Category Archives: Feature Stories

These stories are written by me for my own personal enjoyment, about things I encountered

Oh! Mon Frere!

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Mon Frere

 

            Call them amigos, pals, allies, or friends: we all have them. By definition, a friend is someone you hold emotionally close. There are three basic types of these companions. Types include the best friend, the acquaintance , and the “can I borrow money and/or have a ride somewhere” friend. All types are common and are easily identifiable but are important in varying degrees.

            The most enjoyable type of friend is the best friend. Best friends always listens to you no matter how ridiculous the situation. For example, the best friend refrains from saying “I told you so” after a tumultuous relationship with a significant other. The best friend sings awesomely bad music from artists such as The Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys without hesitation through the most populated of city streets and points to cars at red lights to serenade them. This type of friend keeps secrets safe, makes fun of you when you say something dumb, and always knows how to cheer you up. Whether it be a favorite movie, beverage, or ex-boyfriend to make fun of the best friend knows appropriate times to unleash these poor mood busters.

            High school classmates, former co-workers, and friends of best friends fall in to the category of acquaintance. Social interaction with acquaintances include and are usually limited to an occasional Facebook comment, a smile and wave in public and the recanting of the one time you spent time together with a group of friends. The acquaintance is a good outsider to listen to the occasional very broad problem but does not know you like the best friend. Acquaintances may also be best friends that have grown apart from you ,in one way or another, but no hard feelings exist.

            Perhaps the most undesirable type of friend is the ‘”can I borrow money and/or have a ride somewhere” pal. This friend is most likely a former best friend who really ticked you off in some manner or another and tries to talk to you at any cost. The “can I/will you” is only after your attention to gain something that you have such as money, a dependable car, or good advice and they do not care about what is going on in your life.

Other dead giveaways include text messages or phone calls saying “I really need you to help me”  or “I do not know what I am going to do.” After the conversation is not all about them, they will abruptly make an excuse to end the talk.

            The three varying types of friends are all easily identifiable and can affect your life adversely if you let them, for better or worse. Best friends are the hardest to find and the most difficult to lose. Acquaintances are good for an unbiased opinion and the last type is the most aggravating.

Can you Dig it?

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There’s a certain point where it’s not worth fighting anymore. It’s not admitting defeat, it’s admitting the reality that is. I know I’m not the easiest person to get along with, but once you get to know me you can’t help but like me.

Everyone has at least one person they can’t get through to. Sometimes it’s not a matter of who is wrong and who is right, it’s just that personalities clash.

A lot of it has to do with communication. A few semesters back a writing prompt was assigned to describe a time when communication actually worked as intended.

It’s a task easier said than done, especially with the dawn of texting and instant messaging. I know at least one thousand of my texts have been misunderstood due to my dry sense of humor. A friendly “ I hate you” is translated to “I am not joking I really hate you very easily.”

I find myself over using text lingo to save myself, but it takes away from my personality. Anyone who knows me, knows how to make excuses to me. I thrive on irony. I can cut you down to size with a smile because I know how great you really are.

I harass my friends constantly. They know I would take a bullet for them (well not really but you get the point).

If anything, technology drives humans apart. The written language is slowly dying to “LOL” and “where r u”?

I get that texting is supposed to be quick, but that does not mean it has to be almost illegible or completely bastardizing the English language.

I admit olde English writing is annoying. Ye this ye that, who gives a … well you get the point. Robert Burns has a place in any literature book to show how far we have come as a society, but I am not particularly fond of him. I can appreciate the way almost anyone conducts themselves as long as they try and understand how I am.

Some of my friends are burnouts, atheists, agnostics, catholics, overachievers, and even Neo-Nazis. Do I agree with all of their convictions…not exactly but anyone with a half open mind is alright in my book. I am also not sure what or where my book is but, again, you get the point.

The same goes for music. I can dig the way another person expresses themselves but that doesn’t mean I have to buy their music. I rock to Motley Crue and Slipknot, ball with Lil’ Wayne and Tupac, chill with Bob Marley and mellow with The Grateful Dead. I get the blues with Janis and rhythm when I get the blues with Johnny Cash.

You can respect something but not necessarily like it. I can’t get down with Justin Timberlake… ok well if I drink enough I can, but that’s another story. I don’t care for the particulars of most country music but I can sympathize with the sorrow they express.

I’ve been known to mend a broken heart with Jack Daniels and Patsy Cline. Music is a lot like people are, it all has a purpose and somehow it all just flows together.

