Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Just a few words, since they're needed elsewhere

Hello, audience. I thought I'd pop back in to remind everyone that my blog isn't dead, or anything. I've just been all over the place. Halloween was kind of insane for me, and since then I've been doing NaNoWriMo.

For those who are somehow unaware, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, where those of us who harbor illusions/aspirations of writing novels go to be forced into accountability and put words on the page. The goal is 50,000 words in thirty days, and it's utterly insane.

Which is why this post is going to be short. I have work in a few hours and several hundred words to write before that. I don't know how anyone who has school or work full time even does this, but somehow they do.

That's the awesome thing about NaNoWriMo, though. It's this awesome way to force yourself to create. I know November is also Make Art Every Day Month, and I find that amazing too. I'd love to participate in both, but I think it would probably kill me. It makes me kind of sad, though, that I need to force myself to do things that I love to do. The creator in me hangs her head in shame that the joy and accomplishment I find in creating well isn't enough for me to force aside the demands of my fairly undemanding daily life to make.

More and more the past few weeks, I'm finding that passion isn't enough; desire isn't enough; enjoyment isn't enough. I put those things aside to do other things that matter less to me, because somehow that makes sense. The only thing that makes this happen in discipline.

And that sucks.

I'm not an especially disciplined individual. I find it difficult to make myself do things that I don't feel like doing, which, yes, is a common problem. Discipline doesn't come easily to anyone.

My sister said once that self-discipline is just parenting yourself. You have to override the mental whining child, and just go to bed, or get our of bed, or eat this or not that, or clean your house, or whatever it is that needs done that you don't want to do.

I bribe myself shamelessly most of the time. Not so much with my novel, because thankfully that little graph showing me how on track my word count is makes a really good incentive system for me. I want to hit my word count even if I don't want to write.

And speaking of which, I should really shut up and do that.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

On Gifts and Narcissism

Hello, audience. Happy not-quite-Halloween. It's been a little while since I've posted anything...Like since August. I haven't forgotten my blog, though. I'm still here to spew my nonsense into the ether by force. I've just been somewhere between unmotivated and busy. Not that anyone reading my blog is wildly invested in what I do outside of my blog. NO! We are here to be amused, not regaled with accounts of my monotonous daily life!

Any, this is actually a combination post of something I've been considering writing about here for a while and something I've been considering privately due to recent events fringing my social circle.

The second shall be discussed first!

Everyone likes presents, right? Gifties that other people give you that are both free and pleasing. That's why we go so freaking berserk over gift-giving events (Christmas, birthdays, weddings, baby things, and so on). But the other side of gifts is the giving part.
If only these weren't both right hands...

There's two sides: the giving party and the getting party including at least one person each. Unless this is a present to oneself, in which case, the whole discussion here is moot.

(Which is, on a total side note, one of my favorite words to say for irrelevant nothing things. Like jack, squat, and BUMPKIS!)

This is possibly because of my upbringing (and my mother's upbringing), but I have a very turtle-parenting approach to gift-giving.

You all understand this comparison, right? Turtles--sea turtles, I believe--have a hands/flippers-off parenting method: they lay their eggs on a beach, and then take off. "Good luck, fetal turtle spawn! Come find us if you ever hatch!" Once they lay those suckers, their job is done. Off they go to frolic in the ocean and be endangered.

This is how I give presents. I choose something I think the giftee will like/appreciate/use/etc, I give it to them with or without any kind of ceremony or pretty wrapping (usually without either, because I procrastinate). The end. Once I've given something to someone as a gift, it's theirs, no strings attached, no expectations or conditions about what happens after that. They can cut up, regift it, or leave it in their garage for the next fifty years for all of the involvement I expect to have. Yes, I'll be somewhat hurt if they don't like it, but that's not the point of giving a gift.

Recently, someone received a gift from relatives, who promptly sent a note a month later to explain what a selfish douchwaffel she was for not sending an effusive thank you note. Because everyone knows a GIFT is actually an exchange of goods/services for thanks/services.

WTF, bro?

I've actually known a few people who get really butt-hurt about not getting thanked in the form of a card, or who don't get a return present at the next possible opportunity. This irks me because you are as obligated to give people gifts as you are to feed wild animals.

Barring those "gifts" that are actually help when people genuinely and desperately need it, but I would call that help, not gifts.

The point is that they're not necessary. If you don't want to give someone something, don't. It's that easy. The thing about gifts is that they're not supposed to even involve obligation or entitlement. Gifts are not deserved, and they're not relational commerce.

And that was about all I had to say about that. It seems remarkably self-centered to give someone else a present and then have expectations and demands for something you freely gave.

Speaking of self-centered: Narcissism!

As much as my siblings joke about being narcissists when referring to our vanity and general fabulousless and self-assurance, we are aware that there are other people who also important and living their own lives totally separate from us.

We're probably not always aware of this, but I don't think anyone is.

Because I have news for you, people (assuming you've read this whole post, which is not inconsiderable in size)

YOU ARE NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN OTHER PEOPLE. Your time is not worth more; your agenda is not more pressing; your plans are not more important.

Unless you have managed to earn a place at the top of the human pyramid, you're just as worthless as all those people you speed past in traffic and all those people you thrust your money at without even glancing at.

I'm beginning to have this theory that everyone is some level of sociopath. Yes, we sometimes experience empathy for people we already care about, and we can sometimes dissect other people's actions until we can understand and condone them, but we all operate from our own little world of me, me, me, me, me, and me. We are the only person we consider about 90% of the time.

And, honestly, I'm mostly cool with that. I think Ayn Rand had a lot of things right (unpopular and insane as she might be), but as one of the millions of people on this planet regularly treated like crap for a paycheck, and as someone with what looks like Tourette's in heavy traffic (or light traffic. Or any traffic, really. If there are other cars in the street, I hate them with a fiery and very verbal passion), I'm noticing more and more just how much we seriously don't give a crap about people, because it doesn't even occur to us to consider them as fellow human beings. They're props and inconveniences in our story, not people with lives and plans and hopes and motivations and needs all their own. (See Cracked's article on the Monkeysphere)

It's kind of appalling.

That prick that swerved in front of you is just a bloody moron, but if you abruptly swing into another lane, it's because, crap, your turn is coming up, and you didn't realize it. Or when someone zooms past you, weaving lanes and cutting ahead, they're  inconsiderate and irresponsible, and that idiot shouldn't even have a license, but when you're late, you can rush through traffic in whatever way gets you there quickest. It's okay to leave your table in a restaurant a mess, but if you have to sit down at a dirty table, someone is rude and disrespectful.

We have these absurd double-standards that dictate that we can do no wrong, and everything that inconveniences us is because everyone else sucks.

There's some fantasy novel I read at some point. It may have been Green Rider, where there's this water bucket hanging from a tree by the road so that travelers can drink, and above it is a sign asking whoever drinks to refill it for the next person, so that no one has to come to it without being able to get a drink. So don't be a douchebag. People come before and after you, and they matter just as much to themselves as you do to you. It's the frickin' "golden rule" that everyone leans as a wee, little child. Just apply it, and everyone will hate each other less.

Also, here's an article with some nice suggestions to do just that.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

On Shyness

Hello, audience. Based on my blog stats, you actually exist, which is gratifying. I assume you do, anyway. That, or things are randomly linking to my page, and people search things that I posted pictures of.

But I thought I'd take a few minutes tonight to explain to the internet at large why I HATE HATE HATE shy people.

Do you know why it is?

Because they're so full of crap.

