Archive | July, 2012

A Shooting in Colorful Colorado

21 Jul

 

Its unfortunate when I have to blog about things like this, and its even more unfortunate that anyone has to be subjected to the events that occurred last night at the Aurora movie theater. 13 people were killed by a gunman while watching The Dark Knight Rises, and many others were injured. It was one of the worst the US has seen since 2007.

Usually, things like this are so distant from me, that it is sad, but not personal. I’ve actually been to that theater, and a good friends brother was there last night. Its strange to think that someone I know could have been killed.

Have you ever been in a shooting or known someone who has? Thoughts?

The Obsession with Being Impolite

20 Jul

 

All cultures have a set of rules that dictates what are socially acceptable actions. Politeness has its own set of guidelines that can progress and change. They also often vary depending on the relationship of the people involved.

Being politely is personally very important, but I’ve found that isn’t the case with a lot of people. Americans are often thought of as rude and demanding, and it is obvious why, but I don’t understand the reasoning behind it. As far as I’m aware, you should say please when you are asking someone to do something, and thank them when they do. You should excuse yourself if you burp. You should open doors for people. If someone says something to you, you respond. Don’t interrupt someone when they are talking. It is also polite to smile when you see someone on the street, and ask people how they are, but that might be just because I’m from a small town.

All of those things are standard for our culture, but why do we refuse to partake? I know so many people who refuse to excuse themselves when they burp, because “everyone does it, and its a perfectly normal bodily function.” That’s true, but you don’t see me running around naked when I go to the grocery store. Please and thank you are even more standard, but people seem to forget them. Just because someone’s job is to bring you food or serve you drinks doesn’t mean that you should not say please. Honestly, they don’t haveto do anything for you. We do things like this because they are polite, and well…because you don’t want anyone to spit in your food.

I can’t figure out if its because we are a young country, and this just might be in the course of development, or if its really just Americans. Do we feel so entitled that we just think we don’t need to be polite? Is it the obsession with being different just so overwhelming that we can’t be polite?

Do you think being polite is important? Is being impolite an American thing, or do you think its the same everywhere? Why do you think people are so impolite?

Who Needs Critical Thinking Anyway?

20 Jul

 

Apparently, critical thinking isn’t something that Texans or Republicans value as important. To them, parental authority and belief systems are more important than free-thinking and outcome-based knowledge. The Texas Republican GOP has officially added this to their 2012 platform. The document states “Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

This is absolutely ridiculous. Outcome-based knowledge is so important in life, and if you don’t learn things like this early, its even harder to learn them later in life. Critical thinking skills are also extremely valuable and don’t ever stop being valuable. Think about how many times job descriptions are looking for someone with critical thinking skills.

That’s not to mention that children should have the ability to think freely. I agree that parents should help shape their child to be the best they can be, but beliefs should always be questioned and revised, never fixed. If beliefs are fixed, nothing can be improved nor progress. Maybe progressive thinking is the basis for what the Texas Republicans are actually against.

Do you think critical thinking and outcome-based education are important?

Texting Etiquette

18 Jul

 

Everyone has a different style when it comes to texting. There is the serial texter, who texts and has conversations multiple people all simultaneously. Then you have the neglexter, who neglects conversation and forgets to text you back. Some (and by “some” I mean men) are one-worders, who you can find responding to your texts with things such as “lol”, “k”, “maybe”, and the classic “sure”. Sometimes you will even get a slow-poke thrown into the bunch. I’m what I’d like to call the faithful texter. I always have my cell with me, and if you text me there is a 99% chance that I will text you back within 5 minutes (the caveat being situations like work, or if I don’t feel/hear my phone…but we will put those in that 1%).

All of this leads me to believe there should be standard texting etiquette that everyone should follow.

1. Carry your cell phone with you. Get a house phone if you don’t want the burden of keeping your cell with you.
2. Respond in a timely manner. No one wants to sit around waiting 30 minutes to see if you want to go to dinner only to ultimately go alone.
3. Be clear. This goes for in-person conversations as well.
4. Be as involved in a conversation as you would be in person. You wouldn’t forget to respond to a friend if they are right in front of you, so do your best to text me back. If you are busy, just tell me.

I know there are times when you just can’t be a faithful texter, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Bad texting should not become a habit.

What is your texting style? What general rules of etiquette should people follow? What is your texting pet peeve?

