Monday, March 14, 2011

Toilet Paper Orientation: Prefer over or under?

An anonymous friend sent this link to me a while back with hope that it would spark a new post -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet_paper_orientation. Toilet paper orientation? To anyone else--those who are not, even in the slightest bit, intrigued by little peculiarities that make people tick a certain way--this subject is doomed to failure. To me, the headline not only sparked a smile, but achieved what my friend hoped for: a new post.

What prey tell is toilet paper orientation? Go-to encyclopedia, Wikipedia, says there are only two options available in toilet paper orientation when using a toilet roll holder with a horizontal axis: the toilet paper may hang over or under the roll. The decision of which supersedes the other is entirely up to the bathroom occupant and his or her personal preference. Bathroom occupant? Why particular to whoever is in the bathroom? Well, advice columnists like Ann Landers write the topic is so controversial, bathroom occupants may change the paper orientation in bathrooms not their own. Who does that?! Admittedly...[face runs parallel to floor]...me. Before releasing any judgement, I never change the toilet paper orientation in public restrooms, only if I'm at a friend's or a family's house. Okay, so it is a little strange. :|

Want to know more? Here are the facts according to Wiki:
  • Over reduces the risk of accidently brushing the wall or cabinet with one's knuckles, potentially transferring germs.
  • Over makes it easier to visually locate and to grasp the loose end.
  • Over offers hotels, cruise ships, and homeowners with guest bathrooms the option to fold over the last sheet to show that the room has been cleaned.
  • Over is generally the intended direction of view for the manufacturer's branding, so patterned toilet paper looks better this way.
  • Under provides a tidier appearance, in that the loose end can be more hidden from view.
  • Under reduces the risk that a toddler or house pet (cat or dog) will completely unroll the toilet paper when batting at the roll.
  • Under in a recreational vehicle may reduce unrolling during driving.
Interesting? Certainly, but it isn't over yet! Therapists and consultants take it one step further by offering theories on character traits for those who purposely chose one orientation over the other. The theories often range from sex, age, socioeconomic status to political philosophy.

The traits according to Wiki:
  • If you roll over, you like taking charge, crave organization and are likely to over-achieve.
  • If you roll under, you're laid-back, dependable and see relationships with strong foundations.
  • If you couldn't care less as long as a roll is actually available to use, you aim to reduce conflict, value flexibility/adaptablility and like putting yourself in new situations.
Columnist David Grimes notes the kind of person who prefers the paper to roll over the top is an out-going, free-spending type who gets his or her kicks trying to sneak 11 items through the 10-items-or-less line at the grocery store. On the other hand, he writes the kind of person who prefers the paper to roll from the bottom is a naturally suspicious sort who vacuums his or her house three times a day and believes Jerry Springer is God. The last bit is my favorite.

So, I guess the question of the day is evident. Are you over or under?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Restyled

January 7, 2011 marked my one-year anniversary of living in New York City. Several topics circulated throughout my brain that night: accomplishments, defeats, friends, lovers, apartments, cities, etc. I couldn't help but reflect on change. Moreover, how relocating to NYC has changed me. Was it possible for a metropolitan city to dramatically restyle a person in just one year? Dramatically? Most likely not. For me, I'll admit it certainly has. As I celebrated my anniversary with a few close friends and my older sister, Kathrine, I made a mental list of how the city effectively reshaped Samantha Grace McCullough. And this is what I came up with:

(1) An above-average walking pace. My out-of-towner friends probably despise walking around the city with me since I (without realizing it) walk roughly five to ten feet ahead of them. Long legs aside, I completely forget about speed until one of my friends yells "Dude!"--resulting in an immediate halt and a dramatically slower pace for at least a few blocks until I resume my usual speed.

(2) Although not a health nut, I do aim to purchase organic or all-natural foods.

(3) Even more blunt deliveries. After studying abroad in France, my friends commented on a slight change of personality...sharper statements. Now, I'm beginning to believe it's not just the French, but more so metropolitan cities that modify this element of one's personality.

(4) Above all, I will admit the city's crave for fashion has conquered another. My overall fashion sense has undeniably changed since last year.

