On the drive in to work this morning, I was listening to a talk radio show, since that is easier to find than music early in the day. The station’s DJs were speaking with a woman who had received an email at work from her boyfriend ending the relationship. From the conversation that aired, it was clear that they had been speaking to this woman for about a week now. She said that her now ex had written her a paragraph about why they should not be together for every month they spent as a couple. According to the woman, the email was a lot of “it’s not you, it’s me,” citing various reasons about why they simply don’t work as a couple. The woman was understandably upset to receive such an email at work, especially because breaking up through a letter is a pretty cowardly way to go about it.
The DJs had a suggestion that would allow the woman to get a bit of revenge on her ex. They said that she should pretend that the storm we had through Indiana knocked out the emails at her job, so she didn’t receive anything. According to her, she did this and her boyfriend’s reaction was “oh, well I sent you a few emails at work; you didn’t get any?” She replied in the negative to her boyfriend, telling the DJs that it was actually only the one break up email that was received from him. The DJs then said that her next move was to lie and say that she won an all expense paid trip to Italy from a work incentive contest in order to boost productivity. The woman did this over the weekend and reported that the boyfriend was excited, but adamant that he could not pay for a thing, so it had to be covered. He did not mention the break up email.
Their plan going forward was for this woman to print out various inclusive packages to Italy to get her boyfriend excited. On Friday, she is to tell her boyfriend that the IT department at her office found a way to restore all lost emails and she would get back everything that is missing on Monday; the logic being that this would cause the boyfriend to sweat it out all weekend. The woman admitted that this was a cruel thing to do, but stated that he deserved this and worse for being such a coward and trying to end the relationship via email.
I am guilty of breaking up with someone through a letter, but this is back in high school when the relationships often started through a letter due to fear of rejection and the fact that I was just a kid. As an adult, it’s the wrong way to go about handling your business. Unless the person in question is someone you’ve only been seeing casually for a date or two, you owe it to them to break up face to face. It’s never a fun process, but part of being an adult is facing responsibilities head on. The woman on the radio had stated that the relationship was pretty serious, so I definitely see that her anger is justified. But is revenge the best way to handle this? The woman and the DJs plan involves having the guy go as far as to request the time off of work and begin making plans before dropping the bomb that she DID in fact see the break up email and she wants nothing to do with him.
What the guy did by sending the email was immature, but why is it necessary to match that with even more immaturity? I don’t see how this is going to help ease the pain of the break up and I don’t see why the guy deserves to be tricked into thinking he is going to Italy, a place he’s wanted to go since he has family there and loves Italian cuisine. This woman might feel a bit better by tricking this man, but she is making a bigger fool of herself than he did by writing the email in the first place. Not only that, but she has taken to the radio to broadcast their business to everyone listening, and chances are that someone who knows one or both of them will catch wind of what is going on.
According to a survey, one third of adults have broken off a relationship through email, text, Facebook, or other means of technology. This makes sense, as many relationships begin while each party is in front of a separate computer screen. My own marriage began this way; meeting on Newblog and bonding through MySpace and AIM messenger. The survey also noted that 40% of the people surveyed would definitely use technology in the future to end a relationship. More than half stated that they change their Facebook status back to single immediately after a break up occurs, and 57% make moves to make the relationship Facebook official immediately after the first date. Only 42% of people surveyed said they would contact someone in person to initiate the first date, the rest preferring to initiate it via social media or text message.
Social media and other technology has definitely become key in beginning and maintaining a relationship, so it’s no surprise that many people also find it helpful when it’s time for that relationship to end. But just because something can be done through Facebook doesn’t mean it SHOULD be done through that channel. Relationships are personal and emotional, existing both online and in real life. If your relationship has never left the computer screen, I can see how an online break up would be appropriate, but when you see each other in person, the break up should be done in person. If it’s not, you have every right to be upset, but you also need to understand that for some people, it just makes more sense to do it that way and it isn’t always done maliciously.
The best thing to do if you have your heart broken via email, text, Facebook message, or other indirect way is to take time to mourn, take time to be upset, and move on as quickly as possible. Know that the person who broke your heart chose the cowardly way out and strive to be better than that. Choose to rise above rather than sink to their level. Understand that there is a chance that this person honestly thought that using technology to end things was the best way to do it. Respond if you will, but let go of any ideas of revenge before you do so. Break ties and know that you deserve better and you will get better as long as you take the high road. Sometimes a break up is the best thing that can happen to you. Focus on that and move on respectfully.
My Friday evening was spent in a sold out IMAX movie theater with my husband to see Zack Snyder’s latest film, Man Of Steel. We had planned to make it a double date, but SOMEONE didn’t preorder tickets and we were split up in the theater. After a very unimpressive Superman Returns in 2006, I was thrilled to see Clark Kent redeemed on the big screen. When word of Man Of Steel first broke, I was very unsure of how this film would play out, as the cast seemed a bit strange. Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent and Diane Lane as Martha seemed like two very odd choices. Russell Crowe as Jor-El was another strange one. Michael Shannon as Zod seemed all right, but not the perfect fit it should have been. The only casting choice that made sense was Henry Cavill as Clark, and that was mainly based on the fact that he had the Superman look.
