Monday, October 31, 2011

Occupy this

I have to admit, I find this whole Occupy Wall Street movement completely confusing. It's not for lack of trying to understand - I've visited their web site, read articles and listened to interviews. So far, no one can explain the whole thing to me in a way that makes any sense. Everyone agrees they want "things to change," but no one seems sure exactly how or what those changes should be.

Some supporters say a defined goal isn't important; what's important is making people aware, getting them to think and talk about the movement. To an extent, that's probably true; I suppose they've done something right if I'm talking about it. But now that we're all talking - shouldn't there be a goal? Otherwise, won't the message just get lost in its own rhetoric? 

This country is definitely in a crisis. We all see it. The problem is, it seems like people are more interested in blame then they are solutions. That makes no sense. Are corporations wealthy? Yes. Are some people living well above the means of others? Sure. Are others struggling to make ends meet? Absolutely. 

But you can't blame one person's hardships on another's success. Banks and insurance companies and the like are in business to make a profit. The thing about a profit is - you can spend it however you want. It's not as if there's only so much money to be made - if you want a piece of that action, go get it. 

Sitting in a park and demanding that banks forgive debt, or businesses support welfare programs demonstrates a true lack of understanding. If debt is forgiven, we don't get to just reset to zero. The banks lose that money - if they lose that money on a global scale, what do you think happens? Foreign markets collapse, businesses go bankrupt and ultimately, who suffers? 

That 99% you keep talking about. We'll all be paying higher rates, getting laid off (bankrupt businesses mean fewer employers), and eventually, we'll all rely on government programs. But the government won't have any money - because the system collapsed. 

I suppose the argument is, if the rich were paying higher taxes, the programs would be better funded. But that's not how an economy works. I work for one of the wealthiest corporations in the world. My bosses haven't lost money in this economy, and they won't lose it in the proposed economy, either. Instead, the people who do the work (like me) have lost. No raises, higher healthcare costs, fewer benefits. If you raise their taxes, what do you think will happen? Do you honestly think the big-wigs at my company will take that hit? No - I will. 

But the movement seems okay with that. The corporate heads will stay rich, lower-income homes will have more government support, and middle-income homes like mine will suffer the most. I make just enough that I'll have to pay higher taxes to support the programs, but not enough that I can afford the hit. Everything I've worked for over the years will be lost, as I'm forced to now support others who aren't willing to make the effort.

So, Occupiers - if you want to fix the economy, why not try adding to it? Try looking at yourselves, figure out what you have to offer the world, and start doing it. 

Occupy your own wallet, and stay out of mine.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Five: Halloween

Mine was not nearly this cool.
I love Halloween. I decorate for Halloween the way most people decorate for Christmas - except a tree. I don't have a Halloween tree. Yet.

Since this weekend will probably be a three-day celebration of All Hallows Eve, I figured it was as good a time as any to list my Top Fives for Halloween - tricks, treats and costumes.

Treats - Hershey's, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Milky Way, Snickers (notice a theme?) - and money.

Tricks - Candy corn (What is that about?), anything gummy (bears, fruit, etc.), Warheads, toothbrush, fruit

Costumes - Paul Stanley (Yes, I did.), 60's Girl, punk rocker (which was my costume basically every year from the time I was 10 on), Little Red Riding Hood (as part of a couples costume) - and Wonder Woman, when I was 5.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Personality profile - INFP (Part II)

Continued from here...

So basically, I move easily from fantasy to reality (and back) and I keep my emotions so well hidden that half the time, I don't even know what I'm feeling?

Okay, so I can't really argue with any of that.

The Functional Analysis says (in a nutshell):

INFPs live in a world of primarily introverted feeling. Introverts turn inward, away from the world, and towards ideas and ideals. Intuition is extroverted, to greet the world. This combination encourages a philosophical bent, and gives rise to an unusual skill with respect to character development and language fluency - making an INFP a "verbal artist."

Sensing is introverted; nearly invisible. This gives an inclination towards absent-mindedness, which is often mitigated by the overpowering awareness of what's going on around them. In this personality type, sensing is the weakest function.