Without question, a bit of my personality is still visible in the clothes I buy. There are certainly clothing items I avoid and will continue to avoid. I loathe, for example, Uggs. But not Uggs by themselves. Oh no no no. Women who wear leggings with Uggs. I'm sorry...and what exactly were you thinking when you put that combination together today??? Of course, I have some dear friends who enjoy this combination and I simply do my best to focus on why I love them--THEIR PERSONALITY. Haha!! KISSES TO YOU ALL!

Other examples of unchanged style choices are similar to most women. Sure, models walk down runways wearing six-inch heals, but you won't find me strutting down Broadway or Fifth Ave wearing a pair. For those of you who know me well, you'd know socks aren't a must-have. Even in the winter, if I can avoid them, I will. For a case in point, just hang around my block on weekends and watch me walk to a bakery for bagels and/or coffee wearing thong sandals.

So what's changed?? While at uni (university), I was either preppy, sporty or a fusion of both. Nowadays, my style focus has too many adjectives: classy, chic, classy chic, modestly sexy, hippy, preppy and sporty. How did I attain such a plethora of adjectives in my wardrobe?!?!?!

After classifying and categorizing my attire, I couldn't help but think about the rest of NYC residents and how diverse style is in the city. I often get such a kick out of subway rides from Brooklyn to Manhattan just by noticing the style changes. Some mild entertainment for the easily amused.

All this, of course, leads me to a question for my readers: What adjective accurately describes your wardrobe?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow: Do you love it or hate it?

On the way to work this morning, my sister walked by a limousine stuck in snow on the corner of Bergen Street and Flatbush Avenue inBrooklyn. On her way home from work this evening, she passed the limo once again. It--and the people who started clearing the snow out from underneath it this morning--was still there.


Sunday night's east-coast blizzard hurt the city, hurt travelers and hurt businesses. The cold, dry, powdery snow made drifting so easy, and left roughly all five boroughs with two feet of snow. Flights cancelled, delayed and passengers slept at Kennedy Airport in Queens.


This afternoon, I walked outside my apartment on Fifth Avenue and 95 percent of shops closed on account of weather. Mind you, Fifth Ave in Park Slope is one of the busiest streets. What?! Completely astonished, I shook my head and walked back up the two flights of stairs to my apartment and made myself some chai tea. It still amazes me the difference between Michiganders and the rest of the country in winter. We [Michiganders] truly are a special breed. I suppose I could include the rest of the midwest and even Colorado in there somewhere. Surely, if Michigan had major lake-effect snow and whiteouts, businesses would be open the next day. And those that weren't...flogged, mocked until the end of time. In short...declared pansies.

It seems after several years of the city experiencing a storm similar to Sunday night, it would be better prepared. My sister, however, made a valid point: The city experiences an intense blizzard approximately 15 days out of the entire year. Michigan experiences this lovely element of winter six months per year. Economically speaking, it wouldn't make sense for the city to assemble an army of snowplows like those in several cities in Michigan. They are quite pricey--certainly not like renting a limo. But come on!!!! Two feet and one of the most powerful, influential cities in the world completely shuts down. Uuhhh...really?

The week before Christmas, several friends and acquaintances said they wanted a white Christmas. Well, you asked and now you've received my friends. It's quite funny to notice the transition of people wishing for beautiful, flakey snow, then despising the wet, dirty, pain-in-the-ass of it all. Yo New Yorkers, just be thankful you don't have to live with it for half the year!

Photos courtesy of Richard Perry of The New York Times.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Women are crazy." Sound familiar?

Deep inside the core of the majority of women around the world, it's even a challenge for them to disagree with this statement--especially after having seen this undesirable behavior in films such as Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Basic Instinct. Some women go as far as making a joke of it with friends. We hear about female lunatics in daily conversations with family and friends who recount their horrifying break-up stories with either tears and incomprehensible sentences (a.k.a word vomit) or cries of laughter.

I suppose the predominant question of this post stems from the origin of this insanity. How did women acquire this adjective, which is so frequently subsequent the noun??

For this post, I think it's best to start with one possible explanation...small steps people, small steps.

