Friday, December 28, 2012

Crafty Schmafty - Ice Cream Box

I'm a big fan of making things that bring family and friends together for fun times. I recently made my nephews an ice cream box. My nephews live about 4.5 hours away from me so I don't get to see them as much as I would like. Right before Christmas I found an idea on Pinterest to send them a treat in a box.

It started out with a shoe box, well a bigger than normal shoe box:

I lined it with tissue paper to make it pretty, but also to hold all the bubble wrap in it for shipping:

To add some homely touches to it, I poured the toppings (pineapple and hot fudge) into jelly mason jars: 

I crushed up butter fingers and put them in a baggie:

I crushed up cookies and put them in a baggie: ** note** I used cheap oreos, don't do this... they were not nearly as good as the real thing**

I bought a box of nerds and added them to a baggie.... because really, what kid doesn't like Nerds?

I then added it all to my box and wrote personal sentiments on the inside and outside of the package. I also added sugar waffle bowls, and a package of cones. All they had to do was add ice cream. 

2 small Mason jars
3 snack size baggies
1 shoe box

1 jar of hot fudge
1 jar of pineapple topping
1 package of 5 sugar waffle bowls
1 package of 5 cones
6 Oreo cookies
6 bite size Butter Fingers
1 medium size box of Nerds

Just add ice cream and enjoy!

Miss Amanda Hugnkiss

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.”
~ Dalai Lama

We can’t live in this world and watch our fellow humans and animals struggle without trying to help them… or at least I can’t. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in need, or to just be kind to people and animals. A kind word or a kind deed can be the one small act that a person needs to help them through their own personal battle. Please practice random acts of kindness to strangers and the people that you cherish all year long, not just during the holiday season. You might be the only bright light in their life at the moment. If you need some ideas, here is a list of things to start with:

  •  Buy a homeless person lunch… or shoes, or a warm jacket, or coffee, whatever you can afford

  •  Leave a $1 on a vending machine with a note saying “this snacks on me”

  •  Donate snacks/toys/play time to your local animal shelter

  •  Leave a hand written note in someone’s mailbox telling them to have a great day or that you think they are awesome.

  •  Pay for someone’s gas at the gas pump if they need assistance

  •  Smile and say hello to strangers

  •  Send a friend a letter via snail mail with kind words and encouragement

  •  Donate your time to organizations like the Arctic League that go out into the community and provide for people in need

  •  Be brave and speak up against hate and intolerance

  •  Adopt an abandoned animal… Welcome to Amanda’s zoo:  2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 birds, 19 fish

  •  Visit with your elderly neighbors and talk with them, help them with chores

  •  Compliment a stranger

  •  Every time you go to the grocery store, pick up a couple extra items to donate to the food bank

  •  Pick up trash when you see it, even if it isn’t yours.

  •  Open the door for a stranger, and let them walk in first

  •  Say thank you to the janitor that empties your trash can at work

  •  Talk to someone who looks lonely

  •  Feed the stray cats in your neighborhood… capture them and have them fixed if you can afford it to help reduce the numbers of homeless animals. Many vets will offer you a deal on this.

  •  Be kind to the earth: turn off lights, take shorter showers, ride your bike more, don’t waste food, recycle etc.

  •  Share your umbrella in the rain with a stranger

  •  Eat locally at restaurants that are not chains

  •  Collect coats to donate

  • Distribute hand warmers and wool socks to the homeless in January/February/March when the  need is still there but the holiday season is over and people are stingy again

  •  Practice random acts of kindness anonymously so that we can help to restore faith in humanity. By doing it anonymously it shows people that you are doing it to be kind, not for recognition.

The media will have us believe that we live in an increasingly violent and cruel world (to boost ratings, increase fear, etc.) but I’d like to believe that the human race is not as violent and evil as they would have us believe. The media for some reason just tends to focus on the negative rather than the positive.

Choose kindness. Be kind to everyone, not just the people you think “deserve” it. Everyone deserves to be treated equally, with kindness, respect, and compassion.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why Does Everything Have to Have a Title?

Hello kiddos, I hope all is well during this holiday season with you all... all 110 readers that I have and cherish. 

I was reading the news yesterday about the school shooting that happened recently in Connecticut and I couldn't help but sit and say to myself... "These damn kids today...." I never thought I would be old enough to say that, nor that I would ever have the need to say it; unfortunately, kids today are so different from when I was a child. When I was a kid, I remember playing outside until dark and never worrying about getting shot, being offered drugs, being snatched up, run down, or stabbed by a stranger. These were not things that affected the small town that I grew up in, yet they do now... just like many other small towns across America.I can't help but sit and wonder what is so different now as compared to 20 years ago.

So have you all seen those stickers that children get at school that say "My child is a shining star at [insert school here] elementary school!?" Or children who play sports and lose a match or game, and are never told they are losers? I can't help but sit and think that this has contributed to the sense of entitlement that younger people tend to have now. 

When I was a child and I didn't make the honor roll, I did not get a sticker and my mother didn't praise me. She told me to try harder, that I can't be expected to be praised for being average. When I lost a match playing Varsity tennis, I was not coddled and told I was still a winner. I wasn't a winner, I was a loser and I was told to try harder. I was told that I can do anything that I want to do with enough work and sacrifice... and thankfully for me, I was very poor growing up so everything I had I saw the sacrifice and work that went into getting it. I knew the sacrifice that went into getting new school clothes for my siblings and I when I was in 7th grade... some men are vile creatures when there is an attractive woman in front of them that needs money for her and her children to survive.

How this relates to the shootings in Connecticut is because I was reading this article about the shooter and his life. Everyone is trying to figure out why he did it, and what was wrong in his childhood that would have made him do such an atrocious act. He grew up in a well-to-do family, with everything he wanted, in a good school district. When he had an "episode" at school, his mother would come coddle him, settle him down, and make him feel better... apparently she was the only one who was able to "soothe" him during these "episodes". When I had an "episode" at school, my mother whooped my ass and told me I had better get my shit straight.

