Monthly Archives: August 2011

Glad I’m done?

This post, ala Mama Kat, is supposed to be the top ten reasons i am done with school.  But here’s the thing. I’m not glad.

I miss school.

I KNOW, right?

Although, let me clarify–i miss COLLEGE, not high school.  I have never missed high school.  NEVER.  In fact,you can take high school and give it a scabby disease, and make it homeless and let dogs pee on it.  That’s how much i miss high school.

But college, i miss.

One of my college professors, a one William Herbreschtsmeier, 99% of the time the BANE of my existence, once talked about this–and of course at the time i thought he was talking out of his ass–an activity of which i often accused him.  But he would wax romantically about academic cameraderie, of the exchange of ideas, of shared scholarship and all around general communal THINKING.  Of  course i was spending my time TA-ing his classes and figuring out a way to get him to give me an friggin A–since we had to PETITION him for our grades.  That’s right–we had to sit across from his desk while he sat there all pompous and tell him why we thought we deserved an A.  He was also the master of uncomfortable silences.  God–I’m getting stomach pains just thinking about it!

Sewage treatment. right there. RIGHT THERE!

I should also admit here that this was Humboldt State–not Harvard or Columbia.    This was the school of “its all good, bro”.  That isn’t to say we weren’t intellectual.  We just weren’t East coast pompous about it. I mean, our school was famous for building a sewage treatment facility. (still–an awesome thing–using natural wetlands as part of the process, creating not only a human necessity, but preserving vital wetland coast.  It’s brilliant!  I used to go there to watch otters play–and it didn’t stink if that’s what your’e thinking.  BRILLIANT)

But, funny thing.  HE. WAS. RIGHT. (i’m sure he’d like a recording of me saying that) and it PAINS me to admit that.

I miss sitting about with my classmates, discussing the mason translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh compared to Sandars, or what Confucious was REALLY saying, or whether the Force is a legitimate religion.  (we were religious studies majors–one step down from philosophy majors on the “usefulness of our degree” scale, but more fun at parties and not QUITE so pompous)

And i miss classes.  I love class.  I love learning things.  Hell, i went to a sewing class this last weekend, and it’s just whet my appetite for more.  I once thought this love of learning would translate into a career in teaching, but that’s not entirely true.  Now, i loved getting up in front of a classroom and pontificating and discussing and using the socratic method to help expand my student’s limited world view.  I did NOT however like the constant flow of useless paperwork (me = not a big fan of homework other than reading, which my students would NEVER do), the office politics, and the bullshit that has become public school teaching.  Trust me, if i could go back and teach small classes with half the paperwork and in a culture that respected READING and ACADEMICS–and not just getting an A, i’d do it in a heartbeat.

I’m not gonna turn this into an anti-public-school diatribe.  They are doing the best they can with what they have.  But the model is broken.  We can no longer teach this mass of students with a 1920’s model.  It’s time to adapt.

So if you see me at a coffee shop, scribbling furiously in my journal, chewing thoughtfully on my pen, highlighting the book i’m reading or chugging my cappuccino in record time, then come join me.  I’m just looking for someone with whom to discuss the Upanishads or Beowulf.  You know, just a little light reading.

Mama’s Losin’ It

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Blog Gems

This fortnight’s Blog Gems is about endings and transitions.  And since our family lost a dear friend this summer, i thought i would revisit my post about his death.

we miss you David.

http://thissideoftypical.com/2011/05/15/bummer/

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Friday Fill-in

Another fun meme… (speaking of which–i found this neat-o website with a bunch of memes, in case you ever need a topic boost…)

1. It’s fun to _imagine, sometimes (all the time) that my son is some sort of superhero with fantastic uber skills that will bring peace to the world, or create new physics laws, or at least make us fit for Vulcan visitors.  Take THAT gravity!_.

2. _Looking into my son’s eyes and hear him repeat what i just said to him, and thinking this is the same as comprehension is a mistake that_ is easy to make.

