Category Archives: Rants and Raves

Plastic Fantastic

Our world is filled with so much filth, and we have become convinced that we need it. As consumers, not people not citizens not free thinkers but consumers, we have been taught and believe that all of the filth in the world is necessary. It is necessary, but not for the reasons we are told to believe. It is necessary only for the maintenance of the companies that create the filth. If no one thought their products were important or an integral part of our everyday lives, the companies could not exist. And if the companies did not exist then no one would have a job and our economy would be non existent. Of course people in our country don’t have jobs to make the products, that’s for the third world countries to toil over. We Americans are far too sophisticated and expensive to perform menial manual labor. It is the job of the educated, ruthless American to convince the entire world to buy the useless filth. 

There are so many things that we use everyday and couldn’t imagine our lives without. Think of something simple, like shampoo. Many people shampoo their hair in the shower every day. Some even shampoo and condition their hair everyday. But 100 years ago, people didn’t do that. And guess what, their hair didn’t fall out, so why do we need it everyday? Because when someone invented this special soap for your hair, they knew it was a luxury. They knew it was a product that people would only use every once in a while, because they got along without it before so they knew they didn’t absolutely need it. But such an attitude doesn’t work if you need to sell mass quantities of your product. So somewhere along the line, someone came up with the brilliant scheme to convince everyone that they needed this product, and not only did they need it but they needed it everyday, or else they were dirty. And no one wants to be dirty or to be looked at as dirty. And now we all just accept the fact that if you don’t wash your hair with shampoo everyday, or every other day, then you’re not normal. But commercial shampoos are full of chemicals that are not only bad for the environment, but they’re actually not that great for us either. The chemicals in shampoo strip the hair of all its natural oils, which then causes the scalp to over produce oil, which causes you to use the shampoo more frequently so you don’t have oily hair. Because oil=dirt. Except that our bodies, our skin and our hair need those oils. They are naturally produced for a reason. It is a cleaning agent, but it is essentially filth. Filth that we put into our bodies and into the water on a daily basis because we were told that we should. Cleanliness is next to godliness, after all. 

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Heartbreak Hotel

I recently received the inspiration I so callously asked for: heartbreak. Though not as dramatic as it has been in the past, this most recent failure in the realm of the romantic was nonetheless painful. Some time has passed, not much but more than a week, and I find myself recuperating more quickly than I expected. But now comes the part I have never been very good at: pretending like I don’t know the person I once shared everyday of my life with. We didn’t live together, so that makes things easier. We didn’t even live in the same area code for the past 5 or 6 months, but we spoke everyday, multiple times a day, and shared everything. And now, I feel as though I’m not allowed to contact him. When I do, he’s short with me, sometimes he doesn’t respond at all. I’m talking about texts here, not actual conversation. A phone call would be a huge over stepping of my current boundaries as very recent ex-girlfriend. I have been the type of ex girlfriend that stars in the male version of a ghost story: the one who won’t leave you alone, the one who acts like you’re best friends too soon, but expects to be treated the same way as when you were dating. I never want to be that girl again. But how can I just cut someone out of my life so easily? Someone that was present in all my thoughts and actions? He seems to be good at this. It’s not the first time he’s decided we don’t belong together, but it seems to me this is the final time. And he has always been better at shutting me out. To me it makes him seem heartless, that he can continue on without me with such apparent ease. But I am hours away from him physically, and farther than that mentally. He probably misses me, I know that, but his self control is both admirable and frustrating. The ending was very sudden and unexpected, and I have gotten little closure on the matter. While a large part of me is very angry with him, there is a part of me, the part that loves him dearly, that just wants to have an honest conversation with him about whether this was a good idea or not, and how we both feel. But that doesn’t seem to fit into the rules, at least not his. I am supposed to act as though he is merely an acquaintance, someone I met once in passing. Anything more personal than that would simply be a reminder of all we’ve been through together, and we’re not supposed to think about that anymore. 

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Under Where?

