Archive for the ‘Categorically uncategorizable’ Category

It amazes me how intensely people debate on social media and how willing people are to berate friends over status updates and comments. But that’s what our society has become. People can easily hide behind their profiles and argue to the death without having to face their opponents – who may actually be their close friends. And gone are the days of sharing something without hearing an alternate opinion or even pissing someone off.

I was aware of all of this when I recently shared an article on Facebook, and I knowingly opened myself up to opinions and even ridicule by posting it. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t shocked by the level of attention (mostly negative) that it got.

Two weeks ago, a United Airlines passenger was yanked off a full flight that was preparing for takeoff to Louisville, Kentucky. He was the fourth of four passengers who were (mostly) randomly selected among the economy class to disembark and take the next day’s flight to accommodate four flight crew who needed to get to the destination to make a flight they were scheduled to work.

At face value it doesn’t seem right that paying customers were bumped to make room for staff, but ensuring these crew members arrived to the flight destination on time meant avoiding a potential chain reaction of delayed or even cancelled flights – and, thus, hundreds of inconvenienced, pissed off passengers.

I don’t know the procedure for when flight crew call in sick and can’t make it to work. But again, at face value, four fewer people for the connecting flight meant it wasn’t going anywhere.

So, back to the passenger.

When his unlucky seat number was chosen to take the next day’s flight, he decided he wasn’t moving. So much that a federal officer had to board the flight and remove him … or “reaccommodate” him as United CEO Oscar Munoz put it.

What happened at this point is what caused a social media uproar and frenzy of debates.

Because the passenger vehemently refused to leave his seat, holding tightly to his seat and screaming, the officer “had” – I put had in quotes because I don’t know enough about the law to know if that was standard protocol – to remove him. The passenger hadn’t committed a crime, but the situation quickly escalated to one that didn’t appear too different from someone resisting arrest.

In one of my comments of the many that populated my Facebook post, I likened his behavior to that of a toddler midtantrum, kicking and screaming. I immediately got called out for that. No, I guess I can’t confirm that he was kicking, but he was definitely screaming and resisting with all his might. It is this resistance that made it difficult for the officer to remove him and, ultimately, a contributing factor to his severe injury.

As he resisted and the officer pulled, the passenger ended up falling face-first into the armrest of the seat across the aisle. I think he broke his nose and lost some teeth in the fall.

Because this incident was captured on film, it immediately became a case study for social media mavens and novices alike to dissect. The majority were appalled by United’s behavior – understandably – but there were a decent number of people who demanded the law enforcement agency take some responsibility and an even smaller number who had opinions about the man’s behavior.

Without much to form an opinion on beyond the smartphone videos and initial reports – keep in mind that is all anyone not on the flight had to work with – I placed myself in all three of those aforementioned groups. And in that order as I slowly collected my thoughts on the shocking event.

First: Holy shit, is that how overbookings are handled?! I never want to fly United if that’s how they treat paying customers.

Second: Oh, that officer isn’t a United employee? So who’s crazy directive was he following to engage in such violent measures?

Third: Sure, getting bumped to a much later flight really sucks, but is that appropriate behavior for a grown-ass adult?

Everyone seemed to be shying away from that third point.

I couldn’t help but think about what I would do in this situation. Sure, I would be pissed, maybe throw some verbiage at the United agents, maybe shed a tear. Ok, probably both… in that order… and lots of tears. And United’s 1-800 number would probably hear a lot from me until I received what I considered to be reasonable remuneration for my inconvenience – and that’s after they accommodated me overnight and then on the next available flight.

But what I would also do is stand up and walk myself off the plane because that’s what a federal officer has asked me to do. Sure, I don’t mind breaking the law to stick it to a behemoth corporation (e.g. trying to sneak into Disney World as a late teen in defiance of its outrageous prices). But in a situation of this magnitude and that affects a large number of people, I’m going to obey the law – even if I’m not in the wrong.

I get it, the law is absurd. Actually, what is the law even? And to be honest, sometimes there isn’t even a law being enforced, as we’ve seen unfortunately in numerous recent police brutality cases.

But if a government officer with a badge and a gun is asking me to disembark the plane, I’m going to do it – just like this man and his family did when they found themselves in a similar situation with Delta shortly after the United incident. He stood his ground, stated his rights, complained, reminded the airline he had purchased the seat, even threw out some curse words, but ultimately he decided to get off the plane – and his wife seconded that decision.

