March 31, 2011

Sometimes I'm Right

Every now and then I go to my guilty-pleasure website, The Frisky. I do so mostly for the Dear Wendy, but I also read the articles. One writer, Jessica, really bugs me. She's highly dramatic and she has a "no apologies" kind of attitude. About 2 years ago she wrote she found the man she would marry, after a month of dating the guy, and moved in with him and his best friend within 3 months. They told the world. Literally. For 2 years she blogged about how happy she was that she found the love of her life, the man she would marry, how sure they both were that they'd spend the rest of their lives together, how every mistake in her life was now OK because it led her to this guy.

See where this is going?

Yep, he dumped her. According to her blog post, it was sudden and unexpected. She decided not to post the dirty details out of respect for his privacy (oh yeah, and she also still hopes they'll get back together and doesn't want the dirty laundry to make her look bad later) but did in another post describe how it took him a week to kick her out and less than 2 weeks to go on a date with a girl he apparently had been e-mailing and flirting with. I'm gonna draw my own conclusions.

The reason I thought this deserved writing about is because I want some record somewhere to state that I CALLED IT FIRST! Two years ago, when she was ecstatically writing about moving in with Mr. Wonderful, I knew this day could not be too far away. I don't know what it is, but when you start blabbering on about how wonderful this love is, how no one else could possibly know what it's like to be this much in love, how you're both sure you'll get married and have babies and live happily ever after, how you're "practically engaged anyway," how you can't imagine living with any other person in any other way, how happy you are to be in love and how much you now pity your single friends and "just hope you find the same happiness I did (even though no one can possibly know what this feeling is like because you're not with this man)," I know it's not going to last.

And you know what? My whole life I've been right. So, Jessica, I don't even feel bad for you. It sucks that this boy broke your heart and went after another girl not even two seconds after kicking you out of the house you rented with him, but maybe next time you'll keep your lovey-dovey to yourself and not go proclaiming what your relationship is before you've even reached that step. Painful lesson to learn for sure, but it's high time you learned it.

March 27, 2011


No anxiety here!

Every so often I'll get this knotted feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sometimes it's because I'm super anxious about something, but sometimes it's because I'm in love with life. When I recognized that it's the same exact feeling, just with very different associations attached to it, I started wondering what makes it one and not the other. I'll get that feeling and attribute it to being in love with my city after a few days of being annoyed with my position in life; these times it's an unexpected but very welcome respite in what can be a dreary week.

Spurring this lovely respite was running my first 5K with my favorite lady in the Race for Autism. We were in Balboa Park, my favorite part of San Diego, in the foggy early morning with thousands of other supporters and fellow runners. Despite starting things off seeing a nasty fender bender over a not-so-desirable parking space, and then having to run my bag back to the car (we didn't realize how far away we'd parked until then) 10 minutes before it started because there was no bag check (which, honestly, how do you not have a bag check?), we were really happy to be part of everything. Because of the whole bag thing we started the run 5 minutes late and had to make our way through hordes of walkers with dogs and strollers, but it made us feel like champs to pass that many people throughout the course. When we finished we were given water and fruit and walked around the rows of booths providing a wide variety of professional resources for parents of those with autism, ranging from medical research to after-school enrichment. Then we trekked through lovely Banker's Hill back to the car and made a delicious breakfast before heading off for shopping. Rounding out the day with sushi with friends and going home still drunk made me a happy camper.

That happiness rubbed off on today and, though all I did was work, I felt in love with life. It was overcast and sprinkling raindrops, good songs were on the radio and I got excited for my plans next week. Again, I was asked why I don't move back to my hometown. These last couple of weeks have made it even more impossible for me to imagine leaving my wonderful city in order to move back there. I may not always live in San Diego, but if I leave it'll be for another amazing city I haven't lived in yet (Seattle's been sounding awesome lately). There's so much to love here: the vastly different neighborhoods, the food, the beautiful weather, Balboa Park, the nightlife, the people watching, the beaches, the friendliness of others and the abundance of running trails and dog parks.

