Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A little more elaboration about the Navy.

….Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything just yet. Considering how many people I’ve received the question “when do you leave” from. I’m not signed up yet. And it isn’t a sure thing. Am I serious about it? Yes. Is everyday pushing me a little closer into the decision? Without doubt. Am I going to give it thorough consideration? It’s out of character for me since I tend to do most things in the name of spontaneity, but yes I am. Will I explain my thought process some and explain why? ….Shall I start with the pros or the cons? How about where I am in life at present?

I’ve got nothin’. I don’t mean that in a bad way necessarily. It just is what it is. Life hands me lemonade and I make… no, wait. What can I say about my life? One thing’s for certain, it has definitely NOT been “uneventful.”

I’ve come to cope with the little twists and turns on the path I walk. But the last few year’s worth of turns have left me with— well, I like to use the term for my current state of affairs as “un-tethered.” I have good friends, yes. But No family. Few possessions. No money. No real love prospects. And no career.

There was once upon a time that I thought, if I worked hard. If I struggled, and scrimped. If I was kind, and generous. All that I had worked for, would actually come to me. A home. Security. A family. And time to make a career of my writing. Maybe do some traveling. Maybe do a lot of things. And sure, a twinge of pain twists somewhere in me that it didn’t happen. The details as to the whys are insignificant, not the point besides. I’d rather focus on the positive side.

So, what is the positive side of having nothing? Freedom. I can go anywhere, and do anything. I won’t be leaving many behind. No children, or pets… I don’t have to worry about selling a house, or abandoning a job that I care about. I can load up my car and pick a random direction, and have few regrets.

But really is the Navy the “right” direction?

Let me recap the last decade or so of my life. There have been days that I starved for lack of food. There are days that I sat huddled under a pile of blankets, for lack of warmth. There are days that I worked until on the brink of passing out, sometimes 3 jobs at once. Stressing over money, transportation, meals…. There were definitely a few of my, not best days ever, thrown into that mix. And I’m tired. I’m SO tired of it. I need things to go right for once. I need stability. I need to rest and not worry how I’m going to make it to that next bill or payment.

True, at the moment I do have a warm bed to sleep in, and friends that are so insanely generous to keep me afloat. But I hate feeling as though I’m taking advantage of their kindness. Despite the fact that they tell me I’m not. What can I say, I like to work for what I have and feel I have earned it. As well as, I want to feel I have made a difference in this world. So what’s the appeal of the Navy? It’s not like many of the military branches. You don’t sign up and get told, “This is your job, whether you like it or not, have fun peeling potatoes.” You pick an area you have interest in, and you apply. And in my case? That would be language.

It’s a five year commitment for this specific job. The first year, is spent getting paid, approximately 3000 a month to go to school. Let me say that again. To go to school, to learn a language, something I’ve always wanted to do, I don’t have to pay to attend lessons, the government is going to pay ME. AND they’re going to give me a place to live, AND food to eat…. AND a 12,000 dollar sign on bonus??? And, I will be living on the warm shores of California??? (ok, Cali is a debatable positive vs negative, but at least it’s frakkin WARM!) Let’s continue to the next 4 years, shall we?

I’ve always wanted to travel. See different places. Take in new experiences. Maybe it was getting moved around so much as a child that did it. I hate moving, but can’t seem to sit still. I need to explore. I need new sites. The next four years will likely be spent on shore duty, (if all goes as planned) somewhere in Asia.

I need to score a 140 on the DLAB. A test to ensure you qualify for the Linguist program. Scoring a 100 gets me in, but scoring a 140 gets me a choice of either Chinese or Korean. I will live in a place I have always wanted to. (well, technically I want to live in Japan, but it’s one step closer anyhow.) I will be doing a job that will be doing GOOD. Translating. Diplomacy. Maintaining PEACE.

And while I’m in service I will be able to see Doctors, and Dentists, and… Okay wait. Because I can already hear some of your arguments in my head. “The health care is sub par.” “It’s all a lie.” “It isn’t free.” Um, yes it is. The part I’M talking about anyway. Now, I know that veterans’ hospital have low reputations. To this I say two things. Ever been to Lakeland? I can share a myriad of horror stories to have come from that place. Or really with ANY hospital. But I still digress to the fact that I have not had an annual physical in 5 years, because I COULDN’T AFFORD IT!” I pay through the nose for minimal medical care coverage, and by time I’m finished with those bills I can’t afford the doctor visit. I’m not expecting the military to support my medical costs for the rest of my life. But for the next five years? It will be peace of mind.

