About Me

My photo
...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Brotherhood Of The Bowl

So I came back from a bathroom break and a friend of mine said, "Did you have a good doo doo?"  I started laughing, of course, and she made some comment about how I needed to take my notebook with me next time because I do my best thinking on the toilet.  Again, I started laughing because... I do no thinking on the toilet, which I pretty much said to her.  I go in, do my business, and get out.  The next thing I knew, we were engaged in a conversation about men and their strange relationship with the toilet -- men always seem to have some kind of ritual or something to distract themselves while taking a poo. Why is that?

Men always make it some kind of event.  I've heard more than one man refer to it as quiet time, the only place where they can be at peace, like some sort of sacred space.  And I know some men won't do it anywhere but their own home, but it wouldn't surprise me if dudes take their own preferred reading material with them into the office toilet. Hell, maybe some of them have a specific ritual for the office bathroom and a different one for the home bathroom.  Who knows... This is a mystery to my female mind.  If I didn't think it would frighten everyone in regard to my mental well being, I'd take a pole at the office regarding the preferred Number Two spot and what kind of meditative method is employed (i.e. reading, games, etc.).

I did a quick online search about the male bathroom ritual, but you're always treading on dangerous ground when conducting internet searches of that nature, so I didn't go too far.  I did find one article where a man discusses what he calls "poop paranoia" and rituals, but still... not quite the information I was looking for.  I want to know what drives the man to a point in his mind where the doo doo has become a sacred moment -- one that requires peace, tranquility, and concentration (or perhaps distraction, depending on how you look at it).

Seriously... my friend told me that every time her dad steps into the bathroom to have a movement, he takes his checkbook and balances his accounts.  ...the man seriously balances his accounts while he has a movement.

Another fellow she knows has to completely disrobe before doing the job.  He has to be completely free from all clothing or constipation may ensue -- buff bowels.

I have heard other stories of men who count out the squares of toilet paper and fold them in some sort of fashion until the task is completed.  And I knew a fellow who had to play guitar on the toilet, swearing it soothed his bowels and made the movement a smooth and relaxing experience.

There is always the traditional toilet reader claiming a calming and relaxing effect, but Hope's dad (this one always killed me) took that one to an entirely different level -- he used to read the Bible while having his morning poo.  (I never got over that one.  I remember one time I was dusting and took the Bible off the night stand, placed it on the floor just long enough to dust, and he scolded me for placing the holy book on the floor, to which I replied, "At least I'm not reading it on the crapper.")

But one of the strongest memories I have of men and their secret understanding of the sacred poo time was at a Christmas party when one of the ladies realized her husband had gone missing.  She stopped the entire conversation and exclaimed, “Where’s Dillon?!” as though we may need to call 911 because he'd been MIA for far too long.  Suddenly, we all heard a toilet flush and he came out of the hall with a magazine in his hand and every man in the room broke out into roaring laughter because, obviously, dude went and took a poo at a Christmas party and took some sacred ritual reading material with him.

Now, what I want to know is, when does this all begin?  And how is it that every single one of you has some sort of method to your movement madness?  Is there some kind of manhood training on the proper way to poo? When  potty trained as a child, does a your dad walk in and say, “Now son, the first thing you need to remember when taking a poo is that you must always have good reading material to help calm your mind and pass the time because you’re going to be in here for a while. Here, I brought you a copy of the Pokey Little Puppy. Now sit your little bottom down and do your thing.”  (I guess that's possible.  I do have a memory of my dad reading to me while I sat on the potty trainer, but I never adopted the reading on the toilet thing.  I love to read, but not on toilets.  Not very comfortable, and, like I said, I don't do my best thinking on the toilet.)

I hesitate to ask if this is some kind of Freudian thing because I hate to validate Freud on anything, but... he may have a point on this one.

Or maybe there is a reason, aside from experiencing a hangover, that people refer to the toilet as The Porcelain God, or The Throne.  Maybe you are all members of a secret society, a society way more influential than The Masons could ever hope to be, and all this time you've just played it off like some sort of stereotypical man joke.

That must be it.

That has to be it!

I am so onto you!

and...

now I've exposed the secret...

I'm sorry...

I am very very sorry...

Your secret is safe with me.

I promise.

The Sacred Sanctum Of The Shitter is not the name of the society, neither is The Brotherhood Of The Bowl.

And I swear...

I know nothing about the powers of The Toilet Minstrel or The Toilet Cleric or The Toilet Book Keeper.

Seriously... I made all that up.

Who would ever read the Bible on the crapper anyway, right?  Who would do that?!?!


Cited Source:
Matlack, Tom; Deuce Mania: A Men's Movement, March 16, 2011
http://goodmenproject.com/good-is-good/deuce-mania-a-mens-movement/



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pandora Solo Kierkegaard...?




A while back I took a test called "What Philosophy Are You?"  The answer was that I am a Nihilist.

Oo...  Nihilism...  I don't pretend to be a philosophy major of any kind, but if you do some online searching you will run across some interesting bloggers who claim Nihilism as their own.  I will however say, in its most basic Webster's dictionary version, Nihilism is a rejection of established laws and institutions, a form of anarchy, or revolutionary thoughts or actions; an extreme form of skepticism, as in the denial of all that is real or the possibility of an objective basis for truth; an adherence to nothingness or nonexistence.

I laughed when I saw this because, given some of the rants I write about (or speak aloud, depending on who you are and whether you're standing next to me at the time) and given all that I hold dear and take seriously in my life, this seemed way off course. And I can't remember all of the questions that were asked to give me this result, but I do remember one being something along the lines of "What would you do if you saw the person walking in front of you throw a paper cup to the ground instead of putting it in the trash can beside them?" I believe my answer to that one was that I would pick up the cup, throw it in the trash, and keep on walking without saying a word to the person. (one of the other choices was to pick up the cup, throw it at the person, and ask them what their problem was)

Enjoying my nerdy quiz moment, I also took "What kind of character are you?" I liked this quiz because it referred to character archetypes one would use when building a character for a Role Playing Game. Whenever I played games like that in the past, I always created characters that were good, or chaotic good, so I wanted to see if that's how I would score. I didn't, however, come up as either of those. Based upon that stupid test, I am what they called a True Neutral Character, and they cited characters like Lara Croft (from Tomb Raider) and Han Solo (from Star Wars) as examples.  As cool as those characters are, and as much as I love Han Solo, these are characters who are out for themselves, accomplishing and acquiring what they need to make their lives better. And at least in the case of Han Solo, it's only when they're pushed to the limit that they are forced to choose a cause to fight for, but even then they're only fighting for the side that would serve the best of their interests (it just so happens, for Solo, that his self interest happened to fall on the side that would best serve the greater good and free all beings from "government oppression").

Again, I sat there wondering how I came up with this (so similar to Nihilism) when I don't really see myself in this kind of light. And again, I can't remember all of the questions that were asked, but I do remember one question being something like, "A group of protesters are standing outside the Capitol, how do you respond?" And my response was something like, "Oh great, now the traffic is backed up because of these people."

