December 28, 2009

Things My Boyfriends Taught Me

I love cooking.

Having spent the last 7 years in one long term relationship or the other I realize I've adopted traits, as well as likes and dislikes, from my boyfriends, and they've helped mold me into the person I am now. For fun, I made a list of things my boyfriends have taught me, whether they be foods or activities I learned to love or things I learned about myself. But I also made a list of things they taught me without even knowing it, mostly insecurities they had or things I realized I loved after discovering they didn't love them. This is mostly for my own amusement, but everyone is changed for the better (and sometimes worse) by a significant other and anyone can find something here to relate to.

Things My Boyfriends Knowingly Taught Me:

Sushi is not disgusting. In fact, it's amazingly delicious.
Apple juice isn't just for toddlers.
Cooking together is bonding.
My "ears" are adorable.
Wine is good in moderation.
Confidence is my most sexy feature.
Tea is delicious, even unsweetened.
Driving is really fun and really relaxing.
Dessert is a necessity.
Good chocolate and good cheese are staples.
Traveling is exciting.
Macs are the best.
Internet memes are dorky, but in a good way.
Sex is great.
Paying attention to politics is important.
Texting is handy.
Roux is the tricky base of a good white sauce.
There is a movie for everything.
Sweatshirts can be very sexy.
It's important to keep fit and strong.
Pictures are priceless.
Doubling the vanilla makes cookies better.
Just about anything can be found and bought on the Internet.
Dry cereal is a great snack for munchies.

My passion.

Things My Boyfriends Unknowingly Taught Me:

It's OK to look like a fool dancing.
Be eager to try new experiences. And foods.
Be honest.
Trying and failing is better than not trying because I'm afraid to fail.
Go the extra mile for yourself, not anyone else.
It's OK to be poor; be rich in love.
Loving books is admirable.
Stand by your convictions.
Hobbies can be lifesaving.
Giving up on a dream is like suicide.
If you really like something about you, I'll really like it, too.
If you really don't like something about you, I'll hate it.
Have worth in the world.
Saying "I'm sorry" can mean a lot.

If you learned something silly or important about life or yourself from a significant other and feel like sharing please do in the comments. I love learning from others' experiences.

December 27, 2009

Geeks, Animals and the Internet

Because no one else gets the joke.

There are a million and one ways to waste extreme amounts of time on the Internet. Fark, Reddit, Fail Blog, I Can Has Cheezburger, Post Secret and Facebook must now make room for It Made My Day and Very Demotivational. There goes productivity. Funny thing is 4 of those are owned by the same dude... Funnier thing is I like this humor so much that I just bought this t-shirt. Probably the dorkiest $15 I've ever spent. Who knew there was a whole store dedicated to merchandise from the very websites I love most? They have make-a-lol refrigerator magnets!!! Speaking of demotivational posters:

If crap like this can be published, inspire a hit movie series, and become a teen phenomenon, your crap can, too.

My thoughts exactly. So what if writing teen romance novels is whoring myself out? Gonna have to pay the bills somehow, and if this is what brings in the money then so be it. Get one or two of these out and I'll be able to support myself while I write something that matters a little more. Or maybe pay off student loans (once I finally get my masters). Or maybe, if I hit the market just right, I can rescue all the unwanted and uncared for elephants in the country. Not too ambitious, is it?

It's for you.

I wonder if the reason I don't know what I really want to do is because the only thing I've ever really wanted to do was be a vet. That's pretty much out of the question at this point, but I still know taking care of animals is something I need to do. I want to volunteer at the Fund for Animals rehab center in Ramona, but work keeps getting in the way. I originally wanted to do this in order to get back in the Education department at the Park, but now I'm rethinking that, too. Behavior sounds like loads of fun, and it would teach me so much about animal habits, personalities and quirks. Volunteering at the rehabilitation center would teach me about care and handling, and I could go back to school for the biology of animals, or maybe ecology. Honestly, when I look at my life 20 years down the road, I see me still actively writing, but maybe mostly animal or research oriented (except for that trashy teen novel), and a house full of animal residents both permanent and temporary. I'm positive helping animals is my calling, I'm just not positive how to go about doing that in the most effective way yet. All I know for sure is my future will involve getting my masters, writing, and taking care of animals. There has to be a way to do all this and support myself, right?

