Why America Screws Everything Up

You could say I’m a passionate person. I like passionate more than crazy, over-excited, dramatic, etc. I care about things a lot. For most of my short adult life I’ve shied away from politics for the most part because if I hear too much I go into this weird/scary rage like Ross from Friends when he found out someone ate his sandwich at work. I get really worked up and accomplish nothing. So what’s the point?

Chalk it up to my now being at the second largest university in the nation, but I’m finding it harder than ever to stay out of it. Basically, I’m getting more and more involved in politics and current events than I think is good for me. That being said, education has and probably always will be the hot issue with me. I’m blaming this on growing up with a family of teachers. Nothing gets me cheesed like hearing about yet ANOTHER pay cut for the slaves they call teachers while the slave drivers sleep easy in their mansions. Just ugh.

(I bet you though this post was going to be comical when you clicked on it. HA! Jokes on you.)

Recently, I was ranting about the education system to my poor roommate (She has to listen to a lot of my rants. But it’s her fault…she chose to live with me.) when it dawned on me. The education system here is just like the measurement system here. And the temperature system. It all makes sense now! America takes something like the Centigrade temperature scale and just fucks it all up.

Think about it. Freezing temperature in Celsius: 0. Freezing temperature in Fahrenheit: 32. What? And boiling, too! Celsius: 100. Smart. Fahrenheit: 212. Who came up with this??? And what about the metric system, people? 100 centimeters=1 meter. Hmm. That’s a really nice, round number. Let’s see about inches to yards. 36 inches=1 yard. That’s just dumb.

It’s when you pair those and the education system here with their counterparts in other countries that the trifecta comes to order. Now, I’ll admit that to write this post I did not spend ten hours researching the education systems in foreign lands. I’m going to be using basic knowledge that I’ve heard from here and there over the years.

I think it’s well known that America is not producing the smartest kids (i r smart, though). I pulled this snippet from the Huffington Post (link to the article below, see I did do a little research): “The United States has fallen to “average” in international education rankings released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, according to the AFP.” This is from late 2010, but I think it makes my point.

So what’s wrong? Do we pay teachers too much, therefore giving them the sense that they don’t have to work as hard within their cushy lifestyle? Ummm no. Teachers make a measly amount of money. And that measly amount has declined EVERY YEAR for the last 3-4 years (maybe even longer). And no end to the annual pay cuts are in sight. So is it this way everywhere? That would also be a big, fat no.

I once discussed this with an aunt that teaches in New York. She told me about a teacher that came over for an exchange program from China. Everyone loved her and my aunt had asked about if she’d ever consider staying here. She laughed. In China, apparently teachers hold a place of respect. They are paid what, in my opinion, they deserve (which means way more than their American counterparts). The thought that she would give all that up to work in the American school system was a joke to her! And all that being said, I’m going to make a generalized, yet well warranted, statement that Chinese children are way smarter than American ones. (The same study that I used earlier put China at the TOP of their list.)

Why is it that America doesn’t take notice of any of this? We think that the answer to our budget crisis is to continually cut education, often rendering teachers unable to properly do their jobs or support themselves and their family with no thought as to the ridiculous tax cuts to the wealthy and major corporations. Add that to the fact that even though it has been proven that standardized tests are NOT a reliable way to measure intelligence, we base monumental decisions based on children’s scores on these tests (like how much teachers get paid… because that makes perfect sense).

What I’m getting at, is that as much as this country likes to think we are the same nation that rebelled against Britain to receive the freedom we rightly deserved, we all know it is not. We have become a country that is controlled by the “1%”. The rest of us get angry on the internet and do nothing to stop this blatant act of treason against what this nation is supposed to stand for (yes I mean me, too). The education system is just one of many examples to the ridiculous practices we call “the right way”.

I have always loved the idea of teaching. I love kids and even more than that I love helping people. I thought for a long time that I would be an elementary school teacher. Now, if you suggested that I’d laugh in your face (I might even laugh so hard I’d spit a little). That kind of makes me sad but really it just pisses me off. In the end, I’ll just say this, “America, I am ashamed of you.”

Source: (http://huff.to/fjw2lD)

P.S. If you got all the way down here-Congrats! You have a great attention span.

