Friday, July 29, 2011

The One Where the Internet is Ruining the World

I'm fairly certain the Internet is what is causing the downfall of civilization as we know it.

That might be an odd thing for someone like me to say, considering I have a blog (a couple blogs, actually), I get most of my recipes online, I read news online, and I have a certain love affair with Google.

But watching people these days, just the way people are makes me feel like if not for the massive amount of online time and information you can find online, we'd be a lot better off.

I offer the following examples:

Example 1: Everyone is so damn hateful.

Granted, there have been mean people since the beginning of time. The Internet, however, and the anonymity offered therein, have made it almost impossible to consider our current culture as anything but a bunch of bullies.

I mostly blame the comment sections on news stories. Any Joe Shmo with computer access and an e-mail address (sometimes not even an e-mail address) can comment on anything. And most of the time, the comments aren't even relevant. A story about Amy Winehouse's death will have a, "SEE, DIS IS WHA HAPINS BECUZ OBBAMA'S DA PREZ." A story about Casey Anthony and how she killed her daughter and got away with it will have a, "Woohoo! WHAT A HOTTIE. I'd like to GET WITH THAT!" Any story in the world will have something about how Democrats/Republicans are the reason the country is in such bad shape.

People are able to be anonymous, so that makes them feel they have the right to say whatever they want.

I think in order to fix it, we need to require anyone who's going to post anything anywhere to include their photograph and home phone number. Then we'll see what people have to say.

Example 2: The Internet makes people think they know everything.

Blame Wikipedia. Blame WebMD. Everyone now thinks they know everything about everything. It doesn't make any difference that a lot of stuff is posted by people who also don't know anything about anything. Even now, people take things they see on the Internet as being the Gospel Truth.

People tell their doctors that the diagnosis is wrong, because they read on WebMD that it has to be something else. People get lame forwards of urban legends, and then suddenly, they're telling everyone and their mother that Oh my GOD, you guys, if you don't put your porch light on from 7:14 p.m. t0 8:57 p.m. next Wednesday, you are UN-AMERICAN.

And if you tell someone who learned something online that they're wrong? God save you.

Patron: I should be able to check out these books by using this iPhone app that has my library card barcode in it. I read it online.
Me: Well, unfortunately, we don't have the capabilities to. . .
Me: Yes, it IS technology that's currently available, but our county doesn't yet have the equipment that you need to be able to. . .
Patron: You are CLEARLY AN IDIOT. It said ONLINE that I can check out books WITH MY PHONE.

It doesn't matter that he read an article in the New York Times about how the New York Public Library is doing that now. He read it online, and that makes it fact. How dare you argue?

Which brings me to. . .

Example 3: The Internet is making everyone stupid.

Technology is a good thing. We've made amazing advances in the last 30 years to get us to where we are today. You can use your cell phone to make a dinner reservation, call your wife to tell her to meet you at the restaurant, and program your DVR to record the TV shows you'll miss while you're out to dinner. You can do all of that.

But you can't spell, and when you text your wife to remind her to wear the red dress you like so much to dinner, it comes out, "Wear ur RED DRESS 2 dinner."

I'm not entirely sure when it became acceptable to say "2" instead of "to" or "ur" instead of "your," but all it's going to do is cause kids to not be able to spell. All you need to do is glance at, let's say, a 7-year-old's text they're sending, and you can see it's already something of an epidemic.

(That is to say nothing of how young kids are when they get their own phone these days. If you want my opinion, if you're younger than 13, you have no need for a cell phone that does anything but call your parents, and maybe one other pre-programmed number. It's completely unnecessary. You don't need to text anyone. You don't need to call anyone. But that's just me.)

(My kids are going to HATE ME.)

No one cares about spelling and grammar anymore. No one cares they sound like a bunch of idiots, because most people are a bunch of idiots.

D was driving a bunch of 20-somethings home in the cab to a bar the other night, and one of them was giving the other a hard time for using "ur." Good for him. I want to be friends with that guy, maybe buy him a beer.

I'm just sad that it's now cool to be dumb. That's all there is to it. Dumbness is so mainstream, it's now the smart people, the people who use the proper versions of there, their or they're, and the people who take the extra half-second to spell out "your" that are the weird ones.

All of that being said, yeah. I'm convinced that the Internet and the fact that everyone has access to it is part of the reason we're in the shape we're in now. Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to get any better any time soon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The One With North Carolina's New Law

Anyone who caught my math error yesterday can now give a giant sigh of relief -- I actually DO know the difference between 80 and 90, but I do not

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, the North Carolina Senate has overturned the governor's veto of an abortion law.