December 20, 2009

Connections

A picture of what a bonsai might look like.

Bonsai is both Japanese and Chinese for "tree in a pot." This is ridiculously amusing to me. Lucky me, I got a bonsai at my work holiday party! It's beautifully crafted and I'm imagining it as a perfect centerpiece to a table in my new apartment. Of all the white elephant gifts that night the bonsai was most suited for me.

Speaking of presents suiting me, one of my best and oldest friends sent me a package of books (yay!). One, very typical of her, is about rescued animals who went on to star in movies; another is a John Grisham book; the last is a grammar book. It's that last one that amuses me the most. It's supposed to be funny, and when I opened it to a random page the first sentence I read was a chapter title: "No, you can't has cheezburger!" I lol'd.

Speaking of loling, ever think of something and just start laughing? Today I pictured this image and started laughing all by myself:

This happened while I was driving in my car, so I can only imagine what other drivers must have thought if they saw me alone and visibly laughing.

Speaking of driving, I spent my drive today with miss kitty on my lap. She's so freaking adorable. Even with my hands at 10 and 2, where I could visibly see the latest string of red scratches up and down my hands and wrists, with her sitting so contentedly in my lap I couldn't help but just love her. Sure she attacks me for no reason, biting my hands and hissing at me like she would a dog, but I'm also her comfort zone. She knows she can rely on me for protection and care, and I know that she'll always come back purring after she calms down from attack mode.

Miss princess. "Whazzat?!"

December 9, 2009

Squeaky Wheel Gets The Oil

Angalifu, an unloved gentleman.

I make a great squeaky wheel when I want something. Thanks to me taking every opportunity to voice my desire for work hours, my willingness to clean bird and kangaroo shit, and a big thanks to 2 coworkers who frequently give me their shifts, I get as many hours as the more senior staff. Hooray! Even better, I'm getting some extra hours being guide trained. Today was my first mock tour on the back of the truck with my supervisor and lead; it was nerve wracking, but it motivated me to go straight home, dig out an old notebook and compile information I need to work on.

But I feel a little restricted. What I can talk about with guests is strictly limited to the PR approved material submitted to my department. Most of this restriction is surrounding the 2007 wildfires and my unwillingness to blatantly lie to guests, but I also know there's a ton of information we could be saying that we don't. Granted, this is a 15 minute tour and there's a million things to talk about, so everything gets 15 seconds in the spotlight before it's time to move on. Still, knowing there's information out there we really aren't supposed to access, much less share, kind of bugs me. I may be just starting to spread my wings as a guide, but I feel like I can be, do and give so much more.

I also discovered an interest I apparently have: southern Californian conservation. Torrey Pines interest me a great deal, as does the WAP Nativescapes garden and California coastal sage scrub. I didn't have much interest in plants before I started learning about them, and that southern California is a biodiversity hotspot (who knew?), but having a better understanding of my own habitat and its international conservation status is changing that. This makes me pretty excited.

Nola, a true gentle giant and one of the last of her species.

I still have greater goals and still am interested in the creatures I no longer get close to (or even see) to research them on my own. There have been conflicting reports on the wild population of Northern white rhinos for years now, but my own searches show nothing new. It's well accepted that the subspecies is extinct in the wild and will be completely extinct probably before 2050. In my own lifetime I will see a species I feel personally connected to go completely extinct. If that's not depressing I don't know what is. Too bad animals can't be their own squeaky wheels. It's up to us to be their voice.