As silly as these stupid tests may be, yeah...  If you drop a piece of trash on the ground in front of me when the trash can is right beside you, unless you're my daughter, I'm not going to stop you and say, "Hey Earth Trasher!  How 'bout using the trash can, you disrespectful dolt!"  Why?  Because I hate people like that.  People like that are really annoying.  In a situation like that I truly would just pick it up myself and keep on walking.  I'm not responsible for that person's actions, I am responsible for my own.  And yes, I know myself... I really would roll my eyes and groan at the protesters that are backing up the traffic.  They're protesting outside the Capitol right now over the healthcare mandate, and I recognize the point of both sides, but somewhere inside my mind I know that the Supreme Court is going to a decision regardless of the protesters and their signs and the rest of us will be left to deal with it so... what's the point?
http://www.myfreewallpapers.net/starwars/pages/millenium-falcon-flying-again.shtml

When I hear myself say these things, I guess I could be seen as a Nihilist / Neutral Character.  But... I know what I believe.  I know what my convictions are.  I know what motivates me to act or not to act.  I know where I stand on the Healthcare Mandate, and I know what decision will disappoint me and perhaps prompt me to rant on my blog.  I know that the world is full of good people and bad people, ones who throw their trash in the garbage can and ones who throw their trash haphazardly to the ground.  I know that I cannot dictate or determine the behavior of another, and I know that America would not be the same without a group of people willing to protest once in a while.  And I do know that if the government were about to take away my freedom of speech, I would most likely find a way to make a scene and protest until they shot tear gas at me and hauled me away somewhere.  So... sorry online tests.  As much as I would like to pilot the Millennium Falcon, I'm pretty sure I'd be running with the rebellion of my own free will because I do believe in something.

I did decide that I couldn't end it on two tests that made me out to be some sort of apathetic existentialist, so I did take one more called "Which Philosophy Suits You?"  I scored extremely high on my sense of individuality, and that, mixed with some other personality traits of mine, at least left me with Soren Kierkegaard.  Since I have three of his books and Frasier (one of my favorite shows) quotes him regularly, I am satisfied with this answer.  Individuality could be seen as "true neutral" simply because it appears you lack conviction because you are not "taking sides," but it's more like finding yourself standing in a room where neither side represents your true conviction.  "True peace can only be found within the self," not through yelling at the guy that dropped his trash on the ground, and not through creating stressed out energy on the steps of the Capitol due to something that is ultimately outside of your control.

Thanks, Soren.
http://personalitycafe.com/
  Personal Religion, by Kierkegaard 
You scored highest on the variable Individuality. Individuality was an important part of Kierkegaard's philosophy.

Søren Kierkegaard, 1813- 1855, Denmark.

Kierkegaard thought true religion should be found within yourself and not in uniformity. He did not oppose Christianity, but he opposed the Christian Church. The Church preached faith for the masses by rituals and generalization, which makes one lose its identity and leads to despair. True peace can only be found within yourself. As more and more people claim to have a personal belief/religion instead of conforming to a church, I think Kierkegaard was ahead of his time.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Occupy My Mailbox

I think I might go out and hire some loopy hippies to Occupy my mailbox.  Seriously... There is a genocide of trees going on and the results are in my mailbox.  Someone, please... stop the madness.

Don't get excited here, folks.  I'm not about to hop up onto some soapbox and truly cry about trees here (though I really do love trees a lot and I do make it a point to hug them every so often because, who couldn't use a good hug from a tree once in a while).  I am, however, going to gripe about this mess that ends up in my mailbox ALL THE TIME.

I once wrote about the mail and my lackadaisical approach to checking it.  I have, since then, made it a point to check my mail at least once a week.  The problem is, like most of my life, The Universe has decided to poke fun at me.  Even though I'm now checking the mail once a week, I have found more of those stupid pink slips telling me that my mailbox was full and that I have ten days to pick it up at the post office or it will all be returned to sender.

That stupid pink slip moment happened to me two weeks in a row, TWO WEEKS IN A ROW ladies and gentlemen.  Both times I stood there with that stupid pink slip in my hand saying, "Are you serious?!  After ONE WEEK you sent it all back?  Why?  Why one week?  I never have that much mail because I've gone paperless on most things.  This makes no sense!"

No... I'm sorry... It does make sense.  See that stupid picture up there?  After I went to the post office to pick up the mail, I had two pieces of mail in actual envelopes and the rest was all that tripe up there.  ALL THAT TRIPE UP THERE IS THE REASON I HAD TO TAKE A TRIP DURING MY LUNCH HOUR AND STAND IN LINE AT THE STUPID POST OFFICE WITH A SLEW OF GRUMPY PEOPLE THAT HATE THEIR LIVES!  I STOOD IN LINE FOR JUNK!!!  Two "buyer's edge" mailers, a stupid World Market mailer, some old people catalog specializing in corns and incontinence, and sundry other junk mailers.   Why oh why must I find this garbage in my mailbox on a regular basis?!  Someone needs to put a spam shock collar on the mail carrier -- every time the guy reaches to put a copy of the Penny Saver in my mail box, he gets shocked and redirected to the recycle bin.

Which brings up another point: if you're going to put this much waste in my mailbox, could you please do me a favor and place the recycle bin close by?  You have a trash can there, which I see most people are using as it is ALWAYS FULL with this garbage, but seriously.... I do start to feel really guilty just throwing it all in the trash.  Yes, I have learned to carry it down the way to the recycle bin by the dumpster, but the majority of the residents are still pouring the souls of the dead trees into the garbage can there.  The least we could do is make sure no NEW trees have to die just so they can become the next issue of the Money Mailer.  We can at least let the previous Money Mailer get recycled into a second shot at life.  I'm sure there's some irrationally thrifty soul around here who can convince himself that he just may need that patio designer, even though we all live in apartments around here and no one needs a new patio design.

Seriously... this makes no sense.  Please, oh great Occupy movement, please come Occupy my mailbox and hold up signs telling the mail carrier that I am the 1% of the population that doesn't give a shit about the Buyer's Edge and I have a dentist that I go to regularly so I really could care less about the five free cleaning deals down the street.  Please tell him that he doesn't have to do this.  Please tell him that the blood of your children are on his hands because he is contributing to the killing of trees simply by putting their poor news printed souls into my mailbox.  Please tell him that he could set himself free from this burden.  And please do it between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and noon, Monday through Friday, because he delivers the mail somewhere between those hours and I can take my lunch break to come watch because that would entertain the hell out of me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Feminist FTW! (For The Win)

So my daughter and I are World Of Warcraft players.  (Yes, we're gamer nerds, don't judge us.)  One of our favorite mother-daughter moments is to go into a "battle ground" where she's in charge of doing some serious damage and I'm in charge of healing people and we fight other players for honor points and bragging rights (oh, and to win or... something).  But we've been having trouble with the wireless connection lately, and it has affected her computer's ability to process the game fast enough and on multiple occasions disconnected.  I'm no computer guru, I can't explain what goes on with these things, but I do know that this didn't used to be a problem and it was brought to my attention that maybe some idiot around decided to tap into my wi-fi and get a little free internet for himself.  So, like most people would do, I decided that I may need to change the password.  The problem was, because I am no computer guru I have all too often relied on guru's around me (more specifically, dudes that know how to set up and fix computers), and when I first hooked up Hope with her own computer and wireless connection it was sometime in 2009 and I had help.  Since then I have lost that help so I'm sure you can imagine how frustrated I became when something as simple as going into one's wireless network to change the password somehow resulted in me successfully screwing up the entire setup.

