Sunday, December 4, 2011


Lots of times, when you're at a funeral, you hear things like "So and so wouldn't have wanted us to be sad and cry. So and so would have wanted us to celebrate her life and be happy". Well I am saying now, for the record, that at my funeral, I do not want you to celebrate my life. That's what birthdays are for. At my funeral I want you to mourn my death. Because that's what funerals are for. And you should be said if I'm dead. I'm a delight.

That being said, I am in no way opposed to the insertion of dark humor into the proceedings. Dark humor is the best and most healthy way to grieve.

For instance, I would really like it if, in secret, one of you hired 20 or 30 Yakuza members (or at least tatted up Japanese dudes who look like they could be Yakuza) to attend my funeral. They should all be wearing sunglasses, and they should speak to no one. Then they should simply leave when the service is over. You can substitute Crips, the Mafia, or any other criminal organization. Let your imagingation run wild!

Another thing I would like, is if someone places my body in a booth at the Pei Wei. As you know, the Pei Wei is the most disgusting restaurant in the world, ever. I like to think that my dead body would discourage people from patronizing their establishment. Especially if you smear some of their "food" over my face and body, making it look like the food is what killed me.

Also, Phil needs to get up at the funeral and sing "Wind Beneath My Wings". Really badly. And it will be the most awkward thing in the world for all assembled because 1)his singing will be horrible, and 2)Phil is NOT the type to sing in front of a large crowd, alone. Plus, as the griving widower, he gets to do whatever he wants. So NO ONE will allow themselves to laugh.
Even though it will be hilarious.

***Side note*** You may wonder why I assume Phil will outlive me. Here's why. I operate on a very high level of stress. And I spent the first 22 years of my life eating garbage and not exercising. Phil is the epitome of enlightenment and glowing emotional health. For instance, you know how sometimes when you park your car, people come put fliers and business cards under your windshield? Those make me angry. I pull them off and throw them on the ground, because it's not my mess, and I'm not cleaning it. Then I immediately add the company being advertised to my Book Of Hate, and resolve to never patronize their establishment. Phillip, on the other hand, calmly takes the flier and places it in the nearest trash receptacle. He doesn't get angry. Not only does he neglect to put the company in his Book Of Hate, HE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A BOOK OF HATE. That's how I know he'll outlive me. That kind of enlightenment and calm will ensure that he lives forever, like Methusala or one of those Buddhist monks in the Tibetan mountains. *****

Really the sky is the limit, as far as pranks go. I honestly don't care what happens to my body after I'm done using it. Donate it to a necrophiliac. Or to drug runners in Mexico so they can smuggle drugs in my cavities. Or someone who has always been curious about cannibalism, but doesn't have the courage or sociopathic tendencies required to obtain human meat. I truly don't care. At all.

I remember a few years back, there was a cremator guy who got arrested for fraud or something like that. His cremation machine broke, and rather than fix it, the guy just buried the bodies in his back yard. And people's families LOST THEIR MINDS. They were all like "How could he do this? Waaaah! I'm so angry and upset and horrified!". I don't understand that at all. Yes, I guess you didn't get what you paid for. But your loved one is no less dead cremated than buried. The body was disposed of, which is really the point, right? I guess it would be weird to know that the urn you have is filled with regular ashes and not Grandma ashes, but as long as you got to have a funeral and grieve and let the healing process begin, what do you care if she was buried instead of cremated? The cremator guy got life in prison for this.

My only request is that before dealing with my body, you MAKE SURE I'm dead before you dispose of me. I have a morbid fear of being buried alive, you see. So play a bunch of pranks with me for a few days. Use me for target practice. Throw me in a swimming pool for 3 days with weights on my feet. Do whatever you have to do, but you must be certain I'm dead before you do the final disposal.

For this reason, I prefer to be cremated, which will most certainly assure my death. But if I am buried, for whatever reason, and you didn't keep my body out for a few days to make sure it's dead, make sure that you put an Edgar Allen Poe style bell in my grave, with my hands resting on the lever, so in case I wake up I can notify you.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Liar Liar

In my yoga teacher training they introduced the concept of "satya". Satya is basically honesty; but it extends beyond simply not telling lies. It also includes lying with your actions, or not living your truth. It came to me recently that I lie with my actions all the time because of my job. I believe that all these lies have infested me, making me stressed and sick and angry. And it needs to change. Here are just some of the ways I lie with my actions.

First of all, working in finance is, in and of itself, a lie. Devoting so much of my time to something that bores me to tears - something I don't care at all about - is draining in the extreme. And it is untrue. It says to the world "I am a finance person. I like numbers and typing and cubicles. I find this sort of thing interesting, obviously, or I wouldn't spend so much time doing it". That is a lie.

Also, being obedient is a lie. I am not by nature an obedient person. I like to reason things out myself and make my own decisions. In an office environment, that is not possible unless you are the CEO, which is not a likely career step for me - see the previous paragraph. Every time I obey an order with which I do not agree or which I don't comprehend the reasons behind, that is a big fat lie. My actions say "I agree with this. I am a yes-woman. I do as I'm told like a good bitch".

I frequently have to attend meetings and trainings of various kinds, due to the changing nature of my work. Sitting passively in these meetings is a lie, because it implies that I care about this crap. Asking questions and making related comments is also a lie, for the same reason. The only honest thing to do would be to skip the meeting or to attend the meeting and pull the discussion off track onto things that actually matter or are in some way interesting. Neither is acceptable in an office environment.

Also, I am frequently asked for advice by ignorant shareholders. I am not supposed to give advice, per company policy, since I am not a licensed stock-broker. But this is a lie against my nature. It is my nature to help others if I can. And while I certainly wouldn't tell them "I am the God of Finance, and my word is law" if left to my own devices, sure, I would talk with them and tell them what I would do in their situations. Refusing to do so is a lie. Lies, all lies!

Also, the very nature of office work is a lie. Succeeding in an office environment has very little to do with merit, and is mostly about pleasing the right people. If you can please the right people, you will do well. If you do something to piss those people off, then you will not do well. Supposedly the business world should function as a meritocracy, but that is far from the case. And I'm not referring to myself; I fully acknowledge that I am not a businesswoman, and that I have no place in office management, etc. But I can think of several people who are intelligent, competent and wonderful who have not been promoted to higher ranks within their respective businesses, simply because they failed to attract the attention of those on power. Sometimes this is because they were overshadowed by attention-seeking sycophants; sometimes it is simply because they are introverted and quiet. Either way, it is troubling to see people who have little in the way of intelligence, integrity, people skills or competence rewarded over the more deserving, but less abrasive employees. I'm not saying that no one who is successful in business deserves it. Of course, many people in power have earned their positions fair and square and are truly deserving. But it's worrisome how often that is not the case.

I am also the kind of person who, by nature, refuses to be bullied and will always stand up for herself. That is not possible in a workplace. If you stand up for yourself, you will be described as "argumentative" or as a person who "can't take criticism" or is "not a team player". When I listen quietly to erroneous and unfair "feedback" without standing up for myself I am a dirty, low down liar.

When I wear shoes because it pleases others, I am lying.

When I go to work when I'm sick, just to avoid using forbidden sick time, I am lying. I am saying "I am totally fine to work, even though my stomach is on fire/my joints are inflamed/I can't stop coughing/I can't talk". Lies.

When I stop myself from making funny jokes, I am lying. It's a lie of omission and a lie against my nature.

Ever since college I have tried to force myself into a normal office job, because that's what normal people do, and I wanted a normal life with contort and stability. What I have come to realize is that you canm have comfort and stability without working in an office, killing yourself slowly, forcing yourself into a situation that feels unnatural and unwholesome to you. I'm not judging people who work in offices. They are necessary to the world, and they are certainly a lot tougher than I am for being able to tolerate it. I admire them for it. But I can't keep joining them.

Soon I will have my yoga certification and it will all be over. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Two Dumb Reasons to Get Divorced

Not so much in my generation, but in my parents' generation, you often - OFTEN - heard people cite a lack of love as a reason for divorce. They would and do say things like "He doesn't love me anymore" or "We grew apart" or "The excitement was gone" blah blah. Of course, you never know what a marriage is like from the inside, so maybe there is much more going on than these statements imply, but if these are the only reasons you're getting a divorce, I have one piece of advice.

Suck it up.

You're not always going to feel excitement and passion in a marriage. And you may even grow apart and start to live separate lives. So what? If you grow apart, now you're suddenly thrust into a living arrangement with a mysterious stranger. Seduce that stranger! Now is your chance to start fresh in a new relationship!

But maybe you're still close, and still living the same lives, but you just don't feel in love anymore. So? You will again eventually, if you don't try to force it. Just take a break from each other or whatever, and before long you'll be back in love again. Like that comedian says - "Bitch, we roommates. We'll fall back in love together".

Another dumb reason people get divorced is "It's better for the children to grow up in a single parent household than in a house where the parents are fighting all the time". Ok, that may be true or it may not be. Let's say it is though. So? This reasoning implies that fighting is some crazy thing that happens to you, beyond your control. It's not. You control whether you fight or not. It's a decision you make. Of course, it's natural for couples to bicker and argue from time to time, but those kinds of normal fights don't traumatize children, so that's not a legitimate excuse for divorce. It's the major fights that do it, where the parents are physically abusive, or smashing furniture or threatening suicide. It is entirely within your power to avoid those kinds of fights. And if you have so little self control that you can't contain yourselves, you probably shouldn't have kids anyway - just give them up for adoption.

I suppose it's easy for me to say, since Phil and I don't fight much, and when we do it's resolved pretty quickly. I guess if I was in a relationship with someone who was deliberately provoking me all the time, I might feel differently. But I like to think I would have the good sense not to marry someone like that in the first place.

