Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week Thirty: Decorating and Turkey Making!

What have I been up to lately? Loads! Turkey day has come and gone, and I cooked my very own turkey! Or rather, I was put in charge of cooking the Thanksgiving meal and I did super wonderful! Very moist, flavorful turkey. I even made my very own turkey stock! This was used, not for gravy, but for the stuffing and it made it absolutely amazing and delicious. Oh wow, was it ever delicious.  I made mashed potatoes too, though sadly not from scratch, and corn, and carrots, onions, and celery to bake in the turkey drippings.  There was sliced beets and gravy as well!  But I forgot about rolls, and forgot to buy the green bean part of green bean casserole, though oddly we had everything else.  

So what did I do other than cook an absolutely amazing turkey? Well, I called my family in the states, and while it was mostly voice mail, I managed to catch my sister. We talked for a good thirty minutes about life in general. Everything seems going well for both of us, and I felt a great burden lift, just by talking to my family.

That just goes to show you how amazing family is. I called again the next day, to talk to my sister and wish her a very happy birthday, because, well, it was her birthday! I love my family greatly, even if I do hate telephones, so don't talk to them often. Telephones being, you know, these devices used to call me when I'd rather not be called and tell me that I'm needed...at work. People, I love you all, but being needed in life, and needed at work are kind of two very different scenarios.

Speaking of work! I decorated the Christmas tree! I put it up and decorated it one my own on a particularly slow day. My manager was unimpressed with my artisian patience in selecting a good spot for each ornament and insisted I just put them one, about half way through the process. I'm pretty certain there are a lot more ornaments on that tree than she thinks. Some of these ornaments had glitter on them!


Listen closely.

This Christmas, save yourself a lot of sparkling skin and avoid the glitter. It will coat you. It will coat your head. Your clothes. Your hair and your skin will all be dusted with glitter. At the end of it all, you will sparkle in any level of lighting at all for at least three days, and no amount of bathing will remove them all.

It is a nuisance! Also, while there were those silver sparkles strings that people attach to trees in the decoration bag, they remained in the bag, out of the way, because some of us happen to know that those things are bad for you.

They cause excess sweeping syndrome you see.

As in every hour you have to sweep up fifty tiny string that have made their way to the floor half way across the store somehow.

Still, I love the holidays, and I've had a very happy two weeks. I did miss a French ski trip thanks to work, but that's alright. There's another one tentatively planned that I will be attending. Life is good!

Also, I bought a nice warm winter coat. The very next day I tripped while holding coffee and spilt it on one sleeve. The coat, while vaguely and only barely stained, remains a very pretty blue and very warm, which is rather the more important part, I should think.

One Final Byte: Where did all my right hand gloves go?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Week Twenty-Nine: The News, What News?

When I was growing up, I would often try and convince my mom that we had to purchase the black and white tabloids that sat in front of the cash register. I wanted to read the stories and giggle because none of them made any sense at all. "Aliens, monster babies, big foot!"

As I grew older, I would read some teen magazines, the ones about fashion, health, and hair, but tended to only have one or two articles on celebrities. I knew girls who shunned that sort of magazine in favor of "Scandal! Engaged! Dating!" magazines so reminiscent of the tabloids I tried to get purchased as a child. I, who never had much interest in the scandals of movies stars, who were just people doing a job to me, was always out of the loop on their gossip, and gladly so.

I'm in college now. My friends get their news from Fox, from ABC, from the Huffington Post and the New York times. They read online, and read off. We have so many news sources. But I've run into a problem.

They read the celebrities, the daring dos, the millionaires. They keep up to date with what that funny boy with the paternity test is doing and dating, and how so and so is back in rehab again, and why isn't she just put in jail, did she pay the judge or something?

More involved in politics, some scorn all politicians and mock them all, others only scorn the big names, the loud ones, and couldn't care otherwise. I look and look for a news source that isn't as disappointing as that black and white rag with the news of the alien dissections, pictures promised. "Scandal! Outrage! Mocking!" The front page covered in opinion pieces.