Yes, it’s super shitty that airlines are allowed to overbook and then kick paying customers off. It’s even shittier that they can treat these customers like crap. It’s maddening that these companies get away with it and are rarely held accountable – just for an extra buck to pad their billions.

On a greater level, this is so wrong. And on a smaller level, in the Boeing 737 that was leaving Chicago that day, it was so wrong.

While I by no means think this man deserved the brutality he received – even though some of my friends seem to think I do merely because I posted an opinion that wasn’t aligned with the sympathetic majority – he’s earned the award for best dramatic performance in my book. And a gazillion dollars in an out-of-court settlement with United.

As appeared on NonDoc.com

At first, it was my friend’s all-caps, double-exclamation-mark Facebook post that motivated me to look closer at the article she was sharing. But then it was the headline that fully pulled me in: Society is creating a new crop of alpha women who are unable to love.

Finally, someone had defined the way I felt as an independent, strong (read: bossy) female who has been single exactly seven years this month.

Or so I assumed based on the title of the article.

The article was actually an excerpt from a book accompanied by a video clip from Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” Author Suzanne Venker was being profiled for her controversial tome, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage, and its idea of the alpha female’s role in a relationship — or lack of, rather.

It’s that latter caveat to which Venker dedicates most of the video and excerpt. It’s also the part that didn’t sit well with me, especially considering I had clicked into an article that seemed to describe me so well in its 14-word headline. In the simplest sense, this woman was basically saying that women need to be the more submissive “betas” and allow men to have control as the natural “alphas.”

“The goal is to get one of each, but if [the female] is bringing alpha energy to the table, and he’s alpha by nature because he has all the testosterone, you’re going to be like two bulls in a China shop,” Venker explained in the Fox News spot. “If you want him to be the more feminine person in the relationship, I guess you could do that, but that usually doesn’t work for most people because women are naturally feminine.”

I immediately thought of all the testosterone-less men I’ve dated over the years, ones who were far from those she described as the norm. I also thought of all the stay-at-home dads that exist today in support of their wives’ career pursuits. While I agree that a relationship needs a balance of opposites, Venker seems convinced that the men are always the alpha and, thus, women can’t and even shouldn’t be.

Venker: Women need to revert to beta status

After women stopped being groomed to be wives and started being groomed to be leaders, which is what’s happening today, Venker says men controlled the relationship: from calling a girl and paying for a meal to even proposing. Although she still claims “almost all relationships start that way” — which seems part delusional and part storybook fantasy in this day and age — she says women soon shift to the alpha mode, which then confuses the men. At that point, problems arise, there is “a lot of contention” and “the relationship starts to deteriorate.” Venker saw this happen between her parents, her mother being the quintessential alpha wife.

“An alpha wife micromanages, delegates and makes most or even all of the decisions. She is, quite simply, the Boss.”

By the time I finished watching the spot and reading the excerpt, I was infuriated. Now I understood my Facebook friend’s all-capped comment with swear words and double exclamation points.

Was this woman living under a rock?! In what day and age do men always make the first call and pay for dates? And in what world are all men testosterone-filled? Does she truly believe, after all we’ve accomplished as women — ability to vote, work, earn executive titles — that women need to revert to being submissive and serving their husbands? It sure sounded like it.

Is my ‘alphaness’ actually the problem?

As much as I was infuriated about her portrayal of strong women and how we are the ones causing problems in relationships, I couldn’t help but think about how I’ve been single for so long and how many of my past relationships didn’t work out because I am so independent and set in my ways. I ended up with guys who saw something in me but ultimately couldn’t handle my need for space, time alone or with other friends (both female and male) and decision-making that didn’t involve them. One after another, I called each of the relationships off.

While I don’t buy into most of Venker’s wild assumptions, accusations and generalizations, I do wonder if my “alphaness” is making it difficult for me to find love. I understand that two alphas may find themselves butting heads, but why did my relationships fail when I often found myself with betas? We had the balance of masculine-feminine energies that Venker spoke of (but with me in the masculine role), yet each one ended sooner than the last.

And why was I ending up with this type in the first place, when their neediness so starkly contrasted my independence and what I wanted out of a significant other?

If I looked to Venker for the answer, she would say I need to get in touch with my feminine side, that I need to change.

“We’re constantly pointing fingers at the men, when we’re the ones who are actually the problem,” she said so matter-of-factly in the news spot. “If you exude positive, feminine energy, they’re very responsive. If you’re coming in with negativity, or hardness rather, they recoil; they don’t want it. The husband needs from the women softness instead of hardness, happiness instead of anger, more compliance and less dictatorial.”

