Rick and Morty = Catharsis

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One of my close friends introduced me to Rick and Morty and I immediately fell in love with it.  At first, I just thought it was really funny and an interesting parody of Back to the Future.  In summary, it is about the adventures of a young kid called Morty, and his grandfather named Rick who’s a brilliant, alcoholic scientist.  But when I kept watching the episodes over and over again, I realized that there was a certain level of catharsis I felt after every episode.  Rick and Morty is a unique adult cartoon in that the comedy is just as relevant as the emotional moments.  Also, the existential euphemisms that are said throughout each episode hit hard while also allowing you to feel less responsible for the bullshit surrounding your life.  For instance, when in one of the episodes, Rick explains to Morty that, in summary, love is just a chemical reaction that drives us to reproduce and marriage is a waste of time (basically an illusion).  Although these are not new ideas being presented in any quotes of the show, it’s the way it’s presented that becomes funny and relatable to adults, especially late 20-somethings.  Qualities like this make Rick and Morty one of the best adult animated shows ever made, in my opinion.

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Existential Crisis 60% of the time, all the time: 

The reason I say it’s most relatable to late 20-somethings is because we have hit the point in our lives where we realize that all the dreams we had growing up will most likely not happen and we just have to settle for the life we have available.  This realization of realistic goals and the hopelessness involved in it is a main theme that seems to drive the show.  For instance, at the end of the episode “Rick Potion #9,” Rick and Morty completely changed the universe and every person except their family turn into monsters.  Rick decides to send them to an alternate universe where this did not happen in order to continue their lives.  However, their other selves in this new universe die in a freak accident right before they get there, so they have to bury their other selves and take their places in their alternative universe family.  At first, Morty is traumatized by this incident and has a difficult time coping with the fact that he buried himself.  But then, a few episodes later when they’re watching TV with the rest of the family, Morty’s sister Summer becomes upset and Morty wants to console her.  He does this by saying, “nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die, come watch TV.”  This is within a matter of two episodes that Morty eventually copes with his mortality and understands how hopeless and meaningless life can be.

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Humor and Ignorance:

On the flip side, however, it also relates best with our age group because of it’s humor.  Most of us have a dry sense of humor that teases on the ridiculousness of social expectations.  At the beginning of the “Rickle in Time” episode, Rick says a joke about an obscure reference to Morty and Summer, and they both laugh at it.  Then he responds with, “Oh, you agree, huh?  You like that redgren grumbholdt reference? Yeah. Well, guess what? I made him up. You really are your father’s children. Think for yourselves. Don’t be sheep.”  It hits the radical bone in a person while also being hilarious.  Morty’s father, Jerry, is depicted as a fairly unintelligent individual that is constantly trying to prove himself as “man of the house,” and most jokes about the mundane life of social expectations usually center around him and his failing marriage to Rick’s daughter and Morty’s mother, Beth.  A perfect example of this is the entire episode of “M-Night Shaym-Aliens!” when Jerry is in a poorly-made simulation that aliens created without realizing it, and ends up having the best day of his life without doing anything remotely intuitive.  All the while, not even considering that anything was weird about the day at all, even though the simulated people were clearly acting robotically and unreal.  This show plays off the ignorance of people in society, and flips it on the person to wake them up to their universes.

Catharsis: 

With all this, why I truly find joy and catharsis from watching this show is that I work in, more or less, customer service.  All day, everyday I deal with people that put their own, sometimes insignificant needs in front of anything else going on around them.  I work at an abortion and family planning clinic that, although most situations and concerns of our patients are true and real, there is always a handful of people we deal with on a daily basis that love to ruin people’s lives with their petty bullshit.  Whether it’s insurance issues that are out of our hands, the protesters outside of our clinic that we have no control over, their own personal lives that we have nothing to do with, or literally anything else they feel like making up to vent their emotions out on someone, we have to deal/fix these problems with a smile on our faces.  And watching a show that makes fun of people that care too much about bullshit and slaps people in the face with the reality that nothing matters and everything is random feels really…really good.

So there you have it.  Watch the show.

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I work at an abortion clinic, and love my job.

Hey all,

I have not posted in a long, incredibly long time.  I guess posting thoughts online has not been something I’ve made time for as of late, but it seems like a good time to change that.  With recent events, the presidential race, and my overall state of mind, I felt that it was right to share my experiences…hopefully shed some light on a complex issue.  One, I hope, does not have to be complex one day.

I work at an abortion clinic in Colorado.  I’m not going to say which one, in what city, or any specific details because it truly does not matter.  I have been there for over one year now, and truly love waking up and going to work every day.  We have a small staff but a large clinic, and see many patients throughout the week.  Although about 90% of our clinic’s focus is on abortion care, we still have a smaller side of the clinic dedicated to contraceptive and family-planning care.  Needless to say we’re pretty busy.

