Sure as a society we try to ease ourselves into the fact that the end result for all of us is quite the same, which is a one way ticket to six feet below the earth. Or scattered above, depending on whether a person decides on cremation. However, it's all the same right? The great sleep is it. We have shows like Dead Like Me that attempt to show a fun alternative to the fire & brimstone or glowing wings & clouds, Christian alternatives. We have books like the Darwin Awards that poke fun at the very act of dying; after all, if a person is stupid enough to earn a spot in the book, then self selecting themselves out of the gene pool was the least they could do.
However, the sad truth is... No one is ever prepared for death. Not when it happens to someone you know. It rarely matter whether you personally no the person who's died. Case in point when famous people die, if they were well liked there is generally a sense of mourning among the public. Example? Bea Arthur dying on Saturday. I loved the Golden Girls and was deeply saddened by her death. Another example? When a cousin you weren't particularly close to dies.
As apparently, mine has. Last Friday in fact. I found out today. It's crazy because, as I said we weren't close. He was from the age bracket above mine. But I'm saddened by it.
When I think about all of this: all of the shows, the jokes, and the books, dedicated solely to the topic... I find I sometimes find it hard to believe that most people have never been to a funeral for someone they knew, let alone a family member. To contrast that with myself... As a person who's been to... quite a bit more then a few, from quite a young age... with most of them having been for family members... I don't know. It's a bit sad, to put it mildly.
It's also a bit ostracizing. To have experienced that much... Loss, I guess you can call it... You look at the world differently. You live differently. It becomes hard to deal, to live. Because, when you are so often faced with your mortality through the loss of family member's... It becomes hard to focus on the mundane. On the minor things of life that are actually necessities. Life becomes something of an urgency. You find yourself either filled with the desire to live as much as possible in each day... Or you succumb to the hopelessness of it all. Either way, life is one extreme or the other. And my family is shrinking rapidly.
But enough of that.
Cake or Death?
Now, I don't know the author personally or other wise. And I think that's the only story of hers that I'd ever read. But the comment was enough to make me see who this person was. So I click the link, expecting to see an account filled with stories upwards of 10,000 words long.... Did I find that? Yes. Only those stories were favorites; not stories written by the reviewer. That made my blood boil. I then felt compelled to send reviewer a message. This is what I wrote.
"Hey, this is in response to a comment you left MissaSempai who I don't know personally at all. However, reading your comment left the worse taste in my mouth possible. Kind of like the feeling you get when you see a bully being overly cruel to a passerby. Ever heard the saying, 'Those that can't do, teach'? Well in your case, those that can't do try and tear down those who can. Were there grammar mistakes? Yes. Did they completely destroy her story? No. Were some of things you flamed her over even remotely connected to the story? No. Meaning it was uncalled for. It's easy to be a grammar nazi when you yourself aren't putting yourself out there. There's constructive criticism and there are flames. Hopefully one day you'll learn the difference. Hopefully, before you completely dishearten a writer."
There was so much I wanted to tell that reviewer, however I was so.. offended for the writer that it would have degenerated quickly. I just so hate when people are unnecessarily cruel. I know personally how hard it can be to write something, no matter how long or short, and post it for the public to see. It takes a lot. And to put yourself out there, write a provide a decently well written story beside a few minor mistakes... Only to be torn down can be crushing.
I mean, believe me. I've read stories so full with grammatical and spelling errors that I've had to look away after a few paragraphs. I've also read stories that just had no point. Seemingly nothing more than a bunch of words randomly thrown together with a pronoun every now and then.
"You may think you offered gifts to the trea-
sure tower... but that is not so. You
offered them to yourself."
--The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin - Page 299
So... the picture above is quite possibly one of my all time favorite concert photos period. Which is cool, because Cage the Elephant was one of the best shows of the weekend... In my humble and very simple opinion that is.
However, Coachella was week ago. Present day sees me inhabiting a mixed bag of emotions. Chief among them being, exhaustion. On one hand, [as is generally the case] I've just realized what is most likely a reason... Lack of iron. On another... Allergies. Yet another gift from Sacramento.
Another major emotion dominating space in the bag is a mild case of dysphoria. The Spring semester is almost over and I need to find a job as well as a cheaper place to stay. To make things a tad more pressing I need to find an alternative place to stay by the end of July. Both tasks are proving to be quite difficult.
Lastly, well actually no. I think everything else just kind of falls into sub-categories of my dysphoria. That's not to say, I'm feeling particularly 'woe'-filled... Just... slightly anxious.
Blame it on the alc.. Just kidding.
Blame it on the exhaustion
Be gone, evil migraine! I smite thee with my hot cup of coffee and motrin!
Now that I've gotten that out of the way... I can tell you the awesomeness that just happened! And what is that? You ask?
A couple hours ago I submitted 3 of my Coachella photo's to the official website to be hosted in their 2009 gallery. Then, realizing I was out of soy milk and wanted some for my coffee... I hopped on the bike and went to buy some.
On my return, I decide to browse the gallery to see what pictures had already been accepted and what do I see? Why, all 3 of my pictures! Which is made doubly awesome, because the last time I submitted pictures [in 2007] all 3 of those were accepted as well.
Now for those of you, who are more inclined to call shenaningans then to believe me... I present you with THIS! A link to the page with the first two pictures.
-The 1st is the 3rd picture on the top left side.
-The 2nd is the 2nd picture [which is the same as the one posted here] on the second row.
-For the 3rd, you have to press the back button. Once you do, my picture is the last one on the last row.
ps: The pictures say posted by prettyragdoll. That's just my name on the Coachella message board
Once again Coachella has come and gone; only this time around I'm a bit numb in my post-chella depression.
