an utterly random discussion

Friday, July 30, 2004

The answer

Well I've given it some thought and here are the songs I would choose if I had to be "played in" to the Fleet Center, a la John Kerry:

and my personal favorite:
My only real problem with some of these is that they're masculine (The BOYS are Back, Rubberband MAN...) but that's a minor detail. Also they're all overexposed (except for Makin' It, but then maybe there's a good reason for that...) again, minor detail.

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Odd choice

Did it strike anyone else as odd that Kerry chose to make his big entrance to No Surrender? I'm as big a Bruce fan as the next guy but that song would not even have made my short list. It aint exactly hopeful.

The last few lines of the song go like this:

Now on the street tonight the lights grow dim/The walls of my room are closing in/There's a war outside still raging/you say it ain't ours anymore to win/I want to sleep beneath peaceful skies in my lover's bed/with a wide open country in my eyes/and these romantic dreams in my head.

I love the song...really...I have no problem whatsoever with the song itself. But it's about wanting to RUN AWAY. To sleep, perchance to dream...all that stuff. Clearly whoever picked it couldn't see past lines like, "Blood brothers in the stormy night with a vow to defend/No retreat no surrender" and "Now young faces grow sad and old and hearts of fire grow cold/We swore blood brothers against the wind" to decipher the real meaning of the song. Also, I think Springsteen's "Songs for the Working Man" appeal might be seductive.

Made me wonder what song I'd pick. That Fatboy Slim song that had Christopher Walken in the video springs to mind. 
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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

How To Drive People Away

By popular demand, I'm posting my personal system for avoiding folks you don't really like -- officially called Ten Steps to Alienating Friends and Rebuffing The Annoying.

Step 1. Don't let them take you by surprise. Never open door/answer phone without first knowing who is there. If you don't know, don't answer. There is no sweeter, more empowering sound than the sound of an unanswered phone or doorbell. You can even sing a little lighthearted song to yourself while you wait for them to hang up or go away, something along the lines of, "La la la, I'm not answering, la la la, I'm not talking to you..." Resist the compulsion to be a good girl and answer the phone or the door. You'll find it passes remarkably quickly and if you do it once, like crack or Mallomars, I assure you that you'll only want to do it again. Of course it goes w/ out saying that you never, ever take a call from people you don't want to talk to.

Step 2. Fortify your borders. Don't sit with your office door open, inviting stop-ins. If you are at the grocery store, pretend you are a secret agent and scan every area immediately upon entering, and note the location of windows, doors, and the presence of any undesirables. Avoid at all costs.

Step 3. Practice avoidance. If annoying person shops at the Shop-Rite, go to the Food Town. If you know annoying person gets his or her morning coffee at Starbucks, go to Dunkin' Donuts. As the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. So if you bump into the same annoying person every single day at the gym, just change the time you go to the gym.

Step 4. No polite chit-chat. Never, ever engage in a polite conversation under any circumstances. No need to be nasty, but answer with one-word answers, without looking up and certainly without eye contact (see below.) Begin looking for a way out as soon as conversation attempt is initiated. (See below.) Of course this completely negates pretending to remember (or even care) about the petty details of the person's life or important dates like birthdays or anniversaries date of the person's sex change operation or whatever...and NEVER, EVER ask how the person's weekend was.

Step 5. Always have an out. Wear headphones even if they're not connected to anything. Always have reading material handy. Never, never leave the house without a cell phone that you can pick up and pretend to answer a call (they have that fascinating vibrate feature, so they'll never know that your phone didn't actually ring...)

Step 6. Avoid eye contact. Never, ever meet their eyes...this deprives the annoying person of the person-to-person connection he or she needs to survive and will force him or her to shamble off in search of another target. Also it prevents annoying people from stealing your soul or turning you to stone.

Step 7.  Go somewhere. If you are cornered despite your best efforts to fortify your borders and if your subject somehow manages to slip past caller ID, always be "on the way out" (pretend there's been a chemical spill and you must vacate the area immediately.) Do not, repeat, do NOT allow them to hinder your progress in any way...hesitate and all will be lost.

Step 8. Know how to thwart unwanted invitations. For the first three invites, simply say, "Oh, I'd love to but I'm really busy." PERIOD. No additional explanations necessary. Don't explain, don't go on and on, just leave it there.

Step 9. Thwart more forcefully. If the person doesn't get the hint from the first three "I'm busy" responses, you're forced to bring out the heavy artillery -- "I'm sorry, I just don't have time." You must say this firmly. This is a barely-concealed way of saying, "I have no intention of ever doing anything with you ever."

Step 10. The last resort. If all else fails, pass gas loudly and, if possible, odiferously, making sure to lean over on one cheek while doing it. Burp. Pick nose. Adjust bra straps. Remove wedgies. Pick zits. Ask her "does this look infected to you?" Blow nose (without a tissue.) Eat cheese, yogurt, drink milk and breathe on the person. Insert spinach between teeth and smile widely.

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Monday, July 26, 2004

It left me Cold (Mountain)

I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who read Cold Mountain AND saw the movie. Is it my imagination or did the screenplay differ pretty radically from the movie? I don't remember a lot of the brutality, such as when they tortured that poor woman to get her to turn in her sons (they were deserters.) I don't recall the Teague character being so evil.  It kinda feels like they took a wonderful story and tarted it up for Hollywood.

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"Wanna hear a funny story?"

