Back to the grind with a new attitude…

9 02 2009

Weather:  High: 52 Degrees and rainy this pm. Schizophrenic. It was 36 degrees when I walked to work this morning.

Weather is reflecting my mood, but that’s nothing new.

Went to see Coraline over the weekend and it was FANTASTIC. Brian loved it as well. Was glad to see they did justice to the book, even the added character of Wyborne didn’t feel arbitrary. Visually stunning and very creepy in parts. WE were in a packed theater with a ton of 8- 10 year olds who were quiet through the whole film. Very cool!

Woke up this morning feeling much better physically, but still a bit tempestuous mentally and emotionally. For all my intentions of scaling back my online presence, all I’ve done is increase it. Sigh. So Today, I’m only keeping one tab open on Firefox, which is this one. And I’ll check my mail at lunch. But other than that, there will be no refreshing Facebook or LJ or Twitter. (Well, Twitter I can check from the bottom status bar– Thank you TwitterFox!)

Bri and I are both feeling quite feisty these days. I rather like it. The no bullshit attitude is getting things done for once. We’ve decided we’re going to do a basic fix up on the the downstairs bathroom. This means we need to get tile, a toilet and a sink. We’re not going to mess with putting a shower in as that requires too much work and we’re on limited time and resources. So we’re budgeting and figuring how we’ll purchase the stuff and how long that will extend the time to get it done. But we figure, it will only help the sale value of the house. We’re not planning on getting rich when we sell, but we’d at least like to make a small profit. (Our house isn’t that big, but it sits in a rather affluent neighborhood — we’re surrounded by houses ranging from $600K to a cool mill. ) Needless to say, if we can just get the cosmetic stuff done, the rest will fall into place. Good thing I married a Virgo. This house is in pretty damn good shape, even after 10 years of living here. Rugs are still almost new, the walls are in good shape and so are the appliances. So the real push is on to get things fixed…on a fixed income. Sigh.

Brian’s back freelancing this week and will be starting his first Master Gardner class on Thursday. Only downside is with it being in Crown Point, and us having the one car, I’ll be leaving early on Thursdays for the duration of the class. Wouldn’t be an issue, but my company recently instituted a new PTO policy and they dock down to 15 minutes. So I’ll be losing a grand total 2 days of PTO once the whole thing’s done. This new policy is because some people in my office were abusing the old PTO.  So everyone gets penalized now. Even if I left a 1/2 early, I’d have to claim it as PTO.  Sigh.  Anyway. My whine is small, though. As long as he gets to take this class and get his certification. He hasn’t been excited about something for quite a while. Not like I’m gonna be at this job for the full year.  Two days I can spare. 🙂

When we were driving home from Coraline yesterday, Bri and I both commented while we drove through the neighborhoods and the commercial districts about the complete disconnect we felt. We’re done with this area. While I’m not naive that every place in the world has the same cross section of people,  there are particular idiosyncrasies that are native to NW Indiana. A lot of them based in class and ethnic tensions. Rich versus poor, white collar versus blue collar, Right Wing Yahoos versus Tree Hugging Lefties.  It’s not all that uncommon. What we notice is the particular viciousness that accompanies everyone’s attempts to prove that “You’re not better than me!”  It’s this combination of insecurity driven bullying with the unfounded elitism that drives me nuts. I personally don’t think I’m better than pretty much anyone. I think I might be smarter than some, and maybe have more common sense than most, but does that make me a better person? Until I’ve saved a few lives or made some great sacrifice for the greater good, I’ll reserve stating that.  Maybe I’m just getting really cynical in my old age, but I really get disgusted at the way people in general look down their noses at others or revel in another person’s disgrace or downfall. Are there people who need to have their ego taken down a peg? Sure. But it’s not my job to do it, unless of course they make the grievous error of engaging me directly. Then all bets are off.

