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Boogey Man

I’m probably something of an oddity when it comes to being an atheist.  I don’t believe in the God I came to know growing up as a Catholic and I don’t believe in any other God from any other religion.  I don’t believe in an unknown higher power and I don’t believe that we were put here for some incredible reason that is meant to make our lives more meaningful.  I believe Jesus existed but I don’t believe that He was the son of a God and that he rose from the dead after being crucified.  I believe every answer for the question of why we are here and how we were created can be answered scientifically.  Yet for some reason, I do believe in the supernatural to some extent.

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I don’t buy into the idea that every single one of us will become a spirit after the last breath of air leaves our body, or that we are reincarnated and able to live on in another form.  It’s more of a belief that sometimes, a part of us is left behind when we pass.  Ghosts and hauntings were always a fun part of my childhood, mostly due to movies and television shows that I enjoyed.  Back when I believed in heaven and hell, I believed that any spirit not bound for one of those locations was doomed to walk the Earth as a ghost until they figured it out.  As I grew up and my beliefs changed, I abandoned that idea of ghosts in favor of one that fit the things I have seen and experienced.

I worked at a restaurant where an 18 year old boy had died while attempting to get high using the soda machine’s CO2 tank.  I had no idea this occurred until one afternoon when an older employee freaked out after yet another of us girls found ourselves locked in the supply room behind a door that had no lock on it.  On a regular basis, the supply room door would show complete disregard for the door stop and the lack of a lock and slam on us, locking us in.  We used to joke about a supply room ghost, but I never gave much thought to it or the random items that would fall from the shelves until the older employee told us that the young boy had died in that room and she believed that his playful spirit was still around.  She would never go into that room herself.

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Was it a ghost?  I have no idea.  But it could have been.  There was never a reason for the door to slam, no reason for a door with no lock to become locked to the person on the inside, and never a reason for items to fall from the shelves.  I didn’t view these events with the serious thought that a spirit could be responsible, just as I didn’t give serious thought to the idea that one of my college dorms was haunted or that my high school gym had a live-in ghost.  Since having an experience that I cannot explain, I became very curious and did a lot of research to see if there truly was something to it or if I was just allowing myself to become part of a joke.

I’m not going to give you a list of scientific explanations that give credibility to the existence of the supernatural because you either believe or you don’t.  It’s not my place to try to convince you and I’m not attempting to start a debate about whether or not a ghost could exist.  I’ve just noticed lately that atheism doesn’t really fit with belief in the supernatural.  And I don’t see why that has to be.  Most atheists like to throw facts and evidence in the face of religious folk, knowing they cannot counter because you cannot show concrete and irrefutable evidence of a God.  My belief that something supernatural could exist, be it spirits or simply residual energy, can be backed up by scientific evidence which is why I see some credibility in it.  Religion has nothing to do with it.

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For me, being an atheist means I don’t have a set of rules regarding my belief system.  I don’t have a God, I don’t have rules about how I spend my Sunday, and I live by a moral code rather than worrying about what counts as a sin and what is acceptable.  But even if I wanted to be an atheist who believes that people are sometimes reincarnated as dogs, I fail to see how that is an issue and how that contradicts my lack of belief in God.  I don’t identify as an atheist because I want to fit a specific mold, I identify as one because I believe in no God whatsoever.  That should have nothing to do with the rest of my life.

With vocal atheists like Ricky Gervais calling attention to the rest of us, atheism as a whole is being scrutinized more closely than it normally would.  Perhaps this whole “atheists can’t believe in ghosts” argument is simply a way at poking holes in my lack of belief and trying to show me that belief in anything intangible means I should believe in God.  It’s really the only explanation I can come up with for this nonsense.  The bottom line is that I will give credibility to things that have earned it.  The supernatural has earned it in my personal life and in the bits of research I’ve done.  It’s as simple as that.

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Room 101

To say that my husband and I listen to a lot of the Ricky Gervais podcasts would be a major understatement.  Generally in the mornings, we pop in a CD of one of the podcasts rather than try to find a radio station that is playing more music than commercials.  On one of the podcasts, the trio discussed Room 101, a place where the worst things in the world exist.  On the BBC television show by the same name, various celebrities are interviewed and asked what pet peeves of theirs they would stick into Room 101, causing them to cease to exist in our world.  Gervais questions Karl Pilkington on what he would put in this room, assuming that the big problems in the world (cancer, AIDS, famine, etc.) are already present in the room.

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It is a hilarious podcast, and I suggest that everyone hop on iTunes and download some of the free ones to give them a try, but it got me thinking about what I would stick into that room.  While Karl wanted to put in slugs and restless leg syndrome, Gervais was pushing for lazy parents and people who are thoughtless and arrogant enough to serve a stranger a meal prepared with their own breastmilk (don’t ask, just go download).  The following is my list of what needs to be banished to Room 101.