When I learned that not only would Christopher Nolan be producing this film, but Zack Snyder would be directing, I began to feel hope. Snyder gave me Watchmen, one of my favorite movies of all time, so surely he could make Man Of Steel into something amazing. Surely Nolan wouldn’t put his name to something that would be subpar. As June 14th came closer, my excitement grew. [TINY SPOILERS AHEAD, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK] Man Of Steel opens on Krypton, which is dangerously close to destruction due to an unstable core. We see the birth of Kal-El, which is the first natural birth on the planet in centuries; other Kryptonians are artificially created through genetic engineering and given a very specific purpose in life, which makes Kal-El even more different because of his free will.
General Zod doesn’t waste any time rebelling against the council, prompting Jor-El to alter his plan to send Kal to Earth. Jor-El steals the codex, which has the ability to preserve the entire Kryptonian race, and sends it in the ship with his infant son. This act infuriates Zod, who murders Jor-El. Luckily, the council is able to regain control and banish Zod and his troops to the phantom zone. We all know what comes next; the Kent’s discover Clark, raise him as their own, and struggle to explain to him why he is different from the other children. But rather than give the audience a linear story, we see Clark living a nomadic life and get to see his childhood through flashbacks that relate to his current situations. From his confusion in elementary school about being different to his need to use his abilities to help anyone in need, we see some incredibly emotional moments that help shape Clark Kent into the man he is today.
Meanwhile, during Clark’s travels from job to job, the U.S. Government has discovered an anomaly frozen beneath layers of 18,000 year old ice in Canada. This attracts reporter Lois Lane as well as Clark, who gets a job on the site under an assumed name. The mysterious object, which Clark accesses using his heat vision, turns out to be a ship from Krypton. Using a key from the ship that brought him to Earth, Clark is able to activate the newly discovered ship and bring it to life. This unfortunately results in Lois, who snuck away to see what Clark was up to, to become injured and learn about both the existence of aliens and of Clark’s amazing abilities. After using his heat vision to cauterize Lois’s wound, Clark leaves the area in the ship. The device used to activate the ship also summons the essence of Jor-El who explains to Clark that his name is Kal-El, his home was Krypton, and that the ship was present on Earth due to a failed attempt by Kryptonians to colonize other planets.
While Clark enjoys a reunion with his father, quickly relaying the newly discovered information to Martha, Lois works diligently to pen a story about what she witnessed in Canada, what she knows Clark can do, and the proof she knows she has of life on other planets. Lois’s story was quickly shot down by editor Perry White, but that does not stop her from leaking the story and from tracking down Clark to his home in Kansas. She insists that the world needs to know of Clark’s abilities. To counter her argument, Clark tells her the heartbreaking story about how his father Jonathan died. Rather than allow Clark to save him from a tornado, Jonathan allowed himself to be swept away by it. His father knew that his abilities being kept as a secret was more important than his own life. I never thought Kevin Costner could make me cry, but I wept when Jonathan Kent took his last breath, making the ultimate sacrifice for his child.
Activating the ship was a benefit for Clark, but also gave General Zod (who was freed from the phantom zone after Krypton was destroyed) a clear path to Kal-El, who he had been searching out for years. Zod makes his presence known to the entire world by leveling a threat at Clark; turn himself over to Zod and his troops or witness the destruction of the human race. The United States Government is as suspicious of Clark as you can imagine, eager to turn him over after he has turned himself in and allowed himself to be cuffed and detained. Lois’s leaked story has grabbed the Government’s attention and she is also detained in the same facility. Clark agrees to be released into Zod’s custody so long as Lois is allowed to go free without consequence. Zod has other ideas and requests Lois join Clark as a prisoner on their ship. Before the pair are separated, Clark slips Lois the key that activated the ship from earlier.
General Zod welcomes Clark aboard the ship and makes a seemingly genuine effort to explain his intentions for Earth. His mission is to rebuild Krypton and restore their race. This goal will be attainable regardless of Clark’s actions, but Zod would prefer that Clark join him. We all know there is no way that Superman would be okay with the destruction of the human race, so his refusal to join Zod is no surprise. While Zod is busy with Clark, Lois is busy with Jor-El, who has gained access to the ship thanks to the key she received earlier. Jor-El’s instructions allow Lois and Clark to escape the ship, but not before Jor-El relayed information to Lois on how to stop Zod and his team for good.
