Faking It

Obligatory adult language warning for this post. Sorry. My blog, my voice HAHAHAHA!

lmaSometimes it is so hard to fake a smile. I am having one of those days when I just want everyone to fuck the hell off and leave me alone, but all the most annoying people are coming out of the woodwork today to get on my ass.

I’m having this terrible back pain across my shoulder blades, the clock change is fucking with my brain, and my commute this morning (despite leaving the house super early because hello, clock change!) took me over an hour (19 fucking miles…over an hour).

I am miserable today, in a downright foul mood. What this normally means for me is that I just want to be left alone, and if I were at home, my husband (because he’s smart and he knows me) would just stay the fuck out of my way.

BITCH WITH THE WHINY VOICE *walks past the sign that says “I’M OUT TO LUNCH! GO AWAY!”)* and spends 10 minutes telling me she wants to move her meeting with my boss up and trying to figure out when she can do it.

killedyouinmymindMe on the Inside: FUCK YOU. GO AWAY. LEAVE ME ALONE. DID YOU REALLY JUST WALK RIGHT PAST THAT GIANT FUCKING SIGN WITH THE GRUMPY CAT ON IT? CAN YOU FUCKING READ?

Me on the Outside: *smile smile smile so fucking hard my face hurts* Ok, let’s see…he can see you at 2, will that work? No, that doesn’t fit into your schedule? How about 2:30? Ok, good. Oh no, now you’re going to change your mind? 3:00? Ok good. Now fuck off and go the fuck away (that part was on the inside obviously).

That doesn’t seem like much, does it? But it’s constant, all day long, not just during my lunch break. Today it’s just grating on me; the phone won’t stop ringing and people won’t stop bugging me over stupid, asinine things that they could just send me a damn email about.

snapeI don’t really even know why I’m in this mood today. Maybe it’s because this election season has brought all the stupid assholes crawling out from under their fucking rocks. Maybe it’s because I’ve been writing so much, so I’ve been in such a focused mood these last several days that I am not used to all the crap that’s going on around me. It doesn’t help that one of the docs brought her kid to work today and she’s in her mom’s office talking to a friend on her iPad and it sounds like they’re having a fucking rave in there. And our manager is in her office with the door open having a phone conference that we can all hear. That one destroys me because I’m about a millisecond away from going in there and saying, “Listen up, bitch! If you aren’t going to make use of your fucking door, then you can have my cubicle and I’ll take your office because I will most definitely make use of the fucking door!”

Sensory overload? Could be. I don’t really function very well when there are a lot of sounds and activity going on around me. Even on a good day, I can’t stand hearing three or four loud conversations going on at once; sets my nerves on edge.

Anyway, I will be glad when this fucking day is over:(

mondays

 

DMC 4- Words to Live By

dmc4edit

Let’s see. The prompt was this:

Speaking of sayings and the sort – this DMC is all about words. Of course, we aren’t looking for just any words, rather we want to know what words do you live by? What is your code, your mantra, your living quote, the words that are strung together so perfectly that they drive you through life?

Some of us may have a couple of these fantastic phrases or may have just one that is the pure definition of life. Whatever it may be, what are those words and why do they speak to you? Who said them first? When did they become so important?


Let me start by saying that I love quotes. I mean, I lllloooooovvvveeee quotes. I think it comes from my passion for words. Nothing makes me smile much more than when I am able to string a bunch of words together to create something, whether it be profound, silly, witty, sarcastic, or outright mundane! I’m not completely sure when it was that I first became aware that I had this ability…maybe it’s just that in recent years, a lot of words I see are – how to put this nicely – JUST. PLAIN. STUPID. In an age when “wut r u doin?” passes for adult communication, I almost shudder to think what (wut?) the state of our written language will be in a few more decades. Therefore, it’s up to those of us who can throw a dozen words together and produce a comprehensive sentence to make a stand and keep eloquence alive!

tentaclechair
© Abigail Larson

Sorry, I sort of went off on a bit of a rant, didn’t I? Where was I…? Oh yeah! I LOVE quotes!

I collect quotes the way some people collect coins or stamps. Most are other people’s words, some are thoughts that pop into my head that I jot down as possible story ideas – or just plain weird-ass thoughts, haha!