North Carolina being, of course, in the Bible Belt of America, stuff like this and The Gays and. . .pretty much anything not having to do with the parts of the Bible that're usually in the spotlight are SERIOUS BUSINESS, YOU GUYS! I can't say I'm altogether surprised with this decision, but that doesn't mean I agree with it.

The new law states that women seeking abortions have to get ultrasounded, get state-mandated counseling, and wait 24 hours before actually getting one.

So, basically what's going on here, is that abortion isn't illegal, because the people voting don't want it to be, but what is instead going to happen is that anyone seeking to get a legal abortion is going to be guilted counseled, have to look at the ultrasound, and then wait anyway, so they can then ruminate on everything they've been told.

I think it's garbage.

The pro-law people are arguing that women "should have all the information available to them."

Yes, absolutely. They should. They should know exactly what it is they're doing, and should be offered all the information they need/want/whatever.

They should be offered all the information.

They should not have the information forced upon them.

What is the point of an ultrasound? The only thing this could possibly be for is to wave it in the woman's face and say, "SEE? It's a BABY!" There's no medical need to do that.

Counseling. . .that one's a little harder, but again, I think it's something that should be OFFERED, not FORCED. I would love to know what these "state-mandated" counseling sessions are going to look like.

Doctor: I see you're wanting an abortion.
Patient: Yes.
Doctor: Don't you know that's evil? Don't you know it's murder?
Patient: But I was raped by my brother and have always known that if I give birth, it'll kill me.
Doctor: But it's your BABY. You're going to KILL your BABY!

I think that, yeah, counseling should be OFFERED, both before and after the procedure, but that forcing someone into it is just making an already bad situation worse.

The 24-hour waiting period is. . .actually, I can sort of get behind that. Someone comes in, you offer (but don't force) the information on them, offer them counseling, and they can make an appointment to come in the next day. That could work, I guess. So we'll keep the 24-hour waiting period, but I think the rest is crap.

So what do you think? And I promise, if you disagree, I'm not going to be like, "RAWR!" I'd like to have someone that can logically and reasonably explain to me (without the use of morals and religion) why this is a good idea. Because last time I checked, government wasn't supposed to do things because of religion. And they certainly don't care about morality.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The One With the Fat Girlfriends

I'd like to start off by letting everyone know that today is the 90th anniversary of insulin being a thing. On July 27, 1921, Charles Best and Frederick Banting did the stuff sciencey people do and made it possible for me to have not died for the last 22-ish years. So thanks to those guys.

I was at lunch today and watching. . .you know, I don't even know what the channel was. Fox News or CNN or something along those lines. One of the "breaking stories" was that did a poll where they asked men all sorts of "explosively revealing" questions. You know, stuff like "Should men pay for dates?" and "Would you make your penis smaller if you could?" (What? Unsurprisingly, 0% of men would.)

The one that this lady was making such a big deal about was the question, "Would you dump your girlfriend if she got fat?"

I first need to explain this lady that was talking. She was. . .she seemed a little insane. You know the people that are just SO dramatic about everything they say? "I can't BE-LIEVE he'd SAY that! She was SO incredible!" Stuff like that?

She was one of those.

To visualize, she was this black lady, wearing a peach-colored shirt and matching lipstick that went so far over her natural lip line, she looked like 80% of her face was mouth.

So she's getting all worked up about the responses to this question. Apparently, 47% of men surveyed said yes, they would break up with their girlfriend if she got fat.

To be fair to men, this was less than half of the people who responded. Not much less than half, but still less.

So Mouthy McGob was going on and on about these results. She also had three "correspondents" whose opinions she was asking. Two of them were male and one was female.

I didn't get to hear the entirety of the conversation, but from what I did see, Mouthy was interrupting everyone, making sure that everyone knew she was SO APPALLED with the results. Everyone else was trying to be diplomatic, but she just wanted to make sure the whole viewing audience knew that SHE was OFFENDED.

(She wasn't a heavy woman, by the way. She was offended for women in general, I think, not just for the ones who have gained weight.)

So here's my question: What is so wrong with the guys answering the way they did? Is it a rule that you have to stay with someone even if you're not attracted to them?

One of the male "correspondents" said, "You know, I don't think that they're saying they'd break up with their girlfriend if they gained 10, 15 pounds. I think they're picturing major obesity."

