Monday, December 30, 2013

A Life Changing Dysfunction: TMJ

For the past 2 months I've been having a serious problem. Maybe it's because I talk too much but I have been waking up without being able to fully open my mouth and having to pop my jaw. I literally move the bottom half of my mouth to the right side and "POP" I'm able to yawn normally. So of course I immediately go to Dr. Google to see what is going on and "I" have diagnosed myself with TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction).

I tried avoiding it and putting aside going to the Dentist but then the symptoms began. It began with my jaw popping, then it moved down to my shoulders. I would find myself sitting at work popping my shoulders to a consistent rhythm. The popping moved down to my legs and I began walking with a little hop. It happened at random times of the day and there was no stopping it.

Just when I thought the popping was a problem I began thrusting my hips ..


Occasionally going on the tips of my toes ..


This one time I was walking to the car and did this little kick that turned me around and I began moon walking ..



And that was when it hit me.

It was a 50/50 chance of getting one or the other. I had already diagnosed myself with Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction that I had exed out the other possibility. It was clear that I had TMJ (The Michael Jackson).

It spread quickly like a virus. I would occasionally blurt out a "HEEEE HEEEE!" and when I would sneeze I would finish it off with a "WOOOOO!" It was a severe case.

My hair began to curl, my pants were rolled up so my white socks were visible, and I found myself constantly wearing a fedora.

And then one day I was washing dishes and I slowly whispered, "Shamone" and a white glove appeared on my hand and then I knew that the transformation was complete.

It was official. I was the King of Pop.



& to think it all started with a popping jaw .. TMJ.


{ECard from Someecard}
{First & Third GIF from itseulonzobitch}
{Second GIF from eae-brou}
{Michael Jackson image from International Business Times}


Monday, December 23, 2013

Is Ignorance Truly Bliss?

Recently I have done a lot of research on Celtic ideology and found it to be quite interesting. The Celts were viewed to be these barbaric, uncivilized people, but in reality they were finding a way of escaping post colonialism and the new reality of what their life had become.
Celtic Traits (The Fairy Land):

Idleness
Ignorance
Wilderness
Stagnating
Child-like

But, maybe escaping the depths of your mind and living in a perfect Utopia doesn't seem bad at all. 

I just finished watching 'Pleasantville' and fell in love with the whole notion of living in a perfect society that only sees in black and white.

Pleasantville:

No color
No sex
No toilets
No fires
No war
No fighting
Basic emotions
Nothing new
Nothing changes
But everyone is always happy

And then I began to think:

Would living in Pleasantville be a better way of life than what we are living in now? Maybe the problem lies with the many distinctions life gives us or in reality the destinctions that we create. We have to many emotions, colors, changes, wars, and fighting so if we stripped it all away would we live in a more peaceful world? 

Throughout the movie we see changes in Pleasantville as certain things and people start to develop color and they are segregated as the 'Colored' people (oh, the irony). As more emotions develop, more teens are having sex, which causes a huge revolt leading to riots, burning of books and new developments in the society. Sort of what we live in now.

But before that everyone lived in a perfect world.

So maybe ignorance is truly bliss.

You know where I'll be booking my next vacation ..
  PLEASANTVILLE HERE I COME!

{Kermit Image by Paisdelocos.com}

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Day I Broke It Off With An Author

I have a problem. I'm not completely psycho, but just a little. If I were to diagnose myself, I'd say OCD. I'm a clinger, a needy person, a collector. I come across a book I really enjoy, the words touch the depths of my soul and it's no longer about me and the book, it's about me falling in love with the author.

I wind up needing to read every piece of writing that has ever been created by that specific author. And it begins to consume my life and becomes the topic of every conversation even if someone is talking about food, cars or sex.

My recent obsession: Chuck Palahniuk 

I remember walking through Barnes & Noble and seeing the cover of his book 'Damned' and thinking, "That's a bad-ass cover. I'm gonna read it." I know, I did what we learn not to do our whole lives .. I judged a book by its cover .. there I said it! So I take the book home not knowing anything about the author and I automatically fall in love. I went through:
  • Invisible Monsters
  • Survivor 
  • Cannibal
  • Rant

I couldn't get enough of him! Our relationship was stronger than ever. We even exchanged tweets on Twitter like:


As you can see, we clearly had something special.

I wound up going back to Barnes & Noble recently and where do you think I'm immediatey drawn to: Section Fiction- Letter P. I purchase two more Chuck books: 'Fight Club' & 'Invisible Monsters REMIX'.

Let me remind you I already have 'Invisible Monsters' and the REMIX is just the way he intended the book to be with a few more chapters. This obsession had gotten out of control. I didn't even know who I was! I was lost and had become a product of Chuck P. He was the food for my soul, he filled the emptiness inside of me, he had full control. I had to do the unthinkable, I had to break it off.

It was time to experience new authors and new styles. So I did it the only way I could:


It must have been hard on him because he never wrote back.

I'm sorry Chuck.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

PEOPLE: The True Pitbull

Working in an animal shelter really opens up your eyes to many things. I think I've seen it all: starving, abused, beaten down, broken, unloved animals. Families coming in willingly giving up their pets because they barked, or bit them, or pee'd on their 'expensive' rug-- stupid reasons that with time and patience can be easily fixed. Give them a chance! These are animals that have never had a home and if they did it was filled with abuse and abandonment. But people expect them to automatically become accustom to their lifestyle meanwhile they are still adjusting to their own after being saved from a harmful environment and learning that not all people or households are the same.

One thing that struck me being around these animals are how friendly, lovable and mushy Pit bulls are, or shall I use the correct term: The American Staffordshire Terrier. The term 'Pit bull' comes from 'Bully in the Pit' a phrase used for dog fighting. So, let it be known that these dogs were forced to kill one another while the peanut gallery cheers them on, injects them with steroids, and locks them back up in cages playing doctor so they don't get caught. And somehow they fall into being some sort of monster that people fear because of people themselves who throw them into these deadly situations and make money from their death.

People, the ones we assume have some form of morality, of logical thinking, of common sense.

