On Denial

You go to throw away a used napkin, and you see that the trash bin in your kitchen is full. Instead of emptying it, you shove the garbage down a little more so the napkin fits inside. Maybe instead of smashing the trash, you balance the napkin perfectly on top of the pile, feeling a sense of accomplishment.

After some time, that garbage starts to smell. You know you should take it out, but that requires too much effort, so you just shove it down again. It’s getting pretty packed in there, so you use your foot to stomp it into submission. You congratulate yourself for being such a skilled manual trash compactor.

You start to get fruit flies in your kitchen. They appear from nowhere as though they were brought into being by the rotting banana at the bottom of the bin. You ignore them and continue to smash it down.

You conclude that eventually, one of two things will happen:

  1. The fruit flies develop a taste for human flesh and attack you en masse, knocking you down, and they slowly gnaw off your face with their tiny insect mouths
  2. You take out the trash

You opt for #2. You decide to come at the trash head-on, confronting it with every ounce of willpower you have. As you start to take it out, you realize it’s going to be unpleasant and you really want to leave it there for another day. After weighing the upcoming discomfort against the risk of face-eating fruit flies, you soldier on.

You bend over and tie up the bag, which makes your lower back sore for a few seconds. You pull the bag out of the bin and discover there was a broken pickle jar in there that cut the plastic, so now there’s pickle juice leaking out of the bag. You carry the trash bag one-handed, holding a paper towel under the leaky spot. You decide to save time by not putting on your shoes, and you step in a puddle next to your garage. Now your foot is cold, and you need to change your socks. You figure out a way to open the big trash bin without setting down the bag, but you end up leaking pickle juice all over your jeans. Once back inside, you realize that there was too much time for fruit flies to accumulate, so now you’ll have to go to Target and buy a can of Raid to get rid of the stragglers.

Maybe you didn’t soldier on. Maybe you waited another day or two, letting the bag get heavier, leaking more pickle juice into the bin for you to clean up. You finally take out the trash, but it’s a much bigger pain in the ass than it would have been if you’d done it sooner.

The longer you wait, the harder it is, but guess what? You still end up with a clean trash bin, and that feels fucking amazing.

On Anniversaries

Warning: This post is emotionally heavy. All the heavy stuff is after the jump.

What is an anniversary? It’s not limited to weddings. It’s applicable to any day of the year:

an·ni·ver·sa·ry |ˌanəˈvərsərē| noun ( pl. anniversaries ):
The date on which an event took place in a previous year.
ORIGIN Middle English: from Latin anniversarius ‘returning yearly,’ from annus ‘year’ + versus ‘turning.’

When you celebrate your birthday, you’re technically celebrating the anniversary of your birthday. You’re only born once, after all.

So where did the concept of an anniversary come from? Our calendar measures time in years. Every 365 days, there’s another February 1, or October 28, or June 9. Every 365 days, we use the same terminology to describe what today is. Maybe when you climbed your first mountain, you stood at the top and thought, “Today is March 29.” Guess what? Today is March 29 too.

You could celebrate the anniversary of anything. No one is stopping you from throwing a party or going out to a nice dinner. Became vegetarian two years ago today? Celebrate. Met your spouse on the subway thirteen years ago today? Celebrate. Learned what the word “pithy” means one year ago today? Celebrate.

We don’t always celebrate anniversaries, though. Some of them we just remember. We recognize them, honor them. They’re not all happy occasions.

Continue reading

My sister and I went to a firing range.

Yesterday my sister and I went to a firing range to shoot some guns. (Aww, bonding.) It was my first time being in the presence of live firearms, let alone loading and shooting one.

We rented a Glock and an AR-15. Between the two of us, we used two boxes of 9mm and eight boxes of .356. That’s 80 shots each on the AR-15.

We started with the Glock. My hands were shaking so much, and I was so tense, that I felt like I was going to drop the gun and accidentally kill someone. Instead, I didn’t miss a single shot in my first clip. BAM.

Since the two videos of me shooting look exactly the same except for the gun I’m holding, I just posted the cool one below.

It appears that all the years I’ve spent playing video games have improved my real-life shooting accuracy, which seems obvious and crazy at the same time. The results:

Yield for WordPress

Got my Timbuk2 bag today! Thanks Automattic!!!

Now all I need to do is learn parkour and time travel to a dystopian future where all big cities have stark white buildings.

Now I just need to learn parkour and buy some red shoes.

A photo posted by Alison Barrett (@aliso) on

The Big Split

English: A Milky Way Simply Caramel split in half.

I’ve split up my website, alisothegeek.com, into two parts:

alisothegeek.com will continue to be my web development blog, with all my tutorials and other associated goodies.

blog.alisothegeek.com now hosts all my more personal posts, opinion pieces, and pretty much anything that isn’t about WordPress or code. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re not a developer, you’ll understand this blog but not the other one.

Will this be more confusing or less confusing? No idea. I guess we’ll find out.