We have a problem in the country as a whole in that we love an underdog. We’ll cheer them on, make inspired speeches as they struggle, and even clap them on the back when they make something of themselves. But just as quickly, we are just as invested in making sure that once they’ve succeeded, we need to nit pick and critique their behavior, like we had some hand in making them, so they owe us. Such horseshit . We put our idols on pedestals, but dear gods do we crow when they stumble and fall off. Or better, we knock them down. How have we come to this?

It’s like the online court of review. You will find the harshest critics and worst dregs of humanity online when it comes to gossip sites and tabloid web pages. Now I’m just as fond of keeping up with famous people I like, for good or for bad, so don’t think I’m trying to monopolize some sort of moral high ground here. But the way people, even non-famous people, get torn down by their peers, or worse, by people too chickenshit to even use their real names, is just horrific! We seem to get some sort of morally superior self- righteous streak when we see some pretty model without her makeup or an actor get caught doing something bad. It’s like we use them to say “SEE! I’m better than THEY are! Losers!”
Like it matters in some sort of cosmic score board.
Online reviews of music or movies or books are simply a minefield of armchair critics. Now, I have a low opinion of most critics anyway, because who told you that your opinion trumps everyone else’s? Maybe that’s the root of the problem. Maybe we’ve become so driven to be correct or respected that we find the easy way out and tear others down around us.  Last word in an argument= Win!
I have no issue with people posting their opinion on something. That’s never been the problem. The PROBLEM arises when someone posts their opinions and then follows it with “and you’re an idiot if you think otherwise.”
See there’s the fall down right there. You have stated an OPINION. Even if you hang that tree with all sorts of factoids and snippets of OTHER people’s opinions, it’s still just YOUR OPINION. How can you decide for EVERYONE else what should or should not be listened to, viewed or read? Reviews are to give a person’s insight to an experience. To let us see something through your eyes. But to expect people to blithely go– Oh! Joe Smith hated it so I’d better avoid it because I wouldn’t want Joe Smith to think I was stupid and didn’t believe his outstanding opinion!– well…that’s kind of silly, actually. This falls back on my “No Guilty Pleasures” mantra. I like what I like, and I really give a toss what anyone thinks about me as a result. I like bands NO ONE in my friends circles or family likes. Same with movies and books. And it doesn’t make me rethink it. Ever.

I guess the nutshell from all this rambling is that if people could start distinguishing between what is opinion and what is fact, and what is IMPORTANT and what is TRIVIAL, maybe we would all be a lot happier. I’ve met some extremely MISERABLE people, and the one thing they all have in common? They constantly feel the need to pick on other people’s choices or prove that their choices are uninformed. They spend their lives just waiting to jump on anyone who likes something they don’t and try and make that person defensive about what they like. They quote statistics and facts and other armchair experts while ignoring the simple fact that they’ve just wasted all that time and energy trying to make someone else unhappy. Seriously. Where’s the victory in that? Do you feel better now that you’ve piled onto a friend and made them feel small and upset about something that actually gave them some measure of happiness? Because you needed to feel like your opinion was right? Sigh.
Why do people feel that if they’re not right, that their whole world will crumble. I admit I’m wrong all the time. That’s how you learn. I’ve had some people respond to my saying, “You know what? I was wrong.” with a snarky “I TOLD YOU! See! You were wrong!” Just rude. If someone is big enough to admit they’re wrong, don’t make them think it was a bad idea by humiliating them on top of it.

Okay, I’ve gone on long enough today. I need to funnel this verbosity into my fiction.

Parting note:  Before you give a friend a bunch of crap for liking something you find ridiculous, turn it around on yourself.  How would you feel if someone dressed you down for your taste in clothes, music or movies? Opinions are personal and based on nothing more than your view of something. You can’t make someone else take on your opinion. You can only share it and hope someone gets something out of it. Let’s start being nicer to each other.

On that note: Have a video.
Metronomy- A Thing for Me. Possibly the funniest video I’ve seen in a very long time! (And that’s my opinion! 😉 (If you want a copy-it’s the free video on i-Tunes until tomorrow!)
Vodpod videos no longer available.




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