Friday, September 21, 2012

I don't even know about this

I think newspapers are dying. Or at least the old people who read them front to back are getting...old. Like, the bad kind of old. Where they might not renew their subscription for another year-old. Doesn't that sound absolutely terrifying? If I haven't terrified you already, read that first sentence again. Newspapers are DYING.

Now, I don't really read the newspaper. I work at the newspaper but I don't want to spend time reading it. Partially because there is nothing interesting going on in my city and also because I don't want to read the product of where I work. I'm rude and hateful like that. But I would totally read the paper if they had some interesting stuff in it. Our reporters, for example, are all old. They have been there forever and some of them aren't too good with computers. In fact, there is some major event with a computer every dang day I'm there. I'd help them fix it but they dislike me because a) I'm young and b) they think I'm trying to steal their job. I'm really, really not. I don't want their job. Writing about who said what boring thing at a boring town meeting is not my idea of a great job.

I would rather do obituaries than write about a town hall meeting. Seriously. The dead people are probably way more lively than the town hall folks.

There was one reason I looked at the newspaper the other week. There was an awesome sales ad that I thought was worth reading.

Super shit indeed.

The blog I picked our for perusal is Confessions of a Cornfed Girl and now you can go enjoy it, read it, eat some corn, look at cows, and then go back to reading. It's funny and I'm not even drunk. So trust me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I have learned about obituaries

Since I started working for the newspaper in the obituary department I have learned a few things in my time there. Most of them are horribly unhappy and are the reason I drink Mikes Harder Lemonade at night, but some of them are just...strange. And a little humorous. Now, I know most people don't really have to deal with this kind of stuff on a daily basis. But when you do and when you're trying anything not to get depressed about some of this, you laugh. So, here are some of the great things I have learned about since starting this job.

- Sometimes old women go get glamor shots taken before they pass away to use specifically for their obituary. I'm serious. There seems to be at least one a week with the woman in huge costume jewelry looking fairly unhappy to be there. I would rethink this option.

- People who work at funeral homes are mostly old and are so used to working with death that none of them can really interact with us - the living. Or so that's how it is at my paper. I have to battle with these directors on a daily basis about price, time, length, and everything else you can think of. I'm okay with them telling me I'm a moron because at least I DON'T smell like formaldehyde. Hah.

- Families will sometimes use the old military pictures of the deceased men. Oddly enough, those old school pictures of these brave men getting ready to go off to battle are pretty hot. We obituary ladies sometimes judge the men of the day on a scale of how cute they were back then. I like to think the winners are proud.

- If I'm doing the obituary of a child or a young person, I take extra time in looking over everything just so it's perfect. You can bet if you just lost your child that the obituary will be looked over by everyone in our department and perfected.

- The worst obituaries are the ones where I have to read five paragraphs about how great someone was in the community and how many awards they won. To me, personally, a paragraph about that is sufficient. Maybe even two. But if I have to read three pages of how you were a board member of every friggin company in the area, I will curse you for having left me with this crap to sort out. I want to read about YOU. About your family. The obituaries that go like this are also the obituaries that list the family members in a single paragraph with no mention of how much they loved their family.

- If you've been married before to the love of your life and she/he dies? It's probably a mistake to then list your current husband/wife as just 'the second wife' and nothing else. That totally makes them happy.

- Also, I love when people list their pets. It's awesome. They always make it extra-special. Those are some of my favorite obituaries.

- Reading obituaries all day long can give you that 'second change' feeling a lot. I mean, I have to read about these women losing their husbands, some of them really young, and it makes me appreciate who I have. When I talk to my guy - I make it meaningful. Sure, I still do some meaningless stuff, but more often now I do things that matter. I take more mental pictures than I used to. It's funny how much that kinda stuff can change ya.

There are more but it's late and I'm a bit tired. So I will save the rest for another part. I don't have a blog today to post because of how busy it has been around here. But another one will come soon. Until then, go read an obituary and get psyched for your second chance.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Shakespeare is not dry! - Dr. Noel Kinnamon

Mom says when it rains, it pours. A lot of other people say that too. Like, my mom didn't come up with that saying or anything. She does know a lot of sayings, though. I made a post the other day about my grandmother that was pretty damn depressing. Now today, I have to make another of those posts. So if you're looking for something happy and's not today.

