Archive for the ‘School’ Category

The Art of Being a Consumer Whore

Friday, July 16th, 2010

As an English major, I chose to give myself a break from ancient texts by supplementing my studies with a creative writing elective. The degree electives are four-course blocks, and one of said courses was English 408: Writing Poetry. I expected to encounter people from several different backgrounds in such a class, but there is nothing, nothing in this world that could have prepared me for ALL THE DAMN HIPSTERS.

For those of you who are unclear, I will try to define this term. Imagine a Woodstock hippie. Give this hippie modern technology, those weird sunglasses that have horizontal bars of plastic instead of lenses, a liberal arts degree, and all the self-righteousness of a sixteen-year-old at a peace rally. Add a dash of ignorant douchebaggery, and you have yourself a hipster.

Generally, I can tolerate these people in small doses. I can pretend to share in their hatred of The Man and wax poetic about Chomsky’s “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”. In this class, however, there came a point where these kids (see note about self-righteous sixteen-year-old; one of the poetry students was actually sixteen) needed a good pimp slap. Between the horrific rhythm-less rap and the free verse poetry about politicians speaking in tongues as cow eyeballs fell from the sky, I came disturbingly close to giving each and every one of them (there were five) a swift kick in the nuts. Throughout this ordeal, one part of hipster philosophy was revealed. It might even be they key tenant, the first of their Ten Commandments. The one consensus was this: if a person enjoys owning things, then said person does not have the correct priorities. Being a consumer is to be, to use a once awesome but not completely overused term, one of the sheeple.

Cars? Those box you in, man. You can’t see the world around you. All those designer clothes you have, they’re barriers, symbolizing the wall between you and enlightenment. You don’t need those heels; they might make you look taller, but they stunt your spiritual growth.

Okay, none of them actually said those things. But it’s in the realm of possibility. Levi, you were there, back me up.

All of this, in spite of my burning hatred of hipsters, forced me to look at the way I live my life. After some serious reflection, I came to a solid conclusion:

I really like owning shit.

Don’t get me wrong, I give to charity when I can. I bought a homeless guy lunch today. I’m growing my hair out so that it can be cut off and made into a wig for a cancer patient (and because it’ll look really pretty if my hair is in a fancy up-do for my wedding). But I firmly believe that one of life’s greatest pleasures is walking through the mall with a Victoria’s Secret bag on my right arm and a Barnes & Noble bag on my left. I don’t care who you are; when you have that beautiful pink striped bag clutched in your fist, you know it’s going to be a good day.

I have favorite things, and they are not as pure and innocent as raindrops on roses. No, my favorite things cost money. I love my mortar and pestle. I love my glass spoon holder that is covered in primary-colored octopi. I absolutely adore my sensible black heels. My X-Box controller with the pink Beauty and the Beast skin? Freaking awesome. Are any of these things necessary to my survival? Probably not. But having them kicks ass.

There are some people I know, however, who drop the names of designers as often as possible, as though there’s a casting director hiding somewhere, just waiting to feature them on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous or Sex in the City 9. People who equate Vera Wang with Gandhi, who strive to be Paris Hilton, who tell me that five pairs of shoes is simply not enough, oh my word, HOW DO YOU LIVE IN SUCH SQUALOR. These are people that should be locked in a room with the hipsters, because their lives revolve around beating other people over the head with sale prices that are still in the triple digits.

What I think some people need to realize is that there is a difference between owning material possessions and enjoying them, and absolutely living for your next purchase. There are a lot of things that I can’t have, and I’m fine with that. It was the same way when I was a kid; my parents didn’t have a lot of spending cash when my Dad was in-between jobs, and when we went shopping, I had to hear “no” a lot. This is according to my mother. I don’t remember any of that, because I never felt deprived. I knew my parents loved me, I had toys at home that were just as much fun, and missing out on some shiny new gadget didn’t affect my life in any way. In short, I was raised to be grateful. So grateful, in fact, that my mother has to convince me to buy a new pair of jeans. Honestly, I’ve sewn them up five times now; why not go for six?

Blast from the past

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Last week, I joined a group on facebook that is dedicated to the Sierra Vista Junior High School class of 2002. I still don’t know why. I hated middle school. I know most people say that, and they have every reason to; middle school is awkward and isolating and full of hormones and general yuckiness. It’s fair to hate those two years of your life. But I had an exceptionally rough go of it. I can’t count how many times my parents had to see me come home in tears. I was not cute by any stretch of the imagination. My short hair was very unflattering, I had braces with the rubber bands, you couldn’t see my forehead or my chin under all the pimples….it was bad, guys. Really bad. Not to mention that I had the personality of a cactus, and had no problem telling everyone exactly how I felt at all times. Needless to say, I was not well recieved.

