Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blame Disney

Recently I’ve been reading comments on news stories. This is relatively new to me because usually I try to avoid idiots who post comments on the Internet… I’ve noticed a trend- there’s a lot of blaming going on: blaming religions, blaming Bush, the GOP, the voters for not electing Sarah Palin…etc.

I blame Disney.

Disney influences the majority of the ways children and adults think. Disney owns a piece of nearly every household in the United States and many abroad. Disney reaches far beyond the children’s movies, theme parks and toys. They own ESPN, ABC and just recently they sold Miramax for enough money to buy a small country!

Disney has also set an example of excellence, especially with their Pixar movies. They have given the world a lot of innovations.

Disney forms children’s ideals for family, beauty, love and value. Overwhelmingly, Disney teaches children good, genuine lessons like not judging a book by its cover and believing in oneself. Disney models socially valuable behaviors, such as tolerance and diversity in race. Disney has molded entire generations into tolerant, self-confident but unoriginal, socially assimilated people. As a brand, the world accepts and recognizes Disney as an innocent, child appropriate empire. Through market penetration, Disney controls what people think about and sets an expectation of what should be tolerated. Disney forms the ideas that we call “politically correct.”

My generation has been socialized to be politically correct. Political correctness has gone too far! In the world today, the pressure to be politically correct seems to trump individuals’ rights to have their own opinions! Since we have been exposed to this since birth, and are continuously exposing ourselves and our children to “the empire,” it’s no wonder in our minds we don’t even realize when we favor certain minorities and not others. No wonder we are so comfortable with politically correct speech, or increasingly common - politically correct silence.

Being tolerant of people who behave completely contrary to what you think is one thing. Having to accept that behavior and “pretend” that it’s “normal” in your opinion is political correctness- and that’s gone too far for me! What happened to just being able to say, “I don’t agree with you?” It doesn’t have to spark an HR complaint or argument at a party.

Our forefathers gave us a responsibility when they gave us freedom of speech. It is not only a personal right to speak freely, but also a social mandate to be able to stand behind your opinions! The first responsibility of freedom of speech is to form your own opinions; you should mean what you say, and choose your battles carefully. The second responsibility behind freedom of speech is being tolerant of the other idiots who also share that same freedom. The key is learning to gracefully and peacefully disagree without compromising your right to your own opinion.

The good intentions of Disney’s lessons in tolerance and diversity, coupled with an overwhelming market share, have turned my generation into a sugar-coated, politically correct, boring cookie cutter society! We have become too neutral. In the workplace, at home, and with friends, I am afraid to say what I really think for fear that it will be perceived as “racist,” “classist” or “prejudice.” At one time or another I have been called all of those things…

Show me any one person who’s not prejudice about something!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bad day

"Don't wait on me! Just go away, OK?!" I hissed, exasperated with my husband. I was at the gym, on the treadmill, on the home stretch to finishing the 5K program when he came over and wanted to talk (how much did I have left, should he wait for me, what's for dinner, was I going to the grocery store tonight?). He accidentally knocked the on-off switch and caused the program to reboot. I was going to beat my best (treadmill) 5K time and I really really wanted to know what my average pace was going to be, not to mention the calories and the satisfaction of seeing that "100% complete" scroll across the screen. I know, it's silly, like checking something off a list... It really only matters that the task was completed, not that it was checked off, but still!

To be completely honest, I called him a name first.

I had a bad day. There was a wreck on the way to work, the highway was down to one lane. I was feeling proud of myself for not being too upset with the delay and I got to right in front of the wreck and a red Audi came out of nowhere and cut me off! I had to brake so that I didn't hit her, even though I was only going like 5 miles per hour. I honked. Why, oh why, do drivers put other people at risk just to get ONE car length ahead?! Is it worth it?

I got to work, promptly did a task that was on my calendar, only to find out a few hours later that I was a week early! I had to send out the embarrassing "Just kidding..." email. If someone else did that, I'd laugh, I'd say we are all human! I didn't allow myself the same grace, I beat myself up over it for the rest of the morning!

Then, this afternoon, I was on a roll. I had several files open and I was doing some pretty tedious formatting, playing with the design and layout, and making the pages match... I was stretching my feet (without my shoes on), wiggling my toes, arching my back, and BAM! I hit the off switch on the power strip with my big toe! I put my head in my hands and told myself not to cry! I'd just lost the past 45 minutes of work... I considered whining to someone, but thought better of it (mostly from embarrassment) and grumpily tried to salvage my files.

When my husband accidentally rebooted the treadmill, the frustration from the day just about made me cry. Why did this day just keep getting worse? Why does it feel like I'm a character in a sitcom and all these crazy things keep happening to me!

