The Ninja Turtles Taught Me How to Live

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There are those who are almost as smart as I am that have come up with the theory that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles teach/taught kids about who they were and what sort of people they would have to deal with for the rest of their lives. It is the four biles theory for kids. In a lot of shows people chose the coolest character or the one they most wanted to be like (almost a direct quote from Cracked.com) but when it came to the ninja turtles they always chose the one that they were most like. Yeah that is probably true, I know that my two favorites are Raph and Mikey (like I can spell anything from the Renaissance) and I am certainly the most like Raph but my best friend is like Mikey. So yeah, that theory has merit but it does not cover the other important lessons that those four anthropomorphic turtles, their formerly human rat father, and their only two friends taught. For example they taught my that the penalty for purse snatching is being beaten senseless with a hockey stick and that you have to know what a crumpet is to understand cricket (thank you Kasey Jones). Actually I basically take my entire way of grown up life off the lessons I learned from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Lesson 1: Forgiveness is divine but never pay full price for late pizza.

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In fact always be assertive about exactly what you want. In the first live action ninja turtles movie Mikey tells the pizza guy that if they put anchovies on his pizza he is going to go down there and…. it kind of fades out at that point because Splinter is talking or something like that. Then when the pizza is late he does not pay full price. That is the way I choose to behave. When the waitress at Applebees brought my steak with grilled onions instead of sauteed mushrooms it did not even hit the table the same thing goes for when my pizza arrives wrong.

Fact.

Lesson 2: Pizza and exercise solve most problems

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What do the turtles do every time The Foot show up or Splinter gets abducted? They go out and train super hard then show up and kick some major ass. The rest of their problems are solved with pizza parties. By the way I am not sure where they get the cash to pay for all those pizza deliveries but I don’t want to go down that road in case I find out that they are actually bank robbers or something.

Lesson 3: It does not matter how many friends you have so long as they stick with you.

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Like I said before the ninja turtles don’t have very many friends just Casey (turns out I spelled it wrong before) and April but man oh man are they good friends. April even drives them around and lets them crash in her apartment. Once you grow up you have to live a life where the people in are the people you can count on no matter how many or how few they are.

Lesson 4: Fight evil wherever you are

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Even if that evil is Mario. Seriously though we don’t come across a lot of villains like the Shredder but that doesn’t mean that we can’t fight bad everywhere we are just by being good. We should never let crime or evil have a break because that is what the turtles never did.

Lesson 5: Say No to Drugs Say Yes to Pizza

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Scones

The most annoying thing about Utah culture is scones. Now you are probably saying “but Hotstrongandtotallysteamed, scones are a thinking about British culture. Curse those Brits and their delicious buttery scones.” Well you are wrong because British Scone culture is not annoying but heaven;y and delicious. What I am talking about is when I go into any local breakfast place and see that they have scones on their menu.

When I see that I usually say something along the lines of “mmm I love scones. I think I’ll have a rasberry one.” So I order my delicious buttery scone and what should arrive at the critical moment but one of these…

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You see in Utah they do not serve real scones but something that are remarkably NOT similar but also called scones. They are basically elephant ears and while they are tasty they are not what I want.

I went into one of those resteraunts one day and after perusing the menu asked the waitress “are the scones you sell real scones?”

“Oh yes.”

“Okay so they are triangle shaped baked dough like in Britain.”

“No”

WHAT? That means they are not real scones. I spent about five minutes trying so hard to explain it to this women but in the end ordered scrambled eggs. See that is the annoying thing about the culture in Utah. They say that something is the real thing but it is not it is the weird Utah version of things and I literally cannot handle it. The last time it happened I threw my arms up in disgust. “I can’t,” was all I said. “I just can’t.”