Here’s an example of a weird-ass one (by me, muahaha, so if I ever get famous, be sure to put a © on this bitch if you post it somewhere!):

You know you have stayed too long when the
chair in which you usually sit embraces you.

There are so many different ways that sentence can be perceived – creepy, weird, profound? It could alternately conjures up an image of one of those asinine people who comes to visit you that you wish would just leave already – or slimy tentacles emerging from the back of the chair to wrap around you and keep you from ever leaving again (MUAHAHAHAHA!).


So quotes can be a powerful thing! Here are a few of my favorites and my thoughts on them.

be-yourself-everyone-else-is-taken-oscar-wilde-rd-5272409Ohhhh, Oscar Wilde! This is my favorite of his quotes, and it’s the one I most often use on my social media profiles because it’s short, it’s simple, and it’s concise.

It took me a lot of years to accept myself for the quirky geeky weirdo that I am and to embrace my strangeness, even longer for me to be comfortable enough allowing my weirdness to be experienced by other people. I make no apologies for it anymore (I used to!), and who better to take a lesson from than the very epitome of individuality and oddness that was Oscar Wilde!

Wilde gave us The Picture of Dorian Gray (doesn’t get much weirder than that!) and publicly defended his beliefs regarding the depiction of morality in creative works as well as the morality of his own personal life in an age when it was downright dangerous to do so. It doesn’t get much more real than that! It’s just too bad that the things he was fighting for back then are still so controversial today. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right? <–another great quote LOL! (Told you I lervvvvveeeee quotes!)


be-the-change

This one has long been attributed to Mahatma Gandhi…but it’s never actually been proven to have been said by him. It doesn’t really matter who said it, and truthfully, I don’t mind its being misattributed to him. It’s a quote that could change the world, and he was a great philosopher. I don’t want to see it go away simply because nobody knows who said it…so I’ll keep attributing it to him:)

You want people to be kind? Be kinder to people. Don’t have something nice to say to someone or want to say something nasty? Shut your mouth, turn the other cheek, walk away, and find someone else among the 7 billion human beings on this planet, someone to whom you DO have something nice to say. We are all living on the same rock. We all have the same color blood in our veins. You want to see the world change? Then change it, starting with how you treat others.


human-beings

There’s a Sanskrit greeting–Namaste. I’ve seen it interpreted a few different ways, all with pretty much the same meaning. Basically, it means the divine spirit in me honors the divine spirit in you. I’ve always found this to be a very cool thought.

This quote sort of follows along nicely with Namaste. I think sometimes that people get so caught up in determining which “Divine Spirit” they should be following, worshiping, listening to, ignoring, hating, loving, believing, disbelieving, etc., that they lose sight of the fact that the journey we’re on – our life here on this planet – the very point of that journey is the journey. The destination – whether it be Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Hades, Valhalla, the Summerland, Ahura Mazda, Nirvana, nothingness, reincarnation – doesn’t really matter. For us, right now, right here, this is what matters, this human experience we’re having because in the end, it is only temporary so we should make the most of it while we’re having it. Then it’s on to the next great adventure…or not.


Oh, so yeah, I guess I felt like waxing philosophical in this post…I’m in writer mode these days, so the words just sort of have a mind of their own, and my only job is to stick them together in the correct order;)

Until my next post…

namaste-bitches

DRIVE YOUR FUCKING CAR!!!

I live 19 miles from my office. Nineteen. 19. Yesterday, I was 20 minutes late for work. So this morning, I left my house 20 minutes earlier. I was 15 minutes late for work. I should explain that I live in Southeastern Massachusetts and I work in Providence, Rhode Island. Rhode Island has the worst drivers – THE WORST DRIVERS – in the country. I tell you this because if you ever find yourself in Rhode Island, you should be forewarned.

welcome-to-riRhode Island drivers are notorious for being completely oblivious to the fact that there is anyone else on the road other than them. They do not use directionals, they will drive across three lanes of traffic to take a turn, they will stop in the middle of the highway for no reason that is apparent to anyone other than themselves. You will look at them and the look on their face is one of complete surprise, as if they’re saying, “Hey…how did I get in this car and where am I going?” As if they just woke up in the middle of the highway with no inkling of how or why they’re there or where the fuck they’re going.

