The Lie in the Truths

Remember Paul? He’s a blogging friend who was kind enough to act as one of my guest bloggers last week while I was on vacation. I’m sure most of you read his post. Because it received more traffic than anything I’ve written in months. In fact, each of my four guest bloggers’ posts received so much more traffic than anything I’ve written in a long time. Logic dictates that you would all rather read what someone else has to say than read what I’ve got. I’ll consider how that makes me feel later.

Right now, we need to focus on Paul and the fact that he has issued a challenge to play a little game of Two Truths and a Lie. The twist is that it’s Two Truths and a Lie times five. So that means I need to come up with 10 truths and five lies. Lying I’m good at. It’s finding truths that might be the issue. But let’s see if I can do this. Oh, and be prepared, I have to come up with other bloggers to whom I can pass along the challenge. It’s kind of fun.

It’s my hope that you, the reader, will take the time to guess which one of each trio of facts is the lie and let me know your guesses in the comments below. In a couple days I’ll come back and reveal the correct answers. Are you ready to be lied to? Are you ready to be truthed to?Truthiness.gif

First

A) Despite the fact that I’m 36, people often mistake my age for late 20s.

B) The only thing I find more disgusting than chocolate is peanut butter.

C) I am an accomplished juggler.

Second

A) I could get into serious trouble with the law if I was caught driving without corrective lenses.

B) The thought of wearing contact lenses freaks me out.

C) My eyes are ridiculously sensitive to light.

Third

A) One of my favorite things to do is ride in the car and sing.

B) I’m able to hear a song on the radio and later play it on piano by ear.

C) I can only play seven chords on a guitar.

Fourth

A) I was once engaged to a girl named Angie.

B) Our heartbreaking break-up shattered my belief in the concept of true love.

C) Though I’m aware that Lois Lane is a fictional character, I’ve got a serious crush on her.

Fifth

A) I am immune to the effects of alcohol.

B) I’ve written two complete novels but haven’t had the guts to send them to anyone to read.

C) I’m the kind of guy that laughs at a funeral.

Elf - Throne of LiesAll right, can you spot the lies? Let me know in the comments. The truth will set you free this Friday… at which point I’ll also name other bloggers to whom I will issue the challenge.

Oh, The Places I’ve Been, Part 1

Kids, I just got back from vacation and boy are my arms tired.Labyrinth - Well Laugh

Wait, I don’t think I told that one right.

Anyway, I experienced a lot of things in the last week or so and felt it prudent to share those experiences with you, my blog family. But those experiences really feel like too much to put into one blog post. So I’m gonna break it up a bit. Not sure how many posts this will actually become. But let’s try to have some fun with it, okay?

Let’s start with my hotel stays. That will be the subject of this particular post.

First, I need to state that I did not go anywhere exotic for my vacation. I went to Richmond and Virginia Beach. That’s it. I was never more than a few hours’ drive away from my home. But I ask that you not judge my choice in vacation. I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. That is, I relaxed. I came back feeling rested and refreshed. That’s the first time I’ve been able to say that after a vacation. Ever.Chandler - Relaxed.gif

Now, I will allow judgment for the places I stayed. They weren’t the best. But that’s because I don’t like to spend a lot of money on frivolities. Some may use the word “cheap” to describe me. I prefer frugal. Would I like to stay in a four star resort? Or course I would. Would I like to walk into my room and find that they have provided me with my very own bathrobe? Absolutely. Would I like a view of the ocean from my 15th floor window? Probably. The jury’s out. I’ve got a thing with heights. Have I ever experienced any of these things? No, I have not.

Before I describe my hotel rooms, I’ll allow you to judge me for staying in hotels at all. I have friends in Richmond who offered for me to stay with them. I declined their generosity, however. To me, for it to really feel like a vacation, I need to not crash on someone’s couch. There’s just something about staying in a place where someone comes in and makes your bed for you that just screams, “vacation” to me. Also, in a hotel room, I have the freedom to turn the air conditioning all the way down to 60 degrees. Staying at someone’s house means I’m a slave to their room temperature comfort levels.

