Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FINISH LINE, BITCHES.

I suppose I should post something quick before I forget. I'd hate to fuck up NaBloPoMo on the last day. Especially since I failed so spectacularly at NaNoWriMo. Oops.

So, um, yeah. I really don't have much of anything to say today other than hello.

Here, have a picture of a baby owl in a hat instead.



You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Forget the whales. SAVE THE INTERNET!

Think about where you spend most of your time online.

Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? YouTube? Wikipedia? Tumblr? Reading blogs? Writing blogs?

Guess what? If this proposed bill passes, any of those sites could disappear at any time. POOF. Gone.

What does this law (called the Stop Internet Piracy act, or SOPA - a companion to the Protect IP bill, which has already passed the Senate) do? Basically, the government can order ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to block any site upon which the user has allegedly posted infringing content. (YouTube and Pinterest would be dead in a day; Twitter and Tumblr not far behind. Facebook is such a powerful entity, I think it might take a while to take that one down. Honestly, Mark Zuckerberg might be our best bet for a savior in this situation - he's not going to let his multi-billion dollar empire go down without a fight, which could, if nothing else, lead to a delay as the Supreme Court works something out. Let's hope it doesn't get that far.)

They don't even need to have any sort of evidence. They just need to accuse you. If you're suspicious, you're gone. This bill circumvents any sort of due process that would normally be granted to you under, ah, I don't know, what's it called... oh yeah, the Constitution. That thing. You know, the document that Congress has been using as toilet paper for the past however many years. 

Any site that has user-uploaded content would be vulnerable. This includes pretty much all of the Internet, at least any part of the Internet worth using.

I'm so furious I can't even... gah.The fact that it even got this far just enrages me, as an Internet user, yes, but also as a citizen of the free world. This is taking such a huge step backward that I can't even comprehend it. It's like something out of a bleak dystopian novel.

Maybe this is where it starts, guys. 

First, the open communication and freedom of the Internet. They'll start chipping away at our other rights next. (Maybe "next" isn't the right word. Maybe the right word is "again.") We'll have nothing left, and those of us who aren't privileged members of the upper echelons will be slaves to the machine. Aren't we headed that way anyway? It's becoming a slippery slope. To say nothing of the wealth inequality that is behind the Occupy Wall Street movement. (Here's a couple links for that, I still need to address it, but now is not that time.) The rich and the powerful get what they want. Status quo.

From an email from MoveOn.org (who is hosting a petition that you should take five seconds to sign):

If enacted, a new law would make it so a simple allegation of copyright infringement—with no review process—could lead to the shutdown of sites from YouTube to Wikipedia to MoveOn.org.1 Any website, foreign or U.S.-based, could be wiped out on suspicion and made unavailable to everyone in the world.
For example, if you (or Justin Bieber) wanted to post a video to YouTube of yourself singing a Beatles song, a record company could force the Department of Justice to shut down YouTube. Really.2
But as you may have guessed, Congress didn't come up with this tragically terrible idea on their own. Lobbyists representing Comcast, Pfizer, record and movie companies, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce3 have been pushing Democrats and Republicans to pass bills to allow this new kind of Internet censorship. And they're close to getting their way.


Fun fact: they will use the same DNS-blocking methods as China or Iran.

CHINA OR IRAN.

People, this is supposed to be the United States of America. What the hell happened to protecting our freedoms? These days, seems like they're more interested in protecting corporate interests. It's about money and greed. THAT, though, is probably an entirely different post for a different day.

Let's focus on the task at hand: the Internet - our Internet - would be controlled by the government, by corporations, by lobbyists and special interest groups. Our collective community would be dead. We may as well live in a totalitarian state, given the amount of pure censorship that we would be opening the doors for. I feel like not only would this totally ruin my life (in the "first world problems" kind of way), but it would be completely trampling over free speech, to say nothing of stifling innovation and shutting down the open dialogue that goes on every day, every minute, across the invisible wires that connect us all.

Say something someone doesn't like? BAM. Shut down.

It's not just the blocking off of certain parts of the Internet, either, that would be so crippling to us all.


As American Censorship.org says:
It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are an ordinary noncommercial user. Singing a pop song on Facebook could be a felony.

Also, any potential infringing sites that generate revenue (Craigslist and eBay have both been listed as potential victims of this bill, and I would imagine Etsy would also fall along those lines)? Once they get shut down, it's going to be a lengthy and expensive legal battle to have their case heard... meanwhile, NOBODY makes any money off the site during that time. Say good-bye to your supplemental income or ever finding a new couch.

Some of the language in the bill - the part that's most relevant to the fuckery that is before us - pretty much intentionally confusing, this article explains it a bit:
The act, in section 104, defines sites that are "dedicated to the theft of US property" as including any "US-directed site" that:
is taking, or has taken deliberate actions to avoid confirming a high probability of the use of the U.S.-directed site to carry out acts that constitute a violation of section 501 or 1201 of title 17, United States Code;
If that sounds massively confusing, you're right. But what it's saying, in the most twisted language possible, is that if it's probable that a site used in the US (note no restriction to just foreign sites here) can be used to infringe, and that site fails to take some sort of action against the "high probability" that the site can be used to infringe, then it can be declared dedicated to the theft of US property.

Super.

You'll notice that blurb about foreign sites. That's what the bill is allegedly trying to kill. Theft of US Property. (Oh, we're so patriotic - we MUST defend what is ours!). Think this bill can't touch you, international friends? This is not just a US issue.You realize how much governing laws of the US will affect your user experience, right? You'll be just as screwed as the rest of us. Besides, SOPA is like the honey badger. It straight up doesn't care. It will shut you down, too. Why? Because it can.

Cloud services (such as Dropbox) would be affected too. They'd have to monitor what files you were storing. Because if you store something that's copyrighted, guess what? YOU JUST INFRINGED, MOTHERFUCKER. Music sites like Turntable would have to disable the ability for users to upload songs, without being at risk of being held accountable. (I don't know if Spotify allows you to add songs yourself or if you're limited to the pool that they already have in their system - I can't figure out how to use it so I don't know how it works... but if they do, then that would have to change too.)

And those sites and services don't want to be liable for infringement, because there goes their revenue. It's vicious.

So who's even FOR this, you might ask? Obviously, anyone whose interests are served by being able to shut down sites that impede on their turf. The biggest supporter is the entertainment industry (as per usual), and they ain't small. But they're not the only ones.

According to this article, the main contenders in support of this bill:
The Motion Picture Association of America is, unsurprisingly, one of the lead voices supporting the bill, but it is joined by allies from the pharmaceutical industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and, yes, even the International Association of Firefighters, who say that piracy saps the tax dollars that support emergency services.

I quite frankly don't see why Big Pharmacy would care, but whatever. I'm more concerned about the MPAA and the US Chamber of Commerce. And the politicians that are clueless or ruthless enough to jump on the bandwagon.

It sounds like - maybe - support is starting to dwindle a little bit. But it's still so, so important to know about this bill and speak up against it. It's the only thing that's going to make Congress wake up.

