Yesterday was somewhat less annoying than Wednesday was. There were no unexpected visitors; Aunt Flow vacated; I didn’t get involved in any online pissing matches; and as of this morning, I crossed the threshold allowing me to be paid for writing this blog. And so, today’s post is going to be focused on gratitude for everyone who has been reading this rag. Some of you have been surprisingly faithful readers, and I really do appreciate it. I know sometimes I can be cranky, negative, and gross, but it does my heart good to know that some people don’t seem to mind. Or maybe they just read so they can snark. Either way, I make a few pennies when people read, and they’ve now finally added up to enough that I can actually get paid.
I’m actually impressed by how quickly this happened on WordPress. I moved my original OH blog from Blogger in February 2019. It was one of three blogs I had on that site, and all three were earning spare change through AdSense. During my heyday, I usually made enough money on Blogger from all three blogs to cash out every nine months or so. To do that, I had to earn at least $100. Remember, I had THREE blogs going, so they weren’t earning much individually. The original blog was the fastest earner, but the travel blog was also pretty popular before we moved to Wiesbaden. None of them were making big bucks, though.
At this point, I only have one blog left on Blogger. That would be my Dungeon of the Past music blog, which is mainly about music from the 70s and 80s. I don’t update it very often anymore, and right now, I have almost $98 sitting in AdSense. As soon as that blog earns the last two bucks I need to cash out, I’ll probably discontinue it. However, at this point, earning those last two bucks could take years! I usually only make a few pennies a month from just the music blog. This past month has been an exception. Looks like I made about 60 cents this month.
In July of 2019, when I moved the travel blog to WordPress, I immediately set up ads for that blog only. At this writing, the travel blog has made a grand total of $5.09. That amount is the whole total since the blog was created, having collected ad revenue since July 2019. COVID-19 was pretty devastating to my travel blogging, since we’ve been locked down and unable to go as many places. I suppose I could have been creative and come up with other travel related content, but to be honest, I had kind of lost my motivation. Happily, since COVID restrictions are loosening, I think we’ll be traveling more soon. In fact, next weekend, we will be on vacation. I am delighted to report that the travel blog is now consistently earning more than it ever has.
This blog has only been running ads since July 2021. In nine months, I’ve earned enough revenue to be paid. As of today, the “new” OH blog has made $109.61. That’s got to be because people are actually reading this stuff. So thank you! Writing is really all I ever wanted to do with my life, anyway, and while $109 isn’t enough to live on, it’s still money that I made, doing something I love doing! I do love to write, even if I do complain a lot about first world problems. I probably won’t be getting the $109 payout until June, which is fine. I’ll possibly get it just in time for my 50th birthday!
I didn’t want to run ads when I first started writing on this space. Like most people, I find ads annoying, and sometimes I want to write about topics that advertisers don’t like. But I was curious to see if this blog could make any money, which was why I turned on the ads. At first, I did it as an experiment, but then when I noticed that this blog made a lot more than the travel blog did, I decided to keep the ads going, just to see how long it would take before I made enough to cash out.
I know I have some readers who met me on the now defunct review site, Epinions. Those people are also writers, and they know the pleasure of seeing monthly “income share” come in. I remember my first month on Epinions, I wrote a rant about my cell phone service provider. I was really just looking for a place to vent, because I was pissed. I didn’t even know I could make money writing on Epinions. But when I saw that the review made 19 cents, I decided to write more. I spent almost eleven years writing on Epinions, and I made about $12,000, just reviewing stuff I was using anyway. Considering that I usually wrote in low paying categories like books, music, and travel, I think I did alright!
Sometimes I still miss Epinions, but that site became decidedly less fun as it was dying. I like writing on my own site now, since I can curse with wild abandon, add photos and videos, and don’t have to worry about obnoxious advisors, leads, or just oddball members lowballing ratings or leaving petty criticisms. 😉 That’s not to say that I can’t take legitimate criticism, per se. It’s just that some of them wanted to criticize things like how often I wrote, or disagreed with my review… or, in some cases, they would try to correct me when they, themselves, needed to edit.