People, the ones we assume know what's right from wrong, have superior intelligence, and are civilized.

These same people, or shall I say monsters find pleasure in the pain of these animals. These innocent animals.

And now they forever hold this negative connotation in the eyes of uneducated people. They're blinded because of the aggressive advertisement of these animals. Ignorance.

So who is the true 'bully' here?

I will never forget the day my boss called me and told me that whatever I did that night to try not to cry. I couldn't wrap my head around what I was about to walk into. I knew we had just rescued a pit, but how bad could she be? I hesitated opening the door to the back room but I took a deep breath and walked in. There she was a beautiful blue nosed pit, nothing but skin and bones running right towards me, barely being able to keep herself up. This poor animal, the starvation, the abuse she must have went through. She ran right up to me and rubbed her head against my leg. As I placed my hand on her and rubbed her chest, she licked me. Deep down inside after all the pain she endured there was still hope for love. The reputation these dogs have causing people to fear them, but no one takes a step back to see the true monster that would do such a thing to an innocent animal. To have stripped it away from food, from love, from life. But here she is, trusting another human, trusting they aren't all the same as humans assume they are. And with open arms I embraced her allowing myself to give into my pain and cry. 

Her name is Hope and that's exactly what she is-- Hopeful for a better tomorrow, for love, for a home. 

And she finally got it. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Day I Found God On A T-Shirt

So I have stressed in a previous post my resistance to religion and to God, but I have witnessed a sort of sign that has left me thinking.

Out of all of the craziest things I've done in my life, one of my memorable would be signing up to do a half marathon (13.1 miles). One would ask, "Why do that to yourself?" Well, I just don't know. From the very beginning I was panicking because I felt that I wouldn't be able to finish this race but I sucked it up. It's all a mental game, when you think you're tired it's because you're psyching yourself out of it. If you're mind is in it 100% you'll be able to go beyond 13.1 miles, but I'd like to think I was in there only 75%, so a half marathon was beyond my reach.

When I start running I listen to loud music and imagine myself in a movie like some sort of Superhero going around trying to save the world. I keep a steady rhythm, dancing to the music having a party with myself. My mind is the only thing that is going to get me through this run so I must keep it busy to not focus on how many miles I have left and how my legs feel like breaking off of my body. After a good 6 miles I start to get what we call a 'Runners High' and that's when you get lightheaded and you're body feels numb and you occasionally hallucinate. So, there I go a little over 6 miles in, in Central Park and I can't help but think how fluffy the grass looks on the side of the road. & my brain begins to wonder:
  • What would happen if I just took a 30 minute nap? 
  • What if I ran to get a coffee?
  • I really have to fart.
  • What if I just stopped running?
All of these thoughts are going on and I'm already up to 10 miles, good! I need to find a new motivation and the first thing that pops up in my mind: Cinnamon Bagels. MMM ... they give these out at the end of every race and 2 delicious round bagels have my name on it awaiting my arrival. So I start to move faster as every time I breathe out I manage to whisper under my breath: "Food, Food, Food, Food ..." This time, time seems to be moving much slower and I feel my body giving up. The last 3 miles are pure adrenaline and I'm already worn out, my legs feel like jello and my head is on another planet.. DUNZO!




But a miracle comes strolling along on my left side. This woman with long legs, a nice stride, swinging her ponytail from left to right runs right in front of me and the back of her shirt reads: "God Will Lead the Way" I look around and think, "Oh God! You gotta be kidding me ..." and then I think: "Did I just say 'Oh God' .. he's inside of me!" AND THEN I THINK: "Did I just say 'inside of me' OH GOD!"

Out of all the things in the world, it had to be the most ridiculous thing to get me through. Here's this woman swaying her stupid ponytail, a running advertisement for the Lord. It was as if the Lord was like: "Pssst .. Girl with the pony .. Display this personal message to that hopeless girl that looks like she's about to collapse." So now I'm stuck behind the Lord's message of hope and I'm annoyed that I have to stare at this shirt because I have no energy to move left, right or forward. So I manage to look up and decide to respond to God:
Dear God, 
Thank you for your lovely message. Although, it won't get me through this race, it was a nice gesture. Next time you want to help, try sending me a mule. 
Sincerely, 
The Girl Who Still Looks Like She's About To Collapse 


{Image by SocietiesMirror.com}



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An Ode To Pizza

I've had a revelation. A life changing experience, an instant high. It caused me to sit and think about my life, my 'self'. And one would question how something could cause such a drastic impact, what can make you reevaluate yourself? 


Two words: Artichoke Pizza 


I'm not just talking about pizza 'with' artichoke but of 'capital A' Artichoke 'capital P' Pizza. Now you don't know what life is until you sit down and take in this luxury of all pizzas, the pizzas of all pizzas, 'the' pizza. I thought I had myself figured out: I'm a girl, I'm human, I'm alive but I was wrong. Artichoke Pizza is a drug that opens up your senses, your pores, your eyes and you realize that you haven't really lived until that drop of cheesy goodness slips into the cracks of your lips and makes its way to the surface of your tongue. When I experienced this drug (Artie) I found myself losing track of time. I sat outside in 20-degree weather taking in the fumes of the artichoke and cheese, letting it fill up my lungs while my hands froze, but I was so high I had lost all sensation. My hands were 2 seconds away from being frost bitten and there I was worried that I didn't lick every last bit off of my fingers. 

I was lost in a street fair with music and jewelry and a stand called 'Mighty Balls'. I could see the future and I saw a girl approaching me and asking if I liked 'The Hobbit' and I turned around and there was a girl approaching me and asking if I liked 'The Hobbit' and I said "no" even though I really do but it's because I see the future and saw a lot of talking about nonsense and little did she know I was high off Artie and I was the Hobbit. 

And then my friend and I thought of all the ways we can cure diseases and illnesses by rubbing Artie all over it and making it go away. A man who can't walk, easy: strap on some slices on your knees. A woman who can't see, easy: rub the cream on your eyes. It's the solution to war, to calculus, to physics. It is the secret to making a spaceship, a submarine, a satellite. It is the key to peace, love, and happiness. 'Capital A' Artichoke, 'capital P' Pizza: a new religion. Amen. 