3. I like to be _the one mom at the park who is NOT hovering over her kid, but instead letting him learn, sometimes the hard way, what he can and cannot do.  Besides, bandaids can be fun_.

4. _If a train leaves on place at a certain speed, and another train leaves the opposite place and yet another speed, as many times as i will have this damn equation explained to me, if you ask me to solve for x, or any other number in this damned chinese finger puzzle_ I will never know!

5. Something I’m very much excited about _is actually difficult to put a finger on.  I’m not sure if anything has me truly excited at present.  I mean, i’m not unhappy or discontent, but i don’t think i could say that anything’s got me in a tizzy.  And i’m not convinced that’s a bad thing.  There is something to be said for a little peace and quiet–for a little while, at least_.

6. _All those months of paperwork, phone calls, parent classes, observations, more phone calls, cussing out state employees,  more paperwork and FINALLY getting an ABA therapist in my home to help Ben_ was well worth it.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to _sitting on the front porch and having a glass (or more…*ahem*) of wine while my Old Man and i watch the sunset_, tomorrow my plans include _spending all day at the American Sewing Guild Conference in downtown LA_ and Sunday, I want to _sleep in–not that this will EVEN be an option_!

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Hater Humpday #13

You know what I hate?  Hate.

(I realize some may find this ironic, but then you prolly haven’t read any of my previous entries.  Because if you have, you’d know that the “hate” I profess almost every Wednesday, is not hate, per se, but rather a laundry list of annoyances.  But as none of our days start with A, and I don’t want to wait until “annoyance April” to air my grievances, you will, I hope excuse the semantics here of the use of the word Hate.  There’s hate and there’s hate.  Anyone with a brain knows the difference. I hope.)

This woman was called, by someone of my acquaintance,  the “nicest lady on the planet”

Really.

This same crazy eyed freak who claims that some of my other friends don’t qualify as a FAMILY because of their sexual orientation?

The nicest?  Really?

What, because she didn’t call them fags or threaten to string them up?

I do NOT understand how people with this kind of hate can get so popular.  Her views on the subject are clear, and I for one find them offensive.  I don’t care what the loudest voices in this country have to say, we are NOT a christian nation, we do NOT use the bible as the foundation of our laws and we do NOT have the right to dictate the morality of the majority.  Hate is hate–and trust me, I am an expert here.  Taking away people’s rights because you find their lifestyle “uncomfortable” or you would rather they just do that sort of thing “behind closed doors” is no different from making people of color use alternate restrooms or seating. And if you think it is, then I hope you won’t mind if I decide to categorize you as someone who likes to prance about in a white sheet in order to protect southern womanhood–because frankly, as ridiculous as you may find that thought, that’s how I feel about people who hate on the homosexual community.

Tit for tat, my friend.

That being said, I’m sure Ms. Bachman may very well be a nice lady, with pleasing manners.  Even wives of Klan leaders had impeccable manners.

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Stream of Consciousness Sunday–What, Me Worry?

As some of you may know, i love a good meme.  Especially when it breaks me out of “but i don’t have anything to write about today” blues.  I noticed yesterday that i get ALOT of hits when i actually DO write a post, so i know i need to write more… So here goes:

#SOCsundayLately i’ve been struggling with fears–completely irrational, unfounded fears that just permeate the deepest quietest parts of me–those places i reserve for a moment of peace from my crazy brain.  Guess its been working in overdrive and started to fill in some of those empty places (please keep all cracks about empty brains to yourself please)

At the top of those worries is that my Old Man will leave me for someone who has a typical kid.  WHich is ridiculous on multiple levels.  BUt there it is.

I should state here that this fear of being left is deep.  Never knew my Dad, got cheated on by college boyfriend, you get the picture.  I work on this DAILY, but it doesn’t change the irrationality of it.  SOmetimes i just worry.

