Thoughts, Prayers, and Platitudes

Here are the things people say whenever a mass shooting occurs in the United States:

  • “Did you hear about the shooting in [insert place here]? Super sad.”
  • “’My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.’ That’s what I just tweeted. Doesn’t that make me look so nice and compassionate?”
  • “We REALLY need to do something about gun control in this country.”
  • “We REALLY need to do something about [mental health/immigration—depending on if the assailant is white or not, respectively] in this country.”
  • “All these liberals better not take away my second amendment rights just because of some crazy guy.”
  • “Wait, there was another shooting?”

The response is often jaded, feebly emotional, and charged with political tension. I, personally, had gotten tired of hearing about shootings—not just in the “fed up” type of way, but in the “really? Again?” type of way. I was as guilty as anyone else of these types of responses.

That is, until the most recent—not to mention deadliest—shooting happened right in my backyard, just 10 minutes from where I attend school.

On the morning of October 2, I woke up at 6:35 AM to 56 text messages. Nobody was sharing their “thoughts and prayers.” Nobody was arguing about politics. Here are the things that people say, the text messages your friends send you in the middle of the night, the e-mails you receive from your nursing students, the frantic messages you get from loved ones, when a mass shooting occurs in your hometown:

  • “Are you okay?!!”
  • “You guys, I’m hiding behind an air vent. There are bullets coming from everywhere”
  • “Get out of there!!!”
  • “I can’t find my brother. I’m freaking out”
  • “I just saw policemen running right into it. They are pulling out bloody bodies”
  • “Just saw someone shot in the face”
  • “Are there multiple gunmen?!”
  • “Please respond and tell me you’re okay.”
  • “I just got off a 36-hour shift. The hospital has been crazy.”
  • “This person has been shot and is in critical condition.”
  • “This person has been killed.”

And yet there are things that I’ve been delighted to hear, that I never expected to during such a tragedy, that have made me immensely proud of my community:

  • “Don’t donate blood. The centers are at capacity.”
  • “Schedule an appointment to donate blood later in the week…never mind, they’re full. Schedule an appointment to donate blood next week…never mind, those are full now too. Schedule an appointment to donate blood two weeks from now…never mind…”
  • “Please don’t bring us any more food and water. We have too much.”
  • “We need volunteer grief counselors…Never mind, we have enough grief counselors now.”
  • “Thanks for giving grieving families free airfare, Southwest.”
  • “Thanks for giving grieving families free lodging, hotels on the Strip.”
  • “Thanks to the employees at other resorts who have helped us out. Love, the Mandalay Bay.”
  • “Thanks to companies who have donated catered meals and emergency prescription medication to those affected.”
  • “Thanks for giving people rides, blankets, and food and water, random Las Vegans helping out those who were displaced from their hotel rooms at the Thomas & Mack Center.”
  • “Let’s try and raise $2.5 million for the victims and survivors. Never mind, we did it in less than one day.”

This is what it has been like here. I can’t begin to describe the sadness that everyone is feeling. It’s different when it’s your city. It’s different when it’s your friends that were there. So yes, “tragedy” and “thoughts and prayers” and “senseless violence” have been thrown around a lot, but this time they are not platitudes. They are reality.

I don’t know what to do about all of this. Do I think we should ban all guns? Probably, but do I think that is possible without a painful, possibly bloody struggle? No. Do I think that would stop people from doing bad things? Not necessarily. Mostly, I just don’t have the energy to debate. I’ll leave that to the rest of the country to squabble over, because this didn’t happen to them.

Right now, I’m just sad. Please just let us be sad.

