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The Ins and Outs of Disability Advocacy

the ins and outs of disability advocacy

Sticking up for one’s rights, or the rights of a specific group of people is an important way to encourage change.  There are many ways society advocates for different things; person to person dialogue, media commentary, writing to the proper representatives, protests, campaigns, lobbying, or–as hopefully only a last resort, a lawsuit. All of these can be done in a peaceful way, but certain methods can leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth.

I am a strong supporter of advocacy. I am a woman who is physically challenged, and I live in a rural community where not everything is necessarily the most user friendly to suit my needs. Most issues I have are minor; store racks being a little too close together, uneven curb cuts, door thresholds not being easy to drive over in a power wheelchair, and my ultimate pet peeve; restaurants or bars having only the tall tables in the most accessible areas. These things I consider to be relatively minor annoyances but easily remedied or dealt with.

All it takes is to ask for a little help or talk to someone if I am having a problem, and that’s it. Usually help is given and the other party, if they own the business or building I am in, hopefully are more aware of something they may have not noticed before. These issues really aren’t worth getting in too big of a tizzy about in the grand scheme of things.

I know there are more serious situations out there–problems that make us feel unequal and are severe violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Luckily I haven’t really had to deal with many of the big ones…aside from the obvious: stairs.

Some might think of me as maybe a bit too complacent; I just think of myself a realist. There are certain things in life I choose not to dwell on because in reality, these certain things don’t have that big of an impact on my daily life and the smaller snags don’t prevent me from doing things. I can utilize that time and energy on something more fun than getting pissed off at a clothing rack that got caught on my chair tire.

Story Time

Let me preface the next bit of this post by saying I am trying to explain the following situation without being too specific about location or names. I’m not trying to call out anyone involved on the internet. This story could happen in any community. Nevertheless, the following events bother me and that is why I chose to write about it.

Recently, in the rural town I live in, the newspaper released a story about three local businesses that had lawsuits filed against them by two local residents for not being in compliance with the ADA. Keep in mind, two of the businesses are in buildings downtown, which are pretty old. I am not saying that old buildings should be exempt from being accessible due to their age, but I know some buildings are not structurally equipped to be adapted in a way that is cost effective to the owner of that building. The businesses in the older buildings downtown are a restaurant and an antique shop. The third small business is an animal supply store.

The violations consisted of barriers like blocked or inaccessible doorways and a non ADA compliant bathroom at the animal supply store. Potential penalties to these businesses include the awarding of civil penalties to the plaintiffs, payment of court costs, and injunctions to fix the alleged barriers mentioned.

The lawyer representing the plaintiffs in these civil suits has been involved in over two dozen other similar cases throughout the state, representing individuals with disabilities. The lawyer and these clients are all members of a certain nonprofit advocacy board registered under the representing attorney’s law firm.

Most of the people involved in the cases documented in that particular story couldn’t be reached for comment or declined.

There was another article in a larger newspaper which talked about a clinic owner in the metro area who had also been victim of a lawsuit by someone on the same advocacy board with the same lawyer. This article contained more details about the case against the antique store owner in my town as well.

I have to say, I am pretty disheartened at the lengths some people go in the name of being an advocate.

This shit bugs me because lawsuits should never be a first resort. Both articles make it seem as if lawsuits were simply filed without any other attempt at resolution. Did the plaintiffs talk to the business owners to bring the barriers to their attention? Was there a respectful dialogue made between parties? Did any of the owners say they absolutely could not change a damn thing? If so, what were the reasons?

Then I also wonder, is the lawyer taking advantage and pushing these clients to file lawsuits?

The owner of the antique store is a woman in her mid 80’s, a widow, and she maybe sells fifty dollars worth of merchandise a day. This is what the one article stated. Her store is part of her livelihood, and it makes me sick to think someone lacked so much compassion in this situation that they are attacking a lady who is beyond retirement age. Yes, maybe there was a barrier in the store. But to sue her over it is just wrong.

Also, do the plaintiffs receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? If so, don’t they know what it feels like to be strapped financially? If they work full time and earn income, great for them. However, have a little humanity and think about other people’s circumstances as well. Think about the least mentally and financially taxing solution possible that will still promote positive change.

