buddhism at its best

So today, during my World Religions class (highly recommended as an elective for anyone) I realized something. Have you ever drawn a certain picture a lot? Like, over the course of years? I have. I used to draw many things all the time, but one in particular: a flower. The following flower, actually:

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Just a flower, but if you look closely, it kind of does resemble the flower representing Buddhism:

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The lotus. I wanted to facepalm myself when I finally realized it. Of course. I am a Buddhist. I really should have known.

I went online and found a site that has you answer various metaphysical, eschatological, and spiritual questions, bases your answers on different religions, and gives a percentage of those you identify with.

I was 100% Mahayana Buddhist.

Normally, I write off these kinds of things, but they’re not like your average Facebook quizzes and then you post a funny little picture. This site has information about all the different religions, so that you can research those you may have matched highly with, but perhaps don’t fully understand. (If this sounds neat to you, take the quiz here.)

I love the fact that I could easily follow the beliefs of the Mahayana Buddhists, it’s a very peaceful, harmonious religion, and I need that. I am such a Type A that I need all the relaxation I can get! I adore yoga, am trying to learn meditation (the ADD doesn’t help) and I want to practice living a good, positive life. I’ve started to calm down, not get so worked up by the negative things, and to appreciate the little things more. I’m just starting with these changes, so it’s going to take practice, but I can already feel that I am more at peace just by consciously following this path ūüôā

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to join a monastery, seclude myself from society, and spend all my days in prayer, but I have started researching what it is to be a Buddhist, and am seriously considering going through the ceremony and officially becoming a Buddhist (they do snip off a piece of hair, right on top of your head, though, so I’m not crazy about that, but hey, hair grows back, it could be worse).

Most of my delving has been in the Internet, but I’m hoping to find some books on the matter, I’ve always wanted to believe in something higher than myself, and now I feel like I really could ūüôā

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why I hate california drivers

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So, after six years of living in various places around San Diego (Point Loma, Spring Valley, National City, Mission Valley, and now Encanto), I have determined that no one knows how to drive! the following is a list (in progress) of stupid things I see California drivers doing on the road. Feel free to add your own anecdotes in the Comments section…

1. Merging/turning without signaling. Seriously. Are you people aware that all cars now come standard with blinkers??

2. Not turning on lights in the rain. Hey. Asshole in the grey car in front of me. You’re lucky I didn’t run you over last weekend in that rainstorm.

3. Slowing down to rubberneck at accidents. They happen all the time, and are caused by people like you that don’t pay the fuck attention. Eyes on the road.

4. Taking up extra parking. Whether its parking over the line in a lot or not pulling all the way forward/back on the street, I fucking hate you people for taking up more space than your faggy little compact needs to.

5. Going berserk when it rains. Yes, when it first starts to rain, you need to slow down because of the accumulation of oils on the road, but must you go three miles an hour in the fast lane of the highway?? And likewise, why do you think it’s a good idea to go 90 when it’s pouring? Hydro planing is real. And it’s why your ass is embedded in a guard rail and you are now facing the wrong way on the 15…

6. Not having a goddamn clue where you’re going. Dude, stop going from the left turn lane to the right (and vice-versa) and then getting stuck diagonally across traffic and being in my way. I drive a Jeep with two already-fucked-up bumpers, I will drive into your ass to get through.

7. Not turning on your lights at night. I know there’s streetlights and shit everywhere, I know you can see, but we can’t see you, headlights and tail lights are not only for your own convenience, you dig?

8. Cutting across five lanes of traffic because you’re about to miss your exit. Take the next one, wtf is wrong with you?

9. Blasting gangster music in residential areas. No one wants to hear your shitty music. Turn it down before I dig up my “Spice World” album and battle your weak ass system.

10. Leaving 20 feet of space between you and the guy in front of you at a stop light. I could fit three of my Wrang in there, move it up.

11. People that park up your ass at stoplights. I drive stick. I will purposefully roll into you, fucker, and it’ll be your fault.

12. People that think their tiny sedan is a pickup. Get the shit. Off of your roof. And out of your trunk, where it doesn’t fit. And call a friend or rent a truck. Stop being so goddamn ghetto.