My first hotel was a Clarion Inn in Richmond. It’s the kind of place that you know was a really nice hotel in the 80s. I remember, as a kid, seeing ads for Clarion, Quality, Comfort, and Sleep, and knowing that they were all owned by the same parent company. And it seemed to me that Clarion was the one that was the nicest and probably most expensive of the four. That is no longer the case.

2016-07-16 12.06.31

This Clarion was directly next to the interstate. And it was loud. But if you close your eyes, it kind of sounded like a rushing river. With lots of fast moving cars driving in it. If you’ll direct your attention to the images to the right, you’ll see that the wall outlet where the refrigerator was plugged in was hanging out of the wall. In the second image, you2016-07-16 12.07.01‘ll notice a hole in the frame of the window which led directly to the world outside. There was nothing to be done about that. And next to the air conditioner, in the third image, I can only assume a piece of the wall was never completed. They have plywood there, and someone applied glue for a planned facade to look like the rest of the walls in the room, but then they just didn’t finish it. Yeah, I2016-07-16 12.06.48 thought it was a little odd, too. Not pictured: the toilet wasn’t incredibly secured to the floor. Few things cause more anxiety than a toilet that may or may not tip over while one is sitting on it.

When booking my hotels for the week, I went ahead and booked the Clarion for later in the week, when I planned to return to Richmond from the beach. After a night there, I decided to make other arrangements. But I’ll get to that little change of plans in a moment. First let’s discuss the Wingate by Wyndham, where I stayed in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area.

2016-07-17 15.11.05.jpgI can honestly say that it was a step up from the Clarion. But it, too, had its shortcomings. For example, my view. I was on the second floor. Which is nothing to complain about. But I was just above the hotel’s indoor pool. So I had a lovely view of the pool’s roof. And you know how every room is supposed to be equipped with a fully functioning smoke detector? I didn’t test 2016-07-17 15.13.12.jpgthe one that’s pictured, but the fact that it was hanging off the wall could not have been a great sign. Finally, I was a good 12 miles away from the ocean. I know, I got what I paid for. Someday, when I’m all grown up, I’d like to be the kind of adult who’s willing to shell out that little bit extra for an ocean view. Though that really was a beautiful roof.

So that was two nights at the Clarion and two nights at the Wingate. What could be next? What could possibly top all that? My next four nights would be spent at a Sleep Inn back in Richmond. And despite my room missing a refrigerator (which the other two had), it was the best of the three.

Look, I really can’t complain about any part of my hotel stays. I got what I paid for, which was exactly what I needed. All I needed was a comfortable bed in a very cool, highly air conditioned place. And for that, I didn’t mind paying less for a less than four star resort.

There’s just one thing I don’t get. It was something that was the same in all three hotels and I feel like this is a change since the times I’ve stayed in hotels years ago. Instead of having two standard sized pillows on the beds, they all had five smaller pillows. They weren’t much larger than what you’d find as a throw pillow on someone’s sofa. And they had no firmness to them whatsoever. Next time I do the hotel thing, I’m tempted to bring my own pillows from home.

AFI #64 – Network

Network - PosterNetwork

1976

Directed by Sidney Lumet

Netflix says… When network news anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) loses his mind on the air, his outrageous rants reach viewers at home, boost the ratings and intrigue cutthroat network executives Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall. William Holden contrasts their avarice as an old-school TV journalist hopelessly out of step in writer Paddy Chayefsky’s Oscar-winning masterpiece, which predicted today’s rash of trash television and shock-laden news broadcasts.

Well, it’s nice to finally say I’ve seen the actual source of the line, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” I think that’s one of those lines that’s been used and parodied over and over again. On the whole, this movie didn’t really do much for me. It was kind of bizarre in my opinion. Not one I’ll be watching repeatedly.Network - Mad As Hell

Question of the Week #74

Would you enjoy spending a month of solitude in a beautiful natural setting? Food and shelter would be provided but you would not see another person.

Doctor Who - Oh YesI do like my alone time. I’m picturing some kind of shipwrecked, tropical island setting. There are times when I go a day or two without contact with another person. But I’m thinking a month would be a bit much. Sure, I’d try it. But after that month I’d probably be completely over my whole I-don’t-like-people thing.Obama - Maybe.gif

*The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

Sticking to Your Convictions

Alex - Only Bad Chi.jpgHey, kids… I’m out of town this week. Finally taking that vacation I’ve been thinking about for eight years. Anyway, while I’m gone some friends have agreed to write some guest posts for my blog. Today’s post comes from Alex. I asked her the question, what is one experience that has shaped the person you are today?