 

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Science Fiction has some pretty terrifying things

Part of the point of science fiction is that there are scary things in it. It is the way we fear we have lost our humanity but in reverse. Basically Science Fiction is our past set in the future. That doesn’t make any sense but trust me, in my head it is crystal clear. In fact in my head it probably the most brilliant theory I have ever had. Maybe someday I’ll explain it better to you guys but that is not what this particular post is going to be about.

Anyway there are a lot of really scary things in science fiction. Here is my top five list.

5) Sith

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Sith, as you may recall, are the bad guys in Star Wars. They are like Jedi except with no morals and evil. They may have some morals but they are only out for themselves and people who don’t care about other people are pretty scary, especially when they can shoot lightning bolts out of their fingers and can convince a democracy to become a dictatorship with clones and things. 

4) Q

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Q is from Star Trek and is basically a god. He just transports himself from place to place and do as he pleases. The problem is he is not moral either. He does whatever he pleases and is all powerful so he gets away with it. This becomes a problem for him when he loses his powers but it is still pretty scary. Some guy with an affinity for bad jokes and weird costumes can do whatever he wants, including destroy whole planets, and gets away with it.

3) Time Travel

No picture or explanation needed. Time travel implies and incredible amount of responsibilty which is terrifying.

… okay here is a picture of my favorite time traveler anyway.

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2) The Borg (okay most of these are star trek things)

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Have you ever seen Star Trek? The Borg indiscriminately take people and make them part of a collective. That is scary. I always want to be me even if I am awful.

1) Reavers

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Reavers are the most terrifying thing I can think of in Science Fiction because it is a culture of psychopaths. A whole culture of people who kill and rape and eat peoples flesh without remorse and the worst part is that they are actually humans. I am so afraid of them that I would never take to space if I lived in the firefly universe just in case Reavers actually were real, which they are.

Are you terrified? I know I am.

The Pros and Cons of E-readers

I’m not trying to convince anyone that they should get an e-reader or that they shouldn’t. Mostly because I couldn’t give less of a damn what people waste their money on except that I sometimes wish they would just give it to me to waste. I also don’t believe that Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and what have you are any threat to paper books, no more than escalators are to stairs and moving sidewalks are to regular sidewalks. I do, however, recognize that there are pros and cons to the e-reader fad and would like to talk about it (hey I don’t do anything else with my day so the least you could do is let me do this). 

Pros:

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1) Holding it with one hand.

I have been reading “Game of Thrones” this week (yes I mean “Game of Thrones” not another book in the Song of Fire and Ice Series. If I meant a different one I would have said it) and because I mostly read in bed or sitting in a chair taking care of my cat, Razel, I like to hold my book with one hand. “Game of Thrones” is over 800 pages and I cannot hold one half open with my thumb and the other half open with my pinky (you know the trick I’m talking about). I just can’t. It would be really nice to have all those page in a thin little piece of technology that I can hold in one hand.

2)Reading in the dark

I’ve seen on the internet (because I have seen all of the internet) a comment about how books should be written with glow in the dark ink so people can read in the dark. That would be nice because as it stands right now I have to have lights on to read. If you are trying to read on a dark airplane you have to turn on that little light up above your seat in order to read your book and that light never is at the right angle and the guy next to you who is trying to sleep gets really grumpy. It is my understanding though that computer screens light up. Isn’t that wonderful? I would love to be able to read without messing with lights.

3) No one has to see your collection of dime store romances

I don’t know about the rest of you but having an English degree means that people think I read a lot more intelligent books than I do or really a lot fewer dumb books than I do. I don’t read a lot of dime store romances (like some of you) but I do read a lot of those young reader chapter books and things like that. Maybe I don’t want to have to deal with everyone knowing what dumb books I buy as well as super brilliant books I read. I read a lot of brilliant books, I have great taste in literature.

4) E-books seem to be cheaper.

A lot of classics are out of their copyright law so on e-readers they are free plus I think a lot of books are cheaper since you are only paying the author and not for the materials and shipping as well. Speaking as someone who doesn’t have any money I like cheap books. I like lightly used books, I like free books, and I like cheap books. I like expensive books too but not as much as I would like having the same book for cheap. 

