, taped huge pro-choice stickers everywhere on her uber catholic, republican roommate’s side of the room, organized a middle of the night road trip to Canada during finals week out of boredom and who could frequently be seen chain-smoking outside the dorm building in the middle of the night. Mixed in with all this was the fact that I was president of the Socialist club on campus for a few years, went to anti-war protests and was in a feminist group called the Militant Madonnas. Also, I loved to shop.

So yeah, back to my original point, I am not sure what kind of person I am. Probably just a pretty normal one, because in all actuality I don’t think that anyone really fits into one of those ready-made categories. But it is still interesting to think about sometime. But I think I’ve spent enough time trying to figure it out for now and will probably go watch some TV, maybe I’ll finish that documentary I was watching about health care reform in the United States…or watch another episode of Rocko’s Modern Life. Either or.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

You're going to take this "freedom", whether you want it or not!

I knew it wouldn’t take me very long to end up writing a post about political issues. First off, I am a socialist. Yep, teabaggers, you were totally right. There are socialists in the United States that want to get rid of the old system…and put one in place that makes sense.

Every morning at work between 5am and 6am I tend to watch CNN. This isn’t because I think they have great, unbiased coverage of issues. It is because the house I work at only has basic cable and my choices are basically infomercials, cartoons for toddlers or the news. So I watch CNN (unless the cartoons are something good, like reruns of the rugrats, but I digress). So I watch CNN and usually end up getting more and more annoyed at their idiotic statements while I sit muttering to myself about how stupid the media has become.

Take today for example. The biggest story they were covering was the lithium deposits that have been found in Afghanistan. It is estimated that these deposits of lithium (which is the mineral that is used to make stuff like computer chips) could be worth trillions of dollars.

The fact that CNN was reporting this wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I am always glad when the news mentions something more important than things like Lindsey Lohan’s alcohol anklet. The thing that made me start swearing at the television was how everyone involved, the anchors, reporters, interviewees weren’t even trying to hide the fact that the US was probably going to be able to get a pretty big piece of this pie. In fact, they acted like the US was entitled to it.

The way they framed the argument was like this. Afghanistan needs to exploit these resources. **Exploit is the term they used, that isn’t me shoving my opinion in** Afghanistan doesn’t have the infrastructure to get to these deposits. The US will need to do it for them. (You know, “to save them from themselves” which is a role that US has gotten pretty damn good at playing, or at least a role that the US has gotten most people to believe that they are playing).

So by these statements, I am pretty sure it means that Afghanistan will be forced to open up its borders to foreign companies (my guess is US run corperations) who will know exactly how to best exploit these resources…and how to fully exploit the people with the rightful claims to them, the Afghani people. Companies from the United States will be able to go in, set up shop, dig up what’s worth money without any concern for environmental risks (it isn’t their country after all), take it out of the country with no tariffs or taxes paid back to the Afghani government and sell it to the working classes of industrialized countries while pocketing the ungodly amount of profits they are able to make through ventures like this. So that old refrain, the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, rings true once again.

That’s how these things generally work. Either through war or economic strangulation, industrialist countries go into third world countries and take over. They steal the natural resources and export them. They have no regards to risks to the environment and since they are operating in developing countries, they usually don’t have to meet any environmental standards. They ruin the labor markets in the countries (and in the US because they take all the jobs overseas which ruins any progress that American’s have made in the labor rights movement). Basically they try to pretend that the idiotic, neoliberal bullshit that has ruined our own economy, economies in most South American countries as well as most of Southeastern Asia will somehow magically work to spread “democracy” in these newest neocolonial conquests.

And don’t think that this is some conspiracy cooked up in my crazy, socialist head. If you want to know more about this system read David Harvey’s A Brief History of Neoliberalism or Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. There are a lot of other great books on the same topic but those are the best that I have found.

I am a pacifist. I hate war and I especially hate war that is profit driven and no matter how I try and look at the current “conflicts” that the US is involved in all I see is bloodshed for profit. The fact that its been determined that Afghanistan is pretty much literally sitting on a gold mine convinces me that the chances of the US getting out of their country are pretty much zilch.

What sucks even more is that United States citizens are pretty ok with this. I considered CNN to be pretty moderate and they aren’t doing anything to question why it is ok for the United States to just lay claim to resources that another country has. I am guessing that the average person thinks it is pretty much OK too, if they bother to think about it at all.

I mean, throw away the preconceived (and wrong) notion that every middle eastern and/or Muslim person hates freedom, American pie, Jesus and country music, how do you think people in the United States would feel if some other country, like England, was in our country and demanded that we had share our resources and money with them? Oh wait, that happened. American’s didn’t like it. So we had the revolutionary war, demanded our freedom from foreign rule, invented Independence Day and all.

