Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday Breakdown 2011

I have survived yet another Black Friday!!

Probably because I stayed far away from all shopping centers... but still. In today's day and age, I'm probably at risk of consumer violence just sitting right at home. Who knows when I'll be approached at gun point for the item I had enough sense to buy 5 weeks ago...

In light of the recent Occupy Wallstreet protests that have been going on, the very socially accepted ritual of Black Friday shopping has been deconstructed in comparison to very culturally taboo civil rights demonstrations. For example...

When was the last time you saw Best Buy costumers pepper sprayed for blocking the sidewalk, as we saw with the students of UC Davis? Where's the meme of that?

Even though there were no incidents of violence outside the stores, there was plenty of pepper spraying and police brutality once the clock struck midnight and those glorious pearly automatic doors were opened.

First up in the breakdown is the grandfather in Arizona who was beaten by police for allegedly stealing a video game. In reality, he shoved the game in his waistband quickly so he could help up his grandson who had fallen in the shopping chaos. But security guards can't calmly pull the man aside and question him like normal, decent human beings, can they? Of course not. This is how they prefer to handle things...

The man was left beaten and bloodied, while his grandson is probably traumatized for life. All over what? A video game for probably 10 bucks cheaper than usual?

Next up is an example of our obsession and desperation to get our hands on material goods. A woman in California pepper sprayed a crowd of shoppers to try to gain the upper hand in getting the video game system she wanted. Over 20 people were injured from the spray.

The worst part mentioned was that shoppers who were not affected by the spray continued shopping. I'm pretty sure if I saw people keeling over from eye pain, I would quickly leave the store. But I guess most people were blinded by those shiny video game boxes, and didn't see what happened.

Another example of our desperation for material goods is embodied in the man who was shot in a Walmart parking lot in California when he and his family were robbed at gunpoint for the items they just purchased. Now of course, the robber is very much at fault for this incident, but I am also wagging my finger at the victims. Why was the man shot? Because he and his family refused to give up their items. They actually put the value of their material possessions over their safety and well being.

I'm not including a video for this one, because when you search "black friday shooting" or especially "Walmart shooting," the results are too endless to sort through.

These are just a few of the many examples of Black Friday violence. I'm sure most people remember the story of the New York Walmart employee in 2008 who was trampled to death as the store opened their doors. And that was at the height of our recession! The time when most people were at their poorest, and yet still acting completely inhuman when it came to spending their money.

Here are some stills from this year's chaos:

Macy's in New York, NY

Kohl's in Salina, KS
Sears, in.. oh my... Mentor, OH
I've been to that mall
Toys R Us in New York
Best Buy in Burbank, CA
Walmart in.. really? Mentor, OH again...
Photos via ABC news. Credit given there.

From the look of these pictures and all the violence listed above, it's a wonder why we haven't changed the name of the day after Thanksgiving to "Black and Blue Friday." What happened to using the Thanksgiving holiday to relax with family? Why don't more of us participate in Buy Nothing Day, and spend some quality time with the people we love, instead of the things we love. With all the chaos, and all the violence, and all the hate and inhuman behavior, it all certainly leads us to wonder... is the battle for bargains really worth the cost?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Age and "hood" status

No, I'm not referring to being all good in dah hood, dawg.

Racist slurs aside, what I'm really talking about is the difference between childhood, adulthood, and what I like to oh so cleverly call "in-between-hood."

Let's break this down a bit. Generally speaking, birth through age 17 is called childhood, and age 18 till death is broadly considered adulthood. That is the legal definition, anyway. But when you turn 18, do you suddenly feel like an adult in that split second your birthday passes?

"Adulthood" as a label can depend on a number of things. For some, it's a biological step that happens around puberty. How many girls remember their mother telling them when they first got their periods, "you're a woman now." For others, it's a socioeconomic status. I won't feel more like an adult until I move out and start earning my own living.

But as much as teenagers prance around waving their new adult flags, adulthood really boils down to experience. It could take 10-20 years following the legal definition of an adult until you actually feel like one.

But in the few years following your big initiation into adulthood, what do you start to refer to yourself as? This has been bothering me lately, because at the age of 22, I no longer think of myself as a girl. When referring to myself, I have not said the phrase "I'm a girl that likes blah blah" in a very long time. But at the same time, it's hard to think of myself as an adult yet, and I certainly have never said "I'm a woman that blah blah."

So basically... I can't refer to myself as much, because women really just have these two roles to play.

Men are different. We live in this era of "guyhood," where males between childhood and adulthood have this middle role they can take on. I would not call my 20-something male friends boys, but I can not also picture them as men yet. So it's nice that they have an in-between-hood. Somewhere in the middle of their teens all the way through their late 20's, they're just guys.

But what's a woman's in-between-hood? Lady? That's a little outdated. Young woman? No, that still sounds a bit like a teenager. Young adult? That takes the female aspect out of it, plus it's a bit awkward in conversation. Gal? What are we, in Texas?

Men have always had names for us as in-between-ers... chicks, babes, skirts. And we also have many names that we give to each other. But we have yet to take an on a real, society-wide, in-between label for ourselves.

I guess we can just call ourselves what we really are... beautiful, intelligent, independent, successful females. Well, that might be a tad long in conversation...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mighty Morphin Power... Sandwich Maker?

Anyone else see the obvious gender stereotype here? Anyone, anyone?

Well in case you lived under a rock during the 90's and know nothing about the MMPR, there is a clear difference between one of these characters and the other five... the pink ranger is a female.

Couldn't you tell by the very feminine pose that no other character in this shot is using? Her legs are together femininely, and even her hands are poised a bit differently, higher up on her waist rather than her hips, and fingers flared outward.

Now, in the story of the show itself, there wasn't too much of a gender bias. The female rangers weren't ever necessarily the leaders of the group, but they got just as much screen time and fighting action as, say, the blue ranger.

No, just the fact that the one girl of the group was given the color pink was enough of an obnoxious stereotype for one television show to dish out. And not shown in the picture above (and again, in case you never saw the show), in other seasons of Power Rangers, another woman was included in the group, given the color yellow. Another feminine color. And while we're on the subject of stereotypes, for a long time, the yellow ranger character was Asian. Asian, yellow... really? And mind you, this couldn't even have been misconstrued as the color gold, because a gold member came along later... a male, of course.

So we have a blonde, white-skinned pink ranger, and a quite racially insensitive Asian yellow ranger. And when the yellow ranger wasn't played by an Asian woman, she was played by a black woman. Why couldn't we give the black actress the pink color?

This is how blatantly easy it was to be sexist, let alone racist. And worst of all, I totally bought into it. I remember as a child fighting with my best friend about who got to play the pink ranger. No girl wanted to be yellow, let alone a male oriented color such as red or green.

So have the Power Rangers gotten their act together in the past 20 years? Well let's see...

