Category Archives: Opinion

entertainment, celebrities, television shows, consumerism, humor, blogging, funny, writing, creative

The Walmart Microwave Hunt

Welcome to Wal-Mart. Sorry are the giants bin displays of fun pops, batteries, and aloe vera in your way?

Welcome to Walmart. Sorry are the giants bin displays of fun pops, batteries, and aloe vera in your way?

I would’ve put up a better fight, but I was feeling bloated and hungry and the appeal of a cheap and easy nuking machine beat out my conscience.  So we went to Walmart for a microwave. I don’t take this sentence lightly, I assure you — I spent an entire semester Sophomore year of college on a journalism research project about the class action suit brought up by women against the corporation; I’m convinced I only got an A- because my teacher was halfway through having her tenure revoked and fully on her way to becoming a crazy conspiracist.

But Walmart’s just so much cheaper. Sometimes, we compromise our supposed morals for low prices (especially when unemployed) and, of course, for the chance to watch an entire family go from clothes shopping to vision appointments to toy shopping to grocery shopping and finally, to a quick dinner at McDonald’s without having to leave the comfort of their local Walmart SuperCenter — It’s like watching the ultimate Supermarket Sweep challenge live.

mckayla-notimpressedBut Walmart still triggers the spoiled six-year-old brat response in me — My face morphs into a McKayla Maroney “I’m not impressed” look like a true diva. If walking down a frozen aisle where there’s fifteen freezer doors worth of frozen pizza variety and only six worth of frozen veggies doesn’t elicit an automatic face-palm-response then we obviously just wouldn’t get along.

I knew I was losing my mind when Matti held up frozen mozzarella sticks with a remember-how-I-used-to-eat-dairy-and-fried-foods-before-I-met-you face and I said, “Are you fuc– well, actually, I’m kind of in the mood for mozz sticks.” Translation: Sure, I’m kind of in the mood to turn into Ursula from the Little Mermaid later, when the fried dairy starts to Perfect Storm my stomach — but at least I won’t know when it’s coming.

But when we get to the microwave aisle I’m less “not impressed” and more about-to-turn-into-the-Hulk because it’s not even that cheap — it’s basically the same price as Target except I don’t get to venture off next door into the aisle of plates that perfectly matches our apartment’s color palette as Matti pays for makes the hard microwave decisions. (I can sense olive green home decor from an unparalleled distance.)

But we have to get the microwave, because we’re here, in Walmart, and I’ve already started drinking my unsweetened tea without paying for it. As an attempt to make this trip worth it I stop to glance at the bath mats, since we’ve been using a dirty white towel with the word “fun” on it since we moved in. Apparently though, bath mats are the only product where the price, despite the store, never changes. I swear to Mindy that I’ve been in 20 different places looking for a bath mat and they never get cheaper — no, not even at Walmart. What are you good for, Walmart, if not for everyday low prices?

flowersI start to get mad at Walmart like it’s my half sister– what’s up with your flower section? You have carnations, carnations, florescent carnations and dying roses. You could maybe utilize the space being taken up by the giant bins of batteries and fun pops in the middle of the main aisle for a blossoming, slightly neater flower station. Maybe? How about just getting that old man that works in produce to get his hand out of his pants?

I leave Walmart right after handing the cashier an abandoned rotisserie chicken left on top of the People Magazine rack. She seems appreciative and I immediately start worrying about what they are going to do with the chicken. How long could it have been sitting there, getting cold, decomposing, alone in an aisle of candy and soda and last minute grabs. I hoped like me, the chicken would get out of there soon.

When Will I Feel My Mouth Again and How Did You Become a Dentist?

scumbag-dentist_o_656833When it comes to going to the dentist, I am a seven-year-old boy — I have at least three new cavities every time I go and I’m loath to admit how scared I am of power drills being inserted into my mouth.

The receptionist, however, never misses a chance to call me ‘sister’ and treat me like Kourtney Kardashion (‘cuz Kourt’s the hip, grounded one) — today is no exception. As I sit in the waiting room I wonder if it’d be weird to invite her to my wedding, mostly because I like her blue framed glasses and feel like she’d be the type of friend to monitor my bad dental habits without being too naggy. My BFF daydream is interrupted, however, by who I can only imagine is an ex-reggae star turned dental hygienist. He is way too talkative, and in case you were wondering, he’s from Florida, has two crowns, and his grandmother also has digestive problems.

The dentist comes in and I recognize him as the one who doesn’t believe I brush my teeth. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE when a dentist gasps and then adjusts his tone to say, “wow you actually have kind of white teeth.” It’s super confidence-boosting. I have prepared for him today, however, by brushing my teeth before entering the room, scrubbing my tongue of all coffee residue.

I start exercising my mouth like I’m trying out for the lead part in Dentistry Training Video: When a Patient Has a Grape-Sized Mouth, when I realize I forgot to put on the stunner shades Ziggy Marley handed to me before Doctor-I’m-a-real-Dentist walked in.  I slide them on.

So regretting not

Do you think the dentist will take a picture of me in these will my mouth pried open if I ask really nicely?

“Do I look like I’m in the Matrix?” I ask the two uneasy men who now look at each other, their eyes screaming “there’s ALWAYS one.”

“Yeah, definitely,” says Ziggy Marley and I’m immediately grateful for all the life decisions that brought him to this moment.

Doctor-real-dentist is now sticking needles into my gums and shaking my lip like I’m being shot up with heroin and I’m thinking hey, buy me a drink first, guy.