These are the benefits I’m looking at. Having a “career” instead of a “job.” Meeting new people and faces, when opposed to not feeling I really “fit in” here anymore. (Don’t take it personally. There are just some circles I belong to in which the politics and exaggerated stories are getting to be too much. I’m probably not talking about you but more things going on at work and with family.) Having money. Enough to build up a savings account even! Having TIME! I can’t sit here always scrapping for a minute here or there to jot down a paragraph at a time of my novel. Writing doesn’t work that way. I need a relaxed mind. A job with structured hours. Routine. The Navy may not provide an abundance of time to write. But, it will provide me with more time than I currently have. An education. (money for school NOT counting) They are teaching me a second language. The career opportunities I will have once out will be endless in field of language.

So, what’s there to think about? Why haven’t I signed up?

Well, let’s go back to the “writing” thing for starters, shall we? The job I will be doing is security sensitive. I will be trusted with a great many pieces of our national intelligence. Which means, everything I do and say will be closely watched. I have to pass a VERY thorough background check to even apply. (Thank god I’ve never even had so much as a speeding ticket.) …But manuscripts, and short stories, may be a little difficult to get out without question. Not unforgivable however. I will work on my novels. Store them up. And submit to multiple publishers when I get out if I have to. But it will be putting things on hold for 5 years.

This is not the only thing I will be putting “on hold.” I’m 29 going on 30. My former plans in life involved having a family. I have a couple of boxes of baby clothes to prove it. I’m not saying I want a baby right now. HELL NO. …but I don’t see myself starting a family while enlisted either, do you? So, doing the math… I’ll be 35 when out. Let’s say I’m lucky enough to meet someone right away. Okay, we date a couple of years…. 37… Nine month pregnancy… 38? I barely have any energy left at 29! How am I going to raise a child starting at 38?

I’m a bit of a romantic at heart. Everyone is. It’s true, I want love. Isn’t that what all the television and story books have beat into our heads since the day we could comprehend language? But like so many other things in my life, it doesn’t mean it’s in the cards. So, do I take a chance and wait around? Or do I move on and make the best of a bad situation? …guess which one I’m leaning toward. A marriage to the government is better than no marriage at all I suppose, huh?

And save the comments of, “maybe you’ll meet someone in the Navy.” …What, an 18 year old fresh out of high school? Ppffffffttttttt! Sorry, not looking to housetrain a young pup. Besides, all hopes aside. The military is not a dating service.

Onto a couple of questions.

Q: What about your back?

A: Well… what about it? I threw it out this summer. Yes. True. Do you know why? Because I work a job where I lift, push, pull, and haul metric tons worth of product every day. I did not throw it out AT work. But felt like something was wrong while at work the day before. How I threw it out? I bent over to pick up a sock. Yup. That’s all it took. So, by that theory? Am I going to never do laundry again? Ha, I wish. Do I need to get out of a job that will continue to do damage? Absolutely. Do I need to stay mildly active? Without a doubt. Can I handle 9 little weeks of basic training when compared to YEARS of carrying 50 lb crates and sacks of potatoes in order to do that? Sign me up.

I do not have a history of back problems. Sure, this summer sucked. But it is the first time I’ve had back trouble in years upon years. And the ONLY time it actually caused me to miss work or be on bed rest. I’m fine. (Well, relatively speaking.)

Q: What about your issues with authority?

This… is a tough one. I don’t like being told what to do. …when to do it. …how to do it… um… Yeah, I’m pretty bullheaded. Stubborn to a fault. Such to a point that I went from being in advanced reading groups to flat out refusing to read and failing English in school, because they started telling us WHAT books to read. (I didn’t like that.)

I understand that the military is going to tell me to do things, how, when, and never a why. These things are not always going to make sense. In fact, I will be told to do things that seem downright inefficient and moronic, be someone with far fewer years of life experience than I. My argument to this one is… Do you KNOW how the company I work for is run?

Sure, it’s hard. Sure, chances are I may end up in the brig for hitting a superior asshole. (<-that’s a BSG reference for those of you in the dark. Good show, look it up.) But all in all…. I’m up to the challenge. ……especially when I get to learn a second language, doctors, and 3x the pay to compensate for the inconvenience.

Q: What about war? We want you safe.

Statistically speaking? I’m more at risk of being hit by a drunk driver, dying of cancer, or getting raped in some Wisconsin back alley, than of perishing in combat. (With the position I’m specializing in anyway.) Sure, there are risks. There are risks EVERYWHERE. That’s the point. I’m not going to stop living because of them.


Q: When are you leaving?

I’m not enlisted just yet. So far things are looking to be leaning that way. But as evident by this novel of a blog, I have a great deal to consider. So far, things look good. I should pass the physical without issue. My records are clean. My pretests scored very high. It will provide me with the security I’m looking for.

But that isn’t to say I’m not anxious about the other aspects.

