Saturday, August 16, 2014

Something To Think About

   On my Facebook news feed, I've seen a certain type of post lately, posted by multiple people, and these posts disturb me greatly because what they tend to be are links to uploaded YouTube videos of animals or defenseless people (kids, disabled, ect.) being cruelly beaten, tortured even, by someone who has power over them. To me, there is not very many evils that are greater than hurting something that does not have the power to fight back; hurting something weaker with less defenses that should be under that person's protection. I don't know, maybe that's just me, but that is my feeling, and that is why these videos disturb me so much.
   These videos are usually passed with a message to share the link with people so that the story will spread and that we, as a society, will help to catch these people. But the funny thing is, I've yet to hear a story about these people getting caught. What I hear and see, is even more videos showcasing abuse; humanity at it's worst rather than it's best. So I've started hiding all the videos that show up on my news feed. I won't look at them.
   Am I turning a blind eye to evil? No, I don't think so. Because when you upload a video to a social media site, such as YouTube, what you want is for people to watch it. You want people to pass it around, you want people to see what you filmed. And to me, it seems that all of the videos have been filmed by a participating abuser, someone with permission by the abusers. I assume that they also have the permission to post the video. Which means that the person hurting his/her victim wants his/her atrocities to be watched. He/she wants them recognized, shares, passed, possibly made viral. And I am not in the habit of giving evil men and women what they want. I believe that these people want their slice of internet fame, and I am not going to participate in giving that to them. 
   I don't say this to shame people who've shared the links. If you honestly think that these people can be caught by your actions, then I guess you have to do what you think is right. But, personally, I don't think we have much hope of catching these people. In a media that spans almost worldwide, are you even certain that these videos are even in the country that you are currently in? That's a lot of people for a lot of different authorities to sort through, and if these people are ever caught, I have the feeling that their capture will be due to a concerned neighbor or a conscientious family member, not a YouTube video. That's not to say that the video can't be the evidence that nails the lid on the coffin, but the video, I feel, won't be what gets them caught. So why watch? Why give the person the pleasure of knowing that worldwide, people are watching the video? 
   I don't like to be preachy, or to tell people what to do, but maybe this is something that we all should think about, when we log into whatever form of social media that we use. I'm not suggesting turning a blind eye to evil, if we ever have the chance to actually help someone, then we should jump in and do so, but what I am suggesting is giving these victims that we can't help, a small amount of compassion by not empowering their abuser; by NOT giving the abuser what he or she so obviously wanted when they shared their homemade video on a social media site. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Techno-Moron

   Yet again, I've been having problems with electrical devices. My computer has been giving me the most grief; it's decided that it's going to overheat and turn off every five minutes, making any type of computer based work hard. Good thing I'm not still doing online classes.
   It's gonna have to wait, like every other expense that's not rent, food, or utilities. But another piece of 'time-saving' equipment has also been giving me a lot of grief: my vacuum cleaner. I mean, c'mon, how much trouble can a vacuum cleaner be? Well, if your name is Marie, than the vacuum cleaner might just be your arch-nemesis. A few months ago, before summer even started, I wrote about how my vacuum cleaner had stopped working correctly, and that my sister had told me that the problem was the belt. At first, the problem did seem to be the belt. After replacing the belt, my vacuum did work again; running the blasted thing caused my apartment to smell like fire, but it did work, for a time. However, three new belts later, for some reason, I am spending more time trying to get the vacuum to work than I am actually spending vacuuming. This, my friends, is a problem.
    I don't like living in a dirty house, but I equally don't like cleaning. If I have to spend 30 minutes just getting the tool I need to use to clean to work in the first place, then that chore: not getting done. Not happening. But you can't just stop vacuuming when you have a carpeted floor. So I downgraded. I'm done with vacuum cleaners. Instead, I've switched to a vacuum sweeper - no electricity needed, no motors, no belts, no wires, nothing.  And while my family is busy laughing at me, I just can't help being happy.
   And that just kinda reinforced something that I've known for a long time. Something that just doesn't make sense with a woman who writes a blog, is a gamer, and grew up in the age of the internet; I just don't do well with technology. Something in me causes shit to break, and that's not so great for my blog, because it's hard to write a post when your computer will only stay on for five minutes at a time. I need a new one, but I'm waiting because I already got a new one once, and managed to destroy it so completely it won't turn on. I need something with less wires and circuits. But unlike the vacuum cleaner, there really isn't a compatible downgrade for computers. If only my computer problem could be solved so easily. I need a vacuum sweeper version of a computer...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back-To-School Shopping Ramble