As of right now, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is planning to start a filibuster of this Internet Censorship Act - where he plans to read the names of every person who signs a petition against said censorship. If millions of people sign it, that will take a long-ass time. Will it be enough? I don't know.

Please sign the petition. I don't care if you think petitions are worthless or cheesy or ineffective. Anything we can do to help block this law is so important. If you are reading this right now, it means YOU USE THE INTERNET and if you want to continue to do so, you need to speak up.

I have a little hope. I mean, I've seen what large bands of determined nerds on the Internet can do. I hope they come through. Let's pull together, people. This is our future.




Further reading/linkage:

Tech giants Google, Facebook and others stand up against SOPA

The Great Firewall of America

E-PARASITE Bill: 'The End of The Internet As We Know It'

Five Things To Know About SOPA

AmericanCensorship.org

The MoveOn.org petition

Monday, November 28, 2011

You know the drill. Monday. Pumpkin. Link. Click. Go.

This is what we made on Twenties Hacker this week. And by we, I mean me, and it was glorious. Check it out here.



And my reign of pumpkin continues.

Unfortunately, I think it will be time to move on for December, but I did have one more pumpkin-related request, so maybe I can eke out one more week of it. Hmm...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Call It Off

My friend Steph tried to send me this song via Spotify but I'm not smart enough to figure out Spotify because (a) I'm technologically illiterate sometimes and (b) I've thrown my allegiance in with Turntable.fm as far as new music platforms go. So she sent me the YouTube link because when all else fails, everything is on YouTube.


It's a short song but I love it a lot and it kind of fits where I am right now.

Here's where I'd embed it for you but they seem to have disabled embedding on this one, so... here's the link and here are the words:


 
Call It Off / Tegan and Sara

I won't regret saying this
This thing
That I'm saying
Is it better than
Keeping my mouth shut
That goes without saying
Call, break it off
Call, break my own heart
Maybe I would have been
Something you'd be good at
Maybe you would have been
Something I'd be good at
But now we'll never know
I won't be sad
But in case
I'll go there
Everyday,
To make myself feel bad
There's a chance
I'll start to wonder
If this was the thing to do
I won't be out long
But I still think it better if
You take your time
Coming over here
I think that's for the best
Call, break it off
Call, break my own heart
Maybe I would have been
Something you'd be good at
Maybe you would have been
Something I'd be good at
But now
We'll never know
I won't be sad
But in case
I'll go there
Everyday,
To make myself feel bad
There's a chance
I'll start to wonder
If this was the thing to do
I'll start to wonder
If this was the thing to do

Saturday, November 26, 2011

This is so fetch.

My new favorite thing is Mean Girls quotes, repurposed for Harry Potter. I've collected some of my favorites from The Internets.







This isn't Harry Potter, but it's still hilarious.

Friday, November 25, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY OMG


Yeah, totally not going shopping today.

I had some inkling of an idea making fun of Rebecca Black today (Friday... Black... Black Friday... GET IT) but I couldn't quite make it work, despite all the memes floating around out there. Way to let me down, Internet.

Hope those of you that went shopping didn't get trampled and that you managed to snatch some things away from the crazy soccer moms. That would be the only reason I would go. I would scoop up all sorts of shit I didn't want, just to cause drama. Then I'd plant it around the store and someone would find it around 11am and get super excited and victorious because JACKPOT. They'd look both ways with beady little eyes, clutching the ten-dollar camera to them, and a surge of adrenaline would rush through them. I'd be like Robin Hood. But with stuff people don't really need.

Protip: sweep the store around 10 or 11. This actually does happen. When I worked at Target we had a fresh batch of cameras and whatever other cheap shit we were selling again at that time because people changed their minds and/or we found them around the store. Because it's too hard to actually return items to the proper location. SHOVE 'EM IN WITH THE TOWELS.

Anyway. Blah blah some commentary on rampant consumerism and greed and something else blah blah I don't really care that much this year. Also no comment on the fact that everyone is opening at midnight this year and encroaching into Thanksgiving. Honestly, if I were the type to battle crowds in the name of cheap shit, I'd prefer it that way. I'm so much better at staying up late than I am at getting up early. Plus all the old ladies will be droopy and tired from being up late and I'd leap over them all and snatch it all up. Hide yo' cameras, hide yo' televisions. 

But, there's nothing that I want bad enough to deal with that many people, and my sister and brother-in-law usually go shopping and I can usually pass along a request or two and sometimes they'll hook me up. I kind of want a cheap Blu-Ray player and my BIL is headed to Best Buy anyway. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks, and the Giving Thereof

I didn't participate in the meme of listing something I was thankful for every day this month.

Because I can sum it up as this: I am thankful for every goddamn thing in my life. The good, the bad, the obvious, the subtle, the things that have happened, the things that have yet to happen. Everything has made me who I am, and I like who I am. For the first time in my life, I wouldn't change a thing.

And you. I'm thankful for YOU. (Yes, you.) I appreciate you sticking around to read my mundane little thoughts. I'd hug you but I'm probably passed out from all the food I ate today. I'm also thankful for stretchy pants. Let's not forget the stretchy pants.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stupid girl.

I'm really no good at this whole aloof and distant thing. I can close the book and act like I don't care because I have Grown As A Person and I am an adult now and I will no longer be consumed by petty things and overanalyzations of things that weren't really things and mother.fucker. I was doing really well until right around last night. I'm starting to feel some cracks in my stony exterior - you know, the one that keeps all the squishy feelings inside where they belong. Just say no to squishy feelings.




I'm not questioning that it was the right thing, I still truly believe it was. But I miss him. It's only been a week. I'm not sure what that means. A week isn't very much time. Maybe it's too soon to even be thinking about this, because I'm still too close to the situation. How could I possibly miss him, it's hardly been any time at all since I've talked to him.  And maybe it's too soon to even feel like there's a difference. But there is a difference. The difference is I drew a line and I can't cross it now. I'm too stubborn to admit that I'm hurt or to even talk to him, and even if I wasn't so fucking stubborn, it wouldn't matter, because what would I even say? Nothing's changed.

Besides, at least with my refusal to open the lines of communication, I don't have to listen to any sort of confirmation that he doesn't give a shit about me, that the absence of my presence was greatly welcomed, and, well, any sort of other things that will just make me feel bad if I hear them come from him instead of my own nagging self-hating brain. I'm willing to bet he doesn't give a rat's ass that I've removed myself from his life. Why should he? I wasn't what he really wanted. And now he doesn't have to pretend like he cares.

In case you're wondering what the fuck has triggered this little bout of self-flagellation, it was something incredibly minor. Like it always is. He unfollowed me on Twitter and this bothers me more than it should. The fact that it bothers me more than the fact that it happened. I mean, sure, I was on one of my I'm-sick-and-thus-mildly-delirious tirades, but I was kind of hurt by it all the same.