5 years is still a long time. Truthfully, I would rather go back to school, earn a degree, and do things on my own, my own way. But again, that may not be possible. I don’t have money for school. Hell, I barely have money for food. Time, is another factor.

SO. I’m hoping this cleared some stuff up for you all with your questions. Feel free to leave comments. Pro or Con. I’m looking at all angles here. If you can think of something I overlooked, please enlighten me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ignorance and drinking straws.

I was sitting in McDonald’s at work, having an ice cream cone. They’re only .50 cents and I was deserving it seeing as how short staffed we are and how I had to bust my ass that morning.

So, to paint the scene. I’m tired. It’s nice and quiet in there at the moment. (Despite the rest of the store being busy as all hell.) And it’s just me and the ice cream. Yay. Until…

Two people round the corner and take the booth across the aisle from me. The man sits down, and the woman, (middle aged) goes to the condiment counter for ketchup, napkins, and straws. She immediately throws a fit.

“They even have to label ‘STRAWS’ in Spanish? What! They don’t know what a STRAW is?”

I opened my mouth to say through thick sarcasm, “I know, you’re right, only English speaking Americans are so incompetent that they don’t know what a straw is.”

But I remembered that I was wearing my nametag, was technically still on the clock despite it being my break, and didn’t feel like getting fired for a battle that I clearly wasn’t going to convince her she was wrong about. I just swallowed the last bit of ice cream along with my disdain for her intolerance, and cut the break short.

Can I PLEASE plead with all whom are reading this?

I have heard MANY comments about “My ancestors learned to speak English.” “Why can’t they learn?” “Speak American…” (before I give you my actual arguments I would like to point out that we, to date, do not have a legally declared national language. We are a melting pot for a reason.) But onto my arguments.

One. I will guarantee you that your ancestors did not learn it in one day. It took time. And they more than likely had someone bilingual to HELP THEM. This attitude of “learn my language and learn it now or get out,” is hurting your own cause. If you want someone to learn your language, then be open minded enough to help them. Chances are they WANT to learn.

Two. Next time you say something to this affect, please remember that this area once belonged to the native Americans. The spoke Algonquin, Potawatomi, Fox, Dakota Sioux, and Ho Chunk. NOT English, or Spanish, or French, or German… Our Spanish speaking citizens are NOT here to conquer us and give us small pox. They are here to live with us. In HARMONY. RELAX!

Three. Look a little deeper. Is your real issue that you don’t like not knowing what they are saying around you? …Do you actually have reason to believe they are saying something negative? And seeing as you already have such a low opinion of them, do you really care what their opinion is of you? Haven’t you already deemed their opinion on anything beneath you? …But if it really does bother you, you have an option to not be lazy and learn to speak their language if it will bring you peace of mind.

AND DON’T tell me you shouldn’t have to learn their language since they are in YOUR home and should be learning yours. Because truth is, you DON’T have to. You do have the choice. But if you choose not to, then I’m going to say stop bitching, because you only have yourself to blame in not knowing what it is they are saying if you truly feel a need to know.

Moral and point is. Be compassionate. We are ALL humans. Race, gender, creed aside. Get over yourself. Your language is no better than anyone elses, and neither is your culture. They are simply “different” and unique in their own rights. Having “Straws” labeled is a courtesy. Not a necessity. I don’t see it hurting anyone to have small type resting on the shelf in both languages. In fact, I only see the benefit of a Spanish speaking patron being able to look at both words and it assisting them to learn the English one. …Your ignorance and inability to think about this perspective is hurting your own cause.

A nasty computer virus, "Security tool."

OK! There is a nasty virus going around. It hits without prompt, and is usually called Security Tool 8, or is disguised as some other "anti virus" scam thing warning you about harmful material on your computer. I have had several friends attacked by this monster that locks down your system and make your computer about as useful as

a brick.

I will tell you how to fix it.

So try and remember these steps. Copy and past them in a word document if you need to. You will be able to access those directions if you can remember to start your computer in safe mode.

1 restart your computer in safe mode by pressing f8 while it is booting.

2 once your desktop is up in safe mode, (you will see "safe mode" in each of the corners of the screen.) open your start menu.

3 select "all programs"

4 select "accessories"

5 select "system tools"

6 select "system restore"

7 Your computer should now prompt you with a series of dates in which you can default the restore to. I suggest selecting yesterday's date. It will take a minute for it to take effect, but your computer should reboot in regular mode and if all goes according to plan, should be okay now but I recommend running a virus scan after this as well. You can never be too safe, and have had friends still mind malicious ware on their computers even after this restore process.

Restoring your system to yesterday's date should NOT affect any of your word documents or such. Only program discrepancies. So don't worry about losing your homework or business presentations. It should still be there when finished.