1.  Those with horrible table manners and/or eating habits.  It boggles my mind how many grown adults eat with their mouth open, try to hold a conversation with their mouth full of food, smack and lick their fingers, pop their gum, or eat chips like the goat in the latest Dorito commercial.  I do not, under any circumstances, want to listen to anyone chomping and crunching and slurping, especially not while I’m at work and unable to escape it.  I don’t want to go to a restaurant and sit next to a table that can’t manage to keep their mouths shut when there is food inside of it.  It’s gross and I banish all of these horrid people.

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2.  Poor public restroom behavior.  A public restroom stall is not a place for a business meeting, a spot for your lunch, a place to hold a phone call, or an area for you to do anything but use the toilet and be on your way.  A public restroom sink isn’t the place for you to floss your teeth, wash your dishes, or spread your toiletries everywhere and primp.  The restroom is not a place for you and your friends to have a wild conversation, gossiping loudly while standing in everyone’s way.  It is not a place you should abuse since you don’t have to clean it by leaving paper on the floor, having bad aim, or leaving mini crime scenes behind in the stalls.  I’m tired of being afraid to enter a public restroom, so I banish you all.

3.  Spiteful gossipers.  Everyone gossips a bit and that’s perfectly fine.  What is not acceptable is engaging in trash talk, speculating and inserting your own details and drama, and trying to tear people down in order to make yourself feel better, get attention, or whatever silly motive is present.  It’s one thing to discuss an employee who was just fired, but a whole other to start saying s/he deserved it, that you heard X, Y and Z about him/her, and so on.  If you don’t have anything better to do with your time and waste your life flapping your jaw in this way, you are banished to Room 101.

4.  Motorists who can’t give up their phone.  I take calls in the car once in a while if it’s important.  I have texted and tweeted at stop signs and traffic lights.  But I don’t ignore everything around me while checking Facebook, cutting people off and nearly causing an accident in the process.  I don’t have long conversations with one hand on the wheel while forgetting the speed limit, my turn signals, and other basic rules of the road.  Put your damn phone down for a minute and pay attention to what is going on before you sideswipe someone or run off the road!  If you can’t manage that, you are banished.

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5.  Lazy and disinterested parents.  There is a place and a time for your child to run around and be a kid.  Restaurants, malls, grocery stores, parking lots, gas stations, the workplace, movie theaters, bowling alleys, banks, laundromats, post offices and doctor’s offices do not qualify as any of those appropriate places.  Screaming children should be dealt with in public, not ignored in the hopes that they calm themselves down.  Employees of whatever location you are at are not babysitters and shouldn’t be treated as such.  Either pay attention to your kids or be banished to Room 101.

6.  Rude patrons/customers.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that someone who is tasked to serve you is allowed to be treated like a slave.  It’s so easy to say “please” instead of making demands, to be polite instead of acting like you’re king or queen of the world, and to have respect for the person who is assisting you.  It’s wrong in so many ways to treat employees like they are less than you, and equally as wrong to yell at the poor customer service representative about an issue they did not cause and that they are trying to help you with.  Be polite or be banished.

7.  Lazy pet owners.  My husband was walking our dog one night and stepped in a huge pile of dog poo that was lying right in the middle of the sidewalk.  There is a teenage boy a few doors down from us that never picks up after his pet, a family a few doors down on the other side who doesn’t pick up after their puppy, and countless other lazy people who don’t bother removing their pet’s mess from public areas.  It’s disgusting and vile and unnecessary.  No one enjoys picking up poo with a flimsy bag, but that’s part of owning a dog.  Pick up your pet’s waste or start packing for a trip to Room 101.

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8.  The foolish faith put into the wrong people in relationships.  This is the behavior, not necessarily the person.  It’s easy to get caught up in love and put blinders on to block out reality, but it’s absurd to ignore warning signs because your desire to be loved is stronger than your common sense.  If you see your friends abandoning you because of your significant other, ask yourself why instead of assuming that they’re busy or jealous and simply dismissing it.  If your significant other is always coming up with crazy stories to explain their behavior, question the validity of these tales.  This silly blind faith needs to be banished for good.

9.  Personal space invaders.  I have a bubble around me that 99.9% of people around me are not invited into.  I imagine most people feel similarly when it comes to strangers getting too close or making unwanted physical contact.  No line moves faster if you get right on top of the person standing in front of you.  No conversation moves along more smoothly if you’re right in the person’s face.  No employee wants you sitting on their desk while you ask a question.  Everyone deserves to have their personal space remain personal.  Respect it or go find your bed in Room 101.

10.  Attention whores.  They post photo after photo of their face from the exact same angle with comments like “OMG no makeup” in order to fish for compliments.  They bother every celebrity on Twitter by begging for retweets and follows.  They always have a story to top your own.  They brag about everything possible, even when they don’t have anything bragworthy to say.  They’ll crash your party or dinner, assuming you just forgot to invite them.  They are the center of their own universe and don’t understand why everyone doesn’t worship them the way they worship themselves.  Tone it down or you’re banished too.

