Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's the phone company's fault, God.

Dear God,

I have been pondering my life decisions of late and I realize I have made many many bad ones. But I heard a story on NPR this morning that cleared up the whole mess.

Apparently, there was a study done in 2007 at the University of Hertfordshire...well, I'm sure you already know all about it. But anyway, just for the sake of conversation, it took two groups of people. One group was given a two-digit number to remember, and the other was given a seven-digit number. They were told their number, then told to go down the hall and relay it to another researcher.

Now here's the part where it gets good--in the hallway, they are stopped, seemingly by chance, and offered either a peice of cake or a bowl of fruit salad. The participants trying to remember the seven-digit number were twice as likely to take the cake. Twice as likely!

It seems that when we have more things to try to keep track of or remember, we make poorer choices. It has something to do with the emotional part of our brain that is easier to quiet and ignore when our rational part is not busy trying to remember stuff.

But you know this.

So why'd you make it that way? Didn't you know we'd have a bazillion things to try to keep track of? Or is this your way of getting back at us for trying to update Facebook, talk on the phone, and surf the web when ordering the #7 at McDonalds? Obviously if we weren't doing all those things, we'd order the salad. Or stay home and eat.

But here's the thing--all this poor decision making actually started with the phone company.


The scientists said we can really only hold about 7 things or digits or whatever in our memory at once. So, phone numbers are 7 digits, right? But here's the thing--now they are actually 10 because now we all have to know area codes! So it's the phone company's fault for adding to our mental burden! If I am recalling a phone number (as I have to do all the time!) there is no protection against that evil emotional reasoning telling me to take the chocolate cake, or buy the purse I don't need, or fudge on my taxes or whatever the decision might be. I'm foiled from the start!

So, God, could you please please give me a little slack? Or else just take it out on the phone company?


(why yes, I'd love some cake. Thank you!)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Facebook thinks you are pathetic and lame.

Don't worry. It thinks I am too, but just doesn't tell me to my face.

No, instead it shows your picture off in the corner with a sad little note saying, "Help Becky find friends. She only has 8," or " Write on Josh's wall." You are the sad little kid at the playground off by yourself who gets pity friends sent over to you by the playground monitor.

"Go over and play with Timmy. Look, he's all alone."

So this whole pity friend suggestions has me wondering, how many people are ignoring Facebook's suggestion to come over and talk to me? Look how sad and lonely I am. No one has written on my wall in weeks!

Thankfully, I do not judge my worth as a human being by how many friends I have or how often people write on my wall or tag me in a photo. I have a life. I have work to do. I don't check Facebook every fifteen minutes to see what everyone else is doing.

I totally just lied my pants on off. They are on fire, it was such a fib. I AM pathetic! I DO need friends!

In fact, I am so 'facehooked' that I even considered getting a cell phone data package at the insanely ridiculous rate of $80 a month just so I could check Facebook updates and messages remotely. (Thankfully, my paycheck is way too small for that to ever work, so I did not subscribe to said stupid plan.)

I have in the past mused to myself that Facebook is just the social dynamics of high school all over again with a few more people. Now I'm thinking it's getting closer to Kindergarten--in which case, won't you please, please won't you be, my Facebook neighbor?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Missed it by that much.

I don't understand. The world continues to turn. People go about their daily lives around me as though nothing has happened. Don't they know?

Does no one understand the pain I'm in?

Grades were posted today.

Suddenly, Maxwell Smart's mantra is droning through my head...."missed it by that much!"

I am 10 points, 10 POINTS, short of an A.

Not only that, this is only the second B I've earned in my entire college career. This is a total ego crusher.

The first B was doled out by the most boring, brain numbing teacher ever to try to teach Records Management. I hated the class so much that I didn't even care that I got a B. I was happy just to have the torture stop.

But this B, this B is from a teacher I actually enjoy in a class I actually liked. This is like having your mother tell you that your sister is prettier. And not even following up with, but don't worry, you have a nice personality.