Taking general relationships into consideration, it seems nowadays a woman is so concerned a man will leave her--ultimately shattering her heart (dramatics intended)--to the point she becomes insecure, emotional...even defensive. Eek!!! At the same time, a man is terrified at the thought of his partner taking a turn for the worst and becomes crazy or clingy--think Eduardo Saverin's girlfriend in The Social Network Movie--he, in turn, becomes distant, ultra sensitive and ultimately...hides in a cave or hunts for the next doe. Sure I might be generalizing a bit in my last sentence for my own amusement, but honestly, for the men who are reading this, have you ever experienced one or all of these behavioral changes at one time in your life? I'm merely curious and there's no judgement on my end if anyone answers yes.

According to some of my female friends (both single and in relationships), many confessed to me their greatest fear is of their boyfriends, husbands or lovers abandoning them or cheating. Although I optimistically await a rebuttal from my readers, after re-reading my post on men, women and relationships, the phrase "the grass is always greener on the other side" springs to mind. Cheating is as frequent as eating these days--pun intended. I think there's a cause and effect in here somewhere. Cause: The world figured out a way to increase sex appeal. Effect: It's easier to be greatly attracted to someone, thus increasing the likelihood of cheating.

And hey!!! Side note: There's nothing wrong with looking at someone attractive while dating or being married to someone else. After all, aren't we animals, too?? We, however, are animals with very capable minds. Minds capable of self control and I believe it's something we've lost over time.

With breast and butt implants, hair waxing, hair dying, makeup, push-up bras, tight clothes, low-rise jeans, high heals, and much more, it's a piece of cake for both sexes to appear attractive. It's certainly not like the 1940s or when turtlenecks were a fad and not just a stack of clothes piled up in GAP with a half-off sale poster in front.

Reflecting on the last decade, with all the changes--whether they were for the better or worse--I can't help but ask myself...Did we bring it on ourselves??

Of course, I do not believe all women are crazy; nor do I think all men are selfish and distant--just using those stereotypes to stir up a little commotion. But honestly, does anyone think these adjectives were commonly associated with these nouns in the 18th century? Or the 1920s? Thoughts?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Homeownership: Let's move on shall we?

Interspersed among Tea Party cover stories and Jewish holidays, an article on homeownership caught my attention in Time Magazine this month. Click on the link below to read The Case Against Homeownership by Barbara Kiviat.

For centuries, Americans were led to believe owning a home was one more item to be checked off life's list of must-dos. The 3800-word article summarized Geoge H.W. Bush's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp's theory on homeownership as such: "A house with a front lawn and a picket fence wasn't just a nice place to live or a risk-free investment; it was a way to transform a nation." Sure, this philosophy seems a little outdated; it was the 90s -- a decade filled with spandex shorts, Saved By The Bell, the Macarena, American Gladiators, Tamagotchi, Trapper Keepers and What Would Jesus Do wristbands.

That was then, and 2010 is now. Yet surprisingly, after roughly two years of battling through an economic downturn, US citizens continue to aim (and struggle) to check off the not-so-small box on life's little list. Star Korajkic, a recent homeowner mentioned in the Time article, moved from an apartment in Burlington, Vermont, to a home in "a modest Cape Cod." Korajkic's husband works 11-hour shifts as a truck driver and Star works two jobs in order to pay their mortgage. According to Star, the sacrifice is worth it.

So, I ask you...is it really worth it? Would you rather rent a more affordable, smaller, yet comfortable apartment with one career in hand than own a home and work two jobs to break even?? Do homeowners work so much they barely have time to enjoy what they've built for themselves??

This year, Fannie Mae conducted a survey on homeownership. The following are the two top reasons why people chose to own a home.
1.) "It means having a good place to raise children."
2.) "You have a physical structure where you and your family feel safe."

Really?? How can I put this delicately? What a crock! Who took this survey? Religious traditionalists living in the suburbs? Are New Yorkers lacking physical structure and living in an unsafe environment? Let's keep the cute comments down to a minimum, please. I think writer Barbara Kiviat wrote it best, homeownership is "deeply imbedded in the national pyche." Almost as if anything less than it is classified as unsatisfactory.