I my eighth grade history class, there was a boy who we will call Shawn. Very large. Tall, yes, but also obese, with a deformed eye. He wasn’t very nice, but I tried to protect him anyway. I was of the opinion that the regets should stick together. One day, David asked me why I had not said the Pledge of Alligence. I told him that, as a Wiccan, I didn’t feel comfortable saying “under God”…the convictions of a thirteen-year-old, what can I say. Without any other questions, Shawn proclaimed, loudly, that I worshipped the devil. My teacher did nothing. And a group of boys who sat behind Shawn, and who usually chose him as their target, started in on me ruthlessly. I cried in class that day, and many others after. I was the Satanic lesbian for the rest of my tenure at Sierra Vista.

I mention this as a roundabout way of getting to my point: today, one of those boys contacted me. He said he felt bad about how he and his group treated others. Without prompting from me, he remembered the above incident, and how much it had hurt me. There wasn’t an apology, but after all this time, I don’t really care about that. I’m simply floored that he remembered. When you’re the one who is bullied, you assume that the people hurting you could not possibly care less, and they will live their lives without a second thought about the spirits they crushed. Today, I discovered that that isn’t true. It warmed my heart. It’s just an extra bit of reassurance that people do grow up to be better people, and that we aren’t static creatures…a person doesn’t have to be an asshole forever.

Thank you for the reminder.

The times, they are a-changing

Monday, February 15th, 2010

I apologize for my lack of updates, but some of you are probably aware that my life has been in a state of chaos for the last month or so. Quick recap:

Jason and I were evicted
Jason and I have moved elsewhere
I can’t find a job to save my life
I totaled my car, right before midterms
I have midterms
My mother was right and there is no such thing as a Money Tree (damn!)

So, yes. Massive insanity. His friends have been so helpful, and my parents have been more supportive than any parents should have to be, ever, so we’re making it through. And there are some really good times. The Superbowl was a blast. Yesterday was our first Valentine’s Day, my first with a s/o, and it was lovely. No presents, no big shows, just pizza and Star Wars and love. His birthday is coming up, then St Patricks Day, and our anniversary is the day after. There are many, many reasons to celebrate. Times are incredibly hard right now, but no harder than they’ve always been for someone else. It’s our turn to struggle for a while. And, if nothing else, I’d say it’s helped our relationship. We haven’t fought once since the eviction. Not that we fight a lot, it’s actually a pretty rare ocurrance, but to be this strapped for cash and not at each other’s throats…I think that says something. I know he works his butt off, and he knows that I’m doing my best to find anything that pays, along with finishing school. There’s a lot of love and support in this house, and for that, I’m grateful.

More than a few parentheses

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

My finals are over and I am finally allowed to be sick .

I’ll probably still be an idiot and go to the gym tonight, because a sore throat has nothing to do with weight lifting, but we’ll see.

I have planned and mickey-moused and wormed my way through every last inch of the Cal State LA schedule of classes, and I have finally found a sure-fire way to get my last eight classes in so I can graduate at the end of Spring Quarter (for anyone who remembers that I have a list of 43 things on the right side bar, that means #4 could be checked off the list). This seems reasonable. Two years in a junior college, two at a university, exactly how I wanted it to be.

Until, of course, they decide to change everything.

They might not. And unicorns that poop glitter might live in the clouds, too.

I wouldn’t be so concerned about it, except now, CSULA has this amazing thing going on called furloughs (all the flyers on campus spell it ‘furlows’. Remove head from sphincter, then type.) Six days of unpaid leave for all faculty members. Most of my classes are two days a week. That equals seven weeks of instruction instead of the standard ten. For the couple classes I need that are once a week? Who knows if anyone will even bother teaching them.

So, we, as students, are losing (presumably) valuable weeks of instruction, which means we’re literally paying more for a hell of a lot less. Student fees went up yet again, 25%, I believe.

Santa, I’ve been very good this year. For Christmas, please bring California a halfway decent education budget?

Anyway. J has been taking very good care of me while I’ve been sick and gross. He makes me tea and doesn’t take my kills on Gears of War 2. Who could ask for anything more?

Oh, if anyone else is sick and gross too, I swear by the night-time Tylenol cold multi-symptom, the new-ish one that has the little honey stick and says ‘warming’. I couldn’t sleep last night, so I watched 10 Things I Hate About You, wrote a couple songs, and then remembered that I have some of that wonderful concoction in our medicine cabinet. Four tablespoons of that (yes, that is two too many) and I was out like a very warm and happy light. Fair warning for those crawling over significant others to get back to your designated sleeping place: you might get elbowed/kneed in the face. Just sayin.

