Sunday, January 31, 2010


Um, Northwestern? What part of "We're giving all our money to Haiti right now" do you not understand? Seriously. I can appreciate the effort you made in calling me and pretending to be interested in my career, but sorry. A bunch of rich kids in clubs do not compare to the orphaned, the diseased, the already poor. And I know, not everyone at Northwestern is rich. I mean, I went there, for god's sake. But everyone at a private school in the United States is doing better than the earthquake victims. Hit me up next year.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Same as it ever was

I was chatting last night with someone who had been a very close friend half a lifetime ago. I barely even recognize that time in my life now. And I hadn't talked to him, really, since I'd gotten here. Things had gotten kind of dramatic between us in that sort of unspoken boy-girl way. So for the past decade or so, we exchanged a few occasional e-mails, but we couldn't get a good rhythm. The closeness was very clearly gone.

And last night I thought, hey, he used to be really important to me. And here he is on Facebook, so I'll chat him and just say hello. But then we started really opening up and I asked him why we weren't friends anymore. I mean, I thought I knew the answer, that he had done something to piss me off that I was graciously forgetting.

It turns out that it started with something I had done 14 years ago. He was unhappy, and I started trying to fix his life. I thought that maybe he was gay, and if he could just figure it out, he could be really happy. I'd had a couple close friends come out not too long before I met him, and they were transformed by it. And I thought, here's this gift I can give this guy. It was ultimately closed-mindedness masquerading as open-mindedness.

So he really thought about it. It confused him. And I dropped it after a while, but I had been so sure about it in the beginning that it stayed with him for a long time. It ate away at him. And all this time, I had no idea. So I apologized. I really had done it out of love, out of a desire to make him happy.

But then I realized I'm still doing the same shit today. I haven't tried to out anyone in quite a while, but I still try to force happiness on people. I just want people to be so happy so badly that I end up steamrolling over them sometimes. And yes, I know it's counter-intuitive and jacked up. I just hope that people won't wait 14 years to tell me anymore.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I haven't much today

Someone else's negativity is sort of bringing me down. But I don't want to add negativity to the sum total in the world. So I'll leave that topic. Moving on.

Jeffrey and I had to break down and buy a new computer this weekend. His old one had been eating his music data for years. Really, for years I've been telling him to get one. But he always put it off. And then it ate his data one last time.

As I was chastising him once again for waiting so long, I said, "I wonder what it is about waiters like you that attracts you to doers, like me."

And he said, "Maybe we're the only ones who can put up with you!"

Probably he is right. Today I asked Paul, another in my life who, shall we say, moves deliberately, why our types are drawn to each other, even as friends. He said, "We give you something to do."

And I say, thank goodness for those who give me something to do. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

A night of television

Day 2 of a 3-day weekend has been rainy and lazy and is ending with some television. First off, is everyone on The Golden Globes drunk or high? Of course, I will feel really bad when I find out that Harrison Ford has had some kind of stroke event or something. But come on. Ricky Gervais is supposed to be awkward; it's his shtick. But you, Felicity Huffman? What's going on?

Then we flipped over to Big Love. It's the show about polygamists on HBO. It's fairly compelling. Right now the oldest daughter is splitting from the fold and marrying a nonbeliever. She's a nonbeliever herself, really. The big drama tonight was whether she would get married in the Mormon church or in another church. Well, she didn't get married in a church at all.

And of course, I believe just like she does. I wear it like a badge, really. I gave up  Christianity at the age of 9. And for the first time tonight, 25 years later, I realized that I must have broken my mom's heart that day. I remember talking to her up in the room I shared with my sister, saying, what makes you believe that stuff is true? Just because the bible says it? She said that she had faith in it, and I just couldn't understand that.

I've always thought I was just so smart when I thought about that day. And I mean, it's not like I can go back and change it now. I can't believe in something I don't just because it would make my mom happier. And hell, I don't even know how much she believed in it; we never went to church, and she had converted to Christianity when she married my father. Maybe that's why she didn't fight me at all on it.

But for the first time I'm realizing, in real terms, how hard it must have been to be my parents, for the very personality traits that I'm so proud of.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A couple bits

OK, first something that kind of makes me crazy: When people use uncommon words unnecessarily and imprecisely. A wire story yesterday characterized the flow of aid workers in Haiti as nascent. And I was like, really? This flow of aid workers was JUST BORN? Nascent has the same root word as prenatal, having to do with birth. It just doesn't fit. How about just new? Or newly arrived?