This post is going to be dedicated to my professor from college, Dr. Noel Kinnamon. He passed away yesterday. He was my (very) patient adviser, teacher, mentor, and friend.

THE Dr. Noel Kinnamon

Dr. Kinnamon taught at my college for 44 years before retiring the year after I graduated. I remember when I first came to Mars Hill College, I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I knew I wanted to pursue English but I wasn't exactly sure how to get into the program. Luckily another professor led me to his office and introduced me to Dr. Kinnamon - he would be my adviser for the next four years. I came to him when I was having trouble with classes, when I didn't know which professor to take, when my papers weren't coming out exactly right, when I had a Shakespeare-related debate to settle and when my final Senior project was due and I was slowly disintegrating into a puddle of tears over public speaking and my topic.

Dr. Kinnamon never got frazzled. Even when five of us were lined up outside his door vying for his attention. Not when I made him explain a theory to me five times (which happened more than once) and not even when my classmate told him she thought Shakespeare was dry during our class. He just laughed and told her directly that he wasn't dry! We just misunderstood him. During that class we spend the majority of our time editing old psalms, learning more about Shakespeare and forgetting all our preconceived notions of how to read a psalm and anything about Shakespeare.

I am not a big fan of Shakespeare. During college, I was way more interested in Byron and Blake. My eyes kinda glazed over anytime Shakespeare came up. Then, I had to take a Shakespeare class with Dr. Kinnamon. A lot of us were short on one of our requirements, which was only given every two or so years, and thankfully his class would be able to cover that requirement. He saved us from being up crap-creek.

His class was hard. Dr. Kinnamon was one of the most intelligent men I have ever met in my life, and probably one of the most I will ever have the privilege of knowing. So, being in his class, was like trying to bat like Babe front of Babe Ruth. But Dr. Kinnamon never made us feel stupid. Instead...he inspired us. If we said we didn't like Shakespeare, he made us explain why. And then he took apart our argument and put it back together in a way that let us understand that maybe, just maybe, we didn't hate Shakespeare. We just didn't understand him.

For the next semester I learned that I didn't hate Shakespeare. I didn't even really dislike Shakespeare. In fact, I really did enjoy some of his stuff. To this day I can recall the things I like and what I don't. That's all thanks to Dr. Kinnamon.

He helped me get through college. He made sure I was in the right classes and on the right path. He looked over my papers and gave me honest feedback. He encouraged me when he knew I needed it and challenged me if he sensed I was in a rut, or falling into one.

If you Google Dr. Noel Kinnamon you'll find a list of books he has written and also helped write. He was a research giant. Going to England and scouring old libraries and places for works that have been lost in time. That's the kind of thing he loved. In his retirement, I think he planned on doing just that for the rest of his life. Devoting himself to the one thing which made him the happiest. And I really wish he could still be here doing that.

It was an honor and a privilege to know him. That I get to be a student of his is something worth bragging about. I've heard from a few of my classmates and they share the exact same sentiment as I do. I know the other professors in the English department have lost a close friend and co-worker, not to mention a mentor. They knew him far longer than I did and I feel sorry for them as well.

Dr. Noel Kinnamon was a giant. Both in his field, in the lives of his students and in the community of Mars Hill College. Our community. I am going to miss him dearly. His impact on me during my tenure there is reflected in what I do each day. How I write and how I work. For that reason...he isn't really gone. He's alive in well in each student he taught, book he wrote and helped on, mind he changed about Shakespeare...he's alive and well. I will continue to treasure what I took from my time as a student of his, along with the other professors in the English department, and inject them in my daily life.

You were one hell of a man, Dr. Kinnamon. I'll miss you and I'll never forget all you did for me. I'm sure you're up there chatting with Shakespeare and having tea with Mary Sidney Herbert. So don't worry about your pupils down here. We'll be just fine thanks in part to you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Not quite what I had in mind to post

Well, I had planned on a post about why my computer at work keeps changing the name of a town to Fuquay-Vagina with a picture to accompany the text...but life kind of has a funny way of switching your thoughts from spell checking Vagina to family troubles.