My husband has no sympathy for me. None. He was happy to earn B's in school, which was decades ago, so therefore he cares not an iota about grades now. His reward for hard work comes in a paycheck.

I, on the other hand, earn a pittance and am still going to school so that maybe one day I might get paid a hair above a pittance. But until then, grades are the only reward I have for hard work. That A was my replacement for a healthy salary. Now that I have neither, I think I might have to start drinking. (OK, so drink more.)

Now I'm not some physics major that has a lot to be proud of in getting straight A's, but it's still a painful reminder that I'm not really that smart if I can't earn an A in Group Dynamics. Perhaps it's all this egocentricity that was the root of the problem to begin with. After all, Group Dynamics is all about learning to relate and work with other people!

The first thought that occurred to me when I saw the grade roster was maybe I can buy those points back. After all, teachers don't make that much money, and really, what could 10 points cost??

Unfortunately, my instructor has scruples. So I know she won't go for that.

In my defense (here comes the last ditch effort to salvage said ego and scrape together some sympathy), I did have a newborn to care for and was working full time when taking this class. And I did earn an A in the other class I was taking. So those three things should ease the sting, right? I'm not a total failure.

Nope. Doesn't help.

That B just keeps staring at me like grim death.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Believe that North Dakota Does Not Have a Sense of Humor

UPDATE (12/8/09, 9:47 a.m.): I received a response from Ms. Otte-Coleman. She thinks it would likely be a waste of money to bring JJ here.

I quote, "We could spend a lot of time and money trying to convince people who just plain want to be heard that we offer a great lifestyle. In some ways we just call attention to the limited view point of one high school student – who likely has not traveled west of the Mississippi."

So, sorry JJ. I guess you aren't coming here on our dime! But don't let that stop you from visiting--again. (Sara must have missed the whole part about how you drove through ND on your way to Canada.) We'd love to take you for a drive down the Enchanted Highway (what do you mean, this gift shop looks like an alien experiment station? Pay no attention to the tentacles behind the curtain....).

Original Post
This week I received an email from a colleague of mine at the state level calling me (and everyone else on the list serve) to action.

It seems a malicious article had been penned and posted on the web claiming North Dakota did not exist. It went on to falsely assert that North Dakota was in reality the home of Area 51 and that all of its residents were aliens.

We as God-fearing, Flag-waving, State-loving North Dakotans were encouraged to set the record straight. After all, no one, and I mean NO ONE, makes fun of North Dakota and gets away with it! (See Dave Barry video clip at the bottom to see what we do to people who do.)

And who was this slanderous, hurtful maligning journalist that dared write such horrific untruths?

None other than a high school sophomore from Connecticut in his school paper opinion piece for the week entitled I Believe North Dakota Does Not Exist.

I would like to share some of the comments left by those whom I assume to be offended North Dakotans:

Well, me and many others I am friends with are actually from ND. We still live there and I don't think we are aliens........

Now, if you were an alien, why would you admit to it? It would totally blow your cover.

You're an idiot, North Dakota is way better then Connecticut.

First, I'm glad this person used the correct version of you're. And secondly, yes, ND is better than Connecticut. But I don't think calling the writer an idiot helps prove that.

I came to North Dakota when I was 15 from Yuma Arizona. I could say a lot of thing to you about your sensless ramblings but you obviously wouldn't have the mental capacity to understand what I would say. However there is help for your problem and it is right here in North Dakota! It is called the North Dakota State Hospital. It is located in Jamestown N.D. I am sure they have an extra spare rubber room and a nice straght jacket that will fit you. Linda Perleberg Jamestown College

I think this might (maybe) not be the message we want to send to people from out of state--If you think or speak differently from us, we put you in the mental hospital. Actually, this again seems proof positive we are, in fact, aliens.

This is completely inaccurate. Why would you post this publicly? It makes you look completely uneducated and you look like a huge jerk. Not impressed to say the least.