5) Multiple Books

I cannot tell you how many times I have had to take two books on a trip or stuck two books in my purse because I was almost finished with one and did not want to have to wait until I got back to read the other one. It is a huge problem but with multiple books on the same e-reader I could start the next book without delay and only carry the one thing.

Cons: (I have no intention of listing all the cons just the ones that are most important to me)

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1) Money

The books on an e-reader may be cheaper but the e-reader itself costs so much I would have to throw myself in front of the Front Runner (local train system) if I ever considered purchasing one when I am supposed to be paying off student loans. Why do I say that? Because those two things are about equal levels of stupidity. 

2) Games and stuff

E-readers are not exactly the same as when they started starting out. Oh no. Now they have games and music and the internet on them. I can’t do all those things and read at the same time and I probably then would not use it to read. It would be awful, just terrible, the worst. 

3) Bad for the eyes

You are supposed to take a break from looking a t a computer screen every fifteen minutes or so. I realize that books are bad for your eyes too, especially if read without proper light, but I think e-readers are much worse. Eventually we are going to have a whole generation of stupid people with poor eyesight and it will be their fault but would not have happened if we weren’t ALWAYS looking at screens (and this is coming from someone who has seen all of the internet). 

4) “What are you reading?”

That is my favorite thing. When people think that because you are reading you are not doing anything and therefore can be spoken to. Usually when I receive that particular question I just hold up my book so that the cover is slightly more visible. No talking required. When you behave like that people usually realize that they need to leave you then hell alone and then do. I like that because when I am reading I don’t want to talk to people because I am doing something. So unless I plan on buying a new cover for my e-reader every time I change what book I am reading then I am in a bit of a conundrum. How can  possibly communicate the title of my book and that I don’t want to talk without speaking to the person?

5) Bookstores

One of the older ads for Kindles (I think) was a man and a woman talking (kind of like the old I’m a Mac and I’m a PC commercials) and one of them was going to go pick up a new book at the bookstore. Th e-reader said they wanted that book too and bought it right then and there without any journeying out. At this rate we’re all going to end up bricked into our houses for the rest of our lives with no real human contact, just virtual and it will be terrible. Seriously though, we can have all of our food delivered to us, books and music downloaded right to our electronic devices, and it is only a matter of time before we make the advances in robot technology to make the delivery people not be people at all. I know it sounds tempting. I have been threatening to pull that trigger for a long time now. But here is a problem I like leaving my house. I like bookstores because they are filled with discovery. And, while I don’t like all people equally or at all sometimes, I like dealing with people organically rather than virtually. In fact I like people less when I deal with them virtually. What reason would I have to go peruse a book store when every book was at my fingertips? While we’re on the subject what need would I have of books if I was never going to speak to people organically. There would be no relating to the interactions within the stories.

6) Don’t tell me how to live my life (this is the most important con that I have)

Most of the people I know who use e-readers are a lot like most of the vegetarians I know. Preachy. They see me reading my rather large book and decide to tell me all about the virtues of the e-reader and how I should really get one and blah blah blah. Just like vegetarians when they see me eating my steak and tell me all about how meat is murder. Is my reading books made out of paper really going to kill the world because it took away a tree’s life? NO. And don’t tell me it is either because I know that little iPad of your took a lot more natural resources to make and is doing a lot more damage. So guess what. Don’t tell me how to live my life and I won’t punch you in the face, which is how I usually feel when someone starts telling me that my life would be so much better if I had an e-reader. 

That is it. That is my life. That is why I won’t buy an e-reader even though I do know they have many pros and many cons.

