May 22, 2013

Psh, I Can Write a Better Blog Than That

HOLY CRAP I'M BACK AFTER LESS THAN 7 DAYS!!! I still contend this will not hold for long. But at least it happened once. Boom.

So, the last few months with my flippant moods, I've become painfully aware that "be where you are" is somehow not happening here... It's supposed to. But it's not.

So now I'm wondering "well how the hell DO you be where you are."

Spoiler alert: I have no freaking clue.

In the great irony that is life, last week I was stoked about my free online classes for the most part. One in particular, "Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence", I have not been very amped about. First off, it's an Industrial/Organizational psychologist whom I have not had the best of luck with nor do I like the field... like, at all. It's like fast food-- you got into some I/O subject, forgetting how much you're not a fan and it's not until after you've started eating it that you think, "Hmm, yea... This is not a good life choice."

Additionally, the professor is super jazzed about mindfulness.

Also, I was super bummed that the course was not about how to manipulate people via emotional intelligence but is instead how to improve your leadership skills using emotional intelligence... probably isn't a good thing that my mind immediately interpreted the course in a sociopathic way and then made worse by the fact that I was disappointed when it was not "How to be a sociopath 101".

But, I digress...

So what is mindfulness, you ask? Excellent question, dear reader. Mindfulness is the hot new thing for psychology and therapy. I've been to countless presentations on mindfulness and every time they describe it (if they describe it at all) as "being mindful of one's own internal state"... um,... I'm pretty sure when I had to do vocab sheets back in 3rd grade I failed when I used the word to define the word. Is no one mindful of how holy unhelpful this is?

And this is why I continue to attend presentations on it-- it's hot shit, it's everywhere, I clearly am missing something since I'm not totally infatuated with this process which seems like half-assed meditation. You sit quietly and intention examine your body state-- are you hungry? Is your heart beating quickly? Are you stressed? And in this process of wondering how/where you should relax, you ACTUALLY RELAX.

Holy shit. Didn't see that one coming. Shit came from NOWHERE.

To clarify, I'm not saying we don't need to relax, I'm saying how is being insightful, self evaluative, and conscientious a "hot" "new" or "thing"? Pretty sure "check yourself before you wreck yourself" has been around much longer than "mindfulness".

But then as I'm sitting here, watching the videos on emotional intelligence and the hotmess I/O-ish presentation of "look at all these studies that suggest mindfulness is hot shit and those that don't practice it get Ebola and other issues that are catastrophically worse than Ebola."-- I just cannot help but think, "Oh shit, I'm like 2 seconds from getting Ebola because I don't practice mindfulness."

Check yourself before you wreck yourself, Lauren. Pretty sure by taking the time to critically assess if your being mindful is actually in a demented sort of way mindfulness. You're mindful of not being mindful. Mindful requirements? Done. *whew* A neurotic moment a day keeps the Ebola away!

Before anyone goes and googles Ebola-- it's a virus that eats off your skin that made the jump from monkeys to humans (knew I shouldn't have touched that shifty monkey) and there's only been like 3 cases in the United States ever and you die a slow horrible painful death in 3 days... which, actually, compared to AIDS which we also got from those shifty jungle banana-throwing motherfuckers, is pretty quickly. Either way, don't google it, no one wants to see that.

So at least once every hour, I catch myself being negative and thinking how I should stop.

Today was the worse when I was reviewing one of my new syllabuses (syllabi? syllaboose? syllabusi? English, go home, you're drunk) and immediately started judging the shit out of it. This was consolidated (via mindfulness? maybe? probably not?) to 4 questions on the message board.

I think that teaching is one of the hardest jobs in the world and I believe that I could never do it. It takes the patience and dedication that I don't even have a fraction of. So when I see a syllabus in the context of: the teacher has taught the EXACT same class before in the previous semester (and some semesters before it) in the EXACT same program and essentially only needed to tweak here and there and change the dates, I am PISSED. This is the first time I have ever met you (which, yes, is a lot of pressure conveyed on a syllabus) and you hand me this, and I get the distinct feeling that me or a gorilla in a suit (I'm not talking to that damn monkey) could teach the class better, I feel something is messed up with this picture!