But I still wonder... what makes that knotted feeling in the pit of my stomach feel like love? Or anxiety? Just like there's plenty to love, there's plenty to be anxious about, namely that I've now been job searching, heavily, for three months with no relief, that the job I do have is getting ridiculously out of control in the mismanagement, and that my poor computer– despite constantly outperforming no matter how much I abuse it– is definitely on the fritz.

Still, today that feeling was unmistakably one of love.

March 24, 2011

Grammar And The Internet

If this guy ever comes into your lunch place, run.

I recently (and by recently I mean several weeks ago, I just forgot to publish this post) finished reading a grammar book called Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by Lynne Truss. Though it may sound nerdy, it was actually very funny. Even the title is a joke:
A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air. "Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder. "Well, I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up." The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
Get it??? Pandas eat shoots and leaves (you know... bamboo) but the manual incorrectly used a comma in between eats and shoots so the panda ate, shot and left! Ha ha!

Anyway, the rest of the book was fun to read. But towards the end I did find a funny problem, and it had nothing to do with the fact that this book is about English English and I'm an American (though I could adapt to English English very quickly as I already use some of the un-American grammar described in the book). The book was first published in 2003 when personal computers and access to high speed Internet was first fully mainstream. So when I was starting college, buying my first laptop and becoming fluent in what Truss (and others) have dubbed "Netspeak" she (and others) were trying to make sense of this chatting and texting business that seems to have forgotten all about grammar. Which is perfectly understandable. When something comes along that changes life as we know it so dramatically (do you remember the time before the Internet?) those who were not only used to the previous way of life but who made a living in that previous way of life must be a little reluctant to adapt to these new ways. Especially if that previous way of life was proper English grammar and those who made a living in that previous way of life were grammar sticklers (we call them Nazis). Texting and chatting shorthand must drive them up the wall. However, this paragraph made me lol:
I've just spotted a third reason to loathe emoticons, which is that when they pass from fashion (and I do hope they already have), future generations will associate punctuation marks with an outmoded and rather primitive graphic pastime and despise them all the more. "Why do they still have all these keys with things like dots and spots and eyes and mouths and things?" they will grumble. "Nobody does smileys any more."
HAHAHA, Ms. Truss, how little you knew. Welcome to 2011, where the emoticon is not only still just as popular but often absolutely necessary. No matter how effective of a writer you are, it's still nearly impossible to get the proper tone across when dealing with a sensitive issue (or just teasing, as I've come to learn) in a short text message. Plus, it facilitates flirting a whole hell of a lot.

Though I have to agree with Truss on other annoying means of emphasis. Exclamation points are not to be used in every sentence and certainly should not be over-used (which I find is a symptom of the older generations!!!), all caps means YOU ARE YELLING AT ME (which just makes me ANGRY), and italics and dashes (oh god, and ellipses, please please please do not use ellipses after every half thought) need to be pulled out only when necessary. But then again, I'm the kind of person who writes full and completely punctuated text messages, judges those who don't, and has a hard time deciphering poorly written and badly punctuated corporate emails.

But an interesting thing has occurred in recent months; a new form of emphasis has been adopted by the younger generation (younger being those still in high school, a whole ten years younger than me) which involves retyping the last letter of a word to emphasize that word. "I love you" is now "I loveeeeeee you" and it means "I love you very much." This would make sense with a word like "so": "I love you sooooooo much" is something people actually say IRL. People don't actually say "loveeeeeee." You can't even pronounce that because the "e" is silent. But, and here's the logical kicker, you could say "loooooove." Quite often now I see on Facebook, "I'm veryyy exciteddd!" I can only assume that some kid somewhere knew enough to figure out that some words can be emphasized by retyping the last letter in that word (like "so"), but didn't know enough to know that it doesn't work with every word (like "very"). But it caught on anyway. During a chat once I actually mentioned to a friend my appreciation for his knowledge of the difference between words that can be emphasized that way and words that can't. He wrote, "I'm reeeeeally looking forward to..." when he could have written "I'm reallyyyy looking forward to..." So I thanked him. And to my surprise he knew exactly what I meant and said it annoys him too. Halleluja!

