Help! I’m a Compulsive Multi-tasker!

My regular readers probably know by now that compulsions are no new thing for me.  I was diagnosed with OCD over 18 years ago.  That and my studies in psychology have led to a lot of introspection and self-analysis of my behaviors.   I sometimes wonder where my OCD ends and my real personality begins.  Or maybe I’ve dealt with it so long, in ways it’s shaped my personality.

This isn't me...but it may as well be...

This isn’t me…but it may as well be…

That said, I’m not sure if my propensity for multi-tasking is rooted in OCD, or a conditioned thing.  It’s probably both.  Or maybe it’s more closely related to an addiction-type disorder.In any event, lately I’m finding it all but impossible to do only one thing.  The two main culprits are the television and the internet.  I started watching back episodes of Grimm lately.  I’m really into the show…yet I tend to miss a lot of little things each episode because I am usually seated on the floor in front of the laptop, either bouncing back and forth between Facebook and this blog, or I’m playing Fishdom.  Fishdom, for crying out loud!  It’s actually burned into my brain!  My art has fallen by the wayside in the wake of other things, but when I draw, I often have something on the TV…like white noise.

I’m practically incapable of just sitting on the couch and watching TV now.  My blog is like my baby, so my compulsive stat checking and commenting is excusable.  What is not excusable is that my two year old finds it necessary to climb in my lap and sit in front of me to get my attention.  I’m not saying I ignore her, and all parents need and deserve a break sometimes.  She is by no means “neglected…”   But I do spend a lot of time on the computer during the day.  And maybe part of it is just that she’s accustomed to us showering her with attention or that she’s just being a normal two year old.  I dunno; this is the first time having one of my very own (a toddler, I mean.)  And even though I love playing with her and seeing her laugh and learn, it’s hard to have an extensive conversation with a two year old…especially when they barely talk…     I mean, she’s a chatterbox, but her conversational topics are few.

I find myself sneaking peeks at the computer screen even when I’m playing with her or doing other things.  Sometimes, I just have to shut the damn thing, so I leave it alone for a bit.

I’ve lived without cable TV for years.  I’m the point now where when I do watch TV, usually over other people’s houses, commercials drive me more crazy than ever, because I am so used to watching DVD box sets or downloaded shows with little to no commercials.  So I know I can live without it because I do.  Elementary, right, my dear Watson?

I’ve lived without internet before.  But these things are like many other habits, easy to form and hard to break.  When our internet connection was gone, I didn’t mind not having Facebook access so much as I hated not being able to access my blog regularly… yet I still find myself compelled to check Facebook often now that I have regular access to it once again.

One of my main concerns is that I’ve basically conditioned myself have a sort of attention deficit disorder.  I don’t mean I fear a clinical diagnosis of that, but more that I am annoyed by my need to be entertained so constantly that I need to do not just one thing, but multiple things.

All day long while doing these things to entertain myself, I also do dishes, laundry, and take care of my daughter.  I exercise and fix food.  This type of multi-tasking is necessary to run an efficient home.  The problem comes in when I can’t devote my full attention to any one task because I feel the need to do more than one at any given time.

Anyway, last night, for my daughter more than anyone, I decided that if I’m not actively writing and article or story, I’m going to try to limit my time on the computer.  I’ll get up and do my “morning check” of all my stats, comments, and notifications on both WordPress and Facebook.  But then I’m going to step away for a while.  My child deserves my full attention.  So does my husband, and even my art and writing.  Just not all at once.

Advertisements

The Not-So-Walking Dead (*warning,graphic)

Most of my friends probably know I love all things zombie, so I’m not gonna complain much when I’m watching any number of walking-dead/returned- to- life themed shows or movies.

Ooookay, that’s a white lie.  Okay, so I’m one of those people who was so sucked in by the Resident Evil games and the multitude of zombie movies that I like to entertain the idea that I wouldn’t become zombie bait on the first day of the apocalypse.  It’s not uncommon for me to be watching  one of these shows or movies and yelling at the people on the TV,  telling them every stupid thing they’re doing.