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10 Things That Happened After I Deleted Social Media

Last week I got really tired of checking social media so I deleted the Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat apps from my phone and deleted my Twitter account entirely. Here’s what happened:

  1. Had no idea what to do at night before bed. Started reading books n shiz
  2. Frequently wondered, “What am I missing?” and then quickly realized, “Probably literally nothing.”
  3. Thought about posting something I was doing then said “How about I just enjoy doing the thing I’m doing instead of trying to get a good picture of me doing the thing?”
  4. Felt WAY less pressure to be skinny *cough Instagram cough*
  5. Saw zero photos of the Kardashians
  6. Felt relief from being constantly inundated with information
  7. Realized that my (real) friends will actually still talk to me
  8. Got annoying-AF e-mails from Instagram begging me to come back
  9. Improved my attention spanSQUIRREL
  10. My life was exactly the same with the exceptions of numbers 1-9

Why I’m Over This Season of Game of Thrones

Like anyone else who has internet, I love Game of Thrones. I’ve watched the entire series at least three times. (Which is how long it takes to actually understand everything that happens.) I’ve even read all 3,000+ pages of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series that it’s based on, including those in the extended ASOIAF universe. And unlike some who have read the books, I genuinely enjoy the TV show and even prefer some of the storylines to those in the books. I’m not one of those fans who complains that they left out So-and-So or whines because everything isn’t exactly the same.

And although I’ve enjoyed Season 7 so far at surface level, there are a few things that have really annoyed me, to the point that the show may have lost its magic. In the off chance that there is someone out there who agrees with me, here they are.

(Also, obviously, SPOILERS, in case you are an idiot and chose to read this when you’re not caught up.)

  • The creators are cramming way too much into the last two seasons in an attempt to hurry and wrap up the story. “Oh, remember the White Walkers and the Army of the Dead that we began the entire series with? They should probably be a thing now that the show is about to end.” The pace of the previous seasons were more or less what was required to carry the story and develop the characters, which is what the show does best. But beginning with Varys miraculously traveling from Meereen to Sunspear and back in the span of a single episode in the season six finale, the pace of this season has proceeded at an insane, breakneck speed where characters travel thousands of miles in an instant and their actions are summarized by seconds of narration. When they do actually spend time on dialogue, it doesn’t contribute much to the story and instead serves a reminder that “Hey, remember, these two guys don’t like each other.” I miss the times when, for example, we got to watch Brienne and Jaime lumbering through the woods on their way from Riverrun and enjoyed the viciously entertaining dialogue that accompanied it. Season seven feels like a completely different show. Why did they choose to do it this way? Why cut the last two seasons so short?
  • It’s gone the way of most fantasy series and become gimmicky. Episode six–“Beyond the Wall”–really cemented this for me. “Ooooh, big battles with fire and dragons and mythical creatures! Oh no! The big hero is in trouble and is certainly doomed! Wait–it’s a random character everyone forgot about, conveniently riding in to rescue him! Hooray! The hero’s stupid plan succeeded and everything works out for the Good Guys. Oh, but let’s throw in a couple deaths like Thoros and one of the lesser-known dragons so there is somewhat of a dramatic arc.”
  • It’s lost what made it special in the first place: the sentiment that nobody is safe from getting killed off, even main characters. Pretty much no one that we care about has died this season. The death roster includes (as far as I can remember, and correct me if I’m wrong):
    • House Frey (they had it coming);
    • Ellaria and the Sand Snakes (nobody cares);
    • Olenna Tyrell (whom I worship but whose storyline was over and had possibly the most epic onscreen death ever so I’m okay with it);
    • the Tarlys (nobody cares);
    • Thoros (nobody cares);
    • and Viserion (whom we only care about because he’s a dragon and maybe because we feel bad for Daenerys)

There are also plenty of instances where someone important SHOULD HAVE DIED. Jaime and Bronn should not have survived the battle in “Spoils of War,” and going back to point #2, there is also no way Jon or Tormund should have survived that showdown with the White Walkers in episode six. How awesome would it have been if Jon Snow got stabbed, died, was brought back to life in season six, and you assume he’s going to make it through the series and become the Prince that Was Promised but then the showrunners are like “nope” and kill him off the next season, only to be replaced with a way more interesting character like the Hound or Jaime or Ser Davos leading the fight against the Night King?! *Sigh*

However, we still have the finale. Maybe we’ll get some nice, juicy deaths then. Hopefully Cersei.

