Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Succeed in Life

Step 1:
When you are in high school, absolutely do not think about college. College is scary, okay! And hard! You don’t want to ruin your high school experience with that crap. That stuff will all work itself out, anyhow, so worrying about it isn’t going to do you any good.

Step 2:
You absolutely must, however, go to college after graduating high school. Do not pass go, do not college $200. Don’t know what you want to do with yourself, yet? That’s okay! You can totally fuck around for two years taking “basics” while you figure yourself out. It certainly won’t prolong your time in college or run up your tuition bills.

Step 3:
Do not get a job in college. That will only eat up all your free time, and college is all about goofing off with your friends on the weekend! Honestly, it’s best if you can pay with lots and lots of student loans and maybe grants if you don’t have to work too hard for them. Student loans are kind of like free money, so don’t bother paying on them while you’re still in school, either. Those tools who talk about interest accumulating are just trying to ruin all your fun.

Step 4:
Find out there’s a limit on student loans. I know! It’s so unfair! But any successful person must learn to overcome life’s little obstacles, so now it’s time to finish up that degree as quickly as possible. Still don’t know what to major in? That’s okay! It doesn’t really matter what you major in, so long as you get that degree. Just pick up a couple of courses and register a major in South American Basketweaving or possibly Homemaking, and you’re good to go!

Step 5:
Graduate with that degree in Basketweaving or possibly Homemaking, but do absolutely the minimum to get it. Don’t bother going to lectures given by professionals outside of class, or joining student organizations, or getting to know your professors. That just creates more work for you, and the key to a successful life is to learn to get away with doing a little work as possible. For that matter, don’t worry about trying to get an eventual job. That stuff will work itself out, man! Remember how great that worked out for you in high school?

Step 6:
Get married. This is very important. You absolutely must get married to succeed in life, because this is the goal of all young people! Preferably, get married to someone of the opposite sex, because the only point in getting married is having lots of babies, even if you don’t really love and aren’t attracted to your spouse. The key is the babies, trust me. Also preferably have those babies while you are still in college.

Step 7:
Don’t ever put anything into savings. If you eventually end up with a real job because you haven’t been listening to me, and it offers a benefits package for retirement, contribute as little as possible to that sucker. You’ll thank me later, when you’ve got plenty of money to goof off with on the weekends!

Step 8:
Graduate from college. Now is the time to start looking for a job (but not until after that sweet graduation party). You may find it’s a little difficult to get a job, but that’s okay! Don’t worry about it! The economy sucks, and most college students aren’t getting jobs right out of school anyhow, so it’s to be expected. Just keep submitting a resume every couple of months, and eventually someone is bound to hire you, right? (Bonus points if you slapped the resume together based on a template you found on Google with as little effort possible. You’re catching on!)

Step 9:
Move back in with your parents. Bring your wife/husband and kids. (You do have kids, right? Because if you don’t have kids by now, you’re a Failure at Life.) Your parents won’t mind at all, and it will help tide you over until the economy recovers, you get a job, or reach retirement age. Don’t help out around the house at all, though. Helping out around the house is not part of a Successful Life.

Step 10:
Spend lots of time on social networking sites, and justify it as part of your “job search.” Bonus points if you also are on LinkedIn with no actual contacts.

Step 11:
Never think for yourself. Ever. This is the most important part of a successful life. You must listen to everything that They say, or you will never be successful, okay? I can’t emphasize this enough. Absolutely. Never. Use. Your. Brain. Probably other people have already thought up all the good thoughts, anyhow.

Step 12:
???

Step 13:
Retire early. All the most awesome people retire early.

Step 14:
Congratulate yourself on a successful life.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Islamophobia

Since I’m sure some people who were involved in the conversation will sooner or later read this, I need to make a quick disclaimer up front: This blog post is inspired by, but should not be consider a direct response to, a discussion that occurred on Facebook. Since I have been told that I “missed the whole point” in that conversation, I won’t claim that I’m directly addressing any points that were made. I will not offer any theories as to what this person feels was the actual “point,” since I do not know them in real life, and never spoke with them before this conversation.

This post deals more with a general concern that I have about things I’ve been hearing in the world and in the news, lately. The discussion merely inspired me to actually put my thoughts into words. So here goes.