But, why I’m bringing this up, and why I feel like it’s important to talk about, is that abortion has been attacked a lot more recently than in the past few years, and I really want to know why the hell, in 2016, it is still up for debate?  Why is it, that my job is always on the line of being available or nonexistent even though I’m just there to provide health care?  These are questions I would love for someone to answer for me, because regardless of whether you are against having an abortion yourself, or you think someone should have full access, what you believe should never interfere with the basic right of health care for other people.  Right?  Or is that too much of a considerate thought for humans to respect each other at a basic level?

Every single day, I have patients from all walks of life.  All ethnicities, all ages (of available fertility) from various different backgrounds, speaking different languages, and from multiple financial statuses…all coming in for the same appointment.  They all have different stories.  Some come from difficult backgrounds that don’t allow them to provide for raising a child, some pregnancies resulted from rape, some  from an abusive partner, or some patients are minors that can’t even drive yet.  Yes…there are definitely stories like that.  Those are always the stories people want to hear when they consider abortion as acceptable.  People want to hear a difficult story full of hardship, so as to make the abortion justified.  But what about everyone else?  Actually, to be more honest…what about the other 75% of people that do not have a difficult story, and really just do not want to be pregnant or be a parent right then?  Is that not..ok?

I learned, as I have been working at my clinic, that it really is ok to not have a meaningful story to explain your abortion.  I don’t care.  Whatever reason you made it to your appointment and are continuing with your decision, it doesn’t matter.  No one should ever need to compare your story with someone else’s to see if one is worthy of a procedure over the other.  I will never be able to fully understand the complexities of your life, nor should anyone try to.  And the reason you want to have an abortion is not the main concern – the only thing that matters is that having an abortion is the decision you made for yourself (of course, only for yourself and no one is forcing you to do this).  That’s it.  That is all I need to know.  Unfortunately that’s a fact that took me a little while to completely understand, but I’m glad I did.

Having an abortion is an extremely safe process, whether it is through medication or a suction procedure.  The in-clinic procedure takes about 5-10 minutes for first-trimester pregnancies, and maybe 20-25 minutes for second-trimester.  Our clinic cannot perform procedures past 19 weeks so I can’t comment on third-trimester abortions, but I would definitely check out the documentary “After Teller” if you want more information on that process.  It does not affect your fertility in the future.  You can get pregnant within 2 weeks of having an abortion.  Also, in the rare instances that there are complications, they are almost always solved quickly and safely.  These are facts that people do not know, whether because of ignorance or lack of education.  So please, understand the facts before drawing conclusions on outdated and skewed information.  It is simple, easy, minimal risks, and can be less invasive than most medical procedures people have every single day.

Now, recently there was a shooting in Colorado Springs at the Planned Parenthood clinic.  I know people that work there.  They were there that day.  I found out about the shooting as I was visiting my family for the holidays, finishing some last minute shopping with my mom.  That was one of the most shocking moments of my life.  Not that an active shooter as a possibility is a surprise, but that these attacks have become so close to home.  We have protestors almost every single day and, although for the first week it bothered me, it quickly became an ignorable nuisance.  However, for the past few months, there has always been a small underlying hesitation of…what if?

It is sad to think that people can justify killing abortion providers as a healthier alternative than abortions being practiced.  You’re the murderer, you are killing a life.  In the Colorado Springs case, three lives.

I’m wholeheartedly proud of my job, and love my coworkers that are just as passionate about patient care.  There is nothing anyone could ever do to change my desire to be a part of abortion care, hopefully for the rest of my future career.  It is a medical procedure that should be as accessible as a colonoscopy.  Yeah, no one ever wants to do a colonoscopy, just like no one wants to have an abortion.  But safety and availability is very important for the two.  So please, regardless of your personal opinions, let that be so.  I love my job, let me keep it.

Freedom of Speech – What speech?

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I had an interesting discussion with my family last night about freedom of speech, and thought I’d follow up on some points I lacked the words to finalize throughout the night.  Unfortunately, I seem to come up with my best responses to questions 4 hours after I’m asked them, so here is my way of sharing those with the world.

Now, just a bit of background on my family and I: my opinions and ideas are pretty different from everyone else’s.  Not to say it’s a staunch difference with no middle ground, there definitely is on some points, but more or less I stand alone during these lovely discussions.  I lean towards a more liberal standpoint, while everyone else is a bit more on the conservative side.  Sometimes way more, but it depends.