What follows is a series of epic battles to rival the ending battle in Avengers. Clark is stronger on Earth and has a slew of abilities, but so does Zod and his team, who quickly learn to adjust and take advantage of their abilities. The armed forces, who eventually quit acting stubborn and realize that Clark is on their side, do what they can to assist Clark but their weapons do little against Zod’s supernaturally strong team. No one really goes into a Superman film thinking that Superman will lose, so I was surprised at how nerve-wracking the battles were. I was afraid for Clark, afraid he would not be able to defeat Zod and afraid that Zod’s plan to terraform the planet into a new Krypton would be unstoppable. I sat on the edge of my seat as Metropolis was torn apart by the battle, feeling pretty pessimistic about a positive outcome.
As I said, the outcome is pretty predictable because this is Superman and he must win. But HOW it happened was a shocker. My jaw literally dropped and I’d be a terrible person if I ruined the surprise for anyone on here. It was the second time this film brought tears to my eyes; the sacrifice that Clark had to make and the raw emotion in the scene was simply beautiful. I’m still a bit shocked at how it all concluded. After Superman saves the day, we get a few more minutes that provide the perfect set up for the second movie in this series that is definitely a go considering the financial success of this opening weekend. There is nothing after the credits, but stay and wait if you insist.
Some critics say that the plot of this movie was too weak, the special effects too overwhelming, and that explosions and violence were put in simply because there wasn’t anything else to do. I couldn’t disagree more. This two and a half hour movie flew by, holding my attention for every second. It was stunning in IMAX, but honestly did not need to be in 3D. The characters were perfectly cast, but none was better than Michael Shannon as Zod. He was terrifying, a force to be reckoned with, and he put so much raw emotion into the character that I forgot I was watching a work of fiction. He’s evil incarnate, but he still managed to make me sympathize with him at the end. Shannon did a beautiful job and I hope he is widely recognized for this role.
Obviously, I highly recommend you see Man Of Steel, but you can forgo the 3D and stick with 2D IMAX without missing anything except some 3D dust particles and other silly things that don’t add to the viewing experience. The story is wonderfully told, especially the non linear fashion in which Kal-El’s origin is explained. Amy Adams and Henry Cavill work well together, forming a bond that will likely be important in the future film(s) and will be of help to Clark in his troubled moments. I didn’t want to like Diane Lane as Martha, but she plays her small role well and comes off as a very loving and understanding mother. This is a solid film that successfully redeemed Superman. I’ll be going back with my husband in two weeks to watch it all over again. Happy viewing.
Masterchef Season 4 is underway and, as with all of Gordon Ramsay’s projects, I am hooked. The format has changed slightly to challenge the contestants more, raising the pressure and no doubt causing a great deal of stress among the contestants. The format of each episode generally begins with a competition pitting two teams of home cooks against each other in a cooking challenge, usually asking them to cook for a large group of people. The losing team is then subject to a pressure test where at least one contestant will be eliminated. Some episodes begin with a mystery box challenge, where constants receive a box of secret ingredients that they must put together to create a wonderful dish. The winner of the mystery box receives a reward (deciding the pressure test for other contestants, safety from elimination, or items/advice to help them in the next cooking challenge). The top two in the mystery box challenges generally go on to be team captains in the aforementioned team competitions. There is a lot going on at all times.
This is a reality competition about cooking, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is reality TV and the public demands certain characters from it. We want a villain, an underdog, a hero, a backstabber, a sex symbol, a nerd, and lots of quirky people who can make us laugh, get us worked up, and maybe make us cry. Luca Manfe, who auditioned for S3, came back this year and we’ve already seen him come close to losing an apron quite a few times; his welcome to the show was prefaced by long pauses to make the audience think he was going home once again. We were given the typical sob stories and inspirational wishes during the audition phase, prompting the viewers to become emotionally invested in the new cast. Nearly every reality show used creative editing and producer prompts to create drama, and Masterchef is no different.
As far as the villain goes for this year, I don’t think the production team has had to do any work at all in order to get the audience to feel hatred towards one of the home cooks. Natasha Crnjac began her audition by telling us how beautiful she is and how she must be judged by both cooking and her beauty. She felt that her competitors would be threatened by her beauty, possibly underestimating her, and beauty beauty beauty. Did I mention she thinks she is beautiful? If not, don’t worry; she will take the time to remind you over and over again.
She quickly made an enemy of Krissy, a strong-voiced woman from Philadelphia with a booming personality and a big mouth. Krissy hates her, very vocally, but then again she seems to hate a lot of people she is pitted against. Savannah, a quiet California girl we have not seen much of yet, may feel that Natasha has her back since she saved her after winning a challenge, but Natasha threw her the save only because she thinks Savannah doesn’t have the skills to be any sort of threat to the title of Masterchef. I can’t stand Natasha already, but in the beginning it seemed as though she had the skill to back up all the praise she heaped upon herself.
This last episode, aired on July 12, 2013, was a two parter that began with a group challenge to serve 101 steak dishes to firefighters who would then vote on the best dish. Natasha’s team decided to pair their Wal-Mart steak (you won’t ever forget that Wal-Mart sponsors this show, not even if you try) with sautéed mushrooms and a cauliflower puree. Their opposition chose to pair theirs with potatoes and asparagus, which won them the challenge. Natasha, who was in charge of preparing the cauliflower puree, overheard teammate Beth say that the puree was disgusting and that is why they lost. I agree that it probably was, but Natasha lost her mind on Beth. While Beth was in tears, consoled by Bri (a nerdy girl who is shaping up to be a favorite for me), Natasha verbally tore her apart.