The way I understand it, the concern is as follows:
1. Muslim religion and law are irrevocably intertwined.
2. Muslim law allows for such things as killing your daughter for dating a non-Muslim.
3. Once they gain a "foothold" in America, they will invoke freedom of religion as a means to get away with killing their children and doing other unsavory and illegal things to non-Muslims.

I can understand where this fear is coming from, but this kind of fear-mongering is exactly what is setting our country on a road to theocracy. (Which, incidentally, is exactly what we fear, isn't it? Or is it just that people fear that another religion will "take over" before theirs has a chance to?) No one should feel ashamed of being afraid. Fear is just a part of being mortal. Every creature feels fear of something. But part of what makes us human is our ability to curb our fight-or-flight instinct, and instead take a deep breath, look at the situation for what it is, and take action that will benefit society as a whole in the long run, instead of temporarily relieving our fear for the moment.

Frankly, I feel that the fear of Islam “taking over” America is a ridiculous fear, so long as people don’t give into that fear. As I’m sure we’ve all heard time and again, “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

If you boil down all our laws to one simple statement, it is that we are free to do anything we please, so long as what we please does not infringe upon another person's freedom. This is why you can't legally decide that, in order to pursue happiness, you are going to knock over a bank to finance your dream of owning a pie store. That would involve infringing upon the rights of the people who worked hard to earn that money, and are in the process of pursuing their own happiness. (I won’t get into how I feel corporations and big business are undermining this basic concept from the inside. Right now, we’re just talking about how it applies to the individual, in an ideal world.)

As long as we as a people can keep this concept of “freedom” in mind as the basis for lawmaking and prosecuting criminals, it becomes easy to "draw the line", so to speak. That is, it becomes easy to say, “You can worship any way you want, as long as what you want doesn’t interfere with someone else’s ability to worship or not worship as they choose.” People who belong to a religion with a strongly evangelistic aspect (such as fundamental Christians) don't always like this, because it means they can't force other people, including their children, to live by their moral code. But all I can say to that is "tough titty." That's the basis upon which our highly successful country has been founded, and I for one think it works pretty darn well, until people lose sight of their principles in fear or selfishness.

It isn't until Americans willingly give up their freedoms (or decide en masse to infringe upon the freedoms of a minority group) that real issues arise. And historically, Americans usually only give up their freedoms, or infringe upon the freedoms of others, out of fear. That is why this kind of fear-mongering particularly offends me. The idea that a different standard of government could gain a "foothold" in America is completely ridiculous, until someone start playing upon the fears of fellow Americans in an attempt to soothe their own fears, at which point it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We become "them" in an attempt to stop "them." Look at Iraq as an example. Call it a “preemptive strike” all you want, but the fact is that we attacked them because they weren’t living by our moral code. Which is exactly what we fear they will do to us. Come on, people. We’re better than that. We’re Americans.

No matter what your personal beliefs are, the moment that we as a country step off of the bedrock upon which our freedoms are based, is the moment that we become no better than terrorists. Fear should never be a basis for disregarding the principles upon which our country was founded. Have we Americans become so soft and unused to having to fight to defend our freedoms, that we will abandon our principles the moment someone threatens us with violence? I wish I could say no, but the current direction the country is headed worries me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Are you my mommy?

Today I was reviewing my RSS feed, when I stumbled upon a particular blog article about productivity.

In this blog article, the author recommends setting up a program that will block your internet access to specific sites after a certain amount of time. It is called "LeechBlock." The idea is that if you find yourself wasting a lot of time on the internet, you can help yourself by setting up this program to block your access and even point you to your "to do" list.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love "Get Rich Slowly." There are plenty of articles about personal finance to keep you motivated and informed about handling your money. It's great.

That being said, I just have to point out... This is what happens when you buy internet blocking programs for your children instead of teaching them how to manage their own time and make mature decisions about when and what they access on the internet. They grow up and instead of being a mature, responsible adult, they program their computer to be their mommy.

If you are wasting time on the internet, stop acting like a stupid kid, get off the freaking internet, and do your work.

Just like I'm about to do. :>

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

That Girl

Dear Biker Chick That I Pass Every Day On My Ride Home From Work,

You should definitely continue wearing spandex. Just saying.

Sincerely,
That Girl With the Homemade Bike Trunk