We've all met the people who are just quiet. They don't talk a whole lot, and they're cool being on their own, and they don't need you to tell them it's okay. That's being called self-contained. When people say they're shy, you should automatically read that as "I'm an attention whore with a propensity to martyring myself." Because we've also all met those people. I've met several.

Let me take a moment here, my dear, faithful, presumably interested audience, to explain something: I am loud. I am opinionated. I am comparatively oblivious, and I don't cater to anyone in conversation (excepting age, because some things can't be said around the over-thirty-five/under-seventeen crowds). Get over it, sweetheart.

Someone posted this thing on Facebook that said something akin to, "I'm the friend who always gets cut off mid-story, and walks behind everyone else, and invites people to hang out so that I'm not excluded, and I will always be that friend, because wah wah wah." Or something like that. And being the diplomatic angel I always am, I commented.

I have been Bitched Out on more than one occasion (at least twice by the same person, who was the kind of "shy" I'm talking about here) for being a verbal bulldozer, being rude, interrupting, being pushy, loud, etc. And you know what? I am those things most of the time. But you know what else? Most of the people who actually enjoy talking to me (like my friends and close family members) can deal with that. They talk over me, and I talk over them, and it's not because either of us thinks we're more important than the other. We're just talking. We're comfortably sharing ideas and stories in a free manner.

This isn't frickin' LD Debate here, guys. I don't make an opening statement, followed by your opening statement, nd then my rebuttal, and your rebuttal, and my follow up, and your response, and then our closing thoughts. Conversation is a free flow thing. If you can't handle that, maybe you should only talk to people via text, because instant messaging, email, and texting all take place line by line where no one steps over the other.

Come to think of it, most of the whiny "shy" people do spend all their time online...

Anyway, the thought I had originally started with is this: People who claim to be shy are usually just looking for someone to validate them. And there are two things I have no respect for, and when people exhibit them on a regular basis, I stop talking to them so that no one gets throttled.
1) Stupidity. This is the cardinal sin in the Book of Rachel.
2) Excessive insecurity.

Let me clarify here. Everyone is insecure about things. No one is totally confident, totally happy, or totally together. We all have duckies that are getting away from us. But most of us have the decency not to cram it down everyone's throat.

In my experience, people who are "shy" are looking for excuses to martyr themselves so that other people feel sorry for them or pay excessive attention to them. So that when you don't make way on a red carpet covered on rose petals for their every little thought, you're a dick for not letting them speak.

Because I have news, babydoll, no one can tell you that you don't matter. No one can make you feel insignificant or unimportant.  No one can make you shut up when you want to talk. No one can make your opinions less important.


you lie down in front of their feet and explain softly that you're a worthless doormat, and  if they would be so gracious as to make you'd bitch them out for being so thoughtless and selfish as to think that their opinions matter. How dare other people be aware of their own worth when you need yours given to you by external forces?!

When you need validated and told you're a beautifuw snowfwake and we all appweciate evewything about you, it's your own weakness.

There you go, friends and neighbors. I think "shy people" are weaklings, and full of their own selfishness and arrogance on top of it. You don't get to condemn me or anyone else for asserting ourselves just because you need permission to say anything unless it;s to complain about your lot for being the self-proclaimed victim.

Shut your whore mouth, you freaking shy people. Get over yourselves.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Recent Thoughts on The Little Mermaid

Hello, ever-present audience. (Nevermind how accurate or inaccurate that is.)

As you may or may not have seen on my Facebook (I try not to let those mix) I said I might have to post about The Little Mermaid after watching it the other night. Thursday, I believe.

Like many of the pure joys of my childhood, revisiting it as an adult (we'll ignore the fact that I watch at least four Disney movies every year for the last decade or so) can be both disappointing and hilarious.

In my Facebook post, I summed up the movie this way, "The Little Mermaid: the three day journey of a sixteen-year-old girl getting body modifications for a guy she's never met, culminating in catastrophic, magically created weather and their first kiss/wedding."

I guess technically the story takes about five days.
1) The missed concert/first sight/storm/rescue
2) Rescue song/destruction of Ariel's horde/ decision to solve things with plastic surgery via Ursula/ meeting Eric formally
3) Tour of the kingdom/ "Kiss the Girl"/ "Vanessa" appears out of nowhere
4) Stall the wedding/ final battle with giganto-fat-octopus-woman/ sparkley dress and first kiss
Cut to wedding

Watching this the other night, during their wedding scene, my first thought was, "oh my god. Is that their first kiss??" Followed closely by "She's SIXTEEN! D8"

I just did some intense Googling and Youtube clip watching, though, and as it turns out, it technically isn't, because when her poor, misguided father takes the advice of a crab and turns his beautiful daughter back into a ravenous "fisheater," she runs out of the water, totally ignoring that gift and the paternal approval it represents, and drives into the arms of this near stranger for a passionate kiss. Which then fades into that shot at the wedding.

Also, there's totally a Top 15 Disney Kisses video, and I take issue with the numbering of most of them.

But here are some of the things that I had to yell at the movie for:

First, King Triton constantly refers to humans as barbarians and fish-eaters. I refuse to believe that mer-people don't ever eat fish or sea creatures of any kind. That's impractical and unrealistic. Use the resources available. What else are they going to eat? Krill? 

Just imagine Ariel swimming around with her mouth wide open all the time....

But they have teeth, I say! Teeth just like human teeth, or so I assume based on the fact that Eric never recoiled and went "Oh god! What's wrong with your mouth?!" And human teeth are designed to break apart both meats and plant matter. That's why we have pointy teeth and flat teeth (a.k.a. molars and incisors). 

Also, who is the heavily bearded, naked, old guy to call anyone a barbarian? I've only played a handful of Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, but from my not inconsiderable experience with fantasy, the less clothing someone is wearing, the better indication that they're either a sexpot or a badass, and if they happen to a well-muscled, scantily-clothed male, they're almost definitely a Barbarian.

So there, fork man!

Speaking of the magical three-pronged instrument of death and hurricanes, another issue I had. When you're a kid, suspension of disbelief is no problem. But with Disney movies, not suspending your disbelief and pondering the consequences of the world they operate in is way more fun.

Like why didn't the country (France) in Beauty and the Beast have serious political troubles when they spontaneously lost their monarch for ten years, only to have him pop up out of some woods in the middle of nowhere?

In The Little Mermaid, I think the trouble is the weather. I take no issue with the idea that ocean and all of its surrounding weather are controlled by a fish man with a magic weapon (which, by the way, begs some interesting questions about Triton's omniscience or lack thereof), but presumably he operates in a safe and sane way, causing storms the natural way. What happened to the world when Ursula gets hold of said magical trident and starts causing storms and whirlpools to come out of nowhere? All that water and air pressure had to go somewhere, right?

Also, how old is Eric, anyway? It can't be more than like eighteen or nineteen, because then we start wandering creepy statutory rape country. And if he is that young, why is his steward, or whatever Grimsby is, pestering him about getting married? Do they just have an incredibly short lifespan there? Because everyone in Eric's town seemed to be pretty healthy and content. Plus all of the palace staff seems to be at least middle-aged...

At least in most Disney movies, they never actually say outright how old they are. Except possibly Rapunzel, who I believe is turning eighteen in her movie. Legal adult, boys and girls.

Also, there's two cool Disney movies coming out I heard about recently, one of which is Frozen, which will be awesome, because The Snow Queen was one of my favorite stories as a kid.

Now if someone would just do East of the Sun and West of the Moon in a good way, because the only movie that I know of is The Polar Bear King, which is one I also liked as a child, but is definitely lacking when compared to how cool it could be.