A Rant of Reality

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Once upon a time, there was a charismatic president of the United States, and people disliked him because of his skin color and “liberal ways.” his Congress of fools voted mercilessly against his policies regardless of how good they were.

“You’re a socialist” they would exclaim. A GOP candidate even told him “No one ever died from not having healthcare.” Fortunately, I have a good insurance plan under Obamacare; if not I’d be a goner. As for Socialism, it ain’t all bad; it’s selfless nature if you ask me.
But what can we really do except sit back and watch the show. As the intensity grows we’ll just pop another bag.

A rally for “the 99%” now had a muddled message, but even when it was clear as crystal, nothing changed. S&P is down, while oil prices and corporate greed are at an all time high. A new law was passed to forgive student loans, but why don’t we just “nip the problem in the bud.” A book is more than my paycheck and I don’t even enjoy it. What can we do except watch it all fall down, keeping our heads above water trying not to drown.

If 2012 is the end, we could be better off that way. As for me, I’ll keep my bank account stocked up a bit and my credit in check. I’ll stay hopeful for “change” because it’s what we need. In a place where two of the same can’t marry and wage gaps exist, something has to be different and that’s just the gist.
But what can we really do in reality, except sit back and watch the circus. As the lions roar we’ll just pick some more cotton candy.

If wanting to help the working class makes me  a liberal (with a negative connotation), I’ll take it as a compliment. Why must we label everyone and everything? I at least hope there are peanuts in my Planter’s bag and I know not to put my hand near the blade. I know hot temperatures burn, and ashes are in an urn. I know just how much monetarily I own.
It’s not a lot but it’ll do just fine. I’ll hold on to this 169,000 mile car of mine.
What can I really do in my life, I’ll sit back and watch the festivities. Pop another bottle. Enjoy the sunshine.

Darwinism and Cosmo

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Disclaimer labels insult our intelligence.

A bag of Planters Peanuts has ingredient as peanuts…along with a warning for people with nut allergies.

Do not operate machinery while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Milk even has an ingredient of milk…oh and vitamins too.

My dollar store Magic Duster Swiffer thing tells me I should only use it for cleaning purposes. Don’t drink bleach. Refrigerate after opening

. Please recycle. Alcohol may cause health problems. Don’t stick your hand in to the cappucino machine. Your coffee beverage MAY be hot. Well, I paid for a hot coffee damnit and I wanted a bag of peanuts so this bag better contain them.

     I am staying at home while enjoying my alcoholic beverage so who needs to operate a car? Drinking bleach doesn’t sound like fun to me, recycling should be a choice and what could I possibly use my Swiffer for other than cleaning?

     Maybe I should get more creative like those people who write in to Cosmo. Is that really something to aspire to be? I like to think of my blog as a PG experience… so I won’t go in to graphic detail but let’s just say I’m afraid of heights and not as flexible as those girls.

     Well anyway, I think warning labels and laws defeat the purpose of Darwinism. Aside from the turtles from Galapagos or some nonsense like that, Darwin had a good principle for life and I look at it this way: stupid people do dumb things, hurt themselves and if they continue to do dumb things they die. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing.

     Go ahead. Judge me. But I think it should be up to an individual’s discretion on how to go about running a lawnmower even if it ends with them putting their fingers in to the blades. I bet they won’t do it next time. I am not saying I am the smartest person, but I learned a lot from firsthand experience.

        Do not drink on an empty stomach. Driving while drowsy is a bad idea. Chances are if it smells wicked bad…don’t drink it. Do not move a lamp with a broken shade while you have furniture oil on your hands or you will end up with a second degree burn and a permanent scar.

     Yes. I have done that before. If your older brother wants to play “demolition derby” with his yellow metal Tonka truck and your magenta Barbie van… don’t let him. I still haven’t forgiven him for that.

     Did I learn everything I need to know and is it completely practical? Well… not exactly. If I told you everything I learned… well… your life would not be that exciting now would it? So what can we deduce from this whole array of words?

