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  • Waiting For Your Turn To Talk

    Sometimes I find myself in conversations wondering, “when are we going to get back to my favorite topic? Me.” I love talking about Toni. Talking about Toni is the most interesting thing I do. I can’t get enough of it. If you want to talk about me, I will never tire of it. If you’re interested in what Toni thinks about this or that, then I will pull up a chair. But you know what gets exhausting? Talking about you.

    As humans we are obsessed with ourselves. We find ourselves infinitely fascinating, and tend to favor our own opinions over others. Most of the time when we are relating to others, we are just waiting for our turn to talk.

    But guess what? NOBODY LIKES THAT!

    Even though we all want to compulsively talk about ourselves, our thoughts, our visions, and our complaints – it is seriously irritating when you notice other people being that way. You can feel the energy of them not listening. Their eyes are distracted, and its painfully obvious how they’re desperately trying to remember what it is they want to say. Their impatience is palpable. So you just trail off, knowing they will jump in to perform a 15-minute monologue. It is one of the most off-putting behaviors when someone talks at you endlessly, giving you the feeling that you substitute yourself with a cardboard cutout, and take off for an hour to go through Instagram filters.

    It doesn’t matter how interesting, compelling, or charismatic they are. It’s draining to have a conversation with someone that’s actually performing a one-way soliloquy. It leaves me feeling like an insignificant audience member drowned by the shadows, merely the facilitator for the proper reaction. Insert laugh here, tears there, and an “awwwwwww” at the end to wrap it up.

    Genuinely listening to others is a very attractive quality. Asking questions about their lives, remembering things they say, keeping their cast of characters fresh in your mind… this will endear you to people. If you can make someone feel heard, you will also make them feel seen, which in turn will make them feel important to you.

    So why is this so hard?

    There is an art to dialogue that is simply no longer taught or prioritized. Back in the times of ancient Greece, dialogue was the ultimate conveyer of knowledge. Socrates feared the influence of the written word because he believed that medium would destroy dialogue. He felt books are too easily misinterpreted because you can’t openly discuss your reactions with the author of the ideas you just plowed into your head. Socrates rejected writing because his worldview was predicated on the idea that best way into a genuine inquiry of philosophy was through live conversation.

    Yet how ironic is it that the only reason we know the dialogues of Socrates is because Plato wrote them down!

    Oral traditions were more exclusive with knowledge because you had to have heard the information from someone’s mouth. Where the written word can be massed produced and mass marketed. Yet does distributing information on a wide scale dilute it? On the one hand it’s fantastic anyone can have access to the vast library of human knowledge, but the criteria for who is talking has been democratized to the point where there are no longer any standards. You don’t need a PHD to create a website, you just need an IP address.

    If you think about the current manifestation of this, the Internet is so flush with information and words that you can prove anything you want. You can look up sites that say GMO’s are bad, and you can look up sites that tell you GMO’s are great. You can prove anything you want to yourself, because everyone’s goddamn opinion is posted on line to justify your thinking.

    On a personal level, this loss of dialogue has affected us even deeper. Although I enjoy reading and writing, it can be said that the modern manifestation of texting our feelings through emoji hints to the prophetic nature of Socrates’ thoughts. We would rather email someone to tell them off, then have the actual human interaction of working through conflict. How many of you have received an email from a friend/family member/lover that is just a diatribe of all they things they don’t like about you? And how have you received that? Have you ever been like, “wow, this scathing email attacking my personality really makes me think?”

    No! You usually write a contemptuous message back, and a strange cycle begins where your egos battle through this platform of screens. It is really hard to come back from these things, and usually the only way to find peace is through initiating personal contact. It is easy to hide behind screens and words rather then the complexity of face-to-face contact. That is why trolling has become such a social phenomenon. Yet we don’t only troll strangers in the dark web, we also often troll each other with the refusal of committing to direct communication.

