Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Girl (Purchasing) Power

Hey, blog friends, I have a problem. I think that I am being a girl wrong. I know, I know, you’re all like, what? How can you be a girl "wrong"? It might seem impossible, but I have been watching a lot of TV lately and clearly I messed up somewhere.

Ok, so first of all, I cannot cook. I mean, sure, I can pour a mean bowl of cheerios, open a can of diet coke like no other and don’t even get me STARTED on my ordering takeout skills, but besides that I’m pretty much in the dark. I don’t really know what to do about it. Just kidding, I totally know what to do about it. I am going to buy a magic bullet, some Tupperware, some Teflon kitchenware, some Chicago Cutlery, an Electrolux stove and that new GPS looking gadget full of recipes. That should get me started at least. Because seriously, if I didn’t learn this stuff soon how will I get my boyfriend to love me?

So, I know what you guys are thinking, J., if you get all this cooking stuff your kitchen is going to be a gigantic mess! Well, trust me guys, er, I mean, girls, I was worried about the same thing but TV provided me with an answer – cleaning supplies. All I have to do is buy some Joy dish soap, a Swiffer mop, some Lysol spray, a Mister Clean Magic Eraser, some Easy Off oven spray, Some Electrosol dish washer soap, Some Arm and Hammer baking soda for the fridge, some Bounty paper towels, some Glad garbage bags, a ShamWow or two and a Shark steam mop and before I know it I will be dancing around wearing pearls and a dress in a kitchen that literally sparkles. And trust me, I need that stuff, cause right now there is a pile of dishes a foot high sitting in my sink from last week when I made my man a pot roast (just kidding...I didn’t really make a pot roast.)

Now that I have this kitchen stuff figured out, I thought that I would be well on my way to being a real woman. Unfortunately with all that cooking, I started to eat the food (classic rookie mistake) and now I’m getting fat. And if TV taught me anything, it’s that nobody likes a fat girl. But, as usual, my friendly television set is just sitting there waiting with the answer – DIETS!

If you are just getting started on being a woman, you might think that exercise and healthy choices are the way to shed pounds, but you are wrong…and probably fat. One way you can do it is to order premade meals. These will usually be prepared by a skilled chef who somehow manages to turn chocolate cake and pizza into vegetables. You can also try workout tapes, these can be super helpful if instead of the television implying that you need to lose weight, you want to hear the TV bluntly tell you that you are too fat. But those ways are pretty hard, the best way to do it is to just buy pills. Whether you want to be strung out on speed or just use the old fashioned laxative approach, there will be plenty of options to choose from.

Just remember ladies, crash diets and pills are only the beginning, even after you lose some of the weight you will still want to invest in some tummy-tucking panties and a push-up bra to make sure you really look like a woman. And don’t think that you are going to stop with body morphing underwear, there are a lot of other products that you are going to need before you can leave the house without scarring the neighborhood children. Which brings us, of course, to make-up.

If you are single, and if you are reading this feminist blog, you are almost for sure single, cause if you had a man, you wouldn’t be a feminist and instead would be dancing around your newly cleaned kitchen with your Swiffer mop debating whether you wanted to fold laundry or start dinner. Anyway, if you are single, you will probably want to invest in some cover-up, zit cream, eyeliner, eye shadow, wrinkle remover, exfoliant, moisturizer, mascara, lip stick, lip gloss, blush, that weird little airbrush thing, some more zit cream, some teeth whitener, some skin bronzer and makeup remover. Lots and lots of make-up remover. A plus side to all these beauty products is that you can use them to cleverly hide your tampons in the bathroom. God, can you even imagine how embarrassing it would be to have your man (or really ANY man) know that you get your period? (Shudder!)

So that should at least get you started. There are lots of other things you are going to need (like Nair and scrapbooking machines and purses) but those are just icing on the cake, The stuff I already listed is what will help you get the most important product a woman will ever get – the diamond ring. Once you have that you will have graduated from Being a Girl 101 and be well on your way to becoming A Wife and Mother. See get out your credit cards ladies, and start shopping, er, I mean, start living!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lefty Politics and Software Systems (I'm Clearly the Nerdiest in the Land)

I am writing this on my newly downloaded open office writer program. If you guys don't know about this go to Seriously, you can download this whole program, it is exactly like Microsoft office (complete with software that is nearly identical to Microsoft word, excel, power point, and a fairly powerful paint program). Wondering why I am talking about a random software download on my fairly political blog? Because this entire software program is completely free.

