Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nudging is Nothing New

If you read the various news articles about this plan for behavior modification, you might be angry about it, but, really, this kind of plan has been in place for years.

Media hustlers created cravings for so much of what society focuses on: beauty not brains, sex not love, thin not healthy, trendy not useful. For many generations we have been receiving messages about how to see ourselves and others. The idea of thrift and moderation in anything has been replaced by a consumerist attitude that has us replacing material things before we need to.

This "new" idea is portrayed as being for the good of all, but if we can't handle the sense of right and wrong and good and bad we are born with, why introduce anything new? Why not just start giving credit to the original idea?

Of course, I am Christian so my beliefs are becoming outdated. A lot of people believe Christians need to be re-educated. Maybe all these new ideas for behavior-training a society is to enforce what the Bible has already talked about:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

There's a sort of proof of what I say in the fact that probably half the people who read that are groaning at my "ignorance."


Where Love Goes

This is my oldest brother. Of course, this is when he was younger.

My brother passed away yesterday, but not before he made so many friends that we are still getting random calls. He had a career in two branches of the military: Army then Air Force. He was a fisherman, a shade-tree mechanic, a jokester, a master of the backyard barbecue and everyone's friend. If you were hungry, he was going to feed you. If you didn't have a place to stay, he made sure to find you one. He wasn't clean-mouthed, but he was pure in his heart. He didn't quote the Bible, but he treated others the way he wanted to be treated. He wasn't a diplomat, but he was honest.

He was my big brother and I loved him - even when I didn't like him. And he loved me.

When I thought of him last night, all I could do was laugh because (even though I know that Heaven isn't what I decide), I imagined my brother and my mother up there together, planning a fishing trip. This morning I woke up happy to think that at least they are up there together. When I go to sleep in a little while, it will be the first time in a long time that I don't have to worry about him being sick or in pain.

Gwen Jackson "Chubby" Conway
I will see you again, Chubby.

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. -2 Corinthians 5:1

Friday, July 26, 2013

When You Were Stronger

When I was little and when you were stronger, I knew that you would do anything to keep me safe. No one was going to mess with your little sister, no one was going to make her cry.

When I was younger, you taught me how to take care of my car. You taught me how to change a tire and check the oil. You taught me what to do if the car skidded on ice. You told me to always watch my rear-view mirror to make sure strangers didn't follow me home - and you told me that if someone did follow me, I was to drive to the nearest police station, fire station or the busiest place I could find.

Just a few years ago, when I felt all alone and was living so far away from anyone who loved me, you said, "Tell me when you want to come home. I will send a ticket or a car or I will just come and get you."

Just the other day, I was looking at you, I realized that everything you gave me - every lesson that a big brother teaches a little sister. This morning, when I was looking at you, looking at the doctors and nurses who were working to keep you here a little longer, I realized you will always be stronger. When you are gone away from this life, you will always be my big brother.

I love you, Chubby.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hotties Then, Still Hot Now

Speaking of milestones - as I did the other day - I was thinking of some of the musical heroes I had. I Googled a few of them. Have you seen how freaking good the guys from Duran Duran still look? It's not fair, they just don't get ugly at all! And Tina Turner? That heffa!!! She looks better than most women half her age do. 

There is this comedian, Bill Burr, who jokes about the differences in ethnicities when it comes to how well we age. A lot of people will say that Black folks have the advantage there. I want to say that that sounds... slightly racist. On the other hand, we get hypertension and diabetes cutting our life-span down, at least we get to look good for the time we are here. 

All kidding aside (and I really was kidding, you guys), I love to do that walk back through my hell-raising days and see how my past celebrity crushes turned out. Did they make it through their youthful craziness like I did? Did they end up finding happiness in adulthood? Let's see:

I just loved Kool and the Gang. I actually met a few of the guys once, here in Anchorage in a lounge in the Sheraton Hotel. Two of them were really nice and one was an egotistical a-hole. Still "Jungle Boogie" was my jam then  and still is today. 

When I was looking for images, I noticed that a lot of the newer photos feature guys that were not in the original lineup. I'm too lazy to look it up - and this is a blog post, not a thesis - but maybe there's a new grouping. These pics are the only good ones I could find. Any other new ones look like Ray,Goodman, and Brown,  not the Gang...

The Jheri Curl days
Looking good, guys.

