Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday...why do you hate me?

I woke up this morning feeling a little jolly. So jolly in fact, that I decided to wear my Santa hat once I couldn't locate my OU baseball cap. I tucked the dog in tight & kissed her on her little nose & tucked T in & kissed her on her little nose as well & off to work I went.



This was my first mistake. As I drove to work I passed my boss' house & noticed her car was still there. Hmmm. I zipped into the parking lot, found a nice little spot and went in, unaware of the bomb of crazy awaiting me. There was an eerie silence to the building. A calm before the storm.



I unlocked the office, turned everything on, & went to get the coffee started. Friday's coffee was still sitting in the pot. EW. I cleaned the pot, filled it with water & headed back. As the coffee was brewing, it began.

A Professor came in to notify me that there was water pouring from underneath the Janitor's closet door on the 3rd floor. Now, why the Professor came to get me rather than the Janitor is a bit puzzling, but I guess I'm probably easier to find. I lept up out of my seat & immediately went to find her. She had her coat in her arms & appeared to be on her way out. When I told her of the "Great Flood", she dropped everything & headed up. I immediately had 3 more people come into my office to notify me of the "Great Flood". I told them she was aware of it & taking care of it. One of them was so irate, that she didn't hear a word I said & started going off on me.






Oh.Hell.No.

I explained to her the situation again & told her that if she needed to, she could go talk to Hazel herself. Hazel is the custodian. She wanted me to call her supervisor & let them know that she was letting water get everywhere & that what has happened is just the end of the world, and maybe she could get written up or reprimanded. Sigh. Seriously? It was just a little water. Okay, a moderate amount of water. Still, it was an honest accident. Hazel has only been with us for about a month. She's still getting the hang of things. I'm sure bitching her out will really make her want to do her best in the future. Our old custodian did this at least once a year & no one said anything.

I looked at this woman & just gave her a look that said, "Really? Seriously? You want to over-react to this THAT much?" What I did say to her though, was, "Look, it was an accident. She is on it & cleaning it up as fast as she can. If you think your room is a priority over the part she is working on now, then go upstairs & tell her. I don't think her supervisor needs to be bothered with something that is being taken care of. If she had just left it sitting there, I would most certainly call, but as it is, I think she's got it."

She looked at me & made some more noise that sounded like a chicken clucking & made it very clear to me that she felt that she was above having to go & tell the janitor such things & that it was my job to do so without directly saying that. I pretended not to get the hint & stared at her with a look of, "And?" until she felt uncomfortable & left.




With that being taken care of I finally checked my phone message that had been blinking since I walked in. It was my Boss. She wasn't coming in. Ah, okay, no back-up. It's alright. I handled it. I deleted the message & hung up. The phone rang. I answered & it was my Boss' Boss. He was running late. Okay. That's cool. I got it.

A nice fellow then pops into the office & informs me that the water in the walls messed up one of the network cables & so some of the internet in the building will be down. Craptastic. When internet goes down, Professor's are like small hungry babies that have been torn away from a teet. The whining & crying is unending & all comprehension of the way things work as well as logic disappear from their heads. Panic sets in & suddenly I realize what it must be like to run a pre-school. Kudos to you pre-school workers that do a great job. Sure enough, I get a call from the oldest living fossil in the building. Now, the guy is nice & usually very polite, but he is technologically retarded. He tells me the University page is down. I try to explain to him that he is on the network that is down & that they are working on it. He doesn't understand. He tells me his e-mail works & I explain to him that it doesn't. He had it opened & it is cached so it looks like it is, but it isn't. I suddenly realize I am doing my old IT job in my new Admin. Assist position. Dangitsomuch! This guy just refuses to talk to the IT guy. He likes me, but it AIN'T my job anymore. Anyhoo, once he understands, he tries to get me to go onto the internet for him & go into his account & download the final test for his students. Wha!? Um, no. I am not a teacher. I do NOT teach. I have never taught. I do NOT have access to teacher things. I am a receptionist. I get paid a little more than min. wage. I have not & will never be familiar with ozone or that file sharing program that teachers use. I have my own programs & things to access that are staff related. I'm sure none of the teachers know how to file anything related to travel or which forms go where. If they would like to learn that, then I will learn their things. Then perhaps when my boss calls in, they can cover me so I can go home as well.

As I am on the phone, a large number of students begin filling up the space in my office. I ask if I can help & they tell me that their Prof. has asked them to put their finals in their 6" x 6" mailbox. Seriously? Of course with 5 papers it is completely full. Now, none of them can fit their papers in & they are standing there like lost sheep. Nice. Yet another Professor who decides that rules don't apply to them. All Professor's & GA's have been told time & again NOT to do this for THIS very reason. They WILL NOT fit! I cannot be held responsible for taking these papers. If I take them & one gets lost in all my paperwork or filed somewhere on accident or the student says they handed it to me but didn't, we are all going to have to deal with that mess, and frankly, I'm not having it. I'm not going to remember at the end of the day who handed me what. That makes it real easy for a student to say they handed me their paper & that I must have lost it. See how that makes me responsible for something that I really shouldn't be? See how that is what you, as a Professor are paid to do & me & my meager wage are not? See how you as a Professor should have set up a specific time & place for them to hand you their papers & not just try to slack it off on some poor receptionist that is already dealing with floods, down internet, flying solo on a Monday frakkin' morning. See how this makes you an ASS?

Now, once that was all dealt with I grabbed the copy requests & start those. The copier jams up, makes a bunch of weird noises & gives me an error screen I've never seen before. Ahahaha. Crap.In.A.Hat.

Once I fixed that, I have a Professor come in & politely ask me if I could copy something for her. That's my job & what I get paid for, so sure. She smiles sheepishly & asks if I can copy an entire 300 page book. Yes. Yes I can. That IS something I'm paid for. Not looking forward to it, but yes. She is very thankful.

So yeah, I came to work at 8am. This all happened before 10:30am. Let's hope the day gets better. My friend did send me an EPIC picture to cheer me up. I added it below.



Oh, one more thing. No lunch. Hungry. Send help!


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Illustrations

So yeah, I added illustrations to the helmet post. I wasn't able to exactly meet the request of one beloved commenter, but I did use one of her pics from that certain social networking site as inspiration.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Cartoon me



So, I think I might start doing illustrations for the blog. Here is the first attempt. It's an illustration of me. So, would you, the beloved readers, be interested in illustrations that accompany my posts? Give me some feedback & let me know.

Thanks!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Helmet laws



Let me start off by saying, in my opinion, helmet laws are unnecessary.

First of all, helmets don't save as many lives as they want you to think. Sure, maybe the person lives, but rarely are they the same person. Brain damage happens even with a helmet. Just ask a football player. So, would you consider being completely paralyzed & eating out of a tube a triumph of helmets? I wouldn't. So don't fall for all the buzz about helmets.

Secondly, if I'm an adult, shouldn't it be my decision? Why should you get to decide whether or not I have to wear a helmet? Do I get to decide that you should wear a jacket outside when it's 32 degrees outside? I mean, you could catch a cold & die without a jacket, so maybe I should get to tell you that, right? Jackets do save lives. I bet jackets save more lives than helmets.

Now, if you ever get to see the news or read the paper, you will notice that they always mention whether or not the person was wearing a helmet when there is an accident involving a motorcycle. This is to sway people into pushing the helmet law agenda.

I've got an idea. How about everyone operating any motor vehicle has to wear a helmet. Yep, even you people in cars. Imagine the lives we would save! Race car drivers wear helmets, so why not average drivers. That's right, lets make sure that you are seatbelted in & have your safety helmet on. Millions of people die from head injuries every year. Let's go a little further & make anyone who has to go out when it's slick wear a helmet! That way if you slip & fall you won't conk you head & die! Look at the number of people we would save.



