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Category Archives: Ranting and Raving

Shut Up and Drink

Perhaps these places only exist in the movies or on TV shows, but where are the mellow bars where people go to sit, have a drink and quietly chat with the people around them?  Where are the bars that don’t play ear-splittingly loud music because some study said that would make people drink more?  Where are the bars where you don’t have large groups of people laughing and talking so loudly that you can barely hear yourself think?  Where do serious drinkers go to imbibe in peace?

I had a lovely weekend staying at an historic hotel (another blog on that altogether).  After dinner, my husband and I thought we’d pop into the bar for a drink.  The larger lobby bar had a jazz band that was too loud for us.  So we went upstairs to the smaller lounge.  After securing drinks from the bar, we found a place to sit.  Within a few moments, we were overwhelmed by the large group of people chatting and laughing at top volume nearby.  The space couldn’t absorb all of the sound and it was just bouncing right into my ears.  We finished up our drinks and left.

Perhaps I should just take up day drinking.

Quiet bar

I started fantasizing about creating my perfect bar.  The one where I control the volume of any music played.  The bar that I can keep large groups from entering (four people together max).  A place for drinkers who want a tasty cocktail in a chill atmosphere.  Sunday nights would be a Tiki Party (and no TVs with football anywhere to be found).

Tiki mugs

I could just sit at home and drink, but there is something about communal drinking that I enjoy.  I like paying someone else to shake up that cocktail and pour it into a fancy glass for me.  I like dim lighting and light chatter and chuckling while I knock one back.

There is a place for me.  There has to be.  I can’t be the only one who wants this, can I?

 

I Hate Noise!

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This is me when I’m annoyed by any repetitive or irritating sound (especially when I’m trying to sleep like Mr. Bear here).

That cartoon makes me laugh so hard that my eyes leak but damn if that’s not what’s going on inside me when I can’t stop or get away from NOISE!

Noise is any sound that I don’t want to be hearing like honking and crying babies.  Noise is the equivalent of some asshole standing next to you and poking you in the head just because it pisses you off.  Poke, poke, poke.

Like most things in life, if we can’t end something we eventually have to tolerate it or go mad.  I’m not insane yet but some days I feel pretty close.  This morning I lost a half hour of precious sleep because the landlord decided to get an early start on fixing up the next door apartment to move new people in.  It’s probably not a good idea to call the cops on your landlord, so all there is to do is suck it up and hope he gets done soon.

In the meantime, my inner bear rages.  I HATE NOISE!

I also hate perfume, cigarette smoke and bright lights.  Hell, I hate anything that other people do that I don’t like.  That’s really the rub of it all.  I hate feeling subjected to something that I can do nothing about.  It makes me feel powerless and that makes me feel angry.

Anger is not a good or bad emotion.  It’s just one of many we feel throughout the day.  However, misdirected and blind anger can get us all into trouble from time to time.  We can do things and say things that we regret once we’ve calmed down.  Anger is not an emotion most of us are equipped to handle.  I don’t recall anyone really teaching me how to deal with my upsets.  Mostly I learned how to stuff my anger away, push it down and try and forget about it.

I have actively sought to become a more balanced and peaceful person, however, my biggest breakthrough to peace was when I was finally able to come to terms with my anger.  It’s another one of those odd paradoxes.  I really had to feel my anger in order to finally be free of it.  I had to stop judging myself for even being angry in the first place.  I’m sure even the Buddha got angry about things from time to time.

Now my anger is like a firecracker.  It pops off every now and again, sometimes quite brightly.  But then it dissipates almost as quickly and floats away on a breeze.  If it sticks around for any longer, I know that’s my cue that this is probably something more than a momentary annoyance and I will have to see how I can step up and do something about it.  Emotions are some of our greatest tools in this life.  Use them wisely.

 

 

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.

nufoot

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.

 

Put the Camera Phone Down Already

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

concert phones

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.

disney fireworks

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).

fireworks 5

fireworks 6

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.

aint nobody

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.

One Size Does Not Fit All

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One size does not fit all, even if you’re the same size.

body shapes

I can share the exact same measurements with another woman but clothes could fit us differently depending on the shapes of our bodies. I know that most women share my frustration with clothes shopping.

I can grab a dozen pairs of jeans in the same size (sometimes from the same manufacturer in the same style) and they will fit differently. Some tighter, some looser and some (Goldilocks-style) just right. Some of the variations are in the manufacturing process (cutting large amounts of fabric may cause some of this). But some of it is in trying to create a happy medium. There is no happy in that, I assure you.

The Goldilocks fit is a fantasy at best. I get so tired of trying on clothes and having them fit perfectly in one spot but too tight or loose in another. In order to get pants to fit over my hips and thighs, I’m often stuck with a waist gap. Dresses feel like an exercise in futility, especially when I’d like them fit in all the right places.

Don't even get me started on suits!

Don’t even get me started on suits!

