Sunday, September 28, 2008

Things Other People Like But I Don't

There are a bunch of things that a lot of people I know are really into that I really can't force myself to love.  I want to, simply because I feel like I'm somehow missing out on something that tons of other people really love, but no matter how much I try, I can't bring myself to love them.  

1. The Office
This is one of those things that I should really love. I love Steve Carrell, I think Raine Wilson is hilarious and yet....I can't get into this show. I've watched it a few times and every single time I'm sitting there wondering when it's supposed to get funny. Unfortunately, it just never gets funny for me. I want to like it, but no matter how many times I sit down and try to convince myself that this is going to be the time that it clicks, it never does.

2.  Burt's Bees Products.
This is one that I really want to love, because the company stands for all kinds of things that I can totally get behind.  I love their eco-friendly practices and I love that they make their products with all natural ingredients, but I don't love their products in general.  The problem is that I've used a few Burt's Bees products, particularly their facial care ones, and I haven't loved them more than the planet destroying synthetic ones that I already purchase.  Their Orange Facial Cleanser left my skin feeling sticky and uncomfortable.  Their Citrus Face Scrub made my acne problems worse because the crushed nut shells they use in the scrub were making microscopic tears in my skin and actually causing acne.  Suuuucks.  I haven't used many other products because I was left disillusioned with those two, and with the price you have to pay for them, it's not worth it to drop $9 on something I may hate.  But, I do love their chapstick like mad!

3.  Christopher Guest Movies
Much like The Office, I really don't understand these movies.  I want to, because so many people are constantly telling me about how they laughed until they cried while watching A Mighty Wind or Best in Show, and again I feel like I'm missing out on something.  I've watched these movies several times, each time waiting to laugh and waiting for the joke to click in my head, but it never has.  Again, this is something I should really like because I really like Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara.  I like Jennifer Coolidge and a lot of the other actors who make up the ensemble casts in these films, but as a whole I feel like I'm missing out on the joke and I'm pretty sure I'll never get it.

4. Lost in Translation
People keep telling me what an amazing movie this is. It's won awards and has been lauded as this amazingly beautiful and poignant film that was a triumph for director Sophia Coppola and actor Bill Murray.  I found it horribly boring.  I'm not kidding.  I tried to watch it twice, the first time I fell asleep and the second time I was so bored that I opted to go do my laundry instead, and I HATE doing laundry.  I'm just saying, it was excruciating.  I love films, I love all different kinds of film and I have a pretty high tolerance for movies that are dull or slow moving, but this one was above my tolerance for dull.  I wanted to like it, I tried to like it, but it put me to sleep.

So those are a few things that other people really really love, but I sort of can't get behind.  It's not for lack of trying, I just think I'm not equipped to get it.  I dunno.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Gettin' Political In Here

So, I haven't really talked about politics in my blog before, mostly because I've been seriously flamed for it in the past when keeping other blogs and I would like to continue to enjoy blogging here instead of being angry at all of the flame comments I get. But it's election year and although I will not have the witty political commentary that Jason has, I'd like to get my two cents in.

I'm a democrat, and my liberal little heart loves things like civil liberties, gay marriage, women's rights, gender equality, education, the environment etc. These are things that I deeply believe in, so I'm with the party that most closely represents my own opinions and ideals. Sure, they're not perfect and I don't agree with absolutely everything the party has to say, but for the most part we see eye to eye on a lot of issues.

