Thursday, October 29, 2009

Can't even justify this post with a clever title

This is embarrassing, but I had a Twilight dream last night. Wow, I can't believe I'm actually admitting it. Hey, it wasn't like I chose to dream that, it just happened. Do you know that Stephanie Myer came up with the idea for the entire series from one dream? She sat down the next day and started writing down her dream and three months later...ta-da...Twilight was completed. Too bad I wasn't the first one to dream about Twilight. Then I could have written Twilight and I would've demanded full-access to all the movie sets a.k.a. Robert Pattinson. Sadly, all I can do is wait until the next movie comes out and go see it along with all the screaming teenage girls. What has my life become?

P.S. I am madly in love with my amazing and attractive husband, Tim, who doesn't even come close to Edward Cullen.

P.P.S. I also must apologize to Tim for asking him (multiple times) if he were a vampire if he would bite me and turn me into a vampire, too, so that we could live forever together. Despite this annoyance, he still answered 'yes' every time. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Enough Vampire Posts; Here's My Life

Editor's Note: After I posted this blog post, I realized that the google ads on my blog changed to "Do you have ADHD?", "The Best ADHD Medication!", and "Are you addicted to Drugs?" Hahaha.
My dear friend, Carrie Ott, sent this blog post to me from Hyperbole-and-a-half. I swear, if I had a little better literary humor in me, I could have written this blog post myself. The following post is me on a daily basis, true story.