Now, I don't know how to describe what happens to me in moments like these, but I go into some sort of world where I start ranting and raving out loud, and expletives are leaving my mouth without a second thought of who may be listening (Hope, most likely), and I'm going off about all kinds of craziness that gets on my nerves.  And it wasn't just that computers frustrate me because they somehow remind me of Math and send me into some sort of PTSD moment, it was that this should be a problem that is easily fixed and because I was not the one to install the thing, because I was not the one that regularly worked on the stupid thing whenever it went wrong, and because I no longer had the manual or any way to navigate through the unknown, I went off on my need to liberate myself from this bull shit and I need to fix this shit myself because "...who fucking needs a man?!  All they do is mess up my life anyway so... fuck this!  I'm going to replace this stupid shit with one I can install myself and know how the thing works and I won't have to call anyone to help me with the stupid thing!"  And at some point Hope shouted from the other room, "Maybe you need to call the Geek Squad?"  To which I'm sure she heard me reply something along the lines of, "I don't need to call the stupid Geek Squad!  I need get off my ass and do this myself!  I need to make sure that I don't need to call any of those idiots up in here because I live alone, damn it!  And if I'm going to be a woman living alone in this stupid world then I need to learn to do this my fucking self!"  And I got up and I grabbed my purse and I went to the door and as I was walking out Hope shouted: "Feminist For The Win!!!!"

It probably took me ranting to myself all the way to Best Buy, all the way back from Best Buy, and all the way until my new router and my new "network" was set up before I truly realized what she said right before I walked out the door.  "For The Win," or FTW, is something we often say in Battleground chat online.  Generally, when I play online with her, I use my priest character and I heal everyone.  There has been a few times where Hope has shouted, "Priest FTW!!!" as a compliment to me and my ability to keep the team alive, thereby allowing us The Win.  So I had to laugh knowing that she'd been sitting in the living room listening to my fiery diatribe about my independence and my need to do something as silly as install a new wireless router on my own to prove a point to myself -- I don't need a man.

Hope has no experience with "feminism" as we know it in the academic world.  And for those of you that haven't journeyed down that academic road either, your experience with "feminism" is probably limited to whatever the media has portrayed it as -- ugly women in combat boots that hate flowers and candy and anything romantic and may have a shed full of Craftsman tools from Sears.  And personally, even as one who has studied feminist theory at great length, I have never claimed to be a "feminist."  I am, however, a woman who is well aware that I am on my own here and well aware that I have been pegged by more than one person as "feminist."

I have been raising my child alone for 12 years, no man here.  I have trained in the Martial Arts and often jumped in the sparring ring with men just so I could learn how to destroy my attackers because, let's face it, 9 times out of 10 it's going to be a man.  I have fought my way into a solid business career in a world where I am often the one woman sitting at a conference table of men.  I have paid my own way, fixed my own toilets, snaked my own drains, taken out my own trash, opened my own stubborn jars, and learned to kill scary bugs all by myself because I have no man around to do it for me.  And I will tell you that in every single one of those times in my life where I had to "learn" to do that, at some point in the process I still had to have that conversation or diatribe with myself about my personal independence and that I don't need a man.  Why?  Not because I'm a man hater, not because I wouldn't have liked to have one around, but because life didn't seem to see a purpose in giving me one that knew how to be a good solid partner so I had to learn not to need one.  The fact that I am a woman, the fact that I am feminine, and I do these things to survive has somehow equated me to "feminist," not just in my daughter's mind, but in the minds of some others around me I'm sure.  I prefer to think of myself as a strong independent woman, you may even call me "liberated," if you like, but feminist... I will let it go as, like I said, the average individual hasn't truly studied feminism enough to know what that really means, but for the record I would like to say this:

If "feminist" in my daughter's mind means that I am a woman strong enough to do the job of both man and woman in one shot, then so be it.  I have no idea what her life has in store for her, but if it's anything like mine, then I hope she's a feminist by my her own standard too.  Feminist FTW!!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

You Jujued Us!

(It is customary for Pandora, Hope, and Sidekick to make their yearly pilgrimage to the Renaissance Festival sometime in March.  Due to some unforeseen events, the pilgrimage was moved up two weeks earlier than expected)

Sidekick: (looks at the traffic ahead) What's all this?

The Oracle: (Sidekick's husband, who had agreed to drive the ladies to the Festival) It's Festival traffic.

Sidekick: This far out?  It can't be.  There has to be a car accident somewhere or something.

The Oracle: Nope.  It's Festival traffic.

Sidekick: I don't remember it being this bad last year.  Was it?

Pandora: Don't think so.  We usually don't hit traffic until Idaho Rd.  (looks at the time) I don't know if we're going to make it in time for the feast.

Sidekick: What time is it?

Pandora: 11:40.  If the traffic is this bad this far out, there's no way we're going to make it there by noon.

Sidekick: Maybe they'll let us go to the 2 o'clock feast?

Pandora: Doubt it.

(An hour and twenty minutes later they pull into the Festival)

Hope: So, what do we do now?

Sidekick: I think we should ask about the 2 o'clock feast.

Hope: Or at least get your money back.

Pandora: I doubt either of those options will work.

Hope: It doesn't hurt to ask.

Sidekick: Listen to the kid.

(Pandora stands in line at the Will Call booth directly behind the cutest elderly couple she's ever seen -- they're dressed in some extremely authentic and expensive Renaissance Costumes and they far outshine any of the people in her general vicinity, herself and her own costume included.  As they get to the window they explain that they missed the 12 o'clock feast because of traffic, but they were denied entrance to the 2 o'clock feast because it was sold out.  They then asked for a refund for the feast portion and again, they were denied, though they were encouraged to go enjoy the rest of the festival.  Politely and kindly the elderly couple said thank you and made their way to the gate.  Pandora didn't even bother to go to the booth window.)

Sidekick: What's up?

Pandora: See that sweet little couple right there?  In the best costumes I've ever seen?  They had the exact same problem we did and they were denied.  If that lady at the will call booth is cold enough to deny those sweet people right there, then I'm not even going to bother asking.

Hope: So what do we do?  What are you going to eat in there?  I'm pretty sure nothing is gluten free in there.

Pandora: I don't know if I can eat right now.  That's $150 just flying out of my pocket with no purpose.

Sidekick: Let's not think about that right now.  Let's get in there, I'll buy you a drink, we'll get Hope some food, and we'll think about what you can eat.

