Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Books are Cool

As a kid I spent most of my summers in the small town of Smackover, Arkansas (hence the user name in my URL, I knew no one else would have it). Despite it's somewhat exiting name, there was not a whole lot to do in Smackover. I spent most of my time watching TV (I know, shocking), swimming in the pool, riding in a golf cart, and playing in the library. My Grandmother was the local high school librarian and while she worked, I would find ways to entertain myself. I would type on the typewriter, look up random things in the card catalog, and read the illicit Sweet Valley High books. I just totally dated myself there didn't I?

Anyway, as a result of all those days running around with the whole place to myself, I have a love of books and the library that has been with me even to this day. Unfortunately many libraries today are facing massive budget cutbacks which are forcing them to eliminate staff and resources as well as stopping the ordering of new books. To counteract this, many libraries have set up wishlists on where people can donate books online. Over here, Pamie lists different places to donate to the San Diego library system, an area that was devastated by fires last year. I donated to Oakland last year and felt good about myself for weeks. And let's face it, I need all the good karma points I can get.

Now I know many of us are poor, and if you can't donate that's cool. But if you could just post a link to the information on your site or mention it to a friend, then maybe someone who otherwise wouldn't have known about it, will donate something. And that's worth good karma points, too!

So come on people, no child should be denied the right to visit a Chocolate factory or play The Westing Game.

Friday, June 25, 2004

The Anti-List

Looking back at some of my older entries, I realize that I spend a lot of time ranting and complaining about the many annoyances of my life. I'm ok with that, it works for me, but one might come away with the impression that I'm a huge ball of negativity that shuns joy in favor of the dark and bleak. While that's not that far from the truth, I do occasionally let a few of rays of sunshine into my cold, dead heart. What is about to follow is a recitation of some of the things that fill me with peace and happiness. It's The Anti-List, if you will.

1)Television. Come on, you knew it was coming. I could and do watch hours upon hours of TV. It's an activity I find surprisingly interactive, not just with my equally-obsessed roommate, but with the programming itself. People who shut off their brains while watching are missing out, because the best shows can make you ponder life's questions while the worst ones can really sharpen your snarking skills. And you really don't want to let those get rusty.

2)In a related note, TV box sets on DVD. Seriously, these are like my crack. I love being able to watch my favorite hours of television any time I want, not being a slave to the scheduling monkeys that program TV content. The biggest problem with these is that they can be kind of expensive which is an issue when three of tour favorite shows come out with releases within weeks of each other.

3)Bendy Straws. They satisfy my oral fixation, while being extra fun.

4)Madonna. I saw her concert a few weeks ago, and it was like being in church. In the non-sacrilegious way. I saw her Drowned World Tour a few years ago, and while I loved every second of it, despite my distaste for large crowds, my one (tiny) complaint was that she didn't sing any of her classic stuff. So when I heard those first few beats of "Vogue" I nearly teared up. I was finally about to hear my favorite artist sing live some of my absolute favorite songs. And with Madonna, you're not just hearing some music, you're seeing a show. It was so damn entertaining that I think all the dancing that I was doing was the best workout I've had in years. It was totally worth the astronomical ticket price.

5)My iPod. It holds my entire music collection onto something smaller than an index card. That's genius. Between that, and iTunes, I've barely touched my cd collection in months, except to download more music.

6)The kind of laughter that hurts your stomach and makes you fall to the floor, rolling and gasping for breath because you are guffawing too hard to control your own body.

7)Puzzles. I'm not sure why, but if you were to get all psychoanalytical on me, you could probably say my love for puzzles stem from the fact that I'm so confused about my own life and future, that figuring out a complex puzzle brings a badly needed sense of control and accomplishment to my life. Or that they're pretty.

8)Coke. It's the official soft drink of heaven.

9)The Olympics. I love watching obscure sporting events that we only even see every four years. I love the grand pageantry of it all. I love that it always contains a few upsets and surprises. I love the hot swimmer boys. The Olympics basically have just as much drama as anything projected on a movie screen.

10)My friends. Aww. Now enough schmaltz. Go away.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Where's Tippi Hedren When You Need Her?

When we moved into our apartment last summer, we began to notice odd sounds coming from outside our windows at all hours of the day. An incessant chirping noise could be heard in the early rising of the morning, the darkest depths of night, and anytime in between. At first it was like, "oh listen to the sounds of nature at work." Oh it totally wasn't for my roommate and I couldn't give a rat's ass about nature, but at first the noise was tolerable. Then we discovered the nest that was resting precariously on our front porch. I guess they figured that those freaky giant creatures can make their homes in entirely wooden structures, why can't we? I don't why since there are plenty of trees just outside our building, but what can you do? Anyways, vague tolerance soon turned into sheer annoyance. A loud cacophony always greeted me at the most inopportune moments. Trying to go to sleep? Trying to do homework? HaHa, think again sucker. Those stupid birds really made me work and concentrate on whatever it is I wanted to do, and being lazy I naturally resented that.

I know some of you out there are thinking, why not just get rid of the nest? It's a perfectly valid question, but I had heard somewhere a long time ago that if a mother bird can sense a human smell emitting from her nest, then she won't ever go back to it and her babies will starve to death. Now I'm just fine with the former result, but I'm no baby killer. Maybe it's because I read Are You My Mother? too many times as a child, but I don't want that kind of guilt (or the ghost of Dr. Seuss) weighing on my conscience. So we decided to wait them out, and remove the nest after they flew south for the winter. Yes this would leave them homeless, but we figured it was time for them to find their own damn house, and if that didn't work maybe Habitat for Birdkind would help build them a home that would naturally be filmed for a touching reality show aimed at the feathered set.