I remember one particular Epinionator felt just fine about leaving me a low rating because she felt that instead of using Preparation H on my asshole, I should be using apple cider vinegar. And, as she commented, she signed off with the annoying phrase, “sharing the light”. I ranted about that incident on the original version of this blog. I’ll probably repost it today because, what the hell… I know some readers will get a kick out of that little taste of nostalgia.
Those kinds of comments and ratings were not supposed to happen. We weren’t supposed to downrate because we disagreed with the review; we were supposed to rate based on the quality of the review. Like, the rating was supposed to be based on how informative and well-written the review was, not someone’s personal opinion about the product or the reviewer. Anyway, not long after that “asshole” incident, in which I was advised to use vinegar instead of a soothing cream on my bum, I ran across a review by this particular writer. I gave her a slightly lower rating (helpful vs. very helpful). I think she genuinely earned the rating I gave her. She sent me a pissy email full of excuses as to why her review was the way it was, and why I should give her a higher rating. I couldn’t help but shake my head. A few weeks later, the site went belly up. It made me sad at the time, but then I realized that it was for the best. If Epinions were still going, maybe you wouldn’t be reading my first world rants here, and I would still be dealing with people like that person!
$109 is not a lot of money. In fact, it’s not even enough to pay my subscription fees for this site. But it’s a good start! It feels good to make money again. I do, on occasion, get weird, rude, or mean comments from drive by visitors; but this blog, by and large, attracts far fewer crazies than Epinions did. Like, for instance, the woman who went absolutely batshit nuts because she was posting rubber stamped reviews of her Canon camera under multiple listings and getting tons of “not helpful” ratings. Even though people tried to explain to her how the site worked, she didn’t get it… and she raised holy hell. It caused quite a drama! I don’t think she ever did learn how Epinions worked. After a weekend of rampaging with inappropriate comments and ratings, she was kicked off the site.
Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with that kind of nonsense here. Most everyone who reads this blog is perfectly nice. Or, at least they are basically respectful, which is really all I ask. It’s a bonus when people come back for more, even when I’m in one of my crotchety moods. So, once again, thank you! Thanks for reading and commenting– no need for ratings, here. And thank you all for being a friend. Thanks for helping me turn my opinions into something that has actual worth. It means more to me than most of you will ever know.
The featured photo is of a t-shirt offered on Amazon.com. I probably ought to order it for the warmer days that are rapidly approaching.
I hope everybody had a nice Valentine’s Day. Mine was pretty quiet. Thanks to COVID-19, and the general doldrums that have come about because of that, plus Bill’s busy status at work, the crappy weather, and just the fact that I’m getting older and more crotchety, Valentine’s Day was pretty low key. I didn’t even write any fresh content yesterday, even though I had a couple of topics in mind. I just wasn’t in the mood.
But anyway, Bill delivered. I got a beautiful bouquet of roses and one of Bill’s trademark mushy cards. My Amazon.com orders came in, and I got two new box sets of forgotten 70s and 80s era shows I loved as a kid. And, glory of glories, I also got new underwear! Unfortunately, they are not made of my preferred combed cotton knit, but of some kind of yucky “super soft” material. It’s probably modal, or something like that. I have had them before, and didn’t like them… and I guess I failed to realize I had ordered them again. Oh well. At least they aren’t stained yet.
Bill is home today, because he’s taking three classes from the Jung Institute in Zurich. Originally, our plan was to go to Switzerland so he could attend in person, but COVID-19 fucked that up, too. Ironically, even Germany is talking about loosening restrictions very soon– like, next week, “loosening” is supposed to commence. But I doubt that will mean the same to most Americans as it does to me.
The fucking face masks will still be required… the heavier, “coffee filter” ones, that I absolutely loathe, which haven’t actually stopped the spread of the virus. Yeah, I know this makes me sound like an “anti-masker”, which maybe I am on some level. I am an anti-masker in the sense that I want them to eventually go away. I recognize their utility in crowds, when the virus is running amok and there are no vaccines. But it’s been almost two years, and we’re all so tired. When Germany says it will “loosen” restrictions, that means that they’ll stop with the 2G+ nonsense… meaning to go into a business or restaurant, one must be fully vaccinated AND tested or boosted. Or the even more ridiculous 2G++ requirement– vaxxed, boosted, and tested. And they’ll let more people visit each other or be indoors. They’re just doing this because spring is coming, and they want people to spend money. As far as I’m concerned, if I have to wear a coffee filter, I’d rather stay home, or go to a place where I don’t have to wear a coffee filter. Which brings me to my next topic…
Apologies to the person on my friends list who posted the below photo if s/he finds my upcoming comments offensive or shaming. I honestly feel the need to discuss this… because again, how obnoxious…
I’m about 100 percent sure the person who shared the above photo meant well. It was probably meant to inspire thought… or maybe a sense of shame. I don’t know. I would expect that the people who saw this were friends, and I would hope the person’s friends weren’t the type of people who would need to be reminded to be ashamed about the horrors of the Jim Crow era. I don’t think this photo quite sends a logical message.