 

What/who would you banish to Room 101?

Derek

I recently watched the premiere episode of Derek, a new dramatic comedy by Ricky Gervais; additional episodes are in the works but have not yet been released.  In his words, it is about “a group of outsiders living on society’s margins.  Derek Noakes (played by Ricky) is a tender, innocent man whose love for his job and the people he cares for shines through.  He works in a retirement home with his mate and landlord, Dougie (Karl Pilkington).  Derek cares deeply for old people.”   In the opinion of some, such as author Christopher Stevens, this new series is anything but comedic.

Personally, I am utterly disgusted by this.  When I say this, I mean the reactions to the premiere episode that are along the lines of what Stevens had to say.  While people like Stevens watched Derek and saw Gervais acting “vile, cynical and dishonest,” openly mocking the disabled and being cruel to people with autism and Down Syndrome, I saw a beautiful story about a man without prejudice and with a huge heart, inviting the audience into his world and baring his soul for the camera.  Derek combines comedy with heartfelt honesty, making the main character warm and funny, being humorous without making a mockery of himself.  The humor is well-balanced by raw emotion as we see Derek’s coworker and friend, Hannah, express her affection for Derek and strongly defend him against those who don’t accept him due to his differences, then see how the passing of one of the retirement home’s residents breaks Derek’s heart and ultimately touches Dougie and helps solidify their friendship.

It saddens me that this emotional and funny premiere episode has been overshadowed by critics who claim that Gervais is simply poking fun at people with developmental disabilities.  On the contrary, Derek is someone the audience can laugh with, not at.  He is someone who strives to be treated as an equal and who we shouldn’t walk on eggshells around, afraid to find humor in his actions because to do so would be offensive.  He is someone who cares about his friends deeply, perhaps deeper than most of us can imagine feeling about our friends and acquaintances.  He is charming and lovable, innocent and unbiased, and a person more of us should try to be like.

Stevens claims that Derek’s friend and coworker, Hannah, is actually mocking Derek rather than being a friend to him.  On the contrary, Hannah proves to be quite protective of Derek.  She is quick to place blame on herself when Derek unintentionally embarrasses her with an attractive grandson of one of the home’s residents and she physically defends Derek against a group of ignorant women who mock him in a pub.  Dougie, who Stevens says is ashamed to be on camera because of his friendship with Derek, does indeed express his annoyance with Derek’s behavior at some points which possibly comes from the actual relationship between Pilkington and Gervais.  However, at the conclusion of the episode, Dougie goes out of his way to help Derek and ease some of the pain in his heart caused by the passing of the resident he was so close to.

Regarding Derek, Gervais has stated that he doesn’t think of him as disabled; he’s not that bright but is still a clever person, adding that when he portrays a disabled person in his work, he gets a disabled person to play the role (such as the Down’s Syndrome actor from Extras who did indeed have Down’s).  He says that Derek is based on people you meet who are on the margins of society; nerds, loners and under achievers.  Nicky Clark, a disability rights campaigner who criticised Gervais for using the word mong has watched Derek’s pilot episode and stated that “instead of it being a mocking disintegration of a learning-disabled man, it’s the story that really need to be told at the moment.”  She said she both laughed and cried, seeing no cruelty in the show’s premiere episode.

Chris Harvey writes that “in Derek, Gervais seems to have found a character that he relates to deeply. When Derek found a worm, tried to give it a drink in the pond in the garden of the nursing home, and wondered, in his child-like speech: “Is that its head? I give it both ends,” it simply didn’t come across as mocking. It was a way of looking at the world that was both joyful and touching. And, when Derek’s favourite resident Joan fell asleep, and he touched her curls gently: “I likes her hair, it’s fluffy,” you could almost feel the perm bounce against your fingers.”  He ends his article by saying that “Derek was, at its heart, nothing if not kind.”

That kindness is what viewers should come away with after watching Derek, and is what I hope will shine through once the series is completed and hits the airwaves.  Gervais can be offensive, sure, but only if you’re giving him nothing more than a glance or only focusing on the cover of the book without taking a minute to read any of the pages.  Simply looking at a photo of Gervais portraying Derek can make one think he’s being cruel, but watching the episode and learning the story puts that assumption to rest.  Derek is brilliantly funny and deeply touching.  Adding Pilkington to the mix brings in a camaraderie between he and Gervais that can’t be faked; it’s quite similar to how they interact on The Ricky Gervais Show and allows Pilkington to seamlessly slip into the role of Dougie.  Overall, I believe Gervais has struck gold with this new series and I hope it finds incredible success and leaves the critics with egg on their faces.