I guess I feel like these two reasons cited for divorce can be solved easily using one basic skill; manners. If you don't feel super in love with your spouse today, that doesn't mean you should act like an asshole or go out and cheat on him or whatever. Nor do you have to fake being wildly in love, falling over yourself with passion. Just simply be polite. Same if you have a problem with fighting all the time. You can choose to not be baited into a fight. Just use your manners, be civil to each other and the bad times will pass. Some people may say it's dishonest, just going through the motions like that. I say, it's about treating your spouse with respect, no matter how you feel about him that day or that year. Just suck it up and do what you have to do until the good times come around again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Comrade Molly Is Watching You

My dog is a communist. I just realized this today.

First of all, she firmly and passionately advocates the redistribution of wealth (food). When she perceives that others in her group (Phillip and I, or guests we have in our house) are hoarding food, she takes immediate action to remedy the situation (steals food off plates and counters). Molly knows that without an equitable redistribution of food among all members of the group, a hierarchy is formed, wherein some members control the wealth (food) and others must behave in a subservient fashion in order to obtain a living wage's portion of the wealth (for instance, sitting politely on the kitchen floor until those who control the food sources permit the proletariat to eat).

Molly also makes no proprietary distinctions. After all, "property" is simply a notion conjured up by the capitalists to keep the proletariat in its lowly place. For instance, many of you may remember when I came home from work to discover two strange men in the backyard, chopping down trees. Molly, making no distinction between "our house" and "your house" or "our trees" and "other trees" welcomed the strange men with happy tail wagging and frolicking. You see, a person cannot "own" a house; nor can she "own" trees. All property ownership is theft. Therefore, those strange men were completely entitled to come onto the patch of land surrounding the domicile where we happen to abide, and of course they were entitled to cut down trees. Trees are for everyone's use; not to be hoarded by us like Capitalist Pigs.

Molly is also vehemently against commercialism and technology. She merrily destroys ipad chargers, cell phone chargers and bottles of medicine. All communists know that technological advances steal jobs from the workers, further removing them from the means of production, as they become slaves to their gadgets and tools.

When I sit down to watch TV after a long day at work, Molly makes her displeasure known. Molly disapproves of me absorbing so much mind control from the corporations via commercials and product placements. Molly knows that my time would be much better spent outside doing work and activities which strengthen the community. Molly will jump on my lap, blocking my view of the screen. If I don't turn the TV off, she jumps down off the couch and goes to her leash. Then she comes back to my lap. Then she goes to the leash. she repeats this many, many times, as if she worries that I have forgotten the path to take from the couch to the leash. She will do this as many times as necessary until she can break me away from the destructive forces of Capitalist Mind Numbing Propaganda.

Molly believes that all of our time should be spent out of doors, exploring the community, chasing small animals for food, chasing toys and getting lots of exercise. She also takes objects from the yards of others (again, a total disregard for "property"), bringing them home and sharing them with us, her lucky dwelling-partners. Whether we want her to share them or not. No matter. Molly would never presume to take ownership of one of her treasures. They belong to us all equally.

Molly also does not believe in privacy. Why should someone need privacy in the bedroom, the bathroom, or any other room? After all, if you have nothing to hide, then why would you object to Molly's monitoring? That's why Molly follows us from room to room- to spy on us and report back to headquarters any unacceptable language or activities. She becomes very upset when thwarted in her monitoring, as often happens when Phillip or I shuts the door, pushing Molly outside.

I'm now going to take Molly on our daily walk, monitoring the neighborhood for suspicious activities, cats, and new unexpected food sources. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dana Versus Nature

It's important to know who you are and to accept the things about yourself that you cannot change. This is a lesson that was reinforced for me during my recent trip to Norway. I'm just never, ever going to be an outdoorsy person; nor am I ever going to be a tough Viking like my Norwegian family members. And I am OK with that.

It started at the cabin. Near my family's farm, there is a cabin called Vikebo. It is beautiful, crafted of lovely rich woods with spectacular views of the fjord. However, it has not electricity, running water or toilet.

It has an outhouse.

If you are unfamiliar with me and my psychological problems, you probably aren't seeing the problem. But if you know me, you are cringing already. My feelings about outhouses are so very strong, it is impossible to truly convey them to you. Language is not a good enough tool; I would need to physically transport you to Hell to make you understand this level of negative emotion I'm talking about here. Outhouses to me represent all that is vile and evil in the world. Every bad idea, every disease, all pain and suffering can be summed up by the existence of the outhouse.

I don't use outhouses.

Well for the first two days in the cabin, I simply reduced my food and liquid consumption. In my mind, if I could just not eat or drink, I could eliminate the need to use the outhouse. I would only eat at other peoples' houses. That was my plan.

Well you can imagine how that worked. Day three I broke down and drank liquids.

I woke up at 2am, like I did every morning. But this time was different. I had to pee.

"Shit" I thought to myself. "OK, let's think this through. We're going to the farm house around 11. I can wait until then. I can. It's just a mind over matter type thing. What I'll do, is I'll go back to sleep and I won't wake up until 10:45 and then it will be fine. Fine."

I laid there in my bed. Thinking. Waiting. But it's not dark and I can't go back to sleep. So now this is a problem. After struggling mightily for two hours I knew what I had to do.

I had to use the outhouse.

I was shaking with fear. I prepared myself by getting my little bottle of hand sanitizer out, making sure it was easy to reach - when combating germs, seconds count. I held my breath of course - everyone knows that if you breathe in an outhouse you will be killed by every class of disease. I couldn't sit on the sit. I just couldn't. So I did what girls often do in this situation, I attempted to hover. However. I was not taking into account the fact that the outhouse was meant for Norwegian Viking Giants, not wee French girls. So my hover turned into more of a "forward bend" and you know what happened.

I peed all over myself.

"FUCK" I screamed. This was not a problem I should have had to deal with. I'm not a baby or an incontinent senior citizen.

Of course, with no running water, I couldn't wash myself or my clothes. My eyes filled with tears of rage. Contaiminated. I was contaminated with pee and outhouse diseases and filth.

Well there was nothing else to do. I walked down to the fjord, stripped my clothes off and decided to hop in to clean myself in the glacier water.

If you have never experienced glacier water at 4am in Norway, take my word for it. It's the coldest thing you will ever feel.

I touched my toe in quickly. My skin burned and the muscles contracted in fury beneath the skin as if to say "No the fuck you don't Dana".

OK. Clothes first. I took my clothes and dunked them in the water, beating them on rocks and getting them moderately clean. When that was done, I couldn't postpone any longer. I needed to clean myself. I sat on a rock and dangled my feet in, trying to get them used to it. They didn't get used to it. But I had no choice.

No choice.

I plunged in up to my waist and shrieked like a banshee, immediately zooming back out of the water to the safety of dry land.

I went back up to my room and got dressed, hating myself for my weakness.

Later that day, when we went to the farmhouse, I took the hottest shower ever, scouring every inch of my skin until it was lobster red and irritated. Then I refused to leave. It was maybe not the most polite thing I've ever done, but I just couldn't go back to the cabin. I couldn't. I situated myself in a spare bedroom and declared myself home for the duration of the trip.

Cosseted and spoiled with running water and electricity, I happily settled down into my comfortable new place.

But. One day my cousin suggested that we go for a hike.

I explained that I am not a hiker. I don't like hiking - it's really not my thing. My cousin assured me that it was a very easy hike - even her children could do it - and I didn't even need to bring water or anything.

But "easy" is a relative term. To me, an "easy" hike is essentially just a walk that takes place in the woods. To my family, "easy" is a two hour uphill muddy trek on a freaking mountain. All uphill. All. After an hour or so I was like "we're almost there, right?" I was sweating profusely, and was probably dehydrated from my ill-conceived "liquid reduction" plan, and I was not having fun. Prepared for an "easy" hike, I wore my designer jeans and a nice button down blouse from Anthropologie. They were covered in mud and sweat. I felt ugly and tired and miserable. And then I was told we were only about half way there.

Now, maybe if I cared about waterfalls it would have been totally worth it. But you have to understand, I don't really care that much about waterfalls. I mean, yes they're nice and all. I don't think they're UGLY or anything. I just don't think they're something to get all excited about. So, lacking proper motivation, I quit, like the weak spoiled Orange County Princess I have become. I trekked back down the mountain, purchased a bottle of lemon-sparkling water and fooled with my digital camera while I waited for my hardier family members to look at the waterfall and come back down again.

My family members are the nicest people alive. I love them dearly, especially for putting up with Princess Dana, which can be difficult. Ask Phil. But I'm totally intimidated by them. They're so big and strapping and hardy and tough. Compared to them I feel sickly and consumptive and difficult.

Tomorrow I start yoga teacher training. I'm pretty excited about it, except for the fact that our "getting to know you" activity is a one hour hike. They have described it as a "gentle, mellow" hike. In the same email they said to wear comfortable shoes. That's how I know "gentle" and "mellow" are lies.

I've learned that if an activity requires comfortable walking shoes, I'm not going to enjoy it. Unless it's Disneyland. But nothing else. Everything I like to do can be done in heels or barefoot.

The biggest problem is, this is a meet-and-greet type activity. This will be my classmates' first impression of me. That is not a good thing. They will forever have the impression that Dana is "that girl who bitches and moans and sweats and swears and has nothing nice to say about anything". And I'm not like that all the time! I don't want them to think that! But I'm also a truly bad liar. I won't be able to say I'm having a good time, or that it's such a nice day for a hike (It's really hot here! What are they thinking?)or that I'm happy to be there. The best I think I can pull off is brooding silence. But then I'll be "the mopey girl who won't talk to anyone". I don't want to be that girl either. And why do hippies think everyone likes hiking? Why? I signed up for yoga, not hiking! Part of what I love about yoga is that it's typically done indoors. Can I pretend to be sick? Not sure how that will go over....

There are some things about nature I like, however. I enjoy any kind of boat activity. And I also enjoy picnics as long as they don't take too long. But mostly nature terrifies me and makes me unhappy.