Monday, December 9, 2013

You Can Never Win With Mothers

A bonding activity I usually have with mom would be our trip to the Supermarket. Now, she doesn't ask me so I can keep her company or just to hang out, I'm more of her Supermarket Slave. I'm only there to push the cart around, read off her list, and bag the items. The only words that come out of her mouth are, "Get that" "Come here" "Pay attention" and "No." As you can see there is not much communication but that is how we bond. She'll occasionally toss me a smile but that's only because she got a good deal on an item.

So I'm driving the cart around and we stop to get cold cuts, which is right next to the Produce Section. At this time my mom allows me to step away from the cart and roam free while I get some of the things off of her list. My mom is a very particular woman who likes her fruit and veggies to look a certain way and I'm the total opposite and can't tell the difference between what's good and what's bad. Half the time I'm on my own I always call my mom to get her approval so that I don't have to hear her say, "No."

I finally get the fruit, but before I get the chance to put it in the bag I start to scream, "MA!" *no answer* "MA!" *no answer* "MA!" *no answer*. Meanwhile, 15 other mothers are looking at me because they think it's their child or because they feel bad that I'm waving around an apple and my mother won't pay any attention to me. I'm pretty sure my mom knows it's me but she chooses to ignore me because she is on her phone either texting or on Facebook and couldn't be bothered. And, I refuse to walk over to her because I'll be making a million trips back and forth like a choo choo train. So, this is my final attempt and I grow some balls and utter the worst words any mother can hear from their child ... "CLAUDIA!" ... *dramatic pause*

I know I have crossed the line. I don't even feel good saying it but at this point it is the only way to get her attention. There may be a million mothers in the world but to her there is only one Claudia.

My mom whips her head around in disgust and says, "DON'T YOU EVER CALL ME THAT AGAIN!" and turns back to her phone and continues to ignore me. Now I'm pissed because I'm standing there screaming "MA" for the past 10 minutes and I have yet to get the approval for the apple!!!

You can never win with mothers ...

{Image by Sharideth Smith}


Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Truth Behind The Creative Process Of Writing


Leave it up to schools and especially English Professors to butcher what could have been a good book. Once you set foot into high school, a simple 5-line poem turns into a full school year analysis. ANALYZE, ANALYZE, ANALYZE! Books are not meant to be taught but are for the enjoyment of the reader. We are taught what it's 'supposed' to mean. Writing should not have to be a puzzle we try to piece together, but should be an adventure and we take what we want from it. They come up with such abstract meanings and you're looking at them scrunching your face thinking, "WHAT THE F$%!" I bet you half these authors are sitting on their toilets writing 'The Best Novel of All Time' while Scholars, Critics and Professors find some profound meaning to the book that was created on the toilet when in fact their inspiration was probably the way their poop splashed in the water or the texture of the toilet paper. We become these analytical robots, which in turn reflects on our lives when the word "OK" is no longer "OK" and you begin to analyze what you could have possibly done to receive such hateful words!

In my Creative Writing class last semester we were told to read an essay and prepare questions for the writer who would be attending our next class. Being that we were taught to overanalyze and never accept what is being given, we came up with crazy questions about the position of the text, the deeper meaning behind the use of punctuation and the reasons for the choice of font (which looked like Calibri, the default font in Word). So the writer came in ready to tackle or so we thought our intellectual questions. Sadly, we weren't getting the answers we were expecting.

This girl even said, "I love the use of that quote in the beginning. Was it to reflect on your childhood?"

And he said, "Sure, if you want to see it that way ..."

OK .. (and I mean OK at its face value with no deeper meaning intended)

He concluded by saying that his writing doesn't mean more than what it already is and it reflected upon what he felt like doing at that time. We were all taken aback-- So what you're saying is that what you have written is what it 'really' is? .. WELL DUH! Here we are expecting some mathematical formula and not taking in the beauty of the simplicity of his writing and grasping the real story, rather coming up with a million questions as to why he put an exclamation point instead of a period!

Now imagine the authors of the books we were learning about sat in the back of our classrooms. They would probably also look at the Professor with a scrunched up face thinking, "WHAT THE F$%!-ETH!" and say, "The deeper meaning behind my story lies in the depths of my toilet bowl."

-THE END-

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Man Behind The Shower Curtain

It's late at night and you get the sudden urge to use the bathroom. There it is draped and motionless-- the bathroom curtain. The only way to peacefully use the bathroom is to check behind it. The last thing you need is to be undressed from the waist down and being attacked by that 'something.'

I'm assuming I've watched way to many movies and read a lot of books to create these illusions in my mind, but what IF there were to be someone there! We've all done this at one point in our lives. Maybe as kids, teens, ADULTS! We're already doomed the moment we turn on that light. They're already prepared to pounce. Once our hands touches that curtain it's all over for us. It's the fear of the unknown, the dark side, the shower curtain! And due to a recent study I've done, I am not alone.

So what do we really expect to find behind the curtain?

A MAN: Majority of the people I've asked regarding this topic feel as though a man is waiting to attack them. I'm assuming the man slipped in through a window, front door, through the walls and is waiting to get you in the middle of the night while you are vulnerable on the toilet. Nothing screams vulnerability like having your pants down and submitting yourself to your body.

A DEAD BODY: Well, if you are checking to find a dead body then you might want to reevaluate your life.

THE MAN/ WOMAN OF YOUR DREAMS: Don't we all wish to find this behind our shower curtain! Our naked dream guy/girl showering in our shower waiting for us to take a peek and possibly join.

NOTHING: Some of us already 'know' there is nothing behind our shower curtain but we check because we're just paranoid. We open it slowly 'just in case' to see an empty tub and at that moment we are free to use the bathroom peacefully.

Here are a couple of tips on how to protect yourself from the late night creeper.

TOILET PAPER STAND: (this is a lethal weapon) The first thing to grab is the toilet paper stand! And if you don't have one I suggest you go get one. Once you see that shadowy figure ready to attack, you grab a hold of the stand and wack it around as hard as you can. There is no getting away for them.