One of the females said, "Generally, if a woman gains that much weight rapidly, there's something mental, or emotional going on. They should try to get to the root of it, and figure out what's actually wrong with HER, not just her body."

The Mouth was appalled with both of these points of view. "WHY wouldn't they STAY with their GIRLFRIENDS even if they'd REACHED OBESITY??? Even if you're TALKING about their MENTAL HEALTH, the REAL issue here is still WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE."

I kind of agree with both the man and woman who offered opinions, when they were actually able to get them out without being interrupted.

If you're not a man who is attracted to bigger ladies, why would someone expect you to be with one? That's not saying that women should diet like crazy and try to stay itty bitty because of some man's notion of beauty. That's saying, if for whatever reason, you're exclusively attracted to people with brown eyes, and your boyfriend goes out and has Eye Color Changing Surgery (I KNOW that's not a thing), knowing that that's what you like about him, he shouldn't be terribly surprised that you're less attracted to him.

I'm not saying someone's eye color should be the sole reason you're with them, but stuff like that, the people you're attracted to, is innate. It's just who you are.

I'd also have to go with the woman talking about the emotions leading to the weight gain. I don't think guys should immediately see his girlfriend gaining weight and say, "OMG! You're GROSS! We're BREAKING UP!" Gaining weight isn't an overnight thing. I think if a relationship is secure, you can say things like, "Hey, I've noticed X, Y, and Z. Everything OK?"

Maybe that's just me.

Also, at the bottom-most base of it, guys are visual creatures, and a lot of guys are really shallow, too. So there's that.

So what about you guys? Are you as appalled as Mouthy McGob about this? Are you unsurprised? Are you more concerned with whether Charles Best and Frederick Banting were severe hotties or not? (Hint: One was. One was. . .not so much.)

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The One With Ten on Tuesday

I know this is a cop-out of an entry, but seeing as to how I'm doing my best to stay on top of this blog (That's what she said?), sometimes, a cop-out it will have to be.

1. What color are your toenails painted?

They are this really incredible summery orange color ("Crushed") I bought a few weeks back. It's Sally Hanson's Hard as Nails X-Treme Wear line, so it's pretty badass, thanks for noticing.

2. What color are your fingernails painted?

Up until about 3 days ago, they were the same color as my toenails. I took the polish off, though, because my nails have a tendancy to turn yellow if I leave polish on them for too long. I haven't painted them again since I took the orange off.

3. What is your favorite brand of nail polish?

I'm uncertain as to why the first three questions are all nail polish related, but the Hard as Nails X-Treme wear stays on forever and looks awesome, so I'm going to go with that. I need to get more colors before the summer ends/Target raises the price/they get rid of them to spite me.

4. As the norm, do you DIY your nails or get mani/pedis?

I've never had a "pedi" and the last time I had a "mani," I was about 10.

5. Have you ever had a gel mani? Do you recommend it?

No and, as a result, no.

6. What is the last movie you watched on television? (TV, Redbox, Netflix, etc.)

I watched "Cars" about a week ago, but that was on DVD, not any of the aforementioneds. We've got Netflix, but we get mostly TV shows. The last episode of a TV show I watched from Netflix was from Season 5, I believe, of Dawson's Creek.

7. What is the last movie you watched in the theatre?

The Social Network. See how often I get out and to the movies? I saw The Social Network on October 5, 2010.

8. Is there a movie that everyone talks about as being a classic that you've never seen?

Most of the movies people talk about as being classics, I've never seen. I've never seen any of the Godfather movies. I've never seen Citizen Kane. Those are the only ones I can think of right offhand.

9. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?


10. Have you ever seen a movie and thought it was better than the book it was based on?

"The Devil Wears Prada" is an excellent movie, and a terrible book. On the flip side of that, if you're interested, "The Time Traveller's Wife" is one of my favorite books and the movie was one of the most terrible movies I've seen in life.

The One With Captain Novolin

I'm noticing that a lot of my posts from K's visit involve my Super Nintendo in some form or another. I think I'm OK with that. SNES needs some love.

So, you all know I'm a big flaming diabetic, right? How even though I have this giant disease, I usually avoid talking about it?

A month and a half or so ago, my insulin pump went haywire, and it made me do some serious re-evaluating of my life. Since then, I've been Super 'Betes Girl, keeping my blood sugar where it needs to be, and realizing that just because I don't talk about it, that doesn't make it any less real or any less serious. (In case you forget, I'm a Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetic. . .none of this Type 2 control-with-diet-and-exercise stuff.)