13. People who are on their cellphones/listening to headphones while driving. Are you kidding me?? It’s illegal because it’s not safe! I hope a tractor-trailer flattens you dumb fucks because it’s breaks are out and you can’t hear it cuz you’ve got all this shit in your ears. Listen to the radio or a CD like a normal person.

14. People that put their dogs in the back of their truck beds. I want to kill you motherfuckers. Seriously. I’ll take the damn dog if you don’t want it, stop treating the poor animal like freight.

15. People that key my car. Fuck you.

16. People that steal my shit when my top’s down. Fuck you too.

17. City Bus drivers. Do I really need to elaborate?

18. People that stop on railroad tracks. I hope you die, it would be really entertaining.

19. When the traffic light at an intersection is not working (blinking) or completely out, you still have to stop! Treat it like a four-way, and rotate around, don’t just go flying through and almost t-bone me!

20. People that run stoplights, that seems to be pandemic around here, and it’s driving me insane!

21. When everyone at an intersection is trying to go the same way, and traffic totally gets backed up, and the second the light turns yellow, it clears out.

That’s all I’ve got so far, any additions?

why raising college tuition isn’t a bad thing

I bet you’re mad I said that ūüôā

It’s true though, and don’t worry, I’ll explain every bit of my logic, so bear with me…

Go to Bing (or Google, or Yahoo…) and search the news for “college tuition” and you will be greeted by a score of articles about rising costs and student rallies against the rising costs of going to college. It sucks. I wish I had gone to college when I was straight out of high school instead of waiting until now, it would have been cheaper.

Why is the cost of education higher than the amount of coke in Whitney’s bloodstream during the autopsy? The Government, of course!

Don’t get squirrely and start calling me a conspiracy theorist – I hate those; and don’t go lumping me in with all the stupid people who blame Uncle Sam for everything – I’m not one of those either.

What I am is a student of common sense, and I try to apply it even when the conclusion doesn’t work in my favor (like right now, I’m a college student, and I don’t have a problem with the cost, for two reasons, but I’ll tell you those later). The government is fucking up college the same way they fucked up the housing market, except right now it’s having the opposite effect.

Not long ago, the government decided that the “American Dream” of owning a home should be a right, not a privilege. So they began allowing massive amounts of home loans in excess of any other such debt that American citizens would normally be able to incur. Banks jumped on this opportunity, and thus the “variable-rate mortgage” was born, balloon payments and all. People got themselves up to their eyeballs in debt and were just fine for the first five or ten years and then BAM! Their interest rate hikes up to 24% (I’m not kidding, a friend of mine had that exact figure when that whole “variable-rate-thing” kicked in) and the bank’s at the front door with a notice of foreclosure like it’s a big fucking surprise that no one can afford their mortgages.

So while the housing market has crashed (good for people like me and my guy who just bought, bad for people who were getting ready to sell and suddenly owed more than the damn house was worth), tuition rates climb. You ask: “what the hell does this have to do with college??”

I’ll tell you!

The government also decided that every citizen has the right to a higher education – and I couldn’t agree more! Same as houses! You totally have the right to these things, but there needs to be some incentive to earn them, like working hard, and getting good grades, blah blah blah.

So the government goes and says “we’re going to subsidize a fuck-ton of college loans instead of home loans, because it’s totally different and we’re stupid and slow learners.” This was right about the time the parents of GenX and GenY started in with the “if you don’t go to college, you’re worthless, you’ll never get a good job, or a house, or a spouse, or happiness, and you’ll die alone in a ditch after a long life of working at McDonald’s.”

Whoa. Scary. Like, super-intense. But that’s what society was telling us. Kinda like this.

So what happens? The government says “everyone can go to college!” our parents say “you have to go to college!” So everyone gets government subsidized student loans and frolics off to college to not ruin their lives.

College debt now exceeds credit card debt in the United States.

Not that that’s a bad thing, really. If you think about it, wouldn’t it be better to spend money on an investment in your future rather than LCD TV’s and the like? Just sayin…

But now college is expensive, and we have an entirely new generation that still thinks they have to go to college.

