Monday, March 26, 2012

The 10 Commandments of Roadtripping

My brother and I went on a roadtrip to visit our grandfather in Yarmouth last week, doing the whole eight hour drive in one haul. I spend a lot of time riding shotgun with my brother because a) I'm bored and b) he has a bitchin truck, but during this particularly long excursion I noticed some traditions, mostly when driving from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia or vice versa, compiled and presented here should you need instructions for driving from province to provice.

1. Thou Shalt Purchase Gasoline in New Brunswick, Where it is Cheaper, Filling the Fuel Tank of Thy Vehicle to Capacity and Filling as Many Jerrycans as Thou Canst Prior to Entering Nova Scotia. While Within Nova Scotia, Thou Shalt Avoid Purchasing Gasoline Unless Absolutely Necessary.

2. When Thou Fillest Thy Vehicle's Fuel Tank with Gasoline, Thou Shalt Get a Coffee at the Gas Station. Coffee Shall Be the Beverage of Thy Road Trip and Thou Shalt Not Obtain nor Consume Any Beverage Other Than Coffee for the Duration of the Road Trip.

3. In Accordance with The Prophecy, Thou Shalt Hear the Following Songs on the Radio During the Road Trip - "Hillbilly Deluxe" Performed by Brooks and Dunn; "Turn me On" Performed by David Guetta and Nicki Minaj; "Good Feeling" Performed by Flo Rida; and "Honkey Tonk Badonkadonk" Performed by Trace Adkins, for These Are the Songs of the Road Trip. The Prophecy Must Be Fulfilled and Thou Shalt Not Conclude Thy Road Trip Until All Four Songs Have Been Played.

4. Thou Shalt Sing T-Pain's "Hey Baby" When Thou Seest a Well Kept Vehicle of Antique Vintage During the Road Trip.

5. Thou Shalt Utter Jubilant Noise Upon Crossing the New Brunswick/Nova Scotia Border Regardless of Direction.

6. Thou Shalt Eat Only the Most Sacred of Foods During the Road Trip. These Foods are Beef Burgers, Potatoes and Potato Derived Substances, Corn Derived Substances, and Non-Alcoholic Carbonated Beverages Provided Said Beverage is Preceded by Coffee. Vegetables May Be Be Consumed During the Road Trip Provided They Be Offered Upon a Burger Made from Cow's Flesh, or Processed Into a Sauce to Be Served with Potato Derived Substances.

7. Thou Shalt Vehemently Curse Poor Drivers, Invoking Not Only the Names of Our Lord Jesus Christ and God Almighty, but also Various Bodily Organs and Their Functions.

8. Thou Shalt Not Suffer any Ford Produced Vehicle to Pass Thy Vehicle, and Upon Seeing a Ford Produced Vehicle Thou Shalt Accelerate to Attain the Speed Necessary to Pass the Ford Produced Vehicle.

9. When Passing the Ford Produced Vehicle, Thou Shalt Speak the Sacred Incantation Protecting Thyself from Henry Ford and His Legion.

10. Thou Shalt Wear Comfortable Footwear During the Road Trip in the Event that the Truck Breaks Down and Thou Hast to Walk to a Service Station.

Monday, March 19, 2012

No Posts this Week

That title is kind of a contradiction

Monday, March 12, 2012

Common Misconceptions About Homeschoolers

So, I was homeschooled. Might as well get that out there. But I'm not one of those weird people that you see in movies and on TV who can't hold a conversation without going "nurrrr evolution is a lie" or "bleeeeeee calculus!!!!" I'm pretty normal. Most homeschoolers are. And yet people still assume some pretty weird shit about you when they find out you didn't go to school like a regular person. Shit like...