Power Rangers Jungle Fury (2008)

Okay, the yellow is still a woman, but they replaced the pink with a purple ranger. But it's not really purple, it's "violet" and its animal is the wolf, so it's okay for a guy...

Power Rangers RPM (2009)

The pink is gone entirely now, I guess because who has ever heard of a pink racing car? But the woman is still yellow, of course.

And the most recent,
Power Rangers Samurai (2011)

Okay well, the pink ranger is back, but both pink and yellow are still women, and now they're shoved to the back of the picture...

But hey, at least the blonde white chick is stuck playing the yellow ranger now, and the indistinguishable minority woman is allowed to be pink. If that's not a huge step forward in women's rights everywhere, I don't know what is.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

And the abortion war wages once again...

On November 8th, Mississippi voters will be faced with deciding on Initiative 26, which if passed, will create a state-wide law banning abortions, on the basis that "personhood" starts as soon as an egg is fertilized.

Attempting to ban abortions is nothing new. It was a debate well before Roe v Wade, and has continued to be ever since. But this new bill is a step above just simple abortion banning... actually more like 10 steps.

Pro-lifers look at this bill as a blessing, a way to stop irresponsibly throwing away life, or to maybe stop the amount of pre-marital sex that our society has become so comfortable with (yeah right). To religious conservatives, we are saving an unborn child's soul.

This fetus has some terrific grammar skills
But giving a fetus, or even just a small clump of cells, the same rights that you and I have today, will cause a whole host of legislative issues.

Abortions, of course, will be banned, no matter the cause of conception or possible health ramifications to the mother. Doctors will be faced with the even tougher decision of who to save during a problematic pregnancy, the mother or the child, if we declare unborn children "persons." Will doctors be questioned every time they can't save a fetus?

Birth control methods will have to be reconsidered, to make sure they don't violate the new bill. Needless to say, Plan B, aka the "morning after pill" will be the first to go.

Another huge issue Initiative 26 will cause is problems to in-vetro fertilization. Currently, doctors will artificially fertilize a woman's eggs, usually 10-20, and will implant only 2 or 3 at a time to attempt pregnancy. Implanting all 10-20 may result in 10 successful fetuses... which, come on, I don't even need to say the problems that would cause. Look at how society criticized the "Octo-mom."

So if a doctor has 10 fertilized eggs ready to go, and egg number 1 is successful, the other 9 are disposed of. Not any more in Mississippi, if the new bill is passed. Disposing of artificially fertilized eggs sitting in a petri dish will be considered "murder" of "persons."

You murderers
So women desperately trying to get pregnant will have their success rates drastically dropped, as they must go through the IVF process one egg at a time. Sort of ironic that a bill trying to save the life of unborn children will actually prevent more life from being created.

Pro-lifers call these ramifications "scare tactics" made by Planned Parenthood and other women's rights groups. But not only will controlling a woman's body cause her physical strain, but emotional as well.

In a society where unborn children are separate beings from their mother, and have just as many rights as her, every miscarriage or still birth will start to look suspicious. A woman who drinks one glass of wine while pregnant, then 4 months later has a miscarriage, could and very well may be questioned for her part in her unborn person's death.

A woman who is in a custody battle for her children from a divorced husband may have a prior miscarriage come up as evidence of neglect and proof of unfit motherhood.

Women who are already in a very low state from a tragedy such as those, will only be made to feel worse when an investigation ensues about her "fault" in the event.

What this abortion battle boils down to is politics versus morality. If this bill gets passed, and abortions and birth control and IVF in Mississippi are all suddenly illegal or altered, will that stop women from still having them? Of course not. There will still be illegal abortions, illegal disposal of fertilized eggs, illegal use of birth control.

Weed and crack isn't this colorful
And this new law could very well be enforced as much as jaywalking. Illegal pregnancy terminations could very well go unpunished. But if someone really wants to, they can use Initiative 26 to attack a woman they particularly want to look bad. And the media won't report on the everyday illegal use of abortions or birth control - the average 2 week pregnant middle class woman who refuses to carry it. We'll start hearing stories on the evening news about the 8 and a half month pregnant African American who would rather do drugs than have her child.

Ridiculous as it sounds, you know it's true. It's the kind of media gate-keeping we see all the time. Why is it we only hear about pit-bull attacks, when chihuahuas are more likely than most any breed to be aggressive and bite people?

Now THAT'S a dog to be terrified of
So here is the society we have become. A place where a woman is basically a slave to her body, not to mention her slaughterhouse of a uterus, and where our rights are decided by politicians (men) who will never even fully understand what it is we go through. Wait, what's the year again? 1826?

No matter what your position is on the government legislation of it all, I guess this issue does boil down to one basic question, one that only you can decide for yourself: can a clump of cells really be considered a person?

One guess on what my answer is...

Friday, November 4, 2011

New day, new direction

Well it has certainly been a while since I last posted. But as I have been considering how to make my comeback, I was trying to come up with a new approach to blogging. A new, more meaningful direction.

And while browsing through some of my favorite blogs (listed in my new blog roll to the side), it hit me.

As much as I love to discuss (and rant) about certain issues in our society, especially those involving race, class, and gender, I figured I should write my own blog dedicated to these topics. Half of my previous posts involved these topics anyway, but now I can officially put a label on this place! It's a soci blog!

-takes a moment to celebrate-

Okay then. Now that the party is over, let's get down to business. Expect my first official soci post hopefully within the next day. Just have to wait for inspiration to hit me.

Till then, in honor of Halloween last monday, here are just a few examples of what our society has come to in terms of our children:

And the best (worst?) of all....

People of the future will be looking back on old records of our history, and think we may have taken population control to a bit of extremes...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Seventy degree weather

Current mood: Sunny
Current song: The Magic Numbers - Forever Lost

My life has been so fun and eventful lately, that I've had very little time to sit down and write out a full blog post. I do have about 3 drafts that are halfway done, and will be posted soon. But I'm currently sitting outside enjoying this gorgeous 75 and sunny day, listening to my new favorite song (listed above), and I'm feeling so freakin cheery that I feel the need to list all the things that are currently making me happy.

I've had 3 different people ask me if I'm in love, thanks to the beaming smile that's been plastered on my face for the past few weeks. And the answer is no, I'm afraid. Not with a person, anyway. But I am in love with life right now, so I guess it amounts to the same thing.

