Monday, February 23, 2015

MAKE PEOPLE LOVE YOU!!!!



Rummaging through my old word-documents and found this gem that I wrote a while ago. Not sure what I was thinking...


  1. When you first meet someone, repeatedly refer to them by a catchy nick-name that you thought up yourself despite their insistence that you use their real name.

  1. Walk up to a Mother who is having a difficult time with her child and explain to the Mother the “Correct way to parent the child” in a smug manner.  Forget the fact that you’ve never had children yourself.  You’ve had years of experience babysitting.

  1. If you suspect someone is feeling down or is in pain, start talking to them in a babyish voice “pretending to sympathize” and say “Oh, I’m soooo sawwie!” Make your sarcasm very apparent.

  1. Have an extensive monologue with someone that you meet—don’t allow the person to speak for a moment.  At the end, tell the person “It was great getting to know you!” Sound very enthusiastic.

  1. Tell someone that you speak five languages fluently and then proceed to list off the 6 or 7 words that you *actually* know from the five different languages.

  1. When you cannot challenge a person’s argument with logic or evidence, attack them as a person or threaten to delete their comment.  If this doesn't get them to stop presenting their evidence, suggest to the person that “They might want to reconsider what you say or else they’ll burn in hell for all eternity.”.  

  1. While in a discussion that is getting polarized, tell the other person that they are not an authority on said subject and then proceed to present your opinions in detail about the subject at hand, despite the fact that you, too, have no authority on said subject (i.e you don't have a doctorate either).  You’re lengthy opinionating obviously trumps their lengthy opinionating.

  1. Talk about someone’s mistake over and over again to someone else while forgetting the 17 mistakes you made earlier today.

  1. After someone makes a mistake, make the comment “Everyone makes mistakes” in that annoying voice. Say it like you think the other person hasn't heard it before.




Wednesday, February 4, 2015

GOD's LETTER TO STUPID PEOPLE



DEAR FLOCK AND HEATHENS TOO,

THIS IS GOD and I have a message for you today,

 A series of unfortunate events led me to Google’s search bar, where I began typing in “I feel stupid” and “I am stupid” and “I am incompetent”. I was in high hopes that I would find a blog post, article or peer reviewed academic paper deconstructing the idea of stupidity or offering advice for this state of being. Much to my surprise, I came across a copious number of websites calling out my own character as “Stupid”. Unfortunately, I found very few websites where humans were discussing their own stupidity. Humans appear to be rife with narcissism, a self-serving bias and an overconfidence that is repugnant to myself and the angels. Thankfully, I did find at least one website where a young chap was discussing his feelings of stupidity.

The website I found was a yahoo answers chat page. In it, an unidentified commentator was discussing his performance anxiety while working at McDonald’s.  This individual had been demoted from cashier, to “hamburger assembler” and then, all the way down the pecking chain to “floor mopper”. He was lamenting the fact that he was stupid, clumsy and could not multi-task. His working memory was befuddled as it was slammed with multiple orders, numbers and customer complaints. He seemed to be suggesting that he had an inferior brain. Many other commentators were chiming in, detailing their own mental sluggishness and the problems they encountered. One thing became readily clear—it was their stupid brains that were the reason for their stupid actions.  This individual’s post gave rise to an empathetic chorus of like-minded stupidfiles who also joined the forum, all of whom were lamenting their own plight with personal stupidity.

Before I go any farther may I extend a BIG CHEERY greeting to those of you who found this by typing in “I am incompetent” or something similar. There are simply not enough websites addressing the entry “I am stupid” and I’m trying to sink my consciousness into why this might be the case—and perhaps capitalize on it, if such is possible.

Clearly, a lot of people feel deep inside that they are a lower breed of human and possess the reasoning faculties of a squirrel.  They lumber through life, bogged down by a slow processor doing things that make average and above-average folk grimace with pain. No one wants to admit that they are a dolt for fear of the pervasive blight on their reputation; “Once incompetent, always incompetent” as the famous saying goes.  Our research suggests that stating “Slow Learner” on your resume doesn't bode well for job prospects.

While stupid cannot be fixed, it certainly can be embraced. One can learn to live with it and accept it. The idea that comes to mind is “Self Acceptance”.  Smart people accept themselves…but is this really a shock?!? They sit at their privileged platform of high-mindedness with the repository of human knowledge as well as mental machinery that rivals the speed of light.  Smart people accept themselves, quite frankly, because it is easier (they can do it more quickly too).

