Adventures of a Midwest Transplant

Posts tagged “technology

Climate Change, Panty Raids, and Toddlers (not all at once, that’d be gross)

So apparently there’s this ice shelf in Antarctica that’s about to break off and fuck us all up. It’s “hanging on by a thread” according to climate scientists. When this happens, sea levels will raise 4-ish inches. Goodbye Boston. Goodbye Venice. Good riddance most of Florida.

I don’t know about you, but that definitely reorients my travelling priorities. I’m really glad that after we go to London to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in October, we’re heading to Malaga, Spain after that for a week trip with my mother-in-law in her time share. I’m hoping to pop across the Strait of Gibraltar (technically the Alboran Sea) to visit Morocco as well.

Based on their coastal locations, I can assume these cities will be altered if a giant ice shelf raises water levels by inches all over the planet.

Thinking about all of that (and puppy mills, ugh, thanks Rolling Stone), I started to consider other places I want to visit. I have the plan to visit all 50 states at some point before age 50. But I also want to go to Italy and visit Venice and Naples. I want to visit Mubmai in India and Osaka in Japan. And I still haven’t been to Boston. I really love New Orleans, and I’m looking forward to visiting again. But these cities are fucked.

I’m glad that 21 people under the age of 21 filed a suit to stop this shit. And I’m really glad this district judge has this to say:

“Exercising my ‘reasoned judgment,’ I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.” –U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken

Things like this give me hope. Hope for these folks born after 1990 who I rarely time the time to acknowledge as useful. Hope for my future travel. Hope that though the immediate present ain’t great, the future is salvageable.

On another note, I was in Chicago this past weekend. I visited my family for my mother’s 60th birthday. Here’s what I learned.

  • My grandmother is refusing to do what she said she’d do when starting this experimental treatment, so she’s getting worse while she’s getting better.
  • My parents’ college friends are even better than I remember. They are hilarious. And panty raids in college are a real thing, not just in movies.
    • I’m thinking I really really want to name names for who participated in these panty raids, but all the guilty parties are not yet retired, so I’ll wait for now…
  • Living in New York turns you, and people you know from back in Chicago, into whiskey drinkers.
  • Bridesmaid dresses were not created to look good on anyone.
  • My mother has chosen a theme for her sixties. She turned “50 with a snap.” But her sixties are all about being cool. There’s a hand gesture that goes along with it. I made it up, my mother is now to cool to have done something like that.
  • My entire family need to start going for walks. We are NOT maintaining a basic standard of health, myself included.

And lastly, I’m considering what drastic measures to take in preparation of my friend LaToya’s wedding in May. Is vegan too far? It probably is. I mean, I had a terrible experience with some beef lasagna that I assume was delicious but couldn’t put in my mouth in Paris that made me think vegetarianism isn’t too far off in my future.

I just can’t help thinking of 2010 me. I was unemployed, which wasn’t great, but I went no carb, hardly-no-sugar and had just discovered hot yoga. Maaaaaaan, let me tell you, I was in the best shape of my life that year. But that level of time and diet commitment is just… hard. I probably could’ve maintained it had I kept one of the two going.

I dunno. But I tell you what I do know. I’m not about to go through what bridesmaids all over the world go through. I will make sure that I can fit into the dress I ordered. I decided to order a size that will fit me today instead of some aspirational size. Hopefully I’ll have the problem of needing to have it taken in…

Switching gears again. Do you play the Sims 4? I do, and I’m losing my mind that I won’t be able to play with the toddlers until Thursday night of this week! I’ve downloaded the update, but between visiting Chicago, my work-volunteer-yoga schedule, and going to see a taping of the Harry Connick, Jr. show, there just won’t be time before then.

Seriously, how freaking cute are these toddlers?

ts4_toddlers_thumbnail_v1


Race Baiting. Let’s Talk About It.

Oh yeah, I’m going there.

I spend a lot of time on twitter. Every time one black activist or another posts literally anything about race issues, someone responds with hateful awful language. They usually spout the worst stereotypes anyone has heard about whatever group being discussed.

Sometimes that activist retweets the words or responds to them, usually highlighting the bigotry, prejudice, or outright racism of the language.

Inevitably, a third person responds, accusing the activist of race baiting.  Every time I see that accusation show up on some activists timeline, I get confused.

My first thought always is: how is it race-baiting to simply talk about and acknowledge that race issues exist? How is that activists to blame for some awful language of some random online troll?

The mere mention of possibly settling Syrian refugees in their home state makes many an online troll express dangerous and scary views. I’m an American born and raised, and the words are frightening to me. I can’t even imagine how those words land in the world of a refugee, simply here to make a better life for themselves.

But then, the part of me that is always looking to try and understand the sliver of logic that usually exists in even the most fucked up arguments kicks in. I think: Do I know anyone who unreasonably lashes out at a culture they don’t understand the second they perceive a threat from that culture?

The unfortunate answer is I do.