I have formulated three theories as to why: 1. I was clogging up his feed with my whining. 2. He no longer cares what I have to say. 3. Seeing my excessive adorableness on the twitters was too heartbreaking and painful and he couldn't watch anymore. (I'm going with Option 1.)(Possibly option 2.)(Maria was nice enough to cast her ballot for Option 3.)

Whatever. It's one of those things that doesn't mean anything but I've forced it to mean something because on some level I am still seventeen and everything is indicative of something else. At the end of the day, I'm still the same stupid girl I've always been, and something tells me that even when I'm old and in a home, I will still be overanalyzing what is happening with that handsome widower across the hall. Just kidding. I'm totally going to be a cougar. I'll hit on the orderlies instead.

Really, though, I'm not sure who the bigger idiot is here. Me, for being hung up on someone who's hung up on someone else... or him, for being hung up on someone he CAN'T HAVE and alienating me in the process.

(I mean, obviously him, because I'm awesome and he should be so lucky, but that's just false bravado talking.)

Maybe we're both stupid and slightly masochistic. At least I was smart enough to realize it and make an effort to untangle myself from the situation.

TRIANGLES ARE FUN, GUYS.

Also, I hate everything and I am possibly going to wear sweatpants to my family Thanksgiving tomorrow because fuck-all. I don't care. I need some pajama jeans. That's what I need.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm sick. *dainty cough*

I'm sick today. I suppose this is what I get for stubbornly refusing to wear a coat this weekend when it was in the low 30s. It's been two whole months since I've been sick (the Strep incident right before my birthday) so I suppose I should get a gold star for that. Granted, it doesn't really change the fact that I'm nearly out of sick days. So that's... awesome.

What's ironic is that I used to be healthy growing up. Clearly I've made some poor choices as an adult.

Now, someone come make me some grilled cheeses and tomato soup.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I! S! U!

New post up over on Twenties Hacker: Pumpkin Smoothies.


So, you may or may not have heard, but my precious little underdog alma mater totally upset #2 Oklahoma State on Friday. I was actually out of town and offline all evening (I KNOW, RIGHT) so I had no idea until I got home again on Saturday. It's insane. My neighbor said you could hear the crowd at the stadium all the way at our house. Which, to be fair, we don't live THAT far from the stadium. If it hadn't been my  mother's birthday, I totally would have been out there tailgating in my Cy hat that I haven't gotten to really wear yet. Ah, well.

We've been having a good season. We pulled off a win against Iowa, who is generally a top-notch team, and managed to pull off some other key victories, despite that our schedule was something from the depths of football hell. Friday's win granted us bowl game eligibility, and while it feels like every single football team in the country goes to a bowl game nowadays, it's no small feat that we managed to pull off a 6-win season. We're not done yet, but our next/last two games aren't really cake, either. Most people had dismissed the idea of a bowl game because of the last three games we had lined up. But... you know. We decided to knock over the #2 team. Because that's how we roll.

Anyway. Our coach has been amazing. He's turning our program around and making this town proud of our team again.

So, in honor of His Coachiness, here are some pictures of us. And by us, I mean me + cardboard cutouts of him from a client event I helped with this past fall. Same thing, right?

 
 LOUD NOISES

And just for funsies, here's a highlights/montage video, including clips of Coach's post-game speech. It's kind of awesome. I may have almost teared up a little.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Harumph.

So, if I may, I am going to bury this spastic post in the pile of weekend blog posts that nobody ever reads and hopefully it will get "marked as read" on Monday with all the other people clogging up your feeds with NaBloPoMo shiz. Because, yeah. I'm going to totally indulge in my mopey wallowy-ness for a minute. And it's going to be awkward.

I know it's kind of a bullshit logic, but I feel like I shouldn't be allowed to be sad, because this was my decision. I was the one that walked away. I was the one who decided I didn't want this any more.

You know what, though? It's kind of a lie. I did want it, still. But wanting and having are two different things, and all the wanting in the world doesn't change the fact that his heart was with someone else. Sticking around would have been some form of masochism, an emotional abuse that I inflicted upon myself while hoping and waiting for things to change. And they might not ever change.

So, really, while it was my choice, it wasn't much of a choice. I don't do the whole consolation-prize thing. I still have that vague hope that someday someone is going to want ME, and just me. (I know, how presumptuous of me.)(/sarcasm.)

On the whole, I feel okay. I've done this enough times, I am far from broken. Other than a lingering sadness, nothing really feels different. (To be fair, though, this whole thing has been weighing on me for quite a while, so I've had some time to adjust to the idea). It's one of those situations where you realize how much you've grown as a person and how much different things are when you're - omg - an adult, rather than that weird in-between of your early twenties where you are adamant about how you are no longer a teenager, but you still kind of think and act like one, because you don't know shit about life yet. So that's kind of nice. This whole being-an-adult thing comes with a nice helping of not hurting. Or maybe that's just me and the protective coat of numbness that I've been systematically building over the last however many years.

I'm still sad, though. Part of me aches for something that's not there, and I'm still closing the gap. Something will pop into my head and I have to refrain from reaching for my phone. Well, there must be someone else who would find this funny, I think to myself, but with a sigh, realize it's not the same, and just let the thought pass. And I miss being held. I miss having something to look forward to on the weekends.

And maybe it's not specific to him. I sometimes wonder if I'm just flat-out lonely. Probably, I was making this out in my head to be something it wasn't. Maybe, just maybe, it wasn't what I thought it was. Maybe I was hoping it was something more than it was ever going to be. Maybe I've overthought things, again. Maybe I'm overthinking it again right now. Maybe it was just some bullshit pseudo-relationshippy thing that passed as something worthwhile. It kind of felt legitimate, for me, anyway, but I've been wrong before. I'm not going to think too hard about what was on the other side of that mirror. Whether he ever really felt anything for me at all. That's a dangerous territory to wander around in, though, so it's best if I don't. I'd rather not know.

So anyway, in summary: I'm sad. I'm kind of bummed. I'm lonely. I'm disappointed. But I'm okay.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Help a Sister Out!

So I got the most awesome email this morning from a girl named Sarah, who contacted me from my other blog (my poor, neglected 30 Things to Do Before I Turn 30 project) with the following request:


I ran across your thirty things blog and I love it! I am turning 30 on December 9th, and for the 30 days leading up to it, I am doing something to "treat myself" every day.  So far, I've gotten a gold sparkly nail polish manicure, tried a big mac for the first time, became an ordained minister online, toured a historic mansion, had martinis with my best friend at a drag queen joint, dressed myself like I did when I was 6 (meaning I took all of my favorite things and wore them at the same time), went to go see Santa Claus (my family didn't do Santa when I was a kid)...... etc.  I was wondering if you had any other ideas that didn't make your list?  Turns out coming up with one every day is harder than i thought!  I have a few planned ahead - Tea Time at the Drake Hotel (always wanted to do that) and volunteering at a soup kitchen. Any help you could be would be great!  

 
GUYS. I have a mission for us. We need to come up with some stuff for her. Supposedly there are ~50 of you out there (plus some lurkers, maybe) so I'm sure we can brainstorm some awesome ideas.
 