For several years now my grandmother has had Alzheimer's. She's been living in a home because, as much as we wanted to keep her home, she wouldn't allow us to help her with medicine or check in on her. My parents moved her over to her own house about 7 years ago. Right beside us. My dad wanted his mother closer to him so he could spend more time with her and keep an eye on her as far as mowing the yard and taking care of her money went.

Now, she's getting into the last few days of her life I think. And I'm not the best in the reaction department when people close to me die. When my grandpa died, I cried immediately and then went into my room and watched Will and Grace and scrubs. Then made a sandwich. I absolutely loved my grandpa. He was the most awesome old guy around. He whistled 'Jingle Bells' all year long, had the scariest sneeze I have ever heard in my life, and didn't freak out when I showed him my tattoo. I miss him like hell, but I think my reaction button is broken.

So, tomorrow I'll go visit my grandma, probably for the last time, and I know I'll be sad. As I'm writing this, I don't know, I'm not crying or anything. And The Office is in the background. I know I write obituaries for the newspaper and I'm clearly aware lots of people die on a daily basis, and family members are in that group, but I don't know. I guess I think that my family members are different from this group. I don't know if that makes any sense at all. I may or may not have several Hard Lemonades during this session.

This is turning out to be quite the depressing post, huh? My next post should probably be about my great-aunt and great-uncle. They died within a few hours of each other and were in love since they were kids. I loved them too. And it's really a nice story. Except it involves two people I love...dying.

Wow. You should probably not read this and just go read another blog. I promise I will tell the story about the Fuquay-Vagina one day.

Until then, you should call your grandma and tell her she is kickass. I'm going to tell me grandma that tomorrow...because she truly is.

My blog for this post belongs to Mommy Shorts I am not a mommy, on the verge of being a mommy, and sometimes kids hate my face. I am too young and immature to try and keep another person alive. But! Sometimes I like to read about what I get to look forward to. Every horrifying moment of it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why I need a steward AND a bard

I play video games a lot.

When I was two my parents got the original NES for Christmas for themselves. Or maybe for us. I think it was one of those things where they secretly got it for us but then figured they would end up playing it. Sadly, neither of them could really understand how to get Mario Golf to work the right way. Lucky for my parents they had an awesome baby who toddled her way over to the game system, sat down, and went to work on beating every single game they had.

One of the best memories of being with my mom are when, in the mornings after my dad had left for work and my sisters went off to school for the day, we would go in my room where the NES was and she would play Super Mario with me. I'd be Mario and she would be Luigi. When we got to the sewer level (for those who remember this) she would always die and I would keep playing and showing her how to get around the different obstacles. I'm sure she was really bored during all of this but she listened to everything I said. Even if it was probably mostly gibberish.

To this day I still love video games. I used to play against the guys in college and win. When my sisters and I tried playing together, I always won and then someone ended up in tears of trying to knock the controller out of my hands. When I get in the car to's still like a video game to me. Not that I figure I can sideswipe a building and still survive, but staying on the road and not, ya know, getting hit.

Which leads me to Skyrim. For anyone who doesn't play video games you should skip this post. Go back and read other posts. Or go find a blog that makes sense. There's bound to be one out there. This is definitely not one of those blogs.

Skyrim is amazing. Google it if you don't believe me. The latest addition to the game allows the player to build their own house, hire someone to look after it, move in their family, adopt kids, and even plant...plants. Potatoes, I guess. Or weed. Possibly weed.

I lazily hired a steward to decorate my house because I didn't want to bother collecting supplies and building the different furnishings. So what did my steward do? I paid him a little money to go get the stuff and he decorates my entire house perfectly. Perfect trophy room, perfect bedroom, perfect kitchen and perfect everything. It was amazing. Anything I could think that I would have wanted, he made it happen. It's like he knew exactly what I wanted and just went ahead and did it all for me so I wouldn't have to lift a finger and I could focus on killing dragons. In addition to this, I hired a bard who pretty much just wanders around and plays music when I ask.