(They walk inside the gates and the Festival is overrun with people, uncharacteristically crowded from what the ladies are used to.)

Sidekick: Oh man.... this is gonna be grand, isn't it?  People everywhere!  They're camping out on the lawn there like homeless people!

Pandora: It's St. Patty's Day.  They all thought it would be great to come out here and feel Irish or something.

Sidekick: Well it's annoying.  We need to remember not to do this on a holiday.  This is awful!

Hope: Look!  The Irish Stew!  They serve it in a bread bowl, Mama, but if they can put it in a real bowl you can eat it.  It's really yummy!  I've had it before.

(they stand in line for several minutes, finally get to the front, and they announce they're out of the Irish Stew)

Pandora: Are you serious?  Ugh...

Hope: Well... we can get a turkey leg, Mom.  It's jut meat.  It's probably safe.

Pandora: ...

Sidekick: I'm gonna get you a glass of wine.  Go get in the Turkey leg line.

(Hope and Pandora get into the turkey leg line and spend another 15 minutes in that line before the guy announces that they've run out of Turkey legs but more should be ready in 5 minutes)

Pandora: This is insane... the hell is going on today?

Sidekick: Here (hands Pandora a glass of wine) sip on this.  It's gonna be okay.

Pandora: I am absolutely annoyed right now!  I have never had this experience at the Renaissance Festival before!  I buy the Feast tickets so I can eat real food and have everything taken care of and I don't have to stand in line for things like turkey legs!  Yet here I am... standing in line for stupid stews and turkey legs that keep running out because everyone and their idiot brother decided to spend St. Patrick's Day at the Renaissance Festival and the only reason we're here is because of some miscommunication over a basketball tournament that isn't going to happen on the day we originally planned to come here!

Hope: (looks up at Sidekick for some assistance)

Sidekick: Well, it does feel like all of the idiots of Earth crashed my favorite bar or something.

Pandora: I know!

Sidekick: Like... this is my bar, I come here all the time and sing karaoke but some stupid bachelorette party showed up today and now they're hogging up my space and taking all the good songs.

Pandora:  Totally!  Get me some peanuts!  Let's throw peanuts at them!

Hope: Well, there is a place we can throw vegetables at a guy.

Pandora: We're going there after this.

(the Turkey legs finally show up.  Pandora realizes she has almost no cash left in her purse after paying $7.95 for the stupid thing that she took about four bites out of and nearly threw up because it simply grossed her out)

Sidekick: (watching Pandora chew the fat, quite literally)  You okay?

Pandora: No.  This thing is barbaric.

Hope: Well, that's the point!

Pandora: I'm sure, but ... I think I'm going to throw up.  I don't do barbarism very well.

Sidekick: Hahaha... there's a trash can behind you.

Pandora: (throws the thing away)  we can add $7.95 to the wasted cash list.  I need an ATM.  I didn't prepare for this, since I figured we were going to be at the feast for the first few hours we were here.

Hope: (points to an ATM) There's one!  And the line isn't too bad. (big smile)

(They stand in line at the ATM and just as it's almost their turn, the person in front turns around and states that the machine is broken and no longer giving out cash)

Pandora: Are you kidding me?!  What is going on?!  First I'm late to your house because Hope's computer crashed and I was trying to fix it, then the traffic was absolutely insane, then we miss the feast and therefor lose $150, then the place is full of people that never come here but decide to come and eat up all the Irish Stew, then there's no turkey legs, then when I wait longer to get the stupid turkey leg I want to throw up, and now just when I'm trying to change my mood and make the best of this, the stupid ATM machine is down?!  Really?!  What is this?!

Sidekick: ...

Hope: ...

Pandora: You know what it is?!  Mercury... It's Mercury!  That stupid retrograde bull shit!

Sidekick:  Oh yeah!  I read that.  You blogged about that the other day.  That was hilarious!

Hope: You blogged about that, Mom?!  Then it's not Mercury!  You did this!  You know better than to make fun of things!  Remember that time you made fun of the person that schlepped and then you ended up schlepping for two weeks?!  Now look what you did!  You made fun of Mercury gone retrograde and now everything you said came true!

Sidekick:  Wait a minute... she's right!  Did you listen to what you just said?  Computers breaking, traffic jams, communications getting lost... You totally jujued us!  YOU JUJUED US!!!

Pandora: ...

Hope:  Oh my gosh, Mom...  You're always on my case about what I say out loud and you not only said it out loud you put it in print and posted it into CYBER SPACE!  No wonder everything is all wonky right now!

Sidekick:  totally... you totally jujued us...  and even that hippy chick at the table said people like you need to pay attention to things like this and here you are.

Pandora: Well, I do remember schlepping for two weeks so I suppose it is entirely possible that my mockery of Mercury brought this down upon us.  ...sigh...  Guess we need to make the best of it and laugh.  So... shall we go throw vegetables at people?


Hope: ...

Sidekick: ...

Pandora: (turns around to see the Death Parade dancing by) Awesome... see?  They're validating everything. They know I jujued us.  (Hope and Sidekick start laughing and the three of them start walking further down the path.)  Jujued us... I'm going to use that somewhere, just so you know.

Sidekick: Go for it.



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Et Tu Immune System?

Do you remember a time when you felt invincible? A time when you never got sick?  A time when thoughts like "I wonder how bad I should let this get before I go to the hospital..." never crossed your mind?

Me too.

I think I made it past the hospital thought pattern phase, but this is the third time I've been sick in the past six weeks so... don't have much faith in my immune system right now.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Freedom Hinges On Birth Control... Really?!

So there is a proposed law that would grant employers in Arizona the right to request that women being prescribed birth control pills provide proof that they're using it for non-sexual reasons. 


Excuse me, but what business is it of mine what you use birth control for?  Furthermore, what business is it of my employer what you, or I, use birth control for?  Last time I checked, all my employer should really care about is whether or not I show up on time and whether or not I actually do my job.  You want to check me for illegal substances?  You want to check me for behaviors that keep me from bringing your company anything other than prosperity?  Sure, go ahead.  You want to check me for birth control and ask what I'm using it for?  Excuse me, that's none of your business.  


And the funniest part about all of this?  This comes from the "Right," this comes from the same Republicans that constantly claim to be about less government and claim to be about the freedom of the individual.  At this point it appears they have no right to make that claim.  


I know that this comes in the wake of the Catholic Church debacle with the government placing a law that requires businesses to provide healthcare that covers the cost of birth control.  I know this is a direct result of that.  And I know that the debate there was about the First Amendment and religious freedom, but please... where do we draw the line?!  This is an invasion of one's right to privacy and one's individual freedom!  


If we put it into practice it would go something like this:


Employer forgive me, for I may have sinned.  I need to take birth control pills because I have polycystic ovarian syndrome.  Please, have mercy on me.  I have provided my medical records to show you that I cannot help my condition.  Please have mercy on me.  