    I think it’s crucial in these times where we are constantly being seduced by our slutty phones to work on the craft of conversation. To not text while talking, or hurry someone along so we can make our point. The best thing we can do for each other and our own psyches is learn how to be totally engaged. You know that feeling when you are talking to someone, and they are really interested in what you are saying? They are giving you their energy of paying attention. Then you pass the baton and are just as excited to hear the words that come out of their mouth. Isn’t that such a life affirming experience?

    Let’s do more of that!

    So next time you are talking to someone, a friend, someone serving you at a store, where ever you are… act like you sincerely give a shit. And I bet once you start genuinely listening, you may actually start genuinely giving a shit, which will inspire them to give a shit, and then maybe the robots won’t take over after all.

    March 23, 2017 • emotions, Musings, Relationships, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 609

  • What is Funny vs. What is Appropriate

    I like to challenge social convention. It makes me feel more comfortable when I am making other people feel uncomfortable. Something is soothing about the discomfort.

    As a result, this means I have a very fluid relationship to “appropriate behavior.” I like it when people tease acceptability, especially when trying to get a laugh. Sometimes you have to take things too far just to wake people up. That’s how you find the comedy gold.

    I also strive for authentic honest connection to people. So when my 5-year old is going to say something like “Let’s pretend this My Little Pony is really mean, and called this My Little Pony a ditch,” I’m going to correct her. It’s bitch honey…. Not ditch.

    Of course I don’t want my daughter to swear, but she can’t go around thinking people are “ditches.” That’s just absurd. I don’t have to shelter The Munch from the existence of these words, but I do have to explain that children aren’t supposed to curse. Only fucking grownups are allowed to do that.

    When The Munch and her little friend were showing me their butts the other day, I had to take pause. Either I could say, “that is rude,” or I could say what I actually said: which was “that is called mooning.” If they are going to moon me, they should at least know what it is called – because mooning people is hilarious in the right context. Of course you don’t want to moon the wrong person… like your teacher or a pervert at the park. But what kind of world is this when you can’t moon your own mom and crack up with your friends about it!?

    So this takes me to The Munch’s new favorite music videos to watch. They are parodies of her favorite pop songs, and she thinks they are wittiest thing every to happen to the Internet. “Mom, in this one video she keeps putting her butt in this guy’s face and it is soooooooooooo funny.” Yeah maybe it is not proper to let my kid watch videos with swear words and shit, but the fact The Munch is developing her butt and poop humor is the first sign of a future comedy genius. At least here’s praying.

    September 7, 2015 • 5 years old, Behavior, Mommyhood, Parenting, Pee & Poop, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 2761

  • The Problem With Modern Media

    When I read a story in the mainstream media, I immediately question its validity. News sources are dependent on corporate backing to make a profit, so they’re unquestionably compromised. It doesn’t make business sense to expose the companies that write your paychecks. We know this, which is why the invention of the Internet was such an exciting prospect. Suddenly there was this prospect that we could get information that would circumvent the CEOs who probably feast on baby blood in the night. You know, to stay young and all.

    But the problem with the blogosphere is the main way to make money is by getting a sponsorship from some business… so what the dick? I get approached all the time to blog about some product as if I actually felt compelled to write about a vegetable slicer – which if you need one btw, the “Ultimate Slice Fest” is the one to buy!

    You could be reading something you think is authentic – like someone going on and on about how dope the iWatch is, and insisting it won’t ruin your life or ability to connect to anyone or anything – but they are in truth just a marketing ploy for Apple.

    When writers are not getting paid for their work, then they tend to jump on the bandwagons of viral stories so they can get for clicks, eyeballs, and looksies. Every story becomes like a feeding frenzy of vultures. For example, when the Rachel Dolezal story broke, everyone pounced on it, ripping this human apart, rather than approaching the subject with curiosity and respect.