Anyhoo, here are some of the things I've greatly loved over the past few weeks since I've posted a TILT:

  • Sunny and cooler weather! 
  • Laying in my hammock and staring at the sky (which today looks a lot like my TILT picture)
  • My next door neighbor kids
  • Swimming for the first time at Foster Pool
  • Weekly cheap movies with Markos
  • Signing up for a Regal Crown Club card finally, and immediately getting awesome discounts every time I go to the theater
  • Starting weekly karaoke every tuesday night - it's a blast!
  • Making a bunch of new friends at said karaoke bar
  • Swimming in a friend's pool at 4am
  • Staying out till dawn (it was really fun, but I could only handle it once in a blue moon)
  • Getting an ice cream cake for no other reason but to indulge
  • Falling in love with a new book series
  • Finding a silver lining in the sad news of Borders shutting down: discounted books
  • Buying 2 new bookshelves in great condition at a garage sale, for 6 bucks
  • Getting Matt hooked on the Song of Ice and Fire series! He knows a good book when he sees one
  • Finalizing everything for the upcoming semester of school, and finding out that I was preparing on going in a whole week early - thanks Matt, for a) making me feel like a moron, but b) giving me an extra week of vacation!
  • Buying $430 worth of books for only $190
  • Having all the baby animals from spring stay with us all summer, including a bunny, a blue jay, and a praying mantis
  • Our pond fish having babies of their own - we started out with 5 fish, and now we have 10
  • Couponing, which has really started to pay off
  • Going in to get my hair cut and colored finally this coming saturday! (pictures when it's done)
  • Finding really cute new hair accessories on Etsy to wear with my new short hair style, such as:

  • Rediscovering an old love for feathers (thanks to aforementioned Etsy shopping)
  • Pretty and sparkley things in general
  • Butterflies
  • The wonderful colors in nature
  • Hearing a new self-esteem montra that I love: "It's my body.. if you like it, great.. if you don't, don't look at me" - so simple and so true
  • New clothes
  • School supplies in all the stores, sparking that wonderfully refreshing feeling of autumn
  • Deadliest Warrior (the tv show)
  • The new fall line-up of tv shows looking promising
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - it's a book (that's all the hint you get).. go read it
  • Getting my official invitation to Julia and John's wedding!! I'm so excited! October can't get here soon enough!
  • "Watching my 3 sisters get in trouble... and hockey" - this is a guest post by Douglas Doren (9 years old)

Okay, now I'm exhausted from writing all the recent activity. It could honestly go on further, but I'll leave it at that for now. I'm off to get some lunch, then onto a long bike ride. Enjoy your week, kinzies! <3

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sunny saturdays are great for blogging

Current mood: Peaceful
Current song: Woodkid - Iron (if you haven't heard it yet, go do so immediately)

Wow, it's been a while since I wrote a new blog post. It's amazing how fast time can pass you by. As the title suggests, I'm sitting out on the porch right now, as I do almost every morning, and was suddenly inspired to write again. This won't be my usual witty commentary on life, nor a TILT or SDS (though those will be coming soon). But I'll just give a little update on my life, for those who I haven't spoken to in a while *coughJencough*.

The saying is definitely true that time flies while you're having fun. This will probably go down as one of the best summers I've ever had, and I didn't even need to go on any fancy, expensive vacation.

My Clevelander readers (and the majority of America, really) can attest to how hot it has been the past couple of weeks. But surprisingly, I have never spent more time outside since back when I was a kid. It's partly thanks to the fact that I officially have 2 strong and healthy knees, and I'm enjoying getting out and using them! And my new knees go hand in hand with my new healthier life choices; aka, becoming a vegetarian and adopting much better eating habits, and routinely going to the gym every other day. Plus with my brand new (and completely gorgeous) bicycle, I've been riding through the metropark every evening. Just me, my headphones, and nature.

So I have been much healthier both body and mind, and my mood has greatly reflected this. Spending time with my amazing friends at least 5 times a week has helped, of course. There have been times in my life where I've felt lonely and friendless, but this is one of those lengths of time where the opposite is the case, and I feel truly blessed by the sheer number of close people I have in my life, and how often they ask to spend time with me.

I've been feeling so uplifted and at peace lately, that I've even started being friendly to and accepting of someone who I used to truly hate. In the past, just thinking about this person would get me upset and angry, let alone having any contact with them. But I'm tired of fighting and feeling angry and letting myself get so low. Life is too short to hold grudges and be upset with people. It's time to let the past be past and just live in the moment with people. Treat every interaction like it's a clean slate.

...Okay, so much for no life commentary. Back to my updates.

So I'm done with physical therapy after this week, and I'm feeling great. I can bend my knee, put weight on it while bent, climb and descend stairs, get down and up off the floor, walk long distances, ride a bike, and even jog a tiny bit. Soon I'll be able to start my top 3 knee shoulds:

  • Become a runner - Not really the professional marathon type, but just being able to run a distance longer than 10 feet. Ever since middle school, I haven't been able to run much at all for constant fear of a dislocation. Well now that's all a thing of the past. As soon as I'm strong enough, I'm going to start building my running endurance.
  • Become a yoga-fanatic - I love everything about yoga.. from the calm meditation, to the positive mental effects, to the increased body elasticity, to the colorful mats. But again, thanks to my old lady knees, it was never much of an option. So, as soon as my scar is healed enough to kneel on, I'm signing up for my first class.
  • Become the next Sasha Cohen - Okay, maybe not quite at her level.. but gosh darnit, I'm going to finally learn how to ice skate. My mom is terrified for me, which basically just gives me more motivation. This should will be accomplished this coming winter!

Aside from new knees and a healthier body, I've also gotten a ton more things accomplished this summer. I'm officially enrolled back at school, with all my classes scheduled, and my major finally declared. I'm actually really excited to start back up this fall. I also did some major cleaning in the house this summer, involving hands and knees scrubbing, and throwing a ton of useless things away. Between my mom and I, our house is looking spectacular. Which was why we decided to have a party this summer - another accomplishment since we'd been wanting to have one for a while - and that turned out fabulously. And on top of all this, I signed up to start some great volunteering around Cleveland again. All in all, I've gotten a lot done the past couple months, all while just staying at home.

The summer is already nearing an end, and as much fun as it has been, I'm not sad to see it go. With my new knees and my new start at school, this autumn is certainly going to be a fresh change of seasons, and a new beginning.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Obsessions over books

Current mood: Excited!!
Current song: Game of Thrones theme

It's been 2 weeks since my last TILT, so one would assume I'd have a LOT to put down in this post. But thanks to my limited memory bank, since it has been 2 weeks, I've pretty much forgotten everything. However, there were several large events that happened since last time, so here there are.

This week's TILT picture involves one of my current weekly loves. It hasn't happened just yet, but will within this next week: the 5th installment of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance with Dragons, will be released on Tuesday. I am freaking out with excitement, so even though this should really belong in next week's TILT, it has given me so much joy in the past few days that of course I'm listing it as something I love this week!

