For when “dislike” just doesn’t cut it…











{November 28, 2008}   Atheist Zealots

It’s easy to hate on religious zealots because most of the time they’re just so darned creepy. They set themselves out from a crowd of people with a lot of ideas that seem crazy. Christians who believe that dinosaurs didn’t exist (and that all skeletons dug up are conspiracies), or that two men shouldn’t get married but it’s okay to have five different wives, are not the kind of people I can conceivably imagine myself befriending. However, I absolutely respect and admire people who can believe in something larger than themselves. In essence, I think religion in its barest form is a fundamentally good thing, because it’s supposed to be guidelines to living a good, productive life. I’m all for not killing and not stealing and not eating pork. 

I am agnostic (I joke that I am a follower of Bokononism), but my parents are varying degrees of Mormon. My mother is not a bigot, nor is she subservient; she isn’t active in the Church either for personal reasons, but she keeps several ideas to heart and they get her through tough times. One of them is that God doesn’t give anyone more adversity than they can handle, and I am glad that she holds that one so dearly. However, through her I have met fanatic LDS members – ones who believe that homosexuality is a bigger global issue than global warming; ones who take every Bible story literally… and most of the time I hold my tongue. 

I believe in Karma because I need to think that I will be rewarded for doing the right thing instead of the easy thing. I believe that there is no way of knowing what happens when we die, so we should spend what time we have being helpful, hardworking, productive and a better place for others. 

What pisses me off more than religious zealots are Atheist zealots – you know, the kind who say “If you believe in God, prove that he exists! You can’t! There’s no afterlife! You’re an idiot and you’re brainwashed and there’s no logic in believing in a higher power.”

These are worse than religious people who try to convert you because:

a) At least religious people are trying to GIVE you something to believe in. They’re trying to do what they feel is right, and even if you disagree with they way they go about doing it they still have good intentions in their own mind. They want you to go to heaven; Atheists want you to rot in a box.
b) There is no proof that a higher power exists either way, so STFU. I entertain the possibility that there is a God, but I can’t believe that God would care about minutia of everyone’s lives. God would have given us free choice, but wouldn’t really be that offended if some people went off the beaten path. I don’t think about it that often actually, but a friend-of-a-friend summed up my beliefs perfectly: “I believe that the Big Bang Theory was the birth of the Universe, but who’s to say that God didn’t set the quarks and leptons into motion?”
c) Most of the time, these Atheist zealots have no idea that there are comforts that come with believing something. I had one guy call me a brainwashed idiot because I said I believed in Karma. Just as he said that, he closed a door on his own hand. I LOL’d. As I explained, it’s more of a positive reinforcement than anything else. 
d) Atheism is technically a religion anyway, if you go by definition. Not believing in God is just as much of a spiritual path as believing. Also, there are several religions (some smaller branches of Buddhism, for example) in which there is no personal God. Therefore, Atheism doesn’t necessarily mean irreligious.

On the other hand, my own father told me I would never lead a fulfilling life because I don’t want to have children, and according to the Book of Mormon, that’s a woman’s duty, so whatever.

I think personal beliefs are just that – personal. It shouldn’t be up to you to push your beliefs (regardless of what they are) down other peoples’ throats. If they enquire, that’s a different story altogether, but don’t feel as though it’s your duty to declare war on all religions.

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I should preface this by saying that I don’t drink. Ever. I tried it years ago and disliked it. I didn’t like the experience for the same reason that everyone else does: I wasn’t in complete control over my actions. 

However, for the stupid shit that did happen (luckily nothing that effected me at all the next day, never mind the next few years of my life), I took complete responsibility. It wasn’t my proudest moment, but it ranked a 0.02 on the regret-o-metre. Oddly enough, that was probably my blood alcohol level at its highest. 

I do enough stupid and regrettable stuff without the assistance of drugs and alcohol, thank you very much. I sleep late without a hangover, I reveal way too much about myself to strangers, I laugh too loudly… I’m not ashamed of any of that. I just hate when I tell a story and I hear, “What was your excuse, girl? You weren’t even drunk!”