According to the CDC, approximately 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury annually. So obviously people are too dumb to be let out without a helmet on. Also according to the CDC website: "Direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost productivity of TBI totaled an estimated $60 billion in the United States in 2000.3" Guess where tons of those come from? Guess!? Football. Yep, football is statistically more dangerous than riding a motorcycle & they ALL wear helmets. Maybe we should just outlaw football. 61% of all Traumatic Brain Injuries are among adults aged 65 years and older. Alright seniors, you have to wear a helmet 24/7. If you are getting off the couch, you gotta put your helmet on.

Okay, so , I know, a little overdramatic. Seriously though, when do we stop. Motorcycles are dangerous. Duh. So are cars, sports & lots of other things. Adults do NOT need protective laws for their person. Seatbelt laws, helmet laws are an intrusion. It's a nanny law. I wear my helmet. I know the risks. Every once & a while I ride without it. Look, if I'm going 40 MPH & some idiot pulls out in front of me, there are no guarantees. I know this. Honestly though, there are NO guarantees in life. You never know how you're going to go. If someone wants to ride across the highways on a steel horse & feel the wind in their hair, why should it be any of YOUR business. Leave it alone. Go volunteer somewhere & help someone who really needs it.

Dentist

I went to the dentist today. More damage from Dr. Pepper it seems. My Dentist is an awesome Dentist. He's always good with the needles. I have a serious fear of needles. A real fight or flight response.

The whole office is pretty darn great. I found him out of sheer chance. Well, sheer chance & the fact that he was the only dentist in a city of 100,000 that would take a new patient with no insurance that had an abscessed wisdom tooth. Seriously, I couldn't even talk & if T hadn't been so wonderful to call over 20 different dentists I suppose I would've just died. At the least ended up in the hospital. Dr. Austin was the only one that would take me.

After that, it was a no brainer. He was my dentist. He's filled my first cavity...in fact, he's filled ALL my cavities & pulled two wisdom teeth. When I hear people talk about hating going to the dentist, I really can't empathize. I don't enjoy getting fillings, but I'm always happy to get to see the whole dental gang. I always end up smiling & laughing while at the Dentist & I don't even take the gas.

So here's to those medical professionals that do a great job & that don't discriminate based on insurance. I'm sure plenty of good Medical Professionals get screwed from time to time, but it is really nice to know that there are those who really seem to be in it for the healing.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The clique that thinks it's not

I have noticed an interesting little clique that I never had before thanks to those social network sites. By clique, I mean a group of people that all think alike & respond predictably to certain things. Many cliques even dress alike. Internet cliques might, but it's hard to tell. The one I've noticed is the group that hates everything more than 5 people like. In school you probably knew the kid. He or she hated everything that was popular. It didn't matter if it was good or fun or not serious, they HATED it. Now, they would say they didn't, but rest assured, if they went to the effort to point it out, it was because at some point it pissed them off on some level. They were the kid that listened to obscure music & watched obscure films & would make smart-ass remarks about anything you liked. They call things stupid & routinely comment on the stupidity of anything popular. Nothing popular can be good or smart or intelligent.

Now, that one kid you knew has access to the one kid I knew & the one kid from here & the one kid from there & now, it becomes very clear, that these people are indeed their own clique. You post something & know exactly what they will say & you know they will feel the need, an aching deep seeded need to speak out about how absurd or idiotic it is. They usually call groups names & stroke their ego about how unique they are. How they are an individual & don't follow trends. How the "sheeple" or masses are so beneath them.

From what I have been able to determine, these people make up about 4% of the population. That 4% are very loyal to each other on networking sites. If you ever try to just light-heartedly blow them off, be assured, the whole 4% will post something passive aggressive indirectly or directly at you & try to make you feel as ignorant & stupid as they can. It's a given. It WILL happen 100% of the time. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is a sure as death & taxes.

Sadly, many of them don't understand that they are as transparent as a high school cheerleader. I know, I am totally stereotyping & it's wrong, but just play along. Most of these people have depression problems, mental health problems, esteem issues & live alone or they swing to the other extreme & are party whores. Still, they are very lonely people. It makes me sad for them. They can't let go & lighten up. Everything is so grim & depressing & mankind is a horrid blemish on the universe. Doom & gloom & the whole world is stupid.

I hesitate to reveal this, but everyone likes an obscure band. At least one. Everyone has a favorite obscure movie. Everyone thinks something is stupid. Most people just let it go. Going around with an attitude of superiority does not make you superior. Looking down on everything does not make you cool. Well, maybe to the 4% clique it does, but that isn't any different than any other clique. Deliberately, whether consciously or subconsciously, berating everything popular doesn't make you look smart. I'm not saying you shouldn't feel that your opinion doesn't count or that you're wrong, if you are a 4% person, but I am saying it won't help you feel better about yourself or make friends or create lasting relationships.

I understand not playing the game & not wanting to go with the crowd. I get it. It's the aggressive attacks on those who think differently than you I don't get. How is that any different than the high school bully? Honestly, I don't think it is. In fact, I know it isn't.

I had 3 main bullies in school. One was a girl two grades ahead of me that used to push me into lockers & call me a dyke or queer. She was one of the popular girls. Queen bee. Made other girls do her bidding. One was the girl whose grandma lived across the street. She was a cheerleader that used to tell me I dressed like a boy & was weird for getting grass stains on my jeans all the time & called me tomboy like it was something bad. The last & possibly worst one of all was one of these 4% kids. This guy never let up. I liked hair bands. They were stupid. I was stupid for listening to them. They didn't write real music & he hated everything about hair bands & made a point to tell me every opportunity he could. It was 1986 for gods sake. He listened to the Dead Milkmen & the Dead Kennedys. Bands that wrote their own music. I'm fairly certain if they had ever played them on the radio in the top 40, he would have instantly stopped listening & called them sell-outs.

I liked Van Gogh. Van Gogh was stupid. Everyone likes Van Gogh. It didn't matter to him why I liked Van Gogh. If I liked Van Gogh it had to be because everyone else did.

I liked stickers. Stickers were stupid. Why do people put stickers on things? It's stupid. Everything I did or said or liked was stupid. I couldn't have a decent conversation with this dude no matter how hard I tried. It was always a passive aggressive barrage aimed at me & society. Jesus, man. Really? Stickers piss you off?

I always imagined he got up & the sun would piss him off first thing off the bat. Then the stupid flavor names on the toothpaste would piss him off. Then the ridiculous brand name Eggo would piss him off. I could hear him, "Why don't they just call them waffles. It's what they are. The name Eggo is stupid." You get the point. Luckily high school ends. I went on to have a wonderful time in college & make many friends & had a whole lot of fun.

It's funny...if popular culture didn't exist, I wonder, what would he like? Popular culture is what made it possible for his kind & his clique to exist.

I guess I just wanted to share my opinion & vent a little. I do feel sad for these people. It seems they can never just enjoy things for what they are. Everything in their worlds is always so serious & has to make a point or statement. There is no room for fun & silliness. Fun & silliness is for fools. Well, I hate to say it, but we are each fools at one point or another. Try not to take life so seriously. Love each other & spread some positivity. We have enough pessimism & hate & negativity in the world without 4% of the population always trying to be sticks in the mud.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Another peek into Aspergers

So, I have a perfect example of something that a typical individual can experience that totally tweaked me a moment ago.

My boss sent me over to Ellison Hall, across campus, to deliver a box of Dossiers. No big deal there. I loaded up the box on a dolly/hand cart & headed out.

My first thought on the way there was how weird I would look walking back with an empty dolly. I managed to tell myself that was silly, when suddenly I began to hear the excruciating sound of a Salvation Army bell ringer. Let me tell you straight up, I have never had more violent thoughts enter my mind than when I hear those damn bell-ringers. The bell just instantly infuriates me. I have no idea why. That particular tone/pitch/noise has always had that affect on me. So, I continue to walk on, trying to justify why the hell the campus is allowing bell-ringers to solicit all over campus. Finally, I get far enough away that the sound disappears, but the anxiety is now a little high. I realize that once I get to my destination, I am going to have to take the elevator rather than the stairs because I have a box on a dolly & I have to deliver it to the 3rd flr. Crap.

