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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Postmodern

I woke with a start,
my eyes open and blinded,
a light in my face.
My hand raised to block the light.
A force slammed my arm to my side.

A chair,
I was sitting in a chair,
belted down to a wooden,
weathered chair with
my shadow,
cast by the glaring light,
atop a cracked concrete slab.

numerous cracks...
an abundance of cracks...
one more blow and the slab would crumble.

A cable
attached to a brace
on my ankles -- right and left.
My wrists,
bound the same -- cables and braces.

extending from me,
attaching to me,
from where I could not see.

A voice played:
Defiance and Defiance and Defiance

My eyes couldn't see beyond the light.
My hand rose to shade my eyes.
The cable jerked.
My hand slammed to my side.

A voice played:
Defiance and Defiance and Defiance

My ears were ringing.
My eyes were blinded.
My skin was cold.

I wanted out of the chair.
The belt was leather and buckled.
It could be undone.

My hands moved to the belt.
no jerk from the cables
I loosened the buckle.
no jerk from the cables
I clutched the chair.
no jerk from the cables

A voice played:
Defiance and Defiance and Defiance

My eyes sought beyond me but couldn't.

I slowly stood.
no jerk from the cables
I took a step -- right... left...
no jerk from the cables
I took a step -- right... left...
no jerk from the cables

A voice played:
Defiance and Defiance and Defiance

My ears rang,
but didn't miss the rumble.
The concrete moldered.
piece by piece
it dropped and dropped
into air
only air
cracked concrete suspended
by nothing.

The chair dropped.
I dropped.
Fallen and falling
farther from the light
shining on the cables
dropping down after me,
hoping they might catch me.

Falling and Falling
into what? ...onto what? ...an abyss?

Defiance and Defiance and Defiance
rang in my head.

My ears heard a crash.
The cables jerked.
My body buckled.
My legs and arms collided.
I ached and I dangled.

My eyes could see.
The light still shown
though dim
There was ground.
It seemed like ground.
My eyes could see
remnants of chair and concrete
strewn upon the ground.

There was ground...
one foot below me,
twelve inches beneath me,
and yet...
I dangled.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Spider Solitaire At The Asylum Complex

"Where have you been? What have you been doing, Pandora?"

I really don't know. I have no answer for you. I've been playing Spider Solitaire for nights on end now. I've gone from one suit to two. It's extremely difficult for me. I went from having something ridiculous like a 90% win with one suit to a 20% win with two suits. And a friend of mine just called and asked what I was doing and when I said Spider Solitaire he said, "What? What's with you and that game lately? You've been playing that for weeks?" I told him it was mind numbing and that I needed to numb my mind for a while, but I think I just made that up because my mind is far from numb when I play this stupid thing. I think I'm obsessing over it, actually. I sit here and play it until I'm angry at the damn game, and I listen to myself say things like, "The computer is toying with me! There's no possible way I can lose this much on something this stupid!" And I'm convinced that its "hints" are purposely misleading. I'm not kidding. I once played an entire game just following its stupid hints to see if it would lead me to a win, and it didn't! Why "hint" at something if it isn't really going to help me? I'm regularly victimized by this stupid game! It enjoys making me go "cold" in the "you're getting warmer" game! (Do you see the potential insanity that is going on with me here?)

I don't know what to tell you, aside from the fact that January is an obvious wash on the blogging front (and quite possibly the sanity front). The holidays threw me off pretty bad. I was bombarded with people, obligations to people, and expectations of holiday cheer. This past weekend was the first weekend I was free to lie around and do nothing in at least seven weeks. I don't know about you guys, but I need time to lie around and do nothing. I need down time or my brain goes a little crazy (I think the recent obsession with Spider Solitaire is a testament to that). And I have no clue what great conjunction is happening in the Universe right now, but 2010 flew in like a Chinese Bucket Brigade at the office and I've been running around putting out fires (some that aren't even mine) since January 4. And I won't even begin to talk about the never ending power point project that I've been working on for nearly a year (mostly because there was a shift in upper management and their idea for the project is completely different than the previous management's idea and so... I'm sure I could go on and on about that in some sort of amusing fashion but I have now reached the point where I loath the thing so much I feel like hiring one of those Chinese peasants to come over in a row boat and stab me with a spoon just so I can feel the sense of something new and original).

