The Book of Job and what they don’t tell you

One time in an undergraduate religion class, the professor asked us to list some Biblical characters who represent role models for Christians.  I listed Job.  The man who remained faithful to God.  No matter what.  The man who represented how we are supposed to give everything to him.  The man who is rewarded for his blind faith in God.

My professor commended me for the Biblical character I listed… because not many people remember him when Daniel, David, and Moses live such adventurous lives.


I recently reread the book of Job, and I learned a lot about the story… a lot you NEVER hear in Church.  At least, I didn’t.  I’m here now to help provide you an alternative interpretation:

What happens to Job is effed up, and he reacts like any normal person with anger and doubting.  He gets rewarded anyway.

I’m very confused about how this actual story gets turned into a hero story…


Just to give you more detail.  Satan asks God if he can destroy Job’s life.  He tempts God into saying yes by appealing to His ego: don’t you want to see if he stays faithful to you when everything he loves and holds dear is ripped away from him? (paraphrasing here…)  Of course, God says yes.  Because Old Testament God likes playing God…

So, Satan kills Job’s family, destroys his property, swallows his animals, and kills most of Job’s friends (except for a handful).  As I said before, Job reacts like any normal person.  He’s confused as to what happened when God promises to take care of those who remain faithful.  He’s angry because he does exactly as he’s told to do.  He’s mournful because he’s lost HIS ENTIRE FAMILY.  Then, as when anything tragic happens to believers, Job begins to doubt and spiral..  drugs and alcohol and partying and doing everything he never did before because his faith in God held him back…


I’m kidding about the drugs and alcohol, but he definitely throws a pity party for himself with his surviving friends.  They all reminisce about how awesome Job is and how messed up it is that he just got fucked over.  All of them.  Except for one.

We’ll call him brown-nose.  He begins to preach, as only someone who has never suffered can, about how faith really works.


When he’s done being a cunt, God walks into the room: Fuck off!  I’m God.  I’m greater than you asses, so I get to determine whether to use Scott’s or those cherry-smelling wipes when I clean you up.  (paraphrasing, duh …)

After His rant of how great He is, He rewards Job anyway… a man whose faith faltered when tragedy hit him in the balls.  Maybe I missed something… but I don’t think I did.  But, the book of Job basically showed us that bad crap happens because God lets it.. then, whether you remain faithful or not, God will decide whether he feels like rewarding you afterward.


Go and read it.  Let me know what you understand.  Is it different than what I have?

It’s a Palanhiuk Kind of Summer…

Keeping with the theme as my last post.. I will now discuss another Chuck Palanhiuk novel I read this summer… Lullaby.  I first want to state that I liked this one much better.  Maybe it’s because I’m partial to a story structure that makes sense.  Maybe it’s because I can relate to the narrator’s tragic past.  Maybe it’s because it’s more fictional and it’s less likely this magic crap will happen than a person self-mutilating themselves in the same way Shannon did (I have little faith in humanity).

Whatever the reason, I liked it better.


This guy meets this girl and this girl gets him into trouble.  End of story.  A tale as old as time.. no, really.

Carl has suffered the fate of (apparently) many parents.  He was a loving father who read a bedtime lullaby to his child.. and a wife within earshot.  The next morning, both the child and the wife are dead.  Upon further investigation, Carl discovers the pattern of this lullaby within all the cases he writes about in his newspaper.  Later down the road he meets Helen, who has also discovered this poem… but she uses it to get what she wants… kill who she wants… and then turns Carl into the same person.  For a little while anyway.  He decides he wants to go around the country destroying these books that  contain the lullaby.  This lands him into a whole bunch of drama with Helen and three others: Nash, Mona, and Oyster (what kind of name is that?).  etc. etc.  You can read the plot on Wikipedia.  I’m not here for that.


I want to talk about how Palanhiuk has, yet again, masterfully created this really fucked up character with such a complex past.  We only learn just enough to put the pieces together.  I want to know: what is wrong with Palanhiuk that he creates these kinds of characters?  does he absolutely believe that there aren’t any good people in the world?

Yet.. he’s created people in this story such that they’re the result of one tragic event.  Palanhiuk has shown that even the best of people become messed up.. maybe he believes that everyone is so weak that the death of a family will make people villians rather than the heroes like Batman is painted to be.


