Dead Poet’s Society

Over the years I’ve seen many clips from “Dead Poet’s Society” but never taken the time to watch the film in it’s entirety – I finally watched it the other day and am perturbed with myself for not doing so sooner.

The movie made me think…am I sucking the marrow out of life? Am I living deliberately?

I live quite a good life and I think that is evident through my blog. I grew up in a good home with great parents and a wonderful family. My only true complaint about my job is that I sit at a desk for the majority of the time. I went bungee jumping last weekend for fuck’s sake…but am I “sucking the marrow out of life”? AM I living “deliberately”?

In order to live deliberately I need a plan and that is a hard thing to make. My friend Stephanie has her life planned up until the day she dies with different outcomes depending on when her husband dies (the men in his family have mostly died in their 70’s while the women in her family live into their 90’s). She lives very deliberately – she plans for everything in life. Last year they knew they wanted to have a baby this year so they paid off every single debt they had and put money away. She worked many many hours some weeks for the plan to work. Now she’s 7 months pregnant and won’t be at work for the next 6 months but they’ll be more than fine. They are going to have 2 children who will be 5 years apart and every moment of their lives until they turn 18 is also mapped out with different scenarios based on different decisions. This girl is a planner.

I am not a planner.

But I don’t think that means I can’t live deliberately. I know that I’m going home in three weeks so I’ve been planning (money, workouts, work stuff, etc) specifically for that. My Tops In Blue audition will be due soon after I get back and I’ve been working my vocals more because of that. Room inspections are next Thursday so my floor is vacuumed and my bed is made in preparation of the pre-inspection inspection that I know will happen.

I think my life-planning is just more short term but there is still deliberateness in the way I live my life. I could probably suck that marrow a little harder (don’t…just. don’t in the comment section) but I’m doing okay for myself.

And I’m happy. I’m really happy right now and I think that matters a lot.

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#YesAllWomen

You may have seen #YesAllWomen going around lately. It comes in the aftermath of Elliot Rodger’s horrible murders in California. His goal, as seen in a video he made and in his “manifesto” was basically to kill the pretty girls that never gave him the time of day. Thankfully he didn’t get very far. Sadly his three male roommates were also victims. 

The point of the #YesAllWomen tag is to say that no, not all men are like Elliot Rodger, but yes, all women have stories of sexism and being around men who are horrible to them. We have all been on the receiving end of catcalls, lewd jokes, etc. The tag is to tell our stories. I’m going to leave some of my own below. Feel free to leave yours in the comments whether you are male or female. 

#YesAllWomen

Because when my sister was 13 years old a Deacon in our Church made an example of her when he saw her at the county fair in a spaghetti strap shirt. He took a picture of her without her knowledge and presented it to the Church leadership as an example of how our family doesn’t care about modesty and how certain clothing creates a reaction in men. If you, a fully grown man, can’t keep your thoughts “pure” when you KNOW she’s 13 that is your problem, not hers.

Because when the men at work make lewd comments and sexist jokes and I ask them to stop, I’m the one pulled aside by the boss and told to “stop making people uncomfortable”. 

Because I posted a quote on FB from a man telling his son that “a women’s body is not dangerous. It won’t cause you to sin” and a Christian man told me that God sees me as a “pig with a nose ring in”, quoting a verse from the Old Testament. When I reminded him that the OT says I should have long hair, not wear pants and not have tattoos and that the same goes for his wife and daughters he told me that he “didn’t need to address those issues because God already has”. 

Because I was at the beach with my sister and she was “proud” when we were catcalled and only angry when I explained things to her. Because we live in a world where it’s shameful to not be catcalled and it means you’re not “pretty enough”.

#YesAllWomen because there are too many men on the “#YesAllWomen” tag on twitter who say horrible things in support of Elliot Rodger and his actions. Because there are Facebook groups called “We Love Elliot Rodger” and “Support Elliot Rodger” that Facebook refuses to take down even though they are actively in support of a misogynistic killer.


