Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Too Old! For Rock Concerts

Last Friday, I accompanied my baby sister (okay, she’s twelve) to yet another Panic! At The Disco concert.

The first time we went, back in July, the concert was at a nightclub. I stood on the dance floor surrounded by pre-pubescent girls trying to push their way to the front of the crowd. They got their little groups together, joined hands and forged through the crowd, butting out anyone in their way. Until they got to me. I’m just not the type of person who LETS people push them. I don’t give a rat’s ass if “It’s a fucking concert, you old bitch.” That attitude (theirs and my own) led to problems. Problems that would take too long to get into again.

This time around, it was much better. We were at an arena with SEATS. I love having seats. It’s like paying for your own personal space. Not much space, but at least I didn’t have people’s nasty sweat being rubbed on me.

I really liked the opening bands. There were the Plain White T’s – who’s CD I promptly bought. Then there was Jack’s Mannequin – who I’d never heard of before, but had a large fan base. They were pretty good, too. I’m glad that both times I went I ended up liking the opening bands because I really don’t like P!ATD. Some of their songs are alright – they’re catchy, to say the least. I’m not some super-religious person and have been known to label things as “God damned,” but I don’t write songs that repeat it over and over. You’d really have to know their music (or at least heard of them) to know what I’m getting at, but if you just read the titles to their songs, you could maybe understand why they offend me so much. I just feel like they make a joke of God and religion in general and I have a really hard time dealing with that, let alone condoning it.

But my darling little sister is just OBSESSED with them. I thought when I was little, I was obsessed with NKOTB (New Kids On The Block, for those who weren’t). I was wrong. Collecting giant buttons and knowing all their songs is NOT an obsession. Painting your face to look like your favorite band - now THAT’S obsessive. I just couldn’t tell her “No,” despite my feelings.

Some years ago, I want to say four, I was standing next to the mosh pit at Ozzfest. Happily being bumped into by sweaty nasty drunk people – having the time of my life. I tried to get close to the stage. I even tried to catch the stupid water bottles that were thrown into the crowd.

Somewhere between then and now I got old. Of course I had a good time Friday. The only time I ever leave my house is to go to work or the grocery store. I was so excited to go out, the band could have insulted me on stage and I would have had a good time. But not like my sister. She was scheming ways to get backstage, on the GA floor, past the ushers, whatever. Despite our great seats (I sat and could still see the whole stage while everyone around me stood – see how old I am??), she perched herself atop the railing at the bottom of the stairs, screaming out “I LOVE YOU BRENDON!” She screamed when they asked and held out my cell phone (her generation’s way of holding up the lighter) during the ballads. She was breathless when she came up to beg me to go back down with her. (To which I replied, “I have to watch our jackets.”) She had the light in her eyes that told me how thrilling it all was for her. I don’t have that anymore.

It’s not that I mind much. I know that as we get older, we stop enjoying some of the things we liked when we were young. What I’m finding is that, for me, the loud hard-rocking part of me was replaced with an appreciation for classical music, a nice dinner or just a peaceful night. I’ll call it “Trading Ozzy for Offenbach.”

It's probably for the best, I could turn out like this:

Sunday, November 26, 2006

For Whom The Bell Tolls?

Black Friday I was at Wal-Mart.

Standing outside (by the ashtray, no less).

Ringing a bell while people put change in my red kettle.

I had a wonderful day.

Normally, I’m not a very social person. I am much more comfortable sitting in silence than making small talk. But from 10 am to noon, the sun was shining and it was unseasonably warm The customers were friendly and generous. Of course there were the people who walked around so they didn’t have to go by the kettle, but for the most part everyone offered at least a smile. Some dug deep and tried to shove their dollars through that incredibly small opening in the kettle. Some handed their change to their children, who dropped it in coin by coin. A few people even thanked me for standing out there.

