MrsCKugs

Xfinity, no one likes you

So, my honey and I were out at breakfast this past weekend when we tried to connect to the wifi. We have been going to this place for years and they have always had unsecured internet access for people to use. Recently they have made a few upgrades and locking down the wifi was one of them. Not a huge deal, but as I am looking at the list of available SSID's available to connect to, I noticed an unsecured "xfinitiywifi". I showed it to my husband and he informed me that this was a common thing now. Comcast is using your modem to broadcast a signal so subscribers can sign in and use wifi where ever they are at.

This doesn't seem safe, or legal. When I got home, I googled a bit of information on it and came across this year old article on Ars Technica. The article states the good it could be doing, but it doesn't talk about the possibility for hacking. Also, when people connect they are using a piece of equipment on your network. Which means they are using your electricity. Will this increase your electricity bill?! Is Comcast going to put some money on your electric bill? Since they don't want to credit your bill when they have outages for days  (*cough polar vortex cough*) I am going to go with no.

I am going to set this on my porch

http://sprudge.com/20-tip-jars.html

This whole debacle fortunately does not apply to me and mine. We do not rent Comcast's shitty equipment, we purchased our own. But it is still truly concerning.

 

Do you have Comcast? Do you take advantage of the wifi access points from them around your town? How do you feel about it?

My Top 10 Podcasts – Part 1

Two years ago, I did not listen to podcasts. I had heard of them, but I never really paid attention. That all changed a year ago.

"Give me some of your favorite podcasts!" One of my Facebook friends posted. In 15 minutes she had a resounding list. One kept popping up over and over and over again. "Welcome To Nightvale" I decided to check it out. I started at the very beginning and was hooked after one episode. I started at the beginning, and was done in no time. I began searching for other podcasts to listen to while I was waiting for an update to WTNV. It just kind of snowballed from there.

Let's start with how I listen to my podcasts. Podcasts are called such because of Apple. These types of broadcasts have been around forever, but Apple made it simple (as they do with most things)  to get all of these in one spot. I am not an Apple product user. I never have been. I find it amusing that even when I was all about trends and trendiness, I never had an Apple product.

My current smart phone is an LG Nexus 4. My phone is great, however I got the low end of the memory when I purchased it. I know now that my next phone will have the most memory I can get.

The application I use to access podcasts is BeyondPod for Android. I tried other applications, but they didn't feel as user friendly to me.  There is a free verion and a paid version. I used the free version for a while then switched to the paid one. According to the website, the Lite (free version) has the same features of the Pro (paid version) except the following:

  • You will be able to update only one feed at a time.
  • You can download only one episode at a time.
  • You can play episodes only at normal speed.
  • Chromecast support will be disabled.
  • Scheduling of automatic updates will be disabled.
  • EpisodeSync will be disabled.

The main things that I needed from Pro were the first two on this list. I have a lot of podcasts...as well as feelings.

It is user friendly and the only thing I wish that it had (and this is totally superficial) is the ability to change the color of the application. The only two color palettes you have are a khaki color or dark. Boo.

So that is the hardware my podcasts run on. Lets jump into the podcasts. These are my top 10 in no particular order. I like them all equally.

1. Welcome to Nightvale

We've already talked about this in a previous post. Perfect Carlos, Cecil, The Old Woman who secretly lives in your home. They are all amazing characters. This podcast is delightfully weird and is an absolute joy to listen to. I wish I lived in Nightvale. I would happily join Tamika Flynn's band of mercenaries.

2. We're Alive - A Story of Survival

I discovered this podcast roughly a year ago. I don't remember how, and I do not remember why. But I was hooked instantly. It tells the story of a hodgepodge of people, banding together as the Zombie Apocalypse is in full effect. There are a lot of twists and turns along the way. This podcast has been going since 2008 I do believe. Sadly, it is coming to an end. According to the website the finale premeres in LA on July 19th in a live performance. It is killing me that it is ending, as I have grown to seriously care for some of these characters. It feels like it did when Harry Potter ended. I have thrown absolute tantrums on twitter about characters and they have responded. Observe:

  And

As you can see, I love this podcast. And I love that they interact with my crazy butt.