I doubt the new emphasis of retyping the last word will stick on, and if it does I hope it will stay among the younger generations (I hope people grow out of that and we're not reading corporate emails with "very importantttttt" in the subject line), but I like that the Internet is causing trends to be born at this quicker rate. Truss mentions that in the time before the Internet it was near impossible to add a new punctuation mark, and even if one got approval from the grammar gods it was hardly used and would likely not become mainstream. I think if an idea is good enough it will stick around long enough and with access to all the ideas out there at our fingertips we have an opportunity for communication that would never have been possible otherwise.

March 23, 2011


There are 2 methods of asking others, in real life, if they're Redditors:
1: Act completely serious and somewhat inquisitive, as if you're about to impart basic yet valuable information. "Do you go on Reddit?"
2: Weigh weather or not asking will make you seem like a complete nerd, decide it's worth it, and ask, "Do you go on Reddit?"

There are 3 responses, and 3 reactions.
Response 1: "Yes! I love Reddit! OMG today did you see the picture of the parrotlet hiding in the hoodie? So funny!"
Reaction 1: You both now share something special that you didn't know you shared.
Response 2: "Um, well, I know what it is but I don't go there."
Reaction 2: They think you're kind of weird (if they didn't already) and you now have to either explain why Reddit is awesome (which never really works) or drop the subject entirely.
Response 3: "What's that?"
Reaction 3: You now have to either explain what Reddit is (which isn't easy) and why it is awesome (which, again, never really works) and then explain why it ties into what you were talking about, or drop the subject entirely.

You always hope for Response/Reaction 1.

Not long ago I was hanging out with my lady and our friend used Method 1 to broach the Reddit subject. I gave Response/Reaction 1 and my lady was somewhere between Response/Reaction 1 and 2. She wasn't a Redditor but knew lots about it since I talked about it all the time. Now she's a Redditor too! (To be fair, all three of us are more lurkers.)

Tonight I broached the Reddit subject using Method 2. I was slightly nervous I would get Response/Reaction 3, and then be a total nerd (and not the cool kind) as I tried miserably to explain the very weird amalgamation of news and cartoons and science and pictures and inside jokes that is Reddit. Luckily, I got somewhere between 1 and 2: he is a Redditor but seemed thrown off by my asking.

When I learn someone is a Redditor I like them that much more. When my friend asked if we were Redditors I nearly jumped in the air with excitement. Someone automatically gets approval points for mentioning Reddit, and someone I don't know well I'll want to know better. I feel like there are others out there, everywhere, who do what I do, like the world is much smaller than it seems.

Thanks, Redditors.

March 14, 2011


I'm in orange.

Yesterday I ran 13.1 miles– more than I've ever run– in 2 hours and 5 minutes (and 38 seconds, but who's counting?). Today I can barely move.

The event was the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park Inaugural Half Marathon. I raced in a group of 3,500 in order to raise funds to build a new tiger habitat. Though, I wonder how much of our fees actually go to tigers: we got a technical t-shirt (which is the coolest thing ever!), a finisher's medal, fruit, and as much Powerade as we wanted, not to mention paying employees to be there early, equipment to set up water stations, mile markers, a permit to shut down a busy road, winner medals (and the awesome stuffed-animal cheetahs they won), and extra employees to attend to the crowd. We probably raised well over $200k, but I still wonder. Regardless, it was an amazing experience and one I definitely want to do next year.

The biggest pitfall with this run was that it was the same day as daylight saving time. So not only did I have to be up super early, I had to do so on a day I lost an hour of sleep. And, since I'm just this lucky, I woke up in the middle of the night (I'd had a LOT of water right before bed) just in time to see the clock change from 1:59am to 3am. Less than 2 hours later we (my mom came for moral support) were up.

There's only one road leading into the Park and it's only one lane. But there's 2 ways to get to that road, and I knew the one no one else would be taking, which got us into the parking lot in record time (I don't know how 3k+ cars made it on those roads and into the limited parking lot space...). Gear check, potty break, bib on and I was good to go. There was a morning DJ kind of guy with a mic doing his best to get people pumped. There were girls in sequined skirts, groups wearing animal-themed outfits, a guy in a condor costume, and two men in matching zebra and tiger striped leggings, as well as many wearing the orange shirts. The sun started to break, 7am came and we were off.

