anti-schadenfreude

I don’t take enjoyment in watching other people in pain – physically, psychologically, or otherwise. I don’t think the Jackass movies are funny, nor the countless “It’s just a prank, bro!” YouTube videos. Sometimes a little petty justice/revenge or instant karma can be a bit funny, maybe more so with a guarantee that there aren’t any long-lasting effects, but I tend to still feel guilty.
Right now, I’m seeing so many people gloat and experience a sort-of ecstasy at the expense of other people’s fears that I can’t trust myself on social media. I tried to use a trending hashtag on Twitter the day after the election, only to find myself being threatened by a handful of angry white men within moments of posting about my lesbian and my African American co-workers’ concerns for their families.
Whether one feels the terror is perceived or real, the reaction to that pain is so depressing to me. When Obama won in 2008, I saw joy and celebration. People were crying happily and hugging one another. Then the racists started crawling out of the woodwork. And as the so-called “respect for the office” has dwindled, so has their courage deepened and become emboldened by the nasty rhetoric online and in the media.
In the past few days, I’ve seen a disturbing amount of internet comments calling people names, sharing clearly incorrect information to support their own worldview, and a lot of negativity. I’ve seen more than one Facebook friend post “Get it over it. Move on. It’s over.”
I don’t think a lot of people understand what was at stake for almost every minority in the US. Even if you’ve believed all along that the Republican who was running is a joke, never took himself seriously, and wasn’t taken seriously by the party, there are a great many people who believed what he said and plenty who barely waited a few hours to come out from behind the curtain and take over. And if you speak up or complain, you risk being threatened, harassed, and/or doxxed by the angry white people who just want you to shut up.
The whole “anti-PC backlash” doesn’t make a lot of sense to me since I think of “politically correct” as “trying to understand others and not be an asshole.” Yet, being an asshole is SUPER popular right now. You can’t turn around with out someone saying NO THIS IS MY OPINION AND YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO IT, even when it’s just an animated gif of a puppy taking his first bath. Someone will make it political or shit all over it.
I am glad to have more people than not in my life who are trying to find a way to work together and remain positive and provide help to those who feel under-served or fearful of their, their families’, and their kids’ futures. It probably won’t happen with safety pins or Facebook status updates. And it isn’t really about Trump so much as the anger he incited in others and his subsequent complete lack of interest in doing the job he was elected for. But there is something deeply disturbing about seeing a fellow human in tears while someone shouts to “Suck it up, buttercup” and spits in their face.
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Pay Attention to Me

One thing I hate about social networking; when I find a “celebrity” (author/actor/blogger/photographer/drag queen) that I like and want to follow/read/keep tabs on in a non-psycho way, I have to keep myself from reading the comments or commenting, myself, on posts. Otherwise, I get extremely irritated.

Wil Wheaton  just posted on G+ about a bunch of loons harassing him for not signing autographs as he was leaving his hotel. By the time I read his post, there were 437+ fans posting how sorry they were that this happened, some of whom were trying to out-clever one another with their comments, and, one can only assume, be the person he responds to.

The comments were (to me, anyway), another form of that loony hotel-lurking, only their autograph would be his direct response and acknowledgement of their existence.

I’m super flattered that one of my favorite authors (Christopher Moore) added me on Facebook a few years ago. Granted, he was probably just searching for profiles that listed his books as favorites, but it was still really cool for that split second he sent the invite. But I hate reading the comments on his posts. Every one is just another fan trying to catch his attention and get that virtual autograph.

On some celebrity pages, there are actually users essentially threatening the celebrity to pay attention to them. When the media was aflutter with raising awareness about gay teen suicides, I actually saw posts on some of my RuPaul’s Drag Race favorites’ Facebook statuses, begging JuJubee and Pandora Boxx to comment directly on a user’s wall so s/he had a reason to live.

That’s messed up.

Challenges

I just realized I’ve gone almost a week without posting anything. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in.

