Extra Gum Origami Commercial

In Advertising, we mostly see ads that make us feel a certain way. Captain Morgan commercials, along with many other alcohol ones, make us feel daring and adventurous. Clothing ads make us want to look sexy and fun. Food ads usually make us hungry or laugh. It takes a lot of thought in designing a message to go with a product. One factor to consider is ethics.

Is it ethical to put this ad out? Does it harm someone? Is it truthful? Is the claim an authentic one? Does it treat people with respect? Is there equity between sender and receiver? Is the ad socially responsible? These questions come from the TARES Test of Ethical Persuasion. TARES stands for truthful, authentic, respect, equity, and socially. For class we were supposed to find an ad that passes this test.

The ad I chose was the Extra Gum ad about the origami paper birds out of gum wrappers. I thought that the story, message and ad placement flowed beautifully. Here is the commercial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La3b_1F8h_4

This ad conveys a message without saying any words. The only words used in the entire thing is Extra’s slogan, “Give Extra, Get Extra.” This commercial isn’t selling gum. It’s selling relationships. In this particular commercial, it is a father and a daughter’s relationship. We follow them through the years of the daughter’s life and the different phases she goes through. The first scene is her learning. She learns something new (origami birds) from her father. This goes into the second scene with them playing. She plays like any child would. The next scene is her and her father on her birthday. Here she is Growing, another year older and the paper crane is out of sight to them. The next scene shows them at a game together, when she develops a personality of likes and dislikes from what her father has shown her. Next she is at the beach but she is stressed as a teenager. She does homework and listens to her headphones while on a relaxing beach day. Her father teaches her appreciation of the world around her by getting her to look away from the books for a second at the bird. The next scene is her taking a piece of gum from her dad as she leaves with her friends somewhere. She is independent and doesn’t necessarily need her dad to teach her anymore. Then she learns sadness, whether from a boy, or a bad friend or anything and her dad brings comfort. The bird symbolizes her dad who has always been there for her. On the biggest day for a child’s life, her father packs her things up for her to leave for college. She has learned all she has needed to learn and she doesn’t need her father anymore, he thinks. He drops a box filled of paper cranes he made her all her life. The message is that even though time will allow us to change, we will learn and we will grow, we take away what we’ve learned and the people we love and keep them with us forever. All her life, her father gave her his extra love and care. She gave it back.

When people think about gum, without this touching commercial. You don’t exactly think of the enjoyment you get out of it. Gum usually is shared. Whether you accidentally open a pack in class and people flock to you, or you open it for others to enjoy, gum is always shared. It creates a relationship. Extra sold us a relationship, not gum.

Is the ad truthful? Yes. He built a special relationship with his daughter. Everyone has a father, whether they are here or not. Most people have someone in their life that they had a relationship like this with. People associate with growing. People learn, grown, change and move on with many things in their lives. Some go to college and some move away. These are true experiences that people do daily.

Is it authentic? I think yes. It isn’t the fact they enjoyed extra gum, its the relationship they built out of the paper that became special. It’s basically saying a lot can come from a stick of gum. It’s a conversation starter or a new possibility. People long for these feelings and relationships. Who’s to say they can’t happen?

Does the ad treat the receiver with respect? Yes. If you give a little, you get a little. It’s selling a good feeling. It’s treating others kindly for no reason. It shows us the good in people and how we should respect them.

Is there equity? Of course. We are sharing kindness in a society based on this message. No one is below one another or higher than. We are all the same people in the same world looking to survive. Why not do it together? Why not do one thing for someone to brighten their day? It’s about sharing and creating relationships. It’s purpose is equity.

Is it socially responsible? Yes. There is not one bad thing in this commercial. People will experience sadness and children will grow. It shows a father looking out for his daughter and being there for her. He does this in a world where absent fathers are a rising problem. He had a responsibility to take care of her and she had a responsibility to learn and love him for everything he’s done. It was a pure and beautiful relationship they sold us.

Ads like this one can be absolutely beautiful. This is one of the most popular commercials in the past year. I have seen it shared numerous times. They did advertising right and I’m seeing more commercials like this everyday. People are finally understanding it, and they told us that with gum.

The Story

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Shot by Richard Drew

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Shot by Pulitzer-Prize winner, Stanley Forman

These two photos are stomach-turning images of people falling to their deaths in two scenarios in the United States. The Falling Man was a man falling to his death from the World Trade Center on the September 11 terrorist attacks. The second image is of a woman and child falling to their deaths after a faulty fire escape broke in Boston.

In both instances, we are witnessing the end of people’s lives. The older woman and the man are falling head first looking at their inevitable end. You can see in the background the image of the buildings and windows passing behind them looking that much more defenseless. In both images, the reason for their deaths are pictured falling with them. 