Let’s stop and think about the two situations being compared for just a minute. In one situation, a person encounters a “masks only” sign. That means he or she must either put on a mask to enter an establishment, or go home and order online. That sign has nothing to do with anything beyond the person’s control. It’s a matter of choice. Wear a mask and do your business, or go home and order online. Simple, right?
The other situation involves people being excluded simply because they have dark skin. That’s something beyond their control. The people in that photo can’t just go home and change skins or order online. What’s more, having dark skin isn’t like spreading a contagious and potentially deadly disease. Being a person of color isn’t contagious, nor would I say it’s a negative thing. It just is. By contrast, nobody sane wants to catch COVID-19.
Looking at the meme again, I also think that the comparisons are kind of like apples and oranges in terms of the “victims”. I mean, most “woke” people routinely condemn the so called “obnoxious” anti-maskers among us, right? They say things like, “It’s just a strip of cloth.” or “It’s no big deal.” or “Just get with the program so we can get beyond the pandemic.” And when anti-maskers or anti-vaxxers happen to fall ill with COVID-19, the pro-face mask crusaders then have a good laugh. Some of them really yuk it up when some of those people end up dying due to their ignorance and stubbornness, as they self-righteously continue with their preaching about showing compassion and consideration during the COVID-19 era.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am fully onboard with vaccines. I will even admit that masks are a good idea in crowds, when the virus is especially deadly, there are no effective treatments, and people aren’t vaccinated. I just want the masks to go away someday. I dream of a day when we can be in public again and not have to deal with annoying rules. And until that day comes, I’ll probably just mostly stay home and order things online. I’m not going to protest or get into a fight with someone over wearing a mask. I probably just won’t do business with them in person, if I can help it. That’s my choice. I don’t mind making that choice, and I’m sure the people in public life are fine with me not being around them. They won’t even know the difference. Because seriously… how obnoxious! I know I am, so I will spare everyone.
But when it comes to the other part of the meme– the part where we’re asked to consider how people of color felt when they encountered a “whites only” sign, I just don’t think that quite compares to being asked to put on a mask. Most decent people roundly condemn the Jim Crow laws. A “whites only” sign would be very offensive to them. The same group of people would probably not be offended by a “masks only” sign. Get it?
Apparently, a lot of people didn’t think about this photo for as long as I did, since it went viral. But when I clicked on the photo my friend shared, it took me to the original post. There was a lively discussion going on, with many people who could see the same issue with it that I see. These two situations simply don’t compare. One person commented that this meme was one of the stupidest things she’d ever seen. I wouldn’t be quite that harsh. I think the person who made it probably meant well. I just wish he or she had given it a bit more thought, just as I wish those who are sharing it, presumably with their friends, would consider it a little more.
How is that photo supposed to make your friends feel? Is it your intent to shame your friends? Because, honestly, that’s how I felt when I saw it. And then I felt pretty annoyed. Don’t we have enough to be concerned about these days without conflating two such serious issues that don’t really measure up to each other? Is it really anyone’s intentions to offend their friends on social media? I do hate the face masks and I chomp at the bit for the day when we can ditch them. But I don’t think being asked to wear a mask in order to slow down a contagious disease compares, in any way, with the horrors of the Jim Crow laws. They are totally different concepts.
I suspect the photo was intended to shame anti-maskers by reminding them of how horrible and difficult it’s been for truly oppressed people. I think it really misses the mark, though, and oversimplifies things. I would hope that your friends don’t really need this kind of shaming.
