Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Growing Older

Now I find another reason I felt so terrible on Monday - good ol' fashioned hormones. I remember the days when I could predict my mood cycles, when things happened according to a fairly regular monthly schedule. Now I'm in my forties, and nothing is predictable.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Back in the saddle, again

I feel better.

Back at work after 4 days off wasn't so bad, either. I know that people think that having a blackberry/treo means that you are never away from work, but I find that it makes it easier to be away. I can check once or twice a day, see there is nothing urgent requiring my attention, and then not worry about it for the rest of the day. It helps, not hinders, my ability to disconnect. When I came in to the office today, after leaving here in the early afternoon last Thursday, I had only three new emails. About 50 others that I'd skimmed and not yet dealt with, but that's not as overwhelming as the returning to 53 completely unread messages.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I'm feeling low. Part of it is the slight hangover, part of it the usual "after-party" letdown ("can't believe it's over!"), part of it feeling depressed that only 2 friends came. The others, individually, had decent excuses (for the most part), but collectively it adds up to a pile of self-pity. Is it because I don't have that many close-close friends any more, just casual ones, for whom it's easy to cancel on an invite? My closest friend, whom I've known for over 30 years, is someone I write letters (the old fashioned kind) almost every day. We share the most intimate details of our lives with each other, but see each other only a few times a year.

I hope I feel better tomorrow. Right now the thought of going to work in the morning is too much. I want to crawl into bed and stare blandly at the TV, hand randomly punching at the remote.

Much better.

I feel decadent.

It's not working.


Forget blogging the Oscar telecast, or blogging the party circuit... how about blogging my feeble attempt to sleep it off? I managed to fall asleep again after the last entry, nearly a solid hour of blissful deep sleep, and then my upstairs neighbor woke up. Footsteps, back and forth. She just left, heralded by the sound of her slamming front door. Only twice this morning - sometimes it's three or four times, all so she can get it closed tight enough for the key to turn. (I used to cat-sit for the previous tenants and I learned that all you need to do is gently pull the knob toward you as you turn the key. I told her this three years ago when she moved in. When she was still speaking to me.)

After Oscar

I had a few drinks last night and felt fine, but I guess being in my own apartment masked the effects of the alcohol, because I feel really hungover right now. Possibly because I didn't go to sleep until 1:00 am and woke at 5:00 am. Sleep hangover, coupled with upset tummy from the rich foods I ate. Oh, and the vodka and triple sec and champagne. I need to go back to sleep now. I took today off just so I could do that, plus clean. Snow fell last night. I don't know how much. I want to crawl back into bed and wake up at noon.

Marty and the Oscar

I always thought living in New York City would be one endless film festival after another, like in all the Woody Allen films, where he's always lined up outside a theater that's showing some esoteric film or another. I'd actually be thrilled with a Woody Allen film festival. Not to say they don't happen, but it isn't quite how I fantasized; they are there, but not often, and you have to find them. One of the best I ever stumbled up on was a Martin Scorsese film festival at Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center, about 10 years ago. It was a series of paired films: a film that inspired Scorsese, followed by the film he created with that inspiration. I went to 3 or 4 of the showings, thought it was brilliant. Still remember some of his influences. I love "After Hours" by the way.

Congratulations, Marty, on your Oscar. Finally.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Edie, the Stasi, and Oscar

Yesterday I saw "Factory Girl." I don't have much to say about it; it was a slight, unaffecting movie. Given the subject matter, it should have been more riveting. I am very interested in the sixties and Warhol himself - was glued to "The Andy Warhol Diaries" when it came out in 1991. I loved seeing his factory brought to life in "I Shot Andy Warhol" a few years later. Now, is it me, has my interest waned, or is this just not that good a film? I really think it's the latter, sadly.

I was surprised to like Sienna Miller, not having seen her in anything but tabloids, which immediately makes me dubious of an actor's talent for anything but fame-whoredom. But she's good, and interesting to watch. I especially love her voice - it has a huskiness that kept calling to my mind Marlo Thomas, oddly. The character of Edie Sedgwick, though, isn't as interesting. You get the clothes and the scene and the drugs, but it comes at you pretty fast, and very much everything is on the surface. The movie wants you to feel sympathy for her, but it didn't succeed in evoking any, at least in me.