Our society wants to ask why he did it, attempting to blame it on various things associated with his upbringing or his mental state. How about the fact that this kid was just an asshole? He was a rotten, spoiled, evil little shit, that decided he wanted to kill someone to see what it was like? I firmly believe that this is why our society is so fascinated with people like Andrea Yates, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Charles Manson. People who have done terrible things and lived to tell the public that they just didn't want to be a mother anymore, or they just didn't like someone so they wanted to kill them. We want to explain away and make excuses for people and their asshole tendencies when really it comes down to a sense of entitlement that these people have. They don't have to answer to anyone but themselves.

People want to blame it on god no longer being in schools, and say that as we move more toward a secular society that is why it is falling apart. I hate to bust this theory up, but I am an Atheist. I do not believe in a god, nor any higher being and I do not act like an asshole to anyone. I do not need the threat of eternal hell fire burning my soul up to give me a moral compass. I have myself to answer to and I would never do to someone else what I would not want done to me. People are calling for stricter gun laws now.... again, that is bullshit. If someone wants to kill another person, they are going to kill them with whatever means they can get their hands on. So we take away guns? Great, they will use a machete, or a knife next time. They want to blame the fact that his mother liked to shoot guns and took him with her to do so. Who the eff cares? I like to shoot guns... I know people who own full arsenals that many small countries would be proud to own in their homes, and they are not shooting up children because they are not assholes.

He was called a "genius" by his peers because he had a 3.26 GPA at Western Connecticut State University. Are you fucking kidding me? That does not make you a genius, it makes you very very very average getting a 3.26 at a state university. He even once got an A in a computer class! Omfg, mediocrity is praised and celebrated among the masses these days. This kid was a selfish little bastard and there is no excuse for him shooting a bunch of random children. I don't care if his parents were divorced, and he was only given a BMW for his birthday instead of a Porsche. He was an asshole and I wish the little fucker would have lived through this tragic event so the media and society would stop making excuses for him, blaming his asshole behavior on his parents divorce and easy access to guns. His mother should have kept the "My child is a Shining Star at Sandy Hook Elementary School" sticker off their mini-van and made him try a little harder in life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day Trading

I have found that I rather enjoy my E*Trade account... and I rather enjoy researching companies to buy stock in. I'm a huge fan of technology companies and more recently I have begun looking into green technologies at the urging of a friend. I am starting a watch list of my own of companies that I have been watching and considering buying some stock in. Mostly so that I don't forget, but also because I would love any input from anyone who knows a little about these companies as I am relatively new to day trading.

Advanced Micro Devices - AMD:
AMD used to be pretty competitive with Intel; however, they are no longer even in the same league... they actually are at a low point in their history right now with stocks trading at $1.95. They seemed to be at their high point in 2006 when they were trading very briefly for $41 per share. AMD has recently laid off 15% of it's work force and will probably spend the next year just trying to become profitable again. The reason I'm looking at AMD is because 1) they are at a very low point right now in their history, trading for $1.95 but they have just announced a partnership with ARM to produce 64 bit processors to be used in the Cloud. Cloud computing seems to be all the rage these days and with everything moving to the Cloud, there will be data centers all over the world attempting to keep their servers up to speed and secure. I think that AMD is going to have a come back with the ARM processors.

Reuters has cited sources as saying that AMD is looking to sell some of its patents but it is highly unlikely that the company will be sold... This was devastating news for the stock of the company, but as long as AMD continues to develop new technologies and goes forward with the 64 bit ARM processors, I think they are going to see some gains. IMO.

Vestas Wind Systems - VWSYF:
Vestas is also at a low point... in 2008 they were trading for $140.00 a share, they are now at $4.61 and seem to be declining... again, this should be an indicator to not buy; however, they were just granted a $1.2 Billion line of credit from two banks. The wind turbine industry has become saturated with competitors and Vestas has had to cut projects and lay off employees to stay afloat. I think as natural energy sources such as gas/oil/coal become more expensive, dangerous, and difficult to extract, renewable energy sources will become a necessity to maintain our current energy consumption. I am only watching this one right now and keeping an eye on their R&D department to see what new things they will come up with having that $1.2 billion in the bank. The banks that granted the lines of credit must have seen something positive in their business plan, especially when credit is pretty tight these days for European banks and companies. 

A friend of mine are in agreement that we think Apple is on its way out. I think they have lost their edge and just continue to release the same product over and over again with stupid changes i.e. the iPhone 5 that changed the charger connection... and the iPad mini. They are in need of a new CEO that has some new innovative ideas. Maybe they should get some developers from Google to consult for them?? Just a suggestion.

Any advice from anyone? Any new technology out there I should keep my eye on?

Monday, November 5, 2012


The hacker group Anonymous has decided to celebrate Guy Fawkes day (November 5th) by hacking into multiple organizations, stealing passwords, and releasing information on the Interwebs… up until this day, I mostly agreed with what Anonymous was doing. They were called “hacktivasts,” only hacking into corporations that they felt were abusing their power and taking advantage of people; of course, them being the judge, jury, and executioner of the decision making when it came to what corporations were hacked was a little one-sided and unfair, but that is a conversation for another time.
They were huge supporters of the web site WikiLeaks, and hacked into Amazon, Visa, and other corporations that pulled their services from WikiLeaks. Although this was not the best approach for gaining support for what WikiLeaks was doing, they were successful in getting their name out there as being an organization of proficient hackers that knew what they were doing, and how to stay anonymous (I suppose the most important aspect of being a successful hacker)… hence their name. Even if it was not the most ethical way of doing business, I admired that people were doing something about the corruption and greed of corporate America. I agreed with their tactics, I agreed with what they were doing… releasing information that the American public had some right in knowing and exposing the greed and corruption that had elevated so many large corporations. I was impressed with the talent that I had read about. They were vigilante justice that helped to bring down the 1% that had taken advantage of poorer people to get to the top… no longer do I agree with what they are doing.
What they are doing now, is a direct violation to Rule Number 1...they are being assholes. Or is it possible that the organization has gotten so big that any computer geek with an outdated download of Wireshark can do what they want and fall behind the veil of Anonymous now? They hacked into Paypal and released 28,000 passwords to the Interwebs today, and they hacked into Telecom Italy and released 30,000 credentials in celebration of Guy Fawkes day; the legendary day in 1605 where Guy Fawkes and 12 of his friends failed at an attempt to blow up Parliament with a stockpile of gunpowder that was stockpiled under the massive building. What Anonymous is doing now is what we here at Amanda is an Asshole call a “dick move.” They are no longer hacktivasts to me, they are now a nuisance to the American people and criminals. They are no longer hacking for the greater good or the best interest of the general public, they are hacking because they are assholes who have lost sight of what Anonymous had originally stood for.
I am disappointed that Anonymous has just become one more public nuisance on the Interwebs. I am disappointed that some very talented hackers who were once using their skills to the betterment of society is now nothing more than a bunch of assholes who are releasing private information to the Internet and contributing to the already rampant problem of identity theft.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wedding Fashion