Looking specifically at the picture of the woman and child, we see that this was not intentional. The way that they are seen positioned in the picture is one of fear. They are spastic and scared and in their final state of free fall and panic. They are not the only things falling. With them falls the fire escape that led them to this incident along with potted plants. One thing that makes this picture so horrifying is that we can clearly see the child’s face. It almost appears that the child is looking at the camera. It doesn’t make it some person anymore because you can see into the eyes of this child before their death. We have room to create a story about what they could have been thinking in this moment and it is horrible and sad. The child is so helpless that it appears to not even make an effort to save itself and it really can’t. The woman is falling face forward as if she was looking for options to save them before she falls. Her position appears to be a final desperate attempt to survive this. 

When looking at the image of the Falling Man, we see a calm simplicity in suicide. His position is quiet and sound as he makes no attempt to flail or move in any sporadic gestures. His death was planned. We do not see any distinct facial features so the story comes in the mystery and sadness of this man’s life. As we see him giving up hope in his final seconds, we sort of want to give up hope as well in both images. His arms are behind his back and he is looking at the ground awaiting his end. 

It’s hard to decide which would be worse but both situations are ones we would never wish to see ourselves in. In both cases, there was really nothing either photographer could do. The isolation of the man makes it appear worse but in all actuality, there were many people doing the same thing. The woman and child were isolated because they were together, falling from the same place. 

When the topic comes up as to whether it is ethical to publish these images, I say yes. These people, just from a picture, are getting a tragic story told but it is their story told. The falling man was part of one of the worst tragedies in our nation’s history. He was faced with a choice that many people faced that day and he chose what he wanted to do. Without this image, 9/11 wouldn’t be less tragic. With this image, he gains a story and a voice for people of that day. He is a face for those not pictured and people could see his side and grieve with him not only for his life but with the tragic day of our nation.

The woman and child get a tragic story told as well for accidents. As they fall, they fell with a desperate hope of living through it. It is a slap in the face to us to realize that these things happen and to not take anything for granted. We sympathize with their fear and it gives us a small and similar feeling in the pit of our stomachs to see their lives ending and how we feel so much sorrow from seeing them, and their faces.

Tragic things in life will happen and they often do and we need to notice them. Giving these people a tragic story in their final moments also helps people to appreciate their lives that are completely unknown to us. We will never truly know how they felt in this moment or their lives before this but we sympathize with them. Its tragic and sad but it is a part of life, a horrible part that we face daily. We can’t ignore it. 

 

What Is Truth?

This popular question is often never answered. When we talk about truth, we use it to define right, just, and many other things. When the dictionary defines truth is says, “in accordance with fact or reality.” In the same way, truth is often used to reference these things. To be true, I believe is where your body and mind are sound with whatever decision or thing you hear in your life. Staying true can refer to many things. There are things that we hold as undeniably true such as the sky being blue or the fact that all people will die. But there is also a thing about being true to yourself. 

What I have found to be true is that people are moody people. They not only adapt to change but they also change daily. What was true to you 5 years ago is not true to you know. In this way, the definition of truth changes daily. At the end of the day, its up to you to decide. 

In our book Media Ethics: Issues and Cases it says,”The ideal of truth  is problematic. We often consider truth a stable commodity: it doesn’t change much for us on a day-to-day basis, nor does it vary greatly among members of a community.”

For me, truth is something that you think will always remain the same. But as we change and learn new things, we find out that truth changes too. 

 

“Telling the truth therefore is not solely a matter of moral character, it is also a matter of correct appreciation of real situations and of serious reflection upon them. Telling the truth, therefore, is something which must be learnt.”

I always have a problem in believing everything. When my mom says something, I believe it. I believe things that say it is healthier to eat 6 small meals a day. But then a new tabloid will say that 3 big meals a day is better. We decide our own truths by what we learn.

Pointing North?

In Ethics class, we were asked who influenced our moral compass. Our book’s author said that his moral compass came from his parents who taught him right from wrong and to believe in Jesus Christ. Society has a way of influencing our moral compass as well by sticking true to fundamental values such as murder, stealing, and slanderous things are wrong and working to be a better person in society through education, perseverance and success is right. People tell us these things daily. Teachers are supposed to teach us right from wrong in school through history, modern times, and in some way how they try to plan for the future. But…

who taught them?

Lana Del Ray said an interesting quote about her moral compass.

My mother told me I had a chameleon soul, no moral compass pointing due north, no fixed personality; just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide and as wavering as the ocean.