This Has Been A Weird Day…

Most of it hasn’t been weird in a bad way, just out of my routine. My first class was canceled (never a bad thing), my roommate and I made pancakes for breakfast (also never a bad thing), I had a little 1  1/2 minute presentation in French and then I was able to leave. None of that was bad-just different. I worked a non-eventful shift. Then I went home and vegged for about forty minutes. Not entirely out of the ordinary but with my bestie/roommate gone it always feels different. I ate chocolate so I wasn’t hungry for dinner (which I wouldn’t have time for because of the veg time anyway). I had to go back to campus to hear an author speak. He was interesting and funny at times.

Afterwards, I made my way to the shuttle that would take me back home (paying for parking is for cotton headed ninny muggins). I talked to my Dad on the phone for a while and at some point it occurred to me that not only was my shuttle taking forever to get there but everyone’s shuttle was (this shuttle stop is actually like a bus station type of deal with a bunch of spaces for a bunch of different shuttle routes). Since my phone was now alerting me every 30 seconds that it was dying, I decided to bid my father adieu and see what was going on. One of the only other people in the entire shuttle station happened to be on the next bench over so I asked him if the shuttles were running. He replied that he had been there since 8:10 (it was now a little after 9:00) and there was no shuttle. I panicked a little inside since I had no idea how long my battery would last and the person I would normally call immediately was 2  1/2 hours away.

My first call to a work friend was a failure, as she was on her way to her parents home a few hours away (I did manage to scare her a little since I basically told her I was stranded, my phone was dying, and then hung up on her). My second attempt was successful and my other roommate was on her way.

About a minute later my phone died, but with my ride secured I was oddly serene about the whole thing. I was in a well lit area so I calculated my chances of being raped/murdered/kidnapped were fairly slim. I stuck one headphone in and let my ipod do its thang as I pulled out my trusted moleskin notebook and let my literary juices overflow. I wrote a couple pages about how for some reason I felt really good about being at the shuttle station alone with my phone dead on a Friday night. Almost like I was Bear Grylls and this was just another adventure that I would work my way out of like it was nothing.

Eventually, my roommate made her way to UCF and essentially saved the day (shout out to Ana-don’t think you read my blog but if you do…you’re my hero). She brought me home safe and sound. I plugged my phone in and let my poor friend from my first attempt at safety know that I wasn’t dead. Good thing too, she was about to have her friend drive thirty minutes to campus to see if I was still there (that right there is a good friend). I sat on the computer and talked to my bro.

But then I got into a funk. My adrenaline fueled high by which I felt truly alive and at one with the world had faded and in its place I just felt…weird. I still do. I am a creature of routine. I like to do things over and over and over and over and over and over and over until they are as much a part of me as the hair on my head (which was very frizzy today…thanks humidity!). This funk morphed into what I like to think of as my latest unhealthy habit-popping blackheads. Ew. I know. What a weirdo. Don’t judge me. They pop just like zits and for the past month I’ve gotten more and more addicted to sitting in front of the mirror and getting as many as I can.

This led me to the awesome conclusion that I’m just on the latest leg of my journey to becoming bat-shit insane. With this revelation I decided the next logical step was to put on one of those green, creamy face masks. My skin happens to be dry and peely right now which probably won’t be helped by the mask that tends to dry skin out. Don’t worry…I’m confident it’ll be fine (by confident I mean I don’t really care because make up fixes all).

In the end I just don’t really care about today. All I’ve eaten today is pancakes and chocolate so really I was just setting myself up for failure. Good for me, I get to screw up my routine once again by spending all Saturday at school. But such is life, and maybe I’ll even learn something.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, why not spread a little love? Tell someone you love that you couldn’t live without them (I told my Mom), eat some chocolate with a girlfriend, and drink that sparkling grape juice like a boss!

Am I The Only One That Does This?

I know there must be others out there that suffer from this as I do.

Sometimes when I wear jeans I get an itch. This is is on the outside of my thigh. When I say an itch I don’t mean an itch that you  scratch and forget about. This itch DOES NOT GO AWAY. For at least twenty minutes. This wouldn’t be such a big deal except that because it’s through jeans I have to push hard to scratch it. Combine pushing hard to scratch and being slightly anemic and you have a cuuuuuuuute bruise.

It looks something like this:

And this is after it faded for a couple days. Yeah.

So does anybody else do this? I kind of thought this happened to everyone until a couple of friends looked at me really weird when I explained how I got this monstrous bruise. I’m a little concerned now.

