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This entry is overrated

I got a new camera - it's tiny and cute and burgundy metallic, and I used it this weekend at Rapier Academy, so I'll post a couple of pics this evening, and write about the event when I have more time.

BTW, I've changed my profile page a little - there are a few guidelines about commenting I thought it was time to put in - mostly because I've now got over 700 registered readers (eep! *joy*), and this will make things nicer for everyone when I write one of those posts that makes people argue, scream, and unfriend me in droves. :) Seriously, though - I love you all.

But - let's horn in on a little of the fun going on over at Shapely Prose and Feministing, and talk about four things we personally think are highly overrated.  Now, this list is intended to be idiosyncratic and very individual, and actually brilliantly points out that mad compulsion people seem to have to want everyone to have the same likes and dislikes.  I base this observation on the evidence in the Intarwebs that whenever someone posts their opinion on something polarizing, like tipping, breastfeeding, or whether Darth Vader or Boba Fett is cooler, people immediately start popping out of the woodwork to point out, in great detail and excruciating length, how they are wrong, and should be burnt at the stake.

I'm fascinated by this compulsion, since in most things, I have a live and let live policy - if it's important to you, I respect that, but don't demand that it be important to me, too.  Sadly, many people are unable to let sleeping preferences lie; my theory is that insecurity plays a part, and any opposing opinion is seen as a negative judgement, therefore it must be brutally crushed before anyone else gets the wrong idea.

(I sometimes get the feeling certain religions work on the same principle.)

(Just a teeny bit.)

But anyway - overrated things.  You get to pick your top four - otherwise my list would be rather long - and they only need to be things you find overrated.  Remember, this is a personal thing, so no jumping on anyone else in an attempt to get them to see it your way.  Diversity is healthy.

1.  Steak.  I really don't  get the appeal of steak - sure, it's reasonably tasty, but I can count on one hand the times I've had a steak that really made me react the way some people talk about it.  Most of the time, it's a slightly flavourless hunk of protein, even when cooked exactly to my specifications - and I've tried it every which way.   Admittedly, I'm not much of a carnivore, but I want my food to dance on my palate and give me fond memories, especially when I'm paying more than $20 for it.  Give me a plate of mussels marinara any day.

2.  Summer.  It's hot, it's got too much sun, it has bugs, poison ivy, and the beaches are packed with a million people all stinking of nasty suntan-lotion.  The ocean is filled with stinging jellyfish and the woods are filled with ticks.  I'll take any season over summer, especially autumn.  The benefits, like roses, long evenings, and butterflies, are outweighed by the disadvantages like mosquitoes to bite you during those long evenings, poisonous and/or stinging weeds to pull out of the roses, and hornets eating the butterflies.  I prefer the beach in winter, when it's empty, and I can always wear a wetsuit if I want to play in the surf.

3.  Being young.  We live in a youth-obsessed culture, where a woman is a crone at 28, and advertising, clothing, and entertainment is aimed at the late teens/early twenties crowd, but I wouldn't want to be that age again even if I did get to keep all my life experience and knowledge (and I got paid.  No, not even then).  It's a time of insecurity, fear, and a tendency to marry idiotic people because six months of dating seems like a lifetime.  I like being the age I am now - things are well in place, I'm finally comfortable in my skin, and I don't care what people think of me.  I want my life to show in my face, and I want it to be my face, so I won't be looking into any face lifts, either, thank you very much.

4.  Mindless loyalty. It's lazy thinking repackaged as a virtue, and leads to the kind of argument where someone says "I know what I believe, and you can't change my mind!".  I think "sticking to your guns" is a highly overrated and deeply misused trope, and it's particularly bad when people use it to refuse the possibility that someone they like is engaged in questionable activities, or use it to attack someone who is actually trying to improve things by seeking changes in the way someone does things.  For instance, our political system  - "America:  Love it or leave it!" is exactly the kind of sentiment that should be questioned, and someone who questions the president's policies isn't neccessarily an enemy.  Unfortunately, media reporting has become completely either/or in its reporting tactics, and political pundits like Rush Limbaugh or Lou Dobbs are working hard to finish the job while achieving new heights of hypocrisy (IMO).  Having true convictions should not be shorthand for close-mindedness, nor should political hay be made over demanding that one's supporters become mindless drones ready to believe whatever one says.  ...Unless you enjoy being a cultist.