Halfway through the procedure, doctor-dentist chuckles to himself and says, “Girl you are a saliva factory.” I’m sorry, sir, is the spit filling up in my mouth crowding the four hands and twenty drills that are currently occupying my grape sized pie-hole? My mouth can barely fit around a hot dog and you’re stretching my lip to my ear while complaining about my overproduction of saliva? Were you not here three minutes ago when you pumped my gums full of the tinglies? Do you realize half my face is paralyzed?

Do dentists need to take a course in condescension to graduate? There’s no place that more adequately reminds you of the consequences of your poor life choices than the dentist. Me, eat too many sweets? No way. Oh, you found pieces of cookies in my teeth? Well, okay, I guess you’re right.

“You need to rinse your teeth after you drink coffee,” says the dentist devil as he spears my gums.

legitimate attempt at smiling while mouth is temporarily paralyzed. This wasn't the first take incase you were wondering how I get my beauty to transfer so gracefully

legitimate attempt at smiling while mouth is temporarily paralyzed. This wasn’t the first take incase you were wondering how I get my beauty to transfer so gracefully

I immediately spit out the gauze pad soaking up my drool and look at Ziggy to back me up, “you saw me brush my teeth before I came in! Didn’t I?” He barely nodded. Clearly there was a dentistry code being played out here. Finally, my third and final cavity is filled and I am set free by sir-judges-a-lot. Of course, I receive no lolly pop or treasure box like the other kids, just a ridiculously hefty bill and an ultimate case of lazy mouth.

 

Did You Get My Email? (and other virtual concerns)

Dramatic reenactment of me writing an email if I were a member of the Brady Bunch.
Source: michaelmccurry.net

When I begin to write an email, I am openly engaging in a never-ending struggle to get the greeting right — my face transforms into that of an important person, about to solve world mysteries through the click of some buttons by well manicured fingertips. In reality, my fingernails are half painted blue, half bitten off and the email I am writing is solely an attempt at modest employment, returning a hello, or sharing an embarrassing youtube clip — So, not in any way an effort at saving the world.

But I can’t just write the email because it’s too hard — because most of the charm of being myself is how I am in person. That’s a total cop-out as a writer but seriously, I’m super captivating and dynamic in person. My old boss told me I get the engagement award at meetings (which didn’t exist) for emphatically bobbing my head, smiling and just really connecting with everything she said. I’m a head bobber. I look interested and engaged in what you’re saying and that makes you feel good. And then you make me feel good for making you feel good. Do you see what I’m saying? It’s hard for you to see how good I’d make you feel over email without me being that person who overly uses emoticons.

What’s worse is that I was born in the age where virtual communication is supposed to be super natural. Sure, I grew up on AIM, so I know a bit about flirting my way into a virtual relationship virtually communicating my personality — but this had nothing to do with being professional.

There’s also no such thing as a sarcasm font and that is tragic. ‘Dear Sir/Madam who is hopefully going to fund my addiction to Starbucks iced coffees in the future’ wouldn’t be an appropriate way to start off an email. I have learned this. Professional seems to always trump quirky. There is also a problem I seem to have with being appropriate. I have a theory about this called the Michael Scott model which predicates that a lovable inappropriate asshole is still lovable — that’s basically the whole theory. The point of this theory is that it allows me to feel okay about being an inappropriate asshole. The problem with this is that the lovable part doesn’t usually transfer over email which leads to a stripping away of the whole entire character, producing an email tone similar to George Feeney’s (William Daniels) way of speaking.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

Emailing immediately relegates me to a perpetual state of insecure teenage outsider — like that time when a Senior boy in my high school came to my table at lunch just to pop my birthday balloon. I don’t know the person I am emailing as well as I want to and basically, I want to be a part of their team. I want him or her to pick me first for dodgeball, or basketball, or swim races ( I’m really good at all those things). So you try the standard greetings: Dear Hiring Manager, To Whom It May Concern, Hello Madam/Sir, Hello Mr. or Mrs. Has More Power than Me, etc etc. And the worst possible response? You get an email reply with absolutely NO greeting because they are super aloof and hip and totally past all those formal greeting procedures, and also they are, of course, “going to pass” on you working with them.

At this exact moment I am in the middle of writing an email to a woman from a temp agency who could potentially get me a job. This sentence alone should tell you how prepared I am to send this email. “A woman from a temp agency.” Wow, Aly, you’ve really done your research. I am president of the emailers against researching club which meets daily on my couch. This might have contributed to my current, extended state of unemployment.

“You’ll literally have a job the next day after you email her” says Anna, my red-headed counterpart who I imagine goes to work in 80s power suits even though I know what her wardrobe looks like. But what if she senses my rebellious attitude towards email communication? What if she never gets the chance to see how endearing I am while bobbing my head? It’s tragic.

And then there is the reality of knowing I myself never answer emails…or text messages…or smoke signals. Usually to get in touch with me you must let yourself into my apartment and clap a few times in front of my face while offering me a dark chocolate sea salt infused candy bar, or use the pretense of wanting to compliment me on my awesomeness. I’m always available for flattery. But knowing my own attitude on email decorum negates me from taking email communication seriously — too much of a chance to be rebuffed — and it is not my preferred way of ignoring massive amounts of people (that’s usually voicemail and text messaging). And also when you see me in person and ask, “Hey, did you get my email?” I want to punch you square in your eye because why the hell would you send me an email if you were going to see me some time in the near future? Of all the possible ways to get in contact with me you’ve chosen the one in which Groupon and the Mary-Kay-lady-I-was-too-nice-to-say-no-to are among the most frequent attendees. At least put a god damned important flag on that thing.

Is this what you people want?