December 7, 2009

Save The Pandas


In the grocery store I made an ecologically responsible decision. For some reason peanut butter has been sounding good lately so I grabbed a loaf of bread and checked out the PB on sale. Skippy has a "natural" PB, so I peeked at the ingredients to determine just how "natural" it was. It didn't matter; it uses palm oil.

If palm oil were a fish it would be on the Environmental Defense Fund's "eco-worst" list. The countries that produce palm oil (Malaysia, Indonesia) destroy the natural tropical forests to plant the oil palm, thereby causing several species to become even more endangered, most notably the Sumatran tiger, greater one-horned rhino and orangutan. The demand for this product is also causing global climate change to speed up due to the loss of forests.

So, right there in the bread aisle, I checked every packaged item in my bag for palm oil. Disappointment. I got all excited that Nestle cookie dough was 2 for $4, but the margarine it uses contains palm oil. (FYI: Pillsbury does not use palm oil, but it uses something even more disturbing, chocolate flavored bits.) Dammit, Nestle. Now I can't buy your delicious cookies anymore.

Yesterday, while shopping for an ugly Christmas sweater, I discovered one of those WWF panda t-shirts. They usually go for $30 and $1 goes to the WWF (that is, when you buy it at Nordstrom, not off the WWF website). This one, being in a used clothing store, was just $6 and red with a bunch of pandas on it. So I bought it, and felt good not only about buying a used clothing item but that whoever originally bought it paid the dollar donation. Win win win.

All this brings me to an interesting point. With all the effort to conserve species and habitat these days (from recycling to not buying products with palm oil), pandas do nothing to help their species survive. Seriously. Pandas are carnivorous bears, but they eat pretty much only bamboo, a nutrient deficient weed. They live in frickin' freezing climates and not only don't bother to hibernate or migrate to warmer temperatures, but they can have their young during the coldest months of the year. Oh, and their babies look like something a marsupial would give birth to and then store in a pouch for a few months. They're just not built for survival, yet people are so fascinated by them and floored by their cuteness that they became the symbol of the WWF.

Part of our problem as a modern planet is we got used to things like processed foods and convenience (this will make you cry). I'm going to make a more conscious effort to check my food and make-up purchases for palm oil so the tigers, rhinos and orangutans can live another day. And one day I'll even have the ability to make time and financial contributions to the conservancy charities I believe in.

November 29, 2009

It's Alive!


After 6 days of hand wringing and lots of reading, my computer works again. At first I thought, well, what do I really use my computer for anyway? Facebook, Fark, CNN, paying bills... Shit, that last one is kind of important.

And writing. Turns out when my blog is unavailable I kind of freak out and feel trapped, which doesn't help the feeling of "I'm so stressed out I could drive my car into a brick wall." But I won't do that. No, I'll take my stress-induced cold, continue working every hour I can finagle and continue writing about whatever is pissing me off this time.

And until I get a new computer sometime next year (ha) I may have more typos involving the letters "t" and "h"... Don't ask, I feel like a retard as it is.

Did a lot (and I mean a lot) of thinking this week. I'm tuning in to my non-visual memories more, especially smell and sound. Sawdust makes me feel like I'm a kid about to get something new. Smoke from a fire gets me excited. Timpani and trumpet takes me back to the band room. And then, suddenly, a simple experience reminds me of a dream I had. I wanted to create an elephant sanctuary where unwanted and uncared for elephants could live out free, dignified lives. I spent 3 hours this week hosing down bird cages, even going in with a crowned crane (which was freaking awesome), and realized that's what I want to be doing. The smell of sawdust meant that something I was getting was a cage or fence for a pet. Feeding and cleaning up poop is just a part of getting to know an animal, and it's not even really a downside. You learn things you wouldn't otherwise learn, like the hornbill is obsessed with her ball and is very aware of her surroundings at all times.

