30 August 2009

My Life, According to a Paparrazo

Juniper Trela was most recently seen at the recycling drop off approximately 2 miles from her home, dressed like she always is in jeans, a tank top and a pair of well-worn, outdated flip flops. Apparently, she's taking the recycling thing a little too far!

A source very close to Juniper says, "Jun Jun's involvement with recycling things is really just a way to keep her mind off the fact that she's single. She really wants a boyfriend!"

As most of her fans know, her break up last year with an as-'til-then anonymous chef, Luke Meinert, was a public spectacle. Everyone was waiting for her to go on suicide watch, as she was frequently in the same outfit two days in a row and had taken to eating nearly an entire bag of Tostitos with salsa in one sitting.

Another source who has been friends with Juniper since before she became a household name says, "That was a really hard time for her. Even her super successful career couldn't keep her happy. It's like she just stopped having a reason to live, but luckily, she received a lot of help for that and all of us were there for her."

But there might be good news on the horizon for our favorite sci-fi/fantasy writer. Last week, she was spotted chatting it up with an unidentified man in a Nashville convenience store. The two seemed very friendly and might have possibly exchanged numbers. Now, if we can only get her out of that outfit!


I recently overheard a conversation about boob size. Well, by overheard, I mean read, and by conversation, I mean Facebook status plus its comments.

It basically went like this:

Girl 1: Women get their confidence from their boob size.
Girl 2: I completely agree!!! :)!!!!!
Girl 3: It's because of the men. All men like big breasts.

Um ....... okay.

I, for one, get my confidence from my intelligence and snappy wit. And if I were to rest my opinion of myself on various parts of my body, this would just be sad. I have tiny boobs. My legs are long but nothing to write home about, and my ass is not something I like to flaunt too much. I have nowhere near washboard abs, and my arms have little if any tone to them. The only features I can really be "proud" of are my lips and my eyes; I will not have to worry about Botox later in life, and I have blue cat-like eyes. And yet, I manage to leave my house every day without feeling like I have to boost these physical areas. Sure, I work out and I love running; but it isn't my main focus.

As I've said before, I loathe generalizations. Why? Because more often than not, it doesn't apply in such a grand scale. "All men like big breasts." Ha. If I took a poll of my guy friends, I can almost guarantee you that this will not be the consensus. In fact, most of them would say, "More than a handful (or depending on the couth-ness rating, a "mouthful" might apply here instead) is just a waste." Now, this is not to say that there aren't men out there who get turned on by big breasts. The porn industry would not be where it is today if this were not so. It's like saying that all men want a woman who looks like Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie (*gasp* They are in the same sentence!!! Certainly there will be a brawl!). Sure, both are beautiful women, and most men will attest to this. But I know of some guys that are kind of meh towards both.

It's starting to look like all the phobias women have with their bodies are perpetuated by themselves. This isn't a novel idea, of course, but it's becoming very apparent to me, as of late. We have all of this media coverage, various beauty products, the latest styles, fad diets, etc., that just manage to keep us thinking that we're somewhere below par. That is the main reason I changed my major from marketing. The more I studied the concepts, the more I disagreed with basically convincing people that their lives weren't what they could be without such-and-such product. Blech. And while they don't just focus on women, it does seem that many companies do target them.

But then it gets this idea in our heads that we need to get the newest look from the runways (which, to me, always look horrendous - if you can muster the strength, just look at an Elle magazine fashion spread. Can I just say, "YUCK.") or try the anti-aging cream at age 28.

And from what I have heard, which is not to say it's entirely representative, many guys just sit there, scratching their heads. "You looked fine before this. What did you do this for? Me? I liked you the way you were." It's why I hate those commercials about the woman using this cream that shed 10 years off or whatever, and her husband said that he was more attracted to her now. Thanks, advertising assholes.

So here's an idea. How about getting your confidence from something other than your boobs? Your eyes? Your hair? If you died, do you want somebody to say, "She had really amazingly large breasts" or "She had an amazingly large heart?"

I'll take the latter, thanks.

28 August 2009

"My accent is ALWAYS on value."

Genesis Diamonds commercials seem to come up every time there's a run of ads, at least when you're listening to the radio (see my previous post on this). They aren't nearly as annoying as the Shane Company ones that basically make it sound like the purchase of jewelry is the most important thing EVAR. But they do paint themselves as the mavericks of the jewelry business.

For those of you who don't live in Nashville, Genesis Diamonds prides itself on being the official jewelry store of the Tennessee Titans. Now, I'm not sure exactly how this came to be, as the Titans are a football team, but maybe all the players buy little sparkly gifts for their wives after they have an affair or get drunk and do something stupid. Or maybe they make rings for them. I honestly haven't wasted too much brain power on this because, well, I don't care.

Right now, they have this manager whose name fails me narrating the commercials. He makes a point that he used to manage a chain jewelry store but he felt guilty trying to convince people to buy stuff. And he says that Genesis Diamonds is, like, totally awesome because they sell totally high-quality pieces at totally low prices! "The other stores price this blah-blah-blah-E2-clarity-blah-blah diamond ring at $5200, but we have it listed for $3000!" Whatever, it's still more than free, which is what I'm all about.

