Category Archives: Rants

51 million people are paying for cartoon farms. And they’re allowed to vote.

This morning afternoon when I woke up and logged into Facebook, I was greeted by a notification:

“[Anonymous friend] has invited you to play Farmville2.”

I navigated to my Apps Requests page to clear the invitation and saw that she had invited me to play this stupid game 29 TIMES. Yes. Twenty-nine. Times. Somehow, in the last 28 times when she received no response, her immediate reaction was to click “invite” one more time. At this point, I sort of felt bad for her. Was this like the time in middle school when the popular girl was having a party and she held onto the fleeting hope that she might be invited, just this once? It also made me recall the time a few years ago when one of my students friend requested me on four separate occasions. Shortly after that, I became unsearchable on Facebook.

facebook engancha

FaceCat creeps on his high school acquaintance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Apps page of Facebook is the one place I typically avoid at all costs. I find 99% of the games and other apps to be a complete waste of time and brain cells. Unbelievably, I learned that there’s an app called “Obama 2012” while I scrolled down the page. Seriously? Yeah, because an app is going to convince my staunchly Republican family members to vote for Obama. Right.

There was a tab at the top of the page where I could view the “Top Grossing” apps. Hold the phone. People pay actual money to play these inane games on Facebook? You’ve got to be kidding me. Why would I pay money to be entertained when all I have to do is view the status updates or “jobs” of some of the people I keep on my friend list for the sole reason of entertainment? High school acquaintances are great fodder for that particular area. If we haven’t spoken in the last month either online or in person, chances are, I’m laughing at you, not with you. Feel free to use the “unfriend” link as you wish. Based upon my suggested friend list, some of them have already realized this on their own.

It’s hard to believe they didn’t want me to be able to view such classic updates anymore, such as:

“Gonna go to work now.”

“Bby daddy be here n a few n i gotz 2 get bby grrl up n dresed. y do i have so mch drama. u no i hat teh drama.”

“Home from work now. Going to bed.”

“Awake.”

“Going to work again.”

But, back to the money thing. Apparently, there are millions of you on the interwebs who spend your precious, hard-earned money on this:

 

It was under the “Top Grossed” tab. 51 million people play this game and I’m going to assume 90% of them couldn’t tell you one real fact about farming. They sit in their 500 square feet apartment, surrounded by noise and buildings, and harvest their cartoon crops. But it’s 3D! I can almost feel the adorable animals through my screen!

Here’s an idea. How about you get a REAL adorable animal, like this one?

 

She’ll keep you so entertained, you won’t have time to send me 29 requests to play Farmville2.

An Open Letter to the Red Truck On My Road

English: Steve Olliges and the Team Ford Troph...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Red Truck,

We passed one another on my way home today. You probably didn’t notice; you drive a big truck and I drive a mere car. I saw you coming toward me on the one-and-a-half lane road while I was still far from you. I didn’t worry about it. Every day I pass people on my road and it’s quite uneventful.

As we careened toward each other, I noticed that you didn’t leave the middle of the road. That’s still ok. People do that all the time and get on their side of the road with plenty of time to spare. However, you never felt the need to do that.

Look, I get it. You’re bigger than me. Your truck cost more than what I make teaching for an entire year, so you dare me to hit you. My little car would be plowed into a pancake.

So, I chose to drive with two wheels off the road, rather than smashing into you. It’s cool. A little adrenaline rush from driving through gravel and dirt at 50 mph is good for you once in a while.

Now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure we’ve met before. You’re probably the guy who forced me to drive in the berm the other day because you refused to create any space for me when I was merging. Also, you might be the guy who squeezed between another car and me, then passed a truck on the right while it was already getting into the right lane to let you pass. You drove into the berm at 75 mph anyway and almost caused a multiple vehicle pile-up.

You know what would be even more fun next time? We should play chicken. Let’s both drive in the middle of the road with the pedal to the floor.

Or, even better: let’s go to the gas station, fill up, and drive until we run out. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Suck my MPG.