In reading "Mister Zoo" I realized it's OK to be very passionate about animals and conservation, because you can do great things for the world. I always felt a little on the outside, so when I shared animal information with people it was always a weird fact or related to humans in some way. But animals are interesting on their own to me, and now that I'm working in a place surrounded by like-minded people I'm learning to come out with it a little more. And I feel comfortable doing so. Kind of like that link I posted in the second paragraph.

November 19, 2009

You'd Like It A Lot More If You Didn't Have Any

OK so I've used this image before. It's just too good.

I hate money.

Stupid economy only makes sense when it's working. When it's failing it seems silly. We work for money so we can buy a place to live, clothes to wear and food to eat. We don't grow our own food anymore, dig our own wells, make our own clothes (unless you're a wanna-be fashion designer), or build our own homes. We don't barter our skills with our neighbors, we work for useless paper bills that we trade for things. What if we didn't value those thin green slips of paper so much? What if the gold they represent wasn't as precious as the food we fill our stomaches with or the roofs over our heads?

It kind of makes life seem a little pointless when you look at it that way.

In a good economy we're happy to work for a fair wage so we can spend our extra time with the things we care about: our homes, our families, our hobbies, our charities, our art (ha, say "our art" three times fast). But in a sucky economy we have to budget every cent; we can't spend what few dollars we do have on anything outside of the absolute necessities, which means the people whose jobs have little to do with absolute necessities might lose them, which furthers the cycle of people having few dollars to spare.

My work has a great fund available for employees willing to give back to the organization, and it's a fund I'd love to be a part of. But even a mere $2 per pay period or a one-time donation of $5 is too much for me to donate. You know where that $5 goes? It's the fee my bank charges me to transfer money from my savings account into my checking account when my credit card company causes the minimum payment to double based on a technicality. Had my last payment gone through one day earlier I would not have had a double payment this month. Or, had my paycheck come through one day earlier I would not have needed to transfer money at all.

Congratulations, Lindsay. You officially can't afford rent next month.

November 15, 2009

Plus One For Dogs

Cutest soldier you'll see all day.

Over a year ago an Australian dog went missing in Afghani desert and was presumed dead. Until this week.

Sabi, a black Australian lab, isn't just a dog. She's a highly trained bomb sniffer working for the Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan. Sabi is as much soldier as any human working alongside her and she undoubtedly saved soldier's lives by detecting bombs. She became separated from her handler during a battle in harsh desert and went missing, being apparently "incarcerated by enemy combatants."

Even the fucking Taliban recognized this ordinary looking dog as a valued soldier and jailed her rather than shooting her on sight. She was apparently kept in decent condition, too, as she "showed no signs of stress," greeted strangers like any lab would (with a slobbery tongue), and appeared healthy. An American soldier recognized her as a bomb sniffer rather than as an enemy combatant (which I assume means the Taliban might use dogs to deliver bombs to their enemies), and rescued and returned her to her rightful post.

My point in all this: everyone who came across Sabi could tell she wasn't just some dog. The Taliban knew she was a valuable member of the Australian Special Forces and kept her and the American soldier could tell she was a bomb sniffer and returned her home. It's awesome that the dogs used to help human soldiers are really treated like soldiers; they save countless human lives in terrible places and make soldier's jobs easier and safer, and it's wonderful they're celebrated.

EDIT: Oh, and this will make you cry.

November 10, 2009

"The One"

I don't think this movie is about soul mates...

There was a time in my life I believed in soul mates, the idea that every person has one perfect match somewhere in the wold. Now it just seems silly. There could be any number of people I'm compatible with and the decision to spend a lifetime with just one person is a bigger deal than we think.

Whenever a woman says she just knows her boyfriend is The One I gag a little. Honestly, you'd have to be silly to know you're going to marry a person after a few dates, and love at first sight? Please. Sure, there may very well be an instant connection, something that physically drew these women to their men, but love?

