Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Four Letter Words

A quick update, Duke is healing, and is still a very friendly, happy and outgoing dog.

Dealing with his escape and attack is one of the few times in my life where swearing probably would have been appropriate.  I may have even uttered a four letter work under my breath when he slipped the harness and I first started chasing him.  However, in our world today I think that swear words are extensively overused.

I'm not against swearing all together.  I think there are moments when nothing else but a curse word will do to express the strong emotion of the moment, but the way these words are casually being used in everyday conversations, musics, and movies these days is frustrating to me.  For example, if you watch something that is rated R and you here the F-word dropped every other sentence you're not going to react when the characters use it in an extreme moment of anger or panic.  If you watch something rated PG-13, and they use the one allotted F-bomb in at a crucial point, it adds emphasis.  You perk up and think "Wow!  Something is really happening now".

I think it's the same in everyday conversation.  I hear kids at the college I go to casually throwing off f### and s###, with no emphasis, or change in tone.  It makes me kind of sad.  It's a kind of a deterioration of language.  If we use these words everyday for no special purpose, what do we do then when we want to exclaim something with strong emotional content?  Are we just suppose to scream incoherently?  There is no shock factor anymore.

As for music, I just heard someones ringtone go off in the library and the second or third word was f######, and no one else reacted.  I don't think it's appropriate to hear that in a public place, much less the library where we do have policies against swear words, but because it has become so common, there isn't any social stigma attached and therefore the patron gets away with it, being reprimanded only by myself for not turning his phone off before coming into the library.  I like to think that even a few years ago he would have at least gotten a disgusted look from the other patrons.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Responsible Pet Parenting

Meet Duke:

He's a lovable goofball (much like his owner), that like car rides, long walks, and licking me no matter how many times I tell him no.  I'm not a dog person, I think they are needy, slobbery, smelly, and a lot more work in terms of pet care than your average cat.  I tolerate this one better than most because he is (mostly) well behaved, doesn't drool too much, and happens to belong to one of my best friends.

This friend of mine, is one of the best pet parents I know.  He truly loves his fur babies and takes excellent care of them.  From time to time I've been known to help out with friends pets when they're traveling or even just stuck at work.  Yesterday was one of those days, it was hot and muggy and the potential for rain was there so I went over to take Duke and Hermione (another small, mostly not annoying dog) inside after they had spent the morning outside in their nice little fenced in enclosure.

Duke does have one particularly bad habit that my friend hasn't been able to train out of him so far.  He likes to run, and does not come back when he is called.  In the process of trying to get the two dogs inside Duke managed to wiggle out of his harness and before I could turn around he had ran halfway across the neighborhood. I thought perhaps if I could keep him in eyesight, he would wear himself out (hah!) and I would be able to slip the leash back on him and return him home.  So I gave chase, walking, letting him zigzag all over, waiting for him to let me get close.

After a few blocks he started to approach a house where there were some people outside.  I called out to grab him!  Before I could get close enough to stop him, Duke got too close to the dog that was chained in their yard, and it attacked...
At the vet office, waiting to be seen
Duke's injury all stitched up.
I think you can tell a lot about people by seeing how they care for their pets.  This is what I observed in this particular families yard:  There were two pit bulls or pit mixes, chained up outside, in such as way that their areas didn't overlap.  All the grass and plant growth was completely gone from the circles around where the dogs were tethered.  From this I would guess that those dogs are outside on those chains a majority of the time.  Since they can't even be close to one another I would say they are probably quite aggressive to other dogs and possibly other animals.  I will admit that Duke was loose, and on the other person's property, but I don't condone the keeping of dogs that attack without provocation.

I've spent enough time with Duke to know that he is an incredibly friendly dog, and is safe to have around other dogs and cats.  My assumption is when he went up to the dog chained outside it was to say "hi, wanna play?" not  "hey, let's try and kill each other".  Also after the day was done we went back by the house and both dogs were still chained up outside, leading me to believe the one that attacked did not need the extensive veterinary care that Duke did.