I’m getting pretty tired of people on social media using it as a means of being sanctimonious to other people, anyway. I know a lot of people do it. They like getting on a soap box, and social media makes it easy and relatively safe to do so. It’s still very annoying, though, and probably not that effective, especially toward friends. Or, at least, that’s my take. All it does is spread unnecessary negativity. In fact, I find the practice highly obnoxious. 😉
Moving on to another obnoxious topic. That would be Paula White, televangelist extraordinaire. The other day, James of Fundie Fridays did an excellent video about her. I think Paula White is extremely obnoxious. I thought so when I first discovered her on TBN back in 2003 or so. I used to watch her show for fun, because I found her so incredibly over-the-top. But then she became our most obnoxious former president’s “spiritual advisor”, which gave her an even bigger platform. And she really showed us the crazy, didn’t she?
If you are at all interested in Paula White and her crazy story, you should watch James’s video. My only criticism of the video is that James went on a little bit longer than he probably needed to; and he used a few too many Journey references, since Paula is currently married to Jonathan Cain, who plays keyboards for Journey. But overall, I think he did an excellent job of exposing the crazy shit that spews from Paula White’s collagen plumped lips. Bravo, James!
I probably would have written a whole post devoted to the above Paula White dedicated video, especially since I know that James and Jen of Fundie Fridays have become very popular and, hey, I like to ride on the coattails of other people’s successes when I can, right? Because I am obnoxious that way… I have noticed that people hit this blog because I’ve written about Fundie Fridays. So it’s not a bad thing when I mention that channel, because it’s a win/win. It exposes new people to their content, and possibly mine, too. I don’t aim to be as popular as they are, but it’s not a bad thing to get some ad revenue. Maybe enough to buy beer? That would be nice.
In the interest of not pulling a “James”, I’m gonna wrap this up and do some guitar practice. Sorry to be so obnoxious this morning. Noyzi put that theme in my head, as he was galloping through the house like a freak as Bill prepared to walk him and Arran. As he came whizzing past us in his joy, I said, “Oh my God! How OBNOXIOUS!” I love the word “obnoxious”. It’s a word that people have used to describe me since the day I was born. I might as well own my obnoxiousness with this obnoxious post. I don’t enjoy offending people, and I’m truly sorry that some people think I’m obstreperous. That’s another reason I stay home. 😉
Anyway, hope y’all have a good day. And if my friend finds my commentary on the above meme obnoxious, I do apologize. But, if I’m honest, I really think the meme really gets it wrong and, to be frank, I was a bit offended by it, and felt the need to vent. So, I’m sorry if I offend, but not sorry that I wrote on this topic. I hope we can still be friends. 🙂
And just to be even more obnoxious, below is a link to Amazon, where you can purchase the t-shirt… and I will get a small commission from Amazon, if you do. See? Another win/win.
I know I’ve been writing a lot about eating disorders lately. I wasn’t actually planning to write about them again today. However, as today happens to be the first day of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I think it’s kind of appropriate to write one more post. If you’re surprised there’s an actual week in February devoted to fighting eating disorders, you shouldn’t be. This has been an annual event for at least twenty years. I remember being a temp at the College of William & Mary back in 1998 and seeing posters for this week plastered all over the Blow Building, which was where I was working in the office of admissions.
Lately I’ve been passing the time watching old episodes of the 80s era family friendly comedy, Growing Pains, and I’ve finally reached the fourth season. Season four is when Tracey Gold, who played middle child, perfect Carol Seaver, started to become noticeably thinner. We didn’t know, at the time, that she was developing anorexia nervosa and would eventually drop her weight from 133 pounds to about 80 pounds.
Yesterday, I happened to see the episode “Homecoming Queen”, which originally aired on November 23, 1988. I was sixteen years old then, and pretty obsessed with dieting myself. I’m not sure I was still a Growing Pains fan at that point, though. The show had kind of jumped the shark by then, and I had a lot of other things going on at the time. It’s interesting to watch it now. I’m finding that it was a pretty decently written show, even in season four, which was the season in which the Seavers had their change of life baby, Chrissy. Anyone who grew up in the era of sitcoms knows that new babies or adopted kids always end up on the show as the original kids get too old.