And then there's the Blech Factor, or as he's also known, Hayden Christiansen. When is he going to stop getting work? He's just brutally bad. The first time I saw him, in "Shattered Glass," I wondered if he were playing the character as mentally slow or slightly drunk, because of the way he mumbled his way through the part, only to learn from watching a few scenes of the Star Wars movies that that is how Christiansen speaks. I give the filmmakers of "Factory Girl" some credit for casting him as the quasi-Bob Dylan, where mumbling might be construed as a brilliant acting choice, but he's painful to watch. (Even during the much debated sex scenes with Miller.) Please, Hollywood, don't cast him in anything else that I might remotely be interested in watching.

* * *

I also saw "In the Lives of Others," which is a German film nominated for the Oscar for best foreign language film. It's been getting terrific reviews, and is very good, sort of a cross between a political spy thriller and "Rear Window." There isn't the claustrophobia of "Rear Window," though, where we spend the entire film inside the room with the wheelchair-bound Jimmy Stewart and those he spies on are in the distance; in this movie we move freely from the eavesdropper's attic room to the lives of the people he's been ordered to spy on. We even follow both him and his targets out of the apartment building and into the world. The story has enough twists and turns to keep you engrossed, and fine performances from the German cast. Both lead actors, Sebastien Koch and Ulrich Muhe, have long impressive resumes, although my experience with German film is sorely lacking, so I hadn't seen them before.

Here's a difference between a strong and a weak film - although I saw it a day earlier, I am still haunted by the dully furnished apartments of 1980's East Germany, and am interested in finding more (books, movies) about the time period.

Can "The Lives of Others" beat "Pan's Labyrinth" for the Oscar? I'm not sure which I would give it to. We'll have to see... tonight!

* * *

Tonight! I am hosting an Oscar party, although have been disappointed over the last week as one by one guests have cancelled. (Even my late second round of invites haven't resulted in anyone new - hopefully just because I reached out too late, not because the invitations reeked of desperation.) I've been planning this for weeks, and somehow the cool decorations I ordered online seem pathetic if, as expected, only three people show up. I'm trying to be upbeat about it, though. It's still a party, right?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Small talk

A work event last night, food and cocktails following. A small but friendly crowd, so easy to mingle and be pleasant and chatty without feeling overwhelmed. (We're talking about my own social anxiety here, folks, not that of the deal-makers for whom I arranged this event, who were in their element, but still likely wished there were more potential clients.) At one point I was standing with a couple of colleagues and two attorneys and the subject of global warming came up and I actually made an excuse to walk away as is started down the road of denial. Points for me, but seriously, aren't these people smart enough to know not to discuss political or otherwise charged issues in a business setting? Unless they assume that all highly-paid NYers are conservative Republicans. And maybe they are.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ah, Heroes

I don't write much about tv, although I watch my fair share of it. Not as much as I used to; that's both a conscious decision and a response to the lack of shows I'm actually interested in this season. I have a soft spot for competitive reality shows - "The Amazing Race," "Project Runway," etc. - shows where people compete for a prize by doing something they enjoy doing or have made a career of. (In some cases, like "Survivor" or "The Real World," both of which I've lost interest in lately, it's making a career of being D-list level famous.) I hate reality dating shows, night time "game shows, and celebrity "watch me" shows. ("The Osbournes" was brilliant because it was fresh and different, but even it crashed and burned in its second season, and I've hated every copycat I've sampled - the Jessica Simpson debacle, Whitney Houston & Bobby Brown, Danny Bonaduce, Anna Nicole, etc. (shows so interchangeable I don't know their actual names.)) "The Apprentice," which I used to watch faithfully because it was set in New York and continually featured locations and things I knew (twice filming in my neighborhood, twice in front of my office building), has become unbearable, and not just because it moved to gloss and slick LA.

So I have a handful of shows I watch regularly, and naturally, many of them are on at the same time, while hours exist without anything even remotely interesting. ("Remotely." Ha!) There is Monday night, with "Heroes" vs. "24" and Tuesday night with "House" vs. "Veronica Mars" and Thursday, with the head-spinning triple bill of "Survivor" vs. "The Office" vs. "Ugly Betty." (Solution: Tape "Ugly Betty," watch the first half of "Survivor" and then "The Office," switching back to "Survivor" during commercials. I can always watch "Survivor" on line if I need to fill in the blanks, but due to my waning interest in the show, that hasn't happened yet.)