Lets start from the beginning. Have you ever heard of Linux? (Btw, don't freak out I am going to quit talking techie in just a minute and get back to my typical political bloggy brilliance.) Anyway when computers first started becoming a mass market kind of thing and not just something MIT dudes did in some lab basement, people started being like wow, we can be millionaires (see Bill Gates) and started copyrighting their software. As everyone knows Microsoft pretty much corned the market on operating systems (an operating system is what runs all the other programs on your computer).

So anyway, there were some programmers that thought operating systems and basic software stuff shouldn't be a profit kind of thing so they made Linux, an operating system that can be used instead of Microsoft...but for free. So Linux is an operating system but I didn't need that because I already have Microsoft OS on my computer but I didn't have Microsoft Office (or the couple hundred bucks to buy it). Anyway, that is where the Open Office came in.

At this website, you just click a button and download the system. It takes about fifteen minutes to get the whole thing. I've only had it for about an hour, but so far I can't tell much of a difference at all between this and the Microsoft system. (Except that when you save a document it is a .odt instead of .doc so I guess if you are a student and your teacher says you can only turn in .doc's then you may have a problem. I dunno, maybe they are convertible or something, I haven't had enough practice with it to be sure yet. )

From that, this whole movement started called the open source movement and the ideology behind is it to make software that is accessible to everyone, that can be shared by everyone and can be improved and worked on by everyone. It is an interesting thing.

So why am I babbling on about it in my blog? Because the company is paying me a TON of money to tell all my millions of readers. Just kidding. It is because I think this is a real cool example of a social need being met by people who aren't doing it to make bank. Because now I have a eff-ing awesome NON-CAPITALIST office package on my computer and it makes me pretty happy.

There are lots of people who aren't psyched about this whole Microsoft obviously. In this totally neoliberal system that we live in, the idea of people freely giving away their products seems crazy and companies who are NOT giving it away for free are getting kind of pissed. But then again, since it is free there isn't a whole lot people can do about it.

So yeah, enough tech stuff, but lets really look at this issue. Social need, social solution. Seems reasonable right? Now lets use this same framework for some other stuff that is created to serve a social need but that you can only get if you have enough money like medicine, or education or the internet. We live in a capitalist country obviously, and I'm sure 90% people are like me don't have the economic freedom to be like "eff getting paid, I am just going to donate my life to volunteer work" but still, stuff like this makes me hopeful.

Also, just so you guys know, It friday night and I am at home eating tofutti(delicious vegen "ice cream") and watching documentaries with my cat. And also am posting a blog about computer systems. I kind of feel like my life is a female version of P. Diddy's. (he's cool and hip, right? That reference makes sense, right?)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

No Babies and Googling Myself.

So at work today, another of my coworkers announced her pregnancy. There were a bunch of us sitting around and after the round of congratulations, they started talking about how, now that she is pregnant, everyone there is a mommy. Then they looked at me and were like, "oh yeah except for you. When are you going to get started on that?" Awkward.

Right now my sister is pregnant, one of my close friends is pregnant, most of my other friends have babies and every time I go on facebook, all I see are pictures of my friends’ babies or ultrasound pictures. And I am constantly being asked when I’m going to have one. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t in a rude way necessarily, except for maybe my grandma who asks me all the time if she is going to be a great-grandma before she dies. She asked N. this once, when him and I were going to have a baby…that happened the first time she met him, after we’d been dating for about a month. Thanks Grandma. That should hopefully subside a bit now that my little sister is going to have one.

Everyone else my age seems to be going through some huge maternal fixation. Most of the ones that don’t have babies want one really, really bad. They get all weepy when we walk past the baby outfit aisle and already have a list of names picked out for when the day comes. I’m not saying I don’t think about those things sometimes, but then I remember that I can barely remember to feed my cat and how usually don’t think to check how much gas I have in my car until that little low fuel light comes on. I’m not sure, cause I don’t have kids, but I am pretty sure that they don’t have a "Check Diaper" light.

Anyway, back to my original point, is it really so weird not to be reproducing at 24? It’s not like I don’t like little kids, I do. I love hanging out with my friend’s little boy and I cannot wait for my niece to be born. I just don’t want one of my own yet. There’s just so much I want to accomplish before I have a kid like graduate school and traveling and finally beating that xbox game I’ve been playing for the last few weeks…. you know, important things.