And so begins the battle royale as 30% of me tries to meekishly say, "Well, you're not a teacher-- you don't know." and "Try to be positive-- you can control how much you get from this class.", the other 70% of me negative nancy's back, "No! This is bullshit! An 800-level class doesn't mean you do high school level shit 6 times more than what is necessary!" Am I being practical or negative? What do you do when shit is genuinely impractical? How do you be where you are or be mindful? I'm upset that I'm wasting my time doing things that could really only waste my damn time. How is mindfulness helpful in this situation?

As I alluded before, I have no answer to these questions. I guess there's just a fine line somewhere that distinguishes between "be where you are" and "shit, this situation is not good so let's take this time to think about otters holding hands."

And when all else fails, partner up with a gorilla in a suit. No one fucks with a gorilla in a suit because you just KNOW he means business.

May 17, 2013


Ok, I fell off the face of the planet AGAIN. I know, just plain horrible. And here's where I'd blow smoke up your ass and say, "I'll do better!" but, let's be real, I'm trying to go to the beach for 7 of the next 10 days soooo yea, it's not getting better anytime soon.


ANYWAY! With my hiatus, I have been able to muse on different topics to fire off in the next couple weeks so that's good. This post is kind of an update on my life as I haven't really been telling people what's been going on. You got to keep in mind, my moods swing with the seasons and I'm starting to realize/admit that they swing much worse that I would like to admit but it's a thing. It's happening. We've got to roll with it.

People have been asking me what I've been doing and the only solid answer I could give them for the past month was a shrug and "online classes" then quickly diverting the conversation to them. The truth is, it's FREE online classes totally unrelated to my major/human sexuality program via coursera.

And they're epic. They may be becoming my addiction.

This summer I'm signed up for 3 courses (through Widener), which I didn't know until after registration was technically an overload for the summer semester but I figured what the hell, I've got nothing better to do. That was before I took an online AIDS course through coursera that blew me away. Confession time-- I totally failed the class because I didn't do the essays. But I took copious notes, learned lots, took the tests even if the due date had passed and had a great experience.

Meanwhile (back at the ranch, grandma's beating off the Indians...), I was taking an online class at Widener and was going further into debt learning approximately nothing. Then I learned all that nothing I was supposed to learn would come back up in two years for 3 different tests. Could it? Please? Fabulous. I could continue this rant for the 50th time but the moral of the story is, the class was not entirely beneficial nor pleasant and I broke a sweat for weeks wondering what the grade would be.

None of this even included my one in-person class which has now become infamous for my discomfort (another long story that I could go into the 100th time but let's please, for the love of barbeque, NOT) in which I failed a class about myself TWICE and I sweated about that grade for multiple weeks.

To give you who don't know some context-- receiving a "B" in my program lands one on academic probation, a second warrants "removal from the program" ie your ass is GONE.

This semester sucked and I walked away being GIVEN (yes, I'm aware that grades are earned and I was clearly GIVEN these grades) As in the above mentioned courses and a B+ in the third class I loved, enjoyed, wasn't worried about at all. I still have no idea what else to say to this but what. the. fuck. Yes, they are relatively good grades but do I have to break a sweat for what ends up being no reason except to be handed an A? What the shit! I don't understand this!

So now I'm looking towards my summer courses, two of which I'm not thrilled about. There's another online course which I've heard negative things about (which are quickly becoming confirmed as it's 1 week into the semester and I haven't heard from the professor) and the one class I was becoming excited about requires for me to interact with the professor I just reamed out for failing me on a paper about myself (did I forget to mention that was twice... BECAUSE IT WAS. I still don't get that).

I didn't mean to go on a rant but I'm just saying, structured higher education is proving to be a bust. A stressful bust. With low yield in return.

Then there's my free online classes. I'm a little embarrassed to admit how many I'm signed up for at the moment but I have learned SO much! Some of the classes include statistics (which is still as confusing as ever. Whoever came up with that as a concept just needs to be shot), operations management, leadership, nutrition, and healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship. I love that last course even though it has the occasional lecture focused purely on the medical field and I have to roll my eyes and just click to the next lecture. But that's all it takes. Click out. Pause. Get a snack. Replay things you didn't catch. Do the essays/don't do the essays. Who gives a shit.

