Category Archives: conversations

It Is What It Is, or How to Annoy My Friend

The other night, I was chatting with my friend, and for reasons that must have made sense at the time, I said “it is what it is.”

I learned very quickly the ire this phrase brings forth in my friend when he adamantly scolded “Never use that phrase again!”

I don’t know about you, but one of the many reasons I could never be in an organized hierarchy, like the military, is because my first response to orders is to ask why while plotting how to repeat my offense. Or at the very least irk whoever is attempting to command me.

But since this was my friend, I decided to simply ask why before I began plotting.

His argument is that the phrase’s redundancy renders it meaningless. “Of course it is what it is,’ my friend said. ‘You don’t say the car is a car because what else would it be?”

And I can see his point. The phrase is tossed around to appear intelligent or deep (another of his points). But that isn’t how I use that phrase most often.

One of the ways I use the phrase is in affirmation of the trueness of something. I’ve found that often people and things do not always act in the way they are designed or intended to. People can be unspeakably horrible to one another and we call them inhuman. This would be un-true in my head.

More frequently I use the phrase as a sign of my resignation to events beyond my control. It’s a kind of reminder to myself that there are moments in life that I cannot control, so I need to not worry or stress out over them.

And maybe my use of the phrase is laziness or lack of creativity with spoken English (I am a writer and reader and not a speaker). But I find it meaningful, and really, that’s all that I care about. What else is language for but communication, and who else do I have to communicate with more often than myself?

So I’ll continue to use the phrase for myself, and I’ll smirk at the way it would annoy my friend. But I will probably be more hesitant when I utter it, because my friend’s point holds true – it is redundantly meaningless. Whether I use it intentionally around him will depend greatly on how mischievous I’m feeling in that moment.

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People Sketch #1: Munchkin

Munchkin: My name for my sister (who is absolutely fantastic and one of my favorite people).

The other day while we were visiting a church my cousin sometimes goes to and meeting some of her friends there my sister began talking about a band that she likes.

They’re called Sleeping Giant. (I’ve never heard them, I couldn’t tell you what they sound like).

I will never forget the name though, because in answer to the question “Sleeping Giants or Sleeping Giant?” Munchkin thinks a moment and says:

“Sleeping Giant. Just one. My friend was talking about them, and I said, ‘Sleeping Giants?’ and he said, ‘No, without the “s.”’ So I said, ‘Oh, Leaping Giants’ and he just laughed.”

And then we all laughed. I laughed because this story, including me retelling it here, completely exemplifies Munchkin and her logic. First of all, in her head taking the “s” off “Sleeping” is still the most logical solution. And secondly, it is completely within the realm of normal to share this with a person she’s known for 10 minutes so that they can know the name of a band.

And then, the next day she walks up the stairs and with no context says, “Remind me not to tell people I’ve just met embarrassing stories.” This caught my cousin, who wasn’t there for the first telling of the “Leaping Giants” story, completely off-guard, so Munchkin has to tell the story again. And then we all laughed again. Our cousin laughed about it long into the night and even today was still randomly laughing about.

And then while I was writing this, Munchkin reminded me that I should include the last paragraph. Munchkin’s pretty awesome.

M.A. Project “Continuing the Conversation”

After all this time researching, complaining, writing, avoiding, editing, and drinking more coffee than can possibly be good for a human I have finally finished my M.A. Project*.

My project basically argues that the communication technology available today is blending the lines between author and reader. This isn’t a bad thing. So I hope you enjoy it!

Continuing the Conversation (heads up – it’s a Microsoft Word .doc)
Creative Commons License
Continuing the Conversation: How Communication Technology Impacts Traditional Roles by Chandra Jenkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License

I have to thank Cory Doctorow and Scott Sigler because my project couldn’t have worked without them. And if you’re a neglected family member or friend, I owe you way more than a thanks on my blog!

