By Definition, Curse Words, Fuck You, FUN!, Language, Life, Opinion, Rules To Live By, Truck Drivers, Vocabulary

Like a Truck Driver

**WARNING: This post is filled with all sorts of foul language. I am advising discretion to those of you who are sensitive to the vulgarities of those who swear like truck drivers. This might not be the post for you. Truck drivers, of course, are welcome.

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I have always had a potty mouth. I have no idea how I got it, since my parents are quite religious, but I got it, and it’s here to stay. A potty mouth paired with a censor-less brain-to-mouth internal wiring system and intense sarcasm can sometimes lead to catastrophe, or some really meaningful and hilarious sidebars.

Once I fell and skinned my knee on the concrete. I yelled “SHIT!” My sister heard me and blackmailed me for YEARS over that. One day, when I was a teenager, she said, “Do this, or I am going to tell mom what you said.” I replied, “Oh fucking hell, Mom, I said “shit” ten years ago when I fell and skinned my knee. Would you like to see the scar?” Then we all just laughed and laughed.

I grew up climbing trees and playing any sport that had the word “ball” in it (I love balls). I even ran track for a season so I wouldn’t be bored. Sports as a female teen were always interesting. You learn about sex on every bus ride to away games, and by the ripe age of 15 have a general knowledge of all of the bad words, their definitions, and proper usage.

By the time I went to college, I was a professional “verbal truck driver.” My very first class in college was an English course with a very attractive gay man. I can’t remember his name, but I am certain that I was in love with him, regardless of his non-desire for me (that is generally the way it goes). I like to think that it was because his first lecture was all about the bad words, and why they aren’t bad at all, they only sound bad.

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He started his lecture by saying the “N” word. I cringe every time I hear that word. It is ugly and harsh and gross… no one should EVER use it. Then he said a whole bunch of other bad words, which made us all giggle and blush a little. He asked us what all these words had in common (minus their vulgar meanings, of course). He went on to explain to us 18 year old champions of foul language that curse words don’t necessarily mean bad things, but they are concocted with sounds that are harsh and brash to the ears. They also take on the flavor of what you are saying and how you are saying it.

The SH and T in SHIT keep the word short and hard, as do the F and CK in FUCK, as well as the B and TCH in BITCH. You can see where he was going with all of this very interesting information. Then he came back to the “N” word. He explained the difference between using the word with and ER and an A at the end. By ending the word with an A, you have a “friendly greeting.” By using it with an ER at the end, you are a fucking racist. Again, I find this word to make my ears burn and wish it never existed. I am particularly turned off when adolescents are using it, listening to music with it in the lyrics, and singing along to them without a second thought.

The use of harsh, short letters really make all the difference. For instance, compare the following by saying them aloud:

SHIT! vs RATS!

FUCK YOU vs SCREW YOU (please use a Schwarzenegger accent)!

DAMN IT! vs DARN IT!

ASSHOLE! vs MORON!

Yes, they are all excellent words that can successfully be used appropriately, but some are stronger than others.

An interesting side-note… Learning about the effects of the sounds changed my writing in many ways, allowing for subtle hints of joy or anger, even sarcasm. Alliteration is a powerful friend, you Seven Sided Son-of-a-Bitch.

Anyway, I had never experienced a classroom setting where there were so many (or any) curse words used, but also dissected and recombined to affect meaning and level of offense or emotion. Needless to say, I loved college from that first class. My mind was blown wide open. I realized that cursing was okay, and was used as a poignant display of emotions, whether it be a raging anger or dubious excitement. Sometimes cursing can also be used as pain reliever, like when I scraped my knee as a child. I try not to curse around kids or old people, out of common sense and respect, respectively, but being able to hold these words in when they come out so naturally is like zipping your lips and then trying to swallow the key… it’s just not possible.

There are ways to curse excellently and ways to curse like a douche. For instance, in Star Trek: Generations (1994) when Data utters his first expletive, “Oh Shit!” … That is genius! Not only is Data an android and has no feelings or use for such vocabulary, he has also never used a curse word ever! It’s so unexpected that it’s funny.

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For a bad example of poor curse word usage, please watch the character Deb in any Dexter episode. She is terrible at cursing. It’s so forced and awkward. It’s like the actor was originally a ballerina and has never used profanity before in her life, and was cast to play the part of a tom-boy potty mouth super cop. Um, no. It’s just plain bad.

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I have usually worked places where cursing was a norm. Working in factories and workrooms, the girls curse just as much (if not more) than the guys do. Even the sweet blonde from Georgia will slide and angry “Fuck!” in there every once in a while. I even once went to an interview, where the owner was cursing up a storm. I remember thinking, “hmmm, I might actually like it here.” Of course the cursing isn’t directed at anyone, but tossed into the universe. Like, “Shit, I just cut the shit out of my fucking finger!” or “Fuck this shit!” As long as those kinds of negative statements are offset by “Shit! That looks great!” and “Fucking hell, this is the shit!” then the energy in the universe can keep a (somewhat) dynamic equilibrium.

