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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cause and Effect

In the wake of the shooting in the kindergarten in Connecticut there is widespread speculation about what could have be done to prevent it-and what we can do now to avoid these things in the future.  Its no secret that America loves guns.  As a born and raised Texan who has been to the shooting range a fair few times, I'm hesitant myself to say we should take the same anti-gun stance that so many other countries have adopted; but its just logical; if there aren't any guns, there aren't any shootings.  That said, I don't think our right to bear arms should be taken away.  I think there should be restrictions (age, mental health, gun safety tests), but I think that the majority of gun owners in the US are responsible and don't own guns with the intention to cause harm. The only reason that I bring this up, is because I think that the United States government* is shifting the focus from gun control to mental health issues.  Articles like this one: http://gawker.com/5968818/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother     are manipulating the American people to shift the blame from lack of gun control to poor resources for the mentally ill. Don't get me wrong, I agree wholeheartedly that healthcare and support for the mentally ill and their families are desperately needed; but this is something that will take years to solve. Even if a solution is found, and support services are increased,  there's still no guarantee that it will prevent a tragedy like this. If everyone has easy access to purchasing firearms, then there is still a much greater likelihood that history will continue to repeat itself.  Restricted access to who is able to buy these weapons is the only way to prevent this.  The simple truth is, people are complicated and unpredictable and even with support and treatment, the worst can still happen.  Guns are another story. Restricted access quickly and effectively ends the issue.


*  Why would they shift the focus?  I don't know, why do they do anything? Money and power most likely. I realize that its a bit of a conspiracy theory but the way i see it, there is nothing to be gained from allowing this to continue. How many more shootings need to occur before the government steps in and does something?


Friday, December 14, 2012

Say...



Its true-fiancial aid should be given to those who are already fortunate, and those who have had disadvantage, or come from single parent families, and have known struggle should just keep on struggling. I mean-they're at least used to it, so why help now?  They had enough pluck to get accepted to a University, they'll get through it if they skip a few meals to pay the bills; besides, I bet a lot of single moms have thousands of dollars stored away that they're just going to blow on shoes and handbags any way.  The only flaw in this is that the author used "your" once when he/she should have used "you're."  So I guess we know the reason why they didn't qualify for a scholarship...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ongoing Education

I have lived with a whole lot of people in my lifetime.  I've probably had around 200 roommates if you count nights spent in hostel dorms, which I do, because that was my life for three years.  I've learned a lot from these people. In the last year I have lived with two British women, one Indian woman, and one Italian woman, and here are the lessons they have taught me...

Philosophies from the East (Or Lessons from an Indian):

1. Aura cleansing is important.  You might be looking particularly good one day and attract a lot of attention-a lot of positive, but probably some negative too (people sipping on hatorade, no doubt).  It's important to aura cleanse because you don't want to carry around all that energy other people have thrown at you. It's bad for your health.  The best ways to cleanse your aura are to burn sage (dried herbs are best, but if you can't get them, incense is a good alternative).  Waft the smoke up and down the front and back of the body, going all the way down the arms, under the feet, and over the head. Another way to aura cleanse is to take a handful of salt and do the same, touching the salt to the soles of your feet once done, then throw the now dirty salt into an intersection- preferably an intersection that has three or more roads meeting there.

2. The universe is listening.Whether or not you believe it is benevolent or mischievous, it is there, and it is just waiting to either bless you with something or teach you a lesson. In my experience, its pretty benevolent. I often find money in the street, but i think that always happens to me because I use it to buy lunch for the person I'm with, so the universe helps me out, cause it knows I'll be cool about it.  If you're a dick, you're probably the one who lost that money in the first place with the aid of the Universe- so hey, thanks for the cash.

3. Balance and order inevitable... but you make life a lot easier if you help it rather than hinder it. Don't let your clothes even dry inside out, much less fold them and put them away like that. If you lose your gloves, don't worry- remember lesson 2, and wait, you'll find a scarf or someone will move to a new town and ask you if you want their gloves. Just relax, do what needs doing, and if something goes wrong, just keep breathing until it goes right again.