I am NOT a Drug Addict So Stop Thinking That if You Were and Don't Start Thinking it if You Weren't Already, Okay?
Okay, so I got a check in the mail.
I think that ADHD could be diagnosed more accurately if psychiatrists took a look at how their patients react when presented with a sum of money which can only be accessed after completion of a multi-step task, like going to the bank. Normal people go to the bank to deposit their checks without pausing to feel completely overwhelmed by such a simple process. People with ADD have a much harder time with this task.
A Detailed Analysis of What it's Like Having Severe, Uncontrolled ADHD (and Probably Several Other Undiagnosed Psychological Issues) and Also Needing to Deposit Money in Your Bank Account so That You Can Afford to Purchase More ADHD Medication: A True Story
Step 1: Receive check in mail. Open check. Look at it and think "Oh good. Now I can buy my ADHD medication" because you ran out of ADHD medication three days ago.
Step 2: Get distracted by a flash of light outside. Think that maybe it's lightning. Be excited. Set check on the nearest available horizontal surface which sometimes turns out to be the floor and run to your window. Realize that what you thought was lightning was actually just the headlights of a car that turned onto your street. Feel disappointed, but not for long because now you are in the kitchen and that reminds you that you are hungry. Make a sandwich. Stand in kitchen eating sandwich because your brain cannot be bothered to find a place to sit.
Step 3: Finish sandwich, crumple up dirty napkin and set on counter because your brain cannot be bothered to a) notice that you are holding a dirty napkin, b) think "I don't want this, what do I do with it?" c) come up with a plausible solution to that question and d) take action on whatever solution you come up with. No, instead your brain becomes vaguely aware that you are holding something and that you don't want to hold it anymore because you need your hands to rearrange the magnetic words on your refrigerator into the phrase "monkey butt suck." The fact that you are holding a dirty napkin which should be thrown away doesn't even register. Just "hands full, must empty hands." The simplest solution is to set whatever is in your hands on the nearest horizontal surface just like you did with the check which you have forgotten about entirely.
Step 4: Rearrange magnets to say "enormous mountain tits." This reminds you that you do not have enormous mountain tits. In fact, you don't really have any tits to speak of whatsoever. Feel briefly ashamed of this. Wonder if you will ever get boobs. Start fantasizing about breast enhancement surgery and how you would totally do it if you had enough money. Almost remember that you need to deposit a check in the bank. Don't. Instead, start thinking about the chemical properties of Silicone. Try to recall the exact position of every element in the periodic table to see if you are still smart. Get as far as Germanium and be unable to proceed. Realize that you have to pee really, really bad. Get up, go to the bathroom and time yourself as you pee. Notice that you are out of toilet paper. Panic. Contemplate wiping with the shower curtain - no one would ever notice. Hear Boyfriend unlock door. Be happy that you don't have to wipe with the shower curtain even though you probably wouldn't have done it anyway. Yell for Boyfriend to bring you Kleenex or a paper towel. When Boyfriend brings it to you, he says "Are we out of toilet paper?" You say "Yeah." Boyfriend says "Is it your turn to buy it or mine?" Be unable to remember. Start hating civilization for burdening you with the responsibility of purchasing personal-hygiene products. Start thinking about paper. Paper is weird. We use money, which is made out of paper, to buy toilet paper, which is also made out of paper. We are trading paper for different paper. Almost remember that checks are also made out of paper and that you have one and you need to go trade it in for different paper which you can then trade for a different kind of paper still.
Step 5: Ask Boyfriend about his day. Boyfriend tells you about his day and then asks you how your day was. You say "what?" because you were distracted by thinking about words. Boyfriend asks again and you say "good. I didn't do much." Think about what exactly you did do. You sat on the couch and read Craigslist personals for three hours then you took a shower and got the mail. Almost remember that there was a check in the mail and that you need to go put it in the bank. Don't.
Step 6: Boyfriend finds envelope that check used to be in because you dropped it on the floor as soon as you noticed there was something more interesting inside. He says "Allie, did you get a check in the mail?" You say "Oh yeah! I did!" Boyfriend says "Where is it?" You say "Uhhhhhhh..." Boyfriend says "Really?" You say "I'll find it."
Step 7: Look for check. Look on the counter (of course failing to notice the dirty napkin that is still sitting there), look on the couch, look on the TV - even look in the refrigerator because sometimes you put things in there inadvertently. Finally find check on the floor next to a pile of shoes. Triumphantly declare that you have found the check.
Step 8: Hand check to Boyfriend. He'll know what to do with it. Boyfriend uses one of your word magnets to attach check to refrigerator.
Step 9: Spend the next 10 days noticing check on the refrigerator and contemplating whether or not you should take it to the bank. Start thinking about all of the steps involved: First, you'd have to brush your hair and put on real pants, then you'd have to find the car keys and your wallet - neither of which is easy to do - then you'd have to walk out to the car, get in, start the car and do a three-point turn to get out of the ridiculously tight spot that you are in. THEN you'd have to drive to the bank which is on the other side of town and there are stoplights and left turns involved. And when you actually got to the bank? You'd have to wait in line and then figure out what to say to the teller so you don't sound like an idiot for never remembering how to deposit a check. And you would almost definitely be informed of several overdraft fees that you have incurred as a result of your negligence. Then you'll leave the bank clutching all of twenty dollars that you were allowed to keep after paying off your overdraft fees. Then you'd have to drive all the way back home through the stoplights and left turns and pedestrians and other drivers. And for what? Twenty dollars?