So here is my point after this long and kind of sad story.  If you are going to have a pet, especially a dog, you need to take the time to socialize them, with a variety of people and other dogs.  Do not just leave them chained up outside all the time.  That isn't a pet, it's a living lawn ornament and a poor one at that.  It's wrong and cruel.  If you're going to have a pet, bring them into your home, truly make them part of your family.  I also want to say that if you're going to have a type of dog that was specifically bred for years to be a guard and fighting dog, that you need to spend extra time and effort in training and socializing.  Don't assume because the dog is good with your family/friends/kids/other pets that it won't attack strangers and other animals.

Dogs are not low maintenance pets.  If you want something that requires minimal care, get a fish.

Friday, June 27, 2014


Of all the food allergies and sensitivities, I happen to have an issue with chocolate.

Sad, I know.  When I tell people about it I often get a response something along the lines of 'how can you live without chocolate'!  Honestly when it makes your stomach knot up it's quite easy to pass up a cookie, brownie, or a devilish piece of chocolate cake.  Still I have my moments, and I'd have to say warm chocolate chip cookies are probably the most tempting.

Chocolate chip, and oatmeal chocolate chip, brought to my work by a very nice friend.  My coworkers loved them.
Most of the time though I don't even think about it.  There are plenty of other perfectly bad for me things that I can eat without painful consequences.  Like sugar cookies and ice cream and donuts.  When I do think about it though, I can't help but notice that the worlds seems to be a little chocolate crazy.

As an example, take the cookies my friend brought for instance.  I've made my fair share of chocolate chip cookies (for other people of course), but when I think of oatmeal cookies, I think oatmeal raisin.  Not oatmeal chocolate chip.  Obviously the baker at the shoppe where my friend got the cookies from doesn't agree with me.

I also think that Ben & Jerry's could make a few more flavors of ice cream that don't feature some sort of chocolate in the mix, and I'd like to see more blondie recipes instead of another rich fudge brownie recipe.

Oh and if my friends could remember that I'm allergic to chocolate, and not tease me with the promise of cookies I can't eat... that would be nice.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

If someone asked me to describe myself one of the things that I might bring up is that I am an introvert, and if you've spent any amount of time with me recently, you might find this hard to believe.  These days my social calendar is a lot fuller than it used to be.  I would say as recently as a year ago, I would go out or spend time with friends maybe once a month.  There were a few close friends from time to time that broke this norm, but it seemed like they were usually very busy themselves, and in one instance, the friend moved away to go to college.  Admirable of course, but it really cut down on the amount of social activities I engaged in for awhile.

Now it seems like I'm doing something almost every week, and with a much wider variety of people.  I go to plays and see movies, I host game nights; the photo above is legit, we played Scrabble and those were the first two words set on the board.  This summer I will be performing in a local musical production at our playhouse, and the rehearsals in the evenings are so much fun I'm bubbly and energetic when I get home from them.  This is very different from the days when I could expect to get through an entire season of a T.V. series in any given week!

Big changes like this don't happen overnight of course.  I've been working on being less introverted ever since I started college roughly five years ago, because I recognized that the key to success in almost any job market is networking.  You can't make contacts if you never talk to anyone, but talking to work colleagues and going to watch a friend perform a album release are two very different things.  

Once you start it's hard to stop too.  Where I used to find myself stressed out by going to events, I now find that if I go a couple of weeks without something to do, I get bored and lethargic.  Not to say that I don't still enjoy some alone time, few things can beat reading a book on a rainy afternoon, but now I'm just as likely to enjoy an evening playing the ever demoralizing yet hilarious Cards Against Humanity, or trying to figure out how to beat a certain friend at Zombie Flux (you know who you are!).

I really appreciate this new change in my life, and all the new friends that I have that make it possible.  This post is dedicated to you.  Thank you!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

You Can Sleep When Your Dead

Finally the Spring 2014 semester is over and I get...less than three weeks of a break before Summer 2014 starts.  On the agenda for the eight-week summer semester:  The Novel, Art Appreciation, and American History II from 1877 on.  All of them online which I'm not terribly excited about, but my scholarship expires in August of this year so I had to finish up the nine credits I needed for my second associates degree before then.