When you have positive attributes emanating from your identity, it is hard to feel sorry for yourself.  Dolts, on the other hand, are—by definition—labeled by the most negative trait of all. Being stupid is like being a blind, bullied child. You struggle through life; ideas and concepts are not brought to your threshold of awareness as readily as they are to others. You flounder with math—like adding and subtracting single digit numbers with the help of a calculator. Connecting ideas to arrive at a likely conclusion or an answer to a “why question” is difficult because you can’t readily synthesize patterns that are essentially “smack in the face” to everyone else.

In my sermon here I want to make it clear that if you have found this post by typing in the words “I am incompetent” or “I am stupid” just accept it. Sit back and take it in. Realize that you’re doing everything you can do. Like all the rest of us who come from a lineage of stupid people—or, in my case—a lineage of nothing—we have little recourse.

Sometimes just accepting your dire state of sentience is all it takes to feel better and move forward with this dreary yet expensive state of existence. It might be temporarily painful (and mentally torturous) to deal with people who make you feel bad and unworthy for a trait you likely have little control of in the first place—but just take this in.

Jesus received 39 lashes for not doing anything wrong. As a stupid person, you haven’t done anything wrong either but you bear the brunt of society’s blame. Like Jesus, you are modern society’s scapegoat.

 Smart, quick-thinkers hate you because you are slowing them down at the grocery store as you fumble through your pockets looking for a credit card you never signed up for. They hate you at the traffic intersection because you take an extra 1.3 seconds to register “green light” into your slogging mental processor.  Devious marketers can’t stand you because when they employ their unethical sales tactics on your poor brain and beguile your naive soul they have to deal with the future angst of ripping someone like you off.

Finally, I want to tell all stupid people of the world “Do NOT BE DISCOURAGED” for I came to save you, through my computer screen and make you accept yourself.  No, I didn't send my only son to die for your stupidity (I sent him to die for your sins). I just want you to know that I accept you for who you are and am tolerant of your stupidity—you can’t say this for human beings.


After all, If I made you stupid to begin with, what does that say about me? It would be my own error for designing your defective brain and then letting you run freely with it.

Thank you for listening,

Yours Truly,

God





Wednesday, January 7, 2015

PARIS TRIP :)

A few days ago we returned from a trip to Paris. We spent New Years there and a few more days after that :) I will have pictures up very soon!--So do come back!!

Our 2 night, 3 day trip to France was a beautiful experience. While this would not be my first time in France, visiting Paris would be entirely new for me. This time, my husband and I became full-on tourists and took a tour bus with a savvy (yet chatty) guide. After our luggage was loaded into the under-belly of the bus, we were escorted from our lovely village in Germany to Paris, France. 

Paris was all I could have ever dreamed it to be! Going a-la-tour-bus style has its advantages—namely, your limited time is used very, very efficiently. An official tour trip will make certain that you see all the big sites of the city while also managing to get group rates for certain museums and events. Also, you needn’t figure out all the navigation, parking—which can become quite overwhelming and time-consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing. The city is so big and the throngs of tourists are so copious that, as a newbie, you depend upon a professional to be the arbiter of your travels.

The disadvantages of an official tour are:

  1. The talkative tour guide who disrupts you while you are trying to nap.
  2.  You are often pressured to go to venues (particularly for dinner) that are not always of your choosing and are often more costly (and less tasty) than if you had picked them out yourself.

Thankfully, we managed to figure out the Parisian subway and found our way from the outskirts of the city (our hotel location) to downtown Paris. Also, the subway was free while we were there.

The tour bus took us to all the major highlights of Paris which included: The Palace of Versailles, Notre Dame, The Louvre, downtown Paris, Arc de Triomphe, The Paris Opera House (with the famous Marc Chagall paintings on the ceiling), The Thinker sculpture by Auguste Rodin and also the Eiffel Tower (created by Gustave Eiffel in 1889)

 Of the major Paris attractions my two favorites were the Palace of Versailles and also, the Paris Opera house. I would highly recommend both of these! The Palace of Versailles was an outstanding, magnificent beauty that stands as one of France’s great treasures. Louis the XIV is someone who is regarded as incredibly ostentatious and led a life of untold decadence and someone who had a group of servants stand by to clap after he successfully crapped in his bedside commode.  By his decree he created a piece of architecture that will last for ages---bringing untold numbers of tourists that will perpetually enrich the country of France.