Luckily, that particular lawsuit had a dismissal agreement. The others, I’m not sure.

I would love for everything to be completely accessible. I hope that one day other people like me with disabilities will be seen as citizens who are completely equal in society. Unfortunately, we have a long time to wait before either of those things happen. So, in the meantime we need to set an example of advocating with class.

To sue without trying other means to resolve an issue is a really crappy way to advocate for anyone or anything. It gives advocacy a bad name. Also, it reflects badly on all people with disabilities. I don’t want to go into a local store and make the business owners here feel nervous that I will be the next person trying to sue them.

Getting money from someone under the guise of fighting for civil rights isn’t a fix all. It’s not even a band-aid. Getting people to discuss things like an adult and explore solutions is the only way to begin making real progress. I only hope more “advocates” will stop, think, and find some compassion before taking the most extreme route to achieve results.

What kinds of situations have you faced in which you advocated for yourself or another person? How did you handle it?


The Anti New Year’s Resolution

the anti new years resolution

Well, it’s that time again! It’s almost January 1st, and you know what that means! It’s time for millions of people to do that cliche thing they call setting New Year’s Resolutions. The title of this post may be slightly misleading; I am not against the practice of setting yearly goals. The word “resolution” in this context is about as disturbing to me as the word “moist.” A shiver goes up my spine when I hear it or read it. It’s a loaded word, full of pressure and intentions that are often not completely realistic or manageable.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t set goals for themselves, and the turn of the year is as good of a time as any to start doing something–but the hype of it all is what irks me. All we hear on television are ads related to setting resolutions and trying to sell a product that will help a consumer achieve their chosen task for the year. Businesses take advantage of this need for people to start fresh. I look at it as a psychological sales tactic that prays on a person’s vulnerabilities.

Roughly 8% of resolution setters actually stick to their resolutions. That’s not a very high percentage, is it? I guess the other resolution setters just bought a bunch of stuff they didn’t need by watching those commercials. Yikes.

I know, we are only human and it can be really hard to keep working at a long term goal.

Like I said, I’m not telling anyone they shouldn’t aspire to do something to improve their life or make themselves happy. But I think as a society, in order to improve the success rate of this yearly fad, we need to approach and think of the resolution thing differently. We need to not just decide to do something; we need to have a better plan of attack.

First, let’s get rid of the word “resolution” altogether. Put it out of your mind. Throw it in the trash. Unless you are talking about screen resolution, this word no longer exists.

So, what word or words can you use instead?

Use whatever makes what you want to do sound less weighted down. You can call it something simple, like refer to it as this year’s goal, or you can choose to be more creative. Maybe you can give your desired task a title. If your goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, you could title it something like “My Yellow Brick Road to Personal Health.”

I admit that one might be cheesy, but I had to come up with something fast!

You want to feel inspired by what you’re doing and motivated to get to your end result. Does the word “resolution” do that for you?

Next, ask yourself if your aspiration is attainable. Does it fit in and work with your lifestyle? For instance, if you work two jobs seven days a week, reading three books a week may not be the most attainable goal. One book may be a better choice, or even backing it down a bit further to a couple of books per month. The important thing is you don’t want to push yourself so hard that you feel stressed out. Burnout will not help you achieve what you want to do.

Be realistic and honest with yourself about your abilities and schedule.

Last of all you will want to keep track of your progress on a regular basis. If your quest is to save more money, keep a spreadsheet of the amount of money you are saving weekly or monthly. You could even turn the data into a graph to create a more effective visual. Seeing your results unfold before you is a huge motivator. Lists are another great tool. Both are ways you can more easily monitor yourself and keep your momentum going.

You might have more than just one objective you intend to take on in the coming year. Try not to let yourself get overwhelmed by them in the coming weeks. When you are thinking about your objectives, take a few minutes for each one and write in a journal or document all the steps you need to take to make these things happen for you. Break them down into smaller bits. It will help to keep you moving forward. Nobody likes to be overwhelmed!

I have been contemplating the goals I want to set for myself for the upcoming year, but I haven’t quite planned everything out specifically. My one main objective is to grow my blog. I had a big setback the past couple of weeks with being sick and then it was Christmas. I am trying to get back into the swing of things, but it’s a bit slow going at the moment. Sometimes life happens, and there isn’t much we can do about it. All in all, I’m not too worried about getting the ball rolling again!

