Category Archives: Humor

Not a Morning Person

As a kid, my mom would wake me and my younger siblings up for school by cranking up some Spanish-language AM radio station. We were forced to sit through breakfast with the news and weather blasting at us. In addition to this torture tactic, my mom would cheerily remind us every day that it was time for school, as if she were describing a trip to Disneyworld. I think it took everything in us kids to contain our displeasure. We just sat there in silence seething, not even making eye contact.

The only positive association I have with mornings is sleeping in on Saturdays and watching cartoons. My favorite was Garfield and Friends. Garfield was my kind of cat. He was cynical, hated Mondays, loved to eat, and sleep was his favorite hobby. Needless to say, I’m not a morning person. I never wake up bursting with energy, and I consider it a good morning when I manage to leave the house without snapping at David. Nowadays, I wake up to his alarm, which happens to be set to National Public Radio. Clearly, he doesn’t believe I’ve suffered enough….

Despite the morning crabbiness and my generally cynical nature (which I truly believe I was born with), I consider myself a happy, positive person. I’ve learned to laugh at myself and accept these traits as part of who I am–only human. Life is so much easier this way. Some days (usually when David’s alarm is turned off), I even wake up in a good mood–thankful and full of love. That actually happened yesterday, but I later needed all the joy I could muster, because I had the commute from hell and was late for work. I still get kudos for managing to get through a good three quarters of it without rolling my eyes.

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An Alternative to Reality

Daily Prompt: If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

The cast of the Real World San Francisco

It all started with MTV’s Real World in 1994. The premise: gather some young people from different walks of life, force them to live together for a few months, and follow them around with cameras to see what happens. It was a sort of social experiment–pretty brilliant, really. The result: honest TV programming. The first season, set in San Francisco, featured people who were educated, interesting, and relatable. They had discussions about race, sexuality, socioeconomic issues, politics. Sure, there were arguments, and one member was even evicted from the house, but you got the sense that these people shared a one-of-a-kind experience and developed a strong bond that would last much longer than the season.

Fast forward to today, the world of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, The Jersey Shore, Hillbilly Handfishing, The Bad Girls Club and that one about the guy who likes to gnaw on his own flesh. (Yes, I made that last one up, but it’s only a matter of time.) There is no limit on how far people are willing to go to be on TV, nor on the amount of money that networks are willing to pay them to make complete asses of themselves. And yet, the so-called “Reality TV” phenomenon is bigger than ever. In fact, it’s so popular that it’s spilled over into other genres. Think of all the sitcoms that use a “mockumentary” style: Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, The Office, to name a few. And let’s not forget the news programs, which have no qualms about exploiting drug addicts and otherwise mentally disturbed people to improve their ratings. As hard as you try, you cannot escape America’s fascination with shameless exhibitionism.

Agent 86, Maxwell Smart

But I ask, has reality TV improved our lives or even contributed to it in any positive way? Are we better people, a better society, a better nation because of it? My answer is no, and I’d go even further to say that it’s done quite the opposite.

I grew up watching a lot of Nick at Nite programming, along with plenty of Looney Tunes cartoons, and I have such great memories of these shows. They were clever, funny, sometimes even a little risque, and they are still so much fun to watch. I wonder if 20 or 30 years down the line people will say the same about Honey Boo Boo. I sure hope not. If I could undo any invention, Reality TV would be it. It would open up more opportunities for talented writers, actors, directors, and for programming that is inspired, imaginative, and not entirely about shock value. At least that’s what I’d hope would be the result. As for repercussions, I’d never know about Puck’s nasty habit of eating his roommates’ peanut butter from the jar with dirty hands, or the way Kim Kardashian whines about, oh, pretty much everything, or how much butter Honey Boo Boo consumes in a single day. But I think I could live with that.

Shoulda Woulda Coulda…

Daily Prompt: Shoulda Woulda Coulda

I am completely aware of the myriad of benefits of exercise. I have books, videos, equipment; I belong to two gyms; I have a dog that needs walking. And I know from experience that I feel great when I am active, but I will find any excuse to avoid it–not that I need a very elaborate excuse; “I’m tired” or “it’s too cold out” is usually sufficient.

It’s not that I’m a lazy couch potato. What it boils down to is that the idea of setting aside a time during my day specifically for exercise seems so unnatural to me. I wholeheartedly enjoy activities like walking, running, cycling, dancing, even rock climbing–but the moment I start to view them as an obligation, as something I need to do, because I’m getting fat and/or out of shape, the same activities that I love lose all their appeal.

But the fact is I am out of shape, and it’s precisely because I don’t get enough exercise; therefore, any effort I make to rectify this situation will feel forced, and I will vehemently resist it, because I do not like being told what to do by anyone, not even myself! I know what I need to do: change my attitude/perspective, but that’s easier said than done.

One thing is certain: I’m definitely not alone in this battle, otherwise the fitness industry wouldn’t keep growing while people are getting heavier and heavier. Does anyone have any suggestions or words of encouragement?

What’s in a Name?

Daily Prompt: All About Me — Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

“Mind-Grapes” is a term I borrowed from the show 30 Rock, specifically Season 1, Episode 7. It’s a made-up term that was actually part of a ridiculous failed metaphor, which of course means that it continues to be exploited in other episodes and is always funny. I wanted my blog to be reflective but also lighthearted, maybe even funny once in a while, but always positive. I thought having a silly name would help me stay true to my original purpose. So far, I’m pretty happy with the result.

Very useful tool for amateur moviegoers. There should be one for when it’s okay to talk at a movie theater (NEVER!!)

TheaterPeeHeader copy

To pee, or not to pee? That is the question. Everyone who has ever gone to a movie knows this predicament- whether ’tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of painfully watching a movie when you have to relieve yourself, or to take arms against a sea of porcelain and miss a few minutes of a movie you’ve paid to see. To help you determine the best possible time to pee during a movie, I’ve created this flowchart.

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