As I was packing up documents at work the other day, I thought that for the next presidential debate in 2016 the candidates should have to put banker boxes together. Whoever does it the fastest and correctly is capable to run this country. Imagine Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie running around in a panic trying to figure out the instructions. Think about it. That is the ultimate IQ test. Politicians seem so pampered and out of touch with the real world, that having to fold a piece of cardboard into a box…when the instructions are printed on the cardboard (and are pictures, by the way) is a pretty good indicator of how they will handle stressful situations.
Who’s with me?
The other day when I walked into a “Bookkeeping in the Mining Industry in Alaska” lecture, I did not think I would walk out with such enlightenment and clarity – not about bookkeeping in the mining industry in Alaska, but about who I am. I am a B student in life, and that’s okay.
I sat in the classroom full of miners listening to the accountant speak, and I discovered that I’m not smart enough for some aspects of real-life. I mean, I’m not a clod, but I’m not a genius, either. There are some things I just don’t, and probably won’t understand. Taxes, investing, and physics are all subjects I could probably become satisfactory with over time, but until then, I’ll stick to observing humor in everyday life. It is what I’ve always done. It doesn’t matter what situation I’m in, I always see it through my own skewed perspective that I can’t wait to divulge to someone to hopefully make them laugh.
As I looked up at the accountant lecturing, I barely understood what was being talked about. I understood…most of the words in and of themselves, but when a bunch of the words were strung together in IRS-speak my eyes started to glaze over and any information ceased to adhere to the gray matter that lives in my head hole.
But like I said, earlier, I’m not a complete troglodyte (yup, even I know a few big words). There are a few subjects that I excel at…unfortunately, these subjects are usually unimportant crap that doesn’t help my overall existence. I remember sitting around the campfire on an expedition chatting with my boss at the time. We were talking about movies, and I was spewing trivia as if I was going to be tested later on. My boss said to me, “how do you have so much useless information in your head?” After I thought, “well, that was kind of rude,”I then thought…”I like movies.” And really, no knowledge is unimportant to my existence. It is just that the knowledge that I posses seems unimportant in the context of previous and current jobs. Why would a geologist ever need to know that R2D2 and C3PO are on the walls as hieroglyphs in Raiders of The Lost Ark? I don’t think a scientist can get a grant based on the fact that Joss Whedon helped write the screenplay for Toy Story. But there is something to retaining information about subjects you like.
However, I’m not sure if retaining information is equivalent to a high intelligence. I once read that the more coiled the brain was the smarter the animal or person. I imagine my brain as some neurological version of the American flag. The majority of the landscape is parallel lines with one clump of coiled brain matter where I store all the unimportant knowledge…and jokes. Of course, I’m pretty sure none of that is true.
As I closed my notebook when the class was ending, I felt relieved that I was able to come to terms with my inability to understand most of the tax code for mining in Alaska. But it wasn’t just that. I’ve always had a slight inferiority complex when it comes to my intelligence. But I think finally understanding my limits, and accepting my strengths is why I walked out of that classroom with my head held high and with the feeling of enlightenment.
But not all was lost on me from that lecture. I did walk away with something. Did you know that if the IRS deems that your business gives you pleasure (not in a gross way…unless you own a Castle Megastore) that the IRS can change your status from a business to a hobby?
Yes. The title of this post sounds like something Susan Powter would have said in one of her 1990’s infomercials. But I think this is a topic that effects a lot of people, including me. This year I turned 37. I have an Associates of Arts degree, a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology, and a Masters of Science in Museum Studies. I am currently an Office Manager in a remote mineral exploration company in Alaska. Let’s just say that I am not where I envisioned I would be when I graduated high school. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, and I love who I work for, and the location is perfect. And it is not like I haven’t done anything that I wanted to do when I graduated high school. I have gone on three paleontological excursions – one of them for a Nova special, and everything! But when I think back to what I REALLY wanted to do as a kid, I haven’t done most of them. Although I would like to blame my parents for not seeing that I really wanted to be a paleontologist, or a singer/dancer, or artist, I have only one person to blame…me. I have been an adult since I was 18, and I feel that I squandered most of my young adulthood letting my parents’ transferred fears run my life – again, that is not their fault. It is mine. And let me tell you, it is not easy to admit that the mistakes your parents made were really not their fault. They didn’t know what they were doing when they were doing it. They were literally doing the best that they could do – even that one time when they told you that you had to take calculus in order to become a trainer and swim with Shamu at Sea World (ummm…I’m pretty sure that’s not accurate). So here is my advice to adults of any age: Let it go. What’s done is done. Your parents are flawed human beings – just like you. They make mistakes. Don’t dwell on them, learn from them, and move on. If you always wanted to be a Paleontologist, research what that entails. If you always wanted to take tap classes, look for a local studio and start from the beginning. So stop what you’re doing, right now, and ask yourself, “If you could be anything, what would it be?” And go out and do it.
Welcome, once again, to the Northern Blights – the northernmost podcast! OK…that is probably not really true, but it could be! Anyhoo…Jennifer, Jill, and Amanda are on location at Jill’s house situated along the Chena River. It is a beautiful 85 degrees, and the sun is shining. They discuss such topics as the disadvantages and advantages of living far away from family, as well as Amanda’s rejection of the belief that zombies do not and will not ever exist, among other random thoughts. Towards the end of the podcast, the world is introduced to a gaggle of kids as they trickle in to get out of the hot sun. Be sure to check out our new intro and outro music, and listen carefully for the dulcet meows of Tom, the cat.