The other day, I was standing at the sink, and, unbeknownst to me, the 42-inch tubing I'm using currently got wrapped around the handle of the cabinet in front of me. As I went to walk away, the tube got pulled, pulling the pump out of my pocket, and making it clatter on the floor. I yelled a G-rated word (since I was watching K), and she asked what had happened.

"My pump fell on the floor," I said.

"What's a pump?" she asked.

A teaching moment!

In language a 7-year-old could understand, I told her that in your body, you've got something called a pancreas. The pancreas makes insulin, which is something your body needs to use the food you eat to give you energy. If you don't have insulin, you get very sick. My pancreas doesn't work right, so I have to give myself insulin. The pump I have here acts like a pancreas, giving me insulin throughout the day so I don't get sick.

K nodded. I could tell I'd sort of lost her, but she said, "Oh, OK."

Teaching moment, shmeaching moment.

So about three days ago, she is, again, playing the Super Nintendo. She pulls out a game and says, "What's this?"

"This" was. . .Captain Novolin.

For those of you not in the know (which I'm guessing is. . .most of you), Captain Novolin is a game that I received when I was 8 or 9. The graphics are pretty bad, the evil dudes are disguised as sugary snacks (jumpin' killer jelly donuts, Batman!) and are difficult to kill, but it's still one of the best. games. EVER.

Captain Novolin is a diabetic superhero. Throughout the game, you have to make sure he follows the meal plan his doctor gave him, so his blood sugar doesn't go too high or too low.

It sounds like a drag, I'm aware. But it's actually fairly awesome. My parents gave it to me and I've played it ever since.

Using this as another Teaching Moment, I tried to make the game sound awesome, to entice K into playing.

"That's Captain Novolin!" I said in my best "this is going to be AWESOME!" voice. "He's a superhero who's diabetic, like me!"

She looked dubious.

But then she stuck the game in the console and powered it up.

I walked her through the beginning of the game, showing her how to "give an insulin injection," explaining how to eat the proper balance of foods at meals, and how to "check your blood sugar."

She started to play and, since it's not an especially well-made or easy-to-figure-out game, she got frustrated quickly. I was afraid I'd lose my TM, so I said, "Hey! Do you want me to play through and show you how to do it?" She said yes, so I spent the next few minutes all excited about insulin shots and proper diets.

And believe it or not, she is ALL INTO IT now. I'll be in the kitchen and hear, "Aw, man! I accidentally ate an extra apple! Now my blood sugar's going to be high!" It's a beautiful thing.

Does she understand the minute details of the 'betes? No, probably not. But I feel like we've had a Moment. And that's awesome.

Unfortunately, the game is having some issues I've never had with it before. The screen is randomly messing up, and preventing the continuing of playing. I looked for a new one on both Amazon and eBay, and I can't find it for less than $25. So if any of you out there in blog land see a copy of Captain Novolin anywhere for less than that, I'd appreciate you letting me know.

Maybe whenever I have kids, I can use the good Captain to help me teach them about the 'betes, too.

Edit: Holy crap, you guys. When the game first came out, it cost $59.95. My parents were badass! I'd still like to find it for less than $25, though. . .

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The One With the Yearbooks

K brought her Nintendo Wii along with her for her two-week visit, and I am quite pleased and satisfied to say that it's still tucked away in the bag she brought it in. She's been playing, basically non-stop, my old circa 1993 Super Nintendo. It makes me proud.

One of the games she especially loves is Mario Paint. You can't play it with the controllers -- you have to use the mouse that came with the game. It also has a mousepad that goes with it, but I've misplaced that somewhere back at my dad's house. I still have it, but I haven't made the effort to track it down. As such, when you play the game, you have to have some kind of flat surface to put the mouse on. A couple of nights ago, I noticed that K had pulled one of my old yearbooks off the shelf to use as the mousepad.

When she'd finished playing, I picked up the yearbook and told her that it was my 2nd grade yearbook. She's going into 2nd grade this year, so that piqued her interest. She looked up my picture and told me how cute I was.

Then she proceeded to through all my yearbooks, looking for my picture, and making commentary on and asking things about stuff I'd written in the books.

"Why does this girl have her face colored in?"
"Because she was mean to me."
"I have a friend that's mean to me."
"If she's mean to you, why is she your friend?"
"Well, she used to do this every time I looked at her." (Rolls her eyes and puts on bitchface.)
"Does she still do it?"
"No. We're friends now."

The politics of 1st graders.

"Why did you put checkmarks beside these people?"
"Those were my friends."
"I have lots of friends."