Step 10: Get hungry. Realize that you need money to buy food. Do some calculations and figure out that twenty dollars could actually buy a hell of a lot of noodles. Almost go to bank.
Step 11: Finally decide that you want to go to the bank. Remember that it is Sunday but only after driving all the way to the bank.
Step 12: Be so mentally exhausted from your Sunday excursion that you feel unable to try again on Monday. Rationalize this by telling yourself "well, at least I tried..."
Step 13: Be hit by the reality that trying to deposit a check in the bank means nothing when it comes to actually being able to purchase food. Ask Boyfriend if he will drive you to the bank. Boyfriend reminds you that he works like a real person and therefore will be unable to drive you to the bank. Boyfriend reminds you that you also have a driver's license and a right foot. Assure Boyfriend that you will use both of those things to get yourself to the bank tomorrow.
Step 14: Tomorrow comes. Think about going to the bank. Tell yourself that you'll do it at noon. When noon rolls around, make up some excuse about being in the middle of writing a blog post and reschedule your bank trip for 2:00. At 2:00, be completely engrossed in something trivial. Forget that you told yourself you would go to the bank at 2:00. At 3:30, remember that you had planned to go to the bank at 2:00. Think "Well, it's 3:30 now and the bank closes at 5:00... by the time I got there, it would probably be too late anyway..."
Step 15: Boyfriend asks for the seventeenth time whether you went to the bank. And, for the seventeenth time, you have to make up some tenuous excuse about how something came up even though nothing came up because there is no possible way that you could be busy at this stage in your life. Finally, Boyfriend offers to use his lunch break to drive you to the bank tomorrow. Feel guilty, but also relieved. Offer to make Boyfriend a sandwich so that he can still eat lunch while driving you to the bank.
Step 16: Hear Boyfriend unlocking the door and remember that you were supposed to make him a sandwich. Sprint into the kitchen and put some bacon in the microwave so that you can look like you were caught in the middle of preparing his lunch.
Step 17: Finish making sandwich. Ask Boyfriend if he wants to hear what you wrote on your blog. Boyfriend reluctantly agrees. Read Boyfriend the longest blog post ever and then read all of your comments to him. Boyfriend will be too nice to interrupt you, so just keep reading things as long as you like.
Step 18: Boyfriend finally asks "so are we still going to the bank?" You say "I don't know, should we?" Boyfriend says "Yes" and you realize that when he said "are we still going to the bank," it wasn't so much a question as a prompt.
Step 19: Do not brush hair. Do not put on real pants. Leave the house in a stained sweatshirt that says "Spud's" and a pair of large soccer shorts. Wear slippers.
Step 20: Feel really, really, really, really nervous about going to the bank - what if you actually do have overdraft charges? What if they tell you that you owe them a thousand dollars? What if someone decides to rob the bank while you are there and they shoot you in the head? What if you get in a car accident on the way to the bank and Boyfriend dies and it's all your fault for making him drive you to the bank? What if the collections bureau is at the bank waiting for you and they try to collect all of the medical bills that you owe them right then and there but you only have one hundred dollars so they kill you and use your skin as a bowler's hat - because I would imagine that all collections officers wear bowler's hats.
Step 21: Deposit check without any complications whatsoever.
Step 22: Ask Boyfriend if he can drive you to the pharmacy so you can drop off your prescription for ADD medication. Boyfriend agrees but tells you that he is already going to be late for work, so you should hurry. On the way to the pharmacy, realize that you look like you are some degenerate drug whore and that you fully intend to purchase highly regulated drugs while looking like that. Start to become paranoid that the pharmacist will not believe you when you tell her that you have ADHD. Begin to fear that she will think you are just trying to buy amphetamines to turn a quick dollar on the street.
Step 23: Arrive at Walgreen's. Walk to the back where the pharmacy is. As soon as the pharmacist's desk is within view, notice that there is a very old lady with a walker who is going to get in line before you if you don't hurry. Break into a jog. Arrive at the pharmacist's desk at the exact same time as the old lady. Be overcome with guilt for breaking into a jog to beat out an old woman to fill your prescription for legalized speed. Let the old woman go first. This will be a mistake because the old woman has a question which she feels the need to discuss at length with the pharmacist. Be angry. Hate yourself for being angry at some poor old woman who just needs to ask a question about her medication. Hate God for putting this woman in front of you at such an inconvenient time. Hate Boyfriend for being late and making you feel rushed and therefore primed for old-person-hating.
Step 24: When it's finally your turn, be distracted thinking about hate. The pharmacist will say "Can I help you??" In a disgruntled tone of voice. Snap back to reality and half-jog, half-shuffle up to the counter in an effort to look like you are actually trying to hurry even though you can't be bothered to actually run.