The INFP may turn to extraverted thinking to deal with external problems, or to find closure. Extraverted thinking lacks context and proportion, meaning small facts loom large to the INFP, while the big picture goes overlooked. The INFP expends considerable energy when forced to where the extravert suit for problem solving.

It seems like we might be saying that an INFP is someone who observes; who is concerned with taking in the world around her, rather than participating. That she walks into a room, and isn't likely to join a large group, but rather watch, learn the players, and who wants what. She can create characters in her mind, and is very happy to get to know those people. When necessary, she can "get out there" and might even appear to some as an extrovert - but she'll be tired by the end of that night.

If that's the case - then there might be something to this personality stuff, after all.

According to the results from the test I took, personality profiles can be used to determine everything from what career would suit you best to who would be a good romantic match. My ideal careers? Writer, counselor - or web designer. That still makes me scratch my head.

In case you're wondering, some famous INFPs include: Homer, Fred Rogers, Helen Keller, Jackie O, JFK Jr., Lisa Kudrow - and Mary, Mother of Jesus (???). Fictional INFPs would include Anne of Green Gables, Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, Wesley Crusher and Bastian from The Neverending Story.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Personality profile - INFP

A while back, I spent a lot of time with someone who was constantly reading personality books - some divided personalities up by elements, others by numbers, etc. When he'd talk about it, I wondered if anyone can really fit completely into any profile. I mean, we all probably tend towards one type or another - but everyone is unique, too.

On dating sites, people often include their Myers-Briggs personality type in their profile. I think they mean for this to be helpful - but to me, it just looks like jibberish. Then a couple weeks ago, I was out to dinner with a bunch of people who were all much smarter than I, and they got to talking about personality types.

I decided it was time to end the mystery.

So, I googled and found a free test, which gave me my type formula according to Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers. which took me 20ish minutes. At the end, I had a result that tells me I am an INFP - Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. Feeling was the strongest preference, and perceiving was the weakest. Which, apparently, means I am a:
  • Moderately expressed introvert
  • Moderately expressed intuitive personality
  • Distinctly expressed feeling personality
  • Slightly expressed perceiving personality
I found a couple of descriptions of this personality. One says that an INFP will never lose their sense of wonder. As kids we switch from fantasy to reality easily, and are usually the children who develop imaginary friends (I totally did!) and whose stuffed animals come to life (That doesn't happen to everyone?!).

An INFP's "extreme depth of feeling is often hidden, even from themselves," and struggle with good vs. evil, and their ability to perform for the greater good. [I'm less certain about this in myself.] It says I should be able to de-jargon technical information, which is ironic since I'm finding the jargon used to describe my personality quite confuzzling.

Apparently, this depth of feeling is hidden - even from the INFP herself - until "circumstances evoke an impassioned response." My de-jargoning abilities tell me this explains why I go from 0-Bitch in 60 seconds flat.

When I explained just this little bit to a friend, his response was - "Wow, that is you."

But wait - there's more. To be continued....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Movie Monday: Horror movies

The other day, a local radio show was talking about a guy who is 27 years old, and says he can't watch horror movies. One host thought that was ridiculous - that eventually, everyone grows out of that fear.

I beg to differ.

In fact, not only haven't I outgrown it - I actually grew into it.

As a kid, I actually really liked scary movies. The Omen, Salem's Lot, The Shining - loved them. Then, as I got older, I started noticing that when I watched anything scary - I couldn't sleep. It got even worse if I read the book. In high school, I read Pet Semetary by Stephen King, and barely slept an entire summer. 


So, I stopped watching them. Never saw any of the Halloween or Friday the 13th movies. X liked loved scary movies, so occasionally they'd be on in the house. Honestly - I don't even want to hear them. Recently, I've been muting the TV and looking away every time that trailer for Paranormal Activity is on. A few years back, Chrissy had the Halloween theme as her ring tone, with her phone on at work. I told her if she didn't change it or turn it off, I was going to run her phone over with my car. 

As kids we don't really know about fear. Our parents protect us, the world is nice to us, we have no responsibilities and no worries. No fear. 

So when do we learn to be afraid? And why does it bother some of us more than others? Or maybe, those of us who are afraid, are really just more grown up than the rest? 