Has anyone seen pictures of this person they call the human barbie? She’s some Eastern European model, Ukranian I think, who has based her physical appearance on that of the typical blonde barbie doll. She has breast implants and very long blonde hair that may or may not be real. The rest of her is very thin, bordering on anorexic in appearance, which creates quite the ‘hourglass’ figure when combined with her large fake breasts. She does her make up in such a way that makes her eyes look enormous, and all the pictures I found of her have the same lifeless, doll-like facial expression. I found some videos of people talking about how women like her and the idealism of the barbie figure create problems for little girls because it is an unnatural standard for perfection. The data that came out within the last few years about what the real life proportions of a barbie would be are clearly not number combinations that occur in nature. And if there was a person who had those dimensions, they would stand out from the rest of society in a negative way, not because they were ‘perfect’ and beautiful’. One of the video commentaries I watched mentioned that the Barbies of today have wider waists and small breasts than the Barbie dolls of the past. I started to think about what has changed since then, the 50s/60s with regards to female icons. The pin-up illustrations that were popular at the time had large breasts and very small waists, not to different from what many people perceive as the ultimate female form these days. However, I realized something when I began to think about how the females of the past achieved this form: undergarments. Today we have spanks and the like, that can slim all our little rolls and dimples. Back then, women actually wore some pretty intricate stuff under their dresses, and it was all designed to create the perfect figure: big on top, tiny in the middle. But it was common knowledge among regular women that these types of apparatus were used to push and pull in all the right places. So although they may look like they have the ideal body in the desinger gown on television, everyone knew that it wasn’t 100% natural, there was some deception going on under there. Today, the situation is similar, but with a key difference. The ideal shape is mostly the same, although the grotesquely skinny super model body was the vogue for a while, I do think it is starting to lose some popularity as people begin to realize it’s more important to be healthy. And yes we know the celebrities have access to the same slimming undergarments that the masses do, but the thing is, they don’t really seem to need them. In their attempts to point out every little flaw of every person who could even loosely be called a celebrity, the tabloids and lifestyles constantly bombard us with images of our favorite actresses in bikinis and bathing suits. And for the most part they are in amazing shape. Of course it’s part of their chosen profession to be in perfect shape all the time, so diet and exercise is an important part of how they maintain their work performance. But that’s the difference: they look amazing in the designer gowns because underneath their bodies are simply amazing. The ideal is the same, but the means is not. Here’s what it seems to boil down to, in my opinion anyways:

Past: You don’t have the ideal female shape? No problem? Where these various undergarments and you’ll look perfect!

Present: You have to wear all that stuff to look good in a dress? You should probably work out more…

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It’s Not You, It’s Me

I haven’t written anything in quite a while, and I do feel bad about that. Not for the sake of anyone who may or may not be reading this stuff, I could not possibly care less about that. But for my own sake. The reason I started doing this was because I wanted to write more. I have a degree in creative writing, and I found my self writing so infrequently that it became somewhat disheartening. It shouldn’t be such a chore to sit down at a computer and write for a few minutes, especially when the topic has no limitations what so ever. And yet it seems that it has become exactly that. A chore. And it’s barely begun. Very sad. If I don’t write, what am I doing? Nearly all the other activities in my day seem to be passive when it comes to the intellectual output they require. But writing is different, it’s active. Unlike reading, where you are simply following along with a story that someone else has imagined, the content is yet to be decided. The writer determines direction, pace, topic, everything. There is nothing before I sit down and begin typing, or writing, or however I may choose to physically express the words in my head. And it is listening to and harnessing those words in my head that no other activity seems to demand. Even when I’m at work, and I’m selling things to people they don’t need, I have a short list of phrases that I’m required to say and that I say over and over again within the course of the day. I don’t even have to think about it anymore. And they’re not even my words to begin with, they are words that were carefully chosen based on consumer psychology and marketing and all those sorts of tricks that are used to trick people into paying money for cheap crap that they would be better off not buying at all.

Mostly in college I wrote poems. As a creative writing major, there is usually the choice between fiction and poetry at all levels to fulfill degree requirements. Some people take both, some focus on one or the other. I found out early on that fiction wasn’t for me. I would get so obsessed with creating a tangible mood in my stories, that the action was nearly impossible to decipher. The readers were fully aware of how my characters felt, but had no idea what was happening in a literal sense.  Hence the draw to poetry. And every once in a while I’ll have a random flash of inspiration and jot down a few poetic lines, but recently these flashes have been very few and far between. I think it’s because the most drastic moments of inspiration come from times of strong emotion, whether it’s profound happiness or intense depression. But at the moment, I don’t feel very strongly about anything. There are people that I miss dearly, but those I care about enough I make a point to speak to often on the phone or otherwise, which makes the loss or distance less dramatic. I am simply content, and that does not make for very much inspiration.

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Do What I Say, Not What I Do

I’m just beginning to realize that I have a problem with authority. Not the idea of it, but the people that have it. I’m not saying that I think I’m better than everyone else and therefore refuse to take orders from anyone, but the people who give the orders too often make me uncomfortable or even angry. The way I see it, people who are in managerial roles are there because they started at the bottom, showed whoever was above them that they were worthy of more responsibility and were subsequently promoted. As a person in general, I like to be able to take pride in the things that I do, and that includes the work that I get paid for. If I am putting in a large amount of effort to complete the tasks I have been asked to do to the best of my ability, then I expect the people above me to be putting in an equal amount of effort to the tasks that they are required to do. At the same time, I expect to be treated as a human being, with respect. I expect that the fact that I am doing my very best to not be overlooked so casually. The problem I seem to be having in the various different jobs I’ve had since entering the work force at 16 years old is that very few managers and or people in leadership roles exhibit the type of behavior I expect from them. The most common reason for me leaving a job has been lack of professionalism or leadership from my employer or supervisor. And with regards to my co workers in these jobs that I have left for this exact reason, it genuinely astounds me the level of abuse and degradation that people will stand for. As long as the person yelling at them and calling them names and humiliating them puts a check in the mail every week or two, it’s all worth it. I just can’t agree with this. Of course I can’t say that no amount of money is worth it when it comes to a disrespectful employer/manager, but at the wages that I can expect to make as a 22 year old with a useless degree and less than desirable levels of experience, it definitely is not worth it. I would rather clean toilets and have a good manager, than sit around all day and paint my nails while being treated like an ignorant child by someone who was promoted to a level of superiority because they were friends with the right people.