Employer forgive me, for I may have sinned.  I am a married woman, but my husband and I are not ready to have children.  I make 8 dollars an hour and he is unemployed and birth control pills cost $50 a month and on my salary that's a large burden to bear.  Please understand that it isn't that we don't want to have children right now, it's just that this isn't the best time for it.  And condoms still have a great risk, and the rhythm method has long proven ineffective.  Please... Please great and wise employer, show me mercy.  Please allow me to have this one thing. 


Employer forgive me, I am a young girl with a boyfriend and we are sexually active but that's really none of your business but still... I do recognize that raising a child right now is not something I can do because my current circumstance is not financially stable enough to have a child so... is there any way you can help me here?  You aren't paying me enough to cover this on my own so... please?  Please???


Since when does someone have to account to their employer about what they do with their personal sexual life?  Since when?!  


This disgusts me... I am disgusted...  


"We have to respect the people that have moral objections to birth control..."


How about this: I have moral objections to parents that have babies because they didn't use birth control and now they have a kid on their hands that they don't give a rat's ass about and they have no desire to bother to spend time raising the child right!  Please!  Give these people birth control!


I'm sorry if you disagree with me here, but this whole thing makes me sick.  This is, no matter how you want to paint it, a religiously charged law and the problem here is that religiously based businesses are already allowed to opt out of covering contraceptives.  This law applies to companies that have no religious affiliation.  This law would apply to companies that employ people from all walks of life and various beliefs.  This law would infringe on the freedoms of the people that may or may not adhere to any religion at all and excuse me... but how is that American?  


America is not supposed to be a country that oppresses people with religion, and somehow we find ourselves in this spot.  You want to combat what the government applied to the health insurance law that sent the Catholic Church up in arms?  Fine... do so, but find some way other than infringing upon the personal and private freedoms of the individuals of this country!  And for God's sake... Religious "Right" will you please read your Bible???  The last time I checked, Jesus said "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render unto God what is God's."  And you can argue until the cows come home about how that statement was about taxes, but I will argue until the cows come home about how that statement was about your personal walk!  I will argue that God Himself made a case for separation of church and state right there.  I will argue that you are "Pilgrims In A Strange Land" and let him without sin cast the first stone, and damn it... none of you can cast the first stone and you know it.  And I will remind you that it is more important to examine the log in your own eye before you focus on the speck in your brother's eye, and I would argue that the log in your eye is a lifetime of examination.  


Back off!  You are embarrassing representations of Christ!  Jesus was a man of compassion and forgiveness, and you are people of judgment and law.  So please... do us all a favor and shut up before you make us all look so bad that we find ourselves with no religious freedom to work with at all because you burned every merciful bridge we were given and you spent more time worrying about your stupid vote instead of worrying about healing the people!  And trust me, the loss of religious freedom is coming... trust me... that's coming... and you, my judgmental friends, will be the largest part of our downfall.


I want to see this country run like a well oiled machine.  I want to see the economy fixed.  I want to see people working and people doing something other than just surviving.  I want to see children being educated well.  I want to see the people that get lost somewhere along the way through life's dark shadows find a way back on their feet and create a life for themselves that makes them happy.  I want to see our individual freedoms retained when the threat of losing them looms in the forefront of the social atmosphere.  But for the life of me, I can't see how government, right or left, is going to help us, as a unified free country of people, accomplish this!  The only thing that can possibly help us in this realm is if we start to shrug off our old archaic judgments and start to see our fellow human beings as people responsible for their own actions and as people with potential instead of simply people to throw stones at.  And that's exactly what this law is, among others -- throwing stones.  


We must find a way to balance... We must find a way to coexist... Much will be lost, if we don't.  And please... really?  In a world of war and unemployed individuals, you have nothing better to do with your time than worry about what woman is using birth control and why?  


Idiots...













Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mercury Is Retro... What?!


(Pandora is sitting at a table in the lunch room eating a salad and reading a book when Moonbeam takes a seat at the same table)

Moonbeam: Hi Pandora!  How are you?  Haven't seen you down here in a while.  You're always working through lunch it seems.

Pandora: (looks up from her book)  I decided to come down here for a change of scene and get some reading done.  (lifts the book as if to indicate talking was not on the lunchtime agenda)

Moonbeam: ooOOoo... Something different!  Changing the pattern! Walking away from the norm to regroup and reevaluate are you?

Pandora: (looks up from the book... again...) Uh, no.  I came to read.  (lifts the book again in an attempt to further emphasize talking was not on the lunchtime agenda)

Moonbeam: (takes a bite of her sandwich and begins talking with her mouthful) It's because Mercury is retrograde.

Pandora: What?

Moonbeam: Retrograde... Mercury is retrograde... it went retrograde on Monday.  You're reacting to it.

Pandora: ... Mercury is ... what?

Moonbeam:  Oh man, you didn't even know?!  Pandora!  Oh my god... you so need to pay attention to this because Mercury can jack you up if you're not careful!  Okay, check this out, so three times a year Mercury  goes retrograde and it screws with everyone's routines and thought processes and communications and all that.  So computers will break, messages will be mixed, cars will break down, traffic jams, all kinds of stops and starts in all kinds of ways.

Pandora: ... (closes her book and puts down her fork)  Cars always break, traffic jams happen every Monday through Friday between 7 and 9 a.m. and again between 4 and 7 p.m.  The computer at my desk upstairs has been begging me to throw it out the window for the past couple of weeks, long before this retrograde thing happened, and in my line of work mixed messages are the norm so...

Moonbeam: (with her mouth full) Go ahead, be a skeptic, but I totally believe you came down here cuz Mercury is stirring the pot in your head.  It is the planet that rules our thought patterns and today you came down here and read a book instead of work through your lunch, like you do EVERY SINGLE DAY OF YOUR WORKING LIFE! (piece of sandwich flies out of her mouth across the table)

Pandora: (staring at the renegade sandwich piece) I wouldn't call it every day of my working life...  (flicks the sandwich piece off the table)  And I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, but it requires a lot of thought and I can't read it in the evening because I'm tired so I just thought it might be beneficial to take advantage of the lunch hour and direct my thoughts toward something other than the work on my desk.

Moonbeam: See!

Pandora: What?

Moonbeam:  That's totally a retrograde moment for you!  A complete disruption of your normal pattern and even a change of course!

Pandora:  The only disruption of my normal pattern right now is that you're here at my table talking about some kind of nonsense when my intent was to come down here and eat my salad and read this book that will provoke thoughts from me that I can't provoke from myself.  So, if you want me to believe this Mercury screwing with my juju day thing, I think the greatest argument you can make right now is that you showed up and started talking during my reading hour.

Moonbeam: Exactly!  See!  You do get it!

Pandora: ...

Moonbeam: It's true, everything you just said is true, and that's TOTALLY a retrograde moment for you, AND for me too because when was the last time I even saw you?  MONTHS AGO!  This is totally a universe moment right here, you and I meeting like this in the cafeteria  and having this amazing conversation!    So, you understand everything now?

Pandora: ... no...