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People may influence your moral compass but they can’t give you one. My mom taught me right from wrong. Don’t touch this, don’t do that, do your homework, clean your room, and so on. Society and Government do the same thing. Go to school, don’t publish that, don’t stay up too late, don’t buy things at this time, don’t use this drug, use this one but don’t overuse it. Teachers can do it to. Turn in this on this day, don’t talk, speak up, stand up, go outside. These conditions taught us what to do growing up, but I ask again…

who taught them?

The history of ethics dates back to Ancient Greece with Socrates, Sophocles, Aristotle, and so on. Before then, if you choose to believe so, came with the message from Jesus Christ. Although the Catholic Church was created out of the teachings of the Bible, there was a period of time where their moral compass was questioned… actually a couple times throughout the course of history. Wars led to wars and more wars over rights, freedom and many other things. Slavery was deemed right in our society at one point and now it is terrible and morally wrong. Dating back to the history of forever, whichever Creation story you choose to believe, ethics and morals have been initiated by someone and then implemented. People like Hitler and Stalin stood tall. Slavery and wars prevailed in their idea of what was right.

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But who taught them?

My teacher told us that Ethics provides Tools and not Answers. How do we learn these tools? How do we implement them? Who influenced Hitler to believe that the Jews were involved with Communists in a joint conspiracy to take over the world? Who told him that was right?

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Going back to Lana Del Ray’s quote, I believe that Ethics cannot be taught. Ethics is something inside of us, like an instinct. We listen to what we are told without ever having to believe them. We aren’t taught at an early age to believe. We are taught to believe in something because “They said so.” Can we blame them? We aren’t going to get far by asking an infant if they truly believe they should wear the color blue or not. We teach children right from wrong to the best of our knowledge until they become old enough to decide for themselves. My moral compass comes from what I’ve learned and how I act out what I’ve learned over the years of my life from society, my family, my friends and my teachers. People have the same innate qualities and more and more of these are coming out in the world. People have naturally sick and twisted tendencies inside that never come out because they are widely accepted as wrong but some people don’t deem them this way.

I find this paradox of ethics interesting. People were put on Earth somehow and millions of us have accepted an answer because we all want answers. Whether is was from God, a Big Bang or through Evolution, we can all accept the fact that we are living and we are living together. People don’t actually know what the hell we are doing here. Why out of the complete “unknown” we were made to live and breathe and run this rock we are standing on. We don’t know what the point of our lives are. We can find truths that are evident through repetition. We have found that people will grow, they will learn, they will live and they will die. For what reason, that is for you to decide. How you choose to spend your time here, however long it may be, is entirely up to you and always will be. paint

Is Sexual Assault a Major?

Diane Rehm’s talk show covered the idea that University’s fail or have failed to help victims in sexual assault cases. She has a survivor, Laura Dunn, come on the air and discuss her story and her process of reporting trying to get her case justified. She then tells us that this process took years and it left her unsatisfied. Harvard Law Professor Diane Rosenfeld discusses the idea of Title 9 that took effect in 2011 that are a set list of guidelines that all Universities have in order to attempt to prevent sexual assualt and to gain justice in a case where it happens.

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Coming from experience, this has not taken effect. At my old school, one of my friends was drugged and raped on campus. After being unsure of her feelings of whether it happened or not, she decided that it wasn’t her fault and that she wanted to report. The man who assaulted her was a member of the University Football team. The police and campus told her that it was her fault due to her taking an alcoholic beverage and there was nothing they could do about it. The football player got away scott free and her report along with her name went in the school paper. His name was never mentioned. Not only did she ask they leave out her name and got it published anyway, no precautions were taken to ensure that she wouldn’t have to be around him. These things are situations that the Title 9 guidelines are supposed to prevent. This was happened to my friend of the year 2011-2012. 

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Sexual assault is a rising problem on campuses and women feel worse when they report rather than if they had. Reputations get ruined especially if the accused have a great reputation with the school. My friend never got justice and she left the school because she saw him everyday. Women go through horrible processes that still haven’t given them justice whether they talk or not. Women stand together to talk about their experiences and their rights get supported by groups but the Universities won’t change. 

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I felt this radio spot was a horrible idea. Daniel Rappaport, Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator and Diane Rosenfeld, Harvard Law Professor, both talk like this is just a Public Relations opportunity to show that their campus fixed all the problems dealing with sexual assault and yet people still go through it with no consequences given out. One caller said that these rules and “changes” haven’t changed a thing. They leave everything in the Administrator’s hands and they are only concerned with keeping face. I feel like Sexual Assault is pushed aside as a group of girls complaining about being “whores.” People don’t take it seriously unless they are directly involved. I felt like this broadcast did nothing to help the situation. 