Natasha seemed to take glee in the fact that she made poor Beth cry. The losing team, except for Bime (team captain) and Jordan, was sent into an eggs benedict pressure test to decide who would leave the kitchen. In a twist, Natasha, Beth, Luca, and Kathy created dishes so awful that they were catapulted into a second pressure test where they were sent to Ramsay’s Vegas restaurant to cook gourmet burgers for 75 people. The producers naturally paired Natasha with her new enemy, Beth, but their burger edged out their competition and saved both the girls. Natasha should have exited gracefully, but instead had to throw in a quit about the challenge not meaning a thing; Beth was not her friend, she didn’t need friends, and so on.
With some reality TV stars, the audience can tell that some of the evil is constructed by the producers and editing staff. With Natasha, it seems 100% genuine. She is painfully egotistical, a “beautiful” stay at home mom who can cook circles around anybody (except when she turns hollandaise sauce into mayonnaise). She is cruel; Beth was on the verge of a serious breakdown and Natasha took joy in standing over her, poking her with a sharp stick. She is selfish, nearly costing her two-woman team the burger challenge because she refused to “help” her teammate by making any suggestions. She is needlessly mean, harsh with her words, and seems to not give a damn about anyone but herself.
I get that this is a competition, on television, where it’s every man for himself ultimately. That doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable to go out of your way to hurt a fellow contestant, be it emotionally or through some sort of sabotage. It’s not necessary to get down and dirty, refusing to form any sort of bond with competitors because a bond would somehow affect your performance. I don’t know why anyone would be content to be hated when it’s so easy to be cordial and friendly. Drama sells, so perhaps they are simply striving for more screen time through their viciousness. But if all we love is bad behavior, how do you explain the popularity of Christine Ha from S3 or Ben Starr from S2?
Natasha is certainly making a name for herself, but it’s a shame that it’s for all the wrong reasons. Even if she tears herself out of the downward spiral she’s been on as of late, I can’t see her winning the title unless she changes her attitude. The producers aren’t going to let the bad guy win, even if her cooking is superior. We want to see a person like Natasha for drama’s sake only, we don’t want to see her rewarded for acting like, to put it bluntly, a bitch. If she has any hope of winning, or at least making it to the final four, she needs to drop the Perfect Me act, must stop pushing her fellow competitors into the dirt, and must start acting more human. And PLEASE can we stop with the “I’m so beautiful” nonsense? The more you say it, the uglier you get.
I am a loud mouthed shit talker. I’ll give you a moment to get over the shock and surprise….
I’m pretty active on this site and on Twitter, using both platforms as a way to express myself, to connect with friends, and to vent about whatever frustration is currently circling around my head like a vulture. I tend to focus a lot on the people in my life, both the ones I keep by choice and the ones that float in and out by chance, circumstance, or simply because they don’t know when to quit. Sometimes I take someone’s situation and comment on it (without bringing the person’s name into it), sometimes a friend will inspire a thought that I’ll go on about, and sometimes someone just ticks me off and I need to yell a bit. Whatever the cause, the chances are that if we’re friends, I have or will write about you in some form or another.
I do my best not to be specific. If you are dead to me, I’ll probably throw the initial of your first name in there but I won’t out you specifically or link to your personal pages. With the people who are still in my life, I find it best to leave it anonymous. I had a friend recently inspire a blog and immediately know it was inspired by him, which was a bit strange for me. I know these updates are thrown onto Twitter where anyone can click away and end up here, but I don’t think of my friends actually taking time out to read my nonsense. I suppose that gives me a false sense of security to talk about whatever I want without consequence.
I do not get into things that are told to me in confidence, that seem personal, that seem private, or that aren’t any of my damn business. If a friend confided in me that she cheated on her husband/boyfriend/girlfriend, that would not be something I’d put on here, anonymous or not. (This is also not something that has happened since I was a teenager; my friends are pretty straightforward) I also don’t post frivolous nonsense when it comes to my friends; if you wreck your car because you’re acting irresponsibly, I’m not going to blab about it on here and risk potentially embarrassing you (although I will probably pick on you in person). I do my best to make sure that anything inspired by a friend is appropriate to stick on here or common enough that it’s something we all could deal with.
Writing on here is therapeutic for me and I don’t think any topic should be off limits so long as I’m not being cruel or trying to start some silly internet war. I can’t count the number of times I wanted to post a link to someone’s Twitter account or post screen shots with personal information so every visitor could see what I see and maybe understand a bit better. I have stopped myself many times from adding so many specifics that it would be impossible not to know exactly who I was talking about. And it wasn’t because I had any respect for these people, but because I didn’t want to be THAT person. I didn’t want to get a bit of payback on a person by giving them exposure here; I try to instead vaguely vent and hope that they eventually just screw up and expose themselves.
