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.