But here is the official Things I Love Thursday list:

  • My love and passion of books, and the endless joy and entertainment they bring me
  • Our party on June 25th being a smashing success!
  • Spending the entire 4th of July weekend with friends, family, and neighbors alike
  • Citronella candles
  • Napoleon's disinterest of barking at fireworks - he just barks at everything else
  • The Cleveland Metroparks system
  • Starting physical therapy fiiiiinally! And the wonderful therapists I have
  • Being diligent about doing the work outside of therapy, to guarantee I recover as fast as possible
  • Fitness 19 - the gym responsible for helping me keep this goal, at very reasonable prices
  • Making an unexpected but awesome friend out of Mark, and finding out all the things in common that we love
  • Re-obsessing over Final Fantasy music thanks to the aforementioned new friendship
  • The Great Northern Mall
  • Discovering that I actually had extra money this month after all my bills were paid
  • Birthday shopping for my mom and finding exactly what she's been wanting (second time in a row, first time being for Mother's Day)
  • Spoiling myself with the new Sims Medieval game, since I had money leftover after mom's bday shopping
  • Coming across yet another cute, chic cafe to sit and read in
  • Ordering a new bicycle! It will be here in 2 weeks!
  • Looking up all kinds of fun accessories to put on said bike
  • My new love for omelettes
  • Finding out I can help the always awesome Jen out in some way <3
  • Paypal, and modern postal services
  • Successfully completing my 3rd day as a vegetarian - it's not as hard as I originally thought
  • Krissy (one of my cats) looking healthier and actually acting nice for a change
  • The free pre-screening movie tickets I get every couple of weeks
  • Meeting and talking with strangers
  • Mom and I being fight free for a long while now
  • All the time I've gotten to spend lately with my amazing friends
  • Stress free living (for now)
  • Being healthy and waking up genuinely happy every single morning
That's all I've got for the past 2 weeks. But they were an amazing couple of weeks. <3 What have you loved recently?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What women (don't) want...

Current mood: Relieved
Current song: Glee Cast - She's Not There

Women are complicated creatures; everyone can agree on that. Especially when it comes to dating and what we want and look for in a man. One second we're saying a manly man who's cold and treats us kind of badly (the classic jerk/badboy) is the ideal type... the next second we prefer the sensitive, romantic sap who'll eat ice cream and cry over a romcom with us. It's getting just as hard for guys as it is for girls to live up to expectations nowadays.

I personally have my own list of preferences and an "ideal" type in mind, but I am not picky whatsoever. In fact, of all the men I've dated, I don't think a single one was in my own standards. Not to say they were below a suitable level (well, maybe a few were), but they didn't follow the particular type I look for. I don't know... they say you shouldn't be picky, but then they also say you shouldn't settle. See what I mean about the flip-floppiness of it all?

One thing that is usually universal, however, is what women avoid when seeking out their ideal man. No matter if you're into the manly men, or if sensies are more your cup of tea, there is a list of qualities that in any situation are always a dating Heisman. I have talked extensively over the years with my friends, their mothers and my own, and with my grandmother and other people her age. This is based on solid, scientific research, from three generations of women... so pay attention, guys. Here are the top ten traits women will 9 out of 10 times avoid in any man:

The Cheap Guy
   Yes, this is first, because if you ask any woman what traits in a man she dislikes, cheapness is ALWAYS on that list. Now don't get me wrong, I'm no backwards old school type who thinks a man must pay for everything all the time. I will gladly go dutch on occasion, or even pick up the entire tab. But the Cheap Guy is not just any old stereotype breaker. He is not only unwilling to ever pay for you, but he will gladly admit so to your face. The guy who openly complains about how expensive it is to take you out anywhere, he not only drains your own bank account, but your self esteem as well. And of course you know he will gladly pay for his monthly Xbox bill before taking you to that play you've been dying to see. Let me just say this: if for your birthday, he offers you sex... it's time to get the hell out of dodge.

The Constant Drunk/Partier
   Even if you consider yourself a party girl, no one likes the guy who is spending every weekend of his life getting trashed. The Constant Drunks take this behavior well past college and partying years. He is the guy who can't get any enjoyment from an activity unless there is a drink in his hand. And of course, drunkenness usually leads to embarrassing or rude behavior, that will surely be talked about the next day amongst your co-workers. The Partier is usually the only one at the party having any fun, ruining everyone else's attempt at having a good time. He is also a user, and will eventually begin to drag your life down with his insatiable need to be drunk. Even if they have a steady, responsible job, this pre-alcoholism in the Constant Drunk is a major red flag for future behaviors. And it also goes hand in hand with the next guy...

The Player (eventual cheater)
   Have you ever heard a woman say "I so want a man who will hit on every girl who passes him?" Yeah, didn't think so. The Player is overly confident and cocky, self-absorbed, and thinks he is god's gift to humanity. He pretty much believes that every woman he hits on wants him just as badly. The problem with this, is that eventually he will come across a woman who does. Alcohol can play a big role in the Player's life. If he's prone to being a flirt, the Partier mixed with the Player can be a nasty combination. Also called "man-whoring," this quality is as equally unacceptable as a female slut. Although there is one difference: men like sluts, but women don't like man-whores.

The Dirty Slob
   This has always been one to bother me personally. Women have all these standards of hygiene that we must follow, but it has always seemed as if it's more "manly" for a guy to be a nasty pig. This is certainly not the case. Watch any Axe commercial. There's nothing that ruins a romantic moment more than a man who stinks. The Dirty Slob not only has bad hygiene, but terrible cleaning habits. You can only be so far out of college for that "frat house/bachelor pad" look to still be acceptable. The Slob also has bad manners, especially when it comes to eating, and to flatulence. We can handle burps and farts once in a while, but when we start washing brown stains out of your underwear, things have gone too far.

The Guy With No Future
   He doesn't have to be a millionaire, or a rocket scientist, but all women want a man who will help take care of them. Ambition is a big part of this. The Guy With No Future, however, has no drive. If he could, he would sit on his tush all day long, getting paid to do nothing. Yes, we all fantasize about this, but we also innately crave for our lives to have some kind of meaning or substance. The Guy With No Future could care less if he had no purpose in his life. He is an extremely lazy person. He will make no effort to not only pay bills, but to clean the house, walk the dog, or take care of the kids. Then again, the Guy With No Future will more than likely not have the opportunity to buy a house OR a dog... so you have nothing to worry about there.

The Mama's Boy
   It is universally known that a man who loves his mother is a very desirable quality. But like most men on this list, the Mama's Boy takes things just one step too far. When in a relationship, you are not dating him; you are dating his mother. Everything you discuss, is then discussed with her. Everything he tells you, is usually dictated by her. When the Mama's Boy is at an age where he should be very moved on from his home setting, he still latches onto her, and even goes as far as not being able to function on his own without constant contact with her. The Mama's Boy is basically a permanent, adult breastfeeder, and all he is doing when dating you is looking for a new mama. If you're dating a Mama's Boy, his mama sure as hell better like you... and the quality of your child bearing hips.

The Coward
   Mama's Boys and Cowards are usually peas from the same immature pod. Cowards are oftentimes treacherous and inconsistent, retaining those boyish qualities that his current relationship with his mom causes. If you want security, ladies, do not date the Coward. He will offer you no protection, will leave you behind in the event of a life threatening emergency, hide behind you if there are bullets involved, and will more than likely hand you over to the rapist to buy him time to get away. The Coward is no knight in shinning armor. No, he wears his yellow skin proudly.

