Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I don't know if I want to laugh or cry

My thoughts... stream of consciousness as I was watching the video. This was originally written as a comment on another blog. I'd love to know what you think of the video and/or my analysis. Yep, it's my typical acerbic self :)

True - college is too expensive.

Dentist who would rather be working at McDonalds -- scary. What if everyone thought that way? Who would our doctors be? Only those with parents rich enough to put them through college debt free. How can we expect that those people would 1. want to and 2. be suitable for the job.

Building new libraries adds nothing to the quality of education at a college? That's just laughable.

If we were graduating geniuses from college would we be this unhealthy of a nation? I don't have any statistics and maybe this is partially stereotypical but the unhealthiest people (especially when it comes to obesity) tend to be found among those who do not go to college.

Since when are we in a war in Pakistan?

The man at 31:27 is recommending that people run not walk away from the idea of going to college because it won't help them when they have no money for food and no water from the municipal taps. Who is going to manage those municipal taps if not a civil engineer? And how will that civil engineer gain the knowledge to do so without a college education?

There is no value to having a college degree if everyone else has one. If this is true, then one can compete even less without one.

I do agree that it can be too easy perhaps to do well. However, this does not negate the value of the education. So much of college is what you make of it. The student who does the bare minimum to pass (or to get the 4.0) will not be nearly as successful as the one who works above and beyond that bare minimum.

The most successful college of the future will be online. Where there will be no interaction between students and teachers because it will be all automated with a professor (who was educated how?) teaching hundreds of students. Not to mention that this method would be worthless for medical, engineering, and any other hand-on field (including my own specialty which I'll mention at the end). At that point, why bother doing anything more than just reading a textbook or the information online for free?

If I had kids, I would not want them educated in a school by teachers without college degrees. I definitely do not want to have my health in the hands of doctors, nurses, dentists, therapists, etc who do not have advanced degrees!

A note about myself and where I'm coming from. I graduated a year and a half ago with a bachelor degree in music, specifically voice performance. That degree could not have been completed online. It's an impossibility. One cannot learn all of the skills needed to compete in the world of opera without advanced training with personal instruction – in real life. Actually, a bachelor degree is the bare minimum as nearly all successful opera singers need the additional training of a masters degree with continued lessons and coachings well beyond that point. You can say that I did not study something “necessary” and that it's not “practical” and that I really didn't need to study something that will provide such little assurance of employment. I beg to differ. For a number of reasons, I was not singing professionally or even on a high community level last year. Neither was I taking private voice lessons. I cannot put into words how that pained my soul. I need music. I can't say that I need it more that God, and I could survive without it if there was no possible way to pursue it but I would be hardly a shell of the person I am now. For me, my degree was for myself more than for the purpose of getting a steady full-time job. I am currently working at McDonalds, Toys R Us, and just got a job as a preschool teachers assistant. I could have started any or all of those right out of high school. But where could I have gone from there?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Open Letter To My Soon To Be Former Landlady

So, I'm getting kicked out of my house, thanks to my nutso landlady. Because she is, quite literally, crazy, I know that nothing I could say to her would break through her skull. To satisfy my need to express my feelings towards her, despite the fact that she will never see this, I am writing this letter. I'll call her Ursula, because it's a good villain name (and it's what her parents conveniently named her).

Dear Ursula,

I was very sad to see the email you addressed to me for a number of reasons. After past experiences, I am not surprised to see you make such a bizarre and over-reactive action of telling me to leave. Your handling of the situation, however, really saddens me. To say that I am not angry would be a lie, but stronger than the anger is pity.

Yes, I pity you. I cannot imagine living with such OCD/anal retentive-ness that a simple request for privacy in a room I am paying to use would result in throwing me out of your house. That must be a very difficult life. The idea of being so upset over being asked not to clean a room that you have no reason to ever be in and to let the people who are paying you for the use of the room arrange the furniture in the way most comfortable to them is unfathomable to me. If these are considered "unreasonable demands," (your wording, I believe) especially when phrased in such a respectful, diplomatic way as C. (my roommate) and I did, then I can only imagine what the reaction would be should we have actually wanted something extreme. Thankfully, we will never have to find out.

You may notice that I mentioned C. and I phrasing things together. This is because that is exactly what happened. In reading (if you actually did) our email, you should have seen that everything was "we" vs. "I," it was signed by both of us, and sent from her email address. Most people would have interpreted that the email was from both of your tenants. I am at a loss as to how we could have spelled it out more clearly. The fact that you singled me out in your response and told me that while I have until December 15th to leave, C. can stay as long as she likes was appalling. As was the fact that you sent the email, addressed to me, to her address. I think it is incredibly sad that a grown woman would stoop to such levels. We have communicated many times via email both when I was living here previously and also in the past two months. There was absolutely no reason to attempt to avoid dealing directly with me. That was nothing short of childish. The same can be said for the additional emails which you sent to C. mentioning me and your asking that I leave prior to contacting me personally. Your assurances to her that you hope she will continue living here are laughable. What incentive could she possibly have for staying now that it is painfully obvious that we have no rights as renters and are, essentially, paying you for the privilege of house-sitting for you?