Which supposedly fits into my chinese horoscope–i was born year of the dog.  And we worry.  when i read that i threw the book away.  jerks.  WHat do they know about anxiety?  jerkheads.

I’m also a scorpio–which should cancel all that out yeah?  i mean, scorps are all serious and mystical–why would they worry?  Unless their chart is almost identical to CHarles Manson (me) and they worry that they will  end up convincing a bunch of people to do fucked up shit.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

wow–that was 5 minutes?  yikes.  This is my brain.  good times.

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Afraid of Using Humor? Try This!

So, recently I got an email from Writer’s Digest with an article about how to use humor in your writing.  And since I am the most serious humorless person on the planet (insert beige reference here) I decided to read the article in the hopes of picking up some keen tips on how to incorporate humor into my blog writing.

You will, I hope, forgive this indulgence, kind reader.

So the article is broken down into two sections—the basics of humor and how to use it.  First the basics:

In order to use humor you must understand its science.  Luckily for me, the editors at Writers put it into five easy bullet points for my feeble mind to understand.  Humor can be broken down into these five types:

The “K” rule—cramming in as many K sounds and hard consonants as possible.

George Carlin made this point ages ago in one of his humorous lectures on the use of curse words in our society.  He determined, no doubt through rigorous study and experimentation, that the phrase “cocksucker-motherfucker” may indeed be the most humorous expletive known to man.  I myself would have gone with “Cunty McQueefstain”—also effectively using the rule of K —  but I will have to run a number of triple blind studies to truly gauge its affect on modern society

The rule of three:  two likes in an idea and one incongruent idea.

Hmmm…an interesting concept.  Let’s experiment shall we?  Lincoln logs, tinker toys and a fifth of Kamchatka.  Oh, this is fun.  Coffee, tea and a dog-eared copy of the Kama Sutra.  For this paragraph to contain humor, I suppose I need one more example. Hmmm… nope.  Nothing.  (see what I did there, with the two likes and…oh, never mind)

The comparison joke:  brainstorm a metaphor and then choose the funniest one that makes the point well.

I believe the example in the article was something about underwear riding up like a window shade, or some such.  How crude.  Writing an example like that would be like submitting a poem to the New Yorker comprised only of fart noises and Pauly Shore catchphrases. Or like walking into a bar and ordering grape Kool-Aid in a sippy cup.

The Cliche joke:  taking a cliche elsewhere:

Such as “don’t throw the baby out with the liquor bottle recycling” or “any friend of yours is currently on my hit list” (btw, I found a wonderful site of clichés here, which could be your ace in the butt for this type of joke).

Funny anecdotes and stories

Funny story—I was standard, debutante-level drunk and trying to find SOMETHING to write about because my child had been entirely too boring and shortcoming on the blog material, when Writer’s Digest sent me this newsletter article…wait…

Now that you’ve got these five comedy techniques under your belt, it’s time to put them into practice:

 Be strategic.  Don’t scatter jokes willy nilly 

(because then it would be porn.  Joke porn. And so’s your mom.)

Use it sparingly.

Otherwise you’ll be like a toddler asking you every five minutes if he can have a popsicle, and you say no, and then he asks you again, and you begin to regret ever having children, and wishing that the popsicles contained Benedryl so you can have five fucking minutes of peace to make a decent-to-middling martini that I will down within two minutes!  Or something like that…

Let your readers know you’re laughing.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to be laughing at, but here goes:

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Keep your focus in mind—don’t demean from the true purpose of your project. 

Like when you start a blog to kind of document the reality of raising a child with autism, but you spend most of your time writing about silliness that has absolutely nothing to do with your son, and your readers begin to wonder if you even have a kid, or if you just drunkenly went down to rent-a-toddler to take a few pics and pass off someone else’s extremely beautiful kid as your own.  Because anyone with a kid can’t possibly drink as much as you do.  Or can they?  That is for forensic examiners to determine.