The extras I have are pretty weak. Things that I really wanted to do while still in my twentysomething years (try sushi... change my hair... go to a professional sporting event [totes counted it for the Iowa Cubs baseball game my sister and I went to - hey, they're minor league, it's legit]) felt like cheating because they were sort of opportunities that fell into my lap before I started my list. I keep thinking of little things (ride a motorcycle... go backstage at a concert...) and sometimes I'll substitute them into the real list if something proves impossible (cheating? maybe. I don't caaaare. MY LIST MY RULES.) Also, the stuff she's come up with so far are pretty awesome (I should become an ordained minister online! Why not?!) so I want to help her out with some equally awesome ideas.
 
What do you have for Sarah? SHARE!!! (I may or may not steal some of these for myself, also.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not Helping.

I know that all of the pictures of half-naked girls with glistening abs that keep popping up on Pinterest are meant to inspire me to work out, but instead they just make me feel ugly.

 This? Not helping.

I get that the new trend is toward "healthy, not skinny" and I appreciate that... but what I am seeing is just another ideal that I will never live up to.

 Also not helping.

I will never have a six-pack of abs. I will never look good in a pair of skimpy stretchy shorts. I don't have the time for an intense fitness regimen. I don't even have time to clean my house. I'm not a professional athlete. I don't have a personal trainer. I don't have a gym membership. I haven't gotten any further than taking the cellophane off of the lone Jillian Michaels DVD I bought. It's discouraging because I know I never look like that. Not unless I quit my job and my life and did nothing but work out all day every day. Because that's practical.

Still not helping.

And another thing. Those images? No one goes to the gym with luxurious curls and airbrush quality makeup. Ponytails and messy buns, elastic headbands, possibly even shirts. I don't know. But what we are seeing are these models, standing there with their sports bras and unnaturally round boobs and eight-packs and teeny shorts and some motivational slogan typeset over their bad-ass, piercing stare.

You're not even wearing shoes!

I don't see motivation. I see another impossible standard. I see me, once again not good enough, not pretty enough, not sexy enough. Simply not enough.

 Put some goddamn clothes on.

I just... I don't know. Again, I'm glad we're moving away from the waif-like look that was "hot" a few years ago. I'm just not sure this is any better for those of us who are living normal lives and will never see this when we look in a mirror.

I'm not trying to sound bitter, I'm just frustrated. I'm tired of being bombarded of images like this. I'm tired of being made to feel like shit because I don't look like this. It's just telling me that I am fat and unhealthy and unattractive and weak and not good enough, because clearly, if I cared at all about my body, I would devote it to working out 24/7 and be a slave to the fitness industry. I would have glistening abs and run around in a sports bra. My breasts would magically be cute and perky, to say nothing of my ass. You know what? Fuck you, media. I'm willing to bet maybe 1% of the female population looks like that. Once again, I'm firmly entrenched in the 99%. (Political joke. Ha ha.)

I've posted pictures of myself on here. You guys know what I look like. For all my ranting, I'm not fat. I'm extremely average with a little extra helping of curves. Yet compared to these models, I may as well be riding motorized scooters around Wal-Mart. It will be a cold day in hell before I run around in just a sports bra anywhere that's not alone in my apartment with all my blinds closed, and even then, I won't wear little shorts. I won't wear shorts even when there's nobody around to see what I believe to be the most unattractive legs ever. Nothing is quite so anxiety-inducing as the thought of someone, anyone, seeing me naked. Because then they'll see all of my flaws and how very not-perfect I am. They'll judge me because I don't look like I'm supposed to. 

I've been fighting this fight for 27 years and when I look back at pictures of myself from high school, I want to punch myself in the face for ever thinking I was fat. I was maybe tipping the scale at 120 pounds and in some pictures I would say I look almost downright gangly. Gross. Yet all I could hear was the echo of "must be thinner... must be prettier...." I was thin. I was pretty. But I never noticed it because I was too busy believing that I wasn't. That voice? It never gets quieter. It never goes away. Maybe when you're old and straight up don't give a shit anymore, but I don't want to have to fight with that inner monologue for another forty years. It's exhausting.

No wonder little girls think they're fat and try to go on diets when they're, like, five. From the day we're born, we're expected to be cute. We can't win. We can never win. Maybe we haven't come so far after all, if our sense of self-worth is still so closely tied to what we look like. Probably because the message that is whispered into our ears every waking moment is that you're nothing unless you're pretty and have a great body. You know what? That's bullshit. That's bullshit and I'm tired of it.

Go on, tell me. Tell me you don't feel like you have to look a certain way. Tell me that you don't feel like you need to be thin or ripped or pretty. Tell me you're not wary of a two-digit dress size. Tell me you never feel inadequate. You're a goddamn liar.

You know what else? I bet you each and every one of those models up there also feels inadequate. They know what they're supposed to look like. You think they aren't terrified of the day when they wake up and don't have as much definition as they used to? When things start to sag and there's no one there to airbrush their photos? When there's someone else that out-sexifies them? When they become - gasp - like the rest of us?

That's really the problem. There should be no "supposed to." I'm so goddamn sick of being told how I'm supposed to look. Who gets to say? What gives anyone the right to dictate what's acceptable and attractive? You know what, it doesn't even matter. Because for the rest of my life, I'm going to spend it trying to match that vision in my head of what is allegedly pretty and right. It's already there. There's no escaping it. It's the burden we have to bear. Not just women, either, though that's obviously the perspective that I am all too familiar with. Men have their own set of idealized standards, too. It's not fair but it is what it is. We're all fighting a fight we can't win.

It's ridiculous. Shouldn't we be off curing cancer or something? Can we stop focusing on what we look like? Please? I know, it's a worthless plea. It's too late, the damage is done, our perceptions are already skewed. But me and my less-than-perfect self would really, really appreciate it. I'm tired of hating myself, and you should be too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Writing Anyway.

So, following the apparent theme of the week (quitting), I think I need to admit to myself that this whole NaNoWriMo thing just isn't working out this year. I think I psyched myself out too much... that's a lot of words. A lot of pressure. And I would freeze up with writer's block every time I even thought about writing it. I need to tell myself that IT IS OKAY to quit, to drop out, wash out, whatever, and I can still work on my story, slowly and surely, eventually, sometime, when the inspiration is there, and not force it. I work remarkably well under pressure and deadlines... but not here.

I went to the site, though. Read the "pep talks" that had landed in my site inbox. And wanted to cry. Maybe quitting isn't the right theme of the week - it feels more like abject failure. I don't want to quit this, either, but I can't seem to get myself to move forward. I guess I could shoot for writing half a novel in the second half of the month? Yesterday was the halfway point. I'm way too behind now. I mean, I have 4000 words in my pocket from my original draft that need to be placed somewhere in the Actual For Real draft, so that's a teensy boost, but I'm still so, so, so far behind.