Otherwise, my buzzword of the upcoming year is “creativity.” I find myself thinking up more projects I want to try, and ideas I want to experiment with. I think 2015 will be an interesting year!

What do you aspire to do in 2015? I want to know! Share them in the comments below!

Happy New Year!


8 Things Men Shouldn’t Do in Their Dating Profile

8 things men shouldnt do in their dating profile

Have you ever browsed sites like Match.com and Farmers Only just to kill some time?

When I get bored, sometimes I check out profiles on dating websites. Seriously, I do. It’s a weird source of entertainment when nothing else sounds interesting enough. I like to read profiles and think of how this person or that one could market themselves better (let’s face it, a dating profile is like a resume, a marketing tool). So I began coming up with a mental list of things men shouldn’t do in their dating profile so they might get better results (sorry guys, I’m not trying to pick on you).

I am not a dating expert, I am only a straight female. I won’t claim to be an authority on getting you more messages, winks, or flirts from other people on whichever site you’re on, however, I am a woman so…isn’t that authority enough?

I find myself seeing a lot of the same profile habits in men’s profiles. Gentlemen, while I applaud some of your efforts to create an engaging profile to show the ladies (or other men) who you are, some of you need a little bit of…guidance in this area.

You don’t need a Master’s in English, you don’t need to be perfect or try to be someone you’re not, but there needs to be a show of effort. If you don’t show a willingness to be open about yourself, you might get bypassed by someone you might really get along with!

So, on to the list of things men shouldn’t do in their dating profile.

Don’t leave the written part blank, or write only “If you want to get to know me, just message me.”

What this says to me is either you aren’t really serious about meeting people, or you are putting a lot of weight on the value of your profile image(s). Write something! The saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but in this case I beg to differ. You need to write about yourself to show others who you are on the inside. Give the other person something to talk about with you.

Don’t write a list of everything that went wrong with the last few women (or men) you met or were in contact with on the website.

While it’s unfortunate things didn’t work between you and the last few individuals you were in touch with on whatever website you are on, don’t mention them. Yea, you might be irritated by lack of communication by one of them, or the fact you felt the next one played games with you, but when you announce these things on your profile it doesn’t seem very welcoming. It makes others wonder if they will be the next person mentioned on your profile if they try getting to know you and things don’t work out. It also makes it seem as if you hold grudges. You don’t want that, do you? There are more fish in the sea; don’t bother hanging on to negative feelings if things don’t go as far as you’d like them. There will be something positive around the corner.

Don’t post a picture of only your truck.

Yes, I’m sure you are proud of your Ford F-150 or your Chevy Silverado, but if you are not in the photo I am not sure why it needs to be posted. I don’t gauge someone by what they drive. Do other women do that? Your profile should feature you, not your stuff.

Don’t post a picture of only your tractor.

See above. I have spotted profiles with tractor photos. Only tractors. That only works if your name is John Deere and I am a farmer.

Don’t post photos of animals you have hunted and/or killed.

Do I need to explain why dead animals are somewhat of a repellent to the attention your profile gets? Stating in words that you love hunting or fishing is enough. There’s no need for the visuals.

Don’t post a bathroom mirror selfie.

I feel that the bathroom mirror selfie is showing us a bit too much of your bathroom. Either ask a friend to help you take a photo, or use a self timer feature on your phone camera and set your phone somewhere to take the shot.

Don’t post photos of you in a group and not label which guy you are in the picture.

There shouldn’t be confusion as to who this profile is for. It’s for you, not for your friends. I don’t believe you and your friends come as a gift set.

Don’t post an old picture of you and an ex.

It doesn’t matter if you cover her face, cut her out, whatever. Just don’t do it. It kind of sends a signal you might not be over your ex if you still have pictures of her handy. Also, it’s probably a good idea to not post a photo of you and any person who looks like they could be your partner.

Try to be creative with your dating profile and what it says about you. Give what you feel is an accurate reflection of yourself. If you need help deciding what to write, ask someone who knows you well for input. I can only speak from my own female perspective, but I think it’s important to describe your interests and personal qualities, as well as what you are looking for in another person. Be descriptive and honest. Hopefully, these tips will get your inbox more attention!

