A Lesson in Sign Placement

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These posters, found at Mocha Joe’s cafe in Brattleboro, VT, are a wonderful example of unfortunate sign placement. These posters were not intended to be posted together and, I’m assuming, were put up by two different people. However, because they were put right next to each other, the result is pretty awkward.

I guess the enthusiasm can be admired, but there are other–far less creepy–ways to make a dog happy.

Five Things Friday: September 27, 2013

Five things I didn’t do this week:

Eat lots of vegetables (only ate some vegetables)

Read most of the two books I started last weekend (read almost nothing).

Work on organizing my room (not even a little bit).

Write (thought about it, then went back to hulu).

Come up with an interesting FTF post topic/list.

 

Will I ever get myself back on track? It seems doubtful. But right now I’m in a hotel room in Vermont, on a break from life, and I don’t even care.

Rebellious Reading: Fahrenheit 451

Did you know that it’s Banned Books Week? It is.

 

I’ve had this copy of Fahrenheit 451 since I can’t even remember when. I might have bought it from my college bookstore during my undergrad years, or I could have found it on my brother’s bookshelves (and, you know, he wasn’t using it…). But I have never read it, somehow. A little surprising, in all my years of studying literature. A lot of people read it in primary/secondary school, before going on to college, but it was never required reading for me.

A few months ago I came across an excerpt from this book on some website, and it was bumped much higher on my reading list, but I wanted to finish some other ones first. But I know this book has been/is banned in many places over the years, and it’s pretty short, so it seemed the perfect option.

For those of you who want to participate with an easier option, you could always read Harry Potter, or a number of children’s picture books that were/are banned (like And Tango Makes Three, a book with gay penguins that is really just about love and acceptance).

There are many lists of banned books online you could browse to find one to read. And you can read them any time, not just this week! Have fun being a rebel.

 

50 anniversary edition, how special.

50 anniversary edition, how special.

No Things Friday

I couldn’t think of five things today if my very existence depended on it. Today was one of those days that I suppose wasn’t actually bad, but it was certainly the opposite of good. At this point, I’m trying to get ready to go out for dinner (because I thought I’d leave early, to get myself out of the house) and I don’t feel good about anything I put on. I wish I could get from my apartment to the area I’m going without anyone looking at me.

The only way I could think of a full list would be five things I hate about my life. While ranting does have its place in life (not least on the internet!), that place is not here.  So I’ll just skip it this week, perhaps take my new INSANE spiked hobo bag out for a test run (it’s kind of heavy), and try to feel slightly better about life.

I’d be happy to take suggestions for my Five Things Friday posts. I’ve already begun to regret it, because usually after the first three things I sit there wondering what I could possibly write next until I manage to pull something out of my ass. (Not literally. Why are you SO disgusting?) It’s harder than you might think to do these posts, so if you have a concept, I’d be happy to hear it.

(Please leave suggestions in the wordpress comments, rather than on facebook or anything other site linking the post, because I seriously hate that…)

Five Things Friday: September 13, 2013

…on Saturday.

I keep writing August, then having to change it to September. Not relevant, but I decided to say it anyway.

Today, my theme is something we all struggle with. Yes, that’s right… guilty pleasures. This came out of some of my own activities earlier this week, when I was enjoying for hours on end a musical artist that I’ve heard bashed pretty much since I’ve heard of her at all. I thought, we all have guilty pleasures, and why bother being guilty about them?

Before I begin, I should define the term. When I say “guilty pleasures,” I mean things you are embarrassed or hesitant to admit that you like. It may be because you know it’s objectively bad, or due to popular opinion–either everyone hates it, or, if you’re a hipster, everyone likes it.

Guilty pleasures are generally unnecessary. How many times have you actually lost friends because you like a certain movie and they don’t? Did you say zero? I’m betting you did. Sometimes you’ll get teased, and that’s no fun, but I’m pretty sure they’ll stop if you just shrug unapologetically. It works a little better if you have a real reason for liking it, but guess what? YOU DON’T NEED ONE! (Although, if your thing is, say, Taylor Swift, I’d prefer if you just didn’t tell me.)

With this in mind, I decided I would own my guilty pleasures, and stop being guilty about them. Someone will undoubtedly disagree with me on some of these, but there are so many things people like that I don’t enjoy, and they never seem to care, so I won’t either.