Hope this helps those of you that encounter this bogus bug.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I’m going to start off by saying, I am not a smoker. I can’t stand cigarettes. The way they smell. Way they make your skin feel when after being around them. The way that some of my friends whom smoke have GOD AWFUL breath…. I really despise cigarettes on their own. And to throw another reason into the mix, I found when I was 14 that I have an allergy to an additive in many brands. (They always made me ill, but it wasn’t until this age I understood why.) I’ve grown out of that allergy some, but they are still not pleasant for me to be around. If around too much smoke, or the wrong brands, I will go into violent coughing fits (sometimes until I vomit,) or at very least come away from it with a killer migraine. I have great reason to hate cigarettes. So, with that said, can we discuss these new TRUTH commercials for a second and why they piss me off?

I’m going to break down each commercial into VERY tiny comprehensive bits for your thorough understanding. (I know many of you don’t need this done, but I want to make sure everyone FULLY appreciates what they are saying in these commercials to manipulate you. I can point out several ways they are hurting their own cause, while at the same time, slowly trying to sway you into voting for smoking bans if not the flat out prohibition of tobacco.

(This ironically coincides a bit on the other blog I’ve been working on about being able to catch what people “mean” vs what they “say.”)

"Spheres. Enjoy your freedom." <--What?

Read between the lines here. It is a very carefully worded advert. “Proudly made with American glass.” …this line accomplishes TWO things. First, it sounds like a slogan Big Tobacco would, and has, used in the past, reaffirming the comparison to cigarettes and cementing it in your mind. Second, “Proudly,” and “American,” lend a sense of patriotism and will subconsciously bring concepts of government into frame of thought.

The entire commercial is set in a negative light. The point they seem to be more “discretely” selling is hidden beneath the ever sardonic, “Enjoy your freedom.” They have painted cigarettes as the antagonist. You should be against them. They are evil. Such a thing should be restricted! “Enjoy your freedom.” Wait… People have a right to choose to smoke??? This “freedom” surely cannot be! We must take action! How could our government allow this!? They are selling a viewpoint that Spheres, and cigarettes alike, should be illegal seeing as the American consumer is too stupid to stay away from such a dangerous product.

“adult consumers asked for them, and here they are.” <-once again insulting American intelligence, but what gets me about this one is the child asking for candy. Again, we’re painting a handlebar mustache on the tobacco company with exaggerations of, they are targeting our youth! And I’m not going to argue if they are or aren’t. That’s not the current point. (Because I’m sure they are.) But the commercial is using a fear tactic in a very roundabout way to appeal to parents’ sympathies. They are targeting our CHILDREN!!!! But let’s ignore that children are watching this commercial while the door is swinging both ways. Hrmmm…. This point and its importance will have to wait until after these next couple of clips. Stay with me, I promise I’ll get to it.

No… Smokers take a well known risk and one dies every 6.5 seconds.

I also love that they made an actual half assed website to accompany the fictional companies link mentioned in the commercial.

Go ahead. Click on it. It will work.

I love the line, “Deadly when used correctly.” Yeah… So are guns.

Let’s first look at this, in conjunction with the previous commercials, from strictly the adult view. We’ve established that it is SO evil that it should be illegal and we must protect our children from such dangers. …But, guns aren’t illegal. We just restrict them. They can be deadly. But if you tell someone you’re going to take away their right to bear arms, we suddenly have a problem.

The important thing is to teach our children about what is safe as well as to instill concepts of moderation and responsibility.

Anyone remember those bubblegum cigarettes we all used to puff on as children? Boy, glad we got rid of THOSE. Otherwise we might still have people that smoke and need for a bunch of really irritating commercials. Glad THAT solved it. Now, everyone reading this that has ever owned, or allows their children to own, a NERF gun. ….Are you afraid of your child one day growing up to climb a clock tower with a twenty two? Why?

Be it alcohol, cigarettes, or firearms, YOU are responsible for YOUR choices. And personally? I would like to keep it that way. I do not smoke, but I do not need anyone telling me I can’t. Please feel free to tell me I shouldn’t. But don’t tell me I CAN’T. That’s for ME to decide. And MY potential future children as well.

I thought the blood dripping down the edge of the screen was a nice touch.

Now to return to that one more thing that I would point out from “between the lines,” in all of this comparing cigarettes to candy for the adult viewers, driving that subconscious fear into the parents that our children are going to smoke 10 packs a day. A child watches the same commercial. But to them, and the limited understanding of the issue, they will see the door swing BOTH ways. Let me break it down for you through a child’s subliminal eyes. Candy = fun. Candy is like cigarettes. Cigarettes = Fun. Especially if the grownups are saying, “not till you’re older.” You just hurt your OWN cause with this anti cigarette ad. Making light of how the Tobacco companies appeal to children JUST MADE CIGARETTES APPEAL TO CHILDREN!!!!