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This broadcast does show that steps continue to be taken, but they put everything in the victim’s hands. From the sound of it, people still haven’t been justified in their reports. Its a sad fact but I don’t think they’ll help unless it makes them look good.

Be Happy.

I once heard a tale called “The Happy Man’s Shirt.” The fast paced version is that a very rich and powerful king’s son is depressed. The king tries super hard to figure out why but the son says he doesn’t even know why he’s depressed. He just knows he is unhappy. The king is completely baffled by this and is worried his son may die of unhappiness. So the king decreed a search in order to find a truly happy man, for as the astronomer’s story tells; if his son was to trade his shirt with a truly happy man, he would too, find happiness. The king’s men searched far and wide and found two men who were said to be truly happy. They found a priest and a neighboring king who were thought to be truly happy men. After carefully examining them, the king found that neither of the men were truly happy because they wanted more and were not content with what they had. As he became more frustrated, he decided to go hunting to blow off some steam. As he went to hunt his prey, he came across a young boy singing in the woods and thought that a voice like that was one of a truly happy man. When he confronted the boy, he offered him riches and to come with him to the capitol. As the young boy tried to decline, the King took him to the capitol anyways in order to save his son. As soon as they got there, the king took off his jacket and found that the happy man wore no shirt.

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This tale tells us that happiness is not found in possessions or materialistic things. Not one thing can make a person happy. Not money, cars, houses, or even a shirt. If that’s the case, what does happiness mean?

There is a famous quote that lists a ton of things that make up happiness. Of this list, Falling in love is first, among “no lines at the supermarket, giggling, getting mail, your first kiss, waking up and realizing you have still have a few hours left to sleep, and puppies.” Although these things do make people happy, can these define happiness?

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Basically, I’m saying that I have no freaking clue. So I thought I’d look to the important people. Maybe they would know-

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Mahatma Gandhi

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Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.
Aristotle

Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.
William H. Sheldon

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Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits. 

Thomas Jefferson

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So I have gathered that happiness = life. To go more in depth, happiness = a good job + good morals + freedom + good health + good intentions + you.

To be happy, you shouldn’t have to look at it as an equation.

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To be honest – I don’t think happiness can be defined. One person’s happiness will be different than another.

I used to think that all people were like me. I used to think that everyone was a Christian, that they were straight, played sports, had a good childhood, liked to watch movies, and that they are all naturally good people with good intentions. Growing up now, I realized I was mistaken.

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In my lifetime, I have met Athiests, Mormans and people who don’t believe in anything because they don’t see the point. One of my best friends said, “I don’t know if there’s a God up there, but if there is, he doesn’t like me.”

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I’ve met lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, trisexuals and I even learned what a pansexual was. I’ve met people who have been raped, neglected, adopted, picked on, valedictorian, and people who have had parents that were never there. I’ve had people come into my life that have hurt me with the only intention to hurt me. I have figured out that there are bad people in the world and there is no one like me.

I came to this realization when I went to college. There is no one like me, not even my twin sister. We all go through different experiences and I can officially say there is not one person on this Earth that is like me. The only thing that relates people together is circumstances. While I sit and talk with my best friends from Warrensburg, I can’t help but think about their stories. What brought them here? We have the rich ginger, the whore, the goody-goody, the convict, and then me. We have completely different lives but we were all brought in one place. The time we spent there will never change and it defines who we are. We share memories. We lived.

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So … do I have a point?

Yes. Just like happiness itself can’t be defined, neither can we. You aren’t the same person you’ve always been. Every person will have different memories, different relationships, and a different life. Happiness isn’t the time we spent on earth. Time runs out.

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As I sit on that front porch with my friends, or the patio with my family – the situations are similar. I am with the people that mean the world to me. I am spending my limited time on earth with these people. And that brings my heart joy.

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I believe happiness is made by the people you surround yourself with and the memories made.

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I think the problem with people is that they think that happiness is some eternal state. They think that if you fight for it and work hard everyday, you’ll eventually achieve the state of happiness and stay that way until you die. I don’t think that’s how it works. Some days you will be happy. You will find days that make you feel peaceful and free. But there will be days that frustrate you. There will be days that overwhelm you with sadness. There will be days where you will be so mad or depressed that you will do anything just to make the pain stop. But then again, you’ll still have happy days.

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You can’t achieve a permanent state of happiness. But you can surround yourself with people and experiences that will make you think that you’re pretty close.

The one thing that reminds me of happiness is death. When I think about my dying day, whenever that may be, I don’t think about what job I’ll have, or the money I’ll have. I don’t think about what house I’ll be dying in or the shoes I own. To be honest, I probably won’t get a beautiful death bed with glamour and beauty. I’ll probably die in a hospital (you can only assume.)