Due to the fact that I vent so much, I sometimes find myself feeling guilty or afraid that I offended someone who wasn’t on my mind as my fingers were tapping on the keyboard. What if I write about sloppy drunks and a friend, who I recently had drinks with, misunderstands and thinks I’m talking about the night out we had together? What if s/he instantly becomes angry or upset with me, slowly withdrawing until our friendship is broken? There are some instances where I post something and see a random friend vanish from my life for a bit. My paranoid mind can’t shake the fact that my words here could potentially be the cause.
I feel torn. Do I stop writing in order to spare feelings that may not even be hurt or do I keep writing and learn to stop being so damn paranoid about everything? I honestly don’t feel that I can accomplish either. I need to get things off my chest, so quitting this is off the table. As far as killing my paranoia, I’ve been trying that for years without any luck. The lack of solution is the reason I’m writing this particular entry. If my friends see anything, let them see this. Let them know that I’m not directing my anger towards them, spreading their personal information around, or simply being a bitch. Let them know that I wouldn’t joke with them in one place, then come here and bash their character. Let them know that, much like movies and TV shows, any relation to anyone living or dead is often purely coincidental.
If you’re here, you’re probably also one of my Twitter buddies. We likely text or email from time to time, see each other when we can, and those things are concrete signs that you matter to me. If you matter, I respect you, which means I would not and will not cross any lines and sub-blog about you or your personal information. If you suck as a person, we’re not friends, or you piss me off in Walmart, you are fair game. But my friends are my friends and I like you guys too much to publicly bash you, regardless of whether or not your name has been brought into it or not. Please help me with my paranoia and try to understand. I’d tell you to eat a dick well before I write about you the way I write about Tubbs.
Referees exist to push the game forward in a fair and balanced manner. They police the players and ensure that everyone is playing properly. They call players out for cheating or other misconduct, sometimes having to go to the extreme and eject a player or coach from the game. They need to keep a watchful eye on everything and they need to make calls that are going to make half of the fans watching very angry. They have a tough job that I don’t envy in the slightest. Last night the Indiana Pacers lost their battle against the Miami Heat in Game 7, ending their season and allowing the Heat to advance. They put up a hell of a fight over the series, but it wasn’t enough. In some instances, one team simply outplayed the other to secure their victory. In other instances, the game was lost because of the referees.
I’m no basketball expert; I started paying attention to games again when I moved to Indiana about 5 1/2 years ago and I still have to have my husband explain certain things to me. Basketball is a business and to me, it sometimes feels like the refs have been instructed to favor one team over the other during the finals in order to ensure both teams make it to game 7 and therefore make the NBA more cash by selling more tickets. Other times it feels as if I’m watching the WWE, where outcomes are determined and the ref is there just to play along and make it look good.
The biggest issue I have is with the NBA players flopping in order to draw the foul. These are very large grown men who work out on a regular basis and seem to enjoy the tough guy image that comes with being an athlete. I find it hard to believe that a slight nudge from the opposing team is enough to send one of these men sprawling, yet we see it in each and every game. I can somewhat understand doing it if someone throws an elbow and it’s in an effort to get out of the way and not absorb the full hit, but I don’t see any reason for it during regular fair play.
Lebron James stated “It’s kind of the same as when people said I was overrated, I have the same response. I don’t need to flop. I play an aggressive game but I don’t flop. I’ve never been one of those guys. I don’t need to flop. I don’t even know how to do it. So it doesn’t mean much to me.” Yet in this video and this montage and in countless other instances, you can clearly see this 6’8″ man throwing himself to the ground like a toddler throwing a tantrum in order to draw the foul and go to the line. Even when he is shoved, as in this video while playing the Bulls, he reacts with drama and throws himself into a slide. Come on, I get that the shove was mostly unwarranted but there is no way there was enough force to drive him to the ground and halfway across the court.
Flopping makes a mockery of the sport and costs many good teams an honest win. According to a 2012 article, “the amount of flopping has become so excessive the NBA Commissioner voiced his disgust stating that flopping was ruining the NBA brand and it had no place in the game of basketball. Flopping has not only decided the outcomes of games but also has impacted the NBA playoff picture and also determined which team hoisted NBA Finals Trophy at season’s end.” Even so, too many players seem to think flopping is the way to go. To quote Lebron again, “Guys have been accustomed to doing it for years, and it’s not even a bad thing. You’re just trying to get the advantage. Any way you can get the advantage over an opponent to help your team win, then so be it.”
Players can and will be fined for flopping, but what is a few thousand dollars to these players? If a player knows that a couple of flops will win a series, does anyone expect a ten grand fine to be enough to convince a player to stop flopping and lose the series? If a team is down a few points and the opposition’s defense is simply too strong, a couple of well placed flops to earn foul shots can be the difference between a win and a loss. The fines can be worth the cost for some players if it means advancing in a series and making it to the finals. The team is appreciative of the win and the player, although fined and mocked a bit, is rewarded and praised for getting those foul shots and helping win the game.
