Sunday, October 31, 2004

One Ringy-Dingy...

(Bonus points if you get the reference, but I'm guessing most readers of this blog -- like all three of them! -- are too young to get it.)

Okay, so I spent the better part of 5 hours tonight at Kerry/Edwards volunteering to phone bank for them. I have to admit I did it at least partly out of guilt because I didn't take the whole day yesterday to join the caravan up to Pennsylvania to knock on doors in swing states.

First, the place was absolute chaos. I suppose that's only natural, since we are on the verge of a pretty damn important election and there's a lot to be done in the last few hours before election day. But it was chaotic with a clear sense of purpose, kinda like ants running around the ant farm. They all have their purpose, and from a distance it appears like everyone's just going from place to place randomly, but they actually know what they're doing and there's some sort of method to the madness.

My job (which I shared with a huge slew of other volunteers): Pick up a list of registered democratic voters and call them all to remind them to make it the polling place on Tuesday. There were so many volunteers there that some of us had to whip out our cell phones and use them because there weren't enough land lines lying around. The funny thing about using your cell phone, of course, is that your number shows up on the recipient's caller ID. So at random times over the afternoon, I would actually get return calls from people -- usually people I had called but got no answering machine.

All in all, I had a pretty good time. Most of my job was leaving the same stock message over and over and over on people's answering machines, but I hope it makes a difference and gets people out to vote who otherwise would have been too lazy or otherwise unmotivated to make their way out. By far the best call I made went something like this:

Me: Hi, is ___ there?
Man: Sure, who's calling please?
Me: This is Dennis!, I'm calling from the Kerry/Edwards campaign.
Man: Okay, cool. [off the phone] Honey, it's for you! Some guy from Kerry's campaign. Tell him how much you hate Bush!
Me [when woman gets on the phone]: So, how much do you hate Bush?
Woman: I really really hate him.
Me: Excellent. Just what I wanted to hear!
Woman: Yeah.
Man [in background]: Woooo! Yeah! Go Kerrrrrrry!
Me: Woo hoo! So yeah, I was just calling to remind you to get to your polling place on Tuesday!
Woman: Oh yeah, we're planning on it.
Man: We're voting on Tuesday! Awright Kerry!
Me: Woo hoo! I'm glad you're excited and thank you so much for your support!
Woman: Yeah! No more Bush!
Man: Vote Kerrrrrry!
Me: Yay!

Everyone sharing the phone banking room was turning and staring at me by the time this conversation was done. When I finally hung up, I got a mild round of applause from those people who weren't already on new calls.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Le Raison d'ĂȘtre du blog

Aside from Randy -- hi Randy! -- and his friends who may stumble on to this blog from a link on his blog, I don't think that any of my personal friends read this blog.

Which is by design, to an extent, because I haven't really advertised its existence to many people. Randy knows about mine just because he's the one who turned me on to blogging on this site to begin with. But most of my other friends don't know that I do this.

Of the friends that do know, most of them have responded well, asking me to share with them the URL of this site. Of course, they usually do so in a setting where it's not easy for me to tell them without them forgetting, so they usually just say that I should email them the link later. And I usually don't, and they usually don't follow up.

In a previous post, the aforementioned Randy (wow, twice in one post!) mentioned the strange and unique interplay between the intimate and the distant that results from a public blog. You share whatever personal insights you want with a slew of strangers potentially entering your mind. And he's right -- I've done my fair share of invading blogs of random strangers and they, in turn, have graced my blog with their comments -- but I'm left to wonder what purpose this blog should be serving.

The more I think about it, the more I find it difficult to find reasons I'd want to share this blog with more friends. To wit:

1: If only random strangers are reading your blog, you don't have to censor yourself when you want to say bad things about someone you know. I've blogged about many of my friends on this blog: Josh, Ben, Debra, Lora, Mark, Chad, Rob, John, Joe, Jen, Chris, Liz, Linda, Sue, Christine, just to name a few. But what if I feel like complaining about something one or the other of them did or said? Of course, my style is not so much to bitch just for bitching's sake, but still, after I reach the generalized point, the fact remains that if the person I'm bitching about reads my blog at all, there could be some uncomfortable moments.