If you are anywhere in the country (believe me, I know this for a fact) and you spot a driver who seems completely incompetent behind the wheel and/or oblivious to anyone around them, I guarantee you that 9 times out of 10, the plate on their car is a Rhode Island one. I have witnessed this – time and time again – in my travels. In New Hampshire, in Washington DC, in Oregon, in Virginia, in Pennsylvania, in New York. I will look at my husband when we’re behind an idiot-driving-a-car, roll my eyes, and say, “Look at the plate.”

It took me an hour to drive 19 miles today. An hour. The car in front of me in the far left lane let 23 cars in front of him. Twenty-three. 23. I counted. Then, after letting all those cars in front of him, he moved over into the middle lane.

By the time I arrive at work, my blood pressure is so high and I am in such a shitty fucking mood that I just want to kill someone.

ri-licThe image to the left is a clue as to the intelligence of the average Rhode Island driver. Do you know what that is? When you renew your registration in Rhode Island, you receive a sticker in the mail with instructions to affix it to your plate on top of the previous sticker. I once asked someone why I see plates with stickers all over them like this, and you know what I was told? “Well, it says to put it on top of the previous sticker…so that’s what we do.” For whatever fucking reason, they interpret “on top of” to mean “above,” and so they place the new sticker above the previous one…and when they reach the top of the plate, they just start sticking them all over the fucking place “because there’s no more room ‘on top of’ the other ones.” Seriously. I am not kidding you, I’m not joking, I’m not trying to make shit up to insult anyone’s intelligence…

dumbdumber[Why do you think Dumb and Dumber was filmed in RI? Did you think they were joking? No…it’s because Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne are typical Rhode Islanders!!!!!!! A large number of them really are that stupid!]

I had a coworker tell me once years ago that all her friends call her Blivvy. Why? “Because when I’m behind the wheel of my car, I’m completely oblivious to everything and everyone around me.” She seemed proud of this fact. Proud. No lie.

In Rhode Island, apparently the far left lane of the highway is the travel lane, even once they cross the line into Massachusetts. It doesn’t matter if the speed limit is 55 – or as it is in Massachusetts, 65 – they will drive 40 in the far left lane. You want to go the speed limit? You can go around them, pass them by way of the middle lane – because they’re not getting out of your way…no matter how long the line of traffic is behind them.

road-rage-620I have seen people texting, putting on makeup, talking with their hands (both of them)…one time – and no, I can’t make this shit up – I was standing outside my previous office on Eddy Street and the driver of a car on Eddy Street had his laptop balanced in the crook of his left arm, which was resting on the window and was typing away as he was driving. NOT. FUCKING. KIDDING.

I saw a woman painting her nails on the highway. I saw a woman with all of her makeup lined up on her dashboard during morning rush hour. PUT YOUR DAMN MAKEUP ON AT HOME OR WHEN YOU GET TO WORK. Seriously.

My morning commute is a bitch. I’m in a foul mood when I get to work, and I’m not a “morning person” to begin with, so it doesn’t make for a pleasant start to the day. The only time my commute is even somewhat bearable is during the summer. During the school year, it seems like there are 10x the number of people on the road during my morning ride. It should not take me over an hour to drive 19 miles.

Science really needs to discover teleportation because it would probably cure my high blood pressure all by itself. Either that, or I’m just going to start running people over. >:(

Skewed Perception

I read an article recently in which several sci-fi authors and others had made predictions back in the 60’s as to what life would be like around the present time.

One of the things that struck me was that several of them predicted that our work week would be shorter (hopeful motherfuckers) and that most of our work would be done by machines or robots.

shame2At first, I thought they were sort of right. Machines have made our lives simpler in a lot of ways, and computers pretty much run everything…but then I started thinking of all those third-world people who actually do most of “our” menial labor for pennies a day, and I became ashamed.

What a sad reflection on the human race that we “use” our fellow human beings that way.

Frustration

I work as a secretary at a teaching hospital. Prior to my job here, I was a paralegal and a legal secretary. Throughout the years, my job has become more and more difficult. I probably don’t mean this in the way you think I mean it.

I am not saying that the work I do has become more difficult; with experience, the tasks themselves become easier and easier as time passes because I become more efficient at them. What I mean is that it becomes increasingly difficult to be a good secretary because of the many restrictions that are placed on us at our workplace.