1) Who says I need an excuse? If I felt I needed to justify my actions, I would have said something like, “I made a mistake and I learned from it.”

2) Would being drunk have actually made whatever I did okay? Let’s say for argument’s sake that I… I dunno… broke a lamp during a house party. Whether I was drunk or not, it was an accident. Whether I was drunk or not, I’d be responsible for property damage. Is there any question that I should have to pay for the lamp? I did something regrettable, and should be held accountable. There is no grey area here. If it was my broken lamp, I’d insist that the person reimburse me, and likewise I would reimburse the owner with my apologies. 

Now let’s take something a little less black and white, and a little more true to life.

Many years ago, I kissed a friend (let’s call her Merlot)’s ex-boyfriend. They had ended the relationship amiably, and I had always liked him. When she found out (I came clean two days later), she ended the friendship and, as far as I have heard, still has me on her hit list. I am not proud of what I did or of how I handled the situation, but it was a learning experience. 

A few years later, a mutual friend of myself and the girl was at a New Year’s Eve party with a group of people, including my most-loathed ex boyfriend. Things had not ended well between us and my friend had been there for me all through the breakup. She put an end to rumours he’d spread, she laughed at all the jokes I made at his expense… she was supportive and I was grateful for it. Until she sent me an email that New Year’s Day saying, “Heyyyyy Allegra. Guess who I made out with last night?” Her justification was that they had both been drinking. I forgave her, not because her judgement had been impaired but because she apologized and immediately resumed her role as supportive BFF. 

Later, that same friend would drunkenly make out with Merlot’s lifelong crush. Merlot forgave her immediately… as far as I can tell, it was okay because my friend, Merlot and the boy were all drunk.

I don’t see the logic – this was obviously not the first time these people had been drinking. My friend knew that she had a propensity towards making out with anything with an Adam’s Apple when she drinks, and still made the conscious choice to get drunk anyway. 

I’m by no means implying that what she did was worse than what I did. I just can’t understand why it is socially acceptable to drink yourself stupid and engage in the same destructive behaviour over and over again. Being drunk is not an excuse. 

There are harsher penalties for drunk drivers than there are for young drivers and drivers who make poor judgement calls, BUT THERE ARE STILL PENALTIES for everyone. This is how it should be for social situations as well. I am going to hold people accountable for what they say and do while they’re drunk, in hopes that they realize that not all caution should be thrown to the wind.



THIS IS NOT A DIFFICULT CONCEPT.

By taking the escalator (or walkway), you acknowledge that ease has a cost. And the cost is that you need to get out of the effing way if I’m walking up the left side. It is my right to walk up the escalator, and I will defend it to the death. 

I am in a hurry; I have no time to wait behind you. Also, don’t you dare glare at me as I say, “excuse me” while trying to circumnavigate those 85 shopping bags you’ve dumped. It’s an ESCALATOR. THE SIGNS ARE CLEARLY POSTED. IT’S NOT AS IF WALKING LEFT AND STANDING RIGHT ARE NEW CONCEPTS.

In summation: Get out of my fucking way.



This just doesn’t make sense to me.

Say what you want about it being more interesting (and to that I simply reply that you’re not trying hard enough)… why become SO invested in something over which you have absolutely no control?

I’m not by any means saying that you shouldn’t care about world issues… but if you’re a Canadian citizen, you can’t vote for Obama or McCain. You can, however, get off your media-influenced ass and make a choice that will actually affect you directly.

The voter turnout on Tuesday was the lowest it has ever been (only 59%). I’m disgusted. If you don’t have confidence in any of the parties, you can spoil your vote. That makes much more of a point than not showing up.

Everyone is so quick to bash the current US administration (come on – what Canadian – or American, for that matter – DOESN’T?) yet over 40% of us wouldn’t walk down the street to vote for or against our own right-wing, war-mongering leader of men. Your voice certainly doesn’t effing count if you don’t cast it.

A guy on my floor says we should do what they do in Australia. It is against the law not to vote in Australia, and failing to do so (without good excuse) results in a fine and possibly even jailtime. They do, however, have a box at the bottom of the ballot that allows the voter to not vote for any of the parties (and therefore telling all the parties straight up that they could have voted for them but didn’t). 