Because when I am angry people automatically assume I’m on my period. Because they think my emotions are controlled by my uterus. Even my female friends ask “are you on the rag?” because they have been raised in a world that thinks that question is
a) appropriate b) relevant in any way.


Because every Military female I know has been told by someone in her chain of command that she must wear makeup in uniform when male DV’s come to base.

#YesAllWomen because my Mother does not truly believe that women should be equal.

Because last week on Facebook a 29 year old man on my brother’s friend list called my 16 year old sister “hot” and said he would “totally do her”. When I tried to explain all of the things wrong with that my brother said “this is going to get good. I’m getting popcorn” instead of helping and the man raged at me about how, “you may be hot on the outside but inside you’re just an ugly, lonely, loser who can’t take a compliment”.

#YesAllWomen because the first thing my Dad did when I announced I was joining was look up the rape statistics in the Military and then try and forbid me.

Because my Dad was right.

Because in Seventh grade I ran for class Treasurer and won but when I ran for President in Sophomore year I was told by the male candidates that “girls aren’t smart enough to be in charge”.

 

These are some of my stories but there are so many more and I’m sure you can add a plethora. #YesAllWomen is not saying that “all men are like that” but that all women have felt like this and that we all need a voice.

P.S. Here’s another link to a similar blog post

Blisters and Bungee Jumping

A few days ago I ran 7 1/2 miles. I’m training for a half marathon that’s happening in a few weeks, so 7 1/2 isn’t too awful much. I’m not sure what exactly happened but I ended up with humongous blisters on my insteps (I’m going to blame the fact that it was 85 degrees and there was sweat pooling in my shoes). No biggie, you know? I get blisters all the time. I sterilize a needle, pop the shit out of them, drain all of the liquid, put Neosporin on it, bandage it up and am good to go.

Well yeah, that worked great for my right foot. I can barely walk on my left though. It hurts so badly that I only slept an hour last night. It hurts so badly that when I had to go to the store earlier cuz I ran out of toilet paper I walked there barefoot, put shoes on for a painful five minutes, then walked back barefoot. This shit sucks yo. If it’s still bad on Tuesday I’ll make an appointment cuz I feel like that’ll mean it’s infected or something. 

In other news, I went bungee jumping today! We went to the tallest jumping tower in S Korea, I think they said it’s 64m high. There was an elevator up the tower and it took forever to reach the top. Every moment we spent in there made my stomach feel just a bit more sickly. When I finally arrived at the top I stepped out onto bridge. The bridge connects the elevator shaft to the jumping platform and it shook in the wind. It shook every time people 50 yards away used the catapult (a ball that you’re strapped into in a seated position that is literally catapulted into the air (don’t worry, it’s connected with straps.) (It was my least favourite part and I almost puked)). It shook every time I took a step. This bridge shook. 

There were about ten chairs on the bridge for those waiting to sit on and about 15 of us up there at any given time. You could see the person currently on the rope by looking down through the grates. If I hadn’t seen 10 or so people jump before me and gracefully flail through the air (you’d have to see it) I probably would not have done it.

They separated us by weight. Most of us were in the red and blue groups (medium and max weights. I was max. Good think we didn’t have any actual fat people with us I guess), but some were in yellow. These colours indicated what rope was attached to you when jumped, so they went through all of the red and blue first in order to not switch out the ropes until necessary. Because of this, I went about 5 turns before I was supposed to. They said, “who is the next blue?” and no one raised their hand. I thought it was a screw up. I thought some one else before me had to be blue. But nope, it was me. The person before me went all the way up to the platform and chickened out. We had a long chat about his fear of heights over a beer later, sounds like some deeply ingrained childhood trauma. He ended up wanting to go to the back of the line to try again and just not look down but they wouldn’t let him. They said that once you chicken out, that’s it. I think that’s ridiculous since we each paid 95,000₩ to be there. I understand that it’s a pain in the butt but we paid a bunch of money and he wanted to try again (He and one girl (my friend Wendy) were the only two of a bus full that decided not to jump. I’m glad it wasn’t more than the two of them). 