SHAMPOO: Keep a bottle of shampoo right by your bathroom door. When the creep opens the curtain you squirt the bottle in his eyes. This will give you an opportunity to run!

TOILET PAPER: TEE-PEE THAT MOTHERF#@$ER!

INDIRECT THREATS: While walking to the bathroom say, "This knife is really sharp," "I love this new baseball bat that I carry around with me EVERYWHERE in case there is someone in the house!" "This rifle is feeling rather lonely & UNUSED!"

SEEK HELP: Maybe it's all in our heads, the paranoia! Try talking to someone to find a way of getting over the fear.

Let it be known, we've thrown ourselves in danger many times risking opening that shower curtain. We are reckless!

All in all, your best bet is to keep the curtain open!


{'Knife' image by Adam Bowie}
{David Beckham image by METRO}
{Toilet Paper Stand image by Linens-N-Things}

Friday, November 22, 2013

My Unorthodox Thanksgiving Story

So, Thanksgiving is around the corner and while most are happy to be around family, I am having second thoughts! You see, my family is very, (thinks of right word) colorful.

My holidays are surrounded by three loudmouth Chihuahua's with an occasional visit from their Puggle cousin Pluto who runs around the whole apartment knocking everything over.

We have my two male cousins, one being lactose intolerant but loves to eat cheesy foods anyways and winds up in our bathroom for a good half hour (on a good day), while the rest of us wait patiently to go next. But it's not as if we can immediately go in, no, no, no! We must wait it out another half hour or so to let the bathroom ventilate and at that point we're contemplating on either just doing it in the sink or a bowl!

My second cousin has no shame in farting, and I'm not just talking about a cute little puff! It is the most excruciating smell ever. We all either hold our breath for a good 10 minutes or have to leave the premises. These farts cause us to open all the windows, so we're all huddled around the table with our coats on eating a frozen turkey while the warm fart blankets over us.

My dogs have the loudest barks, so they'll bark continuously begging for food as if they never ate a day in their lives while cousin Pluto jumps with 2 paws on the table pulling the tablecloth off as we all dash to catch anything that is falling off and toppling over.

My family motto: Go Fuck Yourself! So instead of being a normal family and giving thanks, we literally pass the food around and slip in a 'Go Fuck Yourself!'

You have my mother's fiancé who eats everything with a spoon .. even turkey. I know, weird?

You have my mother who usually looks overwhelmed and starts regretting hosting Thanksgiving and is having second thoughts about Christmas while she watches her beautiful home fall apart before her eyes.

After a crazy dinner we usually gather around and pick a movie to watch. Last years pick: The Blair Witch Project .. I KNOW! GREAT PICK RIGHT?

And to add to all the craziness we have my poor boyfriend walking in to the deadly fumes of the fart and the bathroom and being toppled by all 4 dogs. Not only does he not have to take off his coat because it is about 10 degrees inside the living room but we're all squeezed on my tiny couch which is supposed to fit 3 people but we somehow manage to fit 5.

So am I looking forward to the holidays? Ehhh. But as I sit here writing this I'm dying of laughter because we're so all over the place it's ridiculous. At least I know what to expect and this year I come prepared with a port-o-potty, gas mask, heater, and still contemplating on the movie choice.
Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

{Image by martha_chapa95}

Monday, November 18, 2013

The: I Think I Know You But I Feel Weird Saying Hi So I'll Just Smile Situation

Ever had that moment when you think you know someone but it's to awkward to say hi so you give this half-assed smile & walk a little faster to get away? WELL .. I feel that this always happens to me in the same place: The Supermarket. The Supermarket is where everyone you know and their mothers gather around and occasionally do that awkward "I think I know them" smile or you get the "Did you go to school with my son?" kind of question. So what do we do in these situations? Quickly turn the other way? Walk a little faster? RUN?

Here are 4 easy steps to relieve the awkwardness in these encounters, avoid lengthy conversation & handle them like a pro!

1. You Spot The Person: Once you see someone you used to know, your stomach turns and you automatically think "F#$%". You're stuck in Aisle 5, sandwiched between 2 shopping carts and you can't escape. So what do you do?

  • Compulsively put a bunch of stuff in your cart trying to avoid eye contact? No
  • Play bumper cars and get the hell out of there? No.
  • Take out your phone and fake a call? No.
You are trapped. Phase 2.

2. Smile: You have been spotted, eye contact has been made. The next step is to smile, acknowledge that you know them. In this phase you have the opportunity to browse through your memory and try to remember where you know them from, even their name! Try not to say, "Hey YOU!" Slowly walk towards them and brace yourself for either a lengthy convo or a quick hello.

3. How Are You?: We all do it!!! We all ask that dreadful question where we don't really expect an answer nor do we really care. The Motto: KEEP IT MOVING. Your biggest mistake will be to stop, leaving space for conversation. Remember, time is of the essence and you need to get the hell out of there. Slowly but surely walk past them continuing eye contact and say: "Hey. How are you?" without stopping because you don't really want an answer. They'll end up saying something, most likely, "Good" because no one wants to open up about their miserable life in the middle of Aisle 5 sandwiched between 2 shopping carts.

WARNING!
Sometimes you'll get a more personal question, For Example:

  • How's Mom?
  • Didn't you go to school with my son?
  • What have you been up to?


If you don't mind conversation you can answer these questions extensively. But, if you're like me who hates 'small talk', you can give one word answers but make sure to nod your head and smile while doing so to seem sincerely engaged and interested but sort of in a rush, For Example:

How's Mom?
-Good *smiles & nods*

Didn't you go to school with my son?
-OH, YEAH! *smiles & nods*

What have you been up to?
-Nothing *smiles & nods*

Make sure to cut eye contact once the question has been answered and distract yourself by engaging in something else.

4. WINNING: Turn down the nearest aisle and BAM, you have survived! Give yourself a pat on the back and continue shopping until your next encounter ... DUN DUN DUNNNNN!