Good luck on writing or updating your dating profiles, fellas!

Do you have any “don’ts” you would like to recommend? Leave them in the comments!

Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t Let Your Food Touch!

thanksgiving food touching

Rather than make the obligatory “Things I Am Thankful For” post (which might actually come tomorrow…haven’t decided), I thought I would post something simple and funny.

Can you relate to the above graphic? I hate it when my foods touch. It is a small peeve of mine and I don’t really like seeing it on other’s plates either. But, to each their own, as I like to say! I can handle the meat or stuffing touching the potatoes and gravy though I’d prefer it not to happen. Definitely no sweet foods should be touching savory. I also don’t like using my dinner plate for pie when dinner is over.

One more thing, keep the cranberry jelly stuff at the other end of the table please!

I know, I’m weird! Anyone else like this? Leave a comment!

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!


Image Credit: Here

A World of Hurt: Rage and Riots

The world is a huge place with millions of residents from every walk of life. It is as diverse as it is populated. I know it will never be possible for everyone on the planet to live in perfect harmony and peace with one another; there are simply too many conflicts. But I will never understand how one judgement can send an entire group of people into rage and riots, destroying their own community and damaging their neighbor’s livelihoods.

I haven’t really been following the situation in Ferguson, MO until this point. I am not writing about the decision that was made, or my opinion on it because…I don’t have an opinion. Since I haven’t been keeping tabs on the case, I don’t have all the facts. I cannot form an adequate stance on the incident. It is not something for me to judge if I don’t know much about the witness accounts or evidence.

Why haven’t I been following the news about this topic? It’s not for lack of caring about justice or current events–it’s simply because, the news is often too sad. I stay pretty current on the major stuff, but I limit myself. It brings me down when I hear what state our society is in and frequently, it pisses me off. I think too much and end up feeling like humanity is a lost cause when I know it doesn’t have to be.

I am daunted by the sheer numbers of people who don’t think before they act, or do things that go against the welfare of others in the name of protest. Our world should be more advanced than this by now. Humans should not be acting like barbarians as a way to display their rebellion to something they don’t agree with. We don’t live in the Dark Ages. This isn’t 1350, it’s 2014. Riots aren’t an appropriate way to take a stance.

More violence is not the answer to another violent act. It displays a complete lack of rationale that sets our society back decades, if not centuries.

How are riots a logical response to anything? I feel bad for the citizens of Ferguson–because people let their rage over a decision made by a jury, whether fair or unfair, control their actions. They thought, “Hey, let’s go burn shit! Let’s go burn these cars and this business, and these homes! Let’s break windows and loot here, there, everywhere! Let’s run down these streets with guns and just shoot because we are angry! It will make people listen! It will make them pay for the injustice!”

It makes a community pay for the injustice.

It makes the livelihoods of neighbors pay for the injustice.

It makes innocent lives pay for the injustice.

Did the owner of that burning business shoot Michael Brown? Or the owner of the parked car that is smoldering? Or how about that person crumpled on the ground in pain from being caught in the chaos? No, but they are paying for it; something they had nothing to do with.

And all of that for what? No positive result will come of it. Is more death and destruction a positive end? This type of violence doesn’t change the past, but it changes the future. For the worse.

It perpetuates a vicious circle of violence that continues to destroy innocent people, instill fear, and fuel stereotypes. This violence works against whatever progress humanitarians and civil rights leaders have struggled so hard to break down over the years.

When are people going to get it? There are other means to show disagreement or prove a point. Peaceful ways. Respectful ways. The only steps to get humanity to go forward is to change behaviors and assess potential outcomes of an action. I don’t know how we can get society to do this, it will likely never happen. But for the sake of our country, and countries everywhere, I wish it would happen soon.


Black Friday Deals & Cash Back with Ebates

black friday deals and cash back at ebates

Holiday shopping time is upon us this week! I know everyone is surfing the ads for the big Black Friday Deals. Let’s not forget Cyber Monday either, which I prefer. Who doesn’t love being able to shop from the comfort of their own home? There are a lot of online deals on Black Friday as well, so if you don’t want to take the chance of shortening your life expectancy over a flat screen TV, just stay home and do things the easy way!