I'm a trendy girl at times... Embarrassingly enough, I do buy InStyle magazine and Lucky magazine. I follow fashion, and used to really love labels. I still love fashion, and I still love labels, but a few years ago I decided it really isn't very important in the grand scheme of life. I decided that I didn't want to be that girl, and I didn't really care if my hair was brushed, or washed for that matter, nor did I care if it was styled in a trendy way and that I was wearing the latest styles. Anyways... you can take the girl out of the trailer but she will still be trailer trash... I still love fashion and I decided I wanted to start sharing my finds. I recently went as a guest to a wedding (where I was grossly overdressed), this is what I wore for it. I'm thinking I look pretty hot, considering I was hungover like a mug that morning from the Halloween festivities the night before.

Dress: Express Long Sleeve Embellished Dress $108. I bought it in black and purple, so I could wear the purple one on New Year's Eve.

I paired the dress with gold sparkly shoes by Steve Madden ($40 on sale from $110, YAY!) and a pair of blackest black tights. 

I adore these shoes. I wore them for about 4-5 hours before I had to take them off my feet because they were so painful, but the peep-toe, Dirty Dancing style has me hooked. 

Jewelry is also from Express, it is a pewter colored multi-strand necklace ($18)

The hair... I get a lot of compliments when I wear my hair like this. I have naturally curly hair; however, it is only half of my head will curl because my hair is so heavy it weighs down the top half of my hair. To fix this, I found this great little device made by Revlon. It is pretty much a super curling iron, that you crimp your hair with. I use it to remedy the problem of my heavy hair. I think I paid $25 for it from Target.


I am a very curvy girl... by curvy, I mean curvy, not fat. I have hips, a defined waist, and a big chest. I find that Express dresses fit my frame very well, they always have great styles, and they are decently priced.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my dress selection for the wedding. My birthday is tomorrow, I think I'm going to get a new dress for it and wear it out for a birthday surprise. 

Peace out y'all.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review: Happy, the Documentary

 What makes people happy? It is what is explored in this documentary by Roko Belic as he goes from the ghettos of Kolkata, India to the swamps of the cajun backwoods of Louisiana. Maybe unsurprisingly, the answer is not money, it is not success, it is not material items. It is living a balanced life, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy natural diet, exercising regularly, and your ability to bounce back from adversity.

The documentary compared a rickshaw driver's overall happiness to the overall happiness of wealthy Americans and found that the rickshaw driver was happier and more satisfied with his life than the wealthy Americans... even though he lived in a shack with a tarp for a roof and didn't have enough food all the time.

The documentary found that after basic needs are met, the happiness rating between someone making $5,000 a year as compared to $50,000 a year was huge; however, the difference between a person making $50,000 and $50 million was not noticeable.

The creators then went to the land of the most 100 year old people per capita to study what they do differently as compared to the rest of the world, Okinawa, Japan. The things that stuck out most to me from Okinawa were: (1) the sense of community. Everyone took care of one another, they encouraged one another, and they were close with their neighbors. The were not isolated from one another and social interaction was a huge part of their daily lives. (2) Everyone got a lot of sleep. (3) Exercise was important. Not traditional Westernized exercise, but gardening daily, daily walks, chasing children around, children running around instead of playing video games, etc. (4) Diet, their diets were relatively natural (i.e vegetable based, meat but not a lot of it, a lot of fruit etc.), and obesity or even overweight people are not the norm. 

This documentary got me thinking about life and my personal quest for happiness. I am a generally happy and optimistic person and I attribute it to my lifestyle. I surround myself with people that I truly enjoy their company and I spend a lot of time with them (I'm hardly ever alone), I eat a healthy and well balanced diet, I exercise regularly, I scare the shit out of myself regularly, and I routinely get 8 hours of sleep a night. I think I need to start volunteering more though, I do not do this enough. I am planning on looking for an organization to volunteer with soon. If anyone has any recommendations, please email me with them.

"I have decided to be happy, because it's good for my health." ~Voltaire

Live long and prosper, my friends.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lemon Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

I don't normally post recipes that I make, but I would like to start because I make some awesome food sometimes in my pursuit for a healthy lifestyle and a trim waistline. Last night I got a little CRAY in my kitchen making some lemon shrimp scampi with linguine. I modified the original recipe to use less butter, less oil, and more garlic and lemon for flavor instead.

I started with 2 pounds of linguine (I prefer the whole grain, Healthy Harvest because it has more fiber and fills me up with less of it than regular pasta):

I boiled the noodles with 2 Tablespoons of Artisan Olive Oil and a dash of my new favorite sea salt, Himalayan Sea Salt. You can find it at Target. I boil the noodles longer than regular pasta noodles so that they are softer. They tend to be really dense if you boil them the recommended time.

Next up is 2 pounds of shrimp, a healthy dollop of fresh minced garlic, 2 Tablespoons of salted butter, and 2 Tablespoons of Artisan Olive Oil. Fry it until the shrimp are pink, being careful and stirring often because the garlic burns easily.


Once the shrimp is done, pour it in a bowl with butter/olive oil/garlic sauce/concoction that it had cooked in and a 1/2 cup of lemon juice.

When the noodles are finished, dump them in with the shrimp as well as hot red pepper flakes and ground pepper. Get a second mixing bowl and toss the mixture back and forth. It is easier to do this than to stir it with a spoon, as the spoon smooshes the noodles and creates a mess. 

Final Result:


This recipe made 4 servings, so I will be eating it for the next two days for lunch and dinner. With all the garlic in there, my breath is going to smell A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Anyone wanna make out?