AMC’s The Walking Dead is no exception.  I love the show.  It’s a very character-driven take on the usual zombie apocalypse theme; I’d imagine the characters have to have more depth if the show is going to keep viewers interested for more than a couple episodes.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon is just an added incentive for me to watch The Walking Dead

But these people do some stupid shit!  For instance, if you were concerned with a blood borne contagion, why would you stab a zombie through the head (or any other body part for that matter?)  An interesting tidbit you may or may not have gleaned from popular crime shows is that when a person stabs another person, there is a high likelihood of the assailant injuring themselves on their own weapon.  By all means, why don’t we just invite the infection in?

But anyway, as much as I love my zombie movies, I can’t quite get past this one fundamental flaw in the whole idea of an extended “zombie apocalypse.”  In most of these stories, shows, and films, the source of the pandemic usually ends up being traced to a biological or physiological cause, most often a virus of some sort.  The creators of these shows want it to seem as if the scenario they are positing could be scientifically possible, if not exactly likely. Bear with me, because this is relevant to the point I’m about to make.

For the zombies to reach such an advanced state of decay, one of two things would have to happen:

1) They have to have risen from the grave a’ la the original Night of the Living Dead

or

2) They “newly” dead would have to continue to decompose after death, despite the fact that they remained mobile.

“You don’t just wake up looking this good!”

Either way, after decomposition progresses to a certain point, muscle tissue and ligaments are going to break down and locomotion will then be a scientific impossibility.  There are a bajillion changes the body goes through postmortem, beginning with autolysis (in the gut) and putrefaction ( microbial growth.)  Ultimately, these processes lead to liquefaction and disintegration of the body.  Simply put…   the very dead no walkee.

Bloating in the abdomen as autolysis occurs and gasses collect in the face, abdominal cavity, and scrotum. This body has spent approximately a week in summer-like conditions.

**I found this photo on the internet, but can speak for its authenticity because this same photo appears in one of my school books for a Forensics class that I had.  The information regarding time and conditions of death came directly from that book.

So basically, the zombie apocalypse would really suck for about two weeks, three tops… until everyone started to rot and fall apart… at which point it would probably suck even harder.

You’re welcome. 😉

*Edit: A friend of mine brought up a good point that I need to clarify:  A zombie pandemic/plague/whatever could indeed be perpetuated beyond two to three weeks, assuming people continued to be contaminated by contact with either the bodily fluids of the dead bodies or the undead.  However, the main thrust of this blog entry is that each individual dead body could not be mobile for an extended period of time once decomposition began to break down the muscles and tissues necessary for locomotion…  

I’ve put too much thought into this.  Maybe I need a new hobby.

Is Marriage Bullshit?

What is marriage?

I realize what a loaded question this is.  And on this, my third wedding anniversary, I coincidentally happened on a Penn and Teller: Bullshit episode on “Family Values.”  If you’re not familiar with Bullshit, it was a popular Showtime program running from 2003 to 2010, aimed at debunking pseudoscientific ideas, popular beliefs, and misconceptions.  Penn and Teller host the show, typically take an abrasively libertarian point of view, and there are usually people interviewed for the show from both sides of a given topic.

In the “Family Values” episode, the idea/institute of marriage comes under fire as impractical, restrictive and, according to one arguably misogynistic radio personality, entrapping to men, as he remarks, “[We] are paying for use of a vagina.”

One professor of History and Family Studies claims, “There is no such thing as a traditional family… the idea one man one woman, nuclear family […] that’s a pretty rare family form in history.”

Also mentioned is the fact that marriage historically was rarely about romantic love, but rather protecting family interests and assets.  Arranged marriages were common, as was the existence of lovers other than one’s spouse.

While it can (and has) been pointed out that Bullshit is usually fairly one-sided, with Penn voicing over interviews rather than allowing for actual back and forth debate with said interviewees, I found enough valid points to sort of dishearten me with the idea that romantic marriage is a fairly new (and often unsuccessful) endeavor.