And then I guess there's this movie about the making of Mary Poppins with Tom Hanks playing Walt Disney, and that sounds a little implausible, but  pretty cool.

Speaking of movies coming out, my vhs copy of Little Mermaid had all these new exciting movies coming out, like Mulan, A Bug's Life, and the unfortunate Pocahontas sequel coming out in...1998!

Yeah....I felt old. Do you guys realize that was like fifteen years ago? Madness I say!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Reduced to Children by Grownups

While my thoughts on my last post were still swirling into irrelevance, I got a wonderful taste of what total crap that belief is thanks to everyone in my life over forty-five.

I have the lovely misfortune of still living at home due to my pathetic income and lack of ownership of my car, so I get to be here and watch all of the "grownups" that I know treat me like I am too young.

My realization here is that everyone immediately starts saying, "I was never that young, and even if I was, I was smarter/more responsible/more experienced/etc." Nevermind the fact that my parents and two of siblings were married in their early twenties. I'm clearly too young  to be treated as the adult I legally am by the people who know me well enough to know how I behave and how smart I am.

I first started realizing this at my parents' church. After I graduated high school, I floated around interacting with the collage-age and grown-up people there, and realized I was going to just be caught between the youth group, which I was now too old for and no longer allowed to attend, and the grown-up things, which I was not considered part of because I was too young. This isn't really a problem when kids go off to JBU (as most of their children there do), and only come back once in a while until they've graduated and gotten married, but with me and a handful of others, when you're there and they can't remember whether or not you're out of high school, no one will take you seriously.

I can accept that from strangers at a church I only go to because of my living arrangements. They're not expected to know what I'm like. It's irritating, but a necessary evil. It's when people that do know better do the same crap that it pisses me off.

We are not children set loose in an adult world to explore and do as we will. About half the time, we are adults being denied the world we have earned. We aren't trusted to make our own decisions, and when we assert our rightful independence, it's looked on with condescension and/or disapproval. We get advice and admonitions rather than encouragement, because god knows we're idiot children and don't know any better.

They will never take us seriously or respect us as our own, intelligent, autonomous individuals, because they'll never think of us as adults or their peers, regardless of how old we are. Thirty-four, three kids, a career, and you'll still be "just a kid."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

We Are Children in an Adult World

Hello, Audience.

You know that scene in Yes Man where Zooey Deschanel is at a concert, and she calls all the fans by name? There's like five of them, and then the rest of the venue is totally empty except for like two guys at the bar? (My brain just filled in Wallace and Other Scott before I realized what it was doing)
That's kind of how I feel referring to my nebulous "audience." Somewhat silly, but I think it would be sillier still to actively address my posts to specific people, because then it would just be a total waste to post them like this. That's the kind of thing that should place as a conversation or email or something. And usually does. Besides, how awkward would it be to name specific people who may or may not actually read my posts? Just because they're following my blog doesn't mean they actually follow my blog.

But I was having a conversation this morning about the awesomeness of being this age. The girl I was talking to was telling me that she's going to dye her hair white-blonde, and this is the time she can do it without looking ridiculous, because right now, we twenty-somethings are old enough to do what we want and make our own decisions, but not so old that we're expected to act like grownups.

I think I act more like a child now at nearly twenty-two than I did when I was nine or ten. You know why? Because I can, and it's fun. I have all the energy and madness to be a child, and I have all the privileges and legal abilities of an adult. Plus some disposable income, which only means I get to play even more.

I know I've said all this before (especially here), but I'm periodically reminded, and it strikes me as kind of awesome every time. We don't get to stay in the middle forever, and presumably someday some of us will have to start behaving like functional adults (like in our late seventies, or when we die), but right now we have this enormous gift of being young without being children.

All of our stupid, wild decisions get written off as being idiot kids, and we have control and accountability for ourselves. So if I decide I want to slide off a roof (which was awesome) and twist my ankle (which was hilarious), that's totally up to me. And the people who slid before and after me.

I am at the age when I can go have a couple of beers and then go play on a playground. And I do.

So go do something juvenile and awesome, guys. And if you're too old for that, mourn your wasted youth. Because your life isn't complete until, as an "adult," you've ridden the side of a shopping cart through Wal-Mart singing spy music, or chugged a gallon of chocolate milk, or eaten cookie dough and raced down a roof.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Words No One Should Use (Part 2)

Because I am largely a creature of my word, I shall finish my list of annoying words and phrases. Hopefully quickly, so that the posts are in the same month in the drop down menus. It's also going to be quick, because I have other things to do, and I'm in a less ranty frame of mind than last time.

-Pejoratives for race, gender, sexual practices, etc
This is just a common decency thing with me. If you're not a total worthless douchewaffle, you don't decide people are not worthy of respect based on anything other than their character. Treating them like crap because you don't agree with them is totally not okay. You don't get patted on the head for it, but you don't deserve to be lynched either. Using words to demean someone because of their  gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc just makes you more of an ass than you're saying they are. Except hipsters. It's okay to hate on them.

-The One
As you may have noticed if you've read basically any of my other posts, I passionately hate romance. When people talk about "The One" in any context other than The Matrix, it basically means you can write them off as a sappy moron and ignore anything else they have to say about people.

-True Love ____
Waits, is whatever, and so on. These phrases just irritate me, because they're not only stupid and/or obvious, they refer to "True Love," another idea I have absolute disdain for, because they mean it in the Disney sense. If we're talking "true" as in real or genuine, I have no issue, but those are far in the minority. People like the idea of having a Destiny, because they're not smart enough or strong enough to take responsibility for their own love life. Or most other things.

This just makes you sound like an illiterate waste of a free education. Can you not read phonetically? Sound it out, you imbeciles.

See above. If you look at a word letter by letter, you can probably say it right, and with simple words like this, there's no excuse.

Who even invented this word? Why would people decide it's okay? It's obnoxious. Puns are supposed to be clever, and they're usually more annoying than not. This is some bastard child of "pun" and "funny," but it's totally unnecessary.

-Pointless letter changes to diffuse profanity
Here's a novel thought: Say what you mean! If you're going to use profanity, use it. If you're trying to be sensitive to people who may be too old or too young to hear those words, get a better vocabulary, and use a different word. Everyone knows what you mean, so you may as well have just used the obscenity you had in mind.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Words No One Should Use (Part 1)

There are things people say, especially these days, that they should immediately be stabbed through the calf for vocalizing, and yet, for some mysterious reason, no one has stabbed them anywhere.

So, next time you feel like violently attacking someone for being a moron, here's words to look out for that I'm sure will make the justice system decide to give you a high five and go home.

Unless referring to the crustacean, this is unacceptable. If you desire to express that something is absurd or unbelievable, I have an alternative word for you that won't draw blank, disdainful stares from people who speak English: "Crazy." Let me say it again: "CRAY-ZEE." It's almost the same, but you'll sound less like an illiterate waste of matter.

Exception: when referring to the owner/seller of a whore or several whores. I hear this all the time as a description indicating the awesomeness of something, and I don't know who the hell okayed that. For one, it's painfully stupid. For two, it implies that you find men who own, abuse, and extort women to be representative of that kind of awesomeness. If you don't, you're stupid and misusing the word, if you do, you're worthless scum, and we should probably kill you anyway. So again, watchword for stabbing permission, just to be safe.

-So dope
Unless this is an obscure, antiquated drug-reference, no one knows what in the world that means. They vaguely understand this is a positive term applied to things one thinks are cool, and so it gets adopted and perpetuated by people who don't even know where it came from. Unless you're referring to weed or heroin, it makes no sense.