Yes, it is inaccurate. That's why it's funny. The only one who ends up looking uneducated is the one who thought the kid was serious.

Congrats ND! We are smaller than a football field according to JJ! Ok, this might have been funny if you talked about how cold it is or some of our weird traditions or something. But saying we have area 51?? That's not even funny. P.S. Ever heard of Phil Jackson, Roger Maris, Lute Olson?? Wonder where they're from?

They are from--SPACE! Didn't you ever see Men in Black? This is just more proof we actually are the home of Area 51--Phil Jackson is definitely an alien!

I am not a resident of ND, but I go to college there and I just got an email telling all of us to read this "'spoof story' that does not depict North Dakota in a positive light" and respond with all the wonderful things about ND. Your article was funny, and these posts are rather entertaining as well!! You sure got quite a few people's panties in a knot!! You need to give ND some credit though, after all they do have the World's Largest buffalo, holstein cow, sandhill crane, and many others I assume! Not to mention the Enchanted Highway... I even saw a tree one time. WIth all that, who wouldn't love North Dakota?

And yet another thing that proves we are an alien infested area--freaky giant cows, cranes, and especially the Enchanted highway.

ok listen here little one i have lived in North Dakota my whole life and I'm pretty sure that me and all of my friends are not aliens and this is not some Area 51 cover up like you think it is. And lets think about this really quick North Dakota has the Badlands and Medora..... and I'm pretty sure that everyone knows about both of those. And i agree with whoever posted the last comment lets bring this idiot to ND during the winter and see how he likes it.

This person I actually agree with--I think we should bring JJ to North Dakota. I think it's a great marketing idea that the Department of Tourism should seriously consider. How much would it cost to bring JJ and his/her family here for a vacation to show them what North Dakota really has to offer? A few thousand dollars? I bet they spend more than that on a magazine ad, and this would probably get some national media attention.

So, I plan to draft a note to Sara Otte-Coleman right now suggesting exactly that.

And in the meanwhile, take a deep breath, try to loosen up and enjoy these other instances of people making fun of North Dakota. Who knows, you might actually laugh!!

Michael Moore's Mockumentary--Why ND is the least visited state:

Dave Barry--Why you shouldn't make fun of ND:

Conan's theory as to why ND is in the black (Link)

And lastly, a great little farce about my hometown icon, Tommy Turtle:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thank You to the Knight in Blaze Orange

I was going to write about something trivial and marginally humorous like Facebook insinuating that some of my friends are sad and pathetic by asking me to post on their wall or suggest friends for them (and wondering if I'm in that category on my friends' pages).

Perhaps another week.

Yesterday, I walked out through the snow and ice to start my car, wondering to myself why I hadn't done this ten minutes earlier so my car would be nice and warm. I saw the guy parked next to me scraping his windshield.

After I climbed in and started my car, I leaned over to see if I had an ice scraper anywhere in my vehicle. After all, it's only December. Why would I need one of those already??

As I'm fumbling around digging in the car door and side cubby, I hear a loud grating noise on my windshield.

I look up.

There is the guy who was parked next to me, scraping my windshield! I was dumbstruck. I really didn't know how to respond. In fact, I think probably my mouth was gaping as I tried to comprehend what he was doing.

Chivalry is not dead!

After he finished scraping the driver's side, I thought, that was really nice and was about to put the car in reverse. Then I see he's scraping the passenger side.

And then the back window.

And then the side windows!

This guy is unbelievable!

He scraped all the windows on my car. And all I could muster was a big goofy grin and a thumbs up.

I have no idea who this person was. Probably a student here. But he has shaken my deeply held prejudice against 18-year-old males. (Sorry guys, but so many of you are just slackers!)

Anyway, I highly doubt he will ever read this cyber shout out. I realize I have a loyal readership, but I doubt either of you know who this guy is either.

I'm hoping that by sending this thank you out into the universe, maybe someone else will be inspired to do something so thoughtful and unexpected today too.

