Tag Archives: rant

Roxanne is an Idiot, and Other Observations

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If your name happens to be Roxanne, I apologize in advance.

The title refers to the angelic Roxanne from the play Cyrano de Bergerac. She is flawlessly lovely, gracious, resourceful, and kind. I would venture to call her “intelligent,” but I cannot in good conscience call her that. Despite her many fine qualities, she remains an idiot.

Why, you ask, is she an idiot?

Allow me to preface my explanation with the statement that “love at first sight” is a myth. I know it makes me sound cynical—and maybe I am—but love does not happen as the result of a single glance. Attraction, yes, but attraction is not the same as love. Too many people confuse the two and suffer the consequences.

Roxanne is an idiot because she fancies herself in love at first sight. She falls in love with Christian, a good-hearted but empty-headed young man with a pretty face but not much else to recommend him. But Roxanne sees that pretty face from a distance and declares herself in love without even having a single conversation with him. Not a word. None. Zip.

Imagine her disappointment when she sits with him, tries to talk to him, and discovers he can say nothing. The only reason she agrees to marry Christian is because Cyrano, the long-nosed warrior-poet, steps in and provides him the words to say. He does it well—too well, since his rapturous poetry stems from his love for Roxanne, who never paid him any heed because he was “just a friend”—and ugly.

Roxanne is an idiot. She fell for a pretty face—but it was the heart of the poet Cyrano that really won her.

Ladies, listen up. Don’t pursue a man just because he’s good-looking. A pretty face can hide an empty head—or a hollow heart. Don’t discount a man because you’ve stuck him in the friend zone. Don’t write a man off because you don’t think he’s attractive enough. Don’t give me that. Don’t be ridiculous. A person’s heart is of far greater weight and worth and beauty than his face. Faces fade. Strength weakens. A man’s character is irreplaceable. 

Had Roxanne been smart, she would’ve opened her eyes to what was right in front of her all along. She would’ve seen Cyrano, the prince of poets, for what he was: utterly brilliant and indescribably beautiful.

But she didn’t. Because she was an idiot.

Other than that, the play is great. 

On Footwear

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What genius decided that footwear was necessary?

I’m sure that originally shoes were designed for the sole (ha) purpose of protecting our feet from the elements: gravel, rock roads, hot sand, wild animals, etc. Take a look at Greek, art, and you’ll find this is so—they all wear simple sandals that provide an extra layer of protection on the bottoms of their feet.

But is that even necessary? Our skin is designed to create its own protection through callouses. Shure, they don’t look very pretty, but they serve their purpose. Walk barefoot long enough, and you’ll acquire soles as hard as hobbits’ feet. So why shoes?

Especially since they’ve clearly evolved far afield of their original purpose. Walk into a shoe store, and you’ll see what I mean. High heels are self-explanatory. They contort your foot into a position it was never designed to hold. Walking on tiptoe is great for ballerinas, but they went through years of training to teach their muscles how to walk on tiptoe properly. The rest of us just find our spines jarred out of place. High heels: providing Christmas bonuses to chiropractors since 1600.

Even flat shoes are a problem. They chafe. Even well-designed shoes chafe. Maybe this is only a problem in the women’s shoe department, where everything is designed for aesthetics and not comfort and practicality. I’ll admit the fault is with us—we like pretty shoes. Buying shoes is a vicious cycle: see great shoes, buy them, they hurt your feet (at least until they’re broken in), they wear out in a year, you buy more. Guys can wear a pair of shoes for years, since as a general rule they’re built more sturdily.

The thing is, no matter what you do, whether you wear socks or preventative Band-Aids or some other way of protecting your feet or not, if you are wearing new shoes, blisters will happen.

All summer long, I’ve been in sandals. The Greeks had something figured out with those things. They’re comfortable, and during the summer I really don’t have the need to keep my feet warm or to look professional. They keep the sidewalk from burning my feet.

Fall comes, and the chill starts to chill my toes. I put on a pair of flats, wear them for a day, and, predictably, my poor feet are covered in blisters. In the fall, UU girls (at least those with new shoes) walk around campus with Band-Aids until it gets cold enough to wear tights. And even then, the blisters will come.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

I look forward to the day when I can establish my own little dress code where shoes will not be required. I will walk out where the wild things are, let my wide, unshoeable feet get torn by the elements and come out thick with callouses. With this armor, I will pad through the rest of my days as the happiest of hobbits.

Let’s start a trend, guys. 