Could you imagine having this in real life? If you're on the crapper and you need some theme music, your bard is there with his lute. Spicing up the chores of laundry and dusting with some harp jams? Hell yes. As for a steward, imaging coming home from the grocery store and he puts everything away. In the right places, even. He will find you whatever you want and then go across the world to get it for you in a matter of days. Plus, he's hot. And fights off bandits. But actually does stuff for you.

A steward would really add to my life. I'd probably be much happier and healthier. I could just sit in bed, watching The Office, and let him go to work on making my house perfect. I need to look into this.

My blog for the day is Stories About My Underpants. It's great and hilarious. Plus the website is pretty. That's not the best description ever but I have to get back to killing dragons.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Walt Disney probably didn't mean for it to be this way

Every so often my family has a Taco night. My dad is part Mexican so he learned how to make this kind of food from his grandma and other family members. We usually have it when there's a birthday in the family or we just feel like a party needs to be thrown. These are some of my favorite days.

Last week we had a Taco night and it was great. All my sisters were over and after the meal we played Clue. I voted for Monopoly because I LOVE Monopoly. My family will never play it with me. Last time we did, my mom cheated so it would end sooner. So I've grown to love Clue. Only the girls play Clue, so my three sisters and my mom all got around the dining room table and got our Clue on.

While we were playing my mom brought up a point after a commercial on TV. The Disney commercials. With all the kids laughing and smiling and having a shit fit while a princess bends down to take pictures with them. The parents are all smiles and the entire scene is perfect. Except when you grow up in a working class family and see those commercials...your parents feel like the worst people in the world. Now that I'm older I can see that. When you have four daughters who love Disney movies and the characters in them, and you know you could never take them, it's kind of like a tiny stab. And I hate that. Funny thing is - even when I was little I never, ever wanted to go there.

I wasn't a huge fan of crowds when I was little. Even at an older age, I cried anytime they took me to the mall to see Santa or the Easter Bunny. I hate rides of any kind except for the Antique Cars I went on once with my mother. They were just old cars on a track going very slowly with no chance of an accident of any kind. Taking four young girls to a place like that seems like a really bad time. Not the magical time Walt Disney probably had in mind.

Even now I can't imagine I would ever take my child there. Not because I wouldn't want them to enjoy the magic of Disney or seeing people dressed up, but because I feel like there's a lot more to see besides that. Better places. I want them to be able to say that their parents were pretty fucking awesome despite not having been able to take them to that magical place. Like I'm able to say to my parents.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I can keep myself busy for a long time with Stokes bird guide

There's a lot of bird feeders in our back yard. My family spent years and years moving it around and trying to position it the right way so the squirrels wouldn't find their way onto them. We live back in the woods like the Deliverance cast a lot of country people do, so no matter when you position a feeder...something is bound to get up there on it. One evening our cat went bat-shit crazy and tried to claw the sliding door to pieces. It faces the back where the feeders are standing. I figured maybe it was some sort of woodland animal coming to try and find some seeds on the ground to munch on.

Except when I pulled back to curtains there was a hugefuckingmongus raccoon sitting on the trashcan my mom kept her seed in, the trashcan lid in its hand, happily sucking down some seed. My first instinct was to dive out into the backyard and scare the raccoon away. Which I did. And you think a wild animal would be scared of hundred pound girl with huge hair clapping at him. Naw. It just sat there watching me. Wtf, raccoons? I'm sure the only reason it eventually left was because my yelling was giving it indigestion.

Either way - the feeders are MEANT for the birds. Not raccoons. Not squirrels. Not the obese doves that fall off the feeders because their weight nearly drags the whole feeder down. Birds.

While flipping through the book my mom got to tell her all about the different birds in our area, I found a really awesome bird name. If you don't have the humor level of a young can skip this part and move on.

It's a Bushtit! It's very majestic despite its full bush.

I'm sure there are a ton of funny bird names but I saw this one and thought it needed to be on this blog. Since I have to write up stories about dead people tomorrow while everyone else is enjoying their holiday...I figure looking back at the Bushtit will keep my spirits high.