A loss of momentum

What is it about winter? I'll tell you.

  1. It's cold.
  2. It's messy.
  3. It takes forever to get from point A to point B.
  4. All you want to do is stay in and be a sloth.
  5. The exposure to inspiration drops to an all-time low.
  6. I eat pizza allll the time.
  7. I don't exercise.

I think that's enough to bring someone's spirits down. Keep in mind, I recognize my own first world problems. And yes, this isn't Russia. Therefor my toilets work, winter won't be forever and we have bourbon instead of vodka. I'll be okay.

But this particular winter has made me not only a believer in SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but also a self-diagnosed sufferer.

 

Dear Sun,

When again will I bask in thine glory? When again will my dog's walks not end when he starts to lick his paws? When will I be able to frolic through the polluted city air and rid myself of these horrid muffin tops? WHEN?!

Genuinely yours... forever... upon your return, Sara

Hold on there, cowboy

2013-10-26 14.03.10 (2)

Who decided that this is the most wonderful time of the year?

I disagree.

Let it be any damn well time of the year I want it to be. Hell, I might make songs about it.

It's the most wonderful time of the year! With tree leaves a falling, And jacket weather calling, Let's have two more beeeeeers! Fall's the most wonderful time of the year!

Thank you, thank you very much. No, please hold your applause.

I guess that there wasn't an entire season about how we're having the best time we will all year... and it's typically stressful emotionally, on the purse strings, not to mention it's fucking cold (geographically dependent).  I'd just like to be the one who is allowed to call out my most wonderful time of the year. And the best part of all is that it's not static. No, sir! The best part of this year may be the worst part of next year!

Ah, the truth to the magic 8-ball that is life.

So here's to everyone on this, our New Year's Eve. Remember your old acquaintance and do whatever the hell you want. 2014 is your oyster. Dig in.

Fresh start?

People never want to start over if things are going well. Because why would they? Starting over from zero is easier/better/more enticing than continuing on in the negative. So, a fresh start? What does that mean? It means that things have recently been overcooked, garbled and ultimately disappointing. So is a fresh start really what you’re looking for? Or are you looking in a panic for the do-over button? Are you looking for a time machine? Are you looking for a way to set things back to the way they were? Hubbell?

What are you looking for? For what are you looking? A way to end a question without preposition?

So what’s better? To start over or to try to make sense of the mess? The mess. How did it become a mess? How did it become a situation that has been deemed beyond repair? How did it become something that was unable to be fixed? Did it? Or did you all of a sudden become too weak?

There’s a breaking point. But it's a point of observation. It's a point at which you should investigate, study what the issues are and how to solve them. Not a point to actually break. Right?

Right?

But moving through is hard. Harder than staring over. Hence my point.

The easy way out isn't the best way out, most of the time. Who in the hell decided on that design? But it's good. It's a design that pushes us. It pushes us to be stronger and it pushes us to discover our own identity and it pushes us to find the limits of our potential.

But it's hard. It's never easy. But in the end, it's worth it.

Right?

***This rant excludes people who had something unimaginably terrible happen to them, including natural disasters, unexpected diseases/deaths, unfortunate loss, etc.

A tissue by any other name

I make an effort to say, "tissues." 1) Because I think it's a cute word and 2) because it's not a name-brand. I don't always use Kleenex. In winter months, I require Puffs with lotion because my nose is a princess and extra drippy. But, overall, I say Kleenex when I need a tissue.

Band-Aid won the day with band-aids. Nothing more to say on that front.

Q-Tips.

Chap Stick.

I learned recently that Adrenaline is the name brand for Epinephrine.

Strange that these are primarily toiletry items. Maybe not so strange. The bathroom is a strange place full of strange needs. And Until someone invents a product for just that need, we don't even know we need it.

Toilet paper didn't evolve itself quite so suddenly, so it remains anonymous.

Let's end it there, with toilet paper.

 

Knowledge is power

I feel like maybe I've already used that title. But maybe it's just because I say that a lot. Or at least I think it a lot. You know when you get a new car (or whatever else you find this example pertains to) and from that moment on, you start seeing "your" car everywhere? Everyone has it, everyone's driving it. And you're wondering if they're copying you or you're copying them.

Not much has probably changed. Those folks likely already had that car. You're just seeing it now because it's an item that's familiar to you.

Take that to the next step to one of my all-time favorite topics: coincidence. This isn't necessarily about coincidence actually, but taking notice. (I don't know what it's going to focus around, but coincidence deserves a post of its own because it's fucking magical.)

So, taking notice. When you come into knowledge about something, you start seeing it reflect itself in details all around you. Something you might not have noticed last week now holds meaning because of an article you read or a documentary you watched. The world seems to be stimulating/interesting/fantastical.

Life can be as rich and intertwined or as dull and disjointed as you want it to be. Just like a job or school or anything, you get out of it what you put into it.

Feed Me

My e-neighbor

There’s a woman out there with an email address almost identical to mine. The only difference is that she spells it Sarah, and I spell it Sara. So occasionally we’ll forward emails back and forth to each other saying, “I think this is for you?” It’s like the electronic equivalent of dropping a piece of misdelivered mail off with your next door neighbor. It’s weird. I can tell that we’ve both decided that the other one isn’t a creep and we’d gladly water each other’s cyber-plants if one of us went on vacation.

Monopoly Menagerie

Headlines show that Hasbro has announced that the iron Monopoly game piece will be retired. What? This is terrible news!

So in the version we had growing up, purchased in the 80s, we had the iron, top hat, race car, dog, dude on a horse, wheelbarrow, thimble and boot. I typically wanted to be the dog, but that was the most frustrating piece to be, along with the wheelbarrow, because it always fell over when the dice rolled. So, it was just added anxiety for me that my poor little dog was dead. I switched sometimes to the boot because it was pretty awesome and rarely fell over.