2: The friends you're able to talk to whenever you want to should not have to find out what you're thinking and how your mind works by reading your blog. Those people should be finding out more about you by hanging out with you, talking to you, and engaging in conversation with you. I've never met Peter or Matthew (who are the most frequent commenters on this blog), and they live half way across the country from me. We have not exchanged phone numbers or email addresses. The only way these people are going to get to know me is by reading my blog, and I by reading theirs. There's no such excuse for Debra to have to read my blog to know what I'm thinking.

3: None of the two above have anything to do with you, Randy. Because you're just a fluke, and you're cool, and I have never once had to censor myself with respect to anything I might want to say about you.

If anyone reading this has any comments which may explain why it's a great idea to let your friends read your blog, feel free to comment below.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Eminem video

Wow. This is powerful stuff. I gotta give him snaps, Eminem is a really talented man... and this video is freakin' fantastic.

Commander in Chief

From Moby's online journal (yes, that Moby):

"a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief." -Gw bush regarding the 380 tons of missing explosives

so how about jumping into war without knowing the facts about iraq's non-existent weapons program?
how about jumping into war without knowing the facts about al-qaeda not being in iraq?
how about jumping into war without knowing the facts about how much the war would cost?
how about jumping into war without knowing the facts about how long the war might take?
how about jumping into war without the facts to support a realistic plan on how to win?

I always thought he was sexy before, but his passion for the issues makes him sooooo much sexier.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Cute chimneys

Josh and Ben -- about whom I have blogged before -- and I work in the same building. Sheer coincidence. Their office is on the 14th floor; I'm on the 7th. We actually rarely ever see each other during the course of a work day, but when we manage to get together to talk, it's one of the things we can chat about.

It's kind of nice having someone who doesn't work in the same office as you working in the same building. We can talk about commonalities about the building while avoiding the details about the actual work.

At any given point in the day, there are people outside the building taking a smoke break. Normally this would not be a big deal at all, except -- and just thinking this makes me sound so pathetic -- the guys out there smoking are unusually attractive. And if I ever find myself in an elevator with them, I find out that they usually work on the 14th floor.

I mentioned to Josh last night: "I gotta say there are some cuuuuute boys in your office!" (I was kinda queening out just because it was the night of the high-heeled race, after all.) He agreed that there are a lot of good looking guys in his office, some of whom are gay and some of whom are not (and some who profess to be straight even though no one believes them). Two things keep me from telling him to hook me up with one of them: My immense lack of confidence, and the fact that kissing a smoker is like licking an ash tray.*

* I mentioned this ash tray thing to Josh too, and he responded, "So that's why you haven't kissed me all this time!" What a flirt. (Ben's his boyfriend. I know them both). He really has to just let those sleeping dogs lie.

Debating with Inanimates

Remember Sports Night? I rented all the DVDs a while back and love that show. The writing is sharp, the dialog snappy and witty, the actors excellent. One of my favorite lines was delivered deadpan by Joshua Malina in the following exchange:

Isaac: Let me add, Dana, that things I say in my office stay in my office.
Dana: Natalie's my, my second in command. She's the only one I told.
Natalie: Jeremy's my boyfriend. He's the only one I told.
Jeremy: I told many, many people.

Anyway, this is totally beside my point today. My point today is the reason I like this kind of fast-paced dialog is because I find it funny. The same kind of dialog takes place in The West Wing, which, coincidentally, is also created by Aaron Sorkin (and has declined in quality since he left).

The other morning, I felt like I was having one of those conversations. Someone was talking about something or another -- I think it was politics of some sort -- and I was answering back with a question of some sort. The person I was talking to, however, either didn't hear me or simply ignored me, and continued with her talking points. As she finished her second talking point, I again asked her a question, and again she ignored me and moved on to a third talking point. I started getting annoyed, until I realized....

