By Definition, FUN!, Life, Uncategorized

Now You Know

I really hate Facebook games, but I have seen this one game going around, and I had no idea how to avoid it. And then it found me because I posted a comment and thought I was being funny… I was not funny, only trapped… so here goes, thanks, Mrs. Diming.

6 ransom facts that you never wanted to know about me.

1. I LOVE basketball. I love to watch it live or on TV (this includes high school teams, the WMBA, Your kids at a Brooklyn bball park, or people messing around on the street with a basketball (and Hoosiers, the best basketball movie ever). I know all of the rules, and am often tempted to steal a ball away from a kid in the streets and then yell at them for not protecting it. I saw a kid with a leather indoor basketball outside the bank the other day and almost lost my mind because he had no idea that it was for indoor use only. What Calamity!

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Throwin’ it back…

2. I am afraid of not being able to breathe (this includes choking, drowning, and suffocating). Please don’t ever put me in a headlock or put my head in a small space without being ready for the consequence of my wrath. I will kick and bite and scream until I am released… then I will never forgive you or trust you again.

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I also LOVE cats!

3. I am afraid of what’s under the water. I had a few incidents when I was younger where I was forced to boogie board at Seaside Heights and was totally wiped out and destroyed by my board and the ocean. Another time I was bit by a crab at Jamesport Beach. I need to see the bottom of any body of water if I am going to go in above my knees. I did go into the Long Island Sound this summer, and faced me fears by going in up to my neck and (gasp) under the water… then saw a school of minnows and was Audi 5000.

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To jump or not to jump…

4. I look terrible in hats. I look like a little boy who didn’t make the little league team. No matter what hat I wear, I look silly.

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Hats are not flattering…

5. I am a quiet conspiracy theorist. I don’t think that Elvis is dead, but the real Paul McCartney is. FOX News should be called FAUX News, and no one should ever believe everything (or anything) that they are told.

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mockumentary my ass…

6. I will always believe that my dad is the strongest person on this planet.

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My dad is awesome!

Well, there you have it. There are lots more things that I could share, but this is what my brain pulled together on short notice. What else would you like to know?

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Adventure, Food, Life, Recycle, Rules To Live By, Save The World, Simplify

Things You Can Live Without

My sweet Clam and I have been going through a transitional phase lately. Well, actually, I have been going through a phase and have been relying on my Clam to guide me, since he is almost an extreme minimalist. When he first started working his clam charms on me, I lived in a 2000 sqft loft in the South Bronx that was filled with 7 years worth of accumulations; things that came from the trash or street, from friends and family,  things both purchased and made. Le Clam lived in a one bedroom apartment in Bed-Stuy and owned a tv, a bed, a coffee table and a night stand. I had 6 coffee tables, 14 tons of clothing, a lamp collection, among other bric-a-brac (I’m not a hoarder, I’m a collector!).

Needless to say when I left my cluttered paradise, I learned to live without a mound of shit and have been transitioning to life without many of the things I thought would be impossible to live without. I am feeling more aware of the things that fill my life and am being more accountable not just as a consumer or junk collector, but I am also being socially responsible as well as environmentally aware… well, I am trying to be, at least.

Designer Clothing

I don’t know about you, but I hate being a walking Billboard. I hate those big ugly handbags with logos all over them and their buckles and tassels and unnecessarily high price tags and terrible plastic knockoffs. I see no reason to have to buy clothing or accessories that are overpriced and will only be worn a few times before I realize just how ugly that “trend” is. Call me a Plain Jane, but a high maintenance lifestyle is not my type of back alley. I also hate the idea of spending money on something that gives free advertising for a brand. If I am going to be advertising for you, then shouldn’t I get paid? Sorry, no logos for this gal. Also, my ass is juicy enough, I don’t need a general announcement that states a quite obvious fact.

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Bottled Water

I visit friends and family and everyone is all about the individual 8 oz bottles of water. Have my friends and family never heard of a Brita Water Filter and a re-usable water bottle/canteen?  I also notice that the biggest culprits of the bottles water sin-fest don’t recycle. Why is that? “Designer” water has a 280,000% markup (read more HERE) than tap water filtered through a state of the art Brita, and causes disgusting amounts of waste and litter. Bottled water is wasteful for both the environment and hard earned money. Get a filter and get on with life.

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Thirsty?

Your Parents Money

At a certain age, it’s embarrassing to need money from your parents. You hit this age by (hopefully) 25. By 25 you should be out of your parents’ house and making enough money to support yourself and whatever habits that you might be ailed with (like working out and eating). If you are still dependent on your parents for things other than their shared health insurance and their deep wisdom and endless advice, then it’s time to stop being a spoiled brat and get your shit together. While it is alright to accept money from your parents as a gift, it’s not okay to expect it.

