You may recall Â my rant about the kinds of TV shows my 10 year-old sister watches in comparison to the shows I watched at age 10. Well, I think this tops it.
I was just getting back to my apartment and noticed three little boys playing and riding their bikes around the block. I parallel parked (flawlessly, may I add) on the street as the little boys rounded the corner by my building. They were playing some imaginary game and yelling to each other. One was really small, maybe 4 or 5, and the other two were probably 8 or 9 at the oldest. As I grabbed my bag from my backseat, the littlest of the group passed my car, tailing their caravan.
“Hi!” he greeted me in his cute little munchkin voice.
“Hi!” I said back, as I made my way to the back door of my building.
With my back turned to them, I was still listening to their little conversation. All of a sudden, I heard the little munchkin voice raise above the other two: “SEX IN THE AIR — I DON’T CARE … uhh. Um.Â SEX IN THE AIR! I DON’T CARE!”
He kept repeating those two lines fromÂ Rihanna’s “S&M” over and over even after I’d gone inside. Why were those the two he picked up on?! I’m pretty sure “OMG” was the exact thing going through my mind so, of course, immediately after I got to my unit I had to sit down and blog like crazy about it.
As I was placing the link in the previous paragraph, I found out that you actually have to log in to your YouTube account andÂ confirm you’re 18 to view the music video for “S&M” because the “content may contain material flagged by YouTube’s user community that may be inappropriate for some users.” Well, with a song title like that, what do you expect?
Every time I hear songs like “S&M” on popular Top 20 stations, I cringe a little. And this is precisely the reason why. I don’t plan on having kids for a million years, so it’s not that I’m necessarily thinking like a parent, but I can’t help but think of my little sister. I was shocked when I learned she knew all the words to all theÂ Ke$ha songs on the radio. Now, every time I hear a song with semi-scandalous lyrics on the radio, I think of my little sister singing it.
The second I heard “S&M” while driving to work one day, I was honestly surprised it could go on the radio, thinking of the naive little ears that the risque lyrics would find their way into. It’s awkward enough hearing someone else’s 5 year-old singing about “sex in the air.” I’d hate to be the parent who has to explain to him why he can’t sing that at the top of his lungs while riding his bike around the neighborhood anymore.
As I approach my 21st birthday next Thursday, I’m realizing I’m already feeling signs of getting older. Not like 21 is a magical number — I’m no different this week (or, for that matter, 6 months ago) than I will be next week, except that I will somehow magically be recognized as “mature” enough to legally consume alcohol. But I’m just realizing that something my dad told me once has some truth behind it: 21 is the last age you really look forward to turning. It’s a little bleak, but when you think about it, no one particularly enjoys saying they’re 50, or even 30, even if they don’t act or look “old.” It seems like there’s just a stigma with getting older that occurs sometime between 22-29 that makes birthdays seem more like something to dread than to be excited for.
I remember as a kid when every birthday was amazing; I had a countdown to it on my calendar for months. Probably because my birthday was an extravaganza in the Ring household. I usually had my “kid party” on a family-friendly weekend if my real birthday didn’t fall on one, so that extended the celebration into two days. I had mountains of presents from friends and family. My mom would organize games and prizes and activities for the guests. The entire house would be decorated in the theme I’d chosen that year, and it ranged from unicorns to Spongebob. I’m not saying I ever had one of those outrageous kid parties, but my family made sure I always had a good time. So, I came to feel that my birthday was the best day of the year to me. Better than Christmas even. I always loved having an excuse to just be happy and have fun with everyone I liked — Plus, everyone had to be nice to me, or else they were just jerks.
Last year was the first birthday that it really seemed like just another day. I didn’t get the day off from work (first sign of being a “big girl”). No one there remembered that it was my birthday, either, so no one wished me it. I almost forgot it was my favorite day of the year the entire time I was there. (And I don’t care how selfish that sounds — I enjoy my birthday, dammit.)