It was all a dream, I wasn't really talking to anyone, and the woman with whom I was having my little discussion was actually a manifestation of the NPR voice coming from my clock radio. I was dreaming about arguing with someone's interview.

It was then I decided I should probably wake up.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I Bet You Think This Post Is About You, or Musical Hiccups

So my RealPlayer at work sometimes tends to hiccup. I'm not sure why. It's particularly prominent when I'm running a lot of applications (consuming memory) and I try to live stream NPR through my computer. (I've blogged about this before.)

Recently the issue has proven to extend beyond internet streaming, but also to music recorded on my hard drive. Sometimes my music gets "stuck." This is particularly annoying when it happens to do so in a song that has a repetitive refrain, thus masking the problem.

I bet you think this song is about you
I bet you think this song is about you
I bet you think this song is about you
I bet you think this song is about you
I bet you think this song is about you
I bet you think this song is about you

Sometimes it could take a while before you realize that the song doesn't actually repeat that phrase that many times. Of course, it's worse when you're listening to a remixed track, in which sometimes they do repeat that same refrain that many times.

Ironic that in this advanced digital age, my computer sometimes mimics a broken record.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I'm Getting Mean

This election is doing bad things to me. It's literally making me into a person who thinks things I don't like thinking. It's making me mean. Cases in point:

1: When I first heard this morning the Chief Justice William Rehnquist was hospitalized after undergoing a tracheotomy for throat cancer this past weekend, I was kind of excited. Then I was disappointed to hear that he'll probably be released soon, and will resume the bench by Monday.

2: When I heard that Attorney General John Ashcroft was hospitalized for pancreatitis or some other impairment of the gastric system (I forget when this happened), I was elated. I honestly entertained the idea of how wonderful it would be if he didn't survive that scenario. Again, I found myself let down when he survived and resumed his rampage against civil liberties. (Even then, though, I found myself thinking that I did just wish that it hurt like hell.)

3: I was actually rooting for the pretzel when Mr. Bush choked that time.

I hate the thought that I've been happy at the suffering and near-death of others. This is what this administration has done to me. I'm not blaming the Bush administration per se, but they sure haven't helped.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


The Washington Post this weekend endorsed John F. Kerry for the presidency. It's not a ringing endorsement, but it's pretty good.

The Post joins the New York Times, which endorsed Mr. Kerry on October 17. The New York Times, however, charges money for full-text articles more than a few days old on their web site.

** 10/26/04: As Peter points out in his blog, a BBC article highlights the endorsements received by both candidates in the editorial pages. The score: Kerry 128; Bush 105.

Go vote, people.

"Real Job" and Knee Jerk Reactionism

I feel bad for Teresa Heinz Kerry. Really, I do. She's been married to politicans for decades, but she doesn't seem to have had experience "in the spotlight" for very long. I guess she should have learned some time during her marriage to Senator Heinz that political people can't be terribly lazy about their words, but I'm willing to give her some slack.

The big problem is chronicled in this article here. (Okay, it's a Style page article rather than a front page article, mostly because the tone is more fun.) In response to a question about how she would be different from Laura Bush as First Lady, Ms. Heinz Kerry responded that she would probably be a different kind of First Lady, seeing as Ms. Bush hasn't "ever had a real job -- I mean, since she's been grown up." Of course, Ms. Heinz Kerry was wrong -- Ms. Bush was a teacher and a librarian for a few years. But also true is the fact that Ms. Bush quit pretty much once she got engaged to George.

Ms. Heinz Kerry, reminded of Ms. Bush's employment history, issued a quick apology, effectively saying, "Hey, sorry, I forgot. She was a teacher. Which is a great profession, and I totally respect that profession." Of course, this was not enough to placate Karen Hughes, who reminds Ms. Heinz Kerry that motherhood is a pretty darn tough profession as it is.