The plot for “Homecoming Queen” is centered around Carol, who is nominated by her peers to be in the Homecoming court. Carol is shocked that they would think she’s pretty and popular enough to be queen. She sees herself as fat and ugly, and unworthy to be Homecoming Queen. She even considers refusing the honor, but ends up running when her competition erroneously assume she’s trying to sway people by being falsely humble.
About ten minutes into the episode, we see Carol having a terrible nightmare. Surrounded by her beautiful competition for Homecoming Queen, Carol is dressed in unflattering overalls that make her look huge. She’s wearing glasses and her hair is short and frumpy. As the principal and her peers laugh at her, Carol falls through the stage because she’s so fat. Then, her brother Mike, who constantly rides her about her weight, comes out and humiliates her, saying she’s “merely going through a stage…” as everyone laughs at her literally “going through a stage” because she’s so fat.
Tracey Gold has said that the fat jokes on Growing Pains were one reason why she became so preoccupied with her weight. As I watch that show now, I can see how the fat jokes really ramped up a lot in seasons 3 and 4, which was ironically when Tracey Gold was getting noticeably thinner. I don’t notice them as much in the earlier seasons, when she was legitimately heavier and her character was presented as nerdier and plainer. She gained some weight in 1988, but then lost about twenty five pounds with the help of a doctor, who put her on a 500 calorie a day diet.
Tracey Gold has also said that she had been diagnosed with the early symptoms of anorexia nervosa when she was eleven years old. I remember reading about that when I was in the eighth grade, years before she truly got sick with an eating disorder, around 1990 or so.
It seems especially tone deaf and wrong that the writers on Growing Pains saddled the Carol Seaver character with so many jokes about her weight, especially since she clearly wasn’t overweight at all. They also included “ugly” jokes, but I don’t notice as many of those as “fat” jokes. In fact, on the “Homecoming Queen” episode, Alan Thicke, who plays psychiatrist dad Jason Seaver, is shown offering Carol a piece of cake. When she says something along the lines of, “Oh, I’m not fat enough for you?” Jason starts to say, “Sure you are…” but then stops himself.
By 1991, the producers of Growing Pains, who had originally urged Gold to lose weight, suspended her from the show because she had become so skeletal. They required her to get treatment for her eating disorder before they would allow her back on the show. She did appear for the series finale in 1992, but she hadn’t recovered by then. She says that in one of the last scenes, the family is shown eating pizza and it’s very obvious that she was faking it. She says she’d forgotten how to hold a piece of pizza. I’m sure it was very traumatizing for her. Kind of like a phobia.
Which leads me to an opportunity for a nice segue… I’ve mentioned this before, but I think I wrote about it on my original Blogspot version of this blog. I happen to have a food related phobia myself– mycophobia, which is an irrational fear of mushrooms. I am a lot better than I used to be. When I was a small child, we lived in England, and there were huge toadstools in our backyard. I remember my parents telling me to never touch the mushrooms. I didn’t like mushrooms to start with, but somehow the directive not to touch them really hit home in an extreme way. I got to the point at which I would freeze and scream bloody murder if I simply saw one in the yard.
I remember my dad was pretty exasperated by my adverse reaction to mushrooms. He was kind of an old school disciplinarian and used to try to force me to eat everything on my plate. I actually have aversions to a number of foods, like unmelted cheese and most dairy products. I think this is because when I was very young, I was allergic to cow’s milk and it would make me vomit. To this day, I don’t drink plain milk, and aside from ice cream and butter, don’t eat most dairy products unless they’re in something. Like, I can’t bring myself to taste cream by itself, although I like it in coffee, and I would never eat a piece of cold cheese that hasn’t been melted. The flavor and the texture completely gross me out. Forget about any kinds of strong cheeses. I will vomit.
A couple of weeks ago, Bill made nachos with melted cheddar cheese. I can normally eat melted cheese, even if it’s cooled off. But on that day, the cheddar had a flavor that overwhelmed and ultimately disgusted me. I ended up throwing up. I do like some mild cheeses in things. I love dishes like lasagna and mac and cheese, and I like pizza, although as a child, it took many years before I would eat it. I can even eat cold pizza with cheese on it. I’ve read that some people can’t eat melted cheese, but they can eat it unmelted. Humans are so strange.