I have an idea but I don’t have the ambition to do anything about it. I’m great at thinking shit up though. I leave it up to the universe (and maybe someone who likes the idea) to make it happen.

What if a clothing line took a random sampling of women (or just sent them all a tape measure and a chart) and actually measured them. They could create clothing in a few of the well known shapes for each piece – apple, pear, hourglass, straight, etc. Shirts designed to fit large breasted women, small breasted women, women with small waists, women with bellies.  Big hips, narrow hips.  Thick thighs, thin thighs and something in between.

If you build it, they will come.

Some jeans manufacturers are getting better at the shapes. Levi’s is one that comes to mind. Their curvy 580s fit me better than most jeans I’ve tried. And the addition to a little bit of Lycra to the denim helps round my assets nicely.

And this is not just an issue for heavier women. When I was thinner, I still had the waist/hip ratio problem. My friend who had narrow hips and thin legs had the exact opposite problem. She had to find jeans that fit her waist but then the legs billowed out. Some days, you just want to give up and throw on a muumuu.

homer-simpson-muumuu

Thankfully, I have an option while I wait for someone to take up the mantle. I can sew. Looks like I’m going to be doing more of that in the future. Just felt like bitching because I’d like to find something that fits properly more than once in a blue moon. Do guys have this problem too?  I am actually curious, not just trying to say this is a ladies only issue.

And don’t give me any financial arguments.  They don’t only make one flavor of cookie or one type of car.  Clothing is just something that has lagged behind for far too long.  There is a cost-effective way to do this and the ones who do it sooner rather than later will reap the benefits.  Plus, when women finally start making the same as men, so much more disposable income.  Ha!

Outrage Fatigue, Part Deux

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nigerian protest

I previously talked about being fatigued by so much of the mock outrage that gets bandied about.  Well now I want to say that we waste our outrage on trifles and can’t be bothered when it’s really needed.  There is a lot worth getting angry about these days and exhaustion is inevitable.

Almost 300 young girls were kidnapped by religious terrorists in Nigeria and there is almost no major outrage happening.  On top of that, 29 boys were killed by the same group soon after.  All of this just for daring to go to school.  The name of this horrible group, Boko Haram, actually means “western education is sinful” and they seem to think that particular sin must be punished with slavery and death.

When you can’t seem to muster up the proper response to something like this, just take a moment and imagine it happening in your own country.  The outrage would be right there on the surface.

If you need help determining which things deserve a very immediate, powerful response (one that hopefully would spur you into action), here is a handy chart.

Murder/Death/Kill — Get really fucking pissed off

Rape/Assault — Get really fucking pissed off (even more so when it involves children)

Corporate Malfeasance — Get really fucking pissed off

Old white racists being old white racists — Get annoyed that people still act like this

Miley Cyrus or some other young pop star behaves badly — Get annoyed that anyone ever acted like this

There is a chasm of difference between annoyance and outrage.  Be annoyed that people are stupid, racist, homophobic assholes.  If those same assholes do more than say stupid shit (like try to pass stupid laws or hurt the people they don’t like) then uplevel from annoyed to upset.  And then upset should lead you into action.  Outrage should have you marching in the streets.

It’s time we get our priorities straight.  What if one if those girls were your daughter, your sister, your friend?  How fucking pissed off would you be then?

Outrage Fatigue

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I’m done.  I’ve got nothing left.  Are we really shocked anymore?  I think it’s just an act.  We just want to be outraged, all up in arms because some guy who is notorious for being an asshole is being an asshole again.

There’s a great song in the Broadway musical AVENUE Q called ‘Everyone’s a little bit racist’.

Regardless of my religious beliefs, I think the phrase “Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone…” is always relevant.  We all live in glass houses.

What this incident should provide is a conversation starter.  It’s a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Two steps forward, one step back.  Racism is still a thing.  And we’re all a little bit guilty.

We’re also a little bit guilty of sexism and homophobia and ageism and all the other ‘isms’ that are out there.  It’s time to shine some light on those dark little recesses in our minds because it’s all there, hiding in wait.  One bad experience with someone of another race or gender can often color our experience of all people of that persuasion.  Hell, sometimes just seeing something on TV makes us scared of each other.

What can we actually do that’s constructive to more forward?  Punishing the racist asshole makes us feel good in the moment but it does nothing substantial.

Peoples is peoples.  (to quote Uncle Pete from ‘Muppets Take Manhattan’)  Racists are people too.  Sad, angry, misguided people but people nonetheless.

What can we actually do that’s constructive to move forward?  Perhaps we can stop acting like racists (and all the other bigots) are anything more than an outmoded version of the human being.  They are the rotary dial phones of the human race.  Let’s all upgrade to the latest smartphone, eh?  And save the outrage for something that is actually shocking.  Like this hot mess.

Avril Lavigne's Hello Kitty video

Avril Lavigne’s Hello Kitty video