Here are some other examples of me versus nature:

Once while camping I attempted to make cheese tortellini with homemade gorgonzola sauce, sautéed mushrooms and wine for dinner. On a campfire. Because I hate camping food which is basically just hot dogs, chips, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and warm soda. So I thought I would classy up the place. It didn't go well. I had to borrow extra pans from some people downriver. I burned the bottoms of the pans which angered them. But seriously!? Who brings pans camping and says you can use them on a campfire and gets mad when the fire scorches them? That's what happens.

Another time while camping, we heard a truck come close to where we were camping. Then there were gunshots. Then there was low murmuring. We raced to my car, where we quietly, QUIETLY got in, covered ourselves with blankets and pretended not to be there. We didn't hear shit. We didn't see anything. Just please please leave us alive.

On hunting trips, I sometimes saw elk herds. Elk herds are terrifying.

See the skiing blog - lots of examples there.

Once during one of my husband's family reunions I got bitten by a mosquito. It was unpleasant.

Once for work I volunteered to to to Yosemite National Park to remove encroaching lodgepole pines. They warned us about "altitude sickness", describing it as getting sick from being on a mountain. "Haha" I said to myself. "That's ridiculous. How could fresh mountain air make you feel sick?". Well, as soon as we got up to 10,000 feet, I was pretty sure I was going to die. My head felt like nails were ramming into it, and my stomach rumbled with displeasure and I couldn't breathe. I didn't feel well. Well, the ranger came and gave us the "bear talk". I had never really been afraid of bears before, but the ranger struck the fear into me. So when literally every single person on the trip decided they wanted to - of course - hike, I felt pressured to go with them in order to avoid being eaten by the bears I would inevitably encounter if left alone. Well, if you have altitude sickness - which I did - a hike is basically the last thing you should do, right behind jogging and doing wind sprints. It made it so much worse that by the time we got back to camp all I could do was lie down, gasping for breath, as my feet went numb and my stomach punished me for depriving it of oxygen. I spent two days lying in a tent, unable to do much else. On day three I was well enough to stand and walk, so I decided to help out with the manual labor. I would lift my shears and do a little work and then go dry heave in the bushes for a few minutes. Then I would work for a few minutes and then I would have to lay down for a few minutes. Repeat.

Once Phil took me hiking in the mountains because he likes stuff like that. After roaming around on Mount Baker for what seemed like ages, I was ready to go. I had tried to be a good sport, but enough is enough. I wanted to eat some Italian food and take a nice hot bath adn put this nightmare behind me forever. Phil said to me "But don't you want to see what's over there?" "I Bet It's More Fucking Trees Phillip" I snapped. Phil was angry with me - and for good reason- I was being horrible. But nature brings that out in me. It's not pretty.

Once I was attacked by a goat.

Another time a goat got on top of my car and wouldn't get off of it. Do you know how to get a goat off your car? I didn't either.

Because I get cold outside, I tend to hover near the fire, no matter what. This usually results in lips so severely chapped that they crack and bleed, and clothes that stink like smoke. The blood from my lips drips onto my stinky clothes. I get progressively uglier as time goes on. By the time the trip is over I look homeless - and not like one of those trendy Portland/Seattle hipster homeless chicks - like the "needs-to-get-back-on-her-meds, someone should really do something" homeless.

My point is, I'm not an outdoors girl, and pretending that I am in an effort to please others only ends in misery.

So perhaps tomorrow I'll show up at yoga teacher training with a massive headache that will prevent me from hiking. Or perhaps I will be late due to traffic or work or whatever. Or perhaps I'll be honest and say "You know, I really prefer not to hike for an hour in the blistering sun with strangers for no reason. I'll just get myself a smoothie or something and wait for y'all. OK?"

Or maybe I'll wuss out and just go on the hike and make everyone hate me because I can't control my bad attitude.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

This is MY Blog. MY blog has to understand ME.

Perhaps you have seen the commercial currently running for "National University". It is a horrifying montage of young people making demands, always putting emphasis on the ME and MY, like spoiled five year olds. The commercial is pandering to young adults who are products of the current culture of child worship, which tells children that they are ENTITLED to a college education. And not only that they are entitled to a college education - they believe - actually believe - that it is the responsibility of the educational system to work hard to cater to their every whim, to make things easier on them, and to coddle them. In this blog, I will deconstruct this commercial line by line, to show it in all of it's horror.

1) MY university must challenge me.

Response: If you want a challenging university, you don't apply to an online program for starters. Also, challenge yourself! Whatever happened to the noble autodidact? I mean, obviously, a college is there to teach you and facilitate your learning, but in the end, you are responsible for your education, no matter what college you attend. Why does everyone want to be spoon fed? Ugh.

2) MY university must allow me to be competitive.

Response: YOU make YOURSELF competitive you little punk, by being a decent human being and learning and working hard.

3) MY university must give me skills that will launch my career.

Response: That's not so unreasonable. Though I object to your demanding tone.

4) MY university MUST offer online options.

Response: Again, not so unreasonable. I understand if you have to hold down a full time job and need online options. OK. You get a pass.

5) MY university has to connect with ME.

Response: This is just awful. You are horrible. First of all, what does that even mean? Is the school supposed to contact you? Remind you of deadlines? Send you surveys to let them know how they're doing? This isn't a telephone company or a restaurant for crying out loud. It's not a concierge. It's a school. Which means that YOU do the majority of the work, including contacting your school.

6) Whereever or whenever I need them.

Response. UGh. Oh this makes me mad. If I had talked with this kind of snotty sense of entitlement as a kid, I would have been drowned in the creek out back by my totally justified parents. "I want what I want when I want it" type statements do not endear you to employers or anyone actually. Perhaps this is why you didn't get into a real college, and why you can't get a decent job. Freaking attitude problems.

7) MY college should understand that MY future starts NOW.

Response: DAAAA. Again with the ME and the MY and the NOW. Who are these people? Could they BE more unlikeable? Besides, this statement makes no sense. Techically speaking, everyone's future starts now. So? What does that even mean? That the college is supposed to throw you some kind of celebration for taking the noble step of enrolling in some online technical school, because your future starts now? Do you want a trophy?

8) MY education should be THEIR priority.

Response: Are you seeing a pattern here? Do you understand why these people have no hope of a bright future? NO. NO stupid kid. Your education should be YOUR freaking priority. YOUR priority. YOUR priority. YOUR priority. THEIR priority is to make money and try to give you some skills so you're a less worthless person. THEIR priority is to keep a functioning business, while enabling you to become a slightly less sorry excuse for a self righteous overly entitled human being you fucking nightmare of a person. You are a monstrous walking abortion, and a slimy cornucopia of demanding mediocrity.

Oh, and by the way. These are some of the activities we see these abominable people engaging in while they make their outrageous demands.

* playing video games
* sitting in an outdoor cafe
* snowboarding
* shopping
* sitting in a bar while people play pool in the background

Really? Really? If this is how you spend your days, what exactly entitles you to anything? If you don't have a good job, which ostensibly you don't, who is funding all these snowboarding and shopping trips? Hmmmm? You're entitled to exactly nothing, aside from your basic civil liberties, because you are a drain on your families, and you're not even nice people, and you contribute nothing to society other than bratty demands and probably bastard children.

Sigh. I'm calming down now.

My point is, higher education is not your personal concierge service. You are supposed to EARN a degree by WORKING for it. It's not something you deserve, just by being alive. You are not entitled to it, and your college is not supposed to work around YOU. It's not all about YOU. If you have to sacrifice nothing to get a degree, then it's just a worthless piece of paper, because you didn't EARN it. Of course, it's not unreasonable to try to find the best program for you; one that matches your needs. But you can't expect a college to conform to every one of those needs; and you certainly shouldn't make demands on television, showing the world how spoiled rotten you are, shaming your grandparents.

Monday, June 6, 2011

KIds Can Be Stoopid Too

Once I was talking to an 16 year old girl about what her plans were for after high school. With a completely serious face, she told me that she wanted to go to med school and be a brain surgeon. This girl was beautiful, funny and kind. She was a lovely person. She was also dumb as a rock.

And yet, no one had properly discouraged her from the "brain surgeon" life path. Why? Because we, as a society, have collectively decided that there are no dumb children. We have decided that all children, regardless of capability, should be encouraged on the same PhD-earning-genius life path, regardless of ability or inclination. In fact, discouraging a child from this path is seen as almost abusive.

Now, of course, I'm aware that the girl I mentioned previously would probably not get into medical school. And if she did, she would probably not graduate. After all, their standards are rigorous and a truly dumb person would not be able to handle it. But a part of me still panicked. Because what if she did get by, scraping by on her looks and charm and kindness? And what if some day I need brain surgery? And what if, as I'm going under, I look into the eyes of the dumb, former sixteen year old as she hums "The knee bone's connected to the....something bone" to herself. I can't move or talk as I go under the knife of the moron, probably never to return to this earth.

What if?

I knew another girl who was attending community college, at the insistence of her parents. She was one of the nicest girls in the world, and had excellent taste in music and movies. We became friends. She was also dumb. Well, try as she might she could not pass her classes. Her parents were infuriated, saying that she just wasn't trying, and that she was being lazy.

But she wasn't being lazy. I personally helped her study for tests. I proofread her papers. She stayed home on weekends- instead of going out with her friends - to study. This girl was, truly, trying her hardest. She was just simply not very smart. She had trouble retaining information, and her writing was weirdly scattered and illogical. She told me, confidentially, that what she most wanted in the world was to be a mother, and that she had no interest in college at all, and that she was only going because her parents insisted.

Now, I don't think her parents were bad people. I think they wanted the best for their daughter. But I think they were doing her a disservice by refusing to acknowledge her limitations. The whole family would have been better off if they had stopped pressuring her to be someone that she could not be, no matter how hard she tried.

People need to realize and acknowledge that kids can be dumb too. It doesn't mean that they're bad people, or that they're useless, or that they can't be good at anything. But they're dumb. And that's ok.