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Oh mom. You’re so funny.

Religion

You don’t need religion. You only think that you need religion. There are plenty of ways to find meaning and purpose in this life.  Try falling in love or starting a family. You can even (gasp) volunteer and help your fellow man. You are a good person and THIS is the life that matters… not a life after death in a magical place where the streets are paved with gold (seriously?). When you die you return to the earth, just like all other living things. Do you think a plant goes to plant heaven when it dies? No. It turns into nutrients that help other plants grow. Some of these plants feed human and animals. The stomach lining and digestive track of an animal can hardly be compared to any sort of gilded heaven that I have ever heard of.

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If you’re lost, then go find yourself.

A Car

I realize that in some situations this is not a realistic scenario, but public transportation does exist in most towns, and bicycle technologies have existed since the early 1800’s. There are also these two long bendy things attached to our lower bodies. They are called “legs” and can also be used for transportation.  While a car is difficult to live without, it is easy to afford NOT to have a car. You are not paying money on gas, insurance, the loan you took out to buy the coolest, largets, shiniest car you could find, tolls, maintenance, or any sorts of tickets, parking or otherwise. Just because you don’t have a car doesn’t mean you can’t BE in a car. You can rent a car, using car share programs like ZIP CAR. You can call a cab or car pool. And there are always those sexy little Vespa-esque scooters that can help you toot around town.

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Early bicycle built for two designed for hot dates in sexy outfits as well as car-pooling.

Plastic Disposables

Plastic forks, knives, spoons, plates, razors, bags, wrap, cups, table cloths… shall I bore you with more? We are so wasteful and don’t even realize it. There is no reason not to have an extra cup or mug at work (or bring in utensils). We are lazy and we either don’t care or pretend not to. Sometimes I open my purse and laugh at myself for having a million spoons clanking around in there. It’s more rewarding than finding broken soup spoons on the beach at Coney Island in August (soup at the beach? Seriously?).

Plastic is magic, but we use it so wastefully. I was once guilty of throwing out plastic sandwich bags, even when they just had bread in them. Since I met my Clam, it seems silly to throw a bag out just because it had bread in it. BREAD! We wash and reuse and that’s the full story. Not only do we save on plastic baggies, we reduce our human impact on the rest of the world. The same can go for disposable razors and other plastic items. Find a better alternative instead of the lazy way out.

Click here for My Plastic Free Life dot Com.

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It’s pretty amazing that our society has reached a point where the effort necessary to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery, turn it into plastic, shape it appropriately, truck it to a store, buy it, and bring it home is considered to be less effort than what it takes to just wash the spoon when you’re done with it.

Sex

Just kidding.

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Pet Clothes

As adorable as it is to see a little dog wearing a raincoat and rain boots, it’s just fucking stupid. The only time I can recall ever seeing the need for animal fashion is on horses… in winter… outside. Does your dog really need a raincoat? And rain boots? You give your dog a bath frequently, right?  Does your dog use a shower cap when bating? Unless it’s Halloween, your dog looks stupid and is probably more likely to not get laid dressed in an argyle sweater vest, tie and hipster glasses.

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An excellent visual pun.

Social Media

Yes, it is possible to live in analog. People have been doing it for millions of years. There are even technologies called telephones, where you can call someone up and say “Hi. I miss you”… or share a fantastic story about how your kid said something silly or you can even describe your lunch to them… better yet, invite them to lunch so that they can see it in person. This is called interpersonal communication and is a skill that is quickly dwindling from the culture of current society and future generations. I never thought of communicating face to face as something that needed to be learned, but that is where we are heading… quickly.

There is no reason that we should live our lives out on social media for all the world to see. Seriously, most people could give two fucks about what’s on tonight’s menu or how adorable the 258th baby picture of your 2 week old baby is (although, they are probably really cute). Most of us are guilty of an over indulgence of social media, but consider this: Have you ever asked yourself “How many friends do I truly have?” I can tell you that the answer is NOT 741. Wake up, friends. Life cannot be lived while sitting down at a computer machine.

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Oops I made too much. What ever shall I do?

A Smart Phone

Get your face out of your phone. I am so sick of walking around and everyone is so absorbed by what is going on on their phone. Yes, it is an amazing technological feat that the entire world is literally at the tips of our fingers, but do we need to let such a small device run our lives? NO! Smart Phones can go to hell. As nice as it is to know where my closest bank branch is or how fast I can get from A to B on Hopstop, I do not need to be distracted by my twitter feed or Facebook messages while simply trying to read a text or retrieve a voicemail (ok, you all know I never activate my voicemail, but you understand what I mean). I have been living without a smart phone since June, and I won’t lie that it was really hard at first, but now I love it. I am not one of those people walking around with my face in my phone. I am smiling at you and saying good morning.

