Wednesday, March 24, 2004

She's a Man, Baby!

I hereby take back my post of March 3, 2004, in which I proclaimed myself a "big ol' girl." I don't know how to link back to that post directly, so I'll just leave it to the reader to find it. It was only 21 days ago, so it can't be that difficult.

I am NOT a big ol' girl.

At least, not all the time.

There are many times when, in fact, I too like to take control and act to "fix" things. And I get frustrated when the people I'm trying to help don't appear to be listening to me.

My friend Debra quintessentially seems to have drama revolving around her. Sometimes I think she manufactures drama just to have some excitement in her life. Sometimes it's drama that wouldn't even be drama if she would stop making such a big deal of it. In the past, I would have suggested avenues to head off the drama. Unfortunately for Debra (and me), usually my suggestions involve a radical shift in thought patterns which Debra is usually unable or unwilling to entertain. (For example: "The guy isn't calling you back? Oh well. Plenty of other fish in the sea.")

And it frustrates me to pieces when she complains to me about things neither she nor I have control over, then obsess about them.

I have a similar reaction to Lifetime ("Television for Women, and Gay Men"). Here's my do-it-yourself version of a trailer for every Lifetime movie ever made:

"Next on Lifetime. A woman is in trouble. Deep trouble. Watch her suffer and cry and get the shit kicked out of her for two hours before she finally wakes up, decides to take control of her life and get out of her terrible situation."

Whether it's an abusive husband, or -- wait, it's pretty much always an abusive husband, isn't it? -- the women in Lifetime movies need to get a grip. I'm not sure I understand why such movies are supposed to be "empowering" to women. Anyone who doesn't watch the last 10 minutes walks away with the impression of a powerless, snivelling woman who's fine with being treated worse than the family pet.

So yes, there are definitely times when I, like my friend Mark, will feel this overpowering urge to "fix" the problem rather than listening to others bitch about it.

But then, at least when I suggest changes, the changes I suggest are within the power of the individual. Moving may be within my power. but the greater good is served by granting District citizens full voting rights.

Repeat link of the day:

Monday, March 22, 2004

Stuttering Kojo

So I listen to NPR on the web while I'm at work. It's a streaming audio feed. I enjoy it even though I think there's a slight delay between what's being broadcast on radios and what I'm hearing on my machine.

Lately my machine has little hiccupping issues. Like it'll freeze up and refuse to do anything, especially when I try to send documents to print at the shared printer in the work room. The distracting thing, though, is the audio continues to work.

Or does it?

I wasn't paying much attention to it when this particular circumstance occurred today, until I found myself noticing how "short" Kojo Nnamdi was becoming with his caller. Basically, what I heard ended up sounding like this:

Kojo: "And what is your question?"
Caller: "My question is that [blah blah blah]...."
Kojo: "And what is your question?"
Caller: "My question is that [blah blah blah]...."
Kojo: "And what is your question?"

The first few times, I honestly thought that the caller was just babbling on about nothing and Kojo was somewhat abruptly urging her to get to her point by repeatedly asking her what the question was. Basically, the polite equivalent of "Shut yer yappin' and get to the friggin' point, time's a-wastin'!"

Then I finally realized that, with my machine in the midst of a prolonged hiccup, the audio connection was, effectively, skipping, much like a scratched 45. (Not that I've ever earned a turntable).

Friday, March 19, 2004


Have I mentioned I'm also unusually forgetful lately? Isn't it a bit early for Alzheimers?

I frequently will read something at my desk, realize that I need to do some followup, get up from my desk... and promptly forget what followup I needed to pursue. Here are the stage directions to the play, conducted mostly in internal monologue:

Me: "That's an interesting point. I don't know that it's accurate. What did the original document say? I should take a look at it. It's probably in the file."

[I get up and head toward the file room to get the document. The internal monologue continues when I'm about 1/4 of the way from my office to the file room, which is about 20 feet away.]