Kids who suck at school are always excused on grounds other than stupidity. Now don't get me wrong. There are legitimate reasons for a genuinely bright kid to suck at school. For instance there are kids with dyslexia and ADD who have high IQs and good thinking skills, but because of their learning disabilities, just don't excel in normal school environments. And of course, there are kids who don't excel in school because they're being abused or whatever. And some kids are, actually lazy. But I think we need to acknowledge that some kids just plain suck at learning.

People often blame teachers when kids aren't learning well. They say "My kid is actually very smart, but Mrs. X just doesn't understand how to teach a special child like mine. She has a different learning style, that's all!" This angers me. First of all, the concept of "learning styles" is silly. Yes, some people learn better some ways than others, but if your brain is functioning at a normal level, you should be able to learn ANY way, not just some special specific way. If the teacher has to make up a little song and color code all her handouts and change font sizes and make your kid do jumping jacks every five minutes in order to make your kid learn, guess what? The problem ain't the teacher.

People also like to blame the "home environment" for kids not excelling in school. Putting aside the abusive parents, I'm skeptical that a home environment can actually make a kid dumb. Of course, a parent can work with their child, give them educational opportunities and provide a loving environment and proper nutrition and sleep, which DOES help. I'm not discrediting that. But if the kid just doesn't have the raw material, there is only so much parents can do to make the kid smart. Just like how sometimes geniuses are born to slack jawed mouth breathers with IQs of 80. Those dumb parents can't crush the genius, anymore than the smart parents can "fix" their dumb kid simply by nurturing it.

Of course, I believe that parents should encourage their kids to reach their potential. I just think they need to be realistic about what that potential is. The kids are going to find out sooner or later, when they start failing at things. I think it's kinder to put them on a path that leads them to make use of the advantages and skills they DO have. Is your dumb son mechanically inclined? By all means send him to trade school to learn to be a mechanic. Is your dumb daughter really good at baking? Why not encourage that as a career path? Are they good at athletics? By all means, push them in that direction. There are plenty of awesome career options that don't require rocket science smarts. For instance, professional singer, actor, chef, professional athlete, artist, musician, gardener, farmer, security guard, carpenter, welder or florist. These are solid, respectable careers in which your dumb kid can excel without feeling bad about herself.

What you should NOT do with your dumb kid is insist that they're smart, and that they just aren't trying hard enough, when in fact they are trying as hard as they possibly can. You shouldn't push them to be something they aren't. And we as a society need to acknowledge that kids are sometimes dumb, just like some adults are dumb. They can still be perfectly wonderful people who contribute to society and live fulfilling lives. There's no shame in it. There are more important things than intelligence anyway, such as good-heartedness, a sense of humor, and having an accurate moral compass. We need to stop blaming teachers and parents and TV and the internet and sugar for kids who fail to evince the sharp intelligence so coveted by most parents. Sometimes that's just the way it is. We should celebrate these kids for just who they are, stupidity and all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Just Can't Get Enough Shopahol

Years ago, I thought it was stupid when some girl would talk about her shopping addiction. I thought people who were into shopping were shallow and silly. While I still maintain that certain shopping addictions are silly (for instance collecting Boyd's Bears or stuffed animals)I now realize that my previous judgment was simply the "sour grapes" of a poor girl. I couldn't buy anything; therefore, buying things is stoopid. Now that I'm not poor anymore, I've changed my mind, with unsettling results.

As you probably know, I have an obsessive personality. When I get something in my head, it doesn't leave. When combined with a love of buying things, this is truly dangerous. For instance. I was browsing around on the internet, looking for yoga clothes, since I start teacher training in August, and obviously will need new, authoritative looking yoga outfits. Well, during my search, I found some fantastically cool Thai fisherman's pants for only $18, handmade by some Thai woman. I loved these pants, and I wanted them. But Phil and I are trying to save money, so I'm supposed to be cutting back on purchases.

So here's what happened.

I looked at the fisherman's pants. I studied the picture, the cost, the care instructions, and everything to do with those pants. And I said to myself "Next month, those pants will be mine".

I turned on the TV to distract myself. Everything was fine for approximately 15 minutes. And then I thought -

"What if they're gone next month?"


I pulled the website up again. They were still there. My breathing relaxed and returned to normal. I turned my attention back to the TV.

But now all I can think about is those pants and how badly I want them. I can't be distracted. I can't change my train of thought. I can't reason or logic my way out of it. I need those fucking pants.

So obsessed am I, that I start talking about them.

"Hey Phillip" I say. "Guess what I found online? FAntastic yoga pants! In my size! I wouldn't have to hem them or anything! Only $18! Awesome, huh?"

Phil mutters something like "uh huh k" and goes back to playing Warcraft.

He didn't say no.

But that's besides the point. I'm just going to look at the picture. I won't buy them; at least not today. But it doesn't hurt to look at the picture. At all.

Later that night, I can't sleep. Someone else is going to buy my pants, I just know it. My mind races, and my heart pounds. I grab my ipad and look at the website again, just to make sure they're still there. They are. I tell myself to calm down. They're just pants. Sleep is more important than pants. Go to sleep.

The next morning, I lunge at my ipad as soon as the alarm goes off to make sure they're still there. When they're there, you know what I do. I buy them immediately, using paypal. The relief is so intense I'm almost dizzy. They're mine.


It's not just online shopping that's the problem, either.

Sunday I went to the Patchwork Festival in Santa Ana with my friends Raeleen and Nicole. I got $40 cash, which I intended to be my spending limit. After 10 minutes of walking around the fantastic, unbelievably dangerous festival, I had already spent $100 and had plans to spend much more on blazers and skirts with embroidered owls on them. With that exhilarated, but slightly sickened feeling, I forced myself to breath. I called Phillip.

"Ummm, honey? What's a reasonable amount of money for me to spend here?"

Phil said "I don't know. What do you want to buy?"

"Uh. Basically everything."

"Ummm ok. How much would that cost?"

"I'm being serious. How much can I spend? I'm having trouble with self control and I need you to give me limits."

"Uhhh $30 or $40 seems reasonable. But I'll leave it to your discretion."

I hung up, feeling ashamed. I had spent over $100 in ten minutes without batting an eyelash. My poor husband. My poor, poor husband.

On a side note, the homemade rosemary butter brittle there is amazing. And so is the elephant shaped, turquoise studded watch necklace I bought there. And so is my peacock headband, and the lotion and my new fitted plaid shirt. I highly recommend the Patchwork Festival.

I don't want you to think I only buy frivolous things. In fact, most of the stuff I buy is necessary, but just because it's necessary doesn't mean it's not dangerous.

Take grocery shopping for example.

From years of living in poverty, I have developed weird hoarding tendencies with food. I always want a huge stockpile of non-perishable foods, in case of an upcoming famine/nuclear holocaust/level 3 zombie attack. To counteract this, I carefully plan out our meals for the week, make a grocery list, and resolve to stick to it. I won't even go into the aisles that do not contain things on my list. I won't.

I won't.

But you know how this goes.

First of all, I'm a total sucker for those special displays featuring 30 kinds of Campbells soup for a dollar or discounted cough syrup. Because you can always use soup and cough syrup, right? What if there's a famine? What will I do with no soup or cough syrup? So I stock up.

And sometimes I start to get hungry or thirsty. For instance, two weeks ago, I was thirsty when I was grocery shopping. I purchased: 3 odwalla smoothies, 2 liters of Pellegrino, a bottle of wine, 12 individual bottles of flavored iced tea, and a bottle of organic cherry juice. On the grocery list: one bottle of club soda.

Also, I am a creature of many cravings. My craving are intense, immediate, and undeniable. So sometimes, when I'm in the grocery store, a craving will hit me and I can't ignore it. I'll say to myself "You don't need any cheese nips. They're not on the list". And "Cheese nips aren't good for you. It's just junk food. We'll get some apples or something instead". (Yes, my internal monologue uses the "royal we". I don't know why) So I'll got look at the apples and I'll start to feel depressed. I don't want apples. I want cheese nips. I'll try to substitute with something else, but nothing else will do. My brain will not shut off until I get the cheese nips.

Let's say I manage to go home without buying the cheese nips. Is the problem solved? Did I win over my urges? No. We have only just begun. Because now that I know there are no cheese nips in the house, my craving only intensifies. I want them more, because I can't have them. They are forbidden fruit. Tasty, cheesy, salty, fatty forbidden fruit.

So you understand the level of obsessiveness we're talking about, the craving doesn't go away in a matter of hours, or even days. It literally will not go away until I get some cheese nips. It doesn't matter what else I eat, what else I do, or where else I go. In the back of my mind is always the lack of cheese nips, and an intense urge to fill that lack.

Fortunately, cheese nips hurt my stomach now, so I don't crave them anymore, but you see my point.

Now let's all take a moment to pray for my poor husband.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

People and Things That Are Not That Strange

1)Sheldon, from "The Big Bang Theory" - examples:
A)He has "bus pants". So? I used to have a "bus coat" that protected me from bus germs. Have you ever BEEN on a bus? Filthy.
B) He has a "spot" on the couch. So? So do most people. Most people just don't have the guts to kick people ouf of their spots.
C) While trying to make date conversation (with Leonard's date Stephanie) he proposes the topic "Alternate history: How would the Civil War have been different if Abraham Lincoln were a robot?". If someone ever proposed this topic to me on a date, I would propose marriage to him, immediately, and we would spend our long, fascinating lives together.
D) He chastises Penny for sleeping on the couch incorrectly, because she faces away from the door, making herself vulnerable to people breaking into the apartment. Ummm....he's absolutely right. Everyone knows that you don't sleep facing away from the door. How COULD you sleep facing away from the door? Is that even possible to do for a full night?