Final Opinion: The flavor is very lemony and very refreshing. It feels like a heavy meal because of the pasta being whole-grain, but it is about 350-450 calories per serving. When I was first making it I was a little leery about the "sauce" being primarily lemon juice. I thought it was going to have that bland whole grain pasta taste; however, the "sauce" mixed nicely and the addition of a couple tablespoons of olive oil made this pretty amazing.

2 lbs of whole grain linguine
1/2 cup of lemon juice
5 Tablespoons of good Olive Oil (Go to Marshall's/Home Goods/TJMaxx for this, you can get really high end brands and exotic olive oils for a pretty good deal as compared to some stores)
2 lbs of raw shrimp
3 Tablespoons of fresh minced garlic
2 Tablespoons of salted butter
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of hot red pepper flakes

Have a nice day y'all. I love you.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Unicorn Whiskers and Troll Farts

For the last 40-50-60 years we have been an age obsessed society that has focused heavily on anti-aging creams/potions/surgery to maintain a youthful appearance. Ingesting unicorn whiskers and swallowing troll farts just to keep from having a few crows feet around the eyes. I think the tides are finally turning in our favor... and it couldn't have come too soon as I approach 32 in 2 weeks.

It used to be considered your prime when you were in your early to mid 20's, 30 was considered old. I do believe that number is slowly moving upward to your late 30's early 40's and we have Hollywood to thank for that, ironically. With popular TV shows like Sex and the City, Cougartown, and Mad Men it has become trendy to be in your 30's, 40's, and 50's as long as you maintain your waistline and your appearance. Eminem turns 40 in a few days and he is still relevant among the rap community and the young. If this fact alone doesn't tell you that being 40 is cool nowadays, then the fact that Demi Moore is 49 and still looks way better than the majority of women on this planet under the age of 25 should definitely seal the deal for you. Cher is 66 years old and she is one of the coolest chicks on this planet, next to Madonna who is 54. These women are strong, gorgeous, successful, confident, and not in their 20's.

30's are the new 20's and 40's the new 30's. It has become okay to be 30 and single now, whereas before it was considered pathetic for women and you were a "playboy" if you were of the male persuasion. Now it is pretty normal to meet a lot of 30+ people who are not married, who do not have children, and live alone. Being in your 30's allows you to have financial freedom that you don't have in your 20's, you have the self-confidence to go after what you want, you are settled into your career and have the freedom to follow dreams, your college loans are probably close to being paid off, and you probably own your own home and car by this point. It is no longer "cool" or "chic" to be 20 years old and out in the club, it is considered juvenile and childish... we are entering the era of hip little bars that have a plethora of local microbrews on tap, and the women are not wearing loincloths masquerading as their dress.

Clubs will always have a place among the young children because they are still trying to develop some sort of self-worth and self-esteem, that can apparently only be gained by having sweaty-ass men ogling their cleavage and stealing cheap feels from up their tiny skirts... but god damn I am glad to not be part of that demographic anymore.

I am happy to be turning 32, it is a gift denied to many.  I am looking forward to the adventures that I will continue to have well into retirement age. I am sexier and more attractive at 32 than I was at 20 and I wouldn't go back to my 20's if I was ever given the opportunity.

Would you eat that troll fart to shave 15 years off your age? Not I. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Never Ending Quest for Domestication

I am totally weird sometimes... and creepy too. I can openly admit those things without embarrassment. I have this weird fetish when it comes to watching extremely obese people. Something about it makes me want to gag, but it also keeps me on track as far as my exercise program and living a healthy life because I am appalled at the way they live their life. Well I have another confession and it is really embarrassing and delusional... Some days I dream about being a stay-at-home wife/mother. This is really hard to admit considering the type of woman that I am, but I know why I do it.

Soooo, I love Google Reader. I subscribe to a multitude of blogs ranging from travel and cooking, gardening and crafts, to fashion and healthy living. It is an odd list to be perfectly honest. A list that you wouldn't expect if you don't know me very well. There are a few blogs that I subscribe to where these stay-at-home women create the most amazing food dishes, reupholster the most beautiful chairs that they found on a random Tuesday morning when they took their kids for a walk to the park, and sew their own curtains. I love these blogs. I spend hours reading through them and day dreaming about all the things I would do if I didn't have to work and could stay at home rearing children and being a cute little wifey. Here's my list so far:
  • refinish this beautiful hutch that I have had in my storage room for years
  • reupholster this beautiful antique chair that I found many years ago
  • find the perfect lamp shade for an antique lamp that I own
  • grow a garden
  • make my own cinnamon cashew butter and cinnamon swirl bread
  • put hardwood floors in the rest of my house
  • dig a fire pit
  • compost
  • be highly fashionable with my hair done every day
  • cook fabulously healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day
  • raise chickens
  • live on a farm
These are just a few things that are on my day dream list. I have zero free time in my schedule these days, so the idea of not having a job and just staying at home really appeals to me right now which is absolute craziness. If I did not have a job and didn't have to worry about money, I would not even stay at home. I would buy an RV, pack my dogs up, pack my kitty up, attach a trailer for my motorcycle, throw my mountain bike and kayak on top and hit the road. So I'm not really sure why these things seem so darn appealing to me because it isn't even what I would do. They make me want to settle down, find a husband, and pop a few chitlin out though because I see all these wives and mothers who seem to have all this free time to work on their domestication so I attribute it to what I don't have. A husband and children.

I know this is a complete generalization of stay-at-home wives and mothers out there. I know many who sleep only a few hours a night because of all the things they have to take care of  for their family, but much like seeing bad children... you rationalize with yourself and say "oh my kids will never act like that" which enables you to have children... and then you get lazy and your kids become the bad children that you didn't want.

I am equating the lack of free time in my life to the fact that I am not married, I am not settled down, I don't have kids, and I eat potato chips for dinner at 11pm when I get home... not to the fact that I'm in grad school, work full time, have an extremely full social life, and too many hobbies already. This is dumb and it is embarrassing to admit... so I leave you with this beautiful cup of a STRANGER'S cinnamon cashew butter.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Have 1 Year and 4 Months Left to Live

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend of mine about planning for retirement and the fine balance between working and living life. He was saving based on the age at which his father (or possibly Grandfather) had died at, assuming that he would also die around this age; which was 63. He did not have very high hopes that he would live much past this age.

