Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to Win an Argument with Irrational People

There are a lot of irrational people in this world.

And one thing they all have in common is they like to argue. It's ironic because they are the last people who should be arguing, but they just can't help it. It's an irrational quality.

The thing about irrational people is that they don't like to be told they are irrational. In fact, they hate it. I know this because I have tried.

So, instead of arguing with irrational people, I choose to shut them down with a simple phrase. They walk away speechless. They still don't know they were being irrational, and they will never apologize, but they will shut up. For a time.

Here are some examples:

"I'm sorry sir, your FastPass was from 10:05-11:05. It is now 3:00."
"So what?"
"So, your FastPass is invalid. You have to wait in the standby line. It's only 20 minutes right now."
"WHAT? I paid $1000 to get into this park and waited for hours to use this fast pass and now you're telling me I can't?"
"Are you kidding me? I thought this was supposed to be the most magical place on earth! You are so f***ing rude I'm going to talk to your manager and get you fired!"
"That's an interesting thought."
"...*storms away*..."
Dream for the guest, nightmare for the cast members

"I shouldn't have to put my dishes in the dishwasher because I did that yesterday."
"That's an interesting thought."

"We have to go back to the island!"
"That's an interesting thought"

"Obama is a Muslim socialist Satanic Nazi who is going to take my guns and then kill you."
All together now,
"That's an interesting thought."

I'm sure you can think of many more instances to use this simple phrase and I encourage you to try it next time you find yourself in an irrational argument.

Make the world a better place. Maybe one day they'll give up.

The Internet is the Best Source

While hanging out with my sister one day, I said "let's blow this popsicle stand!" She said that sounded like something our Dad would say, and I said I was pretty sure I first heard it from our brother. We then began to wonder where the phrase came from, so we turned to Google and learned many things.

Anything you can imagine exists on etsy

Urban Dictionary was the first result, and in typical Urban Dicitonary fashion, there was one useful entry and then some more interesting ones. The useful entry defines the phrase as "A very silly way to say 'Let's get a move on.'" Thanks, I already knew that.

The second entry is a bit more entertaining: "Lame, 50's, white-people way of saying, "Let's get outta here!" Example sentence: "Golly Gee! There's a trouble a comin'! Let's Blow this Popsicle Stand!"
Then there is the great grand third entry. Because I have not been able to find any confident origin story for the phrase, this one has to remain on the table as a possibility:
"Legend has it that this term was first coined in the 1940's by a Jamaican named Antoine Cleo. Antoine Cleo believed that filling the area of a popsicle with deadly radiation, could be used against certain countries as biological warfare. He believed that the radiation had certain brainwashing chemicles inside of it and that placing the popsicles at stands at random areas could allow more people to buy the popsicles, thus was his plan for world domination.

However, his plans were soon foiled when a strange cult called the Kindred Spirits (The Cult leader was Later identified as a man named Dushka Deshvky) blew up all the popsicle stands in America, including killing the perpetrator, Antoine Cleo.

"Lets blow this popsicle stand" was then started as an inside joke between 4 teenagers, then it spread throughout the United States, the phrase from then on meant, "Lets get out of here fast, before something bad happends to us."

Now maybe after hearing this, we can walk away a little wiser about what this phrase means."
Whoever wrote this definition included a source (Evil Minds of the 1900s), which in the world of academia gives it the most credibility (though a search of that works title does not produce any exact results).
Like I said, I was not able to find any confident results for the phrase origin. Yahoo! Answers "Best Answer" brings up the fact that it couldn't have come from earlier than 1924, because that's when popsicles were invented. Another contributor posits that "I think it was the same place that 'pop a squat' originated.'" One person says it comes from SNL's "Ambiguously Gay Duo," which I have never seen and therefore cannot confirm nor deny the truth of that statement. And of course, there is this:
"In the middle of the 20th century, when the back-street abortions were rampant, the FBI in the U.S. mounted an unprecidented crack down on the abortion providers. In an effort to avoid being arrested (or worse), the abortionists took to hiding their programs in ice cream parlours and popsicle stands. Anti-choice terrorists used the phrase to signal their compatriots to leave the store quickly just before the explosion in order to avoid dectection. Oh, and, I have no idea."
Someone brought it up on a Snopes forum, but that degenerated into people just saying they had or had not heard the phrase before and someone saying they thought it was "taco stand." StraightDope has some references to shows on which the phrase was used, but no origins.

Basically, lots of people know of the phrase, but no one has any idea where it comes from. It seems to have been spawned out of thin air, like how people thought maggots were spontaneously generated from rotting meat. So if you know where the phrase came from, please let the internet know, and you could basically become Louis Pasteur.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Malarky vs Airport Laziness

For the most part I love people.