Look, I agree that motherhood is not given its due in American society, and I respect any woman's (or man's) choice to return to the home to raise children if they can afford to. But in this context, come on now. Ms. Heinz Kerry's word choice, as well as her facts, were poor in the first instance. But Ms. Hughes is out of line by not simply accepting the apology at face value and moving on.

First, let's look at the context in which the original question was presented. How would the Office of the First Lady be different under Teresa Heinz Kerry than under Laura Bush? Answer: (translated from the inartful Ms. Heinz Kerry) It would be different because I have more experience outside the home than Ms. Bush does. What's so wrong with this response? A majority of Ms. Bush's adult experience is limited to raising her own children. Yes, it's a tough job, but it does mean that Ms. Heinz Kerry would bring a different set of life experiences to bear upon the Office of the First Lady, no?

Second, this second political exchange seemed calculated for political gain by the Republicans. The first misstatement by Ms. Heinz Kerry deserved a comeuppance, of course. But let's point out that when the Rove and company decided to call Ms. Heinz Kerry on her error, they didn't say "actually, she was a teacher and librarian for a few years and then she became a stay-at-home mother." They pointed out her salary-earning professional history. Seems the Republicans as much as Ms. Heinz Kerry at the time agreed that "real job" does not include "stay-at-home mom." Then when Ms. Heinz Kerry apologized -- incorporating the facts that the Republicans pointed out to her -- suddenly it wasn't enough. If the Republicans wanted so badly to acknowledge the importance of Ms. Bush's job as mother, someone should have brought it up when Ms. Heinz Kerry made her first misstatement.


Friday, October 22, 2004

Just for Fun

From the Washington Post online, some fun games:

Here are a few: Our President Needs Your Help, Bush Shoot-Out, Political Rhapsody, Fahrenheit 2004 and Dishonest Dubya.

Obviously, you'll need a faster machine than I'm currently sitting at to play most of these.

The Return of USM

So I IM'd with my buddy Mark about the dream with him and USM and his OOI in it. Here's part of the ensuing conversation:

Mark: In yours, I think I symbolize something you wish you could be or some kind of person you perceive me to be.
Mark: Envy or desire to emulate or something.
Dennis!: really? strange. i just put you down as some random guy who happened to be you.
Mark: And you try, but it's awkward, and clearly you fear and expect the rejection that occurs.
Mark: Ah, but if it were truly random, it would be Random Guy making out with Random guy.
Mark: The fact it's me says something about how you perceive me.
Dennis!: the "you" character was almost completely pointless in my dream. well, except to rub in the fact that USM wanted to make out with every other identifable person in my dream except me.
Dennis!: USM was, more or less, anderson cooper.
Mark: Anyway, that's my dimestore interpretation.
Dennis!: the only other dreams i ever remember are exam anxiety dreams.
Dennis!: i've been out of school for seven years and i still sometimes dream about an algebra or history exam which i know i have not studied for, or even attended the classes for
Dennis!: once i had a dream where i was a mutant, like in x-men. even lived in a xavier academy-type place with other freaks.
Dennis!: my power was kinda like drew barrymore's in "firestarter"
Mark: I won't begin to discuss what the ramifications of THAT dream are.
Mark: flame. flaming. flamer. flame on.
Dennis!: and i got hit on by a really cute boy... then my frigging alarm clock went off.
Mark: lol
Mark: don't u hate that.
Mark: I'm not often so caught up in a dream I don't realize it's a dream.
Dennis!: how sad would that be if i could switch to that in my dream? i'd be saying "wow, you're cute. wanna come back to my place?" and he would respond, "of course. i'd love to go back to your place. it's your dream, after all."

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Sentries at the Gate

I've reached the conclusion (again) that I am emotionally stunted and way too guarded for my own emotional well-being. I am once again driven to this conclusion by a random confluence of events over the past few weeks which, when examined in their totality, make the conclusion inescapable.

1: I will never actually date anyone seriously because I have internal triggers which will make this impossible.