Okay, I'm being a little dramatic but... there's always truth in the overly dramatic. And besides, what's life without a dash of Histrionic Disorder in the world of disorders? I think it's good. We can just say that I'm putting a hypothesis of one of my postmodern professors to the test: through "embracing the stereotype of the overly dramatic and hysterical woman, I disarm its negative connotation and prove the label to be false." (whatever... I loved that professor, but I always thought that was one of his lamest moments in the classroom.) If Shakespeare were around today, perhaps he would say something like, "All the World is a disorder and all the men and women are placebos." I think I like that. We're all walking talking sugar pills in a world where prescriptions hold the solutions to everyone's problem.

I am, however, starting to think that everyone in this apartment complex is insane. I may be the only placebo in here because the rest of them are bonafide disorders. I've lived here for a year and a half now and I have yet to meet a well balanced human. When I first moved in I had to deal with the drunk man that loved to go out and sing and howl at the moon between the hours of two and four a.m. Right about the time he moved out, Windmill Dick moved in and you know those stories. Now he's gone and some crazy lady who loves to verbally abuse her dog moved in downstairs. (I really can't stand her. I hope she never has children. I'm sure I'll write about her in more detail one of these days.) Then there's the couple across the way that love to stand in the courtyard and throw things at each other in broad daylight while screaming obscenities just long enough for the police to show up. Then there's the lady that pulls in every night around two a.m. in a car that sounds like a broken time machine (someone needs to help her find a new flux capacitor or something because one of these nights she's just not going to make it back). And as I was lying in bed listening to my newest neighbor tell her dog to get out of her face because she just doesn't understand why he treats her this way, all I could think about was that I'm living in the asylum. I unknowingly checked myself into this nut house! It's like One Flew Over The Apartment Complex and they're starting to rub off on me! I really need to think of an escape. It could be worse though, I could be living in the complex down the way called El Diablo. I may be in the asylum complex, but at least I'm not paying rent for a two bedroom pad with bad plumbing in Hell.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Physics Is Not My Thing, But...

I avoided physics like the plague when I was in school, though I enjoy reading about it (if that makes any sense at all – can read about it, and think on it, but cannot do the math required to prove or disprove its theories). But a friend of mine, one of the engineer types, asked me a question regarding the Law Of Conservation Of Energy (i.e. energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can change forms) and how that may apply to "happiness" (or lack thereof) in the workplace.

So, if happiness is the “energy” that cannot be created or destroyed but can change forms, this is what happens to the “happiness” once we walk through the doors of the office:

We, the employees, are the objects in which the Potential Energy, or in this case Potential Happiness, is stored. So then, let’s imagine this energy, or happiness, is like a ping pong ball floating on an air thermal called bliss. The bliss thermal is affected by gravity, or (for our purposes) reality. Different levels of reality can either augment or diminish the lift of the bliss thermal and therefore directly affect the levels happiness contained in the object (i.e. the employee).

The office harbors more reality than any other space we occupy on a regular basis. Once we enter the working zone we are forced to conduct ourselves in a manner which we are instructed, lest we don’t get paid or have the money required to keep our bliss thermals up and our Potential Happiness high. Much like the rubber band that was pulled and released and forced through the air is used as an example for Kinetic Energy, the employee that goes through the motions to help a company achieve its goal is an example of Kinetic Happiness. But Kinetic Happiness in the workplace/office is a direct result of the force of gravity, or a strong dose of reality (if you will) pulling the bliss thermal very low to the ground, thereby causing the ping pong ball of happiness to hang very very low (quite near to depression in some cases, depending upon the individual and the strength of the bliss thermal before entering the center of reality).

If I were good at drawing graphs and such I would use one to help you understand everything I just said, but I'm not good at those things so I won't. Besides, it makes perfect theoretical sense to me and sounds quite logical and scientific (at least for an English Major).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Is There Text In This Email?