Steer clear of sarcasm. Many readers find it mean and hurtful. 

Awww.  We wouldn’t want THAT, would we?  I mean,  even though we have to deal with douchy people on a day-to-day basis who can’t even take a MOMENT to show COMMON COURTESY in a place like the GROCERY STORE.  No.  we wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s sensitive FEELINGS over something as silly as an anonymous snarky comment aimed at someone your readers may never know.  We should just hold giveaways of puppies and kittens and tell everyone that they are the best thing that ever happened since processed American cheese food.  Yeah.  THAT’S gonna help my blog.  And I suppose I REAAAALLLLY shouldn’t drink, either.  I never touch the stuff, don’t you know.

I hope my overview of this article was as helpful to you as it was for me.  I now feel  confident of using humor in my day-to-day life.  Perhaps now I will be more charming at cocktail parties.  Or perhaps I will continue to use my current trick of showing more cleavage to be popular.  Either way, free drinks, eh?

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Blog Gems

ahhh!  saved from having to think up something witty again. phew!  It’s time for blog gems!

This one’s theme is Community, and i just happened to have a post titled just that!  So it MUST be a match, eh?

http://thissideoftypical.com/2011/06/14/community/

REmember to show love to your peeps, and watch out for the scooter people!

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Hater Humpday #12

So i noticed on my stats that someone used “captain hater” as a search phrase and found…wait for it….ME!  You’re shocked, I’m sure.

So, it’s hot.  Some of you may have noticed this. The kind of hot that creates zones of “schweatiness” that cannot be fought with antiperspirants nor powder.  The kind of heat that makes you look over your shoulder for Satan. And his minions.  And, assuredly, the world’s warmest alcoholic lemonade stand.

And it’s on fire.

I am aware of this heat not only because of the uncomfortable silences only created by moments alone in an elevator with people who can only be described as “deodorant-challenged”, but also because my Old Man has begun his anti-heat-wave ranter rant.  See, people around here have a tendency to bitch about the heat–which only sends him into apoplectic fits about the fact that we live in a HOT area, and it is normally this temperature EVERY AUGUST.  No one else really gets to witness this Lewis Black inspired finger pointing festival.  Just me. And a few of those minions.

But that ain’t what i’m hatin’ on.  OR the heat.  Or the people btichin about the heat.  Or satan.  Although the lack of alcoholic lemonade stands in my neighborhood is appalling.

No–this lil rant is for the IDIOTS who think that global warming, or climate change is not happening.  You know–those asshats who will make the same comment in January that its colder than usual, so therefore Global warming must be a hoax.

The weather patterns for the past few years have been, frankly, intense.  Now, none of my degrees are in the areas of science, or any kind of subject that involves using math in any capacity.  But i have EYEBALLS and A BRAIN.  And anyone with half of these can see that the weather is changing, and not for the better.

Is human action to blame?  I believe it is part of it.  I’m also a student of the humanities, enough to know that there is hardly ever a black and white answer for anything.  Weather does change cyclically, but i firmly believe–and did believe long before Al Gore tried to convince me–that we humans and our consumption play a large part in this phenomenon.

I’m not gonna harp on the shit we can do–most of us already know it.  If not, i’m sure there are MILLIONS of websites that could tell you.  Or you could stop a hippie on the street.  They’re usually full of information.  And patchouli.

I just think it’s time that we stop this nonsense of debating whether or not it’s really happening.  Its getting in the way of progress, and keeping people from doing those groovy suggestions the hippie told you.  Face it, man.  Satan is movin’ in next door, and he’s having a BBQ for ALL of us.

We really gotta quit dickin’ around here burnin’ fossil fuels like “docile fools.” Let’s just all agree that the beer we’re drinking is warm so that we start deciding between a fan and an air conditioner for us. And we’d best get moving before we all have to figure out how to get drunk on warm gravy.

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