Then I showed her my elementary school boyfriend (my longest-term relationship to date, lasting from kindergarten until 4th grade, when I left to go to a different school). He just got married, incidentally.

"Cute," K said.

She shuffled through the yearbooks for a while longer until she got to high school.

"Why do three of these say 'high school' on them?"
"Because I was at that high school for three years. I was at a different school for 9th grade."
"Four years?"
"Yeah. High school lasts four years."
"No it doesn't."
"Yeah it does."
"I won't be in high school for four years."
"I bet you will."

She told me I was pretty in all of my high school pictures. (Why can't EVERYONE look at people like kids do?)

Then I said, "Hey, I'll show you my boyfriend from 11th grade." I paged through the Junior class until I came to his picture. I pointed it out to her.

She didn't say anything. She just laughed. I'm not sure why, but she just laughed.

And that's why we get along.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The One With the Picky Eater and the Cake

K is a picky eater.

She doesn't like to try new things, and if you ask her if she wants to experience something new, usually, she'll say no. Generally, if you cajole her into trying something new, whether she likes it or not, she'll make this face, to prove a point:

She also doesn't like frosting. This actually isn't so unbelievable, because most frostings on store-bought cakes and cupcakes are teeth-vibratingly sweet. She's very adamant about the fact that she doesn't like frosting.

I was watching K last night while D was out working, and I told her I had to make a Big Gay Cake for my Big Gay Book club. (Well, actually, I just told her it was for my book club.), and she was watching me make the cake, sad that she couldn't have any of it until after the meeting.

I finished the cake part, and said, "OK, now I have to make the frosting." (Side Note: Boxed cake mixes and canned frostings are not allowed in my kitchen unless they're being used in a recipe for something else entirely.) She made the face like she'd eaten something terrible and said, "I don't like frosting!" and I said, "Good thing the cake's not for you." She blinked at me and ran off, singing/chanting with her face all colors of the rainbow, having literally stuck her face in the bowls to lick the remnants of cake batter.

She'd been licking the bowls, spatulas, and beaters and was already pretty hopped up on sugar, so she was literally bouncing around the apartment, making up songs about whatever was going on. ("Sarah's making a cake! La la la la la!! It's got lots of colors!!! La la la la la!!!! I'm going to play Super Nintendo now!!!!! La la la la la!!!!!!)

I mixed the buttercream frosting and she bounced back in, and just watched, eyeing the frosting suspiciously.

She inched closer to it, eyed it, and said, "Me try?" (Yes, she's 7. I'm not sure where the baby talk she occasionally lapses into comes from.) I said she could, and she stuck her finger into the bowl. After she tried it, it was like she had discovered a whole new world.

A whole new sugar-laden world.

Seems she didn't like frosting because she'd never had the good stuff.

Now she's all excited for me to get home from book club, because she wants a full piece (not just bits and pieces) of cake.

Also, this is what I found on our grocery list this morning:

Also, here is the cake, before and after frosting (I'll have a picture of it sliced after book club tonight):

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The One Where I Don't Have to Compromise

Yes, it's been months. Yes, I'm sorry. No, I don't have a long, substantial entry. Just an observation.

K has been here for the last 8 days, and will be here for the next 6. She has been. . .7 a lot of the time. That is to say, wholly disagreeable.

"Do you want to go to the store with me?"
"No, I don't want to."

"Do you want to have pizza for dinner?"
"No, I don't want to."

"Do you want to check out some library books?"
"No, I don't want to."

Besides that, it's been fine.

The thing that I discovered last night, though, is the little-known secret of parenting, step- or otherwise. With kids, you don't have to compromise, and it's glorious.

Say you're riding along in a car with an adult, whether your partner or otherwise, and they say, "I don't like this song." You would most likely feel compelled to compromise, to find something different that you can both agree on.

With kids, though, you're in charge. Unless you're doing something patently offensive, you can pretty much do whatever you feel like.

I worked the night shift at the library last night, and didn't get off until 9. D decided to go out and work, and so I had to bring K home with me from work. I'd been looking forward to getting back to my audio book on the way home (since it's about a half hour drive, I have plenty of time to listen to audio books) and didn't think I needed to deviate from that plan just because I suddenly had K in the car.

We're riding along for about 10 minutes, and she pipes up from the back, "I don't like this."

"Well," I said, "it's the book I'm listening to right now."

I didn't need to explain. I didn't need to compromise. That was the book I was listening to. Period.

There were no further complaints.

It was awesome.