Somehow the weather was perfect for the run. The sun was out for a while, letting my hands thaw, but after a while the sun retreated behind cloud cover and mist. While the sun was still rising we ran down a road lined with orchards, horse corrals and cow pastures. One house had a large field behind it and a white horse, backlit by the rising sun, ran alongside the fence as cows mooed beyond. It was a beautiful sight and a few people near me took pictures with their phones. The course was a lot hillier than I expected but I told myself to not stop on hills, no matter what. I broke that resolve for a few seconds on the last hill– it looked longer than it was, and because it was steep I gave in halfway up. A man on the sidelines shouted encouragement: "This is the top, you're there." A girl next to me told him he'd better be right and we both picked up running again. He was, we were over the last hill. The medic was stationed at the peak of that hill (which was a point we passed twice), and at the bottom were residents of a neighborhood we invaded cheering us on. One man turned to wave, tripped and fell. He rolled like a hero in a video game, popped right back up, and waved again to the small crowd saying he was alright. His buddies, running alongside him, joked that he'd have to go back up the hill if he needed the medic, and that he should tell others he was saving someone from a lion.

Around mile 10-11 I had to stop for a few more seconds to give some relief to my hip and to adjust my shoe. All together, including walking through the water stations, I stopped running for less than 2 minutes. The last mile seemed much longer than a mile, but when I saw that 13 mile marker I started running fast. I powered through and the last .1 miles was almost sprinting. I saw my time on a giant clock and had a huge grin as I passed the finish line. I knew I'd finish before 2:30, and I secretly wanted to finish before 2:15, but I never guessed I'd finish at 2:05. I accepted my finisher's medal, a bottle of water and Powerade, found my mom (who promptly took my very sweaty picture) and just tried to keep from collapsing. My legs were shaking and there were so many people (over a thousand finished before me) crowding the area that there was no room to walk it off.

Once I regained my composure (and took my zebra stampede photo) I started to feel good. I headed over to see if I could find my former co-workers/fellow runners, and hopped on the one morning caravan that hadn't sold out yet. I finally introduced my mom to the best job ever (she was excited to meet my giraffe and rhino friends) and once the sun came out we started to forget our cold and enjoy the day.

When we were home I took the world's greatest shower, ate a plate-full of pasta and vegetables, and we lay down for a nap. More than 4 hours later we woke up, still exhausted, and I devoured a giant plate of nachos. A day later and I'm still exhausted, and now with very sore legs. But I feel accomplished that I ran a half marathon. This is a race I want to make a tradition, and next time I run I want to beat 2 hours.

March 8, 2011

Kissing A Stranger

I was on a date, of sorts, with this guy. It was maybe the third or fourth date and we were just hanging out at his place, some of his friends were over, and it was a pizza-beer-movie kind of evening. He had his arm around me on the couch, in a kind of compulsory way. But suddenly he turns, looks at me with confident eyes, and kisses me. He kisses me deliberately, securely. It lasts a few seconds, then he pulls away leaving me speechless, almost even breathless. We stare at each other for a second, then he turns back to the movie, grinning, and I look around the room, seemingly for the first time. The friends are laying sprawled out on their stomaches on the floor, chatting about what's going on on the TV, this guy's arm is now comfortably around me, holding me close, and I'm just accepted into this group of people without question, all because I'm with their good friend. We're all lounging in sweatshirts on a weeknight, entirely unconcerned with dress code. I relax into my date's arm, at once contented and excited at my new place in this group. That kiss, the deliberate way in which it was delivered, the confident no-questions-asked attitude, roped me in.

And then I woke up.

On the up side, I woke up in a really good mood. If reading into dreams means anything (which, after the earthquake dream the other night, I hope not), maybe it means I'm going to meet a handsome stranger in grad school. When I looked at this guy after the kiss I felt amazed– not that we kissed like that but that I knew this was something. Not it, but something meaningful. And that was exciting. Waking up with that feeling still fluttering around inside me reminded me that that exists– I may not have been waiting around hoping my boyfriends would ask me out, and definitely never thought my relationships would last more than a couple of months or be even remotely serious (boy was I wrong), so I never got that really excited "I hope this works out" feeling. I'd certainly like to think that I'll have that feeling, or something similar, if I ever get married. I'd also like to think that if there ever is anyone I want to marry that I'll know, even if it doesn't work out or he doesn't want to marry me; the thought of being in a ('nother) serious relationship for years but still having that "how do you know it's right?" feeling lurking around seems depressing.