Me: "What was I supposed to go look for again? ... Dammit!"

I bring this up now just because this morning, I thought of something that would be cool and fun to blog about. But when I actually opened up the window to write the blog.... nothing.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Disordered States

I think I have ADD. I'm far too old for this.

I've just recently come to this conclusion, and it bugs the crap out of me. I hate it. I hate the thought that I might have a "disease" that's usually prevalent in grade-schoolers and adolescents. I hate the thought that I might find myself medicating myself into a proper state of mind when what I really could use to get my head focused better my just a swift kick in the ass. After all, that's what they did to us kids when I was growing up. No mollycoddling "let's just give you a few pills and you'll be all better" mentality. No. We got, "shut the hell up, listen to the teacher, and do your homework if you don't want to suffer some form of punishment."

But now, my faith in the "suck it up and just do it" mantra could be waning. Because I'm realizing that I am simply unable to concentrate, and I may just want to blame it on some sort of physical disorder so I can escape responsibility for it. Didn't get my work done today? I couldn't concentrate on the assignment. Had to surf the web instead. It was more fun. Didn't get the laundry done this evening? Couldn't help it. There was a string of really really addictive TV shows on, and I kept surfing between five of them when the commercials hit.

Q: How many ADD kids does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Wanna go ride bikes?

I guess I should see a doctor. But I still hate this.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Stepping Up to the Plate

I'm too old to be living the way I am.

My friend Jessica is getting married in a few months, so I, of course, had to shop for housewares. The task was made substantially easier by the fact that there exists a registry, and decisions regarding what to buy were pared down to one tiny consideration: price.

So I surfed through the Bloomingdale's web site and selected a few items for purchase, clicked a few times, entered a credit card, and happily completed my duty as a happy wedding celebrant.

Bloomingdale's appears to have (quite stupidly) misinterpreted my request to hold off on delivering the goods for a few months. To wit: Because I didn't want the gifts to arrive too terribly far in advance of the wedding, I asked Bloomie's to hold off on shipping them (two sets of items) for about a month. Bloomingdale's interpretation of my request: Please ship the items whenever you get around to it.

So Jessica got the wedding gifts early. I had to call to verify that she had received them, because, given the conflict between what I requested and what actually occurred, I couldn't be sure there wasn't some big, even stupider mix-up somewhere.

One of the gifts I sent were a set of plates. Very nice, apparently. Jessica's quite pleased with them. And, she reports, "Jason [the fiance] won't let us use them yet. He's not ready to throw out our old sets yet."

At which point it hit me that the plates I use on a routine basis at home are not "sets" of plates. They do not look "nice" by any stretch. In fact, they are literally leftover salad and dinner plates, and cereal bowls... as stolen from my college dining hall. And my alumni association is pestering me about my tenth-year reunion.

So, without a second thought, I asked Jessica if I could have the soon-to-be tossed plate set. I'm excited to get new plates and stuff. Even if they're hand-me-downs. I'm too cheap and poor to go buy new ones myself.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Any Given Saturday

My cousin Danny is getting married. I'm very excited for him. For some reason, I love it when family members get married. He's getting married in Seattle, on the one Saturday before the end of the year that isn't already booked solid.

He's getting married on September 11.

I suppose it's not a bad thing. It's just a date, right? Yes, one with a very, very visceral and tragic image associated with it, but it's just a day in September. Right? Right?

Best I can say is, maybe this means I'll be able to find cheap airfare if I decide to attend the ceremony. After all, so many people are still pretty nervous about flying that day. Except that technically, I'd be flying before and after September 11, but not on 9/11.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Activism at Its Cruisiest

So I went to the Anti-Marriage Amendment Rally held at the Human Rights Campaign last night. It was fun. I love gatherings with large throngs (did I actually just use the word "throngs"?) of people gathered together for a common, passionate purpose.

But more to the point, this rally would almost of necessity be populated by slews and slews of gay men.

Not that I really care about that.