I guess the kicker is when the owner of Genesis Diamonds, Boaz Ramone, says the title of this post. "My accent is always on value." Don't you see, guys? He's playing on the fact that he's foreign! And that no one understands him because of his crazy, foreign person accent! But don't focus on that! Focus on the pricing! And the value! Blech.

I'm sure the economy has caused jewelry stores quite a downturn. But I just don't have much sympathy for them. They're just pandering to the people who think buying shinies for their significant others will completely take out the need to actually say, "I love you," or do anything that requires thought. Hell, if you're going to buy me a freaking tennis bracelet, costing about $1000, just give me the cash and I'll do something better with it ... like paying of my student loan. Nothing says I love you like no debt.

Anyway, I'll leave you with this from last year's Christmas season because Sarah Haskins is composed of pure awesome:

They Shoot Overly-Critical Grammarians, Don't They?

Anyone who knows me even in a moderate sense knows that I am a grammar Nazi. Some of my professors at college would actually have me read papers to catch any mistakes they might have missed. I hate it when someone says, "Where're you at?" because prepositions don't go at the end of sentences. (I can be guilty of this, but I usually catch and correct myself.)

But my tyrant-like behavior in this respect doesn't just apply to the construction of sentences. Oh, no. It carries over into pretty much every part of language.

First, there is a way to pronounce things. It's spelled a certain way. I mean, sure, if you want to say toh-mah-toh instead of toh-may-toh, that's fine.

There are the tried and true "nuclear" (not nucular) and larynx (not larnyx). Those get me every time. Then there's "ask." I'm not going to axe one, because a question isn't a log or a job position. No r's exist in wash or question, and "r" is pronounced "are," not "arrah."

I know, I know. It's cultural. My trainer at work is from West Tennessee, where Memphis is called "Meh-phis," and she frequently asked querstions. I overlooked that because she was awesome (and actually found her mispronunciation of basic words rather endearing), but if anyone else had spoken that way, I would have wanted to commit some grammatically-induced homicide. Luckily for Douche Turd (from a previous post), he speaks correctly ... well, at least when he's not mumble-rambling.

Another irritation for me is when someone uses a phrase like "desert island." Now, I understand that this person is talking about a location that is isolated and uninhabited, so I suppose the actual communication isn't disrupted. But it's a deserted island. Because there's nobody else on it, unless you're a cast member of "Lost." And then you're just screwed, at least as far as I know because I've never actually watched the show.

This kind of thing gets me in trouble because, one, most people don't like to be corrected, and two, it distracts me from concentrating on the conversation because I'm focusing on the infraction. It's like Dane Cook's disgust with girls who exaggerate too much.

"... When you tell me a story, I really listen. I listen, and I don't just listen, I listen ... See, my brain is so fantastical that when you start to exaggerate, I don't follow the story. I follow the exaggeration. And it gets me frustrated, because she would be like ... 'I got off from here, I took a hundred hour nap.' No, you did not. You'd be very sick if you were taking hundred hour naps. That's a coma."

And that's basically how I am, only with grammar and pronunciation. I wouldn't say my brain is fantastical or anything because that would be rather pretentious. And we have enough of that already, and I think the majority of them live in the Hillsboro Village area of Nashville.

26 August 2009

Crappiness and stupidity killed the radio stars.

When you drive to and from work for nearly two hours a day, you can only talk to yourself for so long before you start questioning your sanity. For those lucky people out there with iPod inputs, readily available CDs or commercial-free radio, congrats, but I don't have any of those. (PS I hate being poor.) I'm fairly sure it's illegal to wear headphones blasting in your ears while driving, and it would be an epic event to even try to locate my CDs since most of my stuff is still in storage and hour and a half away. And where they are? Yeah, I have no idea. I also don't make enough to afford satellite radio, so I'm at the mercy of the public radio gods.

Unfortunately, they suck, no matter what the "Radio is awesome!" ads I hear 47 times a day say. I'll occasionally tune in to Free Beer and Hot Wings on 102.9 The Buzz in the mornnig, mainly for the "What Hot Wings Thinks" segment (he basically chooses a topic and goes on a tirade), although NPR is usually my default station, so I can stay somewhat on top of things. My main problem is with the morning/afternoon/evening shows and their little DJs. They are all horrible. It's like all the rejected (and maybe even some accepted) comedians from SNL write all the material, and since there aren't any faces associated with the broadcast, they rest easy in their one-bedroom apartments covered in Cheetos (Cheetohs? Cheetoz? I have not a clue as to the spelling.) and beer cans.

Nothing of interest was on NPR this morning because they were going on about how Ted Kennedy died, so I was forced to go to the pop channels. Free Beer and Hot Wings just wasn't appealing, so I ended up having to listen to "Gender Wars" on 107.5 The River. First of all, the contestants were dumb. Or they lived under a rock, I'm not quite sure. The guy, who I'm assuming was around my age or younger, won by default and he was awarded with ... drumroll please ... Thomas the Train tickets.

