Monday, October 22, 2012
What most people never realize, and I didn't for awhile (still slowly realizing it now), is that beneath all of the abrupt changes that beating cancer throws your way, you're still the person you were before. The person I was before took everything for granted and mostly managed to carve out an existence instead of really living for anything in particular. Post cancer, I've seen myself slowly slip back into that of thinking and living. Turns out that despite all of this, old habits die hard, and it takes a lot of work to change your mindset. This is work I've failed to do.
Cut to this morning when I get a forwarded email from Susan. A coworker of hers also had cancer roughly a year before I was diagnosed. His was a type of lymphoma, which is far scarier than anything I went through. He'd just had his quarterly CT scan and they called to tell him that there was a "vague 6mm low attenuation lesion" that had shown up on his last scan. What he wrote about next, really hit home. The waiting after a CT scan is always unnerving beyond belief. Having heard the worst possible news already, your mind immediately prepares itself to hear the same type of news again. This happens every time, and I'm convinced that there is no other option my brain knows to choose when dealing with this. I guess Suz's coworker has the same brain pattern because he talked about how down in the dumps you get immediately and you spend a few hours just feeling sorry for yourself or your loved ones (let's face it, my cancer was probably harder on Susan than it ever was on me; something which always amazes me about her and at the same time makes me feel like a bit of a wimp.)
Anyways, then he started talking about how he realized that his family was travelling to Hawaii in 3 months and that he never really did anything or enough of anything with them. Granted, Susan and I did manage to spend a great week in Florida recently, and we've done Asheville for our anniversary, but since I have went back to waiting tables, we don't have the luxury of taking weekends away. We also don't see each other that much, which I hate, but at this point I had just kind of assumed a stance of: "Its temporary, and it is what it is...for now." After reading that email this morning, I've spent some time thinking about what I need to do better, how much do I need to change (A LOT...), and I spent the longest time wondering why I had regressed into just sort of coasting through what was going on in my life.
So, here's my advice, although it isn't totally mine because someone else had to write an email that I had to read and then think about before offering my thoughts. At some point today, take 30 minutes and think about the one thing you really want to do, the one place you really want to go next, or someone who's really made your life better. After you've figured that out, go make it happen. If its a place, start putting money back, schedule the time off from work and go do it. If its something of the material world, do the same as above, and then go buy it. Last and most importantly, if it's a person or group of people who make a significant difference in your life, figure out a way to make the same difference in theirs. There is no worse feeling than realizing how much you take something for granted. I realized that me not dying from cancer is something I took for granted for the last 9 months. I am an idiot. Don't be an idiot.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Sooooo, yeah, this is what the new project chose as this week's topic. I know it might be pretty ballsy to talk about religion as it is one of those things that I try not to do (obviously, I'm still going to here..). I usually believe that your beliefs are a very personal thing and you shouldn't have to explain yourself or them to anyone. religion has been a tough area for me as of late because talking or writing about it forces me to reconcile what I learned in my youth with what I see happening in the present. I'm sure like me, many of you who were raised in the South have the same issues: Why do I believe what I do? Do I still really believe it? Is it ok for me to pick and choose what aspects of it I agree with?
The last question is where I have been for awhile now. There is no part of the above picture that I agree with. I find it silly to subscribe to what is basically fear mongering in order to make someone buy into what you're selling as religion. I also feel like it is tough to reconcile my small town upbringing with a larger world view that I've developed since moving away from there. Unfortunately, I still notice that there is a contingent of America who lives in a sort of bubble that allows and to some extent promotes group-think that propagates hatred toward others for their "lifestyles". Sure, if you take the billboard at face value, you can assume that drunkards, fornicators, adulterers, philanderers are able to repent from their evil ways, but that assumes that they see something wrong with what they're doing. Some may, most won't at that is where the disconnect happens. Most people assume that anyone gives a flying f*&k what anyone thinks about how they live their lives and thusly billboards like this are quickly pushed aside to exist in the realm of crazy people who pay money to erect billboards where there's a picture of Jesus (Sidenote: I seriously doubt this is what Jesus actually looked like. They've also elected a picture where he seems to either a) be experiencing some sort of severe pain or b) severe pleasure. (I am aware that it is wrong to make fun or harbor the idea that this looks like Jesus whilst in the throws of passion, but I can't be the only one who had this thought upon seeing this for the first time...))
My main issue is that what I believe and know to be true cannot be reconciled with anything on this billboard. Especially the homosexual comment. Anyone who has a friend or family member that is gay can attest to the same feeling. If you grow up in a small town where everyone knows everyone and can be assured that there are no people who are gay and any who are weren't actually born that way, but instead opted to live a "lifestyle". This makes no sense to me, but alas we have folks in our country that do. I also don't know that we should still use the word swindler, but given the recent happenings on Wall Street, that may actually still be an appropriate term for some people.