-Any and all spoken text abbreviations
I hate any kind of text speak. It's an abomination. We have been taught since childhood how to speak English in free schools. It's really not that hard to type out the few other letters, which in most cases is only two or three. Like "You," or "are," etc. But when people speak those phrases out loud it is clear permission to bludgeon them about the face with the nearest object. If you SAY, "el-oh-el" or "bee-tee-dubs" or "oh-em-gee" or whatever, fully expect everyone to write you off as the hopeless lack-wit you clearly are, and I can only hope that someone hits you in the brain so hard, you no longer remember how to butcher any language.

I'm not clear as to the context to this idiotic word is supposed to be used in, but as far as I know, it's an expression of degree (ie. "It's hella cold outside."), but that doesn't really make sense. It's a contraction of "hell of a" so how did that end up being used in such a way? Because why would you say "It was hell of a awesome"? If you were a thinking, remotely grammatically correct being, you wouldn't, but that seems to be more and more uncommon these days.
(Damn kids these days! Got no respect, or work ethic. When I was a kid, we knew how to earn what we had, by God!)

-Oh my glob*
What does this even mean? Is this an attempt at saying "Oh my God" without blaspheming, or something? Because I'm pretty sure God knows what you mean, regardless of what you say out loud. And if it's other people you're worried about, you're saying "oh my god." Not their god. Swear by someone else's god, and you've probably offended both parties; swear by your own god, and it's between you and your deity.

*After some rudimentary Googling, this appears to be a reference to that current horror Adventure Time. I rest my case. You people are morons.

I hate these so passionately it's hard to express adequately. Let me paste what I said about it on Facebook:
"In a country where education is FREE, and people have the ability to be as intelligent and openly thoughtful as they want, this is the culture that's grown. People can't even speak their own bloody language, let alone think complex thoughts for more than about thirty seconds, because for some mysterious reason, intelligence is frightening. What is actually better about behaving like and becoming thoughtless cattle driven by all the BS from mass media? I saw it in high school, and I see it now: people being more imbecilic than they actually are so that they can fit into the appalling norms that we've come to expect from that age/social circle/gender/demographic. It's absolute crap!"
It infuriates me that they're used in place of communicating an actual thought, or coherantly expressing oneself. You know when that type of spew is appropriate? When tagging things for seach parameters, like I do for post labels. What if I just vomited solitary phrases at you, internet? Why would you want to read anything I wrote?
Stupid people!
Social experience!
Cute kittens!
Wasn't that thrilling? Don't you feel like we just had a meaningful exchange of ideas? I have to intentionally not capitalize or space when I type. How is this a thing? Is it really that difficult to write full thoughts as captions and status updates?

-Comparing oneself with tv characters
I thankfully hear this less with people I have any respect for, but so often I hear people say crap like, "Ohmygod, you so___" or "you're such a *fill in fictional character name here*" Do I really need to talk about this one? You aren't that character; you never will be that character; in all likelihood, you're not remotely like that character, because characters in recently popular media are seriously lacking in any depth. You get one-dimensional imitations of characters, and you're probably only exhibiting a vague resemblence to their main attribute. So shut up.

I have now run out of both my motivation and my drink, so I shall call this TO BE CONTINUED! I have several more words and phrases that make me want to murder people with forks, so I'll be sure to share those later for your future edification and legal defense.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Some Ranting about Art and Stuff

There's something that clearly needs to be explained to the world at large, and though I may not be the very most qualified to explain it, I'm going to give it a shot. This is me speaking for the art community, internet. Feel free to weigh in, because I have like ten comments on my sixty or whatever posts, and it's mildly discouraging.

Not that I actually write here for you. It's all about me, boys and girls. Unashamed, self-centered amusement.

So here's the thing: When I draw (or really produce any kind of art) in a public setting, I tend to get one of two responses.

1) "Oh, that's really good. I could never do that!"
2) "I wish I could do that. Show me."

While I appreciate the compliments, every artist ever is sick of hearing that no one can do what they do. Yes, art can be an incredibly personal process, blah blah blah. But here's the thing. boys and girls. Ready? It's a revolutionary thought.

Art is a skill. It's learned behavior and thinking that requires discipline, thought, and observation. If someone is good, they put in that time and effort to learn to put what they had in their heads on paper.

Michelangelo supposedly said something akin to, "If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful."

All of the techniques and subjects that you see artists using are the result of practice, innovation, and effort. And more practice, and then refining and evolving from there. And you could learn to do it too. You just have to be willing to put in the years.

Gotta pay your dues to sing the blues, and all those other cliche aphorisms having to do with getting off your lazy, whiny butt and putting in the work to do something.

You don't look at a car and go, "wow, the person who made this must be really talented!" That would be idiotic. All the things that go into a car require specific skill sets to design, build, and maintain. It's not some magical zap from the gods that gives someone the ability to do something. Yeah, there's a certain amount of previous inclination that can give someone a headstart and pleasure in the thinking that goes with those skills, but not everyone who has them goes into those disciplines, and not everyone who doesn't  have them initially can't learn.

And now to my other point. I keep calling art a skill and a discipline, and it is. My 3D Design teacher, the head of the Art Department at the college, would go on rants about the kind of crap people said to her about art majors.

Art isn't a real area of study. You're just playing in there.

Art doesn't require any real academic work or problem solving.

Art is all about execution and not content.

Yes, that is ALL total crap. Yes, there is art for fun and art without deeper meaning, etc, and that's fine and dandy, but a lot of art that does qualify as legit Fine Art gets discounted often because of the ignorance that a lot of people maintain. You don't know how often people go up to artists and go, "hey, you should draw me a picture of ______" for free, whether or not it interests you, because they have no idea what kind of time, money, energy, and thought often goes into art.

And problem solving? Are you serious? Art, especially sculpture is LARGELY problem solving and creative thinking. you don't call physics just screwing around, and I'm fairly sure they're just making up stuff now.

I had someone the other day ask me, just offhand, to teach them to draw. Like it was nothing. It sucks having something you've put years into minimalized like that. I started really working on drawing well and accurately when I was like nine or ten. And I'm not even that good yet.

I love showing people techniques and explaining art to them, but people treat it like it's an overnight thing that's just easy, and that's so inaccurate it causes me to write excessively long posts and rant obnoxiously. Art is something that, if you want to make a career or a decent living out of it, you're going to have to work a hell of a lot harder than you would if you wanted to do a lot of other things. The starving artist is a trope for a reason. Thank you, nineteenth century artists for making that no longer a patron-based profession.

They almost had a better concept of it back then, though. All of those astonishing Renaissance painters that you love (think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo),

(I love this, despite its historical impossibility)

they weren't viewed as artistes. That pretentious dick in a beret is nothing like any real artist ever, so get it out of your head. They were craftsman. You called in an expert painter and his minions/apprentices, and you told them to paint you this thing for this much money. They spent their lives learning and executing a trade, just like carpenters and architects and blacksmiths. And yes, I realize how contradictory that might sound after objecting to being asked to draw something. There's a difference between a commission and just being asked, and that would be A. money, and B. the consideration for the skill and effort involved. Also, I'm a product of the post-Romanticism, post-Modern art movements, and I'll draw what and when I please unless I have a reason!

I have more to say, but I don't feel like continuing this post anymore, and I have boots that require some embellishing. But! Hopefully this clarified some things, because the thinking behind a lot of what people say about art (yours, mine, professional, fine art, whatever) pisses me off. People are stupid, and they should stop it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Let Yourself Be Huge

Happy May, everyone. I thought about slinking back into view and apologizing halfheartedly for disappearing, but I apologize for NOTHING!