When I first started college, I wanted to go into journalism. Science was all well and good, but I wanted to write the news. Now, I have no interest in the field at all. Why? I took a look at journalism, a good hard look. Then I attempted to find a news outlet I could trust.

Scandal! Child died, mother blamed! Intrigue! News?


Where did you go, and why can't I find you? Why do I have to search the news in a foreign language, just to learn about you?


Why can't I trust you? Where are you?

I began my search in 2009. It's been two years. Where did all the news go? And why has it been replace? I hear stories of being able to trust the news...all written before I was even alive. Now, it seems that tabloids are called news outlets, and that all you need to be a reporter is an opinion and a computer.

One Final Byte: I miss that I've never seen: Trustworthy News.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Week Twenty-Eight: The devil has taken my English Paper!

Week Twenty-Eight: The devil has taken my English Paper!

So, this is a blog about what I've been up to the past two weeks! I've actually been hard at work on an English paper, and figuring out derivatives. Derivatives aren't so bad, but apparently I need a lot more practice for true understanding. Or maybe a mind transplant. I've been working hard actually, at both. The paper is on 'surprise, surprise' Xenophobia! That' probably why last weeks blog was on it. Let's be honest here. That is exactly why it was.

Now I have a (not) secret to tell. A confession to make, if you will.

I like to talk.

I especially like to talk on paper.

I especially like to talk on paper about my opinion on things.

This means that my English paper, which is supposed to be our opinion our our findings, and how our sources made use feel, had, well, a lot of words, and late last night i discovered something horrifying.

I had a word limit...and was nearly three times over the limit.

Oops. Then again, I don't see how we're supposed to only have one hundred words on each of ten sources. That's not much at all, especially considering the topic was supposed to be about something that perplexed us! That is the very word she used even, she said perplexed!

So my essay is a little...long. And I've been cutting a lot out. An awful lot. I've cut all the ones out that are distinctly me, I've cut out transitions, similes, metaphors, and the beautiful language of prose. I've cut a lot of my feelings out. I've cut, and cut, and cut....I'm still a thousand words over.

This is due midnight EST today, so this blog is going to be very short and sweet.

In other words, as all I've done is study, there's nothing to say, and I've got to go massacre my poor paper some more! Bye!

One Final Byte: Maximum word limits are straight from the devil!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Week Twenty-Seven: Xenophobia and Us.

Week Twenty-Seven: Xenophobia and Us.

So, I've been told I actually have to get up in the morning and leave the house tomorrow before work. This is a frightening ordeal, I swear! But as a result, you have the blog up the night before. This week is once again a political blog. I believe it's that week again!

It also relates to what I'm doing though, so no worries! In my English course, I am writing a research paper. It's an exploratory research paper, full on APA style and everything, and we were allowed to choose a question that made up perplexed. It took me a good three days. What perplexes me. What can't I come up with some sort of an answer for in a minute or two or less of thought.

It came down to one thing. Why is there so much xenophobia in science fiction. As it's an exploratory essay, the question changes as we explore it, and what I've come up with is somewhat frightening. The ultimate answer, to all I can tell, is because fiction is a mirror of real life.

In Word War Two, a lot of sci fi depicted the aliens almost as German Nazis. During the time of Yellow Fever (anti-Asian time period), the Asians were the bad guys. In foreign fiction, ti's the Americans who are the bad guys.

And now? Now there are tow bad guys in American Science Fiction. Two forms of xenophobia stereotypes available. They are ones based on Hispanics, and ones based on Muslims. This scares me.

Make no mistake, I am xenophobic myself, though only mildly, I honestly hope. And it takes a good deal of bravery to admit that in today's overly PC world. But what scares me is that we have gone from having good and bad Muslims, to all Muslims are bad. And while not all Muslims are terrorists, there is often the feeling that all terrorists are Muslim.

That would be like saying that not all Christians are homophobes, but all homophobes are Christian. You see the problem here? It's all in the generalities. Statements like that, not the fiction we read, increase xenophobia.