For the record, I am not a huge fan of this whole commercialization thing. I don’t like the things greed and a massively crazy sale cause people to do. I mean, when people get trampled just to save money on something like a PS4, something that’s not even a life necessity, that is really sad and disturbing. Possessions are not worth risking yours or anyone’s life or safety. Please, be taking care while out and about this Black Friday! And be conscious of others! Ok, morality public service announcement over.

I am supposed to be talking about a website that will help you avoid such safety risks and give you a little cash back in the end. This website is called Ebates, and by using it you will receive a percentage of what you spent back via PayPal or check.

Admittedly, sometimes I forget to use it. Then I kick myself for not remembering because if I can get 8% cash back on a purchase of $50, I just missed out on a few bucks!

This is how it works:

  1. Sign up for an Ebates account.
  2. On the main page, it will show you the stores offering double the normal percent cash back, featured deals and coupons. Yes, coupons!
  3. Search for the store you’d like to shop at in their search bar (Target, Forever21, Walgreens, Sephora…there are probably thousands of stores listed).
  4. Once you have searched, it will show you the coupons and online codes available to use for that brand.
  5. Choose your code and click the “Shop Now” button beside it. Or, if you don’t see a deal you like now but want to shop, click the same button at the top of the page.
  6. Shop on the brand’s site as normal. When you check out of your shopping cart, a tracking cookie from Ebates records the amount into your Ebates account. It will appear there within 48 hours.
  7. Ebates pays out your cash back quarterly. So, it might be awhile before you have the money in hand so to speak. It DOES pay out though! Also, if you only have an amount of $5.01 or less cash back, it won’t pay you until you have exceeded that minimum. To date, I have received $28.93!

There is also a browser button you can install which will help remind you to use Ebates at checkout so that you don’t miss out on getting some money back (like I often have done, I really need that button)!

I seldom am impressed with sites that offer things like this, but after a good friend had recommended it to me, I decided to try it. I am happy that I did!

So, start preparing for your holiday season shopping by signing up to Ebates and taking a look around. Right now, there is even a promotion to earn up to $75 extra when you refer friends and they use the site!

P.S. I did use my referral link within this post. I am not being sponsored by them, nor do I have any affiliation with them as anything but a user of their service! When you sign up, you will have your own referral link that you can share however you like!

Do you already use Ebates? What do you think about it? Are you signed up to any other savings sites that will be useful this shopping season? Feel free to leave your referral links for them in the comments!


Barbie Makes Women Appear Weak

computer engineer barbie makes women look weak

I loved her as a child. I wanted every doll and playset that Mattel produced, and I thought all of her different personas were beautiful and perfect. Barbie appeared to have her hands in all the metaphorical pots, being portrayed in a multitude of careers and roles. I doubt any woman could rival her list of achievements in a lifetime.

But on a serious note, with her short stints in any one job, I would think she’d be red flagged for her employment longevity–or more like her lack of it.

At any rate, with all of the noise regarding her newest career aspiration to be a Computer Engineer, I decided to blog about it. (Note: She is not actually an engineer yet. Mattel should rename her “I Can Be A Computer Engineer…Once I Finish School and Get My Degree”.)

To summarize the issue about her Computer Engineer fiasco and how it began, Barbie just made women look weak.  Mattel released a short story coinciding with this version of the doll. The story tells of her “designing” a computer game and needing two male classmates to code it. In the meantime, a virus infects her computer but never fear, her stuff is backed up on her necklace/flash drive (it’s on a necklace so she doesn’t forget to back her shit up apparently). How fancy.

She inserts her flash drive into her dear illegitimate daugh–I mean, sister’s computer. You can about imagine what happened then. Yup, Barbie screws up Skipper’s computer because neither were smart enough to have a virus scan on their two inch thick, ten pound, Dell laptops (or maybe it’s an old Gateway).

Barbie, what were you thinking? You could have used your student discount to buy software to protect your precious “Engineer” work.

So, she marches her little fanny to the school to fix her and Skipper’s computers. She asks her teacher (I think it should have been Professor), how she can fix her craptastic machine from 2005. She is told how she can recover her data, and her sister’s precious homework. While attempting to do this, her two male coder buddies show up and the one has the nerve to say, “It’ll go faster if Brian and I help.” Because I guess she can’t get things figured out without males around.