But I’m sure that’s completely different. In the revolutionary war, we were fighting to GET our freedom. Now we are just SPREADING that “freedom” overseas…with bombs.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Cat vs. Other People’s Babies. Plus, Socially Inappropriate Coworker Rant.

There seems to be about three main types of blogs on blogspot.
A.) Artists/small business owners
B.) Moms updating the universe on their babies
C.) Spanish. (I know that isn’t a topic but there are a lot written in Spanish, which is cool, but I can’t speak it so, even though some look pretty interesting, I don’t get much out of them)

I don’t really fit into any of those categories. But the mom and baby ones kind of annoy me. Just a little. I think it is because all my friends are having kids right now. Every time I am on the phone with one of them it is a constant refrain of "oh my god, he’s so cute he just walked/talked/laughed/rolled over etc. You need to come see him he is so cute and so big. Yes you are! Yes you are!"(<-- All this convo is done in a baby voice and clearly more directed at kid than me.) I get that they are excited, but I really have nothing to add to the conversation since I have no kids so I just feel like I keep repeating myself "awe, wow that’s amazing…"

I think I am just going to start talking about my cat, subtly work it in there like it ranks on the same level as their baby, "Awe your kid just said Mama for the first time! How cute! That reminds me of my cat, he was so cute the other day he threw up…right on my socks! Yes you did! All over my clean socks, you need to come see him he is getting so big, yes you are! Yes you are! "

Side note,

Just got home from work. Very quiet night as usual. My job gets me down sometimes but then I remember that I am able to assist disabled individuals which is super rewarding…and then watch Chelsea Lately when they are asleep, which also very rewarding but in a different way. I love my job but I am so glad I work alone. I can barely even handle the slightest interaction I have with my coworkers during the shift change.

Take today for example. I get into work and my coworker starts telling me how her toilet at home is broken from her boyfriend doing something gross. She explained it in detail though. Then she told that if she had to use the bathroom that she had to do it before she left work, you know, because her toilet is broken. Otherwise she would have to drive to the gas station in the middle of the night and needed to…well you get the idea.I was so eff-ing stoked she let me in on all that info.

Since it’s socially unacceptably to cover my ears yelling "I can’t hear you LALALA" and also pretty unacceptable to punch someone in the head until they promise never to mention their digestion problems to you again, I just politely nodded and then quickly made up an excuse to leave the room. I don’t get it though. Never, Under any circumstances, ever do I want to know about what someone else does in the bathroom. Much less stories about what their significant other does. Or anyone else they know. Ever. Not to mention the fact that she talk (this is all the time, not just when she is telling me gross stuff) about a billion decibels louder than anyone in the world needs to speak.

Ugh, frustration. I am clearly NOT a people person.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oh My God.

So yesterday I watched the documentary, Jesus Camp, for the first time. And probably the last time too, very informational but those evangelicals are pretty eff-ing scary…or at least the ones in that movie were, I don’t want to make a blanket statement about a whole religion on here but really, that film freaked me out. There was a whole scene in it where little children were crying and praying in tongues because of the sins that they had committed.

I guess all that kind of stuff seems so weird to me because I was not raised going to church. One time when my sister was in kindergarten, she came home crying because someone at school had told her about saints and that she was bad for not going to church. She was terrified that she had done something wrong and “the saints were going to get her”. When I first went to college, my assigned roommate was a Catholic who spent the semester trying to convert me and telling me over and over I was going to hell. When I told my family about her at during my Thanksgiving break, you would have thought that I told them the school was making me live with a crack addicted prostitute. Don’t get me wrong, my parents were pretty strict about teaching us to respect other peoples difference (religion, ethnicity etc) but nobody likes a fanatic.

Historically, both sides of my family are Catholic. I say “historically” because neither of my parents were raised in particularly religious environments either. In fact, it was my Grandma who was the most freaked out about the fact that I was living with a Catholic. I held off telling her that the girl was a Republican too, I think that fact may have convinced her to pull me out of college all together.

This post isn’t all that coherent, I feel like I am rambling a bit, but the point I am trying to get it is that while I considered myself a very open minded person, I feel like I have some major prejudice against religion. There are just so many things I don’t understand about it. For example, it seems like really religious people are anti-abortion but also pro-war. I don’t get how they can be so against aborting a few-week-old fetus but perfectly OK with sending off men and women to die. Or OK with the fact that the soldiers are killing other people, including civilians, some of which are children. Not to mention the fact that I think they are dying in a war that has nothing to do with preserving freedom and everything to do with making money but that is a post for another time.