But let’s talk about the iron. No, it’s not popular. In fact, it might be the only item on the Monopoly board that I actually find repugnant. It represents a dreaded chore, not to mention, in the imagination of a child, it’s hot to the touch. I would probably prefer the thimble over the iron. But on the plus side, it’s sturdy. Try to knock that bastard over, I dare you.

There’s a sense of history when you play Monopoly. Really? I can purchase property with $60? This must be the past! And what do you have in the past? Top hats, boots and irons!

So how did Hasbro decide to ax the iron? They let the general public run a popularity contest on the tokens. I just don't think that the general public is mature enough to exercise a democracy on board game tokens. That's right, I said it. Clearly poor judgment was shown when the little dog was voted the favorite. Who were they letting vote, 8 year old girls? I mean come on. This is nothing to be taken lightly and clearly those who voted didn't recognize all of the determining factors that go into a successful game token.

I know what some of you must be thinking. "Did you vote?" No. I didn't. So I shouldn't really have a voice in this whole debacle, should I?

It gets worse though.

Do you know what they're replacing the iron with? This was also put to a vote, a popularity contest.

A fucking cat.

(image courtesy of Hasbro)

If you own a cat, are you really playing Monopoly?

Okay. That was harsh. Cat owners are people too. Probably. On a case by case basis.

So there are four problems I see with the cat:

1) It's a cat.

2) It's unstable. Same problem as with the dog. A roll of the dice and Fluffy's going down.

3) The game of Monopoly already had its token animal, so to speak. What are we going to do next? Consider people who like fish or birds and take the thimble out of commission? Monopoly isn't the place for a ridiculous menagerie.

4) It's a cat.

In short, Hasbro should have learned the valuable lesson here to not give the people what they want, but to protect the legacy that is Monopoly. But you know what? I don't think they see it that way, not at all.

What a shame.

I don't have to if I don't want to

I had a teacher in high school that transformed my life. It wasn’t an overarching life lesson or advice I wasn’t mature enough to realize on my own. Instead, he simply told me that if I found myself reading a book that I lost interest in, that was okay; stop reading. That’s given me the freedom to put books down nearly without guilt. I still have some guilt over books like One Few Over the Cuckoo’s Nest because there are books that I feel like you are judged for not finding interesting or not appreciating or, blah, blah, blah. So I still have some of that. But books are no different than food or clothing or music in that everyone has their own taste. I’ll pick almost anything up, but that also means that I reserve the right to put it down whenever I decided I don’t care about it. It’s not a lack of respect for the author and it’s not a lack of intelligence or ability to understand. No, it’s typically that I just don’t care and would rather be doing something else.

So, thank you, Mr. Name-I-Don’t-Remember. You have truly given me the gift of time.

Keep your pants on, sports fans... or don't

The Super Bowl is an interesting time in this country. I feel that no matter which city you find yourself in, most everyone is following the same behavior: dirty food, good friends and beer. Amen. Each year we spend the Super Bowl with our fattest friend. He’s not actually fat, but the way he can scarf down a pound of bacon would make you wonder why the hell not.  So, I took the dog outside for a walk a few minutes before going over to Fatty’s house. On the street were fellow dog walkers, cabs, pizza delivery cars and young men bundled up with a six-pack in tow. That was true from our door to Fatty’s door. Pizza, cabs, six-packs.

Blah, blah, blah. The Super Bowl happened. Athletes excelled, Beyonce shook it, power outage, triumphant victory/dismal loss. I don’t really care about the sport part. It’s not that I can’t follow it, I just don’t care. Even if either team had been from my city, it wouldn’t matter.

The game ended and we hopped back in the car. Let me pause for a moment to let you know that it snowed most of the day in Chicago yesterday. And the temp maxed out at 15 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take.

So, we’re driving home and pull up to a four-way-stop. In the middle of the intersection was a pair of jeans, complete with black leather belt. These pants had been freshly deposited in the intersection given the lack of snow atop them. So that means that in the recent past, something happened to the owner of said pants, causing them to be lost, in below-freezing weather, with the belt.

I can’t even imagine what must have happened.

But since it was the Super Bowl, I chalk it up to a good old American time.

Gross.

Cane toad pandemonium

We'll start with the cane beetle. Native to Australia, this beetle not only does direct damage to sugarcane by eating its leaves, but additionally, its underground larvae feast on the plants' roots, often killing it. What an asshole. Wikipedia tells us that adult cane beetles reek of rotten pork. Gross. So, back in the early 1900s, this was a big problem for Australian sugarcane farmers. What to do!? In 1935, 102 cane toads were flown in from Hawaii. There were reportedly 3,000 of them by the time they were released north of Queensland. The idea was that the toads would harness control of the cane beetle pest problem. And what happened? The opposite. Nothing.

Furthermore, cane toads became a pest problem themselves. Toads breed like rabbits and there are presently millions spreading about the continent. They are unstoppable. They can weigh up to three pounds, live between five and ten years, lay between 8,000 and 35,000 eggs at a time and possess venom that threatens the lives of predators and household pets.

(There's a frickin amazing documentary that will get you up to speed if you’re actually interested.)

The plan to do away with cane beetles via cane toads failed. You'd think with names such as those, it'd be a slam dunk, right?

I’m not trying to mock the scientists who thought this would work. Who would know? Science has to run its course before you know what kind of results you’ll get. Thank you, The Scientific Method.

So, bring it all closer to home.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not one to get involved, ruffle any feathers or make firm stands on current events or politics. That said…

Gun control in schools. Do we really think allowing/arming/enforcing teachers and/or other administrative staff to carry weapons in schools is a good idea? Or will it just breed cane toad pandemonium?