Is this what you people want?
Pic Source: Eharmony

I’m also convinced that emoticons are taking over and I’m desperately scared of plunging into a world of fake, creepy, emoji faces as substitutes for displaying personality through well thought out discourse. Emoji icons for Facebook statuses are deviously genius — further perpetuating people’s likeliness to adequately depict their emotions through pre-made pictures without having to physically be around anyone. Where this is headed, as I see it, is a massive population of overweight recluses representing themselves through yellow or blue smiley faces. And this is coming from someone who counts brushing her teeth as leaving the house.

There’s just too many ways to give a wrong impression. Whether it’s over email, Facebook messaging, twitter, texting, tumbling, whatever. We have all opened up communication so much that our main concern is worrying about how we sound in all these mediums. So far, my solution is perfecting communication between myself and my dog, Tengo. This is going very well. He has assured me that he would hire me for any job as long as I keep mixing wet food into his dinner — a very clear,well-received message.

Related Posts:

Gen Y and Technology

Email “Netiquette”

Response to DP Challenge

About that Time When Tampons Were Banned at the Texas Capitol

I KNEW I'd get famous

I KNEW I’d get famous watching Wendy House of Davis, Queen of Dragons walk by

The He-Man Women Haters have taken over the Texas Capitol. As I run into the the public bathroom, trying to pee before the Senators come out of their chambers, I realize I have gotten my period on the one day the police have decided to ban tampons from the capitol. Because that’s the sort of comedic timing I have. And that’s when I knew it was about to get a lot harder to be a woman in Texas. 

On Friday I spent all day at the Texas State Capitol fighting for my right to wear tampons choose. Whether you support a women’s right to choose or you are pro-life, the decorum at the capitol on friday was pretty ridiculous. I felt like I was in the scene from Across the Universe where Evan Rachel Wood is getting pulled from Jim Sturgess’ arms. Well, kind of. No I didn’t chain myself to the gallery railings like some of my passionate cohorts, but I felt their anger.

The first incident I had with a cop, Office Najera, incase you want to send him a fan letter, was when I was sitting peacefully in the auditorium overflow room watching Lt. Governor David Dewhurst pretend he cares about women’s rights when he had tweeted days prior “we fought to pass SB5 and this is why” with this picture:

abortion map

Map shows all the clinics that would close with the bill. Dewhurst tweeted this in excitement, looking forward to the clinics that would have to shut their doors. #mature

Officer Najera walked in front of the row I was sitting at, pointed his finger at me and the girl sitting next to me, and said, “You two, come with me for a second.”

To which I replied, “No, no I’m not going to do that.”

“I need to ask you a few questions.” His breath smelled like sweaty authority.

“Ask us here then, we are in the middle of watching a very important debate, you see that large screen behind you?”

“Are you two together,” he asks, because that matters.

“No we are not, but we are sitting next to each other.”

He seems to decide I’m too much work and focuses on the girl next to me. He asks her to come aside again, by herself.

I chime in. “No, nobody is going with you. Ask us your questions before Wendy comes on, man.”

“Do you have any marijuana on you?”

Ya’ll, I don’t know how stupid I look, but do I look like I’m about to bring some drugs up in the Texas Capitol while wearing an orange shirt in protest of what the Texas government is doing? The answer is offended, as in me being out of control offended at the whole exchange that just took place.

“No, sir, I didn’t bring drugs with me to the Texas Capitol where I would be rallying against law makers. But thank you for offending me more than I have been all day. And that’s saying a lot, sir.”

After this exchange I went home to stuff my face with some Quorn fake chicken nuggets and power up before heading back into the lion’s den. I packed two tampons in my bag because of that thing where you bleed for about a week instead of producing a baby inside your tummy — this is the scientific explanation of the menstrual cycle. I waited in line to get back into the capitol for way too long and then headed through security.

Image source: Slate.com

Image source: Slate.com

“Are these yours?” The Police officer asks, holding up two regular size Tampax Pearl Tampons.

“Yes, sir. I use those for when I have my period. Like today, when I got my period.”

The officer looks at the male officer next to him, still holding up the tampons as hundreds of people are walking by, entering the capitol, leaving the capitol, staring at the man holding tampons, “Is this okay?” He asks.

“Are you asking the man next to you if it’s okay that I have tampons? Because I’m bleeding right now and I use those to stop that soo are we also not allowing bandaids? Gauze? Are cotton balls okay? Is it still okay for that guy to have a concealed gun?”

The answer was it was okay to have all of those things, except for tampons. Luckily, I only had two and the grand tampon raid of 2013 had already happened. The mass confiscation of tampons would come to be known as the day women were stripped of their right to choose whether to carry a child while being simultaneously punished for that choice by banning tampons, the symbol of a woman being not pregnant. (Remember that time republican’s bullshitted their way into making this bill appear like it was about women’s health?)

They confiscated these things as a way to prevent pro-choicers from disrupting the proceedings. However, the opportunity for someone to use a concealed gun in this same attempt was completely overlooked. Someone look at me right now with a straight face and say tampons are more dangerous than guns. Do it, I dare you. If you answer yes than you are agreeing to come to my house and have a duel whereas I have a gun and you have a tampon.

Men, how PISSED would you be if we regulated your ability to release viable sperm into the world. How dare you blow that load into a tissue! That’s potential human life, for christ’s sake. Yeah, I seem pretty stupid for saying this, don’t I? Isn’t is so ridiculous to think that we would tell you when you can and cannot release your baby-making juice into a woman. Almost as stupid as not allowing women to have tampons.