Things that almost made the cut:

Fake lesbians who kiss it up to amuse men
Spike TV (all the good programs are gone)
Fast food hate
The obesity "epidemic"
Vodka martinis
The Hills
"Detox" treatments

Oh, and, since it's happening in the comments at Feministing, a few things I think are underrated:

Female anger (and people fear it, and react with brutal negativity - bonus.  *sigh*)
The Soup (the only really good thing on E!)
Giving credence to women who have experienced abuse (instead of male judges and defendants)
Older women

So - that's my list... as of today.  It's liable to change without notice.  Feel free to chime in with your own, but don't argue anyone else's - no-one is right or wrong, just opinionated. If it makes your teeth gnash and your eyesight blur, hit the back button and rage about it in your own journal.  The true beauty of the internet is that no-one need remain silent who has a blog.


( 100 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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May. 11th, 2009 12:41 pm (UTC)
About the summertime nuisance of poison ivy.... It's actually year round. It's just a whole lot easier to spot during the active growth season.
A good lush growth of poison ivy on a tree trunk tempts one to think that when the leaves are gone, so is the problem but for those who are unaware, the whole plant is poisonous, all the time. Leaves, stems, berries, bark, vine, little aerial roots/rootlets, the systemic roots...all of it, all year long.
There's a very practical folk wisdom expression, "Beware the hairy rope," because that's what the bare stem looks like, clinging to a support (usually another woody shrub or a tree.)

This reminds me that I have a rather lush growth of the stuff in the privet along the north edge of the side garden. I've been procrastinating about digging that thing out. At least one privet will have to be sacrificed, since the roots of the poison ivy and the roots of the privet by now must be completely intertwined. I've been trying for three summers to poison this thing with brush killer, the super heavy-duty stuff. The poison ivy continues to grow, mocking me, slowly but very persistently extending a 'limb' farther and farther into my air space, making lawn-mowing ever more challenging. And for me, scary. My last poison ivy encounter provoked such a severe reaction that an M.D. friend (I'd telephoned for advice, not treatment or even an in-person consultation) said in response to my question, "Oh, yes: you need to have *someone* see to that. You're having a very severe allergic reaction and could be looking at several days in the hospital with a prednisone IV."
The stuff scares me. A lot.
Most annoying, and rather disheartening.
(I think I have to go write my further thoughts on this in my own journal...)
May. 11th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
I am well aware of the year-round nature of the stuff (we go out every autumn and hunt the vines in our woods), but in summer I'm more likely to walk into a field of little green evil. In winter, I'm more able to avoid the stuff.

Not that I'm allergic, as far as I can tell - I've never gotten any - but I don't wish to find out the bad way.
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May. 11th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
1. Education. There are two sides to this. First, job providers always say they want education. What they really want is maturity, and training they can build upon. They don't want culture, they don't want critical thinking. Our national school system is doing its best to meet this by ignoring culture and critical thinking and emphasizing memorization and test scores, but that doesn't bring maturity. Second, as a highly educated and underemployed paraprofessional, education (in the sense of culture and critical thinking) hasn't been that handy in my experience, except to philosophize about how wrong things are and how things oughta be.
2. Philosophizing about how wrong things are and how things oughta be. All well and good to blog -- you might even make some money at it -- but unless you get off your but and try and do something, it's all air.
3. Technology. Yeah, it makes things a lot easier, but by having machines and/or computers do it all you remove the human element from any interaction, from ordering parts to complaining about the parts, to hiring to firing to payroll to classroom to church to family to voting. Technology may improve human interaction, but it removes human responsibility and accountability from processes.
4. Doing what you're told. (See above under "Mindless loyalty" -- which I didn't realize was rated at all, let alone over-rated) It goes hand in hand with believing what you're told, and is a function of lack of maturity and of critical thinking skills.
May. 11th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
I love steak. However, I do agree, that the "perfect" steak, is few and far between.

Hmmm...something I think is overrated...

Oh! European chocolate. Now, I LOVE chocolate. But I dislike chocolate snobs, who snear at poor little Hershey's, and insist the only "real" chocolate comes from insert-European-country-of-choice-here. And they drone on and on about how American chocolate is so awful and such poor quality and blah, blah blah.

Oh, fun factoid: During the chocolate making process, Hershey's curdles the milk used in production, which gives it's chocolate a very distinct taste, which is one reason why Americans don't often like non-American chocolate at first, because it tastes funny, and we all grew up eating Hersehy bars.
May. 11th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
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May. 11th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
The soup really does rock.