Total left turn. On a more somber note, a boy I knew passed away this week. The details on the how are still fuzzy. I can’t really call him a boy, he was 30 when I met him, but he never really struck me as an adult. We met last year when I was in Massachusetts for my eldest niece’s high school graduation. We went out a couple times around Boston and had a little fling…it was fairly innocent and very sweet. When he took my to the train station the last time, he asked me to call when I got back to the west coast. I said I would. I never intended to. I liked what we had that one week, and it would have never been anything more than that. I feared that if we had tried to maintain a friendship, it would become awkward and strained. I do no regret that decision at all. It ensured that all of my memories of Lucas would be very fond ones. I only hope that he didn’t feel slighted by my decision, because that certainly wasn’t my intention….though considering he never called me either, I think it might be safe to assume that we had the same mind about the situation.

Don’t want to end on that note. One facebook click led to another, and Sins o’ the Flesh, the Los Angeles Rocky Horror cast, has a new Trixie. (Aside, a couple things about SotF. Good cast. Awesome cast, in fact, these people are frigging accurate and, more importantly, funny. The security team rocks my socks, too. I’ll never go back there [except maybe for Clue, because I've still never seen that with a shadow-cast] but if you’ve never been to a live Rocky Horror Picture Show, SotF is the cast to see. Just don’t date them. The single ones are single for very good reasons. Except maybe for Wynn. He’s pretty cool. End of aside.) I mention this only because back in the day, when I was a regular attendee, the role of Trixie was still open, and I was seriously considering auditioning. There are brief moments where I wish I had gone through with it, because I think it would have gone a long way towards improving how I perceive my body. But then I remember that stripping in front of people who have already seen me somewhat naked (I was a ‘sheet slut’ one night, no I didn’t sleep with the whole freaking cast. Geez.) is much different than stripping every other weekend for Rocky-obsessed tards, which includes subgroups such as: pre-pubescent tards, over-30 tards, and female tards that are into other female tards only when intoxicated. I remember this, and the world makes sense once again.

I mentioned my 43 list earlier, and I’m on my way to accomplishing one more thing: #5–lose ten pounds. Last Monday, I was 135. Yesterday morning, I weighed in at 132. At that rate, provided I get better by tomorrow (I will, I will!), I’ll make 125 in a little over three weeks. I don’t intend to lose any more after that; I could and still be healthy, but then I would have to say goodbye to certain girl-parts that I’m very fond of. Yay for reaching goals! As of today, I’m also starting on #35–meditate daily. I think this will be very good for me. I’m hoping to get J in on it as well.

That’s all for now. I’d like to go work out (carefully) tonight or tomorrow morning, so I’m going to take a much needed nap.

How I will spend my summer vacation

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Done with school for the next two weeks, and I’ve decided that I am very much overdue for some ‘me’ time. Finals were a easy as pie, with the excpetion of my two hour essay final for Medieval Lit. A bunch of us didn’t finish, and we all wanted to claw our eyes out by the end of it. But I survived. That is enough for me.

I’ll be working, thought not as much as I’d like…I could really use some extra hours, and I generally like being at the restaurant. With only one exception, all of the servers are very sweet and helpful. They take good care of the other hostess and me.

Aside from that, though, I’m very much looking forward to Disneyland (!!!) and finally reading a book that doesn’t require a six page analysis due at midnight to Jason’s trading me his Starcraft series for my extra copy of The Princess Bride. So excited! He started reading part of one of them, Nova, to me last night. Have I mentioned how much I love being read to? It’s amazing. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and safe, like a kitten wrapped in a blanket and surrounded by teddy bears that are eating cotton candy. It is that awesome.

I will, I will, I WILL start going to the gym again. That is also on the list of stuff I want to do over break, because it really is just as much a matter of want as it is of need. I know how good I feel when I work out. Someday I would like to trade my gym membership in for pole classes, but I think that’s going to be a long way off.

Last weekend brought a whole bunch of bittersweet. My dear friend Myra and her husband Kurt are moving to Oregon…I think they already left, actually. The three May Revelers are spread out quite a bit now, but I will definitely keep in touch with Claire and Myra, and hopefully I will be able to reach Joanna. I don’t have such a tight relationship with many women. I never thought having close girl friends would be something I ever wanted. Now that I have a few, though, I can’t believe how much I was missing out on.

Nothing dramatic or epic to report. The biggest thing going on right now is the 1 vs 100 live game on XBOX 360 that Mom 2.0 and I have become completely obsessed with. I had forgotten how competitive I can get…apparently Jason was unaware as well. Oops! just one of those things, I guess, still getting used to each others little quirks. It’s fun, though. We make a good team.