Though I have to say I did know, in my two relationships. I knew they weren't right, I just may not have been quick to admit it (ok, ok, it took me years to admit it, and then 6 months after admitting it to ending it... so I take my time, alright?). Half the battle is working up the courage to get along on your own, but the other half of the battle is working up the courage to break some poor guy's heart. Nobody really looks forward to either of those battles.

I like that my dreams take on hopeful themes as well as terrifying ones (simultaneous earthquakes are scary as shit, apparently, but in my dream everyone was physically and mentally OK). My dreams, combined with some real life positivity, make me think things are gonna get good quick. I'm ready for change.

For now, it's off to Nyquil land for some more drug-induced adventures.

March 3, 2011

More TSA Goodness

This is genius. I should have been a boy, just so I could try this.

The Viagra TSA Experiment. Please click that link and watch the video (or read the transcript); it will be worth 5 minutes of your time. Just like it sounds, a man, named John, takes a hefty dose of Viagra (and I mean hefty...) an hour before arriving at the airport. Naturally, he refuses the body scanner, whips out his camera and records the ensuing and highly awkward male-on-male pat down.

If you've never had one of their pat downs this may not seem all that funny. But I've had a pat down*, and those guys have to be eye-level with your junk, so I imagine having a raging erection (while being fondled by a government agent in a room with hundreds of other people) being an interesting part of the day, to say the least.

What's better, the TSA agent was made aware that he was going to be touching a man who'd taken Viagra, and you know that was the only thing on his mind, probably especially as he was eye-level with it. John tried to joke around while being man-handled, and the agent went along with it for a while. Though you can't see in the video what the agent was doing when he decided to stop playing along, my guess is it was right at the point he had to actually look the erection in the eye. The procedure begins with arms and shoulders, moves to the chest and legs, and the end is the genital region. Maybe it's just hard (haha!) to find the humor in that situation when your job requires you to be on your knees in front of another man, touching parts you'd never otherwise touch, while the man has a raging boner. TSA agents are not paid nearly enough.

The last paragraph (for those of you not clicking on the link... shame) I'm going to share here because it's word for word exactly how I feel:
Our freedoms are being stripped from us (literally) with every body scan we submit to, but it's not the TSA agent's fault, of course. It's our fault. It's our fault for being so scared that we allow the government to take away our privacy, in order to gain the illusion of greater security. My stance is simple: I would rather have less security, and more freedom.
Thanks, John. I wish I had a penis so I could do this the next time I fly.

Also, looks like I'm not even safe in Canada. The US government is making Canada go through the same bullshit body scanners for all flights into the US. I remember reading that one of the TSA board members is the one behind all the scanners– he's making a shit load of money off our stupid fears.

*I opted out of the body scanner last October and had to submit to a pat down. Though the woman who inspected me was professional, at least to the point of not actually touching my sexy bits and using the back of her hand when she was near my boobs and butt, she was in a foul mood. I found that funny.

March 2, 2011

Government Endorsed Crime

Can't touch this.

Not that it will pass but this New Hampshire bill makes me very excited. Lawmakers in that state want to make the TSA pat downs and x-ray scanners sexual assault. Yay!

The new law will read:
An act making the touching or viewing with a technological device of a person's breasts or genitals by a government security agent without probable cause a sexual assault. This bill classifies persons convicted of the offense as tier III offenders under the criminal offenders registry.
Hells yes.

Again, not that it will pass. And here's why: the TSA is a federal authority, and federal regulations trump state regulations. So even if the bill does pass it would be taken down within months because it's unconstitutional to have a state law in conflict with a federal one. Also, if we're going to force TSA agents to rely on suspicious behavior then we open up the racial profiling can of worms. A simple way around this would be to train TSA agents on the psychology and body language of suspicious people, but noooooooo, that's not what TSA does.

I'm just glad there are some law makers who are as angry about this whole ordeal as I am. Thee body searches seem like the biggest invasion of privacy and the fact that they're government sanctioned makes me sick. Does Canada have body scanners and obnoxious (and invasive) pat downs?