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Christ! Just send a text!

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GPS

GPS is making us dumber. It also takes the adventure of going on an adventure. While it is helpful, it also makes you feel reliant on a machine to solve your problem. This thing tells you where to go and what to do in a British accent. You don’t have a problem with that? Because I surely do (of course if it were Samuel L. Jackson, I’d be okay with that, Mother Fucker).

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Fast Food

When I say “Fast Food” I am talking about nasty gross McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC — those processed fast food mega giants. You know, there are other places to get food fast, that is healthy and yummy and nurturing, but those corporate slow suicide eateries are not it. In a blatant effort to toot my own horn, I have not had fast food in about two years. I did sample a bite about a year and a half ago and realized just how disgusting fast food is. Seriously, it’s not even delicious. There is nothing more satisfying than a gorgeous, juicy burger, but only if it’s home made (that’s what we are having for dinner tonight, don’t worry, I’ll facebook a picture of it). Make your own menu and learn how to cook. You’d be surprised how talented you can be in the kitchen (or the bedroom (read more HERE).

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Of course I’ll have fries with that!

Cable & Television

Go TV Free!! You don’t need that machine rotting your brain. Cancel your cable and throw that damn contraption out (or donate it (or sell it)). You don’t need it. There are way better ways to unwind and actually make contact with other people, like your mate or your children. You can play games or read books. You can go play outside (gasp!) or have a real conversation. The TV sucks up way too much quality time to be of significant value to relationships or quality time with the people you love. Even Netflix and Hulu are dangerous luxuries that take time away from the stuff that matters and can form habits of laziness (as well as drinking too much beer and eating too many tortilla chips or letting the TV babysit your kids). HERE is an excellent post on living without TV.

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I am working on embracing this list as a set of goals towards living a simpler life. None of us are perfect, and since the dawn of the modern era of technology and convenience, it’s second nature to participate in waste and want. While some of this list ridiculous to most of you, it’s not impossible. I am adding to my life by subtracting from it, hoping to live more by having less. Simplicity, just like Captain Clam taught me.

What kinds of things could you subtract from your life to make it better?


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Adventure, Autumn, Christmas, Holiday Season, Overload

Merry Effin’ Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The leaves are turning and the smell of burning wood is in the air. Mornings are darker than ever as we wait for daylight savings time and snooze just 9 more minutes, hoping to be cozy enough to drift back to sleep for what feels like an eternity. Halloween has sulked past us at a blistering 65 degrees, and we are barely into the eleventh month when Christmas throws up in our faces.

Merry Effin’ Christmas.

I Love Christmas. My favorite day of the year is Christmas Eve. There is magic and mystery. Love is in the air and everything smells like pumpkin spice and spearmint. The only problem is that it’s too early to smell Christmas. I am still reeling over the fireplace/dead leaf combo. Snowmen are not quite in my forecast just yet.

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WooHoo! Autumn!

Two weeks ago, my neighborhood put up the street decorations. While I love the sense of community and festivity, I hate that one holiday is celebrated for two months. I understand the big to-do about Christmas… it’s a time of reflection and fellowship with family and friends. You get fattened up for the winter on chocolates and cake (and that badass stuffing that your mom makes). You gather with loved ones and exchange good tidings and cheer. You drink too much wine and reminisce of Christmases long long ago. There is always that one fight (or “debate,” as my Dad likes to call it) that happens, but all ends up fine and well in the end.

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I mean, Seriously? The Leaves haven’t even changed color!

In reality, that is no longer the case (well, maybe the wine part is accurate because now you drink out of blind rage from the awful experience that Christmas has become). The joy of Christmas has been stripped down and bastardized into a commercial frenzy for the mindless consumer. We wait in lines on Black Friday, a day given to most of us to enjoy and relax with our families. Instead, we fight with other shoppers over the last Tickle Me Elmo gadget (wow, am I dating myself there?), stress ourselves out over not finding the closest parking spot and having to settle for the third closest parking spot (seriously, I thought they saw my blinker), and get all hot and sweaty (not to mention bitter and resentful) walking around crowded stores with bad music and complete chaos.

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There are two scarcely known bank holidays between Halloween and Christmas. One is Veteran’s Day (11/11) and the other is Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November). While that last statement is purely sarcastic, it is metaphorically true.