 

3. The Read

I don't even know how to begin with The Read. Let me start at the beginning. I live for Kid Fury. I originally started watching his YouTube videos when he talked about the drama he had when trying to get home to watch Scandal:

I was in TEARS of laughter from the jump. You'll notice in this one he briefly mentions the podcast him and Crissle do.  I went ahead and checked it out shortly after that.

Bruh. Bruh. Honey, Linda, listen to me right now. If you love Beyonce, pop culture gossip, ratchet music, and just straight silliness. You must listen. There is swearing on here. Please keep that in mind. I don't even care. I'm grown.

4. The Leviathan Chronicles

From my list so far, you can kind of guess that I enjoy podcasts that tell a story. I am an avid reader. I have never really used books on tape (or cd, or whatever medium you want), but this is what some of these would be. Leviathan Chronicles are no different. It tells the story of an immortal population with a twist. This took some getting into. I think it was roughly the third episode before I was actually invested.

They currently have up to the first half of season 2 out. There have been multiple setbacks recently and the owner (Director? Writer?) Christof Laputka has a State of the Union that has been out there for a while explaining the delays. Christof,  if you read this please know that there are people who enjoy this podcast who would have no problems donating to a Kickstarter fundraiser for you. I need to know what happens to Tulley. I also want to punch Maccallen in the face.

5. Blerds on Nerds

BoN holds a special place in my heart. They reached out to us on twitter. Matt lives in Indianapolis (like me!) and Llana lives in LA. Kind of like how Blondie is in Vegas and we co-write on here! For those of you that do not know, a Blerd is just a Black Nerd. Growing up, I didn't run into many Blerds and it wasn't until I was a full fledged adult that I truly let my Geek Flag Fly. BoN talkes about the things that we all care about, such as E3, Comics, Gaming, and more. I appreciate what they do, and hopefully maybe we can collaborate on something someday!

6. Stuff you Missed in History Class

I am going to be honest with you when I say history did not capture my attention in High School/Junior High School. I always made it a point never to fall asleep in class, no matter how tired I was because I snored like a bear back then. To this day, 9th grade world history is the only class I have ever fallen asleep in. Seriously passed out on my desk. I got detention because it is pretty much impossible to discretly sleep when you snore like a damn bear.

I felt like adding this podcast to my roster was going to be a mistake. I figured I would try one and delete the stream if I did not like it. This particular podcast has over 600 episodes. I started with number one. I believe this podcast started in 2008. I am currently in the year 2009. I've listened to over 50 of them. One of the hosts has changed so far and it looks like both will be changing the later I get into them. My favorite podcast is where they talk about Australia's Stolen Generation . I had no clue that this had happened. I spoke to some of my Australian friends and they gave me the breakdown on how the impact of the stolen generation reverberates today in Australia. It is crazy.

 

I did not realize my countdown was going to be as wordy as it is. So I am going to save the last 4 for a Part 2!

Magnificent Manicure by BruisedUpDollie

When I was but a young girl on the interwebz, I came across a site called Cybersocieties. It was a site similar to hot or not,with points that meant absolutely nothing. It also had a slew of characters. While CS still exists, it is a shell of its former self. We have a small group on Facebook that posts information, and a lot of us are friends on there. One of my dearest friends from that time is Lo. She is here today to show you how to put together a simple and cute manicure. Take it away Lo!

 

Heeey! I hope everyone is well. I'm super excited to be able to share a simple mani known as the dotticure. A manicure filled with polka dots! For this look I used I used a dotting tool but if you don't own one you can use a bobby pin, the end of a paintbrush or even a tooth pick. You'll also need two or more polish colors. I chose a white and a teal. 

So adorable, so simple!

So adorable, so simple!

I layered some of my dots with a smaller dot of my original base color to make O's while leaving some smaller dots just as they were. I think it came out pretty cute for being insanely simple. I hope you enjoyed this super simple dotticure! And I hope you try one out sometime. Also I want to thank Leslie for having me! Thanks doll you're awesome! 


 

Do any of you do nail art? Lo is amazing, and as a matter of fact, she designed a manicure for me to use on my cruise. However the nail shop I went to failed horribly at it. I didn't even bother taking a pic of the one the manicurist did. Like I had to come home and redo my own nails, it was that bad.  Here is the one Lo did for me:

 

This is adorable, and I die.

This is adorable, and I die.