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I’ll die in a room with empty white walls, ticking beeps, and murmur in the halls. I’ll die in orange socks they give you to keep your feet warm and not the Louis Vuitton boots I bought. It won’t even be a shirt. The only thing that I think about that day is the people I hope have made it with me to the end. I think about what friends will be there and what family is still alive. I think my final day will be me and the ones I love talking about the crazy shit we did and just laugh.

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It won’t be about the stuff we own and bought. It has never been the stuff. Its the people you bring with you on the ride. That is happiness. 

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Why “Dating” is spelled D.E.A.D.

The New York Times published an article last month titled “The End of Courtship” explaining that our generation – Generation Y – is rejecting the idea of old fashioned dating. The sad part is that it is true.

Now, I for one, am not a girl who thinks along feminist lines. As I have stated, I am a bit of a weirdo. I believe that women can be smart and independent but I have high expectations that men can treat me like a lady.

That being said: I have never been taken on a real 1st date. One. my family came with us and my mother not only drove, but paid. The next was simply to “hang out” at the mall. The only first date that felt real was accidental because each of us were unaware that we were going on a date until our close friends informed us differently.

I have been on every side of the dating scope. I have had long-term relationships, short-term ones, flings, almost happened, crushes, and any of the like. I have had relationships exist in only text messages, internet, and attempted sexting on their end. For the past couple of years, I have said the same thing: what does a girl have to do to get a damn flower?

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I always laugh when a boy says that chivalry is not dead. They hold the door open for a woman and they expect to be praised. In a society where responding to a text is seen as a big deal, we can all officially say a night of french cuisine is out of the question. The article said it perfectly when it reads “A lot of men in their 20s are reluctant to take the girl to the French restaurant, or buy them jewelry, because those steps tend to lead to ‘eventually, we’re going to get married.”

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Instead of trying to woo a woman, woman decide to make happily ever happen themselves. They “put themselves out there,” they hint, they send flirty texts, and they are forced to see nothing wrong with sex on the first date. YOLO was probably the worst thing to hit our generation.

Girls, nowadays, watch the “Notebook” like it is a science fiction movie. A true, passionate romance today is seen as obsolete. Times are changing. In a technology driven universe, people use the resources they have. The newest phone allows you to text, skype, and watch TV at the same time, then we will substitute it for dating.

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A person told me that maybe courtship isn’t going to shit. They explained that maybe the definition is in the process of being redefined. I personally think that it is being redefined as “Convenient Dating.”

People will text instead of call because its more convenient. The Times calls it the “rise of the “hookup culture” among young people, characterized by spontaneous, commitment-free (and often, alcohol-fueled) romantic flings.” They offer to hang out rather than plan a full date because its more convenient. They keep other dating options available because if it ends, its more convenient. If you jump head first into the waters, people today just assume they’ll drown.drowning

So he was technically right. Its not bad but redefined; but that doesn’t mean I have to be ok with it. I fell that it is bad because back then, dating actually meant something. You would take time to plan dates, spend a little more money, get a little more dressed up because it was important to you. Dating used to be filled with moments. It was about the other person’s look in their eyes, their cunning conversation, building inside jokes or even completely failed. People used to be able to have their eyes and ears open to every detail, every gesture and every word. Now its filled with awkward silences and checking phones for the time.

It was so much easier and simply beautiful  to fall in love back then. Back when words meant more when they were spoken and not texted, when gestures were noticed and appreciated, when people fell hard into each other- love was a possibility. Now love is defined as if you’re a good texter and good in bed.

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People lived in moments; not by appointments. It wasn’t a casual tagalong, it was dedicating your time to one person. Now, that is too much to ask for. People are scared. If you always act like you have your guard up, its easier to pretend you don’t get hurt. But people hurt still. You can change dating all you want – when it ends, you get the same result. People break up. They’ll break your heart. They’ll leave you without saying good-bye or ever considering your feelings. That will never change. I think that’s why they changed it in the first place- fear.

So I vote to change it back. Get back to a society where you can dance in the middle of restaurants, serenade, woo and be wooed without scowling glances. Let’s go back to living in every moment.

“I mean you can never really tell what’s good until later anyway. 

Until you look back and think about things,
and you have time to grow into your mind.

But sometimes you make a choice in that moment, 
and you know in your heart it’s going to change everything.

People will tell you nothing matters the whole world 
will about end soon anyway,
but those people look the life in wrong way.
I mean, things don’t need to last forever to be perfect.” – Daydream Nation

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The quote above is about the moments. I think that’s what we lost. Moments aren’t convenient.