Who Wrote That?

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After six months of blogging a post every day, you accumulate a lot of articles. I’m getting to the point where when people told my how much they liked that post about college, writing, humor, shoes, boys, girls, or skinny people, I ask them, “Which one?”

As I looked at my site stats today, I noticed that people were reading posts from many months ago. Posts I didn’t recognize. “Nice Hooves”? What was that about? Who wrote that? Wait, I wrote that?

In the honeymoon days of my blogging experience, my posts were like my children. I watched over them, watched their growth as they acquired more and more attention. I knew them all by name and subject matter. Mama Rambler and her flock of posts.

But now I can’t tell one from the other. I can’t remember writing half of them. I know I write a lot about college. And stress. And about feeling exhausted.

Then I remember why I can’t remember.

I wish I had more quality time in the evenings to write things of better quality. Actual essays, maybe, instead of a long string of “I’m tired and I’m kvetching about it” articles. Or, in this case, kvetching about kvetching.

How low can you go?

But people keep telling me how much my blog makes them laugh. That was my goal from the beginning. Make people laugh. And if humorous griping does the trick, then humorous, facetious, self-debasing griping is what I’ll do.

Whatever it takes, I guess.

If only I could remember what I’ve kvetched about before…

Wearing Road Kill

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As a library worker, I run into all kinds of really interesting (read: really weird) books. Last night as I was browsing the hold shelf, I came across a fashion book—a collection of dresses, skirts, skirts, and other…ensembles from the mind of one designer.

After thumbing through this book, I began to worry about this man’s mental health.

I saw antlers spiraling from shoulder pads. Dresses constructed entirely from crow feathers. Boots carved out of wood. A dress like a cloud of scrunched-up coffee filters. A sundress (?) that looked like the offspring of a butterfly and an amoeba. An evening gown that resembled an upside-down black cupcake. An outfit that Lady Gaga would wear to play football. An ensemble constructed from the hide of road kill. A skirt that looked like the interior of a vacuum bag after a week of sucking up dog hair. A hat constructed like a hedge. More antlers and bird skulls (yes, bird skulls) than you could count. A dress constructed from oyster shells. It was as if I were thumbing through Taxidermy Monthly.

The collection looked like something Cruella DeVille would design after a nasty breakup. I have a feeling that this designer catered to Cher in his heyday.

After closing the book, I reminded myself that yes, the world has indeed gone mad to consider that abominable pile of trash designed solely to (barely) cover models with eating disorders as worthy of any kind of acclaim.

Then I thanked the Lord for good sense and thrift stores and dressing like a human being. Not like a vulture during molting season.

Take that, haute couture.

Protesting for the Sake of Protesting

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When TIME named The Protestor as the person of the year, they made the shrewdest call I’ve ever seen in the publishing industry.

Just yesterday I found out about the SOPA/PIPA protests and how the internet—yes, the internet—is fighting against a well-intentioned, but nearsighted and clumsy bill that could lead to unintended side-effects down the road.

I’ve read about SOPA. I don’t understand all of it. I won’t pretend to know a great deal about things I don’t get—I’m no liberal. But from what I can understand, it’s an attempt to smack down on piracy that could eventually result in systematic shut-downs of some of the internet’s most notable pillars, even the almighty Google.

So sites like Wikipedia and WordPress are blacking out, putting up black screens of protest with a brief, bold explanation of why they don’t want this bill to pass. Eventually, they say, this bill could be used by internet competitors to blacklist and eliminate sites that pose a threat—whether the sites are connected to illegal activity or not. SOPA and PIPA, though created to protect copyright holders, could turn around and bite us one day.

Being the paranoid soul that I am, I’m envisioning a day when people like me—Christian and outspoken about it—will no longer be allowed to express our faith online without being censored. Give today’s government an inch, and they will slowly take a mile.

As I said, I do not pretend to fully understand the implications of this bill. I don’t want to defend piracy or other illegal ventures on the internet. But there are other ways to fight the problem without opening the door to a mass slaying of the sites of independent thinkers.

All that to say: that is why there is a black ribbon in the upper right hand corner of my blog. That ribbon is there because, from what I have read, I believe the SOPA/PIPA bills are a waste of time and energy, and that the problem they are intended to solve could be taken care of some other way. Because I do not know all I would like to know about the bills, I will not be participating in the blackout. I don’t want to be accused of protesting for the sake of protesting. But I do want to encourage my readers to read, to think, and to do all they can as citizens of America to protect the freedom of speech that their ancestors died to protect.