Even the annoying ones, the loud ones, the quiet ones, the ones that think they're funny but they aren't. I love them all.

But I hate a lot of human behavior.

Exhibit A: I'm in the Baltimore Maryland Airport. All of the convenient outlet benches are taken (by people without electronics of course) so I'm sitting on the floor next to a pole with an outlet in it.

"This swivel chair is the perfect place to read my book" -everyone in the airport 
 There are about three feet between the pole and a row of chairs, and me and my stuff take up most of that room.
But does that stop people?
They say, "oh, I don't want to walk an extra 10 feet around the chairs to get over to the window so I guess I'll just STEP OVER this girl and take the chance that her head doesn't bang up my laptop case."

You could say that airports bring out the best in me.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Good Glory

I may have a job cleaning campus bathrooms and I may have lived with an incontinent dog for many years, but nothing prepares you for the realization that the yellow crusty stuff down the toilet is probably vomit and it definitely isn't yours.

An Inspiration To Us All

I love Yahoo News, because it features a wide variety of badly edited articles that cover everything you never dreamed of wanting to know. For instance, "Degrees you can earn on your lunch break," "Best career paths for women" (the tagline is "Two jobs allow you to spend all day online" and the article doesn't really explain why any of these jobs would be great for women specifically) and "Charlize Theron's red carpet fun with Clinton." A few months ago, Yahoo News introduced me to Obie, the obese dachshund. He used to live with an elderly couple that fed him all the time, and when they died he was rescued at 77 lbs. This is what he looked like:
Here is a beached whale for comparison
His new owner made a Facebook page for him where you could follow his weight loss, and the posts are some of my favorite things on my news feed (only rivaled by the capybara I am friends with).
His current profile picture
Anyway, Obie has been doing really well with diet and exercise and now he looks really skinny from on top! And I am just so proud of him, because life has got to be hard when you have no idea why people stopped feeding you treats all the time and made you go for walks, but he is so happy! He's not my dog, nor do I have any personal connection to him, but I am so proud! 

More inspiring than Oscar Pistorius. Especially since he shot his girlfriend.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Challenge Accepted: Hiking the Hoodoos

There are a lot of liars out there.

Disneyworld is not the happiest place on earth.
The best part of waking up is brushing your teeth, not Folgers in your cup.
Yes I can eat just one potato chip.

Don't be fooled--these people hate their lives.
But I am here to tell you that there is one thing in this crazy world that tells the truth.

The Queen's Trail/Navajo Loop in Bryce Canyon truly is the most beautiful 3-mile hike in the world.

I went to the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago and stopped by Bryce Canyon. We didn't have time to go down the amphitheater, but I was intrigued by the "Hike the Hoodoos Challenge". The free newsletter said that the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge was half scavenger hunt half hike with a special prize at the end. I searched the internet for at least three minutes trying to find clues to the "special prize" with no prevail. I promised myself that I would do the challenge and post a picture of the prize. Someday.

So I finally returned and hiked the hoodoos. We followed the signs down into the red towering rocks. The trail was steep down but mostly flat at the bottom, meandering through pine trees and tumbling scree. We took selfies at special markers and anticipated the special prize.

After two hours of being struck with wonder, we returned to the Visitor's Center and talked to the working park ranger:
"I completed the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge."
"So...what do I do now?"
"Do you have any pictures?"
And I emphatically showed her my selfies. And she then handed me my prize. I felt like a hipster walking around with my prize--a seasoned hiker, a Bear Grylls-apprentice, a Steve Irwin tributee. But in a much larger sense, a poser. Because I am no where close to any of those things. But that just gives you an idea of how incredible the prize is.

Google image woman who also felt like a poser
Final word: I know that this is the most beautiful hike in the world because I've hiked every hike in the world. Ok that's a lie. But I did promise I would reveal the secret prize. Ok that's a lie too.

I guess I'm just like everyone else.

Friday, April 12, 2013


We read T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" in one of my classes, and talked about how Eliot makes tons of references to works of classic literature, places, things he remembers hearing once, etc. The poem is very hard to read without having the exact same life and background as Eliot, so to try and bridge this gap in understanding, Eliot eventually made some footnotes. This made me think about how there are many things that I say and do that make sense (and are funny) to me because I'm referencing something, but are completely random to others.
For instance, I love Spongebob. A lot. If you know me, you might have heard a few of these gems:
Arrested Development favorites:
This one came in handy the other day when I accidentally crushed
my brother's balsa wood airplane. He's 24, so I think he's gotten
over it by now...
30 Rock:
This is just all around the best movie

These kids know what I'm talking about
  • "Sometimes, we take it away!"-a video of 4-year-old me yelling at Malarky because she wouldn't let me get on my bike


In case you have been waiting with baited breath, I give you an update on my bucket of grass. Basically, it is dead. I couldn't tell if I was watering it too much or not enough, but then one day some white, cob-webby mold started growing in the dirt, so I guess the answer was "too much." Unfortunately, I didn't really know what to do about the mold, and now pretty much the whole bucket is dead, dry, brown grass. Interestingly enough, though, it kind of seems like the brown grass grows and gets thicker, so I'm not sure what's going on there.
Another sad story: my camera is broken and my phone doesn't
take pictures, so I had to take these with the webcam on my laptop.
 I have not completely given up on it, though. As long as some of it still grows, I can still trim it, which is something I always wanted to do to my Barbies, but couldn't.