Half-ass hooray!

Also, April was kind of a stupid month., so I decided it didn't deserve to exist here.

This last week (by which I mean last monday), I climbed the incline with Rosalinde. Also known as The Hell of a Trillian Steps. Basically, I walked up a mountain in eighty degree (Fahrenheit, of course) weather, because for some mysterious reason, we thought this would be a fun way to use my day off. This, for those of you who don't know, is a three mile staircase going straight up into the Rockies. It's one of the ways crazy mountain people like to walk up a 14,000 ft mountain.

I think this is right after the false summit.

Every hundred steps or so (I wasn't counting, because that would be too depressing), we would stop and rest. We'd look down at the steps we'd just come up and the world spreading out down below us. And the thing about seeing that is that you have too be far enough above it, and because I can't just sit on a mountain side and go, "ooh look, I can see Kansas from here," it got me thinking about a lot of things, primarily how huge and how small we are.

Have you ever studied what perspective means in two-dimensional art? I was taught the basics of it in middle school, and I've learned progressively more as I have grown in my art. Basically, what it comes down to is creating the illusion of a three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. Objects that are closer appear larger, and objects that are farther away appear smaller, and things that are really far away, like the horizon line, begin to get blurry. That's called atmospheric perspective.

I started applying this art definition or perspective to life, thinking back over the past, and how events that are close to you can seem earth-shattering, and those that you've moved long past have receded and blurred, becoming less important. Mountains and mole-hills. If things are really big enough, you can see them from miles away, and they'll affect your mental landscape from almost any distance.

I think it can be dangerous to equate proximity and importance. But that's not actually what I meant to talk about in this post, as you may have gathered, its title still being utterly unrelated.

A little more than halfway up, we stopped for a real rest. Not sitting down for two minutes and drinking some water, but a real rest. We found this shady spot off the staircase and laid on the ground for maybe half an hour, watching the sky and talking.

A lot of what we do revolves around talking, even climbing a mountain.

The clouds were practically right on top of us, and we could see the color spectrum flowing over them as they passed near the sun. Thousands of gallons of water floating above us, and reflecting the light spectrum. I spent most of that day in a state of awe and gratitude for the world we live in.

While we were there, this big rock caught my eye. It was a few feet to my right, and I could see lichen growing and ants crawling over it, and it struck me:

Those ants have no idea they're living on a mountain. But how different are we, really? Living in our little piece of here and now, and never suspecting the sheer hugeness of the world.

I think people are afraid of their potential. I'm not really sure why, but for some reason, almost no one seems to genuinely want to attain excellence and hugeness. We become content with being small and insignificant in basically every way, and never reach for anything greater.

This probably sounds contradictory to all my talk of small importances; things don't have to be apocalyptic to matter. That's still true, but I think sometimes it becomes an excuse. Defending one's smallness and weakness and complacency by saying that there are lots of ways to matter. I know that sometimes happens for me when I consider not trying to do the things that I desperately want to do with my life. "Well, there are lots of ways to be happy. Maybe that's not the one I need to be pursuing."

And then I have days like that, where I slap that thought in the face, because it's utter crap.

Let yourself be huge, damn it. The world is huge and awesome and crazy, and it's just waiting to be discovered still. It will always be worth discovering, even with every scrap of the universe measured and documented and claimed. There is always more to do and see and say and learn and be. So why not? I want to do everything and go everywhere and learn as much as there is to learn. Why would I settle for this indefinitely?

I think that's probably the best way to stave off lack of motivation and frustration. If you want more, it's your responsibility to get it.

I know, probably a little heavy for me, but this is what's been in my head of late.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Month of Simple Pleasures, Days 18-21

I seem to be getting progressively worse at this, audience. I started this post the other day, and then somehow it just never happened. I'm gonna finish it now, though, because it's getting ridiculous, and there's only ten more days of this crap.

18. Laughing out loud at something in my head when no one else said anything
This happens fairly often to me. There's generally a lot more going on in my head than there is around me, and some of it can be pretty funny. I'll randomly think things, or remember something funny, and then I'll suddenly realized I've just laughed during silence. It makes one feel somewhat silly, but I feel like if you don't laugh at the things in your head sometimes, you can't have very interesting things going on in there. I'd much rather have the party in my brain.

19. Skipping, twirling, jumping, or dancing while walking somewhere
I don't really have any explanation or expanding to offer with this one. No analysis, or deeper implications. Just happy things that are probably more childish than not.

20. Moshing
For those sad individuals who don't know, moshing is one of the primary activities at any metal show. It's almost universally around the font/center area, and it's beautiful in one of the most violent, chaotic ways possible. There's so much enthusiasm and and animal energy, it's impossible not to be full of adrenaline and exhilarated. Plus, you're at a metal show, which means live music played by some of the most talented badasses ever. There is something both primal and sophisticated about it that fascinates me. And I love thrashing against sweaty strangers to really brutal music. The first time I ever entered a mosh pit, I was like thirteen or fourteen, and I fell in love with it.

21. Well mixed drinks
This is yet another of my fleshy pleasures. Most of the things I enjoy are either very intellectual, or very not. This is one of the not so intellectual ones. It applies to both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. I just like flavors to be combined well, and for the tastes to interact well. I get kind of annoyed when one flavor overpowers the others. It feels like a total waste to mix them.

You know that part in Ratatouille where the little vermin voiced by that short chubby guy is eating things and there's these Fantasiaesque sparks and splashes of color and accompanying music for each flavor combination? It should always be like that.

And now I have lots of other things to be doing, so this post shall end here and be short. Hopefully I'll get back on track over spring break this next week.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Month of Simple Pleasures, Days 15-17

I'm not gonna lie, theoretical readers. I'm really starting to lose motivation on this one. I mean, seriously, no one actually gives a damn about these, and I absolutely suck at doing anything that requires dedication and consistency. You know why? Because they're boring. Once something becomes and obligation, I lose most of my desire to do it. And if I'm not even interested in what I'm doing, why on earth would anyone else be?

But whatever, I suppose. There's only like another week and a half to go, right? Besides, it's not like I've been doing this every day anyway.

15. Rereading books I love

In high school, people would always peer at my books and ask, "You're reading that again?," or "Haven't you read that already?" Especially when it was a book the English classes had done at some point in the past. I always wanted to ask them why they wore clothes more than once, or talked to people they'd already met. Instead, I'd usually just give them a withering look and answer in the affirmative.

Rereading books is not a task for me. It's something I derive genuine pleasure out of, because I invest myself in the stories I read. I grow attached to characters and places and events, and every time I read a book again, especially if it's actual literature, I get more out of it. I do more analysis of people and events and underlying themes, and I understand more. Every time I come back to a book, I bring new knowledge and experience with me, and I approach it with a slightly different perspective every time, so I see entirely different aspects in it.

Because, yes, you Philistines, I enjoy analyzing literature. All of you who don't like thinking can go sit in the corner and start another reality tv show.

16. Lightning storms

One of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Have you ever really thought about how cool lightning is? It looks awesome, it has enough power to completely destroy things, it's huge explosions of electrical power...Is there anything not cool about it? I love watching the storms roll in over the summer, tumbling over the mountains and covering the sky. I'll go walk in the rain and watch the lightning explode all over. I enjoy destructive beauty in nature.

17. Driving under trains

There's a few bridges in this city where the overpass is for trains, so all the traffic goes under it, and every so often, I'll be going somewhere, and a train will be crossing when I drive under it, and you really notice the noise and speed of trains when they're right in front, above, or behind you.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Month of Simple Pleasures, Day 14

Is anyone else kind of starting to lose steam with this? Because I'm starting to feel like I never shut up. How do people deal with posting things online all the time? And habits? How can anyone do things daily that aren't a physical need?