I interviewed two different sci fi writers for my essay. One of them put it very nicely, when I asked why he included xenophobia as part of his writing:

“...after 9/11 there's been a massive wave of anti-anti-American sentiment, or against stuff that isn't even anti-American, but just different. To be honest, it scares me. It's no different than either of the Red Scares or the Anti-German sentiment in both world wars. In a way I'm projecting that fear into my writing, to help draw attention to it. Hopefully it's helping people realize that what they're doing, while not as extreme as what I write, is the same thing.

His writing is very xenophobic. It makes Hitler seem downright friendly. It's scared me sometimes. But what's scared me more is the sources and the studies I have found that state that the government has encouraged the xenophobia, the anti-religion, the anti-anything that might demand we act reasonably sentiment. It's scary.

Our nation is scary now, on the inside. I would love to talk to someone who went through the Red Scare about it. I may just do that.

One Final Byte: Washington knew the power always corrupts in government.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Week Twenty-Six: Half Year Mark!

Week Twenty-Six: Holy Peacocks, Batman!

Oh wowzers! Week twenty-six is here, and with it comes the marking my by first half year in this foreign, foreign locale. The movie feeling has long since faded, and the sheer number of castle I've seen has-

Okay, so I still want more castles. I like castles. I like wandering slowly through them, imagining how they used to be, tracing the eroded stone relief carvings. I like imagining what this or that may have once been. Six months alter, and no, I haven't received my fill of castles. So there. I could use more castle. And relics. And old stuff. I like the old stuff.

There are parts of it I don't like, and may parts I've yet to experience. I still have time. Overall, my time in Germany has been...okay. I can safely say I'm not an ounce German, nor am I enamored by the culture. While it's been a definite adventure, it's not have as adventurous as I'm sure I'll be able to make it sound later on.

I'm glad I have the chance though! I plan on traveling more of Europe sometime soon! This isn't exactly the sort of thing that I'll get to do often at all, and if I'm going to be cosmopolitan, I might was well be well traveled!

Mostly, I wanted to not that it's been six months since I moved here, and I'm still a little home sick. My home is on Pleasure Island, Alabama, and I know it. I'll live there again some day, but until then, I'm okay. God holds me in his hands after all.

As for what's been going on recently? Well, I went on a handful of dates. They were interesting. Dating as a college student who doesn't party is a bit meh. You're too poor to spend money, too busy to go far, and I don't know about this clicking thing. I've discovered that about the only difference between college and high school dates is that there's more homework in the way on college dates.

Besides, right now, we're short around five people on my shift at work, so I have zip in the free time department! One fired, one deceased, one coming down with something, and two quit. It's been a busy holiday weekend, I can tell you that. Between making cookies that made their way into our stomach, after being left at home instead of taken to the school party, to serving people in a pirate costume at work, I can tell you my Halloween was busier than it's ever been.

Halloween is pretty different over here. Most of Germany doesn't celebrate Halloween like America does. What they do instead, I don't know, because the base has been around so long, that here they have a very American Halloween!

A lot of the German kids end up on base, trick or treating with family friends, during the base trick or treat date, and on Halloween itself, both American and German kids wander the streets for candy, dressed up! I couldn't tell you my favorite costume of the night. It was all rather fun though, and I enjoyed the holiday spirit. Work's been heavy due to the holiday and all it's celebrations, but that's okay.

It certainly pays!

Hey, since I was late, I'm going to write today's happenings too! I woke up too late to do anything but skedaddle. (And, you know, fix my dinner and eat quickly.) So I didn't post today, but I will tell you despite heading into work it was an adventure. I've been on drive thru all day. Unfortunately, around five o'clock, the drive thru headsets began to randomly shut off, or declare of out of range. So our drive thru because super old fashioned. That is, to say, they drove up to the window and we took their order at one, and money at the other. Our timer, that tells us how fast we're doing, messed up also. It was slightly confusing, because we thought our time was getting worse, at first, until we figured out that the timer stopped working at the same time as the headsets! It stops counting around one hour and eight minutes by the way.

We did manage to get the headsets working, but this happened in the middle of rush. At least everyone knew their order when they got to the window? Either way, sorry for the tardy post, but we made it!

One Final Byte: American Holidays in foreign locales are very fun.