As an example, in the past, when one of my bosses would need me to obtain some information for them, it was a simple matter of picking up the phone and calling the person from whom I needed to obtain the information. I would say, “This is S____, calling from So-and-So’s office. Ms. So-and-So has asked me to get XX information from you.” That person would then give me the information my boss had requested.

Now, however, nine times out of ten when I call, I’m told, “I’m sorry. I can’t give you that information. Ms. So-and-So will need to call us personally to obtain that information.”

On the surface, I know that what I’m saying doesn’t seem like a big deal. Ok, so Ms. So-and-So will just have to pick up the phone and call herself.

One of the things I’ve always told my bosses over the years is this: You are a lawyer (or doctor), I’m your secretary. Your job is to serve your clients (or patients), my job is to serve you. Don’t sweat the small stuff. That’s my job. However, now I find myself having to tell my bosses, “I’m sorry. You’ll have to sweat the small stuff now because I’m no longer allowed to do so.”

In the medical field, I work for busy doctors, and working in a teaching hospital, the doctors for whom I work are not only busy with patient care and surgery, but also with teaching medical students, residents, and fellows. It might seem a simple matter for them to pick up the phone and request a piece of information themselves, but it really isn’t. Most of the time, it’s not a five-minute phone call; it’s sitting on hold for 45 minutes.

I think it’s ironic actually, this incredible push for privacy, especially in light of the fact that very little, if anything, these days is actually private. If you watch the news, it seems that the government has access to almost every little detail of our lives, so to me, being told “I’m sorry, you’ll have to have your boss call us herself for that information” is nothing more than a sense of false security. Big Brother, after all, still knows all. Right?

To be perfectly honest, with my former boss (she left here last Spring, but I worked with her for seven years), I could have called right back and told them I was her, could have answered any question they threw at me to “prove” my identity. Hell, I knew (and still know) her SS#, date and place of birth, parents’ names, first pet’s name, children’s names (and dates/places of birth), husband’s name (and date/place of birth and SS#), credit card numbers–I know more about her off the top of my head than she herself probably keeps in her own head lol–the only things keeping me from doing that were my integrity and my honesty…and if she’d told me to do it, I would have done it. Because that is, after all, what a secretary USED to be able to do.

Freedom

I used to have a web site called Random Rants. I spent a lot of time sharing my thoughts and opinions there, and it’s been awhile since I’ve had a good rant, so consider yourself forewarned:)

I’ve seen several posts on my Facebook newsfeed lately regarding the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase “In God We Trust” on our currency. The discussions are whether recital of the Pledge of Allegiance should be mandatory in US schools and whether the phrase In God We Trust should appear on our currency. The comments on these posts can get quite heated.

The Pledge of Allegiance
us flagRegarding the Pledge of Allegiance, a majority of people argue that recital of the Pledge should be mandatory and should start the school day. While this was standard practice when I was a child, as an adult I tend to see things differently. For one thing, the US was founded on the principles of freedom, and the First Amendment of the US Constitution grants every citizen of the United States the freedom of speech (also sometimes referred to as “freedom of expression”). What this means is that we may communicate our opinions and ideas using our body and property, and as such, we may express our opinion of the government (and anything else) in any way we so choose. The First Amendment gives us the right to disagree with our government. Sure, kids probably don’t refuse to recite the Pledge because they don’t like the US; in most instances, I’d say the decision to make recital of the Pledge of Allegiance mandatory usually isn’t made by the kids in the schools but by some adults or organizations on their behalf.

 What comes to mind when I think of rooms full of young people reciting a pledge to their country is crowds of Hitler’s Youth raising their hands in salute or young cadets marching in formation to the beat of a drum as they head off to war. Yes, it’s an extreme vision, but when you think about it, why is forcing children to pledge allegiance to a country just because they live there considered good? As I said, this country was founded on the principle that all humans are created equal. Why should we make young minds pledge allegiance (by rote, no less) to a country when they’re only just beginning to form opinions and ideas of the world?

Constitution_of_the_United_States,_page_1“If you don’t like this country, get out!” Why? As an adult, I choose to pledge allegiance to my country; I love the country in which I live, mainly because of the freedoms it affords me. If I disagree with something my government does or says, I can stand tall and state my opinion without fear of vanishing in the dead of night and turning up dead. But that’s a choice I make; every citizen of the US has a right to make that choice for himself. If someone doesn’t like something our government does (and believe me, I think we can all attest to feeling this way sometimes), they have every right to, and SHOULD, speak up and let their feelings be known, not be told to “get out!” The government of the United States is “for the people, by the people” and if the people don’t agree with something it does, they SHOULD share their opinion! It’s what our country was founded upon and was one of the very reasons our founding fathers left the country(ies) they were born in!