If you’re into sight-seeing and have a fancy for seeing thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of tourists all at once—the Louvre is the place to go! Also, if you’re into sculptures or paintings, you are in for a treat too. In addition to seeing riveting art works that span millennia and include glorious religious scenes and all manner of Biblical themes, you will come across an entire room full of people clawing their way to behold the most famous face of all—the Mona Lisa.




Friday, January 2, 2015

MY PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC ADVENTURE!



 Over Christmas we decided to take a trip to Prague, Czech Republic. We booked a Van tour to Prague which meant we would be driven to the city in a tightly cramped van with other travelers. We would stay in Prague for a 4 days, 5 nights. While there, we would be expected to plan our own excursions. Happily, this meant that we didn't have to do any sort of “Group Tours” with the other travelers in our van. Simply put: A ride to a hotel in Prague and then a ride back to Germany 5 days later. What a fantastic idea! Even better, my husband speaks enough Czech to get us around in a pinch.

video

My Video: Sculpture of Men Pissing on Czech Republic
(in front of the Franz Kafka museum in Prague)


Once arriving in the city of Prague, we secured our hotel room located at a Best Western in the heart of the city. It had a very spacious balcony that overlooked the entire city. After unpacking and checking out Bohemia from the roof-top, we decided to venture to the Charles Bridge.









 The dark of night cocooned us as we trekked our way to the Charles Bridge which spanned the chilly Vltava River. Saintly, yet ghostly stone carved statues perched along the sides of the bridge as if watching over the bridge and the city. Sans the thick swarms of tourists, the Charles Bridge at night has a mystical—almost surreal quality to it.  We next made a brisk walk through the central district and saw the famous Astronomical Clock and also the Christmas tree in the center of the square. Also present was a statue of John Huss. This brought me back to 8th grade where I first learned about the Protestant reformer and martyr who was burned at the stake by those wretched Catholics.



Astronomical Clock


After wandering around the city in the deeply cold and dark night, we decided to go out to dinner. The first restaurant we ate at—U Karla—offered classical Czech cuisine like duck, venison, rabbit, pork, chicken schnitzel, boiled potatoes, red cabbage, candle sauce with roast beef, dumplings, goulash, crepes with whipped cream and plum sauce for dessert---the list goes on. These items—especially the meats—happen to be some of my husband’s favorite fare.  Never having Czech food before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I was mightily grateful after trying Czech cuisine and would recommend it to anyone who isn't a vegetarian.

Goulash

                                                    Beef with Candle Sauce

Beer!!!!


 One thing that I've discovered about Czech food is its pungency. The flavors of Czech cuisine are intensely strong.  Vegetables—like beets, cabbage—are delightfully pickled to death. Perhaps an even more notable item on the Czech menu is the beer. Thanks to this country’s long-history of beer brewing, Czech Republic is the place to come just for the beer. Forget Germany; go to Czech Republic for a good, dark brew!  Delicious, mouth-watering, malty beers are sure to delight even the most scrupulous drinker. Some Czech beers, particularly the microbrews—are unfiltered and unpasteurized giving them a freshness that is insurmountable in flavor.

On Christmas morning we began our day with a buffet styled breakfast provided by Czech hotel staff. After consuming a decadent meal and then swearing off lunch, we found our way back outside, on this cold winter morning. Thankfully, many tourists were not out yet as the city still seemed to be in slumber.

We wandered over to Wenceslas square with the giant King Wenceslas monument in the smack of the shopping district. We then trekked our way over to the Jewish History Museum. We also entered a medieval Jewish cemetery that dated back to before the 1200’s. I learned a little about the history of Judaism. One of the museums showcased many preserved artifacts. For instance, an entire glass case featured Torah Pointers.