The Special Hell

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I have been introducing my parents to the show Firefly. Why? Because it is fun, the library has all four discs, and my parents haven’t seen them before. A few days ago we watched the episode “Our Mrs. Reynolds” in which the captain finds himself with a wife (any one who hasn’t watched it but plans to don’t worry I won’t say anymore about the comings and goings of the episode). During the episode Shepherd Book describes a very special hell that is reserved for child molesters and people who talk in the theater.

That was my parents favorite line. 

I like that line because it clearly tells us what the two most heinous crimes one can possibly commit are and because it puts both of those things on the same level. 

I had other comments about this line but I think that is the only one that matters.

I have great news

You know, I don’t always have a lot to say or that I really get excited about. I watch a lot of movies and apply for a lot of crummy jobs that I don’t get and sometimes, if I’m really lucky, I get a Facebook notification from my friends. But then there are other times that I get really excited and want to tell people something really exciting and I can’t because the thing that I’m super excited about is something like walking my dogs or finishing a chapter in a book. Fortunately, sometimes you have the ability to make your own excitement, I have developed my own brilliant way of creating excitement for the people in my life who have to listen to me tell them about my adventure washing dishes.

1) “I have great news”

The first is pretty simple. I run up to someone I know and tell them I have great news “(insert mutual contact) has been kidnapped by a government agency and it is a potentially life threatening situation!”

If I’m really luck they respond with “how is that good news?” It’s a good time.

2) “You can see me?”

Don’t talk to people at gas stations especially not if it is me. Just don’t. It freaks me out. I want to be left alone when I pump gas, especially since I can’t afford the gas going into the car and am probably in a bad mood. This actually does happen to me a lot, I shockingly approachable and I don’t know why. So when it does happen I have a grand time of making them believe that I am crazy. My favorite is looking around and saying “you can see me?” or even better “ninja mode activate!” and jumping behind a tree… or whatever is around.

3) The Muppet analysis

If those things fail to create excitement in my life I just start talking about the three different eras of Jim Henson’s Muppets and annoy all the people around me.

Life after college is hard

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Life after college is hard because re-integrating into “the real world” takes a long while. I am especially at a disadvantage because I attended a place called Whitworth University which is a great school but comes with a lot of culture shock , both when leaving and returning to Whitworth. I used to get a little upset when people would say things like “college is a better dating service than match.com (probably but I wouldn’t know much about match.com. If I can’t meet people organically I don’t think I deserve friends)” or “Whitworth is a prime example of  a pastoral world.” I got upset because I knew it was true and I don’t like things that are true.

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So I have been trying to acclimate to real life since August. I did not have to do this before August because I was still in Spokane hanging out with my collegiate world between May and August. It has been very difficult and having to acclimate to Utah rather than Washington has made it even worse (the culture in Washington is much closer to Whitworth than the culture in Utah). 

Unfortunately the thing that has been the hardest, and quite surprisingly so, has been the hipster scales that vary from place to place. In Washington, and especially in places like Whitworth and Seattle, I do NOT rank on any hipster scale. I drive an SUV, don;t like to wear my glasses, listen to a lot of popular music, AND I like sports. So I rank somewhere like 3 out of 10. Hipsters are everywhere in Washington and that makes them pretty exasperating, very exasperating. However, in Utah I not only rank somewhere around 10 but I also have been accused of being a hipster several times. I take offense at that, I am a coolster or a bohemian vagrant but never a hipster. I don’t ever tell people that I liked something before it was cool. The problem is that they see my plaid shirt, coffee, glasses, and collection of boots and think that means something. There are no hipsters in Utah.

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If I am the closest thing they have to a hipster then there are none.

That makes for more culture shock than you would think. The biggest problem I have faced (in culture not employment) has not been the absurd alcohol laws (they truly are absurd) or 90% population that is a very different religion than my own but the lack of hipsters. It is not the sort of thing that I ever expected.

Yesterday at work one of the children of my employers purchased an entirely knew outfit and claimed that he was a hipster. It was all I could do not to laugh at him, I try not to laugh at people who pay my bills.