  • I get it, Jon represents ice and Daenerys represents fire, and they’re gonna bang. I get it, they’re both hot so I should be rooting for them to get together. But for as much build up as there’s been to these two characters meeting, I don’t find their “love” story in the least bit compelling. In the inevitable sex scene that will soon occur between them, I will probably be like “Ugh, okay, let’s just get this over with” rather than the genuine investment I felt in, say, Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s love story or Jon and Ygritte’s love story. The creators actually took time to establish those storylines and made you feel connected to them. Jon and his Aunt Dany? Instead of actually exhibiting any chemistry on screen, they leave that to random secondary characters to make comments like, “Oh, I’ve seen you staring at her boobies, Jon.” Wait, what? When has that ever happened?! If it weren’t for Davos and Tyrion I wouldn’t have detected a whiff of attraction between them until they started holding hands on the boat out of nowhere.
  • 599a5bb721c3fc23008b4a4a-750-408

    Sansa has played the game better than anyone and deserves to win.

    Please remind me why I am supposed to care about Arya. She is belligerent, reactionary, violent, and macabre. The Braavos storyline has been my least favorite of both the books and movies due to its utter pointlessness, and unless she has some greater role to play than just being bitter and vengeful, I want to see her gone and her much more capable and fascinating sister Sansa calling the shots for the Stark family. #TeamSansa

  • On a related note…SOMEBODY PLEASE KILL LITTLEFINGER ALREADY. If Arya does kill him then maybe it will make up for the stupid Faceless Men plot thread that just won’t die.

Nonetheless, keep in mind that I am mercilessly picking apart what is probably the greatest show ever made whilst having never accomplished anything remotely as great as what David Benioff and Dan Weiss have done in adapting this impossibly rich series. I’m gonna go back to picking off my nail polish and watching Netflix in my underwear now.

Un-Boring Life Update

Obviously, I haven’t posted anything in, like, eight months. I’m not going to apologize or explain myself because A) nobody cares and B) nothing all that interesting has happened to me anyway. Here’s the update: I am still in grad school. I got a new job. I just bought a house (a.k.a. am now in an extraordinary amount of debt for a house) and moved. I could write at length about any of these topics but they are all spectacularly boring. Seriously. If you want more details feel free to ask, but I am actively resisting becoming a boring middle-class white lady at all costs, which means I understand that nobody wants to hear about things like drapes and tile and how “just so busy!” I am.

However, the other day I was trying to find a photo on my phone that I had taken a long time ago. That’s when I realized that there is some weeeeird stuff on my Camera Roll. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; it occurred to me that these snapshots are way more emblematic of my life—not to mention more interesting—than if I were to write posts like “OMG you guys grad school is just like soooo hard!!” So, please enjoy these snippets of joy that occurred over the past eight months:

December 11, 2016

 

You pick which one is creepier.

December 15, 2016

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I think I took this photo because I made dinner and Scott told me he would eat his asparagus but clearly he did NOT and just dumped it in the trash. So I had to shame him for it.

December 18, 2016

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No idea what this is about.

January 25, 2017

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That time Google (correctly) assumed that I have a big leeeessssbian crush on Bella Hadid.

February 17, 2017

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I was in Texas for work so I went to the Dallas Aquarium by myself because my flight got cancelled. Of course it was mostly kids there so I definitely looked like a pedophile. Then my mom sent me what is probably the funniest text I’ve ever received.

March 29, 2017

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Starbucks guy yelled “Kale?” when my drink was ready.

April 7, 2017

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Oh, I went to Costa Rica! It was great. Could not recommend going there highly enough—it is one of the most special places I’ve ever been. I met lots of great people there, but this guy was my favorite.

