Archive for the ‘Things That Make Me Die Inside’ Category

So, I’m sitting here in the student union building, trying to organize a paper.  I had a nice sub sandwich, and a small container of HFCS-free chocolate milk.  I’m at a small, single person table, lining the wall, and I am at one table in a long line of tables.  There is a PA system playing easy listening music that spans the generations.  Easy to tune out until a familiar song comes along (like, right now, “I Say a Little Prayer“) Since I’ve been sitting here for several hours, people have come and gone, and the scenery has changed a few times.

The person who has chosen to sit in front of me is making me die inside.  Why, you ask?  She went to Starbucks and got some kind of iced beverage.  That beverage has been consumed, and all that remains is a Venti-sized pain in the ass in the form of a cup of ice.  Every 15-22 seconds, she picks up the cup, takes off the lid, shakes the cup of ice to loosen it, and pours an ice cube into her mouth.

And then she chews it.  CRUNCH. CRUNCH. CRUNCH.  It’s anywhere from 5-8 crunches. –sorry, I lost my train of thought, she shook the cup and didn’t take any ice–

I can’t stand the sound of people chewing.  Usually, if the room is crowded and its loud enough, it’s not a big deal.  And if I’m sitting at a table and everyone is crunching, including me, it doesn’t really bother me.  Wet chewing has never really bothered me, but hard crunchy REPETITIVE chewing just instantly sends me into an unadulterated rage.  If I can hear teeth clashing together, in addition to the crunching sounds, you’d better fucking start running-me hulk, me angry, me smash you.

Forbidden foods:

Sourdough pretzels

Too many croutons on a salad

Crunching fucking ice in public–are you not aware of the people around you, lady?  Srsly!

Mother fucking ice.

Mother fucking ice.

I wonder if I should mention to her that she either a) has an iron deficiency b) could have other nutritional problems c) could have pica d) is a fucking idiot who needs to be aware of others around her, including the angry person behind her who doesn’t like CRUNCHY NOISES.  But, I’m probably just being a dick–I mean, people are selling chew-friendly ice and making a ton of money!

I’d rather have the ice crunching than gum popping.  So, I will refrain from enacting violence upon her, because she might not know that she’s being noisy. As she is getting up to leave, I realize she’s had an iPod in her ears this entire time.  She couldn’t hear her crunchiness.  GAHHHHHHHHHH iPods!

Chewable Ice from Taco Time

Chewable Ice from Taco Time


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It’s no secret that I avoid activities that involve math like Sarah Palin avoids answering direct questions <jab>.  If you need me to add, subtract, multiply, divide, find the mean, median, or mode, I’m your gal.  It’s beyond this point where math sends me into a spiraling depression that rivals the fits of sadness felt by Sylvia Plath, the Hemingways, Van Gogh, or Mozart—only their depressive bouts arguably inspired great peaks in creativity and productivity.  Mine, however, cripple and debilitate me in ways I never thought possible.  I can’t write, or focus on anything that has academic weight, or, heck, has an associated due date.  I have a book review/report due on Wednesday night for a book I’ve not read, and I’m also the discussion leader for the other book due that evening, which I’ve also not read.  In fact, I’ve not read a single book for this class (at least one book due per week) from cover to cover.  I’ve managed to cheat my way by skimming the book and reading parts that stimulate my interest, and then make sure I speak on those points during the discussion.  I still learn quite a bit from the discussion, but I’m not being a true scholar by pretending to read critically.

The math to which I am referring is basic statistics.  If I were learning about basic statistics as concepts, as in what a Z score is used for when doing research, what a T score can be used for to show trends in data, I’d be much more secure in my inability to calculate such numbers by hands.  I may be able to calculate these things based on my notes and hours of help from Tyler, but I don’t know what any of it means or how to apply it to real data.  I’m missing the entire point!  I think I’d be hard pressed to find someone who has sat down in the candlelight, with a quill and ink well, and hand-calculated percentile ranks or Z scores or what percentage of scores lie between 63 and 80.  Hard. Pressed.

The disturbing part of this situation I’ve put myself in is that this course that I’m taking is a PRE-REQUISITE to the three statistics courses I am to take to complete my core PhD courses.  Fortunately, I am able to take the stats course in another part of my school, and I get credit for it as an elective rather than paying for a course for which I don’t get credit.

My thoughts are wandering towards “If this is what research really is, and what this program expects me to do, I don’t think I really want to do this”

Which leads me to question my entire trajectory and what I’m doing, and if I really want to do it.  It’s hard to put your heart into something, even if it’s “just” coursework, when you don’t know if it’s what you really want.  Frankly, it isn’t *just* coursework anymore.  Every moment of every class is dedicated to preparing me for quals and a successful dissertation, and a long career in this field. These courses shouldn’t be moments in time that I just have to get through to get to the next stage, the next course to just get through, to get the degree.  It’s so much more than that, but I don’t feel as if it all means that much to me.

I didn’t enjoy my master’s degree.  The one shining moment came during my capstone/internship at the end of the degree where I worked with a school food service director to design a program to increase fruit and vegetable intake at school.  It was fun, and I really enjoyed the topic.  Which is why I have tentatively decided to focus my efforts towards learning more about school food environments.