The Know-It-All
   The guy who constantly thinks he is right, and knows everything about everything. He is the center of attention, and he knows it. This usually goes hand in hand with the constant arguer, who will debate and one-up you on everything that comes out of your mouth. He is usually also very self-righteous and judgmental of others. Quite a deceiving quality, this guy will initially impress you with his vast range of random knowledge... but with a generally pompous and bombastic attitude, the Know-It-All will eventually show his true colors, as soon as you try to reciprocate any intelligence of your own.

The Selfish Guy
   All men think a lot about themselves, but the Selfish Guy also completely does not think about you. He is very inconsiderate, and completely oblivious and uncaring of your feelings. He will whine about his day without asking about yours. Like the Cheap Guy, he will spend his money all on himself.. but unlike the Cheap ones, he will not even think that perhaps he should spend any of it on you. Not only does he think the world revolves around him, but will step on you to make sure it completes its revolutions. This is one of the worst qualities to possess, and should be avoided at all costs.

The Emotionally Unstable Guy
   This one covers everything that has not been covered already. It's bad enough having men who won't show their emotions, but there are many men out there who show way too MUCH emotion. The angry guy, the crybaby, mr. negativity, the indecisive, the guy with no humor, the guy with too much humor... a man who does not know how to handle his emotions is doomed to derail in a horrific bloody mess when he careens head-on with the ever-present emotionally unstable woman. The Emotionally Unstable guy is more common than people think, and remains to be a continuous problem, thanks to men's refusal to admit that they feel. But of all the negative qualities, this is the one that is most "fixable," so there is hope out there yet! Now, if we could only get them to ask for directions...

Whelp, those are the top 10 bad boy behaviors, though there are in fact many more. However, this list is in no way intended to bash men or their pretty typical behaviors, so if you see yourself reflected in these traits, don't feel too bad. This is just as much a product of your surroundings as it is on your own shoulders. But most women will agree, these are the things we go well out of our way to avoid, and will not be happy campers if any of these behaviors stay present for too long. So while I'm not telling you to change who you are, I am letting you know what sets us off, so you can try to keep those things a bit more in check. Good guy behavior = happy women = plenty of sex... so I'd call that a win-win, wouldn't you?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: A clean home

Current mood: Wiped out
Current song: Human League - Don't You Want Me

Wow, this has been an insanely busy week.. mostly filled with cleaning, errands, and other party preparations. My mind has been completely preoccupied with our party happening in 2 days, that I don't have a whole lot of other loves that aren't related to it this week... and I won't be boring you with 20 bullet points of party accomplishments. I'll just start off with one generalization, to get it out of the way.

The TILT picture of the week is pretty self explanatory. That's basically what I've looked like all week - you know, if I had long, flowing brown hair, big eyes, and a perfect figure... or if I were a cartoon.

Anyhoo, here is what I loved since last Thursday:

  • Being almost completely done with party prep - including cleaning, setting up, and food buying!
  • All the awesome 80's music I've been blasting to get all the cleaning done to
  • Enjoying a relaxing late night grad party at Markos'
  • Making new friends at said party
  • The Blue Fig hookah bar
  • Spending an entire Saturday at Samia's house
  • The St. Demetrios Greek Festival
  • Father's Day being just another day to recognize how amazing my mom is <3
  • Getting my new clutch in the mail
  • Completing 2 shoulds - finishing my Hawaii scrapbook, and filling 6 pages of my new sketchbook so far with drawings
  • Frozen fruit bars
  • "Alpocalypse", Weird Al Yankovic's new album being released, after 5 long years!
  • The HoneyBaked Ham store
  • Game of Thrones finale!!
  • Fitness 19 and starting physical therapy on my own
  • New music obsessions
  • Maalox
  • Sharpie pens - my new favorite writing/sketching utensil
  • Deciding upon the perfect name for if I ever have a daughter (ask me if you want to know what it is)
  • Coming to the realization that I'm at a good place in my life right now, and that I don't need to be a graduated, successfully employed, married person with kids at this point in my life to be happy or "right"
  • And of course, a clean home

    Well, that's all for today. What have you loved this week?

      Wednesday, June 22, 2011

      The trees that grow slower bear the greatest fruit

      Current mood: Carefree
      Current song: ELO - Mr. Blue Sky

      In case you were wondering, yes this is the same blog. I'm the kind of person who likes change, and can't stand for things to be the same for too long. That's why I rearrange my room every year, why I change wallets every time I go to Target, and why my desktop background rotates between my hawaii pictures every 60 seconds.

      So it seemed only a matter of time before I changed around the colors and design of my blog. I will probably start doing so every few months, so prepare for a new look pretty frequently. If my last theme was "across the day sky," consider this one "across the night sky."

      Now, onto today's topic; life. Yes I know that's pretty broad. More specifically, I've been thinking lately about the speed of life's development, and how that varies greatly between everyone. Here's the average life course, as dictated by american society, in a gist: graduate from high school, move out of your parents' home and go to college, get a good job and find your soulmate, buy a house, get married and have a bunch of kids, work towards retirement, retire in a new home visited by grandkids every holiday. This is basically the order of things, and there is a certain timeframe in which each step is expected to be accomplished.

      Of course, being a freethinking sociologist/borderline feminist, who hates the word normal and tries to break as many societal norms as possible... I find this to be a load of crap. Not the list itself, but the expectation that you *must* complete everything in the list, in order, in a certain amount of time, to be deemed socially acceptable.

      The great thing about people however, is that even though society has this particular list for us to follow, everyone goes out and creates their own list anyway. Some people start their dream careers straight out of school, others go back and pursue their passion much later in life. Some women have children at 18, some women have them at 40. Sometimes marriage happens immediately, other times it never happens, and others it happens 4 or 5 times. None of these paths are right or wrong. Even when someone feels their life hasn't gone quite the way they planned, they shouldn't let that get them down. Every choice we make leads to something, and whether it's good or bad, it makes us who we are and we learn from it. And there is always time to go back and change the list around. The point is, you can't make concrete life plans. Even if you've made your own life list, don't let society dictate what that is. And be prepared to be flexible, because things can change at the drop of a hat.

      Now, that list I mentioned above, the one that society deems acceptable, is actually the list I want for my own life as well. However, I don't plan on doing it within the "normal" timeframe, and I've already gone out of order with moving out of my mom's house. I've been living at home all through college, and as of right now, I plan to stick with my mom while going to law school as well. Being 25 - 26 and still living at home may seem pretty late, but I actually have many friends at college who are still at home. In fact, ironically enough, the *new* norm is for college students to do exactly that, hence why medical insurance for young adults on their parents' plan have been increased until the age of 26.