In other news, I got another free coffee today because they took like half an hour to get me mine. The guy made it a large too. I'm liking this whole "regular" thing.

And the irony of that is not lost on me.

On with the list!
14. Witty banter

This ties fairly closely with some of what I said in my last post. I really enjoy good communication, and it can be incredibly fun with the right dynamic. This is another reason I really enjoy intelligent, sarcastic, good-humored people. Me and my friend Chase have some of the driest, most ridiculous conversations ever.

Have you ever watched a decent game of volleyball? Ideally, the ball actually volleys, coming back and forth from both sides fluidly and quickly with different players jumping in and returning it. That's how conversation is supposed to be: fluid, participatory, and entertaining. Hopefully without animosity, but I suppose one can't have everything.

The best group interactions I've had (and when I say "group," I mean between four and ten people, because after that, it's hard to have actual, collective interaction) have been when there's comfortable, intelligent banter that everyone is taking part in.

Even if it's not in a group, one on one banter can be incredibly fun. Though, that's one of the reasons I've ended up in awkward, friend-zoning conversations.

People: amicable, enjoyable, humorous conversation is not always flirting. Flirting is also not always humorous or intelligent. If I had the motivation, I would make a huge Venn Diagram, but right now, my laundry, ferrets, videogames, etc. are more pressing, so you'll just have to imagine it.

I'm open to suggestions, though. I'm probably seeing Taryn on friday, so maybe I'll start one with her. And then bring Christy in, because I like making lists with her.

Anyway, I'm getting distracted, and there's less and less time before I go to work.

Also, I'm missing a figure study club, because it happens exactly during my shift tonight. Such obnoxious luck. I want to draw from models again!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Month of Simple Pleasures, Day 13

13. Effectively translating something from thought into a tangible substance

This is one item on my list that I really thought about the phrasing of, because the original thought was about art, and then it expanded. I kept adding "ands" because of the other ways I create. I love to be able to take something in my mind and be able to present it to someone else, who can then understand what was in my head.

It's the joy of communication for me. Two base things that fill me with rapture are understanding and creating, and they're two of the things I seek most to do. There are different forms these take moment to moment, and different ways that I think about them, but when I strip away all the layers, that's what lies at the bottom of most of my frustrations, accomplishments, goals, pleasures, etc. I want to do both of them infinitely.

There is something magic about being able to take a thought or feeling I've had and to turn it into an image that someone else can look at and recognize. I get the same feeling when I look at art, but in reverse; I am communicating with another mind, though, and that amazes me. The same is true when I write something, and it's just perfect. It means what I want it to mean and says what I wanted to say. It happens verbally and visually and musically and in all these other ways that I find completely astonishing.

We can know and communicate with that which makes someone themselves, and we can be known and communicated to in our cores.

Maybe that's not all that "simple" a pleasure when I break it down and really explain it, but if that's too heavy for you, just assume I meant that art makes me happy. Which is true.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Month of Simple Pleasures, Day 12

As tentatively suggested last night, here I am posting before work at five.

I feel like I should probably be linking to previous posts, or at least to my original list (which I did that one time), but that seems a little pointless when there's a whole post list just to the right anyway.

I also feel the need to apologize for this prompt, because tend to hate when people post random crap on blogs and blog-like things, and I feel like if I were following my blog, I'd see half my posts and go, "you know who cares, Rachel? No one. Do something constructive with your life instead of wasting everyone's time with this crap."

Anyway, thing number 12 off my list!

12. Epic quest music while I run a mundane errand

I can only think of two or three times this has happened specifically.

One: going to Chipotle with Rosalinde while listening to Skyrim music.

Two: going to buy butter so I could make crepes while listening to Amon Amarth.

Three: going to the bank for work while listening to "Into Battle" by Ensiferum.

Based on the amount of Pagan Metal there is on my phone and in my car, I've probably experienced this more times, but those are the ones that stand out. It makes you feel kind of awesome and fairly silly.

Try it sometime. Put on some really badass music next time you go to the grocery store or whatever. You'll see.

And since I feel largely craptacular once more, I'm going to stop typing away, and go do something that will possibly trick my body into not feeling horrible. Or maybe nap some more.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Month of Simple Pleasures, Days 10 &11

Well I feel somewhat sheepish, my dear, theoretical audience.

They're all staring and judging. Especially that little one.

This is what happens when I feel accomplished about doing something daily once (nevermind the contradiction there) and then get busy. Or do things anyway. I'll try and remember not to gloat next time, so that the universe doesn't have to put me in my place. Again. Some more...

Anyway! Days ten and eleven!

10. Smelling lilacs before I see them

This is obviously kind of a seasonal thing. Since, you know, lilacs only bloom during the summer and stuff...Anyway, I love that smell, and it always makes me really happy to smell blooming flowers before I can actually see the tree, or bush, or whatever. Lilacs in particular are kind of nostalgic for me, because when I was a wee little'un, my siblings, especially my little brother, and I would play on the side of the house right next to our neighbor's lilacs, so the smell was everywhere. That was also the flowers I learned to suck nectar out of. You pull the stem off the bottom, and if you get it right, the stamens come with it, and all that's left is the petals and the nectar. You can also do this with Indian paintbrush.

It grows everywhere here during the summer, and I spend a lot of time running around like a little barefooted heathen child. Good times...

Anyway, lilac is one of my favorite smells, and it has good connotations for me, so I associate it with summer, and long, relaxed walks in the evening or middle of the night, and sitting outside, and just a general sense of comfort and well-being. There's also some enjoyment for me in finding the lilac I'm smelling.

11. Candles everywhere
This one is a much simpler explanation, I think. I just really like candles; I love the soft glow they give, and the gentle warmth, and the smell of matches and burning wicks and wax. I have a whole box of them.

One of my favorite, most restful memories so far is this one time, when I was like fourteen or so, and I lit a bunch of candles and placed them all over my bedroom. It was dark, so the only light was from this multitude of little flames, and I just sat on my floor watching them waver and glow, melting the wax they stood on, and filling up the whole room with this warm, living, yellow glow and the dry smell of fire and paraffin wax...

Of course, it wasn't long until someone barged into my room and broke the spell, but for that short time, I felt very safe, cradled in warmth and light. It was almost womb-like in it's security and comfort, as weird as that no doubt sounds.

So I guess that catches me up again. I'll try and make some time tomorrow before I go to work.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Month of Simple Pleasures, Day 9

Aaaaaand I'm caught up! I feel accomplished, faceless internet. I hardly ever manage to do things like this properly, and yet here I am, writing on the ninth day about the ninth thing on my list. Woo!

And for those of you with memory like mine, that was:
9. Changing my appearance (hair color/style, piercings, tattoos, etc)

This is a very apt day for this particular item, and I'm kind of pleased with myself, despite planning nothing of the kind.

Change is more or less a necessity for me. I get restless and bored very quickly. This may have something to do with the general lack of stability in most of my life, or it might be the cause of it. Who knows. I embrace change most of the time, though. I view it as an adventure; change is exciting and fun more often than not, so when I come across people who want constant stability and who resist or fear change, I'm kind of at a loss. My man is like that to some degree, and it spawns some very interesting discussions. Yay balance!

Anyway, the reason the timing for this post is so perfect is that I dyed my hair last night. I've just ended what was quite possibly a record for the last three years of having the same hair color and style. I dyed it red in like mid-November, so like three or four months of the same color, and I've been trying to grow it back out, so no new cuts. So I've been kind of excited about that for most of today. It's bleached and black. I would say "blonde," but it transitions from platinum at my roots to a kind of light brown, orangey color at the ends.