I wonder if anyone has ever declined a prize on one of those radio game shows. If not, this was probably the first one.

And then the sketches. Oh, the sketches. Following that root canal of a game, they documented a video that proved Michael Jackson faked his own death. How they managed to stretch this over five minutes should have been a feat in and of itself - "Everything on the internet is true because they check everythig. So Michael Jackson is still alive, living with Elvis and all the other famous people who died when they were at the top of their popularity. You have to believe it because it's on the internet, and everything on the internet is true because they ....." - but I guess what's sad is that Woody, Jim and the other people in the studio were acting like they thought it was just hilarious. Maybe they were just working on an Oscar nomination. Sure. We'll go with that.

Luckily, I arrived at work before they started on something else, but it got me wondering about the slow decay of radio quality. It's like newspapers and reality TV; it just keeps getting worse. I wouldn't be surprised if they brought on Andrew Clay (you know, the only comedian that has been banned by MTV, although that's not really so much of a punishment nowadays) to boost some ratings. Blech, no, thank you.

I've decided that I'm going to ride in silence from now on. Or maybe just break the law and listen to my iPod. What can I say? I like to live dangerously.

25 August 2009

Honestly, Pure Randomness ...

I have just been klutzerrific for the past two days. I hit my head twice on one of my car doors, and one left my ears ringing for a good two hours afterward. Now, I have a nice knot on the top of my left temple. Nearly everything that has come into my hands has been dropped, including a glass which shattered in a nearly poetic manner on the black and white checkered floor of the breakroom in the Davidson county DHS office (Human Services, not Homeland Security, FYI). I tripped over my dog this morning, which to be fair, was as much her fault as it was mine ... only she didn't fall flat on her face. Not that it could get much flatter, anyway.

I blame it on hormones.

Which brings me to yet ANOTHER complaint. My body hears vacation, and it automatically thinks, "PERIOD TIME!!!" I'm not even going anywhere. But friends of mine are, and they talk about it constantly. So naturally, the premenstrual cramps start up.

And then I get cranky. And clumsy. And bloated. All around, I'm a pretty unhappy person for about a week. Stupid womanhood.

In other news, it is bad when your tire is separating and it shows the metal interior. It is doubly bad when two of your tires are in this condition. It's thrice crappy when an additional tire is bald. Even though you try ridiculously hard to explain to the mechanic/tire putter-onner that you are NOT a complete imbecile and that you do know at least enough about cars to get you by, he stares at you with this, "Ha, typical girl, I wonder if she lets her oil run dry, too" expression on his face, while he's smiling and being polite. Ass.

Also, I want to play Gears of War. Or hell, something with a little violence. At least then I can pretend I'm a man that knows about vehicles, doesn't fall down because there's a virtual barrier, doesn't have a period and can get away with being cranky.

Ugh. I want a plum. Or maybe some grape tomatoes. Yum, that sounds good.

21 August 2009

January 20, 2009

By popular demand, the retelling of the worst date in history. Enjoy.

Okay, seriously, I went on what was most likely the worst date ever last night ... well, two nights ago now.

It started out fairly entertaining with witty banter and Mexican dishes, although mine should not have contained cheese. I was dumb and forgot to ask the waitress to drown my spinach enchiladas in some salsa or tomato sauce instead of the typical queso. But I didn't, and by the time they arrived, I ate the dairy-covered wraps, knowing that if I reordered them, it would only stretch this date into dreaded eternity. (Now, remember this fact because it will come into play later.)

How did I get from fun to eye-roll inducing? Well, it began with the "L.L. Bean Guy" monologue. "I want to be L.L. Bean Guy, with my XTerra, boots and tall socks and shorts" or "I can do that because I'm L.L. Bean Guy" kept creeping into our conversation, usually at the most awkward of moments. Maybe awkward isn't the correct term; I'll go with "never fitting the situation." I mean, I'm all for recalling a funny moment that can add on to the humor of a current one (I've done it before and the technique's worked well), but to randomly insert it into conversation is confusing and quite frankly one of the most annoying things ever, especially when it happens about four or five times and when it wasn't funny to begin with.

Unfortunately, his humor didn't improve. It was like I was sitting across the table from a meld of Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Luke and Owen Wilson, and Vince Vaughn (feel free to add any frat boy movie actor in at any time). He kept repeating things in this high-pitched whisper and then laughing hysterically. Forced laughs from me were abound like rabbits in springtime, let me tell you.

Then, he was rude to the waitress. I have been a waitress for over a year, and so this was exceptionally telling to me. Apparently, she had nothing better to do than wait on us. It took me a while to decide what I wanted because it all had cheese and nothing looked good to me. I finally decided on the spinach enchiladas, with plans to ask her to hold the cheese on top. As she walked by to go greet another table, he grabbed her (literally) and said, "We're ready. I'll have the" whatever he ordered. I just glared at him and apologized to the waitress, although I think both she and he thought I was saying sorry for my delayed order. Okay, so I'm not a complete traditionalist, but in every other date I've been on, the guy let me order first. That's the way my dad is and so I expect it. But that was the minor thing. He just rudely stopped the waitress, obviously throwing her off. And it wouldn't be so bad if he hadn't done it again later when we ordered dessert. At that point, she was exasperated so she told him that he would have to wait a few minutes before she put in the order.