Not only is that an insane notion, but it's just kind of sad. The fun of dating is getting to know each other, learning about similarities and differences, and if you spend that time silently evaluating everything the dude says in order to assess your future together you miss out on the fun of actually dating. I've always pitied the girls (and women, as I get older) whose goals are to find a husband and have kids. There's a big difference between hating singleness because you need a husband and being fulfilled and happy with yourself enough to want someone to complement you. Though I understand wanting a family and there being a certain window of opportunity in which to act, looking for The One person out of over 6 billion who will make your life a fairy tale is simply retarded.

At least one friend of mine has a rubric: date Future Husband for 2 years, be engaged for 1, be married for 2 or 3 years, have 3 kids 1-2 years apart, and do it all by age 35. She should be dating her Future Husband now, and that puts an insane amount of pressure on her. Another friend of mine was convinced for the longest time that she would never marry and would spend her life caring for her mother, mostly because she was in her 20s and had never had a boyfriend. Now she's practically engaged to her only boyfriend. When these situations happen women are less likely to leave a sour relationship for fear of not fulfilling the plan or disappointing others. When I look at my old high school and college friends' marital statuses, the ones who put marriage and kids at the top of their list of life goals are now fretting over finding The One before their ovaries dry up, while the ones who didn't really care one way or the other and enjoyed simply living life are engaged or married.

But maybe I'm not the right person to be complaining about this; my lack of desire to procreate, thus the lack of urgency women in their 20s and 30s might feel, makes it hard to fully empathize. My shortest relationship was for 2 years, so naturally there were discussions about the future. Boyfriend #1 was convinced that I was his soul mate, that we'd have 2 kids and I'd stay home to raise them; when I broke it off I suspected a proposal was around the corner. On the opposite end of the spectrum, in over 5 years with The Ex there were a few hints of "maybe we'll end up together" followed by "after we break up and I get to experience being single again." Neither boyfriend was The One. But again, I don't believe in The One.

November 6, 2009

I Love The Internet

There is no explanation.

Seriously. It never ceases to amaze me. Below is a list of "fun questions to ask your boyfriend." This is posted on Buzzle.com, which claims to be "intelligent life on the web." The questions are copied directly from the site: all grammar and sentence structure errors belong to the author, who claims to work as a freelance writer since writing is her passion, though she clearly has a limited grasp of the English language. I've answered these fun questions (in italics) as a male version of myself, if a Theoretical Girl were to ask me them.

