Saturday, August 18, 2012

What of us goes to waste?

I have a whole lotta skills, yo.

Unfortuneatly, not all of them are valuable. Some are useful; some are enriching. The rest go to waste.

When I think of "useless," the connotation is more pragmatic. These are skills necessary to stay alive or reach a certain goal--that goal being in the name of efficiency or necessity. 

I have skills that are very, very useful. I am very good at knowing how to obtain food and wine. An expert, in fact. Grow food? Not so skilled there, but I'm still alive so I figure it's a skill not everyone needs. I am also very good at selecting shelter: an apartment three blocks from the beach. Can I build a shelter? No, but that goes into the category of growing food. I know how to use a hammer, that's a shelter-building skill. Thank the goddess that I have the skills required to teach others how to use language which keeps me employed so that I can pay for already-grown food and already-built shelter.

In addition, I have skills that enrich my ability to stay alive. I am a pretty good cook. Italian food is one of my specialties. I can also make a pot black beans that would impress a Cuban.

I am also have great organizational skills. I can create a system for anything--a step-by-step process even a monkey could follow (my job as a high school teacher has perfected that skill so that it is becoming a more useful skill).  And planning? I am a planner extraordinaire.

And dare I say that my skills in writing not only enrich my life, but others as well? (Again, this might be a useful skill because if I didn't write, I have no idea how I would keep The Crazy at bay.)

The skills I have that I consider wasteful are those that neither keep me alive nor enrich my life. They might enrich another person's life, but since I can't use them, they just rust over.

For example, I am very good at flirting with women. All women: gay, straight, in transition. Now, my ability to pick up on women would be very enriching if I were a lesbian. Unfortunately, I am straight. And there is no occasion other than hooking up with women that my skill would be useful. Maybe enriching to men who would like to watch me pick up on women, but being a side-show for men is neither a goal nor a flourish I have in my life.

Another skill I have that serves no purpose is my ability amp a situation that has a green terror alert to a red terror alert within 60 seconds. If I were an actress, my flare for over-reaction and drama would be very useful. I am not, nor desire to be, on the stage.

Lastly, I recently learned that I have the skills required to be a foot mistress. I guess I am excellent at trampling, stomping, and squashing. Now, if I were into feet, that'd be great. But, I'm not. I hate my feet as a matter of fact. Now, I do have a friend who is greatly enriched by my skills, but the novelty has worn off for me, so it has slipped into my wasteful skill category.

What are your most wasted skills?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Childhood Monster

A fellow blogger and author, Christine Rains, is celebrating the release of her paranormal romance, FEARLESS, by hosting a blogfest based on childhood monsters. I couldn't resist an entry, especially since my next project is going to be revising the YA horror novel I wrote when I was a YA. A very grounded YA.

My childhood monster answers the age old question once posed by Luke Skywalker: Why would Storm Troopers want to slaughter Jawas?

Well Luke, because they are scary little suckers. Storm Troopers may be an army of evil, but they wear white, shiny uniforms. Not quite the image of a childhood terror.

And as I child, I thought I saw one in my bedroom and to this day, the image still haunts me.

I grew up in a foreboding house located up in the hills where there were few residents and lots of wildlife. The city hadn't bothered with putting up many streetlights, so the nights were silent and dark. Tomb silent. Grave dark. My father claimed that any light, no matter how dim, that might be on anywhere in the house would keep him up, so no nightlights in my house. No sir.

I would sleep with my window open so that whatever moonlight available could break up the pitch blackness of my room. Some nights, I would sit up--rigid, teeth clenched-- in my elevated, antique brass bed, and wait for my eyes to adjust to the shadowy darkness so that I could make sure I was alone in my room before lying down to vulnerable sleep.

Yes, that's my dresser.

Yes, that's my laundry basket.

Closet door is definitely closed.

Oh my god, what is on my chair in the corner? Whew, just my teddy bear.

I was never quite brave enough to check under my bed. Probably should have, because that's the only place the Jawa could have been hiding.

One night, I went to sleep feeling safe, but it must have been a bad dream that jerked me from my slumber. I shot up from my repose, panting.  I wish I had just stayed in the nightmare.

At the foot of my bed, I saw a cradle. In the cradle, the profile of a hooded figure, no bigger than a small child. While the cradle seemed to be rocking from side-to-side, the figure rocked forward and back. I knew by the way the hood pointed at the back, and the rim formed what seemed a perfect, stiff circle that it was a Jawa.

A Jawa sucking his thumb.

Well, not sucking his thumb in the traditional sense. When the Jawa rocked backward, the thumb slowly pulled away from the hood; when the Jawa rocked forward, the hooked arm and jutting digit disappeared behind the folds of cloth. Rock back, rock forward. Rock back, rock forward.

I sat in complete terror: heart pounding, sweat dripping. I did end up screaming for my parents. But instead of begging for a light to be left on, once they reassured me that a Jawa nor a crib was nowhere to be found in my room, I shut my curtains, wanting  my room to be at dark as tar so that whatever was in my room, I wouldn't be able to see it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

An Emerging Market: Cougars

Dear Apple,

I realize that you are taking over the world. You lure us with cute pictures and the illusion that you are saving us time (try completing a task without your cellphone or computer within reach and you'll see just how much "time" technology is saving you). You promise convenience and efficiency. But the most seductive thing about your product? It's pretty and easy.

Instead of worrying about things like words and being burdened with texting complete sentences, you provide cute, little icons for users to make their communication both clear and quick. I no longer have to deny anyone a moment without the honor--the need-- to interact with me.

I can text a birthday cake instead of "happy birthday" (also helps avoid the unanswerable grammatical question of whether or not or even how "happy birthday" should be capitalized).  I can text a thumbs-up for "that sounds great!" or "I agree." At the end of a long Monday, I can choose a pile of poop in response to a "how was your day," and at the end of a Friday, I can text a martini glass. Or the hypodermic needle.

And I have to thank you for the egg-in-frying pan icon when I need to send a text about breakfast. Or to present what age, blogging, and too many drugs in high school has done to my brain.

And who doesn't need a picture of an eggplant in his or her daily communication? Oh, and Apple, thanks so much for the hedgehog, the nose, and the ghost with the eye patch.

But Apple is sorely neglecting a market: Cougars. We are adapting to texting as a main mode of communication to accommodate our twenty-something interests, but the age gap does bring about some problems. Therefore, Apple, I need you to please add these icons to iPhone 5.

I need a in place of "please, don't send me naked pictures." 

I need one of these to indicate that I don't send naked picture.

(Well, maybe for $.)

And I definitely need one of these so that my potential suitor knows that I don't put out on the first date.

If my request comes too late for the iPhone 5, I suppose I can use a thumbs down + the camera + the eggplant in place of "please don't sent me picture of your penis," but that's three things I have to tap! So, Apple, I'd hop on it because my next letter will be to Android.


Cougars of America

P.S. Trust me when I say that we have more power than the NRA.