Between reading Alice Bradley's writing column (she's my new writer-crush, guys. Every one of her posts makes me want to requote things here but I'm sure not many of you care and they probably don't mean the same things to do you that they mean to me so I'm not sure what the point is) and the tips and advice embedded within the NaNo site... You guys. It's reminding me of all the things I used to want to do, all the stories I used to want to tell. It breaks my heart that I've shoved all those ambitions into a box and buried it in the back of my closet. It's the one thing I was always sure of, the one thing that I always knew I wanted to do. And I'm not doing it. I don't know why. I'm afraid of failing, I guess. Because if I continue to keep it on pause, then there's still the chance that I could do it. But if I try, and crash and burn, then... then that last bit of hope is lost and I have nothing to hold on to.

I don't know. I realize that there is absolutely no reason not to write, at whatever snail pace I am stuck with, and that NaNoWriMo is just some arbitrary project or a collective kick in the pants to get moving... I just feel like my avoidance of that is representative of my larger avoidance as a whole. If that makes sense.

However, I am committed to seeing this whole NaBloPoMo thing through. (And trust me, after the beginning of this week, I wanted nothing more than to just wallow in silence, which is... unproductive, to say the least.) I'm going to get at least something right this month. I may have bombed out with writing, boys, and keeping on my weight loss program, but BY GOD I will cram your Readers full of inane dribble.

Like Alice says: write anyway. No matter what, just keep writing. The only way you get to be a writer.... is to write. Even if it's shit, even if you feel like shit... write anyway.

So for now, I will write this crappy little blog and it will be delightful, and you will pretend to enjoy it because otherwise I will burst into irrational little bouts of tears and then you will feel bad and nobody wants that. Maybe you do. In which case, you're an asshole.

Pssst, I totally tweeted in the vague direction of the aforementioned Alice Bradley and she tweeted back at me! It's like that time The Bloggess followed me back. Even though I think she probably does that for a lot of people. Shhh, I feel special, okay?


I... I pick weird things to get excited about.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Open at the Close.

Just as I apologized to the people of Twitter for word-vomiting a series of angsty and cryptic tweets on Monday night, I shall now apologize to you, my loyal bloglets, for my quasi-hysterical and extremely vague previous post. Especially since you have gotten exactly zero information about everything leading up to that. And only a small handful of you probably even know what the everloving fuck I was talking about. 

As with most situations involving tears and angst, it's about a boy. It's always about a boy, isn't it? It's always the worst thing for me to be hurt about, because it makes me feel weak - when really, it makes me human. God forbid. I have developed an aversion to being the kind of girl that gets shattered over a boy, because blah blah feminism blah blah I don't need anyone. I've convinced myself of a lot of things, over the last few years. You have to, when you've opted to be alone and to stay out of the fray. I've been watching the playing field from the sidelines because I didn't want to get involved. Too much drama, too much heartache. I was finally whole and I intended to stay that way. Anytime I felt my guard slipping, I ran as fast as I could the other way. None of that for me, thanks. But recently (and we'll get to this more later), for the first time in a long time, I didn't find myself running away... I found myself wanting to stay. I would have stayed, too, but a whole bunch of things unraveled quickly and finally the logical part of my being stepped in and said, "enough." 

It was the right thing to do. For everyone. For me, so I could stop myself from getting hurt even worse, stop myself from getting even more emotionally invested. For him, so he could have space to clear his head and figure out what he wants, without me around, without me in the way. Because it suddenly became painfully clear that while he didn't know what he wanted, it wasn't me. There was too much confusion, too much to question, too much other stuff in the way. I don't really feel like I had a choice. I did what I had to do, and I know it was the right thing, it was, it really was, but... goddamn, this hurts. I forgot how much this part hurts. I was hoping, also, that if I was the one to walk away, it would hurt less. Maybe it does - maybe this is the "less." Maybe I ended up caring far more than I should have, far more than I would let on, far more than I would want him to know. I already feel foolish enough as it is. The writing was on the wall the entire time, and I insisted on being blind to it.

And I will be okay, I know I will. I've had plenty of practice from bouncing back, from being rejected, from being unwanted. I know, deep down, even if that voice in my head wants to tell me otherwise, that it has nothing to do with me. It's someone else's struggle, someone else's demons, someone else's everything. I just got caught in the crossfire.

If I were being honest with myself, I should have seen this coming, should have known that this is how it would end. Maybe I did know all along, and just chose not to listen. It doesn't matter. What's done is done. It was the right thing to do. I had to let him go. 

So let's rewind a bit. I guess now that I'm at the end, I can start at the beginning. I can tell you the things I didn't tell you before, because I was keeping them to myself, because I didn't want to jinx anything... but now that there's nothing left to damage, I guess there's no reason to hold that same embargo on my thoughts. So I will. I will tell you. Not everything, because you don't need to know everything. But I will tell you just enough. Just enough so you know why it hurts.

Like a lot of people of our digital generation, we met online... It's kind of interesting to think about, because we never would have met any other way. His circles and my circles don't overlap, we have no mutual friends in common, which is unusual for the almost incestuous pool that is the greater Des Moines metro area. I was aloof in the beginning, like I always am. Cautious, guarded. Ready to run at any sign of a red flag. But that bastard charmed his way in and before I knew it, I had that stupid smile on my face (you know the one) whenever my phone dinged at me with a new text message. And in the beginning, he would text me every day - but not in a way that felt at all claustrophobic. He would text me goodnight and I thought it was cute. He was smart and funny and sweet and he kissed me the exact way that I loved to be kissed. He would hold me in such a way that I didn't really ever want to be let go, and he would kiss my head as I was curled up next to him, and softly stroke my hair and brush it out of the way (the hair-stroking is my own personal kryptonite, by the way. It makes me melt. And I never told him that. He just did it, on his own.) He's a writer, and a good one at that, and I adored reading everything that he would write. I'll still read his weekly column. If he doesn't unfriend me on facebook, I'll still follow his links to the other places he writes. He has the same quirky sense of humor that I have - one that I've had a hard time finding in a lot of guys around here. He referenced one of my favorite comedians on the second time we hung out - one that's relatively obscure outside of my circle of college friends, or at least I thought. It was all the little things like that. Little things that I will miss, and little things that kept me holding on even after I started wondering if I should let go. 

Because there was someone else, someone he wasn't quite over, and it was part of the bigger, more terminal problem. I was willing to patiently wait, while he figured things out. I tried to pretend it all away, tried to pretend I couldn't see that elephant in the room. Because sometimes it wasn't there. Sometimes it was just us, and it was perfect when it was. But ultimately... ultimately, I was fighting a losing battle. I'm not going to go into much more detail than that, because that's where it becomes his story and not mine, but... I knew I couldn't win. 

And I sat curled up in the blankets on my bed and stared at the blank wall across from me, little tears streaming down my cheeks, and I knew what I had to do. And when it was over, the little tears became big tears and I had myself a nice ugly cry (a nice long one, ugh) and then I began to write this post. Because that's how I heal. That's how I deal with the sad things and the things that hurt. I don't care who reads this. My heart is on my sleeve, and that's okay. 