After work, my mom surprised me with a giantÂ smorgasbordÂ and presents she had delivered to my door, which was aÂ monumental gesture thatÂ made my whole day. But after that, my boyfriend and I went out for a quiet dinner and ate the cake my mom sent.Â That was about it. No pony. No bouncy castle. No “Happy Birthday” song. In a way, it was a sad indication of a departure from my childhood. But in another way, it was oddly exactly what I wanted — A relaxing day where I could be inherently happy just because it was June 23. No excuses. I guess I should make more days that way. I’ll add it to my to-do list.
A year later, I’m thinking about how the maturity of my last birthday was an indication of the rest of my year. By no means am I complaining that I’m getting old; I know I’m still very young. I’m just amazed by these changes because I’ve never experienced this strange phenomenon of aging outside of my childhood and teenage years, when getting another year older was different. It was all about cake and presents. Here are some of the reasons from the past year that have made me decide I’m growing up.
- I bought my first welcome mat yesterday. This might not seem like anything to you, but to me, it felt like a rite of passage. I have a place to welcome people to. My welcome mat may sit uselessly in the hallway of an apartment building outside of a studio apartment that hardly sees any visitors, but it’s my welcome mat at my apartment. The fact that I think this way about it seems like a sign of maturation … or maybe just a sign that I’m really lame and need to get a life. I prefer the former, but you can decide for yourself.
- I have acquired a taste for stores like Lowes, Pier 1, and other home interior outlets. I remember when I was a kid and my family would make the two hour drive to get to the nearest mall. I always got so excited to get out of town for a day or two, but I dreaded the inevitable trip to Menard’s. Up until about a year ago, it was a dreadful experience to me — the most boring place in the world. Now, the possibilities there are endless. I talk about decorations and improvements I could make to my little apartment. I have day projects. I spend money on decorations.Â HowÂ has this happened?!
- My palette has greatly expanded. I used to be a semi picky kid. I didn’t like vegetables or fish or other yucky stuff. But since my high school years, my taste in foods has steadily expanded. I’d now consider myself to be the opposite of picky. Whatever that is. A lardy? Anyway, if there’s food in front of me, even if I’m not particularly the biggest fan, I’ll eat it and enjoy it. (Unless there happens to be a crusty food chunk leftover on my plate/glass/utensil — MAJOR pet peeve — can’t touch it after that.) I like almost everything, with the strict exceptions of Greek food that includes feta cheese and kalamata olives. Being open to a wide variety of foods is a sign of maturity, right? Either that or it’s just a warning sign to myself that I’ll eat pretty much anything, since soon I won’t be able to depend on my metabolism anymore to keep it from catching up with me.
- I hit 20 and fell apart. I guess my first cavity happened when I was 18, not 20, but that was a sign of the things to come. Last summer, I started having stomach pains every time I ate. I went to the doctor, who told me my colon was in the wrong spot and made me endure a whole day of worrying what the heck that would mean for the rest of my life before I came back the next day and they told me they read the X-ray wrong. I never did figure out what exactly was wrong with me, but I never got any better either. In the past year, I caught almost every cold that oozed its way around UND’s campus. My hips, knees, and ankles now hurt when I run — I got shin splints from walking my boyfriend’s dog. I could keep theÂ chiropractorÂ in business, but I’ve learned to crack most of my issues myself (not good, I know). My fingernails, which were always strong and grew fine, started getting brittle and peeling. I’ve probably developed multiple ulcers from stressing out and worrying too much. And then I start worrying about that … It’s a vicious cycle. I see what people mean when they say things stop working as you get older — What the heck am I going to be like when I’m 50?
- I’m tired — Always. I never took a nap as a child. Ever. I still can hardly ever nap during the day unless I’m really sick. Because of this, I’ve become a die-hard caffeine addict. I can’t function without coffee, and I usually need another cup or a jolt of soda for an afternoon pick-me-up. I know it’s cliche, but I now strongly believe in the saying “I wish I could take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was little.” Yet, I never go to bed early. I’m always up late doing either really stupid or really productive things. That’s got to be a sign that my tastes aren’t getting too mature for my age yet.
