A MinD in MoTown

Doing it, and doing it, and doing it well.
May 24, 2010, 10:09 am
Filed under: Bullet points provide an easy way out, Getting my RANT on

If there’s one thing I undoubtedly do best it’s complain. That’s right, I am an all-star when it comes to whining about anything and everything under the sun. And right now*, here’s a lovely bullet-point list of what I’m finding most bothersome this moment:

  • How many times do I have to mention how DISGUSTING it is to clip one’s nails IN PUBLIC before change occurs? It’s gross. And the LAST thing I want to hear in this newsroom as I’m typing away at an article is the clip, clip, clipping of each fingernail. Go to the damn bathroom or wait ’til you return home this evening. DO NOT flood my eardrums and my sanity ten times over as you make sure pinky-to-pinky is adequately smaller.
  • I hate cell phone ringers. It’s true, I do, and I’m pretty certain I’ve said this before. And when your phone rings repeatedly, I contemplate 1) killing you or 2) breaking your device into a million pieces. Perhaps you – yes, you in the otherwise-silent newsroom – should change it to silent asap. Just a thought.
  • Tipping $3 on a $57 bill may seem like a wise decision to you – who doesn’t like a nice round number in their checkbook? – but it’s not exactly courteous to your super-awesome waitress who stayed after closing-time because of you, ran after you with the cell phone you left behind and then ran after you again because you forgot your child’s sippy cup. $3 = unacceptable.
  • Whoever invented “employee training” sucks. Watching crappy videos as a first-time hire is part of the gig, but must we reiterate these same concepts annually? Office ergonomics, I get it, I do. That doesn’t mean I would like a yearly pop quiz about it.
  • I’m quite annoyed by the way 96.1 The Beat‘s Next AM Mayhem Superstar contest (that I applied for) turned out. That, however, is a posting all in itself, so stay tuned for Part 4 of that saga.
  • I loathe “weekend-update” blog posts. If you post one, it will be marked as read without a single glance from my direction. I’m sort of sorry. But hey, at least I’m honest.
  • I recently bought a new phone via Sprint and canceled my Verizon service after some major discontent with that particular provider. Weeks later, yesterday, I come to discover that Verizon charges you through the end of your service cycle regardless of when in that cycle you depart. I may have canceled my plan on April 29, but I was billed through May 7. My words to the customer service rep, “So what you’re saying is that if I join a few days before a new cycle begins, my plan is prorated and I pay for those days of usage. But if I cancel the plan, it’s not prorated and I still have to pay through the end of the month?” She replies, “Yes. It says that in your contract.” LAME SAUCE! These damn companies always find a way to get you in the end.
  • Five minutes before leaving the apartment for work this morning, my boyfriend decides it’s the opportune time to tell me his grandmother and mother will be coming by our place later in the day. I had little warning, and little opportunity to clean. Arriving late to work wasn’t an option, so they were likely thrilled when the door opened to our humble pig sty abode today. Ugh. So glad I had ample time to prepare…

Now, why did this ranting have to occur? Well, you see, I can only take so much. Isn’t that true for all of us? And sometimes I absolutely have to turn to this blog in the hopes of purging myself from everything I find incredibly irksome before I bust wide open with emotions I’d prefer my newsroom never witness. So thank you, my dear readers, for allowing me these few minutes of complaining at its finest. Time to finally take that much-needed deep breath. ::Insert breathing here:: Le sigh.

* This isn’t scheduled to post ’til Monday morning (I don’t like when others blog multiple times per day, so why would I force that upon my own readers?), but I’m writing it in the afternoon of Thursday, May 21, just so we’re all aware.

Talk about hyperbolic.

If someone were to you ask what two of the most “insidious and dangerous” threats to society and the world today were, what would you answer?

Terrorism, homicide (in general), global warming (maybe not the insidious part…), AIDS (not sure about insidious here either), etc. Far from that lengthy list for so many of us would be gay marriage and abortion. However, Pope Benedict XVI seems to think otherwise*.

Reading about actions like this one from the sole person leading the faith that I grew up with make it that much more difficult to ever consider returning to my Catholic roots. As someone who very strongly believes in a woman’s right to choose and regularly advocates for same-sex marriage, how can I possibly rejoin a church that so openly dismisses both as two of the most major “threats” without consideration of every other danger that plagues our society?