I sat down to write about "Heroes," and three long paragraphs later, here I finally am. I didn't start out watching it, but a friend recommended the show about 5 episodes in, so I used the website and iTunes to catch up, and became quickly hooked. It's a fast-paced, well-dramatized show with an array of appealing characters and focused mystery arc. On the other hand, some of the characters' stories can be deadly dull (one more scene of Niki/Jessica and I'll throw something at the tv - since when is a multiple personality disorder a super power? I really hope that she gets "cured" of what is just a psychological disorder and retains her super-strength, and that turns out to be the real "heroic" specialness, not the dual personality thing.)

(Oh, this morning I am falling victim to parentheses.)

The other problem I have with the show is the inconsistent choices characters make to drive story forward. They do things that, if you stop and think about them, make no sense, yet you usually don't stop and think because you're riveted to the result. Let me be less cryptic. In an early episode, we have Niki, who has been portrayed as a fiercely devoted mother who is freaked out when she wakes up one morning to discover the mutilated bodies of two thugs lying in her garage studio. Her last memory was of the two, sent to her by a mobster whom she owes money, attacking her. So she takes her son and runs to a friend's, and eventually returns home. I may have the details slightly fuzzy, but here's the part that made me scoff, "No way!" She gets home, and, knowing that the mobster is still out to get her, probably even more out to get her now that she (or someone) has killed his men, sends her son alone into the house while she checks out the garage. Nothing happens to him, because the story wasn't about that, it was about what she sees when she goes into that studio alone, but she sent her son alone into a house that she had no way of knowing was safe. It really bothered me.

Little things like that seem to crop up regularly, and it makes me wonder if comic-style stories are just naturally more plot-focused than character-focused, and yet, the creators of the show seem to be proud of their strong character development. Here's another recent tidbit: a young girl, in search of her birth parents, tracks down her birth mother and pays her a visit. There is the usual (for tv) touching reconciliation scene, and of course the question of birth father arises. On a subsequent phone call, bio-mom announces she's found bio-dad, and guess what? He's coming to town to drop off some money for them. And then bio-mom is taken aback to hear the girl say she wants to meet him. Huh? Why would she be surprised, knowing how much the girl went through to meet her? Why would she even tell her that he was coming, if she didn't plan on letting them meet? Oh, yeah, because it forwarded the plot, in that the girl went over to bio-mom's house and spied on the couple's "reunion." Which led to another implausible moment: the bio-mom mentions the girl wants to meet him and he pauses, a moment so long you can hear crickets, and instead of jumping up and revealing herself, the girl continues to sit and hide, for no understandable reason than that she needs to hear him say that he doesn't think it's a good idea. So now we're set up for her to go on a quest to find him, even though she just had him, and gave up the opportunity to meet him for a reason that didn't exist until after she passed it up.

I really like the show, don't get me wrong, but wouldn't miss some of these contrivances. Too many and I'll start to lose interest and go back to "24."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hating the Post, still

This is why I hate the NY Post. How fucking misleading.

(Don't fear, the link doesn't take you to the Post's site. I wouldn't do that to anyone. It is a link to Gawker's identification of the polling firm that conducted an opinion poll that is splashed all over the tabloid's front pages: "Finish the job: Stay til we in in Iraq, says a new poll." The firm behind the numbers? A self-proclaimed "Republican polling firm." Not biased in the least, I'd reckon.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Wine, White, and Underwear

I started drinking a glass of wine with my dinner. It would be something to look forward to, possibly help me sleep, and is supposed to be good for you. Well, it wasn't, not for me. I do think it helped me sleep better, but it also made me throw all of my positive eating habits out of the window: one glass of wine and I can be convinced to have seconds (or thirds) of anything. I put on almost 3 pounds in the last week, and while I know that weight fluctuates (especially for us women who battle water retention), it's not something I am proud of. I'm supposed to be still losing - was only 7 pounds from my goal.