We Have No Social Skills
Well this one is kind of true, but who does have social skills, really? Still, people think that we don't have social skills because we were homeschooled, which is clear not true. I've met lots of people who I know damn well went to school but still walk up to me and start talking about their wife's vagina completely out of the blue (okay, I only know four people who do that). And yet if there's a homeschooled character in a movie nine times out of ten they're going to be awkward and have a hard time interacting with other people, and if you tell people you're homeschooled they say stuff like "wow, that must've been hard not having any friends"

So first off, because it is kind of hard to make friends if you're homeschooled or the mother (or stay at home dad) of a homeschooled child, there are support networks in most large outcroppings of people. From the age of seven (when my parents decided to start homeschooling me) to seventeen (when I fucked off to New Brunswick and became a redneck), I went to some incarnation of the weekly get together for homeschooled kids at the local rec centre. So there weren't six hundred kids there. There were probably thirty at the very most but I knew and got along with almost all of them (except for that one kid because fuck him). How many people did you really know and get along with in school? Probably about thirty. And because there was such a small group of people, if you went around acting like a dick, you couldn't just go make new friends. You were fucked. So you had to learn how to interact with other people if you wanted to have any kind of social life at all.

That being said I have met some kids who really did not have any idea of how to behave at all but they were assholes and the rest of us ignored them. There were also one or two kids with mild forms of autism, but they sure as shit didn't get it from not going to public school.

I think the reason that we're pictured as being a bunch of dorky weirdos is that the people who talk the most about being homeschooled and are the most defensive about it are little kids. Little kids are notorious for being obnoxious and really vocal about shit. Add to that they get nigh unlimited attention from the adults in their life and think for some reason that they're special and you get one irritating person.

But guess what? We grow out of it. Yeah, I'm still a dork but if there's one thing I'm good at it's socializing and bending people to my will.

We're Not Prepared for Real Life
This was another one my brother, my friends, probably our parents and I got from people all through growing up. "But going to school prepares kids for real life." Let's face it, nothing is going to prepare you for real life except actually living. Want your kid to be prepared for real life by age eighteen? Send them to work at a factory at age ten. That'll do it, but for some reason that's not allowed in this part of the world.

What school does is give young people a safe environment to be out of everybody's way during the work day (geez, when put that way it makes public schoolers sound pretty sheltered. Huh), and hopefully give them the skills necessary to learn how to do things and get into university, whether or not this is successful depends on how good the school is.

What schools do not do is prepare you for things like going through an abusive relationship, coping with a death in the family, or surviving when you're so fucking broke you can't afford a bag of rice or a can of beans. Those are things that, no matter how many talks we've heard or advice we've been given, we're not going to know how to deal with until they actually happen and maybe not even then.

It also doesn't prepare you for the workforce either, contrary to what a lot of grown ups used to say to me. Okay, maybe a job that involves sitting at a desk doing paperwork with a calculator on your computer all day - which is going to make those twelve years of math and English seem like a total waste of time which they weren't - and according to TV, working in an office is one of the four jobs available (the other three are barista, wearing a suit, and emergency personnel). But that's not real life, which is what we're talking about. That's sitting in a cubicle for decades waiting for death or retirement, whichever comes first.

The real life jobs are the ones where you can work all day and then actually SEE the result of your work, no matter how menial or low paying that work is. It's not just numbers on a screen or even a stack of paper in a tray. It's working on a farm - you did a good job pruning that tree so it will produce more apples this year; in a warehouse - you got the shipment together and loaded on the truck in time so you don't get fired; or even at fucking Subway - people are hungry so you make them a sandwich. All of those jobs are way better for you than sitting at a desk staring at a computer all day and the only way to be prepared for them is to just go do them.

We're Either Hippies or Bible Thumpers
I will admit that my mother is kind of a hippy. My father wasn't particularly though. Yes, a lot of the kids I hung out with were on the hippy dippy side, and most of the kids I didn't hang out with were a little too keen on Jesus, but the majority of homeschooling families that I know are just regular people who weren't especially happy with the schools in the area, and one of the parents made enough money that the other could stay home with the kids.

My parents, being more on the hippy side of the spectrum, worked from home, and we were poor as shit but we were rich in love or something (this is what happens when you listen to too much fucking country music).