I find cursing to be self healing. When I jab my toe or crack my elbow on something sharp, cursing helps me emotionally and physically present that pain to the world. It helps me cope with a pain that feels like it may never go away. I also find that cursing at objects makes them do what I want. For instance, when I am at work trying to pry loose a fabric that needs to be put to work, I pull and tug and say, “Come on, you fucking fuck!” and just like magic, the roll pulls out. Name calling is also effective in these situations. When called a slut, the fabric responds in a similar manner.

Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” probably never got pelted with a sharp, hurtful “FUCK YOU.” I have a  stockpile of those in my “emotional cursing arsenal” saved for just the right moment when I need to let someone know exactly how I feel about them. While I do not always intentionally throw it out there to act as a dagger, it is  certainly expelled from my lips with a force reserved specifically for causing pain. Sorry (but also probably not sorry because the person, most likely, fucking deserves it).

My favorite curse word is FUCK, as you can probably tell from the amount of F-bombs dropped already. To me, it is the most versatile of curse words. It is an extremely passionate word. You can bring someone down (Fuck You!) or rile someone up (That’s fucking awesome!). You can express anger ( I’m not a fucking moron!). You can also use it to let things go (Fuck it! (which was my personal motto from 2002-2011)).

My least favorite word of all time, besides the “N” word, is C*NT. I can’t even write it. The “C” word should be reserved for situation where it’s use is absolutely necessary. A nice alternative to the “C” word (but just as vulgar and ear exploding) is C*NT’s dainty cousin, TWAT. A gal pal of mine uses this word, and she’s so sweet that she makes it sound like a term of endearment. How charming! C U Next Tuesday is also a sneaky way of throwing some shade at an asshole.

When my niece was about 1 year old, we were in church and she dropped the toy she was playing with. She yelled, “SHIT!” and bent down top pick it up. I said, “Excuse me, Gabby?” She looked me dead in the eyes and said “Shit.” in the most serious and sternest way possible. Being the cool aunt, I brushed it off with a smile and a high five (that’s my girl!). The church ladies did not approve. I didn’t give a fuck.

I have tried to rationalize having a  swear jar, but I’d be really broke all of the time with a huge vacation fund. Perhaps that is the only way I will ever save money to travel the world. Then I can learn how to swear in other languages, which may come in handy if I , say, stub a toe in Spain, or smash my kneecap in China.

My dear readers, I leave you with THIS.

And please remember, there is always room for a fucking swear word, just please curse responsibly.

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Adventure, Dogs, Family, FUN!, Life, Memory Lane, New York City, Opinion, Overload, Photo Blog, Resolution, Road Trip, small joy, Social Media, South Bronx

The Hiatus

Thank the fucking stars that winter is, at last, over. For the most part, so is Spring. Although Springtime in New York City is generally a week of really great weather followed by either cold and rainy weather or hot and humid days that will never end because your office has yet to turn on the Air Conditioning. I read my last post, dated October 13, 2014, and wonder why the hell I was ever so excited for the end of summer 2014. I must also apologize, once again, for my absence. I had a few complaints from friends and their mom’s wondering if I might be dead. I am not dead, although after the past few cold, cold months, I feel a little corpse-like. With June upon us now I am basking in the hot, humid sun, getting ready to complain about different awful weather.

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I am cold just looking at this.

So, what have I been up to? October was an amazing month of visitors and travel. I stuck my feet in the Pacific Ocean as well as the Gulf of Mexico (both destination wedding related). Captain Clam and I visited 5 airports in the span of 10 days that month. We were exhausted and happy from adventure and catching up with old friends and family. Plus, I got to see Northern California, and I cannot wait to get back!

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Pacific Coast Highway

November was another month of bustle, traveling to Virginia for Thanksgiving, and celebrating my 33rd year. I am getting old. Fuck! Captain Clam and I adopted a foster dog, Nena, who slowly made us realize that we don’t want a dog, or probably children… eek!

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Hey! Watch your hands buddy!

December was a little more peaceful. We celebrated at home and cooked for about 13 friends on Christmas Day. We invented Bronx Fries, which is just essentially asparagus wrapped in bacon and scorched with garlic. We spent the New Year in my old Loft building with my good Friend Paul and his girlfriend, Ebonie.

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An extremely accurate representation of Ebonie & Paul from the Guest Book.

January is a month that I have forgotten most of. All I can remember was my New Year Resolution of replacing my mascara tube, which I have managed to procrastinate for 5 1/2 months. February is the worst month of them all, and this winter really gave it to us. If the temperature was above 20 degrees, I experience some sort of relief, like maybe I didn’t need to bundle up so much. But then the wind would blow and I’d immediately regret not wearing a butt scarf (essentially just a scarf that is tied around the butt).

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The First Day of Spring 2015, New York City.

At some point, we were able to find a home for a little kitten that our neighbor found. She had been smashed up a bit and needed some serious snuggling. Our friend Josh, who is the biggest softy ever, came by in the middle of the night, serenaded her with music on a broken guitar, and fell in love. He took her home that night and named her Prudence.

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Contrary to popular belief, Captain Clam and I are NOT an animal rescue!

During the winter, I became bored and switched my instagram name a zillion times. I settled on CommutersOnTheGreenLine, and have dedicated the majority of my posts to stalking strangers on the 4, 5, and 6 trains. Follow Me!