The beauty of the sport is lost when players flop and refs allow it. Thanks to multiple camera angles and the ability to replay and slow down the action, the refs have no excuse for allowing flops to turn into fouls and to continue to reward the players who throw themselves to the ground dramatically. Fines are not enough. Players should be made to feel ridiculous for flopping and be penalized more strictly than simply giving up a tiny portion of their paycheck. Flops should not be brushed over and ignored, they should be called out as bad sportsmanship and the flopper (and his team) should not be rewarded in any way for it. If I was better versed in the game, I’m sure I could offer better solutions for the flopping problem, but I’m just a simple girl who recognizes that it’s the wrong way to go. All I know is that unless the people who matter change their view and buckle down, we’re just going to see more and more great teams take a loss due to “great” players falling on their ass instead of being strong athletes and properly playing the game.
Today is my 32nd birthday!! That feels so strange to type; I don’t feel 32 and I certainly thought that I would be a very different person at this age than I actually am. I imagined myself as being very calm, somewhat boring, and mostly over doing things that I loved doing in my 20s. Thankfully for the most part, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I have grown up a lot, but in a lot of ways, I’m the same person I always was. Here are a few things I’ve learned while growing up:
Jealousy is an utterly pointless emotion. I used to be jealous of my pretty female friends. I was jealous of celebrities that my boyfriends crushed on. I was jealous of people with better cars, better clothes, and better lifestyles. It took me meeting my friend Paula at Applebee’s to begin to overcome my jealousy. She was (and is) a gorgeous blond who effortlessly gets the attention of anything on two legs. She turned into a wonderful friend to me that helped me through a lot while I was a single mom. I realized how silly it was for me to be jealous and initially resent her simply because she was attractive and captivating. I overcame it further after getting married and being with a man who loved me, appreciated me, and thinks I’m the sexiest thing around. We can share our appreciation of beautiful women without me feeling jealous, which is fantastic.
Teenagers were definitely better behaved when I was one. This may just be an old person thing, but I’m positive that when I was a teenager, I wasn’t as much of a hot mess as the teenagers I see now. Yes, I acted like a fool, but I can’t imagine that I was as much of a fool as the teens I see in the mall, in grocery stores, and on the street. I’m sure I didn’t dress like a woman in her mid-20s when I was barely pushing sixteen. I know I wasn’t carrying on in public, thinking I was a total bad ass. I sure as hell wasn’t going crazy on AOL the way teens go wild on Facebook and Instagram.
I have a lower tolerance for nonsense when it comes to people I associate with. I used to be overly forgiving of my friends and ended up putting up with a lot that I shouldn’t have had to. That has definitely become a thing of the past. A couple of Halloweens ago, I ended a friendship with K and J after the pair blew off my husband and I and left us hanging after we had made plans months in advance. It was a long time coming and I was tired of dealing with K’s piss poor attitude, exhausted with J hanging all over K like she was a god, and sick of them both thinking it was okay to be friends with an admitted pedophile (regardless of whether or not he dated 16-17 year olds, he bragged about it and that’s bad enough). Almost a year ago, I grew tired of T disrespecting both myself, my husband, and his new girlfriend, our friend J. T crossed the line in many ways and I finally had enough. It cost me J’s friendship as well, but I didn’t feel that I should have to tolerate T’s nonsense and continue to be disrespected and surrounded by lies. I see my friends as a reflection of me and I want to be surrounded by the best, even if that means I have a smaller circle of friends.
Cars have become about function rather than fashion. I used to think that my car had to be perfect. It had to be sleek and fast, something people stopped and turned their heads to see. It needed to be up to date and something I could talk about with my peers. It needed to be new and needed to make a statement. After my beautiful blue Saturn was lost to me, I tried to recapture what I once had with it by buying a Mustang and constantly researching cars for a proper replacement. It took a while for me to realize that the look isn’t what matters. I need a car that can get me from A to B, can comfortably carry my son, husband and dog, and is reliable above all else. If I find myself rich one day, then I can justify buying a flashy car, but it’s no longer something I need.
I’m more appreciative of what I have. I used to take a lot of things for granted. I always assumed my parents would bail me out when things got rough, so I never worried too much about finances or any sort of crisis. I thought things would go my way no matter what. Until I lost everything when I couldn’t afford my rent and the payments on my storage unit in Connecticut, lost my car, lost my home, lost my yearbooks and other irreplaceable items, and felt like I lost everything. Now I’m cautious to the point of paranoia, but I have a much greater appreciation for the home I share with my husband, for my awesome kid, my loving dog, and my wonderful husband who supports me at my lowest points. Things I would have brushed aside years ago now mean the world to me.