The trouble is, as I mentioned before, I'm lazy. The phrase "out of sight, out of mind" came into play and we forgot all about the sad little pile of sticks that remained on our balcony. That is, we forgot until a few weeks ago when the first few chirps could be heard, intruding on the quiet peaceful air. We had missed our very large window of opportunity and are now doomed to another whole summer of us against the birds. I hope that by the end of the summer the shrieking will not have sent me over the edge, rendering me not responsible for my own actions. Otherwise those baby birds just might have to learn to find their own damn food.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I'm a Healthy Eater!

I heard on the radio that french fries are now being classified by the FDA as a vegetable. Hooray! I can now claim to have vegetables as a regular part of my diet. Of course they were quick to mention that this classification was for commerce purposes, not nutritional ones. Whatever, I'll go enjoy my vegetables now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Quick Additions

More for the list:

6) People (particularly celebrities) who name their kids fucked up names for the sake of being different. Different is fine. There are an awful lot of Michaels, Matthews, and Elizabeths out there. Audio Science is not ok. Pilot Inspektor is not ok. Apple and CoCo are not ok. These kids will have to go their whole lives listening to lame jokes and not being taken seriously as professional adults because they're named after fruit. Will no one think of the children?

7) Harry. This is in honor of my favorite roommate and partner in bitchiness, Eric. This ungrateful, unintelligent, slime of a human being had the nerve to berate Eric for doing his job, and giving up his day off to do so, when technically Eric is his superior. In a store of a bunch of whiners and idiots, congratulations Harry, you were the worst. We hope that you come down with a very painful and debilitating disease, possibly of the STD variety.

Monday, June 14, 2004

The List, part deux

Let the vicious (verbal) beatings begin!

1) Charles Rubin. Normally I wouldn't throw a specific (non-celebrity) name out their for all the world and google to read, but this man pissed me off more than any other person who is not my mother ever has before, and I want him to suffer for it. I want anyone who happens to be searching for him or his stupid book to come across this entry and think twice about giving up even the tiniest portion of their time and/or money towards this rude jackass. The asshole was an author who was invited by our grossly incompetent area marketing manager to have do an event in our store this past weekend. His book is directed towards parents dealing with drug-addicted children, which is admirable, but I now believe this man to be too idiotic and insensitive to be helpful at all. He called a few hours beforehand to ask for directions to the store. Ordinarily that would be perfectly acceptable, but he was coming from over an hour and a half away and was already in the car on his way. I may be crazy, but when I'm expected at a certain place by a certain time, I look up the exact route online before I leave, just to make sure that I have adequate time to get there and have more than a vague notion how to get there. Even if for some insane reason you don't have access to the internet, INVEST IN A FUCKING MAP. Those of us who were there didn't know how to get to our store from his location because it's not like his town enters into our daily routine, or that we have regular customers from there. I told him how to get to the store once he hit a certain freeway, (which he claimed to know how to get to) and gave him the very simple directions a minimum of six times. When we couldn't give him the information he wanted, he berated and demeaned us (well mainly me), and from the very beginning his tone was condescendingly rude and spiraled into downright hostility. I'm sorry that I don't have a GPS system implanted in my brain, but I can't magically pull information out of my ass because you were to fucking lazy to do your responsibility. He called several times and the last time he called he claimed that we kept giving different and conflicting directions. I either spoke to him, or was standing next to the person who spoke to him at the time, and we gave him the exact same, simple directions that all employees give at least 5 times a day, and they all seem to get to the store ok. So essentially he either wasn't listening or flat-out lying, either way not desirable attributes for anyone dealing with the thorny issue of drug addiction. I have worked in that store for over two years and I know what I am doing. I am not an incompetent worker like this man said I was, he is an incompetent human being. If you ever come across this man, I strongly encourage you to give him hell.

2)People who plagiarize others words, or just generally take credit for other people's words. Since there seems to be some confusion out there, defines the word plagiarize as: 1)To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one's own. 2)To appropriate for use as one's own passages or ideas from (another). Apparently there has been some confusion about whether or not this is wrong. I always thought that this was a given and that people who did it just didn't care, but it is without a doubt wrong in every sense of the word. First of all it is illegal. I know that in this world of digital information and the internet, regulation and enforcement of an individual's material is next to impossible. I'm not sure the internet should be regulated, because I think it's one of the last forums for a free exchange of ideas. But this is not so much about legality, as it is about ethics. A person, the essence of who he or she is, is made up by that persons thoughts, actions, emotions, and words. By taking someone else's words you are stealing, yes stealing, a piece of them and misrepresenting who you are. Also, the act itself of taking someone else's words as your own, is a dishonest and amoral one and reflects poorly on you. I'm not saying you should never reference the works of others, hell that's what research papers are all about, but it's not to difficult to add the words "written by _______ _______" to any piece. I'm not using this space to passively aggressively snipe at intended targets, those in question know how I feel about this, I just wanted to more eloquently put together an argument against this heinous act. As a writer and a (hopefully) moral person, I find the practice of plagiarism both offensive and reprehensible.

3) Everyone responsible for the show "The Swan." Let's send out the message that physical beauty is the key to happiness and then tell them that they aren't good enough! Assholes.

4) Giuliana from E! Just because she annoys me.

5) James Van Der Beek. Just because.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Hey I'm not dead!

The world of computers and technology has been conspiring against me. In other words my computer has been broken for a few weeks now. But guess what, it's now fixed! Now I can do all those things I should be doing like fine-tuning my resume and looking for jobs. But I'll probably just be reading recaps because I'm lazy and fear change and/or rejection. I promise content of the more substantial variety soon, but well I'm tired. Leave me alone.