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A Lesson in Humility

A couple of weeks ago I was celebrating Mardi Gras with friends in the French Quarter. It was Saturday afternoon, and we were trying to kill time before the Endymion parade started. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a scene. A homeless man lay sleeping in a doorway, while a man in a bright orange t-shirt posed over him as his friends took a photo. I was disgusted by the lack of human dignity these men portrayed. “Being homeless doesn’t make him less of a person,” I thought. “Being homeless does not make him an object of scorn and ridicule.” I thought these things, and yet I did nothing and said nothing. My mind justified that it was better to give them a disapproving look than risk instigating a fight. Still, when I looked back on it later I regretted not sticking up for that man. I was better than that.

Yesterday, I was driving home from work on a beautiful day, a perfect 75 degrees without a cloud in the sky. There’s a particular corner on my commute that is a popular spot for panhandlers. On this day, I saw a man I’ve seen there before, wearing jeans and a dirty blue sweatshirt. His sign was simple, “Homeless Please Help.” As traffic stopped he began walking up the line of cars. When he reached my car, he looked at me, smiled, and waved. I immediately averted my gaze so we wouldn’t make eye contact. He continued on. When traffic began moving I looked in my rearview mirror to see him walking back to the corner, his sign at his side and his head hung down in defeat. I felt immense shame and guilt in that moment. By refusing to look at this man, how was I any better than those who were posing with the man in the French Quarter? We have been conditioned to treat the homeless as sub-human. Don’t look at them, you’ll encourage them. Don’t give them money, they’ll just spend it on drugs. Don’t you know some of them have regular jobs and are just trying to scam you? I’ve heard it all and more. Somewhere along the line this type of thinking was burned into my brain. I’m ashamed that I’ve felt this way, that I’ve thought these things. I’m ashamed that I didn’t have the decency to return that man’s smile. He may not have a home, but he is not any less of a person.

I vow to no longer treat the homeless population with anything less than kindness and respect. I pray I will see the man in the dirty blue sweatshirt again, so that I may apologize to him for averting his gaze and give him some money to make his day a bit brighter. It is not my business what he does with that money. I get to keep driving to my beautiful apartment with central heat, air conditioning, and a refrigerator stocked with food. I am in no place to judge him or anyone else in his situation, and I will do my best to remember that every day.

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alwaysurvive said: thanks so much for sharing this!! i just wanted to know how the britney and simon relationship was like nice or fighting or the lust thing im just really curious cause he seemed happy to get her on the show or was she like intimidated by her?

Honestly, there really didn’t seem to be a relationship. Britney was pretty quiet through the whole thing. Simon would lean over and say something to her sometimes, and she would nod in response, but that was about it.

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Anonymous said: What's all this about Demi calling Simon a "grandpa"?

He called her Bobby (or it could have been Gobby, hard to tell with the accent), and she responded, “Oh, we’re starting that now? It’s on, Grandpa!” It was very funny!

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Anonymous said: thank you so much for sharing! I really appreciate hearing about your experience. I expected britney to be the nice one and Marc Malkin tweeted about her saying a contestant needed a new teacher to "teach them how to sing". So hopefully more of that britney comes out over the auditions :)

You’re welcome! And she did say that, I forgot about that moment. She actually made that sound super sweet, as only Britney could do haha. This was only the first audition, so hopefully as she settles into it she’ll get more critical :)

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The X-Factor Auditions (Warning: long!)

About a week ago, I got an email saying the X-Factor was holding auditions in my city (Austin, TX) and they needed an audience to come watch. Tickets were free; all you had to do was give them your email address and tell them how many people you were bringing and you were in!

Now, I’ve only seen one episode of the US X-Factor and a few clips from the UK version, but a couple of days before they had announced Britney Spears and Demi Lovato as the new judges, joining L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell. As a preteen and teen during the late 90s/early 00s bubblegum pop era, I think I literally squealed out loud at the chance to see Britney Spears in-person, outside of her concert element. When I realized Austin was also going to be the very first audition the new judges were going to experience, I knew I had to go. I convinced my roommate Grace to accompany me and reserved our tickets.

The auditions were held in the Frank Erwin Center, which is a large arena right next to the UT campus. We were told to get there at 1, which we did almost exactly, to find a huge line wrapping around the building. We were in line for about 30 minutes before we got to the front, where we were given a ticket with a section number. They were only using about a third of the arena for seats, and had blocked the rest of it off with a huge black curtain.

I’m not entirely sure how they picked people to sit in the very front (the prime TV spot), but I’m guessing they just pulled people out of the crowd who were young, attractive, and well dressed. The rest of the seats on the floor were empty until the arena completely filled, and then they took the top three rows in every section and led them down to fill the front section. Those people were guaranteed to be on TV, but they told everyone else they had hidden cameras everywhere, so “make sure you’re looking your best at all times.” I don’t know how true that is, but I’ll guess we’ll see in September!