Anyway, yesterday, The New York Times ran an article about mushrooms, complete with a photo. I generally hide photos of mushrooms because even though I don’t run screaming from the room anymore, the sight of them makes me cringe and shudder. I imagine my reaction to mushrooms is much like Tracey Gold’s stated aversion to a lump of butter, back when she was very sick with anorexia.
I tried to hide the article, but for some reason, I wasn’t able to. I mentioned it on Facebook, and everybody laughed, which is rather predictable behavior among so-called friends. Now… I can understand why people laugh at this. I have a phobia, and many people think phobias are funny, especially when they are regarding something as ridiculous as mushrooms. So I don’t really blame people for laughing at my trauma. They’re ignorant and insensitive for doing so, but I can understand why they laugh. It’s probably my fault for mentioning it, although I mention it because it’s one of the many things that makes me unique. However, I did point out that people were laughing, but I was being very candid.
The photos on the New York Times piece weren’t too bad. The fungus looked more like sea anemones than mushrooms (to be honest, just typing that word skeeves me out a bit). I really get creeped out by pictures of mushrooms in food or toadstools (again– yecch). Like, they make me very uncomfortable. If sometime tried to make me eat one, I would probably have a full blown anxiety attack. Indeed, I did have them when I was a child and my control freak father would try to force me to eat things I didn’t want. Years later, he would call me a “hog” and shame me for being too fat.
A few years ago, I remember trying to eat a dish that had mushrooms in it at a fancy restaurant and I just couldn’t do it. They had to bring me a version without ‘shrooms. And this issue has come up at restaurants and when I’ve been invited to people’s houses for a meal. It’s always embarrassing to try to explain why I can’t eat mushrooms. Many times, people laugh out loud. I know it’s absurd.
You’d think I could tell people in the restaurant that I have an allergy. However, having worked in restaurants myself, I know that that’s also problematic, because the staff will then worry about my having a reaction. I don’t have an allergy, so I don’t want them to freak out about potentially causing anaphylactic shock or something. I won’t have a physical reaction if something I eat comes into contact with mushrooms. But if I can see, smell, or taste them in my food, the meal will be ruined, and I might end up vomiting or worse. I don’t mind if Bill eats them at a restaurant or something, although out of kindness to me, he doesn’t buy them at the grocery store and doesn’t cook with them at home. He’s also been known to switch plates with me if I order something that has them and his dish doesn’t. We have had situations, though, where both dishes have had mushrooms and I’ve had to get something else.
I once thought about becoming a chef, but ultimately decided not to when I realized that my phobia would probably be very problematic. In fact, sometimes my phobia has even led to embarrassing altercations. Below is a repost of a piece I wrote in 2017 for my original blog on Blogspot. I don’t expect anyone to read it– extra credit if you do– but it kind of illustrates how this issue sometimes pops up in my life. Incidentally, the obnoxious guy who laughed at me because of my phobia was recently fired for undisclosed reasons, and they never did spend all of the money that was left for their “party” at the Biergarten…
Phobias are not funny… (originally posted July 20, 2017)
Have you ever met someone with whom you immediately clash? I think that happened to me last night. Despite my rather funny personality, I don’t actually like parties very much. I have a tendency to get carried away sometimes, especially when I’m in the company of certain types of people. Not everyone can take my sense of humor and I don’t enjoy offending people. Sometimes I do, despite my best efforts.
Last year, the guy who hired Bill moved on to a new job in Hawaii. He left behind a huge collection of euro coins, which he donated to everyone he worked with. The coins were all counted and it came to the euro equivalent of about $800, which was used to pay for last night’s gathering at a biergarten (and, in fact, not all of the money was spent). It was a farewell dinner of sorts, since the company Bill has been working for lost its contract and many of the people who have been working with Bill are moving on to new jobs and/or locations.
We arrived too late to sit at the table that was already started, so we sat at a second table that had been reserved. Soon we were joined by another couple, the male half of whom will continue to be Bill’s co-worker because they were both hired by the new company that is taking over. The first thing that happened was the guy came up, looked at me, and said “Who do you belong to?”
I answered that I am Bill’s wife. He then made some crack about my being the daughter of the other guy sitting across from me. I’m not really sure what that was all about. Bill had told me a bit about this guy being a bit obnoxious and full of himself, so I wasn’t that surprised at his comment. This guy also referred to me as “Jen”, when I introduced myself as “Jenny”. That also happens to be a pet peeve of mine, when someone takes it upon themselves to change my name, especially when they’ve just met me.