So! With that being said, here is what was discussed.  The whole discussion started with the controversy over FIFA trying to have the Mexican soccer fans apologize for saying “puto” during the games.  It’s incredibly offensive toward gay men, and in my opinion, there should be some apology from the fans or team.  However, my family disagrees.  They saw this as a direct attack on freedom of speech.  According to my father, he describes this as the start of controlthought, controlspeech – basically 1984.

I couldn’t handle this being said.  I usually stay quiet around the family when said topics are brought up, so as not to constantly start an argument (which, with many of the things I’ve heard, I could probably start an argument every family gathering…but hey, who wants to be that guy all the time), but this I could not let slide.

I think it’s ridiculous how this country’s majority has started arguing that the protection of cultures, societies, or just different groups of people is a violation of the freedom of speech.  Since when has the freedom of speech been about, “hey, I want to insult gay people so as to make them feel less than myself and excluded…it’s my freedom of speech!”, instead of what it actually means, “hey, my ideas on the global economy’s impact on small business in the US is different than yours…let’s discuss!”  When the hell did that happen?!  I find it interesting that it’s become an issue only during the Obama administration.  The fact that democrats have been in power, suddenly not getting away with insulting people has become a violation of human rights instead of just punishment for being an asshole.

This, of course, bled into a discussion on race.  Sorry, but I wish it could be understood that no matter how much one wants to deny it, white males still have so much more privilege in society that it’s sick.  And the fact that I’m even having an argument with white males about race is kind of funny because race has never been an issue for them.  My brother and cousin are hispanic, but would first identify themselves as a Caucasian, male before anything else…I don’t know why.  Anyways, the discussion was on quotas and how certain employment positions, specifically in local and national government positions, are more likely to be served to minorities than white people.  This is a problem for them.

First, it’s kind of ironic since one of the positions being discussed was a police officer, when in fact, the majority of people in prison are minorities for crimes that a white person could have equally committed but not gotten as much punishment for.  That is happening throughout the country and it’d probably be hard to find a single shred of evidence has shown otherwise.  But I digress.

Quotas are unnecessary these days, I believe that.  However, their existence correlates with a bunch of other factors.  Take education for instance.  The way that society has created a  horrible education system, especially for inner cities, already leaves kids at a disadvantage.  Then there comes opportunities such as internships, jobs…anything that looks good on paper.  This isn’t always easy to come by, especially if someone is barely affording school as it is.  Now, suddenly this person, who is just as capable and willing as the next guy, is expected to just get a job right away, when on paper they don’t look as capable and willing as the next guy?  Society hasn’t  yet become as equal opportunity as white males would like to think.  Not yet.  There is still a fucking wage gap between men and women.  I get paid less because I have tits.  So yeah, not exactly equal opportunity yet.

From this point, we went on to discuss the arbitrary decision of who decides on what people should say, how they should be punished, and how this power shouldn’t be given to the states, but to the people.  I agree that society, most of the time, will take care of itself in these situations.  However, if you have something like a large group of soccer fans straight up insulting gay people, something needs to be done.  And as “arbitrary” of a decision it is, it’s necessary to get the point across that being an asshole is not right.  This is not controlling speech…that is not what it means.  And the fact that someone considers this as a violation of freedom says something about one’s outlook on life: I can say whatever I want to say about you, but how dare you insult the church.  Yeah, that makes so much sense.

In closing, I just want to make it clear that my cousin, brother, and father obviously don’t think it’s right that these Mexican fans are saying this, nor are they completely racist or sexist.  Their opinions are for the ideas, not on the words being said.  Also, I love that I can discuss these issues openly with my family, even though we have different ideas on life.  Because that’s freedom of speech in a nutshell. 

Net Neutrality – why so serious

I’ve been a bit busy the past few days running around with catering jobs and family events, so I haven’t had much time to write.  However, I listen to NPR as often as I can while driving now, since I was reminded when I moved back to Chicago how much the radio sucks these days.  And today, I was driving from the University of Chicago to come across a segment on Net Neutrality.

My boyfriend and I have been talking about this recently too (more like him explaining to me the details I knew nothing about), and it seems to be a hot topic on various websites obviously, but not on the news.  Why is this not being reported on as much?  Why is it that this doesn’t seem to be serious enough to cause a stir in the media outside of Reddit?  I honestly didn’t hear about this until I saw it on Reddit.  So I’m just wondering why this lacks importance in this country?