Since, I can't go on without pointing out the obvious flaws in this billboard, and I'm already tired of ranting about how silly most of this seems in a world view, here are the 5 things that I find weird about this image:
1. Philandering, adultering, and fornicating seems repetitive. In fact, upon double checking the definitions of each. Philandering and Adultering are the exact same thing. So, yeah we get it, you don't want people putting their genitalia near other's genitalia unless they're married. I can get on board with this as too many stupid people are reproducing at an alarming rate as it is, but ease up a bit. The fact that you used 2 words that mean the same thing already tells me you have no REAL understanding of the words you just paid money to put on a large billboard. They might have been better served to put one up saying "I'm ignorant and Stupid"... That's the conclusion we've likely drawn anyways...
2. Is that an ellipsis at the end of that Bible quote? So we can assume that this was taken out of the context of a larger passage? How does someone that has never really known Christianity not supposed to think that the next sentence isn't something like, "you also shouldn't call people mean names like homosexuals or drunkards..."
3. You know when you had people teaching you things when you were little and then when you were older, you realize that they may not have been that smart? This is that. 5 year old me would accept what the said as absolute truth having no basis for a counter-argument. 31 year old me knows that a good portion of the people who agree 100% with this billboard also think that Nickelback is a quality rock band who makes great music. They've also never actually read the majority of the book that they use to tell people they're living their life wrong.
4. The quote from the Bible uses the word homosexuals. Pretty sure that the apostles weren't throwing that word around 2000 years ago. This is one of my pet peeves as of late with religion. Old words are clung to (you know, because I've used the word philanderer more in this post than in my entire adult life) and then some newer words are just thrown in for good measure. Which means its okay to quote something in any way you see fit as long as your end goal of scaring people into living their lives the way you think they should is achieved.
5. Lastly, I assume the intelligence of an individual who would spend money on erecting a sign like this cannot be that great. I understand that they likely feel they are just passing on the truth as they know it to be, but would also venture that an actual debate of whats right and wrong would last roughly as long as it's taken me to write this post about it. In fact, a part of me is sad that I can't have said debate, but the bigger part of me is glad to know that this billboard likely rests in a small part of the country where few will have to see it and think that there are those out there who strive to rid the world of its problems by any means necessary. Apparently, what was necessary here was to call people names, post a weird (and likely incorrect picture) of Jesus, and to let you know that you are wrong...
If you wish to see the other responses to this week's topic feel free to head on over to the following blogs and see what we have to say...or don't. As always, I don't necessarily give a crap about someone reading this, but I kind of do....
All that has changed. A few friends were talking about starting their own blogs and each of them writing about the same idea each week. They asked me to join, and of course I said yes, bc I really, really need something to spark my desire to write with material. Plus, this way it will likely take m out of my comfort zone by me not choosing the topic all of the time. I'm pretty excited about this and you should see the first post here in the next little bit. Since some of you have always said that you enjoy my posts and want me to write more, I expect you to read it and possibly even spark a debate about the topic (whatever it may be).
Friday, July 20, 2012
"...To me, it seems our society puts a decreasing amount of value on human life--not just killings, but even in some of our laws, life isn't always the priority. If you buy that, in your opinion, what are the factors that you see contributing to this deteriorating respect for life?"I posted a couple of replies and then realized that I'd been looking at a few different things going on over the last month and succeeded in merely observing them without doing anything about it.
In case you've managed to completely miss the news since last night. A PhD candidate at the Univ. of Colorado walked into a midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises and preceded to throw smoke bombs and shoot up the place killing 12 people and injuring many (some reports I've read say as many as 70 people.) He also managed to booby-trap his apartment with explosives. We all immediately rush to understand the brain and issues therein that would cause a person to do something so heinous instead of focusing on what our world does to cause such an act and ultimately (since we run our world) what we did to cause these scenarios.