This conversation reminded me of a book that my friend Jennifer gave me when I was 18 or 19 years old called Motherless Daughters. The book was meant for women who had lost their mothers at a relatively young age. In this book it said that many women who approach the age at which their mother had died begin to feel morbid about life, and start thinking about their own mortality. Check.

My Mother died when she was 33 years and 3 months old, I was barely 14 years old. I am 31 years and 11 months old. So I have approximately 1 year and 4 months left to live by using these two schools of thought; although, my Mom died unexpectedly and very quickly from sepsis. I guess I better start having more fun, and worrying less about trivial things that don't matter in the grand scheme of things, I could be dead fairly quickly.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Fine Line Between Creativity and Blasphemy

The violence against Americans and Western cultures in the Middle East has arose to a frightening level  this past week. This violence was brought on by the release of an independent film called "Innocence of Muslims" where the filmmaker has depicted the prophet Mohammad as a womanizer, a pedophile, and a degenerate. Innocent Americans as well as innocent Muslims have been slain due to this film being released and it is a scary thought. It is a scary thought that the artistic expression of an "infidel" can invoke such hatred among the extreme.

Religion has long been the source of battle, not just Islam... the Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Sunnis, Shiites, and Jews have also waged war over religion to defend their god(s) and any perceived threat to their own religious freedom. The part that strikes me as odd is that most of these religions teach love... the unfortunate part, is that many of the books for these religions have a lot of open room for interpretation due to vastly differing times as compared to when they were written, so all it takes is one person to interpret the teachings in a negative way and all hell breaks loose once they gain a following because men are sheep. As a whole, the human race is a population of sheep that is waiting for a Shepard to lead them. It is why there are so many leadership courses taught, and why CEO's are paid the big bucks... because a good leader (Shepard) is hard to find. Unfortunately, not all who are good leaders have good teachings.

As an agnostic person who is bordering on atheism 50% of the time, all this does is make me angry. I live in this world too and I don't believe in any major religion, yet I am subjected to the violence that erupts from it. I get angry at the people who burn the Qu'ran in front of Muslim inmates, because it is an ignorant, dick-move. I don't care if you believe in the Qu'ran or not, this is extremely offensive to a Muslim so why would someone do it? It is a direct violation to Rule Number 1.

I am all for the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression, but there seems to be this fine line between creativity and blasphemy to certain religions... Scientology being one of them. It is a very hypocritical fine line at that... as in, we can pick on your religion, but do not pick on ours. 

I laugh at ALL the comedies that pick on religion. I absolutely loved Bill Maher's documentary "Religulous," and I laughed my ass off at Sacha Baron Cohen in "Bruno" when he turned the garb of Orthodox Jews into a sexy-time outfit and was nearly stoned to death for it. I laughed hysterically at South Park when they made fun of Scientology, and I'm sure I will laugh at "Innocence of Muslims" as well... because they are funny to me. Religion is funny to me because in my opinion, religion over the centuries has done more harm than good. It is meant to be good, and yet it has been poisoned by human nature and has become a form of control. During the days of the IRA, and the Catholic/Protestant fighting in Ireland this was seen perfectly. The Irish Catholics held majority of the land, and control of the country... as compared to the Protestants who were poor, and were the ones that suffered from the decisions made by the ruling Catholics. It was a class war in reality hiding under the veil of religion.

As the late, great Mahatma Gandhi said "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." You can insert any religion in this statement, not just Christians. Christ taught love and acceptance, yet many "Christians" do not practice this. They judge harshly, they accept no one who is not like them, and their love is conditional. The Qu'ran teaches that Allah "Loveth Not" but it does not call for violence against the things that Allah "loveth not." The room for interpretation in religion has spawned multiple denominations of the same sect of a religion, and in the self-righteous way that humans have about us... we reject everything else that is different, or we try to change what is different from us.

It is ironic to me that Mahatma Gandhi preached love, acceptance, tolerance, and non-violence and he was assassinated. It is incredibly ironic and sad to me because the extreme Muslims who are going to extreme lengths to avenge Allah's honor, are doing harm to the millions of peaceful Muslims who promote peace, love, and tolerance. These Muslims are the ones who are going to end up suffering the most during these troubled times, just as Gandhi did.

America is a super power, we have a huge military, nuclear weapons, and the ability to wipe out nations just by stopping our foreign aid to them. America is going to be alright in the end. A few more might die during these protests, but overall we will be ok... non-extreme Muslims are going to be the ones who end up being persecuted because as we all know, racism is alive and thriving in the United States still. It has gone from racism against African Americans to racism against Japanese Americans, to racism against Latino Americans, and now on to Muslim Americans.

It is a sad world we live in. An incredibly ignorant and sad world indeed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Sometimes I feel as though it is my place to speak about the elephant in the room. I don't know why, I just feel addressing issues up front is the way to go. Living life out loud (i.e. the way you live privately to also be the way you live publicly) is very important to me. I am pretty transparent and I do not hide much from people... for this reason, you either hate me or love me.

As of late, I have seen a lot of posts on Facebook and on the news criticizing President Obama's choice to not bomb Libya over the attack on the U.S. Consulate there. I am not going to say one way or the other what I think about this, as this blog isn't a place to push my political agenda. What I am going to do though is give my opinion on these people who are so quick to start a war. You know the type, the ones who are quick to scream WAR whenever something happens in the Middle East that they feel was disrespectful to the the United States.

What irritates me about them doing this, is most of these people have never been in the military. They have not had to send their loved ones off to combat zones, they have not had to live through deployments, and the hardships of military life. These people are quick to scream war when it is someone else going off to war to fight for their freedom, yet they never did their duty to their country. They have never lived off the crap pay that the military gives you. They have never dealt with the bull-shit training that you are constantly going through in the military. They have never had to sacrifice their personal comfort to defend their nation. They have not had to deal with the homesickness that comes with being away from the comfort zone of your loved ones.