Side Note: You know that kid cartoon Veggie Tales, about the talking Jesus produce? I googled myself today (which sounds like something filthy but is really just narcissistic) and found out the "Not Quite Stienbeck" will pull up stuff about one of their movies. If anyone is curious if that is why I named my blog this, the answer is no. I named it this because I love John Stienbeck (and also because was taken)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fun with Math and Numbers (Military Edition)

Here are some fun facts. ( fyi, I compiled this information off of government websites)

Currently, senators, congressmen and the president make (on average) $169,587 a year. Together, these 536 people will make $90,899,000 a year. That is not including their personal incomes from things like investments, this is just the salary that they earn from the US taxpayers.

On the other (much poorer) hand, over 40,656,000 Americans live in poverty. This 13.2 percent of the population lives on less than $10,000 a year. Did I mention that the president has a $19,000 a year "entertainment" fund that is separate from his salary? Or that all of his housing, travel and living expenses come out of a different account than his salary?

In 2010, the US government decided that about one out of every three dollars you pay in taxes will be spent on defense. This means that one dollar will go to the war and the other two will be used towards: education, social security, repaying the national debt, national parks, medicare, the national court and prison systems, housing and urban development, the postal service, TARP funds, disaster relief funds and every administrative position in the national government.

Just for kicks, lets look at what we could be doing if we weren't at war. We'll look at 2011 budget and we will just look at the federal income taxes that people in Wisconsin pay. If we weren't in the war, Wisconsin could use that money to get:
1,948,101 People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare or
1,433,296 Scholarships for University Students or
184,447 Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers or
190,419 Elementary School Teachers or
9,319,786 Households with Renewable Wind Electricity or
3,494,920 Households with Renewable Solar Electricity

(all that renewable energy would kind of cut the foreign dependence on oil huh?)

If you are angry with this, but are worried that you should be supporting the troops, you should probably know that while the defense budget was increased this year, all of the increases went towards weapon development. All of the cuts, on the other hand, were in what was given to military personal and their families, included a 20.2% cut on military and family housing. Pretty patriotic, huh?

And if you are thinking to yourself, well we are an industrialized nation, money like this is to be expected, think again. If you look at defense spending on a global scale, the USA is responsible for 46.5 (!!!) per cent of the world total, distantly followed by the China (6.6% of world share), France (4.2%), UK (3.8%), and Russia (3.5%). And not that it could even be remotely related to thier low defense budgets or anything, but fyi, France and the UK have universal healthcare.

And the real cost isn’t obviously the money. The lowest estimate of the American soldiers that have died fighting these wars is over 5,000. That would be like if everyone in my hometown passed away…more than 5 times. The lowest estimate for the amount of Iraqi and Afghan civilians (regular people that had nothing whatsoever to do with the war) is well in the thousands. Remember that those are the LOWEST estimates., these are the US government estimates. There are some independent groups that say the civilian death total could easily be ten times that much.

Support the troops, bring them home.

***Websites I got information from***

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Condoms that Attack Rapists

I wanted to write about these things for a while and since one of my most recent posts was about contraceptives, I figured now would be a good time. Before I actually got around to writing it myself, I find out someone beat me too it. So yeah, just go check out this link to an awesome blog.

An Incredibly Romantic Story (Where I am a Jerk)

So the other day, N. and I were enjoying our first day off together in like 35 years (or two weeks, whatever). We were flipping through netflix and I said that since we were having A-Romantic-Day-Together, I was going to make him watch lovey-dovey movies all day. He laughed and said "Yeah right, you hate romance."

I pretended to be insulted until I remembered that it is true, in a way. I’m not a fan of traditional things like roses, Sleepless in Seattle type movies and novels of shirtless men clutching fainting, women wearing bodices. My idea of romance is more like using my scrabble tiles to spell out lewd innuendo while suggestively leering at him (‘cause I’m ladylike like that). So anyway, that reminded me of this story where N. was being super romantic and I was a jerk.

This story happened about two years ago on the night that we were taking down the Christmas tree in our, teeny tiny apartment in Superior. I’d come home from a day of spending Xmas gift cards at the mall and N. suggested that we take down the tree.

I, being lazy as usual, tried to convince him that we would do it another day. He persisted until finally I was like, fine whatever we’ll take the tree down (side note this happened at the very end of January so really it wasn’t like he was being a nutjob). So he put on some classical music, got out the boxes and got started. Being my usually ADD self, I was all over the place finding other stuff to do because I didn’t feel like wrapping up ornaments.

He kept asking me to at least come over and do a few. I would do a couple and then get distracted by the internet or my phone and then when they were just about done I decided that the least I could (literally it was the least possible I could do because he’d done the rest) was to pick up the tinsel off the carpet.