So who’s going to work on cars? Own small businesses? Drive trucks? The majority of those people don’t go to college, they go to trade school.

Oh, right, trade school was absorbed by the Community College system, that’s right!

Why are people with Master’s degrees suddenly without jobs now?

BECAUSE EVERYONE HAS A FREAKING MASTER’S DEGREE!

Thanks parents of yore! You have officially fucked up the entire job market, because you all think that your kids are “special” and need a higher education. Guess what? Your kid’s not fucking special, chances are s/he’s a fucking loser that flunked out of college anyways, but still has the debt to prove that s/he went.

Not everyone in the country can go to college, people! Does it ever piss you off that all our stuff is made in different countries and that illegal immigrants are finding work here? Well, if everyone goes to college, who’s going to work construction? Carpentry, welding, waitressing, none of those jobs requires a degree, so why get one if you’re not gonna work it, and why work it if you have a degree that pays more doing something better?

Ah, pays more. That’s the key, isn’t it? Everyone wants to go to college so that they can make millions of dollars and be upper-middle class and have an awesome life.

The entire country can’t be middle class, I’m really sorry to burst your bubble.

The rising cost of tuition is going to help us in the long-run. The kids that aren’t sure if they want to college, or perhaps don’t have the grades to get scholarships to lessen tuition aren’t going to go, they’re going to enter the workforce, and do all those jobs that need to be done. There’s nothing wrong with being working class, and there’s nothing wrong with being middle class, but there’s something wrong with people who are pretty much just made to be working class forcing themselves down a middle class track. Have you ever seen “My Big Fat Redneck Vacation”? It’s not pretty.

If you’re at the point where you have to decide whether or not to go to college, figure out if college is really right for you. Is white-collar work right for you? Are you okay with being a pencil-pusher, or would you rather work with your hands? Don’t force yourself to be something you’re not, that’ll just make you miserable. No amount of money in the world is going to buy you happiness. You’re going to be working 40+ hours a week, don’t you want to spend that time doing something that you like? or at least that you don’t hate?

We need to get back to trade school jobs, otherwise our economy is never going to recover, we need those people to fix our cars and drive our busses and put up power lines, and don’t ever forget it. Don’t ever judge someone by the job that they have or the money they make, everyone has their place in society (except for Welfare and unemployment fucks that milk the system, those people can burn and die).

how the navy is still %&$#ing me seven months later…

FTN.¬† A fond acronym that anyone that’s done time (or is the spouse of someone who¬†has done time) in the Navy knows well.¬† Along with BOHICA, which also applies here…

So.

When I was in the Navy, I was on a ship.¬† I did back-breaking work the entire time I was there because I thought I was tough, and I didn’t want to be thought of as the “weak girl” in the division (I was the only girl, so it was even more important that I pull my weight).¬† Anyway, after a while I started to hurt.¬† A lot.¬† Everywhere.¬† My knees and back especially.¬† And I got check out by the doctor and lo and behold – I had tendonitis caused by arthritis in my knees, and three ruptured intercalated discs in my lower back.¬† Brilliant.¬† Just lovely.¬† So I was taken off of the ship, and sent to a LIMDU¬†assignment on shore duty.¬† I hobble around with a cane, was on painkillers, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills, antidepressants, and all manner of physical therapy.¬† I was at Medical about every other day.¬† This was just before Christmas, 2011.¬† I was on a six-month LIMDU, and when June rolled around, and I wasn’t better, I marched (well, hobbled) my butt into Medical again and said “I’m not better, I need another LIMDU¬†period, please!”¬†and they said “okay, we’ll do another assessment, come on in, Petty Officer!”¬† So I did.¬† And I failed the fit-for-full exam, which says I need another six month LIMDU¬†period.¬† Then they saw my EAOS¬†was in two months.¬† “Have you reenlisted?” they ask, “no,” I say “I was denied PTS¬†because of a mistake my Command Career Counselor made on the ship.”¬† “Ah…¬† Wait one moment, STG2…”

So I waited.¬† And I waited.¬† And finally my PCP comes back out and says “STG2, we can’t give you a second LIMDU¬†because it conflicts with your EAOS, I’m going to have to give you FFD…”

I was flabbergasted.¬† My jaw hit the floor.¬† I was standing there, leaning on a cane, and they were telling me that they would have to put me FFD??¬† “Don’t worry,” she said with a sincere (though now I know it to be naive…) smile, “the VA will make sure you’re taken care of, everything’s in your record, right?”