To Be Continued.

Monday, October 7, 2013

SuperEGO, SuperMAN, SuperYOU

We spend majority of our life complimenting others, "You look nice!" "Good Job!" "You're doing great!" YOU YOU YOU YOU! But, what about ME! Why is it so shunned upon to compliment yourself to others? It's not a matter of being cocky, arrogant, conceited, egotistical, blah blah blah. All these negative words for such a beautiful thing. It's ok to love yourself and it should be ok to let the world know! People deserve the right to know how great we are. Although, it is good for them to see it for themselves, but people are too quick to pass judgement, so why not steer them in the right direction of how fantastic we could be.

We see people show off their relationships on social media, posting pictures and statuses. So let's make a change and do a status update that says, "I LOVE ME!"

My Short "COCKY" Story (No Pun Intended):

I recently started running in early June due to boredom. After making it a consistent hobby, I decided to do something with it. So, in early July I registered for the New York Road Runners. After learning about their 9+1 Program (9 races + 1 volunteering = GUARANTEED ENTRY INTO THE NYC MARATHON 2014), my heart was set. This past Sunday I ran my very first Half Marathon and I felt fantastic. I just wanted to tell the world how much of the SH!$ I was! I mean how many people can run 13.1 miles! Well, I have 4 more races to go to secure my spot. And you better believe I will be far from humble and let the whole world know of my great success, simply because I am motivated, inspiring, and freakin' awesome!

Nothing is worse than achieving something great and having to constantly think in the back of your mind to 'humble' yourself so that others do not find you to be cocky.

It is time to de-humble ourselves and be assertive, proud, and showy.



{'Superman' Image by Greenog}

Monday, September 23, 2013

Clinch, Lock, Squeeze: The 'Talk'


I'm not a touchy person let alone a hugger. I'm on an arms length basis- no cooties please. So when it comes to giving a friendly hug, I'm just awkward. My hugs are said to be described as my arms 'just being there'. They're lifeless noodles clinging on to your back. More of a half assed gesture. I would rather hug a snowman with its twig arms, which seem much more inviting than mine. So I decided to do a little research because I was not taught to hug ... correctly. Good ol' wikiHow.com/hug saved the day and updated me on the many ways to hug because clearly 'I' didn't get the memo.


So the first step in hugging is to make sure the hug-ee is expecting the hug with open arms. Do not attempt hugging if they are not aware. This can lead to an awkward situation.


There are 5 different types of hugs:

Hugging A Crush- the breast hug. You see your crush and what better way to give the big chested hug. It involves a tight squeeze and a lot of chest action. The woman's arms should embrace the neck, while the man embraces around her waist. Give a flirty look or maybe a little wink while pulling away.

Hugging Your Significant Other- the compassionate hug. This hug is very similar to the breast hug, except there is much more compassion. The woman should rest her head on the mans shoulder and give a little squeeze of reassurance, the type that says, "I love you." This hug can last as long as you'd like without having that awkward factor.

Hugging A Friend Or Family- the crisscross hug. Friends and Family start with 'F' & so does Fun. So the goal is to enjoy the easiest hug! Usually you aim for more of a crisscross with your arms creating a sort of knot between the two of you. You may want to squeeze your friend or family, but be careful not to choke them, unless your intentions are to choke them, then you should slowly back away from the hug.

Hugging A Drunk- the freefall. This hug consists of a high pitched, "Heyyyyyyy!" and the person falling in to your arms because they can not keep themselves up. They'll wrap their arms around your neck while they throw majority of their body weight on you. Your goal is to keep them upright and make sure they make it out of the hug ok. This hug requires you to use some serious muscle.

Hugging Someone You Don't Really Want To Hug- the pity pat. We all get those people who really want to hug us for whatever reason. It can be difficult stopping someone in midhug so you have to suck it up and just do it. These dreadful hugs consist of 0 to 1 arm and the pity pat. Three pats is all it takes for them to get the clue.

Tips-
  1. Don't hug someone if you are sweaty or you smell.
  2. Don't prolong an awkward hug.
  3. It is ok to talk during a hug.
  4. Try not to squeeze too hard.
  5. Don't confuse the hug-ee. If they are expecting the crisscross hug do not throw them off with the breast hug.

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Short Unfortunate Church Story

So I'm not a big fan of religion nor do I believe in it. I was born and raised a Catholic, going through the motions of receiving my sacraments because my parents told me so. As a child it's not like you have much of a say while your parents impose their beliefs on you. I remember attending religion classes and the hassle of going to church every week. As I got older, I started to believe less and less and somehow detached myself from God. Some reasons for doing so would be:

  • The Religious Hypocrites- These were the people that preached the word of the Lord but were the greatest sinners of all. They did drugs, had sex before marriage, did not attend church, and so on. But somehow, they felt inferior because God forgave them, therefore, they were allowed to do these things and still receive the golden ticket to heaven.
  • The Money Baskets- I always felt that it was about money. I remember seeing my priest driving a nice Mercedes, and there I was thinking, "My dollar went to that?!" Plus, the Catholic churches are very extravagant with beautiful artistic artifacts and gold being the primary color. It seemed luxurious and rich, very insincere and artificial- bourgeois.
  • Loss of Faith- I just didn't fall for this God-ly figure. Majority of the people who attended Church believed God would light the way, or that God will save them. They just sat around waiting for God! But I felt that if you wanted to get stuff done, you needed to go out there and do it yourself.
So my decision was final and if I 'had' to put a label, I suppose it would be Atheist (although, I choose to just be nothing). My parents didn't seem to care because they were not practicing Catholics.

A couple of days ago I was walking past a church. I don't really pay attention to churches, they mix in with the other buildings so it's not like I stop and say, "Oh, look, a church!" But for some reason there was a litter of cats sitting around the steps. Now, I am a huge animal lover so it broke my heart to see them. My reaction to these cats went something like this:
HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT!
You would have thought I was preaching the word of the Lord with the way I executed those 3 "Holy Shit's." As I stood pointing at the cats, my cousin stood in complete shock, knowing that I'm screaming this in front of the church. I didn't understand why she wasn't reacting the same way, so I was looking at her like she was the crazy one. It was like I was some Satanic figure screaming at the top of my lungs, as if not a care in the world. I somehow managed to mix "Holy" which was appropriate with "Shit" which was inappropriate. But that was my reaction and I couldn't help but laugh at the irony afterword.