AND AND AND PLUS PLUS PLUS, I'm getting free info from people working at m-f-ing DUKE (which Lord knows, I could have NEVER gone to) about how to start my future innovative and entrepreneurial business. Step by step instructions on how to gather focus groups, weigh options, market, etc. And printed out slides to go with it?! Why thank you! Don't mind if I do!

Recently, a classmate at Widener told me she was leaving the program because she had not been impressed with the education she was getting. My gut reaction was "But this is the only program in the country!" but then I became so jealous of her calm in her decision to walk from that-- it IS the only program in the country like this but that doesn't mean it's the right way to go.

I still feel my program is the best way to go. It's what's best for me or else I'd never light a fire under my ass to get these things done and the people I have met have been incredibly worth it and have opened my experiences to so many things... in terms of this semester, no, not always great things, but my first semester was to die for and hopefully I get rid this sour taste this summer.

And if not, I got the blueprints to make an awesome business anyway. Shit is from Duke. Classy shit... like me.

May 2, 2013

What I Learned From 50 Shades...

So, after my last post, I had 2 weeks of hell trying to finish up my semester (let's stress the word "trying" as no, it is STILL not done-- so help me). Then last week I wrote about 2/3 of a post about my focusing problems and at the epitome of irony, I lost focus and never finished it. It's a hot mess so I don't know if you'll ever see that one completed...

But this week, I'm going to slip into the book reviewer role.

As many of you know (especially as I think I posted it SOMEWHERE on here but I cannot remember), I agreed to read the 50 Shades of Grey books in order to special guest host a discussion on the crap series in August at my Mom's book club. It may just kill me.

I don't like to read. It takes too long and usually I get bored quickly (see focusing issues mentioned above). Reading has become the most unfortunate necessary evil as a student and particularly as a student who is never satisfied with my current education. So when I read, it's nonfiction, usually edited books in super professional and/or clinical language that I take copious notes on so that I, in theory, never have to read the material again. Which makes reading take longer. It's a vicious cycle of I'm not a fan.

Since I hate reading and mainly only read/benefit from nonfiction books, I thought that these were suitable explanations as to why I never ever needed to read 50 Shades of Grey. But if I was being totally honest, these are not effective excuses. I've read fiction books before and really enjoyed reading them but to hell with telling other people that because then they will continue to tell me how I just have have have to read these "it's terrible writing but it's SO good" books.

As I was going to mention in my profuse procrastination post, I was avoiding this one paper/class/professor SO much during exam week that I actually picked up and powered through about 120 pages of the first book in 3 nights. That's impressive for me. Shut up. Don't judge.

Most of the nights, I came to a stopping point because I thought, "Oh, ew, this guy is creeper mcgee." or because I just wanted to punch the main character's "inner goddess" in the fucking face. I guess my "inner goddess" is a little more violent...

To clarify-- I do not think that the dude is sir creeps-a-lot because he's into kink. I think he's a creep weasel because he's motherfucking creepy. Low-jacking someone's cell phone so you know where they are at all times is some psycho-stalker shit, you do not get a reprieve because you're this gorgeous bazillionaire. In fact, that makes it even creepier because you have the money and the charm to do God-only-knows-what with that information. Your creepiness knows no bounds, sir, and if you were so intuitive, you should know to keep that shit in check. Boundaries, dude.