In a world like ours, we often forget how much we need this compassion in our lives. Whether on the giving or receiving end. It’s so important to think of others in the world and do what’s in our capacity to try to enrich their lives a little. There are so many ways to help others - whether poor, sick, disabled, elderly, disadvantaged - whatever. We all have the ability and the means if we’re selfless enough to arrange it.

We are so tight with cash this year, all I had to offer was my time. I often complain that I “don’t have time” for exercise - or really anything else that’s beneficial to me. Somehow I managed to ‘fit in’ this and a few other activities this winter. I guess there’s just something special about it that I’m willing to use my vacation days to participate.

If you ever get the opportunity to do this - DO IT. It’s not hard to sign up, and it really doesn’t take that much time out of your day. A couple hours of smiling at customers and thanking those who were able to donate. That’s all it takes to collect hundreds of dollars to help the needy.

It’s such a wonderful tradition to start. This year my younger sister met me up there and helped me out for a while. Next year I think I’ll start bringing my own kids.

I hope everyone had as great of a holiday as mine. If not, I hope there will at least be some good “crazy relative” stories to read.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ten things I am thankful for:

1. My Family - the whole lot of them, but especially
2. My Man - without him I wouldn’t have gotten through what I did
3. My Job - as much as I may hate going there, it pays the bills and it’s not too hard
4. My Health - when I know someone who is waiting for biopsy results through the holiday, I’d be a fool not to be thankful for this.
5. My House - and the fact that I still wake up happy to own my home
6. My Car - It may not be the best, but it’s still the nicest one I’ve ever had
7. My Friends - through the years I’ve narrowed them down, but the couple that are still here are angels.
8. My Cat - who annoys me to no end but I can’t picture life without
9. Technology - I think anyone who’s reading blogs can appreciate our technological advances
10. My Faith in God - It’s been questioned, abandoned and fought, but is still here and grows stronger every day.

Have a wonderful day.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I don’t trust robots.

Last night on Nova one of their stories was about a engineer named Cynthia Breazeal who creates “sociable” robots. This woman is dedicating all of her studies to making robots that feel. Not robots that do anything worth-while like disarming bombs or cooking your food. Her robots are specifically meant to show emotion and react to yours. I’ve seen WAY too many movies to ever think this would be a good idea!

Does this creep anyone else out?

If no, you may be interested in this:

Careful, though... he gets ANGRY!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

20 Things that Annoy Me

For my first post, here's a little "getting to know you" info...you can decide real quick if we'll get along.

1. When I’m speeding up to someone, get in the left lane to pass them and they’re suddenly going slightly faster than me. As if my cruise control is whacked. It’s not personal, freak – I just want to keep a constant speed throughout my drive – you should try it!

2. Speaking of cruise control – I use mine ALL THE TIME, so when I pass you, and then you pass me two minutes later, I know it’s you who can’t drive – I hope you do, too.

3. Tailgating. I follow the whole slow lane/fast lane rule. Riding my ass is NOT going to make the line of cars ahead of me move ANY faster!

4. Checks. Why we still use checks for anything other than bills is beyond me, but if you feel the need to write one at the grocery store, start it before you get your total – The wait is long enough already.

5. The car stickers that state the make or model of you car across your windshield. I could tell it was a PONTIAC way before I saw your stupid banner!

6. The way kids type now – this is an actual comment on my little sister’s Bebo page:

.......hope ya had a gud tym....d amount of pics we took on my frends fone is unreal.......cnt wait till der on bebo!!! ders alredy a few up...cause my frend jess put dem up.........jesus im d randomest person eva......u shud c d pics on d fone....der hilerious......dya no wat if i didnt no me id b afraid haha.......well i reli hope u had a gud nite, cause i did!! O n i hope skewl was fun aswell....mwah
I’m seriously afraid for our future!

7. People not cleaning up after themselves – I’m specifically speaking about my co-workers, who blow things up in the microwave and then WALK AWAY because, you know, the Microwave Elves will clean it up, right? Also, I had no idea that grown women could be SO disgusting in the bathroom. You don’t want details.