TV Show Addiction

(Just letting you know-this post is going to have bad words. Maybe a lot of bad words, I’m not sure. I’m sorry if it offends you but I happen to think it’s funny and say them in good fun. The story wouldn’t be the same without their use.)

The CW is one of those stations that turns out crappy tv shows like candy on Halloween. There’s no denying it. But I have to give them some commendation. They have figured out how to sprinkle “story-line crack” into everything they do. I try not to watch their shows because even though you’re watching it thinking, “This may be as bad as that one show Fox aired last year” you are instantly hooked and no amount of ANYTHING will lessen your need to see the next episode. That’s how I feel about Vampire Diaries.

Say what you will, I know. It’s a silly show for silly vampire-obsessed teenagers (I’m twenty so this clearly doesn’t apply to me). But I happened to turn it on one day and have watched every episode since. Their episodes are so full of crazy plot twists and character development beyond your wildest imagination that I am constantly shouting either profanity or random sounds. I can hear my roommate laughing sometimes through our shared bathroom because she hears me yell things and knows I’m watching it.

Over the course of one episode I’ll usually go through these emotions:

1) Well obviously he did it. Honestly, sometimes this show is a little too easy to predict.

2) WHAA?!?!?! Ho- But she- And he-

3) NOOOOOOO pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease don’t let him die.

4) WHAT THE FUCK WHY IS HE DEAD I HATE THIS SHOW. (All in one sentence, of course.)

5) So much hatred. I’m never watching this show again.

6) SHIT BALLS. What the fuck was that?

7) Oh dear sweet Jesus he’s ALIVE!

8) (3 seconds before credits role) WWWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT the fuck just happened????????

And then all I can do is wonder what’s going to happen next week. I’ve been sucked in to yet another episode. Touche, Vampire Diaries. Touche…

Just In Time!

So I’m sure most of you will be tuning into the big game today. WAHOOOO! You’re all excited about who’s going to win, how much you’ll eat, how drunk you’ll get, and what have you. Well I’ve decided that there needs to be someone like me to help the little guy out on this oh holy of football days: the non-football fan. Yes, they exist.

I’m talking about the people who haven’t watched a game all season (or maybe even never) but want to experience the fun of the Superbowl like everybody else. They’re scared because they don’t know anything about football, let alone anything about the teams playing. I, myself, happen to be one of those people. Yes, it’s true.

Don’t look at me like that. At least I can admit it. Anyway, I’ve compiled a list of things that have helped me not look super dumb while watching football games.

1) DON’T yell out words when you don’t know exactly what they mean. This will surely lead to disaster because you’re probably wrong. People will judge.

2) DO nod a lot and mumble at the screen. This doesn’t mean mumble like a crazy person. It’s more of a close mouthed noise that can be taken as positive or negative (that’s the beauty—whoever you’re talking to will choose).

3) DO pick a team. Don’t wish-wash. People hate wish-washers. Pick your team and make it seem like you would die for them.

4) DON’T say, “They’ll get the cup for sure” or “GOAL!”. Turns out these are different sports and do not apply to football.

5) DO yell when everyone else does. Try and pick up on their tone (if they’re rooting for your team). Be happy if they are, be pissed the fuck off if they are.

While I’m sure there are plenty more, these are all I can come up with (seeing how I still don’t know much myself). Use these tips and you MIGHT just be able to pull off Superbowl Sunday without looking like a complete ass.

ADHD Is a Tricky Thing

Tonight I sat down to study for my French test tomorrow. As I am not fluent in French, I’d say this is fairly important to my educational well-being. I opened my laptop, logged on to the website where my eBook is located. That’s where it went downhill. Well, I’m not sure if it really started uphill since I’d been home since 2:45 and it was now after dark.

Either way, I started with these awesome intentions of learning EVERYTHING.

Shortly after starting, I realized that my Facebook NEEDED to be checked. I checked that and every other account/email I have made in the last seven years. Okay good, I got that out of the way. I went back to studying.

30 seconds later:

I needed French music. There was no earthly way I was going to be able to study unless I had some French man or woman serenading me. This turned out to be more of an intellectual challenge than expected. I couldn’t find any website that would sell French music to me. I couldn’t even pirate it! I finally found a suitable bit of French music to do my studying with.

About two minutes passed. I was learning!