4. Delicious curry can be simple. First, saute chopped onions and tomatoes until the onions are clear and the tomato is paste like, then add your spices. I like to use garam masala, paprika, chilli powder, turmeric (half as much turmeric as everything else though), salt, and cumin. Then toss your chicken into the pot. Chicken on the bone is best- let the chicken brown, then add garlic and ginger paste and mix. It'll look like brown sludge with chicken in it. Now you have two options, you can add water and let it simmer and thicken to the consistency you like, or you can add coconut milk for added flavor. Either way, make sure you cover the entire contents of the pot in liquid. If you don't have enough coconut milk, add water til its all covered and stir.  Make sure everything is well mixed, then reduce to simmer and wait. mmmmmmm.

Mamma Knows Best (or lessons from an Italian)

1. How to be a Domestic Goddess:  First, make sure everything is clean, all the time. It's not as hard it seems.  If something is dirty, clean it. It doesn't actually take that long or require that much mental or physical effort. Second, feed everyone, all the time; whether or not they are hungry, if you make pasta-they will eat. Finally, keep the kitchen organized, it makes your life easier.

2. Mamma and Grandma know best.  Follow the recipe, wash your sheets once a week, and keep your room clean.  Again,simple philosophies that have been handed down from generation to generation, that are pretty easy to grasp but for some reason we just can't do it.  Do it. You'll feel better.

3. The secret to being naturally beautiful.  Eat pasta (no more than 100 grams per serving), smother it in tomato sauce, and don't worry about it.  Don't wear a lot of makeup. Don't fight your hair's natural state of being.  Walk instead of taking the bus.

4.  Italian Pasta is all about the sauce.  Simple tomato sauce is delicious and easy.  Get canned tomato chunks and pour into a pot on medium heat, add a can of water and a healthy dose of olive oil. Simmer with a lid on the pan. Add a clove or two of garlic and blend well with a hand blender. Let it simmer with the lid off, and thicken.  Once its reached the desired consistency, add salt and pepper to taste, and put the lid back on. boil your pasta (fresh is best if you can get it). When its soft but still has some bite to it, take it out and mix it into the tomato sauce in a warmed sauced pan, then put on your plate and add another ladle full of sauce. Top with grated Parmesan.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reasons why the British aren't as smart as they think they are.

1. They judge age based on height.  This phenomenon is something I have experienced first hand. I am 5'10 and have been since the tender age of 12. 99% of the the time when entering a bar or purchasing alcohol, no one bothers to ID me, however they will ID my peers who (no offence) are clearly my age or older. When questioned about this policy every single bouncer/cashier replied with "She's short."

2. They think they know everything about America.  Ok brits-or world for that matter; You may have seen every Hollywood blockbuster since 1985, You may know all about our electoral system and our foreign policy, You may have even been to LA, New York, or Vegas, but TRUST ME you've barely scratched the surface of American culture and life. To assume that you know everything there is to know about a place after popping in a DVD, googling the Bush Doctrine and spending a week and a half gambling and drinking in a dimly lit casino makes you an ignorant, pompous, ass.

3. They claim they own the English Language (and America is ruining it). First of all-English was originally a Germanic Language spoken in Germany and the British stole it, much like they took Scotland, Northern Ireland, India, and Hong Kong. Then a bunch of other Germanic influences came and changed things up, and the English language underwent a make over.  Then it underwent another makeover when the British got cozy with the Scandinavians. English is great because it evolves. It SURVIVES because it evolves. The fact that Americans (and Canadians, and New Zealanders, and Australians, and Scottish, and Irish) speak English and put their own spin on it is a good thing. If we didn't speak English, you might actually have to learn another language yourself, and just think what a hassle that would be!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Desiderata

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.
    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.
    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself.
    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.