    Stories become more about tearing people to shreds rather than reporting information. In order to get attention, writers claw over each other and into the eyes of their subjects just to be seen. The amount of “likes” and “shares” supersede the need for humanity. People embark into a culture of shame just to make a name for themselves. Tom Brady should kill himself because he doesn’t like to throw footballs that have air in them. Stuff like that. Just as quickly as we build people up, we will push them off the pedestal into a mound of dog poop.

    When the Internet first started blossoming, I had this assumption that with the democratization of media, there would be less corruption in business and politics. I assumed that conspiracy theories would no longer be seen as fringe media, but viable alternative perspectives of the obvious dishonesty of those in power.

    Maybe there was a moment when the lizard elite were like, “holy fuck, we can’t hide our creepy agenda anymore because now everyone knows about our secret societies and demonic ways.” There were huge movements built around taking down government lies. Endless websites exposing the Federal Reserve, 9/11, chem trails, the moon landing…. Yet now there are TOO many theories out there, and the deluge dilutes the potency of them.

    I am sure the truth is out there, but it’s buried under a mass of bologna insisting aliens rule the planet, the moon doesn’t exist, and Denver National airport is actually hell on earth. On second thought, maybe all that is accurate.

    Awww the lizard elite are kinda cute!

    reptilian elite

    August 3, 2015 • Current Events, Musings • Views: 1082

  • Nothing My Kid Does Impresses Me

    I have a serious complex I am going to admit. When I was a kid, my parents never took me to extra curricular classes, and I still feel slighted. My mom claims she brought me to ballet once, but I wasn’t into it so she was like “screw it.” Ummm mom, you were supposed to pressure me to excel regardless and become my “momager!” DIDN’T YOU LOVE ME ENOUGH TO DESTROY ME??

    I guess my mom did sign me up for tennis in the summers, but she didn’t bring me to the clinics to watch me. She just pointed to my bike and said, “The court is 2 miles that way.” When I played sports throughout school my parents NEVER came to my games, and I was always that kid with no one in the stands to cheer them on. Are you crying for me yet!!? Although I am obviously still working out some PTSD and deep-rooted resentment issues – I also totally get it.

    That shit is as boring as a dry fuck hole.

    However, in reaction to my upbringing I have enlisted The Munch in a variety of classes. She takes both dance and gymnastics twice a week, and now wants to play hockey as well. Theoretically I am very supportive of this. I want to expose Munch to a variety of artistic and physical outlets to learn skills. But… I also have been doing everything I can to avoid being the one responsible for bringing her to such events. If I can get someone else to do it, you bet your sweet ass that is what is happening.

    The obvious problem is I am selfish about my extra curricular time and want to work on my creative projects as much as possible. You guys, stop judging me. I am almost done with my movie about queefs, and it’s going to be amazing! My other issue is that I am excessively critical and hardly impressed by anything.

    BEFORE YOU THINK I AM AN ASSHOLE – IT IS NOT MY FAULT!! Have you seen the Internet lately?? Kids are amazing out there!! There are babies who breakdance, a 4-year old who is a top fashion designer at J-Crew, and a fetus that kicks ass at basketball. I have seen so much talent out there in the interwebs that my kid’s cartwheel seems just kinda meh.

    DON’T WORRY OKAY! I keep this all to myself and tell Munch her handstands are outstanding even though her alignment is off. She will get there I know… because I will MAKE her practice until she does, but that is beside the point. For what it’s worth, Munch’s gymnastics teacher sees potential in her, but all I see is a kid who hasn’t mastered the front walkover.
    impressive-blog-(i)

    January 21, 2015 • 4 years old, Education, Health, Mommy Mind, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing • Views: 1295

  • The Chubby Mermaid

    Not to brag or anything, but my kid is kind of a genius. No, she isn’t a 4-year old fashion designer for J-Crew, and no she doesn’t paint pictures that get sold for thousands of dollars… but she does know how to work my iPhone like a fucking pro. I feel like this is only the beginning of The Munch’s mastery of technology… even if her main motivation is to watch the new Taylor Swift video. But who knows, maybe she is going be the next Steve Jobs – but whose goal is to make 3D digital holograms of Katy Perry that project directly from your eyeballs thanks to an implanted nano-tech microchip.