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February 19, 2015

In early March, I found myself shopping for a dress for an old friend’s funeral. That sucked more than I ever thought anything ever could possibly suck. The joy of March was driving down to MD to drop off the foster dog to her new owner, Rich. We (and by “we” I mean “the kitties”) finally regained control over the apartment. Hooray! We were also blessed with a trip to Wisconsin to visit the Captain’s Family Farm and B&B for his dad’s 70th Birthday. If you are ever in Wisconsin, in the little town of La Farge, please stop in and visit Trillium Cottage B&B. It is one of the most magical places I have ever been to and I can’t wait to get back there (they have miniature donkeys!).

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See? Magic!

May proved to be the busiest month yet, with almost every weekend spent out of town. Captain Clam and I went to Long Island for Mother’s Day and a spectacular family reunion where both of my sisters and their kids (and husbands) were gathered in one place, talking loudly with intense accents. At one point my dad pulled us aside and told us that my mom hasn’t looked this happy in a long time. I looked over to see her playing monkey in the middle with two of my nephews. She was giggling in her usual tickled fashion and was completely kicking their little butts at the game. She was genuinely, unabashedly happy.

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That is one Happy Momma!

The following weekend, one of my Best Pals since forever got married in Baltimore, so we road tripped out there and Airbnb’d it 2 blocks from where the Baltimore riots had taken place a few weeks earlier (Captain Clam and I are gluttons for adventure). Of course I cried at the wedding because I am a wimp, but Elyse BFF was certainly the prettiest bride since Cleopatra married Mark Anthony (or since J-Lo Married Marc Anthony…).

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Meet the Meyers!

I would also like to take this time to brag about what a hunk my Clam is in a suit!

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The cutest clam in town!

Memorial Day Weekend was spent in the woods camping at Clarence Fahnestock State Park, as an early Birthday Gift to the Clam. He’ll be 32 in a few weeks! The last weekend was spent prepping for a Jumble Sale that we have been organizing with some friends in our Community, presented by the South Bronx Yard Exchange and hosted by the Mott Haven Bar. The Sale coincides with the Mott Haven’s killer Brunch, so feel free to come by for the sale (June 6 & 7) and stay for some Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary Specials!

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Subliminal Message.

So, what’s coming up for these summer months? Well, June is filling up with the Jumble Sale, Shakespeare in the Park, Groupons for a Yankees Game, Clam’s Birthday, an illegal rooftop garden, and a bunch of other blog posts that I have had in the works for a very long time. As promised, Like a Truck Driver is set to be published within the next week or so, and I am working on another gem The Noise Hole to keep you entertained while you are supposed to be doing paper work or checking emails at your boring job. Early July boasts an epic camping trip in New Hampshire and Acadia Nation Park in Maine, so that should keep my brain from exploding for a little bit longer. Stay tuned!

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Change, Compromise, FTSF, Humor, Memory Lane, Opinion, Project, Rules To Live By, Sarcasm, Save The World

Never Gonna Happen

I compromise all the time. Like, I’ll take a pair of dish pan hands if Captain Clam does the Kitty Litter, or I’ll be the designated driver if Captain Clam does the Kitty Litter, or I’ll sort the recycle/dump the garbage/mop/sweep/dust if Captain Clam does the Kitty Litter…  I would basically compromise anything to get out of shoveling cat poop, except for the following…

I won’t drink and drive. Ever. I won’t even sniff a cocktail if I know I am getting behind the wheel. I don’t believe in it and think if you do drink and drive, you are a dumb asshole.

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This graphic is too ridiculous not to use.

Nothing will never, ever compromise my stance on Cheese. If it were human, I’d marry it. I eat cheese just about everyday. It makes me happy!  The same goes for Pickles and Hot Sauce.

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32 oz. of heaven. I own this bottle.

I will never stop using curse words. I can’t compromise what comes naturally to me. I do, however, do my best not to curse around children and old ladies, but every once in a while a “fuck” slips out. Shit happens.

I don’t compromise on zombies. If you are a zombie, I will remove your head.

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If I can’t see the bottom, chances are I will not be swimming. I don’t compromise on murky water. If something is touching my leg, then I need to know what it is. Zero Compromise. Zero. Two things happened to me when I was younger that changed my outlook on swimming. One of them was my dad.

We would go to the Jersey Shore every summer. I was fearless, chasing waves on my boogie board, digging in the sand where the water turned to foam, and swimming out past the point where I could stand up. There was one cloudy day when the waves were just too much for me to handle. Well, my dad thought otherwise and dragged me out there with a boogie board. At first I screamed and cried, and then gave in. I thought after one run I could escape back to the beach blanket. As I rode a huge wave in, my board slipped out from under me and dug nose first into the sand. I then plowed into the rear end of it, knocking the wind out of my little body. My day was ruined.

About a year after the bogie board incident, I was swimming in the calmer waters of the Peconic Bay and a crab bit me. After that, it’s been an aquatic life of water shoes, dips up to my knees, tropical beaches where the water is clear, or strictly swimming pools. I do sometimes venture out above my head, but then seaweed touches me and I am headed to shore. It boggles my brain to think that I used to dive head first into the Peconic River  without second thought to the turtles and leeches and other weird grimy stuff that might get in my swimsuit. Now those memories fill me with terror.

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You never know what’s lurking.