There was plenty of reports about women making up Tampongate but I am hear to testify. I am a sister that is comfortable in my own skin. I walk around braless in front of whoever won’t complain, I announce when I need to poop, I fart when the urge arises but I am still human. I still do not feel comfortable being targeted by a police officer as being a drug user as I’m practicing my constitutionally protected right to peacefully assemble and take part in my law-making process. And when you hold my tampons in the air, officer, I am still a bit uneasy. Not because I am ashamed to be a women but because people like you and this state have made being a woman a crime and I don’t want to be convicted.

In the words of Wendy, “Some believe this fight is over with this vote tonight, but they’re wrong. The fight for the future of Texas is just beginning.”

No sir, you don't want to around a bunch of girls on their periods when you take away their tampons and rights

No sir, you don’t want to around a bunch of girls on their periods when you take away their tampons and rights

*The abortion bill did pass, as expected, and is off to Governor Dumbass’s Perry’s desk to be signed with one of his many Jesus pens.

Related articles:

Democrats vow abortion fight in Texas

Texas Senate Passes Abortion Bill

Abortion Bill ‘lit a fuse’

Tampons Banned at Capitol

Movies I Hope I Remember to See Pt. 1

Perusing through IMDB this week to spot my future favorite movies I grew incredibly sad imagining all of the poor, defenseless films I’ve forgotten to watch over the years. (Please tell me you’re also a regular IMDB goer, because if so, I feel like this relationship is really going to last.) How could I forget about these once highly-anticipated plot lines? Well, because my memory is really bad — smoking pot incollege takes a lot out of you and I just have a lot on my mind, okay?

Every week I’ll go through the new trailers, and if I’m not satisfied, I’ll go scourging through old archives of favorite actors, writers, or directors to find a movie I can instantly download purchase completely legally. (Cut me some slack I haven’t had cable since Gilmore Girls was on the air.) In this particular stroll through the interwebs’ cafe of cinematic delight, however, I came across some real coming-of-age goodness that demanded my acute attention. Here’s your first installment of Movies I Hope I Remember to See. Feel free to grab some popcorn if that’s the sort of thing you like to do while reading a blog post.

Lifeguard 

Kristen Bell is playing me in my role as a community pool lifeguard in 2011. Well, okay, she plays a 29-year-old women who moves back in with her parents and becomes a lifeguard and may or may not become romantically involved with a seemingly younger skater boy. Liz G. Garcia writes this dramedy along with debuting as a director. This movie excited me almost as much as Bell bringing back my girl crush Veronica Mars.

Afternoon Delight

I like when a supporting actress finally gets that lead role she’s been waiting for. Kathryn Hahn has always been hilarious but she’s always been stuck in the the quirky sidekick role (Anchorman, Wanderlust) which, let’s face it, does fit her well. This time she appears to have some leading role rawness that lends itself well to the part. She plays a stay-at-home mom who bonds with a stripper and dedicates herself to helping this character, played by Juno Temple. Note: I just found out this movie actually came out in January so go watch it! That’s what I’m gonna do!

Wadjda

The first feature-length film by a Saudi female director tells the story of a young Saudi girl carving her own path in the world through her journey to buy a bike. It sounds simple but a go through of the trailer will have you inspired, in tears, or intrigued to say the least. More than anything, this film seeks to offer a look in to a world we haven’t before seen. I hope it succeeds. Written and directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, the movie comes out in September of this year.

Cutie And The Boxer

I love documentaries about artists and I doubt this movie will be an exception. The portrayal of the relationship between boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko is captivating and heartbreaking (and I’m just talking about the trailer here people). I’m sure this is one of those films that will simultaneously inspire me and overwhelm me with all the creative things I should be doing.

Dealin’ with Idiots

I’m a Jeff Garlin fan and any movie that aims to poke fun at the competitiveness of parents during their children’s sporting events, I’m totally game for. My mom was the parent jumping up at and down at my swim meets with an old camcorder in one hand screaming my name (I never saw video of myself swimming). This movie comes out tonight so grab your comedically-inclined friend and make a night of it.

Happy viewing, movie friends!

Do you like movie trailers or are you a no spoiler type of viewer? Are there any upcoming movies you just cannot wait to see? Do tell.

Women Are Funny and Smart (and we make up over half the population so remember that)

Today I started talking to my dog as he was performing his “butt rocket” routine — an attempt at itching his little doggy butt hole by sitting and using his front legs to drag his bum against the plush feel of the (thankfully) beige-colored carpet.

“Tengo, you know that humans use toilet paper to wipe their butts?”

He didn’t answer. I was also beginning to wonder why I said “their” and not “our.” I should definitely be including myself in the human category. I should also not be in my house at 10 am on a weekday having a conversation with my dog because I believe him to be smarter than all the other dogs.

I think I’ve been unemployed too long.

If we could at least stop memes like this from happening, there will be some victory

If we could at least stop memes like this from happening, there will be some victory

Maybe I should be vying for swanky careers that offer things like insurance, like these exciting new professional-sounding positions I found while job searching: “Dell Product Specialist” or “QA Engineer III” or “Technical Specialist.” These positions would definitely help make back the money I wasted on college pay back my student loans.

There is the problem of not having a degree relating to any of those positions. Who would have thought that a degree in Creative Writing wouldn’t yield a high-paying power career whereby I immediately, upon graduation, move to California and start working on a new hit series with Mindy Kaling and Zooey Deschanel about how their lives changed when they met me:

“It’s good to have a fresh face and comedic mind to work with,” Mindy would say.

“I just….want everything in her closet,” Zooey would swoon.