Northern Blights Episode 3, Part 2 picks up right at the end of the discussion about the odd lyrics of nursery rhymes, and how we blindly sing them without questioning them. Amanda’s friend and Boomer, Dorothy Snodgrass stops by to discuss the perils of diabetes, as well as her love of Subarus, comfortable shoes, and roast beef. Dorothy also tries out some material for her blossoming stand-up career.
In this two part episode, Jill, Jennifer, and Amanda discuss generational differences, but, of course, they get distracted by tree sap and Pinterest…among other things.
There is a shameful plug for the hottest new fashion blog on Instragram, called NathanMaren.
There is also a special shout-out to Lindsey Saunders and her wonderful blog called Sew Much HeArt. Please check out the amazing outfits she puts together from thrift store buys. You will be impressed.
Welcome back to Northern Blights! In episode 2 Jenn, Jill, and Amanda discuss things we don’t like that society dictates we should like, as well as random thoughts about how Santa’s sleigh stays upright while hovering, and why if humans had teeth like the T-Rex our dental bills would be a lot cheaper. Also, ten-month-old Elizabeth Hanson makes her podcast debut at the beginning and end of the podcast. If you listen close enough, you just might hear her.
Finally, a podcast from Alaska that is worth listening to. Introducing Northern Blights – The Podcast! NB – The Podcast is a discussion on what it takes to live in Fairbanks, Alaska, as well as other random topics that are spawned by tangential rants. Hosted by Jennifer Waterman Taylor, Jill Rosholt, and Amanda Hanson, Northern Blights is a thought provoking, sometimes explicit, yet entertaining romp through the minds of three women from varying backgrounds. Please sit back and enjoy the experience that is Northern Blights – The Podcast.
Today’s show introduces Jennifer, Jill, and Amanda to the world. We also have a rousing discussion on the common misconceptions about living in Alaska, with a few tangents sprinkled in about Tyler Perry movies and Lisa Bonet’s life partners. Enjoy!
We are still in the beginning stages of this podcast. Eventually, it will be available on iTunes. Until then, please listen to our link on WordPress. Thank you!
It has been a while since my last post, but I had a baby not too long ago, so SUE ME! Anyway, on one of the few nights that my husband and I actually got to go out sans kids, we saw the re-release of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Of course, the movie was awesome, but as I sat in the theater watching a room full of snakes, listening to the iconic punching sound, and watching that big Nazi get food-processed by a propeller, I reminisced about all the guy scientists I have worked with out there who try so hard to be as bad ass and Indy. So here is my plea to the delusional:
Dear Modern Male Scientists,
You are not Indiana Jones. You never were Indiana Jones, and you never will be Indiana Jones.
You are the epitome of the surfing term, “poser,” with your tan ExOfficio shirt with rolled up sleeves, your cargo pants, and your vest with many pockets. You top off your ensemble with the chapeau straight from Brooks Brothers that is known to so many. When you get in the field you stand proud in your get up with one hand protecting you from the sun as you span the horizon, while your other hand is in a loose fist resting in the small of your back. You stand proud because you are a scientist. You are gathering data. You are of the noblest profession somewhere between bus driver and Pope, and you think you look just like the Archaeology professor so many female students pine after.
But here is the main difference between you and Indy. You are a Class A Wussy with a capital P. You don’t carry a whip – you carry permits. You don’t carry a revolver with you because that might be dangerous, despite collecting data in remote areas with very large animals that could possibly eat you. You rely more on peer reviewed papers than on guts and intuition. Did Indiana Jones care if he had to take a crap in the woods? Did he ponder the effects of pepper spray verses a 44 magnum? Short answer? NO! He was a man’s man, and he was not afraid to gather data despite obstacles.
Another difference between Dr. Jones and Dr. Asshat (i.e., you, the delusional Modern Male Scientist) is that you can’t handle confrontation. What did Indy do when he was cornered by Beloch and the Nazis? Did he go running to his HR rep at the University of Chicago? No. He stood there tied to a pole and waited until everyone’s faces melted or heads exploded. You probably wouldn’t have even ventured on an excursion to find the Ark of the Covenant because the possibility of offending Nazis would be too uncomfortable.
But I think the biggest difference between you, real male scientist, and fictional awesome scientist is that Indiana Jones did not become Dr. Jones in order to have three more letters after his name. He acquired knowledge in order to pursue and study objects. He wasn’t a parrot that repeated other people’s results as his own. He was aware that the title of Doctor allowed him to teach, but at the same time was an afterthought. I have observed that the best research professors were the ones that were subdued. They were the ones that didn’t care that they had a PhD. They were brilliant and smart and funny, and they didn’t care if you called them by their first name.
So I implore you, Modern Male Scientists, to throw your hat, your vest, leather jacket, and cargo pants into your costume box (because in my universe everyone has a costume box), and just be yourself. You are not Indiana Jones. No one is. So stop trying. You look silly. Besides, if you are going to imprint a fictional persona, Peter Venkman is way more interesting.