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Back to my swimming analogy, people are scared and stubborn about jumping in the water. Today, they don’t even stick a toe in to test it. They can’t get pushed in because their phone, iPod, iPad, GPS, and whatever else they have will get ruined. Dating, Love, and life aren’t about jumping in and drowning. Its about learning how to swim.

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NY Times Article Link

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/fashion/the-end-of-courtship.html?emc=eta1&_r=1&

How I Met Your Mother

Premise: A story of a life journey of how a father’s many failed attempts at love finally lead him to the mother of his children.

Characters: Ted Mosby

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Ted is a hopeless romantic who believes in destiny. He is a nerdy, architect who has a habit of falling in love hard and fast with many different women for many different reasons.

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He believes that there is a reason for everything and a reason for why he’s here and he believes it is to love and be loved by one perfect person forever. 

Conflict: There are many conflicts throughout the series of the show but the major conflict comes from Ted’s conscious on 9 out of 10 episodes. Although his best friends may fight with him (physically and figuratively), the conflict of choosing or breaking up with a women always comes to a problem for Ted Mosby. A lot of other conflicts come when the girls he dates break up with him. Luckily, his 4 best friends always have his back- even if they were the ones who started the conflict in the first place.

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Vday = S.A.D. aka Socially Acceptable Drinking Day

Well its the beginning of February and people (women) only have one thought on their minds. Its Valentine’s Day and personally, I don’t know what everyone is so upset about.

Valentine’s Day is a day that for me, should be filled with hope. It’s the one day that men think they better start doing something. It’s an excuse for people to buy flowers for loved ones, gorge themselves in chocolate and other assorted candies, and more most, an excuse to get laid. If that means finally proposing, so be it. If that means asking out that hot girl from the bar- that’s fine. If it means throwing a Single Awareness party so you can personally see who’s single – just go with it. Its one of the most random days out of the year where people have an excuse to think about only one thing…

So why is everyone so sad? It’s not a holiday that couples do to rub love in single people’s faces. People who say, “for the rest of us single women, it’s kind of a giant cosmic bitchslap. It’s like the universe saying, look, remember when you were fourteen and you had cystic acne and braces and you played the saxophone in the marching band and no one would invite you to the winter formal? Well nothing’s changed.” -No. It’s a holiday that makes people happy, that band nerd has people that make them happy. For some, it maybe gives them a false sense of security in their relationship because he got you flowers. For single people, Valentine’s Day is something to celebrate and it comes in two simple words… DISCOUNT CANDY. Need I say more?

There is no excuse to not be happy on Valentine’s Day. If all else fails, the last option is to drink.Image People are always looking for socially acceptable excuses to get drunk- because doing it alone on a Wednesday at noon doesn’t work.Image

All excuses aside, Valentine’s day is a day to be with the ones you love. Just because you don’t have a superficial boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t mean you’re alone in this world. You have your parents, your friends, siblings even and the worst case scenario you buy a pet to keep you company. I know you’ll say, “But then I’m the loser who spent Valentine’s Day with their mom.” ImageSO WHAT? You want to spend it with someone who cares about you, someone who gives you things when no one else will, and someone who thinks you are the world. Spending Valentine’s Day with your mom might be the greatest thing over a date, and you don’t have to shave your legs.Image

Most people cut out men in this situation. If you are complaining about being single on Valentine’s Day – then get used to being a minority. You don’t have to spend any money on a boy or girl who will be pissed because you didn’t get them a flower. And if you’re not single- just buy the damn flower and enjoy not being alone. Gentlemen- you play a crucial role in Valentine’s Day. You have one job. A simple job which will make your special other happy for at least the rest of February, maybe into March. Count your blessings, and maybe the calories in chocolate. Image

Valentine’s day is a stupid thing to waste. If you’re going to hate anything, hate the men and women who dumped you, left you, made you feel worthless. Hate the people who have hurt you. Don’t take it out on the candy. 

And for those who think that Valentine’s is a useless holiday because people should already do these things or be Debbie Downers like Frankiln – “Valentine’s day was a massacre in Chicago where lots of people were killed and they put a curse on the Chicago cubs.”- just don’t talk to us.Image Us as in the dreamers, the doers, the hopeful, the hurt, the happy, and the candy shop people. Maybe you get flowers and candy 365 days a year, but today we finally do. Yes, Valentine’s Day is just a day. But its a day that, for some people, the sun is a little brighter, people are a little nicer, and magic can actually feel real. People are assholes about 364 days a year. Let us have this one. 