2)Lisbeth Salander from "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" series - examples:
A)She is quiet and introverted. So? Lots of people are quiet and introverted. It doesn't mean she's "weird" or that she has Asperger's. So she doesn't go around with a fake smile on her face all day. So? She's not in a Miss America yeah...
B)She has her own moral compass, and understands that morality and the law are not the same thing. Ummmm...that's called "being an adult" and "having a moral compass". As an adult, you are supposed to be able to think for yourself and determine the difference between right and wrong ON YOUR OWN. You aren't SUPPOSED to just accept that if it's illegal it's bad, and if it's legal it's good. Otherwise we would still have legal wife beatings and brown people would be banned from public restrooms.
C)She wears punk clothes, is skinny and short, and dyes her hair black. Uh, don't most girls go through this phase at one point or another? Hmmm...maybe not in Sweden? Because it's really not so strange here in America.
D) She is a computer hacking genius. Well good for her! That makes her smart and skilled, but not "weird" or "crazy".
E) She tried to kill her father. Well, good for her! He just beat her mother so badly that she had permanent brain damage. What would you do in a situation like that? Probably the same exact thing - most of us would. How was she supposed to protect herself and her family,when the police were unable/unwilling to restrain him or help her? Since no one was willing to save her, she had to save herself. Not strange.

3)Jacob from "House Rules".
His social skills coach tells him that on his date to the school dance, he's supposed to ask questions like "What colleges are you visiting?" and avoid topics like "the farm in TN where researchers can study bodies in different stages of decay". Um, really? Because I would much rather be on a date with the "dead body farm guy" then the "What's your major going to be?" guy.

4)Mike Tyson biting the ear of Evander Holyfield.
So? They were fighting. The point is to win, yes?

5)The mad wife from "Jane Eyre".
If my husband locked me in a room with a drunk and wouldn't let me out, I'd probably get violent too. I may even try to set the place on fire. And I would be angry if he started courting the governess under my nose, while I was locked up with the drunk. I don't feel her actions are all that irrational. In fact, I almost wrote a novel from the mad wife's point of view, and then discovered that it had already been done. :(

Those are just a few. I had some other ones, but I forgot them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Following My Bliss Like a Dirty Hippie

Fair warning: this blog won't be that funny. Unless you find my existential angst funny.

So after much thought, I think I've decided to go to yoga teacher training, and become a yoga teacher. I would specialize in restorative yoga and maybe chair yoga as well. I've been doing yoga for years now, and it makes me happy, and I think a career in yoga would make me happier still. So, here are my decision making lists:

Reasons Why I Am Not Suited to an Office Job
1)the constant shoe wearing

2)I dislike being bossed around and taking orders. Actually, "dislike" is a pretty weak term for my feelings regarding subservience. Unless you are God, you don't get to boss me around, because you are not superior to me. I feel I am perfectly capable of making my own decisions, organizing my own work day, and generally handling my business. I fully admit that I have a somewhat immature resentment of human authority figures, but in all honesty, I have no desire to remedy this character flaw. Instead, I just want to be my own boss.

Do you see why this is a problem for me, since I work in an office environment?

3) I hate customer service. This is not to be confused with hating people. I generally like people. But not when I have to serve them, and especially when I have to serve them in ways that don't matter at all in the grand scheme of things.

4)I'm a "big picture" person. Office work requires excessive attention to mundane details. It makes me want to jam a fork in my eye to relieve the tedium.

5)Office chit-chat - not a fan.

6) Offices are bland, horribly dull places with white walls, excessive air conditioning, ugly gray machinery, constant phone ringing, monochromatic color palettes, and ugly carpets. It's the kind of environment that is only conducive to depression and/or self mutilation.

7) Office equipment and cubicles are designed for people of average size, and those of us who are not average sized are essentially told on a daily basis that we should just fuck off and join a traveling freak show already.

Basically, I just don't have the temperament to sit in an office all day doing boring things.

Reasons Why I Should Be a Yoga Instructor:

1)I am passionate about yoga, particularly bringing it to underserved populations, like people in wheelchairs, the elderly and the obese. I think I would be really good at that.

2)No shoes required!

3)I can be my own boss and make my own schedule!

4)I love yoga studios. I love the high, airy ceilings, the beautiful paint colors that range from crisp, sky blues to rich, deep reds and oranges. I love the smooth wooden floors and the large, clean windows. I even love the smells of patchouli and lavender that are, you know, everywhere. This environment is conducive to things like happiness, relaxation and calm.

5)I like the idea of helping people with anxiety problems. Restorative yoga is one of the best ways to deal with excessive anxiety - I know, because it certainly helped me.

6)As a yoga instructor, I would get to travel to attend retreats and trainings. Sometimes to really cool places like Bali and Hawaii. (A lot seem to be in Thailand, as well, but of course I would never go to Thailand. No trip to Thailand ever goes well. It's always diarrhea, injuries and unjust imprisonment. But that's another story.)

7) It would really cut down on my own stress levels, which are always too high.

8) It would benefit my health as well.

9) When I have kids, I can easily arrange my schedule to accommodate them.

10) Maybe someday I can renovate my garage and turn it into my own little yoga studio! I would decorate it like a Persian harem with big Oriental rugs and plush pillows and swords mounted on the walls and filmy scarves draped all over everything! OR, I would do a totally Zen-Japanese garden style studio with lots of minimalist flat surfaces, and like, a bonsai tree in the corner! So fantastic! I would make a beautiful sanctuary for my clients, where they could come and just be happy and free and relaxed for a while.

So yeah, we shall see. A lot of my plans have fizzled out lately, so lets hope this one works out. Because I'm running out of ideas.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Battle Hymn of the House Cat Mother

There are many different "types" of mothers. As Phil and I get older, I feel more and more like I should be having babies NOW, and so I have to start thinking about what type of mother I want to be. This is harder than it sounds.

I certainly know what kind of mother I don't want to be. I don't want to be abusive or neglectful. I don't want to be a mean awful bitch. I don't want to be one of those permissive "friend" moms who give their kids liquor and weed because "experimenting is healthy" and "it's better for them to do it at home, where I know they're safe". (I see these kinds of shoddy reasonings simply as rationalizations for lazy parenting. Just admit that you're lazy and don't want the job of "parent". It's more honorable than trying to slap some sketchily drawn up ideology onto it.) I don't want to be one of those sickly sweet moms who makes you feel like you're drowning in maple syrup by saying things like "Angels are the sunshine that bring smiles to our hearts" or "There are no stupid questions".

But knowing what I don't want to be is only half the battle. I have to know what I DO want to be. The problem is, what I would like to be is a "perfect" mom. The problem is "perfect" moms have to be EVERYTHING. They have to be strong, yet kind. Independent, yet willing to sacrifice everything for their children. They have to supportive and nurturing. They have to be good at keeping things sanitized, and they have to attend all their kids' events and they have to puree organic baby food and help them with their homework.

I'm not cut out to be a "perfect" mom. I am strong and kind, but my kindness is often hidden, and I'm not always good at expressing it. Quite frankly, I wouldn't be willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING for my children. A lot, but not all. I'm very bad at comforting. Ask anyone I've tried to comfort. I would only be supportive if I thought my kids were making good decisions. If I felt they were making bad decisions, I could not stand by and let it happen. A lot of parents feel that they should allow their children to make their own mistakes, and I see their points, but I myself intend to prevent my children from making as many mistakes as I can, at least until they're 21 and are safely out of the "retard" phase of psychological development. I hate watching sporting events and school concerts. No matter how much I want to, I will never be a "perfect" mom. I don't have what it takes.

So I did what no doubt you all expected me to do. I started reading parenting books to try to find the best strategies for raising children. For instance, I highly recommend "Nurtureshock" if you are a parent or are considering having children. Mind blowing! I read "My Life in 23 Yoga Poses" to learn how to be an enlightened, intellectual mother, and realized that I'm not cut out for Seattle-Bohemian-Bourgeouis parenting either. I would never send my kids to a co-op school where they play make-believe all day in unwashed dress up clothes. Ewww.

But I did find one type of motherhood that I feel I can achieve. And I found it in the most horrifying of all places. That's right. "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom".

To be a "tiger mom" or "Chinese mother" (the author uses the terms interchangeably) you need the following skills: 1) An ability to suppress your tender emotions 2)Obsessive personality traits 3)A knowledge that patronizing children and treating them like cute little monsters does nothing to encourage their development. 4) A mean streak 5) A fierce, fanatical love that will do anything - ANYTHING - to make sure your loved ones are happy and successful. Even if it means they hate you in the short term. You aren't trying to win their friendship. You're trying to maintain their respect for you. 6) Knowledge that your kids aren't as psychologically fragile as American society makes them out to be. They can work just as hard as adults can; harder even because they have more energy.

I have all of these traits. Which is not to say that I am 100% suited to the tiger mom role. For instance, I don't know that I could ever punish my child for coming in second in an essay contest. Nor do I think I could punish my children for writing a bad eulogy for their dead grandmother. When it comes to things like that, I know that I don't have what it takes.

But could I make my kid practice violin 3 hours a day? Could I painstakingly write pages and pages of practice homework for them to do, drilling them to make sure they know their vocabulary and times tables backwards and forwards? Could I make SURE that they enter kindergarten knowing how to read, play an instrument, speak rudimentary French and do basic math? You bet I could. It would be harder for me NOT to do those things. Psycho? Perhaps. Will my kids hate me? Absolutely. But they will also be successful, and fully aware of the fact that they are capable of accomplishing anything with the tools I have given them.

I'm not saying I'm going to be a full on tiger mom. As I said, I don't have what it takes. I don't honestly think I could reject a card my kids made for me for my birthday because they didn't put any effort into it, nor would I drag them to music stores for practice sessions while we are on vacation. But it's the parenting style that best suits my natural abilities, frankly. So maybe the compromise is to be a "house cat" mom. Not quite as vicious as the tiger, but of the same family of animals/mothers. As long as I don't wind up being a "guppy" mom or a "hamster" mom, I'll be satisfied.