I know I plan to!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Black Friday, Black Frimorning, Black Frursday....Oh just make it Black Thursday already!

Black Friday has been starting earlier and earlier every year.

I remember watching the line outside of my local Pamida press up toward the front doors about ten years ago on my way to work. It was about 6:30 a.m. and they were opening at 7 a.m.

Then a few years back it seemed like 6 a.m. was the new 7 a.m.

Then Wal-Mart moved in and 6 a.m. became 5 a.m.

People are losing a lot of sleep. This is not healthy.

Now I see that Old Navy is opening at.......(drum roll)

3 A M

Really?!?!? 3 AM?

First of all, in order to be there at opening doors, a shopper will need to get up at 2 a.m. (so really, why bother going to bed?) to get to the store at 2:30 a.m. to be in line.

Secondly, I can't think of one thing that Old Navy has in their Black Friday Flyer that is worth getting up at 2 a.m. (or not going to bed at all) for which to stand in line at 2:30 a.m. to push other retarded, sleep deprived people out of the way.

So my next question is when does all this ridiculous one-ups-manship between stores just push everything into Thursday? Why not just open at midnight instead of 3 a.m.? Lots of stores do midnight releases of games and movies. Why not save us all the short night of sleep and just let us come in after our Thursday afternoon nap? We'll be all rested and ready to run for that ultra cheap LCD TV.

Wouldn't this likely cut down on the car accidents from some mad shopoholic driving in the wee morning hours when he/she is over tired from only sleeping two hours and texting to her friends that Wal-Mart is out of Snuggies?

Or perhaps I am missing that people are actually starting their Black Friday shopping on Thursday because they go camp out in the parking lot of Best Buy Thursday afternoon. They bring their recliners and portable HDTVs, unzip, kick back, and watch football there instead of at home.

This might actually be a good thing. All the rest of the family is saved from seeing Uncle Bob's furry keg spilling out the especially grateful-to-be-finally-unzipped waistband. They can relax and let their turkey digest in visual peace whilst the rest of the Best Buy clientelle enjoy the scenery.

Whatever the reason and whatever time you start out, I hope any of you who are brave enough to wade through the endorphin-crazed bargain hunting crowds get your coveted zebra print Snuggie!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Going Batty over New Moon

I'm so sick of reading status update after status update about how this person can't wait to go see new moon. They are counting the minutes. They have their tickets and OMG isn't Taylor SOOO cute????

Barf, barf, barf, barf.

But now the entire marketing industry has been bitten too. A story on NPR went down a laundry list of marketing gimmicks that have latched onto the neck of this movie and are sucking as much blood as this series will give.

Ken and Barbie will now look like Edward and Bella (I can't believe I even know their names!!).

And of course there are the usual do-dads everyone must have--t-shirts, key chains, posters, underwear. I'm sure Target and Wal-Mart are packed with vampire tshatashkis. After all, doesn't everyone need a vampire toothbrush for keeping those fangs pearly white?

I can't help but be reminded of high school when a popular kid would coin a new word (like in the movie Never Been Kissed when the popular guy decided Rufus was the new word for cool) and everyone starts saying this word because then maybe they'll get to be cool too!

It's coolness by association. Perhaps I'm just bitter because I was the nerdy Josie Geller of the group and would have followed right along if given the opportunity.

Marketers like Burger King making a New Moon meal, although really not any more ridiculous than any other strategy they use, seems sort of desperate.

But perhaps even more desperate (or is the more correct term ingenious?) is the link Volvo has made with their Whatdrivesedward.com promotion. They have used this movie and the incredible appeal to young viewers to draw attention to their rather old brand. Let's face it, soccer moms drive Volvos, not hot vampires.

So I guess while I see the marketing frenzy accompanying New Moon as cheesy and rather vampirous in itself, I can see how this can make these brand a lot of money--even if they look rather silly in the process. But then who has ever cared about looking silly when millions of dollars are on the table?