But, God, just once, just once, I would like to be the one that someone was hung up on. I don't know what that feels like. To truly be wanted, to be someone's everything, even for a little while. I've never had that. I'd always been a placeholder. And while that wasn't necessarily the case here... I was collateral damage, I guess. I know he wanted to want me, but there's too much else in the way.

I don't know what he's thinking, if he's sad at all, disappointed, if he hates me, if he even cares. Maybe he's relieved. I'd probably be relieved, if it were me. Maybe we'll be friends, once the smoke clears and it doesn't hurt to think about him. Maybe he'll be like all of the other boys of my past, and I'll never really talk to him again. Maybe he'll be just another name on the list. I don't know. I don't want to think about it. I'm going to focus on the right now and keep myself pulled together.  

I know there are a hundred billion other guys out there, but there was something about this one that I wanted to hold onto a bit longer. I have a hard time imagining that I will find anyone else around here that will pique my interest in quite the same way, someone else who will give me shivers instead of butterflies. I'm sure that person is out there, but I don't want to look for him right now. He'll find me, if he's meant to. I'd probably just run away, anyway. I'm not very smart about this stuff.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Towels Have Been Thrown In.

You ever do what you know was the right thing, the best thing for everyone involved, as much as it ended up hurting, and then sat and cried for like an hour afterward? Anyway, that's what my tonight was. And that's why I'm breaking my one-post-a-day rule. Because right now everything hurts even though I feel so, so stupid about the fact that I even let myself get to the point where it hurts, but it does and I can't help that. I just need to keep reminding myself that it was the right thing to do. It will be better in the long run.

I need a hug. Or fifty.

I'll explain later, I promise.

Monday is for Cookies

HEY GUYS IT'S MONDAY! Which means it's time for another of my posts on Twenties Hacker. This week? Pumpkin Snickerdoodles!

You know, these:


Glorious.
And yes, this is counting as a full post for today. So there.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tweeting It In

"I don't know what your generation's fascination is with documenting your every thought, but I can assure you, they're not all diamonds. 'Roman is having an OK day, and bought a Coke Zero at the gas station. Raise the roof.' " - Easy A

Let's face it. This whole NaBloPoMo thing is clogging up your readers and you're probably just skimming. That's cool. I don't blame you. That's a lot of posts to read. And it's a weekend, which means you're not trying to procrastinate at work. That's cool too. I mean, I don't eagerly write a bunch of blog posts just to have them be ignored or skipped over, but I've noticed the number of comments dropping and you guys my blog comments are like crack and that makes me sad. So I'm going to try to shorten up my posts a bit for the rest of the month (hahahahahahahaha *breathe* hahahahaha) and post fluff on the weekends.

So today I've decided to basically just repost some of my tweets from the past week. Brain fuel, they are not. (See: above quote.)

[while looking through my old pictures from high school]






[This was during the riots/protest at Penn State. 
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you need to read this.]





[I have no idea what this was in response to, but out of context, it amuses me]





[in regards to Daylight Savings Time]



Uhh, yeah. You're welcome. I guess.

PS - my avatar was lifted from Turntable.fm. But I drew a mustache on her in honor of Movember. I've actually been drawing various outfits on her because apparently this is how I entertain myself. One time they tweeted back at me and told me it was "pretty sweet." Which means I win. I think.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

You'll Have To Trust Me That The Rest Are Terrible.

There are exactly five phone numbers I can remember (besides my own). My dad's landline (the phone number I grew up with), my grandma's landline, my sister's cell phone, my direct line at work, and the cell phone number of the account executive I work with. (Plus a handful of extensions within my office for the people I call frequently.)

Similarly, there are a small handful of birthdays that I can remember without facebook. My immediate family, my immediate circle o' friends, all of my ex-boyfriends (don't ask me why! I can't forget them even when I want to!), and a couple of my close friends from high school.

I used to be a walking dictionary of everyone's birthdays, back then. (We didn't have facebook when I was in high school. It wasn't even a Thing. The Internet itself was barely a Thing at that point, back in the day of AIM and MSN chatting and Hotmail and I don't even have the slightest idea how we entertained ourselves. I guess we went outside and did things.)

My POINT, of course, is that today is the birthday of one of my high school besties. Despite the fact that we ended up going to the same college, I haven't really seen her much over the last however many years.

There's not much I miss about high school.  I guess I miss how easy everything was. I miss being smart. I miss being a big fish in a little pond. I miss playing softball, I miss playing volleyball. I miss the ability to be so completely naive and ridiculous and unapologetic about it. And, yes, I do miss some of those friends.

So in honor of bygone days, I thought I would dig up a picture from ten years ago, from the tender young age of seventeen, and compare it to a current picture of me (I grabbed the most recent profile picture from facebook and tried to find one from the archives that was of a relatively similar angle).

YOU GUYS. THIS WAS AN AWESOME IDEA.

If for absolutely NO other reason than it just skyrocketed my self esteem by 110%. No matter how much weight I've gained, I can't help but feel I'm a bajillion times better looking than I was. I'll take the curves and even a bit of the fat in exchange for having better hair, better eyebrows, better clothing, and a better all-around attractiveness quotient. No wonder I hardly dated in high school. Never mind that I was painfully shy and a huge nerd. I'm going to blame the fact that I was so awkward looking.

Behold:


Honestly, this picture isn't even that bad, compared to most of them. 

What's interesting is that it appears that my current super-fake red hair color really isn't that far off from my natural color. Or what my natural color was ten years ago. In most of the pictures, it seems to be a light chestnut-type color. Then it goes blonde. It goes blonde to 11. But that was college, mostly.

Also, I think I've been doing my eye makeup exactly the same for ten years. If it ain't broke, right?

Also, my face appears to have ALWAYS been super round, even when I was at my absolute thinnest. So that actually makes me feel better, because I always felt like I carried around a lot of evidence of my being fat in my face. Turns out that's just the way my face is. More or less.

Anyway. There are some hilariously bad pictures in that album. I apparently didn't discover tweezers until I was sixteen. And then I tweezed the hell out of my eyebrows. Also: the sausage-curl bangs. I had those until the summer before my senior. WHY?! It was the thing to do, I guess. This picture doesn't even do them justice. They actually looked relatively okay in this one.

I'm glad the statute of limitations of embarrassment over these pictures has relatively passed. Because I think I'm ready to be done hiding them and ready to start scanning them.

You know what that means, right? It means things are about to get AWESOME.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A quick post of thanks.

I was totally going to do a cop-out post and link to last year's Veterans Day post, until I went to last year's post and realized that that was exactly what I did last year, because I was on a verbal rampage about the idiots in our state who voted out all our judges because they were told they should because of the gay marriage ruling. I don't know. So if you're interested, here's the much-recycled Veterans Day post from two years ago.

I guess I could write something new, but it would probably sound about the same, and I've found myself with a sizeable stack of things that need written/finished, recipes that need tried, design favors that need completed, and, well, a Harry Potter finale movie that needs to be watched. (Also, an apartment that needs cleaned and a car whose oil needs changed, but those sound like delightful post-part time job Saturday activities to me.)