     To be honest not a whole hell of a lot but at least it took up some of your time. Maybe you learned to not read anymore of my columns, but hopefully yo\u enjoyed wasting some time reading this

Confessions of a College Student

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It’s tough being awesome sometimes. I only have a few decades on  me. I’m a semester away from my associate’s degree. I have a job in my career field. I have my car paid off and I have my own place. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal right?
    Well, let’s put it this way. I work a full time job to pay my bills. My part time job furthers my career but only covers my gas costs for the month.
    I go to community college because it’s all I can afford.
    My current car is my third and was gifted to me because I blew the engine in my Taurus I just shelled out $1200 to fix.
    My friends ask me for rides all the time and don’t have the money to compensate my gas whore.
    Having a bad day and need a place to crash? Yup, my couch is where it’s at!
    Need a place to drink without parents breathing down your neck. My place is the place to be!
    If anyone needs an English, philosophy, ethics, or argument paper written, I am so your chick.
    I should be a life coach. I would probably make way more money doing that then writing real estate feature stories.
    Overpriced two-story home renovated in the same year I was born is a “great buy.” Yeah that’s me too.
    My job is the perfect culmination of the truth and leaving out MINOR details such as how horrific the backyard area is but at least there are skylights in the master bedroom!
    My own apartment is nothing special. One bedroom, full bathroom, two-seater kitchen and large living room. Retro carpeting throughout and a bay of windows in the living room.
    Classic 1970’s style kitchen with plenty of cabinet space.
    My apartment made me start to pray more.
    “200 year old historic building has original wiring by Thomas Edison.”
    Any day my hairdryer or microwave does not burn down the building is a good day.
    Cable included along with water, sewer, garbage and electricity.
    A neighbor who likes to party until 4a.m and another who gets up at 5a.m and roams the hallway also included.
    Off-street parking is offered for those who are not a fan of parallel parking.
    Access to interstates 80 and 81 as well as routes 93 and 309 is a hop,skip, jump, or gas pedal away!
    The quaint area is family oriented and the post office and Whispering Willows park are the best neighbors anyone could ask for.
    The area is so small that you cannot go anywhere without seeing someone you know.
    Any “quick trip” to the neighboring shopping facilities soon turns in to a two-hour excursion catching up with everyone from your elementary school teacher to your high school friend’s mother’s uncle’s cat groomer.
    The living room has a lovely celestial tapestry hanging on the ceiling.
    In reality: the ceiling has water damage from 1989 and was never replaced.
    Puke green shag carpeting is featured in the 18×24 living room and yellow-orange is in the bedroom.
    There are two bleach spots in the spacious living room that are covered with $50 rugs from Bed Bath and Beyond.
    So after this little tirade I’ll get to the positive aspects.
    I like that my friends look to me to help them out. In fact, it’s nice to be needed! When I go through breakups or a bad day they are always here for me with a bottle of Moscato to lend a hand!
    Fact: I like writing, and (community) college gave me the opportunity to meet some really great people.
     On a Saturday, the post office is the best place to catch up on the gossip from the Desperate Housewives of the Valley.
    I have the gift of gab and I like chatting with people.
    Knowing that I will see someone I know no matter where I go gives me motivation to dress nicely.
    Being gifted a car lets me know my friends believe in me.
    My apartment is a throwback from the “good old days” and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    I have another confession to make, I’m no fool.
    Do I want to live here forever and write about houses? … Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. For now it works.

Miss Independent.

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Single ladies. Independent Women. Survivor. I will Survive. These are the songs of today… yesteryear gave us My Boyfriend’s Back and Mr.Postman. Well… the postal service is not used as much for letters as it is for Amazon internet purchases, and I’m pretty sure a protective boyfriend could make threats on Facebook, OoVoo, or Skype.

Ernest Hemingway and countless other authors had books published posthumously containing all the letters they wrote to friends, family, loved ones, and forbidden loves. The Museum at Bethel Woods even had a blues exhibit containing letters written home by Janis Joplin. The words on the paper were penned with meticulous, unruly behavior. The way the ink flowed through the sentence structure and talks of making it to her 27th birthday sent shivers down my entire body.

Facebook doesn’t let us see pure emotion. Yes, it’s unfiltered but it’s also unrefined. Will there be books simply titled “Statuses” or “tweets?” I know from personal experience that sarcasm does not convey well through plain text, and over usage of emoticons gets old after awhile. Then again, even in everyday speech there are misunderstandings.

My first semester as a journalism major, we were assigned a series of thought provoking statements, to which we were supposed to give an example of from our own lives.

Name a time when communication worked. That was easier said than done. Simple statements such as “no” and so on were easily communicated, but when it comes to matters of the heart… forget about it.

So have things really changed?

“Nevermind I’ll find someone like you…”

I don’t think so.