I have a stupid fear of elevators. I blame the one in my building. It scraps & shudders & shimmies all over the place. I calm myself by telling myself that the one in Ellison isn't that bad. It beeps once when it passes the 2nd fl. & only shudders once on the way up.

I push the handicap button on the door to get in & round the corner to halls & rooms full to the brim with people eating & talking loudly. PANIC! What!? Why are these people here?! There is obviously some shin-dig going on. Elevator? Elevator!? I have to make it to the elevator!!! Where is it?! I don't remember....oh, yeah....over there!

I get to the elevator as I squeeze myself & the box on the dolly through the crowd only to find that the elevator has an "Out of Order" sign on it. Oh no! What do I do!? I can't take them back. My boss said she never wanted to see them again! Panic! Anxiety level 8! A woman in the crowd sees my confusion & walks over.

"Are you trying to decide whether or not you can use the elevator?" I think to myself, "No! It says "Out of Order"! Are you CRAZY!?"
She puts her hand on my shoulder, (AH! Stranger touching me!) and says, "Go ahead. We've called someone out to fix it, but it still works. We just didn't want all these people using it."

WHAT!? I don't want to use it if it needs fixed. Side note: Death by elevator IS one of the ways I believe I COULD possibly die.

I reluctantly get in, mostly to escape the loud crowd still surrounding me. I push the 3 button & grip the rail as if my life depends on it. The elevator shutters & moans & up it starts. It shakes violently & makes a thousand noises that are most certainly not typical elevator noises & I just know I am going to die in THIS elevator.

Finally, it gets to the 3rd flr. As the door opens the elevator drops slightly & I rush out. I get to the office that is my destination & of course, everyone is downstairs enjoying the shin-dig. Crap, crap, crap. What do I do? What do I do? I have to deliver this box! A lady sees me & helps me get the box to where it needs to be. Phew.

"Go get you some food before you leave.", she smiles.

"Thanks.", I say, ready to run for my life. Screw the food. I just want out of here. Instantly I realize I have to get back into the elevator. Crap! Crap, crap,crap,crap!

The trip back down wasn't any better. I seriously considered carrying the dolly down the stairs & would have if my shoulder hadn't been bothering me so badly today.
The doors open & once again I am assaulted with the crowd noise & faces of strangers. I weave my way through as quickly as possible & out into the open air.

Ah...thank the gods. I made it.

I took the long way back because I'm fairly certain if I hadn't you would all see me on the news tonight accused, and rightly so, of the death of that damned bell-ringer.

The end.

Friday, November 19, 2010

For Katie & all the girls that LOVE Star Wars!!!


(Me & my Brother in our Stars Wars Underoo's)

So I read a blog article, another blog article & A Star Wars website about an awesome first grader named Katie that was recently teased about bringing a Star Wars water bottle to school. Apparently some boys told her Star Wars wasn't for girls. WHAT!? Silly boys, who told them something so wrong! Boy are they going to feel silly when they find out how many girls of all different ages LOVE Star Wars!

(Girls can be X-Wing pilots!)

I fell in LOVE with Star Wars when my Mom & Dad took me to see it at the Comet Drive-In when I was only 3 years old. I was very lucky to have parents that didn't think anything of getting me Star Wars toys for my Birthday or Christmas. I don't think they really bought into action figures being boys toys. Assigning gender specificity to material objects is a little absurd. That being said I do remember being teased, mostly by other girls, about playing with boys toys. It was hurtful, but never enough that I would give up on playing with or loving anything Star Wars! In fact, I haven't stopped playing with Star Wars toys to this day!


(Lots of Star Wars toys!)

So, Katie, if you read this, don't believe those silly boys. I'm 36 years old now & I work at a University & do you know what I have decorated my office with? Star Wars! I have the movie poster & pictures on the walls, and even a few cool Micro Machine Star Wars ships on my desk. I have someone, almost every day, tell me that they like my Star Wars decorations. Girls & boys.


(Look! I'm a Jedi!)
The very best part is that I found someone who loves Star Wars as much as I do to share my life with. We watch it all the time & talk about it & even write stories & draw pictures about it! I'm an artist partly because of the influence of Star Wars. So if you are a girl & you like Star Wars & some silly boy tells you it's not for girls, don't believe it! It's totally for girls, boys, & even Wookies! Just follow your heart & remember, The Force will be with you, always!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's almost Black Friday

So, if you scroll down, you can read the first part of my little story on retail. This is the next part. Black Friday is 8 days away. Two years ago, at a Wal-mart, customers trampled a holiday or temp season worker named Mr. Damour to death in their selfish greed frenzy. Four other people had to be taken to the hospital for treatment, including a woman who was 8 months pregnant. Here's a link, in case you missed it: Death by shoppers

Okay, so why am I bringing this up, right? Well, it's just to make you think. There is not a single item in any retail store anywhere in the world that is worth getting that crazy about. Black Friday is something that retailers & giant corporations created in the guise of saving you huge amounts of money so that they can control their sales & know whether or not they are in the red or black for their share holders before the end of the year. The "sales" are directly related to how good or bad the company has performed the rest of the year. Makes you think about the mark-up these places have on the stuff the rest of the year, doesn't it?

Now, what happens in retail during "Season", the period from late October to mid-January, is that retail chains hire temp workers, usually under the title "Seasonal Employee", which is a fancy way for these companies to hire min. wage workers with no experience to man the crap jobs & just fill empty spaces as quickly as humanly possible. This is why during the holidays the store employees seem like complete idiots & can't tell you where anything is. They really don't know. They aren't complete idiots though. To treat them as such is unfair. These people were thrown into a job, only trained on register for about two weeks, and not very thoroughly usually, and not shown how anything else works or where anything is other than what they are supposed to be filling, shelving, & merchandising. Those not on register are shown the basics of where stuff in the back is & what part of the store they are responsible for keeping full. Here in lies a problem.

You come in & find an employee shelving or merchandising in the kitchenwares. They look hard working & competent because they are indeed working. They probably are if they are working & out on the sales floor at all during season instead of hiding in the back with the supervisors & managers who make twice what they do. However, when you ask them where the digital camera chargers are, they don't know & seem hesitant to walk you over there & try to help you. This angers you & you change your mind about them. You instantly judge them as being lazy & stupid. Well, congratulations, you're a complete asshole.

First of all, the employee in the kitchenwares has been assigned by their manager to do a specific task & most importantly not to LEAVE their area if they have stuff out on the floor. They have also been told to help customers, but seriously, don't leave your stuff because someone might trip or say they tripped & sue. No, seriously, happens a million times a year. Now, the person wants to help you, but has no idea where camera chargers are because they haven't even ever been over to that side of the store & have worked here approx. 3 or 4 weeks, so you are both just as likely to find them. The employee knows that if they leave their area to go take you over to do a search for you item before loading up everything they are trying to shelve & taking it to the back, that some assistant manager or manager could write them up or just be an ass to them, or someone really could be a dumbass & trip & sue. They got this job as temp, with the promise that if they were really good, they might get to stay on, so this poor min. wage worker is torn between what the managers & supervisors want them to do & helping you & worrying about some idiot suing the store. It's a no win.

The best thing you can do is ask, if they seem unsure or hesitant, thank them & go over to that department & see if there is anyone there that can help you. No? This is where the patience part comes in. Wait approx. 2 minutes. Seriously, keep time. I almost guarantee whoever works in that department is back in the stock room hunting for something or they had to go to the restroom. Yep, employees poop too. Just be patient. If no one shows up within 2 minutes, there is a chance someone didn't show up for work & this person was THAT person or they are trying to juggle two positions because they are covering for the bastard that overslept. Remember, min. wage. Sometimes, it just doesn't seem worth the punishment to come in. Now, your next step is to head to the customer service desk or to try & find it yourself. Yep, buck up lazy ass & look. Use those logic & critical thinking skills.