So while we were waiting, we chatted a bit and it was very informative. I apparently am a moron because I don't like Cheesitz. Or Cheesits. Or however the hell you're supposed to spell it. I don't care, because I don't like them. I don't like them because I can't eat them; they make me sick. Literally. Then, I am also weird for liking celery, which, according to my date, is just a plant filled with water and is not a food. Um. Well, most vegetables are just plants filled with water, as is, actually most food. Water is the most abundant nutrient is, as far as I know, all foods. And celery is a food. And it's a good snack. Not nutritious, as it requires more energy to break it down than it offers, but it's healthy, especially with peanut butter spread on top for the protein. I had debates on both of these topics. And I'm sorry, the way to getting a girl to like you is not to mock her eating choices, especially since most of mine are due to the fact that I'm allergic to dairy. Good work, buddy.

During the times he wasn't referencing his love for the L.L. Bean lifestyle, laughing at my diet choices and making the waitress working harder than she needed to, there was pretty much silence. For those of you who know me well know that I can talk to anyone and anything with little effort. Just ask the right questions and you will always get a response. Plus, when we had talked on the phone, we literally chatted on for about four or five hours. Two days in a row. With never a dull moment or a retarded joke.

By the time our desserts arrived, my stomach was starting the churn. That stupid cheese. Or I guess it could have been my savior, had I heeded it's rumblings. I ate my sopapilla sans ice cream and whipped cream (He called it my honey-covered cracker, to which I sarcastically smiled. Thanks, I know my dessert sucks. If I could, I would be eating fried ice cream like you, ass). And finally, when she laid down the check, I tried to reach for the bill to see what my half was, but he grabbed it. Okay, he got a cool point there. (And oh, my GOODNESS, he kept awarding himself cool points throughout the meal. Growl.) We waited for the waitress to bring back the black book and he tried to make me slap the ice cream with a spoon. Yes. You read that correctly. And he was offended that I didn't know it somehow was a reference to "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," a movie I never plan to see. And he was offended that there were other movies topping my to-see list. Okay, whatever, dude.

By then, I had forgotten that this was only half of our date. Yay, now we get to go to a movie. I could have and should have left at this point, and my excuse could have been my stomach. It wouldn't have been a lie and he would have saved about thirty dollars. But I followed him in my car to the theater and begrudgingly got out of my car. My only criteria for what we watched: it had to be short. We picked "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans." Honestly, not that bad of a movie. No award winner, to be sure, but it was entertaining enough. And it left me strangely attracted to Michael Sheen. Why did Kate Beckinsale leave him? Anyway, while we were waiting for the previews to start, he figured this would be a perfect opportunity to throw in some jokes. Only this time, they were downright making fun of me: "Oh, my name's Jenn and I am lactose-intolerant and I ate cheese. My stomach hurts!" Those were his exact words that he repeated about fifteen times, in the same breathy, annoying voice I described earlier. Then he tried to convince me, "That's funny! Come on, it's funny!" No, seriously, it's really not. And it just got worse.

For those of you who know me, I hate being talked to during movies; some movies are more cerebral than others and if you miss one thing, you are lost later on in the movie. Granted, "U:RotL" was not one of these movies, but the visuals were stimulating. But he felt that it was time for the high five game. I don't know exactly what the hell he was doing, but every couple of things he said, he'd put up his hand in celebration. I regret doing it once (I needed help opening up my bottled water and I gave in, although he wanted a kiss on the cheek instead. Yeah, right) because it only egged him on. He finally told me that I was stingy in my handing out of high fives and I was just said, "Okay." Then, he put his hand right next to my face, saying that he wasn't going to move it until I gave him a high five. I was so irritated at this point that I just let him put it there. How old are you, four?? And if that wasn't bad enough, he started pushing my face. Yes, friends. He actually took his hand and pushed my face, saying, "You're giving me a face high five." You have no idea how mad I was growing. I was considering punching him right in the jaw and leaving, but violence is not the answer. Instead I shot him a dirty look, and thank GOD, he left me alone for the remainder of the movie.

However, the final nail in the coffin was when he left his Sour Skittles wrapper in the floor. When I asked him if he was going to throw it away, he told me that everyone else left their trash. I wryly grinned and held up my empty box of Junior Mints, which I promptly threw into the trash can. We pretty much walked in silence out to the parking lot. The good-bye was understandably awkward with no eye contact and a false "I had fun." I almost sprinted to my car, saying aloud, "Won't be hearing from him again." Oh, and I forgot to mention that I called both my mother and my friend during the drive to the movie to tell them how horrible this date was. My friend found it amusing as all get out, my mother wanted to know how much longer I would be out, and both couldn't figure out why I didn't just end the date. I really wish I had. But I wouldn't have this fun story to tell.