He asked me to stop what I was doing so that I could come take one of the ornaments off the tree. I was all crabby and said just put it in a box. He said he wasn’t sure if it went in my stuff or his. I told him to do whatever he wanted with it. He said, again, that I should just come do it. I said, again in a louder and more annoyed voice, just put it where ever, I am TRYING to pick up this tinsel. He asked me again so I got up, went to the tree to pull off the ornament and put it in the box and saw…

My engagement ring hanging from the tree…and promptly felt like an a*hole. He got down and one knee and did the whole lovely love thing. Luckily he is a wonderful BF (not a crabby a*hole like me) so he laughed about it. Ahh, love.

Anyway, that was a bit of a random story but I wanted to take a day off from politics. I watched a half-hour of fox news last night and it gave me some good ideas for stuff that I want to write about. Btw, there was a reason I was watching fox news specifically but I’ll explain that later when I write the post, I needed to explain that because I don’t even want internet strangers to think that I would watch that channel to get the actual news. However, it also annoyed me so much that if I try and think about it right now my head might explode, so instead you got a love story. Lucky you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Health Care for Everyone (unless you have a uterus)

So, apparently, birth control may just be the same as an abortion. At least, that is what the government is trying to say. I’m talking about the new health care reform bill. I know, I know. Everyone and their brother is screaming about how this new “socialist” (totally NOT socialist fyi) bill is going to turn America in to Soviet Russia overnight but I am not going to get into that (stupid) debate. The thing I am going to rant about is how it still totally sucks to be a girl in this country.

So if you are like me, you work a million hours a week in order to pay your rent so you may not have time to do research on legislation and mainstream media sucks when it comes to providing in-depth coverage, so I will break this down for you.

When the bill first came up, there was no language about reproductive health. Basically democrats were too scared to touch the subject because they were afraid that it would turn into an abortion debate. Which totally makes sense, because I know every time I go in for my yearly check my gynecologist is like “GET AN ABORTION!!!” and I’m like, “….but I’m not pregnant?” and she usually replies, “go get pregnant so you can come back and GET AN ABORTION!”. I should really find a doctor that yells less, but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, so last fall Senator Mikulski from Maryland put an amendment in that said the bill had to cover things like mammograms and other preventative screenings. But the bill still doesn’t say whether or not it will cover birth control and every time the issue comes up for debate the right wing nut jobs start screaming about baby murder. Seriously guys, birth control would prevent unplanned pregnancies which would prevent abortions. Where is the problem? I’m confused.

Did I mention that Viagra is covered. Soak that in for a minute. Women can’t get birth control, even though there are situations where it prescribed regardless of sexual activity like when someone has polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that can be helped by birth control but men can get Viagra. I’m sure ED sucks, but seriously have you ever heard a doctor yelling, “This man will die if he doesn’t get a boner STAT!”? I didn’t think so.

Side note:

I’ve spent the weekend trying to understand more about how to do a blog. Its confusing as f. I been looking through different directories, trying to upload url links and trying to figure out what a rss feed. All this other techie stuff which hasn’t been boding well with my extremely non-technical brain. But I think I have it a little more figured out.

So yeah, in case you are wondering what the whole directory thing is, it is where you can get your site listed. I am posting info about not quite Steinbeck so more people can read my genius and start worshipping my internet wisdom.

By the way, when I first got my blog, I installed that little map over there (on your right à) so I could see how many millions of people visited my blog everyday and where they are from. There are at least two pretty consistent visitors everyday, me and then some mystery reader from (judging from that tiny map) somewhere south of here…approximately Kansas? Who are you mystery reader, why do you love me so much? Just kidding, obviously you love me cause I am a visionary but seriously, you have me curious.

So yeah, basically what I am trying to say is that I need and love attention, so everyone reading this, you should totally become a follower or, if you totally hate me and wish that I would stop poisoning the internet, at least leave a comment saying so. Like I said, I love attention.

Double Side Note:

I spent the last five minutes trying to figure out why a random period kept showing up in the middle of that paragraph. I kept trying to delete it and nothing happened. It was some dust on the screen. I’m basically a genius.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Walter's Thumb

This is a super long post because it is actually a short story. A few posts ago (Cartoons and Anarchy) I talked about the first short story I had written. A friend of mine suggested posting it and, since this is after all a blog starring yours truly, I thought it would be kind of fun to post the first fiction I ever wrote.