Now, with the election coming up, I've been looking forward to seeing the debates between the two parties, mostly because I think John McCain is a terrible public speaker and kind of a dead fish when it comes to public appearances in general, so I'm interested to see how he is going to rally his party behind him. I see a stark contrast between McCain and Obama. Obama has this passion that he has sustained through his entire campaign, and it seems like McCain doesn't have enough passion to sustain a sentence. Maybe it's because he's an old dude and the campaign trail is grueling and he's starting to feel the weight of it, I don't know, but it's just how I see things. Anyway, the idea of cancelling tonight's debate has got me kind of pissed off. McCain is not part of any sentate economic or finance committees, he has not rushed back to Washington for the past two or three years when things have crashed down around our ears, he didn't hop a plane to Washington when Behr-Sterns (sp?) collapsed, so why now? Why is it this week that suddenly he's got such a huge vested interest in this? If there's no senate vote going on, why does he have to be in Washington to oversee what's going on. Unless there's a vote, he has no say in what's going on. It worries me, because if he is elected President, he won't be able to just suspend what he's doing to address one issue. It's called multi-tasking, and I get the impression that a President has to be damn good at it. We had Presidential debates back in the late 1800's when we were in the midst of the Civil War, and those candidates weren't saying "Hey, we should hold off on this because there's this war thing going on". I think that they would have been justified in doing so, but they didn't. The point is, if you want to be President, you have to put up with the crap it takes to get elected. That means you have to go to your debates. I know that Obama has publically said he wants to talk about the economy, since it's at the foreground of everyone's thoughts right now as they worry about losing their job or their home, and I wonder if McCain is reluctant to go head to head with him on an issue he's openly said he isn't an expert on.

Plus, he wants to cancel Palin's debate for this same reason. Now, part of me wonders if he's cancelling his debate in order to justify cancelling hers. I wonder if his campagin is afraid to let her go toe to toe with Joe Biden since she's proven that she can't handle anything more than the assigned talking points when she's interviewed. Truthfully, this woman scares the hell out of me. I can't get behind an ultra-conservative evangelical VP. She might be a woman, and more power to her for that, but that's not enough to make me want to vote for her. She stands for the exact opposite of everything I believe in and I feel like she would make an even worse President than Bush, if that's even possible. Plus, McCain is like ten thousand years old, so chances that he's going to die in office are pretty friggin high, and I don't want this woman to be one heart attack away from making decisions that directly affect my life. No thanks. But, truthfully, I think McCain's debate cancellation is to keep Palin from having to participate in one. I think he's afraid of what she'll say because I think he may be realizing that she wasn't the right candidate to choose as his running mate. He made a hasty decision in the effort to get Hillary supporters to switch sides, and he chose someone who wasn't fully vetted and who he didn't know a whole lot about. Now I feel like he's realizing that Caribou Barbie is a loose cannon and can't be trusted to say the right things or even know enough about what's going on to be able to give any opinion on it whatsoever.

So, I'm pissed that we may not get a debate, because I sort of want to see Obama mop the floor with Grandpa McCain.

Yes we can!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Things You Should Know By The Time You're in College

So, I've observed some things while taking day classes this semester.  One thing I've noticed is that people who are in college are apparently not asked to have any common sense knowledge prior to their admission.  For example, this week I decided to take the elevator to the sixth floor of one of the buildings I take classes in.  I usually take the stairs, but it was so bloody hot in the building that I decided I'd rather not hike up 6 flights of stairs end up sweaty and miserable for a class in an oppressively hot classroom where I'll just get more sweaty and miserable.  So, I hopped in the elevator and hit the button for the sixth floor.  The stupid elevator was already really crowded, and to my dismay, it was crowded with people going up ONE floor.  Seriously, you took the elevator to go up one floor?!  Lazy.  Anyway, the lack of common sense was observed when the doors opened on the 3rd floor and there was a gaggle of people staring into the elevator with very confused looks on their faces.  They were muttering things like "Are you going up or down?"  Ok, the elevator has a direction indicator above it with an arrow that points up or down, depending on which direction the elevator is going.  So, the fact that these people couldn't figure out what the arrow meant made me question how much common sense we're leaving people with these days.  It's an arrow, not rocket science.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Make Better Decisions!

This is going to be a little more rant-y than my usual blogs are, but this has been bugging me for a while. I really hate it when people who make really bad decisions in life later lament that they can't get a break. 90% of the time, the reason things are in the crapper is because of the initial bad decisions the people made, and then they continue to make bad decisions and don't do anything to help themselves get out of the situation they're in. That drives me nuts.

Like, if you are married to or dating a guy who is, essentially, a loser then I think you shouldn't expect that to change too much. But, you make the concious decision to marry or date the guy, and you do not make the decision to leave him when he continues to prove his loserness well....that's all your fault. That's your bad decision making. If you don't put your foot down or leave when something bad happens due to his loser status, then you are choosing to stay in the bad situation and should live with the choice you've made. If that means life is in the crapper chose the crapper. If homeboy won't get a job/go to work/participate in your life/be a caring partner/appreciate you/respect you etc. then chances are that's not going to change and you should move on.