I will never EVER catch any food items in my mouth. If you throw a cheesy puff at my face, I am going to duck and get very serious rather quickly, preaching on the dangers of catching food in your mouth. I will most likely tell you this story: I was in Middles School and realizing quickly that I was finally growing into my awkward teenage body. My coordination was on point and I never really got into the whole “pog” thing. I thought it would be awesome to throw some popcorn in the air and catch it in my mouth. I was pretty cool until about the third piece of popcorn. It went right into my lung. I choked and choked until I coughed out a soggy, embarrassed piece of popcorn. I can’t even be in the presence of food catchers. They make me nervous. I can’t trust them.

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I couldn’t even make it through this episode of “The Office.”

I don’t compromise on beer. If it’s there I will drink it, unless it’s dark. Guinness is like steak and eggs – heavy and unnecessary (have you ever thrown up steak and eggs? No thanks).

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WHY?

Lastly, I can never compromise the Golden Rule. I can’t understand how lots of people go through life being complete assholes to everyone. Jerks, Racists, Meanies, Bullies, Punks, Narcissists, Know-it-alls, Blockheads, Pricks, Shits, Schmucks, and all encompassing Doo-Doo Faces baffle me in their behaviors (pranksters are okay). I find general goodwill  to be effortless. It’s an effort to be an asshole. If you are going out of your way to do the wrong thing, you are a DICK. Boom. No compromise.

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Wil Wheaton says so.

Things that I will never compromise on might seems silly to most, but deal with life and death and complete panic (come on, seaweed touching my legs, no thanks!). Of course the cheese thing is just common sense, as is the golden rule. Compromise is important, but not when it comes to personal conviction, morale, or the safety of others…. or pickles. Pickles are good.

 

 

 

 

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Adventure, Bucket List, Change, Contest, Humor, Lotto, Opinion, POOP, Winning

You’re a Winner

I have always been pretty lucky. When I was a kid, it seemed that any raffle I entered would be a winning experience for me. One time I won a bike kickstand at Bike Safety Day. My parents would take us kids to the Jersey Shore every summer and we would play games on the boardwalk. I’d come home with a zillion stuffed animals. Actually, we all would. The only difference between my sisters’ dolls and mine were how we won them. While my sisters would play games of skill, I’d play games of luck. I always had a knack for knowing what number to put my dollar down on. I once walked up to a claw game, stuffed a dollar in and instantly won a talking Steve Urkel doll. The claw went down and came up with a tiny piece of his rubber glasses holding on (almost literally by a thread). It’s like I just knew I’d win, so I played with complete confidence. Sadly, my 6th Sense has dimmed as I have grown older, but I do manage to carry some luck around with me every once in a while.

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He always made me feel like a winner.

Every time I play the Lottery, I am beyond sure that I am going to win. I immediately start planning my life as a millionaire, convinced that I could buy the entire state of Maine if I wait a few years before splurging and let my money sit and collect interest. When I talk to Captain Clam about it, he brings up all of the places in the world we could possibly live, if even for just a few months of our lives.

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Investing in Hope and Chance.

My first purchase would be a new pair of pants to replace the pair that I had soiled upon learning of my amazing luck. Then, of course, I would wear those pants to my new lawyer’s office to discuss what the heck was about to happen to me. I might buy a sandwich or pizza somewhere in between the pants and the Lawyer.  I am confident that I would opt to be paid out immediately, meaning I’d receive a little less that half of the entire sum after taxes (I’m okay with that).

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Poop Jokes: Around since the beginning of time.

My next order of business would be typing lessons. If you have ever g-chatted with me, you know I am a drunk kitten on the keyboard. I can remember having maybe one lesson as a child, but never understood how many hours of my life would be spent clacking away at plastic letters, so I never took typing seriously.

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Typing = Not Serious

My second order of business would be to move my home base. While the Brooklyn Studio apartment that Le Clam and I share with 4 kitties and 2 beta fish is very cozy, it also totally sucks. I think it’s fair to say that we deserve at least a one bedroom…. maybe even an extra half bath. I don’t know if we’d rent or own, but I would sure kiss this apartment (and most likely Brooklyn) goodbye.

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Fit for a Clam Fam.

The third order of biz would be to get the hell out of town. I don’t know where we’d go first (and I certainly don’t want you to follow us there) or how long we’d stay, but I do know that I don’t want to live life without seeing wild zebras or the Pyramids in person. I want to feel small and insignificant (more so than I do now).

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Captain Clam might be jealous, but the world will be our Oyster!

A priority would be donating some of the winnings. I would donate to my Alma Maters, SUNY Stony Brook and the Fashion Institute of Technology, and ask that they please design a bad ass bathroom with my name on it. Ideally the bathroom would be one stall with mood lighting and music playing, but that might be overkill (at least at Stony Brook). I would also hold a contest for prospective students who cannot afford school, but really really want and deserve to go. As a former Professional Student, I truly understand the passion for learning and the hunger of a starving artist/business school student. The contest would vary each year and would be the greatest contest of all time.

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There is precedence for this request… and that last name is so close to my own…. Perhaps bathroom humor runs in the family?

I’d also like to spend time on making art. It’s an activity that I love doing, but have had to give up for the past few months due to laziness and lack of creativity. I don’t think that money will inspire me, but it might help me inspire myself by giving me the resources to afford to even step out of my house.