It’s not a great story, not even really a good one, the dialogue is pretty wooden, its lacking description and there are some MAJOR plot holes but I wrote it ten years ago when I was like fourteen. I fought the urge to freshen it up and fix spelling and/or grammatical errors so it would be in its original form. You can definitely tell that I had been reading George Orwell and Aldous Huxley at the time I wrote this but its kind of a fun story to picture a shy, polite preteen girl (aka me) reading in front of a high school class. So yeah, here it is. Enjoy.

Walter’s Thumb

"It’s prison, man. Did you think it was going to be easy?" Vick Shrofeild, Walter’s cellmate, sat on his damp, military-grade cot and stared across the tent at Walter. "It might not seem like we are well guarded and you are new so you might think you can get away but trust me, you are going to fighting this war for the rest of your life. I mean think about it, they put a tracking chip in your thumb. Inside of your body. You could be a million miles away from any of the guards and all they would have to do to find you is boot up their compu-trackers"

Walter Peasly stretched his arm in front of him and examined the round, red scar at the base of his left thumb. "Not me. I may have committed a crime and that court may have decided that I am going to die in this war to make up for it, but that isn’t what I decided. If I die trying to escape, I will be just as dead as I would be if I died out there in the slaughter house they expect us to charge into everyday."

Vick stood up to leave but stopped to look back at Walter before he exited the tent. "Look man, do what you want, but don’t involve me. The less I know the safer I’ll be. You seem like a nice guy, but I am not going to get tortured to protect your secrets."

Once he was alone, Walter lay back on his cot and stared at the olive green canvas of the ceiling. He was 26. He was only 26 and he already had a life sentence hanging over his head. Two years ago, when he was still free, when he still had some sort of hope of making something of himself, he’d decided to risk all that to try and make some money in the black market.

He’d been successful at first, started out small with black market food exchanges and clothing distribution but then he’d gotten greedy and started trading in government grade stolen vehicles. While the cops had been willing to overlook someone skimming some profit on food rations, they had not been so forgiving when they caught him selling stolen military trucks to the private armies that had begun operating out of the Rockies. After he got caught, he’d been given a court date. He waited in a military prison for a few months while they sorted out his sentence and then taken to a hospital to have his tracking chip implanted. After that he was dropped off at the Great Lakes border, destined to fight in the war that the United American Federation had been waging against the Northern Resistance for the past forty-odd years.

But Walter had decided tracking chip of not, if he was going to die, he was going to die on his own terms. He stood up and walked to the door of the tent. Most of the men had gone to cafeteria to have dinner and the sleeping area sat empty in the darkening night. Walter stepped back into the tent and closed the flap all the while trying to prepare himself for what he was about to do.
With the tent flap closed, Walter knelt next to his cot and reached behind his extra uniforms to pull out the bottle of cheap alcohol he had stolen from the guard’s tent earlier that day. He pulled the greasy cork out of the top and, though he didn’t really like alcohol, especially the cheap stuff that the government issued, gulped down a third of the bottle in order to numb himself for what he was about to do.

Walter closed his eyes and sat perfectly still, gathering his thoughts and his courage. He then broke the bottle on the cement floor, pressed his hand flat on the pavement and used the broken shard of glass to cut his thumb off just below the line of the round, red scare.

"G-g-god." Walter bit back a scream as an angry, red bolt of pain sliced up his arm. "Oh god. Oh god." The room swam in front of him and he knew that he would have to act fast in order not to faint. He grabbed his first aid kit and used a cauterizing tool to stop the flow of blood. He grabbed the cut off thumb with his good hand and shoved it under his pillow so if anyone did a compu-track check it would register that he was in bed.

Walter tried to make his mind focus on escaping rather than letting it sink into the dark tunnel of pain that was tugging at the edge of his thoughts. He clumsily grabbed the bag he had packed the night before, pushed through the flap of the tent and raced into the dark forest that stood at the edge of base camp.

He ran for hours, taking breaks only to chew up tablets of pain reliever and take swallows of the lukewarm water in his canteen. The sharp pain had subsided a bit, but had been replaced with a dull, throbbing ache that threatened to knock him out if he concentrated too much on it. Finally, just as the cool blue light of morning began to creep around the edges of the horizon, he came to a clearing in the forest where an old, abandoned cabin stood.

There was no door, most of the windows had been broken out and he could tell from the smell of the place that more than one animal had sheltered in the cabin’s crumbling walls, but it would have to do. Walter knew that this quadrant of the border was mostly empty but he didn’t want to risk running in the daylight.