 

More of Lo's manicures can be found on Facebook and Instagram!

https://www.facebook.com/BruisedUpDollie

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered (not in a good way)

Humans are weird creatures. Some of us are loud and combative while some of us are soft spoken and passive. We are all different and that is great. It makes the world a more interesting place to live in. Sometimes we don’t know how to deal with the actions of others or situations that our environment have put us in. Instead of making changes and doing big thangs, a lot of us put our heads in the sand and bemoan our fate. I am guilty of this quite often. There is a saying that is attributed to several different people; Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Sometimes it is hard to make that first step to change. This is why I am writing this. A change will do you good, as it sort of did me. Here are the steps I follow and questions I ask myself when I am truly unhappy with something for the examples, I am talking about my former job.

1) What exactly is making me unhappy?

When I first started my old job, I was ecstatic. I had been out of work for two years, and before that, nothing I truly did was IT. This job promised to change that. I learned a lot, and as time went on, things were becoming old hat. By two years in, I had surpassed my current job position. But there was no where for me to go. Remembering the arduous job hunt from two years prior, and how hard it was to get this job, I floundered. I stayed miserable far longer than I should, telling myself that I should be grateful to have a job.

What I didn’t realize was that in two years the game had changed. I was a big fish in a rapidly shrinking pond at my job. I wasn’t learning anything new, and I wasn’t going to be allowed to pursue the career path that I wanted to in IT in this job. Another thing I did not realize was that yes, my job hunt was difficult prior but I had nowhere near the skills or the resume that I did now.

2) Is there anyway I can become happier in my current position (current relationship, etc.)?

The straw that broke the camel’s back  as far as my old job went was the very last review I had there. My boss gave me a glowing review. He was happy with all aspects of work that I was doing. During the portion of the review where he asked if I had any questions, I asked “Is there anyway that I could get promoted with job title and pay?” I was straight up told no. My old department ran incredibly lean. There was no place for me to go, and my boss wasn’t even trying to keep me. This was going to continue to be a miserable place for me as long as I stayed there. It was time for me to go.

3) Where to boss?

This is rough. You need to sit down and think what do you want out of your next situation. For me, I wanted a place that once again I would grow with. I learned so much from my old job. It made me more than a tech: I am an IT professional in all aspects of the word. I don’t just look at the problem and figure out how to solve it. I look at all aspects of a situation to prevent the issue from cropping up again. I wanted a place that would help me onto the track that I wanted to be on. I knew my end goal was to become a DBA. I knew I was not at that stage in my career at all. I wanted some place that would put me on the right track.

4) Let’s do this!

I knew what I wanted, I was ready to hunt. Dozens of resumes were sent out, interviews were given. For the first time in my life interviews didn’t phase me. I have all of the soft skills that IT people are always pushing. I have the technical skills as well. Why should I work for you? Tell me about your company. The interviews never felt one sided. We were testing each other out. Are you a good fit for me? I already know I am a great fit for you. Eventually I happened upon a company that is a great fit for me.

So that is where I am at now. The company I am currently at is as enthusiastic about me as I am about them. My department is another story. There is a lot of things going on that make me doubt who I am and what I am trying to become. It is dragging me down quite often. I am not in tears like I was at the end of my last job, but I am slowly losing steam. So I started looking at my list of questions again. I am on question #2. There is a way for me to become happier. and I am working on it. If you have a full time career a lot of your time is going to be spent doing this job. While it should not be the end all be all of your happiness, if you are able to you should at least not want to huddle under your bed crying when it is time to go to work. I recently took a step that should change how I feel about everything and continue me on my path to who and what I want to be.

What do you do when you are unhappy with a current situation? How do you handle it?

Blue Apron – Product Review

I am the primary cook in our house. This is not a throw back to a time before feminism. When I have time, I enjoy cooking. A lot. It soothes me. There is also something very cool about taking a bunch of ingredients and turning them into something delicious.

I first heard of Blue Apron from a Facebook friend. A mutual friend of hers gave her a few weeks free from them. I happened to be on Twitter that day and Blue Apron was having a deal for a week of meals.  I went ahead and purchased them. What could it hurt?

Blue Apron Box

Opening the box

I specified to receive my box on Friday. I am off on Friday's and didn't have much to do that day. They informed me it would come at anytime between 8a-8p on that day.

When I got back from my hair appointment (*flips hair*) It was sitting in the shade near the garage. So I picked it up and brought it in.

