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.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

CAUTION: Blonde Moment

I am not a feminist, let me make that very clear. I am a humanist... I believe we are all equal, and just because I have a vagina does not mean I should be treated any better or worse than my male counterparts. I do not want a man to open doors for me specifically because of my vagina, I don't need him to mow the lawn or take the trash out because that is a "man's job." I would never expect a man to pay for me on a first date just because that is tradition... it is sexist and it goes against everything I believe as a woman. We are equal, I can pay my own way through life and I can mow my own lawn.

That being said, I have a problem with women who expect to be treated like equals when it suits them, calling themselves feminists and then expect a man to pay for the first date or open the door for them and judge the man negatively when he does not do these things. Don't get me wrong, I like the door being opened for me but I am also willing to open it for a man. I won't be offended if a man doesn't open the door for me though and he would get a second date if he didn't open the door.

I was having a conversation with my friend the other night (who is a mother) and she said "just because you have a vagina, it does not make you the better parent." This statement struck me as profound because our society has went from treating women as less than men, to giving them special considerations because they have a vagina while simultaneously making unfair, sexist generalizations about them. Majority of fathers who take the mothers of their children to court for full custody will be denied. According to, approximately 10-15% of single or divorced fathers get full custody of their children and it is only under extenuating circumstances that renders the mother incapable of caring for their children. There are of course some really shitty fathers out there, but there are some seriously shitty mothers too but I feel like it goes back to our society thinking that women are made for the sole purpose of procreation and child rearing.

Just because you can have a baby does not mean you should have a baby. I honestly believe it is why our news outlets focus so heavily on cases that involve murderous women, because for some reason we just can't seem to see women as having the capacity to kill another life even though this has been proven wrong. We still have these sexist beliefs that women are caring, sensitive, and more apt to nurture than men are. This is simply untrue. I have met amazing women who were born to have children and I have met wonderful men who were born to raise children... on the other hand I know women who are ruthless and can handle a weapon proficiently, and are easily capable of killing if they need to. I know caring and nurturing people who have absolutely zero desire to have children, it does not make them any less caring or compassionate.

I was driving to work this morning jamming out to some Brett Dennen and happy as a clam in Antoinette's pants when I came upon a SUV that had a bumper sticker that said CAUTION: BLONDE MOMENT. Now, let me preface this with: I don't normally get bothered by these things... I just brush it off and feel bad for the silly woman that would be so willing to self-deprecate her own intelligence with ignorant generalizations like this. This statement is never directed at blonde men, it is only directed toward blonde women and it annoys the shit out of me. I'm not even blonde, I can't imagine how irritating it would be if I was blonde.

The fact that this woman was driving around so proudly with this damn bumper sticker on her car advertising her own incompetence irritated me and made me dislike her even though I don't know her. I don't know her, but I know I don't respect her as a human being because she perpetuates the sexist cycle of making generalizations about women based off the fact that every Playboy Playmate with FAKE blonde hair acts stupid because for some damn reason men are attracted to stupid, slutty women that are willing to degrade themselves for a mans attention. So somehow this "blonde moment" comment has been turned into this self-deprecating statement used by men and women to belittle the woman while making her feel like she isn't being belittled.

We are all equals, that is the fact of life. I am not better than anyone else because of my vagina or because I am white or because I am awesome :), and I don't want to be treated differently because of these things. I don't want special considerations to be made to accommodate my vagina or my PMS cycle. If I am being mean, or aggressive I don't want the stupid generalization thrown out there that I must be PMS'ing. Maybe I am just grumpy and that is ok. Women can be grumpy without being bitchy and without PMS'ing just like men can be.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

About eight years ago I had an interview with a very prestigious company, an interview that I had waited quite a long time for and had prepared hours for. I was a solid 23 year old with a strong resume and good people skills. I thought I had my life figured out at this point, or at least some resemblance of what I wanted it to be like.

After a long waiting period of over a year, I finally get an interview with this company, and it is going well. My resume is solid, I have enough experience, and the credentials to get the job. All of the interviews had gone extremely well.

This interview process was extremely tedious and time consuming. It was extremely thorough to say the least. Well I get to the last person after interviewing with 2-3 people before him, everything is going well, he tells me that I am qualified for the position, etc. Then he asks me the million dollar question. The question that I have never had an answer for and in no way shape or form can answer with any sort of honesty even still to this day when it comes to my career.

Fancy Pants Hiring Manager: "Where do you see yourself in five years Ms. Jennings?"

Me (staring blankly with my jaw dropped): "Uhhhh, do you mean professionally or personally?"

Fancy Pants Hiring Manager: "Professionally, within this company."

Me (feeling of dread in my stomach, breaking out in a sweat, start wringing my fingers under the table):  "I don't know sir. I don't know where I see myself in five years. I am not even sure if I want to work in this career field long term."

Fancy Pants Hiring Manager: "What do you mean, do you not want a job with us?"

Me: "Oh yes, very much. I am just not sure where I want my career to be in five years."

Fancy Pants Hiring Manager: "Well this interview is over, I highly suggest you figure out what direction you want your career to go before interviewing again."

Me: "hmm, ok. Thank you sir."

I left and was highly disappointed by this but had no one to blame except myself. Normal people probably would have lied their ass off and said some bullshit answer of "I expect to be working my way toward middle management with the dream of a corner office and working 90 hours a week, never getting to see my family or friends. The firm for life!" I just couldn't bring myself to lie because that isn't what I want.

I want to live in an RV traveling across North and South America climbing the best classic climbs in the world, mountain biking some serious trails out west, and kayking through white water while living my life... possibly eating pork and beans from a can with endless rice because I can't afford anything else. Unfortunately, life requires money to live so I must continue the rat race for a while.

Thinking back on it now, he must have seen something in me that I didn't realize at the time was there. Some people are cut out for corporate life, some people are great at it and I could be if I agreed with it. I may have looked the part and had the resume to pass for the part, obviously, I had made it past the other hiring managers, but he must have seen something else in me that told him I was not corporate material. He could never have been more right in his entire life.

Eight years later, I can still not answer that question honestly. I can not say where I see myself in five years professionally, hopefully it is living in an RV traveling across the continent, climbing sick climbs, biking crazy shit, and having a blast living the dirtbag lifestyle. It is hard giving up the cash/money/hoes that comes with a good job though.