(in general I agree with your list, but that show was the first thing my housemate and I talked about/watched together, and I think it rocks)
May. 11th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC)
I agree with you about the steak, maybe its a Brit thing. A far better use for a good piece of beef is to put in in a pie with good gravy and a thick crust with mushy peas and brown sauce on the side.
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May. 11th, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
Oh crap - the email must have been eaten by my junk mail folder! I've been waiting for an e-mail! Yes, I'll take it off your hands - let me know how much, and I'll send you a check (I think I still have your address, but send it to me (in LJ messaging, if you like - I'll see it this evening), and I'll send you a check.
May. 11th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
I adore summer and steak and would so be young again - for the quick healing and ability to forget my kneepads and still fight without injury. ha! Fool I was.

But, I still love you.

Oh, yeah, and mindless loyalty - ick! Hobgoblin of little minds, etc. :P
May. 11th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
Yes! I would not want to be younger for anything, but I wouldn't mind stealing my younger self's knees-- she wasn't really using them for anything and absolutely didn't appreciate what she had. I don't mind any of the rest of it, but the knees, oy.
(no subject) - lorebubeck - May. 11th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 11th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
My four things...
1) The movie "Titanic". It is NOT the best movie EVAH.
2) Reality T.V. I don't get it.
3) Cell phones. Other than emergencies, mine stays off. If I wanted to speak to you, I would be at home, where you could reach me.
4) Mothers who dress their daughters up in clothes way beyond their years and think it's "cute". Live vicariously much?
May. 11th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
Re: My four things...
Preach it, sistah!
Re: My four things... - lorebubeck - May. 11th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My four things... - hsifeng - May. 11th, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 11th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
If I had to come up with 4 things that are overrated I would say,

Twilight, (really I don’t get it.) - The movie wasn’t the worst one I have ever seen, but seriously sparkly men and weird piggy back scenes just don’t do it for me. (Most of the people I have met who are obsessed generally have a lack of romantic relationships for real.)

Crocks - I am not a shoe girl but seriously those things are awful and should all be burned. I don’t care how comfortable they are they look like gardening clogs and only belong in the garden. (They are also super over priced)

Ice cream - I always feel gross after I eat ice cream, it’s too rich and I would rather have a fruity non creamy Popsicle or sherbet any day.

Texting – I hate texting, if your phone is in your hand, call me. My sister texts all the time because she says that she is in class sometimes and can’t call me, well if you are in class don’t text me because I am pretty sure the teacher doesn’t like it either.

Things I think are underrated,

Guilt free do nothing days – they are few and far between but when I can have a day in which I accomplish nothing and feel okay about it, well those are da bomb.

High thread count sheets – there is nothing quite like the softness of good sheets, really it’s totally worth it to wake up to it on your face and skin and if you go to Ross or TJMaxx they really aren’t that expensive.

Matching bras and panties – I feel cuter all day when I know my skivvies match.

Root beer floats – I think when most adults start to drink alcohol they forget to keep up with the more simple shakes and drinks of their childhood, really – set up a little station for them at work and you will have a line a mile long of people saying how they had forgotten just how yummy they are.
May. 11th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
Mmmm...high thread count sheets. I love those.

Also, real chocolate shakes. Yummy.
In defense of Crocs - snobahr - May. 11th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: In defense of Crocs - blaze2242 - May. 11th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
And then Buffy slew Edward. - snobahr - May. 11th, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: And then Buffy slew Edward. - blaze2242 - May. 11th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
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May. 11th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
I'm completely with you on the last two! Nick and I have this argument with some frequency, since I grew to like certain foods as I got older. He was raised on a solid foundation of thinking that people never change (!!) and it seriously unbalances him that I once thought cole slaw was gross, but now like it if I can make it as tart as I like. What the hell is it it to him if I once disliked cole slaw but now can stomach it? Is this why he married me?!

Never changing or growing as a person is a good way to be very, very boring. To yourself, too, if your IQ is above room temperature.

Anyhow, mine:

1. What everyone else is reading. I honestly don't get this. Okay, it's good people read anything. But what everyone else is reading is usually about as smart and thought-provoking as the most average person reading it. Why would that ever be a good idea to do anything? Why would you let Oprah choose what you read? Or the New York Times? For what it's worth, this can also be a peeve in "highbrow" settings. The books are different; the love affairs are the same.

2. Reality TV. The outcome shocks no one on the other side of the camera. It's not a real game. They are not real people. Those are not real situations. Fakeness, I can take. Fakeness pretending to be real? Fail.