Let me get this straight Mattel, you call Barbie a “Computer Engineer” when she is still a student. Second, you don’t portray her actually engineering anything. Two of her male classmates are doing that part. Barbie is the designer. She can’t even fix her computer. Hm. I see a marketing issue.

Back to the riveting story…Barbie (with the help of her Professor and her two male classmates) saves her sister’s homework and the game designs. Skipper then is able to give her presentation to her class about how she is most inspired by her mom–I mean older sister, Barbie, the “Computer Engineer.”

Cut to Barbie in her class. Ms. Smith is so impressed (by the ability of Barbie to follow instruction). Barbie saved the day with her skills (of following instructions and enabling her sexist male classmates and their chauvinist attitudes by letting them do the tasks that she should have been doing in the first place). She takes the credit for their hard work.

“I guess I can be a Computer Engineer!” Barbie squeals emphatically in her trendy beachy waved, side ponytail.

Fade out.

Um, no Barbie. You can’t. I will tell you why.

First of all, you kind of need to understand coding and how a computer operates. Maybe you should begin by choosing an accredited college for that. Either you have an extreme misunderstanding of what a Computer Engineer does, or you are hoping to just sail through school on your stilettos, while letting your male classmates do the back-end work while you take the credit. Good luck with that!

Second, Mattel, the company that made you has done you and girls everywhere a HUGE disservice. Mattel has consistently made you into a misrepresentation of what real, strong and independent women should be.

Dear Mattel, we are nearly in the year 2015! Yes, women love clothing and makeup. We love looking cute and shopping (not all women, but many…I’m not trying to stereotype), but we also love other things. Some women enjoy getting their hands dirty doing construction, farming, or being rodeo riders. Some prefer to be writers, book editors, or social marketers. We have all types of careers, interests, and skills. Can you stop producing dolls that live in some candy coated world?

I gave you diversity points when you finally recognized the physically challenged population and made a Barbie with a wheelchair. That has long since been a faded memory as you have not made another since. This matter is another blog post though. You definitely don’t win points for sexism.

Why do you keep on insisting a relatable doll has to be dumbed down and clothed in frilly pink garb?

If the side story would have been left out, it wouldn’t have become as big of a deal as it has. It could have been left up to a girl’s imagination. However, because people are going crazy over the absence of a feminism vibe to the story, Mattel and the actual author the company had hired have both been questioned by the media and that has definitely been some interesting reading.

Mattel released an apology on Barbie’s Facebook page:

The Barbie I Can Be A Computer Engineer book was published in 2010. Since that time we have reworked our Barbie books. The portrayal of Barbie in this specific story doesn’t reflect the Brand’s vision for what Barbie stands for. We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits. We apologize that this book didn’t reflect that belief. All Barbie titles moving forward will be written to inspire girl’s imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character.

So, even though the publishing date on sites like Amazon (where it has since been pulled) were cited as 2013, Mattel claims it was published in 2010. The company also says they have reworked their Barbie books since. Is this the reworked version then? Isn’t that what their timeline suggests if the publishing date is 2013? Or do they mean they have changed the way they have written all of the books since the Computer Engineer one came out, but they didn’t actually change any of the books that had already been published?

Also, where was the quality control? If it didn’t fit the vision, why go ahead with it?

The author, Susan Marenco, was quoted on the ABC website:

The author, Susan Marenco, who previously worked at Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen for 10 years as an “editor and usability designer specializing in linguistic usability,” told ABC News this afternoon she considers herself a feminist and regrets that she may have let stereotypes slip into the book. But the assignment was to write about Barbie as a “designer,” she added.

“I want people to know I am conscious of that,” she said, referring to stereotypes of women in technology. “If I was on deadline, it’s possible stuff slipped out or I quietly abided by Mattel without questioning it. Maybe I should have pushed back, and I usually I do, but I didn’t this time.”

“Maybe I should have made one of those programmers a female – I wish I did,” said Marenco, who is now a technical editor at a tech firm in San Francisco. Mattel has not responded to ABC News’ attempts to confirm her account.