* * *

"Fatal Attraction" was on again at 4:10 am. Someone in HBO programming has a real sense of humor. In my repeated viewings (or partial viewings, as I don't usually watch all of it each time), I've really come to appreciate the set design of the film. Both Glenn Close's character's (Alex's) and Michael Douglas's character's (whatever his name is) apartments are mostly white, with very little color. Alex wears white all of the time - bathrobes, t-shirts, wrapped sheets. Towels on her bloody wrists. The other apartment is also very neutral, with very little color. The scene where Alex attacks Beth, his wife, is in a white bathroom with little color. Even Douglas himself (Dan, claims, but I swear I have no recall of his name) is always in muted colors - if it's a blue shirt, it's a dusty blue shirt. Their daughter Ellen wears big shapeless white t-shirts, so androgynous that the first few times I saw the movie I really thought she was a boy. The only color is in Beth's outfits, the greenery around their new country home, and of course, the blood.

But all in all a very pale film.

* * *

I love the new way that clothing manufacturers are printing garment info on the actual material, omitting the additional clothing tag (i.e., Gap and Banana Republic t-shirts, Victoria's Secret underwear.) More comfy, less scratchy. But I have managed to put my underwear on inside out three times in the last few weeks.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Not sure what the "restricted" deal was the other day with accessing this on the job, but it's no longer an issue. Or, I am being allowed to blog just so my employer can spy on me?

What's the diff?

Today civil unions are legal in New Jersey: all the legal benefits of marriage, without the title. There are people who think that it shouldn't matter, that there's no real difference, that everyone should be happy now. But I don't think they have thought it through. If there is no real difference, then why aren't they just being called marriages? If the name shouldn't matter to the gay couples, shouldn't it not matter to those who oppose their marriages? Of course it's not really about the name, it's about the intention behind the names - it's those who oppose gay marriage who give weight to the difference between "civil union" and "marriage" by denying the latter.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Communal Living

Ha - not only was the door nice secured when I left for the gym this morning, but a note was taped to the door of the party boy neighbor. Looks like somebody else in the building wasn't too happy with his escapades last night. I don't care about the noise (I know!) because everyone deserves to socialize a few times a year. (And, seriously, this guy does this maybe twice a year, always on a Saturday night.)

To give him credit, after I took off the tape and put up the note, he apparently gave up and went down each time someone rang his bell. I could tell by the slamming of doors and clomping of feet up and down the stairs. Still, rather would have the noise than no security. Last year I went out to the gym at about 8 am on a Sunday, and the door had been taped open all night. It freaked me out a bit, as you can tell by my reaction when it happened again last night.


I slept until after 7 today, a late morning for me. Likely because my adrenaline kept me up past midnight. I'm dreading leaving for the gym and discovering that the door was taped open again, and has been open all night. At least I can then work out my anger.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I have to fucking move.

One of my asshole neighbors has taped open the front door because he's having a party and is too lazy to go down the stairs to answer the door when his guests arrive. (We have no buzzer system.) I tore off the tape and put up a sign to the effect that he is putting the entire building's safety and security at risk but I'm too much of a wimp to knock on his door and say it to his face. (The music is blaring; not sure he could hear me.) The music doesn't bother me; my safety does. When I'm the first one out the door in the morning to the gym, I don't want to be surprised by some vagrant who walked in off the street to spend the night in our warm hallway.

Is this something I can call the police about, or would they think I was wasting their time?

I just noticed that my cable modem light is blinking. Great! My cable is out, too. I'm going to scream.

(It's done this about 6 times in the last three weeks. Goes out for 5 minutes, comes back on. I don't want to have to call the cable company again. I HAVE TO MOVE.)

Music, Lyrics, and Oscar

I spoke too soon. The sun was out today and it was warmer - maybe high 30's, maybe 40? - and the snow began to melt into big puddles. The snow banks are covered in dirt and mud.

I took a break from trying to see Oscar-nominated movies and saw "Music & Lyrics," because I like a silly romantic comedy as much as the next person, and Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore are two of my favorite in that genre. They didn't disappoint; they were their usual charming goofy selves. The movie is not great. Not much happens in it, and the pace is a bit slow. But it's not bad, either. What I like most about Drew Barrymore is that she's attractive and yet always a bit off - her hair is somewhat of a mess and her lipstick the wrong color and her nails short and too bright. She's not intimidating like other female leads of her generation - the Reeses and the Kates and the Renees. And of course I am always smitten by Hugh Grant.