Sadly, these starving cats will stay outside the church doors with lack of food and shelter, and I couldn't help but imagine the good ol' priest driving home in his Mercedes with the money basket filled to the brim, possibly also screaming happily, HOLY SHIT!

{Image by Jim Hutchison}

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cheating On Your Partner With Your Writing

THE SITUATION:
I had to prepare an essay for a writing class I was in. I attempted to step out of my comfort zone and go for a more humorous approach, rather than the typical sobby, sad, heartfelt story. It was something new, fun and mysterious. But I found myself struggling to find a purpose to my paper. There I was, hammering a moral which went something like this: "And this is the reason why blah blah blah." So there was obviously something missing, and the point was not coming across in my writing. But something kept drawing me in and want to continue at this dead end. The paper was due and I had run out of ideas, and was too drained to write up a whole new story. This had become an ugly affair- a cheating frenzy with my writing. It was a guilty pleasure. And that was when I realized, I was cheating on my boyfriend.

THE CONVERSATION:
*PHONE RINGS*
Boyfriend: (In a happy tone) Hey!
Me: (Somberly) Hi.
Boyfriend: What's wrong?
Me: (Sighs) Nothing.
Boyfriend: Is everything ok?
Me: Yup.
Boyfriend: Are you sure?
Me: Yes. I just I have a lot on my mind. Can I call you when my head is clear?
Boyfriend: Ok?
Me: Bye.

THE DETERMINATION:
So there he was, thinking I was possibly second guessing the relationship, that possibly the next phone call would be the last. This paper had seeped its way in to my head and I had let it destroy me and my relationship. I had to confess and let him know about this ongoing affair. Once, I was able to come to terms with it and lift that heavy load off my chest, I was finally able to invest my time in all the right places.

& THE FORCED MORAL:
Not every story you write will be a success. It may sound good in your head, but gets lost in translation at the tip of the pen. Some papers are meant to be retired after the first draft. Don't let it taunt you, you can always go back to your writing and recycle your work. Take bits and pieces that may work in other writing or take a sentence/paragraph and expand it in to a new story. Regardless, be faithful to your partner, your writing, and most importantly yourself.

{"LUST" Image by alberto a.s.}
{"Sophocles" Image by Sean MacEntee}

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our PHONE-y Relationships


Our generation is technologically and socially obsessed. We have this social anxiety of consistently updating ourselves about other peoples lives through social media or text. There is this compulsion, which has become uncontrollable to have our phones on us at all times. To at least feel or hear it. And if we dare to leave it at home, we have become disconnected, a lost soul, breaking out in a cold sweat, wondering what amazing things we could be missing out on in the online world.

It drives me crazy that people now a days can not put their phones down. When I go out to dinner with my friends, they leave their phones on the table as if waiting for someone to text or call them. I can see them peering from the corner of their eyes as if sending some powerful signals for their phone to go off. Their hands tremble, inching their way closer and closer to the device. HELLO! I'M RIGHT HERE! Can you put the phone away and enjoy a real relationship with a real person? You know, the ones that consists of face to face communication and yes, TALKING WITH YOUR MOUTH. 

We need to be in touch with everyone and see what they are doing every second of the day. Sooner or later technology will be so advanced that we won't even need to leave our house. A virtual image of us will appear wherever our friends are while our lazy butt is in bed ALONE! This world is causing us to dig ourselves in an anti-social, social media hole. We become distant with the world being satisfied with these virtual relationships, when in fact, our only friend is our phone. 

Online relationships tend to just stay as online relationships. Half the people we are friends with through social media, are not really our friends. We may communicate online, but when it comes to actually seeing them in the real world, we can't even make eye contact. There is a part of us that knows so much about them, it's like a big secret, but then when we pass by them in person this weird feeling overcomes us and we are confused as to whether we should say hello.

Instead of having a few friends that are close, we would rather have a thousand friends at a distance.

But it's not as if our phones help us with this social anxiety. We have the whole world wide web compacted in this small device we carry with us everywhere. 

In reality, we are talking to our screen. We are so fixated on this little rectangular screen with just words and pictures. We constantly update social media pages and scroll through our text messages, even if we haven't received any recently- a nervous twitch.

But screw whatever is happening in our phones, the real problem is what is happening to us. The infamous TEXTING AND WALKING. Oh yes, we all fall victim to this criminal act. Not only are we not paying attention to what is in front of us, but we are putting ourselves in danger of possibly hitting a pole, wall, tripping, and bumping in to others. And it's not even about the danger, it's about how we are walking. Our head is down, we slow our pace, moving side to side trying to avoid people but sort of bumping in to them. We might as well be DRUNK!

SO HERE IS THE TEST
Spend a whole day with a close friend or family and ditch the phone. Enjoy actual company and create memories without having to share them with the world. No one needs to know what you are doing because in reality, no one really cares. Go out and leave the technological bubble. For once, you will walk with your head held high becoming familiar with the world you easily ignored.

{Image by Daniel Krall}

Monday, September 9, 2013

1 Revision, 2 Revision, NO REVISIONS MORE!

Every writer is faced with the much dreaded REVISION. As writers, we find it hard to truly be satisfied with our work. We will revise our paper to the bone! But when do you know when enough is enough? It becomes a serious case of Over Revision.

Imagine each revision is like taking a shot of Tequila. I'm pretty sure you'll limit your revisions if that were the case. So with each revision you take one shot and the more distorted your paper becomes. After a while it doesn't even make sense anymore. It all becomes a blur and you blackout. The next morning you find yourself waking up to a new paper laying next to you in your bed. And then you suffer with a writers hangover, which consists of a major headache, writers block, and dissatisfaction.



SO HOW DO WE PUT AN END TO THESE DRUNKEN NIGHTS? 