Duran Duran was the stuff. For my rocking hotties, they were right up there with INXS, Journey and Billy Squier. And, if I was into women, Pat Benatar would have been my squeeze. The boys in Duran Duran are still hot. I mean, hot damn. I just want to kiss the lips right off of John Taylor's face, and Nick featured in a few of my fantasies back in the day. Glad to say that it seems they are all married, settled and happy. Lucky gals, their women.
Even Simon's wife is still hot. 
And Ms. Turner... What the hell? Does this woman have vampire genes? The "Now" pic seems to be from 2010, but, no matter, she looks just as good in 2013. I love her story for two reasons: 1 - She proves there is life after abuse, and 2 - She proves there can be love in later life.

If I could just have her legs, I'd be happy.
I really don't know why it is that some people seem to age so well when others just don't. Bill Burr might or might not be right, but his explanation is hilarious. (I really hope no one takes offense at any of this, by the way!) 

When I was watching this on Netflix, I happened to be getting ready for bed and putting on my nightly lotion. Damn near broke a rib laughing at this man and his insanity. Funny guy, Mr. Burr.


Where's My Reset Button

I want to scream as loud as the sky is big.

This has been the 9 days of hell for anything I own with a power button.

My phone decided to act crazy first. It learned the trick of turning off its own sound and then got really smart and would just shut down and take a nap. Of course, I wouldn't notice this until a friend (or the police) showed up because my family put out a Worry Alert.  (They think that my sarcoidosis will rage and I'll go somewhere and curl up in a ball and not be able to find my way home! Just kidding. I think.)


Just when I figured out the work-around for the phone (the cure for the volume involves the ridiculousness of twisting that bitch), my computer caught the an attitude. The extended warranty I paid for expired on June 2nd. This mo-fo decided to catch some kind of nasty bug right around, oh... let's say June third. I won't go into all the fixes I tried on the PC before I gave up and just wiped it. Of course, there's a story behind that story...

I'm sure that some people own computers that have a clearly defined way of returning the beast to its factory defaults. Mine is not one of those. When I looked at my options, I could Restore, Recover, and anything but wipe the damn thing clean. Finally, I gave up and called Toshiba. I dared them to try to charge me.

(Just in case you have a Toshiba and want to take your own lumps with this fix, wiping the Satellite P series involves the F8 and Power buttons. Disclaimer: You're own your own if you eff something up.)

Okay, so I now have a reset PC, a somewhat functioning phone and the biggest technology hangover ever. I've been out of touch with half the people I know because (shame, shame, shame), the phone and computer are the mainstays of our communication....

I'm spending today restoring files and bookmarks and my whole dang internet life. Before I go to sleep tonight, I'm going to talk to the Lord about doing a factory reset on parts of my life.


On some alternate world, the other me is having a wonderful life.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


We all have our lives marked in milestones. It starts with our parents tagging our achievements from tooth-cutting to first steps, first this and that.

The first real milestone I waited for was getting my period. Idiot. I lived in agony for two to three days a month for year afterward. Anyone around me lived in agony for a few more days each month. Then came the usual markings for most of us:

  • 16th birthday
  • First kiss (or serious crush)
  • Driver's license & first car
  • Graduating high school
  • Standard college or the college of life
  • Love and Marriage and sex (in whichever order)
  • First house or other major investment
And on and on and on.

Then there are the other things that can count as being profound to our existence. For me, having death take away someone I loved showed me how real life can be. I sometimes think that only death can do that.

Do you remember the first time someone broke your heart? Or the first time you did some awful thing that you hope never comes to light?

I remember the first mistake I made that will haunt me for all the days I breathe.

All those milestones are from when I was younger. These days, I take some things more serious and other things don't touch my soul at all. 

The other day, my great-nephew grabbed my face and planted a big wet, snotty kiss under one eye. That was a moment that I never want to forget. Being cherished by a child feels different to me now that I am older.

The milestones that make me shake my head and think of my parents are the ones they warned me about: "Just wait til you have to squint to read anything." Or: "Help me get up from here, and remember that someone will have to help you one day."

I called my sister from Walmart the other day and had her laughing herself into a crying fit.

"Girl, I am in here looking for the Ben-Gay, and you won't believe how old all these people look!"

"You're old(pause)er."

"Not old like them. They look and act old."