Eventually, I would like to go into business for myself and end the cycle of less than deserving superiors.

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No Experience Necessary

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for a better job, because those that are easy to get usually aren’t that great. The idea of ‘experience’ is an issue that has continued to baffle me as I continue to scour multiple job posting websites. There are very few, almost no companies that will consider applicants with little or no experience in the desired field. And this of course creates a bit of a conundrum for young people attempting to break into the work force: you can’t get a good job without having relevant experience, and you can’t get experience without first getting a job. Of course there are certain ways around this particular catch 22. One is internships. Many students are even required to complete a certain number of internship hours in order to graduate with their intended major. Unfortunately, there are a lot of college students who simply cannot afford to spend their time working for free, because they are already working most of the time that they are not in class at some low paying, hourly job. And most students who graduate with very technical, specific degrees also do not have this problem. When they finish school, they have a very clear cut skill set that is suited for a few particular career paths, and this skill set they’ve learned in the past two or four years serves as a substitute for experience. Then there are the rest of us who decided to major in anthropology, english or art history, never had a well defined picture of what exactly we wanted to do after graduating, and now are either still trying to figure out what they can do, are working in some line that has nothing to do with what they studied, or are resorting to grad school because there seem to be no other options.

Many of the job postings I’ve seen lately require 1-2 years of related experience. Comparatively, that’s not exactly a lot of experience. Clearly this type of posting is looking for a young person rather than a mature, highly experienced individual. Why? Because they don’t have to be paid as much. But let’s say I had 1 year of relevant experience and am hired for a job with such a requirement. What are the chances that the work that I did for a year was exactly the same as the work I’ve been hired for now? Very low. No matter what, the person you hire is going to have to be trained to do the tasks you require the way that you require them to be done. So as long as your applicant is fairly intelligent and shows that they can pick things up quickly, it doesn’t seem to me that experience would make all that much of a difference. In my mind, someone with 1-2 years experience, and some one with a college degree, maybe even with a Magna or Suma Cum Laude distinction to further verify their apptitude, are fairly equal because they would most likely take the same amount of time to train.

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Where’s the Foodcourt?: Why Working in a Kiosk Sucks

I work at the mall. It is a bit embarrassing considering I have a Bachelor’s degree, but with my schedule the way it is and the way it is going to be in the near future, I can’t have a “real” full time job right now. So I sell jewelry and pierce ears at one of those kiosks that are in the mall. I like selling jewelry, I like jewelry. In fact, I plan to be only more involved in the jewelry industry in the future. I do not, however, like working in a kiosk. Firstly, there is the whole process of putting away everything in the store every night, and taking it all back out every morning. Along with the other standard duties involved in opening and closing a retail store, mainly register and various paperwork, this process takes between half and hour to 45 minutes with one person. It’s tedious, and annoying, and I always end up sweating more than should be acceptable for a jewelry sales person. But when your store doesn’t have any walls, it’s necessary to prevent theft when the mall is closed. Secondly, there is the people in the mall. A lot of people will approach the kiosk who are not remotely interested in what we offer, but only to ask questions of the sales people. We are often asked about specific locations of stores within the mall, specific locations of bathrooms and food courts, and if there is a store near the kiosk that has recently closed, we are expected to know all the details about what happened. Basically, people treat us as human directories. The mall in which I work specifically is not that large at all. In fact, as far as malls go, it’s on the small side. The food court is literally around the corner, at the very end of the mall, and yet somehow people still manage to get lost trying to find it. I hate telling people over and over again all day long where the bathrooms and food court are. Really? Did you even look for it? Or are you so lazy that you can’t walk from one end of this mall to the other without giving up and asking for help? Thirdly, there is this idea among customers that because the kiosk is not a “real” jewelry store, that it is acceptable to haggle with the sales associates about price. Just because our store is more like a stand, does not mean we are some kind of traveling gypsies selling our wares for whatever we can get. We are a national chain of stores that is owned by a large global jewelry brand, and the price is the price. That’s it. It genuinely surprises me how many times a day a customer looks at the price tag of something they are interested in buying, and saying “what’s the best deal you can give me on this?” Gee, I don’t know, how about exactly what it says on the price tag! Do these people really think that someone like me, a menial hourly employee has the right to give arbitrary discounts on merchandise? If they have ever had any kind of sales job, any job at all for that matter, they should know that doing things like that would result in termination from the company. Everyone thinks they deserve more than they really do.

And for these main reasons, among others, working in a kiosk sucks.

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