A Brief Blogging Question: Unicorns

I’ve been procrastinating the work I swore I was going to do today by reading other blogs, and I surface from this time-wasting fun with a question: Why does seemingly every blogger reference unicorns?

I don’t have an opinion on unicorns, because I don’t think about them, and because they don’t exist.  So why does everyone else?  What am I missing?

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This is the first picture that shows up when you type “unicorn” into google images.

I take it back.  This picture tells me that I do hate unicorns.  I guess it only took about 30 seconds of contemplation to come up with an opinion.

Why this picture makes me hate unicorns:

1) This photo tries to make the unicorn look like a real creature, and that’s stupid.

2)  It reminds me of what I truly despise: soft, hazy, ethereally-set, galloping horse pictures.

3)  I feel that this picture was created with the intention of being inspirational, and that the viewer is meant to feel empathy for the sad-looking unicorn.  And this makes me irrationally angry.  Really.  I can’t stop myself from grimacing as I write this.

Well, I guess that instead of being different, and trying to set myself apart from the foolishness of referencing unicorns in my blog, I joined the ranks.  But maybe this means that I’m, like, a real blogger now?

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Crying

Once in a great while I’ll start crying, for no reason that I can decipher.  I love it when that happens.

It’s cathartic, releasing you from months of subtly pent-up emotions that are too small to be recognized, but build up over time.  And then bam, one day you have a little cry, and feel that much better, without even realizing you were feeling under-par in the first place!

You can probably infer that I don’t cry regularly, however, my best friend in high school, Megan, did cry regularly.  Megan was the kind of person who cried when Comet the dog on Full House got lost for an episode, or during a commercial for batteries with the Energizer Bunny.  (In order to preserve the integrity of my friend, if you didn’t catch it on your own, note that I am exaggerating).

So one time we’re hanging out at her house and watching a movie that just came out on DVD, The Notebook.  At the point in the movie where the old couple are dancing when suddenly Allie’s Alzheimers comes back and she doesn’t recognize her husband and she shoves him away in terror, I lost it.  I turned to Megan and said, “Are you crying, too?”  A great surprise to me, she said no.  Thankfully, Megan was sensitive enough to wait until after the movie finished to laugh at me.

The real irony of the story is that in popular culture today, crying during The Notebook is completely cliche.  And it’s the only movie that ever made me cry.  (Although Toy Story 3 almost broke that record because come on, I’ve loved those toys for like 10 years, and my heart isn’t made of stone!).

Aristotle writes about the benefits of catharsis in his book on drama, The Poetics.  He says that catharsis is necessary to rid us of negative emotions like pity and fear, and that’s why we should watch tragic plays, because we can vicariously experience these emotions through the story and characters, and be rid of these negative emotions.  Aristotle claims that Oedipus Rex is the perfect tragedy for this, and it is a good one indeed, but since I don’t have a fear of fate (or killing/sleeping with my parents) and I don’t pity him, because I don’t like him, I’ll stick to watching The Notebook for my catharsis.

Carbon Monoxide Leak

Ever since the school year ended on Thursday I keep thinking of the scene in Arrested Development when Michael sends everyone out to get a job  and then walks in the house to find the whole family draped over the furniture, immobile.

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“Is there a carbon monoxide leak in this house?”

I’ve been so lethargic that I thought I actually had a carbon monoxide leak in my house.  Thankfully that’s not logistically possible, or else I probably would have been running for the hospital because I’ve been watching a lot of House lately.

My first year of teaching I had some friends who were concerned that I had mono because of how tired I was.  They managed to make me worry too, but in the end it was simply exhaustion from being a first-year teacher.  And my exhaustion now is not from being sick or poisoned, but just from being the end of the school year.  Can you imagine the energy that is expended when an introvert teaches teenagers?!

I really don’t know how the rest of you normal folk survive without a summer vacation.  What do you do when you get burnt out?

Candles at Home

When I Skype with my parents I mostly talk to the inside of their noses.  This is a vast improvement on our family home videos where my dad would film the ground while he was walking.

Usually, though, my parents eventually manage to set the iPad down or hold it stable long enough for me to see them.  And it makes me homesick.

