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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Shoes Suck

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I’m going to buck the stereotype about women and proclaim my hatred for all shoes.

I’ve hated shoes for as long as I can remember.  Growing up with wide feet, I didn’t get many choices on what to wear.  We didn’t have lots of money, so I did most of my shoe shopping at Payless Shoe Source since they carried wide sizes.  I also have wide calves so boots are mostly out of the question.

Shoes serve one function for me – to keep the soles of my feet from getting torn up.  Otherwise, I’d rather be barefoot.

I have been on a quest to find a shoe that I can comfortably wear all day and I’m coming up empty.  There is always something flawed about the shoe that ends with a blister or pain.  I’ve tried Crocs.  The squishy material is nice but they don’t have enough support and my foot ends up hurting in a few hours (not to mention the sweating if I wear them without socks of some kind).  Flip flops are mostly good but then that thing between my toes eventually rubs a blister.  Sports shoes become too tight if my feet swell and the pressure on my pinky toes becomes unbearable.

If you haven’t figured it out, I have a low threshold for foot discomfort.  I’m like the princess and the pea when it comes to my feet.  The slightest thing will become intolerable in no time.  But because of this, I don’t have fucked up feet like I’ve seen on others who can deal with the pain of “pretty shoes”.  I don’t have knee or back problems from wearing heels nor the bunions and hammer toes that can also accompany the unnatural shape that a foot must be squeezed into.  I’ve decided against including any pictures because they are just so hideous.

When I am indoors but not at home, I do have something that I can wear that looks more like a shoe but feels like a sock.  It’s called Nu Foot.  It’s made of neoprene and has something on the sole to help with traction.  No one has ever asked me what I had on my feet so either they don’t know these aren’t shoes or they just don’t care.

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The only drawback to these obviously is you can’t walk around outside with them.  They offer no more protection for your feet than socks.  The perfect solution would be if someone attached a rubber sole to these things.  I would never wear anything else.  Seriously, my shoe shopping days would be over.  I would just stock up on these.

Until then, I’m still on a quest for a good shoe so that I can enjoy a full, active day of walking around my happy place, Disneyland.  You need comfy shoes to really get the most out of any standing/walking activity.  And I do enjoy walking, as long as my feet are happy.

 

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Put the Camera Phone Down Already

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This has become the scene at about every event I go to now.

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Are you really going to watch that shit?  Or are you just going to upload it to your youtube channel?

I want to watch the show I paid to see, not see it through your view screen. This is not a generational thing, either.  I’ve seen people of all ages holding up devices.

It’s understandable to want to have something to show for what we do in life.  So take a couple of pictures to capture the moment and then put the fucking phone away.

I finally had a good spot to watch the fireworks at Disneyland last week but I saw this all around me.

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And people taking flash pictures of said fireworks.  What the fuck do you think you’re going to capture with that flash?  You’re just going to illuminate the nearest object (probably someone’s head) and get a blurry light in the background.  Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed in the moment.  There are professional photographers who have amazing cameras that can capture a fireworks display better than your damn iPhone ever could.  The internet is full of such awesome pictures.  Stop wasting your time and ruining other people’s view!!!

These are the absolute best shots I’ve ever gotten of fireworks (with a non-flashing camera set to capture low light pictures).

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I got the hidden Mickey in the fireworks show.

I got the hidden Mickey in the fireworks show.

These are mediocre at best.  And they don’t even bring me one hundredth of the joy that actually watching the show did.

We used to be more judicious with our photo taking when film and developing cost money.  It’s practically free because of digital cameras and phones, so we just go hog wild now.  I had a friend go to Europe for a few weeks.  She sent me a link to her photos.  There were over 1100!  I got bored after about three or four hundred of them.  I probably missed some good ones but ain’t nobody got time for that shit.

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Studies have been done that indicate incessant photo taking doesn’t help your memory of an event or moment, it actually lessens it (see this article).  You spend more time behind a camera rather than really taking in a moment, you only remember that.
We all want mementos of our life experiences but when the acquisition of those takes the place of actual experience, then you are robbing yourself of being present in the moment, a moment you may never get again.  If you lose your memory, those photos will have no more meaning to you than if you saw them in a magazine.  But if you lose your photos, you’ll still have your memories.  Put the phone/camera/iPad down once in a while and experience life.  You won’t miss photos you never bothered to take.  And you probably don’t even think about most of the ones you’ve already taken.

Today is a Hungry Day

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I feel like I’ve been hungry since I woke up this morning.  In fact, I woke up early specifically because I was hungry, but I made myself go back to sleep.  I had to get up early this morning to do laundry so the alarm was set for 6am but the hunger went off about an hour earlier.  While doing laundry, the granola bar that normally hits the spot wasn’t enough and I had an apple too.