I’ve always considered myself a romantic at heart, and although I try to be pragmatic, I want to believe in love.  That’s not to say that I think there is only one soul mate out there for any given person.  Were that the case, given the size of the world and the number of people in it, it would be highly improbable that so-called “true” soul mates would find one another in their lifetime.  Still, if you can find even one person you can trust, confide in, lean on, have fun with, and love, you are a lucky person.

So, considering my cognitively conflicting ideas of pragmatism and romance, I thought it over…very briefly…and decided to rephrase the question to myself.

What is marriage…to me?

In short, it doesn’t matter what the statistics say, what marriage has  historically meant, what other couples are doing, what “biology” says, or even what religions say about marriage.  At least not to me.  The only thing that matters to me are the values I’ve internalized, the values my husband and I agreed upon when we discussed what marriage meant to us, and what we want out of our relationship.  In my husband I have a friend and someone who knows my heart (and my body) well.  And hopefully we can pass along our values and ideas of love on to our daughter.

So…Nya!

Pffffttttttthhhh!

STFU- Violence and Taking Responsibility

We are living in a world I almost don’t recognize.  Or maybe I just wish I didn’t recognize it.  We live in a world where parents can murder their own children and then lie about it while a whole country looks on.  We live in a world where a man can murder his pregnant wife, and where kids go to school and shoot up the place, with reasonable expectations, or even plans, of dying.  A place where people do drugs they know could lead them to acts of cannibalism and violence and kids feed firecrackers to dogs.

And if everybody whines enough- about their jobs, their parents, society- there’s even a chance of getting away with these horrible crimes.  Or being paid money.

All of us “normal” people are clamoring for an explanation, an end to the violence.  So, after quite a few conversations in this vein, I have decided to blog my ideas on the topic.  Now let me start with a disclaimer:

The following is my opinion and is based on all my education, experience, discussions, and observations.  While I do have a BS in Psychology and Sociology, I am by no means an expert.  Nor is my opinion rooted in theology. I’m not going to tell you everything would be “fixed” if we put God back into the schools.  The problem facing America (and many other industrialized nations) is complex, therefore the answer will also be complex.  For each act of violence there may often be “mitigating” circumstances.  Sociological causes (basically, how society influences the behavior of individuals) and psychological causes have been suggested.

I was abused as a child so I … [blah blah blah]

or It’s because we are so poor that I had to [blah blah blah]

I’m not even going to say these things aren’t sometimes factors.  However, I think there is way more flagrant violence than can be accounted for legitimately with these excuses.

And I can’t tell you how it burns me up, every time some school kid goes on a rampage and then it comes out “he listened to heavy metal,” or “he played violent video games.”

So let me tell you what I think a BIG part of the problem is…

Lack of accountability.   Yup.  That’s it.  Every time a parent sues someone over some little transgression, they are teaching their children that if you don’t get your way, you can basically bully someone into doing what you want.  Really, what are frivolous lawsuits but attempts to legally bully someone?

And any time a kid shoots at someone or kills his parents or a sibling, there’s a whole league of people waiting hand the kid his excuses on a silver platter.  I feel like this kid who took a shotgun to Perry Hall High is a perfect example.  He has seen on television how he can walk into a school and shoot it up, make whatever inane point by doing so, and then escape facing any consequences by killing himself or having the cops kill him.  I’m not saying TV is at fault.  I’m saying he has learned that he can “make a statement” dramatically because others have done it before him and there have been no real consequences.  After all, what consequences can you expect if you’re dead?  But the whole point is that people have been led to believe that they are entitled somehow.  I am all for equality and compassion and tolerance of others, but the country has gone so far down the Politically Correct road, that now everybody feels like they are owed something, and every time someone wins a lawsuit over some dumb shit, it reinforces the idea of non-culpability and entitlement.  

Every time a burglar gets bit by his victim’s dog or cuts himself on his victim’s kitchen knife and then wins a lawsuit about it, our own legal system is enforcing the idea that you can not only escape responsibility for your actions, but actually profit from them.