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The good old days.

Of course I’d make Captain Clam an honest man and wear his pearl and become Lady Clam (if he’ll have the company of course). Then we could settle down and have an animal sanctuary in Alaska or Canada or somewhere cold (maybe even the entire state of Maine!). He has talked about wolves and snow leopards and I am thinking more of babies, but I’m sure our issues would be worked out rather harmoniously (as long as there are cats involved).

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Apparently it IS a thing!

Another dream of ours is to own a vintage furniture shop. This dream will probably happen even if we don’t hit it big with 5 lucky numbers. You see, His Clamminess and I are huge furniture nerds. We met in a furniture studio and fell in love while talking about writing tables and chaise lounges (with or without tufting?). It’s all very romantic (as romantic as a Polished Espresso Mahogany finish will allow).

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It’s true… Clams included.

I do also think that somewhere between the orders of business 1 and 3 , I would abandon facebook. Sorry, but it’s none of your business what I am doing with my money, and I would just irritate myself if I became one of those people who boasts about how rich they are. Boasting about awesomeness is a different story.

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Of course our incredible families would reap from our ridiculous stroke of luck. They deserve SOMETHING for having to put up with the two of us for 30-something years. Clam and I are both the youngest of 3; his family is all boys, and mine is all girls. God Bless both of those sets of parents and siblings (I am at a loss in the picture department. Sorry!).

I have been reading up on winning millions and have come across stories where people ran through their money so quickly. I can see how spending money can become an easy task. I wonder what people spend their loot on, and look to celebrities and sports stars for assistance. It’s all CRAP for the most part. I’d like to think that money would not change me, but that would be a silly thought. I do, however, understand that money will not solve all of your problems, and you can only numb the pain for so long with huge toy purchases and other shit no one actually needs.

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I do not need this.

The following things would not be on my shopping list, as I feel no sense of need or desire for them:

Caviar – Please google “caviar” and see how brutal the process of harvesting the caviar is. No thanks.

McMansion– That’s so 2004. Plus, I doubt that we need 18,625 SQFT of inside living space. I am dating a Clam for Christ sake!

Tiny Forks– I don’t understand them, don’t need them, and don’t want them.

Super Duper Cars– I don’t have a car now. I don’t really need one, let alone 6 (can you imagine trying to park in NYC with that many cars!?). If I did buy a vehicle, it’d probably be a little pick-up truck. That way, I can help my pals when they have to move!

$450,000 Crack Party– Tyrone Biggums, as portrayed by Dave Chapelle, lost it all! According to my research, a lot of people who lose their winnings do so on account of alcohol, strippers, and bad decisions made on drugs. I love to throw a party, but I think I’ll stick to wine, beer, and fancy tacos.

Cosmetic Surgery– I don’t want to be any other character but me. I might, however, consider Lasers to permanenty remove my mustache, and also removal of my tramp stamp (since it’s no longer 2002 and I am no longer 20).

Friends– Because that kind of weird shit happens. No thanks. Buy your own damn drinks!

Among the obvious expenses (like paying off student loans and other miscellaneous debt), here is a list of Weird must-haves in my millionaire shopping cart:

An Awesome Sofa– As stated above, Captain Clam and I love furniture. I also happen to work for one of the best Upholstery Workrooms in the universe. I think we could get a bad-ass deal on something beautiful, and even add our personal touches by having Le Clam himself design the rump rester.

A Bad Ass XEROX copy machine/scanner/printer- This is the only thing that I miss from my last job. I still think about it quite fondly.

Instant Photo Booth- Sometimes I get sentimental.

A Tree Farm– I love trees! I want to grow and raise all kinds of wood species so we can built our furniture sustainably. It’d also be nice to eat some home grown apples and other yummy stuffs.

Stained Glass Windows – Because why not?

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz Painting/Drawing– Wanda is a friend of mine from half a lifetime ago. I met her because she was the previous tenant in my old Loft in the South Bronx. I have a few art pieces that were salvaged (one from the garbage and one was literally chopped out of a wall). I’d like to one day actually pay her for a gorgeous creation.

Well, this post has escalated out of control, but then again so has my imagination. On the eve of one of the largest Mega Millions drawings since the last largest Mega Millions drawing, I can’t help but be psyched. I never play Lotto (except for Scratch-off Fridays with Captain Clam every once in a while (75% of the time I win my money back – at least)), but I have a good feeling… kinda like I had when I walked up to the claw machine and won that Urkel doll. Even if I win my $5 back, I am content. If I win nothing, then I am out $5, but blogged up a storm, so it measures itself out somehow.

I am reading back and realizing that my dreams aren’t so far fetched. I mean, I already own some stained glass and just bought a really nice fancy futon (it has cup holders built in!). My advice to all of you, if any of you ever do win, is to sign the back of the ticket. I have seen too many documentaries about Lottery fraud (okay just one hour long show, but whatever) and I would hate to see that happen to me or you or anyone else (unless they were total dick-holes and deserved to be ripped off).

Mega Millions is 400 Million dollars, the drawing is Friday the 13th, and I’m feeling incredibly lucky these days… I better go find myself a good lawyer and sturdy pair of pants.