I've heard people immediately throw up the gun control, violence on tv and in video games, and the ever present argument that we as a nation have no morals. The first two, I at least understand the vein of their arguments. They feel that access to guns and or being desensitized to violence plays a direct corollary to the probability that a crazy person will shoot up a theater. I'm sure there's a small percentage of truth there. I'm also sure that the fact that the extreme majority of people who don't do these things with the same access/exposure should tell us that it isn't a lack of regulations, morality, or proper upbringing that ultimately causes these things. Sometimes, you buy things and they are instantly defective. Like, out of the box, defective. Sometimes, you buy them, they work fine, but eventually start acting screwy and mess up. And sometimes they explode in your hands. This guy was sadly one of the latter. A defective model, that likely nothing could have changed or repaired. Yet, instead of looking at that in context and choosing to look at what we could change within ourselves, we immediately blame x, y, or z for what happened. We also tend to expect these institutions to act in human-like ways even though they aren't designed to do so, and act outraged when they don't. As I posted in the comments section on the above Facebook post:
I don't blame corporations for putting a figure on human life (especially insurance companies, since their profitability lies in whether someone lives or dies), because they are a business. The end result should be to make x amount of money for selling goods and or services. Corporations do not have hearts, feelings, morals, or any of the things we expect them to have. Yet, we are appalled when they behave in the ways that they are designed to behave. It boils down to what I said earlier about the "me" first attitude. Instead of looking at the problem from an internal perspective, we immediately point the finger at other causes i.e. corporations, lack of regulations, too many regulations, etc. They aren't the problem. Humans are the problem. And since we only keep reproducing at higher rates, it would serve all of us well, to be introspective about it and look at what we can change to reroute the world's course instead of hoping that a corporation or some other large entity will channel his inner Tin Man and visit the Wizard to get a heart...The end result is we spend more time freeing ourselves of any responsibility for our part in society's decline than we do trying to make some sort of change for the better. It's easier to make yourself believe that others are to blame than to work for the sense of gratitude that comes with being part of the solution (however small said contribution may be...)
One case in point, give that we are in an election year, is that I've come to realize that a 2 party system is inherently flawed and set out to base my opinions on what should be done both fiscally and humanitarianly (pretty sure that's a word...) within the structure of our government. In roughly 85% of the major debates, I side with the Libertarian viewpoint. Less government, less regulation, and more freedom for people to live their lives the way that they choose. Naturally, one would expect that I would change my voter registration to reflect the party my ideals line up with, right? Nope, I'm still registered as a republican despite the fact that I think Romney is quite possibly a cyborg or at the very least has big business' hand stuck up his rear and pulling the strings. So, as I type about how we don't elect to be part of the solution, I realize that I can't even get on the Internet and switch allegiances to a party that more closely represents my views. I'm sure it would take like 10 minutes to do...
In the end, we will always continue to send blame towards that which we believe to be evil (evil sometimes being the opposing viewpoint from ours. and by sometimes I mean 95%) instead of just electing to make a change for the better. So amidst all of this media outcry for radical change to combat crazy people, who despite said change will still continue to be crazy as they have for decades (See: Nero) and we will continue to try and fix the defective instead of engineering a better operating model.
So, in the next week when you start to give us your opinion on the horrific causes of tragedies like this one in Colorado. Maybe instead you should stop, spend that 5 minutes thinking about some small positive change you could make that day, and then go out and do it. We'll all benefit from this more than we will from another opinion that lays the blame in another area, which is basically any area where we don't reside.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
7:12 - We start with some guy singing about saving water by drinking beer. While I cannot find a hole in his argument, it doesn't seem like a great idea for a song.
7:14 - First Reba siting of the night. I would enjoy a lump sum payment in the amount of 22% of her plastic surgery bill. I imagine that's enough for a small house, car, and various other accouterments we would possibly want.
7:21 - They just informed us that Toby Keith will be performing Red Solo Cup. I feel the need to inform them that song will likely induce a need to vomit and bleed from the ears on my part.
7:31 - Temporarily changed the channel only to turn it back and have Susan audibly cringe when Keith Urban tried to strangle a cat onstage, then it turned out that he was just attempting to sing...
7:33 - They're asking people to tweet their thoughts about the awards. Which may end up worse than when ESPN asks sports fans to tweet on the show.
7:35 - Eli Young Band just won an award. Despite the fact that I hate seeing they've gone mainstream country, I was impressed that Mike Eli made a successful attempt at eating an entire buffet in Vegas somewhere.
7:40 - Is there a statute somewhere that requires all country songs to rhyme every line in a song?
7:50 - Some kid just came on the awards show. Susan called him the country version of Justin Bieber. She nailed it before I could even get the words out. This is why we do this.
7:52 - Now some other band is playing some song and a children's choir is singing in the back. It keeps referencing world hunger and ending it. I bet they're pissed at Mike Eli.
7:53 - Suz just informed me that this band is "Little Big Town", I've renamed them to "Next time you think a John Lennon song mixed with anything is a good idea...just don't."