8. People not cleaning up after themselves – Now I mean my family. I spent 8 hours cleaning my house Saturday – slave-driving the kids along – to make my house absolutely spotless. (EVEN THE KIDS’ BATHROOM!) Three hours later the downstairs looked EXACTLY like it had that morning.

9. People showing up without notice. I HATE when people come over without calling to let me know. I’m so fricking busy, I don’t have time for myself – I don’t know what makes anyone think I have time for them. Now, I’m not a total bitch, and I do like to see people…just give me call so I can fit you into my schedule … and maybe hide my dirty dishes.

10. Misuse of the welfare system. Our welfare system is meant to help low/no income families make ends meet/barely survive. It is not meant as a special bank account for your drug money or a way to afford junk food. A note to offenders: Next time you’re in line to use your EBT card to buy Doritos and Pepsi, just THINK about the people who can’t even get on welfare to get an EBT because they have no address. If don’t need it to buy your daily groceries, maybe you should buy canned goods with it and donate it to shelters or food shelves.

11. When the person I vote for doesn’t win…especially when I crossed party lines to vote for them…ho hum.

12. Not recycling – I just started recycling a couple years ago and was AMAZED at how much of my ‘waste’ was recyclable. Now, my recycling bin is more full than my garbage can! I hate when people don’t recycle – especially when people here at my office walk PAST the giant recycling bin to throw their soda bottle in the tiny little wastebasket. Like they’re going OUT of their way to hurt the environment.

13. Smoking. Yeah, yeah… anyone who knows me would say “didn’t you smoke for over ten years??” Why, yes I did. And when I did, I was a selfish, littering, cancer-causing bitch. Not that you are if you smoke, that’s just how I was. But you do stink.

14. Not properly securing your children in vehicles. There are tons of resources to turn to that will a) inform you about weight requirements b) teach you how to properly install the seats and c) GIVE YOU ONE IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD IT. There are no excuses – only regrets. You have no idea how many times a week I see people driving down the highway at 70 mph with THEIR seatbelt on, and their kids are bouncing around the backseat. I have a sign that says “KIDS NEED SEATBELTS” – if they ignore that, I take a picture with my cell and then call the police. There is no reason your child should die because you are too weak to enforce a law, and if I have to be a nosy bitch to save them, then so be it. And trust me, at 70 mph, there is absolutely nothing else that will keep your babies in that car!

15. Speeding on residential roads. I teach my kids not to play in the road and to watch for cars and ALWAYS look both ways. However, if you are cruising down the road at 45 mph, they could be in the middle of the road before they even see you and their little legs aren’t going to be able to move fast enough to get out of your way. And chances are if you’re not paying attention to your speed, you’re also not paying attention to what’s in front of you.

16. People who impose religion on other people. I have a religion. I am proud of it. I do not try to convert people to be the same religion as me, and I expect the same of them. If I wanted to know more about your beliefs, I’d ask.

17. The Gay Marriage Ban. I am a Republican, but I don’t agree with all the traditional Republican views and this is one of them. I REALLY don’t understand why people care so damn much about other people’s sex lives. Being in a “Long-term relationship,” I see why the gay community needs the right to marry. I wouldn’t want anyone else (especially his family) deciding my man’s fate should he need someone to.

18. Deleted to protect private details.

19. Dry winter air. Dandruff, cracked lips (and Carmex addictions), and dry scaly hands… just a few of the winter horrors in Minnesota.

20. My co-workers. Some of them are really nice and some are evil bitches with hidden agendas…they don’t annoy me, though. The ones that annoy me are very LOUD and have absolutely no regard for people who are trying to work. And they laugh all the time – one of them sounds like she’s sobbing and gasping for air and she thinks EVERYTHING is funny. Thank goodness for my iPod.

There you have it, twenty things that annoy the piss out of me.