That said, I’m sure my father will leave an adequate description and explanation of the bill and its ramifications in the comments. So scroll down if you want a more enlightened perspective.

Second Verse Same as the First

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If there’s one thing worse than squeezing back into the rigors of a school schedule, it’s the infernal question, “So what did you do over break?”

Now, I don’t mind when it’s a bona fide question. For example, I know that my dear roommates will ask the question sincerely. You see, before we all left, we shared each other’s goals for Christmas break and swapped prayer requests. Naturally, we’ll all want to follow up on each other’s accomplishments (or, as in my case, the lack thereof). When they ask, which I know they will, it will be because they actually, genuinely, want to know.

But so many times I have people ask me that question for less-than-genuinely-interested reasons. Usually I get asked this question because the person hardly knows me and can’t think of anything else he can start a conversation with. Or he can’t remember my name, but had me in class last year and wants to say something just to be polite. It’s like an insincere “How are you?”, except this question is seasonal, and therefore everyone and their mother’s brother asks it for the sake of filler.

“So what did you do over break?” Well, we can all safely assume that we slept, ate, and occasionally went to the bathroom. We probably all spent time with some branch of our family, whether they were genetically or just spiritually related to us. Unless someone got married, had a baby, or got their name legally changed to something other than what it was last semester, chances are everybody’s break was essentially the same and we don’t really need to hear the same hum-drum story every time we ask or are asked.

How do I know this? I, too, am guilty of asking this question when in a tight place socially and needed something to ask or say during the month of January. And the reply I usually get goes something like this:

“Oh, you know, we went/flew/drove to such-and-such a place and spent time with my mom’s/dad’s family. I slept a lot and ate too much, but mom’s cooking is so good! How about you?” Smile.

Same thing. Every time. Without fail.

So how about we be more specific? “Did anything cool/different/unique happen to you over Christmas break?” “What books did you read/movies did you watch?” “How did your family spend Christmas Eve?” “Did you all go to church on Christmas? It fell on a Sunday this year, but some churches had services and others didn’t. How about yours?” “Did you get a chance to talk to that person your said you were praying for?”

Or just say, “Hi! Nice to see you again. Happy New Year!”, and skip the questions entirely.

Dedication, Thy Name is Mud

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Of all the New Year’s resolutions, probably the one that everyone makes at some point in their lives is a resolution to lose bucket loads of weight, get back into their college jeans, and be ready to hit the beaches unabashedly come July.

That’s wonderful. Really, it is. Because if some of us Americans don’t give it a go, at the rate things are going, eventually the whole country will sink into the ocean. (No snide comments from the European peanut gallery, if you please.)

However, comma, there is a downside to the upswing in regulars at the gym. That is, simply, that there is no room left in the inn for the regulars.

Until the near-religious fervor surrounding these usually half-hearted resolutions dies down, you can forget getting ahold of a treadmill, an elliptical trainer, a stationary bike, or even a 1-pound dumbbell. They will all be taken, because inevitably these newbies get off work at least thirty minutes before you do.

Prepare yourself to see a lot of spandex on a lot of otherwise reasonable adults who really should know better.

Thankfully this problem resolves itself fairly quickly. Usually somewhere around January 7th.

What Happens on the Skating Rink…

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Skating, thankfully, is an activity that even uncoordinated, non-athletic people can enjoy. What’s even better is that the normally coordinated and athletic-looking people who try skating seem to temporarily lose all their skill and look like total fools—at least until they get the hang of skating—and make the rest of us feel a little better about themselves.

Depending on the skates you have, your skating experience may be enjoyable or painful. If you buy your own, you will likely get the equivalent of comfy sneakers that just happen to have blades attached. If you rent a pair at the skating rink, you will likely get hand-me-down skates that have probably been around since the moon landing. They will feel a little like a Malay Boot, only without the comfort factor.

I will warn you, however; when you go skating, especially if you’re new at it and are skating in a large crowd of people, you will spend most of your time staring at people’s butts. I hate to sound crude, but there it is. Because you will be trying to compensate for the lack of friction on the ice, your torso will pitch forward slightly and your neck will stiffen, resulting in a head angle that directs your line of vision at the level of people’s backsides. This is a particular disadvantage when following close behind individuals whose pants were just painted on that morning (if you catch my drift), and, should she fall, you might find yourself a little too well acquainted with the color of that person’s underroos. Unfortunate, but true.