Moonbeam: (standing up to leave)  Well, that's okay, Pandora.  Not everyone is made to understand the complexities of the universe in one conversation.  I'll have to send you some links so you can learn more.  It is important.  Someone like you, of all people, should know how the planets affect you.  It's just like the moon and the tides, it's happening all the time and you can either be the person that knows about it or you can be the person that doesn't.  See ya!  Enjoy the rest of your lunch hour!

Pandora: (looks at the time, picks up her things and heads back to her desk)  ...stupid Mercury gone retrograde...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Shirking At Least ONE Stereotype

"There is truth in stereotype."  ...sometimes...

One of the stereotypes that confronted me sometime over the weekend went something like this:

"You're going to take your daughter to see John Carter  for a girl's night?  Shouldn't you be going to The Vow or something?  John Carter is a man movie, not a chick flick!"

Um... okay... Please do me a  favor and keep your stupid stereotypes to yourself.

Excuse me if I decided to reply with something along the lines of, "You're damn right I'm taking my daughter to see John Carter  for our mother-daughter night!  Why?  Because that movie looks awesome!  And dude is hot!  So yes, by our terms, this IS a chick flick.  So why, prey tell, are YOU more excited to see a half naked man run around trouncing people, Mr. Man...?"

Of course he went on to defend himself with the action in the film and the hot girl in the film and the fact that it's science fiction and women just don't like that kind of thing so... it's not a chick flick.  He went on to say something like girl's night should consist of sitting home with chocolates and a rental like, The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants.

(yes, I threw up right about there)

No offense to The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants, but... that isn't something that appeals to me, or to Hope.  We enjoy Science Fiction, Fantasy, Action, Thriller, and Intrigue.  We enjoy outer-space and aliens and worlds that "don't exist" and stories that have heroes and heroines that reach far beyond what we would ever see in our daily lives.  We LOVE stories where "the rebellion" overcomes "the oppressor," or the underdog rises up to kick some ass -- and maybe that has to do with the fact that we both consistently feel like underdogs, I don't know, but regardless, we aren't interested in pretty boys and sappy girls whose biggest goal is to have a meaningful relationship, or perhaps "find themselves" when they don't, because a pair of magical jeans will make that happen for them.

And when it comes to the men we would want to fawn over on the silver screen, we prefer the kind that don't look like metrosexuals who know more about fashion and skin care than we do.  Team Jacob or Team Edward means nothing to us.

Give us Thor or give us death!

Give us heroines that know how to think and wield weapons, or give us nothing!

And yes, in the weeks to come, The Hunger Games, The Wrath Of The Titans, and Prometheus will also be mother-daughter movie nights.

Thank you for your support. :-p

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Parenting Is An Art

Parenting is an art.

That thought occupied my mind on the drive to work this morning.

I was thinking about how difficult this 12th year has been compared to others.  I was thinking about how Hope is stepping into another phase, how things that were never distractions are suddenly the worst of distractions; how certain battles I never had to choose are somehow choosing me; how suddenly there is a world of emotion wrapped up in her that was never there before and it demands my awareness.  I was blessed to have a smooth ride for a while, but now is a moment of ingenuity, of tapping into who I was at her age and remembering how that felt and finding a way to get my point across in a way that hits home with her and makes her think instead of shut me down.  And it's a time of self-awareness just as much as it is awareness of her.

We had an episode this morning, as well as an episode last week, that were very similar to the little brown houses and green dots scenario.  The difference this time around was that there wasn't a fix quite as simple and, given that this has been a pattern of behavior lately, she got quite a powerful spanking with words from me this morning, in addition to the promise of a serious grounding should she not be able to find a way to fix the problem she created for herself.  The part that I really hate about moments like these is that: a) I truly HATE the discipline part of parenting, but I learned years ago that I didn't have the privilege of passing the buck and saying something like, "Just wait until your father gets home!"  I had to learn to be the rod because no one else was going to do it for me.  I had to believe with every ounce of my being that, as much as I love this child and as much as I love to dote on her and make her smile, she isn't my pet, she's not something I get to keep as a companion, she's a human being that I have to somehow teach to grow up and become a positive contributor to what we call society.  And so... disciplinarian I must be.  b) Hope HATES to be in trouble -- she hates to disappoint.  This factor alone will bring the girl to a fit of tears and self-loathing that breaks my heart.  c) The girl has this terrible habit of confessing her fears and wrong doings to me right before we leave for school and work, and I HATE having rough conversations that send her to tears first thing in the morning.  ugh...

So... we had our moment this morning before we left the house, and she was in tears all the way down to the car.  I finally looked at her and said something like, "Baby girl... can you please start having these conversations with me when we get home from school and work instead of on the way to school and work?"  She chuckled a little bit and made a joke about her bad timing and I followed it up with something like, "Look, I hate getting on your case.  If I had my way you'd have it all together at all times and I'd never have to say a word and we could just dwell in perfect harmony together, but that isn't how it works.  You're 12, you're going to make mistakes, you're going to get distracted by boys and music and friends and whatever it is that's distracting you, and because I've already been down that road it's my job to take your head and put it back on straight.  But damn it, Hope... I hate having to do that.  And what I want to know is,  would you be crying tomorrow if you hadn't told me about it and the teacher confronted you with it instead? If I weren't here, would you still have this moment where you were upset with your own performance or would you just go about your business and not care?  If I weren't here, would you still care about any of this?"  She looked at me and said, "Mom, I'm crying because I do care.  I am upset with myself because I know I'm better than this.  And if you weren't here, I'd probably cry even harder because at least when you're here I know I have someone that cares enough to help me figure this out and I'm not alone."

I drove away thinking about how much I hate starting off my morning with moments like those.  I drove away wondering if I'd handled it right.  I drove away remembering moments of when I screwed up at 12 and how stupid I was at times.  I drove away hearing echos of my dad in my head.  I drove away hearing him tell  me, "There's no book that tells a parent how to do this, Pandora.  There's no manual.  There's no expert.  You get one shot, and one shot only, and you're not going to be perfect.  But you can always remember this: you love your child and your child loves you.  And if your child grows up knowing that they were truly loved by their parent, you did something right."

And then I thought about the moment he told me that, and I thought about how I still call him when I need some guidance, and I thought about how he helps me parent because he's probably looking back on things he would've done differently in the same way I'm looking back now.  And suddenly I started thinking about all of it as a perfecting of some kind of art.

For the true artist, there really is no manual that tells them how to create their art, they just do it.  And sometimes they look at what they created and know they could've done better, so the next time around they use a different stroke, a different angle, a different view.  This isn't to say Hope is my specific work of art, but it is to say that if my goal is to raise her with a foundation of confidence and strength and character and honor and her own set of dreams to chase in the future, then the act of raising is definitely an art and... an artist's work is never truly done.  (just ask my dad... I called him today too...)


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

DOOM

I recently started watching this show on the National Geographic Channel called Doomsday Preppers.   I started watching it for a couple of reasons: 1) I generally like to make fun of people like this and 2) I believe there has been an increase in "doomsday" and apocalyptic shows because of the whole Mayan Myth about 2012 being the end of the world so... again, I like to watch these shows in an effort to fuel my mockery fire. The problem with watching the Doomsday show is that, well, it has somehow woken a sense of paranoia in me that I never knew was even there.  Seriously... I sat and watched a number of episodes in a row until my daughter finally forbid me to watch anymore because she could  feel the paranoia coming off my furrowed forehead.