   It's that time again; time to start getting the kiddo ready for her next school year. Another round of shopping and mayhem. I haven't done the big school clothes shop yet; this year won't be as bad as last year though. She's grown, but we bought a lot of her pants larger than needed, and they fit her now. Undoubtedly, she will need those pants replaced as the year goes by, but I have a little time, thank goodness. I don't have to buy a whole, entirely new wardrobe before school this year. Last year I did, and I was fearing the same for this year.The child that once didn't even reach the tops of my knees is now merely a few meager inches shorter than me. We did do the whole shoe shopping bit, and to my shock, my daughter is now, at age 12, wearing the same size shoes that I am. How big is this child going to get? That's what I wanna know.
  This year will mark the first year that my daughter does not want Tinkerbell plastered on her backpack. For the longest time, my daughter was obsessed with Tinkerbell. She had Tinkerbell toys and Tinkerbell games, Tinkerbell shirts and Tinkerbell movies, Tinkerbell blankets, Tinkerbell posters, Tinkerbell books... I'm sure you get the picture - even when I shut my eyes, I was seeing Tinkerbell plastered on the back of my eyelids.
   These days, my daughter is more into Fairytale and Sword Art Online. That is good by me - I can get into some anime. Of course, that means that she wants anime plastered all over the stuff that she gets for school. Grandma bought the lucky dog a Sword Art Online backpack, and thanks some help from the anime store at the mall and Amazon, she was able to score a few anime T-shirts for back-to-school. But anime themed stuff - that, my friends, is expensive.
   Just in case you are wondering, those of you with small kids or even thinking of having kids, they don't get cheaper as they get older. Sure, you don't pay for diapers, and eventually, daycare, but little girls - not as expensive as big girls, in my own personal opinion. Okay, I could save money by going thrift-store shopping. I do by her new stuff, and I know that this is the pricey way to go, but all her clothes gets handed down to my little niece, so I feel like I am getting good value for what I buy. But you have to look at all the other things that a growing girl needs. They don't get less expensive when you are looking at bras and shoes and school fees (even for public schools, good grief), and a long list of things that no one really wants to read about. I'm not really looking forward to my daughter dragging me around the mall, going from one brightly colored, designed-to-make-your-eyes-bleed garment to the next, all the while complaining about how she's not goth like me (I'm not goth at all, by the way, I just prefer to wear the color black) while she searches for the perfect neon yellow shirt and fire engine red pants. Who taught this child how to dress??? Kids rebel in the strangest ways... Well, school clothes shopping is a few weeks away, so I have a little time to mentally prepare myself for the chore. I like to wait as long as possible, because I'm sure that this kid is drinking Miracle Grow on the sly, and I'm worried about growth spurts. Also, I'm dragging my mom along because misery loves company, so I have to wait for a good day for her as well. After raising two girls of her own, I'm sure she's used to head-scratching, you-want-to-actually-wear-that??? moments herself, so she's good to have along, although, sometimes, she does tend to enjoy feeding my daughter's bizarre fashion choices... Yeah, I see what you are doing there mother, but you're still drafted, regardless. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Shitting-Ass Woods Were On Fire

   It's been a while since I've posted. I can't help it, you've all become victims (or benefactors depending on how you view my ramblings) of my Dragon Age obsession. The new one is coming out in October, so of course, I've got to replay the old games and make sure that I'm happy with the paths my characters have taken. Well, that and the fact that I work and have all of my usual parenting duties. And my vacuum broke again and my computer is still being a fussy biatch, but I digress.
   A couple days ago, I was frying squash; a good old-fashioned Southern fry-up, and I was also baking cookies at the same time, because I wanted my daughter to have a treat, since I was having mine via the fry-up, which my daughter hates. And the apartment started filling with smoke, and my daughter is sitting there asking, "Mom, what are you burning?" Which is a fair question, especially when I am cooking multiple things. I am not the most skilled cook, and I get the best results when I do one thing at a time. But, since I was also frying, the oven was not unattended; I was getting grease burns like a pro, standing over my fry pan. But, even though I couldn't see fire, I could smell it, so I shut everything down. Nobody wants to deal with a grease fire.
   The smoke did not diminish, however, so I was looking around for a source of smoke, and I realized that the smoke was coming in through our open windows. Washington, my friends, has been getting 90 degree weather. And we've been dry. Washington does not like to be dry; we need some rain. In protest of the dry weather, the damn woods outside of my apartment had decided to start burning. Straight-up fire, and sitting in my apartment parking lot was a shit load of fire trucks and firefighters. I'd thought those sirens had sounded kinda close. Guess kinda close this time meant right outside my freakin' door.
   It was my day off; I had no plans to leave the apartment, no plans to even open the door, so here I am, in my ratty shirt that's super comfy, in my ratty sleep pants, my hair pulled back in a messy knot, and I'm looking at a drive way full of buff-ass firefighters..... and they are looking at me. SHIT!!! Are you kidding me? But that's not even the worst of it.
   The fire had started on the other side of the woods that are next to my apartment, so they hadn't reached my apartment, but the firefighters had hooked up all their hoses, ready for if the fire did reach this side of the woods. I look back in my house, at my daughter who is also in her slumming-round-the-apartment clothes, and I hiss, "Get dressed in case we need to leave!" Then I look back at my neighbor, who is also out gawking at the smoke-filled lot, and she's going, "That's an awful lot of smoke, my God." And we look at each other and shrug, and then I look at the firefighters, and I decide on of them needs to tell me if we need to get up out of this place. As much as I love my stuff - I don't want my daughter and I to die with it. We wanna live, dammit. So I ask one of the guys if we need to leave or something, and he says, "No, they about got it out." I guess that accounted for all the damn smoke.
    They all left after a few, which I wasn't thrilled about, because, what if that shit starts burning again? But I guess from the sounds of it, a heck of a lot of Washington is burning right now. They have things to do. I know one thing though, I'm not going to be happy until we get a real good Washington downpour. I want shit soaked. All this grass and underbrush is brown and crispy - perfect for burning. I want things to go back to being green and soggy, thank you very much. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bless Your Heart And Sweet Tea