EDIT: Texas introduced a similar bill! Except this article says airports are regulated by the state governments, not the Federal government. Maybe these laws have a chance after all!

March 1, 2011

Moving To Canada

If I ever become Canadian I'm getting this tattoo. I think I've said this before...

Canada is looking better and better the more I learn. Two news stories between yesterday and today made me absolutely disgusted with America.

The first was a story about the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision to not alter wording in a regulation that prohibits the broadcast of false or misleading information. Canada actually has a rule that says you can't fucking lie on TV or radio. Apparently this whole thing is being called into question because back in 1992 (yeah, almost 20 years ago) some guy said the Holocaust never happened and argued that his right to freedom of expression meant he couldn't be charged for disseminating false information. Now they want to change the wording so it only applies to broadcasters who know the information is false or misleading and when "reporting it was likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public." But that's not journalism; anyone who uses his or her position in the broadcasting industry to deliberately report false or misleading information, especially when it could cause damage to lives or industry, should at the very least lose his or her job and possibly even be jailed, depending on how severe of a lie it is. It is the responsibility of journalists, in radio, print and TV, to double check the accuracy of the statements and stories they report and be confident enough to stand behind their research. This new wording would allow someone to report misleading or inaccurate information and hide behind the "I didn't know it wasn't true" loophole. If journalists aren't doing their jobs where does that leave us?

Enter Fox News.

Widely touted as the "only fair news source" by right-wing crazies who insist our president is an African-born Muslim (also the Antichrist... are they still on that?), Fox News has been caught red handed in a number of lies, the most recent one in which the president, Roger Ailes, convinced a number of employees to lie to Federal investigators about an affair that would have embarrassed Ailes buddy Rudy Giuliani in his presidential bid. Fair and balanced? Oops.

Canada calls Sun TV News "Fox News North" for it's "fair and balanced" agenda, and it's easy to see the connection with a tag line like "Hard news and straight talk." Sun TV has been trying to get into Canada, and this new rewording of the regulations would allow them to hide behind the law in their attempts at creating chaos. Here in America we have 2 parties who will do anything to embarrass the other, creating a near-impossible situation for genuinely fair reporting. Luckily, the people of Canada have spoken up against this rewording; they don't need or want lies over their airways.

The second story making me want to move to Canada is one from the good ol' US of A. Turns out 4 years ago House Democrats started a Green the Capitol movement to start environmentally friendly habits. According to their website they've saved nearly 1,500 trees in 2009 just by sending electronic faxes, 46 million gallons of water each year from using low-flow toilets, and 240,000 meals every month served with compostable utensils. Now that the Republicans are in control they're saying "the new majority, plastic ware is back." The good news is not all of the green measures are getting cut, but many are. Compostable utensils are out because they're not strong enough (which I don't get because I used compostable utensils all the time at the Park and they were great), but LED lights get to stay. The bottom line is many environmentally friendly habits end up saving money while also reducing our carbon footprint. Cutting them because they have an up-front cost and opting for initially cheaper (but with higher long-term costs) isn't saving anyone any money. I can't help but feel like taking away green initiatives are more about the Republicans asserting their authority and pissing off the Democrats simply because they can, neener neener neener.

It's so hard to read or hear any piece of news without being skeptical. I find myself asking who's behind the story, what angle are they working and who benefits from this information. It's not about informing the public, no matter which side is doing the talking. It's about being better than the other side. And it's getting embarrassing.

On the other hand, Canada does have one blemish I'm really disappointed about: metered Internet. WTF CANADA? Since when is this an option? We have unlimited calling and texting but now you're trying to take away unlimited Internet? This means people will not have access to basic websites if they can't afford the flash that website decides to put up. Of all the things there is now to fight for, if the US decides to follow in our northern neighbor's footsteps I will protest that to the end. I can't imagine our president, who uses fucking YouTube to broadcast his weekly address to the public, would support limiting who can visit certain websites, but I didn't even know this could ever be an issue. (Though to be fair, I also didn't know we had to have laws that say you can't broadcast a lie, so now I just don't know what to think.)

I never thought, in this day and age, in this country, that we'd be dealing with some of the issues we're dealing with. They just seem so... duh.