Now, the customer service desk is your friend. Think of it as the INFORMATION HUB of the entire store. The Brain. It can find & contact anyone in any department for you. Before surprising random employees with questions, find the customer service or information desk in the retail store & ask them for help. Their only responsibilities are directing employees to customers & answering the phone & saying hello. These people have usually worked at the store far longer than the 4 weeks the employees out shelving stuff have as well.

There are also huge signs hanging from the ceiling. Learn to read. Look up, read signs, find what you were looking for. I was always amazed by the amount of people, probably 95%, that never even bothered to look up & read these enormous hanging signs dangling throughout every store. They would stand directly under a 6 foot sign that reads "FICTION" and ask where the fiction was. Or directly behind them would be a huge display of calendars & they would ask where th calendars where. Lol. Now whose the idiot? Seriously though, learn to utilize the enormous signage in stores. You will have to rely less on the employees & learn to be a self-sufficient shopper.

So back to Black Friday. You may have noticed the trend this year of pre-Black Friday sales. It has gotten so dangerous for employees & customers that many retailers have decided to try and space things out a little. They are hoping perhaps the crowds will be a little more manageable if they offer some great deals the weekend before & the weekend after Thanksgiving. Besides the trampled to death employees, many criminals have figured out this is a great weekend to rob people as they come out of stores. There have been more & more armed robberies in parking lots & people breaking into cars every year. It's a virtual Smörgåsbord of pillaging for the "bad" guys. With a terrible economy & more desperate people now than ever before, this year promises to be the worst. All of this just to get a great "deal" on a giant TV or that Tickle Me Elmo toy. People shoving each other, swarming into aisles, fighting, swearing at employees as well as other shoppers, anger, frustration & the thrill of the deal, in what is a disgusting display of desperate desire to have material possessions. All in the name of that sacred Christian Holiday...Christmas.

If you do go out this Black Friday, I urge you, don't be an ass. Treat people the way you would want to be treated. Do unto others... Please pay attention while you are driving. No cell phones & no TEXTING! Don't fight over parking spaces. Don't stand so close to the person in front of you that they can feel your breath on the back of their neck. Remember, PERSONAL SPACE. Say hello & thank you & don't get pissed off if the over-worked under paid employee forgets to. You have NO idea the amount of stress these poor bastards are under right now. Have some compassion. Check with your bank before dropping more than $200.00. Banks often monitor purchases & if you don't usually spend larges sums of money in several transactions in one day, they may put a hold on your account. This means when the employee swipes your card it is going to come back denied. It isn't their fault. It's a safety precaution from the bank & for you. It will save you all sorts of frustration if you call your bank & make absolutely sure this won't happen BEFORE you go out. Swearing at employees will not make your card magically work. No one thinks you are trying to pull a fast one so don't get all bent out of shape & embarrassed. Chill.

One more thing. All of these people working on Black Friday have been pulled away from their families all over the country & forced to come in at ridiculous times like 3am, just to serve you. Most of them got less than 24 hours of time with their families to enjoy Turkey & Dressing. They not only had to work Black Friday, but the day before Thanksgiving as well. Many of them, college students, didn't even get to see family because their workplace makes it mandatory to work on Black Friday, so if their family is more than an hours drive away, they have no way to get to their families, enjoy Thanksgiving, and get back to the store by 3am or 4am or 5. All of this just so you can save $50 bucks. So, please, be nice. Practice patience. Be compassionate.

Part three will be about Shopping Vampires. Coming soon.

Expressive Dance

There are only a handful of times that dance has moved me in film or video. This music video is one of those times. The dance in this video is amazing. The choreography just...wow. The whole feel of the video is really nice. Wonderful directing. The song & the singer aren't too bad either.



You can also check it out here on Youtube: Christina Perri

It's a little small on the blog here to capture the wow of it.

Music to Paint by



Official Website: Shadows Fall

Friday, November 12, 2010

Collecting

As you might have been able to ascertain, I collect stuff. A bunch of different stuff. Star Wars being my main addiction. However, it isn't the only passion I have. I also love Robert E. Howard's Conan & Red Sonja. Sometimes it seems much more fun to collect because it's harder to find. I like to go on hunts for things. I don't tend to be a big internet shopper. I like to hold something in my hands & really check it out before dropping any dough. Unfortunately it is also harder to collect because it tends to be pricey.


The above is a Polystone Diorama from Sideshow Collectibles. It runs right at $299.99

This one, which I absolutely feel that I NEED prices at $334.99. Eek. I just can't do that.

Red Sonja's tend to be a little less, but not enough that I can afford them.

$170.00

$70.00

$150.00
Ugh.


Even Belit, Conan's woman will run you a good $150.00 to $200.00.

What's my point? I don't know. I guess I'm just wishful thinking out loud & sharing with you, my devoted blog readers, how much I love Conan & Sonja & Robert E. Howard. Maybe I'm secretly hoping you will remember that, and someday if you come across a really cheap amazing deal on one of these things, your brain will click & you will remember me & think, "I have to get this for Jen!" and I will love you forever.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A holiday gift list in pictures


Pencil Holder



Jawa



Pepper mill


Belt Buckle



Jacket



Lightsaber




Apron

Katie Melua-The House

So, I love Katie Melua's music. Who is Katie Melua? She a singer/songwriter, Georgian-born, who sells millions of albums in the UK. I haven't been able to get hold of her new one, released May 2010, titled the House. Below is a single from that album called, "The Flood". Enjoy & go buy her albums because she's good & she makes beautiful music.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Wizard World Austin.

Hmmm. I'm seriously considering making the 6 hr. journey to Austin for Wizard World this year. I am an autograph collector & there are a few there that I might not get a chance to get again. Lee Majors is going to be there. You know, the 6 Million Dollar Man, the Fall Guy, Farrah Fawcett's ex. I'd love to get that one. Not only that, but Lindsay Wagner is also going to be there. T loves Lindsay Wagner.

Not only those two, but Billy Dee Williams as well! Lando in the flesh. I so love Lando. Ernie Hudson too! My favorite Ghostbuster! And Doug Jones! Abe Sapien. Also Adam West & Burt Ward (Batman & Robin). I mean, I'm not sure I can pass this up. Oh, and Gil Gerard is supposed to be there as well! I mean, c'mon, this convention was made for me. The only people missing are Lynda Carter & Linda Hamilton.
The Convention is Nov. 12th, 13th & 14th in Austin Texas at the Austin Convention Center. I'm thinking if I hit it Saturday I might be able to get them all. So tempting...

Artist to Check Out



You must go check out this artist! Dave MacDowell. He is amazing. His works are a reflection on our society & capture all of it in chariactures & surrealistic manifestations of familiar settings & things we see everyday. Most of his work is done with acrylic on canvas and he has been shown in Juxtapoz Magazine.
He also has a blog here: Dave's Blog if you want to check out his work in progress & what he's up to. He also has links to FaceBook & Myspace. Seriously, go check out his stuff. It's amazing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shopping Season

It's a little early yet, but I want to go ahead & give a shout out for all those working retail. Shopping season is already starting & the big day, Black Friday, is about a month away.

I worked retail for 8 years. 3 at a big chain toy store & 5 at a big chain book store. Both places had wonderful things & terrible things. The wonderful things generally had to do with the work. Merchandising creatively, arranging things, putting up the big cool store displays, the swag, & helping nice people find what they were looking for.

The bad parts were nasty people, constant worry about job cuts, restructuring, benefits cuts, nasty co-workers & plan-o-grams.

The really bad parts were no vacation, really hateful people, people that ignore you completely, & people that would look down on you or say really nasty things about the fact that you work in retail.

