Don’t Come a Knockin’ When…the Apartment’s A-Rockin?

Apparently there is some kind of winter vortex making it’s way through the central and eastern parts of the country this winter.

I swear, every time I log in to social media, I see nothing but posts of pictures of mountains of blackening snow, people complaining about the frigid temperatures freezing off their faces, and that one psychotic friend that’s basking in the weather and praying for more flurries.

No one likes that guy.

This winter has been harsh for most, but not so in sunny Southern California. Granted, we had three days of some pretty heavy rain which translates into a blizzard for us so close to the border. Lots of car accidents, people fretting about the precipitation, and even more dressed inappropriately. Basically them same thing as a blizzard, you guys.

We also have a little somthin’ somethin’ that many other states aren’t privileged to experience: EARTHQUAKES.

I’m not a huge fan of natural disasters. You won’t find me chasing tornadoes or going surfing during a Hurricane. The difference between those events and an earthquake is that you can sometimes receive a warning with the former, and you can prepare or evacuate with the latter.

Earthquakes, however, are the original honey badger of mother nature’s children. They just don’t give a shit.

No warning, no heads up, no nothing.

I’ve been in several Earthquakes since moving to LA almost two years ago (wow, time flies) but I’ve actually not been completely conscious for most of them. The previous three I’ve been in have all happened during the night. Twice, I thought I was dreaming. Another time I remember drowsily wondering why the boat I was on was rocking so much. Then I woke up and realized I wasn’t on a boat. Those earthquakes were mild and over relatively quickly.

Different story with St. Patrick’s Day 2014.

I was up at the crack of dawn getting ready to depart for work. I was showered and dressed and sitting on the edge of the bed debating if stopping for doughnuts at Krispy Kreme 4 days in a row was socially acceptable.

All of a sudden, my bed starts to move and a deep rumbling sounds.

“My! That’s a loud and heavy garbage truck,” I mused to myself.

“Oh. Wait. It’s not trash day.”

Then I realize that it’s not just my bed but my entire apartment that’s rocking. Then the banging sounds begin. My stomach jumps up into my throat as I spring out of bed. I stand stock still for a moment before remembering that my elementary school teacher mentioned that West Coast kids have to stand in doorways when an Earthquake happens. I run to the nearest doorway and clutch the sides until my fingers pale with the force of my grip.

I fervently pray that the shaking ends soon. It’s situations like this that my Catholic heritage subconsciously reappears and the Hail Mary’s burst forth through my mouth like water through a broken dam.

In reality, it’s less than a minute in total, but when you’re wondering if the ceiling will drop on your head, it feels like an eternity. When it finally stops, my body is tingling with the adrenaline rushing through it. I begin pacing my apartment, expecting aftershocks, and eventually decide to grab my things and go.

I check social media and all of my usually late-sleeping Angeleno friends were rocked out of their beds, as well. That’s human kind’s new response to things. Check in on Facebook to make sure you’re not insane.

I haven’t felt fear like that many times in my life and being on the 4th floor doesn’t give me much security when the thought of the building collapsing is on the forefront of my mind.

The quake was originally designated a 4.7 but was downgraded to a 4.4 which I think is the worst possible outcome. Demoting an Earthquake is just going to provoke it into coming back harder and stronger next time.

Good job, U.S. Geological Survey.

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The Perilous Life of the Young and Politically Moderate

I’m part of a rare breed in this country– a subset of people so difficult to smoke out that most just assume we don’t exist.

The under 30 politically moderate.

Unaffiliated with any party, never having voted straight-ticket in our lives, not in the least bit apathetic, and willing to see that the right and the left make valid arguments and all should be heard.

This also comes with the burden of never having a candidate that entirely serves our needs since we like to extend a hand to both sides of the aisle (womp womp).

I think this  particular crop of young people are vastly more politically polarized than some of our elder counterparts. We’ve been fed the mantra that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” and “go big or go home” so it makes sense that most gravitate toward one extreme or the other. Each envisions a Utopia that is an exact match with their party’s tenants and leave little room for middle ground.

I’ve noticed with posting several of my opinions here and on other social media outlets, that my views leave me susceptible to backlash from…well…everyone.