   I recently took one of those facebook quizzes, something that I am constantly doing, that asked a series of questions and was supposed to measure how southern you were. My father's side of the family is southern, deep south, good old Mississippi folk, so I thought it would be fun. And I'm not really saying that the quiz wasn't fun - but a lot of the questions didn't match what I experienced living in the south. I don't know how anyone else feels about the quiz, but I'm pretty sure that the thing was written by a Northern person who was only familiar with Southern stereotypes. And there seems to be a lot of that up here, so I thought I'd set some things straight, but with the understanding that my viewpoint is just that - my viewpoint. When you talk Southern, what you need to realize is that you are talking about a whole section of a country, and southern Mississippi can be a lot different that southern Georgia and southern Texas and Florida (many of whom refuse to be classified as Southern at all. They are Floridians, dammit). They aren't all the same, no more than Washington is the same as Maine or California.
   But at any rate, we are going to start with Bless Your Heart. The quiz that I did take defined the saying 'Bless your heart' as something Southern people said to someone when they thought they were doing or saying something incredibly stupid. This may be true for some people, but personally, when I thought someone was being a moron, I always just told them to piss off. I've never blessed a person's heart in my life, and a lot of us don't use that phrase. But for those people that I've known to use that phrase, they've always used it in a more friendly manner. "Did you hear about so-and-so? Her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Bless her heart." "So-and-so's husband was laid off after working for that company for twelve years. Bless his heart." I can't say that I've ever heard this phrase used in the manner of an insult. Not to say that it doesn't happen, but that is not the main use of that phrase, so don't automatically think that this phrase is an insult.
   Now we are going to move on to the usage of ma'am. I use this one a lot, and it's not well received at times. Since when was ma'am an insult? Let me set this record straight - ma'am is not commonly used to mean elderly. When I call you ma'am, I am not saying "Hey, old lady." Ma'am IS a term for a grown woman. I was once told by someone to use Miss instead. Miss, folks, is a girl. Someone who is not yet old enough to be married, to be an adult. Calling a grown woman miss is an insult. Want me to treat you like a child? Fine. You are grounded. Go to your room and stay there until you've grown a brain. Maybe that's disrespectful, but frankly, you just asked for it. Literally. Calling a woman ma'am is no different that calling a man sir, and as a kid, in the south, we were punished for being disrespectful. Being respectful is not an easy habit for me to break, and honestly, I have both an attitude and a temper.  Sometimes I really need to be able to cling to that habit of being respectful in order to keep from going off on people when they aggravate me.
    We're also going to talk sweet tea here. We don't all like sweet tea. There are plenty of people who would rather have a glass of coke or coffee or water or whatever. But, personally, I love sweet tea. I make my tea by the half-gallon and I use plenty of sugar. However, I never drank sweet tea in the south, because they drink black tea, for the most part. Black tea is gross. My sweet tea tends to be green tea, or white tea, or rooibos tea, and they tend to be flavored specialty teas at that. The south may be known for sweet tea, but I think the north has the south beat when it comes to tea. That's a personal opinion there, but all I can say is Washington has Tea Madame Tea shop, and the south doesn't. That speaks volumes to me.
    All I'm saying, I guess, is that a stereotype is a stereotype, and perhaps when someone is telling you that every person in the south acts and talks the same way, maybe you should think about how likely that really is. I mean, how big is the south? How many states? Is that reasonable that every person in the south is a carbon copy? That all of those states have the same mannerisms and traditions? Not realistic, people. We aren't all the same, and when you make assumptions, you may tend to get angry or get your feelings hurt because you are placing what we said or did in a context that doesn't apply. And also - I know a few southern women who have virulent feelings towards tea, sweet or not.


   P.S. I have never sucked on a crawfish head. Mudbugs are gross.