There are a few days that mark a distinct change in your life: The day you get your drivers’ license, the day you graduate from high school or college, the day you get engaged, your wedding day, the birth of your children. But before we get too carried away, let’s go back to the engagement. It’s definitely a moment you’d want to be absolutely perfect. But would you hire the help of someone you’ve never met to ensure that?
According to theknot.com, 1 in 4 brides was disappointed in her fiance’s proposal. For guys who are freaked out by those numbers, or for those who just want to make sure their proposal will be a moment the couple can swoon over for the rest of their lives, now there’s a solution. Professional proposal planners are at their service … for a price, of course.
Proposal planners like Sarah Pease, who’s been featured on ABC’s Nightline as well asÂ countless other magazines and news media, have expanded their event-planning businesses to include proposals. The nervous boyfriend gives the proposal planner (which is a term Pease has trademarked) a loose idea of what he thinks his prospective fiancee would feel is a dream proposal, and the planner puts the pieces together into the perfect proposal. (So much alliteration!)
But after paying for the positive response to the big question, there might be little money leftover for the wedding. Depending on the planner, proposal planning can set a guy back anywhere from $2,000 to $25,000. For those who aren’t quite ready to part with that kind of cash, especially after buying an engagement ring, Pease offers a proposal idea-generator quiz on her website. (Although, I took it myself and got an extremely MiffyBuffy von Knickerbocker, high maintenance, designer clothes- and spa-filled day-long extravaganza, which seems ridiculously over the top for my taste. Although, I admit I swooned a little at this P.S. I Love You-inspired proposal.)
Pease boasts a 100% success rate, but I wonder if the statistics from the brides I mentioned earlier would honestly increase with a planned proposal. There are some things in life where “the thought” doesn’t just count, it means everything. Your proposal seems like it should be one of those moments.
What do you think of proposal planning? Would you be disappointed if your fiance sought so much extra help? Or do you wish yours would have?
I wanted this not to be true. I really did.
Don’t ask how I stumbled upon this. I don’t even know. Maybe it came from trying to find when the next season of Teen Mom starts (with the original people). It starts July 5, by the way. But, alas, it’s Gary time.
If you’re a Teen Mom fan, or live with/date someone who is, you may remember Gary as the victim of domestic violence at the hands of Amber Portwood on the original season of 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom. Amber was recently in the news for dodging a 2-year jail sentence for theÂ aforementionedÂ domestic battery. Instead of jail, she’s been ordered to get her high school diploma, get some therapy, and set up a college fund with at least $10,000 for her daughter, Leah. Since when does our legal system allow stuff like that?
And then I find this Gary thing … I honestly did serious digging because I thought there was no way Gary’s official Facebook fan page would be selling shirts with his face on them. But, lo and behold, it appears to be him, saying it’s “ran [sic] in conjunction with Gary Shirley from MTV’s Teen Mom” and “therefore … is the sole official Facebook page.”
So he’s peddling t-shirts with his face on them. I’m not sure whether Gary and Amber are currently “on again” or “off again,” but at least Gary’s heart seems to be in the right place — His Facebook page declares that portion of the sale from each one of Gary’s shirts goes directly to their daughter, Leah. I guess if you’re going to whore out your face on a t-shirt, you might as well put some of the profits toward your kid.
It’s obvious the once-forgotten town of Williston, a dusty little placed nestled in North Dakota’s back pocket, is undergoing some major changes spurred from the oil boom. Finding housing to accommodate the influx of residents is at an unprecedented high. But that’s not the only thing changing.
Williston’s like most other small towns in North Dakota. Everyone knows your business before you even do. Comparatively, Williston is considered a “city” in North Dakota, with a population of around 13,000 before the oil boom. (Williston’s not expected to stop growing anytime soon, as space for another 4,500 people in man camps is being planned.) Still, somehow everyone either knows everyone or knows of everyone through the grapevine. You know that whole six degrees of separation thing? Williston natives probably have about one or two degrees of separation from one another, at a generous estimate.