Making Wishes

If you know me, you know I’ve been obsessed with wrestling as of a few months ago.  My husband wanted to watch one evening and I said to hell with it and watched with him.  Two nights of Raw later, I was hooked.  Since then, we’ve been renting all of the Pay Per View events and buying merchandise.  You’re welcome, Vince McMahon.  Last weekend, we saw some WWE DVDs for sale at Half Price Books and were intent on buying all three, but much to our dismay, some idiot had stolen two of them.  As a consolation prize, we ended up updating our Netflix queue and have a ton on the way.  Totally obsessed.

A lot of the promos focus on the work that various WWE superstars do with the Make A Wish foundation.  John Cena has the honor of being one of the most requested wishes, something he takes to heart as he is also the person who has granted the most wishes in the foundation.  It’s an amazing thing that this organization does for children and young adults and I’m glad people are willing to break away from their schedules to put a smile on someone’s face.  It got me thinking though about who my wishes would be if I could request to meet anyone.  So naturally, I’m giving you a list.  Remember, I’m dying, so I don’t have to be all philosophical and deep with my choices.

10.  Johnny Depp

Because oh my gawd, he is soooo dreamy!  Kidding.  He is Jack Sparrow, my son thinks Jack Sparrow is awesome, and it would be worth the wish to meet Depp and somehow talk him into getting all Sparrowed out to surprise my son.  I can’t even imagine the look on his face when I walked in with a freaking pirate.

 

9.  Chelsea Handler

She’s hilarious and I think she’d be an excellent drinking buddy.  I’m dying, screw my liver at this point.

 

8. Nick Santora

He wrote some of my favorite episodes of Prison Break and now writes on Breakout Kings, the show that guarantees at least one person will say “shit” every episode.  He’s also awesome and talks to me on twitter.  I’d love to visit him on set and guilt him into giving the dying girl a guest spot on an episode of Breakout Kings.  I’ll be victim #2!!

 

7.  Nick Cannon

I just want to punch him, really.

 

6.  RuPaul

I suck at makeup, hate wearing heels and dresses, loathe doing my hair, and am pretty sure I was meant to be born a dude.  Who banged other dudes, of course.  My mom sucked at being a mom and never taught me how to do my hair or makeup, so I said screw it and went and played in the dirt and just tied my hair up in a bun 99% of the time.  I’ve learned little things as I’ve gotten older, but I still suck at being a chick.  I want RuPaul to fully drag me out and make me fabulous!

 

5.  Olivia Wilde

Honestly, I have no good reason.  She’s just pretty and I’d like to have dinner with her.  Or maybe just martinis.  Either way.

 

4.  Kiefer Sutherland

JACK BAUER!

 

3.  Kevin Smith

My obsession with film came from watching Clerks.  Since then, I’ve been all over every movie he’s put out, read his books, watched his DVDs, and been crazy about all things Kevin Smith.  I would prefer to meet him at the Secret Stash in New Jersey and knock two birds out with one stone.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and Jay Mewes will be visiting that day?

 

2.  Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington

This one has to be a package deal because the three of them are the definition of hilarious together.  People will tell you that laughter is the best medicine until they’re blue in the face, and they’re absolutely right.  Ricky and Steve are comic geniuses who have brought the world some amazing material, including The Office and Extras.  Combined with Karl, it’s side splitting humor.  Watch An Idiot Abroad, or if you’re cheap, download a free podcast of the Ricky Gervais Show and just listen.  Karl is the smartest idiot to ever exist and I love him.  Fucking round headed twat.

 

1.  Jonathan Davis of Korn

I started listening to Korn in early 1995 when I was fourteen.  A friend from AOL who lived close by let me borrow his CD and I was instantly hooked.  Their music never ceases to give me chill bumps or soothe my nerves.  Davis has a powerful voice and his lyrics touch the tortured parts of my soul.  I want to meet him and thank him; even though it would probably mean very little to him, it would mean the world to me to be able to face the man who helped me get through the toughest times in my life and who has been an inspiration to me in a variety of ways.

Forgotten Manners

My husband and I are borderline obsessed with all things Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and the round-headed twat that is Karl Pilkington.  We received a regional DVD player for Christmas and are now able to catch up on standup specials and both seasons of An Idiot Abroad.  On our road trip to Tennessee, we listened to nothing but their podcasts for the entire drive down, and we often listen in the car on the way to work or while headed home.  On this particular day, one of the topics of the podcast was etiquette and manners.  They brought up the classes that used to be mandatory that would teach a person proper posture, which utensils to use while eating and how to use them, and other basic mannerisms to be used in daily life.

Ricky Gervais and I share the same opinion on people who eat with their mouths open; he went into a tangent on how vile and disgusting it is to see someone eating with their mouth wide open as if the world is dying to see their half chewed dinner.  He said his ideal restaurant would be one that was empty except for him.  Totally ridiculous proposition but I am also totally on board with him.  Go to a Mexican restaurant and you have countless people chomping chips with their jaw nearly unhinged, filling the room with the deafening sound of crunching.  One time at Applebee’s we were seated near a girl who was eating her salad the way you would see a squirrel munching on lettuce, only minus the cute factor.  Do I have to bring up the way people eat popcorn at a theater?  In public, people smack their food, lick their fingers, and generally act as if they had been living in a cave for years and are just now able to go out into public, unsure of how to act or what is proper.