April 29, 2017

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This is my leg, THREE WEEKS after coming back from Central America, and I’m STILL PEELING. The sun is no joke the closer you get the Equator.

May 6, 2017

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This is when I finally learned how to apply highlighter.

May 20, 2017

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When I (yet again) mistakenly thought it would be fun to be blonde.

May 31, 2017

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I think my ear hurt but I wasn’t close to a mirror so I took a picture of it to see if there was anything weird going on.

June 12, 2017

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Bae Squad ❤ Only thing I miss about my old job is the people.

June 15, 2017

 

I went to hot Pilates and was taking pictures of my new leggings (yes, I’m THAT guy). This girl sat down next to me and only like 10 minutes later did I realize it was my friend. Shows you how observant I am. This is us all sweaty after class.

June 17, 2017

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Scott got tampons for me 🙂 If that isn’t the ultimate sign of love, I don’t know what is.

June 29, 2017

 

I made a perfect “TU”—our logo at my new job—out of chapsticks for the New Student Orientation social and it was the most satisfying thing ever. There was also a balloon man there for the students’ kids…and me. (And yes, I do realize that the sword I’m holding is very phallic.)

July 5, 2017

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Scott made me watch Fantastic Mr. Fox and in doing so introduced me to the best character ever created.

The End. Until next time…which may be another eight months. :-p

The Curse of the December Birthday

Do me a favor: Log in to your Facebook account, make note of everyone who has a December birthday, and give them a hug the next time you see them.

It’s a rough life for a Sagittarius such as myself. I was born on December 12, which is awesome because it’s 12/12, and in 2012 I was like “OMG it’s 12/12/12!!!” and it was the best birthday ever. However, being an awesome December birthday person like myself has its drawbacks.

Basically, having a December birthday is COMPLETELY ruined by Christmas. Here’s the kind of crap that people try to pull with me every year:

1. “Well, Christmas is only two weeks away, so here’s your Christmas and birthday present.” NO. Just, NO. If my birthday was any other month of the year you’d be getting me two presents!!! But I only get one present because my parents decided to do it in March instead of February.

2. No one gets excited about your birthday because they’re distracted by Christmas. C’mon, Jesus! Quit trying to steal my birthday’s thunder! Wait a minute…Jesus was actually born in April, you say? And it was the Romans who rescheduled it to December 25 to coincide with an existing pagan holiday, you say? Oh…sorry, Jesus. We’re still cool, right?

3. The Day of Receiving is overwhelmed by the Season of Giving. My birthday is a day when I want to feel special and only have to worry about myself. But every year it coincides with the same season that I have to worry about what to buy for other people, then wrap in a garish bow, then have them say “Thanks” and never use it.

I’m really good at complaining (you know that if you’ve ever read any of my other posts), but I do have some solutions that other December birthdays and their loved ones can incorporate:

1. Half-birthdays. Half birthdays are AWESOME! My family decided to start celebrating half birthdays for me (December 12th ) and my brothers (December 19th and January 1st ) because my family members got sick of going broke buying six presents for us in the span of one month every year. Now, we celebrate our birthdays (at least gift-wise) on the first Saturday of every July and it’s a great idea!

2. Realize that other peoples’ birthdays are affected by bad timing too. I’ve discussed my December birthday first-world problem with others and they’ve pointed out that if your birthday is in late October, it’s overshadowed by Halloween parties. When you’re a kid and have a summer birthday, everyone at school is on break so they don’t bring cupcakes to school for you. If your birthday is on September 11th …well, that sucks. Basically, there is no end to the ways you can be disappointed on your birthday.