In conclusion, I will be out of your house well before your deadline. Additionally, I will make sure to be gone this Thanksgiving weekend while you are here so as not to disturb you by anything "unacceptable" that my presence may entail. Finally, if I ever see you advertise this room on craigslist or anything similar (which I anticipate you will be doing soon), please be assured that I will be writing to the website and/or posting an ad of my own warning people. While I will not stoop to your level and make unintelligible statements (They are crazy, wahh, wahh, wahh) I will absolutely tell them the truth. That you do not consider the renters to have any rights, they may not arrange things in their room, you do not want them to change the temperature so that they are comfortable, and, above all, you will give them no lease so if you change your mind about them living here on a whim, they have no recourse when you evict them.


An old story with modern application

A hermit was meditating by a river when a young man interrupted him. "Master, I wish to become your disciple," said the man. "Why?" replied the hermit. The young man thought for a moment. "Because I want to find God."

The master jumped up, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, dragged him into the river, and plunged his head under water. After holding him there for a minute, with him kicking and struggling to free himself, the master finally pulled him up out of the river. The young man coughed up water and gasped to get his breath. When he eventually quieted down, the master spoke. "Tell me, what did you want most of all when you were under water."

"Air!" answered the man.

"Very well," said the master. "Go home and come back to me when you want God as much as you just wanted air."

That is exactly how I feel about music right now. I NEED music in my life. It's not just that I want to be singing. I NEED to be singing. There is as longing in the depths of my soul to be learning new music, polishing old pieces, and performing. Unfortunately, I must not be at the drowning level yet as my attempts to do anything more than sing in the choir at my parents' church (where I don't even live anymore) are being thwarted no matter how hard I try.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I can't want it, anymore

I'm ready for 2011 to be over. It's been such a crazy, long year filled with one crap-tastic misadventure after another. Yes, there have been good things too, but I feel like I've dealt with an overabundance of crud. And some of it has really caused me to reevaluate my life. Specifically the area of relationships.

The title of this post quotes a song from the musical Wicked. I can really relate to the whole song right now, but these lines in particular came to mind this weekend:

GLINDA: Elphie, listen to me.
Just say you're sorry

You can still be with the Wizard

What you've worked and waited for

You can have all you ever wanted
But I don't want it
No - I can't want it

As Elphaba continues to say, I feel like "something has changed within me; something is not the same." My whole life, getting married and having kids was just what I expected would happen. This was strengthened by the fact that I grew up in a town where many people do just that at a young age.
And, for some people, that is exactly the right thing.

I went to a baptism this weekend. My childhood-best-friend and her husband were having baby #4 baptized. Things were hectic with all the guests and visitors and tons of kids running around, but when I saw her last year (at that point with 3 little ones) she seemed happier than I've ever seen her. And I'm glad for her and her family. But I can't even begin to imagine living that life. It's just not me.

And that's ok.

The past few months have changed my focus on relationships. I've gone from praying constantly for "mysterious future husband" to "mysterious future husband who I'm pretty sure is XXX but don't know for certain" to halfheartedly being back on CatholicMatch and finally, to where I am today:

I don't think I'm meant to get married. And, based on my progressively worsening experiences with guys, that's probably the best thing for society. Over the past few days, I've looked back at my past relationships and relationships I wanted to exist. With the exception of one great guy whose personality and mine would have created a giant disaster, I have had some pretty "special" experiences. Stalker, a holier-than-thou porn addict, the gay guy, rad-trad whose extreme views I'm still recovering from, the list could go on. (Haven't actually dated all of these guys but they liked me and/or I liked them and/or we dated) However, none of those hold a candle to the latest disaster.

Who is in jail.

Now, before everyone gets super worried, I'm fine. I wasn't involved nor was I in a relationship with the person (THANK GOD for both of those facts!). All the same, it was such a shock because no one would have ever expected what happened and he was someone who I really respected. And, unfortunately, it's not something quite as benign as running one too many stop lights.

So, especially since this comes on the heals of this summer, I'm just completely disenchanted by the idea of a relationship. It just seems to be the wrong thing for me to want. I want to sing. Yes, I realize that swearing off guys does not guarantee a career as a performer but that's what I'm going to focus on now.

After the baptism yesterday, I went to Pittsburgh and auditioned for an opera with a small opera company. Those two events, juxtaposed, really clarified things in my mind. Maybe it's just that "I can't want it, anymore." And, if that's the case, at least for today, I'm fine with it.