In the midst of my hypothetical stardom, however, while doing really important research for my writing online, like marveling at  Kelly Oxford’s tweets and stalking ex-boyfriend’s Facebook profiles, I came across this video:

Despite the fact that I have never wanted to be an engineer (though I’d love to have the skills to have that option), this video is totally kick ass and inspirational. I call this the “badass-ifaction” of little girls and I’m totally down for the movement.  This toy aims to squash the notion that girls should play with barbies and leave the problem-solving and building to boys. Debbie, an engineer and Goldie Blox’s CEO claims this came from her reaction to the lack of females in the engineering world.

Maybe I should go blonde again?

Maybe I should go blonde again?

As a young women trying to break into the comedy writing industry in whatever way I can, I absolutely love this. We live in a world where Christopher Hitchens claimed “women aren’t funny” as an empirical fact without his car getting tamponed. Come on, my car got lo mein noodled in high school by a girl just for looking at her the wrong way. See, girls are funny. Also, I’m way funnier than my brother, and he has an engineering degree!

If my Hitchens example didn’t make you a believer, check out this experiment by author Maureen Johnson revolving around the gendering of book covers and how that dictates what we choose to read:  “A man and a woman can write books about the same subject matter, at the same level of quality, and that woman is simply more likely to get the soft-sell cover with the warm glow and the feeling of smooth jazz blowing off of it.”

As much as I like the idea of feeling smooth jazz blowing off my book cover, I think I’ll pass. I imagine my book cover having something more controversial like me and my dog, Tengo photoshopped into a picture with Robert Pattinson or something equally as edgy.

Seriously though, when is the last time you saw a book with a female author and said to yourself gee that could use a woman’s touch, maybe a little more pink. The answer is never. That conversation has never happened.

Isn’t it just time that we stop telling girls what they can’t or aren’t meant to do altogether? Yes, yes it is, says the crowded studio audience of feminists inside my head. You guys, if I had had this toy growing up I would have hours back of my life that was spent making u-turns due to an inability to read a map. My map navigational abilities come to a glaring halt whenever I am required, in any capacity, to know which way east or west is.

Maybe if I had put down the my-size barbie as a kid, which come to think of it, was one of the most anti-social toys I owned — I spent months telling friends, when asked on play dates, that I was busy with my new friend from California — I could’ve learned how to properly draw a human figure or build a simple machine. A child once asked me to draw them a barn and that was the last time I was ever asked to draw a barn. The children I nannied for have also stopped asking me to help fix their blanket forts.

Play Title: Best of Friends

Play Title: Best of Friends

I mean I always knew I wanted to write so I don’t have too much of a right to be so pissed about my lack of engineering skills. My family recently informed me they will be throwing away all my childhood memories selling my childhood home and that I should start gathering my shit. I took this opportunity to fill my checked suitcase with a favorite end table (best idea I ever had) and all my childhood journals. The first play I wrote was gold.

So sure, I already knew I was destined to be the next big thing, especially by my ability to spell interlude at age six. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have benefited from some construction toys. I totally could’ve used some legos to build houses for my beanie babie habitats — instead, I hung them on my dresser by sticking their beanie bodies through the drawer handles.

I just feel like I missed out on the boy toy fun my brother had growing up, and with how awesome I am without having had those experiences, imagine how amazing I would’ve turned out if I had a chance to develop my scientific brain to its full capacity? My jokes would be more intricate! It wouldn’t take me a half hour to change my camera lenses! I wouldn’t have to spend an extra ten minutes before each trip making sure I know where I’m going! The ability to read maps seems like such a luxury. Also, the kids loved the male teacher I worked with so much more when he taught them how to make robots out of toothbrush heads and tiny batteries. I want such adoration! When I would try to get the kids excited about writing a story they would all groan and ask when they could to the gym to throw balls at each other at high speeds.

I guess I’m still pretty cool and talented without having a profound understanding of machinery or engineering though. No, I don’t actually want to be “QA Engineer III” but it would’ve been nice to feel like that was an option as a child. For now Im totally content to just keep sending unanswered tweets to Mindy Kaling until I get famous.

What toys did you play with growing up? Do you think it had a part in shaping your awesomeness today? Do you also talk to your dog? What about women in comedy and writing — what’s your take?

Related Articles:

My So Called Post-Feminist Life

The Gender Coverup

Technology Fail

DPChallenged!

The Evolution of Making a Point

Do you ever just not have a point? And you’re all like, I can’t write, there’s no point. Sometimes we just need to arrive there really slowly, like my grandmother making her way to the top of an escalator. But you not writing isn’t gonna help anyone, idiot. Okay fine, I’ll prove it. Let’s just start somewhere.

The last couple of days I’ve been focused on the Texas abortion bill, uniquely named House Bill 2 or Senate Bill 5. That doesn’t sound very funny, you say, to which I’d reply, you’re kind of right. Except that you’re wrong and funny is everywhere. Even in really scummy times, like watching a bill pass that affects mostly women get passed by mostly men, there is comedy. Some funny things that happened:

  • The gray-haired tourist, complete with fanny pack taking pictures of the portrait of George W. Bush. She looked as if she half expected him to pop out of the picture, which I could totally see W doing on some sort of presidential Punk’d remake. There needs to be a presidential Punk’d.
  • The gavel debacle. Inside the house chambers at the Capitol, you were expected to follow proper decorum. This is really hard to do when a lady takes over the Chairman’s seat to call time by banging the gavel, and as her delicate little wrist pounds the wooden hammer the head of the thing comes flying off into the political arena where Representative Sylvester Turner D-Houston is breaking democracy down for the people. The chambers are in an  uproar of unplanned comedy as the girl next to me is all like, “Did you get that? Oh. my. God. Tweet that now!”
  • DSC_2864

    “See! I told you this job would be fun!” -THAT guy

  • Thinking intently about gavels. The best part about this was that they had an extra gavel like right underneath the desk which made me wonder how many gavels they have and wear do you buy gavels. Is there a gavel store? A law-maker’s store? Are they customized Texas gavels, bigger than all the other states? These are the things I wonder about.