Still, Williston’s always seemed a little behind the curve. Up until a few years ago, the few radio stations that didn’t play country almost exclusively played music from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Because of this, I know every word to songs like “Diamond Girl” by Seals and Crofts and “Missin’ You” by John Waite. (Most non-country stations have since shifted to Rock or Top 40 formats.) For these reasons, in the few years since I moved away, I’m happy to see the Williston Herald, the local newspaper, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau get online — even on Facebook.
More and more social media sites are being put into place to get people familiar with the city, since many who come from around the nation had no idea Williston even existed until they heard about the job availability. WillistonWire is an e-Newsletter that compiles all Williston-related news from surrounding news outlets. One of my friends has recently created a forum for Willistonites called Williston Basin Forum to gather and weigh in on issues that affect them.
Facebook pages surrounding Williston have been popping up for a while. They never seem to pick up much speed, but one in particular caught my eye. Called Williston Rumor Mill, it definitely perpetuates the online component of the city’s physical rumor mill that churns daily. Some people take it really seriously, while others post outlandish joking rumors. Regardless, it’s updated often by users and has 912 fans (and counting). Taking a look at the page, it’s pretty much the Facebook version of my high school experience. And I think that’s what makes it so interesting.
While I’m sure social media has been a great way for people new to the area to make connections, it’s definitely got a creepy factor. Growing up, Williston was never really a haven for creeps. From the time we were about eight until we got our drivers’ licenses, my best friends and I would ride our bikes throughout town all day, going to stores and restaurants without having to worry about traffic, let alone creepers.
But today, girls my age who still live in town often say how many inappropriate comments they get from guys of all ages, even just going to Wal-Mart (the only major store in town). Even six hours away, I periodically get Facebook messages from guys moving to the Williston area for oil work, sometimes asking for me to be their “friend” and “show them around,” and sometimes just saying things like, “Yo hun I’m moving to Williston! What’s yo number so I can get atchu?!” Creepers.
The times, they are a-changing in Williston and surrounding areas, and it’s interesting to hear about its evolution from friends and family and see the transformation myself when I make my seldom visits.
What do you think about the changes happening in Williston, whether you’re from there or not? What have your experiences been?
Remember when I said that Medora, ND, was a topic for a new post? This is that post.
Tourism isn’t exactly North Dakota’s biggest industry. I was looking up numbers on exactly how pathetic our tourism industry is in this state but, of course, the state tourism board makes all the numbers look really good, so it’s hard to tell. (I really like this guy’s take on tourism in North Dakota — hilarious.)
One thing I do know, though, that the state banks a good chunk of its annual tourism traffic on the “slews” of people who “race” to Medora, ND, every summer to see the Medora Musical. This clip from the local news station in Minot, ND, gives the best idea what the Musical is like. If you watch even just a minute and a half of it, you’ll see scenes from Theodore Roosevelt’s chilling ghost ride through the Badlands and the Musical’s war reenactment — My favorite parts.
Here’s what seems to be a digression, but Â it’s worth it: My boyfriend’s grandma is a particularly interesting little lady, full of stories and energy somehow all bundled into her slight frame. She hails from Pennsylvania, but she spent as much time as she could throughout her life traveling the world with her family in their RV. (Yes. The world — in their RV.) She has trinkets from everywhere she’s been — every state in the Union and countless other countries, places I’ve never even heard of — lining every shelf and wall in her home. And she has a story to tell from exactly where each one came from. She won’t let you leave the house without at least one little token you seemed particularly interested in. As she got older, she parked the RV for good, but she continues to travel every time she gets the chance. She really should write a book or something about her adventures.
The first time I met her, one of the first things she did was bring me to her refrigerator. Every square inch of its surface was covered in souvenir magnets from different places. But she pointed out one in particular to me. Tucked at the center of the door to her refrigerator was a North Dakota magnet. I was excited to hear she’d been to my home state and asked where she visited. Lo and behold, she made a trip to Medora to see the Musical. Not just once, but twice, and she was hoping to go back again. It’s got that effect on people.