But is that really what I want?  Am I trying to make something I’m passionate about, food, fit into a field that I have little patience for, and little desire to really devote the rest of my faculties to?

These are the questions, and I fear I have no answers.

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Welcome to a new topic on cutabitch.  Whenever I come across something while patroling the interwebs or navigating the streets of life that causes me to experience emotions that lie on the continuum of vomiting in my mouth a little <—-to—-> dying a little on the inside, I’d like to share them with you so you may weigh in as to where you lie on the scale.

Topic #1:  Free Credit Report Dot Com Commercials on TV

IT IS NOT FREE.  I fell for this scam twice, unfortunately, as I had forgotten the outrage I experienced the first time when my credit card was charged for my “free” report.  Back in 2003, the freecreditreport.com (FCR.com) commercials didn’t say anything about the fine print–you get a free credit report when you enroll in “Triple Advantage” which is some credit monitoring program they offer.  And you only get the credit report from Experian, the bureau that runs FCR.com.  When I first fell for the scam, I was able to call their special number and cancel the “Triple Advantage” membership if I called within 30 days and NEVER USED THE SERVICE. Using the service involves visiting their website, logging in, and viewing your “free” credit report.  They refused to return my money.  At the time, I was irate and refused to ever fall for it again.  But, these …charming… commercials began to resurface and when I was in desperate need of viewing my credit report as we were considering purchasing our home, I remembered the catchy jingle about serving seafood to tourists in T-shirts and how it was FREE! to access your credit report!  So I fell for it.  Again.  Because of advertising that was targeted directly at me–a young person learning about credit and concerned with trying not to ruin it.  Dorky guys in a commercial, strumming guitars, singing a catchy tune, who could resist?  When I called and they refused to refund my money, even after I had not accessed the website, I disputed it with my credit card company who took it off my charges.

I don’t know why I fell for the commercials (again), especially because of their snotty tone. 

The first commercial speaks to those who have their identities stolen:

  •  FCR.com will not be able to prevent you from having your identity stolen, but their credit monitoring would have alerted you to suspicious activity
  • Viewing your credit report(s) from all three bureaus would have alerted you to a problem with your credit due to identity theft. One bureau might have items on it that the other two do not.
  • There’s nothing wrong with working in a restaurant in a town that has a tourism trade. Congratulations, Experian.  You just alienated most of the East Coast who works in restaurants, especially those who serve chowder AND iced tea, and any tourists who visit the East Coast, especially those who visit restaurants that serve chowder and iced tea and happen to love it.
  • I don’t appreciate the fact that you are also targeting young guitar players.  I found a video that teaches how to play the “free credit pirate song”.  BOGUS.
  • They are fully aware of the “pirate” sensation among today’s youth and play that up in the commercial with the pirate costumes.  This video has had over 800,000 hits.

The second commercial targets white-boy rappers (you think I’m kidding, but who knows), or more specifically, people who are looking into buying a car that is not a used sub-compact.

  •  This commercial is playing up to the 18-25 age group, most likely the college student who had time to kill on the weekends.  I say this because I don’t know many working adults who hang out with their friends cruising around town playing guitar in the backseat, concerned about the hoes in the convertible at the stolight next to them.  Maybe I have strange working adult friends.
  • If you don’t have a cool car, you’ll get laughed at.  Most adults I know are more concerned with the reliability and fuel efficiency of a car as they use their cars to TRAVEL TO WORK and not “roll with their posses”   I don’t believe a used sub-compact would be that bad of a car to have nowadays.  Again, playing up to material desires over practical needs, common in the 18-25 age group.   
  • Hey, it’s free, and I’m lazy, and my dad is always telling me to take care of my credit, maybe I’ll call them up and get raped out of $25 when they charge me for my free report!

Last and CERTAINLY my least favorite, the commercial that MAKES ME DIE INSIDE, the FCR.com “Misogyny Minuet”

  • May the oceans part, a positive to this commercial!  Marriage is not a party, it’s a legally binding contract between two people–my debt is your debt!
  • The not so positive?  My wife can’t manage her money! She’s the reason I’m not happy! I would have never married the supposed love of my life if I had known that she had some money problems!  Perhaps if I would have talked to my dream girl about things that required a comment beyond “cool” and “wanna do it?” I would have known that she defaulted on a credit card. Money trumps everything!
  • This commericial reminds me of getting tested for STDs. Just because you get your credit report and know the results doesn’t mean that you have to share the real results with your dream girl.

This concludes the first edition of “Things That Make Me Die Inside”  Every time these commercials come onto the TV, I find myself singing along and being sucked into the hellishness that is FCR.com.  I’m just happy that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) got involved in 2005 and made Experian point consumers to the REAL free credit report website that is congressionally mandated.  They also have to include verbally and in writing in the commercials that the free credit REPORT (not reports) are only free if you enroll in Triple Advantage.  It still isn’t good enough because their website and phone representatives are so elusive about the actual terms that they suck you in hook, line, and sinker.  TransUnion also has similar websites and marketing campaings, just not on TV.   Equifax does not have a marketing campain that lures consumers to their website with the promise of free credit reports to boost their bottom line after the government allows all to view their report once a year for free, from all three bureaus.

Moral of the story:  What is free is rarely, truly free.

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