And there is a spectrum, going from Hippy to SuperChristian (both of which I will refer to as Long Haired Freaky People) are generally more attracted to homeschooling than any other group of people. Why is that? you may wonder. Because in order to homeschool your kids, you need to fill the following criteria:
a) You have to be pretty pissed off with The Man, which Long Haired Freaky People generally are, and
b) One parent has to be home most of the time. Since Hippies don't work and SuperChristians don't let their women leave the house, this fits Long Haired Freaky People to a tee.

It also fits Hillbillies (who don't work at all) and Newfoundlanders (the women work but the men don't), but they aren't really known for homeschooling their children. Go figure.

We're All Really Smart
I don't know how many people I've had to say this to - just because I was homeschooled doesn't mean I'm smart. Now, most homeschoolers that I grew up with are more than slightly intelligent, which I am not especially. And that's pretty hard. Being a dumb homeschooler is like being the kinda stupid kid with really smart siblings. It's not great. The people I grew up with are out there programming computersm solving advanced math problems, reading Nietzsche, writing symphonies and decoding the secret messages in whalesong (probably). Me? I draw comics on the internet and can make a pretty good ceaser.

And I'm not trying to jump into the 'being dumb is cool' trend, I'm really not. Being dumb is exactly that, dumb. Not being able to put a coherant sentence together, thinking math is for losers and not giving even the slightest shit about what the Universe is or why it's here, are some of the biggest turn offs for me, and the fact that it seems like a lot of people think it's cool to act that way is incredibly sad. But when I say I'm not very smart I'm saying it out of simple honesty.

Being smart has less to do with what you know and more to do with common sense and how you utilize the things you know. So you can recite two hundred digits of pi? That's great, how are you going to use that to your advantage. Smart people can do stuff like that.

Almost as good as being smart is being able to present yourself as smart. I like to think I'm pretty good as passing myself off as a reasonably bright person who knows more or less what she's talking about. People seem to think that about me because I know a lot of polysyllabic words and I know how to bullshit really fucking well. But you know what? I once ran myself over with my own car. Smart people don't do stuff like that. So just because homeschoolers know how to pass tests and say the right thing when asked a question doesn't mean that we're any smarter than anybody else. Or any dumber. Or any different really. We may have grown up a little differently, but deep down, we're the same as you.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Bitchy Girl's Guide to Surviving the Break-Up

So I recently broke up with my first boyfriend. It sucks, and though there are lots of guides on the internet for dealing with this shit but most of them have ten or more steps and I've summed it up in five, so that's good.

The other problem with the articles I sort of skimmed is that they're all painfully sentimental. What about us girls who just go "meh, fuckit". How are we supposed to cope?! So, for the reading pleasure of the cynical and/or heartless bitch, is how I am getting through my break up.


Wallow in self pity. This was the least productive phase, and involved crying until I run out of fluids, listening to a lot of Taylor Swift (I recommend the song "You're Not Sorry" - it's sad but defiant) and posting song lyrics on facepage, wondering why this happened, and complaining to my female friends. Eventually this passed and I moved on to...

Getting really shit faced. This is hands down the best phase, and continues throughout the whole sequence. I recommend cheap white wine because it's awesome. If you can find a bottle of wine for under ten dollars, buy that shit. Buy, like, twelve. Have a stash. I also like to drunk dial my ex when I get drunk/stoned, which isn't something I really recommend but it sort of happens involuntarily. Much like the crying in phase one.

Go crazy. Relationships are stupid, men are stupid, everything is stupid except drinking booze and getting more cats. Because you can never have too many cats. I stopped shaving my legs, my armpits, my chest, my moustache, I stopped showering, I gained weight from eating nothing but triple chocolate ice cream with butter and bacon mixed in there, because fuckit. It was glorious. And then I started to miss the good things about the relationship...

The problem being that I didn't really want to spend the time getting to know another guy, and I'm not the type of girl to just hook up with some random dude at a bar (sometimes I wish I was, but no). So that's another shitshow.

Supposedly there comes a point where you get over it and get stronger or some shit, but so far I always just wind up sleeping with my ex in exchange for cigarettes, which inevitably leads to guilt and remorse and brings us back to

If you enjoyed this blog, why not check out my regular webcomic, Out Fer a Smoke, or buy the poster of this comic?