I am having an Oscar party next weekend; have been planning it for several weeks. Today I had three people cancel, which is a major deal considering that I can only fit 8-9 in my apartment so have limited the invitation list. I'm trying not to be annoyed or take the cancelations personally, but it's hard. I spent the day making gift bags: movie candy, popcorn, CDs (I am buring a mix of movie songs I own.) I've bought some pretty cool decorations, too, including two Oscar statuettes that will be given out to the winners of the party pool... I know it will still be fun, but I hope now that I can get more people to come.
Cookies are from Eleni's - aren't they cool?

Friday, February 16, 2007


Snow. Not one of those typical NYC snowstorms where it melts in a few days as the temperatures bubble back up into the 40's, as we continue to be trapped in the teens and twenties for the next week. So the snowbanks stay, getting dirtier, but not much shorter. I don't mind it; as I've said before, since I don't own a car or property I don't have the responsibility of shoveling anything or driving anywhere. My biggest problem is that my boots track muddy, salty, sandy sludge into my apartment, my work cubicle, the gym locker room.

It was a day just like this, two years ago, that I sprained my ankle, stepping off a curb into a bank of snow, the snow obscuring how high a drop it was. (It is, I've seen every time I've walked there since, an unusually high curb.) Now I overcompensate, walking in wide circles around mysterious puddles and piles.

One of the saddest sights in these cold days is a lone glove lying, freshly dropped, on the sidewalk or street. Several times I have seen people ahead of me drop a scarf or glove or hat and if nobody else picks it up before I get to it (and they usually don't) I have been grabbing it and chasing down the poor soul who dropped it. As you would expect, most people are incredibly grateful, but yesterday morning I handed a glove to a teenager after practically running after him in a subway station, and he just looked embarrassed. Maybe needing gloves is just not cool enough for high school.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fatal Attraction

My insomnia, if that's the only thing I can call my inability to sleep past five, has taught me many things. One is that "Fatal Attraction" is on at 4:00 or 4:30 am fairly often. I guess it could help keep your mind off the fact that you can't sleep. (Unless of course you can't sleep because you are fixated on the idea that your partner is having an affair. Or someone is stalking you.)

Today there is a reason I was up at 4:15, and for once not because I fell asleep too early: my nocturnal next-door neighbor came home just then, wearing his snow boots. A year or so ago I left him a note asking if he could walk a bit more quietly when he came home from work (which seems to range from 2 am to 5 am), and it immediately got better. It's understandable that the current sloppy weather (snow, ice, slush) would necessitate wearing heavy boots, but I wish he would take them off before he gets into his bedroom (the room sharing a wall with my own.)

How I can I love living in the city so much and have a hard time with people living so close to me? I'm doomed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

This website restricted at this time.

Blogger is now a restricted site in my office, which I discovered when I tried to sign on today to post. Not that I'm on it every day at work, but I will miss the opportunity to jump on when I have time or inspiration. Hopefully my entries won't get less frequent...

I had wanted to write about a fun Valentine's Day sighting: early morning, walking to work, I passed a coffee/bagel restaurant. Inside near the window sat a man with a bunch of Valentine balloons tied to the empty chair next to him, and he was strumming a guitar. Of course I choose to think he was waiting for his date, not that he'd been stood up! Hopefully he/she was pleasantly surprised. Much more interesting than a box of candy or bouquet of flowers.

I'm deeply entrenched in a short story revision so this will have to be it for now.

Snow Day

Snow. We were told yesterday we could work from home today, or take the day off, whatever made sense for us and our job responsibilities. (I love being treated like an adult, which is the best thing about this job.) I am going in because I like being one of the few in the office; there's an air of lightness and celebration for those of us who braved the "elements," although most of us who show up aren't dealing with shoveling driveways or scraping ice off car windows, etc.