The same day I decided to do this as my Friday post, I went home and watched this video on self-confidence by Jen from A Vintage Vanity. One of her points is “like what you like because you like it.” I was like, what weird timing! I’m going to post on that! Clearly Jen and I think very alike. No, I don’t know her personally. Another case of the internet making you look like a stalker, when really all I’m doing is watching her videos…

Apologies (but not really) for the long introduction. You could have scrolled past it if you just wanted the list. But here it is now!

1. The first thing, which was the inspiration for doing this post at all, is Lana Del Rey. She did her performance on SNL (which I don’t think I ever watched) before I actually heard her music at all, and then everyone started talking about how bad she was because of something about her performance. Can you tell I’m fuzzy on the details there? I am.  I don’t really know what the problem was, whether it was her singing itself, or most likely that she just didn’t deliver the kind of performance that the people watching wanted to see. Whatever the reason, it was so long ago that this one performance really can’t be anyone’s reason not to like her. I hear people all the time, though, saying something along the lines of “She sucks!” Tons of other people love her. My full acceptance was slow. First someone posted Dark Paradise on youtube, which eventually led me to get Born to Die, and then I finally listened to the extended edition, and the other day I went on youtube and listened to a bunch of unreleased songs. Over and over, all day. Some of her songs, I’m not into, and that’s ok. Others, I can’t stop listening to. My favorite right now is Velvet Crowbar, and I highly recommend you listen to it. I also really like her style. She’s like a hodgepodge of vintage from various decades, and I love it. This will probably be the longest entry, and it still doesn’t explain what I like about her music–because I don’t HAVE to explain it. So there.

2. Food time! I hope someone facepalms on this one, because I should not like this. Ready? Here we go… hot pockets. Granted, I haven’t actually had one for almost a year, from what I can remember, and maybe at this point I wouldn’t actually like them. But I keep wanting them. I just really like the broccoli and cheesiness in there. I loved the chicken bacon dijon flavor, because duh. And I liked the breakfast ones, because it’s like having a nice warm egg sandwich, but it only takes two minutes. I am well aware that they basically have no nutritional value at all (maybe a little, but it’s cancelled out by the badness), and I just shouldn’t eat them. Having written that, I’m probably going to go out and buy one soon.

3. Sitcoms. I don’t like all sitcoms, but I like a bunch of them, and have them favorited on hulu so I know when a new episode is available. I am well aware of how much some of them suck, how stupid the plots can be, and how rarely they are actually funny enough to make me laugh. Yet I spend a fair amount of time watching them. Some of my favorites are British sitcoms–which I think we should call Britcoms–like “Miranda” and “Coupling.” I know that Coupling is a lot like Friends, with more sex, and there isn’t really anything else to it. Not to mention that I’ve seen all the episodes multiple times already and can no longer be entertained by a new joke. I don’t care. I still like watching it.

4. I feel like I should stick a movie in here. Here are several: The Pride and Prejudice movie with Keira Knightley should start. I have heard complaints about this movie, although I can’t remember what they were, and I know a lot of people prefer the miniseries. But I haven’t seen the miniseries, and I own the newer version on DVD, and I really, genuinely like it.

Here’s a really good one: Confessions of a Shopaholic. In some ways it’s SO bad, but I still watch it every few months or so, and I have a good time. Judging by my love of Devil Wears Prada and Sex in the City, I think we can safely say that I just like movies that have a lot of clothes in them…

So that’s probably enough for movies. (Sex in the City 2 was one of the worst movies ever made, though. I just need everyone to know how I feel about it, because it really would be embarrassing if you thought I enjoyed that piece of crap. It was so bad I’m not even going to italicize it.)

5. We’re going to go back to music again. This one’s a little weird for me to include, because I don’t listen to this artist with any regularity at all, I don’t own copies of any of her music, but I do actually like some of the songs. Maybe it’s just that they’re catchy, I don’t know. Who is it? Lady Gaga. I couldn’t say what I like in the music itself, but despite them being a little more pop than what fits my taste in general, I’m ok with listening to them if they come on, and I will unabashedly sing along with Bad Romance. I also find her crazy outfits interesting, although I can’t get behind the meat dress, because that’s just disgusting.

I was going to think of a book for the last one, but while I will gag at many books that are absurdly popular, I don’t know of any I like that are particularly disliked, so I had to leave books out. Books are awesome! Read them!

That’s all for Five Things Friday on Saturday. If you would like to participate, post about your own guilty pleasures, or leave them for me in a comment. I’d be interested to know what you like that, for some reason, you don’t really want to talk about. (But please, don’t take it to a creepy place…)

Have a great weekend, folks!