    I know there are parents who never let their kids watch any modern media, and if they do, it is a supervised experience where they enjoy the wholesome story of Heidi (the 1937 version staring Shirley Temple). Together, they sit around a crackling fire eating fresh popcorn harvested from their farm while the children blissfully fall asleep from their full day of frolicking freely in the forest.

    Then there is my approach of handing my kid my phone/computer/iPad/soul and saying… “Here… watch whatever you want, just let mommy be alone.”

    Now the problem with this strategy is that The Munch then has access to peruse through Youtube, and find other things she may want to watch. She will scan the “related videos,” which may or may not actually be “related” to the initial media I approved of. I would set her up with something innocent to watch like “Curious George,” but then come back 20 minutes later to find her watching a BBC expo about a baby in Indonesia who smokes 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

    There was also a time where Munch found these videos that some charming person had created with the PBS character Caillou. Let me just say, I actually hope Caillou dies a horrible death where he is mutilated by rabid wolves. The show is terrible, and Caillou is a whiney little prick that deserves to suffer. So I can get how it would be funny to take this shit-head character, and re-edit the videos so all the audio is a raunchy dialogue filled with a myriad of swears. Yet despite my present attempt at humor, it was a sad and rude awakening to overhear The Munch listening to Caillou calling his baby sister a “fuck-face.”

    In order to preserve my child’s innocence and shield her from the vulgarities of the world, I had to to say to her, “Hey Munch, you have to check with me before you watch something – because there is some seriously fucked up shit on the Internet.”

    The Munch, who is an honest person, has kept to her word and now comes to me for my approval.

    Munch: Mom… is it okay if I watch “The Chubby Mermaid?
    Toni: WHAT????!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay… so lets get real. One thing we can all admit about society is that media FUCKS UP YOUNG GIRLS when it comes to their body image. The last thing you want for your daughter is for her to have an unhealthy relationship to her body, and feel she has to conform to a photo-shopped standard of beauty where her thighs are thinner than her forearms.

    I couldn’t understand WHO ON PLANET EARTH would make a cartoon called “The Chubby Mermaid!?” (Answer: Someone on the Internet – that is who.) My main concern was the term “chubby,” and how The Munch internalized the Meta meaning of that word. I started to panic, wondering if lifelong damage had already happened.

    Toni: Why is it called “The Chubby Mermaid?”
    Munch: Well, the mermaid is chubby because she ate too many gummy bears.
    Toni: Well “chubby” is not a very nice word.
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: Do you know what “chubby” means?
    Munch: It means you have a round tummy – like the “chubby” mermaid who ate too many gummy bears.

    HOLY FUCK YOU GUYS!!! I was like “shit, shit, shit, shit in the ass shit!” Of course “eating too many gummy bears” is not a good idea for anyone. Especially since they are made of gelatin composed of horse hooves – I mean basically they are molded balls primed to give you diabetes… But still! I don’t want The Munch thinking that fat shaming a mermaid is okay just because she happens to have a penchant for gummy bears!!

    Toni: Well, what do you think of the “Chubby Mermaid?”
    Munch: I like her… that is why I want to watch her???
    Toni: I mean, do you think she is a good person?
    Munch: Huh? What do you mean?
    Toni: Do you think she is bad for being “chubby?”
    Munch: No???
    Toni: So, do you think she is a good person?
    Munch: I don’t know mom??? I haven’t seen the rest of it yet? I only saw the beginning?? I don’t know her yet?
    Toni: Well do you think it is nice to call the mermaid “chubby?”
    Munch: She ate too many gummy bears, so she has a chubby tummy? Like it pokes out a little bit.
    Toni: Do you think she still has value to society even though she ate too many gummy bears?
    Munch: Huh? I don’t know??? I haven’t seen the whole video? Wait Mom… do we have any gummy bears??

