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Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 7

I haven’t had the inspiration to write much recently (either here or on my dissertation), so I decided to look back, and the last time I did a post like this was exactly one year ago today.

But here I am, once again on February 19th, once again staying in and getting real, albeit in different apartment, in a different zip code. And I still have trouble concentrating on writing when the TV is on and not muted.

Things here have been pretty normal, I guess. But only here.

Ever since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school massacre last week – a Columbine for the 21st century – things have felt as eerie as they did back in the 1990s. Granted, I was only in elementary school and I did not understand its impact on American life as much as someone a few years older than me would have, but even so, the topic came up in my fifth grade classroom. I remember how it opened up an entire conversation of violence in schools. I remember the images from the news; the low-res CCTV camera footage of the shooters walking down the halls in trenchcoats, the still image of the library window, the video on the news of students in sweatshirts and turtlenecks running away from the camera, their hands covering their ears.

Things should have changed then, but obviously, they didn’t. It’s happened so many times since, at all types of schools, most prominently universities, but something of Columbine-like proportions occurring again – in almost the same manner, just at a different school in a different state – just makes a person feel like they live in an illogical, unfeasible, chaotic world, a world where something like this, which shouldn’t happen, happens. It’s interesting to note that once again, most of the deceased and most of the people speaking out are white, but that’s beside the point. At least this time, social media has captured the unseen angles, the perspectives of the students who were there, in clear and concrete photos, videos, and tweets, and it’s actually done some good for once, helping to spread the word of how these teenagers feel. Who knows what will come of this – sadly, probably nothing – but at least the higher level of visibility is keeping the issue afloat for longer, and reaching farther than Columbine did.

Today, at my office, the fire alarm went off. I didn’t pay much attention to it; I was packing up to go home anyway, so I just hustled a little bit to get my things together and get out of the building, but for a split second, I felt this weird fear, the same kind of fear I felt in the first fire drills after Columbine, and 9/11 (the day which, by the way, the electricity shorted out in my high school and the fire alarm set itself off and everyone went crazy for about ten minutes), and I silently wondered what it would have been like if it was something unthinkable. What would I have done? Hiding under the desk wouldn’t have done much good, at least had I not slammed my door shut first, which is locked from the outside, but who knows if I would have even had the time. All I would have had to defend myself would be a backpack full of books and my students’ work, and maybe two chairs if it came down to it. It’s a thought that now, sounds silly and strange. But due last week’s event, that fire alarm kicked in a reminder, if only for a few seconds, that we still live in a world where things like this can happen and do happen.

Say what you will about guns, mental illness, bullying, but point blank – whatever the reason, there is no excuse for mass shootings.

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Social Media Saturation

So this year’s been off to some kind of start, on the blogging front…anyway, greetings from Milwaukee, where I just went to an APO meeting at Marquette University and am now procrastinating before I have to drive the one and a half hours home.

My parents came into town on Sunday, and since today was my mom’s birthday, we drove 2 hours north to Stevens Point, where one of my mom’s best friends lives, for a birthday lunch. As is traditional these days, I took pictures with my phone, immediately texted them to everyone at the table and posted them on my Facebook with fun captions. And watched the likes and comments roll in. Fun.

Last week, my wonderful friend Kate was in town from Australia, and I got the chance to sit an have a coffee with her for two hours. We had an amazing conversation, about school, life, religion, friends, everything under the sun. As I was walking down the street after we hugged goodbye, I realized that we hadn’t taken a picture together. Part of me wanted to turn around and chase her down to get one, but ultimately, the part of me that was frozen solid and just wanted to get to the library before my fingers fell off won out. Once I was in the library though, I logged onto Facebook, and was going to post something on my page about it, sans photo, but then I realized…

Who am I really posting it for?

Do I care that people know that we had coffee together? Not really. Do I want to make people jealous? No. Was this a crazy, momentous, life-changing event? To me, and hopefully her, it was, but…who else needs to know? And a photo? I know what she looks like and she knows what I look like. Is it like…if it’s not on social media, did it actually happen?

The answer to that one is yes. Remember the days when we didn’t have cameras at the ready 24/7, places to share pictures with everyone in the world, and even cell phones to know if someone was going to be late/cancel or not? In those days, no one cared if every little event in your life was documented. It says so much about our society today that we need to document every little thing, and hashtag it, and link it to every single platform and profile we have. True, I have a blog here, and I have a Facebook, but I mostly use Facebook because I like its interface, I like to use it to communicate with friends who are cities, or states, or countries away, and I have to admit, the way it organizes photos is neat and clean. Even though I feel like I’m always on social media, I still don’t have Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, or even Twitter. It’s like…do I really exist?

The not-so-much-of-a-point-point (aka whatever-don’t-listen-to-me-I-don’t-know) of this story is:s sometimes, it’s OK just to have happy memories of things, without all the documentation and self-paparazzi. Do what you want, but at the end of the day it’s about your experience, and not what you document of it, that makes it worth the memories.

Anyway. I ended up sending Kate a private message, just saying thanks for meeting up with me, I had fun, and I hope you did too, and then logging off and going back to (attempting to avoid) writing.

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Shopping and Snacking

Raise your hand if you snack when you shop.

Anyone? Everyone?