Now ain't that nice?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

To the Ombrophiles

I hate the rain. Said no one ever.

Except me. But I'm here to tell all you "rain lovers" that you don't actually love the rain, you just love the idea  of rain.

 But first a little background:

I have a 25 minute walk to campus. 25 minutes there, 25 minutes back. I treasure this time because it is when I have most of my original ideas. It also burns 145 calories, meaning I can eat an extra cookie for snack.

So this is a normal rainy morning for me: after waking up to a cheerful alarm, I check the weather. 60% chance of rain all day. Drats. Now I can't wear my moccasins, because no matter what the lady at Payless said, the "water proof spray" is not effective. But, knowing Utah, it will probably be warm later, meaning I shouldn't wear anything too constricting so I opt for sneakers. I borrow my roommate's umbrella without asking (no that is not stealing) and head out the door. I spend the next 25 minutes doing everything in my power to avoid puddles, but always fail. Water gets in my shoes so my socks get wet and gather mold and my toes will be pruny all day. I'll also sound like Spongebob walking down the SWKT tile floor. For some stupid reason I believed that the umbrella would protect my hair so I dried it instead of just putting it up and now it's all over the place in a half wet/half dry staticy mess. The umbrella also doesn't reach all the way so my knees get wet with every step and my 5-year-old North Face backpack is damp and my notebooks are soggy. On especially good days, I'll get splashed by a car like in the movies. Unlike in the movies, an attractive man doesn't show up with a dry jacket. No I just trudge along to campus looking like a drowned rat.

So you can imagine how happy I am when two primped up girls step out of their Audi in the parking lot at the bottom of campus.
Girl 1: "Omg it's raining!"
Girl 2: "Good thing I brought an umbrella!"
Girl 1: "I just love the rain"
Then they see the wet hair stuck to my face and my shirt sticking to my body and scowl and walk away fast.

Tell me how much you love the rain, I dare you.
Let me tell you why people say they love rain:
1. It makes flowers grow
2. It sounds pretty against the windows
3. It cools down hot days
4. It leaves a rainbow
But notice; none of these things actually involve touching rain.

You see, people love the idea of rain. Just like people loved the idea of Google+ and making The Hobbit into three movies. But when it actually comes down to it, no one likes having to sort their friends into circles or watching midgets drink themselves silly for half an hour.

This was entertaining the first 5 minutes.
But actually touching rain sucks.

And if anyone wants to prove me wrong, meet me outside my apartment at 9:30am next time it rains. We can walk together.

Don't bother with an umbrella.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sad Life of a Book Cover Model

As I mentioned earlier, I have to read a lot of young adult fiction and when you inhale that simple genre in a short amount of time you notice patterns. I talked about authors earlier. This is another observation.

Recent young adult fiction catches the teen eye in one simple way: putting random attractive people on the cover. Here are the three most recent ya novels I read:

I have two main questions:
1. Who are these people?
2. How did they get themselves on book covers?

I am not the only one to have these questions. But in a much larger sense, I am. The five other people wondering about this just want to know how they can get THEMSELVES on a cover.

One man said many publishing companies get stock photos of people off websites like gettyimages and istockphoto. These people are paid whenever their photos are used.
The only other way to get on a book cover was through an "in" with the company or author.

So I guess the answers are
1. These people are either connected to the author or random models already online
2. Random/luck

But here's the real question:
Why are they all scowling?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Don't Know Why I Thought These Things

Up until a few months ago, I thought Green Day was a British band. Which always made me think that them talking about not wanting to be an American idiot was unnecessarily cruel, because you know what, you don't need to worry about that, you're British! But they're from California, so yes, they probably do need to worry about that.
Hmm...seeing this earlier may have been helpful.
Or I may have thought they were just being ultra-ironic.
I also thought John Williams, the film score composer, was dead. I could have sworn that I had seen an obituary.

What more could you live for, with such a touching tribute as this?
Another person who is not dead, but I often think is: Fidel Castro. Or maybe the Communists have really stepped up the whole corpse preservation game.
And they've gotten into dress-up!