At this point, I'm thinking Hell will include freezing temperatures and annoying man-children that only tell Will Ferrell-inspired "jokes." At least Will Ferrell is humorous most of the time, "Semi-Pro" not included. My God, I may never date again.

20 August 2009

Office Politics, or: How I Survived Training Without Killing Someone ... Yet

My tolerance for people this week has been frighteningly low. I have cussed at drivers who really hadn't done anything wrong; I've gotten angry at people that weren't trying to slight me. I've just been rather pissy. Granted, it doesn't help that, for 6 hours a day, I'm in a small conference room with eight people I don't know, two of whom are excruciatingly annoying human beings that manage to drive me to the end of my rope on a daily basis. At times, it gets so irritating that I can barely control my ire-ridden laughter.

Take Mr. Talks Too Much and Inappropriately Has Outbursts, alternately and forthwith known as Douche Turd. DT and I already have a history, since we both interviewed for a job at the Tennessee Human Services state office in Nashville a few months ago. For a while, I had Judy (I can't remember her name, so we'll go with this one) to talk to about the economy and whatever chitchatty crap I could come up with. But when she had to go make a phone call, DT attempted to hit on me and then went on this ramble about wearing a top hat and doing a dance routine for the interviewers. I was very thankful when I was called in for my turn. And when he showed up at the training, the only word that I could say: "Motherfucker."

Well, his sheer lack of charisma wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't so determined to prove that he DID have it. During the first week of training, our trainer posed a question, and his way of answering it was to ramble on about how he didn't know their backgrounds, where they went to school, what type of house they lived in, whatever whatever whatever. I just glared at him, while the trainer just interrupted him abruptly after about two minutes. And he's like that with EVERYTHING. He tries SO hard to be funny and witty, and it just comes across as awkward and forceful.

Then there's Ms. I Know All and Whoever Disagrees with Me is Just Wrong, or Snobby Sue, as I'll be referring to her. The name kind of says it all. She is condescending to everyone, even though she is brand new to this stuff, as well. I didn't mind her at first because she seemed genuinely nice, but I think that's before she realized that I don't agree with her politically and then started treating me like I was some sort of cretin.

Judging from the remarks from her mouth, I would have to say that she is probably not going to last very long as a case worker. She has a very negative opinion of people who come in to file for government assistance. Every one of her questions revolves around how to catch people not reporting stuff. Or trying to make someone look stupid, which I'll cover later. And by my luck, I get to sit right next to her.

Anyway, for the past several days, we've had a substitute trainer, who we'll call Cee. She is very different from our actual trainer and the previous substitute trainer, Sid the I-Don't-Wanna-Actually-Work Guy. (Our formal trainer is going through some training herself for the month of August.) Cee is very by-the-book and goes through things fairly slowly, which would bug me if it wasn't stuff that needed to be carefully explained. This is government benefits, after all. However, other people seem to feel like it's not fun and entertaining, like Sid. I, for one, learned absolutely jack shit last week. Sure, Sid was nice, but he didn't teach us anything. It was basically review. And seriously, the manuals and policy guides are not meant for light, beach side reading. It's like Leviticus in the Bible - quite frankly tedious but worth it at the end.

Needless to say, at least three of the class (including Snobby Sue and DT - the third guy, Quiet Kurt, just avoids talking because he feels like Cee is attacking people when she's really just trying to keep her train of thought) is acting like a high schooler would in a boring class, something that I didn't expect for people over the age of 30. Apparently, immaturity does not correlate with age. Out of class, they have nothing but bad things to say about Cee, and in class, they treat her with no respect. DT has decided that he will just start yelling and talk over Cee. "I just don't understand this. Where are you getting those numbers? Are you picking them arbitrarily?" And just today, in the middle of reading a short bit on food stamp policy, he just burst out with, "Apparently, I just don't get anything! I don't know what's going on!" etc. Of course, Cee tried to figure out what was going on, but he never really explained. He just got quiet again.

With Snobby Sue, she actually has tried to make the trainer look like an idiot. Today, she tried to whip out the policy manual to show Cee how the information on the board was incorrect (which it wasn't). Understandably, Cee said, "I've been doing this for 25 years. I think I know the policy." When we were doing calculations on food stamp allotment, SS got a different answer from everyone. She actually had the audacity to say, "Well, there's no way I'm wrong. Everyone else must have just done it incorrectly."

To be completely honest, I can handle DT. Sure, he gets dirty looks from me and I could probably strangle him without feeling too much remorse, but I think ultimately that he is harmless. But SS? Not only does she treat the trainer like crap, but she also looks down at the other trainees. Yesterday, same situation of calculating allotment, and I needed to know when the last leap year was, because benefits are different in leap year February, what with the extra day and all. I couldn't remember if it was 2006 or 2008, so I asked the class. SS turned to me and said, "Leap Year is when February has 29 days."