Or, if you have a ton of debt and can't afford things like groceries, but go out and buy a computer or a new car or something, then you're just perpetuating your own situation so that you continue to live in the crapper. If people aren't willing to help themselves by practicing some restraint or by making some sacrifices, then why should they expect sympathy from others? Better yet, why should they expect anyone else to bail them out? I don't get that.

If you work at a job that is dead end, but never make any effort to even apply to another job, then why should I feel bad for you? You're CHOOSING to stay. You can complain about it, you can hate it, you can think you're cut out for more, but unless you actually go out and seek the "more" part of that equasion then I can't feel bad for you. Sure, people will say "Oh I'm trapped" when most of the time they're not trapped at all. They're just afraid to leave. I think that if you're in a crappy situation and do nothing to try to change it, then I can't feel too terrible for you.

Another one that bugs me is that people have kids, which I think is great, but they have kids when they can't afford to take care of those kids. I'm not talking about a "the condom broke and here's our little surprise" situation, I'm talking about the concious decision to actively try to get pregnant when you can't afford a child. I know what a lot of people would say, "You're never going to think you can afford a child" but that's missing my point. You should be able to, without seriously straining your bank account, provide food, shelter and clothing for this being you're bringing into the world. That's the bare minimum you should be able to do. Beyond that you should have some consideration for the future of the child and plan for things like college or paying for extracurricular activities etc. So, I can't understand why some people have kids when they can't provide any of those things easily. Then, when they have one kid who they can't easily provide that for, they actively work to have another one. I dunno. It just seems like bringing someone into life at a serious disadvantage simply because you think your job is to be a mommy and one kid isn't enough for you makes my head spin. At what point do you stop and think "I'm not able to provide for the kid I have now, should I really be trying to have another?" I think some people never ask that question. I think at that point, it becomes more about the selfishness of the parent than what's good for the child. But what grinds my gears is that people do this and then complain that they aren't able to take care of bills or life or whatever and I want to be like "NO KIDDING!" because they couldn't before, why would they think they can now? I don't get it! And then, because of these bad decisions, I'm supposed to feel some sort of sympathy? I didn't tell you to make the bad choice!

Now, this probably comes off harsher than I mean it, and I'm not saying that I am opposed to feeling sympathetic or helping out where it's needed. I do help out when I can with people who need it. I do feel sympathy for people who have hit hard times. I know how rough life can be, and I've hit hard times myself and appreciated those who were there for me. My problem comes with people who hit these hard times because of poor choices that are made consistently. It's not like when a person gets laid off, or a spouse is injured and no longer able to work or something like that. Those situations are unfortunate and beyond anyone's control. It's the situations like the ones I listed above that make me insane. I am all for helping people, but there's only so much help you can give a person who is not willing to help themselves even a little.

*End rant*

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why I Want to Teach

So 99% of the people I know were pretty friggin' shocked when I said that I wanted to be a teacher. Anyone who knows me knows that my personality is sometimes a bit rough and that I don't have a whole lot of patience. That is mostly true, but for some reason, I find a lot of patience when it comes to helping others. I'm always the first one to respond when someone really needs something. So, I decided that teaching might be the right way to go.

Well, over the weekend I got to go see one of the kids I worked with in the theater department last year perform in "Into The Woods" at the Ann Arbor Civic Theater. I should preface this by saying how much I love working with the kids in Lincoln High's drama department. There are days when I sit at work counting down the minutes until I get to leave and go work with them. I know they're not my students really, because they have a teacher and a director, but I refer to them as my students anyway (shh! Don't tell Jacobs!) because I like to think that I am a mentor to them too, even if I'm not their teacher. But...I wish I was their teacher. I wish I got to spend my time working with them and helping them improve instead of sitting in my cubicle making more money for THE MAN!