It’s sort of refreshing.  The negative view of humans.  So many stories have that moment where things turn out positively… and it can be frustrating because life doesn’t work out that way.  It’s a nightmare.  But, a Palanhiuk novel always (and by always I mean the 3 I’ve read and the 1 movie I’ve watched that was based on one of his novels) has a screwed up “positive” ending.  For Carl, he succeeds in tracking down like 99% of the lullabies and destroying them.  He also removes Nash (who is murdering women with the lullaby to have sex with their dead bodies)


from the equation.  Carl also finds some sort of relationship with Helen, who seems not be murderous anymore once she’s in someone else’s body.  This… is kind of positive, right?

Castle Ghost

Originally posted on Peas and Cougars:

Castle 1Castle 2Castle 3Castle 4Castle 5Castle 6Castle 7Castle 8Castle 9

There really should be an Olympic sport for freaking yourself out when you really mean to freak someone else out. I really would win the gold.

P.S. I really did get to stay in a castle though – we just got back from a vacation to Ireland, which has more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world (note: I made that up, but they really do have a lot). It was my first trip to Europe and I already want to plan my next (after I get out of debt from this one). I will probably have some more posts inspired from our trip. And at some point we need to discuss the fact that the only American beer any pub had was Coors Light (sorry, husband wants me to correct that there was also Budweiser, but I decline to see the difference). Not only is that…

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Two Words

You’re falling for her.
Because she’s smart.
Because she’s beautiful.
Because she knows how to laugh at herself.

She hasn’t said those two words yet.

So you let yourself think about her.
You let yourself think she thinks about you.
You wonder if she feels the same.
You wonder what you’re doing to yourself.

Then, she says those two words: my boyfriend.

Just go home.
You’re glad she has someone who can make her happy.
You’re just glad.
But you wonder what you’re doing to yourself.

Every time.

Just put a sign on your forehead.
“Warning: falls for your girl.”
It’s getting old, but
so are you.

Letting go.

You’re old enough now that you let it go.
Shake your head and laugh at yourself.
The sunset was made for silhouettes,
for chasing dreams and moments to forget.

She’s a Lady, and Ladies Shouldn’t Be Messed With

If you don’t know that song, you should: “She’s a Lady” by Forever the Sickest Kids.

One of the many reasons people self-harm: to feel like they have control in this one aspect of their life.  Chuck Palahnuik took this idea and wrote a novel.  It’s called Invisible Monsters.  If you want to read this book on your own, you should do that.. I will now continue with spoilers.


The novel’s main character is Shannon McFarland.  We learn about her life as it is currently and as it was previously from her point of view.  The story is told in a nonlinear manner, where various events are included when Shannon believes it’s necessary… sort of a flow of conscious kind of knit… but sometimes, things aren’t obviously tied together.

We know very little at first.  We know Shannon’s jaw has been shot off her face thus making it impossible for her to talk except in gurgling sounds.  We quickly learn Shannon was a model, and, obviously, can no longer be a model.  We learn Shannon does not really care much for her family.. there’s some strain since her brother Shane died.

Shannon has a few important people in her life she is constantly talking about.  There’s Evie, her best friend prior to her jaw-accident, Manus, her boyfriend prior to the jaw-accident, and Brandy, her best friend post accident.  Every one of these people are the most superficial people you could ever meet.  I mean, Manus sleeps with men just so he can feel like he’s still got it… Brandy is all about keeping up appearances… and we don’t know much about Evie except she’s a model and encourages Shannon to go for hand modeling and to reconstruct her jaw so that she can continue modeling… because all that matters is your appearance.


Anyway… the opening scene is Shannon standing next to a dying Brandy and Evie standing with a smoking gun.  The entire book is all the pieces put together so the reader and learn about what lead to this moment.  In as few words as possible: Brandy is Shane, after 90% of  MTF surgery.  Shane pretended to have died and changed his body because he doesn’t want to be a girl and this is the worst thing he can do to himself… self-mutilation.  Manus is a detective who sexually assaulted Shane and caused Shane to feel like he deserved less than good.  Evie slept with Manus while Shannon laid in the hospital bed.  And… Shannon shot herself in the jaw.


This crazy woman shot herself in the jaw because she didn’t like her life as a pretty model anymore.  She wanted to experience life as an ugly person.  The grass is always greener.


At the end, when she’s standing there watching her brother die because of her… her brother who actually suffered.

Nooooow Shannon’s sorry.  She’s sorry she mutilated herself for no reason except she was bored.