Yeah, okay. Not my question. I wouldn't have snapped if her tone would have been different. But it was that "God, what an idiot" ring to it that made me want to grab a pen and stab her through the eye. Immediately, another classmate jumped in with the right answer (2008, by the way), which is good for SS.

Then today while we were on a break, I was talking with another girl in my class that I actually like, Tia, about politics. Nothing heated, just updating each other on the current health care debate. Well, as soon as I started on my opinions, SS (who had been observing but not participating in the conversation) sighed and turned in her chair, shaking her head. I raised my eyebrows at Tia, who had to stifle a giggle - her level of dislike for SS is almost bordering on hatred - but continued discussing the topic. For the rest of class, any time I would say something, SS would just shake her head back and forth, getting to the point where I just asked her what her problem was. She didn't say anything; she just stared at her computer screen. And this woman is well into her 40s.

Maybe it will be better next week. Well, considering Cee is going to be here for another week, I'm not so sure about that. It's not that I don't like her. I do. She is much better than Sid was, although her voice is kind of a soft-spoken monotone. But she is also incredibly nice, if only judging by the fact that she hasn't kicked DT or SS out of her class yet.

But I can guarantee you this: I will be drinking tequila this weekend.

19 August 2009

Take These Pink Ribbons Off My Eyes

You know, it's bad enough when a man automatically assumes you can or can't do something based upon your ownership of ovary real estate, but I think it just might be worse when that attitude comes from a woman.

I pride myself in being able to take care of most things when it comes to cars. I can change my own oil (but don't because I don't want to); I know how to change a tire in 95 degree weather and a dress; and I keep a little pouch of emergency items, like jumper cables, in the trunk. I'm no mechanic, but I can tell the difference between a battery and an alternator. I know when to go for help, and I usually call my dad or my friends who are mechanics or work on cars as a hobby.

Anyway, yesterday, a friend of mine left her lights on all day, thus rendering her battery dead when we were dismissed from training at 3:30. I told her I had jumper cables with me and that I would help her, but when I arrived with my Aveo, lo and behold, she had an older gentleman with her. Which, you know, is fine, except that I already had my hood up with the cables connected to my battery. So me = all ready to go.

Well, dude pops his hood and asks for my cables. Blinks galore from me. But I unclip them and hand the cord to the guy, all the while staring at her incredulously.

"I'm just terrified of the sparks," she said.

Okay ....... I mean, I guess I could have damaged her confidence in me by having to text my friend, asking if it mattered which colored end was clamped first (which is doesn't), but it's not like I'm incompetent. I have two arms and two hands, I know what a battery is, and I can differentiate between black and red.

To make a long story short, I was fairly annoyed for a minute but got over it once I realized that I wasn't having to do any physical labor, as simple as it was, in the heat. So, yay for me. But the concept still burned in my brain for the next few hours.

Have we, as women, completely been brainwashed into thinking that a man can solve our problems? I mean, look at the lady mags that I personally loathe. Nearly every situation or quiz eventually about how to find/keep a boyfriend/husband/whatever, implying that, without such an accessory, our lives are somehow left wanting. After we manage to snag a member of the opposite sex, it's all sunshine and kittens, according to the Elle/Cosmo/Marie Claire/etc. Powers That Be.

The sheer idea that we cannot function separate from a male partner really gets me riled. I can balance my own checkbook, do my own taxes, take care of my own car, mow the lawn (and maintain the mower), play Miss Fix-It in my own residence ... This list could continue for pages, and I'm assuming that a great number of other women can do the same thing. I guess this goes back to an earlier post, where I posed the scenario of a woman feeling accomplished because she did something period or having that same emotion because we did it without help from the menz. I'm always amazed and slightly irritated when a man patronizingly congratulates me when I tell him that I've done something that is usually male dominated.


Me: Remember that rattling in my car I was telling you about? I figured out that when I was checking my oil I didn't completely secure the little prop up thing.
Guy: Really? Good for you. I'll bet that was hard for you, you know, as a girl.

If I were a guy, I don't think the congratulations would have been offered, seeing as I would have been preternaturally given knowledge of all things with an engine at birth due to my penis. But it was the last sentence that really made me go off on this friend of mine. "Yeah, it was really hard to lift the hood and see it dangling there." He made a hasty retreat into the excuses of, "Well, most girls just go ask for help if something's wrong" and "They don't try to figure it out on their own, especially if they have the information readily available." This portion of our conversation was quickly terminated, once he saw that I was about ready to strangle him. I think we then talked about the new "Gears of War" comic. Oh, and he also thinks it's hot that I'm into that sort of thing, which just confuses me. I don't get all turned on when a guy friend of mine likes stereotypically female interests. I just don't understand, and really don't think I ever will. Until then, I'll refuse to ride side saddle, I'll eat big steaks and I'll enjoy blowing up things on my xbox.

And in closing, I leave you with this:

18 August 2009

Me vs. Green Veggie

Okay, so true story.