Pepsi-Coke Challenge

17 Jul

A friend’s post about Pepsi reminded me that I took the Pepsi-Coke challenge recently. I had my friend pour out random glasses of Pepsi or of Coke and recorded which one I liked best (with my eyes closed so that all the drinks were fresh).

It was always Pepsi.

Can you taste the different between Coke and Pepsi? Which do you like better? Have you taken the challenge?

My First Time: Blow-dryer

17 Jul

 

All of you ladies out there who can’t figure out how to correctly blow-dry your hair…you are not alone!

Okay, so maybe I’m the only one who hasn’t mastered the art of blow-drying, but you’d think it wouldn’t have taken me 22 years to successfully blow dry my hair.

Usually when I try to blow dry my hair, it always gets hideously poofy and frizzy and the texture is weird. It feels like I’ve slathered on about a gallon of hairspray and then brushed it out. This has happened multiple times. Yesterday, I washed my hair in the bathtub instead of the shower and I only shampooed once. Then, I got up, towel dried my hair as best I could, and grabbed the blow-dryer. I don’t know if it was one or a number of these or if I just got lucky, but this is what I did different (other than how I washed my hair):

-didn’t let my hair air dry at all
-alternated between cool and hot
-held the dryer against the brush

So…if you are blow-dryer stupid like I am, maybe those could help? I don’t know. But my hair came out with volume and was super soft AND manageable.

Whats your blow-drying secret? Any tips for an all around good experience? Are you blow-dryer challenged like me? 

The Many Blunders of a Chinchilla Owner

17 Jul

 

Chinchillas aren’t easy. To be even a semi-decent owner, you have to do a whole lot of research on them.

I have a story for you. It isn’t the first time something I’ve had to deal with an entirely new situation with my chinchillas. Last night as I was feeding my chinchillas, my lady, Pandora, decided to take a spin around my bedroom. My kitties weren’t in the vicinity, so I closed the door that leads to my combined bedroom/hallway-closet/bathroom to let her run around until she was ready to come back to her cage. This isn’t out of the ordinary, so I sat on my bed and tried to get my phone to work.

Then I heard a splash. It could only mean one thing: Pandora jumped in the toilet.

I bounded off the bed into the hallway to catch her and see the damage. It wasn’t as bad as I thought; chinchillas are such fast, ninja-creatures that the only thing that got wet was her tummy. My first thought flew straight to all of the chinchilla lore out there.

If chins get wet, they get moldy.

If chins get wet you have to shave them.

And so on. Then, my thoughts ended at a website that talked about blow-drying your chinchilla if it gets wet, and the only thing was to make sure they didn’t overheat or get a chill.

It was my best option, so I wrapper her up in a towel and tried to dry her as best I could (which isn’t an easy task if you take into account the fact that chinchillas let go of their fur when stressed). Then, I put it on low cool and held her up and aimed it at her tummy, then alternated to warm, and back until it was almost completely dry.

Much to my surprise, Pandora LOVED the blow-dryer.

I let her fur dry the rest of the way over night, and gave her a dust bath to top her off the next day. Good as new.

So for any of you out there who own chinchillas or might be interested in getting them, keep this in mind:

1) Their tails don’t fall off like lizards do.
2) They only need at MOST a few pellets – feed them most to all [timothy] hay.
3) Treats are really unnecessary and can be bad for them, so keep them to less than one a day (and by no means more than that). They naturally eat very bland diets.
4) Most of all, don’t be afraid to get creative. My vet made a cone for Pandora out of radiograph film, I use bird perches as chin perches, and I found out my lady loves the blow-dryer by an unfortunate mishap.

 

What kind of pets do you have? What kind of mishaps have you had? Any chinchilla advice to share?

A Journey Through Music: Punk Rock

9 Jul

I hinted at this project a little bit in a post asking you all for input on various genres. I didn’t want to reveal all of the details because I’m pretty excited about it, but now I’ve finished my first genre, so this is my big reveal!

My project is basically a means for me to listen to music, become more versed in various genre, and learn more artists and songs that I like. I think that being well-rounded is important, and although I like a wide variety of music, I often can’t name artists or songs I like in a specific genre. Cue you guys! I got a lot of feedback that I’m very thankful for.

What I’ve asked for is a list of 10 artists that you think represents its genre as a whole. I know this is a tall order, but I obviously can’t listen to everything. From there, I’ve selected a number of songs from each artist to listen to.