This gave us a lot to talk about, since I’ve done the whole Medora experience almost every year since birth. Since my dad’s a farmer and still works full-time, I never saw much of him during the summer. Consequently, we never took a family vacation. (Ok, except once when I was 9, we went to Rapid City, SD, to see Mount Rushmore for, like, four days over the Fourth of July. But that still doesn’t really count.) Medora, an approximate 3 hour drive from my hometown of Williston, was the closest we ever got to a regular family vacation.
One trip that particularly stands out was just a few years ago. My mom had to literally drag my dad, who hates musicals to begin with, especially ones that he’s seen several times. (The Medora Musical does change its storyline from year to year, but it always follows the same pattern.) In protest, he spent most of the day sitting in the car stewing about all the things he could be getting accomplished at the farm while we did touristy things like this killing time before the Musical:
For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of visiting Medora, it’s a step back in time. All the shops are set up to look like they’re on Main Street in an old west town. You can watch salt water taffy being pulled on an antique machine through the window at the candy shop. You can take a relaxing horse and buggy ride through town. You can dress up in costume and have your photos taken old west style, but you have to make sure you sign up early in the morning, or else you won’t get in. (I did this once … Thank God there’s not a digital version obliging me to post it here.) You can eat a delicious steak dinner, fire-roasted “old west” style outdoors overlooking the badlands at the Pitchfork Fondue — possibly my favorite reason for going to Medora. (Call me a foodie or a fatty, whichever you prefer.) You can even take a trail ride through the Badlands but, like the photos, you need to sign up early to ensure your spot.
Writing about all this makes me a little nostalgic. It sounds fun when you haven’t done it for a few years (or if you’ve never done it). After several years of the Medora experience, my family took on a more cynical view.
As children, there seemed to be a plague on any time my family would go to the Musical. From about ages 4-10 for me, the simultaneous Puke and Rain Plagues cursed my family’s Medora-cations. When my younger brother was about 3, he ate an entire box of Junior Mints before the Musical started … and proceeded to throw them up everywhere a third of the way through the show. If you didn’t see the picture of the escalators going down into the amphitheater in my other post, it’s a trek. A seven-story trek, to be exact. Once you’re down there, you’re down there. And you’re in pretty close quarters with the people sitting around you. The Burning Hills Amphitheater is not very puke-friendly.
That was the worst puking incident for a little while, until it was my turn. I was 8 or 9 — far to old to randomly be puking in public. I have no idea what provoked it, (it certainly wasn’t the Pitchfork Fondue because we didn’t start indulging in that until I was a teenager) but mid-Musical, I blew chunks into the giant popcorn bucket I was holding. Only a lot of it splashed onto the neck of the lady in front of me … I still feel bad.
Then there was the rain. The #1 question on the Medora Musical FAQ page is “What if it rains?” Well, if they can get through 60 minutes or more of the production, it’s considered complete and you don’t get a refund. They just skip to the “Come Home to North Dakota” song that they do every year, signalling the end of the Musical. You can hear it in the clip below. This happened to us a few times. They do their best not to have to end early but, of course, since the Rings were there, the only monsoons in North Dakota history would happen.
I poke fun at the Musical and the town but, in all honesty, visiting Medora really is a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s just difficult to see that when it’s so familiar to you. And that’s kind of how the whole state of North Dakota is. It’s easy for us to take for granted what’s in our own backyard.
Have you been to Medora? What’s your experience with it? Are you going this year — The Musical starts tonight!
What do you do when you’re working 10 hours straight as a professional building babysitter? There’s literally nothing going on, no one to help, you’re basically just sitting in an empty building, waiting for the minutes to tick by until you can close. If you’re me, you should be doing any number of things: homework that’s due tomorrow, first and foremost. Yeah, I’ll admit, there are worse jobs out there. But it does get pretty boring, and it makes you wish time would go faster. Until you stumble across something like this while you’re procrastinating.