In God We Trust
1in_god_we_trustRegarding the phrase In God We Trust that appears on our currency, to be honest, I don’t care one way or the other whether it’s there. I’m (probably) not a believer, and at best, I’m an agnostic. I won’t even argue that the Constitution also gives us the right (and freedom) to choose the beliefs we wish to follow (it absolutely DOES grant us that right). I’d rather focus on the arguments I’ve seen on those posts. They run the gamut from “the US was founded by Christians” to “of course it should, because this country believes in God and doesn’t bow down to a false god like those filthy ragheads!” Another common comment I saw went something like “Yes! We need God in our lives more, people don’t even have dinner with their families anymore, they don’t go to church anymore, this country is falling apart because people don’t have God in their lives!”

All of these comments bother me, not because of the belief people have in God, but because of the nonsense they’re stating. Let’s break them down:

The US was founded by Christians.”
According to sources cited on Wikipedia, “of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics. Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.” Additionally, a few were anti-clerical Christians (Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin), and some (Thomas Paine, for example) were deists. Some historians even argue that some of the most prominent founding fathers were theistic rationalists.

muslim pray…this country believes in God and doesn’t bow down to a false god like those filthy ragheads!” Regardless of what our founding fathers believed, the US Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, the US has no “official” religion, and no one in the country can be prohibited from freely exercising the religion of their choice. So those “filthy ragheads” have every right to get on their knees for Allah! And printing the words In God We Trust won’t make that commenter any less of a bigot than he is now.

Yes! We need God in our lives more, people don’t even have dinner with their families anymore, they don’t go to church anymore, this country is falling apart because people don’t have God in their lives!
you-must-be-the-change-you-wish-to-see-in-the-world-1024x576This comment gets me every time. This person is essentially blaming the absence of God for the lack of family and community. She thinks that by forcing God on people, they will miraculously change their ways and become better people. The fact that people don’t have dinner with their families is directly related to the fact that they don’t have God in their lives? How so? As I stated above, I’m a non-believer…but I have dinner with my husband nearly every night. My beliefs, or lack thereof, do not determine whether I’m a good person or not. The presence or absence of God in my life doesn’t make me want (or not want) to have dinner with my family. All that needs to happen for people to change their ways is for…GASP!…people to change their ways!!!

free

A LOT of the comments I saw on the In God We Trust post were bigoted and hateful. I replied that words on a piece of paper won’t make people “better” if they’re bigots. In God We Trust won’t do anything to change someone from hating the “filthy ragheads” or make them have dinner with their families more often if they don’t want to. Those are things that THEY have to do on their own.

We should not need God to tell us to be good people; we should aspire to be good people regardless of what we, or others, believe.

Disclaimer: For the record, this post is not at ALL about, or against, religion. I could not care less what anyone believes, what religion they are, etc. This post is about bigotry and hatred and my frustration at people thinking that what’s wrong with our country can be fixed by forcing other people to conform to what THEY approve of.

Think Positive!

I’m trying to think positive…really I am! This is a busy time of the year for me at work. We have a fellowship in our division at the hospital, and I’m the fellowship coordinator. That means that when we start recruiting fellows (which happens starting in March), I’m the one that has to coordinate the interview schedules, the transportation, the pre-interview dinner, etc., for all these people.

As in past years, we invite 10 applicants for each of our four interview dates, with the supposition that not all of them will accept (because that’s what I was told to do…even though I said, “If all of them DO accept, we’re screwed…” I was told, “That won’t happen.”). Well, guess what? All 10 of the applicants invited for our first interview date (tomorrow) accepted…to which the doctors said to me, “What?! How are we going to interview 10 applicants in just one day?! Why did we invite 10?!” To which I replied:

deanfacepalm[And yes, that is Dean Winchester. Like I said, I’m trying to think positive. He helps:) ]

I won’t go into detail about all the other things that are happening. It seems that on my busiest days of the week, that’s when people start having computer issues or the phone rings off the wall–little, tedious, mundane things that can wait, but they all want it now, NOW, NOW! Not to mention that one coworker called in sick and the other called in late, which leaves me answering their phones all morning.