How to Make it (Classy) on A (community) College Budget

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Let’s face it. Kids these days are lazy. I personally only work a full time job and one part time job while going to school full time. Even though I work all the time I still never have any money. Why you may ask? Gas is only around $4 a gallon, and so is milk. I’m lactose intolerant so a 1/2 gallon of soy is about $3 (you can do the math for the cost of a gallon, as you know I’m not a math major.) So rather than whining about how poor I am, I IMPROVISE. Any other ways to do so are greatly appreciated! Enjoy!

1. Invest in boxed wine, and drink it with your pinky out because you can’t afford the “good stuff.” What wine really boils down to is fermented fruit anyway.

2. If you can’t afford to pick up some boxed wine, drink iced tea or any other beverage out of a super fancy plastic wine “glass” from the dollar store.

3. Purchase some red lipstick. Preferably in an obnoxious shade I like to call Julia Roberts’ character in Pretty Woman-esque. Even if you’re just mosey-ing around your apartment you still feel distinguished.

4. Who says you need a fireplace? Purchase a yule log DVD and light up a candle that smells similar to a cozy wood fire.

5. Once a month treat yourself to a grossly expensive dining out adventure so you feel less sad about making minimum wage (i.e Olive Garden.)

6. E-books are your friend. Even though I prefer traditional paper and texts I prefer free things. I prefer older books which are usually free on my Nook, so kudos to me!

7. Redbox is another close friend. $1 a night to rent a movie is cheaper than $10 to see a new movie. Then again, if you play your cards right and set up a bunch of dates for dinner and a movie, you don’t ever have to pay to see a movie in a theatre.

8. Speaking of movie theatres take advantage of having a huge purse and stuff the hell out of it with your own IF you have to pay for a movie.

9. Drive-in movies are even better. Cheaper. You can fit a lot of snacks and adult beverages in your car.

10. Since you are probably too poor to go on any sort of vacation especially in the winter, wait for a sunny day, turn the heat on full blast in your car and sip on coconut water. It feels like a real live vacation…until you get out of the car.

11. Spa Masks. Since you can’t afford a vacation too, you sure as Hell can’t afford a spa day. I have learned that the more horrific the photo of the person on the $2 packaging, the more soothing the botanical mask.

12. Buy boozing munchies in advance. The best way to do this is while intoxicated. Con a friend in to being your Designated Driver and then you can pick up what you know you’ll be in the mood for the next time you’re drunk (and at a lower cost)!

13.Befriend thy neighbours. Less of a drive to visit them (if any.) It’s a plus if they live close to the bar… no taxi fare to get home.

14. Keep a case or two of bottled water in your car. Everyone knows classy bitches drink bottled water… not everyone needs to know you’re broke. A single bottle is about $1.25 or a case of 12 or so is about $5. Again, you do the math.

15. If your grandparents, parents, friend’s parents or a random stranger with candy invited you to dinner. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. If you know you are going to be especially poor, set up days in advance so you won’t have to go grocery shopping with the $10 on your debit card.

Location location location

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It’s the first thing I ever got all by myself. A place to call my own without Mom and Dad’s approval, because I am now a “responsible adult” which sounds strange but when put in to context I guess it holds true.

My mother’s jaw dropped when she opened the door to my new apartment. Shag carpeting, velvet wallpaper, and 30 years of cleaning the previous occupant had ignored.

I saw the potential for a good thing under the disintegrated wallpaper. A week that seemed to last a lifetime later I had it all figured out, with a little help from my friends.

During those seven days, the earth and it’s inhabitants were not created, but a bachelor pad was converted to chick-friendly living quarters.

Even though it was MINE and mine alone Mom still had tons of direction she intended me to strictly follow.

  1. The broom should go in the closet in the living room so it is out of sight
  2. Keep this place clean
  3. No matter what I will insist on doing your laundry
  4. I will send home cooked meals over but I expect my Tupperware back in a timely manner
  5. If I don’t receive my Tupperware back you get nothing (as if I had stolen “fizzy lifting drink”)
  6. Expect visits from us, your parents
  7. Dishes should be done daily
  8. Make sure you sleep enough

These rules were not written, they might as well have been but they were advised in a very motherly way, using the power of suggestion.

Rules in motherly terms:

  1. “You know a good place for this would be in this nice little closet.”
  2. “Your aunt, grandmother, and I helped a lot with getting this place ready.”
  3. “Since the laundry mat across the road closed, you’re just better off having me do it for you because you get busy.”
  4. “Here’s leftovers that I don’t want to go bad, and I just got these nice new containers for them…”
  5. “If you don’t give me the containers back, I’ll have nothing to put stuff in for you.”
  6. “We’ll have movie nights and such once you get settled in, or if we’re near by we will just stop by.”
  7. “You live by yourself so if you just keep up on these plates and such you’ll be good.”
  8. “if you stay up late, you’ll pay for it the next day, and you don’t want to waste an entire day sleeping… unless you need it then it is fine.”