    Max Ehrmann, 1927.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Placement Misadventures

For the last 3 months I have been on a placement, which is basically just an unpaid internship where I do a lot of extra work for the university, like write reflectively about myself each week, and then do it again but make the paper really long, and then do it again but make the last paper shorter and fill it with more variety in content. REAAALLLLLLYYYYY interesting stuff I assure you, but all confidential so I shan't be sharing any of it.  I forgot how self involved you have to be when completing a social work degree. Any way, I've been on a placement and along the way I have had a few misadventures which I feel might be most entertaining and share worthy, here they are, I present to you the stories of....

The Burnt Chicken Smell: Let me set the scene.  My placement is massive, its in a three story building and the only word I can think of to describe it is "sprawling." It houses all the social workers, occupational therapists, and CNA's that serve southwest and south central Edinburgh and a reablement team in addition to a big admin team and some receptionists.  It was a dreary Friday afternoon, and anyone who knows me, knows that I won't wake up early enough to make breakfast let alone pack a lunch. So 12pm rolls around I head to the grocery store to get my usual. Scotmid usually has a decent variety of sandwiches or wraps but I just wasn't feeling it that day.  I don't what possessed me, or what I was thinking, but I decided that not only was it not a health risk to cook raw chicken in a microwave, it was perfectly acceptable. So I buy some chicken breasts, head back to the office and put them in the microwave for 10 minutes, my train of thought being they'd take 20 minutes on a stove, so half that time would be sufficient in a microwave. I put the chicken in and leave because I need to do something in the office, and then I head back to check on the chicken after a few minutes. To get from my office to the second floor kitchen I have to go through a door into a foyer and then through another door and down the hall.  The instant I go through the second door I can smell my mistake. It smells like a mixture of burnt flesh and cardboard. It's disgusting. You'd think I had gotten a lamb kebab in a take away box and then set it on fire.  I got to the kitchen and wrapped the charred chicken into a few napkins and then threw them in the bin. Then I tried desperately to open the kitchen window for 5 minutes, not realising in my desperation that the window opens from the bottom, not the top. So I give up and head back to my office, hoping not to see any one and get caught.  Unfortunately its the kind of smell that really lingers on the clothes, so I dragged the scent with me into my office. 20 minutes later a coworker comes to the door and just stares into the room at me and the other student in silence. When I finally get up the courage to make eye contact, he responds with "What did you do?"  I realise I've been caught, and I can't pin it on the other student, because she's in the room.  I explain my mistake, offer my deepest apologies, and then pray the day ends soon. As I run errands throughout the 2nd half of the day I notice the smell spreading to both top and bottom floors, large offices that usually remain open have their doors to the hall shut and their windows to the rain outside open.  As I leave I note that even the reception area smells faintly of burnt chicken and the door is propped open.  I already knew that out of the two of us I was most likely considered the scatter brained one, but now I had forever dubbed myself "the girl who microwaves chicken."

Crickets: I have multiple alarms set up on my my phone. One for morning, one early evening one in case I fall asleep at home, and one that varies depending on the day. Over the weekend I had decided to go on a shopping spree on ebay. I was a very good girl and researched all of the products I was interested in and I made sure to find the best priced items. I was able to get everything by Sunday save one item; a dead sea mud soap bar that promises anti aging properties and treatment for blemishes, obviously a must buy.  It didn't have a "buy it now" price and I knew a bidding war was on the horizon.  Monday lunch time I'm happy to report, I won the bid war and pimple/wrinkle free skin shall be mine. I unfortunately did not turn off the alarm I had set to notify me that my item was ending soon and i left my phone and the alarm, on and in the office the next day from noon to 1. This is the kind of alarm that gets increasingly louder the longer you ignore it. When I got back to the office I noticed the door had been shut, which is really unusual.  Then I heard them. The loudest, angriest crickets outside of San Marcos (a town in Texas which has a notorious cricket infestation every summer/fall.) I had to apologise to everyone on the floor about my phone, and because I couldnt come up with any half decent lie; tell the truth. I was in a bid war on ebay, didnt turn off my reminder. My bad. 