Casey Anthony is another example (barf.)  This bitch led a whole nation on an emotional hunt for a child she already KNEW was dead.  At this point, let’s even assume she didn’t intentionally kill the baby.  She willfully covered it up and lied repeatedly about it.  And really, she’s basically gotten away with it, with a slap on the wrist, a butt-load of attention (which I’m sure she loved in all her sophomoric twisted-ness), and probably an even bigger butt-load of offers for made-for-tv movies and interviews and whatever.  It’s sick.

How about the newest thing, bath salts?  After several documented cases of cannibal-like behavior resulting from the use of bath salts, this asshole  is deemed “not competent” to stand trial for being found in his bedroom with a dead pygmy goat.  A pygmy goat he stole, allegedly raped, and then butchered.  Well, by all means, let’s cart him off to a mental facility for 6 months, let him out, and then when he does the same thing to a human victim, maybe THEN he’ll be competent to stand trial.

My bad. I thought if you willingly ingested mind-altering substances, you were held responsible for any illegal actions you might commit while on said substances…

So, basically, he was crazy before he ever took the drugs?  Oh, well than that’s different.  Next time, just don’t let him out without his leash and everything will be fine.

And please can we just stop with the over-simplistic and ignorant answers to the problem?  It’s not Marilyn Manson or violent video games and movies.  I am a 31 year old mother and a wife and I have listened to metal, watched horror movies with a passion, and played video games since…forever.  I’d not stomp a spider, let alone kill a person in cold blood.  By the time a child gets to the appropriate age for such games and films, he/she should be old enough to know right from wrong and real from imaginary…and if the kid is still young and still learning these delicate worldly ideas, then maybe the parents should be held responsible for allowing said child access to media that is too mature (violent) for them in the first place.

It’s not lack of God in the schools.  Thanks; I’m not religious, yet my code of ethics and my level of tolerance is undoubtedly stronger than many so-called religious people.  God hates fags?  Really?  Did he tell you that himself?  Didn’t he also say “judge not…”?  Last time I checked, God doesn’t preach hate.  

(And here’s a real mind-fuck… How many church “people” have you heard of who disparage the violence and sexuality in today’s music and TV?  Okay, now, how many church officials have you heard of who have been caught molesting children? My point here is not necessarily to disparage religion, but to point out that there are many good people who are not religious, and many religious people who are not necessarily good.   Also, as indicative of the above passage, a lot of people hide behind religion as a way to justify hate.)

It’s not our DNA or our “killer” instinct…  And even if it was, the whole idea behind being human is that we have higher thought processes, and here’s a novel idea– the ability to exert self-control and make conscious decisions.

I’m not saying my theory holds the key to the ultimate solution.  The things that drive people to violence are varied and often complex.  Violence could never be completely eradicated.  But we can start by adopting a lower tolerance to it.  This starts at home, and it’s up to the legal system to enforce the idea of consequences and accountability out in the “real world.”  Let’s not forget that the rules appear to be different for folks with fame/and or money.  Kids see their pop culture icons getting away with all sorts of crap.   The little girls who used to be in the Mickey Mouse club are crashing into people with their cars while they’re drunk and yet some people are worried about a video games corrupting kids?

Get your head on straight, people.

And this may sound counterproductive in combating violence in society…but have you ever met teen that was so obnoxious you couldn’t help but think maybe their parents should have smacked them around more during their formative years?  I know I have.

For instance, if I ever saw MY kid run into a pregnant lady and then give her lip when she said something about it, I’d cuff ’em right in the ear (this happened to me at the public pool when I was pregnant.)  The other day I saw a lady (and I use the term loosely) allowing her dog to shit in a common public area.  When I asked her if she planned to pick it up (she had no bag or anything with her) she gave me a raft of shit (no pun intended.)  How hard is it to understand that I don’t need my small child trampling through your dog’s mess?  Is it untoward for me to request she pick up after the nasty little beast?  This woman, this huge she-beast who lives with her adult daughter on HUD assistance had the nerve to tell me I needed to get a job!  All because I called her out on something she knew was wrong in the first place.

Apparently, as there are no consequences for being an asshole (you’d get sued for knocking the teeth out of someone being disrespectful to you now,) people feel free to throw courtesy right out the window.