*Yes, it is basically a thesis. Yes, there is a really boring, technical reason why the English Deptarment at CSUF can’t call it a thesis. No, I don’t really know what that reason is.

favorite book moments

This will have to spread out over a few posts because I probably won’t remember all of them, and I’m sure I’ll add more as I read more. This comes from a conversation that I had with a friend about moments that stand out to me in books. Since I read obsessively, there are many moments that I’ve read that stand out in a way reminiscent of my lived memories.

So the first favorite moment comes from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. {Side note: It should be the third book, but since most of the publishers annoyingly number by the story chronology, it is often number 5}  There’s a character named Eustace Scrubb and he is obnoxious through the first part of the story. Like super obnoxious. Most of the story takes place on a ship (hence voyage) and the first time I read it, I wanted to throw him overboard. That was until the middle of the story.

See Eustace turns into a dragon and while the mean part of me thought he deserved it for being such a jerk, he’s so miserable that I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for him. And I felt really sorry for him when everyone starts to get ready to leave the island they were on because they would have to leave Eustace behind, and I don’t like for people to be alone.

So here comes my favorite moment.

Eustace meets Aslan and Aslan tells him that he needs to take off his dragon suit so that he can get all cleaned up. So Eustace begins to peel off his dragon skin, but he can’t quite get enough of it off. So Aslan offers to help, and Eustace lets him. Aslan pulls off almost his entire dragon covering in one go, and Eustace goes through a lot of pain, but it’s the kind of pain that helps him to grow. And he even helps pull of the bits that he can despite his pain because he knows that this is the only way that he can stop being a dragon and reconnect with his friends.

I love this part because I know I have much that I hold onto that I don’t really like simply because I’m too chicken to face the pain of letting it go. But when I read this part of Eustace’s story I feel that maybe I can face that pain too and come out better for letting all that other stuff go.

So there’s part one of my favorite moments in books. I’ll post another later.

Overheard conversations

I love listening to other people talk to each other. There’s a guy and a girl in the back corner of the coffee shop that I’m sitting in to supposedly do homework, and I totally got distracted by their conversation. They started by talking about music and they sound so pretentious. Like they’re so brilliant and they hold all the secrets to society. Then they moved onto phrases they’d picked up from shows and movies. He’s kinda dopey looking, with light brown hair that is short and rests flat on his head and in a black t-shirt, I think from a band or a movie. I can’t really see her without staring, but she has brown hair with the dyed red tint, a brownish suede looking jacket and is wearing jeans. The tone of their voices just sounds so ridiculously like the thoughtful tone acquired by those in movies who are poets or artists and work to make people think about their lives because they are so ‘thoughtful’. I know that I’m being quite judgmental, but I can’t help it. They sound like they should be wearing yuppie thrift-store clothes and sitting in a coffee shop in a movie debating the what the biggest downfall of society as we know it is. They should be in a movie from Kevin Smith. Apparently they’re 20 because they were just talking about how they want to be 21 because 20 is nothing and 21 they can go to Vegas and play the slot machines. They’ll find out soon enough that 21 and slot machines aren’t really that cool either and they’ll come back and sit in another coffee shop on another day discussing the faults of our society that their 21 and so much wiser selves will have found still exist and by the time they’re 25 they’ll be jaded and continue on their pretentious rants about the faults and shortcomings of the world we live in.


It’s funny, but they make me hopeful for tomorrow, because there will always be those who sit around in coffee shops and think that they, and they alone can see the world for the crappy place that it is and that by discussing its faults in coffee shops they’ll be that much better for it. I love how as we all grow we see that as much as everything changes, there’s still so much that’s consistent. Everything may change in the 21st century and maybe we have to be ready for it, but there will still be those things that are consistent. Because we all share some very common characteristics. It is these shared traits that make me hopeful for humanity in the long run, even the bad ones, because in these lie what guides us and provides the entry points for hope and salvation. As annoying as people can be, they are fantastic.