Kisses,

Facetious Firecracker

What Every Music Teacher Wants You To Know

There are some stereotypes about music teachers in this country and for some reason, they’ve been getting to me lately. Generally, I avoid discussing my career on here because honestly, I have a great job. I get to play games, teach kids how to create music, and I get most of the summers off. You won’t hear me complaining about the pay (except in jest) and frankly, there aren’t many music jobs out there. My district has brand new, state of the art buildings with SMART boards in every room. I am NOT intending to write this post about my specific job, just the general problems that any music teacher can appreciate. Now, with that being said, here I go….

1. We get really tired of people thinking that our job is nothing but fun and games.

English: Young Children (Suzuki students) Play...

Nope. No work was required to get to this point. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was once asked, “Are you a real teacher or just a music teacher?” Questions like that make my blood boil. Obviously, I can’t get the entire world to see it my way, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m a teacher. My subject happens to be music. I say that in the same way that someone would say they teach high school biology. Music is defined as a core academic subject in No Child Left Behind. Music has National and State Academic Content Standards, just as any other subject. It is my job to make sure that my students master the material. I just have about 22 hours of instruction time per school year to make that happen.

2. The general public thinks that they know everything about what I do, and that anyone can do it.

I played guitar in a band in high school! What do you mean I can’t teach band better than you?

Every nincompoop who has ever touched a drum tells me they can “play” the drums. Now, some of these people actually can. I am totally not a music snob and I understand there’s a huge difference between being a talented amateur musician and someone who just beats on things. However, unless you have a music degree, don’t pretend like you could do my job. It’s not common knowledge and there’s way more to it than you think. Unless you have had to be tested on everything from music history, educational psychology, your performance of a concerto for an audience of highly trained professionals, memorization of fingerings for the bassoon (and every other instrument), etc., don’t tell me you could do my job.

3. We have to constantly remind people why what we do is important, for fear of losing our programs.

This is what happened to the last guy who threatened to cut music.

 I’d say most music teachers live in constant fear that we’re going to lose our jobs. We fear it not just for ourselves, but for our students. After all, who do you think inspired us to teach music? That’s right – our music teachers. Without music programs in schools, we risk losing part of our culture for the future. When we examine past cultures, what do we use to judge how civilized they were? Paintings, musical compositions, architecture, tools, language, and clothing. In other words – ART. In fact, we use the fine arts of past cultures to judge how much they knew about our current so-called “core subjects.”

Do you think people in the future are going to look at our standardized test scores to see how well we lived? Of course not. They’re going to study our ability to create ART.

And along the same lines….

4. We really hate using other subject areas to justify our subject.

If one more person mentions the “Mozart Effect” I’ll scream!

Yes, it’s totally true that instruction in music helps people to understand math and science better. It raises college entrance test scores. It forms new synapses in the brain, connecting the two hemispheres better than any other subject can. In fact, stroke patients who are no longer able to speak can sometimes still sing songs and use that for speech therapy. So yeah, I guess you should learn music because it makes you smarter.

But…

Music teachers are so tired of using that spiel in order to defend what we do. We didn’t go into teaching music because we wanted to get better at math. We want what we do to be valued for its own purpose. We want people to think it’s important to have music in schools, well, just because it is! Imagine your life without music.

Silent commercials and movies, with the exception of dialogue. Awkward silences while shopping. Silent car rides. All in all, pretty boring. We teach music because it’s like painting for your ears. It expresses emotions. It can even change your emotions.

5. People think that you can’t test what we teach, and that every student should be given an A.

Brian was devastated that his daughter didn’t pass choir. After all, she sang during at least half of the days she was there.

Music teachers are data-driven teachers who use research and self-reflection to constantly assess the effectiveness of their instruction and to improve their teaching methods, just as any other teacher does. Yes, you can give a test on how well little Johnny plays the trumpet. The notes are either right or wrong, in tune or not, played for the correct duration or not, and so on. Using a rubric, it is possible to assign fair grades to students based upon performances and written tests that are based upon facts taught during class. No, your child should not be given an automatic A in a performance-based class. Grades are earned based on your child’s demonstration that he or she has mastered the skills taught in class, which are based upon the academic content standards in music.

