Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
On the one hand: I hate asking for directions. For instance: this
summer when Mr. TA and I were on vacation in Vienna, at one point we
were walking around the same block multiple times, gawking at the map
and at the street signs, totally unable to find the architecturally
significant building we were looking for. A man came up and asked, in
English, "Do you need help finding something?" And I said "No,
thanks." Without even thinking about it. I think it's some kind of
desire to seem in control of things, and to avoid getting emmeshed in
a discussion with a stranger. Both very stupid reasons, I know!
On the other hand: when I see lost tourists in DC, I have a strong
urge to offer them directions. I like the idea that they will have a
positive interaction with somebody in DC.
BUT, is that really it? If I were them, I would not want me to offer
me directions. So by doing it, am I really just engaging in a power
trip, making myself feel superior to the dumb tourists?
I thought of this the other day and felt chagrined. So, the next time
I saw lost tourists I ignored them. This became harder and harder as
they walked around Dupont Circle in the same direction as me,
squinting at the street signs and asking each other, "Does this one
say New Hampshire Avenue? Does the next one say New Hampshire?"
Arghh! I could easily have told them which one was New Hampshire.
But then, they would eventually find it if they kept walking around
the circle. What do you think--should I offer tourists directions?
Or should I perhaps take this as a sign that I should not be so
stubborn about asking for them myself?
Monday, October 04, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
And I am not even feeling stressed out about work, and my office is pretty clean! What does this mean? I woke up feeling grateful that I don't have to come up with topics to write papers about anymore, so I guess that's a good insight.
Friday, September 10, 2010
and holy crizzap did it make me relieved that I don't actually have to
go back to school.
The tutoring program I volunteer at restarted after summer break, and
I got a new student since my last one graduated (sniff). It works
like this: the tutors sit on chairs pushed up against the wall of a
hallway, like we are waiting for a job interview or to get asked to
dance. The students who need tutors are in a room around the corner
with the coordinator. Every 5 minutes or so the coordinator comes out
with a student, calls out a tutor's name, and introduces them.
Last night I sat there for about half an hour until I got my student,
and by the end of this period it dawned on me that I was REALLY
nervous. Would we like each other? Would her parents like me? Would
I be able to help her? Would she have behavioral problems or a
learning disability? Would she get into college? Was there still
time to change my mind and leave?
And it occurred to me that this is only a tiny fraction of the
nervousness that I used to experience before a new school year.
Sometimes I have a hazy nostalgia for how the experience of going back
to school, how everything was new and it was like starting over, but
this was a helpful reminder that in fact many of those experiences
were SHEER TERROR and starting over SUCKED. Looking at the
back-to-school Ikea catalog is plenty of new excitement for me now,
Friday, July 30, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
4. "Twitter is limited to 140 characters or less."
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I am really annoyed by all this "Elena Kagan shouldn't have to disclose her sexual orientation" commentary. People who say this do not actually mean "disclosing her sexual orientation," they mean "disclosing that she is gay," and it only makes sense in a world in which people are punished for being gay. For instance, every married nominee brings their family to their confirmation hearings, to sit there behind them as huge blinking signs of heterosexuality, but nobody thinks that is TMI. If there were no homophobia, sexuality wouldn't be something to be "disclosed" or not; it would just be a fact that's out there about a person, like where they went to college.
And it does matter if she's gay. If she were gay and out, that would be excellent because the other Supreme Court justices would be forced to deal with the existence of at least one gay human being in their lives. (Not that "diversity" always makes them see straight--the two Jewish Justices were recently unable successfully to explain to 5 Christians that the cross is a symbol of Christianity.)
But if she were gay and closeted, that would be weird and disturbing. I mean, yes, there is homophobia in the nation at large which explains why many people do not come out, but girlfriend is from a pinko family in Manhattan, has moved exclusively in lefty East Coast circles her whole life, and is 50, not 20. If she had not found the courage to come out by now (or, put another way, she had decided to keep an important part of herself hidden all this time, maybe so as to limit the kinds of ammunition people could use if she were nominated for something someday) it would make me suspicious about her trustworthiness and priorities. Plus, closeted gay public figures tend to be totally delusional.
Of course, I am totally late with this post because this morning a good friend of hers gave an amazingly awkward interview to Politico to prove that Elena's straight. Sooooo very straight!! For instance, "Walzer recalled 'discussion about who she might be interested in – the usual girl talk stuff-- talk about how to get his attention.'" Ack! Maybe I want to modify my opinion here--the fact of your sexuality should not be "private"/hidden, but most of the details past that probably should be.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Flash-forward 10+ years to last Friday. I met a friend of a friend at a happy hour, and he was wearing a suit, and green cotton socks. My friend and I were pointing out the folly of this, and I said, "There's nothing wrong with those socks, but you should wear them with sweatpants, not a suit." He said, "If you wear sweatpants, you've given up on life."