Uh, yeah, but isn’t that still messed up, lady?¬† Apparently not, because that’s exactly what she did.¬† She wrote that I was just fine, and that I was fit for separation with no medical issues.

Wow.

I walked back to my office in a daze, I went straight into Chief’s office and placed the paper on his desk and stood there.¬† He saw my face and didn’t say a word until he read the report I’d put right next to his sandwich.

“Fit for Full?¬† Are you kidding me??”¬† He looked up at me, his blue eyes blazing.¬† I shook my head, and I felt tears welling in my eyes.

“I don’t know what to do…”¬† I said meekly, sitting down and wiping my tears with the cuff of my NWU’s, I’d just about had it.¬† “Neither do I…” he said, sitting back and staring out his window.

That was a rough day.

So I immediately started my VA claim and made absolutely sure every little thing I could get compensation for (and probably a lot of stuff I couldn’t get compensation for) was in my packet.¬† I did everything I could to make sure the VA knew that I had been discharged a very, very broken little girl.

That was seven months ago, and I still haven’t gotten the results of my claim.¬† And I just got a letter in the mail informing me that I needed to register with the Individual Ready Reserves or face revocation of my Honorable Discharge and my Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Holy shit.

I’ve been trying to call everyone I can think of, the base Command Career Counselor, the one that signed me up for IRR, but didn’t understand it because if he had he would have realized that me signing on the dotted line with a pen in one hand and a cane in the other was a mistake.¬† Allow me to explain that particular debacle:

An e-mail was sent out just before I got out about IRR¬†Severance¬†Pay, and I had kept it as an LPO¬†because I knew as soon as I deleted it, some idiot would ask me for it.¬† I hadn’t given it much thought since I was under the impression that my enlistment would be extended for me to finish my LIMDU¬†and get a Med Board.¬† Silly me.¬† When I found out that I would be discharged anyway, I began to panic; what the hell was I going to do?¬† I couldn’t work, any job I could take wouldn’t hire me with a cane, and I hadn’t finished college yet, so my options were severely limited.¬† I remembered reading that E-5 over 6 get a $20k severance¬†for enlisting in the IRR, so I jumped on it, if only as a temporary solution.

What they don’t tell you is that if you take a severance, and then apply for disability, you have to pay the severance¬†back before you can collect said disability.¬† The Navy says it’s being compensated twice for the same period of service.¬† I call it fucked up.

A fellow from the VFW where my mother works told me this little tidbit and said “do whatever it takes to get that paperwork stopped, do not spend that money!”¬† I quickly tried over and over to call PERS-93 with no answer.¬† I left messages.¬† E-mails.¬† No response.¬† When I didn’t receive the bonus, I was confident that they had taken care of it and just hadn’t contacted me about it.¬† So I relaxed.

Stupid.  Stupid.  Stupid!

So now I’m stuck: register with the IRR¬†by Friday¬†and stay out of a¬†metric fuck-ton of trouble, or don’t register, have said ton fall on my head, and be totally screwed for the rest of my life.

I guess I’ll register then, eh?¬† Hopefully I can get this shit sorted out later.¬† I’ve tried to contact the base, PERS-93 (again), the VA, the VFW, no one will take my calls!¬† But I refuse to give up.¬† I served my country honorably for six years, goddamnit.¬† I will get my just compensation, if I have to knock on my Congressman’s very front door, I will straighten this shit out.

Put the word out: anyone seeking disability from the VA should not¬†file for IRR¬†and severance pay – DON’T DO IT!

why i like my dogs more than people

Every once in a while I read, hear, or see something about the way people treat their dogs and it makes me sick. Recently, there was a dog out by a casino out here in San Diego that was SHOT for no apparent reason. It was a puppy, it was not attacking, and my suspicion is that some ignorant asshole thought it was a nuisance and decided to get rid of it. Sick, sick, sick…

But then there’s the lesser things that upset me: dogs left outside or in kennels all day, the massive amount of stray dogs that wander San Diego (especially on the street a friend of mine lives on, though I can’t tell if they’re all stray, or if the residents there just let their dogs wander the streets, which also pisses me off).