For punk rock, thanks to @Thebraziliandude and @sweetsavageblood, I listened to the following 10 artists:

The Ramones
The Sex Pistols
The Clash
Patti Smith
The Plasmatics
Dead Kennedys
Blondie
Minor Threat
Black Flag
Rancid

I have to say that I appreciate what pioneer bands are and what they do. Without them, we wouldn’t have the collection of music we have today. All of these artists brought something to the table, and I enjoyed at least one of their songs. Personally, I really enjoyed The Ramones, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Rancid, and Blondie. I think overall they had good music and decent to great lyrics. I was especially amazed by Blondie, as I was unaware how many of her songs I actually know and love! She wasn’t really what I always think of when I think of punk rock, though. The Ramones, Rancid, and Black Flag are very much what I think of punk rock, and although Blondie did have a few songs in there that were similar, it wasn’t what I was expecting.

Any problems that I had with any of the artists were really based in their lyrics. All of these musicians had great music behind their vocals, but personally I enjoy singing with songs, so lyrics have a lot of weight. Thats not to say that their lyrics aren’t meaningful as I find punk rock to have some of the best lyrics around, but they were often very repetitive, which I find unappealing. Patti Smith, although I liked her music, was on average about 5 minutes too long. I would get to minute 6 and all I could think was OH MY GOD, ARE YOU DONE YET!?

So…about my song picking. What I did for punk rock was took the number of albums each artist had and added them all together. Then, I divided that number by ten to get 7 songs each. I can’t decide if I should keep 7 songs per artist from here on out, if I should use the same method with a different end result, or if I should calculate a percentage of songs per artist based on how many albums they have. Any suggestions are very welcome! If you are interested in knowing what songs I listened to for punk rock or would like to venture on this journey with me, you can find my playlists (sorted by artist)here.  I make a complete playlist for each artist before I begin listening to them, so you can listen with me [almost] in real time.

As a final note on my selection, I used the-top-tens.com to select my songs. I don’t necessarily consider it useful, but it was the best tool I could find. If you have any other suggestions, please, please, please let me know!

Do you like punk rock? What do you think of my selection? Are you going to be joining me on my musical roadtrip?

Looks Don’t Matter

9 Jul

 

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: if you have an awesome personality, it doesn’t matter what you look like.

Some may disagree with me, and say that for two people to be intimate, you have to be physically attracted to your partner. Some might simply say that looks matter, but I disagree. Yes, if I see someone walking down the street and they are drop dead gorgeous, I’ll acknowledge it. Yes, there are people I find unattractive. I’m sure people find me unattractive, also, but here’s the kicker:

If a guy is awesome, I would give him a chance no matter what he looks like.My reason for doing this lies in the belief that once I’m attracted to someones personality, they become physically attractive as well. There is one stipulation, however. I have to know the guy is awesome beforehand (read: we’re friends/acquaintances). If some ugly guy comes up to me randomly on the street and asks me on a date, I’m more likely to say no, simply because I have to accept this offer at face value. I’ve definitely had friends be shocked about who I’d go on a date with.

Is this lowering my standards? How important are physical appearances?

Would You Be a Housewife/Husband?

8 Jul

 

It has come to my attention that although some women continue to fight and struggle for equal rights, others would still prefer to stay home while their husbands work and “bring home the bacon”. I’m not saying they are mutually exclusive by any means, but I definitely think they are contradictory.

Some women choose to stay home with their children to care for them and avoid babysitting costs. Its understandable enough. You get the kids off to school, clean up the house, then welcome them back when they get home and then make dinner for their husbands who will be home soon. What confuses me even more than being a stay at home mom is being a stay at home wife. No children…just staying at home.

I can’t even imagine what I would do every day if I didn’t have a job. Yes, days off and vacations are nice, but I would get super bored super fast, especially if all of my friends worked. Aside from potential extreme boredom, I would feel as though all of my independence was gone. I wouldn’t have any of my own money, I wouldn’t contribute to bills or food or anything. That also puts me in a bad position if he was to suddenly lose his job. There would be stress on me to find a job, there would be stress on him to find a job, and there would be stress put on our relationship. This is the same for men and women. Not to mention we would have more money if we both worked, which sums up to more saving, more travelling, more fun, and more extravagant living.

There is also an issue as to what is expected of the person who stays home. Should he/she do all the cleaning? I’ve also speculated that when men stay at home they are considered freeloaders, which isn’t fair to them when women are doing the same thing.

Are you a stay at home mom/dad/wife/husband? If you aren’t, would you want to be? When does staying at home cross the line into freeloading?