In an effort to get a jump on the short, crammed summer semester, I've started reading the books require d for my class The Novel, which I think is going to be an interesting experience.  Instead of using CampusWeb and Blackboard which are sites and forums set up by the college, we will be using Wikispaces as our assignment upload location and Twitter as our chat forum.  I'm interested to see how this goes and if using twitter makes the discussions more conversational since we can only use 140 characters per tweet.  I've started reading the first of the three books required for the class Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon, and apparently there is a movie based on the novel, which I'm hoping to get and watch after I finish the book.  The other two titles are Moo by Jane Smiley, and  Straight Man by Richard Russo.  The theme of all three books is colleges, students, professors, and intrigue.  Not what I would pick for myself, but certainly more interesting and entertaining than many things I've  had to read for school in the past.

Now in addition to my usual shifts at the library and the intense eight-week summer semester, I have also picked up a second temporary part time job for the summer cleaning dorm rooms, because obviously I enjoy having little to no free time.  My mantra for the last five years has been "Oh I'll take it easy after this next semester".  Yeah right.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One Does Not Simply Avoid Popular Media

As usual I'm late to the party.  This time it's the book and T.V. series Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.

Working in a Library, you get a lot of recommendations from people: "Oh you just have to read this book!", "This show is amazing, you gotta watch it!", "I love this author, have you read anything by them?".

Often times I just say that I'll add it to my list, which at this point is taller than I am, but a lot of things I shrug off for one reason or another.  One of the shows that I was informed several times I just had to watch was Downton Abbey which is a BBC production (Oh BBC, how I love thee, let me count the shows).  It was insanely popular at the Library with the DVDs going out constantly and the reserves on them being several weeks out.

Anyways, I didn't think Downton Abbey would be one that I would ever watch, seeing as how it doesn't have any dragons, aliens, monsters, time lords, high functioning sociopaths, or any of the other things that usually draw me into a T.V. show.  Thanks to a friend though, I ended up watching all three seasons that are currently out on disc, and at the same time watching season four as it was airing on PBS.  I was very surprised at how quickly I became hooked, and now I'm stuck with the rest of the fans waiting almost a whole year for the next season to air.  Perhaps this is why I'm so hesitant to jump on fan bandwagons?

By my reasoning Game of Thrones should have been different.  I love fantasy, it's one of my two favorite genres.  GoT has dragons and swords, royalty and castles, action, adventure, and betrayal!  What more could a girl ask for?  Still for some unknown reason I resisted, even as the books and DVDs went out with patrons week after week.  Once again, a friend has gotten me involved.  It started with the promise to watch the DVDs with a group of people, but it's so hard to get everyone together on a regular basis.  So I picked up the book...and now I'm completely hooked and finding it hard to put it down long enough to get other important things done.  Like schoolwork, exercising, knitting, bathing, sleeping; you get the idea.

I finally starting watching the T.V. series for it yesterday, and it is an amazing story, and whoever is in charge of the gore special effects deserves some sort of award for accuracy, they are stomach churningly realistic.  I'm going to save the final review for when I've finished all the books and caught up with the T.V. series, but initial impressions are that this show is amazing, and will consume many hours of my life in the near future, and as usual...the books are better than the filmed version.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's Not Easy Taking My Problems One at a Time When They Refuse to Get in Line!

When I started my blog, I set a goal for myself of trying to do at least three posts a month.  Anyone who looks back at my Archives can see I haven't done so well with that lately.  I could make all kinds of excuses and lament over my work and school schedule, but the truth is that if I really put my mind to it, I could have met my goal.

So with that in mind, I'm going to try and just jump back in and write something (anything) to try and reach that three posts a month goal again.  Hopefully I'll be able to come up with clever and interesting topics, but if not, you'll get to read posts like this where I ramble on, or I might start sharing homework assignments again.  I'm in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Literature class this semester and one of the papers we are supposed to write can be either a research paper or an original short story.  I'm intrigued by the idea of the short story, but worried that my writing is too mechanical to pull it off successfully.

Oh, and another thing; as I was looking through my posts, I was reminded that I challenged myself to read the NPR's Top 100 Science-Fiction & Fantasy Book Challenge.  I'm still working on this, though I haven't had a chance to finish a book for pleasure since the last one I posted a review for (Contact).  I did however read Frankenstein for my class and I am nearly finished with Dracula (though it's not on the list!), so one more book and I will be at twenty-five total, and a quarter of the way through the challenge!