I slept really well last night. I dreamt that I was in my mother's old house with a group of random people who'd gotten trapped there, including Antonio Banderas. I'm not sure why him, as I don't think I've read or heard or thought of him in awhile. (See "random" above.) In the dream I was sneaking through the house trying to find where Antonio was sleeping so I could get into bed with him. And then, naturally, we'd have sex. But I kept running into people who were awake (my mother was in the kitchen) which just frustrated me.

Well, it is Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Movie Catch-up

I finished watching "Jesus Camp," but didn't feel much better about it. I suppose there is a liberal point of view, in the guise of regular commentary by a christian radio deejay who has major issues with the behavior of the current evangelical movement, and who challenges the actions of the children's minister near the end of the film. They don't come to agreement on anything, of course, although she does admit that she's "building an army" of young christians. Oh, joy! Nice to have more evidence that god-fearing, self-proclaimed "moral" people are ready to fight the rest of us to force us to follow their god. (During one scene at the camp, children are asked to scream out if they are willing to "die for jesus" - how far is that from suicide bombers dying for their religious beliefs?)

Enough of that. I hope Al Gore's movie wins.

Last weekend I saw "Pan's Labyrinth," which I had avoided because I don't like fantasy. It bores me. I never saw any of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (and never want to), never read the books, etc. The trailers for "Pan's Labyrinth" turned me off - weird creatures offering rewards for completing a challenge? A mystery involving a hidden world and a lost princess? Yawn.

So I would have skipped it, if it weren't 1)the only movie playing in my neighborhood theater I haven't seen, for four weeks running; 2)nominated for an Oscar (for Best Foreign Film); 3)recommended by someone whose opinion I trust, who promised it's not really about the fantasy. And he was right. The fairy tale story (literally, I'm afraid, as there really are fairies) was only one part of the movie, which is set against the backdrop of Spain just after WWII (and their own Civil War.) That is the real story of the film, which is violent and bloody and scary, and presents an evil more terrifying than any that exist in the fantasy world. It's a really good movie (although I had to cover my eyes during several of the more graphic scenes.)

"The Pursuit of Happyness" is another I had decided to skip, as it looked too sentimental and predictable. Happily (or is that "Happyly"?) it wasn't. Yes, there is a protagonist who faces incredible obstacles, but thankfully the standard (boring) story arc is ignored - things happen haphazardly, sometimes getting worse when you thought they would improve, sometimes surprising you with small victories at unexpected times. Nothing about the adversity he faces seems manufactured for the plot, nor do his successes seem out of left field. Throughout, Will Smith plays the character as someone who is smart, likable, and skilled at connecting with people, and so when he does succeed, it's clear that it's because of his easy charm and his smarts.

It's hard to explain why I liked the movie without giving much away, but here's just a small spoiler: Smith's character is sharing a cab with the man who he needs to convince to interview him for an elusive internship. The man is unsuccessfully attempting to solve a Rubik's Cube, and Smith offers to show him how to do it, which he manages to do after several sweaty minutes. In a lesser movie, the executive would immediately announce that Smith has the interview, and the audience would feel rewarded. But not in this film - the guy is impressed, but gets out of the cab, leaving Smith's character with a fare he can't possibly pay. So we have a character who does everything that movie logic tells him he needs to do to reach his goal, but the film chooses to follow real-life logic, in which things are much more complicated. Does Smith eventually get the interview? Yes. But not when we expect it, which is what I found so refreshing.

I also have long had a crush on Will Smith; I was an early fan of "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (which is currently syndicated on at least 4 cable channels.) It was easy for me to fall for his charm again. I don't think he's deserving of the Oscar for this role, but am glad he was nominated.

My pick is still Ryan Gosling in "Half Nelson," who has absolutely no chance to win, but is at least in the running. My opinion is skewed, though, as the other Best Actor contenders are in films I haven't seen: "Blood Diamond" (Leonardo DiCaprio), "Venus" (Peter O'Toole), and "The Last King of Scotland" (Forest Whitaker.) For the Oscar pool, I'll go with the odds-on favorite (Whitaker.)