I noticed his wife sitting in the corner with their son, whom I had met before. He is a very bright kid for his age and already speaks German pretty well. I could tell he is the apple of his mother’s eye. She was doting on him quite a bit.
As the evening wore on, Bill and I found ourselves talking about different subjects, including one of the Space A “hops” we took a few years ago. Bill told everyone about how we landed in Georgia after an overseas flight from Germany. We were really jet lagged. He’d gone out to get us some dinner. I would have been just fine with something from the nearby Wendy’s, but Bill decided to go the extra mile. He noticed a restaurant across the street and ordered take out. He brought back steaks, not realizing that they had been smothered with mushrooms.
If you’ve been reading this blog, you may already know that I do not eat mushrooms. In fact, I have a phobia of them. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s the truth.
So anyway, I opened the carton he handed me and was immediately confronted by this piece of meat covered with ‘shrooms. They were totally grossing me out. I was pretty exasperated because I was exhausted and hungry. All I’d really wanted was a sandwich, and if Bill had just gotten something at Wendy’s, I could have had a sandwich and gone to bed. Instead, I was sitting there with what could have been a nice dinner that was rendered completely unappetizing due to the fungus. Aside from that, I was annoyed that a restaurant would put mushrooms on a steak without advertising that they were going to do so.
Bill was telling this story and people were wondering why I didn’t just scrape off the mushrooms. And that’s where the whole mushroom phobia story came in. Phobias are, by nature, ridiculous, irrational, and perhaps even funny. However, if you actually have a phobia, it’s not really a laughing matter.
My whole life, I’ve been laughed at for having a fear of mushrooms. When I was a kid, family members even chased me with them and yukked it up when I reacted with fear. I can mostly laugh about it now… and the phobia is not nearly as bad as it used to be. For instance, I no longer scream when I am confronted with mushrooms. I don’t like having them on my plate and I refuse to touch them or eat them, but I won’t freak out or anything. I still have a phobia, though.
I used to think I was the only person with this problem, but then I wrote an article about mycophobia (fear of mushrooms). In my article, I even referenced an episode of The Montel Williams Show that was about phobias. There was a woman on that show who was afraid of mushrooms and reacted the very same way I did when I was much younger. She actually saw my article and sent me an email. I got so many comments and emails from people who have unusual phobias and happened to read my article. In fact, a quick YouTube search turns up a number of videos about mycophobia (mushroom phobia).
I was trying to explain this last night. I will admit, a phobia of something weird like mushrooms sounds hilarious if you don’t make an effort to understand what having a phobia is like. I have been in some embarrassing and annoying situations due to this problem, but I can see why some people think it’s funny.
Of course, Bill’s co-worker thought my mushroom phobia was totally hilarious. He was cracking jokes and hysterically laughing at me, as was his son. I was trying to explain the origins of the phobia, which started when I was a little kid, and he was just having a knee slapper of a time laughing. I had been drinking beer, so I was feeling my oats. And I let loose with some really far out insults involving his testicles being covered with fungus. I’m sure whatever I said was shocking and disgusting. Sometimes, I have no filter, especially if I’ve been drinking.
I could tell the guy’s wife was horrified and it looked like she was trying to shield her son from the insults springing forth from me. I wasn’t sure if she was horrified by my comments, her husband’s comments, or the whole scene in general. But anyway, they made a hasty retreat. I’m sure they think I’m an asshole, now. On the other hand, I thought the guy was being an asshole for outwardly laughing at me and lacking empathy.
Meh… I really think sometimes I should not go to these kinds of parties with Bill. I’m sure a lot of his co-workers think I’m nuts. On the plus side, we did talk to a really nice lady last night. Too bad she and her husband (and their fabulous dog) will be leaving soon. Also, I gave our waitress the stink eye because she told me that putting a wine bottle upside down in a galvanized bucket full of melted ice is “nasty”. That sounded a bit like bullshit to me, but what do I know? She was happy when we left, though, because she was tipped handsomely.