When I try to discuss politics with my acquaintances, they INSIST on discussing Palin and Biden and Obama. Educated Canadian men can’t name the leader of the official opposition but they’re sure familiar with John McCain’s extensive war injuries.

THIS IS YOUR OWN COUNTRY. THESE POLITICIANS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR VOICE. WHY SILENCE YOURSELF IN A CROWDED ROOM ONLY TO YELL LATER ON WHEN YOUR OPINION ISN’T HEARD?

It’s illogical, and we all need to become more aware of the advantages and flaws of our own electoral system.



{October 14, 2008}   Badmouthing a Professor online

I don’t care how easy it is, or how much work you put into your 65% essay. You’re gonna get in trouble, and at this point in your life (ie University) you should know two things:

1) Education is FULL of bureaucratic bulljive and arbitrary power-tripping from those in power. I probably know this better than most (*cough*), but there were also instances when the work was actually not my best. 

2) Anything you write on Facebook or the internet or a message board will come back to haunt you. I also probably know this better than most, and I implore people: IF YOU ONLY HAVE TO REGRET ONE THING YOU WRITE ONLINE, MAKE SURE IT ISN’T A POST IN WHICH YOU CALL THE PROF THE C-WORD.

 

Okay. A bunch of people recently received some marks back in a class that was supposed to be a bird course. I was one of them. I didn’t take the course (Acting for Non-Majors) because it was supposed to be an easy mark – I took it because I thought I’d enjoy it.

I’m not.

It’s a half-credit course, but it’s more work, stress, running around and pain-in-the-ass than my full- and 1.5-credit courses. The fact that I was given a mark of 60% on an assignment that I KNOW was exactly what she wanted does nothing to help. I am close to dropping the course, which disappoints me a little. I’m not a quitter. Anyone who knows me says that I am nothing if not perseverant.

 

Here’s the deal: Our first assignment was to choose a monologue. She gave us a sheet of possible choices, and I chose one from the list. I read the whole play, and (thinking that she approved it because it was on the list) started the arduous task of memorizing it.

I received an email from her after I’d shown her the selection, telling me that she hated the monologue and that she’d bring another one for me. Fair enough. I’m glad she told me early, but if she hated it, why was it on the sheet of monologue possibilities?

I actually really liked the next monologue I was given, from a Canadian piece called, “In The Cards.” I thought it was a good choice for me – the girl was quirky and the right age and a little sarcastic without being Juno-ish with the slang (but that’s for another entry). I was given the monologue on Monday and given one week to do my essay. On Tuesday I went to my university library, who didn’t have a copy. I then took a trip down to the big Toronto Reference Library, who informed me that there wasn’t a copy in the whole library system. I then went online and checked to see if University of Toronto had one. They didn’t. My theatre contacts told me to check out TheatreBooks, whose website told me they had copies in stock. When I went (on Thursday morning), they told me they print them individually and it would take two weeks to get me a copy. I immediately emailed her and explained everything. I asked her if she had a copy I could use, and if she did, could she get it to me before Monday so I could hand it in on time.

I received a reply on Saturday night, telling me that she didn’t have a copy of the play, and that I need to pick a new play. I didn’t get an extension, and that I shouldn’t have waited so long to contact her. I would have been finished my essay if she hadn’t disapproved of my first choice. 

I spent all Sunday in the York library reading plays, and I finally found one I really enjoyed called “When Did You Last See Your Trousers?” I didn’t have time to get it approved (she notoriously takes two days to respond to emails) so I did the whole essay in one night. For what it was, it was pretty darn good.

When my peers and I got to class the next morning, she told us she would have given us until Wednesday, but we could hand it in then if we wanted and she would give us a chance to later improve on our mark. She said that if we hadn’t heard from her by Wednesday, we should assume we did quite well and that she has no issues.

Wednesday came and went, and I breathed a sigh of relief. My first major Drama assignment and there weren’t any issues! Sweet beans!