Not only do I find these claims by the Pope completely ridiculous, but misplaced as well. Our world is burdened by things far worse than abortion and gay marriage. So many people regularly face hunger, poverty, sickness and immense, actual threats to life and happiness such as war, terrorism and bigotry. Yet the Catholic church, with the Pope at its helm, wastes its time on gay marriage and abortion? Perhaps this simply puts a wider rift between myself and the only faith I’ve ever truly known.

For years now Catholic officials have questioned why so many young people are turning away from the church and becoming atheist, agnostic or joining other religions. Maybe, just maybe, statements such as this one from the Pope have something to do with it.

* If you check out the article, what I continue on to say might make a bit more sense. It also helps slightly that you know I have quite an estranged relationship with Catholicism.

April 29, 2010, 2:43 pm
Filed under: Getting my RANT on, Help a girl out

Eight years… That’s about how long I’ve had Verizon Wireless as my cell phone provider and now I’m seriously considering a major change to another service.

After an aggravating Wednesday where a few Verizon staffers seemed completely unwilling to help me in any way, shape or form* – and this is after years of me praising their customer service – I’ve grown frustrated. Following years of loyalty despite the lure of iPhones and all-inclusive phone plans, my allegiance to the VZW now wavers and I’m highly considering cutting all ties.

But where do I go from here?

Although the iPhone does carry a certain appeal, AT&T is not a service that finds itself popular among my peers in NC. Perhaps it’s their coverage in this particular area, but I’ve been warned to keep my distance. The same goes with TMobile. I believe my boyfriend’s words last night were, “You better not go with TMobile,” as I mentioned my perusal of alternatives.

Sprint, however, is swiftly taking the lead among its counterparts as family members and friends mention their $70 unlimited plan and wide array of Smart phones that don’t require additional monies just to own (unlike Verizon). I feel my wallet tugging that direction as I realize the cost savings compared to my current provider, which will charge me nearly $110 per month just for a similar calling plan.

But now, as I still sit unsure of my decision, waiting for my current phone to completely die and become little more than a paperweight, I’m turning to you guys for advice. What services do you have and which would you recommend*? What are the ones to avoid? Should I just stick it out with Verizon, though my happiness with them is waning, or is it time to jump ship?

(I know this posting is somewhat lackluster, but really, after yesterday, I’m somewhat at my wit’s end with both this phone and this company. I’m ready for a change. And soon.)

* And, to make matters worse, someone at the store ripped my soft-plastic cell phone case then took no blame for it and refused to replace it. Ugh.
** No talk of iPhones, please. There’s zero chance of me buying one.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
April 22, 2010, 5:38 pm
Filed under: Getting my RANT on, I watch too much TV

(This post has been brewing inside me for a while and it’s about damn time I spit out the words.)

Week after week, I sit there and watch the trainwreck that is MTV’s “16 and Pregnant.” And each week I find myself asking the same question: Are we somehow glorifying teenage motherhood?

While I both believe and hope the show’s creators didn’t aim for young girls to watch this show with awe, wishing that they could become next season’s stars, that exact thought continually crosses my mind.

Despite the producers/editors likely best efforts to depict the hardships of teen pregnancy and thus optimistically prevent it for countless other girls out there, I imagine there are dozens of high schoolers who tune in each week and begin longing for a baby of their own. They watch the struggles of teens and instead of thinking, “I never want to be in those shoes,” they begin plotting their road to stardom as a character on Season 3.

As teenagers, we’re all impressionable. You tell us not to hang out with George* and ten minutes later, we’re in his bedroom doing who-knows-what. You beg us not to drink and we’re so sloshed that Friday night that we can’t even spell our name. That’s how it goes, and yet someone out there decides to toss 20 episodes of prego-teens on the tube and seriously expects girls not to quickly jump on that bandwagon? Why do I find this all hard to believe?

It’s easy for me to look at each episode and critique the passing moments, which are nearly the same every week:

  1. Naive girl meets “nice” boy.
  2. They fall in love.
  3. They do the dirty.
  4. Uh oh, someone’s pregnant.
  5. Boy is a jackass.
  6. Heartbreak hotel. Girl cries A LOT.
  7. Push. Push. Happy birthday baby.
  8. Teen parents are poor.
  9. Life sucks.

Season 1 practically followed this as if it were a script, and yet somehow, we still had Season 2. And I undoubtedly believe a Season 3 will soon debut. Why? Because teens don’t always see the negative in these scenarios and learn from their peers. Rather, many share the same mistakes as their skewed eyes see the good outshine bad. They watch something on TV and duplicate it in their own lives, which is why this show may last for more seasons than I can count on my fingers and toes.