Ok, I digressed there, BUT I what I mean to say is that I'm painfully reading this book wondering why the hell I hate it so much. I think back to the few books I do enjoy that are legit books and not textbook/tomes of clinical information:
  • Sellevision by Augusten Burroughs. This is my most favorite book of all time but I rarely recommend it to people because I fully acknowledge that it is pure trash. Granted, it's better written than the trash of 50 Shades (for real, has the author ever read a freaking book and recognized that NOTHING of value is written in such a shitty way? Goodnight Moon is more sophisticated) but it's arguably much trashier than 50. I also watch things that overly embarrassing with their levels of trash, so clearly I'm not above reading garbage.
  • Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris. Thomas Harris is one of my favorite authors because he writes so simply. You could be super descriptive about face nibbling but Thomas Harris doesn't. He sticks to the point of "some serious shit went down" without flowery language... well, except in Hannibal, wtf was that?... and for that, I love him. So, simpleton writing doesn't bug me.
  • Canterbury Tales by... some dead White dude. Obviously not my favorite book as I cannot remember the author at this moment but it's the most fancy book I DO like, mainly because some people have sex in a pear tree (sounds painful but possibly delicious) so kinky sex is a clear selling point for me.
So I wondered, why did I not like this 50 Shades of shit?And last night, it dawns on me. The whining. The whining of the main character is infuriating. Oh, your life as a privileged White college girl is sooo difficult because you have all these guys fawning all over you and then you succumb to the hottest and wealthiest guy on the West Coast only to find out he's a control freak in the bedroom like everywhere else in his life?

Hmmm... must nice to have no real problems... ever.

My life is NOT difficult at all. Not in the grand scheme of things. But I will still trade with you, simple bitch.

Whining is my literary dealbreaker and I should have clued into this earlier. When Harry Potter came out (of the closet, hahaha... ok, I'm not funny but that would've made for an interesting discussion on whether you can "cure the gay away" with magic-- would heterosexuals have bought into the magical world of Harry Potter if there were still gay people running around? Ok, I got off topic...), I was totally like every kid who needed the new Harry Potter book the DAY it came out and I was essentially unavailable for the next 5 days as I would read until my eyes bled.

But then the fifth book was released. I got it on the first day, as usual, and began to read. It was taking a little more time as I had totally forgotten a lot of the magical vocabulary (who the fuck is Voldemort, again?). But it was dragging even more because Harry Potter was crying like a bitch. "I'm Harry Potter. I defeated Voldemort multiple times and I'm as famous as Paris Hilton even though like Paris Hilton, I haven't done really anything of value. I live under some stairs with some dick muggles but I still expect everyone to tell me EVERY THING because I'm Harry Potter... and I think everyone should suck my dick."

...Ok, maybe Harry Potter didn't say that. But I didn't finish reading the book, so I couldn't tell you for sure.

THE POINT IS, I stopped reading the book 100 pages in because I felt that all Harry Potter was doing was whining to everyone and the fucking Sorting Hat... I also found out that the main character that they were going to permanently kill, which was played up to the nth degree before release, was, in fact, my favorite character. I literally threw the book in the corner so it could think about what it did. Haven't read HP since, have no intentions of doing so. Fuck Harry Potter and he can go whine about it to Voldemort during their next little tea party. Because, honestly, if you were defeated by a baby, you are a shit wizard. I don't care what anybody says.

And the characters in my favorite books don't whine. They complain, they have upsets, but they don't sit there and whine for pages which then causes me to whine-rant in blog post-form.
  • Sellevision? One woman did kind of whine but it's safe to say that the cheese fell off her cracker and got mushed into the carpet. She slipped into crazyland, population: her. Whining is a little understandable.
  • Hannibal Rising? Hannibal did also somewhat whine but he saw his sister get eaten which is a valid complaint, in my opinion. He also got off is ass and ate the people who ate her so... yea, turned a frown into upsidedown cake on that one... literally... let's move on....
  • Nobody that I remember whined in Caterbury Tales there was some whining in Night but since that is a true account of the Holocaust, that's pretty valid to be not so thrilled about.
So, literary characters, if you're going to whine about your life, you better be a) cray-cray; b) willing to do something about it; c) whining about something legit. Or I'm not reading, got it?!

Also, don't be a convenient fucking feminist who has an "inner goddess" (gag me-- sexual pun fully intended) that mopes about not having a relationship with a guy that you're just DYING to please in the most patriarchal fashion and then get all pleased with your "inner goddess" self when you orgasm upon first having intercourse which is undeniably unrealistic when measuring sexual pleasure via orgasm is a totally male and specifically very UNFEMINIST way of looking at things. Simple. Bitch.