It’s not just the eating habits that have convinced me that manners are a thing of the past, but it’s the general behavior of people one encounters every day.  At work, it’s a rarity I get a “thank you” for holding a door open for somebody.  This morning, I had to press myself against the wall because four people coming down the hall the opposite way refused to move to let me by.  Just after they passed, a woman shoulder bumped me after she and her group also refused to budge to let me pass, no “sorry” or “excuse me” or any effort to get out of my way, even though she and her companions were rudely blocking the hallway for everyone who was simply trying to get their workday started.  At my desk later, a man stood slurping his coffee loudly as I worked, then left the office with his coffee cup still on my desk, leaving a lovely ring.  Restaurant patrons, in both fine dining and fast food, treat the person serving them as a lowly servant and demanding things rather than simply asking “can I” or may I.”

The way we treat people around us is just disgusting.  I absolutely think that it’s important to put yourself first in life and ensure you and your family are taken care of and free from harm, but I also think this can be done without putting anyone else out and without becoming a hindrance to those around us.  Take personal phone calls in the office for example.  Your coworkers are attempting to do their job in the most efficient and stress-free possible way.  Should they be forced to listen to a 30 minute one-sided conversation while you plan your child’s wedding or schedule kitchen repairs, or should they be forced to miss you for a bit while you step outside to a break area or to your car to use your cell phone?  If you forgot to clip your nails before work, should your coworkers have to witness you clipping away at your desk, held captive at their own as you groom yourself, or should you sacrifice a couple of minutes at your desk and at least go to the restroom?  It’s slightly inconvenient to have to adjust your behavior in public, sure, but it’s even more putting out to be the person that is minding their manners but still forced to deal with people who can’t keep their vile and annoying habits in check.

It’s odd, but I encounter better behaved people at rock/metal concerts than I do in my office, in any given grocery or clothing store, movie theaters, malls, my former neighborhood, parking lots, medical offices, buffets, or just those you encounter while traveling from point A to B.  For some reason, the people who are thrown together with the common interest of whatever band is on stage also (mostly) all have this mutual respect for each other and manage to behave like civil and decent human beings, even with the alcohol and whatever other substances are thrown into the mix.  If a bunch of lunatics smoking weed on the lawn while headbanging to Seether can manage their behavior, why can’t everyone else?

I don’t consider myself to be old-fashioned, nor do I think I’m easily annoyed.  I wasn’t brought up in an anal household where I was made to eat without dropping a single crumb or dirtying even a corner of my napkin.  I didn’t undergo extreme etiquette training that has now made me into an intolerant person.  Quite simply, I just expect to be able to go through life without bumping into a rude and thoughtless person around every corner.  I’m considering asking Ricky Gervais if my husband and I can move in.

A Whole New World

Yesterday I was listening to a portion of The Podfather Trilogy with my husband while driving to pick up our son.  Karl Pilkington was asked to name a few people he would take with him if he were to go to a brand new world and create a society.  I encourage you to download the podcast; the entire thing is hilarious.  In the middle of Karl’s list, sometime after naming Jamie Oliver, my husband asked me who I would take.  Simple question, but it really got me thinking.  If a new planet was discovered, just like Earth but not yet ruined by us, and I could go there with my family and choose a handful of people to come with me, who would I bring?  Assuming of course, there are no boundaries to who I can pick and I don’t have to be too logical….

Les Stroud:  He’s the lonely guy on Survivorman who goes out on his own for a week and videotapes his experiences surviving in the wild.  After he got married back in 1994, he and his wife spent a year in the Canadian wilderness to attempt a Paleolithic existence, first building a tipi then an attached A-frame, using only the materials around them and using no modern tools.  They then built and equipped a winter cabin using only an axe and a modern bow saw.  This guy knows how to survive; he can find food, hunt, and build shelter.  It’s imperative to have him around, as we are going to be starting from scratch and need someone who knows how to make something out of whatever is available.

Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker):  A weed selling mom of three seems like an odd choice at first, I will admit.  Nancy has a way of getting what she wants, regardless of who she is dealing with.  She’s business-minded and determined, a natural leader and a fearless woman.  She may be flaky at times, but I believe she’d be able to finish whatever job was handed to her.  She has the ability to know what people want and the drive to supply it.  She’s also not bad to look at and not particularly picky about the men she sleeps with; we’ll need to grow as a society and I have no doubt that Nancy will be able to give us a kid or three.