So because I’m an independent, strong female, I’m a negative, hard, angry dictator. Well when you put it like, then I probably do need to change. No wonder my relationships don’t work out!

Search for balance continues

With all the author’s outrageous talk aside, I’ll admit I may actually struggle with embracing my feminine side. I rarely let a man help me or take care of me, I often shut down their compliments and I’m also quite competitive. I’ve always believed I can take care of myself, and I’d rather do things my way. I am one of those aforementioned females raised by an alpha mother to be a leader, not a wife.

So as I strive to be a leader and do things my way, do I knock down anything that comes in my path, including men who are interested in courting me? Venker quotes Jackie Kennedy in her book: “There are two kinds of women: those who want power in the world, and those who want power in bed.” Am I so focused on my personal power goals that I’m not making room in my life for a powerful relationship?

While I won’t be buying Venker’s self-help book, I appreciate the self-reflection it has incited. And as I put myself out there in the vicious world of dating — that to Venker’s likely surprise mainly involves texting rather than calling — I will definitely be more conscious of the energy I’m putting into a relationship.

So although I’m not going to change who I am for a man just because some deranged “culture critic” says to, I will more willingly contribute to the necessary balance in my future relationships.

Facebook friends shared my outrage after seeing the post on my news feed.

 

Every 4 seconds a girl speaks her mind to an uniformed guy
Every 6 seconds an uniformed guy is speechless
Every 10 seconds a girl proves something wrong
Every 60 seconds a girl comes to the aid of a girlfriend in need
Every 3 seconds a girl gets the last word
Every 5 seconds a girl gets the last laugh

Every 10 seconds a guy thinks about how to get a girl
Every 7 seconds a guy tries to prove his manhood
Every 30 seconds a guy looks to his friends for advice
Every 12 seconds a guy embarrasses himself in front of a girl
Every 15 seconds a guy wonders why it is always his fault
Every 2 seconds a guy wonders how a girl’s mind works

———————————

The five of us sat there. The clamor and excitement surrounding us was deafening, yet as if we were sitting pleasantly, chatting in a peaceful coffee shop. It was obvious none of us were paying attention to what should have been the game of our lives, but we were too enthralled with the debate that was being thrown back and forth across the bleachers. Every once in awhile our “intellectual” conversation was broken by screams and hollers when the timing was right. The fact is, our innocent conversation merely consisted of ideas elders would find inappropriate for “children” of our age to be discussing. But whether or not they wanted to admit it, dating, sex and interest in the opposite sex were topics of our generation. It was that simple.

“You’re too young to be thinking about boys.”

“When I was your age, I didn’t have time to worry about dating.”

These were ever-common phrases heard by my ears time and time again. I hate to break it to everyone, but I think about boys all the time. It is reasonable to say that every girl my age does. How does a guy’s mind work? What do they truly look for in a girl? Questions like these arose in my mind constantly. That was the common factor that led us to delve into the minds of one another, or teenagers in general, that night.

Two girls and three guys, sharing their thoughts. It was perfectly harmless, even with the curious glances coming our way, even with heads tilted, directed to catch a tidbit of our heated controversies. We smiled, we laughed and we gapped in awe at some of the amazing truths we were uncovering. Frankly, we weren’t ashamed or embarrassed of what we said and wanted to know, but were instead intrigued by the knowledge each of us were gaining from one another.

You learn something new every day, the saying goes. Guys actually do look deeper into a girl’s appearance, and as much as I didn’t want to admit it, we are attracted by looks, too. It felt like an episode of Love Line, with all the advice and theories that were being tossed our way. It was as if our good guy friends, staring as “Dr. Love,” knew exactly what us girls were thinking. After that, I questioned my stereotypical opinion on men being chauvinistic pigs who don’t care about anything but food and women, women having the likeness to a piece of meat. I realized that I was blocking out the notion that in my case, a guy would have to appreciate me for who I am personally, rather than for looks, or lack thereof.

That night was great. I learned a lot more about the opposite sex in that fascinating thirty minutes than from months of sitting in a boring health class. Surprisingly, guys and girls think quite alike when considering this touchy topic. As much as as I hate to say it, we all have a lot in common. So, even though my fellow female friend was the lucky one and ended up with what appears to be the blooming of a beautiful relationship, I came out with further understanding of the complicated mind of a being I once knew as having cooties.