Sometimes I’ll post a topic that will rile up my Dem friends and other times my Repub pals will feel slighted by my opinion. Never experienced this awkward phenomenon? Here’s a minuscule sampling of how my beliefs are ofttimes dissected:

Dem Pals: How are you ok with people owning any guns?! Guns kill people, you know. 

Repub Buds: Why are you so afraid of handling a gun? What do you mean we need to consider reforming gun ownership laws? People kill people, you know. 

 

D: How can you like Miley Cyrus/Beyonce/etc? Their particular displays of nudity and performances are so incredibly anti-feminist as compared to other displays of female-positive nudity (which are totally legit). They aren’t good role models for girls!

R: How can you like Miley Cyrus/Beyonce/etc? Their particular displays of nudity and performances are vulgar and their lyrics are obscene. Someone should tell them to cover up! They aren’t good role models for girls!

 

D: Seriously?! You’re ok with religious organizations not being forced to uphold marriage equality by refusing to marry gays in their church? And denying employment in their schools to gays? How can you be ok with that [and don’t cite the fact that the KKK can refuse non-whites admission in their organization, that doesn’t count] FREEDOM FROM RELIGION. 

R: Why are you supporting the government in allowing gay marriage? The Bible says that it’s a sin and it’s not ok! This country was founded by Christian men [and don’t give me any lip about most of them being Unitarian/Secular Humanists–that doesn’t count!] FREEDOM OF RELIGION. 

 

D: You know the death penalty is killing an actual person even if they are guilty, right?

R: You know abortion is killing an actual innocent person, right?

 

D: How can you even hold an intelligent conversation with a Republican, let alone be their friend?

R: Why bother with the liberals? They’re just as intolerant as they accuse us of being. 

 

D: You’re just wishy washy–read more articles written by other liberals and you’ll agree with me. You can’t straddle the line forever. 

R: You’ll come around to my way of thinking, eventually.  You can’t straddle the line forever.

 

D: I feel like I don’t even know you. 

R: I feel like I don’t even know you.

 

Sometimes I think I stand in the middle of the divide simply because of the fact that I absolutely hate people telling me how I should feel/live/be if I want to be a “good American” [and we get that daily from both CNN and Fox News].

Stubbornness as motivation to be a political centrist–that has to be new.

It’s a precarious position to be in, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. At times walking the tightrope between right and left is frustrating, sometimes it’s the “brink” of a friendship that leads to a “de-friending” (usually on their part), but it’s always exciting.

 

 

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A Lesson in Language and Cookies

I’ve noticed, lately, that I have a few (read: many) friends on Facebook that consider themselves “Grammar Nazis”. Horrible references to one of the most destructive and disgusting political parties aside, these people drive me insane. If I miss a comma or accidentally replace “your” with “you’re”, it seems as if my post is completely negated. Instead of commenting on the content, my little Word Wizard pals will comment on the construction of my sentences.

In a forum where my status updates are competing with a myriad of cat photos and Sponge Bob Memes, I’d think it’d be safe to make a few grammatical errors here and there.

Which got me to thinkin’.

Which, if you know me, can be dangerous.

No danger, here, though, because I recalled a blog written by The Wonderful Joe Kessler, Ph.D. student, University at Buffalo, Linguistics.  He’s someone I follow on Twitter and also happen to know personally. Give that link a click and you’ll be directed to his Tumblr which has saved me from internet boredom more than once.

Over on Joe’s Linguistics Blog, I saw a post that instantly piqued my interest. As an English major I, of course, love words but even more than that, I love COOKIES.

This post had both. And it also validated my feelings re: language and the liberties that I often take with it:

“Imagine you have a favorite recipe for making cookies. You learned it from your grandmother, and you have always made cookies this way. You think they’re the best dessert in the world, and people regularly compliment you on them when you bring them to parties. You understandably take great pride in your baking — but would you insult someone else’s cookies, or denounce their recipe as illegitimate?

One hopes the answer would be no, but people take this attitude towards other people’s language every single day. As I’ve argued before, anything that someone says or writes on purpose is a correct use of language, just like every cookie recipe out there is a correct use of baking. Unfortunately, some uses of language are often considered incorrect, and I think there are two main reasons for that.”

Do yourself a favor and click over to his page and read this post in its entirety. And if you are a member of the group that I mentioned above, do me a favor and step off of my prose, son!

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