Seriously, ignorance aside (even though it drives me absolutely batshit,) I fear for my child in this world.  It makes me want to move my family to some isolated mountain in Montana or something.

Anyway, sorry if I sound preachy.  This stuff really irks the piss out of me, and I pretty much feel helpless to do anything to change the majority of it.  I can teach my kids solid values and responsibility, but there’s no way for me to force the rest of the world to act like civilized human beings.  I just have to arm my kid with knowledge and then hope for the best.  And that scares the crap out of me.

English: McDonalds' sign in Harlem.

By the way, while we’re talking about “responsibility,” it’s not McDonald’s fault that you’re fat.

It’s Cancer, Charlie Brown

WHOA! Hold the phone. Everybody out of the pool!  My trip down memory lane just took a wrong turn!  More like it was derailed.

Was on the interwebz looking up some of the old cartoons that I remember from my childhood so I could show some of them to my toddler.  She especially loves anything with music.  So we got through the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special and that Garfield Christmas show.  So I went on to look  for A Charlie Brown Christmas.  I hadn’t found the whole episode, but had stumbled across some Charlie Brown episodes I didn’t remember seeing as a kid.

*spoilers for Why, Charlie Brown, Why?    Yes, I actually put in a spoiler alert, cuz you never know who would be pissed if I ruined the ending of this kid’s cartoon for them.

And that’s how I ended up watching Why, Charlie Brown, Why?  Charlie Brown shows have always had their melancholy moments.  Charlie Brown is usually outcast or made to feel unloved in many of the episodes, and there are whole passages where there is little to no dialogue, only a strange piano music (that reminds me of the Cosby Show.)  So as I watch this particular show/episode, it opens with Linus noting the peculiar amount of bruises on his little friend’s arms.

Ooookay.  Well, these kids talk about some weird shit sometimes, and in an even weirder adult manner.

The little girl, whose name is Janice, mentions she never used to bruise so easily.

Noooo.  They wouldn’t do an episode about that…

References to her feeling ill and thinking she has a fever.

Uh-oh.  

I stopped right there and looked up the episode on Wikipedia.  Yup.  It’s about cancer.  Airing in 1990, it is considered the first animated series to tackle the subject.

“Why, Charlie Brown, Why?”

Granted, as I continue watching, I note that the explanation of Janice’s leukemia is vastly simplified.  I understand the show is addressing the issue to a fairly young audience, but it occurs to me as I watch that it does children no good to have this issue sugar-coated.  For instance, when asked if she will die, Janice explains that there are treatments for leukemia and she thinks she’ll get well.  Sadly, we as adults know that this is often not the case.

The process of her treatment (chemotherapy) and the effects it has on her health also seem a bit simplified as well.  But I guess in such a case, it would be left more up to each individual child’s parents to decide how much explanation their children could handle in regards to the subject of terminal illness.

To the writers credit, they also attempt to address issues that are tangential to the idea of a child returning to class after having undergone chemotherapy, such as ignorance, bullying, and insensitivity. For instance, Janice returns wearing a pink ball cap, having lost her hair.  Linus ends up having to defend her when another little boy teases her about her cap and her baldness.  Linus grabs the kid and shakes his fist at him, all the while yelling at him about how he has no idea what Janice has had to go through.  The  other kid, properly chastened, apologizes and tries to make up for his meanness by complimenting Janice’s hat.

There is also a segment of the show that also seems to touch on Janice’s siblings and their feelings of loneliness and jealousy over the “attention” that Janice is getting because of her illness.

In the end of the episode, Janice returns to school once again after some more treatments and she whips her hat off and her head is full of hair again.  Guess this is supposed to signify she is “all better.”  End of story.   Well, yes.  Vastly simplified.  No mention of remission or recurrence.  But, hey, it’s for little ones.  Or maybe the show’s writers should leave the heavy topics to the parents.

What’s your opinion?  You can check out the episode HERE.  It’s not very long.  I realize now there are many shows that tackle serious subjects for a younger audience, and I would guess that the newer shows and ones like these each have their merits.  Weigh in, if you like.

On another note , there are clearly some episodes of these old shows I missed.  Maybe that’s for the best.