In a story on the Refinery 29 website, Marenco was also quoted from another source:

“They can’t get out of the groove of ‘she’s nice; she doesn’t show anger; she doesn’t show frustration,'” Marenco continued to KTN. She’s written 40-50 Barbie books, and has received many comments from editors saying that the character “has to be more polite.”

Personally, Barbie seems creepily polite. She shoots an unreal amount of sunshine and daisies out of her ass (not literally).

Why did Mattel name the doll with a title of Computer Engineer when they instructed the author to write about Barbie as a Designer? Communication issues?

I guess there is an entire “I Can Be…” Barbie series of dolls. I wonder if any of the other books are as botched as this particular one was. I’m sure people are feverishly looking through them. As of now, the current “I Can Be…” doll offerings are entrepreneur, pop star, singer, cake baker, cookie chef, ice skater, swim champion, soccer player, tennis player, and nurse (wearing skin tight jeggings…I don’t think that’s the typical nursing uniform).

I did find a list of Barbie’s past careers on Wikipedia. I’m not sure how complete this is. How about producing a lawyer, house flipper, farmer, truck driver, do another round of Barbie in the armed forces like in the early 90’s (not in pink camo), or how about a TV camera woman?

I get it, Barbie is a doll that is supposed to encourage girls to be imaginative and creative in their play. There are certain Barbie lines geared towards the different age groups–some that aren’t all dressed in pink. But those aren’t the ones with all the different careers. Children are pretty smart, and they often want to emulate adults. The kids may not have noticed what was wrong with the scenario in the book, but maybe some subconsciously took something from it. If you are going to try to teach a girl she can be anything she wants, try teaching it in a better way.

Somewhere out there, one little girl learned and has internalized that in a male dominated field, men will always be better at the job. Thanks Mattel!


Image Credit: Here

Shit From the Interweb: Youtube Food Tasters

shit from the interweb youtube food tasters

I watch a lot of Youtube, or I try at least. Some of the videos I like are taste test videos where people from one part of the world taste foods from another part of the world, and you get to see the initial reactions of the Youtube Food Tasters! I would love to do something like this for fun one day. I am not too keen to be on video, but I have a curious nature when it comes to food and like trying new things.

Today, I saw a re-posted video pop up on Facebook and I watched it because it relates to a few of the foods in Minnesota that are known to this region. I confess, there are some foods we are known for that I think are not so great. However, I grew up eating some of them.

First up was Jello Salad. If I had laid eyes on it for the first time, I’d be baffled too. If you know any Minnesotans, you probably have tried it. It can be seen it at all major gatherings. This is especially true for Christmases and family reunion potlucks. There are too many versions of it to keep track of, using every different flavor of Jello. The green ones are usually the worst. The worst of the worst are comprised of green Jello, canned pineapple, and cottage cheese (I take that back. Some salads have been known to contain Jello and shredded carrot. Lord knows why anyone thought that was a great idea). The version in the video is one of the better ones. It looks like it has marshmallows and Cool Whip in it.

I can’t believe the tasters were given Lutefisk next! A lot of us might be Norwegian, but I don’t know many families who like to bust this stuff out. Think fish Jello…not to be confused with one of the Jello Salad varieties. Lutefisk is just…so wrong. Of all the things brought from Norway, this is the worst. Maybe Ylvis should write their next song about it!

Then, we have good ‘ol Tater Tot Hotdish. Again, I’m not a fan–just like I’m not a goulash enthusiast. I have never had Tater Tot Hotdish with cheese though. Usually, it’s made up of tater tots, ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Most often the vegetables are corn, green beans, and carrots. There are variants of this too. It’s similar to the Jello Salad, no two are ever alike!

Fourth is the Juicy Lucy. A cheese stuffed burger…what can I say, it’s a thing. Who wouldn’t love a cheese stuffed burger? You could stuff it with other things too. Maybe some bacon, jalapenos, or give it a twist and stuff it with some french fried onions.

Last up is the Nut Goodie Bar. I didn’t know this was something we were known for. I can’t complain about them. I think the last time I ate one was a couple decades ago. I personally liked Skor and Reese’s.

Here is the video of the taste testing! It was made by Movato Originals!

What food dishes is your area known for? Are there any that you really love or hate?