The IP School of Gooder English

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Alright, I’ve suffered in silence….quasi-silence….long enough. I can’t take this anymore. The seemingly endless amount of poor grammar hurts my soul.

Before we begin, I’d like to note that I am not going to slam people who speak in LolCats. That is meant as a joke, and is generally used sparingly. If someone starts abusing their “I can haz?” privileges, have no fear, they will be drawn and quartered, and then I will sell all of their belongings on Ebay and use the money to buy the 80th anniversary edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

First lesson: there, their, and they’re.

“There” refers to a location. Where is the book? Over there. For a more abstract use: There are only a couple ways to use the form “there”, so stop screwing it up.

“Their” is a possessive. You should know what that means, but just in case you were too busy passing notes in your middle school English classes to pay attention, that means “their” is used when the noun in the sentence belongs to someone. That delicious, mouthwatering, nearly-orgasmic sushi is (unfortunately) theirs.

“They’re” is a contraction. That little tick mark between y and r? That isn’t decorative, amazingly enough. It really does have a purpose. It’s called an apostrophe, and it takes the place of an extracted letter, in this case the a in are. So, if we replace the apostrophe with the a, “they’re” becomes “they are”, and we all know how to use that phrase, yes? Please? For the love of all things holy?

Edit here: Holy crap, I fail at life. I could have sworn I typed ‘contraction’ when I first posted this. Thank you, Angela! You are wonderful :)

Second lesson: loose versus lose.

I can’t even begin to understand how these two words are confused; they mean completely different things. However, I’ve been seeing this mistake for a few years now, and it’s not getting any better.

“Lose” means to misplace/get rid of something, or it is the opposite of ‘to win’. As in, I hate when I lose my pens because then I have to buy more, or My dad’s volume reaches ungodly levels when the Red Sox lose.

“Loose” is the opposite of tight. My pants are loose; I must have lost some weight! Also can be used as a slang term when talking about those who are sexually promiscuous, i.e. “loose woman”.

My hand to God, I will brutally maim the next person who switches those two words around. Public school education is NO EXCUSE.

I have a few other more generalized gripes. Run-on sentences, comma splices, apostrophe errors (it’s versus its), lack of capitalization at the beginning of sentences….look, people, these are things that can be fixed easily and will help you be perceived at least as intelligent as fifth-grade GATE students. Please, go forth and try not to suck at this. It makes the rest of us cry like starving Ethiopian children.

One last thing: if you use ’2′ for to (or too) or you spell “what” with a u, just give up now. There is no hope for you; you have lost your soul and you will probably spend eternity in the circle of hell that also houses those who don’t take advantage of deodorant and those who write Snape/Hermione (or Sirius/Lupin) slash.

Let it be known

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

that Cal Arts does not have the monopoly on weird shit.

I try to be on campus as little as possible. I don’t belong to any clubs, I live far away, and traffic always blows. There are times, however, when I am SO HAPPY to be there at a precise moment.

The music building has three floors. I generally like walking past it, because I always hear a cello or an aria or something. This morning, however, I heard a loud yell from a third-floor window. As I stopped and looked up towards the noise, two heads popped out, one male and one female.

Let the shanghai theatre begin!

From what I gathered, I was supposed to be their marriage counselor, and lord did they need one. It was a very funny scene, probably one that they wrote, just a couple bickering about each other’s crap. Very good rhythm…they had definitely practiced. The most amazing part was that no other passersby seemed to take notice of what was happening…just kept walking on by. Kind of sad, actually. After about five minutes, the couple finished and popped their heads back through the window. I applauded, waited for an encore, and went on my way to class when none came.

Later that day, during my third class, I was preparing to recite my twenty lines of Middle English. This has been hell for me.I worked my ass off…bless Jason for being so patient; I was a complete basket-case for about a week now, stressing about this assignment. About fifteen minutes before my turn, my classmates and I noticed a smell…odd….kind of like…hm. Smoke.

A generator had caught on fire, and the buildings were being evacuated. So at 5:30 pm, I found myself outside, in the cold, under a dripping tree, during random bursts of pouring rain….speaking in Middle English, a skill that will never help me in life.

I’d also like to point out that this class has gone from 27 members at the beginning of the quarter to 15 now, and at least three of those are grad students. This has no bearing on the story, but I felt like bragging about being awesome. We are the few…the proud…the 460.

So yes. Odd day. Good day. Hopefully I’m in for an equally good, though less eventful night. Though with my luck, there’ll be a zombie apocalypse or something just because I wrote that last sentence.