6. We really do love our jobs – and our students!

We mean it. We are some of the only teachers who literally get to watch our students grow up. Music teachers usually have their students for multiple consecutive years and form great bonds with them. Our jobs are super fun and best of all, we get to do what we love every day – make music.

Yes, it’s Halloween, but I wear a mask every day.

Men, I know you just don’t understand. Women, you wish men understood so they would stop harassing you.

 

What takes women so long to get ready?

 

I’m going to attempt to answer this question for my readers of the male persuasion. For the ladies, you get it. Laugh along. Up top, girlfriend. (Too much?)

 

First of all, there is a certain amount of maintenance that goes into hiding what we really look like, as women. If you saw what we really look like with no makeup and unstyled hair, you may not recognize us.

 

For example, Cameron Diaz is a beautiful woman, as shown here:

 

Cameron Diaz waving for the camera at the 2005...

Cameron Diaz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

As any other woman does, Cameron looks quite different without makeup (especially the expensive makeup applied by professional artists):

 

(Photo credit: beautybooty411.com)

 

I am not posting these photos to poke fun at her in any way. Any woman without makeup is going to look completely different. It’s just truth. Unfortunately, there is a certain standard of appearance that women feel they have to abide by. Before I go to work, or to a party, or any event where I care about my appearance, it takes time to go through the process of getting ready to leave my house. So men, listen up, because I’m going to explain to you exactly why we take so long to get ready.

 

Yes, it takes me 20 minutes to shower. Most of us have medium length to long hair. It takes time to wash it and rinse out all of that shampoo. You think the hair is done? Oh, no. Then you re-do the process with conditioner. Meanwhile, because women are taught from a young age that body hair is an evil force that will cause us to become lonely spinsters, we have to take 5-10 minutes to remove all of that hair through the barbaric process of our choice.

 

I seriously hate showering. It’s a long repetitive process and it seems like as soon as I finish one shower, it’s time for the next. For you inventor-type people, please invent some product that will allow me to wake up and instantly be clean, a la The Jetsons.

 

Then, there is the aftermath of showering – drying and styling my hair. My hair takes somewhere around 10 minutes to dry. If I let it dry naturally, it forms into this flat, frizzy, Medusa-like wavy, hot mess. After I blow dry it, my hair still has this awkward wavy pattern that needs to be tamed. Enter the straightener. It takes another 10 minutes to run the glorious invention called a straightener through all of my hair so I can show my face in public.

 

Notice that we are now at the 40 minute mark and I’m not even dressed. At this point, I have to choose what to wear. Do I wear the sweater that’s cut so awkwardly that it makes me look more flat-chested than a ten year old? How about this one? No, the tank top that I always wear under it is dirty. How about these jeans? No, I just found a hole in the crotch. Great. Add another 10 minutes to the total.

 

Now, it’s time for makeup. Let’s just skip the whole “natural beauty” discussion and get down to it. We’re not kidding anyone. It would be wonderful if women were appreciated for how they look naturally, but it’s simply not the case. My skin is a blotchy combination of pink areas, dry flaky spots, and blemishes. I have baggy dark circles under my eyes. Enter foundation. After a coat of moisturizer and foundation, I can fool the world into believing that my skin is healthy, smooth, and evenly complected. Then come blush, eye shadow, eye liner, and mascara. My husband knows first hand that I look like a completely different person when I’m done.

 

He actually walked past me when I began this post and saw the pictures of Cameron Diaz. He was shocked when he saw her face without makeup. (He also began drooling over the other sexy pictures of her from my Google Images search and I had to kick him out of the room.) I commented that he knows how different I look before and after makeup. He started to reply, “Yeah, you look like…” but trailed off because my eyes said, “You probably don’t want to finish that sentence.”