      So my life list has gone in the order of college, job, THEN move out, and I am completely okay with that. But something that had been bugging me up until recently was the whole marriage thing. I have a ton of friends who are getting married soon, or who have been in long term relationships and who are already having kids.. and it really started grabbing at me. I began to feel self conscious, like the fact that I couldn't hold onto a relationship for more than a couple years, or that I certainly wouldn't be having kids anytime soon, meant that I wasn't planning my life correctly.

      But then I started looking more closely at the individual cases of these soon to be married couples, and I realized that each situation was completely different. Some of the couples are my age, some are in their very early 20's, and another couple I know didn't get around to it till their early 30's. And on top of my many friends who are getting married, I know even more who have been completely single through their mid-twenties, still not experiencing a relationship or any physical intimacy even during their entire college careers.

      The concept of life course norms are pretty ridiculous to begin with. During my grandmother's generation, families began early and they grew big. During my mother's generation, women waited until their late 20's to have kids and had only about 1 or 2. Most of my friends are only children or have just one sibling. Now during my generation, it seems to have reversed again, where couples are having large families early on again.

      As for me, I'm between start and finish in terms of relationships. I've been dating for about 5 years and have gone out with a wide variety of guys. I've had both casual dates and long term relationships, I've been physically intimate and overall experienced in almost every facet of dating life. The only thing I haven't done yet is live with a man or get married. So really, I fall right in the middle of the two paths, between no experience and the end result of marriage, and I'm between the two average ages where women are having kids nowadays. Which seems pretty "normal" to me.

      Even so, if it takes me till I'm 35 to get married and start having kids, then that's a-ok with me. I'm no longer going to worry about if and when I'm getting married, or if and when I'm having kids, or if and when I will retire in that nice little country home with grandkids all at my feet. I'm enjoying living my life in the moment, taking things one day at a time. My future life list is just that; my future. Right now, life is pretty great just as it is, and seems to me that it can only get better.

      I may be a slow growing tree, but I will be bearing some mighty fine fruit one day.

      Thursday, June 16, 2011

      Updates, Shoulds, and TILTs, oh my!

      Current mood: Pleasant
      Current song: Glee cast (The Warblers) - When I Get You Alone

      Thanks to being busy most of this weekend, I decided to combine a few of my weekly posts. So let's get right down to it. First...

      Knee update:
      It's been a while since I discussed my knee situation, and I know you're all just *dying* of curiosity. So here's what has been going on since the surgery itself... Two weeks (and one day) after the surgery, I went back to the hospital to get my stitches removed. My regular doctor was out of town, so I saw his practice partner, who was taking all his patients. I won't get into all the negative details, but let me just say... if you're planning a visit to Lutheran's orthopedic center, do NOT see Dr. Berkowitz. You've been warned. 

      Anyhoo, because he couldn't answer any of my questions, doc Berkowitz advised me to make yet another appointment in two more weeks to see my regular doctor. He also instructed me to continue to wear my immobilizer 24/7 until said appointment, since it "didn't specify in my chart otherwise." Yeeeah, that didn't happen. I decided to take the logical route, and follow the instructions I was given during my last surgery; wear it only sparingly if out walking a lot. Seemed better than doctor Pompous' advice.

      So today, another two weeks and a day after the stitches came out, I went back in to see my regular doctor. Suuuch a better experience. He answered all my questions and told me I did exactly the right thing about the immobilizer. When asked why I hadn't started physical therapy yet, I had to explain how doctor moron wouldn't give me a script since my chart didn't say anything about that. Dr. Bohl rolled his eyes and sighed. Apparently I wasn't the only patient screwed over two weeks prior. He had a whole separate stack of detailed instructions for every one of his patients coming in, that apparently Dr. Berkowitz had missed entirely. *facepalm*

      Anyway, I have my first physical therapy appointment scheduled and I'm all set to start strengthening again! The only downside I found out today, is that the numbness on the right side of my knee is apparently permanent. When my doctor made the incision down the middle of my knee, he cut through the nerve that goes from the inside of the knee to the outside. Technically I should have no feeling in my left knee either, from the same surgery I had on it 2 years ago. But by some fluke, the feeling came back in that one. Hopefully that means it will in the right one too?

      Okay, since I won't be doing a whole new list this saturday, I figured I'd do an update on some of the shoulds I've already listed. One of my readers commented in my last blog post about how some shoulds are hard to keep a firm grasp on, without having a more specific goal or timeframe to complete it in. This is extremely true, especially for me. I replied how I either need to set an exact time on which to start each should, or else I need to begin immediately after the idea enters into my head.

      I followed the latter strategy with my Hawaii scrapbook. Pretty much as soon as I posted the idea in my blog, I went out to Target and bought an empty scrapbook with a few accessories for it, then had 90 photos printed out the next day. Now I'm about halfway through a beautiful 20 page Hawaiian vacation scrapbook.

      With my other shoulds, I've tried to set timeframes and exact dates to accomplish them in. My ice skating should will obviously take place once winter hits. My vegetarian should I've set for the date of July 5th, the day after I gorge myself sick on holiday cookout food, hopefully making me want to avoid the stuff for a while. My drawing should will be accomplished soon. I got the small blue sketchbook in the mail two days ago, and now I'm just waiting on the new clutch that I'll be carrying it around in to arrive. As soon as it does, I'll be switching my wallet things into it, and the first time I go out somewhere, I'm making it a goal to draw something - anything - before I get back home. I figured if I do that each time I leave the house, I'll get myself back into the swing of things.

      And now I'll end this post on a positive note, my Things I Love Thursday this week:

      • The beautiful sunny and 70 days we've continued to have
      • Starting and already almost accomplishing one of my shoulds, my awesome Hawaii scrapbook (this week's TILT picture, above)
      • Fun shopping trips to Target and 5 Below with Katy-kinz
      • Craigslist
      • Getting most of the arrangements made for our party next week
      • All of the people who are coming to said party - I'm surprised so many confirmed already!
      • Enjoying a trip to Lakewood park for the first time this season
      • Root beer floats
      • Discovering a new sandwich shop that I'm immediately in love with (Cyclones Pitas in Fairview Park... I highly recommend it!) 
      • Parade the Circle
      • Seeing a bunch of old Case friends again at the parade, and the fact that they're all still in Cleveland for the summer <3
      • Talented artists who help to continuously expand my art collection (aka, art buying addiction)
      • Late night Portal gaming with Matt
      • Having an old tree in the backyard cut down, and thoroughly enjoying the 4 buff, tanned, shirtless men who climbed up branch by branch and hauled each massive log out on their shoulders
      • The 10 adorable fish who now reside in our pond
      • Music - the universal language of the soul
      • So You Think You Can Dance, Master Chef, and Game of Thrones all being on tv right now
      • Old movies with new friends
      • My mom forever being my biggest supporter, confidant, and friend
      • And last but not least, my best friend, Markos, graduating from the Cleveland Heights Police Academy, the place he's been busting his butt in for the past 4 months. I almost cried at the ceremony today. Congratulations, Markos! Love you!