PACE YOURSELF- If you attempt to revise your paper more than 2 times in one day, you can be over doing it. It is good to part ways with your writing and give each other space- miss each other. Then, when you feel like your mind is clear, go back to your paper and start your next revision. Too many revisions will leave a drunken mess!

DON'T WRITE THINGS YOU'LL REGRET- After a few revisions, you may be feeling a little tipsy and a little balls-y. You might try throwing in sentences just so you feel like you have 'revised' your work. Or maybe you're pissed off at your paper and you start cursing it out. DON'T DO IT. If you feel as though you do not have any valuable content to add in to your writing, do not put it in. Believe me, you'll regret it. This will tend to sway you in another direction or completely throw off what you originally intended to say. You'll eventually have to revise your previous revision and possibly make it even harder to get to your final work of art.


NO ONE NIGHT STANDS- Before going to sleep, make sure you are familiar with your paper. At least know it's name and a little bit about itself before taking it to bed. You'll feel more relaxed knowing that you are closer to a satisfying paper, rather than a messy drunk who seems to be all over the place.

SLEEP OFF THE HANGOVER- Sometimes it is hard to set limits on our drinking. So when we fail to follow the first 3 Rules, we just have to sleep off the hangover. After, a long night of revision, writing things we'll regret in the morning, and a one night stand, it is best to sleep it off the next day. This truly means, do not touch your paper! This brings us back to the 1st Rule: PACE YOURSELF. Allow you and your paper to recover, and then you can continue your blissful and sober relationship.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Would You Eat A Chimpanzee?


Should intelligence matter when it comes to whether or not we should eat animals, or what animals we shouldn’t eat? 

If we would rely on intelligence being the primary reason to believe it is morally right or wrong to eat an animal, we should take in perspective whether it is correct to consume a stupid human. 

In William H. Davis’ reading,  ‘Man-Eating Aliens,’ Davis makes a point on whether one should base what they eat on intelligence. He begins by setting the scenario that a race of alien creatures came to our planet. They are much more powerful and intelligent than us. They view “man” as food and plan on eating us. They understand the whole issue of morality because they are considered to be moral and rational to their own being. They also understand that man does not want to die. They feel sympathy, but only to their own kind. We are put into a scenario where we are the cattle that we slaughter and eat. Humans feel more powerful and more intelligent than animals therefore, they eat them. We cannot sympathize with the animal because it does not speak to us or explain their situation. But Davis creates a very valuable point. He states, “But when a cow foresees a life-threatening situation it gives every sign of dread and resistance”. Is that not a way a cow communicates to us, communicating fear, discomfort, pain? Aren’t those signs of intelligence? 

Clearly, when Davis puts us in the scenario where intelligence did matter, humans would have died being outsmarted and overpowered by the aliens. But what about the pain one would feel? Like the Lobster for instance. When the aliens state to us that we have nothing that they need, therefore, they will eat us, we would want to argue how we have feelings and experience pain. When being put in the situation of being slaughtered to be eaten, we would behave in a way cattle would. And if being thrown into a kettle of boiling water we would act in a way the lobster would, trying to find a way out of discomfort.

It becomes a situation of the powerful and the powerless. 

When we come to think of why it is worse to kill another human than an animal, I believe Davis made a great point. Davis stated, “…you do not have a natural capacity for sympathizing with the life of grass”. When it comes to helping someone of our own species, we do. We cannot sympathize for an insect or anything that is not related to us. It is easier to kill an animal because some may say it does not communicate with us. Communication is not a result of speaking to one another. Someone who is deaf may choose not to speak and uses sign language as a way of communicating, why not eat them?  A baby who is unable to speak, make decisions, or do anything by itself seems like a great candidate to put on a platter. Silence is a way of communicating, moving about in discomfort is a way of communicating, therefore we are closely related to animals, and any other living species.
           
For instance, a full-grown Chimp is much smarter than a human baby. Intelligence is not relevant on deciding which one we should eat. If it relied on that, the baby would be the correct option. We are well aware that both of these animals feel pain. That should be taken in to consideration.

There have been arguments on animals eating other animals, so why can’t humans eat animals? It is in an animal’s nature to go after it’s prey. Being that we do have different morals than animals and we are able to think of our actions, it does not justify that we are allowed to do what animals do. Humans consist of intellectual thought and knowledge, rather than animals that are born and structured a certain way to live. It is not as though an animal goes home everyday and has a home cooked meal. So, it is their moral obligation as animals to pursue their prey and make sure the rest of their ‘pack’ eats.

Although, one cannot put animals and people on the same pedestal, they do experience similar emotions. 

The reasons for maybe not eating a Chimp: They are closely related to humans and we are able to feel compassion for them.

{Image by Kevin Dooley}

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cut The Bull$#!&

Nothing is worse than a person telling a story without a point. "BLAH BLAH BLAH ..." and you sit there wondering where the story is going. It's like a bad date where you just want to scream, "SHUT UP!" and walk out leaving them with the bill. But what happens when your writing consists of a lot of rambling and a pointless destination? 

Well, if I were the reader, I wouldn't read it. Easy as that.

4 Straight to the Point Tips on Getting Straight to the Point:

1. CUT THE B.S. - Cut out useless sentences that you use to 'fill up' your story. If you have something to say, just say it. Don't go around it, go right to it!

2. WATCH OUT FOR RUN ON SENTENCES - Let the reader breathe. After a run on sentence they are bound to run on to their next task. Do not overwhelm the reader with a lot of information in one sentence. They will question what they have just read, and probably question if they want to continue reading.

3. OVER DETAILING - Ex: The sky was the color of the Pacific blue ocean, which was as blue as her blue eyes. We get it. It's blue. Moving on. 

4. DON'T FORCE IT - Let the point come naturally. Try not to end your writing with "The point is.." or "And this is why.." Don't drill  it in our heads. It's like a comedian trying to explain a joke. If you didn't get the joke, then obviously their is something missing.  A good piece of writing will have the point embedded in the work.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sorry, You're Not My 'Type'

Are we influenced by Society or are we CONTROLLED? 