Stop. Just Stop! You’re making my brain hurt. Don’t beat around the bush and think you’re being all clever and dramatic with you subliminal scare tactics.

If you ACTUALLY want to get through to people? Try this. The following is an anti smoking commercial from Australia. It is straight forward and very to the point.

……….but dare we actually show something so graphic on AMERICAN tv??? GASP! God forbid a child sees this scary image and it leaves an impression! Because THAT isn’t what we are trying to do. OH WAIT, it IS! How silly of me.

Okay. If we still can’t show that… No big. We don’t have to. Here’s proof you can still be clever, AND to the point, without being graphic.

Reasons for smoking.

I recently had a conversation with someone about smoking. This person is intelligent, and fully comprehends the consequences of his choices. He confessed that he has quit several times before; for months on end at a time. I inquired further. “Why,” I asked. “Why after finding the will to get through quitting, would you return to the habit?” His explanation was succinct. “Because I like it.”

He likes the feel of it. The camaraderie he shares with other smokers. The relaxation. The nostalgia. The everything associated with it. He is aware that it is not healthy. He is aware that it is expensive. He is aware that it is addicting. He is aware that…. Huh, that’s strange. What else is there? Really? Can you name anything else that can’t be summed up by these 3 little statements?

All in all? Personally I say, DON’T smoke. And sure, Big Tobacco HAS done some pretty vile, awful, villainous things. (So have a lot of corporations.) I will support everyone that wants to quit, but I will not infringe on a person’s choice. It is up to YOU, not me. Not the government. Not anyone but YOU. Take responsibility for your own actions, and give credit where true credit is due. It is your choice just the same as it is your choice to eat fatty foods, drink alcohol, own a gun, join the polar bear club, go skydiving or bungee jumping. I don’t want a cookie cutter life, preordained and laid out for me. I want CHOICE. And I want everyone else to have it too.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My little social experiments.

I will do odd things sometimes, just to see people’s reactions. One of those, if I move my knight to your bishop, what will happen then, type of things. Is it the same if I take your bishop with my pawn? Probably not. (Sorry with the chess analogies again. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good game. Must be jonesing)

I like seeing what cause and effect is. I like measuring and analyzing different human reactions.And I don’t often give a flip about what people think of me for it. Not anymore. But we’ll save a bit of the “It’s liberating to not care what others think of you” for another time.

One of my favorite experiments was on what I dubbed, “The toothpaste theory.” …This one was a little mean. And I’m not going to divulge any details now. I’m still collating data, and the experiment, due to unexpected developments in the “controlled” environment scenario, it may forever be technically inconclusive. But I think I have enough to write the few chapters in the novel I needed that information for. The experiment is basically, once a person is dubbed the “bad guy,” “scapegoat,” or “outcast” of any social grouping, is there really anyway to TRULY repair the damage. Can that person truly be given a second chance if it were ever proven that they were wrongfully accused of whatever crime they committed in the social structure? Would that second chance be as genuine as if that same person under a new identity were reintroduced to the same social structure.

In my book, there is a character that is blamed for a great deal of horrible events occurring. She is slandered and labeled as a selfish fiend for years, and allows everyone to blame her as her way of protecting someone she loves. When reintroduced to her former friends, now semi enemies, there is a great tension. They agree to let it all be water under the bridge, but keep careful watch over her, expecting her to repeat past behaviors that was falsely accused of. Despite their attempts to give her another chance, she has been branded the villain too long.

My experiment had to do with the philosophical implications that coincided with the end of the novel, where the truth comes out. When her friends find out that she has not been responsible for all they had believed her to be will they be able to alter their own behaviors in regards to her.It also has significance to foreshadowing on how the society this group of characters is set in has made use of scapegoats.

It was an interesting experiment to put into practice in real life, and the results (however inconclusive) were a little disturbing from what I could deduct. But that is all past now. My current experiment was something based on just personal curiosity.

I do things on whims sometimes. Sometimes it’s something big, like quitting my job or enrolling in school. Or hopping on a plane. Sometimes it’s bumping into an old friend that insists I audition for a play with them that night, when I hadn’t done theatre in years. Or joining martial arts just for a change of pace. Sometimes it’s something like cutting or dying my hair.

Once every two years or so, I will cut my hair off. It grows fast. So it is usually down to my lower back by time I cut it again. It is a drastic change. And has been the tradition since junior high.Well, this last change was a bit more drastic. I cut my hair twice. The first time as I normally cut it. The second time…

You can see the difference. The goal was not to see how many people would not recognize me, in my various social settings as well as complete strangers reactions.