Today, I decided to venture out of my usual skipping lunch and scribbling ineffectually away in my notebook and went to eat with my friend Cari. She suggested that we go to this Thai restaurant over on Woodland Street, and after thinking to myself that I hadn't had anything other than preprocessed, heat lamp cuisine over the past couple of weeks, I agreed.

It's this little rundown shack of a place that I've driven by a million times and yet never realized was a restaurant. And, come to think of it, I'm wondering how it passes health inspection codes. There is plywood for walls, one of them spray painted in a black and white polka dot fashion and a giant outline of what I thought was someone's representation of a window, but we all know that all artists are misunderstood. Through an actual window from the patio where we ate, you can peer into the kitchen, which looks clean enough, but you kind of have to overlook the 85 different appliances plugged into one ancient-looking outlet next to the stove. I mean, this is just a blaze waiting to happen.

The meal went normally enough, with a very friendly waiter and quick service. The spring rolls were awesome, and my sweet and sour stir fry dish (it had a name, but I'm not about to try and remember the spelling of pronunciation) had the perfect mix of fruit, chicken and veggies. I've never really liked pineapple until this afternoon, if that says anything. I even got to try Cari's drunken noodles, which I will be ordering next time I go there. I finished off my rice and then started picking at the remaining bits of my lunch.

I came across what appeared to be a green bean; I thought, that's strange, and then proceeded to bite down. And I'm not even speaking in hyperbole here, within milliseconds, my mouth erupted, and I frantically searched for anything that might calm my poor tastebuds. I had no more rice, I had drank all of my water, and the only thing left on my plate were a few bits of chicken, which does nothing at all for an extremely hot pepper in your mouth. I started sucking on ice cubes, but not even that helped. The poor waiter couldn't really do anything except bring me more iced tea, so I suffered for about 15 minutes with this weird limbo between numbness and extreme pain in my mouth. Cari was laughing with me, especially after I had to tell myself not to wave over the firefighters driving by. Our waiter gave me a to-go cup of water and a little bit of rice to take off some of the edge of that damned pepper.

So, even nearly twelve hours later, the roof of my mouth feels like it was burned with scalding coffee.

There's no moral here, except maybe not everything that looks like a green bean is a green bean. But, the more you know ......

16 August 2009

I am not a pretty girl .....

Ani DiFranco - Not A Pretty Girl

Back in high school, I discovered the greatness that is Ani Difranco. At that age, I was just looking for something different from Britney Spears and the other cookie cutter "artists" flooding the music scene, so it was refreshing to hear someone like Ani.

I am not a pretty girl. That is not what I do.
I ain't no damsel in distress, and I don't need to be rescued.
So put me down, punk; maybe you'd prefer a maiden fair.
Isn't there a kitten, stuck up a tree somewhere?

It was the biting remarks that I appreciated at the time. They were a not so subtle "screw you" to pretty much anyone who misunderstood me, especially the boys. Oh, those silly boys. Thankfully, I have gotten past that.

I am not an angry girl, but it seems like I've got everyone fooled.
Every time I say something they find hard to hear,
They chalk it up to my anger and never to their own fear.
And imagine you're a girl, just trying to finally come clean,
Knowing full well they'd prefer you were dirty and smiling.

The one thing I hated about being in high school was that I had been in school with the same people since I was in the 4th grade. That kind of consistency does not allow for evolution of personality and character. Instead, even as I grew and changed, mostly for the better, I was stuck in this weird limbo of geeky girl who never spoke much more than necessary. And then apparently, I became what the above lyrics described. It even lingers somewhat to this day, at least to the people who didn't get to know me much past a "hi" in the hallway.

And I am sorry I am not a maiden fair,
And I am not a kitten, stuck up a tree somewhere.

Who would have thought that nearly 8 years has gone past and I am still moved by what she has to say? The same lyrics come through the speakers, but suddenly, it all has new meaning. This interpretation is much more universal, rather than specifically geared towards my peers. It speaks towards my position as a woman; I'm expected to be something I'm not. I'm not a quiet bystander and I will call you out. And I'm not looking for someone to take care of me. There's a certain amount of accomplishment from making it on your own.

And what if there are no damsels in distress?
What if I knew that and I called your bluff?
Don't you think every kitten figures out how to get down,
Whether or not you ever show up?

For me, the question is this: should I feel more accomplished because I am a woman and I did something all by my onesies? I'm not asking this out of malice, believe me. It is just very frustrating to be a woman and have all of these expectations of me. I am more than my appearance. I am more than the words the come from my mouth and from my hands. But I'm not viewed that way. (And by no means am I claiming that men have it easy. That is a whole other set of issues that I cannot even come close to accurately describing, seeing as I don't have to deal with it.)

Anyway, I will close with Ani's final stanza ...

I am not a pretty girl.
I don't want to be a pretty girl.
No, I wanna be more than a pretty girl.