    From the Munch’s perspective, being “chubby” wasn’t an insult. It was just a descriptive. Like having blond hair or green eyes. She couldn’t tell me if the mermaid was a good person until she actually saw what she was like as a person. Nor did she think there was anything wrong with the mermaid because she was chubby. She just ate too many gummy bears. In Munch’s mind being chubby was simply a consequence to an action.

    Placing moral judgment because of someone’s weight is a learned behavior. The idea that being “fat = bad” is a notion society has constructed. The Munch didn’t see the “Chubby Mermaid” as less than, but simply a mermaid whose mom didn’t micromanage her diet to make sure everything she ate was organic, biodynamic, and macrobiotic.

    Weight has become a barometer of self-worth that is deeply psychologically engrained in adults. Being thin means you feel better about yourself, regardless of actually being healthy. A super skinny model that subsists on champagne, lettuce, and cocaine is not in prime physical condition – even if she is slender. You can be “overweight” but also strong, dexterous, and able to climb stairs without passing out from fatigue.

    The body is a handy mechanism that moves us around planet earth – it is not the gauge with which we should measure our importance. I think it is completely possible to shape a child’s understanding of the body on function rather than form. There is no reason to condition our kids to think that their body weight has anything to do with their status as a human. You want to watch what you eat because a lot of processed food products are essentially poisoned. Pesticides, GMO-s, hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, preservatives… are not nutritious and may cause long-term damage. We should be cautious about what we consume not because culture will demoralize you for enjoying butter, but rather because we don’t want to ingest toxins.

    the-chubby-mermaid-blog-(i)

     

  • Can You Sprinkle Some GMO’s in my DNA?

    Now that it is winter, and I basically live in the open Tundra, I have had a lot more time to stare off into the distance and think about the future. Not my future silly… that just feels like a bleak road of endless mediocrity and stalled dreams – the future of humanity! Wait… that also feels pretty dreary. FUCK!

    I wonder what the evolution of our species is going to look like. Technology has so drastically impacted our environment and society that it seems impossible our DNA won’t be affected. Don’t you feel like extreme shifts in culture would force our biology to adjust just as much as shifting natural ecosystems did? If simply walking north was the catalyst for all racial differentiation, how is our iWorld going to influence our brains? What is the exposure of hundreds and thousands of chemicals going to do to our bodies? How are our psychological selves going to adapt to a world where social media takes precedence over human contact?

    At least this is the crap I think about during those moments when I am sitting with my kid spending “quality time” with her. You see… as long as you look like you are paying attention, it is totally okay to daydream about our transhumanist future!

    The other night I was playing in The Munch’s room watching her practice handstands. I observed how she endlessly kicked her legs in the air, awaiting a moment of balance to feel the lightness of suspension. Part of me was impressed by her tenacity, but I was also thinking how I have seen 4-year olds on Youtube dance the Salsa like their feet were on fire. I know talent is relative, but I also can’t help but compare The Munch to the countless of amazing children I have seen on the Internet! Some of who are infinitely better than me at everything I do!

    It is hard to be blown away by anything any more because we have infinite exposure to everything great humans do all over the world. Someone in Uzbekistan can fart so forcefully that they propel themselves into the air, land on a tree branch with their pinkies, and then somersault off while contorting their body so much that they land inside an Evian bottle – and I will see it on Facebook! Then all my farts would seem subpar, and average, as they just blandly soak into the couch. I SUCK!

    When you see someone do something you can’t, the normal human reaction is to feel awestruck, but also inadequate. The prevailing internal monologue is usually “wow, that is cool, but I can’t do that ☹” We don’t all have the natural ability, or commitment to be exceptional at everything, yet we still have the urge for excellence. But don’t worry everyone! I think science will soon change all that!!!