If I feel busy now, just with a full time job, I can’t imagine how I’m going to feel once classes begin. I’m only at about 30-35 hours a week right now, mainly for the health insurance, but my shifts are pretty long. People say “it must be nice getting off work at 2 in the afternoon,” but I’m beat by then, having come in at 5:30 in the morning, being on my feet all day, stinking of coffee, sweating in front of the bar.

This weekend I’m closing both Friday and Saturday nights. This will be — and I shit you not — the first Saturday morning I haven’t worked since July of last year. For a second I thought, come on, wasn’t Christmas – some holiday in the past year – on a Saturday? No, ’cause we’re only closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days every year. I realize I’m not counting the morning I worked at the Art Fair, because, despite not being at the store, I still had to be up at 6 and I had to work the fair with the owners.

My last visit with the shrinks from the anxiety study was Tuesday and my first visit with my new counselor. She’s good. Like, really good. She specializes in specific phobias and bitch had me in tears within 15 minutes. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have this opportunity. My visits cost $10 as long as I’m a student at IU and I’m taking full advantage. Who knows? In a few months I may be jet-setting to Las Vegas and New York or making all of you drive me around!

A friend sent me an email yesterday about a new study at the Kinsey Institute. I won’t go in to all the gory details. Essentially, they’re researching women’s sexuality and I might get paid to look at dirty pictures. Terrible waste of my time. I would totally never do such a thing! But, yeah. I’m still waiting to hear back to see if I’m a good candidate.

We saw The Dark Knight again on Sunday, this time with two friends of Charlie’s from work, and my friend Audrey. You really know how old you are when you’re tsk-tsking a “young person” for text messaging during a movie or dinner. Some rumors have been going on about Christian Bale’s alleged “assault” of his mother and one of his sister. What I have heard is that they wanted to “borrow” a few hundred thousand dollars from him and he declined their request, at which point they said some nasty things and he responded in kind. They tried to have him arrested, unsuccessfully, and no charges have been filed.

Yes, I read too many gossip blogs.

Audrey is officially coming back to the coffee shop and our stoner friend is quitting, which works out because she needs his hours and he’s been completely irresponsible lately.

He left me in the lurch on Sunday, my day off, when I had to come in and cover for his ass. At seven in the morning I hear pounding on the front door and stumble, half-dressed with my PJs falling off, to peek through the blinds. I see it’s one of our newest employees, Maureen (who, by the way, is due to have a baby in about 5 weeks), and parked in front of my house is one of our regular customers who has apparently given her a ride over. At first I think I’m late for work and Maureen just keeps apologizing over and over again. She doesn’t have anyone’s phone number, doesn’t know how to get hold of anyone. Maureen lives right around the corner from me and often walks her dog by my house, so all she knew to do was come knock on my door.

In my confusion I ask if I’m supposed to be working and she says no, someone else is, but no one’s at the store. I tell her to hold on a second and run upstairs to throw on clothes. I managed to put my shirt on inside out and slip on brown shoes with an all-black outfit. Nice.

We hear nothing from Mark, the opener, all day, despite my calling him, his sister/roommate, and our manager Sarah. Sarah calls his other sister, with whom she is close friends, and the entire reason he even works with us. No one returns anyone else’s calls. By the time I go to bed Sunday night, I’m convinced Mark is in jail or dead in a ditch.

No one hears anything all of Monday, either, until right before he’s scheduled to come in at 2pm. His reason for the no-call/no-show on Sunday? He got wasted Saturday night, no one would let him drive home, and by the time he woke up on Sunday it was after 11am. By this time, he told me, he “was like, eff it, I don’t need that job, screw it.” He said this directly to me when I asked what happened.

He put in his two weeks, which is a good thing, because I was considering punching him in the throat if he ever asked me to help him out again. What hurts my feelings is the fact that the guy has worked there for about a year and we have all helped him out, considered ourselves his friends. If he wanted to punish the owners or customers somehow, he failed, and ultimately just punished the three of us that had to go in on our day off or stay longer to cover his shift. What a dick move.