Jewish Graveyard dating before the 1100's
(near Jewish History Museum)

Me checking out a Gothic arch in the Jewish District of Prague


After discovering nearly the entire Jewish quarters of Prague we then embarked upon the Charles Bridge and found our way to the Prague Castle. The Prague Castle sits on the hill and seems to overlook the city of Prague. Here this Gothic Cathedral is built upon the ramparts of a very old castle. The cathedral, itself, is a feast of Gothic architecture endued with Gothic arches, flying buttresses and feisty gargoyles. Inside this Gothic masterpiece are brightly colored Biblical stories enmeshed in stained glass. One of the stained glass windows was designed by the famous Czech artist Alphonse Mucha.








All of the exquisite elements of the museum created a dramatic impression upon the throngs of tourists in the cathedral. They pushed their way to the statues of saints or the Virgin and child or to the giant crucifix on the wall.  Some travelers were praying in front of the statues and wall murals or the stained glass icons, others were simply gawking.


Overlooking Prague from Old Town, on the way to Prague Castle


                                 Downtown Prague, near the Municipal Hall

The weather was frigid during all of our meandering through the city. One afternoon we decided to visit the Franz Kafka museum. This museum detailed the life and work of the great literary genius. The darkness and sense of nihilism that pervaded Kafka’s writings seemed to match well with the dark lighting and depressing ambiance of the museum. My husband, an avid reader of almost all of Kafka’s writings, could more fully appreciate this museum than someone like me—a Kafka novice who once read “The Metamorphosis” over a decade ago. Walking through this museum, you could spy the other Kafka enthusiasts—not too different from those venerating the saints in the Prague Castle.

We also had to visit the Alphonse Mucha museum. Alphonse Mucha was a famous 19th and 20th century Czech artist who created lithographic, Art Nouveau style paintings (usually of young women) in earthy, natural scenes.  Plants, flowers, woods and forests were settings in many of Mucha’s paintings but the focal point was usually a lovely lady. His work, to me, had a uniquely 2-dimensional, poster look to it that I found to be visually arresting. He is now one of my favorite artists! We also learned how Mucha used his fame for the good of his country and worked to influence public policy during his time.

After our trip to the Mucha museum, we swam through the city of tourists and their selfie-poles to an underground dungeon where we ate lunch. In the early evening we also made sure to attend a classical Christmas chamber concert. A group of local musicians entertained a big crowd of us in an art-deco styled concert hall. Their cellos and violins played to the tune of Brahms, Dvorak, Bach and Mozart. I really enjoyed it when they played, “Hungarian Dance no. 5” by Brahms. Sadly, we didn't get to hear any of Smetana’s compositions.

We used the subway in Prague on many occasions. I highly recommend using the subway if it gets too cold during your stay in Prague—just know that you will be surrounded by only Czech people and not a single tourist. This is very nice! It is also helpful that my husband can speak quite a bit of Czech which helped us immensely during our travels.

One night we went to a traditional Czech beer hall—a venue patroned by almost all locals. Instead of offering dinner guests a table for two, you are seated right beside random strangers on long benches parallel to long tables; as if by magic, mugs of dark beer are dropped right in front of you. The beer hall was a lively, vibrant place where every 15 minutes a waiter comes by your table with a platter of shot glasses—urging you to take one after another. Baskets of rye bread are plopped on the table before you. The food we ordered was quite delicious! Another cool thing is that a very skilled accordion player comes around the long tables and will serenade you as you eat. I learned that Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption in the world per capita.

Across the Charles bridge is the Mala-Strana (little district) or “Old Town” where there are plenty of narrow, cobble stone streets. In this district, quaint, tightly packed gift shops loaded with Bohemian crystal, pottery and chintzy souvenirs are everywhere! Also present are plentiful kiosks scattered about offering hot mulled wine sure to enthuse any dedicated alcoholic or anyone else interested in a hot spicy flavored brew on a chill-to-your-bone day.


Charles Bridge



On the fifth day it was time to leave Prague. We made our way out of the city. The outskirts of the city were full of big-block buildings reminiscent of the former communist regime. Our trip was wonderful but too short. 4 nights and 5 days is not enough to experience this lasting jewel of Europe.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wandering Thoughts...



I recently stumbled upon a quote, “The greatest hurdle to fortune is the desire for safety.” This quote was brought to my attention as I was reading through a magazine. A big business tycoon was offering some of his insights as to why he thought he was so (monetarily) successful. I began to contemplate this thought. As I thought about it more, this quote really seemed to ring true.