Now, many of you might not know this, but most people that work in retail have at least a B.A. in something. No, really, a Bachelor's Degree. They have spent 4 years in college to find out that to get a job in this economy & this market, they need a Master's. Thus the reason you see them working retail. That was what happened to me. I sent off letter after letter, only to get back a few telling me how great they thought I was, but that I needed this, that & the other to have the skills they require to get my foot in the door. I didn't have the money to go back to school. I was a little scared to take out $40,000 in loan money on the hopes that with a Master's I might get in somewhere once I was done. So, I went to work for a toy store.

While working at the toy store I learned things about our society & the way we treat each other. I learned many really awful things. In my time at the toy store I was cursed at, poked, screamed at, called names, completely ignored like I was a robot or something & eventually forced out of my job by a theft ring of my own co-workers & third manager. They were eventually all arrested by a swat team hired by the company, but not before putting me through hell in the form of nightly pat downs & switching my schedule to a graveyard shift & paying me for 8 hrs when I was actually working 9 or 10. Not to mention the harassment & swearing at me I had to put up with on a daily basis.

I started that job fresh out of college at a pay rate of $6.00 an hour. They would only give me a part time seasonal job to start, so I was working around 30 hrs. By only allowing me part time, they didn't have to offer me benefits or 401K. I made a 45 min. drive from my little one bedroom duplex 5 days a week to collect my $6.00 an hr. The first year of that job was awesome. I got to merchandise action figures & opening boxes was like Christmas everyday. I had an amazing manager who understood the importance of a rewards based system for employees & he gave me a very nice $1.00 raise within the first 6 months of working there as well as raising me to full-time which was 40 hrs. He always complimented something first before explaining that maybe there was a better way to do something or letting me know I needed to stop being 5 or 10 minutes late. He made me want to be the best I could be. Then the restructure happened & the new manager came in. It all changed. That wouldn't happen until my second to third year in though.

The first Shopping Season, or just Season, as retail workers call it, was amazing & terrible. The work was fast, but mostly enjoyable. The amount of theft by customers was flabbergasting. We weren't only responsible for helping customers, but shelving as fast as possible, answering phones, and policing the store that was full of hundreds of people all cramming their way into every available space & all wanting "Tickle Me Elmo". Yep, I worked "Tickle Me Elmo" Christmas at a large chain toy store. On Christmas Eve, I had a lady come in & ask for one. I apologized & told her that we had been out since the last week of November. She was irate! She swore at me & went on a rant about how freaking stupid it was that we didn't have any. She mentioned it was the most popular toy of the year & that we somehow should have known this & been able to predict that this particular toy would be the one thing everyone wanted. Her actual words were, "Great. What the hell am I supposed to do now? My kid asked Santa for a G*ddamn Tickle Me Elmo. Am I supposed to go home & tell him he wasn't good enough? This is f*cking ridiculous". Of course, my jaw dropped & I was shocked. The woman had clearly been drinking, she reeked of it, and had waited until an hour before we closed on Christmas Eve & thought that she would be able to get the #1 wanted toy of the season? I explained to her that even the factory in China was out. No one had any inclination that THIS toy was going to be the one thing everyone wanted. How could we? She continued to swear at me. My manager came over & tried to calm her down, but she just continued to throw expletives around in a toy store. Eventually he had her removed.

Now, part of the point of my story there is that I want all of you to realize that NO one has any idea what is going to be the #1 thing that everyone wants. NO ONE. Retail chains & retail workers do NOT have a magic crystal ball nor are they psychic. If you want something, I suggest you go get it now. If you know your children, nephews, nieces, etc. want something & they have already told you what it is, go get it RIGHT NOW. Get it well before the TV stations start telling everyone what the thing to get is & you risk it being the thing that someone wanted. The supply is not endless. They made MILLIONS of those Tickle Me Elmos, but more people wanted them than anyone could have ever guessed. Those poor underpaid Chinese workers, were forced to work overtime in the factories to try & get more out for a rabid American public. Think about that. While millions of Americans sat full of Christmas meals, opening gifts & being overjoyed with all the material possessions they had just acquired, halfway around the world children, women & men were being forced to produce more Tickle Me Elmos with no break in sight, in deplorable conditions, hungry & tired, so that we might be able to get some by mid January to satiate those who didn't get one for Christmas.

Pretty Disgusting.

As a retail worker, I got to see a very dark disturbing side to the holidays that I had never witnessed before. A hollow, meaningless, sacrilegious side. Christmas didn't have anything to do with faith or belief. It was about one upping your neighbor or your in-laws. It was about getting the most stuff you could. People were mean, hateful, & treated us like scum no matter how friendly or helpful we tried to be. Nothing we did was good enough. That was true of 98% of the customers we dealt with. Every once & a while you get someone who truly got it. They were so nice. They treated you like another human being. They said Thank You.

So, when you go out to shop this season, remember all of this. These are people. Just like you & me. Most have degrees & are educated, smart individuals. They have bills & families to feed, just like you. They are making min. wage, which I believe is now $7.25 an hr. Most are employed as part time so that they can not get benefits through their company or a 401K. Most are renters & have a car that is 10 years old. They have enough stress in their life without you coming in & treating them like they are about as worthy as a piece of gum on the bottom of your shoe. They are not proud of their situation. Working retail was not what they had planned to do with their life. They had dreams & goals just like you, but they had to make money somehow. They got a job, the one they could, and they deserve to be treated with respect & dignity just like anyone else. If they don't have anymore Tickle Me Elmos, swearing at them won't help. It isn't their fault. In fact, it isn't really anyone's fault. If it were it would be the rabid follower consumer's fault. Sure, sometimes you come across a bad retail clerk, but don't let that make you into an asshole who treats every retail worker the same. Generally speaking, they want to help you. They want to sell you anything you want. They do not hide stuff in the back. There is not some secret little place they've stashed the last 5 Tickle Me Elmos & they just won't let YOU have one. Stop being hateful & paranoid, America. Treat people like you would want to be treated. Or as some guy whose birthday falls on Dec. 25th said, Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done To You.

I'll write more on this as we get closer to Season & share some of the other insane things that have happened to me in my retail experience. For now cheers, & all my love to those who have to make it through another season. Good luck. You're gonna need it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Go check this out!



The Frog Pond

My friend Ryan pointed me in the direction of an Artist named Phil Lewis. He works mostly in markers, but man are his works amazing & beautiful.

Go here: Phil Lewis and check him out!

Thunder, THunder, THUNDERCATS...hoooooo!



Here we have the Lord of the Thundercats 6" limited edition polyresin statue available at Entertainment Earth.

The price isn't too bad at $59.99. Thundercats collectibles are hard to come by, and this one looks really beautiful.

Lion-o is on a really well sculpted 3rd Earth base & is clutching the legendary Sword of Omens.

Right now Entertainment Earth is having a buy one & get the second one 50% off. Head over & check it out: EE Statue Sale.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Aspergers & Asshats

I have Asperger's. My close friends know this. If they don't, they haven't been listening or perhaps they just haven't been around when I've explained it. Having Asperger's makes it hard for some people to understand me sometimes. It gets really frustrating when you explain things to them & they just discount it, ignore it, don't believe it & continue harassing you. This makes things worse. One of my reoccurring issues is with my facial expressions. I constantly have people commenting on my expressions. This generally happens most with people that are new friends or acquaintances. They sort of know me, have hung out a couple times, & so they feel the freedom to point out how weird or strange I am or ask me if I'm okay constantly. "Are you feeling okay?" "What's wrong?" I usually explain that I have some social anxiety problems & that I have a form of Autism called Asperger's Syndrome. I give them a brief explanation. It's not something I enjoy talking about unless someone seems really receptive. If they continue to keep asking me every day I start to get very frustrated & anxious about seeing them. I know they are going to ask me & I explained it to them once. YES! I'm OKAY! QUIT ASKING ME! GO AWAY!

Some of the main characteristics of Asperger's are: problems with non-verbal communication, including the restricted use of gestures, limited or misinterpreted facial expressions, or a peculiar, stiff gaze. Their facial expressions are not typical. People find their expressions and non-verbal communication weird.