3. Big boobs. I do not have to explain to any well-endowed woman why this is the case. The only men they get you are creepy boob men. They don't save you from speeding tickets. They don't make you look better. They are uncomfortable, impossible to fit, interfere with whatever smidgen of athletic ability you may have, and invite stares from creeps and irrational hatred from other women. And those are just the non-gross disadvantages.

4. Youth. I'm totally with you on this one. I waited years to be old enough to be taken seriously, even though I was ready before. Now that I am, I'll be damned if I'm going to have some child tell me I don't know anything because I'm too old. Fuck that. I've been your age; you've never been mine. And I can write coherently in my native language, which is not too much to ask of anyone in college.

Underrated: women in general, needlework, the ability to bring a toddler-afflicted computer to the Apple store and have it fixed on the spot, unabridged audiobooks, housework, and olives.
May. 11th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
I think reading should be done only because one loves the book. I feel very sad when people use the highbrow end of things to sneer at someone who couldn't plough their way through War and Peace, but I also have issues with people who won't even try a book because it's "too intellectual". :)

Reality TV is the fakest thing out there - except in the outtakes. Real life is rather dull most of the time, and uninteresting to everyone who isn't living it. I also don't like it because it's used as a bludgeon to mock those who don't fit the perceived "normal" mould (as in Wife Swap).

I am so glad my boobs got smaller when I lost weight. And word.
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boobies - florentinescot - May. 12th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
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May. 11th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
Before you completely give up on steak, we should have you try Alex's Bistecca Florentina. (Filet mignon grilled with really good olive oil, salt, and pepper. That's it.) Steaks in restaurants cannot compare.

I think brussels sprouts are overrated.

And I agree with you about summer. I prefer autumn.

I also agree with you about the whole being young thing. I feel so much more comfortable in my skin now that I'm in my 30s than I ever did when I was in my 20s! I don't get why people start mourning their birthdays.

On Mindless Loyalty: Can I quote you? I absolutely love this: "Mindless loyalty is lazy thinking repackaged as a virtue."
May. 11th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
Sure you can quote me - I think I'm paraphrasing a classic idea, though. :)
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May. 11th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC)
1. “Twu Wuv” - Love is great, and I am not trying to knock it. However, the seemingly obsessive need for love to be *perfect*, *unquestionable* and *super-duper-sunshiny-great*….All….The.…Time… This I have a problem with. I love my husband; sometimes we frustrate each other, sometimes we disagree and sometimes we even fight. The idea that this somehow means what we have isn’t ‘real love’™ makes me roll my eyes in annoyance. When I was a young adult, I did everything in my power to make my relationships ‘perfect’ and to ensure that there was never a ruffled feather in my nest or the slightest thorn under my loved ones foot. It was exhausting and I was never comfortable enough to let down my ‘must-be-wonderful’ walls and actually have a strong bond with my significant other. Now that I am on the other side of that fence, I am *HAPPY* that my spouse and I don’t have a ‘perfect’ relationship – because what we have is lovely, deep, challenging and honest. Given this or another dose of ‘twu wuv’, I’d joyously take this every day of the week, even with the thorns.

2. Television - The great two-headed beast of the modern world; hours of entertainment, and only the cost of your potential! Seriously, I spend as much time in front of the ‘boob-tube’ as your average American (*OK, I hope a skosh less*) but on some level I always know I am wasting a portion of my life I won’t be able to get back. ‘Entertainment’ is great, but I would rather get it from family, friends, books and experience. *le sigh* What’s on tonight anyway? “House” and “Big Bang Theory”? Um…where is my remote? A sub-set of this point would be reality-TV.

3. Designer Clothes - “You spent *how* much on that handbag?” Seriously, there are starving children out there. (*BTW- Your mom wanted me to add that you need to finish your plate for that same reason…*) Nice things are lovely, and I do my fair share of ‘silly spendy’ for things like my hobby. But a $1,000 handbag should come with a free kick-in-the-ass from the first 12 homeless folks you walk past on your way to the next boutique.