(Blogger spellchecker really wants me to capitalize "christian" and "jesus," which just makes me not want to more.)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day, Early

I feel like I've been extra bitchy in this blog lately, and I guess I haven't been in such a great mood these past weeks. Part of it is this realization that so much of my time is taken up doing things to keep my life in motion - working, going to the gym, cleaning, shopping, eating, running errands. It seems endless and, sometimes, pointless. When I'm done what do I have but more to do to keep it going? I think it's different for those of us who live alone, whose intermittent moments of freedom are not usually saved to spend with someone special.

Is this pre-Valentine's Day self-pity? Maybe. I don't usually feel sorry for myself for being single. I've been single for so long that it is the norm, which has become one of the impediments to ever changing it - I'm so used to doing things by myself that I don't feel a driving urge to find someone to share them with. I know I have to make a real effort to get out there and meet someone, but I'm usually fairly happy alone so the idea of actually putting myself out there is daunting. Easier not to.

A co-worker of mine (who is at least a decade younger) had a blind date on Friday night and the rest of the "girls" were all over her with advice and good luck wishes. My only thought was that she should try not to come off as so desperate, because she really is desperate to find a man and not be alone, and it shows in every interaction I've seen her have. I've never wanted to be that kind of woman, but I suppose the result is that I haven't allowed myself to care enough.

Ahhh, early morning self-analysis. What more could one want?

Friday, February 09, 2007

I'm already sick of it.

While I think anyone's untimely death is sad, I'm already recoiling from the overload of media attention to Anna Nicole Smith's death, and my first response is to not care. I don't really think a long news conference with the medical examiner is worthy of live CNN coverage, nor does it seem the kind of thing that three or four people need to leave their desks to go stand and watch. I know I have different ideas of entertainment than most.

I also recoil from comparisons of ANS to Marilyn Monroe, although this whole "untimely death" thing is going to cement that forever. But I never would have pegged ANS as Marilyn's heir apparent. I suppose during her time Marilyn's exploits, now considered tame, were as sensational, but I still can't believe she would have been as, well, trashy as ANS if she had been born 40 years later. I have a special soft spot for Marilyn - I was born 6 weeks after her death, and as a child I used to fantasize that I was her reincarnation. Yeah, I'm not blonde or bombshell-ish or an actress or anything, but I was drawn to her, to the fragility of her life. Yes, I was a moody teenager.

The person who can't help but feel grateful (and guilty) about all of this? Lisa Nowak. What a way to escape being the center of the media's attention.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


I admit that I have no patience with people whose opinions are diametrically opposed to mine. I don't want to try to figure out their reasoning when it appears to be non-existent, or at least illogical or uninformed. My typical response as of late is to walk away, turn the page, change the channel.

I tried watching "Jesus Camp" the other day, because it had been recommended to me, plus it's nominated for an Oscar so is on my "list." The movie, if you're unfamiliar with it, is a documentary about an evangelical summer camp for children. It's filled with scenes of young children talking in tongues and sobbing out their love for jesus while adults look on with pride. There are also interviews with the kids and their families, and glimpses into their home life.

I found it very difficult to watch, because of how often they infuriated me. Not so much the camp's evening revivals (I actually attended a similar camp when I was 17 - that's a story for another time I suppose) but scenes where the parents were shown "teaching" their children. For example, a mother who is home schooling her son tells him that "some people" think that because the average temperature rose less than a degree last year, that proves the existence of global warming. Of course, she tells the boy, that is ridiculous, and he happily agrees. But then she uses this one idea to decide that the entire concept of global warming is fabricated, something she announces to her son as fact.

It's so illogical I can't stand it. No scientist would ever look at one year's temperature fluctuation and interpret it as meaning anything on its own. So here of course we all agree! But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't consider that a pattern of annual temperatures over time might actually result in a more scientific conclusion. It's like testing one woman for HIV and, upon finding she doesn't have it, deciding that all women won't get it.

I don't know why I think that raising kids with bad science (or lack of respect for scientific methodology) is worse than raising them to think all their friends who haven't accepted jesus are doomed, but I do. Maybe because I can't claim to have scientific proof that their religion is wrong (lack of proof that it's right isn't the same thing), but have respect for the facts that others have exhaustively researched about the health of our planet.