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Life, Opinion, Rules To Live By

25 Rules to Live By

I’m not religious, but was raised in a fanatical Born-Again Christian environment. I have some sadness having grown up in such a stifling atmosphere, but have always been glad to have gained a moral root system that, at this point, comes naturally to me. I am extraordinarily liberal in my views, and really have no idea how I am a product of such a controlled and manipulative childhood condition.

Every religion has a list of rules. Christianity has the 10 Commandments, Buddhism has the Eight-Fold Path and the Four Noble Truths, and Islam has 38 Prohibitions. I don’t like to think of these lists as rules, but rather a guideline for how to live life.  If you break the rules down they are pretty much telling you not to steal or cheat or lie or idolize, etc, etc…

Now, I am certainly no moral authority, but I have lived what feels like a million lifetimes already, and have generated a list of rules that I aspire to keep. Sometimes the rules are a struggle, and sometimes they are a joy.

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Rule #1: Be Kind 

Ah, yes! The Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s pretty much a “DUH” rule, but you would be surprised at how many rude and awful people there are out there. This rule deals with both empathy for others and karma for yourself. Of course some people take in a “harm or be harmed” approach to life, which is easy to fall into if you are bitter or overly morose. I find that in my own personal life, this is the easiest and most rewarding rule to follow. I suspect that goes for most of us, unless you’re obtuse, then you’re screwed and so are the rest of us.

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Rule #2: Eat Well

This rule sucks. I love pizza and bagels and cheese, which makes Rule #2 one of the harder rules for me to follow. I do my best, however, to intake life’s yummy pleasures by moderating them and I never EVER eat fast food anymore (even though I almost broke down and bought a small French Fry from McDonalds the other day). I have found the more that you eat salad, the more you crave it. Of course if I do eat a salad I tend to offset it with a sprinkle of cheese because somehow it’s easy to rationalize.

Also, avoid sodas and too much juice (unless you make it yourself). Drink water instead. 80% of your body will be happy while the entire 100% will thank you.

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RULE #3: No Spitting

This rule is on here because of something that Captain Clam and I witnessed yesterday while on our commute to our fabulous new jobs. A woman sitting on a subway bench got up in front of us as we were about to pass by and spit (like a huge loogie) onto the train tracks. Yeah, just like that. If you do need to spit, be discrete. Pretend it’s a pee that you really need to take and go hide behind a tree or in a corner. Not all up in my face.

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Rule #4: Be Generous

It is better to give than receive, yes? Yes! I love Christmas because I get to give people things that I want them to have. Of course, they want me to have socks and other oddities, but I am happy to receive these items. Of course, I totally one-up them with a handmade picture frame or a sweet ass bonsai tree that is older than I am. In some ways being generous also makes me feel selfish, since it is my goal to give you a better gift than you give to me.

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Rule #5: Be Honest

Growing up I was taught that “honesty is the best policy.”  Sadly, it really didn’t matter if I lied or told the truth – I always got in trouble regardless.  At a certain point, I figured if I came clean, then the punishment wouldn’t be so bad. Looking back I realize that lies lead to more lies, and that is just no good in the long run.

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Rule #6: Get a Pet

Pets make life so much better and serve as a great replacement for children or a training tool for becoming a parent. They take away stress and anxiety and are faithful friends for as many years as they can carry. A Sub-Rule to Rule #6 is that you should give your pet a unique or funny name.  You should also give your pets nicknames that suit their personalities. They are fuzzy children, so treat them that way.

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Rule #7: Wipe the Seat

If you pee on the seat, wipe it off. People will be more likely not to pee on the seat if it is already clean because then it is safe to sit on. Plus, it’s gross if you don’t, especially if it’s in your own bathroom.

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Image courtesy of Leigh Kosloski.

Rule #8: Write Letters

There are only a few things that are more awesome than receiving a letter in someone’s own handwriting. In this age of technology, it’s acceptable to be informal with email and private messaging. Send a letter every once in a while, it will do good for your soul and brighten the day of the recipient. Plus it will help the Postal Service stay in business for just a little longer. You also get to exercise handwriting skills. When is that last time you wrote in script? Do you even know how to anymore? It’s almost like a foreign language. Maybe you should learn it (and send me a damn snail mail already)!

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Rule #9: Cry

It’s okay to cry. It’s actually healthy. A Sad movie or YouTube video can trigger the waterworks, so let it. Don’t hold it in. It will make your brain happy.

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Rule #10: Drink Beer

This is another one of those rules that I have no problem imbibing by (did you see my attempt at a very clever pun?). Beer has nutritional value, and, if indulged in moderation, will have excellent effects to your health and overall mood. Don’t believe me? Check it HERE.

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Rule #11: Bathe Daily

Unless you are camping out in the woods, this should be followed religiously. Do I need to say more?

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Rule #12: Talk to Strangers

Unless you are under the age of 14, Stranger Danger shouldn’t be as serious as it was when you were 6. Of course always beware of people you don’t know (as well as some people you do know). Saying Good Morning to a stranger is not only going to make you feel good, but may change the course of someone else’s day.