Thankfully, after a little practice, you’ll find yourself able to skate in a more upright position, so you can spend more time examining the backs of people’s heads.

Also, wear socks. Wear lots of them. In fact, buy a whole new batch of them and bring them with you to the rink. The more the merrier. Loose skates will scar you for life. If they are too loose, your ankles will slip out at an alarming 45 degree angle and you’ll walk pigeon-toed for days. If you don’t protect your ankles from the constant chafing of the earlier mentioned rental skates, you will get more blister than you can count. I still have scars on my ankles from a skating trip I took when I was a sophomore in high school.

However, once you muscle your way through the pain that comes with inexperienced skating, you’ll glide around the ice with little trouble, turning corners carefully and enjoying the rush you get from that slight cold breeze that blows in your face as you go around and around. Unfortunately, this only happens after about two hours of skating, and by then your time is up, your party is leaving, and it’s time to go home.

Still, what would winter be without skating, at least once?

Lysdexic

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It’s probably a bad thing that an aspiring writer cannot type.

I blame my elementary school typing teacher. She forced us to use a program to learn how to type that was more of a video game than an instructive system. (For those of you who don’t know me, video games scare me, and my parents taught me to entertain myself with books, thank you very much, so I hated the thought of even a moderately fast-paced computer game.) It had complicated, nerve-wracking challenges, and the program screamed at me every time I made a mistake. I learned to type while staring at the keyboard, just so I wouldn’t mess up. I did fine—until the teacher brought out the traffic-cone orange keyboard skins that fit over the keys so we couldn’t see what they were anymore. Computer class usually ended with yours truly disintegrating into a puddle of tears on the classroom floor, my sanity scalded by a supposedly “kid friendly” typing instruction program. The normal kids, the ones with quick reflexes and agile fingers, would stare at me like I was a pudgy-fingered freak from mars, defeated by an earthling computer.

I can type alright now. But I still stare at the keyboard. Only this year, 11 years after typing class, have I started to notice that I can look up at the keyboard 50% of the time. If I’m typing in German or hammering out an unfamiliar word, you can forget about it.

But to this day, I either can’t hit the shift key and a letter at the same time, or I hold the shift key for too long. So I end up with a lowercase “i” or the word “DEcember.” Any word with “tion” on the end get scrambled: “exertion” becomes “exertino,” “revolution” become “revolutino,” etc. I’m not trying to write in Spanish, honest. In fact, I scramble words constantly. Just now, “word” became “wrod” when I tried to type it into the post. Autocorrect is always doing overtime when I try to write anything, anything at all. I’m a typing lysdexic—I mean, dyslexic.

Whenever I reach for the backspace, inevitably I’ll end up hitting either the “\” or the “=.” So instead of a line of correctinos==ons i\I’ll get a line fo==of equals sings\\\ngs.

Moral of the story: write out manuscripts by hand until I get published and earn enough money to hire someone who’ll take dictation.

The end.

Under the Weather

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The weather in Anytown adheres to no law other than Murphy’s Law. Whatever can go wrong, will, and what you hope will happen, won’t.

The weather forecasters in Anytown have been tearing their hair out for years trying to decode the erratic system that governs the atmosphere around here. Finally, after millennia of consulting almanacs, Doppler systems, their horoscopes, and a few wizards, they have come up with a simple (though not entirely trustworthy) plan:

If the forecast is 42 degrees and rainy, plan to wear short sleeves and don’t bother to pack your umbrella.

If the forecast is in the seventies and sunny, bring an umbrella and wear a jacket.

If the forecast is for snow, don’t kid yourself. If anything, it will rain.

If the forecast is 80 degrees, it will be 100.

If they’re calling for a severe thunderstorm, plan for a tornado.

“Slight chance of rain” means “no rain at all. Fuhgettaboutit.”

Christmas Day will be sunny, breezy, and a balmy 75 degrees.

On the first day of fall, wear short sleeves.

On the first day of winter, wear short sleeves.

On the first day of spring, head for the cellar, there’s gonna be a hurricane.

On the first day of summer, don’t leave the house, ‘cause it’s too hot to breathe outside.

Hopefully my fellow Anytown residents will find these selected guidelines helpful (or just risible). And for those of you who don’t live here, I hope that wherever you live, you can at least be thankful that the weather there, if not always favorable, is at least consistent.

