Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I'd Be Your Huckleberry If I Wasn't Such a Lame-O

On a recent visit, I looked around the place I grew up and wondered how I would describe the experience of growing up there, or going back to visit, to someone who never had the benefit of the experience.

Maybe you grew up in a city, or hell, even just a town someone has heard of. Any person who had no more than a casual exposure to American sit-coms has an idea what your life was all about.

I didn't grow up there--or anywhere near there. I grew up in a place remote enough that even people who grew up in the same State as me have to be educated as to where that little town is because it's 100 miles from anywhere they've heard of, too.

I left that place. I didn't get pissed and say, "Fuck this, I'm out," or anything like that. I went away to school, liked what I saw, and stayed gone.

I've been gone ever since.

I make little trips back, see all the people who were kind to me, and then I leave again, wanting to bring the people I love back with me to a place I perceive to be better than the place they are.

They would probably be as uncomfortable here as I was there.

There is still a certain Wild West feeling out in Western North Dakota, and not just with the craziness of the oil boom. The sense of "what's right and what's wrong" is carved in the guts of so many people there, and they react to things in the only way that makes sense to them.


A friend of mine back in my home town had one of her children experience a fatal run in with some bad, bad, people.  Her reaction to that was to pull a Curt-Russell-in-Tombstone style of confrontation with some of the lower level bad dudes, telling them to let their bosses know that they just kicked a hornet's nest.
And where I grew up?  That's a perfectly normal reaction to someone fucking with your family.

Where I live now?  That shit would get you arrested.  It doesn't matter that the dude was responsible for the death of your kid--you harass them, and cops put out the closest and most obvious fire. If you're the one who is agitated when they arrive, you're the one that's going in the back of their car.

This weekend someone who lives in North Dakota called me "brave" because I drove them safely through holiday weekend traffic at Mall of America without flinching.

One the courage scale where the high end is "Face to Face Confrontation With Drug Dealers," I can assure you that the opposite end is "Driving to the Mall."

I wonder how soft I've become, having lived away from there for so long, or, if I moved away because I never really had what it takes to make it in a rough and tumble environment. 

I assume the latter. I'm a chicken-shit.

Well...maybe less chicken-shit than I think.

Ultimately, it's was through a series of confrontations here in the city that went badly for me that I lost whatever nerve I had.  I approached things with my gut sensibilities when a more sophisticated approach was called for. You can take that to mean I was hoodwinked by someone better at bullshitting than me--that is how I look at it, anyway, because I'm not from around here. 

You have to weigh the pros and cons.  I mean it's all well and good that I live in a city with everything available to me and can go out for Pad Thai at 10pm on a Tuesday night, but living in a place where people think it's OK to park in front of your driveway because they do NOT have your same sense of right or wrong makes it difficult to go anywhere at all.

If I still lived out on the prairie, I would totally own a shotgun--the sound of that gun cocking is like a universal (thanks to Hollywood) signal that you are not looking for trouble, but you will defend yourself with deadly force if it comes to it.  Perhaps I will buy one anyway, and keep it here at the apartment--I don't have to ever use it, just cock the gun when I'm feeling vulnerable. (Which would, of course, result in me being arrested for threatening someone with a deadly weapon. Even if the other person was an asshole who needed a little fear put in them, I'd be the agitated one when the cops got there...)

Every time I go back to the prairie, I bristle a little, at the perceived lack of...stuff.  It's not a lack of material things, but, fewer things to do or look at and a limited number of perspectives. It is exactly that limited number of perspectives that makes people who live there feel so strongly about what is right and what is wrong--everybody they know feels the same way they do. I guess that's why I left.  I didn't feel the same way--at least not about everything.

I am not at a point in my life where I feel so beat up by the city that I would leave. I'm not saying that day will never come--it just hasn't yet. If it does, I think I could take it. My shotgun and I would mind our own business until someone messed with us, then we'd be all, "You called down the thunder."

