Evolution and Jersey Shore

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It’s here. The final semester. The last time I will be a part of an undergraduate class. It’s a magical, magical feeling really. So thrilled am I at having almost completed my messy and obscure adventure through college, the usual first week of classes gloom has not set in. I’m okay with whatever projects you want to assign me, dear professor. I am not angered by your insisting I attend every class even though I am the one paying YOU to be here. You can’t bring me down! I even found myself walking around campus on this particularly lovely day with OneRepublic cheering up my brain, smiling to myself. It was a very peaceful and happy experience. Sure, there’s a big scary world on the other side that I’ll be forced to join in just a few short months. But that’s okay, because I am determined to enjoy this last semester’s worth of college life.

But enough about all that. One of my classes is about human evolution and sex. And it already occurs to me that while there are many ways in which evolution has shaped our mating practices and societal norms surrounding mating, there is one area in which we have defied all evolutionary sense. Monogamy. Strictly speaking, it is not really the most beneficial way to survive. Choosing just one person to be with forever and ever, through thick and thin, famine and disease, sickness and health. Well that’s just plain dumb. If your mate gets sick and can’t protect the family? If your mate gets hurt and can no longer bring home food for your survival? What if your mate cannot actually provide their half of the reproductive equation, and thus you cannot pass on your own amazing genetic material in the form of a new person? All because you promised you’d stay with this one person until you both die! Let’s face it, on top of our flagrant disregard for the environment and the existence of television shows like Jersey Shore, monogamy is just one more way humans have really struck out.

Now, arguably, once upon a time humans did not live nearly as long as we do now. In fact life expectancy was about half of what it is today. So, by the time you’d reached a reproductive age and then pop our your kids, you’re only around long enough to see half of them live, and if you’re lucky until they reach a reproductive age themselves and carry on the family line. On top of that, a lot more people died from disease, starvation, fatal accidents…it wasn’t pretty. So really there was only time to pick out and marry one other person, and before you got tired of each other or someone became invalid or infertile, you both died. Harsh, but true.

Now, we’re all living to 90 and there’s like 5 billion more of us out there. Literally. So not only has the mating “pool” gotten considerably larger and more diverse, but you can go ahead and have a kid or two with one person (and you should really stop before you hit five, because they’ll most likely all live now) raise those kids, get tired of each other, and go your separate ways to spend another 25-50 years with another mate! Seriously! We have A LOT of time on our hands now. What are the odds that you’re going to age and change in the same direction as the person you fell in love with when you were in college? I may sound cynical to you, but think about it. Out of 7 billion people in the world, you’re going to run into the “one” you belong with, and then continue to like them as a person for the next 65 years of your life? I have trouble grasping this concept.

That being said, I’m a big fat sap. I love a good romance. Who doesn’t hope the next great romance of the century is theirs? I do. All the time. But more importantly, I think it’s important that it feels like the GREATEST romance of the century to those involved. Whether it last two weeks or fifty years. Clearly reproduction is not a challenge we face as a species. So really, we should be enjoying the ride more. And if that means one romance must end to allow another to begin, so be it! You can only become the person your someone adores by having all of the previous experiences that made you that way. My point being, Monogamy is a good concept, but it doesn’t have to mean monogamous for all time. That is all.

 

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No, you cannot have turkey in July.

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Okay. After watching a documentary called “Bag It” about how much plastic we use, which by the way is WAY too much, I’ve hopped on my high horse (named Nesbit) and decided to resent everything I find ridiculous. I’m going to start with the Oscar Meyer commercials I’ve seen lately. For instance, Carving Board Turkey- the catchy line being, “you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving for the perfect Thanksgiving sandwich.”

YES. YOU DO HAVE TO WAIT. Thanksgiving comes once a year, in all of its turkey, cranberry, stuffing glory. You CANNOT have Thanksgiving turkey every day just because you want it. Nevermind that it totally undermines the anticipation of one of the greatest holidays ever. (Which I believe because I’m a fat kid who loves food, not because it celebrates the pilgrims showing up and totally ruining the Native Americans’ day/lives). But because we cannot keep going down the path of “I want it right now so I’m going to have it right now”. The internet is bad enough. Can we not preserve any of our traditions? I’m all for integrating new things into our lives, I’m not saying change is bad. We’ve always been a nation of multiple nationalities, the “melting pot”. Which is awesome. But trying to bring holiday favorites into our every day life is just absurd. Suck it up and wait for Thanksgiving. And maybe Christmas, as some people like a turkey dinner to celebrate Jesus. Whatever. But don’t be eating turkey sandwiches that taste like Thanksgiving in July! That is the month of hot dogs, burgers, and fireworks. I won’t EVEN get started on trying to eat locally, sustainable food, because I don’t think anyone is ready for that. Not to mention how hard it is to do without a LOT of people trying to do it together. I won’t lie, that kind of lifestyle is HARD. Especially if you’re straight college kid broke. But I do think it is an important part of conserving our planet. Along with reducing our waste. Which brings me to my next point.

Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE should check out Bagitmovie.com. The Bag It documentary is all about how much CRAP we are putting into the environment, especially plastic bags. (in 2009 we used 102 BILLION plastic bags in the United States alone!) and how our actions in fact do have consequences. For instance, if you don’t use a reusable water bottle (I am addicted to my CamelBak, check it out if you’re looking for a place to start) and you’re buying bottled water all the time, you suck. The amount of oil (oh yeah, making plastic requires A LOT of oil! I had no idea!) and energy it takes to make/ship those bottles is absurd, and on top of that many of them aren’t really recyclable plastic. They get sent to China for women to work for absurdly low wages in terrible conditions to sort them from other trash and them melt them down in chemically dangerous ways. Plastic is cool, and does some great things. But we do not need to use SO MUCH of it. Our instant gratification in getting designer water, snacks, jerky, whatever is ridiculous.

“Think about it, why would you make something that you’re going to use for a few minutes out of a material that’s basically going to last forever, and you’re just going to throw it away. What’s up with that?”

– Jeb Berrier

And COFFEE! Jeeze people, buy a travel mug in a vibrant color or funky animal print and REFILL IT. The coffeegivers of the world are generally happy to do it, and in fact, some smaller coffee shops give you a discount for doing so! Not to mention a travel mug won’t burn your hands or require extra cardboard to be able to hold it. Which is one more thing to throw away. AND it’s not just cardboard. Those cups are actually LINED with plastic. PLASTIC. It’s everywhere! So put your java mocha half calf no whip extra foam blabbity blah blah in a REUSABLE mug and save the planet already!

Anyway, baby steps. I am in no way saying I am a champion at eating/living environmentally sustainably. But I do have both a water bottle and a travel mug I pretty much always keep on me. I also have a sickness where everything I drink must be on ice and consumed via straw, and I can’t very well cross contaminate my water bottle with soda and juice. BUT they sell these fun reusable BPA-free plastic cups that look like fountain soda cups. They even come with straws! And then you can fill-er-up at any soda fountain you want! Sometimes you get a refill discount! It’s a win-win people. My next goal is to start bringing my own plastic containers to the grocery store to collect veggies, nuts, fruits, meat, fish etc so I’m not using so many silly PLASTIC BAGS to take my apples and chicken breasts home in. Attempting to totally weed out plastic from your life is hard, and time consuming, as most everything must then be made from scratch. But next time you’re buying meat, take that old tupperware container with you and get your meat from the meatgiver (or seafoodgiver) behind the glass case. Easy access when you get home, and they don’t waste any  paper/plastic wrapping up your stuff! Yes, it’s hard to remember, but if we all make the effort, we can make big changes! Every generation or so has their major challenge to overcome. War, Civil Rights, Economic Depression. I think it’s our turn to tackle this one- our population’s effects on the environment. As technology continues to make it possible to live life at a faster and faster pace, we’re consuming more things faster and faster. Which means throwing out things faster and faster. It’s gotta stop!

Alright. Nesbit is tired, and my proverbial butt is sore from our lengthy ride today. But don’t worry, I’ll be back in the saddle again soon.

What Else is Silly Putty Good For?

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It’s 2012! Alrighty. A new year. Twenty-Twelve. Two Thousand and Twelve Years.

…What? Two Thousand and Twelve? Shouldn’t we be further along by now? I know we’ve got social media down pretty good, what with the facebooking and the Googling and the ever popular #hashtagging. But why aren’t we driving hovercraft and fighting with light sabers? Where are the Willy Wonka style gumballs that taste like a four course meal? Where’s my vacation on the Moon? The best we’ve really managed to do is begin the ending of print media as we know it. With all these crazy Kindles and Nooks and ipads…Newspapers are definitely in for it. And books! I mean, I think books will always have their own charm and appeal, because they’re books. And lets face it, yes immediately downloading a new book you’ve been dying to read can be rewarding. But it’s not the same as making a special trip to the store, searching out the book you’ve been daydreaming about all week, pulling it off the shelf and hugging it like it was an old friend. True bibliophiles know what I mean, and I think there are more of us than anyone really knows. And as an author, where would the fun be in scrolling through Amazon to find your book, rather than going out to the bookstore to find it sitting up front, or in the “employee favorites” section? There’s no thrill in that! Picking it up, smelling the pages, having people ask you to sign it for them. No, I think books will maintain some of their original grandeur.