Anyway, sorry for the rant. And yes, I am fully aware that I am part of the problem.

Moving on. If you're like me, you're reading a lot about Haiti, to a point. I wish I were a doctor who could go down there and help, but also I should be honest with myself. If I were a doctor with a practice, would I take the time out to go down there right now and help? Or would I easily come up with excuses why I couldn't? All I've done so far is read about it, feel bad, be pissed and give money. And only one of those things does anything, and it's questionable how much it even can do right now, given their difficulty with infrastructure. I mean, I've done this before. I'm a money giver, and I know it's the easy way out. It assuages my guilt and lets me live this incredibly spoiled life in which I do not question where my next meal or super-clean glass of water comes from. A life in which a bowl of food sits on the dining room table getting soggy because I just wasn't in the mood for the rest of it. It lets me forget who I wanted to be.

Anyway, that's enough of that. This internal gazing doesn't help, either.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Money, money, money, money

I think money is the most personal thing, even moreso than sex. I know that's probably odd, but I would rather talk about sex than about money. I mean, I'm not likely to talk that openly about the specifics of either, but sex *just* edges money out in that revelation race. I think it has to do with how we value ourselves, after we leave the obvious esteem shelter of grades.

I've thought about this today because of The Great TV Purchase of 2KX. We ended up spending a little more than I had hoped to, which was a compromise. We did extensive research, and the set we bought fit our needs (LCD for video games) and was a good brand in terms of reliability (Samsung) and the model was recommended by Consumer Reports. So we decided to get it. And I feel OK about it, I guess. (See? No specifics.)

The weird thing was the desire I felt to buy a second flat-screen, for the guest bedroom. It was so strong! But we don't even watch that TV. I'm the one who spends the most time in there, and I *never* turn the TV on. And it still works. And I don't care about image quality. I would happily watch movies on the iPod Touch.

But here I wanted to spend this money, on top of the OTHER money that we just spent. And you know, we probably technically could afford it, but why was I being overwhelmed by the feeling? I don't even want it!

So then I got home and decided that maybe I should turn on the TV to see if I really wanted a new one. I flipped around and landed on Suze Orman. I know a lot of people hate her, but I'm not sure why. Though I never ever watch her (she being on TV and all), I kind of dig her when I do. I think she says a lot of smart things. And she was talking tonight about women's emotional problems with money. And hoo-boy, do I have that. My family was poor, so I feel incredibly guilty for what we have, on top of feeling incredibly grateful, as well as wondering if it will be enough.

But I've decided that I've had enough of all this anxiety about money. My friend Julie recommended a book to me years ago, and I finally bought it on Amazon tonight: Your Money or Your Life. I'm going to choose life.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The return of snidbits

Or, slightly longer than a status update, but less ponderous than the normal pap.

1. So, OK, I'm back to doing all the hippie sh*t. When I threw in all the blacks last week with regular detergent, they wound up with some white crap all over them. I ended up having to wash them 5 times. Seriously not worth it.

2. A friend and I were discussing unrequited hate today. It started out as a joke, a little clever word play, but my brain is still chewing on the concept. I guess unrequited hate makes us feel bad because when we hate a person, the decent thing for them to do is to return the enmity. But when they don't, they're better than us. And that sucks.

3. Our main TV died. We bought the 36-inch CRT behemoth 3-4 years ago on Craigslist, or as the older media refer to it, the "online classified ad Web site," Don't even get me started. At any rate, it's heavy like a piano, and now has no picture, also like a piano. So I put it back on Craigslist, free to a good home. A mobile TV repair guy came and picked it up. He only turned out to be a repair guy; he didn't say that when he asked if he could come have it, to which I replied with great enthusiasm. Anyway, he offered to fix it, but I really just wanted it out of our home. Why keep reviving obsolete technology? Plus, the sh*t was heavier than William Taft. I'm happy to be rid of it.

4. However now that begins the painful process of a Major Purchase. Tackling such a task alone is difficult enough, but reaching agreement is nigh impossible. We've done tons of research, asked friends, checked prices, looked at ratings charts. My head is pretty much spinning at this point. In fact, I just jumped over to Consumer Reports, and now I'm wondering if the one we decided on is the right one for us. Oh man, Jeffrey's going to hate this.

That's all I got right now. And it's cold, which makes me remember that I can't move back to Iowa.