It wasn’t until he made himself as comfortable as possible on the wooden floor that he realized what he had done. He had run away from the United American Federation. He had cut off his own thumb. He was free. It was with that thought that Walter curled into a ball on the cold cabin floor and sank into the deepest, most needed sleep of his life.

Hours later, long after the January sun had risen to the center of sky, Walter awoke to a sharp kick in the base of his spine. Half asleep, unsure of what was happening or where he was, Walter attempted to push himself to his feet before screaming out in agony as he accidentally put his weight on his throbbing wound. He rolled over, clutching his hand and looked up to the circle of military guards that surrounded him.

The guard closest to him, the one that had kicked him, bent down to yell into Walter’s face. "Think you’re smart? Think you’re the first soldier that thought they’d slip out without getting caught? God kid, you aren’t even the first one to cut off your thumb!" The circle of guards erupted in laughter as Walter cowered at their feet.

"You think that you are smarted that the UAF? You think you, a disgusting criminal, could manage to outsmart the entire United American Federation? Ha." Walter tried to make the ball he was curled into smaller. "You know, cutting off your thumb seems like a pretty logical idea. You get rid of the tracker, you steal away into the night and between the chaos of the war and the craziness of the overcrowded camp, no one notices you got away, huh? But here is the fun news; that scar? That little marker that you thought was so clear? That’s just a decoy. We put that on there because if we let the soldiers know where the device was, they could easily get rid of it."

Between the pain and his fear, Walter was fighting to remain conscious. What was this guy talking about? A decoy? His vision started to go black but the guard grabbed him by the hair and pulled him up so they were face to face.

"Here’s the thing, Walt." The guard yelled, with a sick smile on his face, "You just ran through the woods for nothing. You didn’t get away, you aren’t free." The guard grabbed Walter's right thumb and lifted it up into the air. "The tracking device is right here, you idiot, you cut off the wrong thumb!"

So there you go. Brilliant, right? Rereading this, the whole "put a fake scar on to trick the prisoners" seems like a pretty elaborate ploy that doesn't actually seem to serve any function. And I love the compu-tracker, which if it had been written later than 2000 probably would have been called a GPS. Not to mention the fact that he had a cauterizing "tool" (?) in his first aid kit or that there is no way you could CUT OFF YOUR THUMB and then jog, all night, in January (in the Great Lakes Border BTW) without dying but, like I said, I was fourteen. An awkward, gossipy giggling cheerleader mind you.

On a side note, since I was fourteen, I am pretty surprised that the main character in my story was drinking alcohol and my teacher didn't care. But that's how I roll, I write about drinking and thumb amputations and oppressive governments and I don't let anybody stand in my way. I'm pretty hardcore.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Some Lists

Five Very Ordinary Things that I Hate to Do
1. Having to return library books
2. Going to the dentist
3. Watching any kind of sport
4. Waking up early
5. Going to a bar

(Eddie Izzard sums it up well I think)

Five Very Cool Places I got to Visit
1. A Buddhist monastery in China
2. Monet's Garden in France (The water lillies Japanese Bridge painting? there.)
3. Albuquerque, New Mexico at three in the morning
4.The Washington Memorial in the middle of a HUGE antiwar rally
5.The Shore of Lake Superior in the middle of the night in January

Five Things that Always Make Me Laugh
1.Talking to T.
2.Talking to J.M.
3.Aqua Teen Hunger Force
4.Talking about our college days with A.
5.Conservative politics

Five Things I am Very Excited About
1.My Niece!
2.N.'s graduation
3.Enrolling in Graduate School
4.Going a vacation with N. (soon I hope!)
5.Moving somewhere new (nothing wrong with here, I just like to move to new places)

Five Things that Annoy Me
1.The sound of Styrofoam
2.People that cry about abused animals but complain about people who need welfare (I cry about the animal commercials too though)
4.Being almost albino and having to wear sunscreen almost year round.
5.The fallacious notion that verbosity connotates intellect, and the multitudes who imbue all conversations with a string of multisyllabic phrases in order to appear erudite. In other (simpler) words, people who think that using big words means you are a smart person.

If you are more concerned with the length of the word you are using than you are with the meaning, you will be hard to understand, your writing will suck and people will think that you are pretentious dick.

Five is my fav. number and I just made five lists of five, so that's all for today

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Belated Fourth of July Post.

So long time no post. I was out of town for a week helping my dad move and then came back and had to do lots of extra training at work plus some double shifts so its been a bit too long since I’ve written.