Newspapers though…they’re just like early social networking. What with the want-ads, the classifieds, the Op-Eds (Which by the way, surprisingly few of my peers understand the meaning of). Clipping out big stories or pictures, pasting them in a journal or a scrapbook to remember or show off to your friends. Newspapers were like the original craigslist/facebook/twitter. Just slower. And messier. I won’t miss the dirty newspaper fingers. But let’s face it, in order for media companies to keep up with technology and their customers, they’re going to have to publish electronically. Which pretty much all of them already do. I imagine cutting out the need for paper/ink would save companies some money. Plus, with everyone on their computers/phones/ipads/ etc ALL the time, news is just newsier online. We are instant gratification lushes, and waiting for the evening Newspaper is just not going to satisfy us.

So, as we ring in the new year, we should also begin saying our farewells to newspapers. I’m not saying I like it, but I am saying it seems inevitable. I’ll have to find other things to imprint on my silly putty.

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!

Finals Week!

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Finals Are Stupid.

Sounds good to me

Every college student knows this, because every college student has them. They usually sound something like this:

Please regurgitate everything you’ve learned over the past four months in a succinct 200 question test.

Please spend every waking hour of Finals week completing this Final Project with your Group members who will not call/email/text or Morse code you back until the night before it’s due with a bunch of complete crap. And yes, everyone’s grade will be worth equal weight, regardless of attitude/punctuality/hygiene habits.

Or, my personal favorite, please write an obnoxiously mundane paper anywhere from four to twenty pages on something vaguely relating in an obscure way to the course you’ve just completed. Please be sure to cite every article you’ve read in this course at least once. (This means you should have at least 40 sources.)

Don’t worry, I’ll get it done. All the while cursing the entire academic institution. It’s like having someone pay to torture you. Why in the world do we do this? Because guess what, at the end, you get a giant piece of paper. Okay well maybe it’s more like card stock, which is a bit more expensive than paper. And you’ll pay half of what you paid for tuition to have it framed professionally so you can hang it in your room/office/ bathroom and reflect on how much college sucked. And for the real loonies, you’ll go ahead and pay MORE money to get ANOTHER piece of paper saying you’ve done work akin to two years of virtually constant finals and ended up with a Master’s Degree.

Why don’t you get to be called a Master after you do that? If you’re talking about your academic credentials, you always say, “ah yes, I’ve got a Master’s degree in Astrophysics”. Why don’t you get to say, “ah yes, I’m a master of astrophysics” ? That would make the whole process WAY cooler. You get to be a Doctor after you get a Doctorate, why not a Master after getting a Master’s? Maybe they’re afraid people will want to be Masters of bad things. But it’s not like you can major in the Universe, or Bank Fraud, or Jewel Heists. (and if I’m incorrect in this, please do correct me. I’d like to be a Master of Witty Comebacks) so there’s not a lot of danger. I say we start a movement. An overhaul of academia! Let’s be MASTERS OF THINGS!

Anyway. Good Luck to those with finals. To those who have graduated- please feel free to revel in our pain. I fully intend to do the same once I too have graduated. I’ve made friends younger than me specifically for this purpose.

Cars Are Stupid

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Get the $!%* out of my %*#@ing way

I don’t want a car anymore.

Seriously. I’m tired of driving. Even though I’ve never loved driving as much as I do now after mastering the art of driving stick, I don’t want to any more.

Well, okay. Maybe it’s not driving. Maybe it’s commuting. I don’t like commuting, and I’m tired of living in a place that pretty much requires everyone to do so. And I don’t mean a 30-45 minute commute. I mean at least an hour and for a lot of people an hour and 30 plus. That’s not even me, I’m in the 45-60 minute range, and I still hate it. It doesn’t help that me and my awesome manual car like to speed, all the time, and the people who constantly find themselves in the left lane going under the speed limit make me want to throw  balloons full of curdled milk at them. Or that many people don’t feel the need to use turn signals to switch lanes. Or to check the lane next to them before switching lanes sans signal. And then there’s everyone’s favorite- the construction that’s been going on so long you can’t remember what it was like before it started. The random lane closures, the rubbernecking drivers who are overly curious about what those men in hardhats are doing.  But hey, that’s a part of driving around here right? Everyone knows that. So here’s the question- why do we allow it people?! Everyone knows the drivers I’m speaking of, and everyone has their own stories to tell from countless hours logged commuting. WHY do we stand for this absurdity? WHY?!

Not trying to incite a riot here, just wondering. Anyway, instead of trying to stick it to the man, or whomever, I’m just going to leave. That’s right, I’m out of here. No more nutty traffic. No more nutty construction. No more Airport traffic! I will remove myself from the equation. In like six months when I’ve saved some money and finished school. I will remove myself from the equation all together. Problem solved.