Being an obedient mother, I did change the channel and watch something more lighthearted.  We made a good joke about what that show was doing to my mind but, I kid you not, just a couple hours later we were both sitting in my study talking when suddenly the power went out -- complete blackout... so dark I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. There we were: myself, Hope, and Charity The Pup, stunned and in complete darkness in my office.  Hope finally said something like, "Well, this is a bit unnerving, isn't it."  I stood up and, with my hands outstretched to the walls, I worked my way down the hall telling her I was going to get the flashlight.  The problem was, I had no clue where I put that stupid thing and I had no way of even finding it in the dark.  I could hear Hope stumbling around in the dark behind me and I could hear The Pup behind her letting out some little growl here and there, and the three of us stumbled around in the dark as I blindly and somewhat frantically felt around in the dark for the flashlight.  I finally found it and I also lit the one candle I had.  We stepped outside to see all of the neighbors wandering about with their flashlights because the power was out everywhere, not just the complex so... I knew something happened.  I called the power company and learned that there was an outage that covered about a six mile radius and the projected time for the power to be restored was 2.5 hours.

We planted ourselves in the living room with our one candle and Hope said, "What's wrong with you?  One candle?  You usually have candles all around the place?  We only have one right now?"  I did chuckle at this a bit because I am the candle queen, but I apparently threw out all of the old candles when we moved and I hadn't bothered to replace them yet.  I responded with, "See!  You make fun of me, but if I were a Doomsday Prepper, I would've been way more prepared for a moment like this."  She rolled her eyes at me and I said, "I'm not kidding.  They do have a point!  This is just a simple power outage but holy cow!  I'm stumbling around in the dark blindly looking for my one flashlight!  If this were an attack on the country and the enemy had taken out our power source, we would be totally screwed!  I have one flashlight, one candle, and that's it!  I have no extra water around, I have no non-perishable food items, I have no weapons to protect ourselves if things were to go awry!  We are perfect targets for the crazies over here!  One woman and one 12 year old girl and one little ten pound doggy that thinks she can bark the enemy into submission!  We are so screwed.... This is a serious safety minute here and I think I need to reevaluate the way I'm doing things."

Hope, even though she was unnerved by the darkness, laughed at me.  She said something like, "Mom, you really need to stop watching that show.  You know that we're always going to be okay."  And I did sit there and think about it, and I did tell myself that yes... we're always going to be okay.  Unfortunately for Hope, days after I had started to relax, I sat down and watched a different show on the History Channel called After Armageddon.  This was a two hour special on what would go down after a global pandemic, that is if you were lucky enough to survive the virus outbreak.  The difference between this show and the Doomsdayers is that the breakdown was more like how you would get through if you hadn't prepped for it; it really was a moment of survival of the fittest, and the fittest being one's ability to think on their feet in a crisis.  And what is most troubling about this show and the thought process behind any doomsday prepper is the anticipation that the majority of human beings that survive something like this will resort to all kinds of violence in a further effort to stay alive -- there is a lack of human kindness theme running throughout all of these "doom" situations.   And in this show, to prove their point, they include footage of the riots and looting and violence taking place in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc.  (nothing like live footage of anarchy on a small scale to bring a point home regarding the potential large scale  ...disturbing)

So yes, once again Hope was looking at me saying something like, "Mom... please stop watching this stuff, it's just going to make you all paranoid and crazy and then I'm going to be the kid that has the crazy mom that's always preparing for the end of the world and Mom... I don't want to be that kid."  I did laugh when she said that, just like I laughed when she said, "And what?  Are we going to become Mormons now and start working on our year supply of food?  And where the heck are we going to put it all in this apartment??"    I did assure her that we weren't converting to Mormonism, and I did assure her that I wasn't losing my mind, but I did tell her that I think we may need to be a little more prepared for an emergency, doom or not.

I do think that I have probably had my fill on the DOOM shows for now.  As much as I want to make fun of the guy that regularly goes and picks up fresh road kill and cooks it up for dinner so he can "practice" his survival skills, I will say that if the kind of DOOM he thinks is coming hits, he'll probably survive much longer than the rest of us and... you don't want to run across him or one of his sons in the woods when they have tomahawks in their hands.

And... I think I may just go purchase a fire arm or two (maybe three), and then get a year supply of MREs (and not tell Hope that I did it so she doesn't think I'm crazy), and then stock up on some water, and eventually go get one of those "bug out" bags (you know... just in case), and... when DOOM rears its ugly head, I'll just go about my business until I finally turn to the darkside and dress up like Tina Turner and acquire a midget sidekick with an eye patch and run something like a Thunder Dome and call it good.  But... we'll just keep this between us... I wouldn't want to embarrass Hope.



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Monday's Child

So I just deleted this whole thing.  Seriously... I'm not really sure what I was writing there, but it didn't sound like me... it sounded like... I had the flu... I had the writer's flu and I was vomiting all over the virtual page.  I'm not kidding.  If I were still teaching and one of my students handed me what I just wrote, I'd probably give them a B-/C+ and tell them all the positive and constructive things I was supposed to tell them and then I'd call one of my colleagues and rant about the tripe I had to read.  

...the hell is wrong with me? 

Hold up... I'm going to go gargle with some salt water and clear my throat or something.  
...

All right, let's try this again.  

Like most working people that have jobs just to pay the bills, I hate Mondays.  They come in like some sort of bad hangover and you don't get your bearings until sometime around 2 in the afternoon.  And when you get to work in the morning, everyone is experiencing the same damn "hangover" you are and nothing can change that mood -- that is... until the "Happy Monday" lady rolls around.  

I'm not lying, there is seriously a "Happy Monday" lady at my office.  You see this weird china doll head thing right here?  She's like that, no lie.  Glassy eyed lady with strange hair and she walks down the hall by my cubicle every Monday and cheerily says, "HAPPY MONDAY!" to my assistant.  Every fucking Monday she says that!  And I'm always sitting in my cubicle thinking, "Is this lady for real?"  (or at least I used to always think that until I finally decided she was for real)  Who does that?  It somehow seems sick and wrong that someone could possibly be THAT excited about Monday.  Not only that, I'm pretty sure she works in the customer service department where she has to get bitch slapped all day long so... wow... Happy Monday indeed.

I've been working in this same office for the past four years, and I'd have to say it's only been in the last 9 months that I've noticed this lady, and nine months later she still throws me for a loop.  It's the closest I get to that Office Space moment where the main character's admin says, "Oh... looks like someone has a case of The Mondays..."  Damn right I do!  I have a case of The Mondays every damn Monday, and your over the top cheeriness is only making it worse!