Either way, I won't be watching those movies any time soon. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Truth on the internet

"There is no room on the internet for the truth." Big Bang Theory

OHmyfreakinggod - I love this show. It's quotable, funny and clever - all rolled up into a perfectly wrapped, 30 minute package. I only just discovered it, and am happy that TBS recently added reruns to their schedule. I enjoy reruns - especially since I don't really stick to a steady, nightly TV schedule of any sort. 

So I'm working on a post about my Myers-Briggs personality type. It's taking a long time, and I'm very busy, and still a little it's not done. I trolled facebook quickly for some material, and found this picture posted by a friend, which I though went nicely with the quote, which was posted by me.  

In case you're wondering where I found it - it was on Daniel Nester's facebook page. I have no idea where he got it. But he's very cool - you should totally check out his web site, and tell him I sent you.

I wonder if Nester watches Big Bang Theory? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pants on fire

Trust isn't an easy thing. We give it so freely when we're little, but over time, as more and more people prove they don't deserve it, our trust gets broken. The more broken it gets - the harder it is to give.

That's what makes it so awful when you think you're ready to trust again - and that person turns out not to be deserving. It sucks to find out that - once again - you messed up and trusted someone who turned out to be a liar. Then, of course, it is so easy to just blame yourself. "Well if I wasn't so stupid," or "What did I do to deserve this." The answer?

You're not, and you did nothing.

You're a good person; you had trust to give, so you did - because that's what good people do. If someone is dumb enough to not appreciate that, then he's the stupid one, not you.

People think that being a good liar makes you a smart person. The truth is, most of the time, there's nothing more difficult to understand than the truth. If you can figure that out - and then figure out how to share it - you're bound to be one of the smartest people you know.

There's nothing brave about a lie, either. The bravest people I know are those who are not afraid to admit they messed up; who are not afraid to say what they mean - and to mean what they say. It takes more guts to be honest than it ever could to tell a lie.

There's a reason why a liar's pants are usually on fire; he's running away from himself as fast as he can.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Movie Monday: Sex and the City

It's Sunday evening, and I have Chinese food for dinner. It's not especially unusual. I did have food here that I could have cooked (which is unusual) but I don't feel well, so I don't really feel like doing the work. So, I ordered myself some lo mein, and set about the task of looking for a movie to complete my takeout experience.

No movies on my very limited TV, and I didn't feel like anything from my netflix queue. So what's the next step? Well I have plenty of movies - but my go-to is always Sex and the City.

I've written before about how much I love this movie. I'm sure it sounds silly, or fake, because to most people, the whole SATC franchise is superficial and frivolous. It's all about over-priced clothes and shoes and sex, and other things that don't really tap into anyone's conscious.

You may be surprised to hear me say see me write that I don't necessarily disagree with that.

In fact - I never even liked the show. But when the movie came out in 2008, my marriage was just beginning to unravel. I was honestly afraid to be home, because I didn't want to be there alone. It was too much of a reminder of all that I was losing, and how little control I had over my own life.

So when my cousins invited me to the movies, I went. It didn't matter what the movie was - honestly, at that point in my life, I'd have probably gone on a fishing trip.

The thing is, if you look past the shoes and the clothes, you'll find the movie (especially this one) is really a story about one woman relying one her friends for strength in times when she needs it most. I suppose to see that, you really need to be in the right mindset - and that night, I was.

Now when I watch the movie, it reminds me that, no matter how weak or sad or vulnerable I might be feeling, I do have a place to go when I need to recharge, and get a boost of strength.

I think we all need that reminder now and then.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Five: Television

I've recently rediscovered television. Ironic, since I also recently canceled all but basic cable. Whatever. I still watch most of my TV via the internet, or on netflix DVD if I'm catching up with a series.

To celebrate my new (old?) fascination with mindless entertainment, I came up with five, fun TV-related questions for your Friday. Go ahead - you weren't working anyway.