This kid:

Dwayne Johnson:  The Rock.  Not much more needs to be said, but I do have my reasons.  This man kicked major ass as The Rock and kicked even more when he made the transition over into film.  He’s proven to be quite an intelligent guy.  The thing about him is that the muscles and tough guy act isn’t just there for show; Dwayne could probably crush my skull with his pinky and not break a sweat.  Having brute strength on your side has its advantages; we’ll need help building shelter and defending against carnivorous wildlife.  Plus, I’d sleep much better at night knowing The Rock is next door, eyebrow raised, ready to take on whatever is thrown at him.

Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie):  It’s never lupus and he can prove it.  Sure, he’s addicted to vicodin and he has an attitude, but the man is brilliant.  He can read people better than anyone else on this planet and would be invaluable in ensuring there are no secrets and no hidden conspiracies in our new society.  He’s also a talented diagnostician and we’ll definitely need a doctor in this new land; there is no telling what strange diseases are around and what effects our new environment could have on our body.  I don’t care about bedside manner, I want a doctor who is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure we all live, even if his motives for doing so are selfish.

Milla Jovovich:  I’m convinced that The Sixth Sense was a documentary about the origins of Milla.  If Maynard James Keenan is referring to someone as the Supreme Being, I’m inclined to believe it.  This woman can do anything, on and off-screen.  She’s a power house who does what needs to be done in order to survive and I believe she’d be on board with growing food as well as hunting big game, collecting firewood or putting together various shelters.  She’s composed and confident and able to adapt to any situation.  I’m also convinced that if she and Dwayne Johnson had a kid, it would have superpowers.

Natalie Portman:  She’s a gorgeous woman with a degree from Harvard.  Despite her fame, she’s remained level-headed and scandal-free, something that seems to be a challenge for many young women in the spotlight.  She’s the type of person I feel that anyone can relate to and get along with, regardless of age or background.  Once we begin to establish ourselves as a society, we’ll need someone to teach our children.  I would have chosen my instructor for my gifted program back in elementary school, but I imagine she’s well beyond her child bearing years at this point and unfortunately I can’t afford to take any females along who can’t pop out some kids and assist in the growth of our new world.  She would also be a great contributor and organizer when we begin establishing rules and laws.

Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles):  We have no idea what this new world holds in store for us, but these brothers are no doubt prepared for it.  They’ve both been to hell and back.  Literally.  They’ve battled demons and monsters we can’t even imagine, lived through the apocalypse, defeated the Devil himself, and they’re still standing.  They’ve both had a rough life and deserve a fresh start in this new world we’ve discovered.  If the boogeyman exists in our new lands, I’d be more comfortable knowing that the Winchester brothers will be there to show us how to handle it.

Sticks And Stones

Ricky Gervais is finally back on Twitter and if you’re familiar with him, you know he lacks a censor or mute button.  The man speaks his mind and while he doesn’t do so with the intent to offend, he usually ends up doing so.  He’s been using the word “mong” a lot in his tweets, which is says is “a div, a dozy spud headed twonk.”  Naturally though, people took it to mean a person with Down’s Syndrome and began the typical attacks.  It reminded me of my film class in middle school when I called my best friend Chris a retard and was then given a lecture by the teacher about how that word is wrong; he was offended because his child is mentally handicapped.  It’s funny how words can make people fly off the handle, especially when they’re not even directed at them.

In the past I’ve been called a nigger, a spic, an oreo, a dyke, a nerd, a loser, and countless other colorful words that I won’t bore you with.  I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt at the time.  It was painful to be young and face verbal abuse from my peers, but that’s part of growing up.  You recognize that the people saying these things are idiots and you don’t let it bother you.  Words can sting but they don’t leave scars.  They don’t define who you are.  Most important, they can only hurt you if you allow them to do so.

There are times that I call my husband gay because of the way he enjoys playing around with a few select friends and the jokes he makes.  In no way am I attacking homosexual people, but there are people out there who are outraged when people use the word gay to insult others.  My husband obviously isn’t gay and I couldn’t care less who has sex with who; homosexuality doesn’t bother me because it just doesn’t affect my life whatsoever.  I don’t go out and target homosexual looking people and yell GAY at them.  I don’t call gay men Fags or gay women Carpet Munchers.  It doesn’t make sense to me that these people would be outraged that one friend would call another friend gay in jest.  It doesn’t make sense that at least one person will read that sentence and ask “Why is she saying ‘these people’?”  Some things are just gay, plain and simple, and I reserve the right to call it like I see it.  So long as I’m not gay bashing a person or a group, I see nothing wrong with it.

The word nigger is a word you’re not allowed to say if you’re not the right shade and has been for some time now.  It originated as a neutral term to refer to black people, stemming from the word niger, which means black in Latin and similar to the word negro, meaning black in Spanish, or similar to a handful of other words that mean black.  This word was taken and reshaped over the years, going from a simple way to describe a group of people to a derogatory term guaranteed to anger the masses.  The word itself is not harmful; its power comes from the meaning we’ve given it and the way we allow it to affect us.  Six little letters don’t create anger and separation and ill feelings, WE create it.  We took the word “douche bag” and made it into a slang term for a person we consider to be an asshole, and we took “ass hole” away from its original meaning to mean a jerk, and we took “jerk” away… well, you get the idea.