Last year on Valentine’s Day, I wasn’t with my boyfriend. If I was like anyone else, I would have complained that I was utterly alone. I would have hated the day. But i can’t do that. When I see all the love in the world come out on one day, just because, I want to embrace it. So, on my Valentine’s Day, I bought gifts for my closest friends. We cooked together, swapped children’s Valentine’s Cards, ate, drank, and had a great day. We didn’t hate being alone, because we were together. 

For the majority of Valentine’s (all but 3), I spent it in my house, where the only person to buy me flowers and candy was my mom. Those have been the best Valentine’s Days I have ever had. I didn’t need some guy to tell me I was beautiful. Because whenever she said it, I believed her. 

So if this has taught anyone anything, don’t hate Valentine’s Day. If anything, use it for all its worth. Get happy, get candy, get lovey dovey, get laid, and get socially acceptably drunk. Let’s just have one day where people can be happy with the things they love. Image

Moral of the story? Stop complaining, get drunk, and have an amazing Valentine’s Day. 

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Haaaaaave you met me?

A·lys·sa Rose

[uh-lis-uh] [rohz]

noun

Definition of Alyssa Rose: an extremely average girl who is trying to make a life that is extraordinary.

When my mother had me in mind, the doctors told her I was a boy. It was apparently hard to distinguish gender with two babies in one uterus. I am an identical twin. The original identity planned for me was supposed to be Alexander. To my mother’s surprise, I became Alyssa Rose pretty quick. It was a name that the Greek’s thought of and it came from the sweet Allyssum Flower; meaning rational and sanity. My twin sister’s name is Charyssa, which means grace and kindness. We were two peas in a pod, but we fought a lot. My mother always had a spot in her heart for Greek culture. All of my family’s names are Greek, but that is the extent in which my mom takes it, besides loving “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” It was then that I was born, and I came out first, by 3 minutes.babies

I pride myself on having the best childhood anyone could have.grade school

It was filled with toys, crafts, dress-up, friends, and naivety. I was full of innocence and I made life easy on myself by always having the one best friend: my twin. Who else can say they have been with one person exactly like them since birth? I guess a couple people can but nonetheless, I thought it was pretty cool. I have two older sisters as well as my twin who I had convinced myself for years that they weren’t my sisters. My mom told me that I believed Charyssa was my only real sister. People always thought it was weird we were best friends. Apparently most twins hate each other. I didn’t get that. I just didn’t like that our names are so similar and I didn’t want to look alike… ever. But through all of the hardships in my life, through every experience, I can officially say I never went through it alone. We got through boys together (even though we liked all the same ones), gaining friends and losing friends, school and everything. My family has always been extremely close, but Dad is still upset that he was the only boy in the house and had to share a bathroom with five girls. He never really got over it. sisters

My mom was my idol. I wanted to be exactly like her when I grew up. She taught me everything except math. That was dad’s job. She is a hard-worker. She was my science teacher from 5th through 8th grade. She was there with me through everything. Not a lot of girls can say that. She always wants me to do what is right and what is best for me- even though I don’t think those two things match up all the time. I’m very family oriented. I’m pretty sure if God gave me a choice, I would pick them all over again. They were the only thing that ever made me feel unique. I guess being a twin is special but I never got that. I mean she is exactly like me. I felt unique because in a world where fighting with your siblings and parents was cool, I got along with my family. And I still do. I thought we were pretty special for that.  mom's girls207311_1809913922262_4752527_n

I grew up good and grew up slow but one theme has always stayed with me. I want to grow up. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to grow up. I wanted a husband and a baby and to do things on my own. I wanted to go to the bathroom in a store by myself. I didn’t want to be a kid. People always told me that I would “grow” out of it and I would miss being a kid. I still don’t miss it. I miss the innocence I had but not being a kid. I mostly went through my teens trying to figure out who I was and what i had to offer the world.

I went through many phases. I think everyone starts out with the same phase: kid. Everyone pretty much does the same things and you can’t really distinguish a certain phase, it just “is” in itself. Then the weird stuff happens. 5th grade was when I got acne, my period and my first crush. I decided to cut off all of my long hair because short hair was cool. Looking like a little boy, however, was not. 6th grade was when I heard the phrase “Boy Crazy” which I guess was accurate. I loved boys and they had less drama. 7th grade is when I experimented with hair dye. I had black hair, purple hair, red hair and then brown hair. I started listening to heavy rock music (the bad ones with cuss words. I know- I was a total rebel). This is when I started to learn about bad things and bad people. 7th grade wasn’t a great year. It was also then I learned I hated therapists. 8th grade I only cared about being pretty and popular. I learned how to wear makeup, curl my own hair and for the love of Pete; tweeze my eyebrows. I was growing into a young woman. weird