At one of my past jobs, the facial expressions thing resulted in my manager constantly asking me, at least 5 times a day, if I was alright, ok, feeling ok, mad, doing alright, etc. I was constantly confused & frustrated by his continued need to ask me if I was alright. I was being efficent & getting more than expected done, so I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the hell he kept pestering me. It took me forever to figure out why the hell he pestered me all day. Finally, he mentioned that I looked mad or upset when I was shelving or merchandising. I realized that he was misinterpreting my "thinking" or concentrative look. I went home & talked to T & she reaffirmed that my thinking face is very similar to a typical persons frustrated or a little bit angry face. So when I am concentrating or working or thinking, people think I am pissed off. Great.

This guy at work has been dogging me for months now. It's pretty much what spurred on this blog entry. The guy got to sort of know me by knowing T & then I got a job in the department. We have spent less than 15 hours total together since I met him. On & off at various places. Work, a couple times at my house, & at a restaurant/bar. None of these times was it just me & him. T was always there. As soon as T moved to across campus, this guy started in on me & my face. He has continually harassed me about looking mad or grumpy or pissed off. I told him that I have Asperger's. I even explained it to him. So did T, but he refuses or is incapable or gets some cheap thrill out of continuously comparing me to the old receptionist who was always pissy & bitchy about everything. I told him it wasn't funny, but he continues.

I can't fix this. I'm 35. My expressions are my expressions. Most people tend to understand, once I explain to them. I still have many that do not. People constantly think I am angry with them. It gets both tiring & frustrating. Some people are so insecure with themselves, that they just can't handle it. I think that is part of the problem with this guy at work. He constantly self-deprecating & self-hating. I've never met someone who constantly hates on themselves that way. It's sad really. He usually one a week comes into my space, calls me buddy, and tells me to "SMILE!"

Asperger's people don't generally smile. It's not that they aren't smiling on the inside, it just that being happy doesn't fire those little neurons that tell the facial muscles to lift & show teeth. I seem to always get along fairly well with non-Americans because they don't put so much value on constant smiling.

Here's another Aspies take on his experience with facial expressions: FACE

I'm not sure where to go from here with this guy. I liked hanging with him this summer, but the more I've gotten to know him the more negative, pessimistic, & bullying he seems. I really just don't want anything to do with him. I have no idea what to do. I have to see him almost every work day.

Another characteristic of Asperger's is: peculiarities in speech and language, such as speaking in an overly formal manner or in a monotone, or taking figures of speech literally. Asperger’s people tend to take your words literally and make interpretations concrete. They tend to use phrases they have heard and committed to memory, although they frequently use them out of context. Speech peculiarities - they are not so expressive in their tone of speaking. They are monotonous, i.e. without any pitch or tone, rigid, cheerless and can be unusually fast or loud.

This is also something that causes me quite a bit of embarrassment & frustration. I almost always take everything literally. I talk very monotone & also tend to mumble quite a bit. I constantly have to repeat myself. When I am excited or happy about something I lose my volume control. I have no idea I am speaking loudly. Most of the time people ask me politely to lower my voice, but every once and a while someone will shush me like a 3 yr. old. I hate that. I understand it, but I find it terribly rude to shush an adult. I get so embarrassed. People also misinterpret my excitement for panic or fearfulness. I get told to calm down, not to worry, stop freaking out, etc. This always causes awkward confusion for me. I can't understand how they don't understand that I am not panicked, simple extremely happy & excited. Oklahoma storm season always brings this one out. I get so excited when it gets all tornadic outside.

The happier & care-free I get, the more animated & a little loud I get. This generally tends to embarrass people I am with. Their embarrassment usually ends up causing me to feel ashamed & weird. So being extremely happy always seems to come with some sort of consequence. Except when I am with my brother, or when I am with Turayis. She gets me & she has learned how to deal with me without causing me to feel ashamed or embarrassed. I'm so lucky that way. The guy from work never seems to understand this & has made fun of me for what he calls "overreacting" or getting freaked out or tweaking. I get his POV, but for the life of me, T nor I seem to be able to get him to understand. And I'm the non-typical one here?

Many children with AS are highly active in early childhood, and then develop anxiety or depression in young adulthood. I think this is due to the lack of understanding by friends & peers. It gets depressing when people constantly think I am angry or frustrated & then when I am happy I get made fun of for my over animated responses or excited volume & am told to stop or shushed in front of peers or friends. I get compared to children & people laugh & make fun. It sucks. It sucks that adults can't find a nicer way to express or relieve their embarrassment. It sucks that this is part of my condition. Still, Turayis NEVER makes me feel any negativity when it comes to my Asperger's. She really is the reason I am not constantly depressed & a complete hermit. She makes me be social & helps explain to people when I have my Aspie moments. I am so fortunate for all her patience & understanding.

So, I guess I just wanted to express some frustrations & try & help some people out there to understand Asperger's. Every Aspie is a little different here & there. Honestly though, T is a freakin' WONDER WOMAN. Thank you T.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

For all the dreamers out there.

The Earthquake of 2010

Cue disaster music.

Hahahaha. So, today I got to experience an earthquake. A real live 4.3 shaker. It was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. It felt like someone had put a giant vibration machine under the ground. At first there was a large, "BOOM!", then the windows shook & then everything shook.

Sure it wasn't a California sized quake, but it was enough I felt the earth move under my feet in a way I never had before.

I get really excited about these types of things. Tornados, sand storms, floods, giant hail stones, blizzards, Ice storms, etc. I like experiencing things that 1000 years ago & beyond, people thought were gods or monsters. I never thought I'd get to feel a real earth shaker, small or not. I've been in 2.0-3.0 before but couldn't tell. This one I was very aware of. Stuff fell off the walls at home & it was fun going around the house to see what had moved & how far.

Ironically, I had just put two really heavy large items in the attic 3 days ago & joked about how they'd be fine as long as there wasn't an earthquake. LOL. Luckily, they didn't fall through the ceiling.

I was amazed at the amount of silliness I witnessed after the quake in a place of higher education. I am constantly amazed how little removed we are from those superstitious folks thousands of years ago. PhD's & MA's walking around talking about bad omens & superstitious hogwash. It's a geological occurrence. We know how this happens. There are no gods or monsters making it quake. C'mon people. Really?

Secretly I was hoping for aftershocks. Now I just can't wait for the next one! What an amazing & wondrous planet we live on.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jedi bath robe



Oh boy. This is a must have for any Jedi (or Sith, they make a black one as well). A Jedi Bath robe. Find them here: BBTS

$99.00 plus shipping & handling.

Tron Legacy Motorcycle suits. Geekgasm!


OMG. So this company, UD Replicas has created TRON: LEGACY Motorcycle Suits for sale exclusively online. The TRON: LEGACY jacket, pants, gloves and boots can be purchased separately or as a complete set for $995 (U.S.) for the male version and $899 for the female version.

The TRON: LEGACY Motorcycle Suit is made from hand-crafted leather that features a silicone hexagonal print that you will see on the suits in the new film. They incorporate removable CE-approved body armor in the forearm and elbow, shoulder, along the back spine, and in the knee, shin and thighs areas. The suits also feature extremely light-sensitive reflective material that puts off a glow that captures the glow of the suits in the film.

They are limited to 1000 pieces world wide.

Payment may be split into three equal installments by following ordering instructions at www.udreplicas.com.

These are frakking fantastic. If you are a Batman, X-men, Wolverine, or Iron Man fan, I suggest you check out their site for some other AMAZING offerings.

This is high quality stuff & extremely limited.

Baseball & waking up late & Beautiful Women.

Alright! The Giants beat the Braves. Hooray! The Phillies swept the Reds, which for T I feel bad, but man the Phillies are fun to watch. Great ball team right now. Boo to the Yankees advancing & it's a nail-biter with Texas & the Rays right now. For my friend Ryan, I hope Texas wins. I'd love to see the World Series end up with Texas vs. the Giants or the Phillies. NO YANKEES.