Soooo. we almost made
Thursday, March 1, 2012
One caveat that I've forgotten to explain up to this point is why this was such a cool purchase to us. Vinyl has been making a huge resurgence over the last 4 or 5 years and Suz and I have been buying a lot of it from time to time. We don't buy just anything, it has to be an album or artist that we really like (Susan has a soft spot for Billy Joel records while I've been trying to grab the complete collections of Zeppelin, The Stones & The Beatles.) I don't appreciate vinyl in a smug hipster sort of way. Our record player is just a plain model that gets the job done, not some crazy expensive job that costs as much as my first car.
So basically, we were going to buy this stereo regardless of its condition electronically just because it looked so cool. Then the lady selling it started talking about it when I asked a few questions about its story. This lady was in her early 70s and looked like your typical grandma (I had meant to grab a picture of her with the stereo, but completely forgot to do that..) complete with denim dress shirt monogrammed with a Dr. Seuss "Cat in the Hat" logo. I should have known that at this point, anyone who would sport that shirt had to be pretty damn cool. Turns out she was more than that. As she started reminiscing about the stereo, you could sense the joy those memories brought back to her. She said that she still remembered the day it was delivered and that she couldn't have been happier if it was a brand new corvette. I imagined that she was listening to the latest Patsy Cline records or whatever else was popular for country music in Nashville in the mid to late 1960s. Turns out I was wrong. She said that she owned every record of every band that she had seen live when they came through Nashville or a nearby city (Atlanta would be my best guess.) The Beatles, Rolling Stones, you name it, she had seen them live. I especially enjoyed her story of being so close up front for The Rolling Stones that she could have touched Mic Jagger's leg. She even said, "He was just a kid then!" as if to admit that there was a time long, long ago when the years were stripped away and she could remember herself and Mic in their youth. She told us about her son growing up listening to all their classic rock albums on the stereo and I thought about the fact that somewhere there's a guy who thinks about this stereo every time he hears "Beast of Burden" or "Paperback Writer". I thought about the record player we had growing up and how my sister, bless her heart, would play Men at Work and a Sawyer Brown record on repeat for hours.
This is the same girl who rented Pee Wee's Big Adventure every week at the video store. When I say every week, I mean EVERY WEEK!!! It got to a point that I'd beg my parents to make her get something else because I knew I'd have to sit through it again. That led to her switching to renting Hugga Bunch every week. It was horrible. Every time the (SPOILER ALERT) grandma got ready to pass on my sister would burst into tears.
You can see how this stereo brings back memories even for me and we could tell that the lady really enjoyed the fact that it was going to a good home (as she kept saying that) and that we would get some use out of it. As I type this, I've got the Foo Fighters blasting through it and it sounds awesome. They truly don't make things like they used to. As I was getting ready to go get a vehicle to load it up (btw, thanks to out friends Sara and Burhan for helping us get it home) she gave us this note to get us into the grounds. I like that she wrote a nice little note on the back.
I'm still not sure what my point is for sharing all of this with you guys, other than I thought it was pretty cool that we bought a stereo from a lady that had seen the Stones live and that since 1966, this thing has sat in two living rooms, hers and ours. I guess more than anything it made me appreciate older folks. Its easy to forget that once upon a time they were young just like us and that they were around when all of these bands became famous (in our generations defense, we got to welcome Nickelback and Creed into the music world. Take that Baby Boomers...)
It's something that I know Suz and I will cherish, plus despite its age (46 years!) it has an aux input, so I like the idea of hooking an mp3 player up to it. Most of all it has character and charm, something that our world could use a bit more of.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Well, right now I'm sitting outside my next class waiting for time to start and the professor in the classroom next to it has her door open and is lecturing on social media. I have no clue what type of class this is, but its in the Business building so I can assume two things: 1) It is some type of business class. 2) She has no idea that her students likely know 10 times more about Social media than she does. She has just explained Twitter and Pinterest back to back in the absolutely most basic terms possible. She also stated that Twitter was a very useful tool for most people to give you very important information. Has she ever read a Twitter feed? I'm sure there may be some deep, dark, nerd circle out there, where people are tweeting about global economic policy or some other stuff that no one on Twitter really cares about. When I think of Twitter, I think of journalism and the ability to send the headlines of upcoming stories out before they are released. The more well-known area of Twitter would be where people follow Kardashians and other reality TV stars and attempt to interact with them and get a retweet because they live a life where a celebrity hitting a button or two to reply to their message makes the year for them. That and they wanna know the secret to their success. (Hint: it was banging the singer Brandi's unfamous brother on camera. I have a complete other post I want to write on the state of our nation where this allows you to make $20 million for a 72 day sham of a marriage (Also, we accept this as some type of acceptable behavior, but freak the fuck out because two men or two women want to marry each other?))
