Sunday, September 28, 2008

Black In Spain Blog

For those of you who don't know, I spent the fall of 2006 studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain. I sent email updates to my friends and family back home and have been wanting to post them online. I just created a second blog called "Black in Spain" for those updates. I've posted all the text, but I still need to add pictures and make sure everything is formatted in a visually pleasing manner.

The link is listed under my "Other Blogs I Enjoy" section, go look now if you want...or wait until it's all complete and pretty (recommended)! The Morocco update is also missing...because I never got around to writing it. But I plan on writing that ASAP!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rippity Rap, Raptastic

Like most suburban white girls, I am a connoisseur of rap music. That almost always surprises people. I guess they assume that I hear the songs at clubs and dance to them, but they never expect me to know all the words. You can chalk that up to my uncanny ability of rapid memorization, but I am a bit of a P-I-M-P. 9 times out of 10, if I'm spelling something that ends in the letter o, I say "to the izzo" merely out of habit (not to mention a shout out to H.O.V.A).

Much like my overall music preferences, my rap tastes are varied and eclectic. I like some of the really old school stuff where you can actually understand the lyrics and there are typically fewer words to censor. But I also like the new stuff that requires a Google lyric search if you are really anal (and I am) and want to know what they're saying (and I do). And I like most everything in between, too.

Yesterday I was in my car, surfing the XM Nation for music. Thanks to the "Nineties on 9" channel, I was able to catch Salt-N-Pepa's Whatta Man. So yea, it was a pretty good day.

There I was, rocking out [as always] when some of the lyrics struck me as odd. At the end of the first verse there's a laugh and then they say, "You so crazy, I think I wanna have your baby."
Wow, topping the charts of "Things You Never Say to a Guy," we have Salt-N-Pepa with Whatta Man.

While we're on the subject of Salt-N-Pepa, let's talk about the unsung hero of that group: The DJ, Spinderella. Sure, she gets that shout out at the beginning of Let's Talk About Sex ("Spinderella cut it up one time"), but why isn't her name a part of the group? It doesn't really go with Salt-N-Pepa, but maybe they should've come up with a different name so that everyone could be recognized.

It's the same as Daughtry, Van Halen, Dave Matthews Band, etc. Those are bands, not solo acts. If someone came up to me and said, "Hey, do you want to be in my band that's named after me and only me?" I'd be inclined to pull a Sarah Palin and say, "Thanks, but no thanks." But I'd eventually reconsider because I'd be in a band and that would be awesome. I guess it is handy for those groups if someone quits because they've lost creative control or have to go to jail or rehab; provided it wasn't the front man, then there's no need to rename the group. What if Destiny's Child had been some combination of all of their names? They'd have more name changes than Prince. I bring that up only because I'm listening to Say My Name right now, recorded back when Destiny's Child had 4 members (and was still together).

Mid-way through writing this post I thought about including a list of my must-have rap songs but I'm afraid it would be really long as it would be too hard to whittle the list down. I'd imagine it would be like choosing a favorite child. There are some artists I enjoy so much that I couldn't reduce them to just one or 2 songs! I doubt I could list all the artists because even that list would be too long! Virtually any and every Ludacris song would be on there; after all, we both represent for the Dirty South. There'd be a significant amount of Kanye West as his songs are usually really smart and clever--definitely The New Workout Plan (off his first CD, The College Dropout)! I'd also throw in some Reggaeton, which is basically Spanish/Latino rap.

Obviously I could ramble on about rap for quite some time. So I'm going to leave you with the reminder that "stuntin' is a habit."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Erin v. Evil

I knew I couldn't express all my distaste for Sarah Palin in one blog entry. I grew more and more disgusted throughout the day as I remembered points that didn't make it into yesterday's post.

Sarah Palin was a member of a group that wanted Alaska to secede from the United States. Now that's a quality you don't find in a lot of Presidential candidates--a desire to join (or form) a different country.

I was also made aware that many of my friends were surprised at my level of animosity towards Palin. Allow me to simplify things using a few of my not-so-favorite things:

As previously stated, I cannot stand "Family Circus." And, like many of my friends, I do not care for "New Facebook." New Facebook bothers me so much, that I would gladly read "Family Circus" every day, cut them out and put them on my fridge if it meant that Classic Facebook would return. Sarah Palin bothers me so much that after I read a whole bunch of "Family Circus" comics I would spend the next 8 hours on New Facebook creating obnoxious applications centered around "Family Circus" if it meant that Sarah Palin would just go back to Alaska and stop doing anything and everything.

There are far too many evils in this world for me to try and fight on my own; and yet, I cannot stop. I think I know how Superman feels.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sarah Palin Makes Me Cringe

For some [unknown] reason, my initial thought with this blog was to avoid discussing politics. Ask anyone who knows me, that's odd and unlike me. I don't talk about politics all the time, but they are important to me. I am a firm believer that if you don't vote, then you have no right to bitch. And I really enjoy bitching, thus I must vote. I also detest ignorance, thus I needed to research the candidates so my vote will be an informed decision rather than the blind following of whatever my parents, co-workers, religious leader, etc. tell me. My leanings are liberal to say the least. But I do respect the opinions of others, provided they can back them up (if their beliefs are of the aforementioned blind following variety, then I don't want to hear it).