Anyway, this weekend I got to see Analea perform a fairly large singing role in "Into the Woods" (she was Little Red if you know the show) and I seriously felt such a surge of pride watching her on stage that it was kind of overwhelming. I know her really well, and she's a great kid with a bright future, but I know she's seen her share of adversity as well. I mean heck, the music director at the high school tore to her bits last year (I am not a fan!), and yet she still had the confidence to get up on stage and audition again and she was successful. I know it doesn't sound like much, but that was a big deal to me that she carried on despite someone else trying to tell her not to. I love that she succeeded and that she's following her dream to be an actress, a dream I abandoned for many reasons but don't necessarily regret leaving because it's made me realize I want to teach English and Theater instead of performing. I felt more pride and happiness at watching this girl on stage than I have ever felt after performing myself. I know that I didn't have anything to do with her success really, it was all her and the work that Jacobs did with her while she was in school, but I was so proud to have been just a tiny part of that process. So there you have it, the reason I think teaching is awesome. Sure, there are going to be times when you're tested (I have been. His name is Thomas and it's like trying to control a muppet. :0D ) and not every kid is going to be a super success story, but if I can get even just one kid a year to be a success story and to do something successful where others thought they couldn't, that's enough for me. I love the feeling I get from watching those kids do well and improve and surpass any teaching I could ever give them. That's an amazing feeling. That's why I want to teach.
Photo stolen from Analea's Facebook without her permission. She can kill me later if she'd like.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shameless Plug

I think everyone should go check out this blog. I say this, not only because it's written by my husband, but also because it freakin' cracks me the hell up. No joke man. Plus, he's smart and has a lot of good things to say, on top of being freaking hilarious, so you should go read.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ohh Back to School....Back to School

So, I started classes again last Wednesday. Sometimes, I feel a lot like my good friend Billy Madison over there on the left. Everyone else is like 10 and I'm about 40. It wasn't so bad when I was exclusively taking night classes with other people like myself, or younger people who were there to take care of business and get out. Unfortunately, do to the fabulous education budget cuts in Michigan and the reluctance of professors at EMU to actually teach night classes in the literature department, I've been forced to start taking a couple of day classes. Let me just say that classes with daytime students and classes with nighttime students are COMPLETELY different. For starters, I want to kill my daytime classmates. I have to listen to the girl three seats down from me complain that she has to get up at 11:00 to get to our 12:30 class and that "totally sucks". She says this as I'm sitting there thinking about how I got up at 6 a.m. and have already put in 5 hours of work before class and then have another 2.5 after I leave class, and then I have another class as soon as I get off work that night. Yes, please complain about how horribly early it is to get up at 11:00. Then get hit by a bus.

On top of that, I have a bunch of classes this semster that I just can't force myself to get excited about. Winter semester I had a few really interesting classes, and even Spring and Summer weren't too bad, but this semester is day after day of "Suuuuuuuuucks". I'm taking two classes for my education program, one of which seems like it'll be really helpful, and another that seems like a whole lot of BS. My professor seems nice, I guess, but honestly, I don't feel like it's going to help me be a better teacher. I left the whole experience last night highly annoyed and ready to drop the class. Unfortunately, the class isn't going to be any better with any other professor because it's just a ridiculous and pointless class, so dropping it won't do me any good. I have to take it, or I don't finish my program. Sometimes I wish I could just test out of some of this BS. Most of it is touchy feely crap that you actually can't use in the classroom because you don't get that much time with your students. It's set up as if you have infinite time to teach lessons and be a therapist and fix everyone's life. I'm all for that, but the reality is incredibly different. Yes, I find that sad, and I'd love to see it change, but the system isn't built for that yet. Plus there's a lot of talk about teaching strictly to be able to pass standardized tests, which I find sad. Plus, everything I've learned so far, aside from cirriculum writing, has been geared toward people teaching elementary school. I'm going to teach middle and high school. I can't use some of your tips that work in elementary schools. I will be eaten alive by my students. I wish that there was more focus on the secondary education environment.

But....mostly I just wish I didn't feel like Billy Madison.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Hazards of Travel

So, I got home from my week long trip to New England last night around 1:00 a.m.  We stayed with friends out there, and these friends have two cats.  We didn't unload all of our luggage last night, but when we did today, my cat Errol did not approve.  I went into my bedroom and found this:

I'm pretty sure he thinks I've been cheating on him.