So to all these people who are quick to scream war, quick to bomb, and quick to send someone else off to combat zones... I think you should keep your trap shut unless you have been in the military and know the challenge of living a military life. If you want the right to send people off to die for your freedom or even have an opinion on the matter, I highly suggest you enlist in the military, or marry someone in the military. Do your duty and then you can have a say on the matter, until that time I feel a lot of these people should just STFU.

This service announcement brought to you by a veteran who did her duty to her country.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Big What. The. F*ck

I am in a chipper mood this morning. I feel like the world is right and I am so lucky to be part of it. I woke up to two emails from two of my dearest, and most cherished friends, I brushed my hair, my bra and panties match... Seriously, y'all - I have got my shit together this morning. I might be able to attribute this to the fact that I had 2 hours of sleep last night because my legs were restless and my dog decided my face was where she wanted to put her ass while we both tried to sleep, but who knows really - it could be a host of different things.

I was driving to work this morning at an ungodly hour - drinking a 42 gallon mug of coffee and just reflecting on how awesome I feel about everything today. I have great friends who inspire me every day to be a better person, to follow my heart, encourage my dreams, and to do what makes me happy. I have two nephews that I just love the crap out of, a full life that challenges me physically and mentally, and great hair. Seriously, my hair looks amazing today and is just begging to be pulled... now to find a man to take care of that for me. I want to write about it now because I have to work 12 hours today, I probably won't be feeling so inspired in 11 hours.

Then... I logged into my email account this morning and I got pissed. On the front page, the first thing that popped up was "Lessons from the Worlds Ugliest Woman."  Now let me tell you, that hurt my heart and sort of killed the pep I had in my step. I clicked on the article and it brought tears to my eyes. What the hell??? Who is to say she is ugly? It pissed me off and made me angry that society would judge her so harshly for being exactly what it pushes on women every single day in magazines, television, commercials, etc. - extremely thin.

Her name is Lizzie Velasquez, and she has no adipose tissue. She can not gain weight and she has 0% body fat. All that kept going through my head is how effed up it is that society has dubbed her "the ugliest woman alive" based on the fact that she has no fat... yet this same society pushes the extremely thin, airbrushed models as the epitome of beauty. There was a youtube clip made about how ugly she was and it bothered me that people can be such jerks. Rule number 1 in life: DO NOT BE A DICK. Look it up, it is really the only rule you need to live by in life. I can do nothing but wonder what happened to someone to make them take their self-worth issues out on someone else and to push their own self-esteem issues off on someone else.

Who are they to judge someone else and the way they look?? Who are they to call someone ugly? I can only imagine the self-esteem issues that this poor woman had growing up in addition to the complications from her disease and for some assholes to go and make a video about her calling her ugly, I think that is ugly. I think those people should die a million deaths in a fiery pit for being huge, colossal douchebags.

Society wants to dub her as ugly as they tout how "beautiful" some of these celebrities are that endorse sweat shop labor, endorse animal testing so they can have the latest and greatest make-up, endorse animal cruelty by wearing their fur wrapped around their gigantic heads, wearing dresses made of meat (and being called a fashion icon... no, you are just an asshole), hoard their money and do not donate to charity or the betterment of the human race. I guess as long as your face is symmetrical though, inexcusable behaviors such as these are excusable. God forbid you have a face that isn't symmetrical though and you donate your time and money to the betterment of the human race, you encourage compassion, and you have a general caring for other people and their well being.

Physical beauty fades. We are all going to have saggy asses when we are 80 years old - yes, you heard it hear first, we are all going to be wrinkly and we are all going to look the same when we are 80. What matters is not how skinny we are, how perfect our skin is, how straight our teeth are, how tight our abs are. What matters is whether or not we are caring. Are we compassionate? Do we love with our whole hearts? Do we put others before ourselves? Our capacity and ability to show and feel emotion. Our ability to show love. Our ability to not be assholes to the other animals and humans on this planet that we all have to share.

I was recently judged pretty harshly by someone because I have a lot of tattoos... this shocked me to be perfectly honest. For a brief second, I let this person make me feel like I was white trash because I have a moustache tattooed on my finger, and a cheeseburger on my bum. This person thinks that tattoos will be a disappointment to his parents and he told me that I was "rough around the edges," and for a very brief second I thought he was right. When he asked me how I planned to cover up my tattoos when I got married, for a millisecond I actually thought about it. Then I remembered who I am, what I stand for, and the values that I hold to be true. The tattoos I have do not define me. They do not define my character, they do not make me uneducated, they do not make me white trash, they do not make me unworthy of love, they do not make me tough, and they do not dictate how I live my life. I am not a thug because I have a lot of tattoos, and I am not uneducated white trash. I'm quite the opposite, actually. If this person thinks I would be a disappointment to his parents or look trashy in a wedding dress, all I can really do is be sad for them that they will never get to know me.

Let's make today Don't Be An Asshole Day in honor of this woman, Lizzie Velasquez. Let's make it a day to be kind to our fellow humans and to stop all the god damned judgement of one another. If you must judge, judge a person's worth based on their character - which is what truly defines a person's worth.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Family We Lose Along the Way

I was on Facebook today when a friend suggestion popped up that caught my attention. It was my little brother, Brandon. Of course I clicked on it to Facebook Stalk him and it struck me as odd, because I felt like I was looking at a strangers profile. My brother and I have never been close, even as children we fought to the point of blood, cracked ribs, and throat punches. Our values do not align at all and for this reason, we have found it incredibly difficult to have a relationship.

When we were children my mother would make us hold hands while sitting on the floor because she knew there was nothing more repulsive to the two of us than to have to touch and pretend that we loved each other. Many years ago I allowed my brother to come live with me in Baltimore when he was 18, in an attempt to get him out of the small town we grew up in and to get him away from the drugs that had been part of his life since he was 11. During this very tumultuous time is when we both decided that we did not really care if we were in each others adult life.

Even in our later 20's we would fight like we were kids still. There was one night in our mid-20's that we got into a fight and I was chasing him down the street, kicking him. This was after he punched me in the face and gave me a bloody nose. As the years passed, he started popping kids out with a couple random women and I tried really hard to get over the issues that him and I had for the sake of his children... well really, just one of his children; however, it never worked out between him and I. The fighting and arguing continued until about 2 years ago, when I threw in the towel and gave up. I no longer cared what happened to him or his life. I was exhausted, I was hurt, and I felt used. 