      Sunday, June 12, 2011

      Should Do (Sunday): Should I willingly face a needle??

      Current mood: Busy (is that a mood?)
      Current song: Latin Soul Syndicate - El Gitano Del Amor

      Thanks to Parade the Circle, then hanging out with Matt all night taking up my entire saturday, I am forced to post this a day late. But hey, I'm not complaining. Going to my favorite summer event with some of the most awesome friends ever = a great way to spend a saturday.

      I was going to focus on just my knee shoulds this week, but I've been thinking about a few others lately that I wanna get down on virtual paper. These range in difficultly and time frame in which they can be accomplished, but within the next year or so, they are all achievable... theoretically. It just all depends on my will power. Case in point, my first should.

      • I should get a tattoo ------ Now, if you know me even the slightest bit, you'll know that my pain tolerance, out of 100, is somewhere between 3 and -27. So why would I willingly put myself through anywhere between 1 to 4 hours of repeated needle stabbings? Well, aside from being a total baby, I'm also a very creative person. I'm the kind of person who, even if I could, would never switch to contacts, simply because I love picking out creative glasses frames that represent me. I love art in every sense of form, including body art, and I love expressing my love for art. So despite the pain factor, I have always wanted to get a tattoo, and lately I've been seriously considering it. The two I would possibly get (either separate or together) are two of my favorite animals:

      The first is a wolf. There are a million wolf tattoo designs out there, but I immediately fell in love with this one. One guess as to why.... yes, it's blue. It's also watery looking, which is my favorite element. I love everything about water, in all its forms, and not just because water is blue. The wolf also has a personal significance to me, as it reminds me of the one person I was closest with in this world. Many people get tattoos as a tribute to someone; this would be my tribute to him.

      My second choice, and second favorite animal, is a tiger. Again, millions of tiger tattoos available, but I liked the tribal-ness of this one. Although the details of this one are still subject to change. Also, I'd want to get it with red shading, so its design would look like it was flaming, as an antithesis to the watery wolf above. Canine/feline, water/fire, blue/red, male/female... you can see why I'm considering getting them side by side. 

      As for a location, I'm thinking behind my shoulder. It's a more fleshy spot, and thus less painful. I'd also make them relatively small, so it's both less painful and also easily covered. This should is still a big maybe, thanks to lack of bravery and lack of money... but it's been an ongoing should for me, and anything that I've been thinking of for so long should really be addressed eventually...

      My other shoulds are not as detailed, nor as complicated to decide upon, but they are as follows:

      • I should start to draw again ------- When I was little, I loved to draw. I still have notebook upon notebook of pictures I drew throughout my childhood. Art was always my favorite subject in school, right up to the last art class I took, during my senior year of high school. I'll frequently pass my stack of sketch books and think to myself "I should draw again", but it never happens. Probably because of lack of inspiration. I forced myself to sit down the other day and drew out a picture of a wolf, but I was pretty rusty, since it was a forced effort. For me, the desire to draw is a spur of the moment kind of thing, that requires a sketchbook on hand at a moment's notice. That's part of the reason why I just bought a really pretty clutch on Etsy, so I can keep a small sketchbook and pen with me where ever I go. And also, thanks to Etsy, I just ordered a pocket sized sketchbook the other day (like this picture, but blue). Hopefully it'll help ignite my old passion.

      • I should learn to ice skate ------- This is one of my knee shoulds. As soon as I started middle school, I finally became brave enough to try to learn how to ice skate... but before I really got the hang of it, my first knee dislocation occurred, thus shattering my confidence and ability to ice skate ever again. Nine years later, and I officially am free of all knee problems! (except for slight arthritis.) Now that I don't have to worry about the possibility of falling and dislocating my knee again, I am free to finally learn something that my 4 year old neighbor has already learned. Her parents make their own ice rink in the backyard every winter so their older kids can practice hockey... so come this winter, I am going to be out on that ice, and 4 year old Sofia is going to be my teacher. 

      • I should do a creative project ------- All this talk of art and creativity has my creative juices flowing. Thanks to this blog, my urge to write has been satiated some, although I've been looking back on an old story I was writing and am considering continuing it. But writing isn't enough. Along with writing (and hopefully drawing again soon), I want something else to keep my fingers busy. My friend Sabrina is always making stuff, usually involving cute little stuffed animals, and she does it all by hand. That seems so fun to me! I'm not good with a needle, but I have a few other things I can do, like finally put together the bracelet I intended to make when I bought a bunch of beads back in March. Or I have really been wanting to make a scrapbook of my vacation to Hawaii. I already have scrapbooking material from when I made one of my senior year of high school. And I have plenty of little souvenirs all ready to add to it. Every time I go to an art fair, which is unhealthily frequent, I always think "I could make that" and "oh wow, I should do something like this." Well this summer, I am going to start.

      Well, that's all for this week. As my last should, I'll just say this... I should learn not to write out so much detail every time I blog, especially when I only intended on making a simple bulleted list. Oh well, that's probably one should that will never be accomplished...

      Thursday, June 9, 2011

      Things I Love Thursday: Wolves, Friends, and Etsy!

      Current mood: Excited
      Current song: Nickelback - If Everyone Cared
      Currently reading: A Storm of Swords by GRRM

      Wow, I can't believe it's already been a week since my last TILT. My how time flies. Well, this past week was certainly full of fun activities... but let's start with this week's TILT picture; puppies! Though more specifically here, arctic wolf pups. I love dogs of all kinds, but my real passion is for wolves. I've been thinking a lot about wolves lately, between the direwolves in the Song of Ice and Fire books, my consideration of getting a tattoo and deciding on it being of a wolf, and my desire to start drawing again, with my first attempt being a sketch of a wolf. So it seems appropriate that my TILT picture of the week be of wolf puppies.

      Now onto all the things I loved from last Thursday to this:

      • More enjoyment of each and every warm summer day we've had
      • Spending the week helping to set up for the garage sale (starting today through sunday.. drop by to see us and buy stuff!)
      • Making an appointment with my ortho to start physical therapy!
      • Spending lots of awesome time with my friends
        • Sleepover with Sabrina, making rice crispie treats, along with watching old 90's movies and tv shows
        • Going out to see the new X-Men movie with Markos and Sabrina, then staying up till 3am playing parcheesi
        • Enjoying a wonderful surprise visit from Samia and little Alexis-Marie
      • Using my free movie ticket to see the Hangover Part II finally!
      • Fixing the pond for my mom so the waterfall flows down the rocks a lot nicer
      • Writing up my first Should Do Saturday, along with already jotting down ideas for my next one
      • Talking with an old crush of mine and finally feeling my self esteem go back on the rise
      • Being able to bend my knee more freely - the stiffness is finally fading out
      • Making an official facebook event for our summer party!
      • Allowing myself to further be consumed by Etsy, but not caring one bit, because it's helping me accomplish one of my shoulds that will be posted this Saturday

      • And last but not least, picking out a pretty set of gothic, renaissance-like gloves (also on Etsy) to go along with my outfit for the Great Lakes Medieval Faire coming up soon! Hopefully I'll have enough money for them starting next month. Damn you Etsy and your drain on my bank account...