Then I found myself on a website discussing the etiquette to having a baby shower for your second baby. Not sure how I ended up here. Even looking back now, I’m not sure what it was that immediately led me to the thought that I should google “Second Baby Showers”. Even worse, is that I spent about fifteen minutes reading the article and the comments people had left. Apparently, I’m very passionate about the plight of baby showers for the poor second/third/fourth/etc. children. This may have something to do with me being the third child. I can’t be sure, but I suspect I came into this world showerless and I can’t help feeling as though my life has suffered as a result.

Anyway, I got off that website and got back on track. But then I had what’s known as “face death”. You may remember me talking about it a few days ago. Well, I’m sad to say it’s gotten worse.

This caused me to spend the next hour off and on in front of the mirror trying to rid myself of these evils. As of yet, the enemy forces are holding strong.

Then I decided to cut all the pretense of studying and write the blog post that had been ruminating in my noggin since I realized that I was looking at baby shower etiquette.

Anybody else have a fun little attention deficit disorder? I tend to think it adds spice to my life. And when I realize that’s a farce, at least it gives me blog post ideas.

(All pictures are courtesy of my buddies/models/skype distractions: Bailey and Monica)

EMS Doesn’t Mess Around

When I was little I’d like to think I had an inquisitive air about me. I was smart and liked to understand what was going on around me. That being said, I also had a conscience like no other. I felt bad when people misused their toys because all I could think about were the people that worked so hard to make them for us.

One day, little first grade me was given a special treat. Firefighters came into our class! We learned about what they do and how to avoid house fires (You’ve all discussed with your family what your escape plan is in case of a fire, right?). I left school feeling really great. I was going to make an escape plan and possibly saves the lives of my family.

But the fun wasn’t over. No it was not. It was BOWLING NIGHT for the boy scout troop my brother was in. Holy dear sweet Jesus it was like a dream come true. I got to eat pizza, and go to the bowling alley on a school night. I felt like this:

We headed to the alley and life continued to be great. Everybody was in high spirits. I didn’t bowl that night and I’m not sure why. I don’t remember being bothered by it so I’m going to just say it was my decision because bowling is for losers (jk I love bowling). A girl from my class was also there and we paired up from the get-go. Our parents were letting us wander in the general vicinity since it wasn’t too crowded (Because who goes bowling on a school night? NO ONE EXCEPT ME!). We found the pay phone (this was still before cell phones were a must-have) and started making play calls. We knew as long as we didn’t put money in it we could enjoy hours of merriment. My friend would enter the numbers and I held the receiver. We kind of had a system.

Hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen, shit’s about to get real.

My friend decided she wanted to call her “doctor”. I’m still not sure what number she entered (I’d like to think my buddy wouldn’t be dumb enough to call 911) and to my horror someone picked up. My face went completely aghast and I immediately hung up the receiver. This wasn’t part of the plan, the phone wasn’t supposed to work!

At that point my mind went into overdrive and the same thing kept surging through my head. We had learned earlier in the day from our friendly neighborhood firefighters that they could track calls. Any call. Even if they were only a few seconds long. And they would Hunt. You. Down. (I may have added that last part but trust me, if you were in my position you’d assume the same.)

I went into plan mode. For some reason I really thought there had to be a way to get my entire family to leave before anyone could find out what just went down. I contemplated the obvious choices-faking sick and faking tired but I knew neither would work. Throwing out the only two ideas I could come up with I tried to accept my fate. They were going to come, my parents would probably have to disown me and kick me out of the house. And that was if I wasn’t arrested first!

My (not super bright) friend and I parted ways as the pizza arrived to our tables. I was hanging on, but only just. My mom tried to get me to eat but honestly, how could I when I was expecting to be thrown into jail at any moment?

That’s when it happened.

I saw them from across the bowling alley. Two or three cops came strolling in and I lost it. I started wailing and my mom looked genuinely worried because up until that point I had looked more out of it than anything. My sudden outburst of terror could have scared the hair off a cat. I started blurting out the whole thing in between sobs and obviously the police officers figured out I had something to do with it.

After that is more a blur than anything else. The cops good naturedly told me about not playing with payphones (I haven’t touched a payphone since that day, by the way) and went on their way. My parents did their best to calm and soothe me but the emotional scarring was done.

To this day I endure ridicule from my family, but really I think it’s a tad unfair. While I was only holding the stupid phone my friend was calling all the shots (pun INTENDED). Where is she now? It’d probably help if I remembered her name. Friend from first grade, if you’re reading this I think you owe me an apology.

(Pictures are linked to where I got them from.)