Monday, December 24, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

everyone should just give cookies for christmas

I like to read this columnist on, Cary Tennis. The best thing about his advice is that I often have no idea what angle he's going to take in response to a question. Take, for example, this woman who wrote in a while back: The gift exchange in her family has turned into kids asking for gift cards and instead of putting what they want on the list, it turns into a list of what they don't want this year. It saddens her that she doesn't have the opportunity to pick out something special for her family anymore and now the whole thing just sort of really blows.

As I was reading it, I was all Yeah, what she said! Gift-giving sucks these days! Everything is all hype and commercialized! Down with shopping! But then I
read his response, of which here is a snippet:
"Where, I ask you, are they supposed to find the values that you are talking about? Sure, parents can try to teach them these things. But kids look at their parents, and then they look at the world, and they go, What the fuck? They see the toys spewing out of the world's vast maws of plastic-mold technology, they see the microchips doubling in speed and know that in a year they will be faster and faster still, and tinier and tinier still, and more feature-rich too. They see the new dresses and the new videos, and they know they'll be changing faster than they can change their own clothes. And then they look at their parents, who seem to be moving in black-and-white slo-mo. How can they feel anything but pity and scorn? How can they have any confidence that their parents will even survive the acceleration? In fact it must frighten them that their parents seem so ill-adapted to the world that parents themselves have created."

Suddenly I found myself thinking about how my parents never read this blog because they have dialup and it's such a hassle to get online and then if someone calls the house, they're bumped off and it's totally not worth getting broadband for them because they likely won't use it. What also came to mind was how my dad insists on watching television "live" and won't allow us to start late and fastforward commercials, even though many of the programs are on Indian channels, which aired YESTERDAY over there, so it's really never live for us at all. And my parents aren't even old yet!

So then I was all Right on, Cary Tennis! I have way too much crap in my house, too! I don't need any more things! Everyone should just give
heifers for the holidays! Gift cards aren't such a bad idea! Because if I get run down by another shopping cart at the mall I'm going to kick somebody! And people don't really like most gifts anyway! And anything I get my parents they're just going to be like, "oh you should have saved your money!" and likely it'll sit in the package for a year until I force them to open it. But then I find myself saying and doing the exact same things and I'm all pissed off that I'm turning into my parents. Then after all that, I start thinking about carving out time for one more trip to the mall this weekend to finish up what shopping I have left to do.

We got a lot of scrumptious cookies at the office this week. And there is a good possibility that I have consumed way too many of them today.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

no question is left behind

Today I will be answering Becky's contribution to my request for NaBloPoMo ideas back in October:

1. what's your favorite color, and why?

Right now, my favorite color is green. Mostly of the shades-of-grass variety. But I have been known to change it up from time to time.

2. do you miss the dungeon? even just a little?

Yes and no. I absolutely do not miss sitting around till sometimes 3 am in a tiny windowless cinderblock room. However, that gave me a lot of time with my thoughts and a great excuse to write lengthy emails to this guy who lived all the way across the continental United States and realize that he got me so much more thoroughly than anyone I'd met who lives in this county. I don't know if I would have given the idea of him and I a chance if I weren't trapped in that room so often or if I wasn't on such a late schedule that I could devote so much time to getting to know him because of the time difference.

Also, during that time in the dungeon was when I started this blog. I had been going through a very crappy situation that normally would make being alone with my thoughts an absolute nightmare, but because I had the downtime to troll around and find you guys, and the fact that some people seemed to want to read what I was writing, that time was actually therapeutic. The kindness-without-obligation and support helped me fix my broken heart (not to say the love I got from my real-life peeps wasn't totally and completely appreciated, too). I really miss the time I had to myself back then. These days, I rarely have a minute to just sit around and post or watch a movie with no interruptions. But it's not worth not having a life at all. And don't even get me STARTED about the parking.

3. what was the last thing you purchased at the grocery store?

String cheese. Frankly, I think I have a problem.

4. if you could go anywhere in the world, to visit or live, money not being an issue, where would you want to go, and why?

Everywhere! I got on a plane for the first time when I was two and I've pretty much never stopped thinking about where I might go next. I'm obsessed with culture, food and traditions, so I think I'd want to hang out with all kinds of people and learn about how they live and maybe write about it or take lots of pictures to share with people for whom money is an issue. A lot of the problems in the world today are because people are so trapped in their own little bubbles and don't take the time to see things from some other point of view. Some places on my going-there-when-I-have-the-money list are Iceland, Japan, Brazil, Ireland, Kenya, southern India, Mexico and South Dakota.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

it's all about leadership

"That Frank Caliendo even nailed the president's facial expressions! 'Just like Charles was in charge of those kids'! Bwahahahahahaa! I loved that show back in the day."

"I never wanted Charles to be in charge of me."

"Don't you worry, I'll be in charge of you."

"Um, thanks. But aren't you supposed to say something like 'no honey, I'd never want to be in charge of you.' ?"

"Why? I'd be benevolent dictator."

Monday, December 17, 2007

that's one hour i'm never getting back

Over the years, I'd heard people reference that film Mannequin; the one where Andrew McCarthy makes a department-store clotheshorse who comes to life as pre-Sex in the City Kim Cattrall. Sure, it's a stretch of a premise, but I suspended my belief and got it off my Netflix queue, because I'd heard it referred to as a "classic."