From: Misanthrope
Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 10:03 AM
To: Pandora
Subject: What would you do if...

If I started emailing like this:

wher i txt evrythng to u in txt speak, would u h8 me

From: Pandora
Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 10:55 AM
To: Misanthrope
Subject: What would you do if...

I think I would shun you, yes.

From: Misanthrope
Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 12:43 PM
To: Pandora
Subject: What would you do if…

And deservedly so!

The reason I ask, is that I have a friend that types all their emails like that. And it’s driving me insane. I mean, I’m not even an English major (which is funny because, well… you are), and it drives me absolutely nutty. So, I can’t even imagine what it does to you… I mean, the difference is WAY worse for you!

From: Pandora
Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 12:50 PM
To: Misanthrope
Subject: What would you do if…

Yeah... I’m not sure I could be a friend to someone that does that. I’m not joking. Of course, I’d be nice to the person (at least to their face) but I would mock them relentlessly. Truth be told, I even hate it in text messages but I let it slide because I know it stems from a need to save time and space, but in an email??? That’s an atrocity!!! That’s a sin!!! If Dante were alive he’d create a special level in Hell for the person that does that!

From: Misanthrope
Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 1:42 PM
To: Pandora
Subject: What would you do if…

What do I do?!
Do I say anything?!
Do I condemn her to this new hell?!

From: Pandora
Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 2:23 PM
To: Misanthrope
Subject: What would you do if…

Hahaha! Condemn her!

No, no… you’re not Pandora, so the condemning might not go over too well.

Hmmm… I’m trying to think of the best advice I could give you. If I were in your shoes I would first consider how old the person is.

If this individual is somewhere between the ages of 18 and 23 that explains a lot. The closer the individual is to 18 the closer they are to high school and adolescence. (I am convinced that most people don’t stop being “adolescent” until somewhere between 23 and 27 and they don’t become “adults” until sometime between 27 and 33) If she falls into the 18 to 23 age group, she hasn’t seen far beyond the “coolness” of her cell phone and she believes all “cool” people communicate this way no matter the medium. She has no clue that this is socially unacceptable, nor does it cross her mind that it could quite possibly annoy you.

When I taught at the University, a regular “lecture” was given within the first two weeks of class on the written word and how “UR” is not a grammatically correct form of “your” or “you’re.” I had to fail papers because students believed “texting” in Times New Roman 12 font, as long as it was double spaced and stayed within the margins, was acceptable for a college paper. I don’t know why this happens, exactly, other than the state of Arizona has a terrible education system and they teach the kids nothing, but it happens and people should be educated in the proper form of written communication. I’m not saying they need to become Pandora, but I am saying they can at least learn to write in a complete sentence with the entire word written out.

So… if she falls into this category, I would most likely say something to encourage her in the right direction, particularly if she were someone I saw as a good friend, or soon to be good friend, and I wanted to spend time with her and not constantly think about what an idiot she is when it comes to talking with me via email. I would say something like, “Do you always write as though you’re using a cell phone?” That should be enough to prod someone into a self-aware state (especially if they want you to think highly of them) that (unless they ride the short bus, which, given the subject matter, is quite possible, but we’ll touch on that in a moment) may cause them to commence writing in complete sentences because a) they want to prove to you that they can and b) they may have picked up on the annoyed “tone” in your question.

Now, if this person is 23+ you may have a annual pass short-bus rider on your hands. If this is the case then you need to assess the value of the friendship and how much you can tolerate.