Here are the results. The First day concluded with 15 people admitting that they did not recognize me until speaking with me. The second day 13 people, which was a combination of people at work as well as well known friends. The third day, 3 stragglers that hadn’t seen me yet, or REALLY hadn’t been paying attention. This resulted in a grand total of 31 people.

As for complete strangers… I find that people seem to act more pleasantly towards me with the short blonde hair for some reason. Coincidence? I don’t know just yet.

I’ve also been having a lot of people suggest I keep it like this. I was planning on keeping it short for a while. But blonde? Maybe I’ll keep it blonde a couple weeks longer than I had intended. I may even put a couple of fancy colors in just for good measure. ….but I will be going brunette again in some nearing context.

The blonde was really meant to just be an experiment as well as part of my Halloween Costume as “Tinker-Hell.” Which Ironically was the ONE apparel choice that did NOT conceal my identity.

All in all. It was and is fun for now.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

“It’s like saying ‘humans can breathe now.’” and, Do I look good in Navy?

For the last couple of years I’ve studied some people around me. …So sue me. I’m a writer. It’s what we do. We watch social interactions. We dissect behaviors. Consider motives. …And in this there’s something I’ve discovered that I really have a severe distaste for. Bullying.

Now, I can understand if a person is a jerk due to unfortunate circumstances. A rough life is no excuse, but I understand it being a cause. Hell, I even understand a person being BORN a jerk. Maybe like Steve Martin you were born a poor black child.

What I DON’T understand is why someone whom I believe to be nice (or used to be as the case may stand) will criticize others just to elevate their own standing in the eyes of others that AREN’T so nice. In other words, bullies of a feather flock together. One person picks on someone or something, and the other person (seeming desperate to gain that other person’s approval for some reason) will not only join in on the fun, but will go to great lengths of acting superior and adopting a faux bullying personality of their own.

But therein lies the problem. If you pretend to act as a superior asshole (hahaha, a scene from BSG just popped in my head) it won’t be long until you don’t have to pretend anymore. You truly become one. Judgmental, Shallow, Ignorant, and horribly lonely. All because you tried so hard to gain the approval of someone no one actually likes anyway.

Let me tell you a little story about a Farmer named…

I was out and about to have some fun with friends one day a couple years ago. A couple of them were ripping a bit on the local color, despite the fact that these same people they were making fun of were the one’s serving the drinks and applauding our songs. I didn’t like it, but gritted my teeth, and tried to just not listen. It wasn’t my place to play “mommy” and correct the behavior. All it would have done was make a scene and enemies of friends. Until...

One of my friends, seeming to seek attention and perhaps have others take note of their superior intellect made the comment, “Guess what I get to do tomorrow. I get to substitute teach Ag Science!” he said with thick sarcastic enthusiasm. “That’s right! I get to teach the next generation of farmers!”

*Note. I was married to a farmer for 9 years, and Aimee’s brain just exploded. …You can pick on me all you like, but NEVER pick on those that I love.

“Well, I hope you remember that statement the next time you bite into your McDonald’s cheeseburger, and take a second to think where that food came from.”

The only response I received was, “I don’t eat McDonald’s.”

…….Wow. For someone so intellectually superior, kinda failed to grasp the concept of that statement, huh? And for all of you out there that would side with this person and treat all farmers as slack jawed yokels, let me stop you RIGHT NOW and say everything I WISH I would have said to him that day.

If you think you can do THIS every morning to have that strip of bacon by all means…

It takes chemistry to test soil, or mix chemicals and fertilizers. It takes biology to breed livestock or treat a wounded or sick animal. It takes mechanical knowledge to fix a tractor or maintain milking machines. It takes geometry to construct a new shed or barn. And there is an ABUNDANCE of philosophy to be found in the constant observation of Life and Death and change all around on a farm. Don’t judge a book by its career choice. These people work hard to put food in YOUR supermarket and therefore in YOUR stomach. Unless you’re going to grow ALL of your food in your backyard the rest of your life, RESPECT THEM!

I'm not saying you won't find some individuals that are less than intelligent in farming. You will find that scenario anywhere though. (*Looks at congress.) But wouldn’t the world be better if we helped each other better themselves instead of tearing each other down anyway?

Where I work, I’m… how to put this right? I’ve been told I have a strong vocabulary. In fact, I’ve been told by more than a few of my associates that they don’t understand half of the words I use. So, are my coworkers stupid? NO! They are not. But it can be the stereo type for my place of employment. But a strong vocabulary does not intelligence make. And my coworkers just haven’t been exposed to those words yet. And if they tell me that they don’t understand something, I explain the words, and then…. LOW AND BEHOLD!!! THEY USE THE WORD! IT’S LEARNING!!! YAY!!!