OMFG! My entire ill-fated college relationship flashed before my eyes. If more than one person held this view, was it possible my X was RIGHT? I do not currently own any sweatpants--they have been replaced by flannel PJs with Ralph Wiggum on them--but the thought still haunts.
Luckily, my friend J is much smarter than me, and when I told her this story she immediately said that they must both have gotten it from the same source. "It was probably a Seinfeld line or something," were her words. A quick Google showed she was exactly correct: in the pilot of Seinfeld, George wears sweatpants, and Jerry says:
You know the message you're sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You're telling the world, "I give up. I can't compete in normal society. I'm miserable, so I might as well be comfortable."
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
(1) Done the first 3 days of P90X. Yes, it's that ridiculous EXTREME workout system you may have seen advertised on infomercials and this disturbing website! It involves a dude in a man-tank, wearing a lot of bronzer, saying "BRING IT" a lot! The DVDs include lots of plugs for a company called Beach Body and a line of "recovery drinks"! But dude, if I stick to doing even the majority -- even the plurality, really -- of 90 days of vigorously exercising for an hour a day, I will be in about 1000% better shape than I have ever been. I can tell it's working already because it hurts when I stand up from my chair. BRING IT!
(2) I made a tablecloth! Mr. TA got me a sewing machine for Christmas (because I ASKED for it, not because he thinks I should engage in lady activities, of course), but then I got kind of lazy about it, i.e. I didn't even open the box for a few months. But I was re-inspired by Dr. Frankenbaby, my dear friend who has somehow managed to make the adorable Baby E and raise her to the point where she can already sit up, while at the same time starting an awesome mommy blog in which she reprises, among other things, her highly impressive sewing and other DIY projects. I am realistic about my abilities, so while Dr. Frankenbaby takes on turning her Lab Partner's old shirts into adorable baby dresses, I started with the more accessible project of hemming a flat piece of fabric. And I did it! I forgot to take pictures -- maybe I'll do it later -- but it is really big (it's for when we use the leaves to extend the table, such as if we have more than 4 people over to eat), basically rectangular, and has (more or less) mitred corners.
Tune in next week when I fix global warming and get Obama's agenda passed. BRING IT!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Pacino (now): Frizzy-haired, craggy, gaunt, looks exhausted.
De Niro (now): Kind of pudgy face, looks amused.
But! In the Godfather II days, it was all bass-ackwards:
Pacino (then): Smooth-haired, smooth-faced, looks like he used to have inner peace but now it's under siege.
De Niro (then): Good cheekbones, attractive, looks like a moral man forced by circumstance into a life of crime.
If you were going to pick which young guy would grow up into which old guy, you would totally switch them around. See, I'm not just ignorant about classic actors (or Italian-Americans)--it's just that my understanding of them is deeper than everybody else's.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Anyway, I am very happy to report that I am close to achieving the thing I yearned for but did not accomplish during my month off between jobs in December: boredom. When I was little my brother and I got bored all the time and would follow my mom around, asking her what we should dooooooo. I hadn't felt that for about 25 years, so at first I wasn't sure it had returned. But in retrospect, it is clear that the first twinges set in today when Mr. TA and I walked to Target to buy toilet paper even though there are zillions of closer places to get it, just so we'd have a longer walk and more stuff to look at once we got there. It intensified this afternoon when we did our taxes--the first time ever they have gotten done before April. And just now we played a board game (they're not called that for nothing!) Yay, boredom!
The question is, what happens after you get bored? Do you watch dumb TV to prolong the experience, or try to end it quickly by taking on a bigger project (cleaning closets, reading a novel)? Mom, what should I doooooooo?
Thursday, February 04, 2010
If not, then the message of the ad is: she was faced with a CHOICE and she made the CHOICE which others questioned but which was the right CHOICE for her. If that is the message they are cool with, then perhaps I have been misunderstanding things.
Friday, January 15, 2010
But the thing that has now gotten me off my butt to actually write something is my anger/disappointment at the Supreme Court's decision to ban cameras from the gay marriage trial in California. The majority opinion (by the 5 usual suspects) reads like this: The sweet people who advocated for Proposition 8 have already gotten picked on big-time by all the mean gays and their nefarious supporters. Now the gays have brought this big mean divisive lawsuit, and the Prop 8 suporters will get picked on way more if people can watch them testify. We don't like cameras in the courts anyway, and particularly not when the public is interested in what's going on in there. Oh, and in case there's any confusion, we think the district court judge is bending the rules for the plaintiffs, and he will probably continue to do so up to and including when he rules that there's a Constitutional right to gay marriage, and we will not hesitate to smack him down then either.
As Slate pointed out, it's totally reminiscent of Bush v. Gore--5/9 of the Court is sticking their hands into an issue they would normally never get involved in because they don't like the political outcome, and then pretending like they don't have any choice but to get involved (certiorari what?) and to call 'em as they see 'em, even if they've never called it this way before and never will again. It's aggravating that, as in that case, the dissent is super polite about it and doesn't just lay it out there that this is what's going on. Not that it would do any good, but it would be more satisfying to read.