If this is someone valuable to you, then you will need to approach the matter as though you’re trying to help them move forward in the realms of social grace. For instance, take this person to lunch and say, “I like you. I think you have potential. But whenever I receive an email from you, I often wonder how many people you frustrate because your messages read as though they were sent using the your cell phone keypad as opposed to the keyboard we all know was readily available at your fingertips. You don’t send emails like that to your boss, do you? If so, you may want to consider the ramifications of your actions here. The boss will never think you’re worthy of promotion or raise in pay because he/she may very well think you’re illiterate and require more education. Now, you’re not illiterate, are you? Of course not! We both know that isn’t true. You are an intelligent individual! I’m just saying you should make a conscious effort to write in complete sentences. In fact, you can use me as practice. I’d be more than happy to help you along with this.” (insert big smile here)

Now, if this is someone you figure will be around no matter what you say, if they have a thick skin, if their feelings will suffer not, or if you could care less whether their feelings suffer or not, simply say the following:

Um… you do know this isn’t a cell phone and you’re not texting me right now, right? You do know this is an email and it’s acceptable, perhaps even impressive, to write in complete sentences and use actual words while doing so, right? And… you do know that h8 is actually spelled h-a-t-e, don’t you? I hope so, because if you don’t know that then I’m not sure you’ll understand me when I say, I hate that you’re writing to me in text speak. I HATE IT!

That’s the best advice I can give you.

From: Misanthrope
Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 3:22 PM
To: Pandora
Subject: What would you do if…


I think I’ll condemn her! I don’t care about her that much. She’s 21. Let me just give you a couple snippets:

“…says u are but i didnt believe it!”
“…u werent…”
“What about u?”
“…at ur email!”

So, it’s not entirely text speak, but it’s still miserable. Why aren’t these children being beaten enough? Where were their parents?! Argh!

Could I just nip the whole thing right in the butt and say, “talk like a fcking adult, you fcking douche bag!”?

From: Pandora
Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 3:47 PM
To: Misanthrope
Subject: What would you do if…


Well, at least I once again impressed myself with the wisdom I’ve gleaned from experience: “She’s 21.” (Not to mention I was hoping that was the case and not someone my age or older)

You could put an end to it all by saying a few choice words and concluding with douche bag. Or you would send her a reply that looks like this:
Please make the following corrections and then send me your email.

“…says u are but i didnt believe it!” …says you are, but I didn’t believe it!
“…u werent…” …you weren’t…
“What about u?” What about you?
“…at ur email!” …at your email!

Please keep in mind that “you” is the pronoun and “u” is a letter. Also keep in mind that “your” is a possessive pronoun and “ur” is not a word. Also keep in mind that words such as “didn’t” and “weren’t” are contractions for “were not” and “did not” and an apostrophe is always used in place of the “o” in “not.” (Which reminds me, for future reference, don’t confuse “your” with “you’re” because “you’re” is a contraction for “you are.”) Oh yes, and please remember that “I” when used as a subject in a sentence is a proper pronoun and must always be capitalized.

If you need additional assistance, please feel free to reference the following sites:
Grammar Rules


Possessive Pronouns


From: Misanthrope
Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 3:55 PM
To: Pandora
Subject: What would you do if...

Ah, yes, you are wise.

"...something something douchebag!"

Monday, January 4, 2010

The New Year Recap?

Ok... so I haven't written in a while. The "holidays" kinda threw me off. It wasn't that I didn't have anything to say (I always have something to say, even if I can't find a way to write it), it was the shopping and the parties and the people and such consuming all my time (and a couple days where I just felt lazy and somewhat sick because of that thing called Gluten
I unintentionally ingested over the vacation days I had... which is really depressing, in all honesty, since the last time I got sick from gluten was only because I knowingly ingested it through a euphoric chocolate magma experience I paid for with dollars just as much as I paid with physical pain... This time I ate rice and veggies and salads and things I thought were "safe" to eat only to get sick because you never really know how the restaurants are preparing your food and... well... sigh... I can't tell you how much this pains me both physically and otherwise...)