Then all hell broke loose in High School. I never dreamed that I would turn into the person to hate high school and never return, but no one does. I wasn’t on the right track when I joined the school band playing clarinet.Band Nerds I didn’t go to the most popular grade school, no one knew me but I already started off bad. I did softball, basketball, and soccer. My grade school friends left me for the most part and I had really no one except Charyssa of course. I got a boyfriend though. Johnny, he was a wrestler. He was goofy and funny and one of my best friends. He started flirting with me by carrying my books for me to my next class. He was perfect. JohhnyWe dated for two years till it all went sour. But we somehow stayed friends. I loved him with all my heart, but I still don’t know what that means. I finished up high school with my first love, first break up, eating lunch alone in a bathroom stall, crying in front of people, getting my first bad grade, making friends and losing friends, and the whole nine yards. I thought my life had ended but my mom said all of that was normal. johnny

I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people. Those days I watched the movie “The Guardian” or the show “ER.” Those days I wanted to grow up and be a Coastguard Rescue Swimmer or a Nurse. My mom then told me I would have to deal with the people that I couldn’t save. I would have to live with the fact that people die and I can’t do anything about it. I still haven’t really gotten over that fact. I still cry when I hear about random people dying on the news. It’s safe to say I gave up on being a doctor and a Coastguard swimmer. I then saw a movie called “Because I Said So,” where the leading lady was a chef. I then wanted to be a chef, too! It was easier, fun and didn’t deal with death. It was perfect. Except two things: I can’t cook and I found out I have an overwhelming fear of the oven.

So, I left high school with not knowing what I wanted to do or be. I dated a guy from the circus for 8 months who taught me there was life outside of a Lutheran School. He was a year older than me and had a tongue ring. Again- perfect. After we broke up, I had a fresh start in college. No one knew me or that I was a band geek. They didn’t know who I dated or that I played sports. I could be whoever I wanted. So I decided to be me. Friends

When I got to college at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, I stayed a good kid. I won’t ever in my life go near drugs thanks to my first boyfriend. He took enough for both of us but I loved him for it. I didn’t drink my entire freshman year, Charyssa did that enough for me too. I was pretty nerdy in the fact that I wanted to learn. I learned that if you skip class, you get bad grades. I learned that staying up all night for a week straight makes you deathly ill. I learned that all-nighters are necessary and amazing. I learned that you can experience so much with a group of people you just met and love them for life. I learned that girls are mean and boys are dumb but you can’t survive this world alone.Carter and Me I learned that 3 missed calls from mom is a very bad thing. I learned that people actually forgive you for stupid things. I learned what real friends are. But then again, that was all normal.

best friends

I basically came to the conclusion then that I am the most normal person in the entire world. When I have problems, everyone has already had them. “That’s normal” people told me. I was never exceptionally good at anything. I played every sport but I wasn’t the star and I wasn’t the worst. I got good grades, not the highest or the lowest. I had friends, but not the most popular or a loser. I was pretty but not the best looking and certainly not ugly. I had to accept the fact that I was going to be average on everything. I even convinced myself that that was pretty cool.Me

It was also that day that I decided I wanted to be an actress. I was watching “The Guardian” for the millionth time, still thinking I could be a rescue swimmer, and realized there was a way that I could. I could be a chef, a doctor, a firefighter, witch, superhero, or even a stripper if I wanted to. I finally came to the conclusion that acting was definitely something I could be good at.

But, I was average at that too. I was good, but people were better than me. In college, it came naturally to me they said, but others were “naturally” better than me too. But I kept my head up because Hollywood needs average people too. The rise of Realism in the 19th century was probably the best thing to ever happen to me. If there was one thing I could be, it was “real” or “really average.” But I learned that I’m really good at writing, public speaking, acting, making friends, and smiling. (Smiling’s my favorite). I learned that through everything, I was good at communicating something. And now I’m a communication major. If I can do anything in this world, it would be communication: finally something I’m above average at.Brace Face

I found out through this journey of mine that I have something to offer. That I will be important to somebody. I think people forget that a lot. People forget that something they have is special to at least someone. It took me 20 years to figure that out. I finally made myself realize that the future is not anything to be afraid of. Time is not an enemy-its inevitable. Time will happen whether you stop or not. So you better keep moving.

I left UCM because of money and other things which led my mom to pick Lindenwood. She went here and so did my uncle and grandma. They all succeeded so why can’t I? I came with no expectations but I knew I could be an actress and communication major anywhere, even here. Out of everything I learned, I have come to know that I love movies, acting and writing. Its pretty simple. I need to figure out what to write about and how to become an actress and that is how I got here today and that is why I am a Lindenwood student.I am a Lindenwood Student