In black American culture, there is a lot of intolerance towards others who don’t follow traditional black (read: protestant/intolerant Christian) views. The stereotypes towards the LGBTQ+ community, Asians, Latinxs, and women are damn near intolerable to my ears. They are mostly rooted in ignorant stereotypes because of how segregated so much of the American black population is from the rest of the country.

I think about the communities I don’t hear a lot of aggression towards: indigenous Americans, refugees, disabled people, vets. I’m not sure why those people have escaped widescale ridicule in the black community. Or maybe they have and I just don’t know those people.

Let me finally get to my point.

In the times of life where I’ve been present for one of these ignorant rants against another community from the mouths of black folks, their justification is usually along the lines of, “well, if you didn’t bring it up, wouldn’t have to share my crappy views with you on the topic.”

They literally accuse whoever mentioned the touchy subject last of being at blame for their toxic language. It’s the same though pattern that produces such gems as “I don’t care if you’re gay, I just don’t wanna see that shit” and “This is why the black family isn’t intact, feminism is tearing apart black men and women”.

For the record, I’m not saying that ignorance in the black community makes it okay for the white trolls on Twitter. The ignorance of both makes me sick to my stomach.

What I am saying is that because this toxic pattern of behavior touches closer to home for me, I think I understand this thought process a little bit.

That’s how I know it can’t be tolerated. This gaslighting bullshit cannot go without challenge. I’m not suggesting getting into an online fight with a Twitter troll, but I’m suggesting confronting it when you hear toxic language come from the mouths of your friends, family, and colleagues.

You may not change someone’s mind, but we can at least restore some decency in terms of what is okay and NOT OKAY to say to and about others. Free speech is one thing, but targeted hate speech and menacing is on a whole other level.

Even if you can’t get through to someone, you never know who is listening. Maybe the person overhearing your defense of what is right will come around.

Don’t let the accusation of race baiting back you down from talking about marginalized communities. If your words precede someone spewing toxic language, that’s not your fault. If merely the mention of someone different makes someone go off like a crazy person, that’s not your fault. Don’t let them drag the fight down to their level.

Keep standing up for what matters to you. Keep fighting. Keep speaking up. Continue to fight for your own community and work harder everyday to be an ally to other communities.

Don’t let racists, xenophobes, homophobes, and misogynists turn your words of power into bait.

If you’re looking for a sound argument against gaslighting, particularly in light of the results of this most recent American election, check out this Twitter thread.

twitter-gaslight


And Now I Have Four Sets of Headphones

Maaaaaaan, of course my same day delivery didn’t come on the same day. They didn’t even attempt the delivery. I wasn’t at work for the next couple of days, so it got delivered at some point.

I had originally ordered replacement headphones for my cell phone because the volume buttons on the headphones weren’t working. Then I noticed they were selling them in a two pack and figured that would be a better purchase because it was close to the same price. I don’t really lose headphones, but it couldn’t hurt to have a second pair, right?

Well, I ordered the headphones, then realized I’d chosen free two-day delivery when I meant to choose same day delivery. So I ordered them again for same day delivery.

And now I have four sets of headphones.

And the volume buttons still don’t work.

I figured out it was due to the phone being messed up. One lousy little half-empty travel-size bottle of Listerine and everything goes fuzzy.

Well, not literally. The phone’s functionality has almost completely returned. That makes me very happy because I love my phone and I’ve finally got the settings just right. Fingers crossed that this phone will last until the newest Samsung Note 6 (or Note 7 Edge if the internet rumors are to be trusted) comes out.

So maybe I have to restart my phone to get the microphone on the headphones to work.

And maybe the S Pen is a little temperamental.

And maybe the phone mutes itself for no reason out of nowhere.

And maybe the phone turns itself up to the loudest possible volume for no reason out of nowhere.

But it’s my phone and I love it. And it’s really not in the budget to replace it right now.

That money has to go towards the laptop. Eventually it will stop working because I spilled a glass of red wine on the keyboard.

And Chris was just saying how I’m less clumsy with all the aerial yoga…


Hindered And Helped By The Internet

HINDERED

Stupid internet with it’s tickets-only-available-online stupidity. In my last post, I spoke of how I was excited to go to the next event for BBQ Films.The husband and I were going to get dressed up in our 1950s best (or the only outfit we have that would make a fair approximation), and go see Back to the Future next weekend.

But… all the tickets are sold out online. There isn’t anywhere to physically go pickup tickets. I hate that!

When our mothers came to town and we went to go see Motown the Musical, buying tickets online was frustrating (and expensive), so I just went to the box office and a real live human person helped me find the perfect seats.

This isn’t an option for BBQ Films, which is understandable as all of their events are funded by tickets sales and sponsors.But still, I had no recourse once I saw the tickets were sold out online.

HELPED

A couple of Google searches later found the Twitter account for BBQ Films. They said they might have some tickets available on Thursday, but we’d have to join the mailing list and implied Twitter stalking would help.

So now I know what i’m doing Thursday.

HINDERED

I’m trying to be a good Wine School Pupil. I joined up wholeheartedly. But then… I couldn’t find any of the wines. After striking out at my favorite wine shop, I took to the internet.