This post is based off of a discussion I had earlier that had me scratching my head. You see, we all try to be 'original,' but being 'original' nowadays is cliche, therefore, there is no originality. Society has created types and no matter how different you may 'think' you are, you ALWAYS fall in to some category.

I understand humans are intellectual, have psychological depth, and are not two dimensional. 


BUT, let's look at this from an abstract perspective. Bear with me:


As we grow older we start to figure out, or attempt to figure out, the 'type' of person we are. So we choose the clothes we like, the music, our friends, etc. It's not as if 'WE' truly decided who we wanted to be, society sort of molded us in that way. We are influenced by artists, celebrities, writers, our parents, friends, yadayada- and these people are influenced by other people or things. We shape ourselves to be the person we need to be, or even want to be at that moment. But is this a way of Society controlling us? It may not be intentional or even something you think about because it comes so naturally. We have been born in to this Society and abide by the rules subconciously. Even criminals and killers follow the rules of their 'type' in Society. And this goes way back to the beginning of time, I suppose.


So my question still stands: Are we controlled by the Society around us or are we just influenced?


{Image by Tracheotomy Bob}


Monday, August 26, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Watch A Movie Based On A Book


I consider this to be one of the greatest fails of all time! If you are dedicated to literature, there should be no need for a movie. 

The rule is: If you read a book before watching the movie, DON'T watch the movie. 


Books are so powerful. A couple of words on a piece of paper can stimulate your mind, work up your imagination, and create thought. Unlike movies, you accept what is presented in front of you. [IMAGINATION IS NOT INCLUDEDWhere is the fun in that?

I have read 'The Kite Runner', written by Khaled Hosseini, with no intentions of watching the movie. Due to a boring Sunday night, I found myself face to face with the characters I had just read in the book, but not quite the same. You see, you paint this image in your mind of how each character looks, interacts and the location the book is set in. When you watch the movie, you are erasing the image you created and have replaced it with a knockoff version of the book. I was highly disappointed with the outcome of the movie which seemed completely off, and valuable details that made up the beauty of the story were put aside, just like that.

Moral of the Story:

Movies do not give the book any justification due to a limit of an hour or so and having to cut certain parts and details you may find important. There is no time limit on reading a book. You read at your own pace and take in every detail the author wanted you to take in. 


SO HERE IS A TIP:
If you have already watched a movie based on a book, GO READ THE BOOK! The story is much more valuable on paper than it is on screen. 

{'FAIL' Image by Nima Badiey}

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Surviving A Bad Breakup With Your Book

You turn over that last page in your book and you think to yourself, "What do I do with my life now?" Your book has just broken up with you and has left you there feeling used after many intimate nights together. The past couple of weeks seemed great and all was going well but then, that last page was turned, and it was over.

We become so invested in a book- the characters, the plot, the story. We create this emotional relationship with each character and begin to feel what they feel. But what happens to them when the story is over? What happens to us?

Here are 5 Steps in Surviving a Bad Breakup:

Sure, sitting at home sipping on wine and crying may seem like the right thing to do at that moment, but keep in mind, your book has already gotten over it.

1. Accept the Ending- You need to come to terms with what you have just read. Books are very much like life, filled with unanswered questions and various cliffhangers. They leave you hungry and wanting more. But you can't change what has already been written. Put your book on the shelf and walk away. And when you finally realize that this is the end and nothing else can be done, you will be able to move to the next step in your grieving process.

2. Find Closure with the Characters- They still live within us. Characters are what the authors create but 'WE' are what makes them come alive. We decide what they look like in our heads: their features, personality, what they wear, etc. So after 200 or so pages I believe the character has the right to Rest In Peace. Accept the relationship you have established with the characters and close that chapter in your life.

3. Talk About It- Join some forums! The book technically doesn't need to end right then and there. Many people are going through what you are going through and are just as curious. Go find some forums to be a part of it and see if any of your questions have been answered. Clearly, your book has gotten around and has a different type of relationship with each reader. You are not alone.

4. Try Speed Dating- Jump in to your next book. Start doing your research and set up dates with other books. The beauty of e-books is that you are able to obtain a free trial of the first couple of chapters, which will allow you to see if you would want to pursue the relationship. Or, stick to print books and read the small summary on the back/inside sleeve. Try to not compare your new book with your old. Out of thousands of books, you are bound to find one that is right for you.

5. Moving On- It's ok to move on. Your ex-book has already moved on into the hands of another reader. So grab a better book and keep it moving.

Breakups are never easy, but once you have put your old book aside you allow new books the opportunity to come right in! The best part about your book is that it will be there if you want to give the relationship a second shot!

{Image by ShellyS}

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Give Your Writing A Butt Lift

Have Low Self-Esteem?
Worried about what others think?
Dreading to sit and revise your flaws?

This calls for a Cosmetic intervention to your writing. We find ourselves with a rough draft or outline and wonder how we can be satisfied with the final piece. Well, simple, you throw it under the knife. Lay it down on a surgical table, inspect what needs to be enhanced, draw lines where changes must be made, and stitch up the loose ends.

CONSULTATION:

BOTOX- The INTRODUCTION. If your intro is not appealing, nothing else matters. You need a solid intro that will interest the readers and want them to pursue your writing. So inject some BOTOX in to your intro and smooth out the wrinkles.

BREAST IMPLANTS- The BODY. The body is where all the content of your writing is stored. It is your 'TEMPLE.' The more content, the more opportunity the reader has to be drawn in to your story. Strip away the shirt and throw in some implants! Double D's means Double the Details!

BUTT LIFT- The CONCLUSION. The conclusion MUST be as strong or even stronger than your intro and your body. This will sum up your story and leave your readers wanting more. It is essential to have a lifted ending rather than a saggy closing. Get that butt lift to give people something to talk about.

ADD ON:

TUMMY TUCK- When revising, it is best to either cut or tuck any unnecessary details in your writing. Excess fat will take away from your perfect silhouette.

& FINALLY,

Stitch up the loose ends and let your writing heal.