14 August 2009

Please, The River, Teach Young Girls to Give It Up to Musicians

I was listening to 107.5 The River. Why? I'm not really that sure. I probably was focusing on the asshole who cut in front of me or something of that nature. But there I was, with my radio dial turned to one of two major Nashville pop stations. By the time I had started paying attention, it was on a commercial break, and something about the JoBro came on. At first, I couldn't tell you what the hell a JoBro was, but I guess that shows you how big a rock I've been under. I thought it was an ad for a new brand of fashionable boxers or whatever. It became abundantly clear within a few seconds that is was actually an advert for the Jonas Brothers.

First of all, let me clarify. I only know a few scant details about this new tween craze. I know that they are boys, that they are a "band," that a lot of people think they suck, one of them dated and may still be dating Miley Cyrus and/or Taylor Swift, and that one of them danced and lip synced to Beyonce's "All the Single Ladies."

But other than that, I'm totally out of the loop. But this absurd apparent dedication of preteen and early teen girls irritates me, akin to the rabid fixation that I've read and heard about in terms of Robert Pattison (or whatever his name is) and the whole Twilight silliness. When I was growing up, I followed the trends of picking a Backstreet Boy or N*Sync member to fawn over, but it was mainly because all of my friends were involved with this. If it were up to me, I would have been harboring my severe crush on Fyodor Dostoevsky or Johnny Depp in the open, but alas, I had not developed a backbone at that point in my life.

Anyway, back to The River. As this commercial continued, it sounded harmless. Girls were instructed how to respond if they ran into a "JoBro," repeating, "I love you" ad nauseum. Which, you know, teen girls use the word "love" in regards to their favorite leggings, so I wasn't really concerned here. But unfortunately for me, I listened to the very end of this, mainly out of curiosity. Well, the final recitation from the girls at this "How to Speak to Famous Boys" academy was, "Yes, I will go back to your hotel room with you."

I turned off my radio and sat in silence for a minute. Seriously???? It's bad enough if you are an adult woman to do this, because you don't know how many other women and diseases they've slept with out of opportunity, but to encourage that behavior to a member of the demographic that listens to the Jonas Brothers? Irresponsible. I got angrier and angrier as my drive continued.

Working in DHS as I do now, I understand that girls are having sex (and getting pregnant) at very young ages, so the idea that someone as young as 13 would offer herself is not really that shocking. Well, on a personal level, it is, because at 13, I was like, ew, penises are gross, but statistically, it isn't that uncommon. I suppose what is so disturbing is that it was a sort of subliminal message that they just tagged on at the end. In marketing terms, brilliant mode, but what exactly are they marketing? Was it really necessary?

Okay, before I go on a diatribe, because I'm still seriously angry about this, I'm going to go hop on the treadmill to work out some angst.

02 August 2009

Imagination Station

Don't worry, kiddies, I am not suffering from writer's block. Well, that's good news to me, anyway, but I think that's just the weird artist in me. Either way, I've just been super busy and super exhausted for the past two weeks.

I knew it was going to be metaphorical murder on my body as soon as I found out I would be starting work again. The fact that my sleeping schedule was all out of wacky sorts was only one part of it. You'd think that nearly 11 hours a day of sitting would be easy, but it's really not. I wake up between 5:30 and 6 am every morning, drive between 45 minutes to an hour to work, sit at my desk until 4:30 pm, then drive home, which usually takes a little over an hour, depending on afternoon traffic. When I get home, I have to fight to stay awake past 8 pm. I have started this "stay healthy" regimen, where I exercise when I get back to the house, but it's getting harder to stick with it.

Now, this is not to say that I dislike being employed. Au contrair, mon ami. I didn't realize how much I missed having to get out of the house. Plus, my entire office is full of incredibly nice people with whom I have a lot in common. And of course, there's the benefits. Thank God for Uncle Sam and his state employee health care.

Anyway, with my above stated sleepiness comes overactive imagination during sleep. I had a very strange dream the other night involving a particularly sexy Viking in a lush fur coat. Okay, I have to describe it as I saw it, and I'll just go ahead and warn you now: it's like a really weird, indecipherable arthouse film. So, I'm in the ocean next to this wooden boat, and the water is up to my shoulders. I'm basically looking like a mermaid, only I'm wearing clothes. Whatever. Moving on. I look up and the sail has started to smolder, even though I haven't seen any lightning and it's only drizzling. My gaze then moves towards a Viking (who looks oddly familiar, like a character actor that you always recognize but can't place where you saw them last) who is staring down at me with this serence expression on his face, and I ask him, "It's going to burn, isn't it?" He smiles and says, "Of course." Suddenly, the water starts to rise from beneath me, and I'm nearly to the deck level of the boat. The Viking extends his hand to me and helps me aboard his doomed ship, saying something along these lines: "Before I die ... I love you." Then he starts to cry, and he kisses me, briefly stopping in between smooches to say, "I love you" and cry some more. And then I was woken up by the sound of my cell phone ringing. (I'm determined to use this in some way in one of my stories, but I'm unsure as to how I'm going to do that. But I will do it.) My dreams have been weirder than that, but that's the most recent one that I can recall.

Well, I'm going to have to cut this short, seeing as I have to get up in a few short hours to hop on the treadmill and then go to my first day of training. Wish me luck!