    DSC_2870

    Original and replacement gavel.

  • Politicians making jokes. Rep. Turner understood the humor in the moment and decided to make a joke, “Oh no!” he said, “I’ve been so traumatized so badly we need to recess for two weeks and I may just need an ambulatory emergency center!” Granted, law makers aren’t the best joke makers, but he had a point by calling out the absurdity of the bill up for debate. (The bill requires all clinics that provide abortions to convert into ambulatory medical centers in one year which will force all but five clinics to shut down).
  • Watching this guy doodle. I spent some of the time trying to figure out what each Representative was doing at his desk. This guy was drawing, while others were online gambling and buying plane tickets. Good times.

    DSC_2844

    “5 ways to stay busy during an intense floor debate”

  • The 16-year-old boy handing out fake Planned Parenthood pamphlets with false information — hilarious. Seriously, this boy was so gay he may have been sweating pink (I hope it all works out for him).

A point: We often have to laugh at ourselves, with each other and at each other so we don’t end up killing each other. The House abortion bill passed just like no one thought it wouldn’t. I’d rather laugh than cry most times, and either way you’re getting it out, right? So there’s my point, now go write something.

What do you do when you can’t write? Do you also think we should have a show called Presidentially Punk’d?

Written with the DP Challenge in mind.

Happy B-Day, American Independence! Look What We Got for You!

I’ve been pretty serious in the last couple posts so I’m gonna keep this markedly light and airy. But it is still the fourth of July so I shall bring to you… political comedy via Russell Brand. I’ve watched this video at least ten times because I have a thing with news anchors getting super uncomfortable and not knowing what to do. I’d watch the Jon Stewart Crossfire interview just everyday if that were socially acceptable. So what better way to celebrate our independence than by watching how far we have come?

Favorite quote in video: Is this what you all do for a living? Are these your trusted anchors?

I don’t know what tone you are setting when you introduce your guest by saying, “I guess he’s a big deal…I’m told this but I’m not very pop culture, I’m sorry,” but it’s definitely not a positive one. Also, is it not a host’s job to learn about the guest they are interviewing? Twilight zone crazy, people. I’m pretty sure we just witnessed Mika’s complete emotional breakdown.

In all seriousness though, the media is sometimes insane. Bill O’Reilly often falls in the “wait, you graduated from elementary school?” category. Last night I watched an interview with Dennis Miller on his show — I watch Bill O’Reilly when I want to remind myself that life could be a lot worse. After watching this video, I imagine that Dennis Miller’s spirit animal is a hyena.

So, thanks founding fathers, for giving us the complete freedom to be unabashed, ill-informed idiots on television while calling ourselves news anchors, and getting paid more than most of the American public. We’ve used that freedom so well. And who knew Russell Brand was so well-spoken?

Democracy or Oligarchy? A Scary Look into Texas State Politics

DSC_2692

Inside the Capitol building

The Committee on State Affairs convened at the Capitol on Tuesday to hear testimony on HB2, the bill that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, as well as implement new regulations that would result in the closure of all but five of women’s health clinics in Texas. This bill was authored as an attempt to revive SB5, the bill that failed to pass the Senate after rockstar in pink sneakers, Wendy Davis found “ways to shut that whole thing down.” (Todd Akin reference, anyone?).  So, the stakes aren’t high or anything.

Being from Boston and having gone to a liberal college in Ithaca, NY, I was and am not used to having to defend a women’s right to choose. Sure, there’s always the occasional crackpot calling for abortion restrictions that can’t hear his own hypocrisy over his shouts for limited government, but it wasn’t every anything I couldn’t handle.

As I walked in to the Capitol I quickly realized the mistake I made, I was wearing the wrong color! It was a blue versus orange match-up and I had literally chosen an all blue ensemble that looked more conservatively American than anything I usually wear. Of course, I came to the Capitol as a pro-choice supporter but also as an observer, since I hadn’t been at the capitol for the filibuster last week. I quickly felt the dichotomy and tried my hardest to commit every image to memory. I figured this day would be about the arguments, the reasons why a woman’s bodily autonomy should absolutely not be up for debate, especially not by a group of white men. But it turned out being a fight for the legitimacy of the democratic process — a fight no one was going to give up on easily, especially not Democratic Representatives Sylvester Turner and Jessica Farrar. It turned out not to be about pro-life or pro-choice but about the stifling of the voter’s voice by the very people elected to represent our interests. No matter what our political beliefs, we were all together in our fight against the silencing of democratic speech.

I walked through the corridors like a child on an Easter Egg hunt, as if I was going to find the answer to why this debate was even happening now, decades after Roe v. Wade. I prepared for being outraged by the pro-life arguments, such as the man who testified to represent himself and the “underserved population of men who have never gotten a say.” This man’s argument was that the selfish choice of women to have an abortion was unfair to men all over the country, that when his sister got an abortion he missed out on the opportunity to be an uncle. This is the problem. This is not about you being an uncle, sir, showing up on holidays and taking the kid out for ice cream on your day off from work. Are you going to take care of the child wholeheartedly when your sister gives birth? This is not about your right to be an uncle, you ill-informed, ignorant, redneck. So yeah, I guess I got a little outraged by some testimonies.