I actually flirted with a guy on Tuesday night. Frankly, I just did it for fun. That and I was probably a little less than sober as I did, even though we weren't even really supposed to be drinking that night. The flirting consisted exclusively of some arm-touching and some back-fondling. At some point he even gave a kind a back massage. That was really about it.

I honestly don't expect that this guy will even remotely make an effort to get in touch with me again, even though I gave him a business card that bears my cell phone number. Why not, you ask? Because by this point in my life I'm hard-wired to believe that I repulse gay men -- or at least I do if they ever get a chance to stop and actually think about me. His having left the party has given him a chance to think. Ergo, I'll never hear from him again.

2: I keep far too much distance from even some of my closest friends.

Don't get me wrong, I love my friends dearly. There's nothing I wouldn't do for my closest ones. But I don't expect the same in return. Heck, at times I'll literally feel like it's simply wrong for me to impose on anyone, including my closest friends. My fiercely independent streak takes hold and asserts itself to an irrational end. (I've sort of blogged about this before.)

Thus, making new friends is difficult for me. No, wait, let me clarify that: Meeting new people isn't too terribly difficult; it's the making new friends part that's trickier. You can meet new people all the time; it's the intimacy that comes with making them your friend that's tricky. And I find that this is a difficult endeavor for me.

I've met several great people in recent months whom I truly consider wonderful people whom I'd love to be able to hang out with more. Yet each of them, as is to be expected, has their own sets of friends, which include their own shared sets of memories/habits/hobbies/rituals, of which I, of course, have no part. So when I say to my newfound acquaintances, "Hey, you guys actually do that? I've always wanted to! I'd love to join you sometime...." it feels like I'm inviting myself into a social scene that doesn't necessarily want me there. All too often, this feeling is reinforced when those people actually do fail to include me when they make their plans.

3: I can't compose a personals ad to save my life.

Okay, this may sound stupid, but it's true. I've tried. It's quite difficult to put your life in 200 characters or less in a way which will actually attract attention. Whenever I try, I come across as trite at best, boring at worst. Is that who I am? Is that how people perceive me? Ugh.

What's worse, composing a personals ad forces me to set aside a more powerful impulse, viz., the impulse to get ballistic, and inappropriately bitter. Even if I find myself at a personals ad site with the best of intentions, and in a good mood, with the intention of composing a catchy ad for myself, I find myself overtaken with the desire to just type something like, "I'm not your type. There's nothing to see here. Move along. Get going now. Why did you even bother to click on this profile? Have fun. G'night now."

It's a good thing I'm doing okay professionally. At some point I'll just get a dog and call it a Life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Sorry, Mary -- not

Okay, so I'm starting to read in a suprising number of places that people are actually thinking that John Kerry should apologize about his Mary Cheney comment. People, what are you thinking? Here's a comment I posted to another blog recently about the subject:

Examples of "using" Mary Cheney as a political tool to be used for maximum political advantage:

(1) Dick Cheney's "Lynne and I have a gay daughter" and we love her very much.
(2) John Kerry saying in a national debate "I'm sure the VP's gay daughter is just beings who she is."
(3) Alan Keyes saying she's a "selfish hedonist." [Okay, so this one probably isn't going to work in getting maximum political benefit, but that's another story.]
(4) Trotting Mary and her frigging lesbian lover on stage after the VP debates to show just what a loving, supporting, tolerant family the Cheneys are.
(5) The Cheneys' selective indignation that John Kerry's talking about Mary's sexual orientation is bad, while the other aforementioned uses of Mary Cheney are not.

The Republicans have been using Mary Cheney as an election tool much more than John Kerry. She's a public figure, put there by the Republicans forever in search of their "compassionate conservative" image (which they will never find if the FMA continues to be something they insist on thumping).

Mary Cheney does not deserve an apology from John Kerry. Others have used and abused her for her sexual orientiation well before her name every publicly crossed John Kerry's lips -- and these others continue to do so in the form of selective outrage. Why should the Democrat be the only one from whom an apology is deserved?