I can teach better than that.

Like I said. I’ve been watching social situation. Studying people. One of the book series I’m working on revolves around a school-like structure. So I’ve been looking at teachers lately. And I’m sad to say, but the show Glee may have it right. The world has a lot more Sue Sylvesters that I would care to recognize. Many of the teachers I’ve come across only seem to teach because they enjoy the concept of being the smartest one in the room. But really, how much are you going to teach if this is your goal. It only makes sense if you hold those around you back so you can continue to feel that sense of superiority.

Thankfully most of my teacher friends are NOT like this. They will gently point out the difference between too, to, and two, instead of ripping the person apart that made the error of using one variation incorrectly and then proceed to bash the stupidity of such simple errors all over Facebook.

People make mistakes.

Once upon a time, some close friends and I were chatting into the wee hours of the morning, having a slumber party of sorts. Actually, my friend’s daughter was having a slumber party, and we chaperones decided to have a little girl fun of our own. So, armed with spinach dip and other snackage, we left the girls to do their boy-talk and found some privacy to do some man-talk.

Well… kinda.

Sure we talked about men, and some of the stupid stuff males do. But we didn’t stay on the topic too long. We somehow segued to talking about vampires. Kelly was especially irritated with shows, movies, and books, that change “vampire law.”

Her rant was for the fact that vampire legend should not be changed. Changing rules about vampires being able to go out into the sun and such “is like saying humans can breathe now!”

We all blinked. Me especially. We were at that very special point of tired and I thought, “Oh no! Am I wrong? I’m breathing. Should I not be breathing!?”

People make mistakes and we had a good hard laugh about it. There was no reason for any of us to call anyone stupid. It was acceptable. Sometimes it is not the fact that a person uses the wrong version of Too, to, or two… But sometimes, they meant to say that “human’s can breathe UNDER WATER now.” Laugh about it. Love each other despite little errors. We are but HUMAN. Don't alienate yourself and then bitch about being lonely.

I can’t do this anymore. I was meant for so much more than lugging produce around breaking my back in Lake Geneva Wisconsin for next to no money. I need to get out of here. But where to? Where is any different than this sleepy town? It isn't the town that's the problem. It's the situation. I’ve been ranting for a while about needing to get away. Needing to go. I wanted to go to Seattle for a writing position for a while. That fell through. I had a backup plan of earning a 2 year degree in ANYTHING so I could move to Asia and teach ESL. Found out recently it has to be a BACHELORS degree, not an associates. ….I’m tired of being broke, tired, working a job that everyone stereotypes me as stupid for, and stuck in a town full of family I am trying to avoid.

So, I looked at options. Options that pay. Options that travel. In the Navy I will be making good money, getting some education, have time to write my books without distraction, meet new faces, see new places, AND they have programs that I can option to earn a teaching license while I’m at it. …I’ve been told numerous times that I would make an excellent teacher. …Call my ego inflated, but I believe it. At least, I know I can do a better job of it than some of the bullies I see floating through the school districts. So, when I return, I will have something to fall back on as well.

And what’s more??? I can enlist for a specific department. Something I have a true passion for. A linguist! (This has me more excited than anything.) I don’t have to pay to learn to speak another language. THEY WILL PAY ME!!! SQUEEEEE!!!!! And I will be doing a job that is based in talking, diplomacy, negotiations. NOT WEAPONS AND VIOLENCE. (though I can be fairly apt at those too.) ;)

I’ve felt something big is coming. Something life changing. This may be it. I will be meeting with a recruiter later this week, likely.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A bit of life, free will, and destiny.

I’ve written at least ten different blogs in the last month. But they all came out very wrong. And I realized that anything I write about a few of my recent experiences, (as I like to leave things vague for sake of protecting identities….) was bound to piss off at least 5 different people that would have thought I was talking about them and all in different ways.

To that I have one thing to say to ALL of you. My world??? Revolves around ME. Not YOU. YOUR world revolves around YOU. MY world. YOUR world. Two separate entities. If you think every decision I make is concerning you? All I can say is- “You know, I haven't seen this much love in a room since Narcissus discovered himself.”

But I’m going to stop there, and leave the rest alone before this just becomes another one of those angry blogs I was talking about trying to avoid. I have to remind myself of my mission statement in this blog. “Fun of Folly.” …Sometimes weird crap happens. Sometimes, it’s bad. Really bad. But if you can’t make fun of it you’re lost. “Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn.”
Irvin S Cobb

Life can hand us some weird twists. Those little moments that make you raise an eyebrow… Sometimes both… and say, “did that really just happen?” I’ve come to expect these moments. And like a good little girl scout, once upon a time, I always seemed to be prepared for anything. And then the more prepared I made sure to be, the more obscure the “anythings” got.