My confidence has skyrocketed. I was a nerd in school. A four-eyed geek who was made fun of for playing recorder, taunted for being in the gifted program, and laughed at when I put too much effort into school projects. It took me a long time to get comfortable in my skin and even longer for me to finally see myself as beautiful. I learned that it doesn’t matter what other people think of me so long as I love myself. I learned that sexy IS confidence and I can now walk into rooms with my head held high, without a care about what goes through the minds of people when they see me. I’ve even learned to love the years where I was a nerd, an easy target for the popular crowd, because the things they made fun of weren’t really bad at all.
Age really is just a number. Getting older doesn’t mean that I have to follow a brand new set of rules. I don’t have to stop listening to certain types of music or befriending no one but parents of my child’s schoolmates. I don’t have to quit going to concerts or out for drinks with my friends in their 20s. I can still cuss, raise hell, play video games, and tailgate at concerts. I don’t have to act my age all of the time, just at times when it’s appropriate. I don’t have to feel different just because my age has gone up one more number. I don’t have to be ashamed to be 32. It’s my birthday, damn it, and I’m going to party! Since work and being a mommy are two things that don’t bend to birthdays, I’m going to be living it up next weekend instead. Have a shot with me?
My birthday is tomorrow. A Thursday work day that I will be spending in my office doing the same thing I’m doing today. I’m not really excited about my birthday itself since it’ll be just like any other day (except for my husband making an amazing dinner and pampering me a bit) but I am thrilled to pieces about the weekend of June 7th. I will hopefully be seeing a friend that I haven’t seen in what feels like a decade, I will definitely be out somewhere for dinner, drinks, and possible entertainment, and I will also be getting my ninth tattoo.
I’ve been itching for a new one for a little while now and I finally worked up the guts to get my planned art on the inside of my arm. I’m in a bit of a hurry to get in the chair this time around because I don’t want to chicken out due to my fear of how awful it will be to ink that bit of sensitive skin. And just as I have done with every other piece I’ve chosen to get etched onto my body, I am not telling a single soul what I plan to get. My husband can probably take a guess at what it is since he helped me find the design over a year ago, but even he doesn’t know my full plans for it and what I wish to add to it. The first person to know what it will be must be the artist, no matter what.
It is 1005 superstition that keeps me silent when it comes to planned ink. I allowed myself to be talked out of at least half a dozen different things when I was planning to get my first. Eventually I wised up, chose a design, and shut my big mouth until it was time to consult with the artist and get it done. Getting a tattoo is a very personal decision and it’s unfair to the individual to have to deal with opinions and input from people who have no business telling you what you should and shouldn’t do with your body. It is something you live with, and should be in your control, not the control of family, friends or coworkers.
The reaction I got from people when I was planning my first tattoo and shared my ideas were always along these lines: “Why?” “I saw a girl with one like that before.” “Um… okaaaaay.” “You should get _____ instead.” “Oh, don’t get [X color]; I hear it fades/hurts/scars.” “You’re getting it there? All right….” “Tattoos are gross.” It’s incredibly frustrating to keep up your level of excitement and enthusiasm for something when so many people are tearing at it, trying to knock it down. Everyone has an opinion and they are going to give it to you whether you like it or not. For me, the best way to avoid that is to keep the details under wraps.
The second reason I don’t like to divulge the details is that it’s hard to explain a design to someone properly. I always have a vision in my head, one that goes beyond the design I present to the artist. I’m always going in saying “I want something like this, only with X, Y and Z.” The artist understands, but everyone else may not be so receptive to my idea. I also can’t predict how the artist will interpret the design and what personal flare they will add to it. My description beforehand will not do the finished product any justice.
A huge part of me thinks that it’s simply bad luck to discuss the design prior to getting the work done. I have no basis for this and nothing to make me think it’s ill-advised to do so, but a big part of me feels that if I discuss the design beforehand, it will get screwed up or I will be unable to get it. If I want a dolphin, for example, and I tell everyone about my big dolphin plans, I feel that I’ll either get an artist who refuses to do it, an artist that makes it look like a worm, or the whole shop will be booked and I’ll be turned away. It makes no sense, but that can be said about a lot of things that go on in my mind.
The bottom line is that I’m not refusing to tell people to be obnoxious or because I think it makes me look mysterious. I know I confuse people with my silence on the matter and that isn’t my intention. I just feel that the time to make the ink public is when it’s firmly pressed into my skin. If you’re going to love it or hate it, you’re going to do so at a point where it’s too late for me to change my mind about it. You’re not going to influence my decision or feelings on the matter, you’re simply going to be allowed to comment on the aftermath.
Tattoos are a way for me to express myself and the things I’m passionate about. They make me feel beautiful by altering my body in a way I find appealing. They mean something to me that goes beyond what I reveal to the world. They’re a hell of a lot of fun to get. They are a part of my personality. And for some reason, the entire planning phase is something I consider very private, even though the art itself will be public. It needs only make sense to me. I will always enjoy hearing about people’s ink ideas and seeing their designs, but I can’t join in the pre-party. Don’t be offended when I don’t share; it’s not for a lack of wanting, it’s just something my crazy brain will not allow.