In my opinion, Shannon is the most self-centered of them all.  WHO THE EFF WOULD DO THAT BECAUSE THEY ARE THAT BORED?  For realz.  You can’t move to another country and teach english?  You can’t just eat a lot and become fat?  You can’t travel around the world?  Learn to weld?  Have a baby?  It makes complete sense to not only destroy your life, but destroy the lives of those around you.  COMPLETE SENSE.


Then, you have the nerve to give Shane your identity and decide that makes up for everything you’ve done.. WHO THE EFF ARE YOU to play God?  It’s not okay that you play Evie when all she did was sleep with your boyfriend.  What IS that compared to burning down two houses?  It’s not okay that you drag Manus around and drug him when all he did was sleep with Evie, assault your brother, and try to kill you…. oh wait… he deserved worse, you’re right.  But, what about poor innocent Brandy?  The woman who took you in and tried to build you up after your accident.  She didn’t deserve for you to hate her.  To plan her demise.  Shane walked away from the family because you didn’t open the window for him.  Brandy took that bullet because you didn’t stop it.  You hate Shane because he took your attention. REALLY?!

I’m not sure if we are supposed to feel bad for Shannon.  I can’t tell if she’s supposed to be the hero.  All I know is that I would never forgive her.  I wouldn’t want her in my life.  There aren’t any heroes in this book.   Everyone is a villain.


I picked up Invisible Monsters because I’ve read Survivor and I’ve watched Fight Club. Both of these are pretty good in my opinion.  I.M. is not horrible, but it seems to me that Palahnuik only knows how to write apathetic-sounding characters who end up in a whirl-wind situation of their own doing.  Not that C.P. is a bad writer.  Not at all.  But… maybe… he’s only good with one type of story.  That’s cool.  It’s like how Paul Rudd is always casted as the funny guy or how Scarlett Johansson is always casted as the boobier woman.

What did you think about Invisible Monsters?  Do you interpret it differently?  Maybe you can convince me to have a more positive opinion.

Dear Mother… Dear Father… Dear No-Gender-Specific Parent…

In previous posts, I’ve discussed the reality of higher education and jobs, and I’ve gave you 5 very compelling reasons not to go to graduate school.  I’m more than happy to equip you with these tid-bits of information.


However, you might be a person who has reached the graduate school level.  You probably did everything right and you don’t need my help.  Cool.  But, you need to know how to properly choose your adviser.  This is critical.  This is the person you are going to work closely with for the next 3-4 years of your life.  This person will shape how you think and what kind of researcher you will be.  They are your *insert field of study here* mother/father/parent.


 You need to do proper investigation:

1)  Determine a professor’s research interests.

If you don’t care even a little about what someone is doing research in, you’ll hate your time and you will lack motivation and you will suffer.  Three years doesn’t seem like a long time, but it drags on and on.


Remember in High School when you would watch the clock during the last hour of the day… yeah, the last three years will be like that.

One way to get a really good idea of what a professor does: read his/her/their papers.  You may not be able to understand everything, but if you think “oh man, this is cool!” or “that is really interesting, I want to know more” or even “this goes over my head, I love the fact this person is a genius”… then you will want to take the next step with this professor.


2)  Sit in on your POI.

First, it’s best if you’ve had a class with your POI or if you’ve attended a research presentation (which you should begin attending after your first semester) they’ve given.  Then, you know how this person teaches or how this person presents.  This helps in that you’ll know how they’ll advise/guide you.  You can determine whether their style works for you that way.


3) Meet with the professor of interest (POI).

However, if you haven’t been so lucky… a meeting with your POI will have to do.  Tell them you are interested in research with them.  Ask them questions like: what basic background material would I need? or, what classes should I take? or, are there papers/books not given in class that I can read to do what you do? are you open to answering questions I may have?  how often will you expect me to meet with you?  what are other responsibilities you expect? etc.


Problems with this method: people always behave better before you get to know them.  It’s later down the line that you will learn how wrong this person is for you.  The next item addresses how to avoid this.

3) Talk to students who are studying under or who have studied under your POI.

Students who have already graduated will most likely be more honest about their experience.   Students currently working with the POI may not be completely honest in fear; plus, it’s not very professional to spread gossip.  Despite this, though, you can tell by the answer (or lack thereof) what kind of professor he/she/they are.  A professor worthy of praise will be praised.  A professor who is hard in a disrespectful way will either have silent students or students who will complain behind closed doors.

4) REGs are an excellent way to judge a POI.

Most graduate programs will provide funding for summer research projects with professors.  Working with your POI for a summer is a great way to determine whether you will continue to work well together.