I digress. The second instance of anger came as I received an outline back, which was tore to shreds on what I missed or did incorrectly. There were many comments, but the professor gave me no reasoning as to how she takes points off for each infraction. She basically writes a bunch of chicken scratch on your work, gives you a grade, and when you compare it with others in the class, there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why she gave the grade she did. I cannot explain how pissed I was (and still am) this morning when i got my work back. I understand that it is normal for certain professors to be more strict than others and that certain types of classes are routinely tougher. This is a public speaking class. Every communications class I've ever known about has been one of the easier classes where information and material are concerned. Chemistry or Physics it is not. That being said, I can understand someone setting the bar higher than expected. What I cannot understand, nor accept is for a professor to grade two papers or pieces of work with different grades and similar critiques. It may not be completely tangible like grading a math test, but I HATE (and I cannot stress this word enough) when someone cannot justify their reasoning as to why you were given the response you received. The professor could provide a rough rubric of how you will be evaluated, they just chose not to. Instead, the class is spent covering power point slides that could easily be consumed outside of class in less time and more time devoted to covering, giving examples of, or basically teaching the technique being graded. I didn't decide to incur $3,000 in debt this semester so that I could have a professor show me PowerPoint slides that have little effect on what my money is going towards...a degree.
The final straw this morning was a spritely young coed, who as I walked out with my 2nd coffee this morning, felt compelled to voice her political opinions to everyone within a 20 foot radius. It's understood that they are in fact opinions and thusly don't require extensive knowledge of the concepts or ideas described therein. I also, don't have expectations any longer when it comes to anyone under the age of 25 being able to voice their opinions based on factual evidence, sound reasoning, or life experience. They're young and it makes sense that some of those requirements would be difficult to come by. All I ask is that if you are speaking loudly about someone who could potentially be the leader of the free world, you don't use terms like, "I think Gingrich would get my vote because of like...you know...he totally has..." If you can't fully express what you want to say without sounding like a Valley girl, please by all means, take some extra time, compose yourself, and contemplate your feelings on the subject. Also, don't vote for Gingrich. That's just silly...
Yes, I realize the irony in this upcoming statement (hey, you guys all click on a link because you care what I have to say), but far too often we assume that others give a damn what we think. We assume that our opinion or viewpoint is the benchmark by which all others should be considered. I'm far too tired to understand where stupid ideas come from or where the urge to speak without thinking about what you're saying comes from. Then again, maybe that's why I'm tired, I've been worn down against the dull grindstone that is stupidity and ego-centrism...
Sunday, February 12, 2012
- Nicki Minaj must intend on surviving financially despite any Catholic never buying her records again
- I'm more and more saddened by the effect reality tv has had on the world. I don't know that it is the only thing that I can pinpoint, but it does make me wonder if everyone competed for attention like this before it came along. Nothing would make me happier than GaGa and Minaj calling a truce. Especially since some Russian wore machine guns on her right arm. I'll just let that last sentence sink in for a minute.
- I don't understand it. Susan loves to watch E!'s coverage of the red carpet. I feel like after an hour of it, that they almost exclusively talked to people who either had a show on their network or asked questions to turn it that way. People say that Seacrest is the next Dick Clark. Dick Clark gave us glorious things like $25,000 Pyramid and American Bandstand. Seacrest gets rich off things like the Kardashians. Remember that. They're his fault...
Here we go:
7:47 - Foo Fighters = Awesome. The fact that a fan in the audience was wearing his sunglasses on the back of his head and an affliction button up shirt appreciates the same music, makes me question the majority of my decisions.
8:00 - Coldplay was pitchy. And it looked like someone covered Chris Martin's piano in a "technicolor money-shot"
8:09 - The Chipotle commercial has me confused with Willie Nelson singing Coldplay's "The Scientist". It still doesn't make me want to eat Chipotle, but it was definitely memorable.
8:15 - Gotta love the Foo Fighters getting all of this recognition.
8:16 - Beach Boys being done by Maroon 5 & Foster the People seemed like they managed to almost put me to sleep. I'm also wondering if Brian Wilson will want go back into his bedroom and do cocaine for another 2 years after seeing what "artists" like Minaj and GaGa have done with music.
8:32 - Stevie Wonder really needs to let go of the hair. It's gone completely on top. I don't understand why he can't see that...
8:34 - No Sir McCartney, no one wants to hear you jazz standard rendition. Play Yesterday, Hey Jude, or basically anything else besides what you're doing now.
8:38 - I'm glad that chris Brown thanked everyone except Rihanna for not pressing charges...