I rarely get caught up in cheesy online quizzes that have little basis for their random results, but I go sucked into three: which country do you belong in, what career should you actually have, and which movie is actually based on your life. Here are my results, which I have to admit came out pretty darn accurate, in my opinion.

Country: New Zealand
You are an adventurous individual who enjoys being outdoors and spending time being active. You are a risk taker and have no problem striking up a conversation with a total stranger. When you travel you love to get to know the locals, and their customs, and are always up for a challenge. You thrive in a culture where others share your deep appreciation for land, and believe life is best lived outdoors. You love a hard hike, but also love the water and are happy to spend a day beach side. You thrive in a society with diversity and appreciate a simpler way of living. You are keen on learning about cultures and customs that are different than your own, and enjoy a deep conversation, whether it be philosophical or spiritual. You are not a city dweller by any means, and definitely believe that life is something to explore and experience firsthand. This country gives you endless opportunities to live both an active lifestyle and enjoy the company of newfound friends.

Career: Social Activist
You are a very emotional, ambitious and stubborn person. In the past, these traits got you in a lot of trouble, but now you can actually make a huge difference in this world thanks to them. You were meant to take what you’ve learned so far in life and use it to help others in need.

Movie: Stand by Me
The movie “Stand By Me” is based on your life! You’ve had the most amazing childhood imaginable. Although you’ve had some problems at home, your friends were always there for you. You played together, studied together, and ventured out during the summer. Remember these moments, they are priceless!

 

pierAt the end of January, my little cousin’s Flat Stanley unexpectedly arrived at my door. Having just spent two weeks with my friend and her nephew’s Flat Stanley in Kenya, I was elated to have a turn with him and show him my life in Los Angeles.

Flat Stanley and I had such a great time when he came to visit. He was with me for a couple months, so we visited a lot of sites in Southern California.ferris wheel

 

I live in Santa Monica, so I had to take him to the famous Santa Monica Pier, which is known for its lighted Ferris wheel. Santa Monica is also known for its wonderful beaches, shopping and dining on Third Street Promenade and frequent movie star sightings.

city hall

 

 

 

 

He happened to be visiting me during a week I was summoned for jury duty. It’s against the law to take pictures inside the courtroom, so here is Flat Stanley outside Santa Monica City Hall. After two days of juror selection, I was dismissed. I was not selected to be a juror for the case.

broncos

 

Flat Stanley also happened to be visiting when our Denver Broncos played in the Super Bowl. We cheered them on during the game. Unfortunately our cheering didn’t do any good because the Broncos lost pretty bad against the Seattle Seahawks.

The last bit of fun we had was up in Big Bear, California, which is a two-hour drive from Santa Monica. Big Bear is a small mountain town with a couple ski resorts, similar to some of the mountain towns in Colorado. There we did some snowboarding in warm spring weather at Bear Mountain Resort. It’s not as nice as Colorado ski resorts and the snow wasn’t as good, but it was still fun. Here Stanley is on a ski lift with me; he wasn’t afraid of heights at all.

chair lift 2

 

Flat Stanley’s last day in Southern California was spent with me at work in West LA, which is about three miles from my apartment. I am the Editorial Manager to a team of six editors and designers at a market research firm. Stanley got to see our big, 11th-floor office that we moved into just this past November. While I worked, he hung out with me at my corner desk that has great views to the left and in front.

 

Thanks for visiting Flat Stanley! And thanks to Tim and Ms. Dunn’s class at Traylor Academy in Denver for letting him spend some time with me in Southern California. I hope you all learn a lot!

desk

 

Thanks Adi Zarsadias for a great piece that totally resonates with me.
I took your words and came up with some of my own.
………………………………………………………

She’s the one with the messy unkempt hair colored by the sun. Her skin is now far from fair like it once was. Not even sun kissed. It has tan lines, freckles, scars and battle wounds. But for every flaw on her skin, she has an interesting story to tell.

Don’t date a girl who travels. She is hard to please. The usual dinner-movie date at the mall will suck the life out of her. Her soul craves for new experiences and adventures. She will be unimpressed with your flashy, new material things. She would rather climb a rock or jump out of an airplane than to spend money on “things” that will be outdated in five months. She would rather reminisce about past adventures and dream about those to come, than hear you brag about your penthouse on Wall Street.

Don’t date a girl who travels because she will bug you to check the latest music festival lineup. She will ask you to see another Dave Matthews Band show, because 25 isn’t enough. She doesn’t care about partying at Rehab or getting into the latest clubs because she knows that one weekend of clubbing is equivalent to one week somewhere far more exciting.