Now here's the worst part of the Happy Monday Lady: after I sit there and run several lines of sarcasm past my admin, making her laugh of course, I have this strange guilt feeling that something is terribly wrong with me, that I shouldn't make fun of someone so happy and cheery and positive, that I too should have this cheerfully canned approach to Monday and say something to myself like, "Seize the Monday!" or "The Monday is your oyster!  Make the best of it!"  But... I shake it off.  I can't be that way, I'm not that way.  I have plenty of positive outlook moments in my life, but Monday just isn't one of them.  And... let's face it, what kind of writer would I be if I walked around like a glass eyed fair of face Monday's child?  I'm pretty sure that lady knits and bakes cookies.  I don't knit and I don't bake cookies.  I spew... that's what I do.  I spew and I say things off the cuff and I make random office people laugh with my jadedness and... I like it that way.  Besides, if I were Monday's Child, if I were "fair of face" (whatever the hell that means... Monday's child is fair of face...?  The hell does that mean?  It's certainly not me.  I wake up looking in the mirror thinking I'm one haggard ninny on Monday mornings because I have insomnia and Mondays just suck so.... ) that kind of attitude (the fair of face kind, which I needed to clarify because my last parenthetical rant went on a little longer than I had intended and I think it may have distracted you from my original point)  doesn't make for a very humorous Monday morning blog now, does it?

(Guess I'm more like Thursday's child with far to go...)


Saturday, March 3, 2012

To The Lead ...

And like an instrument, wired and tuned,
I never fail to notice when things are off pitch.

And like a Diva, in the back row,
I still know the lead guitar is missing.

...soul...

You always had it
You always doubted it
You never saw it
...but I did.

And like a ghost, in the back of my mind,
There isn't a lick I hear without thinking of you.

And like a shell, on the sand of the shore,
when I lift my voice, I feel a little hollow.

...soul...

You always had it
You always doubted it
You never saw it
...but I did.

And in the darkness, a lone cat in the alley,
I listen to the band down the way.

And like rocks in an avalanche, they all fall down,
there is no reason... there is no rhyme.

...soul...

You always had it
You always doubted it
You never saw it
...but I did.

And like the defeated, bruised and broken,
I walk up the stairs and open the door to something new.

And like the defeated, bruised and broken,
I hope you find your new door too.

...soul...

You always had it
You always doubted it
You never saw it
...but I did.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Upgraded Emoticons

Several months back my company decided installing an "Office Communicator" would boost work production. Basically, they gave us an instant messaging system.  It does everything that one would expect: file sharing and the like.  It also has the ability to teleconference via web cam and allow another person access to your computer, but I'm pretty sure the majority of us never use any of that.  Whether or not this boosts work production is questionable, but we have learned to love the stupid thing.

My one complaint about the thing is the lack of meaningful emoticons.  For instance, I was taking some online training course that was boring me to hell and someone messaged me a simple, "What are you up to?"  To which I replied, "I'm searching for the hang myself in my cubicle emoticon right now."  This, of course, got me to thinking... and... here we are:

On the left are the emoticon choices we have.  Yes, I have used the various smiley faces, the crying face (that actually has moving tears), the party hat guy that blows the blower thingy (it's best used with sarcasm), the yawning guy that actually yawns, the martini glass (in an attempt to express that the place may well in fact drive me to drink... heavily), and I've even used the tongue sticking out guy (even though he looks like he may be licking the glass in the front window of the local asylum).  But, most of these are worthless.  I have used a combination of the sheep and the building blocks that fall onto the screen one by one and make the sheep look like it's taking a dump, but... what's with the cat and dog face?  What's with the hugging people?  What's with the lips?  Are we supporting office romance here?

Really... we're in the cubicle, Mr. Computer Programmer Guy, and as much as I can guess you're mocking all of us with the whole "sheep" thing, that's about as good as your code monkey humor gets.  So, please allow me to make a few suggestions.  What we really need are some emoticons that truly express the emotions we experience at any given time of the day, week, month, or year.

For example, just the other day one of the loudest people in the office put in a request to put some "Quiet Please" signs up in the hallway.  There's no noise in the hallway.  The noise is all coming from that individual's side of the office so... when I was explaining this to another individual in a completely different building, I could have used an emoticon that looked like this guy on the right.  
I do think of myself as an excellent writer, but I'm not sure I could actually express in words the 'face palm' moment.  That needs to be there.  Please find a way to add that.  Thank you.

I also have this moment that I think many people can relate to, cubicle or not, where I'm often trying to solve a problem, or clean up someone else's mess, or streamline some kind of process, or negotiate with someone who's just not interested in negotiating, and I find that no matter how outside of the box I think I've gone, I am apparently still way too close to the damn box to make any headway (and at this point, I'm pretty sure I'm at least in Oklahoma and the "box" is still in Arizona, but... that's another story for another day).  When I try to explain my frustration in words, people try to console me or encourage me or suggest I go take a tranquilizer and have a glass of wine and forget about it.  Not that any of this is bad advice, but it is all advice that somehow implies I can get up again and do it all tomorrow and there may be a completely different outcome than what I had today.  No.  This is not the case.  I've been doing this for too long now to deny the fact that this is absolutely pointless.  But saying the word "pointless" just brings on more "oh... you just need a massage and a good cocktail, you'll get it all worked out."  What I need, dear Sir, is a visual, some picture to put in their mind that they will never forget and they will completely understand where I'm coming from.  Something like this:
Yes... I need them to fully understand that I am hitting my head against a brick wall with bad English on it.  Thank you for your help with this one, it's very important to me.


I would also like to include that on more than one occasion I have either wanted to take a baseball bat to my computer or throw it out the window.  Considering that most of us don't carry baseball bats to work, and considering that I work on the third floor of an office building, throwing it out the window seems like the most feasible option at times.  And over the past two weeks, the powers that be decided to "upgrade" our database to something "more efficient" (I really wish they would stop thinking about "efficiency"), but what they did was have some Computer Guy, much like yourself, create a system without truly finding out what it is that we do.  So we ended up with a system that is about as efficient as a 1971 Ford Pinto.  They promised us a Ferrari and they handed us a Pinto.  (I think I had a nightmare about that once, right before my 16th birthday, but it was between a Mustang and a Toyota Corolla so... not quite the same.  I guess it was a twisted foreshadow of some kind.)  That being said, I have wanted to throw that stupid thing out the window all week and I have not had the proper emoticon to get my point across.  Please rectify that situation for me. 
I do hope you take my thoughts seriously.  I have not yet achieved Brahman, nor have I reached a state of enlightenment where everything in my cubicle world is Zen.  I am, however, a master of stress, frustration, and anxiety and being such means I am somewhat an authority on the emotions that should be expressed to fellow colleagues via the handy dandy office communicator that makes us that much more efficient.  I cannot properly contribute to the boost in work production without proper use of the emoticons, and you have left me with a bit of a handicap here and my work mates are suffering because of it.  

Thank you for your time and consideration on this.  I look forward to the emoticon upgrades in the future.
(Special thanks to Hope for her artistic contributions: Face Palm and Pencil Break. The rest of the outstanding artwork was drawn by Pandora herself.  Such skill...)