A Disposition of Sleep

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All of our lives, there’s been an emphasis on developing skills. When we were babies, our mothers fretted over our motor skills. In elementary school, we were graded on reading skills and arithmetic skills. In high school we got more variety and could pick the skills we were judged on. (At least for the most part. Why on earth unacademic Phys. Ed. “skills” like dribbling a soccer ball counted towards my GPA, I’ll never know. But I’m not bitter.) Later we learned to drive, how to cook, how to do laundry—all essential skills for living out in the real world.

But as we all know, college is not the real world. In college, none of those skills that our parents, teachers, mentors and/or P.E. teachers wanted us to have will help us. Here, all of our academic, personal, social, grammatical skills kowtow to the One Great and Mighty Skill to End All Skills. And that skill is the skill of sleep.

I marvel at those people who can sleep anywhere at any time. My friend Lizzie fell asleep at a choir rehearsal. On stage. With 40-odd other kids on stage with her. She also slept through a dog barking directly under her head while she was sleeping on the porch (and please don’t ask for details as to why she was sleeping on the porch). My roommate last year could sleep through all ten of her alarms, including the one that sounded like a duck with asthma. And how on earth can anyone sleep on a bus? Especially a bus full of hyperactive teenagers on their way to New York? Or on air planes with crying babies? But I’ve seen people who can sleep through anything, even the perpetual hum of feverish activity that occupies the dorms at UU.

Yes, here in the dorms, there is no rest. Even late at night. Someone on the hall will be flushing a toilet/stomping down the hall/strumming a guitar/laughing loudly with her friends—you name it. All. Day. Long.

Enter me, Miss Rambler, the chronic light sleeper. I can’t fall asleep on command, no matter how tired I am. Nor can I stay asleep. Light wakes me up. Vibrations wake me up. Movement wakes me up. A cell phone on silent wakes me up. The door opening wakes me up. And yes, in case you were about to ask, I do sleep with ear plugs. And a fan going for white noise. And an eye mask. And my head under the covers. And I take melatonin to help me sleep. Nothing helps. Doesn’t matter how late I want to sleep in. The moment my roommates make a sound, I’m wide awake. They’re not being loud, so don’t blame them. I don’t. I’m just a very, very light sleeper. I do not possess the skill of sleep.

And my friends wonder why I like coffee so much.

So if anyone would like to share with me the magical secret to this skill of sleep, I will not object. In fact, I will praise you to the heavens. I’ll put you in my will. I will write a book of praises to you name. I’ll bake you cookies. I’ll do any number of ridiculous things to thank you.

And then I’ll take a nap.

Accessory to Murder

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I don’t really believe in luck. When I look at the course of the history of the world, I find it difficult to believe that all of its intricacies resulted from happenstance. I won’t go so far as to call church potluck suppers “pot-providences,” but I will hold that  the concept of “luck” is a little too far-fetched to be credible.

However, my resolve weakens on occasion, and I use “luck” in the harmless, colloquial sense of the word—namely, that something or other did or did not turn out the way I thought it would.

That disclaimer said, I have bad luck when it comes to accessories.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost a necklace because it got hung on my clothes and broke. Or how often I’ve bent a bobby pin out of shape on my hopelessly stubborn hair. Or enumerate how many pairs of sunglasses my purse has eaten alive and/or held for ransom with disastrous results. Or how many umbrellas have simply, for reasons unknown to man or woman, refused to cooperate, no matter how decadently bribed.

Sunglasses. They hate me. I had a pair this summer—a perfectly good pair, all at once pretty, functional, and comfortable. I was wearing them on my head one day, when something struck me as funny and I had to laugh. When I laugh, I rear my head back like a horse with Turret’s, and in doing so my sunshades slid off and landed with a faint clatter to the carpeted ground. I turn around and saw that they had snapped in two, pretty as you please, right at the bridge. The replacement pair is only an annoyance, as it’s held together by screws that won’t stay tight and the things slide down my nose all the time.

Umbrellas. Demon-possessed things, I tell you. I had one that liked to open of its own accord. Another that grabbed for my hair. Another that sprang deliberate leaks. The one nice one I owned was commandeered by a former roommate. I’ve gone through who-knows-how many umbrellas in the last year, and have yet to find on that hasn’t rebelled. The current one is fine so far, but who knows, it could fly apart the next time I open it.

Thankfully, I’ve had success with hats, scarves, and purses. My only problem with them is that they tend to burst out of my closet when I’m least expecting them.

Then they start begging me to wear them, and I begin to wonder what exactly was in my morning coffee.