So now I have assailed 2 of the 5 senses of most of my coworkers. I might have also done some damage to the other three but if I have I honestly don't want to know about it. I'm afraid I'll be remembered as the smelly, loud, American. Typical.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lassies reply

So this past saturday I attended and participated in my first Burns night supper.  I ate haggis (tastes like stuffing mixed with ground beef) and did a speech. Traditionally there is a lads toast to the lassies, and the lassies reply.  The gist of each toast is to make fun of the other gender.  It can rhyme, but doesn't have to. I was asked to do the lassies reply, and here is what I said....

"First I’d like to thank our friend Jon for so charmingly and delicately bringing to light so many aspects of woman’s character. Not many men have the courage and ability to be so forthcoming and tactful at the same time.  So thank you Jon, not only have you made it clear the areas in which men struggle to find common ground with women, you have also shed some light on why you are over 40 and have never been married.

When Rowena asked me to provide the reply for the lassies tonight I was hesitant.  I love men.  So many men work all day, from 9-5 to provide for their families and then come home and put dinner on the table and sort out the house and take care of the kids and….oh wait-that’s women who do all that.

Well, men are great at other things.   I never like to go on a road trip without a man in the party. I hate to say it ladies-but men really are better map readers.  Only the male mind could conceive of one inch equaling a hundred miles.

Men also have gumption!  When women get depressed we go shopping, or eat chocolate, we call our mothers on the phone. But men! Men invade neighboring countries and impose their own culture and government on a foreign people.

My only real issue with men is that they age so much better than us women. it’s a well known fact girls, that men become more attractive as they age, while our beauty just fades.  Hair that used to grow on their heads starts to sprout in a variety of new and exciting places…like out of their ears and noses.  The chest hair that marks a virile man and makes women weak in the knees begins to spread and becomes back hair as well. Years of sports and hard work begin to show on their bodies as knees and shoulders begin to give out, giving them a distinguished and sexy limp or stoop.  Yes ladies, we are the lucky ones.


All joking aside, I'd rather live with men than without them, especially the ones in this room. To the Lads!"


Short, and not so sweet, but entertaining I think.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Guantanamo Bay

So a while back I said I'd do an experiment and see if crazy or bitchy worked better on men folk.  I decided to go for crazy first, and it did not work out.

Him- So where are you from?
me- Not canada.
Him- Yeah? Which state?
Me- one of the ones everyone knows.
Him- You're going to make me guess?
me- yep.
Him- Give me a hint.
me- We all love guns. I don't own a gun but my dad used to take me to a shooting range. I have great aim.
him- well, fuck I'm a bit out of my depth.
me- Yeah, probably.
Him- You're from the south?
me- yes...
him- Texas? Louisiana? Tennessee?
me- Texas. You're welcome.
Him- So you have great aim...should I be careful then? If I piss you off will you shoot me?
me- No, I wouldn't shoot you. I'd report you to Obama and he'd deploy 10,000 US troops to track you down and then we'd have you locked up in Guantanamo bay.
Him- Well I'll be sure and avoid your bad side then.

I haven't heard from him since then. So next I'll be bitchy. I'm not really sure how to go about it. I'm thinking over confident and condescending?  any way...stay tuned.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tyra Banks

I'm feeling egotistical. I imagine this is what tyra banks feels like all the time. So this blog is a collection of things that have been dedicated to me by friends.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y68PtGGluaQ&feature=related

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10100313158395157&set=a.798710421047.2423214.29600152&type=3&theater

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=508993103609&set=t.29600152&type=2&theater

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.511039381117.2013791.29601983&type=1


Sunday, January 1, 2012

NYE

RESOLUTIONS FOR 2012
1. Watch more cat videos on youtube.
2. Plan and then win a moon walking competition.
3. Burst into song in a random public place and get a crowd of people to join in.
4. Quote song lyrics and comedians like its my own material at least 3x a week.
5. Watch from season 1 to the very end every episode of LOST.