Step 25: Be woefully inadequate at interacting with the pharmacist. Feel like she is definitely suspicious of you for trying to purchase such a highly regulated drug. Try your hardest to not look like someone who would buy ADD medication to sell on the street. Try to work big words into the conversation because maybe if the pharmacist thinks you are smart, she will be less suspicious of you. When the pharmacist asks you for your address and phone number, be temporarily frozen by fear and unable to recall this vital information. Now the pharmacist definitely will think that you just found your prescription lying on the ground and now you are trying to capitalize on it by turning it in, getting some amphetamines and selling them on the street. Be too distracted by your crazy paranoia to actually work on remembering your address and phone number. Panic. Try harder to remember your stupid address. Start wondering how long you have been sitting there trying to remember your address and phone number and whether you will be able to recover from this obvious display of criminal guilt should you actually succeed in recalling your information. Finally remember you address. Say it in the calmest tone of voice possible - a tone of voice that no one with a speed addiction would ever be able to adopt. Speak very slowly so as to give the impression that there is no possible way that you are high on speed. Feel so relieved at remembering your address that you remember your phone number too! Say "So, do you want my phone number now?" because no drug addict would ever volunteer that information and you have basically proven your innocence by doing so. Feel pretty good about yourself until the pharmacist asks for your insurance card. Be unable to find insurance card. Finally remember that you don't have insurance. Tell the pharmacist. The pharmacist will look annoyed, like you not having insurance is some sort of personal affront. Make some sort of connection in your head about how not having insurance will definitely make the pharmacist think that you are a drug dealer.
Step 26: The pharmacist will inform you that you can wait 20 minutes for your prescription or you can come back later. Ask what time they close. The pharmacist says 10:00. Say that you'll come back later.
Step 27: Get dropped off at home by Boyfriend, who is very, very late for work. Feel guilty. Feel incompetent. Make some popcorn and read Best of Craigslist until Boyfriend gets home again. Re-watch the movie that you rented the night before. When it's over, watch it again with the commentary on. At 8:30 PM, remember that you have to go to the pharmacy to pick up your medication before 10:00. Watch the rest of the commentary.
Step 28: Go into the bathroom to brush your hair because you definitely don't want to give the pharmacist the wrong impression a second time. Wonder if you remember how to french-braid. Try to french-braid your hair. Fail at braiding, but succeed at making your hair a matted mess befitting a drug addict. Notice that it is 9:36 PM. Bring your brush with you in the car so that you can make yourself look less like a junkie on the way.
Step 29: Start to worry that the last-minute nature of your pharmacy visit will further arouse the suspicions of the pharmacist. Be almost unable to make yourself go inside.
Step 30: Walk confidently back to the pharmacy area. Accidentally look at a surveillance camera and berate yourself for looking like you have a reason to care whether or not you are being videotaped. Try to act nonchalant. Stop to look at the expensive lotion, like maybe you didn't go to the pharmacy at 9:45 just to pick up amphetamine-based drugs. Finally make your way back to the pharmacist. Luckily, this is a different pharmacist than before. Be overly willing to show this pharmacist your ID. Leave your wallet open on the counter so the pharmacist can see that the name on your driver's license matches the name on your credit card. This will surely prove that you didn't just find your prescription in the street.
Step 31: Pharmacist will say "Do you have any questions about this medication?" You say "Not unless anything has changed!" Because you want the pharmacist to know that you are intimately familiar with this medication because you actually take it, but only as prescribed by your doctor and you don't sell it to teenagers.
Step 32: Go home. Feel exhausted. Ignore the fact that you are sleepy. Stay up until 4:00 AM reading Craigslist and The Bloggess. Fall asleep when you are unable to keep your eyes open any longer. Wake up at 5:00 AM and panic because you are downstairs on the couch and the front door isn't locked and what if there is a serial killer in your house now?
Step 33: Go check all of your locks several times, not neglecting the windows and the door to your creepy cellar.
Step 34: When you are finally almost positive that no one can get in the house, begin the process of making sure that no one is hiding in the house already. Check in closets, behind doors, under the sink, in the fucking stove and under your laundry pile. Be too afraid to check the cellar. Put something heavy on top of the cellar door and go up to bed. Close your bedroom door, lock it and move something heavy in front of it. Realize that you have to pee. Try to hold it, but have to pee badly enough that you cannot go to sleep. Finally get up and move the chest of drawers away from the door, unlock the door and go pee. Return to your room, check the closet again because maybe someone got in there while you were in the bathroom and once you are satisfied that there is no one else in your room, aside from Boyfriend who is doubtlessly annoyed by your paranoid behavior, close the door, lock it and push the chest of drawers in front of it again. Fall asleep.
Step 35: Wake up at 11:00 AM, take your ADD medication (as prescribed by your doctor) and suddenly be able to write a blog post!
Step 36: Be unable to remember how you planned to end you blog post. Get distracted. Start googling shit. Find out that paranoia is a side effect of amphetamine abuse. Feel that you need to defend yourself and the fact that you have always been paranoid even before you got into drugs started taking ADHD medication lest your readers put the pieces together and think that you are addicted to drugs.
I'm not addicted to drugs, by the way.
P.S. I might post something else today to make up for my inattention and also to prove that I am not addicted to drugs because what kind of drug addict would write two blog posts in one day?
If you didn't follow that logic, just know that I am not addicted to drugs and that somehow what I just said back there proves it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Voted Cutest Pet of the Day on People Pets!!!