    Because we live in a genetically modified world, I think we are approaching the point were we are going to start genetically modifying humans. Science is on the precipice of making this a reality, and as soon as rich people can get access to this technology, they are going to use it. They will not only manipulate genes for beauty and physical prowess, but also manufacture immunities to best deal with the impending environmental catastrophes before us. This super race will not only be aesthetically perfect and intellectually advanced, but they will also have the biology to withstand the breakdown of nature. Yet of course there will also be a race of humans who can’t afford to purchase these targeted mutations, and they will sadly be at the mercy of natural selection. Maybe the super race will then use the blood of the pathetic unmodified people for fuel… or inject it into their bodies to stay immortal.

    OMG what is wrong with me!? Why can’t I just play “Go Fish” with my kid like a normal person??

    But maybe I need to start saving up $$$ so I can shoot GMO’s into The Much so she can stick that handstand?

    gmo-dna-blog-(i)

    November 19, 2014 • Current Events, Environmental Impact, Musings, Playing • Views: 1095

  • The iPhone, iWatch, and iBrain

    So I watched the promo video for the new Apple iWatch and now I want to abandon all my modern belongings, strip myself of every technological dependency, and crawl into a cave to live like a Doomsday “Prepper” eating cans of meat and dried bat feces.  We officially live in a trans-humanist nightmare: the future will not only be ruled by androids, but we are becoming them. The line where machines end and humans begin will be so blurred that even Robin Thicke will weep metal tears.

    How many separate devices do we need for people to get a hold of us? There is already the computer, the smart phone, the iPad, and now you can get call from your spouse nagging you to bring home that magazine you keep leaving at work on your fucking watch?! Do we really want people to have more access to us!!?? If I put my phone down for two hours, when I come back there are 19 text messages – 12 of which are wondering why I didn’t answer the previous text sooner. The last thing I want is for people to increase their expectations of my ability to be in constant contact.

    Having an additional interface to connect over is not only superficial, but also oppressive. Phones are cool when you want to use them, but the relentless sense of obligation or compulsion to check them cannot be healthy. We need mental space to be in the moment and actually live life away from the distraction of message alerts. This lifestyle where we are “on call” to one another 24-7 takes us away from fully being present with each other or ourselves. I like my phone so I can reach out when I feel like it, not so I can be reached constantly. With Apple’s latest device if you leave your phone in your pocket for a minute of peace, then the iWatch will be like “Nope… don’t you even think of ignoring me because I am on your wrist motherfucker. Oh, and btw, Becky wants to know if you are bringing guacamole to the party.”

    Humanity really doesn’t need another device to take us away from our own thoughts. Too many of us already have an addiction to our phones- do we need the seduction of a new device? It’s like suggesting to a cokehead they try heroin to take the edge off and fall asleep easier. Many of us know the impulse to check our phone the moment we are alone with our thoughts… which means we rarely give ourselves any real time to think. Unconsciously surfing the web to avoid boredom is not making us smarter – it’s actually making us dumber. How do I know we are getting stupider? I don’t know -ask Google!!!

    The Apple commercial touts the many ways the iWatch will actually heighten intimacy rather than interfere with it. For example, their cutting edge consumers can now send their lover little pictures they draw with their finger, or the actual pulse of their beating heart. Call me old fashioned, but if some guy I was screwing texted his heart beat, my lady boner would be so flaccid I wouldn’t be able to stir coffee. Who are these people who want more ways to flirt via their appliances? Unless you are giving me a washing machine to sit on, can’t we do this face to face? Why not send your lady flowers or give oral sex like a normal person? What kind of world do we live in where getting an emoji on my watch is supposed to turn me on??

    How many iProducts do we need? Will all our home appliances soon be created with embedded apps so as to better “connect” with our friends? Will I be Instgramming through my dishwasher and checking Facebook on my electric toothbrush? Where does it end? Are we soon going to implant microchips in our heads so we can have an iBrain?