Between work and the gym I stopped at the library. There was a line. I had one book on CD (audio books are a great way to keep the road rage to a minimum), and a lady with two kids in front of me had an armful and each kid had books. I wonder if she saw me look around at the other kiosks to see if any other line was shorter. This sweet lady said, "You can go in front of us, we aren't in a hurry." She was almost whispering and I felt really loud when I replied in a normal decibel, "Thank you!" I rushed through the checkout and thanked her again, feeling a tinge of remorse for being the one "in a hurry". Did she think I was rude?

That was the nicest thing that happened to me all day! She was being the nice car, letting me cut in front of her, and earlier I'd honked when someone jumped in front of me! It's really not worth getting so upset about the rebooting of a computer... or a treadmill... I'm sorry, husband, for getting upset over the treadmill.

To use a cliché from the Spanish language, "mejor mañana", it will be better tomorrow.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Run Like Robot 5K

Today I ran the "Run Like Robot Virtual 5K". You might ask, did you virtually run? No, I actually ran. The "Virtual" part of the 5K is that the organizer was in another city. She made shirts for several runners, in all different cities, to run a 5K, then post the pictures to her blog:

This was my first 5K since I got plantar fasciitis almost a year ago. I wrapped my foot with medical tape before the run and that seemed to help quite a bit. I also ran in the grass, which also made it easier on the feet.

We chose to run at a lake close by. It was early in the day, but it was already hot. We dropped a cooler with water along the trail so we could stay hydrated. It was an out and back trail, so we could stop for water twice along the way.

The lake was beautiful, and not too busy yet since it was still early in the day. The people watching was fun! There were a few boats, a few family groups preparing for lunch, and a game of cricket being played by guys dressed in all white! What a weird looking game! There was a guy with a metal detector whose wife sat looking bored while he "hunted" in the playground. There were other people out walking/running. There was a bird watcher who was incredibly close to a crane.

My husband is a real runner. I'm a not. He runs, I come out to support him. Unlike the metal detector man's wife, I actually subject myself to the activity, running (I enjoy it a little, the people watching is the best!).

Real runners are fast, calculated and competitive. He had a personal record breaking time... My time was a personal record breaker in the OTHER direction. He's a dedicated, self motivated speedy robot. I'm an easily distracted turtle robot! Either way, we both finished, alive.

It was so hot, that it was miserable. I started dry heaving about half way though. I got to the water stop the second time and I took the ice packs out of the cooler and put them on my head and back. I thought I might pass out. By the end of the run, we were both tomato red!

After the run we went to Sneaky Pete's, the closest restaurant on the lake. The service is always horrible (the waitstaff is all about 18), but the location is fun! There's a few volleyball nets and a pool out on the deck. One can park their boat and walk right into the restaurant. Those of us who don't have boats can swim on the other side. Most of the people there have on swim suits and are sunburned, but somehow, we still looked a little out of place!
Thanks, Kat, for organizing one of the most memorable and fun 5Ks I've ever ran! I had a lot of fun! I'm definitely in for another Virtual 5K!

Father's Day

I used to think my dad was kind of a super hero. He can do anything he put his mind to do. Go back to school when he already had kids, windsurf, learn to dance, or fix any broken household appliance. Now I know my dad is a super hero.

One of my earliest memories of my dad is watching him windsurf on a lake in Orlando. It was like he just picked it up the first try and he had it! Earlier this year, we went to a bridal fair together and he decided he wanted to learn how to ballroom dance for my wedding. A few months later, he and my mom were wearing ballroom dancing shoes and looking like they had years of practice! On my wedding day, he was the best dance partner a girl could ask for!

My dad is a my hero in the sense that I want to be more like him. He loves those around him, he sacrifices what he wants to make other people happy. He's gentle and kind, committed and ethical. He's a godly man; altruistic in his kindness, and conscientious.

One time, my brother said to me, "You ever notice how mom and dad are always trying to make each other more comfortable? That's what I want in my relationship and that's what you should look for." That was very good advice, brother.

My dad used to do projects around the house and let me hold the flashlight. It made me feel helpful. Now that I'm a homeowner, I realize just how incredible his apt for fixing stuff is! I wish I had that talent... Oh, and the athletic ability would be nice, too! And the kind gentle, servant-like character... Once again, he's someone to look up to.

My dad works like a robot, loves like a puppy. He is SO dedicated to his job. A very hard worker who always provided for his family. And loving. He used to give me a hug even as he was taking the keys from me in the middle of the night to ground me for coming in past curfew. It was hard to be mad at him at the time, because he was loving.

My mom loves to watch my dad run. She always says, "Look at him run" when he's running back to the car to get his jacket, or go pick us up because it's raining. She admires him, too.

That's another thing my dad got right. He loves my mom and is committed deeply to her, which says a lot, but that's only the half of it. He chose someone who is very strong, very determined and who loves him. That was a smart move! They are also friends, which is something that I can say I have found myself. "Happiness is being married to your best friend."

Happy Father's day, Dad! I wish I could give you a hug in person!