3. “How about you stop being so petty and materialistic, Kate? Why don’t you celebrate the next year of your life by being generous and giving of yourself to others rather than rudely demanding that they shower you with gifts you don’t need?” My response to that is:

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12 Unpopular Opinions

The past two days have been a bad episode of the Twilight Zone. I feel like I switched brains with Dick Cheney, ate some bad Mexican food, and then dropped a bunch of acid. Like so many other people, I’m reeling—I genuinely thought Trump would lose. Why? I’ve read lots of speculation about this, and done some of my own. First, there were obviously a lot of secret Trump supporters out there that didn’t answer honestly when polled. Second, this election brought a lot of disillusioned non-voters out of the woodwork who normally don’t participate because Trump was such a unique non-establishment candidate. But most of all, I realized, I don’t really know a lot of Trump supporters. I went to the University of Bleeding Heart Oregon, then joined the Peace Corps, and now work in higher education. I’ve been surrounded by Jon Stewart, Karl Marx, and JFK for most of my adult life. Trump’s election makes me feel so disconnected from my countrymen, and for the first time I’ve realized that I’ve been living in a bubble.

As a result, I’m surprised by the perspective I’ve developed in response to the past 48 hours of life in Pre-Trump Nation. They are all things I never, ever considered because I never, ever imagined our next President to be anybody but Hillary Clinton—or, in a few dreams I’ve had, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

So, these are all of my really unpopular opinions about the election that nobody asked for, mingled with my other really unpopular opinions. I figured I should just hash it all out here:

  1. No, you’re not moving to Canada. Seriously, CALM DOWN. It’s not the end of the world. If we’re smart then we’ll all band together and work to make this country a better place to live regardless of who our leader is or what colors the House and Senate are. If we’re not smart…well, we’ll continue to do what we’ve done for a while now, which is be at each other’s throats. Let’s be smart.
  2. Pumpkin pie is gross.
  3. I’ve gotta hand it to Trump. He did what no one else has: be elected President as a complete outsider. I am as fascinated and intrigued as I am blindsided and confused. More than anything, I am genuinely curious to see what he will do in his Presidency.
  4. Karaoke is not fun.
  5. I hate Donald Trump and think he’s a bad person. However, he is my President although I didn’t vote for him. This is the choice that my countrymen the electoral college has made and I respect that. I hope for the sake of our country that he does a great job. I think it’s awfully selfish and unpatriotic to root against him and/or assume that he will ruin everything without giving him a chance. He will probably ruin some things, but maybe make some other things better just like every other President has. If he’s “not your president,” than maybe this is “not your country.” In that case, Canada will be getting some of our most melodramatic citizens.
  6. Disneyland is overrated.
  7. I think it’s very short-sighted to assume that Hillary lost just because she’s a woman. She lost because she was a bad candidate. People do not like her, and for some it might be because of her gender, but for a lot of people (myself included) it’s because she was not inspiring other than the fact that she happens to be A) a member of an underrepresented group in politics and B) not Donald Trump. Many voters were choosing between the lesser of two evils, as sad as that is. Hillary represented the evil of the status quo, and the voters spoke against it.
  8. The Princess Bride sucks.
  9. I Googled “Trump on the issues” right after it became apparent he’d be elected. I came to a disappointing realization that I didn’t actually know what any of his stances were before casting my own vote; I had based my decision on all his controversial sound bites I’d heard on the news. I abhor all the disparaging comments he’s made about Hispanics and women like any person with a heart and a brain, but I never actually took the time to research what Trump proposed to do until after he was elected. Although I don’t agree with many of his positions, I found his policies to be less extreme than I had been led to believe, and there were even some that I could get behind–like reforming the tax code. I still wouldn’t have voted for him, but what if every American took the time to research each candidate’s solutions to the issues rather than relying on the media to inform a purely emotional decision at the polls like I did? How many of us did that on Tuesday, and what would things look like if we hadn’t?
  10. Zooey Deschanel is annoying.
  11. SNL is gonna be hilarious for the next four years. Donald Trump is wrong about Alec Baldwin’s impression of Donald Trump: he is perfect. I am also looking forward to hearing Trump repeatedly pronounce China like “Gina” just as Bush pronounced nuclear as “nuke-ular.”
  12. Pineapple should never be found near a pizza, let alone ON TOP OF IT. This is the real evil that is plaguing our country.