Fun Bobby Likes Half-Caf

There’s this eccentric family who comes in every morning, mostly the patriarch, occasionally with one of his sons or daughters. The dad is probably 80-some-odd years old, his wife is pretty much bed-ridden. Apparently they have this gigantic house on the old northside and tend to take in strays. Not dogs and cats, but people who have no where else to go. One of them is our resident Toothless Angry Hungarian, about whom I have yet to blog, and who really doesn’t deserve the energy I would use to type about her.

The sweet old man has a son-in-law who has an extremely irritating habit of repeating every little detail of his drink order to us several times. The wife, our sweet old man’s daughter, is really high-strung, and bounces around the store like a twelve-year-old. She and her husband also like to flip on our gas fireplace, no matter the temperature outside, and proceed to sit at a table that’s about as far away from the fire that one could get.

I discovered today that there are eleven children, total, the youngest of which was in town on Saturday and had coffee with his oldest brother. He’s an attractive guy, and looks a lot like his older brother, which is why he seemed so familiar to me. But there was . . . something else. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what about the guy was so familiar until this morning. Sarah told me he’s an actor and lives in LA. I laughed and said who isn’t an actor that lives in LA?

When it slowed down enough for us to turn off the point-of-sale system on the store computer and go to a Web browser, we looked him up on IMDB. He’s been in a lot of stuff, mostly bit parts, but when we scrolled down to see he was a recurring character on Friends, I finally figured out who he was. Fun Bobby!

It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I watched that ’90s sitcom enough to recognize an actor from a couple of episodes, but I do. Oh, and he likes a large half-regular, half-decaf coffee. Just so you know. And he’s a lot better looking in person than he is on his IMDB page.

My Kind of Reality Show

I’ll be the first to admit that I get sucked into some really, really stupid shows. Charlie and I watched Joe Millionaire because a girl he went out on a date with — once — was a contestant. We also watched some of Temptation Island at one point. We were addicted (ha, ha) to Celebrity Rehab and most of the Celebrity Fit Club seasons. I, of course, went out of my way to watch Project Runway, but that’s different.That’s quality.

And another quality one – a new dating show on Logo that I absolutely love: Transamerican Love Story. A bachelorette named Calpernia Addams has eight different guys staying at a house while she goes through and dates them all, and, of course, kicks one off each night. But what I love about this show is that Calpernia is a post-op transgender woman. One of the bachelors, Jim, is a transgender man. I knew it right away, but Charlie didn’t believe me. I also knew Calpernia’s BFF Andrea was trans, but mostly because I know who she is from her activism. What I didn’t know was that Calpernia is a decorated war veteran from the Persian Gulf, and that her Army boyfriend was murdered by other soldiers who did not approve of their relationship. How terrible.

That’s all beside the point right now and just sort of depresses me. I just love the fact that so many straight dudes are willing to go on the show and date her. I love it and I’m sad that it isn’t going to be on again until April sometime.

In News Other Than My Own …

couch1.jpgI know I’m not supposed to say such things, and especially considering it hasn’t even been a week since we had the cable turned off, but I’m really going to miss Project Runway. I’ve already developed an emotional attachment to Sweet P, just like I did with Alison last season. (I guess I have a weakness for blondes?)

In other celeb, but not-so-reality-based news, Tom Cruise is hawking Scientology in a video as the Mission Impossible soundtrack plays in the background. The church has effectively had it removed from several other web sites, but Gawker says it isn’t illegal and refuses to take it down. The purpose of the video, apparently, is to show certain people the positive effect it has had on Cruise’s life, but only at the Scientology Center. Not, it seems, on the intertubes. I suppose it’s impossible to be converted from the privacy of my own home?

In an attempt to “effectively change people’s lives,” and his desire to help others, including world leaders and “entire cultures” with his religion, Cruise goes on for ten minutes about absolutely nothing, saying absolutely nothing. I admit it — I watched the entire thing.