Now, I know what you're thinking. She is young. She has no family (no husband or kids). There's no need for her to have (or want) more space. All this is very true; and clearly, I should provide a deeper look into Samantha McCullough before continuing on: (1) I love to travel; (2) I love to travel, so I move often; (3) I am committed to exploring the world's many cultures, yet I am not committed to one place; and (4) my parents built -- with their bare hands -- their dream house and divorced shortly after leaving their home to Mr. Joe Sixpack. To be frank, all that time, energy and dedication...completely out of the fucking window. Admittedly, I might still be slightly bitter about it considering my very own sweat and blood went into constructing this beautiful home that now belongs to Mr. Joe Sixpack. Nonetheless, based off of these four facts about me, surely enough, the formation of my opinion on homeownership should be clearer. Phew, now since that's out of the way...let's get back on track.

Explain to me the difference between these two photos.

Photo A.
Photo B.

Owning a home. "It means having a good place to raise children" and "you have a physical structure where you and your family feel safe."

Which photo makes you feel more safe? Any difference? Since both images are of homes, are both good places to raise children? Or does one supersede the other? Like dropping a pin in Google maps, drop the house in Photo A near Park Slope, Brooklyn around the time of its latest memorable storm. Do you still feel safe?

Imagine if you lived in a beautiful 1600-square-foot apartment in a safe neighborhood in San Francisco, Boston or New York. Would you want to raise your children there? Or would you still prefer the house in Photo A?

I think you get my point.

Homeownership is over. Quality of life is key.

Ever hear of Levittown?? Check out this website:
http://tigger.uic.edu/~pbhales/Levittown.html

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Men, Women & Relationships

Fifty-plus years ago, there was significantly more continuity in regards to relationships between men and women. In other words, traditional ideals held a specific criteria for the right relationship: A man marries a woman; they buy a white house with a stunning white, picket fence in suburbia subsequent the marriage ceremony and honeymoon; woman births two children (although at that time, it was more likely five or six children); and every other stereotype we [the American society] has seen depicted through the film industry in the last 20 years (e.g. Mona Lisa Smile).

Now, pull yourself out of conservatism and conformity and glance at a calendar. My how the tables have turned.

The year is 2010 - the Digital Age, the Age of the iPhone, and the Age of Social Networks - and not just obtaining, but maintaining a relationship is harder than ever. In short, as times have changed, so have traditional ideals. Wow, really?! Okay Captain Obvious. Although such a statement is quite evident, my purpose is to convey a disheartening truth: Long-lasting relationships are a rarity in not only the western hemisphere, but worldwide. Such truth prompts a certain well-known proverb, the grass is always greener on the other side, which has reached its peak.

Examples??

Let's consider geography for a wee bit. New Yorkers tired of city life, for instance, dream of relocating to California where the sun is visible and stars are born. In contrast, Californians who have overused Coppertone or they are simply sick of Schwarzenegger, vineyards, Hollywood and mudslides, vacation to the Big Apple for their dose of Sex and the City.

How do relationships intertwine with this proverb? Nowadays, it seems as though divorces are trendier than marriages. Why? Perhaps men and women are relying on mere physical attraction as reason enough to commence a relationship and once the truth is out - clashing personalities, contrasting religious backgrounds, and/or difference in social status - it's time to cut and run.

Has our society really become that shallow? Or is it something else?

With social networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc), medical advancements and technology as a whole, have we put ourselves out there too much? In my opinion, a social media profile is a watercolor of one's personality. From a distance, the painting is beautiful, smooth and clear; but up close, it's hard to see the truth of what is really there. Furthermore, profile pictures are updated to ensure the image adequately portrays the right personality or character. And even then...through technology (e.g. Photoshop), one is able to alter physical features to create a more appealing image of oneself. Thus, our perception of beauty is somewhat clouded.

Here's a clip for readers who haven't yet seen "real beauty" in this century. Click on the link below to view this YouTube clip titled Dove Evolution Commercial.

After viewing the video and skimming through your friends profiles, I ask you...Did society have it right fifty-plus years ago? Was the grass as green as it could be because the truth was evident - no social media, technological or medical advancement to tell them otherwise? Or am I wrong and our present society has it right after all?

Now, similar to the Men, Women & Hair entry I posted a few months ago, the following is a list of questions regarding relationships - which don't particularly pertain to this post. Answers to these questions may turn this entry into a series and most questions can be answered by men and women. Additionally, these questions were created with help from friends and family members.