But then again, I said I was going to be really strict with my puppy too. My soft, sappy, hidden heart is my downfall.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

These Things Don't Bother Me, But Seem To Bother A Lot Of Other People

1) Steroid use by professional athletes.

I honestly don't understand why anyone cares. The point is for the athletes to be the best they can be, and to win, yes? So why shouldn't they take advantage of a resource that enables them to be the best? And the arguments against steroid use are so irrational! Here they are:
a) "It's not fair to the athletes who don't use steroids." This is ridiculous. The athletes who don't use steroids are making a choice. They make this choice because they don't care as much about winning as their steroid using coworkers, plain and simple. If they were truly fierce competitors, they would enhance their strength and speed by any means necessary.

Besides, the concept if "fair" and "fairness" is retarded. Is it "fair" that I was born short, and female with bad eyesight, thereby guaranteeing that I will never play for the NBA? No it isn't "fair" but I don't sit around crying about it. Life is not about making things "fair", it's about making use of your particular set of advantages. And EVERYONE has a set of advantages. I was born into a poor family. Do I demand that everyone else also be poor, so that things are "fair"? No. I realize that I have some advantages that other people do not, and I make use of those.

An athlete who does not use steroids is simply denying herself access to one of her most powerful resources. And she is also denying sports fans of a much better show. Because from what I understand, the most exciting sports events are ones in which people accomplish almost superhuman feats of strength and stamina and skill. Not the ones where the entire game is average in the name of "fairness".

"Fairness" is a concept developed by those who are bitter about not winning.

b) "Steroids are bad for you." Well, the claims that steroids are bad for you are wildly exaggerated. If you do your research, more people die per year from smoking weed. Yes. Steroids are safer than weed, statistically speaking. Yes, if used in excess they can have negative side effects, but many many people use them - way more than you would think - and you aren't constantly being attacked by "roid ragers" every time you go to the gym, right? No. You aren't.

c) "It's not fair that these young punks are able to break records of famous athletes from the past because of steroid use. It's not fair dagnabbit!" Well that's like saying "It's not fair that these youngsters can write term papers on a computer instead of by hand! Back in the day, we had to sharpen pencils and such! It's not fair!" Or "It's not fair that these youngsters can get on a plane and fly off to Italy. Back in the day, travelers had to go by boat and it took seven years. It's not fair!". Technology changes things. The world moves on. We now have the technology to build stronger, faster people. Deal with it.

2)I don't understand why women get angry when someone calls them "ma'am". Supposedly it makes them feel old. But the fact of the matter is, "Ma'am" is a term of respect, and it has nothing to do with how old you are. I get called "ma'am" every once in a while, and I happen to know I don't look like an old lady. Don't be so senstive, you weird women. It's not like she called you "Old Cow" or something.

3) Living in Southern California, people complain a lot about drivers slowing down to look at accidents. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with it though. It's human nature. You want to see where the danger is - it's a biological imperitive. "How bad is it? Can I avoid it? Is the situation being handled? Is it someone I know?" You may not actively ask these questions to yourself, but it's there in your DNA. Your primitive-woman self senses danger in the environment and needs to assess the damage and its impacts upon you and those in your den (car).

Also, even if I'm way off base here, it's still good to slow down when there's an accident, simply for safety reasons. I mean, a person with a head injury could just wander out into traffic, dizzy and disoriented. You could plow into one of the stopped cars, or flatten your tires on broken glass and debris. Lots of stuff can happen if you don't slow your pace.

4)Breast feeding in public doesn't bother me in the slightest. I agree wiht the Puritans. When a breast is being used to feed an infant, it doesn't count as a sex organ. It becomes, for the duration of the feeding, something along the lines of a plate, or bottle or fork. A feeding utensil, is what I'm getting at here. It honestly baffles me that anyone cares. It's not gross - I've seen breast feeding lots of times. And it's just a breast, for crying out loud. Most people have them. Not a secret.

5)Insider trading doesn't bother me at all. This goes back to my whole spiel about "fairness". Life isn't fair. Some people live in fancy towns and others live in third world country shacks. Some people are born smart and some are born stupid. Some people have access to clean water and some don't.

So I ask, should a person not act on her "inside" knowledge of the stock market, simply because others don't have access to this knowledge? Should she stop using clean water because others don't have access to it? I suppose that's a touching show of solidarity, but it helps absolutely no one. Your efforts would be better served by doing some insider trading and devoting the money you earn to a water-providing charity of some kind.

I don't mean to sound callous. Of course I think that everyone in the world deserves access to clean water, adequate housing and such. But denying yourself these comforts doesn't help those who do without them. USE your advantages to help them, by all means. But the goal should be to elevate them to a level of comfort, rather than sinking yourself to a level of discomfort.

6) Telemarketers don't bother me at all either. People always complain that they interrupt their dinner time, which is nonsense. First of all, families haven't eaten dinner together at a table regularly since the 1970s. Nowadays, it's pretty much Christmas and Thanksgiving and if you come from a very traditional background, maybe Sunday dinners. That's it. And even if you are eating at the table with your family, it's not like it's difficult to just not answer the phone during dinner, if it's such a big deal to you. But even if you do answer the phone and it's a telemarketer interrupting your beef Wellington or whatever people in the 1970s ate at the table, it's not exactly difficult to say a firm, polite "No, thank you" and hang up the phone.

Telemarketers don't CHOOSE this profession. Something obviously went wrong in their lives, and this is the only legal way they can make a living. Cut them some slack! Show some compassion! I'm not saying you have to buy whatever they're selling, but come on! There's not need to be rude to the poor woman.

7)A lot of people thing that it's wrong to break up with someone via letter. They think it's chicken. They're right that it's chicken, but they're wrong that it's a bad thing to do. Think of it this way - If you break up with someone in person, what will happen? The person will cry and probably beg you to change your mind, or maybe get angry and hit you or whatever. It will be a big, horrible scene that neither of you will ever forget. Maybe you'll even be persuaded to give it another try, simply to quell the distress of your "was" ex-boyfriend. That's not going to be a good relationship, because he'll always know that your heart isn't in it, and you are just humoring him. But even if you stay strong and stick to your guns, the girl you dump has the unbearable curse of having to remember her undignified crying and blubbering.

If you break up with someone by letter, that person has time to digest it, grieve privately, and put a brave face on the next time she runs into her ex. She maintains her dignity. She won't have to remember behaving like some screeching fish wife, sniveling onto the steering wheel, snarling with pain and rage. She'll eat some McDonald's, listen to "Pretty Hate Machine" and "X Ray Specs" albums on a loop for a month and move on.

I'm not saying a letter is BETTER, necessarily. I mean both ways are going to suck for the person being dumped. I'm just saying it's not necessarily WRONG to do it by letter either.

That being said, there is a disclaimer: It is not acceptable to break up with someone via text message, IM, or Facebook message. These media are for casual messages only, and using them to initiate a break up is disrespectful to the person you're dumping. What you're saying by breaking up via IM is: "This relationship was as important to me as arranging a night out with the girls" or "This relationship was as important to me as this picture that my friend took of my that night I was really wasted".

8)Arrogance doesn't often bother me. As I always say "It's ok to be arrogant as long as you're right". Sometimes arrogance is justified. If you are the best, there's no point in pretending that you're not. I'm not saying you should be obnoxious about it, but you shouldn't lie either. If you're pretty, don't pretend you think you're ugly. I mean, don't be rude to ugly girls or anything! But it's ok to acknowledge your strengths as well as your weaknesses. False modesty, on the other hand, annoys the crap out of me.

Anyway, I have a bunch more, but need to eat dinner now. Maybe I'll do a "part 2" at some point.

And for the record, I don't use steroids, or engage in insider trading or breast feed in public. I simply don't judge others who do.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dana Solves the North Korean Situation

Every once in a while someone will convince me to try Korean food. I always state clearly that I don't enjoy Korean food, but they will always say "Oh you just haven't had it at THIS particular restaurant, or done THIS special way", and I'm sure to like it if I just give it a chance. And it's always the same.

First off, I'm a vegetarian, so maybe they do meat just fantastically and I truly am missing out, but the vegetarian experience is horrifyingly disgusting. Here's how it goes:

You come in and look at the menu. Because you're a vegetarian, there is only one thing on the menu you can have, and that is the tofu hot pot. The ingredients sound innocuous enough; tofu, vegetables, noodles in broth. "How bad can it be?" you ask yourself. So you order it.

While you are waiting, they bring out like 13 little dishes of various foods. These are your appetizers, and they give them to you whether you ask for them or not. They are all different colors and textures, and it looks just delightful. But then you start tasting them.


I suppose that's fantastic if you like pickles. But I hate pickles. And that's all it is. Pickled carrots and pickled cabbage and all kinds of stuff soaked in pickle juice. The first few you try will just amuse you. You'll say "haha so many pickles! But that's ok, there are still 32 things left to try. I'm sure some of them will be good". But as you try your 8th and 9th dishes, suddenly you're not laughing anymore. Suddenly your stomach is turning from all the nasty pickles you just ingested, and you worry that there's no end in sight. You lift your hand heavily to the 10th dish, fingers shaking ever so slightly, because you know, YOU KNOW, in that deep down part of you that this is going nowhere good. And sure enough, the last dishes are also pickles.

Now you're angry. Where is your meal? You did not sign up for a giant plate of pickles. Now your stomach is upset and you may vomit and your tofu hot pot is taking forever.

But they do bring it out. To get the pickle taste out of your mouth you dig in immediately, but it's boiling magma hot, so you can't eat too much yet. Just enough to determine that it is blissfully free of pickle juice.

You wait the 20 minutes or so that it takes to ice down your tongue burns and then you begin. What you taste is this: boiled, unseasoned vegetables, uncooked, unseasoned tofu, and some kind of super spicy broth. I don't mean spicy like Indian spicy, where it's hot but intensely flavorful and wonderful. It's just hot. All you taste is burning. Burning and boiled vegetables and uncooked tofu.