LET THE BIG DOG EAT!!!

Lovely Letter from Blue Apron

I opened the box and was impressed by the number of cooling agents that they had in there. Even if I had been a really long time, nothing was really going to suffer.

 

Opening the box

NUMMIES!!!!

I chose a box with two servings of each meal. There is just me and my husband. We do not need a whole lot of food. Each meal comes with all of the things needed to make the amount of food you ordered and a recipe card that has colorful pictures.

The first recipe I decided to make was the Pan-Fried Orange Shrimp with Sauteed Scallions and Bok Choy over Jasmine Rice.

Ready!? Okay!?

Cooking!

Ingredients and recipe card

I pulled everything out that the recipe required and began my prep work on all of them.

 

Prepped Ingredients

Yeah, I don't have a bunch of fancy matching bowls. I was still classy.

The instructions were super easy to follow and had a picture for pretty much every step.

End Result

TAAADAAAA!!!!!

Everything turned out delicious. I did have a boatload of dishes to wash after, but that was only because I was being fancy and instead of piling prepped items on the chopping board like I normally do, I presented it in bowls.

So, Blue Apron Pros and Cons:

Pros:

Not super expensive. It is about what we would pay for groceries for a week.

Easy well written instructions.

Everything is in the kit for use.

You don't get stuck in a food rut and this will give you a jump off point to actually mess around with the recipes if you so choose.

Cons:

While we would spend this on groceries for a week, there are no snacks, and no leftovers for us, because I chose the two meal plan.

My cooking ambitions come in spurts. I may not want to cook three meals a week and that is the lowest you can get.

The way everything is packaged, it seems as if there is a lot of waste. I don't put all of my veggies that I purchase at the store in plastic bags, but this box does.

You may end up with some things you absolutely do not like. I hate beets, and my second week box included beets and beet pasta. *Gag*

Would I purchase this again? It honestly depends. I have to be in a mood to cook, and these are not fast meals to prepare.  On a lark, I had my husband prepare the meatball sub one. He hates cooking, but I came home from work and just kind of did a *wall slide* and wasn't moving. He started cooking as soon as I got home at 7pm, and it took until 8pm for everything to be ready. We honestly do not have that kind of time. During the week our food needs to be quick. With all of the fresh vegetables in the recipes, the food will not hold for longer than a week. By the time we got to the meatball subs, it was the end of the week and the cucumber for the salad was rotted.

 

If you give Blue Apron a try, let me know, I would love to know your thoughts!

 

I purchased two weeks worth of Blue Apron with my own doubloons. No one is sponsoring this post. Except me.

 

 

 

 

The Consideration of Others

 

So, here is the deal. Rules. I am not a big follower of them. If I want to do something, and there is a rule in place to discourage me, I am going to try my damnest to find a way around it. There are a couple exceptions to this. The first one being that the rules are there to help with the safety of others. The second being the rules are there to make sure everyone has a good time.

The past few days I have seen some doozies.

Let us talk about flash photography. Want to know my major pet peeve? You own a super fancy DSLR camera, with all the crazy fancy lenses. Instead of taking a class, or reading a book to learn how to use it, you instead keep it on automatic and always keep the flash on. Let me let you in on a little secret. YOU DO NOT NEED FLASH ON EVERYTHING. At conventions, and things on a stage, most of the time, the people on the stage are lit up properly for you. No flash needed. They do this for a couple of reasons.

1. Flash blinds and disorients the people on stage.

2. Flash can be dangerous to people in the audience.

For those of you who hadn’t seen or heard, at the Supernatural convention in Las Vegas, a friend of mind and a severe medical emergency because the people throwing the convention did not see an issue with allowing people to use the flash. You can read about her story here.

At the live reading of Welcome to Night Vale the woman who speaks at the end of every podcast came out (she looked fabulous by the way). She explained that they loved having their picture taken, and while that was not a problem, could we please turn off the flash? It was blinding to the actors, and it disrupts the experience for your neighbors. They also asked that we did not film it, because they wanted each stop to have the same experience that we got. Besides, after the tour it would be up for download.

Not even two minutes after she left the stage, there was flash photography all over the place. I just turned around and glared. After the issue with my friend at the SPN con, I was hypersensitive to following that rule.