Why have a dog? Seriously, I want to know from people who¬†leave their dogs outside all the time (excluding working dogs, I understand that those are not owned for the company they bring, but I still think its stupid to work with dogs if you don’t actually LIKE them…) but why would you get a dog and then leave it outside constantly? What’s the point? I dated a guy for a while that I used to visit all the time at his parents’ house, and I didn’t know for the LONGEST time that they had a dog. He lived outside, was chained to a dog-house, and I think he was visited once or twice a day for feedings – that’s it. He was a golden retriever, he was estimated to be about 9, and his fur was so matted he had dreadlocks to the ground. Luckily, they were amiable to my asking to adopt him, and the day I took him home to my parents’ house, he got more attention than he ever had. He was like the toy a kid doesn’t care about until another kid touches it. I was so disgusted. When I got him home, he pee’d¬†EVERYWHERE, and we realized he was INFESTED with fleas and ticks, so we isolated him for one night until I could get him to the vet the next day for shots, grooming, and a flea-dip. When I brought him home from being groomed, he looked like a Lab. Remember I said he had fur TO THE GROUND, they had to cut it all off, and practically shave him, even his tail. But you have never seen a happier dog. Despite his advanced Lyme disease (a disease commonly carried by deer ticks, especially in the East) which caused him SEVERE joint stiffness and pain, he was SOOOO happy. Hank (my mom said he needed a macho name, so she renamed him) was always smiling, always happy to see you, and once we got him potty trained (two days, I kid you not) he fit right in, even down to staking his claim under the kitchen table at mealtimes.

You want to know WHY they kept him outside? Be cause he didn’t LIKE IT inside. That’s what they told me. That dog was over the moon to be in my parents’ house! Maybe he didn’t like being in YOUR house, or maybe you mistook his need for training as unhappiness to be inside, but EVERY dog wants to be inside with his master where he is loved and safe. Dogs are pack animals, social creatures, they just want to be with you. I guarantee this because as soon as I sit on my couch, my two Chihuahuas hop into my lap and snuggle. They love me, and I love them, like I would children.

A few people have said my dogs are spoiled, and I can totally accept that, they have a million toys, the run of the house (when someone’s home, I crate them for their own safety, and my peace of mind, when we leave) and sleep in our bed – under the covers, mind you – every night. I’ve even been known to put a little bacon grease in their food, and turn on the hearing pad that’s usually for my back so that they can be nice and warm and snuggly.

So yeah, they’re spoiled.

But the love I get from my two little babies is UNMATCHED by any relationship I’ve ever had. They love me unconditionally, I’m their pack leader, they look to me for everything, food, shelter, and love, and I’m happy to give it all for the love I get in return. My mom once said she likes her dogs more than she likes most people, and I totally agree. People are selfish, stupid, inconsiderate, rude, and sometimes just plain mean. A dog doesn’t get into power struggles with you. A dog doesn’t cut you off on the road. A dog doesn’t care what you look like or how you dress. A dog won’t judge you, but will love you for you. Even if you’re a shitty owner, they STILL love you! And those are the situations that make me so sad. The love is unconditional regardless of the quality (or lack thereof) of care.

And so, I leave you with an amazing tale of valiant, loyal, and most unexpected behavior from a Pit Bull a woman did not even know:  Stray Pit Bull Saves Woman & Child From Attacker.

continuing in the “gay rights” vein…

I randomly found this video today: Megyn Kelley DEFENDS Booing of Gay Soldier, and I was pissed.¬† Whomever this Megyn Kelley (spell your damn name right, idiot) chick is, she’s yet another ignorant, nosy, Republican moron, that makes the decent Republicans look like intolerant assholes (which they’re not, my Dad’s a staunch¬†Republican, and you know what? he’s a decent, kind, accepting man).¬† The whole “booing” at a political debate pisses me off too: aren’t these supposed to be professional affairs?¬† Where people put their Big Boy Pants on and grow the hell up to talk about important matters in a civilized way?¬† Good job, dumbass!¬† I’m sure Santorum will appreciate your assistance in destroying Republican credibility (I honestly¬†hope that dude is a Democrat who is purposefully¬†making an ass out of the Republican Party, which, if it were true, would make me much less sad about him running – STEWART/COLBERT¬†’12!).