 

Total time to get ready: one hour. I spend one entire hour of my day doing the same monotonous routines. So guys, please don’t harass us when we’re working hard to get ready. It’s because of you that we do this, after all. We could be ready in 20 minutes like you are, but we sure wouldn’t appear to your standards.

 

What do you have to say about this? I’m interested in comments from both genders.

 

Apparently your new vehicle didn’t come with that fancy “turn signal” option.

Hey you. Yes, you. Driver from Ohio. It’s time for us to have a little chat.

You see, for quite a while I’ve been meaning to write about this particular frustration of mine and I’m finally feeling inspired, so get ready. For some reason, approximately 50% of Ohio drivers have no clue how to work these things we call automobiles.

Let’s start with turn signals. The purpose of a turn signal, in case you aren’t aware, is to give the other drivers some notice that you’re going to slow down. Putting on your signal as you’re halfway through your turn DOES NOT HELP ME. I don’t give two flying geese whether you’re going left or right. Actuate that bugger about 200 feet before you have to turn so I don’t plow into your backside. I think we’d both appreciate that. While I have your attention, non-turn-signal-user, let’s talk about lane changes. Use it. Just do it. If flipping the turn signal lever is so exhausting to you, we have bigger problems to discuss than this. What if I’m getting into the middle lane and I don’t know that you’re going to do the same thing? I promise that I will punch you in the back of your head if you hit me for that reason.

Our next lesson involves an Ohio law that for some reason, many of you struggle with. Are we all aware that it is law to have your lights on when you have your wipers on? Driving in the rain with no lights on is about as intelligent as brushing your teeth with battery acid. Part of that same law requires you to get in the other lane when a tow truck or police officer is on the side of the road. Seriously. You don’t need to pass me on the right just because I won’t go 75 mph. I’m trying to avoid going to jail because I ran over a cop, you nincompoop.

Okay. Speed. There is no reason that you need to go 80mph unless someone in your car is about to give birth. When both lanes are moving at 65 during rush hour, driving .75″ from my bumper is not going to magically give me the ability to make the semi in front of me disappear. What’s your freaking hurry, anyway? Are you not happy with your current fuel mileage? You need to go 80 so you get even less for your money? Weaving back and forth between people is not getting you there any faster, either. Most of the time when I follow someone who’s doing that, we end up about 2 cars apart at the exit ramp. I’m so glad that you risked your life and everyone’s around you so you could get to your destination 10 seconds earlier. You get a cookie and a gold star.

STOP. TEXTING. If you kill me, I will haunt you forever by singing the Song That Never Ends. And it will never end.

Here is how merging (during rush hour when we’re barely moving) is supposed to work: just like in kindergarten, we take turns. We let someone from the ramp in, then we go and so on. Semi trucks are big. They need room to get in. Don’t be a dick. Leave some space and let them in. I guarantee if that dude loses his cool, his truck will run right over your SUV. You will lose. The main point is that people need to quit being rude and try being courteous on the road for once. We’re all adults. Try to act like it.

Rain does not equal temporary amnesia of driving skills. Every time it rains, there are about 5 wrecks in our area. Slow down, don’t be an idiot, turn on your lights as mentioned before, and leave some space in front of you. Not difficult. Go on with life.

On a similar note, you can NOT drive the same way in snow as you can on dry roads, in case you hadn’t noticed. Freaking out because you’re sliding on that black ice doesn’t do any good, nor does slamming on your brakes and turning the wheel. Every year, the freeways look like the Winter Olympics bobsled competition. Most of the people chilling in the ditches are there because of stupidity.

So, to sum it up:

1) Use your signal.

2) Quit being an impatient jerk.

3) Don’t be an idiot.

Happy trails.

Bad Driver

(Photo credit: Akoaraisin)

I’ll eat a sandwich if you shut up

Eat a sandwich. If you turned sideways, you’d disappear! Did you know you have chicken legs? I’m pretty sure your thigh is the size of my wrist. Aww, your outfit is cute – did you get it in the kids’ department? My dog probably weighs more than you do. Here, have some more to eat; you look like you’re wasting away.