I get an email from her on Saturday of the Thanksgiving long weekend, telling me that I shouldn’t have used an unapproved monologue (!!!) and for that reason she was going to give me 60%. I thought I was alone until I saw our Facebook group, in which my peers were discussing how unfairly they’d been marked. 

But they weren’t saying anything to justify their own academic work – they called her names and made dumb remarks that had nothing to do with anything… they were just venting. In public. Where anyone could read it. 

I don’t know if they were given the same opportunity, but I am meeting with her tomorrow to go over my monologue and essay so that I can hopefully get a better mark. Why would they insult her online knowing that she can get meaner anytime she likes? If I were her and I read that, I would rescind any offers of appeal or extra credit. 

I don’t think she marked my assignment fairly, but she was within her right to give me that mark. She is also well within her right to file reports of slander on y’all. Smarten up and keep the insults to the schoolyard.



The title says it all, doesn’t it? There are a group of boys on my dorm floor who have woken me up between 2:00 and 4:00 in the morning every day laughing like drunken sociopaths (oh, wait). I could accept this as one of the downsides to not living at home during university had it happened once on a Saturday night, but I was kept awake for four nights in a row. It’s a lot more annoying than it sounds.

Night 1: Fire alarm. Simple enough. They pulled it knowing that one of their buddies was getting some, and that both he and the girl would have to scramble to get dressed. Unfortunately, I wasn’t dressed to deal with a Canadian October night either. I didn’t fall back to sleep once we were allowed back in.

Night 2: Another drunken night for these charming lads, they ask the naive boy from Hong Kong to “pet the squirrel.” Having never seen a skunk before, he didn’t know the difference. The poor boy was sprayed, and the others brought him back up to our floor and paraded him around, yelling and laughing raucously. I woke up thinking, “What the Mitch smells like burning eraser?” The skunk funk was so bad that I was awake, nauseous and angry, for the rest of the night.

Night 3: Possibly my “favourite” of the pranks, the four boys take turns peeing in an empty recycling bin. At 3:00 am, they knock on a different guy’s door and empty the bin onto him. The whole bin of urine soaked him and his carpet… and the hallway’s carpet… everyone knows that urine is the WORST smell to try to get out of upholstery or clothing. Well, except skunk. Together they’re a lethal combination. Anyway, I wake up to “I AM GOING TO F***ING KILL ALL OF YOU. WHAT THE F***?!” as well as cries of pure disgust. It was at this point I called the Don, who – of course – did nothing. No more sleep for me.

 

I approached the boys the next day, looking like ass (and, admittedly, playing up my I’m-gonna-cry-out-of-exhaustion face) and said, “Guys, seriously. I have 8:30 am classes. Can you please pull your pranks earlier so that I can get some sleep? I’m so tired. I’m not saying that you can’t be asses to each other, just realize that I’m right next door and I have to be up early. Please.” They must think I’m pretty okay, or else they pitied me, because they didn’t make fun of me. They agreed, and I was tired enough to think they’d stop.

I’m an IDIOT when I’m tired.

Night 4: When I heard rambunctious conversation begin to get louder, I stepped out of my room wearing pyjamas and holding my toothbrush. My hair was in braids and on my feet were slippers. I yawned as I walked past. It could not have been more obvious that I was preparing to sleep – at 10:00. One guy asked me if they were being too loud, and I said that they were fine as long as they didn’t get louder. I thought they’d redeemed themselves, but really they just hadn’t started drinking yet. After a few Molsons, they started discussing – very loudly – how they deal with girls who aren’t good at handjobs. Offensive? Maybe. Inappropriate? Sure. Nauseating? Most certainly. My head clutched between my two pillows, I could still hear every awful comment and every subsequent high-five. 

I emerged from my bed, and they laughed and called me over, eager to share the rest of the conversation with me. AM I THAT MUCH OF A DUDE?! It was at this point that I practically begged them to hang out in another hallway. I don’t know if they did, because I actually did fall asleep out of exhaustion as soon as I got back to my room. I had an 8:30 class so I only got a few hours of rest, but it was more than what I’d been getting.

 

I stayed at The Boy’s house the next night. He was my hero for being quiet and for letting me sleep past noon for the first time since I moved out.



et cetera