Talk about a happy Friday.
1 - What is (currently) your favorite TV show? Toss up between Castle, Criminal Minds and Bones

2 - If you could be on any reality TV show (past or present) which one would it be? The Real World

3 - What TV character (not actor) would you most like to marry? Seeley Booth

4 - What TV mom would you most want for your own? Mrs. C from Happy Days

5 - What was your favorite TV show when you were a teenager? Beverly Hills, 90210

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grandmothers are magic

My paternal grandmother (Nanny) was a terrific grandmother. She always had candy and treats, she spoiled me with my favorite foods, she liked to take me out to lunch, and she taught me to love General Hospital.

She also stepped in to help my dad raise me, and was therefore a mom to me in a lot of ways. She taught me how to clean my room, to always say please and thank you, and to never wear white after Labor Day.

Nanny elevated being gracious to an art form. Some of my earliest memories are of me as a guest in other people's homes. I was taught to respect what isn't mine; in other words - hands off, no matter how shiny. I learned that, even if I didn't have to dishes at home, in someone else's house, I'd better roll up my sleeves. 

She definitely made it clear, as a kid, that these things were expected. But she also managed to get it through the thick head of an overly-privileged, spoiled little girl that it felt good to treat others with respect. She taught me that I'd feel better about myself treating my own stuff well - and treating others the same way. Don't ask me how she did that; clearly, she was magical. 

To this day, I do my best to be a gracious guest - even if I'm not technically a guest. There are plenty of homes that I visit on a semi-regular basis. Enough that those particular family and friends don't consider me "company."

But they're still helping me out - or at least putting up with me (which, I have on good authority, is not exactly easy). So, I do what I can; I never show up empty-handed, I say please and thank you, I accept whatever food they're offering - and I definitely always clean up after myself. 

I know people who don't do the same. Half-empty glasses of water (Some not even on coasters - eek!), dirty dishes and trash from their own cars laying around. Who does that? Who raised these people? How do they respect themselves, if they didn't even learn to respect others?! 

I guess that means this spoiled little kid was even luckier than she realized. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus Day

Man: Christopher Columbus never needed directions - and neither do I!

Woman: Yes, dear.  You do realize Columbus never actually got where he was going, right?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Time out

Ever have one of those days? All the little things go wrong, and then - just when you think you may have survived all those problems - you get one, gigantic kick in the teeth? To make matters worse - the kick came from someone you thought you could trust?

I did. I tried to write a post about it - but my anger kept coming out in my writing, and I couldn't make the post sound like anything other than pure venom. It happens. Be glad you're not him; and if you are him, be glad you're not standing in front of my car. [See what I mean?!]

So, rather than keep that up - I'm putting myself in a time out. I'll be back, when I can play nice with others.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Movie Monday: Drive

What could possibly go wrong?
This weekend's movie came down to Moneyball or Drive. Drive got my ticket dollars because Gosling > Pitt any day of the week.

Unfortunately, I don't think the same can be said for Drive > Moneyball.

Drive is supposed to be the story of a Hollywood stunt-driver who moonlights as a get-away driver. Sounded like a lot of chase scenes and action to me - sort of like the Fast and the Furious movies.

Those are not great movies. The stories are flimsy, the acting is sub-par and the directing is done solely for the purpose of fitting in the chase scenes. But at least those movies are not trying to be something they are not. There's no pretense; you expect chase scenes, fast cars, hot guys and scantily-clad women. The movies deliver.

Drive did not.

It tried too hard to be artsy. The choppy transition from scene to scene, the dark, grainy film, and even the minimal dialogue all wanted desperately to make some sort of statement, or teach a lesson, or send a profound message.

Just drive the car, man.

I wanted action and excitement and a few car crashes. I really didn't get much of that at all - though, about three quarters of the way through the movie, I did start getting some of the most bloody death scenes ever. I had to shut my eyes, so I can't describe any of them, but you've been warned.

The story, acting and direction were all fantastic. The editing was tough, and the story seemed to go on and on...and on and on. And even with all that effort - the movie never delivered the one thing I wanted.

So the bottom line? For a movie about a guy who drives super-fast, Drive took a long time to get where it was going.

* - Slightly better than Open Water

Oh - and if a movie is going to totally rely on Ryan Gosling, he should be shirtless. A lot.