On a completely unrelated note, I can't get up when it is dark outside. It is absolutely impossible for me to get up & go to work when the sunshine is not shining. It can't even be breaking, it has to be up. It's Tuesday & I have been 30 minutes late or later both days this week. I really dislike morning darkness. I love 3am, but only when I get to stay up that late. I have no idea how to fix this. I have been this way since birth. I was four days late being born. This morning my alarm clock went off & I reached over & turned the thing OFF. Not snooze, but turned the whole damn clock OFF. I don't remember doing it, but I know I did. How do you fix something like this?

To switch subjects yet again, I sure have a whole bunch of really attractive women friends that I would love to draw. Most of them have no idea how beautiful they are. Asking people to model for you is always sort of a weird uncomfortable thing. I'm always afraid they might take me wrong. I used to draw people in college all the time. We'd be hanging out & I would just grab the sketch pad & pencil & go at it. I have several really great portraits of "she who will not be named" who used to be my best bud in college. I did a painting of her roommate & she (the roommate) seemed really uncomfortable about it. She told me I could, but then told "she who will not be named" that she thought it was weird & asked if I was obsessed. I wasn't, she just had one of those faces that screamed "PAINT ME!", so I did. I see people all the time that I would love to walk up to & ask them if they would model, but that one weird experience in college kinda tainted it for me. It's the same for those people that I know, but haven't had the time to really get to know as well as I'd like. I feel very awkward asking them to sit for me. I really need to figure this one out. The beautiful women around me need to be captured on canvas. They inspire me.

One more thing. This year has sucked. I do NOT like it. I will be very glad when this year is over. 2010 can suck it! Luckily, we are almost in Scorpio, so hopefully things will get better. For all of us.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Baseball, Allergies, commercials & blah

Baseball playoffs. I love Baseball. I know, I know, the whole rest of the country thinks Baseball is lame. Whatever. To each his/her own. For me, Baseball is my favorite sport to watch on TV. You can cook, clean, read comics, write a blog post & watch baseball at the same time. You won't miss anything & if you do, the commentators will get all excited & you can look up & catch the instant replay. Baseball players also have great butts & nice builds. There is something about a guy that can swing a club. If we were back in barbarian times, you'd want a baseball player over a basketball or football player any day. It's like a civilized caveman sport. I'm really glad the fad of steroidal home run hitters is over. The only really crappy thing about Baseball now is the Yankees. I can't stand the Yankees. Of course you are going to win every year if you buy all the best players. Boring. The real World Series winner is always the second place team. NOT the Yankees.

I myself am a Mets fan. I was lucky enough to get to see them in Cincinnati against the Reds during Mike Piazza's last season. They won in the bottom of the 9th with a home run. I jumped up in excitement & screamed "Yes!" I also almost had to walk home. I was with T & her family, who are from Ohio, and are big Reds fans. I couldn't help myself. T understood.

I'm really happy to see the Phillies doing so well. Of course, they are doing so at the expense of the Reds. Halladay is an amazing pitcher. I also like seeing the Giants.

I wish Oklahoma had a Major League Baseball Team. I'd have season tickets. The Oklahoma Tornadoes, or the Oklahoma Bible Thumpers...lol...or the Oklahoma Buffaloes, or the Bison or the Cougars or the Horned Lizards. I don't know. I just want a team.

Allergies. I still have them. Good lord. I can't remember having allergies this bad ever. I think I am finally feeling better, but I still feel like I'm only at around 93%. I've had them, T has whatever I had now, & the poor dog has had them. We are one big house full of sneezy sniffly coughy achy crying girls. Man I want to be well. I want to just feel well for at least a week this year.
Let's hope it's almost over.

Watching baseball, I inevitably end up seeing many commercials. I don't generally watch much TV, so watching the play-offs, I get to see commercials that I am not privy to via the web. I just have to say that there are some really annoying commercials. The first ones that come to mind are the State Farm Commercials. OMG, I can not stand their douchbag spokesguy. What an asshat this guy is. Seriously, I want to punch him in the mouth. He comes off so haughty & full of himself. The Allstate commercials with the "Mayhem" aren't much better. I am convinced Allstate will ensure any act of stupidity, which totally explains why they are so outrageously expensive.

I don't have much else to say right now. I'm bored, but still not well enough to feel like doing much, and I'm not sure what to do with that. It makes me restless.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Tucker curse. At least that's what Dad calls it.

Well, today is Thursday September 30, 2010 & it was supposed to be a day of madness & last minute scrambling as I made certain everything was ready to go for tomorrow's big day.

My first art show! Man, was I excited. I finally did it! T & I made posters & postcards & got all 200 of them sent out & put into mailboxes way ahead of the show date. This was quite an accomplishment in itself for me.

I figured today I would be tweaking frames & touching up a little here & there. Last night I expected to throw paintings in the yard to get a feel for what they would look like on the walls in the place I was to hang. I had checked & rechecked that everything was ready. I didn't quite get every painting done, but by god I was close. I had more than enough to fill the space.

My friends were proud of me & excited. I had so many people telling me good things about my art & genuinely excited about showing up in support of what I do.

So, needless to say that when I opened my e-mail yesterday to find that apparently three confirmations of my show date, a confirmation of my reception date, & a poster announcing all of this hanging in the very place I plan to show was not enough for the place to believe that I was still planning on showing there, so they canceled & replaced me, I was in shock.

I begged & pleaded with them in a e-mail, but got no reply. Nothing. No, "we're sorry" or anything. No rescheduling. Nothing.

Then I felt like a low life for begging. I shouldn't be begging. I followed their stupid little guideline they sent me via their Blackberry with all of it's bad spelling & bad grammar.

I went in 2 weeks prior, just like that little guide said to. I did everything I was told. I communicated. They however had been rather rude to me already on more than one occasion. Short & snippy & a little unwilling to give me straight answers. The quality of the art they were hanging was pretty bad as well. I knew I would shine there. Boy, was I wrong.

I've been booted, canceled, shut down, kicked to the curb, struck from the list. I'm confused, frustrated, out a whole bunch of money for absolutely nothing, disappointed, angry, pissed off, & a little sad. I worked hard for this. For once in my life I felt like I was really being grown-up & taking charge. I still had bumps & hills, but overall, I was going way outside my comfort zones to get things done. All of this while battling throat issues & this last 5 days a severe sinus infection.

Tomorrow is October 1st. For 6 months that date has been on my calendar circled in red with "My First Art Show!" written beside it. October 2nd has "MY RECEPTION!"

All of life is like that trip to Disney World for me. I get to go, but I never get to ride the rides. I get the build up & excitement but end up walking away crying. Before I always thought it was my follow through, but I don't know how I could have made myself any more clear to these people. Of course hindsight is 20/20. When I got that carefree attitude from their people I should have been more stern. I should have documented who I talked to when. I should have called them & harassed them every other day to make certain they had me pencilled in. I didn't know.

I've talked to many of my art friends & most have mentioned that coffee houses & restaurants suck. Apparently they bump people for varieties of reasons. Their pal Bubba Joe really wants to show this month or Laney Jane has a wedding reception on Wednesday & she doesn't like the art. Whatever.

I've learned some valuable lessons. Lesson one: The artwork is about 10% of the whole process.

Lesson two: Man I have some awesome friends.

Lesson Three: Sometimes stereotypes are real.

Lesson four: It costs a whole lot of money to get a first show

Lesson five: Advertising works

Lesson six: When you start, try to stay close to home to start. Get to know the place & people that are going to hang your work.
That way you don't end up with nasty surprises.

So, on Saturday, I'll be at home. Probably painting. Sometimes I wonder what for. Why do I paint? Well, why do I breathe? Who knows, I just do, because I'd die if I didn't.