All of my usual places to purchase alcohol online failed me. I just knew Binny’s Beverage Depot would have what I need. They always have what I need. But not this time.

I was starting to get discouraged. Comments on the Bordeaux NY Times article were starting, and I really felt some kind of way about the people commenting who drank substitute wines. I didn’t want to be a substitute wine drinker, but unless my wine guy called me back saying he found it, I was screwed.

HELPED

Then it occurred to me, I hadn’t asked Google for help. Well, I had asked, but I was asking the wrong questions.

Googling online wine shops was how I went about it at first. When I got wise, I went straight to Google Shopping. They have this crazy index of pretty much everything available for sale online.

So I Googled each of the three  wines listed in the article. Immediately, I was directed to a couple of different wine shops. Because I’m a nice lady, I’ll tell you where I found it.

Premier Wine & Spirits is a specialty shop with four different websites, and three brick & mortar locations in NY State. This is my first time ordering from them, so who knows if it will work?

I do shop online quite a bit though, and I’ve never had any issues getting alcohol delivered. I ordered a bottle of the Château Bernadotte Haut-Médoc 2009 last night, so I’ll let you know how long it takes to get here and what shape it’s in when it arrives.

I chose this bottle because it was the cheapest of the three, but they are getting over on shipping costs. The wine itself was only $34 including tax, but went up to $49.15 with standard shipping. Good thing I didn’t want it overnight, I would pay double for the wine.

I hope next month’s Wine School choices are more readily available.

Can I just say those people take identification seriously? Based on all the information I had to enter to prove I was me and to purchase the wine, I was feeling suspicious. But a check online on Webutation and a look to see if anyone identified the website with scams (they didn’t) made me feel pretty good. At least I’ll know the culprit if my identity is stolen over this. Knock on wood.

Easy and I agree that we will try the recipe for Skirt Steak with roasted whole plantains with the wine. I’m pretty excited about that.

HINDERED

I had a very indecisive 20 year old visiting this past weekend for her Spring Break. I wanted to show her NYC in all its beauty, but that proved difficult. She’s not a fan of art, sports, museums, history, eating when you’re not hungry, spending a bunch of money, theater, or overspending on shopping.

Unfortunately, that also meant no going to the Biennial exhibit at the Whitney. But hopefully one of my new maybe-friends in NYC will go with me.

She arrived in the middle of the week, so by the time Saturday rolled around, she was shopped out. Easy and I forced her to go with us to a Latin restaurant and to a jazz club, so I at least wanted to have her do something she’d be guaranteed to enjoy on her last day with us.

If you missed that list of things she was against (at age 20!), you know I had my work cut out for me.

Suffice it to say we spent hours at Central Park while she tried to figure out what she wanted to do. I could’ve offered up Chelsea Piers, but I really didn’t want to take her bowling. Then I thought about High Line, but we were already at a park, so heading to another one just seemed wrong.

Hopping on the internet for what do to in NYC ideas when you’ve ruled out food, drinks, arts, sports, history, theater, museums, and shopping is just painful.

HELPED

We ended up on the Staten Island Ferry so she could get pictures of part of the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. While we were waiting on the ferry, she mentions that she’s going through ice cream withdrawal.

I remind her that I said, “this is New York City. Anything you want to do, try, eat, drink, whatever, it can be done here. Anything in the world, literally, anything. Just pick something, and we’ll go find the best version of it New York has to offer.”

I said that hours before she mentioned the ice cream.

But at least we had a goal. Searching online for great ice cream in New York is super focused and wonderfully easy. Between Google, Yelp, yellowpages.com, and Zagat, we found a lot of great ice cream options.

Because she waited 6 hours to finally decide on a New York adventure, most of the places were closing for the night. But seeking out great gelato, egg creams, frozen yogurt, and ice cream in New York at places only open after midnight is it’s own mini adventure.

We ended up going on a food truck search for Wafels and Dinges. They weren’t hard to find. The truck was parked in the West Village, so after that we got a slice at Joe’s Pizza and then popsicles at Popbar.

For an improptu food tour, it was quite successful. Wafels and Dinges has been voted some of the best food truck food in the country, and it was so delicious, I didn’t even care that I froze while eating ice cream outdoors.

I would have kicked myself had I let my girl leave town without trying a slice of classic NYC-style pizza. She eats super slow, but she finished her slice exactly as I finished mine. In the 20 years I’ve known her, I’ve never seen such a thing.

And the blood orange popSorbetto was so freaking delicious. I took it home and shared it with Easy because it was that cold outside that it didn’t melt in the 40 minutes it took us to get from the Village to Bed-Stuy. I am looking forward to trying the frozen hot chocolate some Saturday after the soup kitchen once it’s really warm outside.

All of that delicious food was made possible because of a simple online search and hopping from place to place based on what Google told me was nearby.

So sometimes online sucks. But I have to admit for every problem I encounter, the internet usually has a solution if I’m patient enough to reword my Google searches.

Image via popbar

Image via Yelp