And to be clear, my numbness has no bearing on the festival itself. Because, Coachella was with out a doubt still amazing -- I just feel like the days flew by. And i dont mean that in an entirely good way. In part, I'm blaming this on the set times.
Out of all the bands I wanted to see, 90% of them were playing at the same time. And not just a mash up of, one band vs another. But more like... Main Stage vs Gobi vs Sahara. Or Main Stage vs Outdoor vs Mojave. [For those not up on their Coachella lingo: Outdoor, Gobi, Mojave & Sahara are the four other stages] And it sucked.
Beyond just having to pick one band to see and thereby missing at least two others... The fact that everyone I dearly wanted to see came on at roughly the same time meant that the rest of the time there would be no one I was overly excited to see.
So... That was a bit.... blah.
But the bands I did see were amazing! And of the bands I saw, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs thoroughly surprised me. I went to their set prepared to be underwhelmed, only to leave their set later then intended because of how good they were.
X was amazing. Which was awesome if you consider they're one of the original DIY Punk bands; while also being one of the only punk bands to never sell out. On top of that, every single member of the band was moving/dancing/jumping as if they were still the same age they were when they first started. And that is cool.
Other then all of the bands, the Art at Coachella this year was definitely top notch this year. From the Do Lab & the Bambo Piece, to the Hand of God and the flaming dragon... It was brilliant.
That is what my day has consisted of. Well, in an overly simplified 5 word kind of way...
To begin with I guess it should be said that Coachella is this weekend. My 3rd Coms midterm is the following Monday morning. I'm not even leaving Indio until around the time I would need to be in sitting down for the test.
What does that mean for me?
It means, I get to take the 75 multiple choice + 2 essay question test 6 days before everyone else of course!
Fun -- You know, in the kind of way that isn't. But Coachella is with out a doubt worth it. So this morning was spent reading chapters and taking notes.
Otherwise none as Brain Boot Camp... Or if you want to sugarcoat it, studying.
However, after about 3 hours of that my brain sent up the white flag. And let me know in no uncertain terms... It needed a break. More then a break... It needed to be completely distracted and overwhelmed by something else.
But what? Why... The American River Bike Trail!
Which is, with out a doubt a gorgeous one. And apparently, I wasn't the only one that gave in to the call of the trail today, because it was over-run with joggers, walkers and other people on bikes.
It was nice though. There's nothing like a long bike ride to relax your brain.
Enough rambling? Well... I've spent the past three weeks fighting illness and stubbornly refusing to go the doctors. For multiple reasons that matter not. However, never underestimate the power of grandmothers. When they want you to do something, you do it. So I want to the doctors. Prognosis?
Insanely bad sinus infection coupled with daily asthma attacks.
Really it was great fun.
After I finally got that taken care of, I found myself on the train back to Sacramento, drinking Starbucks instant coffee and surprised by how good it was when I realized something Major.
I'm halfway to Sacramento. But my wallet is still in LA.
The train pulls into Sacramento around 11:33 pm. The last local train stopped running... Only god knows when, but it's not running now. The taxi drivers have to stop themselves from sneering in disgust when I ask if they take checks. And none of my 'friends' can bring themselves to answer the phone.
And ok, sure.. It's practically midnight, but still.... *sigh*
So I'm thinking, all isn't lost. I'll just sleep inside the Amtrak station for a few hours then take the first local train out. Sounds like a plan right? Wrong. Try, the station closed 20 minutes later and I got kicked out. Time for plan B. What's plan B? - You ask. Stay up all night sitting outside. Where it's freezing. Windy. And threatening to rain.
Oh, and where the Amtrak Security Guard keeps talking to you like you're some kind of hopeless bum lurking around waiting to cause trouble.
By the time the train came at around 3:50, I had on a pair of skinny jeans with a pair of regular jeans on top of them. I had on a wife beater, two t-shirts and a hoodie. Yet I was STILL freezing AND extremely tired seeing as I taken medicine with a "Warning may cause drowsiness" label on it, while still on the train..
By time I got home, it was 4:30 something. I took some cold medicine. Prayed I didn't get relapse into a cold from spending the night outside. Heard the sudden pouring rain and was thankful I made it home in time. Then collapsed in my bed and fell asleep.
The moral of the story? Always keep at least $30 on your person. That way you can at least catch a cab home.
So, everyone's heard the whispers about Starbucks' instant and dollar coffee. And I'm sure.... Everyone has also thought, "Great, there goes the quality." Or at the very least, I know I did. As a former barista and life long coffee drinker the very idea of instant coffee is a bit offensive.
Well while I was in LA for Spring Break I ran into a a few old friends [read baristas] and got my hands on a packet of instant Starbucks coffee; as well as a couple pounds of beans. Naturally, that packet of instant coffee was thrown to the bottom of my bag while I fantasized about: getting home, grinding the coffee beans, and then making the perfect cup of coffee.
So I know what you're thinking, "Well where does the instant coffee come in?"
Let me ask you, have you ever taken an Amtrak train and wanted coffee? If you have, you know that what masquerade's as coffee is nothing more then brown colored water. And it just so happened that on my ride back to Sacramento I had an insanely strong urge for a good cup of coffee.
So what did I do?
I got the instant Starbucks Coffee out and prepared to be underwhelmed by an instant coffee that was only slightly better then the brown water alternative offered by Amtrak.
Only I was completely blown away over the coffee. It smelled and tasted as if the coffee had just been freshly brewed. It was amazing. I almost felt a little smug. After all, while the rest of the train was stuck pretending they enjoyed the hot water they were drinking; while I was drinking this cup of amazing.
Now the only problem? You can only get these portably cups of amazing on the east coast.... That is, unless you do the smart thing and order online....