Happy belated Fourth of July though. In terms of the greatness of our country, I heard a story today about how a bunch of New Yorkers are protesting building a mosque near (as in a few blocks away from) ground zero because it would be a “shrine to terrorism”. I wonder if they think of churches as a “shrine” to the crusades, the inquisition, the holocaust or child molesters. I am not saying that I think Christians are all those things, but the corollary could very easily be drawn. I also heard a story on NPR about how the teabaggers are saying that the NAACP is…wait for it…racist. So yeah, YAY AMERICA!

But I do hope that anyone serving overseas is safe and gets to come home very, very soon. I also hope that people who are just trying to live their lives in countries like Afghanistan or Iraq are safe. There are a few people that I personally know that are in the military and I really do worry about their safety when they are over there. Because I know them, it is easier for me to be worried about them as individuals. Other than that, I can’t really say that I feel MORE concern for American citizens in war zones than I do for other people that happened to get caught living in a war zone. To me, both cases are situations where people I have never met are in danger and, because they are human beings, I genuinely hope the violence ends and ends soon. But, unlike most people in this country, I do not think of the Americans first and the people in the other countries as a belated afterthought.

I think that I feel that way because I have never really understood patriotism. Obviously I understand the concept but I have never felt that emotion. To me, national borders just seem like what they are, imaginary lines drawn on a map. I mean I get it, there is usually uniting cultures languages etc. that create a sense of community between people in any particular country. However, I have a ton more in common culturally with people from Thunder Bay, Ontario (which is about four hours away from where I went to college) than I do with someone who lives in Hawaii. Or Los Angles or New York City for that matter. The point I am trying to get at is that I think, overall, patriotism seems just a little, well, nonsensical to me.

But we as Americans do have a lot to be proud about. For example, the KFC double down sandwich, the twilight series, scientology not to mention the fact that we have been able to develop a prescription medication to cure…wait for it again…thin eyelashes. But seriously, I have been to a developing country and I am not going to lie, I am glad that I was lucky enough to be born in a country where the living conditions are really high.

But the thing is, and this is the thing I think most “I LOVE THE USA” people should remember, we didn’t do anything to be born here. It’s a crapshoot, basically, and no one who was born a US citizen worked harder or is better than anyone who was born Canadian or Mexican or Swedish or Nigerian so quit acting all high and mighty because of a totally random event that happened to make you a US citizen. And, since I know a lot of patriotism and Fourth of July festivities are aimed at supporting the troops, lets really show our support by ending the war and bringing them home safely.

Plus, the fireworks scared the crap out of my cat and he showed his dissatisfaction with the holiday by yowling and racing around the apartment like a nutcase for hours every time he heard a bottle rocket go off.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Press One for Racist.

For anyone that complains about having to press one for English: If you are too lazy to PRESS A BUTTON do you really think you are in a position to call other people lazy for not learning a new language?

Yeah, that was my facebook status today because I saw that a few of my facebook friends had joined a group about not wanting to press one for English cause “this is America”. Really? Really? If I saw that some people joined a group that said that they were pissed about having to speak English and not some Native American language, I wouldn’t be so annoyed because those WERE the languages that were spoken here originally before a bunch of immigrants came over and changed everything. They would at least have a valid point that they were the ones that were here first. But do you want to know why I said “some Native American language” and not a specific example? Because I don’t know any, I don’t even know the names of them, because Europeans came to America and wiped out as much of their culture as possible.

But that, apparently, was OK. It was OK when Europeans came to a country with more resources and killed the people and stole their land, but three hundred years later it’s a travesty if Latin Americans want to work here. I mean, really, until there are huge groups of Mexicans coming here and handing out smallpox infected blankets and forcing European Americans live on reservations, shut your fucking mouths you racist, ignorant pricks.

The thing that really gets me is that 95% of my friends live in RURAL Wisconsin. I would honestly like to know how many illegal (or even legal) immigrants you see on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis. I’m guessing the number is about none.

The number one reasons I have heard that people are against immigrants are “because they take our jobs”. Its pretty convenient that certain Caucasian people I know blame ethnic minorities on skyrocketing unemployment rates; but when those same people talk about African Americans or Hispanics or Native Americans who are unemployed, the reason they give for that is laziness.

See, from my point of view, the problem is not people “stealing” jobs, it is that there aren’t any jobs here anymore. Like I’ve said in other posts, all the jobs have gone to other countries where the labor standards are lower and cost of production is astronomically cheaper. Most people act like the cause of this problem are unions or illegal immigrants…not trying to be rude, but if you believe that, YOU are the reason the system is able to exist.