Two pews (I told you in the last entry this was a quirky place)  in front of us was the most annoying girl I ever had the misfortune of sitting near. I don’t honestly even really know why she was there. She looked to have no interest in the show. Shortly after the show had begun, I was bathed in a bright white light. She was recording the show and her bright ass display was interrupting my viewing. I was so irritated. She kept stopping and starting recording and not even paying attention to what was going on. I truly believe her whole purpose in that theater that evening was to make me so angry I wanted to snatch her hair. Ugh. Eventually someone in my pew told her to stop and she did.

I guess the point of this is to say this: Why is it so difficult for people to be courteous to one another? Flash photography causes seizures to some people. Video recording AFTER THE PEOPLE ASKED YOU NOT TO is so tacky and unnecessary.  Some rules aren’t made to be broken. They are there for the health and wellbeing of the people around you, and maybe even yourself. Think about it.

Welcome…to Night Vale!

I recently just switched jobs. With my old job, whenever I wasn’t on the phone, I listened to music. Since I am perpetually stuck in the 90’s that is what most of my music consists of. Eventually I got bored with the same playlists day in and day out, and decided to branch out.

Me: Does anyone know of any good podcasts?

Friends: This American Life! The Read! Welcome to Night Vale!

Me: What is Welcome to Night Vale?

Friends: Think Twilight Zone with absolute randomness thrown in.

Me: Sold!

I downloaded the most recent episode at that time. I was hooked when Cecil started talking about the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home. In short order, I downloaded and listened to all of the past episodes.

For those of you that have no clue what the hell I am going on about, here is the description by Wikipedia:

Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast presented as a radio show for the fictional town of Night Vale. It was created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, is voiced by Cecil Baldwin, and is published by Commonplace Books. The podcast airs on the first and fifteenth of every month, and consists of "news, announcements and advertisements" from the desert town,located "somewhere in the Southwestern United States".In an interview with NPR, Joseph Fink commented on the creation of the series, stating that he "came up with this idea of a town in that desert where all conspiracy theories were real, and we would just go from there with that understood."

Cecil Baldwin is the voice of Night Vale. He is currently dating a scientist by the name of Carlos. Not much is known about Carlos, except it feels like he doesn’t really believe in the conspiracies, he loves Cecil, and he has perfect hair.

Night Vale has recently started a live show tour, and I was truly fortunate (read: when tickets went on sale I ignored all work that needed to be done in that moment and clicked as if my life depended on it) to get tickets to see the show.

I’m going to be honest when I say this: I truly didn’t believe that this would be a sold out show. I only have a few friends that know about Welcome to Night Vale. Imagine my surprise when I pull up to the venue in Irvington an hour early and the line is WRAPPED AROUND the theater.

 

Irvington is a neighborhood (I hesistate to say suburb) of Indianapolis. It is totally quirky and funky like Broadripple with more parking. It has all these neat shops, and the neighborhood looks like has organically grown over the years and not been manufactured like *cough* Carmel *cough*. The Irvington Theater was super funky. I look on the about page of the theater and it doesn’t tell me the year it opened, only the day as far as I could see.

Once we got inside, there was a set up to buy shirts, and posters. I wanted to hurry up and grab seats, as all the ones in the front row were taken. We ended up with decent seats, right behind the sound equipment people. As I sat down and waited, I people watched. In addition to people in WTNV shirts, we had people dressed up. I think I saw more Carlos’ than anyone else. They all had on lab coats.

I am not going to talk about what the show was about, they came out at the beginning and asked that we don’t do that or record anything because they want each stop on the tour to have the same experience as us, plus they plan on releasing the live shows after they get done. I am one that does not want to ruin the expierence for others.  I will however, have a second blog post about some of the audience at a later time. Hopefully this week right after this post.

The show in one word? Amazing. The audience participation was amazing as well. Cecil looked nothing like what he did in my head, nor did Perfect Carlos. Let this be known though, they are both FINE. FIIIIINNNUHHHHHHH. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. After it was over, I did not see them come out to do autographs, which I was hoping to get a picture with them, but it is okay. If they come to your town to do a live show, don’t miss it. They are amazing storytellers!

Computer Love part 2

To see the first part of this story click here.