Please indulge me with your responses! To answer, comment below or feel free to send an email. Thank you.

(1) How can we maintain the excitement in relationships today?

(2) What scares you the most about a serious relationship?

(2) What turns you off most about women? What turns you off most about men?

(3) When does the "Oh shit, this is getting serious" moment generally arise in your relationships? Chandler Bing, anyone?!! Have you ever experienced such a moment and how did you handle it?

(4) How often do you change your mind about the women you date? (For instance, the transitions from liking to disliking and back to liking a woman.)

(5) If you know the woman or man you are dating isn't someone you would be with long term, how long do you let the relationship last?? Several weeks? Couple of months? Until you've found that something greener?

(6) How long does it take for you to be attracted to not only a woman's (or man's) physical characteristics, but other appealing attributes (e.g. intelligence, life goals, sense of humor, inner strength, etc)?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Names

Names have this unique ability of stiring up eye-narrowing conversations amongst women, men, boys, girls, educationalists and comedians.

Mothers and fathers, for instance, spend hours prior to the arrival of their child's (or children's) birth scanning through the hippest baby name book, such as Beyond Ava & Aiden. Inevitably, some parents bestow the worst names imaginable for their child who then endures years of name-calling throughout their early education and even more years of therapy well after.

A little later in life, women tend to change their last names once married; or if their spouse's last name is utterly ridiculous (i.e. Butcus), it's thus forgotten or slipped at the end with a hyphen placed before it to clearly separate the two names. Whether it's a feminist who refuses to relinquish her father's name - her name - or the compromiser who agrees to adopt her spouse's name, names are generally a tricky business.

Looking at names culturally, the Bali society uses four names, and four names alone. The first born is Wayan (or Yan, for short); second is Made; third is Nyoman or Komang; and fourth is Ketut (or Tut). If the first born is Wayan, and there is a fifth child, he or she is then called Wayan Balik - that is, Wayan "again." The Balinese naming system stems from its caste system. According to Wikipedia - best, free encyclopedia ever (ha) - it's not the rigid caste system that exists in India, but rather an informal constitution bearing four different social structures. A system developed during the Medieval era, which consists of four distinct groups - the priests are Brahmana, the rulers are Ksatria, army members are Wesya and the rest (farmers and workers) are Sudra. Today, the caste system is merely symbolic.

You see, fascinating stuff!

Why else do people change their names?

Millions of people around the world change names to increase identity protection and security. Or even more popular, people change names for careers- actors, actresses (Meg Ryan - Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra), singers and song writers, politicians (Nelson Mandela - Rolihlahla Mandela), and even journalists.

Again, fairly interesting. Moving on...

Legal name-changing aside, through time, names have evolved. Naturally. Parents were either urged to be more creative; they were bored with the same-old, same-old (i.e. John or Jane); or they wished their child to be so unique and original, they picked even the most unlikely of names (Apple, Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter and Moses, her son). Gwyneth - you're great, but come on!

I think George Carlin said it best in one of his comedic performances called Goofy Boys Names. I couldn't articulate it any better, George.
Please click on the link below to watch the clip.

When did Nicky, Vinny and Tony turn into Todd, Kyle and Tucker??? William or Gilbert? Jane or Ocean? Samantha or Hopper (Sean Penn's kid)?

After skimming down the list of '50 craziest celebrity baby names,' I couldn't help but wonder, is there an elite contest for the celebrity baby with the craziest name? Elite? Maybe not. But indeed, there are contests.

I'd like to conclude this post with another prime example of my curious mind. Many people, myself included, have tied past/current relationships with friends, lovers and family members who share similar names. Huh?! Females named Brittney, for instance, rarely work well with me. Of course, there are exceptions (Miss Moody!), but the truth of the matter is, in my 23 years, five Brittneys have turned into some of my greatest enemies. Thus, I try to avoid them by all means necessary. The name Chris (or Christopher) is another. The beholder of this name is labeled the Attractor - always grabs my attention. There have been five of those as well. Jeffs are the fun, crazy adventurers. Katies or Kathrines are the good girls or good friends. Surely there are more, however, I'd like to know yours!!! Please indulge me with your list and I hope you've enjoyed this topic of day.

Weather

The Great Wall

The Great Wall
Beijing, China