I was supposed to meet several people there. Friends of mine, some gay, some straight. I found Lora and Amy, but couldn't find anyone else I knew, with the dull exception of a guy who I "kinda sorta hung out with" (his words, not mine) for a few months over a year ago and to whom I had no inclination to say hi. So there I was, a gay man in the company of two women at a gay-rights rally.

As I kept my eyes out for my friends, I couldn't help noticing that many of the men there weren't so much paying attention to the speeches as they were either chatting with friends or giving directions on their cell phones. It was a social event more than anything. With a nice background noise.

But it was fun and energizing in any event. I'm now looking into doing some kind of volunteer work with a gay group. I say that now with every best intention. Whether I meet with positive results remains to be seen.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Man, I Feel Like A Woman

I've recently come to the conclusion that I'm a big ol' girl.

Okay, that was a little dramatic. But it's still at least slightly true. Apparently all the literature says so and supports my self-diagnosis.

The single biggest indicator of this circumstance is my relationship with my best friend from high school, Mark. He lives in Seattle. At times I wonder why he's still my friend, seeing as we can never talk without fighting.

But that's the point: We have vastly different communication styles. Were we both of the "masculine" communication style, we might get along much better than we do. But we aren't.

I was recently bitching and moaning to him about the District's voting rights -- or lack thereof. "Half a million taxpaying U.S. citizens are denied an effective voice on the floor of Congress!" I railed. "One person one vote is a sham in this country!"

Mark's response boiled down to: "So? Move."

His argument further consisted of: "You knew what you were getting into. You're an adult, you're educated, and you made the conscious decision to relocate to the District and buy property there. If you were some uneducated black guy living in S.E. D.C. who was born and raised there and was systematically disenfranchised, I'd have more sympathy for you, but you should simply know better."

My response -- "and if a black man in 1950 for whatever reason made the choice to move to Alabama with its Jim Crow laws and its public lynchings, well, heck, he deserved whatever he got, up to and including execution" -- could not sway Mark. Moreover, he had no problem with my assertion that he was using my education and my race against me in a fight for equal voting rights -- as if certain people deserved representational voting rights more than others. If you're black and historically disenfranchised, you present a better argument for getting the vote than some uppity Asian lawyer who chose to move to the District. The uppity Asian lawyer can go voteless if need be. If we handed out votes one by one to District residents, I'd be one of the last to receive it, because I deserve it less.

But, I digress.

My point is this: I was bitching and moaning. That's really all I was doing. It's frustrating to me that taxpaying citizens of the United States can't vote in matters of national policy. Still more infuriating is that we don't have an effective voice in matter governing our own local affairs (Congressional oversight of the entire District budget).

Mark's response was not helpful to me. His response was basically, "Shit or get off the pot." Do something. Fix the problem. Moving to an actual State is a quick fix to the problem. Slower fixes include lobbying or otherwise getting the word out. But, in Mark-world, bitching and moaning did nothing. Do something.

The conclusion I draw from this? There are times I need to vent. And when those times come, I just want to be heard. And all I need is an occasional, "Yeah, I understand." And what I don't need is "Get off the pot."

Like I said, I'm a big ol' girl that way.

Related Link of the Day:

Monday, March 01, 2004

Catchy gross rats

Okay, I feel totally sick and twisted for saying so (and in fact have been called totally sick and twisted for saying so), but I LOVE those new Quiznos ads out featuring strange-looking rats singing in stupid little accents. They're gross. I mean, really gross. One of my friends, who has never eaten at Quiznos before, swears she can't possibly eat there now after those rats.

But the ads have so saturated the market that now I like them. I find them amusing. God help me.

And I'm going to supply a link, too: Check here and watch the commerical yourself.

"They got a pepper bar!" (Aside: I went to Quiznos the other day, just on the strength of these commercials, and as far as I could tell, there really was no pepper bar. Maybe by "pepper bar" they mean that rats get into the area where they keep their peppers after work and the rats help themselves.)