But I have this joy from newness. I have two tattoos, five piercings (three if we're counting pairs), and I change my hair around every month or two. I like to alter my appearance to fit my whims, and I like to surprise people with the way I look. Very little consideration goes into these decisions (except tattoos. Those are permanent.), because I tend to be enthusiastic and impulsive, and it makes me happy.

I feel like I probably ought to talk about the ethics of body-modification, and about my own views on it, but Skyrim is waiting for me, and I feel like that deserves it's own post. So I'll post something about that sometime in the indefinite future.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Month of Simple Pleasures, Days 7 and 8

Sadly, my computer has still insubordinate the last couple days, but I think whatever disagreement Kate was having with Chrome is over now, because things are working much better. She might just have been angry at me for leaving her all alone and shut down for most of the week.

So to continue my list.

(The original post, there's also Days 1-6 in another post)

7. Gummy candy of almost all varieties
This is one of the many things that can make some degree of happy regardless of what's going on, or how I am emotionally at that moment. I was really obsessed with gummi bears for a long time, and I had a cup full of the really weird ones. If I had resin, I probably would have made jewelry with them. I'm not sure if it's the colors, flavors, or texture, or some combination of all of them that makes them so much fun to eat, but they're basically awesome. It could also just be that I'm a slight sugar-fiend sometimes.

I got really excited about the Paradise Mango Pepsi Next because it totally tasted like peach rings.

8. New shoes
I have upwards of twenty pairs of shoes, audience, and most of them are boots. Maybe someday I'll share a photo montage of my wonderful shoes, as many of them are quite fabulous, but you'll just have to take my word for it for now. The trouble is that I love getting new shoes. I get excited like a small child every time I wear them until they become mundane and common to me, and even then, I sometimes get joyously happy about wearing them. Like my Iron Man shoes, or my green boots, or my red, witch shoes...

I may have a problem...

Anyway! I think there's a song somewhere about new shoes, and how they basically make the entire world awesome for a day. As soon as I have a chance to show someone, I get excited all over again.

And now my empty belly says it's breakfast time, so I shall end this post and go forage.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Month of Simple Pleasures, Days 1-6

So, as predicted, I might have missed a few days starting this. My defense, probable audience, is that I was out of town helping my sister move, and we had no internet until monday night, and we were busy hanging out.

So! My random, happy-inducing things:

1. Power Metal
I like many varieties of that genre of music, but power metal pretty much never fails to make me smile. It's partly due to the sheer silliness of it sometimes, but also because it has an insane lot of energy and, gasp, power. The wails that I associate most heavily with it are almost otherworldly, like some awesome, hardcore bird-demon-creature, except for all the hair, and the fact that it's tied inextricably to the same era as glam rock.

2. Little boys (under five years old) in suits, vests, sweater vests, ties, or any other classy apparel
This is partly due to how ridiculous and incongruous little boys always look in formal attire. I find it unavoidably cute. This may also have to do with the fact that I always appreciate a well-dressed man, but, really, who doesn't? My sons will always look classy and adorable. Because I'm going to have sons, and there will be battles and shenanigans, and we'll be Vikings together.

Heck yes.

3. Bubbles

I defy anyone to tell me bubbles aren't awesome. They're one of the simplest things that can turn everyone into a child. They float away in these clouds of little bubbles, shining iridescent and reflective, and then land on the ground and hesitate for a moment before popping. And when they pop, it isn't like a balloon or a water-droplet. They simply disappear as though they never were, except they leave a little ring of moisture, just in case you weren't sure where they landed. Feeling bubbles pop on your skin is also amazing. It's just the lightest sensation against your arms, face, nose, eyelashes, just a slight brush and then the suggestion of moisture.

Few things are as exciting as batting at bubbles, chasing them until they're all gone, or blowing carefully and gently until you have one as big as your face, full and glistening, wobbling with its own weight, and trying to escape your pathetic bubble-wand.

4. Finding surprise money in my pocket
This is the kind of thing that can make any day awesome, even if it's just a dollar, and you don't actually need it. It's just an exciting moment of discovery. It's like you found buried treasure, or the universe was like, "here, Rachel. Have some money." Nevermind that it's your money to begin with. This the same kind of joy I get from remembering I have pie in the fridge, or a delicious coffee waiting for me.

5. Looking fabulous
I have news for you, guys: I am very vain, and I enjoy it immensely. Everyone knows the smug pleasure of thinking you look ridiculously good, but I'm talking about specifically looking fabulious. defines "fabulous" as
1.      almost impossible to believe; incredible.

Informal. exceptionally good or unusual; marvelous; superb: a fabulous bargain; a fabulous new house.
told about in fablespurely imaginary: the fabulous exploits of Hercules.
known about only through myths or legends.
I mean something between the first two definitions. I have a slight penchant for somewhat loud, slightly outlandish dress and makeup, so when I wear something that looks awesome to me, it's probably slightly absurd, but definitely fabulous in the way that I'm using it. It makes me incredibly happy to look the way I enjoy looking, especially when I'm required by my job to look so hideously boring.

6. Being cooked for
This is a slightly odd one, even for me, but I like to cook for people, and I like to be cooked for. There's a special companionship about making and sharing food, and it can be an indication of effort and care. It's a nice way to be taken care of without being annoying or excessive, and it's not specific thing to anyone.

And now I have lost steam for further writing, so I shall call this the end. Hopefully my computer is behaving better tomorrow.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Why I Hate Traditional Weddings

Let me preface this, dear, theoretical audience, by saying this: I'm all for life-long, monogamous partnerships and all that jazz. I just happen to hate how most people go about the relationships preceding it, and the marriage proceedings themselves. Why you ask? I shall tell you! In my habitual lack of order, here are my reasons:

1. The dress

It is traditional on one's Special Day to wear a highly expensive white dress of one style or another. Does anyone know why that is? Yes! Purity. Because it is traditional for a woman's value to be judged by the state of her hymen. A white dress in western culture is symbolic of a virgin bride (in some other cultures, white is a color of death and mourning. Coincidence? I think not!), so wearing a dress of a more interesting hue can bring on lots of speculation and sideways glances. Someone I once knew was married in a pink (if I remember correctly) dress, just because she had a child out of wedlock. But lets actually think about this for a second: Who actually wants to wear excessive amounts of white clothing? The number is pretty small, boys and girls, and if you don't want to wear a white dress proclaiming your snowy virgin pureness, why should you be expected to? Also, the number of women who are not even a little bit virginal who have worn white wedding dresses is probably staggering. The color of your clothing should have nothing to do with how much sex you've had. Thank you, Hester Prynne!

Someday, I'm going to walk into a bridal shop solely to ask if they have bridal gowns in any other color and watch the response. And then, I'll have an incredibly loud, public breakdown and sob that I don't want to get married after all. Who wants to join me?

2. Family
Hey, everyone I have any kind of blood or legal relationship to, want to join my friends, coworkers, neighbors, church people, and dry-cleaners in watching me and my significant other spend thousands of unnecessary dollars to engage in a joint legal and social contract? :D

Wrong. Half of them aren't going to be able to make it, and most of them won't actually even talk to you at the ceremony/reception. Because there's an obscene number of people who will want to talk to you, or they're there with people they can interact with more easily and comfortably.

That's probably actually why people bring dates to weddings.