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I had my normal breakfast of yogurt and coffee but I was ravenous at noon (an hour earlier than I normally have lunch).  By three, I had to raid someone’s office candy dish and now I’m eating some Chex Mix I got from a vending machine.  Aargh!

I’ve discovered that I’m a three squares kind of gal.  A decent meal usually satiates me for hours.  But for some reason, today it’s just not doing the trick.  It’s going to be a hearty dinner tonight.

This got me thinking about other types of “days” I sometimes have that make no sense.

Every so often I have a Sleepy Day where the eight hours I got the night before seems to have had no effect and by 4pm, I’m ready to face plant right into my keyboard.  Coffee is completely ineffectual too.  Then there are times when I have Anxious Days.  For no discernible reason, I feel anxious and ill-at-ease, like something bad is about to happen even though nothing terrible comes to pass.  And then there are the dreaded Angry Days.  Things that normally pass by unnoticed become the source of volcanic-like rage.  I’m pretty much pissed off all day even if no one can tell (I’m a rager on the inside).

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It’s days like these when I’m reminded that I’m not completely in control of the U.S.S. Marie.  I don’t decide to be hungry all day regardless of what I eat.  I don’t think, this will be the day I can barely keep my eyes open.  I can’t even remotely predict when that guy who doesn’t clean up after himself in the office kitchen will chap my hide.  But these things occur.

One of the greatest paradoxes  in all of spirituality I have discovered is learning to take responsibility for all of one’s life while knowing that you aren’t in control of what happens within it.  Come to think of it, life is nothing but paradox.  It’s an enigma wrapped in a puzzle surrounded by mystery.

If you love something, set it free.  Be committed to a cause but not attached to the outcome.  The more something scares you, the more you should probably do it.  The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.  And the pièce de résistance: the more afraid you are of death, the less you will enjoy life.

So, when you have a hungry day or an anxious day, just be thankful you are having a day.  It’s all grist for the mill as Ram Dass once wrote.  It’s all part of a bigger picture that you may not be able to see from your current vantage point.

The Dark Side of Binge Watching

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Prior to the advent of streaming video, binge TV watching was rarely a thing.  You could sit and watch movies all day but rarely did anyone marathon view an entire series of television.

(shakes fist) Damn you, Netflix!

I managed to watch all of the first two seasons (26 hour long episodes) of Orange is the New Black over the course of a few weeks and I’ve discovered something that I never quite experienced before with a television series: complete immersion and borderline obsession.

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The complete immersion was the most disturbing part for me.  I found my mind drifting to the characters and their predicaments far too often.  I actually thought about Piper and crew far more than I did about my friends, family, work, etc.

The only remotely similar experience was after quickly finishing a book series.  I read the seven books by  Isaac Asimov in the Foundation series in two weeks shortly after graduating from college.  Too much of one scenario must confuse the brain and cause reality and fantasy to blur.  I’m just starting to come out of the haze of it all.

Then there was the obsessive need to know what was going to happen.  It was so hard to walk away from a cliffhanger knowing the next episode was just a click away.  I watched on my TV.  I watched on my computer.  I watched on my tablet.  Hell, if I ever got desperate enough, I probably could have watched on my phone.

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I’d even feel a little better if I could get a quick fix (check out the first few minutes of the next episode).  My husband was a little annoyed with me once because I was holding up movie viewing time trying to finish an episode over the 4th of July weekend.

I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole thing but I think I’m going to watch my future TV shows with a little more moderation in mind.  It really can’t be a good thing when you care more about what happens to fictional people than the ones you interact with on a daily basis.

Next year, though I might feel a little differently about it when the next season comes out.  After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

First I'll do a happy dance and then I'll spend all weekend in front of the TV.

First I’ll do a happy dance and then I’ll spend all weekend in front of the TV.

 

Exploring L.A. – The Clark

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In October, I will begin my 15th year as a resident of the city of angels.  I have been meaning for some time to make more of an effort to see parts of Los Angeles that I don’t normally encounter.  I think I’ve actually made it a New Year’s resolution at least once (probably more).

Well, today I finally took the plunge with a scheduled tour of the William Andrew Clark Memorial Library.  I learned of the library from an article of places in Los Angeles to visit.  I just remember seeing a photo of this room and I knew I had to stand in it.

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Seriously, look at that woodwork.  Here’s the ceiling.

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From the library’s website:

The library and its collections were founded by William Andrews Clark, Jr., and named after his father, who had built a mining fortune in Montana. The son, a prominent Los Angeles book collector and philanthropist, had a house at the corner of Adams Blvd. and Cimarron Street, and from 1924 to 1926 he constructed the present library on the same lot. Shortly afterwards he announced his intention to donate the collection, the buildings, and the property to UCLA. When he died in 1934 the deed passed to the University.