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Rule #13: Be on Time

If you know me at all then you know that this rule is a constant struggle for me. In recent history I have greatly improved my statistics for being on time, which means showing up exactly at 8 am for work, or catching the train or bus needed to get to my hosts in other counties / states at the exact time they expect my arrival. Being on time is important. It shows that you are reliable and dilligent. Be that. And get a Mickey Mouse watch, because they are simply awesome.

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Rule #14: Be Fearless

My High School varsity basketball coach would always tell me “Have ice in your veins.” What a pep talk! I would get back out on the court with the strength and honor of a thousand buffalo. Yay!

Have you ever wondered what is there really to be afraid of? I try to consider my biggest fear to be myself. I really don’t have any idea what we, as humans, are capable of. Fearing the unknown is a trait that has been learned. I once read an article about a woman who has no amygdala (read HERE), which makes her immune to fear. If only we could learn to control the fear “juice” and extend ourselves beyond the unknown, then we would be limitless, and truly fearless. For now I will just settle for overcoming a fear of Spiders (a fear that my silly ex-boyfriend gave to me). In reality, they aren’t so bad.

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 Rule #15: Try

Another one of my High School mentors was my Chorus teacher. He once gave a short lecture on the word TRY and related it to music as well as life. If you don’t make an effort, then your heart is not really in whatever it is you are doing. If you are passionate about what you are doing, then why not exhaust yourself doing it?

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Rule #16: Stick up for Yourself

This one might be an obvious one, but for me it is certainly a struggle. I am a huge fan of passive aggression and try to avoid confrontation at all costs. I am, however, working on toughening up my skin and have learned that I don’t have to take shit from anybody. In fact, I am learning to give shit back where shit is due.

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Rule #17: Be Happy in Your Work

You will spend most of your life working. Sometimes all you work for is for a paycheck. Sadly, when most of your life is spent simply earning a check, your life will not be a happy one. A paycheck does not determine happiness. Happiness determines happiness.

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Rule #18: Help Others

Holding a door for your neighbor who is carrying a shit load of groceries or helping a stranger with a baby stroller climb the stairs will restore a sense of goodness in humanity as well as make both you and that other person a little more grateful for being alive. Have you ever fed the homeless? Or even played basketball with a friends kid? Helping others is another way to help yourself. We should all learn to do it naturally.

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Rule #20: Call your Mom

Moms worry and they want to hear from you. And when you actually go and see your mom, bring her flowers. She has most certainly earned them.

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Rule #21: Don’t Stare

If you are going to stare, then make it a point not to get caught.

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Rule #22: Watch Less TV

There is a real world out there. I will never understand how people spend their time watching someone else’s life on a reality TV show. Don’t you have your own life to live? TV should be treated like beer: Indulge in moderation.

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Rule #23: Don’t be Wasteful

Your old food can go a long way. Share with nature. Start a mulch pile. Make a bird feeder. Plant a flower garden. There are many ways to “feed the ducks” and it starts with you being environmentally responsible.

Captain Clam grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. He taught me so many things that have changed my perspective on being (even just a little bit) green. We toss old coffee grinds and egg shells in our outside planters (which is really good for the plants, by the way). We use tupperware and wash our zip-lock bags for re-use. We pack our recyclables in separate bags so building management can sort them more efficiently (or the can collectors don’t tear through the bags in haste, causing a nasty, dirty scene on the sidewalk). We use canvas shopping bags and any plastic bags are used for garbage liners or art projects.

Imagine if everyone did stuff like this? Be aware of nature and don’t take it for granted.

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Rule #24: Love

If you truly love, let it be frivolous. Everyone needs love, and if you give love, it will most certainly be returned to you.

I love you.

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Rule #25: Break the Rules

I know, I know. This is a list of rules to follow and the last rule is to break the rules. Obviously some rules are ridiculously dumb and are meant to be broken.  And when you do break a rule, there is some sense of independence and defiance that is completely satisfying. You should always question any rule and play the devil’s advocate, even if you are not the devil. Always question everything. There is no reason anyone should ever tell you how to live your life.

This list was a lot longer when I first started writing. Most of the rules coincided with each other, so it was easy to edit in some ways, and harder to edit in other ways. Some of these items are obvious and already imbedded in our character, and yet some are a struggle or a personal goal that reflects the person we want to one day be. I am not always right, although in my mind I am hardly ever wrong. But when I am wrong, I know it.

My personal take on rules to live by is one of poetic and philosophical gesture. I can sum it up by telling you that you don’t need a book or religion to tell you what to do. You tell yourself what to do as you are your own maker. There are no actual “Rules to Live By” and while some people believe that certain rules are written in stone (literally (just google “Moses”)), there is no such thing. Your set of rules will differ from everyone else’s, but as long as you live a good life (or at least give it your best effort), you will be golden.

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By Definition, Change, Opinion, Shakespeare, Social Media, The English Language, Twerk, Vocabulary, Words

I Doth Protest!

All I can say is… Holy Miley Cyrus. The entire week following the VMA’s should have just been dedicated to her and that ridiculous performance and all the meme’s that followed on our beloved social media sites.  And if her parents weren’t proud of her after all that unnecessary crudeness, they must be now since she also contributed a new word to the dictionary in honor of a sinking generation. Twerk. Awesome. Let’s try it in a sentence, shall we? I wish that twerk wasn’t a word. Done.