 

Like I said, things were going superbly with Dax and I until I met his parents. A few things to know about me. I come from a blue collar family. My mother is a nurse, my father is a computer tech. At the time of this story, I was working two low level jobs, and getting ready to attend college. A few things to know about Dax. His family is affluent. We’re talking WASPy affluence. So imagine the surprise when said affluent WASPy members find out their little Dax is bringing home, not only a blue collar, undereducated small town girl, but she is brown to boot!

I am empathic. It is one of the reasons it is hard for me to be around a large group of people for an extended period of time. A lot of times I can feel what the people around me feel. When I met Dax’s parents, what I felt was not cool. His father was basically shooting off “What the hell is going on!?” vibes. I maintained my own and stuck it out, and got out of there as soon as I could. On the way home, I explained what I felt to Dax. He brushed me off saying it was fine, and that I was being silly.

A week later, he called to break up with me.

Before everyone boo/hisses about the phone call break up, please remember we live an hour apart. I wasn’t mad at the fact that he called to break up. I was mad that he let his father get into his head about me.

Dax stuttered and stumbled through his break up thoughts. They were mostly that we are different people (I would hope I wasn’t dating myself, that  would be super difficult…and kind of vain), that we were in different places in our lives (I was 23, he was 28.. he had financial and emotional support to go to school and do things in his life. I did not and was getting around to him late. He knew all of this WHEN WE MET), and the kicker was that his father thought I wasn’t very healthy (aka I was fat, and his dad did not approve)  When he got finished I spoke. I informed him that I thought I was dating him, not his father, and if he wanted to break up with me, that was fine. But they needed to be for his own reasons, and not some reasons his father drilled into his head. He got quiet and spoke softly on the phone “I don’t really want to break up.” That settled that. Truth be told, we should have probably broke up then and there. He was family oriented. Really family oriented. I already knew I didn’t feel comfortable hanging out with his family, as they had already let me know (through a proxy no less) how they felt about me. What can I say? I was Britney Spears in that moment (“My loneliness, is killing me.”)

Our relationship went on. for a while. He brought up hanging out with his parents again. He told me his mother was fine with us and it would be okay. I rolled my eyes and went along with it. His family had me over to dinner at one point. For some reason, bi-colored corn got brought up by me, his mother stated she thought I said “bi-colored porn.” At this point, I just wanted to go back home. To my hole, and die.

His mother sent me a hand written note to my house to invite me to Thanksgiving. My mom and I read the note together and looked at each other. “Who sends handwritten notes to a family affair? Are you getting engaged!?” my mother screamed at me. “No…LORD NO!” I responded. I kept looking at that note. I felt cynical. I felt like it was a trap.

While it wasn’t a trap, not a more awkward Thanksgiving was had.  I watched what I ate, lest it was said that I was eating too much, I was suspicious of the turkey, as I never saw the whole bird. They took it in another room, cut it up, and served it. Plus, I don’t think his mom cooked much, because she didn’t have a schedule, cooked the bird very first. By the time we ate, it was dry and ice cold. We stayed there the entire day. Long after his brothers left, we stayed. I began to notice some things. His father sort of ran the house with an iron fist. His mother wanted the gas fireplace on. His dad told her to “Don’t be stupid, we don’t have the instructions anymore, we will not be doing any fires.” She just said okay and went with it. Dax’s two brothers weren’t impressed. They were from his mother’s previous marriage, so Dax’s dad was their stepfather. and Dax was their half brother. They started telling me stories of how they would scare the shit out of him when they were kids. Dax’s mood just got darker and darker as they talked. He was bullied as a child and still had a hard time being the butt of anyone’s jokes.

I would like to say that things improved after this day. They didn’t. I started to notice things. Certain things he did, I  was embarassed about. The turning point of everything was one Memorial day. My family had a party and I lied to him and said my family was going out of town. Why did I lie? Because the party was being held at my uncle’s house that had a swimming pool. All of the kids would be in the pool, and I knew if I had invited him, he would be the lone adult in the pool, prompting my family to ask “what is wrong with him?”

The breakup wasn’t mutual, he broke up with me (again). While I was sad for a short while, I feel like part of myself was relieved. I didn’t have to deal with this anymore.