People have actually made these comments (and many more) to me over the course of my life.

For some reason, it’s completely acceptable to comment on someone else’s weight, as long as that person is thin.

I’ve always been the skinny girl. Throughout my childhood, my mom had to dress me in clothes that were typically made for younger kids. I didn’t have to wear a bra until I was in about seventh grade because I didn’t have enough body fat to justify the need. In high school, my clothes sagged around my frame as I tried in vain to look average-sized. During my college years, I finally started to accept my body. However, this didn’t make shopping any easier for me. My friends would wear dresses that flattered their curvy bodies and jeans that hugged their rear ends. My attempts to try on those clothes always resulted in awkward baggy areas in front of my non-existent boobs, shirts that resembled Hefty bags on my willowy frame, and jeans that made me look like I had a full diaper.

I’m 25 and I still have to shop in the juniors department.

Believe it or not, we’re only related by marriage.

I know what most of you are thinking right now. (besides how awesome my Stick Stickly reference was)

“You are so lucky! Really, you shouldn’t be complaining. Oh, and by the way – you are just SO skinny!”

Ok, fair enough. Well, since we’re on the subject of weight, did you know you have cankles? Oh, and you really should cut back on the desserts. Bison aren’t native to the Midwest.

…Awkward silence. Appalled expressions. Shifty eyes around the room.

So, it offends you if I call you fat? Of course. It would be totally rude for me to make judgements about your weight, and most of all, for me to make comments out loud. I mean, clearly I have no idea how hard you’ve been working to lose those five extra pounds. I don’t know that you’ve been getting up an hour early every morning to jog before work, that you’ve been using a calorie counter app on your phone, and you’re still not getting the results you want.

Yes, that would be totally out of line for me to make those judgements.

But anyway, back to how “lucky” I am to be skinny. This summer, I started working out for the first time in my life. I’ve always tried to gain weight, but didn’t know how. Until this summer, I feasted on fast food, anything fried, candy, desserts, snacked until I went to bed, and still never gained a pound. I’ve been the same weight since I was about 18 and before that, I was about 95 pounds all the way through high school. It turns out I was going at this completely the wrong way.

One of my friends invited me to start going to the gym with her about a month ago. At first, the idea was terrifying. I had never worked out for a few reasons:

  • No one in my family is active and I had no idea what to do.
  • I was afraid I would lose weight and we all know that’s the last thing I need.
  • I was afraid that people in the gym would judge me and think, “What’s that anorexic chick doing on the elliptical? Someone get her a McDonald’s IV stat!”

However, I decided to grow a pair and tried it. I love it. It’s become addicting. Yeah, I’ve gotten a few strange looks and one guy even smirked at me as I struggled to lift 25 lbs. on the shoulder press. You know what, smirky guy? Bite me.

We’ve even gotten a personal trainer together and I’m noticing a little bit of muscle on my arms. Don’t get me wrong; I still look like I’m 15. Parents of my students still walk into the band room and ask me where the teacher is. (I was asked for my hall pass at the high school a couple years ago.)

Though small, the changes I’m seeing are encouraging. I’ve even changed my diet drastically in the last few weeks. My trainer says I have to burn some fat to gain the 12 or so pounds of muscle I need. Believe it or not, the correct way for me to gain weight is to eat the same way that someone who’s trying to lose weight does. I just have to eat about 6 times a day to balance my calorie intake with my metabolism that gives Road Runner a run for his money.

I’ve realized how hard it is to eat right. Those who are Facebook friends with me saw my status regarding the taste similarities between rice cakes and packing peanuts. Seriously – who thought that was a good idea?

One of the only things keeping me motivated is seeing Jenna Mourey’s body. If you don’t know who this chick is, you need to educate yourself via YouTube. JennaMarbles. Do it…unless you’re offended by profanity and sarcasm, in which case you shouldn’t even be reading this blog.

Maybe after working out for about five years, I could look half as good as she does.

Until then, don’t worry; I ate a sandwich today.