The news about 15 year-old Alice Pyne and her blog, which is a whole three days old, has gone viral.Â Alice, who has been — as she calls her occupation — a full-time cancer-fighter for nearly 4 years, recently learned “that the cancer is gaining on me and it doesn’t look like I’m going to win this one .” So, she started a blog bucket list containing everything she wants to do “before she has to go.” Since Monday, her profile has been viewed over 170,000 times. Her blog only has three posts, but stories like hers are always powerful enough to capture the attention of a wide audience.
Besides the fact that this little girl puts me (and most amateur bloggers) to shame as far as blog popularity (and for good reason), reading her thoughts puts things in perspective. As an almost always over-stressed young adult who finds herself wishing for the work or school day to be over, I suddenly felt kind of bad I’d wished all those minutes would go by faster for people like her.
The fact that I read all her posts in my head with an adorable little British accent amplifies the heartwarming factor. So, chalk it up as one more person writing about this ridiculously wise young girl, but finding her story made me think a little differently about the way I’ll approach a busy day.
In my continued effort to raise awareness of North Dakotans’ existence in other parts of the country, I realized there are many things that we just don’t see around here. Especially when traveling. If you find yourself around someone looking puzzled or behind a driver struggling with any of these things, chances are they’re Midwestern, maybe even North Dakotan.
Let’s not kid ourselves, this clip applies to North Dakotan drivers, for sure. I may be a good driver in my own domain (North Dakota) — I’ve never been in an accident or been pulled over for a traffic violation (although my car has been hit several times while it’s parked.) But I wouldn’t trust myself on a road with actual traffic. I won’t even drive in the suburbs of Minneapolis. In fact, I white-knuckle it the whole time I’m driving in Fargo, ND, too.
Toll Roads — I first came across a toll road when I was 19. I had heard of these mythical highways existing, but I was honestly a little skeptical that I’d ever come across one. I thought they were extremely rare and only enforced on super fancy highways. I also thought they sounded like a rip-off. (Living in ND also makes you frugal, since you’re not used to having to pay for things like this.) But the first time I visited my boyfriend’s hometown of Damascus, MD, I realized they’re a part of a lot of people’s daily lives. Making road trips to Bethany Beach, DE, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia (yeah, it was a whirlwind trip) I was introduced to not only toll roads, but the E-Z Passes people who frequently take them buy, allowing drivers to pass under the toll both and have the money zapped from the credit card associated with the little machine they keep in their car. I’m still admittedly a little fascinated by this, but I try to play it cool since I’ve been to the D.C. metro area three times now, and my amazement only further points out how sheltered I really am.
Paying to park– This is really similar to the toll roads, but it’s something I never encountered until coming to college at the University of North Dakota. Like toll roads, I wasn’t entirely sure parking meters really existed. I wonder how that would work as an excuse for not paying at the meter on campus at UND. Although I complain about that system of parking here, it’s nothing compared to parking in the east. (I’ve never been west, so forgive my constant comparisons to the east coast!) There, free parking seemed to come by once in a blue moon, while in North Dakota, it’s the other way around. We complain about $5 event parking to see a sporting event and try to find ways to weasel around the system.
Traffic Jams — I also saw my first traffic jam two years ago, at age 19. I even got to be in one once. I wanted to take pictures. Miles and miles of gridlocked traffic — It was a sight I’d never seen before! All that was running through my mind was, Wow! A real traffic jam! I’m in a big city!You can imagine the annoyance the native-East Coasters I was driving with felt toward my excitement.
Taxis – I still have never been inside a taxi … unless you count the ones in Grand Forks that UND students can ride for $3 a person. But I don’t, because they’re not yellow, or even a unified color for the whole fleet. They don’t have a ticker telling how much of a bill you’re racking up. They’re just normal cars or vans with the words “Taxi” printed on the side. I would do it just for the experience, but I feel like it needs to be done in New York City. I have at least seena yellow taxi now, though. I even have a picture:
The Subway – I did ride the Subway often in my short time in New York City. It was everything I could have dreamed of and more. The cars were packed, so sometimes we had to stand and hold on to the rails from the ceiling like the people on TV. It was roughly 110 degrees, so everyone was all sweaty and smelly. There were even homeless peopleplaying music for money — one guy whipped out a flute! I felt so urban. I would have gotten a picture of myself on the subway, but I didn’t want to appear to touristy. However, I did get one in the subway station, featured below. (Flattering, I know. I also don’t know what justifies that as any less touristy.)