As stated in my most political blog to date(entitled "Hope," August 4), I am an Obama supporter. I do respect John McCain's military service and think he seems like a nice person, I just don't think he'd be the best president. I also understand that, whether I like it or not, he could be the next president. While I was less than thrilled with that concept, it didn't frighten me...until he added Sarah Palin to his ticket. Now I'm scared.

I just finished watching the Saturday Night Live sketch with Tina Fey portraying the Alaska governor. It is absolutely hilarious! And it touched on many of the reasons I have a problem with Sarah Palin. It's going to be hard to state these reasons without having to write a novel, but I'm going to try.

I'm sick and tired of hearing people call anyone who likes Hillary Clinton and doesn't like Sarah Palin a hypocrite. I don't like Hillary Clinton because she is a woman, just like I don't dislike (hate, abhor, loathe, detest) Sarah Palin because she is a woman. My feelings are based on my review of their personalities and character (a novel concept). I don't even understand why people keep comparing them; it's apples and oranges, people! They're both married women with children who are in politics--and the commonalities end there.

I saw a clever piece of flair on Facebook that said, "Just because Sarah Palin has a vagina doesn't mean she cares about your's!" I couldn't agree more. Most conservatives are pro-life (a term which irritates me in itself; I'm not anti-life, I'm anti-lack-of-options and anti-people-telling-me-what-I-can-and-cannot-do-with-my-body) but she takes it a step further. She doesn't agree with abortion in cases of rape and/or incest. That is intense. Rape is arguably the worst thing that can happen to a woman; to force her to carry a resulting child is a further violation of her rights.

I was attacked once, and lucky enough to get away. But not a day goes by that I don't think about what could have happened. Had I gotten pregnant, I don't think I could've gone through with it. While there are a few [unstable] women who use abortion as a form of birth control, I don't think it's a decision that most women make lightly. If someone makes that decision, I trust that they have thought through all their options, and I don't feel it's my place to question their judgement.

Sarah Palin also advocates abstinence-only sex education, a concept I find laughable. To explain only a portion of something is not a full education. In my high school health class, abstinence was barely touched on due to the assumption that "no one was going to do that anyway." I disagree with that, too. People should know all the facts, consequences of their decisions and options thereafter. It should be stressed to kids that abstinence is the only 100% guaranteed way to avoid diseases, pregnancies, etc. but that if they do decide to have sex it should be done safely. It's ignorant to think that teenagers aren't going to have sex just because you tell them not to (and we know how I feel about ignorance). The proof of abstinence-only education success rates can be found in Palin's daughter.

That's another thing, Palin is being commended for acknowledging her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy. "How brave of their family to deal with this situation...and it's OK because they're going to get married." Forcing children to get married is far from brave. It is, at best, archaic. Palin has stated that teenagers are going to do things you tell them not to. That is exactly the reason they should be fully educated.

One of the main criticisms of Barack Obama has been his lack of experience. What better way to drive home your point than pick someone with even less experience! But noooo, Sarah Palin is different because she's "governor of the biggest state in the country." Yes, Alaska is the biggest state geographically, however it ranks somewhere around 47th in population. I doubt it's hard to be governor of trees. Her total foreign policy experience is her states proximity to Russia. Well, Earth is right next to the moon and Mars, but that doesn't make me an expert astronomer.
I almost forgot to mention that Palin is under investigation for abusing her power as governor! She allegedly ordered the firing of the man who was about to be her ex-brother-in-law. Is it just me, or is the campaign commercial just writing itself?!

Palin also promised that the days of ear-marking funds for politicians are over! If you need examples of politicians who've requested said funds, look no further than Sarah Palin! She hired a lobbying firm to secure $27 million for Wasilla, Alaska (population 6700) when she was mayor. And who could forget the $223 million dollars she secured in 2005 for the infamous "bridge to nowhere"? She now claims to have said "thanks but no thanks on the bridge to nowhere." But only after supporting it long enough for the entire country to become so enraged that Congress revoked the funds. That's like me saying, "I 'just said no' to drugs after my 5th joint."

If you haven't guessed it by now, she also opposes things like gay rights. She also hates on Barack Obama for having been a community organizer. Why should we make fun of people who want to make a difference? I was unaware that was a bad thing. What a great message to send! But she was a beauty queen back in the day, so apparently that makes up for it.

Another great Sarah Palin tidbit is her hobby: aerial wolf hunting. I actually had to look up what this was. Aerial wolf hunting is where you get in a small plane and fly really low to the ground, chasing wolves. You can shoot them from the plane or you chase them until they're completely exhausted, land the plane, get out and shoot the wolf at point blank range. Despite the fact that Congress outlawed aerial hunting over 30 years ago, Alaska uses a loophole in federal law to hunt both wolves and bears. I believe the arguement is that wolves are overpopulated in Alaska, but there's no excuse for the inhumane nature of this act.