It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be to pick one experience that has helped shape who I am today. But I finally settled on the experience of reading The Catcher in the Rye in my ninth grade Literature class. That book taught me that it’s ok to be alone. Not just because the main character, Holden Caulfield, is so beautifully portrayed as abnormal, imperfect, and painfully solitary, but because my experience reading it was isolating. My classmates and, more disappointingly, my teacher, took a collective heaping s— all over Holden, while I felt he spoke to my soul and was basically a hero. I was so angry at them–I wanted to scream in all their faces how wrong they were! And how much they were missing the point: Holden was different, and real, and that was OK. But they were trying to make it seem like it wasn’t–like he wasn’t ok. I was traumatized and discouraged by our completely opposite reactions to the book. But I was simultaneously emboldened: rather than make me question my interpretation of Holden, that experience just reinforced what I took from him–that not fitting in, being different, would be a lonely path to walk, but that was ok. And that sticking to your convictions counts for something–maybe the most. Perhaps that makes me a sociopath–diverging so intently from the majority, not taking their opinion as a signal of the error in my own. But I’d rather be a sociopath than a lemming.

* * *

Alex has a humor blog called Only Bad Chi and is an Opinion writer for News Cult. You can frequently overhear her saying, “f— this s—” and “nope.” She daydreams about unicorns and gold pineapples and is currently prepping for law school, because there’s not enough justice in the world; (in other words, because f— this s—).

 

My Second Family

Paul - Captain's SpeechHey, kids… I’m out of town this week. Finally taking that vacation I’ve been thinking about for eight years. Anyway, while I’m gone some friends have agreed to write some guest posts for my blog. Today’s post comes from Paul. I asked him the question, what is one experience that has shaped the person you are today?

They say that university changes you. This is true. But for me, I didn’t really feel a change until second year. Yeah, in Canada we refer to our sophomore year as second year. We like to count, eh.

My first year at university was good and everything, but I felt like I was a high school student in the setting of a university campus. Despite all the differences, I never really felt different internally.

Going back for my second year, I really wanted it to see a change. I wanted to do more. I wanted to make a difference. And returning to living in residence, I thought that would give me the perfect opportunity to take the first-year students under my wing (armpit?) and help guide them.

Well, I got back to school and spent the first week hanging out with my friends from first year and ignoring all 50 people that lived on my floor. Friday rolled around and I remember feeling helpless.

I would hear people in the hallway laughing and having a good time with people they just met four days ago. I sat in my room wondering why I couldn’t be just like that. Why couldn’t I be part of that group? I was too introverted and shy to just throw myself in front of a slew of random people and proclaim my existence.

And then something happened.

I got a knock at my door and was met by about fifteen people. It was like answering the door on Halloween only they gave me the treat. They asked if I wanted to go to dinner with them. I said, yes. And the rest is history.

How ironic. The first-year students pulled the second-year student out of his room. The roles should’ve been reversed.

Instantly, I felt a connection with these people. I still remember the walk down to the cafeteria and standing in line for food and sitting at the table talking about what I already knew about university, and what they should know.

That was six years ago and it’s as fresh in my mind now, as what I ate this morning.

I had waffles this morning.

My floormates that year changed my life. I had never been so close to a group of people before. Maybe it’s because we were forced to see each other at all hours of the day? I don’t know.

But by the start of October, we were all way too comfortable with each other. We were brothers and sisters who spent most of our time laughing and poking fun at each other, while pulling pranks and partaking in too many shenanigans to list.

Every day was a good day. Every day was a fun day.

I finally felt different. I finally felt like I was myself and not just a person who was at school because they had to be at school. All of a sudden I had an immense level of confidence that I never knew existed within me.

Ever since I was in elementary school, teachers said that I had to come out of my shell. As if I was a turtle and heaven forbid I ever get flipped over. That would be the end.

Well, I guess I finally came out of my shell in second year.

What we had on that floor was special. It was truly special. We would travel in a group of anywhere between 20-30 to go eat dinner every night.