Hearing the heartfelt words of women sharing the guilt they felt after their abortions evokes more of an understanding in me. The thought of having an abortion scares the crap out of me. I think that’s what most pro-lifers don’t get. We are not anti-life. We are not pro-abortion. We represent both choices; we represent the ability to choose, to make decisions about your own body for yourself.

Waiting to enter auditorium

Waiting to enter auditorium

I made my way to the auditorium, one of nine overflow rooms offered to the public in order to watch the testimonies. There was clearly more orange shirts than blue in the auditorium. However, the projector showing the proceedings told a completely different story: all blue shirts sitting in the chamber, waiting to testify. The start of the testimonies should’ve made the tone of the session clear, but I remained hopeful that the voices of the many would pave way to understanding. Representative Turner politely interrupted Chairman Cook to ask why they were in such a small room for such an important gathering, involving the lives of so many Texans.

“Can we not use the auditorium?” He asked, as those around me in the auditorium started applauding uproariously.

“We wanted to ensure the maximum security for every person who is here,” said Cook, unapologetically, explaining also that they had already heard plenty of testimonies during the previous session. Hey, democracy isn’t free, people!

Rep. Laubenburg opened, introducing the bill she was sponsoring by continuously claiming that the bill’s intent was “to protect the health and safety of every woman who undergoes an abortion and protect the unborn.” But Turner wouldn’t let her off that easily, mostly because that wasn’t an acceptable answer to any of the question being posed.

He earnestly asked, what did she think about the bill effectively closing down all but five women’s health clinics in Texas. Rep. Laubenburg refused to acknowledge his “hypothetical futures”, saying there was no way to know that would happen. Turner points out the testimonies of hospitals stating that admitting privileges would not be granted to these doctors performing abortions, meaning any clinic that cannot get these privileges must shut down.

And Laubenburg stuck to her story, “this bill is intended to protect the health and safety of every woman who undergoes an abortion and protect the unborn.” (To which she was patted on the back by Cook as he said, good little Republican mouthpiece.) This was her mantra. Honest discourse did not seem like par for the course here. Laubenburg was making that painfully obvious.

Again, Turner tried to encourage democratic debate by elaborating on a possible amendment to this bill that would mandate the government to pay for these mandatory regulations about to be placed on abortion clinics throughout the state: “Would it be acceptable with in this bill that the state have a corresponding responsibility to provide funding?”

Part of Rep. Turner’s questioning of Rep. Laubenburg:

And this was where all pro-choicers blood began to boil. Because if this was about the improvement of women’s healthcare than the focus would be on providing these clinics with any means necessary to improve their standards. But it wasn’t. If it were about improving women’s healthcare than Lt. Governor David Dewhurst wouldn’t have excitedly tweeted a picture of a map showing all the clinics that would be shut down by the passing of this legislature like a little boy about to win a game of checkers. It was about the improvement of women’s healthcare Rick Perry wouldn’t have started the battle cry that the louder us women yell in protest against the bill, the more him and republicans know they know it will pass. If it were about women’s healthcare than the bill’s author, Laubenburg would have known what a rape kit was.

Bill supporters post up outside in front of news camera to read bible passages

Laubenburg made it clear it was not about the improvement of women’s health care when she stated repeatedly she likes the bill the way it is and would not see it amended. I wish I could defend an idea at work by claiming, “well, I really like it this way.” Representatives Farrar and Mendez joined Turner in questioning Laubenburg’s true intentions.

Mendez voiced his concerns that they are “creating a standard that can’t be met by mandating something hospitals won’t do.”

Farrar brought up the lack of language including mental health exclusions. In some cases, she claims, a woman is on medication to regulate her mood and her psychiatric health, however, this medication may be known to cause serious birth defects or an unhealthy environment for the baby. Democrats then illustrated to Laudenburg the reality of the decision she is then forcing a woman to make: Maintain her own sanity or the health of her baby.

“She has five months to decide that,” Laubenburg answered, to the hisses and outbursts of our crowded auditorium.

Sitting in the auditorium watching the live feed on a huge projector was as if we were all out at a bar watching a basketball game. It was a back and forth of applause for each side, the orange shirts always clapping harder, more passionately, so much so that if this was a game, it would appear we were winning. We had no idea how wrong we were.

The scene from inside the auditorium

The scene from inside the auditorium

The testimonies started and finally the people this bill would affect got a chance to plead their case. Some of these arguments were so eloquent that I was so in the moment I forgot to record. Some were not so eloquent, such as a one testimony by a representative of Chicanos Por La Causa which described individual abortions as “Holocausts.” This cringeworthy comparison elicited an audible gasp in the auditorium.

One women brought up one of the most logical inconsistencies within the pro-life movement: “If this battle was about the sanctity of life we’d be talking about outlawing the death penalty. This is about the controlling of girls and women.” Texas is the leading state for death penalty executions. Go big or go home, I guess, right?

A former staff member of the Texas House came to testify against the bill:

The closing of the testimonies came with a well-articulated argument from Rep. Turner about the unconstitutionality of the bill. He claimed as part of the Supreme Court ruling, undue restrictions on abortions are unconstitutional and if it is likely that abortion access will be restricted by this bill then it is by definition, unconstitutional. But his argument fell on deaf republican ears. Rep. Farrar tried to fight for the remaining people waiting to testify, stating that the record would not indicate those that were present at the building because more supporters of the bill were called to testify and there was a clear majority of orange shirts at the capitol.

Chairman Cook’s floundering would be comical if didn’t hold so much power. Not only did he have people whispering the pronunciations of names he couldn’t properly articulate in his ear, he blatantly spoke through testimonies he didn’t agree with. He overtly allowed more time for pro-lifers to make their way to the podium and was less inclined to cut them off when their time ran out.