1) If you were a geometric shape what would you like to be? Triangle. But I like saying rhombus.
2) Would you like to have more relationships in the same time?
Polyamory isn't my thing. Are you trying to see if I'd cheat on you? Sneaky sneaky...
3) If you were a bird or an animal what would you like to be?
OK, this is a legit question, but I also really love animals. I'd totally be an elephant. Or a peregrine falcon, if I had to pick a bird.
4) Do you like love games like master – slave, doctor – patient, teacher – student?
Sexy!!! (Sounds like someone likes watching porn.)
5) Which is the song you can associate with my image?
For my Theoretical Girl? Hmm... Finding Out True Love Is Blind. Your little Asian friend, well she can come if she wants.
6) We are at a party and you see a nice girl but you don’t have the opportunity to talk to her. What do you do to make her aware that you like her, without hurting me?
You want to have a "hot chick at a party" policy? If I don't even get the chance to talk to her I may just have to wait until the next party, when you and I will conveniently be having a "rough patch" and then I'll talk to her and nab a number. Oh wait... are you polyamorous? Is that where this is going?
7) You meet by chance a girl friend of mine at the disco. She is very happy and she is flirting with you. What are you doing?
OMG you are polyamorous! Dirty, sneaky you. Wait, why the fuck am I at a disco? Is this the 1970s and you want a three way? Is your friend hot?
8) I discovered you telling a lie to me. How do you react?
Oops.
9) We are together at night, in the mountains, in a remote forest house. Will you wear pajamas?
WTF? I will most likely wear plaid flannel pajamas (shut up, they're comfortable) because it will most likely be frickin' freezing, but I'd take them off if there was a nice fire, a blanket and you naked (assuming you, Theoretical Girl, are hot).
10) Would you like to perform a strip-tease number for me?
Answering as a guy, I do not see how this is sexy. (Answering as my true womanly self... only if you don't laugh.)
11) You are alone in my house. What will you do?
Probably go through all your e-mails. Or masturbate. Or eat your food. Depends on how long I'm alone in your house.
12) What would you cook for me?
Mexican. Always Mexican. (Mmm, Spanish rice is done!)
13) Would you like to tattoo my skin for you?
You want me to give you a tattoo? Where in hell is that a good idea?
14) Would you like me to wear all the time mini skirt or to have a generous neck opening?
I would like you to have a better grasp of sentence structure and English in general. You can only be so hot before I'd blow my brains out to escape your lack of communication skills.
15) What would you like to change about myself?
Aren't we supposed to love each other for who we are, not for what we want to change?
16) When will you declare your eternal love for me?
Love is not eternal. We're all gonna die someday.
17) What should I have to love me forever?
See #16. Also, maybe you should start loving others and you'll be loved in return. Stop being so whiny and selfish.
18) Do you have the patience to come with me when I’m buying a dress?
I don't even have the patience to buy a dress for myself. Oh, wait, I'm a dude... Um, probably not, honestly.
19) Can you make friends easily?
Used to have kind of a hard time with it but the last few years have proved fruitful.
20) How can you describe yourself in a sentence?
It would be nearly impossible to describe my being in a simple sentence, and I really do not feel like writing a complicated sentence at the moment. I'll give you 1 word for now: sarcastic.
21) Would you like to spend a night with me in the forest?
Weren't we already in the mountains and I was in pajamas? Now you want a tent? Actually camping doesn't sound half bad right now...
22) What would you do if a bear came up to you and we were together in the forest?
What kind of forest are you taking me to? If we're in a monitored camp site the bear is probably just sniffing around for food and as long as we don't bother it it will go away eventually. You don't keep snacks in the tent do you? Because if you do I'm going to change my answer to #21.
23) How can you imagine that forest with bears and a girl who needs your help?
Who the fuck are you, crazy Theoretical Girl? Am I Tarzan here to rescue my helpless Theoretical Girl from a big bad bear in the forest? Is this supposed to be a sexy role playing thing or do you really hope to be rescued from a bear?
24) What flowers would you like to offer me?
And now I have to offer you flowers after saving your sorry ass from a fucking bear??? Who ARE you?
25) If you saw a field full of flowers would you pick a lot of them for me?
You're officially batshit insane. I would not pick you any flowers. I would run far, far away.
26) What would you do if we are on the beach and a lot of other girls are there top less and they are friendly with you?
If you see my answer to #25 it would really not be a problem.
27) What kind of horses would you like riding?
What kind of question is that? I don't really care what kind of horse I'd ride.
28) Which is your favorite childhood hero?
You mean who... I didn't have a childhood hero, dammit.
29) Do you like to describe what you see in the clouds?
Yeah, like when I was 5.
30) Would you like to write an adventure novel about us?
No. You're batshit crazy. And no one would buy that.
31) Do you tell your friends what we are doing together?
I've probably already told my friends you're batshit insane and to stay far away from you. Why does this matter, again?
32) Would you like to build a sand castle with me on the beach?
Hells no.
33) Would you like to have a bath with me with pink and yellow rose petals?
This question is just too insane I can't even come up with a response.
34) Would you like to have a glass of champagne with me?
Mmm... I do like champagne. But not you.
35) Would you like to make love to me on the carpet, in front of a fireplace?
Are we in the woods? Have I just rescued you from a bear? Am I wearing pajamas?
36) Would you like to be able to repair my computer?
Not at all, actually. I'll show you how to do cool shit, but I'm not in charge of fixing it because you're a dumbass and spilled soda on it.
37) Can you tell me in a few seconds what is a brick useful for?
Other than throwing it at your face, no.
38) Would you like to be together characters in a SF movie?
Science Fiction? Really? Please, stop asking questions like this and go study English.
39) Would you like to spend our honeymoon on a remote island?
Sure, that way I can kill you and there will be no one to ask questions.