Anyway, we are now four days into the "New Year" (I put that in quotes for the people who rambled on at me the other night about the flaws of the Gregorian Calendar and how we should really follow the Chinese New Year, which falls on Valentines Day or some random crap like that, because it's more "accurate." Of course, I didn't really say anything about their ridiculous drunken ramblings; I just smiled and nodded and said something equally random and ridiculous about the 28 day cycles of the moon and how that would make 13 months in a year and how all pagans and neo pagans see that as the true time frame of life but how Christianity, particularly Roman Christianity, screwed that all up with the Gregorian Calendar and such and I just inundated them with more information than they needed until I was certain their eyes glazed over with the desire for me to shut-up which was glorious since my intent was to make them shut-up with the same information I knew they willingly wanted to spew at me but my random academic brain beat them to the punch. But what they didn't know is how much I really wanted to say something right wing like, "Ya... that's probably a good idea, since China's about to dominate us all pretty soon and we'll have to get used to the way they do things anyway. Seriously... have you seen their military parade? Not sure that dragon is sleeping anymore. In fact, I'm willing to bet that dragon is brushing the morning breath away from its teeth and washing the sleep away from its eyes even as you take that last swallow of your champagne but... what do I know?" Truth is, I really don't know much. Most of my friends are impressed with the way I stay out of what they consider "main stream," but I do know this: China's population is big enough to send people over in row boats to American shores and kill people with little more than a pocket full of table spoons. And while the American airports would rather waste time checking my ten year old daughter's white Nike's for weapons of mass destruction while Abdul Matulablablabla, whose name is actually on some list of potential terrorists, slips through the system onto a plane with something that actually "burns" just enough to capture media attention for a week or two, maybe we should consider the fact that the country who could kill us with spoons, that we just happen to owe a hell of a lot of fucking money to, is actually a problem and potential threat but, again... what do I know? And... I guess I won't say that I'm fairly certain China will totally censor my blogging ass once they take over because I'm lucky enough to live inland and won't be a victim of one of their spoon wielding peasants -- all they'll have to do is make sure I'm seriously committed when I surrender and... censor my stupid blog.)

All that aside, I'm not sure what to say. Most people that Blog or You Tube or something have some sort of end of the year recap between December 30 and January 2 and then just keep on rolling like there's no tomorrow (which there always is... even if you do believe the end is nigh...). It's January 4 though... and, honestly, if you're a die hard Pandora follower, which means you've been with me for two years now and you've also known and endured the long dry spells of writer's block, you know that it's a) a shock I'm even writing on January 4 and b) a shock that I've been writing somewhat consistently enough to say any of this. If I did, however, have a "recap" for the past haphazard year, it would go something like this:

Yes! I know! I'm a slacker! November was the best writing month I ever had! Thank you for supporting that and for encouraging me to keep on rolling! (sorry I failed you when December rolled around)

Right after that I would say something like this:

Out of the 55 posts (which looks really terrible when I put it in print like that) I made in 2009, Regardless was my favorite, but for the random and unknown readers that I do have that, for whatever reason, cross my blog and may or may not come back, that was not the case. The number one blog post of 2009 was Poe, Tinnitus, and The Ringing of the Stinking Bells Bells Bells Bells Bells Bells Bells... (with The Lunch Room taking a close second).

And following that announcement I would have to say something like:

Special thanks to the extraordinary individuals in my life like Misanthrope (The Lunch Room), Gunther (Morning Coffee), Sunshine (Safety Minute), Cowboy (Midnight At The Library), and G. B. Wittington (It's A Penguiolles Thanksgiving) for not only adding spice to my life but character to my blog as you present me with dialogue opportunities that the average person could never provide since they would most likely have their tongues tied and teeth occupied with the Crest Whitening Strips they found on sale, in bulk, at the local Costco or Sam's Club. And an extra special thanks goes out to Windmill Dick for his inspiration and support for at least three of the most recent posts (quite possibly all in November... the record breaking writing month...).

And right after that I would feel like an idiot pretending to receive an Emmy Award
for some bull shit that should've never made it in the first place and yet... I would continue with something like:

I resolved quite some time ago to make no New Year resolutions because they amount to little more than broken promises, wastes of time, and lies to the self (which you'll all feel as soon as you stop going to the gym two weeks from now), but I will say that I look forward to 2010 and a year full of rants, poems, stories, and dialogues to share. So thanks for reading, and thanks for looking for something to read even though there are days, weeks, and sometimes months that go by with nothing new.

~ Pandora -- The Notorious Scribe