Think about that. 20-30 people eating dinner with each other on a regular basis. And everyone at the table was comfortable talking to everyone else. I know, this sounds like some voodoo nonsense, but it was real life. It was incredible.

The end of the year arrived too soon and I was incredibly sad about it. How do you say bye to people who brought out the best in you? I knew we’d all see each other again and remain in touch, but it would never be the same.

That year changed my life. I’m forever indebted to the people who decided to knock on my door and invite me to dinner. It was a small gesture that I’m sure they have all forgotten by now, but I’ll never forget it.

Six years later, these people remain in my life but at varying degrees. We all broke off into our smaller groups within the group, but will always be connected.

We were a family and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for them.

* * *

Read more from Paul on his blog, The Captain’s Speech. Paul hasn’t been to the movies since 2012 and has been told that he eats his sandwich upside down. He is a huge sports fan and a closet viewer of The Bachelor. Paul enjoys a good chocolate sundae from Dairy Queen and is easily frustrated by YouTube videos that have advertisements that cannot be skipped (who isn’t?).

More School… But Why??

ShazHey, kids… I’m out of town this week. Finally taking that vacation I’ve been thinking about for eight years. Anyway, while I’m gone some friends have agreed to write some guest posts for my blog. Today’s post comes from Shaz. I asked her the question, what do you want to be when you grow up and what has inspired you to choose that field?

For as long as I could remember, I could not wait until the day school was over. I wouldn’t have to wake up at 6 everyday, have a number of obligations to fullfill on top of my 6 classes, take classes I don’t like, you get the idea. But that all changed in college. College was different. I kind of liked college. I took the classes I wanted, when I wanted, and none of my obligations felt too hard to manage. I majored in Health Sciences, originally wanting to become a physician.

I struggle with ADHD and severe anxiety and never got the proper care I wanted. So I wanted to become a physician and implement something that would make these disorders easier for a child/adult battling these.

Along the way, I discovered the field of public health. I slowly realized this is actually more suitable for my goal. I also discovered my passion of teaching. It was too late to change my major, so I switched into Public Health as my concentration and added Psychology as a minor. I thought this was perfect because I want to teach college level students and Public Health is my passion.

I talked to many professors and they said I’m on the right track if I want to be a professor, they said majoring in what I love and conducting research in that field was the first step. And I did all of that. So now what? Well, “you need a Master’s or PHD to teach” they said. Oh. Of course. Most colleges in the U.S require a PHD to become a professor, some only require a Master’s.

So I knew what I had to do. I had to get a Master’s! I did a lot of research. I have extensive background in psychology, public health, and education- so I had to narrow down exactly what I wanted to get my Master’s in. Finally it came down to a Master’s in Education (M. ed) or Master’s of Public Health (MPH). After looking at my past courses, thinking about future career options, thinking about my love for science and statistics- I decided an MPH was the way to go.

I studied for weeks for the GRE, cut down so many social activities, and started applying for programs. Just as I was about to give up because I didn’t get into any schools I applied to, I started receiving an acceptance letter one by one to almost every single school I applied to. Including, the 10th best MPH school in the country. After a lot of thinking, I accepted their offer and I look forward to moving to Boston in the fall.

Many people ask me what is public health and what could I possibly do with a Master’s in that. I just laugh because, public health is everything. Public health is my life, it is everyone’s life. Look around you. What do you see? Pollution. Homelessness.  The increased amount of gun violence. Your colleague not being able to come into work because they are not feeling emotionally/physically sick. THAT my friends, is public health. Keeping everyone healthy and reducing the rate of death so everyone can be safe and well.

At the end of the day, it comes down to this. In my worst of anxiety attacks- I had no one to help me. No doctor, no educator, no professional was able to understand what I was going through. This was not okay. I could have lost my life over one simple thing. So many go through this everyday. Whether their illness is physical, social, or emotional. Our healthcare system has got to change, we need more empathetic individuals who can help.

And I wish to create this change and teach others about it.

*  *  *

You can read more from Shaz at For The Love Of Sass. She is a student who is about to begin graduate school to work toward a Master’s in Public Health. Her favorite movie is Bridget Jones’s Diary and her favorite book is Freedom Writers Diary.