    Perhaps I’m being dramatic. Yeah, the iWatch has a bunch of cool features, but is projecting your pictures on the wall worth the psychological impact? Watch the commercial yourself and decide. Listen to his pseudo British accent and the way he pronounces aluminum. Fine I will too. I will watch it again and again and again, and again… because fuck that watch looks cool. I really want one.

    iwatch-blog(i)

    September 10, 2014 • Current Events, Musings • Views: 2121

  • Does Always Wanting More Make you An Addict?

    The problem with good things is that they leave us wanting more. If I have a bite of delicious cake … I want more. I have some good sex…I want more. I try some amazing pure Columbian cocaine…I want more. The nature of pleasure is to desire more, more, and more of it.

    Part of being an adult is learning to moderate the seduction of indulgence. We are expected to find balance because we have the foresight to understand that too much of a good thing is actually bad. Too much food destroys your heath. Too much sex gives you bumpy rashes. Too much drugs can kill you. Understanding boundaries is part of growing up. The alternative is to end up an addict.

    The thing with kids is they don’t get it. They have no concept of time, so rationalizing the limitation of a certain behavior because of future consequences is futile. I can tell my kid “Look, if you eat all that chocolate you are going to feel sick and shit your brains out later.” Her response will always be “I don’t care.”  It is up to me to moderate her intake, because left to her own devices The Munch just doesn’t give a fuck.

    I’ve tried letting The Munch totally indulge, so she could do a little soul searching on this subject. The prevailing logic was that she would realize for herself the results of excessive behavior, and consider the impact the next time she is faced with temptation. Yeah. No. That really didn’t work. Saying to my four year old “Remember last time when you ate too much ice cream and felt really sick,” only resulted in yet another “I don’t care.”  Whatever memory of the ice cream tummy ache from the past held no power over the delicious taste of ice cream in the present. I guess The Munch is very Buddhist because she only exists in “the now,” but the awareness of past or future effects is a pivotal part of learning restraint.

    The Munch is relentless in her quest for more of everything. She is never satisfied and this is annoying as fuck. She will make a promise like “Mom, let me watch something. I will only watch one episode of My Little Pony I promise. Then you can turn it off and I won’t fuss.” So I let her because I trust her* (*want to get away from her) but when her stupid neon colored show is over, The Munch immediately says, “okay just one more. I PROMISE!”

    While I admire The Munch’s commitment to negotiation, everything becomes a battle because of her inability to be content with what she just had. She will literally be eating a cookie while asking for another. I will be like “Dude, you don’t need to double fist cookies. Just relax and appreciate what you got!” But then she will start crying because I won’t give her another cookie WHILE SHE IS STILL EATING THE FIRST FUCKING COOKIE.

    Here is my dilemma. I can’t tell if The Munch’s excessive wanting “more” of everything is a result of her age or a precursor to a struggle that she will battle with for the rest of her life. I don’t want my kid to grow into an adult with an addictive personality. That is how you end up in back allies doing things you really regret. And is a hard thing to overcome. It is difficult for me to distinguish between normal kid shit, and the makings of a person who is going to beat up old ladies to steal money for blow. It is a fine line, my friends.

    Munch: Mamma, can I bring two lollipops to the beach?

    Toni: No Munch.  One is enough.

    Munch: But what if I want another one? Let’s just bring two just in case.

    Toni: Munch, that is excessive. You don’t want to feed that part of your soul. We all crave more, but it is pivotal to know your limits. Being greedy is a detrimental trait because you will never be satisfied, nor truly appreciate anything. Be grateful for what you have. You are so lucky and have so much abundance in your world.

    Munch: Okay how about I eat one lollipop now, and we bring the other one for later.

     

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  • Hey, That’s MY Message!

    Information is social currency.  When I send someone a link, or post something illuminating, it contributes to my public value. The Internet allows us not only to spread information but also to become associated with it. It’s almost as if we can brand ourselves alongside the messages we are spreading.