Have you ever noticed that what follows this statement almost never actually is a funny story?
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A face that could launch a thousand tennis balls. This is Donna and Morgan's new little one, Olive. She is sweet and huggable and, although she does not know it yet she is, quite possibly, one of the luckiest dogs on the planet.  This dog is going to have a wonderful life full of kisses and hugs and boiled chicken.  Posted by Hello
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Monday, July 19, 2004

What’s the grossest thing I can think of?

I’ve noticed that some people don’t really wash their hands after using the bathroom. If they just proudly walked straight out of the stall and left the room, that would be one thing – but instead they do this bizarre hand wash fake-out…they run the water for literally a half second…no soap, no rubbing…they just kind of flick their hands under the running water, then dry them with a paper towel and leave. Do they really think that that’s doing any good at all in terms of killing germs? Why even bother? (In the interest of full disclosure, I am somewhat germ phobic… I am a hand washing fool most of the time and I’ve even been known to periodically disinfect my car keys. So my perspective on this issue might be somewhat skewed.)
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Apologizing for oneself
Way back when I was in college, I did a lot of theater. It was not my major, but I really enjoyed it and did everything from staged readings to mainstage productions with glee. Looking back, I probably sucked royally but what the hell, it was fun.
When I first started doing theater, I would hear a lot about a concept called “apologizing for yourself.” I’d come out on stage and before I even got a word out the director (who was always sitting about a third of the way back in the house, behind a makeshift table, chainsmoking, drunk with power…but I digress) would yell out, “Stop apologizing for yourself!” Apparently there was something in my body language that tells people at a glance just how insecure I am. But apologizing for yourself is more than just a submissive posture, there’s a clearly visible sense of shame involved as well…it’s hard to describe this exactly but it’s a lot like porn…you know it when you see it. Anyway, “stop apologizing for yourself” was the criticism I heard most frequently, followed closely by “lose that Jersey accent!” and “get your hair out of your face!”
Over the years I worked very hard to suppress this habit (as well as the Jersey accent and the hair in the face thing, with varying degrees of success) but even now, in moments of weakness I feel myself lapsing back into that posture. It’s reflexive: I duck my head, collapse my shoulders inward and keep my arms close to my sides, avoiding any big movements that might draw attention to me. Several situations more or less guarantee a relapse – such as going to the hair salon, crossing the nail salon and climbing up into the pedicure chair, and using one of those torturous open dressing rooms like at Loehmanns.
When I realize I’m doing it, I catch myself and quickly adjust the posture, standing up straighter, lifting my head, lengthening the spine and opening up my shoulders…anyone watching me must think I’m doing some strange yoga sequence.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Several thoughts

I’ve been kinda busy and haven’t had time to post but I have been saving up these thoughts and now I finally find myself with a few extra moments, so here goes.

First, I realized that my ongoing struggle with my weight (for the record, see photo below…I’m not THAT overweight but you know, these things are all relative…) is not so much about eating too much but exercising too little. I think I’ve finally accepted that this job I have that forces me to sit on my ever-expanding ass all day is just not healthy, and I must find some time in my schedule to get moving or this is going to be a problem forever. I hate exercise, but I have no interest in being trapped in a cycle of virtuous denial followed by self-disgust, either (and, again, for the record, by that I do not mean I plan to cram everything in sight into my face, but it doesn’t seem right that I should consider a bagel or a bowl of oatmeal or some chocolate soymilk a huge indulgence, does it?) In short, I am just sick and tired of complaining about my weight and worrying about what I eat.

Second, I understand that on the highway the left lane is for passing, and slower cars should stay to the right. But what if a car is doing, say, 40 mph in a 65 mph zone? Shouldn’t that car have to stay the hell out of the center lane, too? I beeped angrily at some man the other day and he waved at me to pass him on the left as if he had every right to be doing what he was doing…but the way I see it, if you are stuck behind some guy in the right lane who is doing WAY under the speed limit and the cars in the left lane are doing WAY OVER the speed limit, passing into the left lane is no easy task. There’s no way to gain enough speed to really get in there safely. So shouldn’t Mr. Pokey be required to keep his draggy ass in the right lane?

And finally, this: Some people hate waking up in the morning. For me, though, my least favorite moment of the day is when I turn off the TV and roll over to go to sleep. I simply dread those nine or ten minutes where I’m left alone with just my thoughts, with nothing to distract me. I just lie there and think and turn things over in my mind and I gradually obsess myself into a state of utter wakefulness and anxious nausea. When I lived alone, I solved this problem quite neatly by simply falling asleep with the TV on every night – and I still do when my husband is away. But, sadly, my husband does not share my affliction and therefore prefers to go to sleep without the TV on, like a normal person. I cannot understand this but he has a right to fall asleep too, so we compromised by buying a set of those headphones that let you silently watch TV while your spouse sleeps undisturbed. I use those. But they’re not very comfy, so you can’t exactly drift off to la-la land wearing them. So I let myself get as drowsy as I possibly can and then turn off the headphones and remove them, and put the remote and my glasses on the night table…and then thanks to all that activity I’m usually wide awake again. Thus begins the nightly worry session. I swear I dread the moment when I have to take off those stupid headphones. (Note: I have tried the Tylenol PM route. Works like a charm. But I can’t take that stuff every single night.)
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Tuesday, July 06, 2004


This is my new (well, only) niece, Morgan. Although I realize that many newborns are not cute, I believe that Morgan is, indeed, a cutie pie. I would say this even if she were not related to me. Please note that she arrived several days early and, therefore, I am knitting like mad trying to finish that baby blanket for her.  Posted by Hello
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