Are these people high? Who eats that? This is why North Koreans are so easily kept under government control, I am convinced. With no good food to look forward to, they have no hope for their futures. Let's say their country was liberated. Great. They're still stuck eating pickles and unseasoned lava.

This is my plan to liberate North Korea. We open up an offshore restaurant. On some island off the coast of North Korea. And we cook those people some real food. No pickling spices in sight. We give them flavors that are sort of familiar, like gourmet Chinese food and sushi, but we do it WELL. No proselytizing. No criticizing the government of North Korea. We simply allow them to eat there and send them back home. After all, we don't want to get them in trouble. We provide the food free of charge of course.

Well those North Koreans will go home with full, satisfied bellies, knowing that something good just came to them, NOT courtesy of the "Great Leader". They'll realize that life can be something better, something different. The seed of revolt will be planted. And that's all it will take. Probably.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"The Memory Keeper's Daughter" or, "The Giant Book of Overreactions"

For those of you who have not read "The Memory Keeper's Daughter", here is the plot. A couple gives birth to twins. The girl has Down's Syndrome, the boy does not. The father gives the Down's Syndrome kid away to a nurse, who raises the child as her own. The father tells the mother that the Down's Syndrome baby died. Shenanigans ensue.

I thought the plot sounded pretty interesting, so I read it, only to find myself hating most of the characters or being bored by most of the characters or both. Mostly what bothered me about this book though is how everyone overreacts to everything throughout the whole book. Here is a list of the most egregious overreactions.

1) Faking the Down's Syndrome baby's death.
Look, I get that having a baby with Down's Syndrome is bound to be upsetting. And I KIND of understand why he wanted to give it away, though that is not how I personally would handle the situation. But to pretend that she died? To let your wife think her baby is dead? To have funeral for the baby and tell everyone that the baby died? This is the first, seminal overreaction in a book that is essentially filled with people making mountains our of molehills.

2)The mother sinking into a twenty year depression over the baby's death.
Again, losing a baby must be devastating. But the mother didn't even know she was carrying twins. So it's not like she was expecting and planning for this baby, only to have her hopes and dreams dashed. She got a healthy baby boy out of the deal.

I'm not saying she shouldn't be sad, of course she should! But she sinks into a twenty year quagmire of depression over the situation, which in my opinion is unreasonable. Yes, losing a baby is sad, but it died at birth and she wasn't expecting it anyway. Essentially she just had a miscarriage. Which is sad. But not "I'm going to drink myself stupid and mope and ruin everyone's happiness for the next twenty years" sad.

3)The father/son drama.
The healthy son was supposed to be some kind of guitar virtuoso. The dad gave the son what to me sounded like very measured, reasonable advice. Essentially his advice was "Pursue music if that is your dream, but keep your options open, because music isn't a stable career choice". Not exactly "knock it off with that faggy music shit, you worthless squirt". Actually he was pretty supportive overall. But the son's reaction was basically "My dad doesn't love me. My dad hates me and can't accept me for who I am. Screw you dad! I'm gonna get high and destroy all your photography stuff". Overreaction.

4)The son's reaction to getting into Julliard.
The son eventually gets into Julliard. He tells his father. His father says "Good job son. I'm so proud of you". The son, in the biggest overreaction in the entire book, storms out of the house, STEALS A CAR, drives off and then GETS ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING. Yes. Because his dad told him congratulations for getting into Julliard, which apparently was very confusing and upsetting to him.

5)The dad's reaction to the son's arrest.
When the parents come to bail the son out of jail (he was arrested for the aforementioned car theft and shoplifting) the dad sternly tells the son that he can come home, but there will be consequences. (Basically he will be grounded, have extra chores etc.) To which the son, predictably, responds by shouting something like "You can't stop me from playing the guitar!! Why can't you accept me for who I am?" though the father didn't say the son couldn't bring up the guitar. But that's not the biggest overreaction in this scene.

After the irritating son's outburst the father says "I'm sorry I failed you both" and storms out of the jail. But that's not all.


Really? OK, yes the marriage had problems. And yes, his son is a total d-bag, to the point where he would probably rather have Down's Syndrom girl around, because at least she's really sweet and nice through the whole book, unlike his ungrateful horror of a son. But why is this what makes him move out? Not his wife's cheating. Not the fact that his son hates him for no reason. This just makes no sense to me.

So yeah. The whole book is full of strange overreactions perpetrated by boring people. I recommend the book if you like separated at birth type stories and aren't at all annoyed by the above depictions of irrationality, and feel like those types of reactions make sense.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In Defense of Repressing Your Emotions

I'm not very good at discussing my feelings, unless those feelings are annoyance, boredom, hunger, or amusement. Anything more weighty than that makes me feel uncomfortable. In fact, a lot of the time I'm not even truly aware of what I'm feeling or why. This is a source of great bafflement to poor Phillip, who can sometimes tell that I'm upset, which upsets him, but I'm completely unable to explain why I am upset without a lengthy process of self examination. I'm not doing the "chick" thing where I say nothing is wrong when something is definitely wrong. I honestly don't know why I feel unhappy until I sit and think about it for a long time. I have to be quiet and alone to determine the cause of my distress; I rarely know or can explain it before that.

Phil wants me to talk about my feelings, but that's difficult for me, since I'm so out of touch with mine most of the time. It requires a lot of effort for me. Other people don't have this problem though. I see people emoting all over each other all the time, with seemingly no effort or thought or shame. And here is where I come to my point. I don't believe that these promiscuous emoters are more emotionally healthy than me. I don't think their way is better than mine. Here is why.

You've frequently heard me discuss "The Biggest Loser" as an example of over-emoting. They cry through the whole dang show, over things that seem silly to an objective viewer. But "The Biggest Loser" is only one example of this over-emoting. Any talk show is a good example too. For instance, let's take "Jerry Springer". Those people have no trouble expressing their emotions. They may not be eloquent or witty, but they know what they're feeling and know how they wish to express it. But would we say that the guests on Jerry Springer are going through a cathartic, therapeutic process? Do the guests on Jerry Springer feel better about themselves and their situations when the show is over, and their venting is complete? I would wager that they do not.

But we don't need to go to a talk show as extreme as "Jerry Springer". What about a "more classy" talk show, like "Maury Povich"? They don't fight on "Maury", and they keep their clothes on at all times, so that must be better, right? No, no it isn't. The women sit and cry and cry because they can't locate their baby daddy, no matter how many men they force into paternity testing. Sometimes Maury Povich locates the father and sometimes he doesn't. But either way, the woman should feel better right? Because she expressed her emotions and cried and "got it all out there". Being open and honest is always helpful right?

I submit that it is not better. The woman is still promiscuous, her baby still has a reluctant, irreponsible father at best, and now everyone in the country knows that she had to have 8 men tested to determine the father of her child. I would state that these problems are just as horrifying after the woman has expressed her feelings and cried. Discussing your distress doesn't make the causes of the distress disappear. Now you just have a new problem - dealing with the shame of degrading yourself on television.

Another example of people expressing their emotions is the show "Cops". The people on "Cops" express their emotions a lot too. If they feel angry, they hit someone. If they feel lonely, they hire a prostitute. If they are bored, they make mischief. They never repress their emotions, or stifle themselves. So these must be the most psychologically healthy, enlightened people in the world right?

No. Obviously not.

Let's move away from TV examples. I'm sure many would say that TV emotions don't count, as they are often faked or enhanced to increase ratings, etc. But many also argue that in real life, people shouldn't repress their emotions either. They say that holding it all in will hurt you emotionally, and turn you into a neurotic, twitchy person. Whereas expressing all your emotions leads to openness, honesty, and free spiritedness. Let's explore why this is retarded.

Let's say I can't stand someone. For argument's sake we'll call her Jasmine. I can't stand Jasmine, but I have to deal with her on an almost daily basis. Let's say she's my coworker or a family member. Someone I can't avoid. Well, if I'm in the "expressing my emotions" camp, of course I will notify Jasmine that I don't like her. I will do this verbally and with my actions. I will make snotty comments about her, mocking her appearance, telling her to shut up whenever she talks, making fun of her foibles and generally being horrible to her. What's wrong with that? I don't want to repress myself after all. That would be dishonest. It's wrong and hypocritical to pretend to like someone when you don't, right? So I make a miserable working and/or home environment for Jasmine. Of course, our other coworkers and/or family members have to get involved and take sides. Maybe they think I'm totally out of line and they turn against me. Or maybe they agree with me and we all gang up on Jasmine because we hate her so much. We all discuss our emotions freely, telling each other exactly what we think of each other and why.

But let's say I'm a person who sees nothing wrong with repressing my emotions. This is what happens. I see Jasmine and she annoys the crap out of me. I ignore it and keep my feelings to myself. The workplace/home environment is perhaps strained from time to time, but overall everyone gets along and there's not much drama.

Which environment is healthier? Where would you rather live/work?

Also, it's important to remember that not all your feelings are valid. I know that is close to blasphemy for some people; who believe that there "are no good or bad feelings" but there are. There definitely are. You should be ashamed for having some of your feelings, and so should I. Here is an example: I once knew a girl who applied for a management position at her company. She was not hired. They hired another person instead. Well, the girl decided that the person who was hired was now her mortal enemy, and she unleashed a totally irrational barrage of hatred upon the new manager. That is an irrational, bad feeling and she should have been ashamed of it, rather than "expressing" it all over the place.

Have you ever felt happy seeing an asshole get punched in the face? Have you ever decided that you hate someone simply because you're jealous of her? Have you ever been angry at someone who didn't deserve it? Of course! We are all guilty of having irrational, bad feelings from time to time. But I maintain that these feelings should be repressed, not expressed.