8:48 - Taylor Swift.... Ugh. For those of you who don't know her backstory, the way I have heard it is this: She's from a rich suburb of Nashville, her dad paid for everything and even bought a bunch of her singles on iTunes when she first released so that it would end up being on the top buys list. She was well-liked in high school. Basically, at no point has anyone likely been mean to her in her life. If she and Chad Kroeger from Nickelback had a child, it would undoubted be able to write such shitty pop songs that it would bring about an apocalyptic event like this.
8:59 - Lady Antebellum kills me. Just blah.
9:05 - They just introduced Gwyneth Paltrow as the only Oscar winner to perform with Cee Lo at last year's Grammys. That wins my award for most stunningly specific introduction tidbit.
9:14 - Adele is 23. I have this weird feeling that she's great enough that we'll lose her to the club of 27. (For those that don't know, thats the club of stars that all died at 27. Cobain, Hendrix, Joplin, etc.)
9:19 - Its sad that Glenn Campbell has Alzheimer's and is stopping touring, but every time they show him I can't help, but to think of this
9:32 - Tony Bennett looks like he wants to give Carrie Underwood the best 10-20 seconds oh her life.
9:34 - Bon Iver is pronounced like Eye ver. Didn't realize it was that bad. Also, his acceptance speech confirmed exactly why the hipsters love him so...
9:51 - I just want Questlove to be by friend.
9:56 - There is a weird bit of irony that Dave Grohl was sandwiched between two electronic artists and Chris Brown after his rant on the acceptance speech.
10:00 - That guy had a cool mouse helmet. I have no idea why he wears it, but it was shiny.
10:05 - Nicki Minaj...just....I don't know how I'm supposed to... Geez. What the fuck was that?
Thats it. I cant comprehend anything else. My brain just felt like someone hit it with a taser. Nicki Minaj has ruined my ability to be interested in music. She also managed to alienate anyone with even a slight amount of respect for the Christian religion.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
As a way of proving this theory, I've started recounting the things that I've witnessed in the last year or so. Since no one has emailed me at chemosabe23 at gmail dot com (sorry had to write it out because while Spam may be a delicious canned meat to some, I prefer not to deal with it) with funny videos or links for me to look at and then make fun of, I've just decided that for the time being, I'll recount something each week or so that you all can then let me know whether its insane to think that it is weird that shit keeps happening when I'm around.
So if we are facebook friends (you. are. welcome. btw.) you likely noticed my post earlier about the blind girl. Whether you did or didn't, I'll gladly recount this story so that you all may feel the awkwardness that I felt when this happened. This semester I have a History class at 6:20am. Yes, I realize how stupid that sentence is. To be honest, I don't mind it that much because it enables you to have a good portion of your day going before anyone gets to campus. Anyways, this morning we had our first exam and thus, I was finished at roughly 7am and had an hour before my next class. The student center was on the way to my next class, and I knew that no normal (read: annoying) college student would be around, so I thought it was a good way to kill an hour, plus chik-fil-a is there, and unless you're a communist, who doesn't enjoy a good chicken biscuit? The answer is Kim Jong Il. He doesn't enjoy a chicken biscuit because he's dead. He's also a communist. Really not sure which reason supersedes the other on why he doesn't like chicken biscuits.
I'm sitting in the booth enjoying the first chicken biscuit that was sold on MTSU's campus this morning (yes, I'm proud) and I see this girl coming towards me. I immediately note some distinct differences. A) She is walking with a huge cane/walking stick... which leads me to B) She is blind.
Let me stop here to let you grasp the fact, that at no point do I intend to poke fun at her condition, or the daily trials that she likely deals with. The following is merely an observation on what else I noticed about her and the events thereafter. No more. No less.
Once she gets closer, I notice that she has a giant eyebrow ring above her right eye. Call me an asshole, but if you aren't magically still living in any year before 2005, then you have no business with a piercing in your eyebrow. Regardless of anything else, you just shouldn't do it. Compound the fact that, I assume she has never seen what this thing looks like and you can understand how I thought this was awkward. It was more awkward because I felt bad for judging her even though it was a trivial brow accoutrement. I was fixated on developing any back story that seemed remotely feasible to explain why a blind girl would pierce her eyebrow. I had nothing. Keep in mind that as I'm distracted by her life's story, she is walking through the middle of the student center sweeping her cane in a radius 3 times as wide as any that I've ever seen. I say that because, we've all seen blind people use their canes/walking sticks (I'm not really sure what they're called) with a sweeping motion in front of them. It normally seems that its a fairly short sweep in front of them, but this lady was ensuring that no obstacle existed within 6 feet on either side of her. Again, I am in no way trying to make fun of her. I'm merely recounting the events that I witnessed in hopes that you guys will read them and agree that they are weird as shit.