Seriously, though. I have a ton of respect for the guys and gals who protect our freedoms and our rights. Even if those rights entitle some of us to be godawful stupid. That's their prerogative, just as it's mine to call them out on it.

And, quite frankly, my freedom to write my nonsense opinion and spew it out into the Internet without fear of censorship or punishment. Freedom to write, period. I can't imagine life any other way and I am incredibly grateful for it.

If I were feeling more eloquent today, I would do a better post than this. Our soldiers - past, present, and future - deserve a better post than this. But I'd rather post a poorly written post than no post at all, because that wouldn't be right.

Just like it's really not right that these people only get one day of the year to be recognized. They sacrifice more than we ever know.



PS - oh, yeah. 11/11/11!!!!!1!!! Or something. It's cool, I guess. But it's not like we didn't know it was coming. So many people today were all "omg! this is so neat!" Yeah. It's been on the calendar a while. I've kind of gotten over it. Meh.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

inaction is, by its very nature, a type of action.

 "We were supposed to fight for the people who couldn't fight for themselves"
-Lance Corporal Hal Dawson, A Few Good Men

I'm a big fan of college football. I'd be hard pressed to give much less of a shit about professional football than I currently do. I don't have a "team." I'll watch the Super Bowl, sometimes. But college sports is where my interest largely resides. (Same with basketball, though admittedly, I haven't paid much attention since the days of my youth, watching Iowa Hawkeye basketball with my dad. It will pique my interest in March for about a week, then I'm bored again. Which is ironic, because I understand the rules of basketball much better. I understand football, yes, but I understand basketball better. I think maybe it's the game day atmosphere. There is nothing quite like a sunny fall day out at the stadium with beer and burgers and camaraderie.)

My team of choice is, naturally, my alma mater, the forever-underdog Iowa State Cyclones. We are (for now) in the Big 12 conference. Across the state, our "big brother" team, the Iowa Hawkeyes, live in the storied Big 10 conference. My dad is a huge, huge Iowa fan. So I know a bit about the Big 10 and the schools therein.

You know what I'm getting at, don't you?

This mess at Penn State makes me sad, and makes me sick. I've been largely avoiding the discussion of topical things (you'll note I've said nothing about the Occupy movement, though believe me, I have thoughts. Maybe I will. I just haven't read enough yet to put my words together. My thoughts are still marinating.). But this, I'm not going to let slide.

For those of you that were under the same rock that I was under until last night, it comes down to this: Jerry Sandusky, one of the former coaches under legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, is a sick sonofabitch who has allegedly (as one article said: you have to say "allegedly" to avoid that risk of libel, because: innocent until proven guilty, though in my mind, there is nothing innocent about this man) been sexually abusing young boys for at least the last decade. He conveniently ran/founded a charity that gave him easy access to his victims, and even after he vacated the Penn State football program (under speculation that it was a "resign and we'll cover up your mess" situation), was able to utilize campus facilities for his own ends.

The biggest incident in question, which has resulted in the termination of Paterno, Penn State President Graham Spanier, and I believe the athletic director Tim Curley, was a specific incident in which a then-grad assistant (who is still on the coaching staff - though for how much longer, I don't know) by the name of Mike McQueary happened to be in the locker room and witnessed Sandusky anally raping a ten-year-old boy in the showers.

Let that sink in for a moment.

McQueary, understandably freaked out, fled and told Coach Paterno what he had seen. He did nothing to intervene or try and stop Sandusky. Now, giving McQueary the benefit of the doubt, he probably panicked. How do you even process something like that when it's happening before your eyes? However, Sandusky was, what, 60? McQueary was 28? He's going to have the physical advantage. Oh my God, do something. If it were ME, there's no way that I would have been able to do anything to intervene, because I'm fairly small and admittedly weak and would obviously be at a huge physical disadvantage. But when you're a healthy 20-something male involved with a nationally recognized football program, you are not at that same physical disadvantage. But, okay. Let's say he just panicked and fled. I could see where that would happen, I guess.

He told the head coach. Great, tell everyone you can. Including the goddamn police. In fact, you should have done that first. Done it on your way out of the locker room. It was 2002. You probably had a cell phone. Even the shittiest of cell phones in 2002 were able to call 911. You just saw an old man sexually assaulting a young boy. How do you live with yourself for letting that slide? For not doing something?

Let's switch focus here for a minute to the other side of this shitstorm. Paterno told his higher-ups, Curley and Spanier. Great. As a mandatory reporter, he did the bare minimum as required by the law. The more I read about Paterno, his shtick was apparently one of moral values and integrity. Ironic. So Paterno relieves himself of the burden and Curley and Spanier tell Sandusky he's no longer allowed to bring young boys on campus. Essentially "do what you want, just don't do it here." Swept it under the rug.

And that was all. That was all any of them did.

The authorities were not called, there was no investigation, and Sandusky got away with the raping of young boys. In fact, the lack of action on the part of any of these enabled Sandusky to continue to violate countless others. He could have been stopped, he could have been put away.

JoePa apologists will argue that he did what he had to do and that he's being unfairly punished. Here's the thing: Paterno didn't really have "higher ups." He ran that damn college. There was probably no more powerful man in the state of Pennsylvania. The administrators were higher in the chain in name and paper only. Paterno had the real power at Penn State. He had to know better. And when nothing happened... he shrugged his shoulders and went back to his daily routine. 

But he didn't see it, it was just second-hand information. Yeah, great. He's still a MANDATORY REPORTER. Child rape is not something anyone should take lightly. (I mean, shit, any rape shouldn't be taken lightly, for that matter.) The proper move would have been to call the police. The police would have taken it from there, there would have been an investigation. If they hadn't found anything, the matter would have been put to rest. If they had - and they would have - Sandusky would have been hauled off, and JoePa, you could have continued your illustrious career until you were ninety years old. No one could touch you. That job was yours for as long as you wanted it. Was.

And McQueary. What the hell? How does that guy sleep at night? I understand being scared, I understand being panicked... but not only did you fail to save that boy that night, you failed to save other boys in the future by making sure that monster was properly locked away. You could have redeemed yourself, and you didn't.

The whole thing is just sick. Which, I'll be honest, I am so desensitized to everything these days, but even this got to me. (I'm not even going to TOUCH the recent flurry of accusations that Sandusky was pimping out these boys to rich donors. I don't know how much truth there is to that, and honestly, I can't even wrap my head around it. WHO DOES THESE THINGS? I just... no. I can't even process that.)

It's horrible and awful and that in and of itself was bad enough... but the fact that the speculation is that they shoved all this under the rug in order to preserve their football program? That's just detestable. It's FOOTBALL. These are people's lives and their children. Children that you are supposed to protect, look after. Not just your football players, that's not where your responsibility ends.

The announcement of Paterno's firing led Penn State students into the streets in protest. I had to quit Twitter for the night before my head actually exploded and just go to bed, but last I heard, they were on the point of rioting if not actually doing so. I thought our 2004 VEISHEA riots were ridiculous and embarrassing: though at the heart of it, it was the culmination of tense police-student relations and hoardes of drunk people - many of which didn't even go to ISU - in a small space.... but these students were protesting something else entirely.