The actual auditions didn’t begin until about 3 o’clock. I think almost the whole crowd was there mainly to see Britney, because people lost their shit when she came out. During breaks between auditions, people were constantly calling her name and shouting things at her. A few people yelled to Demi as well, and she would turn and acknowledge them, but Britney never did.

Demi really surprised me as a judge. I actually thought she gave the best constructive criticism of anyone, and she wasn’t afraid to get negative when she needed to. Simon was his usual self, with L.A. acting as a less overtly offensive version of him. Britney, as I expected, gave no negative feedback whatsoever. She told everyone they were great, adorable, and she loved them. One on particularly bad audition, she “passed” when it was her turn to speak, and when voting just shook her head no instead of actually saying anything. After every 3rd or 4th audition the judges would take a break, going backstage to do whatever. On the last of these breaks Britney never came back, and subsequently missed the last 4 auditions. After it became clear she wasn’t returning, a lot of people in the crowd walked out. There was never any explanation given or even an acknowledgement of her absence. It was pretty strange.

The actual auditions were very entertaining. Four acts in particular stood out to me. A group of three sisters who sang country, another group of three sisters who sang pop/R&B, an absolutely hilarious girl named Jeremica who sang R&B, and a girl named Jessica Espinoza who sang pop. Jessica was hands-down the best of the day. She had a punk style (ripped jeans, bright red streak in her hair), but a huge voice with tons of emotion. She reminded me a lot of Allison Iraheta from American Idol. I was absolutely mesmerized by her when she performed; I literally couldn’t take my eyes off the girl. The judges actually stood up when she finished. Throughout the rest of the taping, the warm-up guy kept repeating her name and encouraged us to tweet about her. As the judges were leaving at the end of auditions, Simon grabbed the mic to say he thought we might have just seen the winner. Definitely keep your eyes peeled for her when the shows air!

Other random notes… Demi kept teasing Simon throughout the auditions, sometimes stopping her critiques to say something to him. They’re definitely gonna be the “fighting” pair this season. Demi is super funny, though. I had no idea! Simon also told us we were the best crowd they’ve ever had on an X-Factor audition show. Hopefully this means they’ll use a lot of clips from our taping and we’ll be on TV! If I do see myself, I’ll be sure to come back and let you know!

All in all, this was a super fun experience, and I definitely recommend going to a taping if they’ll be in your area. Even if you’ve never seen the show, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll have a great time. Yay X-Factor!

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WHY NEW YORK IS BETTER THAN LA

aaronbleyaert:

NY:

This one time I wanted to buy some 40s so I could get real drunk with my buddy Tonyz and we didn’t have a lot of money back in those days and we only ate fishsticks and drank 40s so we went down to the corner bodega in Flatbush Brooklyn where we lived and went to the back where they had the 40s in the fridge but when we got where the 40s were supposed to be there was just this huge bloody skinned goat hanging in there among all the other beverages and the 40s were all set all over the floor like someone had just run in and been like “YO I GOT THIS FUCKING BLOODY GOAT I NEED YOU TO HIDE IT IN THE FRIDGE REAL QUICK I’LL BE BACK LATER” and then they scrambled to the back and took out the 40s and put them all haphazardly all over the floor where they were getting warm and this bloody goat hung in there among the lunch meats and freezer pops and Tonyz and I came along and stumbled across it and were all like “WTF dude?” and the guy was like “I’m not giving you a discount on those 40s they’re still good” and we bought two each anyway even though they were warm and went back to our place and drank them and the guy was right they were still good and did their job real well and we came back like two hours later and the goat was totally gone and everything was put back and we never saw or spoke of it again and to this day I am convinced that there was some shady voodoo mystical shit going on behind the scenes of that place and we narrowly escaped being eaten alive by one of the Elder Ones Who Walk Between The Stars so often written about in the HP Lovecraft books.

LA:

This one time I stumbled down to the convenience store a block away from my house looking for 40s and I asked the cashier “hey, do you guys have 40s?” and the guy was all like “Naw bro, we don’t carry that shit.”

THE END.

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latenightjimmy:

TGIF.

I wonder what the girl from the audience (Sara, no h) who inspired this thinks about it. If it were me I think I’d be equally flattered and embarrassed!

latenightjimmy:

TGIF.

I wonder what the girl from the audience (Sara, no h) who inspired this thinks about it. If it were me I think I’d be equally flattered and embarrassed!

(via fallontonight)

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And we’ll always be friends forever. Won’t we? 

This makes me want to cry. As I’m about to move almost 700 miles away from my friends, I’m realizing that nothing lasts forever… even friendships.

And we’ll always be friends forever. Won’t we?

This makes me want to cry. As I’m about to move almost 700 miles away from my friends, I’m realizing that nothing lasts forever… even friendships.

(via rustykittens-deactivated2013043)

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Get in my house.

Get in my house.

(Source: whiskeysoaked, via nolalovely)

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felicity-avenal:

Use your long hair to wake up your flatmate.

I was just waiting for this to become a gif. So perfect!

felicity-avenal:

Use your long hair to wake up your flatmate.

I was just waiting for this to become a gif. So perfect!

(via fuckyeahwhatafuckingmess)