Don’t date a girl who travels because she will be gone with the next airline seat sale. She lives paycheck to paycheck to fund her jet-setting ways. And she only works so she has the funds. She doesn’t want to keep working her ass off for someone else’s dream. She has her own and is working toward it. She is a freelancer. She makes money from designing, writing, photography or something that requires creativity and imagination. But she doesn’t work like a robot all day, she goes out and takes what life has to offer and challenges you to do the same.

Don’t date a girl who travels for she has chosen a life of uncertainty. She doesn’t have a long-term plan or a permanent address. She goes with the flow and follows her heart. She dances to the beat of her own drum. She rarely wears a watch. And when she does, she never checks the time. Her days are ruled by the sun and the moon. When the world calls, life stops and she will be oblivious to everything else for a moment.

Don’t date a girl who travels because she will never need you – or at least will say she doesn’t need help. She knows how to change a flat tire, pitch a tent and can carry all her own gear. She eats well and doesn’t need you to pay for her meals. She is too independent. Although she hopes you will travel with her, your absence won’t keep her from booking that flight. She will forget to check in with you when she arrives at her destination. She’s busy living in the present. She talks to strangers. She will meet many interesting, like-minded people from around the world who share her passion and dreams.

So never date a girl who travels unless you can keep up with her. And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare hold her back. Let her go.

 

Please note: Portions of this post were written by Adi Zarsadias.

Just Married: Josh & Jodie Ruyle

Just Married: Josh & Jodie Ruyle

Before I can talk to you about Jodie and Josh’s relations, I want to tell you a little bit about each of them as individuals.

If you knew Jodie and me when we were younger, you can probably remember how much we fought and hated each other. Well . . . it was probably just me doing all the hating; Jodie was just being a typical younger sister who looked up to her older sibling. But I couldn’t stand how much she copied and bothered me, especially when I was trying to act cool in front of my friends.

No doubt you’ve heard my story about the California Rollin’ girl, a doll I wanted so badly for Christmas. When I discovered it hidden in the crawlspace, I was elated, just to have my dreams crushed when “Santa” gave it to Jodie. She didn’t even want it!

And I’m sure Jodie has told each one of you how my idea of playing Barbies was having her set them all up, just to decide I didn’t want to play anymore. I think you get the point: Jodie and I didn’t have the greatest relationship when we were kids.

Fast-forward a few years, after each of us had grown up just a little, and our relationship took a turn. Instead of us fighting with one another, feisty Jodie was fighting off anyone who did me wrong. When a guy grabbed me at a bar, Jodie was right there to slap him across the face – and not once, but twice. On another occasion, she reamed one of my supposed friends for ruining my birthday.

Fast-forward a little more to the Jodie and Lindsay today: And the only issue between us is 1,036 miles. It’s hard for me to believe that I ever wanted to rip her head off. She truly is my best friend and I can’t imagine what life would be like without her.

I think that might just be the way Josh and Jodie feel about each other today – not the part about wanting to rip each other’s heads off, but the part about being best friends that couldn’t get by without one another. Josh confirmed these thoughts when I recently picked his brain about how well he knew his fiancée. In May 2007 when Jodie told Josh he “needed to commit or lose her,” he says, in his own words, “I couldn’t stand the thought of losing her, so I decided to commit. Best decision of my life.”

In the early days, I might have been a bit hesitant about Josh, being the protective older sister. But once Josh became a more permanent fixture in Jodie’s life, I was finally able to get to know him. Although Nick will do a better job of telling you all about Josh, I am sure on a few things . . .

He gives the best hugs. As long as I’ve known him, he’s always given genuine hugs that make you feel like you’ve known him all your life. Most of you have probably experienced them, but if you haven’t, I highly recommend hugging Josh at some point tonight.

He’s also one of the smartest people I know. Jodie says I shouldn’t say that around him because it might go to his head, but it’s true. Josh is a bundle of knowledge who always has a different or unique perspective on everything. I always leave a conversation with him feeling smarter.

Lastly – and most importantly – he is an extraordinary man who is perfect for my sister. He balances her out and makes her happy. He’s kind, thoughtful, welcoming and most of all patient. And he assured me that he knows full well what he’s getting himself into by marrying into the Holloway family.

Josh, Jodie, just keep doing what you’re doing. Because as individuals, you both are amazing. And together you shine even stronger. Saying each of you is marrying your best friend sounds cliché, but it’s true. You truly are perfect for one another. I wish you both the very best in your life as a married couple. And I love you both to the moon and back.