I mean, think about it. Let’s say there is a guy, we’ll call him Bob. Now Bob owns a company where he needs five people to work for him. In the beginning, Bob hires five white guys. The white guys realize that Bob pays them such low wages that they can’t afford to live and he makes them work in an unsafe work environment so they form a union saying that Bob needs to make them work only eight hours a day, for a living wage and that they can’t work if the conditions are unsafe.

So, Bob says eff that, I will fire the two guys that organized this and hire other people. I will hire two white women cause they will work for less money anyway cause it is harder for them to get a job because of sexism. So the two guys get fired, the workers (now two girls and three guys) go back to work without the job conditions getting any better. And if anyone complains, Bob can just say, hey its not my fault, I am a business owner, I have to increase my profits and women work for less, blame them. Which increases sexism because people have been led to believe that unless women are held back, men will not have as good of chance of becoming successful.

This goes on for awhile until the workers decide again that the system sucks, so they go on strike again. Bob, remembering how good his plan worked before, fires the girl and guy in charge and hires some African American men who will work for less because it is harder for them to get good jobs because of racism and the people go back to work in the shitty work environments. And if anyone complains, Bob can just say, hey its not my fault, I am a business owner and African Americans work for less, blame them. Which increases racism because people have been led to believe that unless other ethnic groups are held back, then they will not have as good of chance of becoming successful.

THIS goes on for awhile until the workers decide again that the system sucks, so they go on strike again. Bob, remembering how good his plan worked before, fires the two in charge and hires some Hispanic woman who will work for less because it is harder for them to get good jobs because of racism AND sexism, the people go back to work in the shitty work environments. And if anyone complains, Bob can just say, hey its not my fault, I am a business owner and Hispanic woman work for less, blame them. Which increases sexism AND racism because people have been led to believe that unless women and ethnic minorities are held back, then they will not have as good of chance of becoming successful.

And during the whole process, the person to blame wasn't the women or the minorities it was Bob, the rich guy who was unwilling to cut into his profits to make sure that his workers could work in a safe environment and support their families. But since racism and sexism are pretty common words and boss-ism or rich person discrimination aren't common ideas, I think it is pretty clear who takes the blame for old Bob's greed.

This scenario could go on and on and on. And it does, everyday. Now though it has gotten even worse because it is on a global scale (hey its not my fault, I am a business owner and Cambodians and the Chinese work for less, blame them.)

The super rich use racism, sexism, homophobia and intolerance of all kinds to make sure that working people are divided into super small, competitive groups so that the working class will never realize that 95% of the people are just barely making it while the rest live in decadent luxury. If that 95% percent would just realize how the system of capitalism works, they would be able to quit working for the rich guys all together and start working for themselves in a socialist democracy where sexism and racism would not be perpetuated in order to divide the working class.

I know every pick-up truck driving, flag-waving, freedom-loving patriot in this country is terrified of socialism, but wake the eff up. Wouldn’t you like to live in a country where you could go to college, get health care and be able to support your family without the fear of losing your home or your job? Wouldn’t you like to live in a country where you were able to have the same opportunities as other people, whether they were born in rich families or not?

And, for the record, if you are so against socialism, you had better watch out because the red terror has already invaded your life. Right now there are (GASP) many socialized institutions in this country…like public schools, post offices and fire departments. And we all know how often the mailman tries to take away our freedom, so I guess your fears are pretty well founded.

So back to my original point, if you are going to complain about having to hear Spanish, I will make sure to write my advice to you in English: Shut the eff up, learn how economics work and why the people are immigrating here to begin with. It isn't because they want to steal your jobs, it is because the US has fucked up the economies in almost every Latin economy. It isn't because they were sitting in nice houses in Mexico and had good jobs and they decided to risk their lives to illegal immigrant here so that they could steal your job and force your kids to speak Spanish. It is because they are trying to survive. They are trying to make sure that their kids don't starve to death and maybe so that their children can have a better life than they do.

You know it's weird, its almost like Latin Americans are trying to do exactly what United States citizens are trying to do, almost like it is a basic human desire to have food, shelter and the opportunity to support your family. But that must not be it, it must be because they hate you...and the English language...and freedom...and probably NFL and strip malls too. So if we can't win the battle to save this idea of white American that everyone seems to love so much, let's at least make sure that Spanish speaking people can't have someone tell them over the phone how much they owe on their cell phone bill in a language they can understand...that will definitely fix the unemployment rate and the economy.