So I stood up, walked across the rest of the bridge and stood in front of the people who push you off of a 64m high platform. One strapped me onto the jump cord and a cushion type looking thing that attached to my ankles while the other spoke on the radio. Once the people on the other side of the radio gave the all clear, the gate was opened.

When I was sitting down we all yelled at everyone to “not look down”, and most people ignored us. I did not look down. If I had looked down I would not have jumped. There was a post on the platform that I held onto with one hand and I held the person’s hand with my other. He said “move forward, move forward, move fo-STOP!” and had me at the edge of the platform. When I was there he said “now let go and put your hands above your head” and I said “no”.
I looked back at this guy. This could have been the very last person I saw on this earth. One of the girls I was with hugged him and said “tell my Mama I love her”. THAT IS HOW SCARY THIS WAS. After a few seconds of looking at him, I looked straight out into the air. It’s really a beautiful view from that jump tower. There are mountains and a lake with boats. A pool underneath you if you care to look down (the pool had a big yellow target in the middle). I don’t know if he pushed me or not, but I did tell him “if you count down and I’m not jumping, push me”. So he said, “READY?” and I said “NO LET’S DO THIS” and he said “5!”. Everyone else on the bridge joined him for “4, 3, 2, 1 JUMP!” and I was heading towards the earth.

I think I passed out for a second.

Free-falling towards the earth was one of the most peaceful experiences I’ve ever had. Even when the cord jerked me back up (which was not as bad as I expected it to be) and I backflipped and saw the sky for a moment, it was just…wonderful.

Once you stop bouncing as much they lower you down to the pool where there’s a man in a rowboat who unhooks you and takes you to the base of the tower. This part was the worst for me because I was spinning in circles and it felt like the process took longer than my jump. I don’t do well going in circles. Not everyone went in circles. I’ll have to research how to not make that happen for next time.

If you ever get the chance to bungee jump, do it. I don’t care how afraid of heights you are – I’m petrified. The thing is that once you’re off that platform there is nothing in this world that can stop you from falling besides that cord. And the cord works. If the cord doesn’t work for whatever reason, you fall into the pool. There are only like 10 recorded deaths from bungee jumping since the first jump and most of them were people who did it themselves and measured their ropes wrong. It’s an amazing experience and over too soon.

President Obama Visits Cooperstown

My family lives about 45 minutes from Cooperstown and my little sister happened to have a medical appointment there yesterday (22 May 2014). My Mom found out about a week ago that President Obama was planning a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but as hard as she tried to move things around, there were no other appointment times available for a few weeks. So they planned for the parking situation to be worse than usual (it’s already normally hard to park near the hospital there. Overflow parking for the hospital is about half a mile away and also normally full), left way earlier than need be and were completely surprised when they arrived.

Mom said that there was no one in the streets. Cooperstown is a vibrant little place. No big corporations are allowed within city limits, so all of the business are small and locally owned. Most of the restaurants have decks that pop out onto main street and outdoor seating so that people can enjoy great weather and talk to passersby since everyone knows each other. The coffee shops don’t take a card unless you’re purchasing more than $5 worth of product, but they’ll let you come back later with cash if you don’t happen to have any on you.

Cooperstown is one of my favourite places in Upstate NY. My brother used to work in a hotel there and I was there almost every weekend during that time. We’d drink beer, eat takeout and watch movies. I saw The Boondock Saints for the first time at that hotel.

My point here is that there is so much more to the town than the Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s a great place to visit (the Hall), but there is so much more…the Fennimore, Glimmerglass Park and The Farmer’s Museum to name just a few.

Apparently everything was closed down when Mom got there and continued to be closed during the entirety of his visit. Streets were blocked off, restaurants were either closed or all seating was inside. The President didn’t get to experience the real Cooperstown and although I understand that it was probably for security reasons, I feel badly about that. He saw the Hall of Fame, great, I’m glad he experienced a bit of the place, I just wish he had been able to see my little corner of the Country as it really is.