We have freedom of speech, the freedom to speak freely and without censorship.  We have the right to our opinions and the right to express ourselves in the manner which we see fit.  While certain areas have restrictions on this, such as work or school or church, in most settings we are free to say what we want to who we want.  The guy screaming BABY KILLERS to women at an abortion clinic has every right to do so, and while I may think he’s a bit nutty, he’s not hurting anyone.  If women hear that and feel guilty about aborting their fetus, that is their choice and not the doing of the protestor.

Today’s society is one full of weak individuals who want to be babied through all walks of life.  If something is slightly offensive, it must be dealt with and abolished!  If something makes us sad, we must fix it and be happy!  Our kid gets teased and it is said to be a bullying epidemic!  We can’t say “men at work” because female workers have rights too!  We don’t want kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school because it says “under God.”  Everything must be politically correct and neutral and sympathetic to each and every group out there.  Honestly, is that any way to live?  Everything in existence is guaranteed to offend someone, you can’t fix that.  Being sad is part of life, you can’t expect to be happy 24/7.  Bullying made me a stronger person and taught me that I can overcome anything, especially weak kids who only find joy in picking on others.  The word “men” eludes to “mankind” which describes all of humanity and it’s simpler than trying to fit “Men and Women and Transgenders At Work” on a road sign.  And so on.

I refuse to sacrifice my happiness and my personality in order to pacify another individual or group.  I’ll continue to say “goddamn” now and again because it happens when I get angry, not because I’m damning your religious beliefs or insulting who you pray to.  If you act like a retard, I’ll probably call you one and it’s not because I’m insinuating that you have Down’s or that I believe you’re acting like a person with Down’s.  They’re just words with multiple meanings to different people, and where these words are concerned, YOU get to decide the meaning and how it affects you.  Choose to be weak and have it cut you down or offend, or choose to be strong and let it slide off your shoulders.

The famous quote goes “The pen is mightier than the sword,” and that may be true, but when was the last time a word, written or spoken, inflicted actual harm upon you or anyone else?  Personally, I’d be more afraid of the lunatic waving a razor-sharp sword in my face than I would the lunatic calling me a dirty spic and telling me I’m going to hell.  To allow myself to be undone by a few words just seems pathetic.  Life is so much brighter when you just let the verbal garbage go.

Diagnosis: Fat

When the thyroid gland is underactive, improperly formed, removed, or incapable of producing enough thyroid hormone, a person is hypothyroid.  Symptoms of hypothyroidism are a slowdown in metabolism and can include fatigue, weight gain, and depression.  – About.com

Cortisol is the “stress hormone” because excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or psychological stress. This disruption of cortisol secretion may not only promote weight gain, but it can affect where you put on the weight.MedicineNet.com

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also called PCOS, occurs due to a dysfunction of a woman’s ovaries, leading to a hormonal imbalance.  Women with PCOS develop a hormonal imbalance leading to weight gain, or difficulty losing weight. – Livestrong.com

Well, it’s their fault they’re fat. They ate too much. Those are the rules. I got fat because I ate too much. I knew why I was getting fat. I didn’t think I had a tumour up my backside. I thought it was because I ate cheese and pizza every fucking night.Ricky Gervais

I work in a building where the obese get to cut to the front of the security line so they have a shorter distance to walk, after they mash the button for the automatic handicap door.  A building that has a room full of electric scooters so the obese can roll up and down the halls, only having to use their legs in the restroom or to get in and out of their office chair.  A building where temporary handicap parking permits are issued to the obese so they can save a few hundred feet of walking distance from their car to the doors.  The same thing happens outside this building, really everywhere you look.  I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point during my life, being obese became a disease and a handicap.

Before you get angry with me, let me acknowledge that there are a few diseases out there that cause fatty deposits, generally tumor like or concentrated in certain areas of the body.  Those diseases, however, don’t explain the 34% of Americans who are obese, having a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or higher.  People are fat because of how they eat, not because of some disease. Using a medical condition to explain away obesity is just a cop out.  It’s used because it sounds a hell of a lot better saying “I have a thyroid problem” than it does saying “I love Big Macs and milkshakes, I eat them for breakfast!”  Fat happens when you eat poorly and don’t exercise or try to stay active at work and/or home.