It makes me sad in a way because this is a person that I spent 13 years of my childhood with. We built things together, we played together, we tried to kill each other, all very bonding moments in a child's life. I don't know how we both fell so far from each other when we fell from the same tree, but he rolled in one direction and I rolled into a very different direction a world away.

I sat and looked at these pictures of him on Facebook and I barely recognize him. Life has not been kind to him. The drugs and alcohol have taken its toll on him. I see his eyes and recognize those, but that really is it. His teeth no longer resemble the straight Chicklet like teeth that he had when he was younger that brought all the girls calling, he has lost a lot of his hair, and his eyes are incredibly old and weathered.

We all get to choose the path we take in life, but I can't help being sad about the path he chose. I loved him once, and I suppose deep down inside of me I still have some love for him; however, the years of him going in and out of prison and drug abuse have calloused my heart when it comes to dealing with him. For many years now I have expected a phone call in the middle of the night saying that he is dead, but luckily it has not come so far.

In the case of my brother, I can't help but wonder about nature vs. nurture. I feel very much that my brother is a product of nature, whereas I am a product of nurture.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I'm at this age where my body wants me to decide if it wants children and I seem to be stumped. When I think about it, I keep telling myself that I'm still young and that I have plenty of time. I tell myself that I can have a baby at 40, maybe then I will be ready to give everything up to rear children. I'm just not sure if I will be. I really enjoy being able to do whatever I want to do all the time. I enjoy being able to blow all the money I make on things I want to do, and just eat PB&J for two weeks if I have to. (not that I do this, but I could if I wanted to)

My life is so full and so busy all the time, that I just don't understand how there is time to have children and to still have time for a life of my own. Not to mention... I work incredibly hard for the body I have, I'm not sure I want to lose it all to have a baby. I know that sounds vain, but I have a pretty solid body and I enjoy seeing my abs on a daily basis. If I have a baby, they are going to be gone... forever.

Shall we bring up the fact that I'm not even remotely close to being in a stable relationship. After the weekend I just had, I am even further from a relationship than I was 6 days ago. On Thursday, last week, I thought I knew what I wanted in a partner, as of today I know EXACTLY what I want in a partner and it is completely different than what it was on Thursday of last week. I've got mad love for a chiseled jaw all of a sudden, and a man that isn't afraid of life, and it potentially knocking him the eff out in the process. A man with no hangups, no reservations, and NO BAGGAGE.

Truly, the only reason I see to have children from my perspective is: a) narcissism, I'm curious what they will look like and how my mothering skills would be b) to not die alone. When I get around babies, I want to cuddle with them and pinch their little chunk-a-dunk thighs but I also enjoy giving them back 20 minutes later when I lose interest.

Who knows where all this is going to end up. I'm very much in the air about the prospect of ever having children, there is a possibility of it, but there is also a big possibility of it not happening. Either way is fine, if I change my mind adoption is always a viable option. I should be thinking about more important things right now, like the fact that I have a new Cannondale RZ 120 with a Lefty fork in my truck right now calling my name. Calling my name to come caress it, ride it, smother it in mud... oh my god the idea of that bike excites me more than the prospect of children. For now, I shall continue to be the coolest Aunt on the planet.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tough vs. Strong

I have learned that you can be strong and not be tough... and you can be tough without being strong. They are mutually exclusive. One is a physical attribute while the other is a mental attribute, yet sometimes they are fused together when initially meeting a person. You see big beefy men with pecks that you want to motorboat the shit out of, so you assume they are tough... but they can't function in life without help; therefore, they are strong but not tough. As of late, I have met some suck-ass, weak people. They appear to be strong and they put up the appearance that they are tough, but in reality they are not. I am always so disappointed when this happens.

I hate to use the cliche/hipster scenario of a zombie apocalypse, but seriously... if there was an apocalypse there would be a lot of physically strong people who will die very early on because they have absolutely zero mental toughness. They are not able to adapt and move forward, so essentially they fail to evolve; however, because of the modern advances in technology and medicine they have not died off already. Instead, they continue to waddle through life. Ultimately our world is now filled with a bunch of people who should have technically died off rather quickly after being weened from their mother's breast.

As a whole, I feel like our society is getting weaker and less capable of dealing with life, or so it appears. Don't get me wrong, there are still some serious bad asses out there but they are definitely the minority. 

I feel like mental toughness is something that is dying as our society progresses into a more lush lifestyle and the Kardashian's take over the land of entertainment and education for our world's children. Before you know it Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton are going to be opening their own education system to teach young girls how to give the perfect blow job... so they can grow up to be JUST LIKE THEM... rich, famous, vapid creatures that really are good at nothing more than the sex tapes they are famous for.

Ahh well... as for me?? You better bet your ass if I come across one of these people during the zombie apocalypse I'll be scraping the adipose tissue from their skin to deep fry my food in and to make soap. I need to get a copy of Fight Club on VCR so that I have instructions in the post-apocalyptic world to make soap from fat.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Comfortably Numb

Perspective: The state of one's ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship.

Sometimes I don't know how I am supposed to feel about certain aspects of life. I am that person who wears their heart on their sleeve. I am not good at hiding my emotions, for better or for worse. I cry when I am upset and I tell you when I am angry. As the moments pile up in my life, I notice myself putting on a smile and just moving forward. Accepting the way things are, accepting people as they are. When I feel like I am being sucked into a black abyss by someone else, I find myself trying to help them see the light again by staying positive and upbeat about life.

I truly believe that life can be beautiful. Not all the time, no... but overall, it has more beautiful moments than shitty moments. In the end, it is only us and our perspective that keep us from falling into that black abyss that will eventually suck your soul dry. It is funny to me, how perspective has the power to change a terrible situation into a funny one.

Yesterday, I was out climbing with a group of friends. The atmosphere was silly and laid back as it always is. Cracking jokes about each other, laughing and having a good time as we were sweating our butts off in the 106 degree heat, discussing how we couldn't wait to go to the Falls to go swimming. In the matter of half a second it quickly went from laid back fun, to downright terrifying to watch. My friend and I were placing gear on the edge of a cliff when she fell into me from a piece of gear that I had set, I caught her but in the end I failed to keep us both on the edge. We both fell about 20 feet to a small ledge that led to another 20-30 foot drop. Our friends saw it happen, and I think they were more scared than we were. Neither her nor I screamed, or panicked at the time.

