Yikes!

This is a response to another link on College Fashion, but this time it links to Mental Floss. It’s a pretty basic list of the industries in America and their annual revenue. Some are completely staggering, American’s spend $800 million on taxidermy?!

But while some are just weird (seriously, taxidermy.) some are kind of sad. We spend $11 billion dollars on plastic water bottles. $40 billion on lawn care. $500 million on Twinkies. If anyone’s wondering, this is what’s wrong with America.

Conspicuous consumption.

Complete disregard for the environment.

Twinkies.

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Ask Yourself

Ask Yourself

This is kind of a response (in the loosest sense of the word) to a link from So Fawned that originates at The Bedlam of Beefy. I cannot stress this enough I love shiz like this. I love things that provoke such awesome and consuming introspection. I love the feeling of having a thought or phrase (or thought or phrase in the form of an image) rattling around in my head until I finally give up and let myself dwell on it. Because that’s what you do, you let yourself dwell.

Questions like this can be really scary, as terrifying as they are intimate. It’s so simple it’s disarming but while it rattles around in my subconscious it’s also haunting me like a ghost. If you can’t tell, I love inspirational pictures, expect to see a TON of them here.

This particular question scares me a lot because the answer changes all the time. Right now, I’m sitting and breathing, and I want so many different things. But for the sake of simplicity, I want to graduate college. This is kind of an all-encompassing want because I have a lot of questions bouncing around about where I’m going to live and what I’m going to do when I graduate but the first step is actually graduating. I need to take time to remind myself that there’s no point in worrying about all that stuff, focus on what you need to do right now to stay in forward motion.

So, passing it along, what do you really want?

On Princesses

This is a response to an article I found on College Fashion but actually comes from Nerve. The basic idea is that most of the Disney princesses aren’t very “feminist” (check out the comments on the post to see some snark about what defines feminism) but some of them are. Coming in last was Aurora from Sleeping Beauty and first was Mulan. This makes a lot of sense and I’ve thought a lot about the feminism in a lot of my favorite movies, both now and growing up (Star Wars fails the Bechdel test?) but I always coming out with a resounding, “meh.”

When I was growing up I watched The Little Mermaid hundreds of times. My parents can recite the entire movie to this day. But I should add they can also recite The Road to El Dorado, An American Tail, The Lion King, A Little Princess, Anastasia, The Lorax, FernGully: The Last Rainforest, and about a million other movies because I had a lot of time to kill when I was a kid. And you know what movie was my favorite to come out of my childhood? Jurassic Park. With Jaws (which was, by the way, the first movie I ever received as a gift, at the ripe old age of 4) as a close second.

Last year I read a book called Cinderella Ate My Daughter, where the author disects the princess culture that girls are being raised in these days. It’s an amazing book and I highly recommend it (not too feminist or preachy, but definitely makes you think). After reading the book, I calmly set it down on my desk, walked downstairs, and hugged both of my parents, thanking them for whatever the heck they did to make me come out okay. I don’t know if it was the fact that I had a younger brother and was more exposed to the cool boys stuff, or if it was because my Mom isn’t particularly frilly, but whatever happened, I did not turn out to be a glitter-barfing weirdo, and I’m really glad.

But I come back to this: I watched a lot of The Little Mermaid and you know what, I never wanted to be a princess. I never wanted a crown or to rule people or whatever princesses do, but I did want to be a mermaid. I watched Black Beauty and wanted to be a horse, I watched The Lion King and pretended to be a lioness for years. Honestly, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White were my least favorite movies because there wasn’t anything cool going on! (Even though I must admit after seeing Sleeping Beauty the first time I kinda wanted to be a dragon…)

Sometimes I don’t think we give children and their imaginations enough credit.

 

An Email from a Stranger

The internet can be a pretty weird place. It can be pretty mean too. I once was at church and the priest came out and said it:

“You want to see hell on Earth? Go check out the comment section on YouTube.”

And he was right, you can see a lot of hate if you check out comment sections (why most sites now heavily moderate) and a lot of this is due to the level of anonymity online. But today, I received this email:

Hey, I just wanted you to know that there are always going to be obstacles in life. Obstacles to getting your dream body. That six pack. Losing weight. Getting a job. Falling in love. The list is endless. You CAN’T avoid these obstacles… BUT you can choose how you react to them. When life knocks you down, do you stay down or do you rise to fight again?

Success in fitness, and life, is dependent on persistence, tenacity and determination. There is a great saying in martial arts – “a black belt is a white belt who never quit”. If you never quit, you will achieve your goal. It’s just a matter of time.

You went and gorged yourself on cake. This could easily lead into a week of binge eating or more…

You were supposed to do a workout today. Did you miss it because of other commitments? Do you miss the rest of your workouts for the week out of a sense of failure? Do you stay down?

Hell no! Get back up, do it now! A year from now you’ll wish you started today.

Failure is never permanent… when you get back up. Pretty soon you will string together a few days of success, then a few more. Soon you’ve lost a few inches. Your muscles are beginning to show. You fall down, you get up. You lose a little more weight. You fall, you get up. You will soon reach your goal.