I'm conflicted about Paterno; my personal opinion is that he's a batty old man who probably isn't even fully aware what is going on anymore, but "in hindsight" he regrets not doing more. Well, no shit. Do you actually regret it, or do you just regret the fact that it blew up in your face? Is he a fall guy? Not really. He's just as much to blame as McQueary, Curley, and Spanier. Inaction in the face of an atrocity is almost as disgusting as the actual act itself. They had a responsibility to those boys and they failed them.

Was it a knee-jerk reaction to boot Paterno after 46 years as head coach at Penn State? Maybe. Did he deserve it? Probably. Do we, the public, have all the facts? No, we don't. We have the grand jury indictment and the knowledge that Paterno did nothing. Spanier and Curley are perhaps the more reprehensible of the set. Their choice of action was to simply tell Sandusky not to bring kids to campus anymore. (I still can't get over this, by the way.) Whose burden is it? Does it matter?  Every single one of the men involved in this had a societal and moral obligation to act, and they all passed the buck until there was nowhere left to pass it, and then stuffed it in that closet in the back that nobody ever opens.

If you've ever taken a psychology class, you will have inevitably heard of the "bystander effect" which essentially states that the more witnesses there are, the less likely it is that someone will step up to provide assistance, through another quirk of human nature they call "diffusion of responsibility." Someone else will do it. It's not my job. It will get taken care of. Someone else will help. But what happens when no one does?

The case study that they always use is that of Kitty Genovese, a young woman in New York who was stabbed and beaten on the doorstep of her apartment building. Her screams and cries for help were largely ignored by the complex full of people. Those that heard her likely presumed that that "someone else was taking care of it." Nobody did, and her attacker returned to finish the job, raping her and leaving her to die.

This is another one of those things that's always stuck with me. Which is why if I ever see shit go down, you can bet your ass I'm calling 911. I would rather them receive multiple reports and tell me that it's being taken care of, then just letting it slide. It's also why I called the local police on my upstairs neighbors a few apartments ago. (That, and it was 2am and the fighting WOULD NOT STOP). It was worse than usual one night and I didn't know what the fuck was going on up there and domestic abuse is rather uncool, so in the equation of safe > sorry, I made the call, they checked it out, things quieted down, and I felt better knowing I had done something.

In the face of bad shit, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Always.

Anyway, they diffused the shit out of that responsibility and this is what happens. There are always consequences to the decisions we make and the actions we take... even if those actions are simply NOT ACTING.

Ironically, if their goal was to preserve the image and reputation of the Penn State football program, their intentions backfired. Penn State's reputation is tarnished. Time will tell how irreparably. I mean, it's not the fault of the current players, it's not the fault of the other coaches, or the fans, or those who knew nothing of what was going on behind the scenes. But they're all intertwined. The fates of everyone are intertwined, in some way or another. They're going to have to deal with the fallout of this mess... I wonder how much they will idealize their beloved JoePa then?

The icing on the cake - not to make this rant even longer - was fucking Ashton Kutcher, who, I'm sorry, I cannot stand even on the best of days, opens his mouth on twitter with "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste".

There was a moment of silence while everyone processed that, and then there was a backlash. (A backlash so intense that Mr. Demi Moore actually got off Twitter for a while).

In poor taste? Are you fucking kidding me? Was he paying attention?

Apparently not.

My friend Jordan retorted with "As an actual Iowan, I find YOU in poor taste." Which I could not have retweeted the shit out of more. Just... go the fuck away, Ashton Kutcher. You may have been born here, but we do not wish to associate with you. I felt embarrassed for all of the Iowa fans - they may be our rival, but... yeesh. (Though, part of me is curious as to what the reactions are from the rest of the Big 10. Though I'm pretty sure the unanimous opinion is that, well, it had to be done.)

It's worth noting, also, that Ashton Kutcher spends a hell of a lot of time trying to lobby against child trafficking... ironic that he'd support someone who aided in the cover up of rampant pedophilia. Just saying.

Though, again, as dim as I perceive him to be, I'm willing to bet that he had simply no idea what was actually going on with the situation and just spouted off his dumbass mouth before collecting the facts. I still think he's an idiot, even with this allowance of the benefit of doubt. See? I'm a very generous person.

Now, I must try to return to my zen happy place because it was much nicer there.

[NOTE: As of this particular writing, McQueary is still on payroll for Penn State and is being allowed to coach on Saturday. Though the buzz is that they're going to keep him "hidden" in the press box for his own safety. Yeah. The other rumbling is that they're keeping him around to mitigate the damage - ie, if they let him go, he could talk, and bring down the entire university. I do love me a good conspiracy theory. I wonder what else they're covering up? Oh, God, something tells me we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg on this one. The shit hath hitteth the fan, my friends.]

[NOTE #2: just got a text saying that if I'm worked up about this now, to just wait. I guess there's a new bit of something about ready to break... but he wouldn't say what it was without a second source confirming it. SWEET JESUS. Maybe the world DOES need to end in 2012. Would serve us all right.]

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

And Then I Magically Chilled The Fuck Out

There's a line in Pride and Prejudice, where Elizabeth Bennet makes a declaration to the effect of the best way of alleviating one's feelings of affection is to write about it. I'm paraphrasing, of course.  (And by "line" I mean an entire bit of dialogue exchange that was slightly wordier than I remembered).


Actual snippet as follows:
[Scene: Elizabeth's mother essentially gossiping about how this one dude was smitten with Elizabeth's friend Charlotte but never did marry her] 
"...However, he wrote some verses on her, and very pretty they were."  
"And so ended his affecion," said Elizabeth impatiently. "There has been many a one, I fancy, overcome in hte same way. I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love!"  
"I have been used to consider poetry as the food of love," said Darcy.  
"Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Everything nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away."


For some reason, that always kind of stuck with me.

Why does writing have this magical ability to erase our feelings? I mean this in both good and bad ways.

In the instance above, Jane Austen was referring to how the grand sweeping gesture of writing love letters and poems serves to diminish that spark of attraction - it causes it to fade, somehow. I don't know if that's true or not. It's never worked for me. Every time I was trying to get over a relationship, I'd write my little emo heart out about it, and it didn't seem to directly assauge any lingering feelings of affection. 

I guess how this is relevant, is this: all of my pent-up angst that I've been referring to all week, the stuff that I meant to pour out over these, um, pages (?) over the next month... Poof, gone. Like the very act of writing about them, of directing all of my energy at releasing those words, somehow pulled away any last bit of Feeling of them that I had.

Which is to say, writing is cheap therapy, which we all knew, but it's fucking effective. I no longer feel angsty or sad and I feel like I've snapped out of whatever it was that I was in.

That also means I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to write about for the rest of the month since I'm feeling pretty zen about everything right now. I suppose I could keep pillaging my archives. I don't know. I'm sure I will figure out a way through this verbal hardship.