I hadn’t realized it before, but I’m not homesick for the house or place, which I’ve never lived in, I’m sick for a nostalgic sense of home.  Home isn’t my parents’ house in the States, home is wherever they are.  Particularly my mom.

She’s an over-packer, but not the typical kind.  She doesn’t over-pack because she’s scared of being unprepared for a situation, she over-packs because she brings gifts with her wherever she goes.  In her suitcase 50% of the items belong to a category called “I brought this because I thought you might like it.”  These items are sometimes new, but often they’re from her closet or own personal things.  No matter the length or distance of the trip, if she’s seeing friends or strangers, my mom fills her suitcase to the limit with “things you might like.”

Because her suitcase is filled with “things you might like”, my mom creates home wherever she goes.  When I visited my parents in Shanghai last year, my mom managed to bake for me a ham she brought with her.  When she visited me in Jerusalem I was left with an entire table full of goodies that I had missed, mostly things I had missed subconsciously.  And when I saw her for just one day in Las Vegas at Easter, she brought local newspaper clippings, clothes, and knick knacks from around the house, which she held up one at a time saying, “Do you want this?  I thought you might like it.”

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My parents making me feel at home in their hotel apartment in Shanghai

My favorite, however, is how she brings candles with her wherever she goes.  The first thing she does when staying in a hotel room is fill it with burning candles that bring the smell and aroma of home.

After being relatively nomadic for several years, one of the things I most look forward to in the future is creating my own home.  I haven’t learned how to do it yet.  For my next move, I’m going to give everything away, then start fresh and try to create a home for myself.  I’m sure I’ll bring my mom in to help me.  In the meantime, I’ll burn my candles, the ones my mom brought me.

Modern Technology

Although I’m in my twenties, I treat modern technology like an old lady.

It’s supposed to make your life convenient, and it often does, but I find that keeping up with it is a lot of work.  A year ago I left my camera charger at a hostel in Switzerland…and have yet to replace the camera or charger.  Incidentally, I suspect that since I inherited the infamously poor memory from my father’s side of the family, fairly soon I will not be able to remember most of the events of this past year.

I’ve never been on Twitter, and really don’t understand how to decipher most of the messages.  I do, however, understand how to use the word “hashtag” in daily vernacular #twittermoron.  I used to be on Facebook, but found that it became junky, and that although I knew an awful lot about a few classmates I had in middle schooll, and that I enjoyed judging people for their status updates, I wasn’t actually using it to communicate with my friends and family anymore.  People say “change your settings”, and I intend to, but man, that’s a lot of work.

The saga of my crappy cellphones is extended, and deeply uninteresting, so I’ll just say that right now I just purchased a brand new flip phone, Nokia* style.  And this is a step up from anything I’ve ever had.

I can see that you, my dear invisible audience, may be worried that I am a hermit.  But don’t worry!  I mean, I have this blog now, which is part of my attempt to re-enter modern society, and I have an iPod touch with an updated music library that I love dearly.  So I’m not entirely out of it.

While I am making efforts to act more my age, I’ve enjoyed my break from technology.  Mentally, it has allowed me to enjoy life in the present moment, and it has forced people who want to contact me to do it more directly, and I appreciate that.

*Nokia is the business.  Last year I was camping on the beach and I dropped my Nokia into the fire.  We all sat and stared and said “uuuuhhh crap” when someone (not me) finally stuck their hand in and pulled it out.  It had probably been in there for almost a minute, and it still worked perfectly.  Just a little singed.  Nokia should advertise this kind of indestructibility.

Welcome Back?

I will begin my blog with a cliche: the third time is a charm.

This is the third time I will host a personal blog.  I am hesitant to begin this time because I am unsure what exactly I’m going to be writing about. Additionally, the older I get, the more self-conscious I become.  There was a period of time when I had little personal inhibition, but I think that age and (hopefully) maturity have tempered the exhibitionist in me.

However, I feel that I need to write, and I need to document life, and a blog will hold me accountable to that.  So, dear audience, which does not yet exist, I hope that you will read, comment, and enjoy.

Yalla.  Let’s go.