Nostalgia: Backward

I saw the Daily Prompt weekly challenge for this week, to start with the last line of a story, or the final action, or something like that, and then give everything leading up to it, and I thought, what a cool prompt. I bet I could write something good. I’ll try it for a week.

Unfortunately, I have finally gotten the time to write and I still haven’t managed to come up with a good last line. I like the idea of this prompt very much, and I am certainly likely to write a story this way in the future, but I think I would have to have that lightbulb of the last line first. I can’t just pull a last line out of thin air. Thin brain. Something like that?

This is where people who just have a notebook full of good lines have an advantage. I don’t have one. (Then you’re not a writer! Go home!)

You go home, internet. You’re drunk.

But the name of the prompt, “Backward,” is reminding me of how I’ve been thinking about earlier times in my life so much these days.

I was even feeling a longing for my teenage years. I don’t want to go into detail here, but, when I’m missing being a teenager, something is clearly wrong. (I did not have a good time.)

Mostly, I miss the version of me that had time to think about the things I really wanted in the future. Too bad I wasn’t smart enough to try to take steps to get there at the time. Maybe I would be closer now.

***I’m not considering this an entry to their challenge, but I figured someone else might have a stab at it, so here is the link below:

Daily Prompt Weekly Challenge, September 9: Backward.

Five Things Friday: September 6, 2013

Today has been… um, yeah. None of my productivity plans happened. I probably shouldn’t be surprised. And I bought a few, fairly inexpensive things, which I kind of shouldn’t have. Having paid some of my bills and done some shopping, I’ve pretty much spent all the money I can until my next paycheck. At the end of the month. FFfffffffuuuu…

This will probably just be an admission of stupidity, but I want you to know that I tried to go to the new Cambridge Open Market today, and I could not find it. I walked around Harvard Square, didn’t see any signs pointing to any particular area or any hints of vendors. I was only a little bit annoyed, because it was a nice day and I like Harvard Square in general… even if I have to go by myself. But seriously, where the hell was the Open Market hiding? I was so confused. The directions on their site just lead to the Hvd. Sq. area–directions that I didn’t need, because everyone in Boston knows how to get there.

For the reason of just being lazy, I have no goals for the rest of the day. I probably COULD get something done, but I’m really not in the mood to try. I wish I had a good excuse, so maybe I wouldn’t feel so guilty about that. So I just figured I would go right to the blog posting, in case I go out later and am too tired when I get home.

These are just five thoughts from the week. Whatever is prominent in my mind right now.

1. Today, there was a woman on the train drink what looked like chia seeds in milk (or almond milk, soy milk, something like that). Or maybe bugs. And it wasn’t a disposable cup she was using, it was a real glass (could have been plastic, I didn’t have a chance to check) like someone would use in their home or in a restaurant. Generally, I think people should just do whatever works for them, including taking a glass of chia seed bugs on the train, but it still struck me as weird.

2. I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the time I used to spend at my grandparents’ house in Connecticut. When I was little I would go spend a week there during the summer, and it was great. I ate well, I got to watch Nickelodeon and the Disney channel, and MTV (back when they used to play music videos). I would read a lot, hang out with Nina in the kitchen while she made cookies or a pie or dinner. We would walk down the streets to the tennis courts. There was only one year I actually played any tennis.

I haven’t spent much time in Bridgeport for many years now. I haven’t thought about it much, actually. But lately I miss it. Or I miss being young and having the option, even the NEED to go away for a week just to pass some more time.

3. There are eight different nail polishes out on the table by my bed. I have no idea what they’re all doing there. I’ve only used three or so of them in the past month. I really should start putting things like that away after I use them. I also have about six different lotions within arm’s reach right now. I never use more than one at a time.

4. My current read, Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, is the best book I’ve read in a long time. It’s fantastic, both in the literary sense and the I-love-this-thing sense. I’m not usually sad when I finish a book, like some people are, I guess because it doesn’t occur to them that they can re-read it whenever they want, but I think I might actually be a little disappointed when this ends. Because I’ll want more. Was that clear? I don’t mean I won’t like the ending. It’s always possible, but I doubt it.

5.  I’ve had quite a few moments recently of that strong urge to write. I need to fill up some pages! I thought. I need to tell stories!

Unfortunately it never happens when I have the time and tools in front of me. I’m serious. I know it sounds like an excuse, but it’s the truth. And you should see my computer setup. It is not a comfortable or productivity-inspiring area. If anything, it promotes just clicking on related youtube videos for hours. What am I gonna do? Almost any time I have the time to write, I’m too tired.

Bonus thought: pumpkin chai is delicious, but it’s better if you drink it before it gets cold.