The thing that occurred to me after posting how dumb that anchor-bitch was, is how difficult it is for someone gay¬†in the Armed Forces to vote, and here’s why:

Republican Agenda:  Stomp out gay rights/increase military funding

Democratic Agenda:  Establish gay rights/decrease military funding

By the way, the “military funding” part includes paychecks, benefits, pensions, ability to reenlist for 20 years and retire…

Get it?¬† Someone gay in the military pretty much has to choose between their lifestyle and their career when voting for a president.¬† This is really the only place where the two mix, because as I’ve said numerous times,¬†your sexuality has no place in the workforce, including the military, because it doesn’t matter.¬† Call me a hater, but I think DADT actually protected a lot of gays from their shipmates, namely, the ones that really enjoy flaunting their sexuality in everyone’s faces, which I hate as much as a straight guy or girl doing it.¬† Again, because there is no place for it in the workforce.¬† So if you’re gay, and you’re in the Good Ol’ Boy network of the military, don’t you think it’s kind of stupid to be all in-your-face and make the sheltered, ignorant people from places like Iowa uncomfortable enough to kick your ass?¬† It’s those¬†people who¬†I believe DADT¬†protected, basically from their own stupidity.¬† I’m not saying it’s right to kick someone out for being gay, but if your gayness is so flamboyant that it’s really screwing with the minds of the straight guys that can’t handle it, and can’t get away from it, then you just need to stop.¬† Be smart about it.¬† Some people are okay with it, other’s aren’t, and they have the right to not be okay with it.¬† It doesn’t matter.

So a gay military member gets to choose between having equal rights outside of the military and freezing his pay/losing his pension and benefits/not being allowed to re-enlist, or not having those rights and be unable to marry the person s/he loves, but keep the military funding up so that they’ll have a decent job with benefits.

Shitty.

Can you imagine having to make that choice?  What would you choose if you did?

prohibiting gay marriage, or, “what the hell is everyone’s problem?!”

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“What is Proposition 8?”

DingDingDing!!!

Okay, so I’m not gay, but I’ve kissed a girl and I liked it, and to me, all this hoopla about whether or not gay marriage is okay is just baffling to me. I can sum up my issue in two words:

Secular. Government.

Your religion is your business, not the government’s. Now, I realize that it might be difficult for people to swallow because a lot of people’s moral and ethical standards are dictated by their religion, and it becomes nearly impossible to separate the two, so I’ll simplify it for you:

If the law doesn’t affect you, then shut the hell up.

Legalizing gay marriage is not a “threat” to yours, what someone else believes is not a threat to your belief. You must be pretty insecure about your own convictions if you honestly think these things. It is not your responsibility (or your right or privilege) to proselytize people and shove your beliefs down their throats. The government doesn’t interfere with your right to practice your religion, or exclude people from it, or think that the gay lifestyle is “icky”, so stop being a hypocrite and trying to make this a religious issue. It’s not. It’s a human rights issue. And allowing two same-sex people to legally marry is a threat to no one. It doesn’t hurt anyone, and it doesn’t violate anyone’s rights, so you have no right to deny them.

If you don’t agree with gay marriage, don’t get gay married. Simple! That’s it! End of story! We can all go home and mind our own business now!

And to you ignorant folks that say polygamy and inter-species marriage is next: grow up. You’re grasping at thin air, and you know it. And if you honestly do think that is a valid argument, get real. I don’t even know how to rationalize an explanation as to how stupid that is, it’s that stupid!

Prohibiting gay marriage and denying gay couples the rights of straight couples is wrong and unconstitutional. Period.

On a lighter note, check out the video that inspired today’s post, I think you’ll like it.

And if you don’t, I don’t care, because your opinion is invalid. ūüėČ