I would have been nervous & anxious & excited. I would have been having my first art show. Instead I'll be happy if I can breathe out of at least one nostril, get rid of the pressure in my head & go one night without hacking every hour for 15 minutes. I may not have an art show, but I have one hell of a sinus infection.

Que Sera Sera

Monday, September 27, 2010

9 months later...

So, if you read my blog, you know for the last 9 months I have been suffering from this weird throat condition that my doctor, my orthopedic doctor, & my Physical Therapist just seemed to blow off. The "condition" consists of feeling like someone has their hands gripped around my throat choking the life out of me along with my neck muscles feeling like they are so tight they are going to pop as well as feeling like I can't get enough oxygen, tight vocal chords making it nearly impossible to talk, dizziness, chest pains, coughing & itching in my throat, a whole lot of really thick mucus in the lower part of my throat & pretty much feeling like I'm going to pass out at any minute, which causes me to be extremely tired.

Now, this all started after unknowingly ingesting more aspartame than I probably have my entire life within 1 month(I consciously steer clear of this deadly toxin, but found it was a spray on coating on something I was putting in my mouth) & seemed to be set off by the ingestion of a home-made (by myself & T) gingerbread cookie. I'd eaten them before with no problems. We always make them for Halloween. It's tradition.

I at first thought perhaps it was set off by the injury to my shoulder, rotator cuff, since they are in close proximity to each other & I had let it go without seeing a doctor. Why I thought this, I'm not sure, but I mean, c'mon, I'm NOT a Doctor. I don't even play one on TV.

Funny thing is, my "doctor" didn't seem to care or have an opinion on it either way. My "doctor" sent me home, told me I probably had an allergic reaction to the cookie & told me to take 1 teaspoon of Maalox every hour for 12 hours, drink lots of water, & that I was probably stressed & anxious & that the anxiety was making me feel like I couldn't breathe. He said my weird heart feeling were also probably due to the anxiety. He never even touched me. He didn't feel around on my throat & only shined a light down it for about 3 seconds. He did however send me for an x-ray. An x-ray? For a swollen constricted feeling throat? I was, of course, totally cool with x-rays, because I've always wanted to see my own skeleton. He held the x-ray to the light for maybe 10 seconds, told me here was nothing lodged (duh!) & sent me home with his deadly Maalox cure.



Have any of you ever taken a teaspoon of Maalox? How about 12 in one day? Needless to say I only got to about 5 before I realized the explosive results of what the "doctor" had done to me. WTF!? Seriously? Now I had this to deal with this. I ended up dealing with it for about three days. I was confused. Why on earth had he told me to do this to myself?

The throat was not better. I scoured the Internet. I talked to other people. I talked to my Orthopedic doctor I was seeing for my shoulder. I asked my Physical Therapist if he'd ever heard of these symptoms. Everyone told me something different.

My mood went from high (on good throat days) to utterly depressed (on really bad days). Most days it was the latter. Finally, I thought about the whole thing over again. My shoulder seemed all healed up, so it couldn't have had anything to do with that. Maybe some tightness, but not the overwhelming strangled feeling. I started paying attention to everything I could. It always seemed so much better in the morning & terrible by 5pm. Saturdays seemed to usually be really good until late at night. Sundays started rough but got better. I came up with a hypothesis. It was the thing I originally went into the "doctor" for. A food allergy. I came up with four possible suspects.

1. Whipped Cream (organic, home-made, or out of a can)

2. Coffee

3. Chocolate

4. Something found in all three (like an additive or processing ingredient)



All three food items come from beans. That was something, right there. Perhaps I was allergic to the beans. So I started my experiment. The first thing I noticed was that an iced mocha (which I have at least 3 times a week) really set it off. Instantly. Aha!



So I tried it without the whipped cream.

OMG, I thought T was going to have to take me to the hospital.

So, is it coffee...or, GASP!, chocolate?

So on Sunday, I brewed some coffee. A took a few drinks. Nothing. Uh oh. So after finishing off the coffee & having no reaction T gave me a tiny sliver of 72% Ghiradelli chocolate. OMG! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!



Yep, I had that all too familiar strangled feeling. From a tiny bite. It all started to make sense. I can't remember a day going by without me ingesting some sort of chocolate. I eat way too much chocolate during the work week & if a day does go by, it's usually a Saturday.

So, to make sure, I am going chocolate free. For at least a month. If there is improvement & this goes away, then it's good-bye chocolate. Forever.

Ugh. all this suffering for nine months because of chocolate? I mean, I Love chocolate, but seriously? Then I come across this: Anaphylaxis- Anaphylaxis can cause symptoms throughout the body:

Skin: Itching, flushing, hives (urticaria), or swelling (angioedema)

Eyes: Itching, tearing, redness, or swelling of the skin around the eyes

Nose and mouth: Sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, swelling of the tongue, or a metallic taste
Lungs and throat: Difficulty getting air in or out, repeated coughing, chest tightness, wheezing or other sounds of labored breathing, increased mucus production, throat swelling or itching, hoarseness, change in voice, or a sensation of choking
Heart and circulation: Dizziness, weakness, fainting, rapid, slow, or irregular heart rate, or low blood pressure


Digestive system: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea

Nervous system: Anxiety, confusion, or a sense of impending doom

Everything in bold are things I told my doctor when I went to see him.

Thanks Doc. For NOTHING. Glad I wasn't deathly allergic to it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Something to drink to...or from.



Star Wars 4-pack of ten ounce glasses. Time to clear out the cupboard & make room for the only four glasses I need (besides my vintage Burger King Empire & Jedi glasses).

Dishwasher safe & $14.99. Find them here: SW Glass

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Action Figures & Collectibles



Here's a cool new Star Wars collectible. A 12" replica of the original Kenner Star Wars figure Han Solo. Sculpted to look just like the original small 3 & 3/4 figure released in 1977 by the now defunct Kenner toy maker. There is also a Chewbacca. They are a little pricey at $75.00. Too pricey in my opinion. I might pay $25.00 for one, but $75.00? Lol. That's a car insurance payment for a month. Still, it's a cool idea. Find it here: Kenner



There's also this cool Darth Vader cookie jar. Very nicely sculpted, but at only 11" high, one has to wonder how many cookies it can really hold. It doesn't appear to be large enough to hold a large stash, but pictures can be deceiving. Although after paying $100.00 for this beauty, you may find it hard to come up with cookie money. These folks do realize we're in a recession, right? Find it here: Darkside Cookies




Now the Ralph McQuarrie Darth Vader Concept Helmet is more of a wearable work of art than just a cool collectible or wearable piece of fun. Sculpted to be an exact duplicate of the concept art produced by Ralph McQuarrie for the original Star Wars film, this baby will set you back a cool $1000. Good luck getting your hands on one. The pre-orders have been selling out left & right. There were only 250 produced & they are signed by Ralph himself. Very neat. Find it here: Vader



Now here's something more in my price range. At $7.99 I can afford to tell the world I'm doing my part to help reduce the amount of plastic in landfills & show off the fangirl love I have at the same time. Pretty sweet. Find it here: WW Bag



If you love Wonder Woman as much as I love Wonder Woman, then you're going to really want to pick the item above up. It's the JLA Trophy Room collectible set of Wonder Woman's Tiara, bracelets & Lasso of Truth. 6 1/2-inches wide metal tiara, two 5 1/4-inch tall metal gauntlet bracelets, and the 60-inch Lasso of Truth. with a "Wonder"ful base, sculpted in cold-cast porcelain. The entire piece stands 11-inches tall x 9 3/4-inches wide x 9 1/2-inches long. The bracelets are plated in silver-tone metal, and each measures 5 1/4-inches tall x 2 3/4-inches wide (top) and 3 1/4-inches wide (bottom) x 2 1/4-inches long. Wonder Woman's lasso is comprised of braided gold-tone material with gold metal-plated end-caps. It measures 60-inches in length.
The only bad part is the price tag of $264.99, which when you compare that to the grand for the Ralph McQuarrie mask, it's a steal! Find it here: Tiara