Positive thoughts, right?

I’m going to see Wicked in a couple weeks in Boston with my sister and my niece. Woo! Can’t wait! I have the day off from work so we can head up early and spend the day in the city. Ha, and of course, the following Monday is that one holiday that RI celebrates that nobody else does–Victory Day–so I will have a long weekend!

Then there’s NecronomiCon August 22-25. I’ve already got my tickets to that. How appropriate that my first Con is a Lovecraft convention:)

I’m getting myself in creative mode again–writing and dabbling in some photomanips. I am determined to leave my job at the office, so once I leave at the end of the day, I don’t give it another thought (so I say…it’s much easier said than done;)

Oh…AND! I put on a pair of capris this morning that I hadn’t worn since last summer and found a nicely washed $11 in the pocket:)

Ranting

Yes, I’m going to rant again. Those of you who know me probably know I’m fascinated by the strange and paranormal.

lo0221Foot
This is not the actual image, but it is one I found online that looks EXACTLY like it, and this is one of the ones I shared in my comments on Facebook.

Well, recently an image was posted on a Facebook page local to me (and which I follow) about a woman whose kids found a partially decomposed foot in the woods, which they (and she) believed to be human in nature. She contacted the police, but she also sent a photo of the item to the owner of this particular Facebook page, who posted it and requested comments.

Most people agreed that it appeared to be a human foot, but a few (myself included) theorized that it might be a bear’s foot, minus the claws on the ends of the toes. The bear foot theory was not only dismissed, but essentially scoffed at. When I posted links to images of other partially decomposed bear foots which had also mistakenly been believed at first to be human feet, the owner of the Facebook page told me “This is definitely NOT a bear foot. It is CLEARLY a human foot” and again dismissed my theory. Several other commenters did the same, some ridiculing the bear foot idea.

This is another example of a bear paw. You can see why it would be easy to think it's a human body part.
This is another example of a bear paw. You can see why it would be easy to think it’s a human body part.

Well, the other night I noticed that this Facebook page had posted an update indicating the police forensics and an expert from a local university had concluded that the foot in question was definitely that of a bear and not a human. The update was posted quietly, without much uproar, and with barely a comment of acknowledgment. I at least expected the page owner to acknowledge that they and others had been wrong. Nothing.

So I scrolled my way to the original post to see if they had acknowledged the bear foot theory that had been posted in the comments there. Well, not only had they not done that, but each and every comment regarding the bear foot theory, as well as each and every comment disputing (and/or ridiculing) that theory, had been deleted.

Does it sound like I’m upset? I’m actually not upset so much as just disgusted. I’m considering unfriending or unfollowing that particular Facebook page because this one act has made me lose some respect for the person that runs the page. She has essentially twisted the history of the discussion regarding the foot that was found and erased her and others’ dispute of one of the theories (which later became fact).

questions-1Why is this such a big deal? Mostly because most of us that are interested in such things are skeptics. We see lights in the sky, we try to explain them with fact and logic. We hear a knocking sound when we’re alone in the house, we try to find a logical and mundane explanation (like a raccoon in the basement). We try to find the simplest and most logical and easily provable explanation for things that we don’t understand before coming to the conclusion that something unusual is going on.

By this person not only neglecting to acknowledge that a theory they ridiculed was actually correct, but by also removing every mention of that theory or their dispute of that theory, they have removed the proof of the speculation surrounding the incident as well as damaged their own integrity as an impartial observer. It makes me now doubt everything they have posted of a supernatural nature, wondering if they’re leaving something out that might give a clue as to the true nature of the event or item they are describing.

ufo2I could post a long story about the time my husband and I saw a UFO. I can describe the chill that went down my spine and the way my husband and I both looked at each other with the same wide-eyed expression and said, “Did you see that?” I can tell you that we were in the car and on our way somewhere, but we still decided to take the time to chase down the object, and the thrill and excitement we felt trying to get close enough to see the little green men piloting it, deciding which street to turn down, which direction to go to get a better glimpse. You’d be amazed and think, “Wow, you saw a UFO!”