4. Las Vegas - Vegas Baby….*yawn*….*zzzz* I have fun with the people I go on trips to this city with, and I have even enjoyed a couple of shows. But I think I can say – without a doubt – this is one of the dirtiest, loudest, most annoying towns to visit on Earth. I would have had just as much fun (and spent far less money) with those same friends in a local scene were I didn’t feel like the entire environment was designed to see how fast my wallet could be stripped of cash. The last time we went (Pucifer show a couple of months back) the hotel refused to allow us to have access to the on-site gym for the one morning we were going to be able to use it. We could *buy* a day pass for $40. Per person. Seriously. So instead we took a run on the Strip. It was 6 AM and the card-clackers with the nudie girl glossies were already out and re-papering the streets with their disposable ads for disposable dates. *ick*
May. 11th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
1) Oh yes, so totally!! Just like that stupid line, "Love means never having to say you're sorry". Love means you SAY you're sorry, repeatedly if you have to, because your partner's feelings mean more to you than your OWN.
2) I haven't had cable in more than 6 years. I'm surviving. So are my daughters. They like, READ and stuff. And I can take them out somewhere and they often bring a book and ACTUALLY ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES, without electronics.
3) 1,000 dollars is a little over a year's electric bill. Or money I could give my kids for chores so I don't have to do 'em.
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May. 11th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
Underrated things:

1) Grammar & punctuation. I will admit to taking a certain license in my writing style, but I am usually comprehensible. I may not make my point, but I can form a complete sentence. I saw a scholarship application the other day where "enough" was spelled "enuf." *boggle* *head slap*

2) Manners and extraneous prepositions. "Come here, please." versus "Come on over here, please." Both are polite orders, but the latter doesn't make my hackles rise.

3) Education, not of the higher-er-er kind. I do not ever want to know as much about one particular sub-sub-subsection of a topic as is required for a master's or doctorate degree. I just don't. But I DO think that everyone can benefit from classes on any subject, be it art, history, art history, language, knitting, the kings and queens of england, or Albania since 1940. Doesn't matter.

4) Stubbornness and other "negative" character traits. I find that a certain amount of skepticism and stubbornness is beneficial. These have been useful to me on more than one occasion. And as crazy as it makes my mother when I exercise them, they have a certain entertainment value as well (spiteful but true). Not the mindless-loyalty version of stubborn, mind you, just the "I am open to discussion on this topic but you'll have to prove your point if you expect to change my mind" kind of stubborn.

On a side note, I think saying thank you to people is also underrated. Thus, I must thank the Attack Laurel.

I got to this journal in a very round-about way, and I have been impressed and inspired. So much so that I have purchased 2 coif patterns and am off to Kinko's after work to reduce them a little today (the muslin mock up was too big).

So thank you, Attack Laurel, for being so inspiring in your extremeness of costuming, and for producing the lovely patterns. Your blog and web page have encouraged me to come to the authentic side of the street in my costuming. So I am baby-stepping my way there (in my very own inimitable slacker-style). Thank you again.
May. 11th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
"Grammar & punctuation"

*This, this, this!* I was having a conversation with the MIL the other day, who has 500 junior college freshmen lower-division history papers to grade this week. She mentioned that a number of her students use texting abreviations ("OMG, SRSLY!") in their assignments.

I was more than a little flabbergasted. IMHO (*chortle), the use of 'text language' in a college paper should get you an automatic "F" on the paper. Then again, I have little patients for much of the 'new fangled' technology we see.
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(no subject) - attack_laurel - May. 12th, 2009 01:53 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 11th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
i am 31 and hate it. i am totally youth obsessed and i dont know if this is growing up here in LA or what but i feel old. i wanted to start the plastic surgery "maitenence" last year (alas turns out maitinence is EXPENSIVE). i know its all kinds of wrong but i cant help myself. i feel like i need to get on with it and live my whole life RIGHT NOW because i have one foot in the grave already. *shrug...burries feelings of youthlessness in buying piles of fabric* hahaha

i dont know why everyone in my life is obsessed with the fact that i "only" answer a phone for a living. i like it. it pays the bills plus some more for fabric. i get to talk to people that come into the office and i get to knit at the front desk! what!? who could ask for more?
May. 11th, 2009 06:52 pm (UTC)
"...i dont know if this is growing up here in LA or what..." I can tell you that I was never happier than when I left San Diego (or "LA South" as I like to call it) and got away from the culture of the obsessive need to look like a Barbie Doll: The first time I saw an 80 year-old woman fresh from a boob-job and face-lift that had stretched her tighter than a drum, I knew I had to *Get Out Now*! Things aren't perfect in my neck of the woods, but people look like people - not ‘plasticized-humans’.
May. 11th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
My four?
1. I really have to agree with your steak. Not that great.
2. TV in general, as in the stations. Why watch with commercials when you can get it on the net?
3. Reusable grocery bags. I have them, I use them, BUT having reusable grocery bags does not equal saving the planet. It's one step of many that should/could be taken.
4. Pirates, fun and cool yes, but the sensation is getting old.
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