A few years ago, I bought an album from Apple Music, then called iTunes. A friend of mine from college– big time Olivia Newton-John fan– had alerted me to a new album she had coming out with Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky. It was called Liv On, and it had beautiful renditions of songs about the human condition, particularly from a feminine perspective. There are songs about childbirth, grieving, and even what to say when someone has experienced loss. It’s a really beautiful album and a lot of the songs make me cry. The artists even made a karaoke version, which is super handy for me.
The funny thing is, my old friend is not particularly musical. He just loves Olivia Newton-John. He can’t sing, although he does sometimes make up silly songs. He’s not particularly into moving lyrics. He just loves all things ONJ, which was one of our early bonds.
I have been an ONJ fan since I was a very young child, but I also love Beth Nielsen Chapman’s music. She’s a wonderful songwriter who has written so many songs that hit you right in the heart. I had not heard of Amy Sky, but today, I did decide to record a song she contributed to Liv On. It’s called “I Will Take Care of You”, and it’s a beautiful song especially for mothers and daughters. I never got to have a daughter, of course, but if I did have one, I would dedicate this song to her… even if the lyrics are a little treacly. I got teary the first time I heard it… and probably the second and third times, too. But then I got to work on making a version of it and that made me stop getting verklempt. Instead, I started cussing in frustration, due to messing up, having my Internet connection drop out, and/or the timing being wonky because of the Internet.
What I have done today isn’t perfect… the key is a tiny bit low for me and I had to learn the harmony parts, which I didn’t do completely or totally accurately. But I don’t think it’s bad for a couple of hours of work. Maybe I’ll redo it for YouTube, since those versions tend to have better results. When I record on SingSnap, I have to contend with Internet speeds, which can affect the timing and the way it sounds overall. Garage Band will give it a clearer sound. We’ll see how well it goes over…
I was probably moved to record that song today because of a comment I got yesterday on SingSnap. My mother-in-law left yesterday, so that was the first time in over two weeks that I’d had a chance to do any music. I don’t like to do music when other people are home because I feel self-conscious and distracted. I did several songs, including this new one, which I uploaded yesterday… I also did “Love Will Keep Us Together” by the Captain and Tennille, simply because it’s a fun song to sing. What can I say? I was born in 1972, and that song was a huge hit in my early childhood. Some guy left me this comment, which kind of pissed me off.
My first thought was to add this guy to my block list, mainly because it’s not the first time he’s left me an obnoxious comment. When I first ran into him, he was very complimentary and nice. Then, later, he got kind of critical and occasionally rude. He’d also send me unsolicited PMs, strike up a conversation, and dismiss me when he was finished. Makes me think he’s probably a very inconsiderate lover. When he has sex, it’s over when he’s done. Ha ha ha… 😀 Glad I didn’t marry a man like that.
I looked on his page yesterday, after he left this comment, and noticed he only has nine public recordings. I, on the other hand, have a couple thousand. And if he’d taken a look, he would have seen that I did several songs yesterday. Perhaps one of them would have met his expectations… Even if I didn’t do one challenging enough for him yesterday, I’m sure he could have found one if he’d searched through my recordings. Somehow, I doubt he cares, either way.
I initially left an offended comment, complete with the F word, but then deleted it and decided on this more measured response…
I don’t interact much on SingSnap anyway, though, because I’m not really there to make friends, per se. It’s nice if I do make them, and I do have a few friends on that site, but I mainly use it as a tool for practicing music and maintaining my mental health. I have found that there are some lovely people there, but there are also a number of nuts on there and some who are just looking to hook up. I keep a pretty low profile and don’t join contests or challenges or anything. Consequently, I don’t tend to get a lot of comments either way. I did get a few comments on “Love Will Keep Us Together”– actually that was the most popular of the songs I did yesterday, though it certainly wasn’t the hardest to sing. It was, however, the most fun to do. I figure that’s the most important thing.
Anyway, when I listen to today’s effort, I cringe a little… but I wanted to record a version of my own because it’s not a particularly well-known song, but I think the lyrics will speak to a lot of people. I did find Amy Sky’s version on YouTube, but I didn’t find the version with Olivia, Beth, and Amy singing as a trio. So I decided to make one with the parts included. Now, if only I had a daughter to dedicate it to… I don’t think my very pragmatic mother would appreciate it. She’d probably think it was too corny.
Here’s a link to the album, for those who are curious.
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