The movie was ridiculous, people. Kim Cattrall was supposed to be an ancient Egyptian trying to get out of an arranged marriage to a camel-dung dealer, but "The Gods" sent her all over the world for millennia, only to end up a mannequin who can only be seen by this one random guy. I pretty much watched the entire film on 1X fast forward with the subtitles on, and I'll admit to skipping a few chapters. I just wanted to see how it ended. And I've gotta say, I was pretty disappointed. My mom even got up and walked out of the room about 1/4-way through.

I'm not sure if everyone my age loved that movie back in the day because we were 11 or because people in the '80s were way more forgiving than I am today. It probably didn't help that the movie I saw right before it was Kate & Leopold, which had just as ridiculous a premise, but executed it slightly better.

But at least I can cross this off the list. What's funny is that I had much lower expectations of Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, but that one blows Mannequin out of the water.

Friday, December 14, 2007

office space

A few things we didn't know before signing the lease to this place:

a) The people downstairs give dance lessons. promptly at 3:15 yesterday, the lilting strains of "if you don't know me by now... you will nevereverever know me... OOOoooOOOO" started, then continued. On repeat.

b) neighbors who like to jump rope

c) neighbor who listens to voicemail on speakerphone every day after lunch

Thursday, December 13, 2007

hello my name is: confused

I've mentioned before that sometimes people look the same to me. Other times I think somebody looks like another person, but no one else around seems to agree. So today I decided to put it to the test. I'm not usually one for tests, but I recently was ridiculed for my constant confusion between Ryan Reynolds and Jason Lee, so I felt like I needed some validation.

I guess it's not as bad as I thought: I scored 94% (84th percentile) on the face recognition and 100% (93rd percentile) on the "verbal" (recognizing names in print). However, in recognizing objects, I only got 88% (55th percentile). However, I'm not really sure how scoring 20/20 still puts me at only 93. I also got 93% on the recognizing famous faces one and 94% on the regular-people faces.

still, i think everything would be a whole lot easier if everyone came with nametags.

Monday, December 10, 2007

bees and dogs can smell fear

Without going into the messy details, let's say that there once were some people who got overlooked in favor of something bright and shiny that turned out to be a big fat letdown at the end of the day. You know, kind of like how Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s character in Jerry Maguire was overlooked by his agent in favor of that guy (not Uncle Jesse) who married Rebecca Romijn. And let's say the agent never came to his senses in this particular scenario, so one of the people got fed up, took a stand and pulled a Jerry Maguire "Who's with me?" speech.

Well, I'm one of the ones who went with. And now I'm starting a new job and hoping for the best. It's not going to be easy, but I believe it was the right thing to do.

However, me and my eight-pound human head are still a little scared about it.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

i think my mom even has that sari

Back in October when 30 consecutive days of posting were glaring at me from the calendar, I put out a request for post ideas. Guyana Gyal suggested I let loose a stream of consciousness--with no editing*. I tried it a few times, but most of my consciousness streams are just spouty releases of my mental circus of neverending worry: How's the job thing going to work out? Is my brother going to make fun of the woolly socks I'm knitting him for Christmas? Will I be able to make my mortgage payments next year? Did I forget to set Pushing Daisies to record? Am I going to have to run for the bus again tomorrow morning? Are H and I going to have to move to Poughkeepsie to be in the same zip code? Are we out of oatmeal?

But I just watched a movie that liquified my already-chewy center, so I'm feeling a little more consciousness-streamy than usual. It made me cry the good cry. You know the one: when the tears slip down their tracks and make a puddle in the hollow of your neck. As opposed to the ones that fall off the side of your face and into your ears. I really hate those; they're uncomfortable. But mostly because things must be really, truly crappy if I've burrowed under the covers to let it all out.

It was the movie based on The Namesake, a Jhumpa Lahiri book I read years ago and adored, not just for the premise of not knowing where you belong (with which I identify very strongly), but because there weren't any flowery descriptions or clever setups; the author just said it how it was. And honest, that IS how it was for me. The extremely specific details snuck up on me like a fight scene from the Batman tv show. The author was just going along talking about these Indian people trying to get their footing in America and BAM! I recognized the nervous excitement from snapshots of my mom getting off the plane here in 1977. POW! I saw a freeze-frame from an auntie party in my own living room in 1995. WHAM! I heard a snide remark like ones I made to my friends back in junior high. I knew these things were coming, but I had no idea they would hit me so very squarely upside the head.

I gave the book to my mother and she identified with the characters too; mostly the parents' struggle to figure out what the heck they were doing when they got here and how to hold on then let go of their children after they'd sort of gotten an idea. However, other people have said the story was too typical. Cliche even. And that might be true; this is a land of immigrants. But aren't we all just writing about what we know and hoping somebody else will read it and get what we're trying to say? I know I am, most of the time.

One thing's for sure: I've never had a story capture feelings of my own experience so precisely that the glimpse of a mustache in the cold drawer of a morgue seemed so potentially familiar that my heart constricted in panic, if only for a second.

*Sorry, gg, I had to edit. The actual stream-of-consciousness version of this post didn't make no kind of sense.