      Well there's this week's list of things I love. Thanks to Things I Love Thursday, I'm starting to feel even more peppy than I already had, and when I only focus on and recap on all the fun accomplishments I made all week, I'm feeling my last shreds of negativity begin to melt away. 

      What do you love?

      Saturday, June 4, 2011

      Should Do Saturday: I should make a list of shoulds

      Current mood: Contemplative
      Current song: Adele - Rolling in the Deep

      I've been thinking a lot lately about "shoulda"s. It started with reading a friend's recent blog post *coughJencough* about her experience with yoga. (Jen, if you're reading this.. you're a fountain of inspiration. I swear, you should give speeches. =] ) Yoga began as a "shoulda" for her, as it has been for me for a couple of years now. The difference is, she turned her shoulda into a dida!

      I have a lot of "shoulds." Not a day goes by where I don't think to myself, or my mom, or a friend "Man, I really should _______" It's really easy to say a shoulda, but another thing entirely to actually act upon one, especially large goals. That's why new years resolutions are so popular. 

      The best way to make your shoulda a dida, is to make a list out of it. If you have a large list, set a time frame in which to get them all done in. I don't know if I'm at a stage in my life to make a "100 goals in 365 days" kind of list just yet, though I really would like to one day. But I have a few main shoulds on mind that I would like to see myself accomplish, possibly this summer. Many of them involve my newly fixed knee, so they will take a while to build up to. But I also have a few that are achievable at any time... all I need to do is set my mind to them. And what's the best way to do that, again? Why yes, a list. You're listening.

      So, inspired by my new Things I Love Thursday adventure, I got the idea to make a Should Do Saturday, where each saturday I list a few things that I would like to see myself try, both big and small. Small things I can attempt right away, whereas larger goals I can take time to plan and feel out. The point is, getting them down on virtual paper will give me a constant reminder of all the everyday shouldas I think about, but never stay for very long in my mind. 

      For my first SDS, I'll focus on one particular should I've been thinking about lately. I've been considering that I should become a vegetarian. This is something I have never considered before, thanks to my insatiable enjoyment of every kind of meat (that is socially acceptable) there is. But like most of my ideas and schemes and new adventures, they stem from impulse and spontaneity. This idea started from a book. 

      After finishing off the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (fiiiinally), I decided to take a break and pick up where I left off in Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat, by Hal Herzog. If you enjoy anything dealing with culture, sociological issues, or animals... GO GET THIS BOOK. I haven't been able to put it down, it's so so interesting. (It even has a chapter involving gender roles with animals... hellooo, is that me or what?) Anyway, in the book, Herzog discusses various anthrozoologic issues, such as why we love some animals but hate others, why we keep animals as pets and how far back does that go, what causes fads in dog ownership, do children who abuse animals become violent adults, etc. 

      The parts that I have been thinking a lot about lately go along with my consideration of vegetarianism. Herzog discusses a lot about the various cultural norms of animal consumption, like why is it okay to eat certain animals in some cultures, while in others it's taboo? In America, we find it repulsive to think of eating rats or snakes or even the family dog, but in other regions of the world, it's the norm. In the most recent chapter I read, he brings up the hypocritical way in how people outrage about the cruelty of cock fighting, but don't think twice about the hellish conditions the chickens we eat live in, not to mention the way in which they are slaughtered (trust me, it's brutal). 

      I've felt bad sometimes in the past about the meat I consume, especially when visiting farms and interacting with cows and pigs and sheep up close. I can't stand the sight of an animal being slaughtered, even in the most humane way, nor could I ever do the task myself (I guess a career in farming is out). But as long as I don't picture the animals as I'm eating them, or I choose to naively think that this particular piece of cow I'm eating died peacefully in its sleep of natural causes, I'm able to get through my 15 ounce steak with a clean conscience. Herzog points out that most Americans, not just me, have to try to mask the fact that they are consuming animals, to get though each meal guilt free. That's why the English language has adopted words like beef, pork and poultry. It sounds a lot better than saying "I'd like a slice of cow, some pigs, and a cute little birdy, please."

      While this book is fascinating and eye-opening, it is not the only reason I am considering becoming a vegetarian. I could easily just turn a blind eye and keep enjoying my meat, blissfully unaware of the actual process it took to get to my plate. However, the number two reason people become vegetarians (the number one involving bleeding heart animal activists who don't like to eat "anything with a face"), is to live a more healthy lifestyle. It is medical fact that meat is bad for you on a number of levels, unless you are the type of person who can eat small amounts of the healthiest part of chicken and some fish, cooked a certain way, without adding any salts, butters, or seasonings - basically, flavor - to it. But I am certainly not one of those people. My chicken better be fried, my bacon sizzling, my fish dripping with butter, and my steak rare enough that I can still hear the cow moo (talk about insensitivity toward animal rights).

      Lately I have been actively trying to eat healthier, both for my figure and for my heart and bones. More fruits and veggies, drinking more milk, less junk food and chocolate consumption. The one thing I have not done, however, is decrease my meat intake... especially red meat. Like the average college student, I have slightly bad cholesterol levels. But I'm sure most of that is due to my extreme love for steak. This is another reason I thought about going veggie. I'm not the kind of person who can just cut back on something... I basically have to go cold turkey. So vegetarianism seems like a good course of action for me. I'll feel better about not participating in the cruel slaughter of animals, and I'll also be taking a good step towards my health, especially since it's statistically proven that vegetarians are also more active and fit and generally healthier than carnivores.

      Becoming a vegetarian seems like it could be one of those immediately achievable shouldas, but there are a few factors against me right now. First, it's the beginning of summer. Summer means barbecues. Barbecues mean hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken, ribs, steak... all the food I love that I've missed over the long winter. I feel like I want to indulge in at least a little of my favorite summer meats, at least until the 4th of July holiday is through. The second, less shallow, reason I shouldn't cut out meat just yet, is that I'm still recovering from major surgery. My physical therapy begins soon, and I'll need the iron and protein of meat to help strengthen my knee back up. I don't think beans and peanuts will cut it right now. So I figure that the holiday actually serves as a good start date. By July 5th, I'll have recovered well enough, and probably be sick of bbq food by that point anyway.

      So there's my first SDS. It's not too large of a goal, it will just take some time to truly get into the mindset of. But I'm excited. And I also can't wait to make my next Should Do Saturday post! I'm thinking of making a list of all the physical activities I'll be able to try now that I have 2 working knees again. I'm sure this is not the first time someone has had this idea (it's basically just a glorified to-do list), but I'm feeling good about it. Feel free to use this to think about and make your own SDS's!