So...as I sit there, scenarios blazing through my mind. It happens. In the most perfect or perfect timings. As her walking stick sweeps far left, it fails to locate the large trash can on her right. By now, I assume she is late for class, because she is walking at a feverish pace. BAM!!!! She careens off of the trash can. I didn't have a radar gun, but I would have clocked her at roughly 6-7mph. That's straight up moving for walking! Had this been normal class time, many, many people would have seen this and responded appropriately or inappropriately (most likely inappropriately). Despite what you'd think, my reaction was that of shock. "No way that just happened."
She was unfazed. She kept about her day. I'm sure its something to be expected. I sat there, half chuckling at the absurdity of it all and half ashamed that I was the only there to witness it and then have no one to gauge my reaction off of. That's what I mean when I make the "Truman Show" comparisons. This was truly one of those moments where I couldn't believe what was going on. 15 minutes later, I couldn't believe that no one jumped out laughing and telling me it was a joke.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The truth is that if you are in my generation (those of us who fall at the end of Gen X, but not quite with what ever these new kids are, then you're a millennial) then you are old enough to realize that the baby boomers, in addition to being the "greatest generation" have also been the most selfish. We're headed straight towards a major meltdown. Before this morning, I had hope that either my generation or the newer generation would have someone who could initiate the massive change that we need to take place in this country.
Looks like it is all up to our generation because the new kids are clueless, pretty self-involved, and generally think that even the most menial accomplishments should be met with great fanfare and applause. How do I know this? Well, as many of you may know, I decided to go back to school to get my English education degree, so that I could then teach high school English. feel free to provide comments below telling me how idiotic I am. I am aware. Taking a speech class was something anyone who's been to college knows about. I'm lucky enough that my first one didn't transfer, so I get double the exposure. I'm one of 4 people in 27 who are older. You can imagine that it's quite odd to have to deal with college kids a decade younger than you. Today, it became even more apparent, just how different of a life they've experienced.
The first order of this class is to give an introductory speech about yourself to the class. 3 minutes. That's it. For that very reason, I chose to omit my story about cancer, plus I didn't wanna bring the room down at 8am on a Tuesday morning. Also, I enjoy talking about it with friends who have questions or want to know how everything is going, but I haven't found a way to convey the message to complete strangers yet. Plus, I didn't want to chance my grade with possibly getting emotional about it. maybe that is what comes with being a bit older, I don't allow you to know everything about me (I do realize the slight irony in writing that sentence on a blog about my life...) unless it seems like its improves us all. What I couldn't figure out was the fact that most of these young kids chose the most horrific stories to recount. I can appreciate them taking the courage to do so, but at the same time, if you can't get through a speech about your life without crying, maybe you're getting a bit too personal. Luckily, I went first, so I didn't have to follow the three speeches after me.
Here they are in exact order. the first girl after me broke down when talking about her mother and growing up in a single parent household. We're talking breaking down to a point where there was a good 20 seconds of that lovely awkward silence you get when no one knows how to react and it would also be impolite to do so. I felt really bad for her, as she had just talked about how good she was at public speaking in the hallway before class. The next girl got up and talked about her young sister having Leukemia (and kicking its ass) and a friend dying of a tumor found in his arm during high school. I felt really bad about this stuff, but also found it awkward. Its really tough being an engaged listener in a class of people you don't know and I found myself dreading what some of these kids would say next. The next guy got up and went through the entirety of his football career up until last year. No seriously, year by year from ages 12-19. After that we had a girl who talked about volunteering (which is great) but she came across as needing everyone's approval that she was a good person because she volunteered. Or perhaps she wanted us to know that she was a good person and it was because of her charity. Either way, it just felt odd. Next was a girl who had her parents split up and then BOTH go through drug abuse issues. Luckily, her mother had been The class ended with a girl who talked about her brother that had cerebral palsy. He died when she was 5 and that made her want to work with kids who had special needs. Again, it was truly sad, but it left people looking around the room to see if anyone else had the proper reaction to this girl crying in the middle of her speech.
While it was all very odd, I don't mean to talk about these kids in a way of making fun of any of their situations. Each one was horrible in their own way (except for the volunteer humble bragger. she sucked) and I'm sure that each part of their respective lives that they talked about did have some bearing on shaping their lives. Where I get aggravated in this class, is that not one of these kids stood up there and gave you 3 minutes of who exactly they were. 75% of them told you some horrible story about themselves or their family, while the other quarter of them listed words or used the word princess repeatedly (it should also be noted that the girl who used the princess moniker for herself, did the entire speech in 3rd person. I imagine she is a giant Kardashian fan...) In the end, it is as if they have allowed these events make them the person they are, which is something I disagree with. Beating cancer did nothing to make me who I am. It's something that happened to me. Did it change my perspective? You bet! However, I don't know that it did anything other than make me aware of who exactly I was. Granted, I have the luxury of 10+ years on these kids, and all the growing up that involves, but I can't help but think that my generation did not ask for the admiration or empathy that these youngsters so desire. It was as if, each one of them wanted you, so badly, to know that life was hard for them.