The Metro — I’m a little more familiar with it, but that never takes the fun out of riding it. I can kind of figure out how to navigate the stops … well, the ones that sound familiar, that I’ve taken before. That’s good enough for me.
Moving sidewalks/Escalators — In all of western North Dakota, I think its safe to say there is one escalator. That’s in Medora, ND, and was installed primarily to facilitate the transportation of old people who attend the Medora Musical annually into and out of the amphitheater. (If you don’t know about the Medora Musical, you’re missing out. It’s apparently “North Dakota’s #1 destination,” but I’ll save my thoughts on that for another post.) So, anyway, escalators are cool, but they’re somewhat familiar to us. We don’t see moving sidewalks often. (The first one I saw was at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport when I was 18, going to Close Up in Washington, D.C., with members of my high school senior class. That was also my first time on an airplane. I hyperventilated a little, but ended up enjoying flying.) What I’m getting at with all this is that we generally don’t know the rules about the right side being for standing and the left side being for walking. I’ll talk more about this in the next listing.
Passing when Driving — I honestly forgot there are rules for this until a year or so ago. We never really encounter other cars on the highway in North Dakota, so it’s easy to forget. I faintly remembered reading something about rules for passing in ND’s driver education manual when I was 14 and studying to get my permit, but I must not have retained it. (I had my license at 14 and a half.) A lot of times, I would drive on the left side of the road on the highway just so I could think to myself, Hee hee. I’m in England. Nobody really minds here. People still do it all the time. But now that I know the rules about how you’re supposed to drive, I get annoyed with the people who do. So, if there’s ever some person driving in front of you at snail speed in the left lane, or someone who regularly passes on the right, before you curse them and whip out the bird, take a moment to consider if they could be from North Dakota. Our feelings get hurt easily when honked at or flipped off on the road.
That goes for pretty much everything on this list. We’re not trying to disrupt your travel or make your lift more difficult. We’re merely unaware. In North Dakota, we don’t often rush to get places and rarely resort to honking or yelling (unless someone makes an exceptionally ridiculous mistake). We’re North Dakota nice and take it personally when yelled at. We’re not idiots or socially inept or any other colorful language you can come up with. We’re just from North Dakota, and that should be explanation enough.
Is there anything you’ve noticed, as North Dakotans, that we don’t see around here? Or anything some tourist has done to get them yelled at in a big city?
I was reading this really entertaining post by another (vastly more popular and successful) blogger. I started writing a comment in response to it on her page, but it was turning into a novel, so I figured I’d save her comment section the space and make it a post on my own blog. (Giving her a shout-out, of course: Read her experiences with mispronunciation misadventures here.)
You’d think Kaitlin would be a common enough name by now. Aside from the fact that it’s never spelled right, (which, okay, there are roughly a million ways to spell my name) people try to mess with it all the time. They try calling me Kait (that spelling is the only way I would even moderately consider answering to it), Kat, Katie, Lynn. No, it’s Kaitlin. Don’t try being cute and shortening it — I will mentally place you on my “people who suck” list. (And, actually, it turns out there are 155 plausible ways to spell my name. Who knew?)
But aside from that, people still somehow act like they’ve never come across someone with my name. It’s not like it’s some wild, exotic, hard-to-pronounce name. But, alas, during my very first winter formal as a freshman in high school as I nervously made my way into the spotlight with my date for grand march, I stepped forward to hear my name announced as “Cat-lynn.” Really?
I still get “Cat-Line,” “Kate-Line,” “Kathleen,” and even sometimes “Kirsten” … Yeah. People are either really lazy, or slowly becoming illiterate.