Mondays and Dreams of Moving

I am at a loss on what to post right now. There is only two hours until midnight, and I have yet to do a NaBloPoMo post. I’d better start writing I guess.

Mondays are not my favorite day of the week. If I had to decide what day people choose to be the most irritating, it is on a Monday. Or maybe, my brain just wants to be a little cranky. Either way, the calendar should skip Mondays and go directly to Tuesdays. Another solution to eliminating the first day of the week is to add the hours to Sunday and Tuesdays. Don’t worry, the hours wouldn’t be working hours unless people wanted to work.

The internet has also been distracting me. Last night I was looking at ranches and farms for sale in Washington. I really like that state. There’s such a mix of environments there. My mom and I had fun driving across Washington in September. I have never seen bigger dust devils in my life! It’s pretty dry and nearly desert-like in the central part. Throughout the state there are woods, mountains, plains, vineyards, orchards, wind farms, river regions, ranches, urban areas, small towns…it’s a pretty cool and diverse state.

I’d probably move there if I could. Last night I came across this interesting environmental development called Skokomish Farms. It’s sort of like a community farm thing on the Puget sound, close to Olympia. The land is divided into 40 acre homesteads. Individuals can buy a parcel, allot 5 acres to build their home and anything else they’d like, a stable for example. The rest of the parcel is farmed by the community. The buyer can plant and do the labor themselves if they want, and if they have a particular crop in mind they can ask to grow it. On the website it said they were trying to get organic status.

There are orchards, vineyards, fields, greenhouses, pastures, and livestock areas in the community. The developers brought in some unique cattle from Britain. White Parks I think. I liked the fact that it’s an attempt to partake in clean agriculture, and residents can be as involved as they want in the farming activities. It sounded like an interesting concept with other business opportunities coming from what the farm produces.

Unfortunately, it’s an expensive dream. You have to buy the land ($275,000) and build your own house. Here is a half hour video that shows some of the area and an interview with the developer.

Perhaps one day I will win the lottery!

Did I mention you can see Mt. Rainier? And it’s just a short drive and ferry ride away from the Seattle fish markets and all the organic food you could probably imagine. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I didn’t quite get to the Puget area when I was on vacation. Maybe next time.

I think ideally, if I were to move anywhere in the world of my choosing it would be in Europe somewhere. I like their attitudes towards limits and bans on GMOs and foods. Plus, the history of so many places there intrigues me. All of my ancestors came from there. I’d like to see where they lived.

If you could move anywhere, where would you move?

The Definition of Humility

the definition of humility

Humility is an important trait in people. That is how I feel anyway. I have grown up around mostly humble people (there have been a couple of exceptions, but in the Midwest, I’d say humility is more common than not). I kept thinking about humility today and how I wanted to write about it. But first, let me give the definition according to Google Search.

  1. a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.
    synonyms: modesty, humbleness, meekness, diffidence,unassertiveness;

    lack of pride, lack of vanity;

To be humble is to be modest about oneself and the skills or achievements that person may possess. It means not thinking anyone is of a lesser level of importance than yourself. In the above definition, it says a lack of pride and vanity, but to be of a humble mindset I don’t think a person necessarily needs to have a lack of pride–just don’t have an excessive amount of it. People should take pride in what they do. It adds to the value of their work or something they have created. It stimulates a sense of worth and self-satisfaction.

We need this as humans. It encourages healthy self-esteem and goal setting. It is a motivator.

I think the quotation in the image above makes a great point. Have you noticed the more full of pride and arrogance someone is, the more artificial they seem? I mean, hello Kanye West! He is the prime example of what humility is NOT. I get it, he loves his own work. That’s great, but talk about an overdose of pride. If he wouldn’t have gotten Kim Kardashian to marry him, he likely would have cloned himself and wed his clone.

If you look up self-love in the dictionary, his photo will be there, maybe hers too–wait, not maybe, it’s a resounding yes.

I get annoyed when celebrities or anyone doesn’t remember how to show genuine appreciation for where they are in life. They seem to forget how to be normal. It’s dehumanizing.

At any rate, I feel people are more likeable, approachable, and totally real when they take on a humble attitude. We all should be thankful for the skills we were blessed with, and any compliments or accolades we might receive. If you’re real, more people will be able to relate!

What is a character trait you think is important?