I was tired when I watched it, and after my moment of fury over the stupid mom (who of course is home schooling - not that I think all home schooling is wrong, I have friends at the other end of the home schooling spectrum, liberal hippies), I started to doze off. I pulled myself awake long enough to turn off the DVD and the TV was tuned into Nickelodeon, specifically an episode of the new series "The Naked Brother Band." It's a show starring two real-life brothers (9 and 13) who have a band; their real-life musician dad co-stars and their real-life actress mom writes and directs. Of course it didn't take me too long to doze off again, into that state where my eyes kept fluttering open, pretending I was aware of what was on the screen. Only in my version, the Naked Brothers were not singing but wailing in tongues, screaming out their love for jesus.

"Jesus Camp" has been accused of having a liberal bias, so I supposed if I continue to watch it, there might be something to provide an alternative point of view to what's being portrayed. Or maybe people just felt that the way the kids were portrayed was making fun of them, exaggerating their weirdness, etc. I don't know. I'm not sure I want to finish it, though, because I hate seeing another child's mind being twisted by his or her grossly under informed parent. ("See, Johnny, nobody can accurately count exactly how many Jews died in the Holocaust, do you know why? Because it never happened! Otherwise why all the confusion? Right?") Like I said, I know I can't argue with them, so I just want to walk away.

The irony is that "Jesus Camp" is up against "An Inconvenient Truth" for best documentary feature.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pause. Start. Pause. Start.

Is this for real?
A state senator from Brooklyn said on Tuesday he plans to introduce legislation that would ban people from using an MP3 player, cell phone, Blackberry or any other electronic device while crossing the street in New York City and Buffalo.

Let's ignore the "and Buffalo" for a minute. Do you know how many times I've almost been hit by a car careening around a corner into a crosswalk, only to see the driver with one hand on the wheel and one on his or her cell phone? Isn't that already illegal? Why isn't anyone cracking down on the drivers? They are much more dangerous than the pedestrians around them. And, seriously, does this mean you'd be expected to hit "pause" on your iPod every time you came to an intersection? That's crazy.

Okay, so why Buffalo? Is there something I don't know about Albany or Syracuse or Ithaca or Poughkeepsie that makes their pedestrians immune to accidents? Do they teleport across the street in those cities?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Eat me

Yesterday was an eating disaster. I never understand how I can be in a major US city (other than my own) and find that there are no meal options that I can eat. I'm not a vegan, guys. I eat fish, for god's sake. And yet I am in a business meeting, organized by a colleague, with high quality catered boxed lunches from Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express and she has ordered three choices: ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, and pesto chicken. I guess it's my fault for not alerting her to the fact that I don't eat meat or poultry, but it's not usually an issue at a corporate lunch as there is usually tunafish, if not some kind of veggie or cheese sandwich. Seriously, the biggest problem I have in NYC is having the other meeting attendees taking all of the tuna or veggie sandwiches before I get to the table.

It's nothing compared to the airports. Three different sandwich places, all with meat. Two had salad selections - a chef salad with ham and turkey, or chicken caesar. Of course none of these places is making the selections fresh, on site, so you can't put in a special order. I found a place that had sad-looking greasy pizza under a warming light, but seriously, I was afraid to eat a slice before getting on a plane because of what it might do to my stomach at a time when access to a rest room would be limited.

I could have bought a chef salad and thrown out the meat, as I had earlier picked the ham out of my lunch sandwich, but the thought of paying for something I wasn't going to eat seemed silly. And so for dinner I had peanut butter crackers and potato chips, fresh from the newsstand.

You see, on American Airlines now, even after you pay several hundred dollars for a two hour flight, you don't get fed. Not even a peanut. Oh but you can purchase, for three dollars, a cookie or a bag of granola and fruit or a bag of M&Ms. Does the $3 make or break them? Of course not. You can add $3 to my fare if you'd like, because then I wouldn't see it and wouldn't care. But not every passenger would agree, I guess.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sunday night

The cold is getting to me, more than previous years. Less body fat I suppose. I don't want to do much at all, not even stay in the warm apartment and clean. Curl up in bed and read, yes. Typical mid-winter doldrums.

I saw two movies this weekend: "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Pursuit of Happyness." I'll write about them tomorrow. I'm tired now, and have to get up insanely early to catch a flight out of town for a meeting. One day, two flights, 1800 miles.
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