“A Dime A Dozen”

“These girls are a dime a dozen”. This from a large, womanizing, homophobic, egotistical Hispanic man. This from an idiot who doesn’t care to see the damage that is dealt when you group multiple human beings under the same, simple words.
“But at least Hispanic girls’ll try things other girls won’t”. These words come from a short, fat, blundering and stupid white man. His stomach hangs out over work pants that settle too far down on his hips and I want to spit on him.

I am not a dime a dozen. I am a living, breathing Woman and you will not degrade me by telling me that I am the same as every other human being with two X chromosomes. You will not make me feel as though my thoughts and hobbies and quirks don’t matter.

They do.

I wish them both years of work trying to win over a single female, only to be left at the altar.

I wish them both pain and frustration as Fathers whose baby’s Mothers won’t let them see their child.

I wish for neither of them to find happiness (alone or with another) unless they somehow learn an inherent respect for all human beings.

I wish them my pain. I wish on them the generalization and the whistles and the jokes and the catcalls. I wish the threats and demeaning questions and the assumption that “you can’t function under that much stress. You’re just a girl”.

I wish these things so they may begin to understand.

I am more than “just a girl”. I am fire and brimstone; I will burn down the earth and graffiti the sky. I am an ocean with waves that crash onto your shore, destroying your most labor-intensive sand castles—you cannot own me. I take up space – More and MORE AND MORE until there is no room left for you and your words that cut into my skin even though I do not want to let them.

What I am not is one single, intelligible thought, and you cannot define me by the unintelligible thoughts that makes up anyone else.

Productivity

It always amazes me how absolutely productive I can be if I want to. The guys up top keep changing our schedules so this morning was a bit whacky and everyone was grouchy because they didn’t get breakfast (courtesy of our schedule change). My “to do” list has been a mile long for a month now and there’s been no reprieve from it. My first order of business daily is to look it over then add and rearrange items to reflect what is currently most important to my boss (we have weekly meetings where he changes his mind every five minutes or so). Today I got 2 things done. Completely done! Well, 1 7/8 things done. I say that because the second thing is done on my end but may still come back for revision. GUYS. This may not sound successful but they were both pretty big projects and the fact that they are off my plate (for the most part) helps me breathe so easily.

Now I can focus on smaller things (like the brief I have to give in 10 hours (that I’m currently writing (well, I’m currently writing this. But you know what I mean)), my yearly performance review (I shouldn’t technically be writing my own but you know how that goes) that’s due while I’m in leave (I GO  HOME IN 32 DAYS!!!!) which means it needs to be completely finished and signed by all parties beforehand. Which means it needs to be done next week. I don’t know what a normal performance review looks like but in the USAF we have a system called the “EPR”. It has to be an exact number of lines. Each line is about one topic. There are only certain abbreviations that may be used and it varies from place to place. Each line must be written in a certain format (each line is called a “bullet”) and must completely fill that line. This is hard. I’ve got about 6 lines filled so far but none are about actual work things, just all of the extras.

I’m working on it.

I need to finish tomorrow and hand it off to my Supervisor so that he can fix it and pass it up the chain. My bullets look like crap so he might not be done with it for a few days.

Anyway, there are a dozen smaller things that I can really dig into tomorrow after I give my briefing and that makes me extremely excited.

I am very excited.

I want to hate her

There’s a new girl at work who is the actual definition of awesome that I’ve grown up knowing and wanting to be. She’s athletic and fun. She has energy out the wazoo and volunteers for everything. “E” is insanely knowledgable at our job (I’m stratified in the number one slot right now, but she’ll probably take me down. Soon), she’s nice to everyone, she called me sweetheart. 

She keeps up with the guys drinking and cussing and talking sex but she also has a Tinkerbell costume that she has already worn here (she’s only been here since Friday). The only thing I’ve found wanting with her is that she can talk for hours on end. If she talked nonsense I would be happy with it, but she tells stories and those stories are amazing. She’s climbed Everest and one time she ran a mud race where one of the obstacles was doing push ups for 7 minutes straight. She’s a poet with this crazy amazing grasp on words, and she has the voice of a canary (and can dance to boot). She knows everyone that all of my friends here know and I’ve never met.

I just want to find something wrong with her. It’ll make me feel better, I swear.