Generations are different. Inevitably, the time frame you grow up in causes you to behave in one way or the other and shapes who you are. Where I start to realize that seismic shift of the new generation towards selfishness is that most of these kids seem to want to be heard, they want to be affirmed, and they need you to know they're special. It made me hope that somewhere around this country there's a person who's 25-35 that has their shit together enough to make things different. I don't see the next generation doing it, and the boomers have had their run at it.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I said I was going to write more and honestly thought it would be Thursday when I got back on campus that I'd be presented with material, but alas there has been a guy tonight that needs to be documented. I'm fascinated with people and how they behave in public, especially those who tend to ignore most social norms...like this guy. I'm doing inventory tonight and he's gladly scanning price tags and contemplating his next D&D character (for those of you unfamiliar with nerd culture, that's the nerd equivalent of snappin' necks and cashin' checks...)
1) yes those are pajamas. They said you could dress down. He doesn't understand the concept of moderation in all things, which leads me to...
2) yes that is his cup. Im taking guesses in the comments section on its contents. My guess is mountain dew and 256 ounces.
3) there are two black ladies sitting beside him and they were discussing being too old to go to the club...
He keeps chiming in about his time at the club. There are 2 observations about this :
A) he's never been to a club
B) especially the kind of club they we're talking about. He's way too white and nerdy...
4) he just told another black gentleman that his blue pants looked like scrubs or nurses pants. They look nothing like anything other than dress pants.
5) He just talked about sneezing loud and said he learned it from his mother. Fucking a, sneezing is not a learned behavior.
6) At no point tonight has he went to the restroom. That cup is gigantic, this part alone must actually defy physics, biology, and at least 3 other natural sciences that I am unaware of...
7) He has now initiated a contest between himself and the guy wearing nurse's pants to see who can tell a story that the other guy can't reply with a similar yet more awesome story. (This is also known as Big Dicking someone...)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
I spent the last half of 2011 beating cancer. I've spent the first 10 days of 2012 trying to beat old habits and ways of thinking. I think cancer was easier. The one thing that I'd said I had learned when all of this cancer business was over, was that I wouldn't take anything for granted or would I slip back into the laziness I'd developed over the last couple of years. Both of these have been challenging, as you start to get back into life you find out that it's tough to ease into it. It's the equivalent of merging back onto the expressway while trying to stay under 35mph. It just isn't gonna happen and in the process you'll either get hurt or screw something up. Likely both.
My first goal (I use goal bc having a new year's resolution seems silly. It seems that you're agreeing to change something for that year or make it the focal point for that year, instead of change that is more lasting.) was to write much more frequently this year. Simple enough idea, but now that we're almost a month removed from cancer getting it's ass kicked, I find that I have much less to talk about, yet I only have the desire to ramble for 1,000+ words. Basically, I can't just send you guys a post that has 2 paragraphs and leave it alone. I have to make some grandiose point or have an epiphanal moment to pass along, instead of just making fun of people I shouldn't. The catch 22 that is approaching is I'll be back in school starting Thursday. On one side, it will provide you with many stories about the youth of today being the rotten foundation with which we must build the future (seriously, I'm gonna be teaching them and if most are like the ones I've had classes with, then the outlook is bleak...) while the other side is that I'll have 3/4 of my 15 hours this semester in writing intensive classes. Sure, I may decide I want to write, but there's no telling what it might sound like after I've finished everything else I have to do.
Once again, if you're unable to draw a conclusion from my rambling (surprised face) then I'll lay out what I've attempted to say. I had cancer. Now I don't. I was lazy and generally not enthused about much. I am now slightly enthused about some things. Then I read an update about some one's nephew having open heart surgery and how thankful they were for the doctors and nurses who literally saved his life. I've also read a friend's updates from high school about her daughter (who's a toddler) going through chemo. It brought back a lot of feelings, but most of all it caused me to stop for a second and reflect on the blessings I've received. Too often, we get caught up in the middle of surviving each day that we don't think about any alternatives. I have a loving wife, many friends, and at 30, I never thought I would be so grateful for my health. Don't take these things for granted, don't take each day or opportunity for granted. Be aware that something new may always be just over the horizon. Life is busy. Don't miss how beautiful the forest is because you were fixated on a single tree...