It will leave me with a lot of balloons full of old dairy products though, should anyone have a use for them.

Also- were there traffic jams when everyone rode horses? If we still rode horses, would there be traffic jams? Well it would probably solve some construction issues as I’m pretty sure Horses shouldn’t walk on concrete for long periods of time. Just wondering.

Beware the Black Friday

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Don't let their smiles fool you. They're probably armed, and definitely dangerous.

Thank goodness. It’s over. The dreaded Black Friday has come and gone. I’m sure some of you out there went and braved the human retail storm at obnoxious hours, but I’m not ashamed to say that I try very hard to stay home on this day. Yes zombies are scary. The boogie monster probably does really live under my bed, even though I don’t even have an under to my bed. (It’s an inflatable mattress) And don’t even get me started on aliens. I fear a lot of rational things. But most of all, I am afraid of holiday bargain shoppers. You might think I’m just being silly, but if you haven’t heard the horror stories that come out every year then you’re only endangering yourself. This year was particularly good, though I haven’t heard of anyone dying so it didn’t trump last year. Some of the scariest stories include:

  • A woman pepper sprayed her fellow shoppers in order to more quickly obtain an Xbox. Sure, it’s easier to get where you want to go if everyone around you is choking and/or writhing in pain. But seriously lady, it’s a video game console. They’re not even that expensive. But thanks to you, Little Jimmy will now have the console of his dreams, which he must have really earned. Or perhaps he tortured you singing the song that never ends for the last week, and promised to stop only if you brought him this Xbox. Fair enough. But in that case, I’d have brought a taser.
  • A man was shot by robbers who were attempting to rob him and a few other men while they were walking to their cars with their Christmas purchases. The robbers must have missed the memo that Black Friday makes people crazier than a full moon. These guys were not about to be robbed of the goods they just spent hours in line waiting to get. Sure one of them got shot, but he’s fine and the rest of them managed to hold down one of the felons until the police arrived. Memo to all potential hooligans- Black Friday is NOT the day to plot your heist. People be crazy.

Nothing riles up the American Spirit like 20 dollars off a PlayStation! Seriously though, while we’re pepper spraying each other for toys, Egyptian citizens are faced with violent protests in an attempt to, ya know, gain some semblance of civil rights in their country? But that’s okay, nothing as important as getting that discounted plasma television.

Seriously people, just remember: Black Friday shoppers are not rational, caring or sensible human beings. They are retail retards possessed by the marginally discounted merchandise spirit. BEWARE.

Bread and Buttah’

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Is that a hunky hunk of bread or what?

I think it’s safe to say that bread and butter is the best combination ever. I know that peanut butter and jelly are pretty infamous, and I won’t even go into milk and cookies. But c’mon, it probably all originated with bread and butter anyway. Crusty, hot, fresh bread with a giant slab of churned butter is probably what God had in mind when he created Wheat. And cows. And there are just so many possibilities to bread and butter. First of all, you can put all kinds of stuff in bread. Cheese, fruit, herbs, olives, sugar…and it’s all still awesomely carbohydrate-tastic bread. And butter…you can totally flavor butter. Not to mention all the other kinds of butter than have since evolved: apple butter, peanut butter, almond butter, nutella…they’re all FANTASTIC on bread.

I realize this is only one gal’s opinion. But I’m pretty sure I’m right. There’s a reason the saying “my bread and butter” was coined to describe one’s means of subsistence. Aside from being what everyone ate, thus what everyone bought with their hard earned money. Because people knew that bread and butter are a tried-and-true duo that are easy to get and never let you down.

Thus, baking should really be a more revered art. I feel that we have strayed from the simple pleasure that is bread and butter, not to mention the crazy science that goes into making a good loaf of bread. In this way it really only makes sense for me to acquire amazing bread making skills and spend the rest of my life eating delicious bread and butter. It’s definitely the thing I’d choose if I happened into one of those crazy alternate universes where I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life. I actually kind of wish I really could only eat bread and butter for the rest of my life. Sure it’d get kind of boring, but like I mentioned you can get creative. You can probably even find a way to make bacon bread. Or bacon butter! That’s definitely going on the to-do list. I could really go for some bread and butter. It may have something to do with the fact I have not yet eaten lunch today however. But I’m pretty sure that even after I eat my salad, I’ll be pining for a crusty hunk of bread and a generous dollop of creamy, salty, delicious butter.

Also, I have found kindred bacon-loving souls in the good people at Archie McPhee

Happy Birthday to Me!

Bacon Floss

I'm not sure how it'd be with mint, but don't worry. They have bacon toothpaste too!

Check out ArchieMcPhee.com for more bacon awesomeness.