Unfortunately, Veteran’s Day is not anticipated for two months, nor is it commercialized… you hear very little about it. Why is that? I usually make it a point to call my dad and wish him a Happy Veteran’s Day. He thinks this phone call is a little weird, but it is a great excuse to get to chat with him. Sometimes I get a Naval Fleet story, but I usually get a sports story. So what. Moral of the story: Call your dad. Thank a Veteran.

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Thank you, Veterans!

Thanksgiving is a different beast. We spend a whole day celebrating the things we are thankful to have, getting drunk on wine and turkey, watching football and the Macy’s Parade. The next day we go out and buy all the things that we will be thankful to have NEXT Thanksgiving in a midnight rush of complete madness, as if these items will never be on sale again or will no longer exist in a few hours.

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11:59pm or 4:03am

Spending time with family turns into spending time with strangers and spending a week or two’s worth of hard earned income. And even when you have exhausted yourself in the first day of the official holiday season, you are never finished shopping. There is always something that you have forgotten that simply cannot wait until after Christmas when it will be half price or completely irrelevant to the recipient. Even when you begin your Christmas shopping in October, you are never done. You also forget to calculate just how much you have spent and everyone gets way too many gifts (as if that is such a thing). And you always wonder why you show up to your family/friend’s house with 3 bags of gifts and leave with a bottle of wine and leftovers (hey, that is good enough for me!).

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This guy looks a little douchey, right?

Christmas has gotten out of control. I can’t imagine what the holiday would be like if (SPOILER ALERT) Santa actually did exist and managed to make and deliver all those gifts to good boys and girls. Life would be easier, if not better. The holidays would surround you in warmth and joy, not complete turmoil. Being good would reap its rewards, and karma would take a more tangible role in life. If you are good, then you get a gift. If you are bad, you get a lump of coal. Plus, Santa is doing all the preparation and all you need to spend money on is milk and cookies (and maybe some oats for those reindeer).

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Santa is on it.

I would love to know the exact moment when that Advertising Executive said “Here’s a thought. What if we commercialized Christmas?” That must have come right after “Let’s make a fake holiday based on Love. We can put it in February since that is the suckiest month of them all.”  I can’t imagine the other religious/cultural celebrations (like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa) allowing their traditions to become so ridiculously overdone. Christmas has it’s own scent! And I am sure it is patented. It would seem that the economy almost relies on Christmas so all of these big businesses can meet their bottom line at the end of the Fourth Quarter. We literally need Christmas to keep the economy afloat? Really? Maybe. I don’t know. I may have just made that up, but it sounds like it could be true.

People, we are suckers…. Huge, gross, stupid, wasteful, stupid suckers. Why do we still have candy hangovers from Halloween and there are Christmas Songs stuck in my head? It’s November 1st, for baby Jesus’ sake! Ah yes. baby Jesus… the reason for the season. The Catholic/Christian meaning behind this specific holiday. I wonder if Jesus just has to have the new iPhone so badly that his entire existence relies on it.  Can you imagine that prayer?

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The Reason for the Season.

Dear Father in Heaven (AKA: Dad),

Please please please. I really need the new iPhone. It’s already been 2 months and Johnny has one and so does his sister. I promise to be good and make as much wine out of water as you’d like. I can throw a healing or two in there, if it pleases You.

Love your son,

Jesus

Yeah. I highly doubt it. As a fictional character, Jesus would be pissed with how his fictional birthday is currently being celebrated. Christmas is not about gifts. It’s about giving. You can give your time and love and groceries to the needy. You can volunteer to feed people you don’t know, or help out a neighbor who is down on their luck. You can be there for a family member to console them or just crack open a beer and share a good story and a laugh. You don’t need useless things. The latest gadget is not going to love you the way that a person can.

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Jesus’ first Selfie on his new iPhone.

Holy Christmas Rant. Christmas is still about 2 months away, folks. Let’s not lose our heads this year. I want to savor Christmas and get back the magic that was slowly lost in all of the hype. I am going to regain the Christmas Spirit by avoiding the crowds, surrounding myself with friends, family, and a little bit of solitude. The next month I will refuse to give into the early “Christmas cheer”, which resembles the fake smile on a mannequin. I will not sing carols until after Thanksgiving, and I will spend at least 10 minutes a day reflecting on the things I am thankful for, the people I am joyful to have in my life, and the places that I have been this year. I am looking forward to Christmas, but just not yet. I am waiting for the magic and mystery to come around. In the meantime, I plan on drinking wine, watching the leaves continue their ritual, and ignoring the Christmas Propaganda.

I love you.

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