We have both moved on, years later he is married with a child and I am married. I am grateful for the experience of Dax. It made me realize what I wanted in a significant other more than anyone else I had ever dated. I also decided that at that point in my life, men were a distraction I couldn’t afford. I stopped dating when I went back to school. It got a little lonely, but it forced me to focus on myself, and the bettering of myself. It allowed me to make sure that I would never feel how Dax’s family made me feel. I knew back then I was a good person, but I didn’t realize my worth until someone else tried to set that for me.

 

 

Computer Love (Not the kind you think)

In 2005 I was 23. Having spent ages 19-21 out of my mother’s house in a different town, I had come home. I was looking to go to school, and have a better future rather than living paycheck to paycheck as I had been. I wasn’t born with a silver (or mother of pearl) spoon in my mouth, so I knew the only way this was going to happen was if I went to school.
There were a few problems with this. The main one being my lack of transportation: I come from a small city that had no public transportation. If you wanted a cab, you better know to call a day ahead; otherwise you would spend a good portion of your day waiting on one. In order to get a car, I needed a job. I had a job, working for a popular clothing company, whom I love to this day. I was not full time, so I needed a second job.
Because I was depending on my family to get me back and forth to work, I had to be careful about where I found another job. Because the clothing store was in the mall, I applied to other jobs within the mall. I briefly worked at a bookstore. I was so excited. Being a bookworm, I figured that working at a bookstore would be in my top 10 jobs. This job was not for me. Everyone who worked in the store was depressed, and it had a way of dragging my mood down as well. The manager that seemed to be on duty every time I worked did not have a car, yet would have to take a deposit to the bank daily. The final straw was the day she belittled me for not having a car to take her to do the deposit. I asked her if she could hear herself. She sputtered and huffed off. I was done. The general manager thanked me for my honesty as I left.
While I kept the clothing store job, I found another job at a daycare center. It was a 20-minute walk from my house, so it was perfect.
In the midst of working two jobs, and saving up for a car, I was lonely. I had friends, but my friends were off doing their own thing. By that age, most of my friends were engaged, had been engaged, and had popped out a kid or two. I spent a lot of time on my own.
Growing up in a typical black family, your geeky experiences are few and far between unless you seek them out. I was a bit of a black sheep in my family (still am), so I was hesitant to let my geek flag fly. One thing my family did not know is that quite often, I used to Internet to talk to and meet people. If my mother would have known, she would have clutched her pearls and screamed about Internet predators. Plus the Internet let you open up to people that you rarely would have. It’s how I slept with my school mascot 6 years after high school (don’t ask). With the loneliness and boredom, I decided to dip my toe into online dating.
After putting up a profile on OkCupid, I browsed the profiles. And that is how I met Dax*. Dax and I hit it off instantly online and decided to meet up for a date. The problem was I was in the middle of moving the rest of my belongings home, and accidentally stood him up. I felt horrible, and composed a long heartfelt apology. Dax accepted and we were going to try again. As a gesture of good faith, I was going to him. I borrowed my mother’s car and headed that way. It was a decent date, one of the better ones that I had been on at that time. As a result, we fell into a relationship with one another. We spent as much time as we could together. That was primarily weekends as he had a full time job, and lived in Indianapolis, and I had two part time jobs and lived an hour away. I also didn’t have a car, so he was gracious and would pick me up on the weekends.
Things were going really well, until I met his family.

(…To Be Continued)

*Dax is not his real name.

That time I went on Twitter and met my geeky soul mate.

Twitter is an amazing thing. I follow a random group of people. From Awesomely Luvvie to Anderson Cooper. I am all over the place. I have varied tastes, so of course I am going to follow a multitude of people.  I am a fan of Star Trek. Deep Space 9 and The Next Generation are my favorite. I have had a crush on Brent Spiner since I was 6 years old. Because of this, I follow the casts of both on Twitter. I happened to be on one day and Brent Spiner tweeted the best thing I have ever seen in my life:

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In case you cannot tell, It is Data naked with Spot and Geordi brandishing his violin. 

Oh. My. God. 

After some investigative work (Read: bugging the shit out of anyone that retweeted the picture) I found the creator of the picture and she shared some more of her incredible artwork with me! I had to ask her for an interview, and she complied. 

Everyone, meet Christine Parisi!

 

What’s your name?

Christine Parisi, although I have been thinking about adopting a pseudonym for my new found fame. I’m considering the name Alanis Morrisette, since that is a totally original name that I made up. It won’t be confusing at all. Or maybe I’ll just use my initials as to avoid sexism like J.K. Rowling and go and the ambiguous, C.M. Parisi.