Need proof?  Start writing down everything you eat, just what kind of food and where it’s from or who it’s made by.  Do that for a couple of days.  After you have at least two days of food recorded, go back and look up the caloric values for everything you ate and drank.  It’s potentially frightening.  I never realized how quickly you can get to 2000 calories until my husband and I began counting calories to lose weight.  The Fiesta Lime Chicken I love at Applebee’s weighs in at 1160 calories, while the Santa Fe Salad I adore is 1240.  A delicious Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks is 470 calories, and the Caramel Mocha from Dunkin Donuts isn’t much better at 340.  A shot of vodka is about 65 calories.  A typical serving of chips is about 11 for 160 calories, but I don’t know many people who rip open a big bag of Doritos and count out 11 chips while they’re playing on XBox Live.  IT ADDS UP.  When you exceed the amount of calories your body needs to function and you don’t exercise or move around enough to burn it off, you gain weight, plain and simple.

Does anyone really feel too bad for the guy who chain smoked for 20 years and then gets diagnosed with throat and lung cancer?  Probably not; he chose to smoke like a chimney and now he is paying for the damage he did to his body, damage that could have easily been prevented had he quit smoking.  But unlike cancer, which can affect people who live healthy, you can’t just catch FAT from breathing in second-hand fatness or simply from being unlucky.  Fat happens when you can’t quit the large order of fries and the regular sodas, when you would rather get dropped off at the door than walk a couple hundred feet from a far off parking space, when you slip in too many snacks or put extra butter or dressing on everything.  Fat happens because pizza tastes better than salad and you can’t resist the temptation.  Fat happens due to poor personal decisions and a lack of willpower or desire to change.  It’s not a disease and I’m tired of seeing the world cater to those people out there who are simply too damn lazy to do the work to lose the weight.

Save the scooters and handicap parking tags for people who have actual disabilities.  Quit taking short cuts, the few extra steps could do some good.  Have enough pride and respect to stop trying to pass off your enormous backside as a medical condition, start doing something about it, and I guarantee you’ll feel a hell of a lot better and live a whole lot longer.  What’s more important, having a Double Whopper with cheese for lunch or being able to walk more than 10 steps without having to stop and catch your breath?

I Could Eat A Knob At Night

I have a new obsession that I must share with the world, or at least the teeny part of the world that will make it here.  I used to hate Ricky Gervais as a comic and I think the reason for this is that I watched the US version of The Office prior to knowing there was a UK version that came first.  To me, Michael Scott was superior simply because he was familiar.  That and I didn’t care for Ricky’s goatee whatsoever.  But after watching Ricky on the Jon Stewart show one night with the husband, I did a 180 on my opinion.  Ricky Gervais is absolutely hilarious and I’m hooked to anything he happens to be attached to.

My husband and I watched Cemetery Junction last night, a movie by Ricky and Stephen Merchant that I highly recommend Netflixing; it’s a heartfelt drama with enough comedy to keep it light.  Thanks to Blockbuster shutting down (sorry guys) I was able to pick up a copy of The Invention Of Lying for $3 and I adored it.  My husband ended up mailing the DVD to our friends in Texas; I was not happy about losing it, but glad they’d get to see it.  If you check my blogroll, I have a link to Ricky’s blog.  But my all time favorite projects would have to be The Ricky Gervais Show and An Idiot Abroad, and these are both mainly to Karl Pilkington and the hilarity that ensued when he, Ricky, and Stephen do just about anything together.

Rather than go on and on about what I love about these shows, here’s a few brilliant quotes from Karl Pilkington himself

“I find that if you just talk, your mouth comes up with stuff.”

Karl’s interpretation of the phrase “Waste not, want not.”“Don’t be chucking that out. You might need that later” 

“There’s too much going on in the world now. That’s why Post It notes were invented.”

“Jellyfish are 97% water or something, so how much are they doing? Just give them another 3% and make them water. “

“Neil Armstrong, that spaceman, he went to the moon but he ain’t been back. It can’t have been that good.”

Ricky:   “How young are you in your first memory? Three?Karl:   “No, no. My parents don’t even remember me then.”

“They keep saying that sea levels are rising an all this. It’s not to do with the icebergs melting, it’s because there’s too many fish in it. Get rid of some of the fish and the water will drop.  Simple. Basic science.”

“I really can’t believe what a state the Pyramids are in. I thought they had flat rendered sides, but when you get up close, you see how they are just giant boulders balanced on top of each other, like a massive game of Jenga that has got out of hand.”

Karl on superheroes:  “They’re never happy, are they?”

“I’d never buy a piece of art. I don’t see the point in buyin’ somethin’, ‘cos I know that me eyes will get bored of it eventually.”

“If we didn’t have planes an’ that would we have wings now?”

Ricky: “If there was a war, Karl, what would you do?” Karl: “Go on holiday.”

“Even though you can’t see it, flowers pick up bad vibes. If you shake a plant, it doesn’t like it.”

“Doctors say we don’t need the appendix or tonsils, and men don’t need nipples, but nature saw a space and filled it.”

Karl on socks:  “They just cut off your freedom.”

“I’m not sure if I want to be more intelligent anyway, because, at the end of the day, if I was, would I be me anymore?”

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