It left me contemplating free will vs. destiny. Do we really have any control? Does it matter how much preparing we do? I know friends who took every precaution, went to college, studied hard, and only to now work a minimum wage part time job despite all their efforts. I worked hard on my marriage, was faithful, and patient, but I still found myself divorced. And then, there are those that worked hard and managed to have all life goals come out as planned. They owned their dreams and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Their dedication paid off in the end. But on the flip side, I also know people that luck just seemed to be with them, and life handed them golden moments of opportunities.

So. Can we really choose a path? Or do we really have no control? Should we surrender to the fates? Believe whatever is going to happen is going to happen anyway and just enjoy the ride? Does free will actually exist?

Yes. I believe it does. In fact. I believe both do. You can't leave everything up to fate, boy! She has a lot to do! Sometimes, you must give her a hand.” –Leonardo in Ever After.

If I was told I’m destined to get hit by a bus, that there was no avoiding it, and plain and simple THAT is how I’m going to die; that does not mean I’m going to stop looking both ways before crossing the street. But nor does that mean that I’m going to stay locked up in my house away from all busy roads either. Chances are, the bus will find a way to get me if that’s my true destiny. Maybe a bus will crash through my living room wall. Maybe it’s a toy bus that someone put in a slingshot and hit me in the temple with. Who can say?

We can prepare. We can make plans. But I feel like life is like playing chess on a board where your opponent’s pieces are invisible. There are obstacles and things that we can’t see coming. Destiny. Challenges, we aren’t aware of. We can know strategy, and have free will to move our pieces in wise directions, but sometimes we loose a rook instead of a pawn. Sometimes we earn back our Queen. (Do any of you play chess. Is this a bad analogy?)

Something big is coming.

I wrote a book. Years ago. (Yes I know, I promised a sequel. I’m working on it.) But for those of you that read that book, you’ll understand this. At the end of the book one of the characters has a change of attitude. She says she can feel something coming. Something BIG. She confides this in another character whom at that moment is very fearful for her safety. He asks how she can be so certain it’s something good. What if the big thing coming is some horrible disaster. She replies that it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, it is what’s meant to happen. And it is something that will change everything for her.

When I wrote that book, I had put a lot of my own personal experiences into this character. I pull inspiration where I can get it. …Never before did I think for a moment she would lend an experience to me.

So having had this feeling for the last couple weeks, imagine my surprise when a txt hit my cellphone… “Something BIG is on the way!” from an unknown number. My heart skipped a beat. (just a little one) Until I kept reading, “…introducing the Belief project from US Cellular.”

Grrr…. Thanks US Cellular.

No. Something else is coming. I have no idea what it is, or when it will hit. Maybe it won’t be for months. Maybe tomorrow. And as scary as it seems… I have the feeling, even if it is a tragic disaster… by the end of it, things are going to be alright.

I feel a little lost lately. Playing with invisible pieces on an imaginary chess board. I feel like surrendering to the fates is what I’m meant to do. To just sit back and enjoy the ride. This is just a moment in time, that I need to step aside and let happen. And then decide what to do with it after it does.

I hate surprises. But patience is not my current virtue either. If this is really as big as I feel it may be… I want it done with. Before I lose my nerve.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

a bit of amateur poetry

I've tried writing about ten different blogs in the past month. All of them come out very wrong. I've been bottling up some emotions again, and that is always just a recipe for disaster. But I don't want to vent them here. All the wrong people will read too much into what I say. So. I'll just keep that quiet for now and post a small poem I wrote last fall instead just to keep active.

(disclaimer. I don't really "do" poetry anymore. It was just a silly mood that struck me one evening.)


Upon the first night, the moon was full, beautiful plump and round.
They saw one another by the light of it, but had yet to know what they found.

He was cold and brittle and dark, She warm and aging so fair.
Autumn the product between them, No nights of perfection compare.

They melded together so sweetly, and the steam of it rose to the skies.
It shrouded his view of the heavens, but smiled at the stars in her eyes.

By the new moon he wished her a present, something to lighten her frown.
He blew ‘cross the land, an icy cold breath, and gave her a red and gold gown.

His gift had caused her elation, she wore it with grace and a grin.
Then she returned his generous deed, dotting the land with pumpkin.

They went on like this for a while, caring not about means or the ends.
One wouldn’t have guessed, such opposite things, could make such wonderful friends.

Time slips as the moon keeps on waxing, turning everything blue as it gleams.
She said the best thing about the blue moon, is it brings such wonderful dreams.

She shall be reborn in the spring time, and then he will hibernate ‘til the fall.
Always dreaming and thinking, of pumpkins and gowns, and those most perfect nights of all.