I also think that the repression of women is something that is pretty deeply rooted in religion. I mean, maybe I am biased, but it is pretty rare that I hear about a group of atheist talking about how America is laying ruins because family values (which I read as men in charge, women having babies and everyone being straight) have gone down the tubes. And not to mention the whole abortion thing.

I did attend a Unitarian Universalist church for a while with my fiancee. They really focus on exploring the positive aspects of different religions but (and this was focused on a lot more in the church that I went to) they are really dedicated to doing charitable works like helping the homeless, GLBT rights, the green movement etc. I liked that. It was pretty much like lets help as many people as we can and also we can get together, as a community, and try and find the good behind the whole human experience thing.

We quit going to that church but only because we moved when he transferred to a university four hours away from town we were living in. It was cool while we went, but I don’t feel like I have a void in my life that needs to be filled with religion. My basic theory is that you shouldn’t do actions because of the reward or punishment you will get. In other words, you should be a good person because you should be a good person, not because if you do it you’ll get to go to heaven and if you don’t you’ll go to hell. So I try to be a good person, do as much volunteer work as possible, and try not to figure out what is going on with the guy (or girl, or entity, or entities, or lack thereof) in the sky. I figure people aren’t ever going to be able to really know that until we die anyway.

Plus, I have a pretty firm belief of what I think is right and wrong, and I could never try and pretend that I think someone else’s ideas about good or evil or more correct than mine. I could never go somewhere where they try and tell me that between people of the same sex is a sin or that I’m going to hell for living with N. before we are married.

But what do I know? I’ve written four posts on here and one advocates sex whenever you want and another one talks about how I think religion is creepy, so basically if I am mistaken about this whole “religion is wrong” thing I’m in for an eternity of pain...literally. So I wouldn't take my advice on it, figure it out for yourself. Just don't make your kids feel so guilty for their "sins" that they start to sob and pray in tongues. That's just creepy and wrong, no matter what religion you are.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

All My Single Ladies.

This next post goes out to all the single ladies. (I like to start out my posts as though I was dj-ing at a dance club). I met my husband-to-be about three years ago. Before him, I had dated a different guy for about a year so in all honesty I’ve been involved in long term relationships for the bulk of my adult life a.k.a. the four and half years since I’ve been a teenager. So while it might seem like I am not in the position to give advice to other girls on the “Right Way” to find a guy, I have listened to about a billion stories about assorted assholes, disaster dates and ruined relationships from my single friends.

The thing that seems to mess everyone up the most is, of course, sex. Should you do it? How long should you wait? Will he respect you less if you put out or will he leave you in the dust if you keep it PG? If he doesn’t want to make a commitment, will taking your clothes off make him realize that he wants to buy you a diamond ring, a house and start shopping for a crib and matching changing table?

The thing is, from the time that we are kids, girls are taught that a guy will respect us more if we wait to have sex. That it is ok for him to try and grope you while making lewd innuendo but a good girl coyly bats her eyes and says that she doesn’t want to rush things, that she wants it to be special.

News Flash: Most sex isn’t special. Fun? Yes. Exciting? Hopefully. Sentimental? Rarely. Usually its just a hormone driven adventure that leaves both people sweaty, exhausted, feeling a little awkward and hoping that they didn’t say anything weird in the middle of it.

The thing that makes me the maddest about the whole issue of sex and dating is that most women really do try and figure out those questions I listed above. Especially about how long they should wait and whether or not doing it too soon will ruin things. Maybe I’m an enlightened feminist or maybe I am just kind of slutty, but I honestly never once thought about whether waiting or rushing into would be better to start a relationship.

Don’t get me wrong. If you are dating some guy who wants to have a pants-off party fifteen minutes after you met him and you aren’t into it, definitely don’t. A woman should never, under any circumstances, have sex unless its what she wants to do. And especially don’t have sex with someone that wants a one-night stand when you are already picking out the wedding invitations you are hoping to use with him. There are so many women out there that think that if they put out they will eventually get love in return.

Second News Flash: guys will either like you or they won’t. Sometimes he won’t like you, but he will still want to have sex with you. If the guy is sending you signals that he doesn’t want to know anything about you except what you look like topless, don’t try and trick him. It won’t work, he’ll end up getting what he wanted (sex) and you’ll end up with hurt feelings and being no closer to your goal of being in a relationship with him. If you are ok with it just being sex, go for it, but if your master plan is use nudity to prove you’re worth dating, keep your clothes on and go find someone who is as interested in you, as you are in him.