This applies to memoirs as well. I understand that it can be therapeutic to write about your life, especially any bad experiences you might have had. But think what you're doing to others in the meantime. You are depressing all your readers with your horrible story, and you're badmouthing people in a format that makes it impossible for them to defend themselves. Yes, you have expressed your emotions. Yes, you might even feel better for a while. But you have only added to the world's misery by spreading your internal misery all over the place like an oil spill. I'm not suggesting that you need to be positive and perky all the time - I would be the wrong person to take that stance - I'm just saying you don't need to express every emotion you have without regard to how it will affect others.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Obedience School

Those of you who have met our dog, Molly, know that she is not the most obedient of animals. However, her infectious happiness, exuberant love for all people, and heartbreaking cuteness prevent us from drowning her. We have sort of learned to deal with it. It no longer makes me scream when she gets into the garbage can and drags smelly things all over the floor, and I've learned my lesson about leaving toilet cleaning brushes where Molly can get them. But it wasn't always that way. When we first got Molly, I was determined to make a good, obedient puppy of her. So we enrolled her in obedience school.

The school met at on outdoor park on Saturday mornings. Phil, not being a morning person, came along only grudgingly, but to his credit, he did come most of the time. We would all gather in an open, large area and practice walking our dogs in endless circles, making them "sit" and "heel" etc. For an hour. In the beating summer sun. All that was fine. Here was the problem. The park had a pond filled with water fowl. Ducks, geese and all kinds of birds would swim and frolick in the pond, crapping and squawking and being birdy. Do you see the problem? An untrained 5 month old hunting dog cannot be expected to focus when surrounded by ducks, just begging to be chewed. Any time we went near the ducks Molly would lose her freaking mind, pulling as hard as she could to get to the birds. I would give her leash a sharp tug and say "No Molly" in my most authoritative voice. She would look up at me, her big puppy eyes filled with anxiety, as if to say "But they'll get away if we don't kill them immediately". Disgusted with my lack of hunting skills, she would eventually be persuaded to return to the obedience class circle, where she promptly proved herself to be the class retard.

The other dogs were all calm and collected. They stood patiently by their owners' sides, heeling and sitting and downing like show dogs. Molly had no interest in these kinds of activities. She strained and strained so she could sniff the other dogs. If a dog was to her liking she would prance and pounce all over the thing, barking joyously, wagging her tail with delight. "No Molly" I would belt in my most intimidating voice, giving her leash a jerk. At this point she would begin sniffing the ground, finding intriguing smells and rolling in them, wiggling on her back and grinding the scent into her fur. I would sigh. "No, Molly" and then I would physically pick her up and make her sit, which she would do, until something - anything - distracted her.

It's bad enough that our dog was the class dunce. But there was this other dog there - a German shepherd - that made everybody's dogs look like dunces. I hated that German shepherd. The German shepherd never, ever barked or pulled on the leash or left his owner's side. The German shepherd had no interest in bird murder. Not only could he perform all the basic commands flawlessly, he could do tricks and obstacle courses like some kind of furry robot. The owner just watched nochelantly, drawling out commands as his dog scrambled to obey him.

Here is my question: Why did he even bother to bring German shepherd to obedience school? Why? The dog was already obedient. I will tell you why. He was a show off. He just wanted to make us all feel bad, me in particular. He wanted to show everyone what a great dog owner he was, and how skilled he was at training dogs. He was just a big show off. As I watched the German shepherd, week after week, I became more and more angry with the situation. Because you know what? Yes, my dog is a retard. And no, I am not a good enough dog trainer to remedy the situation. But you know what else? German shepherds are ugly, and yours is especially ugly. The only reason he's obedient is because he knows you would have to take him out back and shoot him for being ugly if he disobeyed you. MY dog is cute. MY dog is adorable, and charming and funny. MY dog doesn't have to be as obedient as yours, because she's BETTER, overall. So go home Mr. Showoff, with your ugly dog, and enjoy bossing him around all day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Be Mr. Darcy

As a married woman, I know that these dating problems don't affect me anymore directly. But I still hear men and women make complaints, and it drives me crazy. So here are a few things men do, specifically, that need to stop. Stop it, men. Stop it.

1) Pretending to be totally freaked out by womens periods. I'm not talking about the guys who wrinkle their noses a little at the thought, nor am I saying that guys need to be all about menstruation, which would be kind of creepy. I'm talking about the guys who get all theatrical every time a period is mentioned or referred to. They throw their hands up in the air and groan or shout "Stop it, stop it!" and basically act as if you started committing an act of bestiality and cannibalism combined right in front of them. It's irritating in the extreme. Grow up. No straight man is that freaked out by the normal functioning of the vagina. Hell even gay men are probably not THAT grossed out by it.

2) Saying trite things like "Why do chicks always like jerks?" and "Nice guys finish last" and stupid things like that. Let me explain why these statements are total crap. If you are a guy, and you have said something like this, I'm going to tell you very clearly what you did wrong. Either A)The girls you go for are immature twits. If this is the case I don't feel bad for you because you make bad decisions. Or B) You aren't a "nice guy". You're a pussy.
Because mature, psychologically healthy women DO like nice guys. What they DON'T like is weak little boys.

To explain the distinction: Think of Steve Urkel. Do you remember his alter-ego, Steffan? Steffan was a pussy. Don't be Steffan. Now think of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy is a nice guy. Be Mr. Darcy. In fact, that's probably the best advice any guy can follow if he's trying to seduce a woman. Be Mr. Darcy. Read that book and emulate everything about him.

3)Saying they "don't understand women" whenever they have relationship problems. That is stoopid on so many levels; but the most important one is this: you cannot generalize when it comes to women. Women are complex creatures. You will never, ever have success in a healthy relationship if you are trying to relate to "women". Instead you need to learn about your specific woman and understand HER.

4)Demand physical perfection from their girlfriends/wives while they get fat and wear white tennis shoes and fail to fix things around the house. If you demand female perfection, you should at least attempt to attain male perfection. Fair is fair.

Just a little public service for my lovely single female friends. It's important to give back and such.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Awesome Jobs I Can't Have

I would love to be a detective. I have no desire to go to any kind of detective school or police training, but I would love to have a brick-walled office where people would come hire me to find their missing relatives and discover if their spouses are cheating on them. I would wear an awesome top hat and hand around in dramatically lit alleys, my cunning eyes shifting from doorway to doorway as I stalk my prey.

Another cool job would be "Mythbuster". I want to be on that show so very, very badly. It's true that I have no professional scientific training, and no experience using power tools or building anything, but I'm a creative problem solver, and I'm very good at coming up with experiments. I could be the show's "Idea Person"; also I would be happy detonating explosive devices.

Ideally, I could make my living as a treasure hunter. I would get a ship, preferably an old timey one with sails, permeated with the fragrance of salt-cured wood and adventure. I would sail all around the Carribean and the coast of Florida, retrieving sunken Spanish gold and jewels. I would wear baggy, rolled up pants and learn to play the harmonica, which I would play while lying in a hammock on deck. I would probably discover a nest of giant squids or some kind of leviathan, or maybe even a brand new species of monster, which would of course be dubbed "The Dana Monster".

This might just be an extension of the Mythbusters fantasy, but I would also love to be an inventor. I would love to just work in my garage, making and doing and experimenting. I love the way garages smell; that smell of oil and wood and machinery. I'm aware that that's strange. But it is an environment that is conducive to productive thought and creativity. Sadly, I have no mechanical knowledge whatsoever. I have trouble screwing in garden hoses. It takes me 20 minutes to change a light bulb. So yeah, this career is out probably.

You know what is NOT my dream job? Sitting in a cubicle being boring all day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yes, I Hate Boyd's Bears and Precious Moments This Much, So Much That They Feature in Almost All Of My Violent Daydreams

Perhaps it's repressed anger, or Napoleon syndrome, or vestigial Viking blood, but I find that violent fantasies calm me down and make me feel peaceful. For instance, if I'm really having a bad day at work, I imagine the following scenario:

I'm all alone in a room filled with glass tables. On top of the tables are little ceramic Boyd's Bears and Precious Moments figurines. It's horrifying and sickening in a deep, visceral way. But I have some things.

I grab the baseball bat first. I smash and smash, until everything in that room is dust. I stomp on the dust and grind it into the ground as it makes lovely scrunching sounds. Then I grab one of those big red plastic containers of gasoline. I pour it out all over everything. The room is a big glass/gasoline soup. Then I step out of the room (obviously) and launch in a bunch of homemade hand grenades, relishing the smashing sound of the bottles, and I watch it burn. I sit outside and watch as the building burns to the ground. When it's over I go stomp on the ashes, squishing them under my boot and stamping and screaming until I'm all tired out.

By the time I'm done with this fantasy I feel calm and centered; like everything is ok again.

I should state that I am no way violent by nature in real life. I have never so much as been in a fight, and I don't vandalize things on purpose, ever. But there is something in me that likes to think of destroying things.

So here's my question. Why do people say they "dislike violence" in movies and songs etc? I totally understand why people don't like real-life violence. I don't either. Especially violence against children and animals. But I think it's human nature to have deeply buried, visceral violent impulses. It comes from the primitive part of the human brain, the part that kept us alive through some pretty horrifying history. In civilized society, of course, we have to repress those urges, in order to get along and maintain order. But those urges are still there, lurking below the surface. The way we deal with those impulses is by watching violent movies, listening to violent song lyrics and watching violent sports like boxing. Or in my case, fantasizing about smashing things. It's the most harmless, healthy way for us to deal with our violence issues.

So who are these people who say they don't like violent movies, or violent sports, or anything of that nature? Are they simply more evolved than the rest of us? Have they completely purged themselves of all anger, unkind feelings and "fight" responses? Or are they LESS evolved, to the the point where violent images inspire a crazy blood-lust in them that they fear they cannot control? Are they the ones we should REALLY be watching? I'm honestly curious. If you don't like violence, tell me why. I promise not to judge you or make snotty comments. I just want to understand your point of view. In return, please do not make snotty comments about my love of violent movies, or call a psychiatrist to have me committed for my smashing-burning-daydreams.