Said the woman slinking down Aisle Three, trying to read the labels on jars of muscle ointments.

It probably makes me sound mentally unfit to say that I sometimes want to cry when I can't just spring right up from sitting cross-legged on the floor. Some months ago - too long ago - I had to tell a date to adjust his embrace because I was getting a crick in my neck. Gone are those acrobatic days of magic when I only had to worry about being respected afterwards. These days I'm lucky when I have to worry about it at all and, when I do, the biggest worry is that 911 might have to be called at some point. How embarrassing would that be?


I am so very thankful to still be counting milestones. 

My sarcoid is back and acting the fool (if you can't tell by the poor composition of this post), and I am just sick to death of it. If I weren't at least getting my figure back from the months of prednisone, I might actually lose a little more of what's left of my mind.

But, again, I am so glad to still be here, bitching and complaining about it all. I'm not looking for the milestone that will be marked by a final church service.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Devil Has Been Busy

But so has God.

I finally got over to Vocational Rehab to see about getting back into some kind of career post-Sarc. Of course, the sarc heard that I had plans so it came out to visit. On my birthday. Just like the gift it is...

That's be irritating news. The better news is that I have been working on my courses over at CodeAcademy. I'm pretty pleased with myself since I have managed to get through almost all the HTML training. I'm well on my way to learning some actual programming language because Java is  up next. (By the way -for anyone who did get over to one of the free training sites, I can tell you that viewing some of the Udemy vids is a good way to make some stuff stick.)

That's the about-me news. The rest of the news would be all about idiots doing stupid things to get their 15 minutes of fame. I won't even go there. What I do want to do is give you something to smile about.

When I was feeling all achy and creaky and morose the other day, I got an email from a friend. She ended the email with the saying I've always loved:

That's the real truth there (in my life anyway). And it's not a bad thing. Cheered me up, so I thought I'd post this link to a site of great Yiddish sayings. Nothing like a little common sense served up with a smile...

I like: "In a beautiful apple sometimes you find a worm"

Just like life.


P.S.: Hello to all my super-special group of G+ friends (you know who you are). I will be back there soon to hassle you! lol

Monday, July 01, 2013

Character or Success

I guess I'm just in a pissy mood - or else ranting is my way of letting off steam without hurting someone.

Looking at the trashy news from time to time, I see so many folks who have been blessed with so much who throw it away. The latest member of this club is a pro ball player, making millions, who killed a friend over some criminal b.s. First of all, to kill anyone, let alone a friend is its own kind of twist on a basic character defect. Second of all, to be hanging on to criminal behavior when you have been given an out, well...

It's not that there aren't as many decent, honest, real people in this world, but when is the last time that any of them get more attention from the media than the idiots? It's much easier to find news and information about the trash of this society. Matter of fact, it's kind of hard to avoid it. The way things are going now, if I were one of the idiots, I'd have advice for any kids I might have today:

  • Instead of wasting too much energy on your school studies, work on your looks. Be as good-looking or quirky as you can. That way, you can break into media as a fashionista, YouTube sensation or reality show contestant.
  • Learn to rap or sing (or not). If you can't rap, latch on to someone who can and become a member of their entourage. If you can't sing, work on a look that will distract from your lack of vocal talents.
  • Forget what you've ever been taught about being polite. What you want to do is work on being snarky enough to be amusing to people who don't care about manners (or to be intimidating enough to people too polite to shut you down).
  • Learn to be vicious enough to take what you want. The slogan was never to "Ask for life in a fair and honest way," but to take it by the reigns.
I know that sounds pushy, but, really - why be king when you can be bold or brazen? Why be sweet when nasty gets peoples attention?

Parents, quit teaching your daughters to respect themselves; better to teach them how to seduce the man they want. Doesn't matter how honest or sweet they are - there are a lot of dead goldfish, but the barracudas live!

Don't teach your boys to be "nice" and honorable. Not too many girls are looking to mate for life with that one. They are wearing shirts that tell you exactly what they are after: "If you're rich, I'm single." They have their own TV shows: The Real Housewives.

Teachers, stop trying to teach kids how to count and read - well, I think you have done that, but... Teach them how to fluff up a weak resume. Show them how to talk a better game than they really know how to play.

That's real life, real as it gets today. Makes me think of Gandhi's “Seven Deadly Sins":

Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice.”