As you exercise, work and play this week, remember – “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

And while I’m not going to get into my personal weight struggle (I’ll just leave it at: I have a personal weight struggle) this message really spoke to me. So much so that I let my strict inbox-zero policy slide and it’s been hanging out there all day. I don’t know who sent it, but I’m sure I somehow signed up for something at some point and that’s how I came to receive it, and I’m choosing not to. I love the idea that it was a random person, without anything to gain, sending me some really positive juju or whatever.

So now I share it with you: have some positive juju on me.

Minimalist Coding

This isn’t really a response to anything, I’m just refreshing my javascript skills over here at codecademy and I realized that I try to do every objective in as few lines as possible. (Check out my progress here.)

Background: I’m a Computer Science student. The end.

Really, I guess this is a question to fellow computer nerds: is it my love for minimalist or is less code really better?

As an undergrad I had a professor who would post the number of lines his code was (excluding comments) at the bottom of each homework assignment and I would always try to be as close to this as possible. This is also the same professor who changed my coding life by introducing me to the ternary operator. I would compete with classmates to reduce my code as much as possible, lean and mean, if you will.

However, I was showing my (also huge nerd) father my code for a homework once and he complained that he felt my coding was too minimalist. I use letters for arbitrary variables (for loops get “i”, arrays are “a”, things like that) and I use recursion more than I probably should because it’s just so damn elegant.

I found this article that suggests that you should make sure your code is readable, but also make it simple. This quote really made me think:

Always program as if the person maintaining your code six months from now is an axe murder. The last thing you want to do is give him (or her) an excuse to come visit you in frustration.

Which unfortunately might keep me up at night, thinking over some of my more questionable coding choices…

Thoughts?

Intentionally Childless

This is a post inspired by this article found over here on Blisstree, which really spoke to me. While right now I’m 22 and yeah, I guess I’m childless by choice, so are most 22 year-old women. I’m not married, not dating anyone, not financially stable, blah blah blah, I should not have kids right now. But the bigger question is, will I ever have kids?

For most of my life I thought, of course, people aren’t fulfilled unless they have children/spouses to share their lives with! But after growing up a little, I’m realizing that this is my parents view, and it doesn’t have to be mine. (Excluding the irony that if it hadn’t been their view, I wouldn’t be here to have my own view.) After discovering a lot about myself, especially that I care a whole heck of a lot about the planet, I’ve really struggled with the idea of children.

What I always come down to is: I love my life.

I love it right now. I love that I have endless possibilities (hi, did I mention I’m 22?) and that every day is full of opportunities that I can reach for. I love all of my hobbies, I love doing whatever I want during my free time and I love being super independent. I love that I have a job, but I love that if I wanted to quit, there wouldn’t be a whole lot stopping me. Honestly, sometimes I feel trapped because I have cats. Cats! If I feel confined because I have cats, I really should not have children. Also, I’m an environmentalist, and having a baby (especially an American baby) is the worst thing you can do to the planet.

But this isn’t about that, because realistically, I don’t trust myself to not change my mind. And that’s the point, I know that I am indecisive. You know how I know? Because I live with me every single day, and have for 22 years.

It’s really that simple, we need to trust people to know themselves! It’s not rocket science to say that I probably know myself better than anyone, even a doctor or a parent.

So when it comes to people who know that they don’t want kids and know that they’re not going to change their minds, we should respect that as much as we respect that they know any other little detail about themselves.

You wouldn’t ask a grown man to try broccoli after he specifically says he doesn’t like it, would you? Would you tell him to wait it out, he’ll probably change his mind? No, you wouldn’t.

Purpose

I’m feeling a little scattered as of late. I added a page of blogs that I follow and when I looked at the list, it blew me away how many subjects are covered. I remember being in high school, working for a restaurant and going to school, and thinking wistfully how nice it would be to grow up and have time for these mystical things called hobbies. What an idea! Something you do in your free time!And guess what happened, I grew up and got myself a CRAPLOAD of hobbies. So many that I can’t even consolidate them into a “theme” for a blog.

And before anyone else says it, I’m going to do it myself: I completely understand how much of a first world problem this is, I really do.

So for now, while I contemplate the absurdity in someone complaining about having too many hobbies, I’m going to focus on just posting once a day (minimum) about something I’ve read. Simple.

Side note: If anyone was wondering about my blog reading process, I’ve outlined it here:

My usual process, as a blog-reader/obsessive-weirdo, begins first thing in the morning, when I crack open a brand new browser window (right now I’m using Firefox) and open my email and my Google Reader. There’s usually around 120 or so items in it, depending on the day, and I “read” every. single. one. But when I say “read” I mean, I skim through the blurb that my reader gives me. If I actually clicked through every link and read every article, I’d never get anything else done! So then, as I’m skimming my reader, if I spot something that I want to actually read, I just open it in a new tab. This also applies to if I see a link I want to follow or whatever.

Then, when the reader is empty I close the tab. This is the most important step because guys, the internet is a magical place, information is constantly flowing. If you leave that tab open, before you know it you’ll have 40 more things you have to read, and this is just a bad habit to get into. Plus, if you read everything today, what will you read tomorrow?

So anyways, after closing, I just shift through the list of articles, closing them out as I go. Using my tabs as a to do list, if you will. Sometimes these articles get emailed, tweeted, pinned, what-have-you(ed), and sometimes I clip them to Evernote, where I have a section full of “web clippings” for future reference.