Note: Everyone has their annoying quirks.  You need to determine whether you can look beyond the POI’s treatment of you in order to obtain your degree.  Will this professor have you present at conferences and thus provide you networking relationships?  Will this professor help you submit several papers?  Will this professor be the one to help you pass your defense?  These are questions you can determine by asking the POI-students.  The compromise is determined by you.

Recommendation:  None of these things are worth giving up your dignity and self-respect.  Even if you don’t have any of the benefits, by walking away, you’ll at least have your self-worth.  I speak from my failure to do so..


Share in the comments the way you chose your adviser!

It’s Not What You Think

Note:  Everything I say is based on my own college/graduate school experience.  To help others from making my mistakes.

Youth just don’t know.  They are listening to adults.  Adults who still think a college education is the end-all-be-all.  It’s not true anymore.


For first generation students, you’ll go to college thinking: this is it.  After college I can be a self-sufficient adult, and I can start my own family.  I’ll have a career by time I am 23, so I’ll have children by time I’m 25.  It’s later than my own parents, but it’s okay because I’ll still be 45 when my own child goes to college. blah. blah. blah.  Graduating college is the biggest accomplishment first generation students will EVER think to strive toward.  At least.. that is how it was for me.



I didn’t know anything.  My mom didn’t know anything.  My grandparents, my aunts and uncles, all the people I looked up to in my family didn’t know anything.  Teachers and guidance counselors never talk about anything except getting into college.  No one ever talks about what happens after the acceptance.. what happens in college.. what happens when you graduate.. students are so uninformed, it’s not even funny.  The best thing you can ever be is informed..

Many, many, many students are going to college now.  So many.  Just think about it.  Wikipedia (a source you aren’t allowed to use in ANYTHING, but it’s extremely useful) says there were 21 MILLION students in college in the US as of 2012.. There are probably at least 1 million more.. and that is only in the US.  If all these people are getting degrees, what is the point?

too many

That IS the point, isn’t it?  In order to get into a good college, it’s stressed for students to have good GPAs and to participate in clubs and to join Honor Societies and to volunteer and to diversify and to blah blah blah.  I’m in awe of the youth who do all of this AND have to deal with bullsh** in their personal lives.  YOU are amazing individuals.

It doesn’t end when you get in though.  You’re told that if you want a good job you have to keep doing all those things.  Except, there are more distractions when you are away from home for the first time.. and so many students suffer because they’ve made the wrong decisions regarding these exploits.  It’s more difficult to keep that GPA and participate in those clubs or to volunteer.. but, you can’t get that job without ALL these things.


In fact, you have to do more than what you’re told.  You need INTERNSHIPS and WORK EXPERIENCE.  A college education isn’t enough anymore.  So many companies are looking for people who have 3+ years of experience.  Even if they are willing to hire a new graduate, they are looking for qualities that come from experience.  That means, you need to find out what these skills are and earn them in your 4 years of college.

It’s a lot.  I know… but you are competing with 21 MILLION students.. and many of those students are adults going back to get their education after the 3+ years of experience.  I don’t know about you, but I NEVER get picked for dodge ball when I’m a player and I ALWAYS choose the person who knows what they are doing when I’m the captain.

When you don’t have these extra tidbits under your belt, you’ll have a hard time finding a job.  That’s when you’ll contemplate graduate school.  You’re thinking: I went to college like I was supposed to.. I did everything I was told.. and it still wasn’t enough.. I’m still working this shi**y retail job serving these shi**y people.. I can’t do this the rest of my life.. What can I do?

And you think graduate school is the place to be.


But it’s not.

In fact, it’s worse than getting a Bachelor’s degree.  I list reasons you shouldn’t go in another post.  You need more.  All the extracurricular activities (volunteer work, honor societies, internships, good GPA) that made you look good before still stand.. but now you need to submit/publish papers, present at conferences, teach classes, participate in research groups.. In other words, gaining your professional experience while earning your degree.. all the while pretending you know what you are saying and doing..  all the while feeling as though you are an imposter..


People without a higher education stress that higher education is the way to go because they see everyone around them getting raises and promotions.  It’s not true.  What you need to succeed is BOTH.  You need professional experience in your field of interest.  You need a degree to show those mother-effers that you are worthy.  You don’t need just one middle finger, you need both middle fingers straight up as a statement that you did more than everything right.  You went above and beyond.

Please share advice in the comments for the youth deciding upon undergraduate school or graduate school.