Someone else is claiming some pretty ridiculous things about this devotion to the so-called religion and his “dedication” to changing Jennifer Garner’s life. Like how Suri is actually a production of the cryogenically frozen sperm of L. Ron Hubbard who, if I’m not mistaken, once said that the entire Scientology business was a joke.

If you have the free time or the stomach, one person called it a 10 on a scale of 1-10 with an 8 being him jumping on Oprah’s couch. If nothing else, wait for the whole video to load and then scroll to about the last 40 seconds or so. It’s pretty hilarious.

Colbert & Stewart Return!

The Daily Show and The Colbert Report will be back on the air January 7th.

While I’m thrilled to hear this, since these are two of my favorite programs, I also understand they are both members of the Writers Guild so they cannot write anything for the show, nor hire anyone back who is on strike.

This confuses me. I read that neither host will be able to write any of his monologues; he has to come up with them off-the-cuff. But if you’re going to air something you have to know somewhat in advance what you’re going to talk about and what jokes you’ll make, right? I guess they are taking things in a new direction prior to the eventual, hopefully, resolution of the strike.

Also, on The Daily Show’s website you can now view just about every single episode that’s ever been on. If I hadn’t had to be up at 5am I would have stayed up all night just watching Steve Carell segments.

A Lot of Hot Messes

In the past year or so it seemed every 35+ year-old actress, singer, and celebrity was pregnant. They’ve all popped, for the most part, with the exception of the lying Jennifer Lopez. Now it seems all the 20-somethings are knocked up.

Jessica Alba, Christina Aguilera, Nicole Richie, Fantasia (some American Idol winner and/or finalist and who claims this rumor isn’t true), Lily Allen, and now Britney Spears’ younger sister, who is only 16. All of whom are no older than, like 25.

Also, can someone please explain to me why the hell a 16-year-old celebrity, a member of a famous – albeit effed up – family, an actress who stars in a Nickelodeon program, could get knocked up in the year 2007? I mean, I understand the mechanics of it, I just don’t understand how she could get herself into this mess. I guess her mom was planning on writing a parenting guide for a Christian publisher and that book has been put on hold – indefinitely. No shit.

Intellectual Burnout

In what can only be described as four straight hours of panic, I have completely revised my midterm for my literacy class, revised the expository description of said midterm, written my research proposal, updated the website for my online class, and almost thrown up.

I started the proposal last night, but have been thinking about it for a while. I had the first ten required sources a week ago. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to even start it. It’s a short proposal, and although it has to be in a somewhat formal language, it doesn’t require citing any sources; that’s what the annotated bibliography is for. Which I also have started. If by “started” you mean “opened up a new Word document, edited the headers, and typed in ‘Annotated Bibliography’ at the top.”

I don’t know what my problem has been this semester. College burnout, too much pressure on myself, worrying about the dogs, my dad, my grandparents, and my aunt, laziness, procrastination, boredom. It’s not that I’m not challenged by the material. Maybe it’s that it’s too challenging. But for some reason it’s been harder and harder for me to just sit down and start writing. I had it easy the past few semesters, I guess.

After I do the bibliography, I’ll have to start on the research paper, for which I also have to make some sort of “class poster presentation,” which sounds utterly stupid in my opinion. Then I have to submit my website for the ubiquitous peer reviews, then revise and submit to the instructor my URL. Not to mention the fact that I also have to write a 3-5 expository paper on my process of creating the site. Which consists mostly of “plunking tables into HTML and shoving images and text into the tables.” About the time all of that is due, I’ll have a final paper and final, cumulative, exam in history, the paper part of which has to answer some question about World War I which we haven’t even got to in class yet. Next is presenting my research in class, and a final paper on that is due somewhere around the 12th of December.

The good news is, it will all be over soon. The bad news is I only have a few weeks to do all of it. The really bad news, it’ll be even worse next semester since I’ll be taking somewhere around 15 credits. I will have to get back to the organized, efficient, time-managing Courtney we all know.

The great news is, Project Runway starts tomorrow. I don’t care if I should be ashamed to say that. If gives me hope for an hour of tuning out to brain candy once a week.