Where you from?

Chicago, IL. Although I actually grew up in the burbs. Big surprise that my art is not really addressing any heavy social justice issues.

Tell me what you do?

clip_image002 I was a high school art/English teacher for many years. I got cut like so many other teachers in Chicago, and now I am trying to be a full-time artist. I substitute teach to supplement my income. I love being a substitute. It’s so easy. I did this watercolor Chewbacca while I was subbing the other day because I read Girl with a Pearl Earring the day before.

What kind of geek are you?

I’m a cool geek. Like, I know it’s “cool” to be a geek now. But I’m pretty sure I was always cool. Below is a picture of my boyfriend and I in our matching WOLF sweatshirts. See? COOL! (Leslie Note: You are totally awesome and the shirts prove it)

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Are you a total trekkie?

clip_image006I really can watch it forever. I think we should teach it in schools. I flipped out when I found this drinking vessel at a thrift store the other day. Also, I’ve been Star Trek characters for a few Halloweens. Below is my borg costume. It had a working mechanical arm that I’m not wearing in the picture. I used an erector set for the motor and had different attachments, like forks and stuff. So, I don’t know if that means I’m a total trekkie. (You are the best borg. You should know this)

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What series of Star Trek is your fave? For the record mine is a tossup between TNG and DS9.

TNG hands down. I had to stop watching DS9 but I did go back to it. Bajorans just annoy the S&%# out of me. I really liked Voyager except that episode where Q is romantically interested in Janeway. That’s totally unrealistic and would never happen. (Bajorans can be a bit….much.. BUT THE SISKO!!!)

Tell me about how you got started making your art.

clip_image010I was trying to master acrylic portraits and I found myself lacking subjects. I was painting these kind of dark, punky, sexy girls (see below) because people really like them and I wanted to practice painting bodies and faces. However, I also wanted to sell art, and I thought, “ who is going to be interested in a picture of a person unless it’s either a sexy-ass person or a celebrity?”  So, I just did a Data portrait and someone bought it immediately. I started feeling like I was getting really good at capturing a likeness from a photo, so I started mashing things up and getting more confident using my imagination. It’s hard to create realism and light if you don’t have a photo of the exact thing you are painting. So, once I started getting REALLY good I felt ready to do the Venus of Data, for which I had to combine photos from different sources. Obviously Brent Spiner didn’t pose nude for me, so I had to imagine the male body, using the female from Titian’s Venus and Manet’s Olympia as a template for shading. I don’t feel like I have mastered any styles or even fully developed a style of my own, but it’s getting there. I think a humorous or sci-fi angle will tend to incorporate it in my future work, but I also want my technique to catch people’s eye. There are SO many talented portrait artists out there and I want to find a way to set myself apart. I’m still experimenting. That’s where I’m at right now.

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How did it feel when Brent Spiner (Le Sigh) retweeted your pic?

Oh my god! I was freaking out. I was not a twitter user. I made an account and jumped in there and posted a better version of the painting like “Me! I did that! Me!”. I don’t know who took the photo or how it got to him, but the buzz was awesome. The next day, Spiner sent me a PERSONAL MESSAGE!!!!! Virtual degrees of separation between me and Brent Spiner=0. (I AM SO JEALOUS AND I MUST NOW HAVE YOUR HAND THAT TYPED TO HIM #NOTCREEPYATALL)

Where can we see your art at?

Right now I have a lot of work hanging at GMAN tavern in Chicago. The show has been up since Oct. Since it is next door to the Metro, an excellent music venue, I have sold art to Amos Lee, Cults, and Three Floyd’s Brewery. That coupled with the Spiner thing, I’m kind of on cloud nine with all the famous people buying my art. The Venus of Data is there next to a print out of all the tweets. It has not sold yet.

How do we purchase one of these awesome pieces?

www.facebook.com/christineparisiart Message me through the page or my email and I will give you details on specific prices for prints. The prices for the originals are listed on the FB page.

What kind of crossover television show would you love to see and why?

Star Trek TNG SVU!!! Why? Because Picard would not stand for space rape. (YAAASSSS!!!!)

Head on over to Christine’s page and let us know in the comments which one is your favorite!