And you’d think a last name like “Ring” would be pretty straightforward. Nope. That actually poses more difficulty than my first name. I’ve gotten everything from “Ping,” “King,” and pretty much every other rhyming word. I have no idea if my Midwest accent prevents me from pronouncing my last name correctly, but everyone asks me how to spell it, originally writing “Reng” or “Rang.” I hate this, but I guess it’s my own fault for apparently not being able to pronounce my own name.
But the thing I really started thinking about after reading Tamara’s post, seeing all the empathetic comments from others, and reflecting on my own experience with name mispronunciation is this: Why do celebrities and, increasingly, normal people continue to name their children wacky names they know will plague them throughout their lives? It’s obvious that everyone hates to have their name mispronounced, but if you name your kid Princess Tiaamii, you’re kind of setting her up for a life of frustration in the name area. Since I just can’t get enough of weird things people have named their kids, here’s a list of some of the worst, including Tu Morrow, Jermajesty, and Harley Quinn.
Don’t get me wrong, I love unique names. (My boyfriend says I have no naming privileges for future pets or children.) But I think there’s a distinct line to be drawn between being unique and tormenting your poor kid. Not that naming your kid something common will ensure his name is never mispronounced. I don’t think my parents or Tamara’s, for that matter, expected no one to be able to pronounce it. People will never cease to be careless when it comes to pronouncing names, and it will never cease to be obnoxious.
What’s the weirdest way anyone’s ever mispronounced your name?
For evoking such fluffy imagery, the competition just got fierce in the market of music cloud storage.
I don’t claim to be a tech junkie, but I do get excited about new technology that’s going to make my life easier. So, when I was introduced to the idea of cloud storage for music and documents early last year, I was all over it.Â For those who are still a little unsure, cloud storage lets you upload content from one computer and access it from any other computer in the world just by signing into the account associated with your cloud storage. Google Docs and Facebook photo albums are examples of document and photo cloud storage.
It seemed Amazon had the majority of the music cloud storage market for a few months. When Amazon introduced its cloud player in March, they started all existing Amazon users with 5GB of cloud storage. Of course, there were incentives, like increased storage space for certain music purchases. Along with cloud storage, Amazon introduced their Cloud Player for playing the music you upload to the cloud. They simultaneously released an Amazon Cloud Player Android app, eliminating the need for Android users to upload music directly to their phones. Amazon’s Cloud Player also has the capability to stream music you haven’t purchased to try it out before you buy it.
Amazon may not have been the first company to come up with the idea, but they introduced the most polished product in the area to date, capturing worldwide attention. It seemed other companies took note.
Yesterday, I heard Google is trying their hand at a cloud player. And why not? They did it right with Gmail and Google Docs. Details surrounding Google Music Beta are pretty secretive, since it’s still in beta form and you have to be invited to try it out. (Snooty, I know. I requested my invitation, but so far am feeling like the only kid in my class not invited to a birthday party.) A guy that sits next to my boyfriend in class is in somehow, so I’m trying to weasel a direct invite through the grapevine. But what I’ve heard from rumors of the fabulous, beautiful elite chosen group, Google Music Beta offers 20,000 songs worth of storage, making Amazon’s 5 gigs seem stingy.
And, finally, as I logged onto my computer tonight, I was pestered by QuickTime to install the latest update of iTunes. Another update, another 60 page license agreement no one’s going to read. I usually put it off as long as I can, but I saw in the description that this update includes a beta version of Apple’s answer to cloud storage, the iCloud. (iKnow, it’s iEverything.) Apple’s offering the same 5GB Amazon offers, but the full version of iCloud won’t be released until this fall. Of course, there are the typical Apple restrictions, like an extra $25 per year to upload music to iCloud that you didn’t buy from iTunes. But, according to preliminary reviews, techies seem to find Apple’s iCloud superior once again.
Since I’ve only tried out the Amazon Cloud Player, I have no comment yet on which I prefer. But, until we’re all allowed into the secret Google Music club, there is an extensive iCloud-focused review that features a detailed comparison table of the three options near the end of the page. Which one are you liking?