When comes the time to step back and realize that maybe, just maybe, this one show – albeit popular – could be causing more harm than good? Sharing a few Web site addresses each week does little to prevent pregnancy. Shit, if telling teenagers that unprotected sex could produce a baby doesn’t scare them enough to choose abstinence or find birth control, then what makes anyone think for even a moment that slight warnings squeezed between “I can’t wait to be a mommy” or smiling faces will do the trick? I’m not fooled, that’s for sure. And I bet you aren’t either.

Yes, I will admit any day that I watch the show. But I’m 24 years old and I didn’t have sex in high school because I knew its dangers. I didn’t want a baby. I was not about to mess around with anything that would’ve caused one.

Not everyone is me though and I’m quite aware of the naivete that exists when you’re in high school, assuming no wrong will ever occur in your own life. “It won’t happen to me,” and then BAM, nine months later the legs are in the air as a bowling-ball-sized human comes flying out. Why any young girl would want that is besides me, but some do, and I fervently believe that at least a handful of teens in this world are looking at “16 and Pregnant” saying, “I wish that was me.” Doesn’t that mean it’s time to hit cancel and move on to the next reality series?

Perhaps it’s time for “16 with HIV.”

* Yes, George. Don’t ask questions.

Women’s Writes — But it’s not the 1950s…
April 5, 2010, 1:21 pm
Filed under: Getting my RANT on, Women's Writes

When the Criminal Homicide and Abortion Amendments bill passed in Utah at the beginning of March, both Shine and Marie reached the end of their rope when it came to women’s rights and issues consistently being pushed backwards rather than moving forwards. They decided to have a day in which any blogger could write about women’s rights and issues and bring them to the forefront so that we could speak up and make all of our voices heard. Here is my story. Know it. Write it. Say it.

Many decades ago, when our parents or grandparents were in their 20s, women had expectations. “Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen” was commonplace as women catered to the needs of their husbands and children above all else.

But this isn’t 1950, and yet sometimes breaking through those old stereotypes proves difficult. I find this especially true with my own 70-year-old grandmother.

For years now I have been using the phrase “but things are different” with her, and she repeatedly has some trouble understanding that I don’t believe my place in life surrounds being a homemaker. She comes from that generation of women who felt it was their duty to ensure the happiness of their family above themselves, who put their own whims and desires on hold because dinner was due on the table at 5:30 p.m. and cleaning chores awaited. And despite my very best efforts to tell my grandmother that times have indeed changed and those ridiculous expectations are no longer the norm, she seems baffled that I don’t immediately begin cooking supper for my live-in boyfriend once I arrive home from work each evening.

And after each conversation with her about my “tasks” as the woman of our household, I’m left feeling defeated, wishing I could just shake her, almost wake her up from this archaic way of thinking. Is there really any hope in changing the way she views the world? I’m starting to think not.

As a soon-to-be 25-year-old, my future plans surround graduate school rather than wedding bells and the pitter-patter of little feet. But every few weeks, my grandmother insists on asking me if there’s been any talk of “a diamond” from my boyfriend (to which I reply no). I suppose this line of conversation is a bit better than the former living-in-sin chats we’d have, but it’s also growing old. I’m not falling asleep each night dreaming of the perfect proposal or what my wedding day will look like, though I think she expects that my mind should simply surround those notions since she was already wed and caring for two children at this age.

And while I find these stereotypical molds tough to break with my own grandmother, there are countless other women in the world who feel these outdated societal standards seeping into their own lives from various avenues. Perhaps it’s a parent or a coworker or even a religious leader who is placing this undue pressure on someone… Regardless, how exactly do we shatter these old-fashioned models and make those generations understand that in 2010, such measures don’t exist for women?

Marriage doesn’t necessarily appear in the cards for all of us. We aren’t planning on birthing a half-dozen babies. We choose not to cook three meals per day. We have careers. We buy ourselves shiny things. We prefer cats over cribs and dogs over diapers. We like to spend our Friday evenings downing drinks with the boys and our Saturdays recovering in bed, foregoing the mop and broom.

Things are different. We are different.

Yet the minds of those ladies – and even some gents – who came before us remain unchanged. Why is it that as women of the 21st century, we can manage to do so much with our lives, but simply can’t gain the respect of those generations who saw womanhood through different eyes?