After all, one major reason so many of us keep from pushing forward with a project or idea is fear; the squelching, suffocating feelings of fear that can consume us and can ultimately inhibit our progress down the path of success.

What type of fear is this? It is the type of fear that tends to arrive when you find yourself stepping outside the boundaries of your comfort zone. When you realize…hey, wow…what if I take this step, if I make a move in this direction? You immediately become aware that this safe-sense that you have in your person—your ego—could be compromised, assaulted, hurt, diminished, never to be repaired again. You could even be looked upon as a failure. For some reason, we think of "failure" as final. 

This is a very fatalistic, do-and-die perspective. It is this notion that if something causes injury, it is permanent. If someone says something about you, you take it as a set-in-stone analysis or an irrevocable evaluation of who you are.

We all want to be safe in that we want the core of ourselves—our sense of self, our ego—to be protected from the scorn and derision of others. I guess the reason why we care to protect the central aspect of ourselves—our identity—is the same reason why we want to protect our physical body. We care about our (physical) survival.  Our ego must care about its survival too.

Why people choose to pick on others or find ways to inflict mental pain on others is one question. The bigger question that I ponder is: why do we even care when someone picks at us or insults us? Why does it feel bad when a group of people that we interact with physically every day tends to ignore us? Why are these things psychically/mentally painful at all? Perhaps these experiences feel bad because the other individual's appraisal of us—our worth—is less than what we happen to think about ourselves. This grates against our ego and we feel pain. The pain is obviously not a physical pain as when one abrades the skin, it is more of an emotional pain.

It seems to me that there are only a few options that one can take to keeping our ego afloat midst the efforts of other egos who are only trying to bring us down.

1. Just say “Fuck You”. My life is already insanely short. I’m not going to let you ruin what little time I have to enjoy my life.

2. Surround yourself with people who are worth your time and who you can gain knowledge from.

For the millionth time, I’m not writing about any particular personal experience I've had. I was just letting my mind wander after reading a quote from a magazine.


I see that some of you have shared this! Thank you Lorne, John and several others of you! I really appreciate this!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Motorized Shopping Scooters for LAZY people too?



Digging through my journal entries...here is one from 4-5 years ago. I've found a bunch of these weird writings of mine.


My boyfriend—an able-bodied 29 year old--decided to rent one of those motorized carts during our outing to Ikea the other day. You know…those ones that you associate with either the disabled or morbidly obese?
His reason?  “I’m tired and my feet hurt.”

So my bf saddled the motorized cart and next informed me loudly-- in all manner of seriousness-- that he “Wanted to be the leader”.

He drove the cart around the store and I walked behind him, occasionally stopping to look at something and ask if he would stop. I noticed that bf was having a fantastically entertaining time on his cart—as if we came to Ikea for that reason only. He was plowing through the store at speeds that aroused the attention of almost every shopper present.

The store was a densely populated mess. Every nook and cranny of the Ikea maze was packed with people, each one interested in honing their organizational skills or looking for that perfect set of tea cups. 

At one time, my bf’s immaturity level rose and he started making circles around me in one of the wider isles. His reason? “I’m testing this thing’s angular momentum”.  To everyone else, his engineering inquiries looked more like the giddy nature of a 5 year old.

A few moments later, my bf saw a shelf that he was really interested in buying, but it was tucked away, in a space that was inaccessible to his motorized scooter.  So what did he do? He parked the scooter in front of the isle, jettisoned himself off the cart and swiftly walked right over to his shelf of interest.  Shoppers started to stare as if someone had just committed a grave crime. “Anyone can use these carts” he said in defense “They can’t discriminate against those of us who aren't disabled.”

During the latter half of our shopping trip my bf was swearing at his pedometer that he had purchased earlier that day because he “was trying to lose weight”. Sitting on the motorized cart in the middle of Ikea, my bf says angrily, ‘Why is this thing saying that I've only burned 1.8 calories?”. “Perhaps the pedo-meter is defective or maybe your use of a motorized cart is impacting your caloric expenditure.”  I said, matter-of-factly.

I must have mispronounced the word “pedometer” because everyone within a 12 foot radius started laughing. My bf says very loudly, “Renee, that’s an entirely different device. You’re pronouncing it incorrectly.”  More people chimed in with laughter.

I was happy to leave the store.