Overall, I think I learned a lot from Trump’s election. I am motivated to become a better citizen so that we don’t end up with Clinton vs. Trump again. But more importantly, I’m going to start a Super PAC to get pineapple off of our nation’s pizzas.

Dealbreakers

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Nope. Just, nope.

A few months in to our relationship, Scott and I were walking to his car in a parking lot. We passed one of those Volkswagen beetles with the eyelashes above the headlights. Scott stopped in his tracks, turned to me, and said gravely, “If I found out that you had a car with eyelashes on it, I would dump you. Seriously. Dealbreaker.”

I laughed about it, but as we continued dating and even into our engagement and our marriage, we learned things about each other that were shocking and made us question the foundation of our relationship. Things like:

  • not loving Lord of the Rings enough
  • thinking Emma Stone is overrated
  • liking LL Cool J more than Jamie Foxx
  • liking Parks & Rec more than 30 Rock
  • thinking that raspberry jam is better than strawberry
  • drinking Diet Coke at 8:30 AM
  • loving Larry Fitzgerald too much
  • hating Larry Fitzgerald because your husband loves him more than you
  • not remembering the names of all Game of Thrones characters
  • knowing “too much” about Game of Thrones
  • never using lotion
  • hogging the covers
  • having too many shoes
  • bugging me about having too many shoes
  • avoiding emptying the dishwasher
  • avoiding emptying the dishwasher

(In case you’re curious, Scott’s atrocities are in pink and mine are in blue, because DISMANTLE THE PATRIARCHY!)

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The best show ever…WAY BETTER THAN PARKS & REC

Despite us screaming, “DEALBREAKER!” as we discovered these troubling beliefs and habits, obviously, none of these things are a big deal. So why do so many people–both in real life and in the media–end relationships over these petty “dealbreakers”? I once had a friend who broke up with a guy because she “couldn’t picture him playing football with their kids.” I just watched an episode of a TV show where a guy broke up with an otherwise completely unobjectionable girl because she used a different type of coding software than he did. WTF? No wonder the divorce rate is 50%.

Before I got married, I just kind of assumed that I would meet someone that I have things in common with, and since we liked the same things we’d like being around each other and then we’d stay together. I dated several people before meeting my husband and eventually one of us would end it for one reason or another, but I never really thought about why. Was it really because he didn’t like Billy Madison? Or because he was too short? Or because he had a dumb tattoo? No…there were deeper issues going on in all those relationships that caused them to end.

Ever since my decision to get married, I started thinking about what my actual dealbreakers would be. Things I could not see past in a partner. Things that Scott did not possess to any degree, which is why I married him:

  • believing that women are not equal to men
  • insecure about masculinity; tendency to be irrationally possessive or jealous
  • not supporting me in my career or education
  • wanting kids right away
  • wanting a ton of kids
  • being anti-religion
  • being over-religious
  • abusive in any way
  • dependence on drugs and/or alcohol
  • infidelity

Honestly, that was all I could think of. Anything else I could probably deal with. And when looking at the reasons I ended some of my past relationships: distance, timing, “I really need to focus on school,” participating in Occupy Wall Street, or possible gingivitis, it’s really because they showed signs of one of these actual dealbreakers above.

I think we expect all too much from our partners. One of these irrational expectations is that they will enjoy all the same things we enjoy or share the same opinions on entertainment, politics, family, you name it. Anyone who expects this from their partner may be very disappointed. I fully expect to spend the rest of my life watching Lord of the Rings while my husband rolls his eyes on the couch next to me, and he will watch Arizona Cardinals games while I loudly object to all the nice things he says about Larry Fitzgerald. But we chose each other not because of our jam preferences or opinions on NBC comedies, we chose each other because we measured up to the list that really matters.

Now this is the part where you say “Aaaaawwwwwwwwww!”