I'm so proud of my baby boy. He won cutest pet of the day on People Pets (which is People Magazine's equivalent for pets). I'm so proud of my little super star!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Los Diarios Vampiros

I have a problem. First the Twilight series, now this. I'm becoming a tad concerned, or maybe just ultra embarrassed.

I watched the first episode of The Vampire Diaries but due to circumstances beyond my control (a husband who does NOT want to watch this show on a weekly basis) I haven't kept up with it.

I decided to watch the second episode last night online, just to give it another shot. Fast forward 3 hours: I've watched all five episodes since the pilot and I'm already anxious for this Thursday to roll around so I can catch the newest one.

I don't know what it is: forbidden love, mystery, mythic beings, or just gorgeous, sexy vampires? Regardless, it's worth a shot if any of the above strike your fancy. You can watch it on the CW on Thursdays at 8 p.m. You can also catch up on previous episodes through the show's Web site.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Research Brainstorming

As a first year graduate student, pursuing my masters in anthropology, I'm being forced to examine the type of research I would like to carry out for my thesis.

Likewise, I'm planning on pursuing a doctorate after receiving my masters and I would like to begin research in areas that I can continue focusing on during my doctoral research.

What would it look like to study the effects of social media on a specific, marginalized group (within Atlanta) from an anthropological perspective? Specifically, I'm interested in examining the use of social networks within Hispanic female immigrants (between the ages of 18-25) and its affects on the negotiation of their identity between two cultures. Furthermore, how has this access to knowledge and platform for discussion affected their ability to have a voice in society and whether or not it has empowered them as women and immigrants (both traditionally marginalized groups in American society.

Wikipedia defines social media as “media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques” (Wikipedia, p. 1). The article on social media on Wikipedia says that it supports humans' needs for social interaction through web-based technologies. Social media users are transformed into content producers (instead of content consumers) and, in doing so, the democratization of knowledge and information is supported. Broadcast media monologues (one to many) are transformed into into social media dialogues (many to many). Other terms for social media (also known as social networks) include user-generated content or consumer-generated media (Wikipedia, p. 1).

One of the driving theorists behind my motivation to study this topic is Michael Foucault and his work, Power as Knowledge. Foucault examines the idea that power is inherent and with the capacity for power, comes the capacity for knowledge and influence. In society, the implementation of power comes from the elite and engulfs the masses. The power of the Center appears to be naturalized because of its own self-enforcing nature and the majority of the masses don't question the power of the center. Foucault points out that there is a capacity for power within each individual and other units which fall outside of the center (Foucault, p. 465-471). Examination of Foucault's theory has lead me to realize that the power for knowledge and change is inherent in all individuals, and, therefore, within all social groups. If marginalized groups (in this case, Hispanic female immigrants) have believed that they lack power (or even the capacity for power), how has their involvement in social media affected this view? Social networks allow any individual (regardless of gender, class or ethnicity) the ability to create their own space within a virtual society and voice their opinion. If this opinion is a form of power, these networks could be the platforms that allow them to realize their capacity for power and to question the decentralization of power present in the Center.

In Can the Subaltern Speak?, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak defines subaltern as that which is beneath (cultures that are outside or lower than the current power structure) (Spivak, p. 531). In relation to my possible research topic, Hispanic immigrant women definitely fall into Spivak's category of subaltern. He directly addresses the inability of women and people from third world countries to speak for themselves because of their subordination by the leaders in western culture. The voices of these groups haven't been acknowledged; even if others have attempted to speak on their behalf, it's not the actual voices of these groups. Intellectuals who attempt to speak on behalf of the subaltern may not get it right; the subaltern needs to be able to voice their own opinions. He questions who has the power to define. Credit needs to be given to multiple groups of people within one society, the dominant group should not speak for all people within society (Spivak, p.531-535). Spivak's ideas illuminate to the fact that Hispanic immigrant women need the opportunities to be able to contribute their own voices to the discussions of society. They need to be able to define themselves in their own language and no be forced into a definition that has been given to them by the dominant groups of society. In relation to social media, Hispanic women are able to own their own space, which they themselves control, and are able to define themselves in the way in which they want to be perceived. Similarly, in this arena, their voices are on a level playing field with other individuals within these networks. They may enter into discourses on multiple topics through a medium in which they won't be silenced.

While the group that I'm interested in focusing on are immigrants, they are also women. Not only am I interested in examining how these women deal with their "Otherness" within American culture through social media, I want to learn how social networks have affected their identities as females within a culture that has been dominated by males in the past. In Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, she discusses the need for women to be able to write and think on their own. In order to identify with their essential selves, women need to be given the opportunity to express their own ideas. Woolf asks, what is needed in order for women to be able to do this? She answers by saying that women must be liberated from their dependancy on men in order to write and think on their own. Women need their own space (a room of their own) to develop and produce their own ideas. When women aren't expected to act in particular roles (which have been assigned to them by men, not chosen by themselves), then they can be liberated to express themselves (Woolf, p. 257-258). Although Woolf was writing in 1929, her ideas are very applicable to our day and age. Hypothetically, it appears to me that social media may be the very space that this group of women need to express their own ideas and possibly begin to liberate themselves, not only from men, but from the dominating society as a whole.

In studying the effects of the use of social media by young Hispanic immigrant women, I believe that these women may finally have the opportunity to use a medium of communication that cannot be denied to them. Social networks allow them to express their own ideas and opinions in their own language. They don't have to conform to other's definitions of them or to the hierarchy of language used by the elite. The use of social networks may be the very tool they need to create their own space and freely express and explore their own identities, which may lead to the realization of self-empowerment of subordinated groups around the world through this medium.