Some people might ask about the concern behind these questions, and trust me, there is a lot of concern.  This is the INTERNET people.  A technology that allows for open information to become available to ANYONE.  I apologize for the caps, but I feel it’s necessary.  I understand there are a lot of people out there taking this very seriously, but c’mon world!  Is it really not a problem for people that a capitalistic system will be taking over the internet, therefore making it a competitive field?  It doesn’t bother people that we might have to pay extra to get the internet we want, however already have today for free?  The fact that we already have internet service providers to pay is absurd, but now there will be priority based bandwidth to haggle for as well?

This is bullshit.  So Listen, the internet is the last free frontier for people to share information and ideas.  It is a scary thought that it might be controlled and regulated by the powers that be.  Recognize and do something about it people!

Paleo Maple Banana Bread

This recipe is super easy, it actually kind of reminds me of that stupid infomercial at 3am for this book on “dump it” recipes.  If you’ve seen it, you’ll laugh.

I got it from my favorite Paleo recipe book so far, its amazing and the recipes come out delicious every time.  I’ve especially been interested in it since I’m one for comfort food.

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Coming from Chicago, and from a pizza 24/7 eating family, I grew up on comfort food.  Unfortunately Paleo doesn’t always coincide with this lifestyle, so I found this book to be a great mediator of my two worlds.

A part of this world was my mom’s infamous banana bread.  I crave for it all the time.  Banana bread is a gift to man, but my mother’s banana bread is a gift for the gods.  And the thought of eating it and feeling sick afterwards bothers me, so I had to find some sort of alternative.  Here it is!  Although it will never be the same as my ma’s masterpiece, it’ll do.

…That means it’s really f*$%ing good.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 cup Butter, melted (you’ll use it to butter the pan too)

1/2 cup Maple Syrup

2 large Bananas (1 cup) – ripe and spotty, so they’re extra sweet

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2  teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon grounded cloves

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

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Process:

Okay I’m just going to write this right out of the book, and it’s their property, so ya know.

1.) Preheat oven to 325 degree Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease a 1.5 quart oven-safe loaf pan.

2.) In a large bowl, whisk together butter and maple syrup, then whisk in mashed banana and eggs.

3.) In another large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and spices.

4.) Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mis until thoroughly incorporated.  Pour the batter into the loaf pan.

5.) Bake until the edges are golden brown and the center of the cake is cooked through, about 50 minutes to 1 hour (I only needed 45 to 50 minutes).  Let the cake cool before removing from the pan.

And there ya go, man, enjoy!

Glamorized Jobs: the “Sexy Bartender”

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So I know I’ve explained earlier that I bartend, and have been doing it for about 3 years now (to some, I’m still an amateur, and I’m ok with that).  And based on my experience, although limited, I’ve seen the glamorization that comes with the job.  For some reason, bartenders are automatically really cool people.  The bartender handles alcohol, is knowledgeable about alcohol, and presents a welcoming personality for the crowd they are waiting on.  Along with all that, it is a customer service position, and it is usually a position filled by someone a bit more outgoing, experienced in life, and easily to talk to.  These are all traits that can obviously seem very attractive to the bar attendees.

However, I still find it very baffling that, regardless of the environment, the bartender comes off as far more alluring than that particular person would be if they were not tending bar.  And this could be alluring in a sexual manner, in a dangerous way, or just an exciting curiosity.  Nevertheless, the bartender is has suddenly elevated in a level of attraction.

I’ve bartended for bars, clubs, strip clubs, restaurants, and catering companies.  You can say I’ve been around a majority of different environments that bartenders would be present.  And, in every single situation, there was not a single shift that went by where I wasn’t talked to by someone with greater interest than is necessary.  This either led to a lengthy conversation about my background, an asking for my phone number, or a questioning of my relationship status.

Now…what leads people to do this?  I’m a moderately attractive woman, no Coyote Ugly chicka, but I have been hit on in random, daily situations on occasion.  But, this never happens nowhere near as often as while I’m working.  When I’m bartending, it’s as if suddenly I turned into Jennifer Lawrence and all eyes on me, when before I walked in the room unnoticed.

With all this, I guess it’s just being in a position of serving alcohol while trying to seem appealing to others.  All the while, working in a position that has been sexualized by media.  Look at receptionists, air stewards, housekeepers, and many others that have fallen in the same stereotype: a female in a position of service and willing to be taken advantage of.  (And, before I go further, I understand this pertains to men in the same situation, but I’m female, so that’s what I go with at first, sorry.)  This creates this allure of being open to anything and everything…at your service.

As much as I love bartending, and still enjoy most of the interactions I have with my customers and co-workers, this never-ending glamorization still bothers and confuses me.  It doesn’t help either that my cousin, a single, older male, wants to become a bartender to meet women, even though he’s had the same secure job for years.  Great, not like people do it for an actual living or anything.