Unlike my little brother, I was not gifted with a brand new car when I turned sixteen. I saved up some cash from my various babysitting jobs and my job working drive-thru at Chick Fil-A and bought a 1990 Pontiac 6000LE off of my parents instead. I got tormented in high school relentlessly for my giant boat of a car; most of the students I went to school with had rich parents who bought them a brand new or almost new vehicle that put my granny-mobile to shame. It wasn’t that my parents couldn’t afford to buy me a car, they just seemed to want to teach me the value of a dollar.
During my sophomore year of college, when my parents finally let me drive my car to and from campus, my Pontiac developed the bad habit of breaking down twice a month and stranding me along the highway. One repair would lead to another problem and it didn’t make sense any longer for me to pay $300 a month to keep my junker running. Since the car was still in my father’s name, he had the final say on what happened to it and he would not let me trade it in for a new car, even though the dealership was offering me $1000 towards a new car. As a gift though, he paid the grand and secretly completed the paperwork for my brand new three door 2001 Saturn SC1.
I adored that car to pieces. It was in my father’s name so the insurance and interest rates were lower, but I made all the payments happily. Things were great until my college boyfriend borrowed it and ran head first into another driver. Thankfully, it was repaired and covered by insurance, so my car was back to looking as good as new in no time. Until I got rear ended by a motorcycle with failing brakes anyway. My banged up bumper was an easy fix though. When I made the decision to move to Connecticut, my parents flipped out and secretly flew up so they could drive my car back with them. Since the car was in their name, there was little I could do short of trying to sue, something I could not afford to do.
Carless in Connecticut, I was forced to learn to drive a stick since the two people I lived with both had manual transmissions in their Honda and Cavalier. I got stuck at a stop sign on a hill once, stalled out in the middle of the road during the dead of winter, but for the most part was all right with the borrowed cars. A few months later, I purchased a 1985 Mustang Cobra from a guy whose yard was filled with cars and who just wanted to be rid of the thing. It was an automatic transmission that was formerly manual but had been modified for speed. It shot flames out of the back when the engine revved and was probably not road legal at all.
When I moved back to Georgia, the Mustang had to stay behind. The Cavalier wasn’t ideal for me so I went to one of those pop-up Buy Here Pay Here dealerships and got a crappy Chevy Corsica to tide me over. With my roommate draining me dry financially, I lost that car (the dealership vanished about a month later) and eventually purchased a Chrysler New Yorker from a neighbor. The car would die at the slightest hint of rain and I eventually donated it to Goodwill. After that, I had an old Volvo that was great while it lasted, even without working windows, but eventually died on the side of the road. That led me to an air conditionless Ford Taurus that had been junked together from about three different cars. It was awful, but it ran.
When I found myself pregnant, my parents took pity on me and gave me back my Saturn, which wasn’t in the best shape since my father had been driving it constantly, using it to commute back and forth from Missouri where he worked to Georgia where my mother still lived. My son went home from the hospital in that car and got to ride in it until he was about a year old and the car was t-boned in an intersection by a man who didn’t understand traffic lights and turn signals. My beautiful car was totaled.
Carless once again, I started driving the families spare car, a Pontiac Grand Prix that had been beat up pretty badly by my brother before he got his new Jeep. Windows didn’t work, speakers were out, but at least it ran and had A/C. When I moved to Indiana to be with my husband, the Pontiac was left behind. My mother-in-law got me a Rav4 from her sister as a wedding gift; she said that since she had no wedding expenses it was the least she could do. That car did me well until the engine eventually blew, leaving a repair price tag of more than the car was worth. Since then, my husband and I have been a one car family.
Given my ridiculous history with cars and my irrational feelings of helplessness when I don’t have one of my own, I drive myself crazy on a regular basis because I don’t have a car that is just mine and mine alone. My husband doesn’t restrict my driving whatsoever and doesn’t act like the car is HIS, but it doesn’t help me shake the feeling that I don’t have a car and that I am having to depend on someone else for my travel. I bought junkers because for me, it was better than having nothing at all. I’ve been in far too many cars for someone my age and if not for my husband and his annoying habit of being rational, I’d have another junker in my driveway right now just so I’d have a car to call my own.
As of right now, I have a jar of cash stashed away that will eventually be a down payment on a car that I call mine. No more borrowing my mother-in-law’s second car when my husband and I need to drive separately and no more feeling weird about not having a vehicle. There are plenty of great used dealerships near my house, so I know when the time comes, I’ll have a great selection to choose from. The waiting is driving me batty, but I can’t act like a kid anymore and buy a car out of someone’s driveway on a whim. I can’t buy a cool sports car that my kid won’t fit comfortably in and that won’t make sense for the family. The saving will continue and hopefully, by the time my next birthday rolls around, I’ll be able to get myself a gift on wheels.