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Long gone are the days of taking old words and finding new meanings for them. God forbid anyone under the age of 22 learns a vocabulary word, how to spell it, and how to change it so that it takes on a new meaning that retains part of it’s old meaning… Like the word “Grinding,” which can be associated to a dance move that is very similar, if not the same, as twerking. One of my favorite words that was recycled to express a dance move is “swerve.” I used to confuse it with “swivel, ” but then realized that the swivel was my own personal dance style, and was not even closely related to the elegance of the swerve. But I digress.

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Swerve or Swivel?

Now, as you can tell, I love to write do my best to abide by the laws of grammar and punctuation (and gravity), but the additions and constant changes to the acceptable English Language Dictionary are out of control. Recent additions to the dictionary include: Selfie, Phablet, Squee, Srsly (seriously?), Buzzworthy (isn’t that 2 words?), and unlike (Check out the tragedy HERE). I’m pretty sure the hard core Scrabble gamers are very excited for the extra help, but I am feeling a little less complete these days (although am strangely okay with “unlike” as it seems like a natural progression in the scheme of life and I wonder why it was not added sooner).

Where do we draw the line? At BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)? Can we just have an acronym of internet language dictionary? I’d be okay with that. I’d be okay with a slang dictionary, too… or even one huge book of words with sections for sophisticated, slang, and acronym/internet languages.

A brief history in the English language tells me that the Oxford Dictionary has had “the last word on words” for over 100 years, so they must know exactly what they are doing, right? Wait, what ARE they doing? I do not love you right now!

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See what I just did right there?

Granted, I understand the importance of reflecting word usage of the time, but the new changes and additions do not reflect a major demographic of the English Speaking world as it stands today. I would like to think that the digital world we live in does some sort of history keeping for the age, as quickly as it passes in the digital time zone that lives in and beyond the universe.

I am not against the addition of words that are in common use. BUT words that are just two words placed together or are words that already exist but are missing a vowel… these are not words! They are words that are misspelled. I cannot agree with the addition of these aborted words to the official book of words. An extra space is not going to kill you, friends! Even on twitter, people know what you mean if you need to leave a vowel or a space out. They don’t need a dictionary definition to make sure you are saying what they think you might be saying.

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#Srsly?

Perhaps this is where the line is drawn between New English and New Old English? Maybe. I came across the UrbanDictionary.com definition of “twerk”, which defines it as being “The rhythmic gyrating of the lower fleshy extremities in a lascivious manner with the intent to elicit sexual arousal or laughter in ones intended audience” (You can check that out HERE). Can someone tell me why the definition of the word is way more sophisticated than the word itself? And why has my spellcheck not been updated yet? Oh, because twerk is a made up word. It’s pure Jabberwocky (a word which does meet my spell check standards, by the way).

Another recent change to the English Language is the word “literally,” which no longer leans literally, but has transformed into “figuratively.” Is this George Orwell’s 1984, where Love is Hate and War is Peace? Has a word that has been overly exaggerated for so long now become the exact opposite of it’s meaning? And how long will it take to regain its literal meaning (read more HERE)?

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My brain hurts.

In Shakespeare’s day, he invented well over 1500 words, which include glorious gems such as, lonely, obscene, addiction, bedazzled (what!?), fashionable, radiance, and drugged (the list continues HERE if you’re interested is anything that is sacred).

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Even if this is the case….

Now, did he really invent these words, or were they obscurely used during his day? Did the local harlot coin the word “arouse” during a sexy performance to bend men to her will? I don’t know, but I am confident that “twerking” is not a piece of poetry (and certainly not one that is in motion). Now, this last statement is not meant to discount Miley as a poet. I mean, “Wrecking Ball” really does touch the inside of my soul. Literally.

Miley Cyrus is certainly no Shakespeare, and I hate to reference her, Shakespeare, and George Orwell in the same essay. I am ashamed and I apologize to my more serious readers (do you even exist anymore? Oh, there you are… the only one’s still here!).

Question: Did Miley Cyrus even invent “twerking”? Because I’m pretty sure that there was a lot of that going on when I was in middle school, except us kids did it at the Community Center Dances, or in basements at house parties… not on National TV in front of babies and moms and people who (well, maybe used to) respect us. And I’m positive that my dad would have beaten the shit out of me if he ever saw me doing that at all, especially while wearing flesh colored plastic booty shorts grinding on a full grown son of the Dad from Growing Pains.

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Oh Please. We were doing this shit in the 90’s…

Somehow, she gave a new name to “grinding” and wrote a song about it, making it a raunchier display of rebellion than I remember. Somehow giving “twerk” an official meaning in the English Language seems like a reward for bad behavior. Just sayin’ (hey, we should add that term to the dictionary).

Seriously, what is happening to the English language? Are we becoming so intelligent that we need to add more words to our language because of all the hard and thoughtful thinking taking place? Or are we adding more words to the language because it needs to be dumbed down enough to help this lost generation? A generation that is too busy to open “them readin’ books” because they are devouring video games, streaming movies, and tweeting on their iPhones.

So dear English speakers and readers, I submit to you my word for review in next years Dictonary Edition:

Douche-Baguette:

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Is she about to vomit? Oh no wait, that’s me.

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