I’ve heard talk of eating a meal before you shop to sate your hunger and control your impulse to buy snacks while shopping, but honestly…it’s not worth it. Just get the snack. Don’t make it too unhealthy, but get the snack or else you’ll regret it. Today, I went to 2 grocery stores, a bookstore, and Walgreens. At the first grocery store, I saw a box of tomato basil crackers on the clearance shelf. Nothing wrong with them, so I bought them and enjoyed them. At the next grocery store, I bought a black cherry soda, and I actually forgot about it, so I had a nice treat when I got home. It will make you happier and feel more like an adult. And look at it this way: the more you shop, the more calories you burn.

Does not apply to shopping online.

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Misfortune Cookies

**Revisiting this post from 10/16.**

Today, I had the good fortune to step into World Market, and the first thing I saw?

A container of black and orange fortune cookies labeled “misfortune cookies.”

Naturally, I had to buy them ($6.99!) and bring them to APO meeting.

They said cute things, but what if they said something like…

 

Things Halloween Fortune Cookies Might Say:

“Are you allergic to peanuts? Whoops.”

“Haha, you’re stuck with the check!”

“You lost the game.”

“Help! I’m trapped in a fortune cookie factory!”

“Made from 100% recycled paper. Toilet paper, that is.”

“I’m boo-ten free!”

“Dare you to fart and blame it on the guy next to you.”

“You don’t even want to know your fortune. Just stuff me back in the cookie.”

“Why are you reading a tiny piece of paper? Get a life!”

“Put the cookie down, fatass.”

“Lies! All lies!”

“Come play with me.”

“Oh no you di’int.”

“I’m right behind you.”

“Don’t you know to knock first? Rude…”

“If you plant me in the ground…nothing will happen.”

“You will regret ordering the moo goo gai pan, right about…now.”

“Where’s the cream filling?”

“That’s just the way I crumble.”

“Any questions?”

Image result for david s pumpkins

Image Credit: BuzzFeed

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PSA on the BSA

So, the big news of the day, other than it being the International Day of the Girl and National Coming Out Day, is that the Boy Scouts of America, aka the BSA, has announced that it will now be accepting girls into its programs. 

And of course this has caused controversy.

A few truths here to start out this post. First of all, to all the naysayers out there, this is not happening tomorrow. In fact, the organization itself said that it will be two to three years before the organization is fully co-ed, since they will start having girl cub scout dens, and eventually units as they grow up. Second of all, this doesn’t make anyone who is already a Boy Scout any less of a Boy Scout. It’s not always about you.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

Not that I follow news in the world of scouting (other than APO, which has been co-ed since 1976), but it was an unexpected move by an organization that has, in the past, been pretty strict on its membership. The Girl Scouts have allowed boys and non-gender-binary kids to participate in its programming for awhile now, and maybe it’s time for the Boy Scouts to catch up.

Then there’s the question: why would a girl want to be a Boy Scout? 

Easy. I’ll boil it down to this scenario: do you want to be in an organization where you can become known as an Eagle, or do you want to be a part of an organization that is most famous for overpriced cookies which most people in America only realize exists once a year? There’s also the issue of nomenclature. While the Boy Scouts get to be in levels known as lions and tigers, animals known for power and ferocity, groups of Girl Scouts get to be…daisies and brownies. I could imagine a girl wanting to be an awesome animal rather than a flower, or a dessert, despite the fact that brownies actually refers to brown vests. The Boy Scouts traditionally engage in activities like engineering, wilderness survival, and woodworking. While Girl Scouts do those things as well, most people probably think that they cook, identify wildflowers, and talk about their feelings. These activities are ones in which Boy Scouts  most likely do not partake, or at least not to the same degree, as they are traditionally seen as more feminine and less empowering.

On the whole, I think it’s a positive move. Who knows, maybe somewhere down the line the groups will merge completely.

 

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Behind A Car Window No One Can Hear You Scream

Now that I’ve gotten that exciting title out of the way…

I had to walk back from dance class tonight in an insane downpour. When I got into my car, it looked like I had one swimming. I was just so done with the day that all I could do was break out into song.

So I sang.

“Party in the USA.”

AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS

while driving.

It felt great.

I managed to get through “Oops! I Did It Again,” “Single Ladies,” and “All I Want for Christmas is You” before I made it home. I was still wet wet wet but at least I got to screw up lyrics and basically scream all the way home, knowing no one could hear my screeches through the wind, the windows, and the rain.

What’s your go-to car sing-a-long song?

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A Mini-Vacation in Minneapolis

Just back at my AirBNB in Black River Falls, WI, after a four-hour round trip to Minneapolis and back. Saw the city for the first time, and watched my dear friend in his play.

I don’t like to review performances of people I actually know, but for the most part, it was awesome. From the moment he stepped out on stage, I was like….”this guy.” My friend. The other cast members were quite talented as well. There were some interesting staging choices, killer rapping, and overall, a powerful yet touching story. I realize that this is probably the least descriptive review ever, but I wanted to write something about this play without giving away too much information about it; I guess I’m weird like that, and I probably need to go and see more shows where I don’t know anyone in the cast.

Up at 8 tomorrow morning and out by 830 in order to make it back home on time. Wish me luck y’all.