3. Being walked down the aisle
This is the same problem I have with veils. It's another archaic and patriarchal tradition. I told my father that if he was going to walk me down the aisle, we'd better have at least a goat and a few chickens in tow. Because what it represents is the bride being "given away," as though she is the property of her father to be transferred to the man who will be her husband. It's an anachronism left over from a time of arranged marriages and bride-prices/dowries. My father huffily explained that it's a symbolic transfer of authority, and that too is unnecessary. If/when I get married, it will be under my own power, and by my own decision. There will be none of this "asking for permission" crap. I am an adult and capable of making my own decisions, and everyone that decides to share their life with someone else should be too.

She cooks and cleans well enough, but her
 hips might be a little narrow for bearing your thirteen sons.

14. Money
What's the deal with this obsession with flushing tons of money down the toilet to have a big to-do rather than using it to start a life? Weddings cost thousands and thousands of dollars, and they don't need to.There's the dress, which is somewhere between a few hundred and a few thousand, the tuxes, the food, the flowers, the venue, the invitations, the photographer, the rings, and so on, and so on. That stuff isn't necessary to get married, or to celebrate it. Do you know what will be at my wedding? Me, my man, rings, a license, and someone to officiate. You're there to bind your fate to someone else's, not to impress everyone else.

Which brings me to another point, which wasn't next, but I'm going to make it number 5 now, because I was about to start that rant anyway.

5. They're treated like a performance
There is very little about weddings that is truly genuine and sincere. Except the silk and the four hundred dollar roses. It's all about everything looking beautiful and perfect, and pretending that it actually is, even though everything on the planet is going wrong at the least convenient times (I've been to way too many weddings, and I've been in two. Trust me). It's like the wedding isn't even about the fact that two people are getting married. It's for the benefit of the people watching the performance, and making it a spectacle for them. Maybe it's just that the bride and groom are needy attention-whores more often than not, but I feel like a wedding should be about the two people saying the damned vows.

6. Success
How often is it even worth it to have a huge wedding? More often than not, you could save that money and then pay for your divorce five years later instead. Doesn't it strike anyone else as totally absurd to have a weddings ceremony, with the expensive dress you'll never wear again, and everyone you know (and probably some people you don't) watching, only to have it end with an expensive divorce? It does quite often, and it strikes me as utterly foolish. Unless it's a full circle thing. "Lets blow lots of money and start this thing publicly, and then end it the same way ten or twelve years down the road! I'm a little shaky on the cake and champagne; is it inappropriate to have a divorce party?"

This is my main complaint during most weddings I'v been to. It does not take that freaking long to promise to be together for the remainder of your lives and such. For some reason, people feel like the middle of a wedding is a great time for a sermon, or an overview of the bride and groom's entire lives, or about eighty hymns, or whatever. Things that don't need to take up my entire afternoon.

8. Expectations

Any time someone announces they're getting married, there's immediately this boatload of expectations about the wedding, the vows, the colors, the bridal party, the guest list, the cake, blah, blah, blah, wedding things, etc. It's stupid. Weddings are like this evil morass of tradition and family demands. I don't know how anyone puts up with it. I can't even tolerate the expectations I have now by virtue of being a twenty-something girl.

9. Weddings are treated as an endpoint
Think about it. Where does every Disney Princess movie end? On the wedding day. Where does every chick flick end? The relationship.

We see marriage as a destination without realizing that it's only a destination in the way that a dock or an airport is; it's a launch point for the next phase of life, an entirely new trip on its own. But we as a culture, end up glorifying the journey to that point rather than actually examining it as another journey. I want there to be a movie about a married couple that isn't stupid comedy, worthless drama, or geared toward old people. Stories don't start or end with a marriage or a wedding. They're important plot point, but not the whole thing.

It takes a brilliant strategist to make one happen, lots of alcohol to get everyone through it, and way more money, conflict, violence, tears, shopping, decision-making, and negotiation than anything smaller than a war should get.

And I probably have a few more reasons lurking in my ranty little brain, but I can't think of any others. I was going to add "Hypocrisy" as the tenth reason, but I realized I would mostly be repeating myself. So look for the things I said that have an undercurrent about the hypocrisy in weddings, and you'll probably get most of what I was going to say in that section.

And now, I declare it the end.

Friday, February 8, 2013

31 Things That Make Me Stupidly Happly

1. Power Metal
2. Little Boys (under five years old) in suits, vests, sweater vests, ties, or any other classy apparel
3. Bubbles
4. Finding surprise money in my pocket
5. Looking fabulous
6. Being cooked for
7. Gummy candy of almost all varieties
8. New shoes
9. Changing my appearance (hair color/style, piercings, tattoos, etc)
10. Smelling lilacs before I see them
11. Candles everywhere
12. Epic quest music while I run a mundane errand
13. Effectively translating something from thought into a tangible substance
14. Witty banter
15. Rereading books I love
16. Lightning storms
17. Driving under trains
18. Laughing out loud at something in my head when no one else said anything
19. Skipping, twirling, jumping, or dancing while walking somewhere
20. Moshing
21. Well mixed drinks
22. Sitting in a ray of sunshine, feeling like a lizard, or a cat.
23. Fluffy skirts
24. Viking metal
25. Babies making outlandish noises
26. Dessert
27. Shouting compliments at strangers
28. Painting
29. Being tired because I've done things
30. Being loud because I feel like it
31. Yummy meats

So there's this writing prompt I found a while ago where you're supposed to write out thirty-one things that give you pleasure, and then you write about each one every day for a month. I was at work tonight, listening to Ensiferum's "Deathbringer from the Sky," and it starts with this super awesome power metal wail, which never fails to make me smile, so I was thinking about that, and then I started making a list in my head, which turned into this post, which made me remember that prompt. So you're welcome for wasting your time for free. But I think I'm gonna have to try doing that for March. That has 31 days, right? So I'll just put up a quick post for each of these, and some of them will probably go together when I forget to do it.

Feel free to ignore everything I say next month.

The end.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thinking About Art Again

So I was in my 3-D Design class (traditional, not digital) today, and I was thinking about art. Go figure, right? Thinking about art in my art class? What nonsense you spew, Rachel!

Anyway, we were discussing the pyramidal structure, and I had this thought.

For those of you who haven't taken any art history or design, we as human beings like things to be structured as triangles. They automatically create this mysterious sense of unity in a composition, and it's subconsciously pleasing. You see it a lot in classical art, especially the early to mid Renaissance, but it's been around for ages, and we still use it.

This is what I'm talking about. Just look at the number of triangles you can draw.

So we were talking about structure, and the way it can affect the space a piece of art fills and how you perceive it. 

And if you don't know what I mean, I don't really know how to explain that for you.

Anyway, I commented that I think a lot of structure is actually instinctual in art. It transcends cultures and training and skill level in a lot of ways, solely because it feels right.

And that, I think, is what really makes an artist. Obviously training and disposition and interest come heavily into it, but what I seem to find consistently with artists is that they operate a lot on their instinct without knowing the terms or techniques they're using. Many times, I've drawn or painted something, and then in a class or something I learn about radial nuclear compositions or some other technical term, and I end up thinking, "Hey, I do that all the time!"

So my thought for the day, which I've taken my sweet time in getting to, is that art is really about understanding what feels right, and running with it. That's where it starts. It's not a whole bunch of artists looking at their predecessors and going, "You know, he did that, and it worked out really well. Maybe I should try using diagonal lines and the relationship of objects to create movement and drama in my art." They usually just go, " You know what would look cool?" or "Something about this feels off somehow...." and then comes the execution, which someone looks at later and praises the balance of the composition, or the unity of color, or whatever thing they're looking at.

It's as much about instinct as it is about skill.