If I then leave out the fact that we DID get close enough to see it up close…only to discover that it was a Fuji blimp…what does that make me? And if you later found out that I KNEW what I saw was not an alien spacecraft, that it was just a blimp heading to a local sporting event, what would that do to my credibility from that point forward? Would you believe anything I posted after that? Or would you be left wondering what details I was leaving out that might help to explain what it was that I saw?

questionThere is a LOT of misinformation and disinformation in the world these days. Our politicians lie to us, our news media twist the facts to give us a good story. If we as skeptics refuse to acknowledge when we are wrong; if we refuse to accept that some things have very mundane, simple explanations even though our imagination may get the better of us, then what does that say about us? Are we being true to ourselves? Or are we merely falling victim to the same sensationalism that is so prevalent today?

I’ll be cross-posting this on P-E, though without most of the back story details, because we think it’s important for those of us running sites like that to be objective in our observations and give our readers the opportunity to make up their own minds about what they’re seeing or reading about.

Author’s Note: If you’re interested in more information on the bear paw stories, please see this sitethis site and this site. Also, check out this Google search. You see, I wasn’t just making up stories that the foot in question was possibly a bear paw; I was sharing factual, proven information showing that bear paws are very OFTEN mistaken for human body parts and that it was POSSIBLE that the foot found was a bear paw. I never assumed that it WAS or that it WASN’T; just offered an alternate theory.

Print Books vs E-Books

bookAlright, I’m gonna rant here, I can’t help it. I have a Linked In account and I belong to several writers’ groups there and it’s almost a daily occurrence to see a debate about ebooks vs. print books, and to be honest, I’m just sick and tired of the whole argument.

From the point of view of an aspiring writer who has published one erotica book under a pseudonym and one collection of short stories years ago when electronic self-publishing first came out, let me just say that I don’t care in WHAT format someone buys my books as long as they READ them.

See, here’s the thing…for years, we’ve been seeing in the news how horrible American schools are nowadays, how 90-gazillion percent of high school seniors graduating are reading well below their grade levels. Rather than arguing over which reading PACKAGING is better or worse, shouldn’t we just be glad that people are READING?!

book2Seriously, if I see one more person eloquently state how they savor the fresh scent of a paper book, rejoice in the feeling of the pages moving so softly between their fingers, and relish the weight of a book in their hands, I’m gonna very eloquently vomit on their friggin’ book. A book is to be read…not made love to. I don’t care if the damned thing is written on a NAPKIN, a paper bag, or parchment laced with gold, all I care about are the words that someone took the time to put together into sentences and build into a story.

Ebooks are not going to be the death of literature, no matter how many people seem to think they are. Electronic publishing DOES have it’s advantages, even if most people won’t acknowledge them. For instance:

  • Some aspiring authors can’t afford the expensive marketing and publishing costs today, so the only way for them to get published is to do it themselves.
  • By the same token, unless an author is lucky enough to get that huge multi-million dollar advanced payment contract that we all dream of, chances are they are working a full-time job and don’t have the time to market their book and shop around for an agent, a publisher, etc.
  • If not for things like Project Gutenberg, there is a very good chance that a LOT of obscure, out-of-print books would have been lost in the sands of time by now. How incredible is it that some of those old tomes have been preserved electronically?!
Amazon_Kindle_3
Kindle 3

I have a Kindle. I bought my Kindle when they came out with the second-generation version in early 2009, when they still cost a fortune even. It was my Christmas gift to myself using my Christmas money and money I saved up, and it is probably one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever bought. A year or so later, I bought a third-generation Kindle and gave the older one to my mother-in-law. Two years ago, I bought my eldest niece one for her high school graduation and bought one for my mother for her birthday.

My niece LOVES her Kindle, uses it all the time, and loves to get Amazon gift cards to buy new books to read. One thing I have never regretted is buying books for each of my nieces and nephew every year and instilling a love of reading in them, picking out books that I loved as a kid (like Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia) as well as books I know they want, and I won’t regret buying each of them a Kindle as they get older. (And for the record, my 19-year-old niece’s favorite book of all-time is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn:))

My mom loves her Kindle as well, especially the fact that she can enlarge the font to make reading easier on her eyes, one of the reasons she said she hadn’t been reading as many books in the last several years. She now reads every day on her Kindle.

We bought my stepson a Kindle Fire for Christmas in 2011, and he loves that as well. He was one of those boys who really didn’t like to read, but in the last few years, he’s been reading like crazy.