    So last week when everyone was talking about the Monsanto Protection Act I was really involved in the discussion. This is an issue that I am very passionate about and have been researching for over a decade. I wanted to be an active part of the discussion – to help spread the message of why I think Monsanto should be a major part of the public dialogue and we should all have a clear understanding of not only its power but its product.  Our food system.

    I had first learned about Monsanto and genetically engineered food over 10 years ago when I was in college. Before understanding the science behind food, the only thing that concerned me was calories and fat grams. Then one fateful night, while smoking joints with my friend Marisa she told me,

    “You know, the reason why Americans are so overweight and unhealthy is because of partially hydrogenated oil.”

    “Wait, what is that?”

    “They, like, add hydrogen to the oil, so it is fluffier and takes up more space. They can then use less of it and save money, but the human body can’t digest it. That is what makes you fat.”

    “Why do they do that? How do they do that? And who is they?”

    “You know… they!  I don’t know Toni, I am not a scientist… look it up. But I am telling you. That is why Europeans are all skinny, because they don’t put crap in their food.”

    This really blew my mind into a thousand pieces. Before that moment, I had never considered that highly processed food wasn’t actually food. And I did not want to get fat because I was unconsciously consuming a science experiment. Forget that we were scarfing down ice cream at that moment…. We were high – remember? I am perfectly okay getting pudgy eating delicious treats, but there is no way hydrogenated oils were going to give me a muffin top.

    After that fateful conversation I started looking at ingredients rather than the silly numbers on a side of a box of processed food. Initially my rejection of GMO food may have been for my own vanity or health, but the more I learned, the more committed I became.

    I then read The Age of Access by Jeremy Rifkin, and started to comprehend the environmental consequences of genetic engineering. The massive destruction of natural resources, the farmers that it oppressed, the annihilation of biodiversity, the subsidies that forced an economic stranglehold on the entire food industry, and – perhaps most demented – gene patenting. Rifkin hypothesized that the future held forth a new economy based on owning and patenting genes. The thought of corporations and life-science companies owning the building blocks of life and leasing out the rights to it seemed like an apocalyptic nightmare.

    After understanding the full scope, I became outraged. I was so committed to this cause that I spent three years of my life trying to open an organic fast food restaurant so more people could have access to clean food, but in a format they were accustomed to. I wanted to bring organic food to as many people as I could. Even though my vision did not work out the way I wanted it to – I didn’t get to open my restaurant – I could still do my best to continue promoting the idea.

    So when everyone was talking about Monsanto last week, I made a little cartoon with The Munch and me and posted it on Facebook. It started making the rounds and people started sharing it. But I didn’t put my logo on the picture. So then I started seeing other friends post the pic, and other groups, but it wasn’t associated to me any more. I mean it was my picture, but it didn’t link back to me in any way.

    At first I was so mad at myself.  I felt like a missed a major opportunity to drive traffic back to me! So more people would see me… like me… care about me! I wanted to be the giver of the information!  Me! Me! Me! The more I saw it floating around, and not attached to me, the more I freaked out.  Of course the original picture I shared had 1,700 shares thanks to my friend reposting it on her popular page… but that had a spelling mistake in it because that is my fucking karma! (Hey! I know I am using the concept of Karma wrong here, but I am being emphatic so forgive me).

    Okay… pause….

    I found this to be a really interesting example of how the ego gets tied into things that are essentially ego-less. In reality, I should have been happy that people thought the image had value and wanted to share it. That it took a small part in spreading awareness about an issue that I cared about. But as much as my rational mind knew this, my emotional-self wanted to be credited with that message. WHICH IS ABSURD!!  It was beyond ironic that I had the audacity to feel used by people sharing my picture without crediting me, when the message could easily say I was using it to promote myself.

    That is the thing about activism. It has to come from a pure place, and not from wanting to somehow have ownership over the message. Because to feel personal attachment to the information you are trying to spread, is the very same paradigm that we are trying to change with activism.

    “Mamma you are being silly!

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