I, of course had my own set of rules:

1.The broom can go anywhere because this is my home( the middle of the kitchen floor, just so I could see the look on my mother’s face)

2.I clean when I have time, mostly after I have a few friends over and we knock a few back

3. I will suggest I will come over and do laundry, but it is expected you’ll just end up doing it anyway

4. Home cooked meals are great even though I know how to cook , but I intend on forgetting your containers

5. I will continue to forget your containers, but eventually I will get them back to you

6. I will be more than happy to see you and Dad but you are not getting a key to my house

7. I will leave at least one dish in the sink at any given time, because it is my God given right

8. I stay up too late “studying” and sometimes pay for it in the form of a headache

My mom summed it up the best when I thanked her for doing my laundry, picking up a few little groceries, dropping off dinner, and coming over for a movie, “that’s what moms do,” and me letting her do my laundry is my way of saying I may be grown up but I still need her.

Tenth anniversary

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Since September 11,2001 much has changed… but nothing more than me.  I have grown up in countless ways, bittered by the trials and tribulations of the “oppressed” life as an American college student, working two jobs, only to have my net pay consumed in fossil fuels , but this is still the country I am proud to call home.

As the tenth anniversary had come and gone, I got to thinking. The death of about 3,000 people can be commemorated by a collector’s coin, coffee mug, and American flags made courtesy of China.

One could even view it as capitalizing on misfortune. The same people who made our clothes, children’s toys, shoes, and flag pins also help our unemployment rates rise.

There were talks of a 20-something dollar admission price at the Ground Zero memorial. The moral of the story is that you can pay your respects in tears, but we prefer cold, hard, cash.

When I think back to that day, not many solid details stick out from before the first tower fell, but what I do remember is the resurgence of patriotism after all was said and the damage was done.

I still remember the first time I saw footage of the towers falling. I had returned home from school, still excited for the beginning of my fourth grade year, and my parents were glued to the television.

My heart ached. I suddenly felt unsafe in my own home, my own country. I felt helpless, because there was nothing I could do to change the reality of the situation, and then I went outside and played.

Initially, I moved on from the situation quickly, yet ten years later the wound is re-opened worse than ever. Our safety had been compromised, two wars later I’m still unsure of what other attacks might be forged on our soil.

With all the news coverage, it feels like the Twin Towers fell just yesterday, my grieving process had just begun. I felt sick to my stomach and lethargic, until I thought back to my nine-year old self.

The fourth grade me dealt a lot better than the second-year college student me. Sometimes you just need to go outside and play.

Andy Petonak

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Andy is the type of guy who is all over the place, and needs constant reassurance that he is needed. Socially awkward is probably the best way to describe him in a nutshell but that does not capture him completely.
It is so easy to judge someone on such little things like the way they dress, and write them off as an intelligent human being. Based on how Andy dresses, we can accurately gather that he worries more about his values than how he appears to others.
Andy is the nerdy kid that everyone made fun of in middle school. Andy is the un-cool guy with the Uncle Jesse hair who pokes fun at himself. Andy has a moral compass that would rival the pope’s, speaks softly, and ALWAYS does the right thing; which makes him such an easy target.
I remember the first day I met him, this was the first time I also realized he was a living, breathing, fashion faux paus. Black shoes with white socks, and he is not Michael Jackson. Who does he think he is? I turned to my classmate, and my thoughts came pouring out of her mouth, “Andy white socks, really?”
Naturally, we were in the famous circle formation in the back of the classroom when this took place. “Gang, can we head to the circle.” I can’t hear those words without cracking a smile. Andy’s rationale is that by removing desks, and computer screens, we would be more vulnerable, yet more apt to share. I hate to admit it, but he is right.
While working on a lab, Andy was looking over my shoulder and says “Don’t worry, Trish, it’s just me.” I am unsure who else it really could have been and maybe he knew something I did not, like some guy just stalks me and reads over my writings.
The best word to describe Andy is awkward. He is almost too polite for his own good. In a situation where someone would casually sit next to a classmate, Andy will ask “may I take this seat next to you, and move your personal belongings?” In a world where we are all in a hurry, and we misplace our manners Andy just does not fit in, and that may not be such a bad thing after all.