Protestor outside as testimonies were being heard

Protestor outside as testimonies were being heard

At the closing, when Farar voiced concerns about the unfairness of the proceedings the chamber broke out in applause, leading Cook to bang his gavel and demand no outbreaks. She refused to back down, stating he had allowed outbreaks from the other side just moments before. It was as if we were in the twilight zone. I often thought, does his hearing aid not work or something?

The record is not going to reflect the people who are here. It’s not fair and I think this speaks ill of the process.”

Both Turner and Farrar fought for the right of each person to have their voice heard despite what side they were on. Republicans sided with Cook, saying it was passed 12:01 and he was no longer required to hear testimony. But Rep. Turner was not going down without a fight, turning to Laubenburg with a series of perfectly executed questions:

Tell me where does pro-life start and stop? When a child is born and we no longer fight for their quality existence?

When I go to my district and I see children who are struggling and I listen to all of this testimony, what do I say to kids I see every day? What do I say to them?

These are kids that are here on the face of the earth walking every single day that we see. So is our love greater for those that we don’t see and less for those that we see every day that have already been born?

That’s the disconnect that I have. That’s my disconnect. As a Christian, that’s my tension with this issue and those who advocate for it. Because these are kids that we see. I can bring them up here and put them in front of us.

Why does it seem as though it stops when a child is born and walking on the face of the earth? And they need things, quality things, in order to reach their full potential?”

Laubenburg reply to this was that she and Rep. Turner both know she cares about children living and unborn. And with that, the session was called to a close amidst continuing protests from Democratic Representatives, pleading for the allowance of further testimonies. Only about 100 of the more than 2,000 people waiting to testify got the chance. Then a vote was to be called.

Turner cried out that he had asked if a vote was going to be held that night and that he wanted a chance to bring up amendments.

“You can bring it up on the (House) floor,” Cook said.

Turner responded angrily, “You know that’s just wrong!”

The vote was 8-3 in favor of the bill, which is now on its’ way to becoming law. (Check out the bill’s timeline here).

Most people believed this fight to be over after watching the triumphant Wendy Davis filibuster her way into history. What Wendy taught us was important,though: when you have your constituents, the general public, and most importantly, Texas women  behind you, you can and will make history. And this is what I have to believe because after leaving the Capitol yesterday, I watched the courage and determination of each person who testified culminate in the complete and utter disregard for the democratic process by Chairman Cook and other Republican representatives. 

By the end of the day I was pretty much in tears, wondering how this could have happened. Rep. Turner was right. Rep. Farar was right. This was a “farce.” How is it possible to argue that your bill’s intention is to promote  the escalation of healthcare for Texas women by improving abortion clinic standards when the very supporters of the bill testify an all-out effort to ban abortion all together?

It’s funny that when we stand up for our rights we are called an unruly mob using Obama-style guerilla tactics to get our way — I’m not quite sure but I believe that act of protestation was invented and utilized before Obama came into office. Is democracy not about the will of the people? I would like to (seriously) say to this committee, with great power comes great responsibility. If you wish to serve this large population, it is your job to hear every last voice. If you are serving our interests, then act interested in our voices. Don’t dismiss us. You are nothing without the people that elect you. And if you thought the battle cry of Texas women has been overwhelming, wait till November. Wait till the voices you have silenced are heard through their votes.

DSC_2726

This isn’t old Texas anymore.

We are younger, we believe in limited government not when it serves as a way to increase the profit of large corporations but when it enables individuals the liberties they were promised in the constitution. I’m on to you, Republicans. You think by pushing through bills to restrict our rights, like the voter identification bill you slipped through the legislature like seconds after the Supreme Court ruled on the Voting Rights Act, that you can stop our democratic voice from being heard. You guys turn into super, transparently undemocratic babies when you don’t get your way, huh? Why would you want to make it harder for people to vote? Oh, that’s right! Because the non-white population is growing so fast in Texas  that projections show the state turning blue sometime in the very near future.

Well, I’m sorry Rick Perry, David Dewhurst, Byron Cook and all the others that seek to silence our voices, you’ve had a long run but your time will run out. Our “mob” will be heard, and when it is, you may be wishing the only fight up for debate was a women’s right to choose. Democracy will always win.

Note: Once uploaded, I will be providing videos of some of testimonies, hold tight!

More to Do While Unemployed

I had totally planned to write a post about the fight going on at the Texas State Capitol and about similarly difficult, political challenges facing young people and specifically young women today (and it was all going to be really witty in the right places with emotional emphasis where need be, etc). But instead, I’m getting off my lazy ass and going down to the Capitol so I don’t miss a minute of history. If you don’t know what I’m talking about with this whole abortion thing then follow these steps: 1. Open a newspaper 2. Turn on the news 3. Read more. Or, just go here or here. So tomorrow is a time for serious posting (seriously funny!).

This post then, will serve as a way for me to present to you some hilarious videos that keep me sane while unemployed. The first is brought to you by Reggie Watts, a crazy funny, brilliant man. Give him a chance to blow your mind and he won’t disappoint you.

Next, because I so effortlessly describe it’s amazingness here I figured you should see a wee snippet of Comedy Bang Bang. I’ve chosen to share the entire Ed Helms episode although watching a few minutes is acceptable as well. Okay, I dare you to not watch the whole thing:

You’re all very welcome. I’ll see ya’ll tomorrow, hopefully with an autographed portrait of Wendy Davis signed with Rick Perry’s tears.