The library is situated smack dab in the middle of the West Adams area.  It’s all walled off and very peaceful inside the complex.  There was a stipulation in the will that there would be no building up so most of the collection is stored underground, in addition to places to read the books/use them for research.

Some of the books are housed in one of two rooms in the back, like so.

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I’ve always been a bit of a bibliophile and libraries are sacred to me.  Along with art museums, they are some of my favorite places to visit when I travel.  The most excellent surprise came at the end of the tour.

In a small connecting room known as the French room, there was a sketch on the wall.  I let out an audible gasp when she told me it was a sketch of Marie Antoinette while she was in prison done by the painter Jacques-Louis David.  He is one of my favorite painters of all time.

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This was just another reason for me to keep exploring.  Who knows was treasures I may find?  I encourage you all to do the same.

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Some great pictures of the outside, including an outdoor reading area.

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Am I the only one absolutely geeked out by a card catalog?  Does anyone even remember this is how you used to find books in the library?  🙂

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This is the amazing entrance, beautiful marble and painted ceiling.

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One more for the road.  This is not sculpture.  It is actually painted onto the wall in one of the library rooms.  Amazing optical illusion.

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The Burning Stupid — Remedial Sex Education

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I spent most of yesterday in a rage haze. There are so many more eloquent explanations of why the Supreme Court decision is so odious so I’ll share a few but here is my summation.

The SCOTUS has determined that someone’s sincerely held misconceptions are more valid than scientific and medical facts. And, because so, those misconceptions can now adversely affect other people legally.

This is what makes me the most insane. We cannot prove or disprove the existence of god, the soul or heaven. Those are up for debate and taken on faith (or not). But when you believe something that is factually inaccurate and easily dis-proven, how is that a supportable defense?

I’m going to disavow you of any argument by defining the medicines in question.  Definitions are from dictionary.com.

CONTRACEPTION — the deliberate prevention of conception or impregnation by any of various drugs, techniques, or devices; birth control. (The key word here is prevention).

PREVENT — 1. to keep from occurring; avert; hinder: “He intervened to prevent bloodshed.” and 2. to hinder or stop from doing something: “There is nothing to prevent us from going.”

[TRUTH: If a baby never happened in the first place, there is nothing to abort.]

ABORT — 1. to bring forth a fetus from the uterus before the fetus is viable; miscarry.; 2. to develop incompletely; remain in a rudimentary or undeveloped state. and 3. to fail, cease, or stop at an early or premature stage.

An abortion occurs after a fetus has been created. A contraception device or medicine prevents said fetus from ever existing in the first place. That should be as plain and clear as the nose on your face.

I don’t think I can spell it out any clearer than my sister-in-law did for someone who was unclear on the concept, so here is how she explained the function of the drugs/devices in question (Morning After Pill and IUD):

{name}, you are laboring under a misconception that these 4 methods at issue eliminate fertilized eggs. That is absolutely false. All four PREVENT sperm from fertilizing an egg. The two so-called “morning after” pills at issue (Plan B and Ella) delay release of an egg, this leaving nothing for the sperm to fertilize. If the egg was already in transit and sperm reach it, it may be fertilized and will implant just like a normal pregnancy and the pill will have been ineffective. Neither of those two drugs alter conception or cause abortion. They do NOT work post-conception.

As for the IUDs, the two types at issue are the copper and progestin devices. The copper IUD releases copper, which is a spermicide, thus preventing fertilization from occurring. The progestin IUD works by releasing the hormone, which thickens the mucous lining of the cervix, preventing sperm from passing AND by delaying egg release, once again PREVENTING fertilization from occurring.

So, you see, the entire premise of this case is based on a false understanding of both the items in question and biology itself. None of the above methods of birth control at the heart of this decision are abortifacients.

If you believe that something does something against your faith but it in fact does not do that thing, then you are wrong!  Your belief, regardless of how sincere, is counter to measurable and provable reality and thus should hold no legal weight.  Say I am a devout druid.  I can sincerely and deeply believe that when you tear down forests you are killing fairies but if reality proves there are no fairies, which so far it has, then I cannot stop someone from logging based on my sincerely held belief.  I can cry all I like for the fairies, but no fairies are being killed by the lumber industry.  Now there are some actual living and breathing indigenous people who are in great danger but it seems that no one gives two shits about them.

This has been a bullshit case from the beginning which ended with a bullshit ruling. I feel like I’m in Bizarro-land or something.

John Oliver is really getting good at his job. So I’ll let him explain this craziness as only he can.

And if you don’t hate women and don’t think sex is sinful, these are the benefits (for EVERYONE) when women have access to comprehensive sex education and effective means of controlling their reproduction. If you think otherwise, then I don’t have an intellectual jackhammer strong enough to get any knowledge into your thick skull.

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