One of her biggest campaign platforms seems to be that she is a mother. Don't get me wrong, motherhood is a big deal. Being a mom is a full-time job, and being the mother of a special needs child is an even bigger job. But neither are qualifiers for running the country. She is the mother of 5 children, the youngest is only a few months old. That's a lot on her plate already. Before anyone says I'm sexist, allow me to elaborate. I can't help but think that her being a mother is different than Barack Obama being a father. Like it or not, children are instinctively drawn to their mothers; the bond is naturally stronger. I imagine it would be very hard for her children (especially the younger ones) to deal with her being gone a lot.

Sarah Palin is full of shit and has provided us with nothing more than smoke and mirrors. I shudder at the thought of her being a heartbeat away from leading this country...especially if it would come complete with lame jokes about hockey moms.

Monday, September 8, 2008

It Just Keeps Coming

I've had [what has felt like] a lot of shit going down in my life lately. I know that I've said it before but while I was prepared for the "real world" to be hard, I wasn't prepared for it to completely blow!

As you may well know, my one and only "real world" job was cut short quite abruptly when, after 8 weeks, I was fired. I am currently working on a post with all my great How-to-Get-Fired tips! As you also may well know, ever since the firing I have been busting my ass at your friendly neighborhood Kroger. Filling the role of pricing coordinator is not easy...it's actually quite tedious, my social life has suffered tremendously. But I did it. And I did it with minimal complaining (within earshot of store management, that is).

Explaining the entire backstory to this saga would most likely bore you (if you disagree, alert me and I'll post on that too) so I'll skip to the big finale: I am not being hired full-time to do a job that I have been doing for over 1 year. Who was hired, you ask? A night cashier from another store. I don't have all the details, hows and whys of this situation (I'll expand upon my outrage as those come in, I'm sure) but I've got enough for a decent rant. Even my mother said that she would use the F-word to describe the situation if she was a fan of that word. Lucky for us, I'm a big fan of that word (one of my favorites) so I'll use it as I see fit.

I always thought I'd be doing more with my life than this. On the other hand, I've always known that it takes all sorts of people to make the world go 'round. Not everyone gets to be big and important; some people have to fill the less-than-glamourous jobs in our society. And this morning, it occurred to me: I've also always assumed that I would be one of the important people. What if I'm not? This may or may not have enduced a panic attack (proof that I shouldn't be thinking while I'm driving), I'm not quite sure. But think about it, everybody thinks they're going to be special and important and make a difference--but that's not possible. It's like that scene in Office Space:

Peter: Our high school guidance counselor used to ask us what you’d do if you had a million dollars and you didn’t have to work. And invariably what you’d say was supposed to be your career. So, if you wanted to fix old cars then you’re supposed to be an auto mechanic.
Samir: So what did you say?
Peter: I never had an answer. I guess that’s why I’m working at Initech.
Michael: No, you’re working at Initech because that question is bullshit to begin with. If everyone listened to her, there’d be no janitors, because no one would clean shit up if they had a million dollars.

I'm not really sure what my point is here, other than the fact that I won't settle for being something boring. I'm making some sort of change for the better. I'm taking control of things because waiting patiently and resting on my work ethic isn't doing shit! Not getting this job is the biggest sign that I do need to go back to school. I've never had any intention of staying at Kroger for any huge amount of time (much less forever) but it's been a great place to be while I'm trying to figure everything else out. And although the pricing gig was a pain, I'd always thought that if I was going to be at Kroger I should be doing the thing that pays me the most and makes me feel least like a failure.

All the thanks and compliments I've received for my work there were nothing more than empty rhetoric--that is now painfully clear. Don't get me wrong, I love hearing how great I am as much as the next person, but there comes a time when a person needs more than a pat on the back.

I have no plans to quit on principle or anything (a recession is a bad time to have principles). I still make a decent amount of money and I just qualified for benefits and vacation time so it would be stupid to leave. But if they're under the impression that I'm going to stick around and help out my replacement, they're fucking crazy. Once the new girl starts, I'm done. They gave her the job and I'll be damned if I'm going to lift another finger. They've already learned that I'm very nice (despite my claims) and helpful. They're about to learn that my bad side is not a place they want to be. [Insert evil laugh]

I know that any job comes with the red tape and the politics that I am encountering; I am many things, but naive is not one of them. I just didn't expect I would deal with so much red tape and politics so early in life. I've learned a lot about life since I graduated and it's made me a better, stronger person. And on the plus side, I have nowhere to go but up!

Sorry I've Left You Blogless!

I want to apologize that it's been so long since I wrote anything. Our store had a re-grand opening (which I think sounds weird...grand re-opening sounds better) and I was really busy with that. On top of that, I had to finish reading the Twilight books...and I literally could not put them down!! And then I got sort of sick (most likely due to the lack of sleep).
But never fear, I'm working on several posts as we speak (or as you read what I have typed).