The thing is, if you want to have sex and he wants to have sex, you should. If afterwards he decides that you jumped into the sack a little too eagerly, than he is the kind of chauvinistic prick that probably wouldn’t make you very happy anyway. Don’t ever let a guy make you feel bad cause you like sex. In fact, don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad cause you like sex. It isn’t just the male population who thinks that good girls wait, I’m sure I am not alone when I say that I have heard more girls call each other sluts than guys call a girl a slut.

If you are honest about what you want from the other person, things will go a lot more smoothly. Girls are conditioned to think that they are supposed to want to wait AND conditioned to think that they are supposed to make the boy they like happy. Since those two things make it really hard to figure out how the hell you are supposed to act (and also disregards the fact that you might just want to bone (<-look at me being all ladylike!) throw out both the rules and start from scratch. Do what makes you happy and try as hard as possible to avoid hurting anyone else in the process.

If you want to wait until marriage, wait until you find that guy who wants the same thing. If you want to get to know each other by testing out his bedroom skills, wear cute underwear on your first date, make sure you have a condom in your purse and have a good time. Two consenting adults should be able to do what they want. If he judges you harshly for doing the exact same thing that he just did than, like I said earlier, he’s chauvinistic and not worth your time.

Either way unless you are doing what you honestly want to do, there is no way for the guy to know what you really want. So go forth, be slutty or be prudish, just be honest. It really is the only way that you will ever meet the guy of your dreams and be able to have the kind of sex that really is sentimental. But, and this is me being honest, afterwards it will still probably make you feel sweaty, exhausted, and hoping that you didn’t say anything weird in the middle of it.

...working on my novel...

When I was nine years old, I read Harriet the Spy. So for anyone that hasn’t read that book, it’s about a little girl that spies on people and records her observations in a notebook. Anyway after that I decide that I’d found my calling. I was going to be a writer.

Sound’s simple enough, right? Sit down everyday, think of a few plot lines or interesting people, link them together and BOOM the next bestseller ready to printed off and sent to Barnes and Nobel’s around the world. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

The first great story idea I thought of sort of a fairy tale. It would be about a little girl who is unhappy at home and then magically finds her way into a different land. Once she is there, she finds out that there is an evil ruler who only she can defeat. After a journey through this magical land, which incidentally is filled with magical creatures, the little girl defeats the evil ruler and makes her way home. Well, it sounded good and I was pretty excited when I was making notes about it in my diary…until I realized that I had just rewritten the plot line of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, A Wrinkle in Time, The Phantom Tollbooth and about fifty other kids novels.

So, over the past few years, I’ve repeated this process quite a few times. My disutopian story set in a future that had gone horribly wrong? 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451. My historical fiction idea about a little girl going west with her family? Little House on the Prairie and about a hundred other kids books about the Oregon Trail. My idea about writing a book about a secret school where kids learn how to be witches and wizards…well, you get the idea.

At that point I realized that the only way I was going to think of something really original was if I wrote about something I knew a lot about, something that I had actually lived through. I don’t mean like a literal memoir, but I would probably be able to add more unique details to a book about a kid growing up in a trailer court in the nineties than I would about some little girl crossing the prairie in a covered wagon with her parents. I can either write about my experiences or rewrite one of the million books I’ve read in the course of my lifetime.

So with this blog, I am hoping to just write a little everyday and see what comes to the surface. If that doesn’t happen, at least it will give me something to do. Since I graduated college last year, I’ve been going crazy trying to think of things to do when I am not at work other than watching TV or housework. (Just kidding, I don’t really try and get out of watching TV).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Like every other semi-nerdy, bookwormish, twenty-something female in the twenty-first century I decided that the world was probably suffering something fierce by not being made aware of the inner workings of my mind. Easy remedy? A blog. So here we go.

So why is reading this worth your time and who am I? As far as being worth your time, it might not be. This is the first post. There are probably lots of other more productive things you could be doing. Like paying your phone bill or finally getting started on the three or four loads of laundry that are pilled up in your bedroom. But still, if you have somehow stumbled upon this page its probably because you are trolling around the Internet in the middle of the night so this is as good of past time as any other I suppose.

Now as to who I am, well, that is a question I can answer with a little more authority. I am a girl, twenty-four years old, and I live in rural Wisconsin. I live in a little apartment in a little town with my fiancée. Not too terribly exciting. I am a redhead. I am lactose intolerant. . I love to read. I am a feminist and a socialist. I hate pork and the smell of flowers. There. That is enough for now.