Oops! That is not fun anymore! You should never ask your boyfriend a question related to marriage. So let’s go on…
Oh really.

40) Can you find easily 10 words rhyming with pencil?
How about instead of finding lame rhymes you practice grammar.
41) Are you able to explain what have I dreamt last night?
My dream last night involved The Ex dying. Which I just realized now... (Yay for a question being productive in a completely different manner than it intended.)
42) Do you consider yourself a happy person because you’ve met me?
No, Theoretical Girl, I do not consider myself happy because I've met you. I consider myself happy because I built myself a happy life.
43) Do you like answering questions to kids?
Actually yeah, I kinda do.
44) Would you like to imagine that I am a black panther and you are a poor hunter?
Is this another one of your creepy sex games?
45) Would you like to give me my breakfast in bed?
No. You'd get crumbs everywhere.
46) Can you imagine making love to me and eating strawberries and grapes?
Though I love sex and I love eating, I don't really care to have sex and eat at the same time.
47) Will you feed me with them?
I'm getting a very creepy vibe from these questions...
48) What would you do if you were Robinson Crusoe?
Probably kill you.
49) What kind of music would you like to listen to with me?
Anything to get you to stop talking.
50) Do you think that we have met before, in another life?
Frankly, no.

Some things are just too funny or too stupid to pass up.

November 5, 2009

The Amazing Human Being

You wish you were this awesome.

People really are amazing creatures. We're so interesting because we're so different from other living beings and because we have the ability to consider ourselves as puzzle pieces in our world (which, as far as we're aware, we don't share with other species).

We walk upright all the time, balancing on two proportionately tall legs. We are the only species to be perfectly vertical and it amazes me we don't eat shit more often. (Ever watch a baby learn to walk? You freak out if his chubby legs start to move too fast because you know a faceplant into the floor is seconds away.) We can even run pretty quickly on our two legs, holding objects in our hands, and usually we catch ourselves so we don't fall to the ground every time we trip.

We have pets. The descendants of wolves and lions walk through our living rooms, beg at the kitchen table, cuddle in our beds, play with our kids and protect our territories. I remember sitting at the kitchen table one day and our big dog walked by, tongue lolling and scoping the room for something interesting. She passed the cat who was unworried and asleep on the couch and didn't even acknowledge the quinea pig in his cage on the floor. I was surprised by my amazement that we have these creatures so involved in our lives, creatures who would never otherwise have such interactions.

We value individual lives. Elephants also value individual lives (they will recognize a relative or friend after decades apart and bury the dead of not just their own family members, but unrelated elephants and sometimes other species), but only people will mourn the loss of an individual so much that their lives simply stop. Some women are so upset by the loss of a fetus or child that they cannot bring themselves to get pregnant again and their relationships are destroyed. Some people are so moved by the loss (or perceived loss) of an individual that they put their own lives at risk by actively seeking revenge.

We value our species above all other species. We even value our subspecies above all other subspecies. (OK, I know most of us would like to think we're not racist and we value everyone the same, but I bet most people at least think their respective country is the best.) Our population has gone from 1 to almost 7 billion in just 200 years. If any other species had gone through this significant of a population increase we'd have culled them. But we believe our safety and comfort is more important than an entire species existence, simply because we're human.

We value worthless rocks. Only when a functional economy exists is money worth anything. Should an apocalypse or alien invasion or zombies come and wipe out all but a few thousand humans, those few thousand humans may very well be doomed to become extinct if they don't know anything about staying safe, finding edible food and clean drinking water, or raising the next generation without modern conveniences. What good is money and gold if you're alone and can't tell the difference between poisonous plants and edible ones?