Her face and a tree saved our lives. When we stopped tumbling, and took inventory to make sure we could move... the first thing she did was crack a joke about the gear not holding and I start laughing as I refuse to let her go from my death grip. We just fell 20 feet to the ground, her face just smashed into a tree, and I landed ass first on a big boulder into a thorn bush... and we are at the bottom laughing. We get up, dust ourselves off, and despite our bodies we were still willing to climb. I cried when I got home last night and spoke with my friend, I felt responsible for that gear not holding and us falling; however, I also know that if I wasn't standing there to catch her she would not have walked away from that fall at all because of the angle she was at when the gear popped out.

Perspective. It is what keeps us sane, it is what can keep us happy, it allows us to deal with stuff and keep moving forward. It allows us to take the shit we are dealt in life and laugh at it. We must keep laughing and we must stay positive or that black abyss will find our souls and eat away at them. I told my friend yesterday that I am never trad climbing again, but I think I lied. I lived through it, I am just banged up and sore. I would rather die doing something that I love than living a life comfortably numb to all emotion and experiences. A death by misadventure wouldn't be a terrible way to go, it beats dying of a heart attack.

Black Diamond #1 Nut, rated at 2 kn when placed properly.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Own Mortality Scares the Shit out of Me

So I was just spending some quality time with my favorite Internet site, and I came across a picture of a woman lurking on reddit. The picture and the title made me remember how much I fear some dark evenings alone while lying in bed. She was a young woman, diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer... aka, she's going to die. I cried over this picture. Granted my biological clock is on the fritz, but it isn't just that. It is sad, her life is going to end very soon and it hit all too close to home.

I am not afraid of my emotions nor looking like a fool, so let me tell you all how utterly freaked out I get sometimes while laying in my bed alone at night. Death freaks me out beyond belief when I sit and think about it. Life is so fragile and it can be taken from us at any moment by circumstances out of our control. I don't like it. I don't like the idea of being a healthy, active, 31 year old right now and in 6 months being diagnosed with some form of cancer that is going to kill me because it progressed too far because I thought that ache was just me trying too hard at some random activity I do.

I do my part with my body to stay healthy. I eat organically whenever I can to limit my exposure to cancer-causing pesticides. I don't eat much meat, I prefer not to eat any but sometimes it happens. I don't drink cow's milk anymore, I exercise, I wear sunscreen now, blah blah blah and yet I am positive that I still have no control over what my colon is going to do in a few months.

I don't want to die and truthfully, I've had enough of my loved ones dying early and unexpectedly on me to last a lifetime. I don't like how we have so little control over environmental factors that essentially play a part in our overall demise. I don't like that the government controls the level of pollution that is acceptable for us all to be exposed to. I don't like that the majority of the human population must buy food from farmers who saturate their meat with growth hormones, antibiotics, and are fed pesticide soaked produce. The produce is no better, it is covered in pesticides that get into the fruit and we ingest it. These things are toxins, they cause cancer and the bottom line is more important than our health. The cost benefit is just too high to not use pesticides and growth hormones.

I just wanted you all to know that I am feeling particularly morbid today about my own demise and dying alone. I don't want to get cancer and have to go through that ordeal. I don't want to waste away slowly, my body destroying itself from the inside out, my insurance not covering all the treatments so my loved ones would have to supplement just to keep me alive. *&%^ing Insurance companies... a rant for another day.  

I want you all to enjoy your days, every single day... not just the good ones. Cherish the fact that you have them. Quit waiting around for things to happen to you, you are not getting any younger. Spend more time with loved ones, do things you love, do things that invigorate you and inspire you, quit working your ass off at a job that doesn't matter in the end.


I'm skipping out of work early to go bike riding with people that I enjoy spending time with.


Oh, a cancerous colon for you too:

Friday, April 20, 2012


I am working on my Masters in Applied Information Technology if you didn't know... with a concentration in Information Security. My B.S. is in Information Security as well, that being said let me give you all a bit of advice... Google yourselves every once in awhile. I normally Google myself pretty regularly but never find much because there is a famous author with my exact name that luckily hogs all of the hits; however, I decided I was going to Google my email addresses today... Holy Fuck Balls! I found out so much about myself.

I found out who my relatives were, where I lived, where I have lived, what I look like, what music I like, what books I like, where I went to school, where I graduated from, pictures that were uploaded to FLICKR many years ago, my age, and my social networking profiles. So I set about cleaning up my Internet face today, I highly recommend you all do this every once in awhile especially if you have been using the same email address or user name for many years.There is one particular site called that seemed to have a lot of information that I am guessing was bought from MySpace by the information about myself that I found there, including the "bio" they had on me.

Quite a few years ago I was messing around on the computer one night while I was still living in my home town, and I decided I was going to find out about the infamous Caglar Singletary, an E-town local legend, because I had just watched a documentary that he was featured in. Everyone from E-town of a certain age knows Caglar, if you don't know him by name you will know him by face when you check out this youtube clip:

Well after a couple of hours on the Internet I had found out just about everything about this guy that would have been pertinent if I was being a dickhead. Now to be fair, he is mentally handicapped so it is entirely possible that he didn't realize the repercussions of being so open on the Internet but when I say that I found out everything about him... I'm serious, I was short of one social security number and this was after about 2 hours of digging around. It was before I knew about the tools that help with this kind of thing, I probably could have come up with his SSN if I had known then what I know now. I was doing it just to see what I could find out, but not everyone is as ethical when handling other people's information.

The point of this story is not to let you all know how incredibly creepy I can be sometimes, but to let you know that you need to be aware of your "Internet Presence." We live in an information age where our very private information is digitized, which means it can be found with a little bit of effort. We put our very personal information all over Facebook, a company that has very shady and very controversial privacy agreements.

So my word of caution to you: don't pretend like you have never Googled someone before... now do yourself a favor and Google yourself to see if it is the sort of information you want the world to know, because someone might actually Google you one day and you do not want them to see your name on the website.