Until then, better sharpen my skills so I can be the thing that cities call for--sophisticated and charming...with my ability to apply deadly force masked behind my sickly appearance.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hey! Here Is A Delicious Recipe I Just Accidentally Made Up

OK...it's based off another recipe I stole from someone else, but SO different.* Promise.

In your slow cooker, add in this order:

  • One Cup Brown Rice
  • Half Cup (or more, to taste) Chopped Onion
  • Frozen Boneless Chicken Breasts (to serve 4)(I used frozen stir fry pieces)
  • One Jar Roasted Red Bell Peppers (include the juice)(I got mine at the dollar store--check your dollar store for surprisingly good food that is, well...a dollar)
  • One Small Box Frozen Spinach
Season with a teaspoon of salt, pepper to taste, and a dash of cayenne.

Cook on low until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through. You may need to peek once after a couple hours in, to make sure there is enough liquid for the rice to cook properly. Stir to combine and add water if necessary (1/2 cup at a time).

*original recipe calls for rinsed cans of white beans instead of rice, sliced fennel bulb instead of chopped onion, and fresh spinach or kale instead of frozen spinach. Also delicious!

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Master Debaters

There's no other title for it.

I mean, I'm a creative person, and a sometimes funny person, but even creative people sometimes look at a thing and make the jerking off motion because that's all they've got.

The year and a half of politics leading up to the good part (the part where you vote for the President of the United States if you happen to be a citizen) is going to be especially stupid this time.

In some ways, I want to embrace the stupidity.  I mean...good comedy, right?

Meh...not really.

I mean, it's funny, in the right hands, but mine are tired hands.  As a person who lives here and a person with a over-abundance of empathy, I am ultimately forced to think about this stuff and the thinking leaves me exhausted. My brain is just wired to do it. I tend to think about All The People, like I believe our current President should, and does.

I am physically uncomfortable listening to people...being assholes to other people.

(Of course, your mileage may vary--I'm a Whitey McWhite Girl living in the Middle North, and there are likely plenty of people I've never heard of with very real issues I know nothing about, but yes, as soon as I hear about it, they live there too. With The All.  In my brain.)

I've been in public relations a long time, and I've watched American politics a long time.  My bold statement is this: You cannot be elected President in this country unless people think you are a good guy (or gal...). That means...you have to relate to what they are going through.  You must have empathy.  It is an absolute must, and it is nearly impossible to fake.

Because I firmly believe that you cannot be elected President of the United States without displaying empathy, I know that the billions of dollars, and hours upon hours of time being spent to parade these 17 people around is being completely and utterly wasted.

I want to clarify what I just said there.  I'm sure that each of the individual candidates, in their own space, at home with their families, etc. is probably smart, and nice, and civil to others, or maybe a jokester or family cut-up who makes breakfast for their spouse or takes good care of their families and friends...but that's not what they are selling.

What they are selling is..."I'm an asshole, and an asshole is what you need."

It simply is not true.  It has never, ever been true.


There has not been one time in my life where I have needed one outside of my own personal anus, so...I call bullshit on the whole GOP field right now. Rubio is about the closest thing to a non-asshole they've got, if you ever listen to him in a one-on-one situation, but, how's he doing? Not as well as a perceived non-asshole should be.

So, my media friends will get richer, and comedians will do well, but what's in it for the rest of us?


Zip, because the scenario that puts one of them in the White House involves several people having to DIE first, or otherwise be rendered unable to compete.  That's how much of a long shot we're talking about, here.

Thankfully the bullshit is getting more and more obvious every time--thanks Celebrity Candidates!  You're really driving the point home about how it is all just for show--but for now we still have to go through it, most of us holding our noses the whole way through.

And thank you Social Media for keeping it funny so we can at least laugh about it.  And the Daily Show, and Nightly Show, and all of the other sources of sanity I'll rely on until next November when I nerd out with Maddow on election night.

Til then...just a girl, making the jerk-off gesture over here (which, I suppose, since I'm a girl, looks like I'm offering, but whatever...), because that's all I've got for this bunch.
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