People consistently amaze me the more I watch them and the more I learn about the other species we share this rock with. If you, dear reader, have an interesting or amazing observation about our unique species please share so I can learn and be amazed even more.

October 31, 2009

Forward-Thinking Is Backwards

Burkas: The new chastity belt.

In todays world (well, most of it) women have the same rights and allowances as men, races and faiths can intermarry, dogs have health insurance and we don't think anything of it.

In America "our women have all the rights as men do!" as if that's even worth mentioning. Sure we don't need permission to go outside, we can drive cars and have jobs and bank accounts, but why on Earth wouldn't women have everything men have? Why is that even a question? Why, especially, in some points in time and space is that not the case?

Third world countries are notorious for treating women like dogs. A recent article details how Somali officials are more concerned with women wearing bras (false advertisement is against the law) than with the widespread famine and chaos. A man wanting to marry a woman for the "ample breasts" she has hidden beneath her burka could be disappointed when he finally gets her naked on their wedding night if her "ampleness" was the effects of a bra. Honestly though, can anyone really tell a difference between bra and no bra underneath a burka? I don't think anyone can tell when I'm wearing a push-up underneath my sweatshirt... And are boobs really the sort of thing people worry about in Somalia?

It never ceases to amaze me how one sect of a population can be singled out as lesser. Many countries single out women as inferior, some single out certain religions or races as inferior, and America singles out gays and lesbians as inferior. Though most Americans now see how horrible it was to condemn blacks simply for the color of their skin and women simply for the ability to produce offspring, many still see nothing wrong with segregating gays simply for wanting to love. One day we won't discriminate against any group for any reason (and women in America will get a full dollar for every dollar a man earns) and we'll laugh at how ignorant and small minded the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries were.

October 26, 2009

Some Things Never Change

Why does fire season feel so good?

Today is a gorgeous, definitive October day. The sun is bright and warm, the air is a mix of Santa Ana hotness and hinting of the impending cold, and I swear the browning leaves give off a firey aura. I absolutely love days like today. Those who say California doesn't have seasons don't appreciate the subtle differences from month to month and Octobers' overwhelming uniqueness.

In high school I hated the Santa Anas (which were way stronger than in San Diego) for making spinning difficult and super painful, but at the same time loved October weather. October brought my birthday, Country Days, pumpkin everything and Halloween. Today I was reminded of Country Days- I think in all my childhood there were like 3 years I was not in the parade, thanks to extra curricular activities and one teacher picking me to represent our class by wearing a cardboard horse outfit- not only because of the weather but because of the fat bruise on my wrist.

Oh colorguard, how I loved you even though you abused me. Being a banner was a status symbol of sorts and you wore the 6-inch welts with pride. Banners required strength and determination- not only did you have to spin the heavy things over your head but you had to slam them against your arms, several times in a row, to make the sequins sparkle. It looked beautiful to spectators.

The fat bruise on my wrist today hardly hurts but looks disgusting. I wear this bruise, and the ones on my legs, with the same pride. They remind me that I'm active, I have a physically demanding job, even that I'm sorta clumsy, a trait that helps me laugh at myself. I grew up tomboy- I hated dresses, my best friends were boys, I played in dirt, rode my bike, tried to fix things, and begged my parents for remote control cars. I was even the only girl at my 7th birthday party. I finally figured out make-up in colorguard, didn't really get it down until college, and recently accepted that sometimes pink is a wearable color for clothes other than underwear. Even though I'm starting to come into adult/womanhood I still hold onto that little tomboy inside me; being cut and bruised from the day is a source of joy.

I take good care of my body from the inside- I eat well, take vitamins, run, usually get enough sleep, care for my skin and teeth, have yearly exams, and don't smoke or take any drugs besides a rare Tylenol. I enjoy myself, enjoy being alive and feeling pain and pleasure, and enjoy using every part of my body. And those cuts and bruises, which I always seem to have, I wear like a badge of honor.