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' 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.

  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.

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:
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}

Cheating On Your Partner With Your Writing

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.

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.

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.

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}

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!

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}

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.


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.

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}

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.