The debate over whether ebooks will make printed books obsolete is stupid (yes, my opinion–STUPID). For one thing, I think there will always be a place for printed books, just as there is still a place for vinyl record albums, CDs, and live musical acts. But just the fact that people are actually READING–THAT is what’s important!! Who cares what format the material is in as long as they are READING!

carDo we really need to see the same arguments fighting against advancing technology every time something new comes along? Many people believe ebooks are just a passing fad. Sure they are–just like automobiles were–and electricity–and radio–and film–and the telephone–and the computer.

I am always amazed and astounded by technology. When I realized that I could carry an entire library in my purse, you bet I was excited!   And yes, I immediately started saving my money up to get one! And I haven’t regretted that purchase for a minute. Besides being able to carry so many books with me, the fact that I can download the next book in a series when I finish the previous one, that I don’t have to go out to a bookstore (or wait for it to be open if it’s the middle of the night), that I can switch from one book to another without having to pick one up and put one down, that I don’t have to keep bugging my husband to build me another bookcase–those things alone were worth it!

Really, just quit with the arguments and debates over which is better. Keep buying and reading your print books if that’s what you prefer. I won’t knock it; I get it! But don’t knock ebooks either! Just be glad people are READING!

Mondays Suck!

mondaysSorry, I had to say it. Mondays truly do suck. Whoever invented the 5-day work week should have been shot. Seriously, if they ever invent time travel, I’m taking a trip back and finding that person and talking some sense into them.

I should say…not all Mondays suck. Vacation Mondays don’t suck. Holiday Mondays don’t suck. But most Mondays do.

Take today, for instance. I forgot to turn off my alarm (I use the alarm on my phone), so about 30 seconds into my shower, it started going off…and I had to listen to it going off…over and over and over and over…until the end of my shower. After the first few minutes, I spent the rest of my time in there yelling STFU! at my phone. Not a relaxing Monday morning shower, right?

I apparently slept “wrong” last night and my shoulder feels like someone stabbed me. It’s worse when I raise my hand up above my shoulder (you know, like you do when you’re in the shower and you need to wash your hair, among other things). The Advil has helped a little bit, but it’s still there, I can feel it twinge every few minutes.

traffic blogTraffic was especially horrendous today. Rhode Island drivers are the worst I’ve encountered. Living just over the line from RI and working in Providence means I get to encounter them on a daily basis. I work 19 miles from my house. When people ask me how the commute to Providence is along Interstate 195, I tell them, “I don’t commute to Providence. I commute to Seekonk, MA…then coast to Providence.” On any given workday, it can take me 20 minutes to drive to work…or an hour and a half. An hour and a half to drive 19 miles. But the RI Dept of Transportation is great! They put an LED sign up right over the state line that tells us the commute time; in other words, the sign tells me how late I can expect to be for work that day. I think it calculates the number of dolts on the road and uses some sort of archaic algebraic equation to determine how many minutes it will take to get from the state line to Route 95 (which is a distance of approximately 3 miles). This morning it changed from 9 minutes to 12 minutes while I was sitting there looking at it. Twelve minutes to drive 3 miles.

lowtirepressureMy low tire pressure warning came on about halfway to work this morning. That’s terrific. So I spent the second half of my commute/coast to work wondering if a tire was going to blow or something.

And the weather? I love snow, don’t get me wrong, but that one day last week when Mother Nature teased us with 60°. Not funny! I got up the next day and went out of the house with a hoodie on over my sweater…and it was 33°. It hasn’t warmed back up since, AND they are saying there’s snow coming tonight. I’ve had enough for one season; I’m ready for Spring now, ok? I’m sick of wearing a bulky winter coat every day, tired of driving with all the windows closed, tired of having to bundle up every damn day, sick of having to keep my dogs cooped up in the house because it’s too cold out for them to go out and play.

pmsCan you tell that I’m cranky today? That’s PMS too. Always fun when PMS and Mondays happen together. I wish I could just go home and go back to bed.

Anyway, so that’s my Monday. I woke up on time, forgot to shut off the alarm, my back/shoulder hurt, my tires are low, there were a lot of idiots on the road, I was late for work, it’s going to snow today, and I have PMS.

Ugh. BITE ME, MONDAY!