"Already cook, foh-tee-fie dollah"

So was watching this (rather bad) movie on tv the other night. It starred Rob Lowe, and frankly that was the only reason I continued watching it for as (shamefully) long as I did.

At one point, some woman is trying to purchase fish for a big important dinner date at her house. She doesn't know the first thing about buying fish, and ends up purchasing one from some grocer, an Asian man of some sort who assures her that the fish is "already cook," before quoting her a price of "foh-tee-fie dollah."

I try not to rage like this too often, but fer cryinoutloud, why are Asian people in movies like this so frequently relegated to the role of corner-store-grocery guy who can't speak English without an accent? It's annoying. Kinda like Ming Na in that episode of L&O: SVU where she plays a Chinese illegal immigrant indebted to the Chinese mafia. Is that all Asians are good for? Oh, and they gave Ming Na an accent, even though she clearly has none in regular speech. And that accent was so disingenuous, given the perfect grammar, diction and even word choice underlying the stunted pronunciations.

I'll give the Rob Lowe movie a few extra props because it does feature a woman who at least looked somewhat Asian as the main woman's right-hand girl. She (the Asian woman) is really good at her job, and the main woman lobbies/blackmails the big boss into giving her a promotion from "assistant" to "junior account executive" with a huge pay raise.

The funny thing is, as the movie was on, I was on the phone with Debra at the time. Right after the fish-selling scene, I said, "See now what's up with that?!" and Debra laughed at me, saying, "I knew you were going to go off on that!" We laughed. At least my point is firmly ingrained in at least one white girl's head.

Hot/Cold Salad Bars

I don't like hot/cold salad bars which are so popular at delis around town. By the same token, I'm generally not a big fan of buffets, but usually the buffets are all-you-can-eat, so there's less cause to complain, although some of the same complaints below still apply.

First, HCSBs are unsanitary. Let's face it, the "sneeze guards" they put up over them are completely useless. I once in fact actually did have to sneeze while trying to find my food. I had to totally turn my head, seeing as I knew that no matter how directly I sneezed into the guard, it would hit the food, and that would be gross.

The sneeze guards are also placed at varying heights, obviously based upon ... well, I don't know what, but they're not a uniform height. And they shouldn't be, seeing as people obviously will vary, but still, it means that people whose heights don't match the sneeze guard will not be "shielded" should the sneeze (or drool, or snot, or anything) escape their lips (or noses).

Second, HCSBs seem to bring out the worst in people. In getting to pick and choose exactly what makes it on to your plate, people can get so rude in terms of the stuff that makes it to them. I'm talking about things like people putting some General Tso's chicken in their container, then changing their mind and putting them back. Sometimes, this happens after they've put other things in their container, too, so they're using their tongs to poke past other foods in their effort to replace the General Tso's chicken, and the chicken they're putting back now has some other foreign substance stuck on it.

Third, it's way too easy to overspend on a single lunch at HCSBs. Around where I live, it usually costs anywhere from $4.50 to $5.99 per pound for the food. A sandwich would cost, say, $5 or $6, but loading stuff onto your plate -- including salads -- can quickly total more than a pound, and suddenly you're paying $8, $10, $12 for lunch.

Call me OCD, but I try to avoid these things as much as I can.

Monday, October 18, 2004


So Homecoming was perfectly decent. Except the fact that I really didn't do anything very homecoming-y.

I met up with Chad for brunch. Literally, I had not seen him in years. I always feel bad when I lose contact with close friends like that. Chad's been in my life for so long it's really just not right to let stuff lapse, no matter how busy we are. We've known each other since the eighth grade. That's close to 20 years. It's well over 3/4 of my life. I'm impressed that I actually managed to keep in touch with someone from that far back in my past.

After brunch, we wandered around campus just to look at the superficial changes to it. Given the passage of time, it was impossible for me to tell if everything just looked different because substantial construction had taken place over the last eleven years, or because I had simply forgotten much of the way things looked before. The Bookstore had moved; it was replaced by a funky new student lounge for the business school. Two of the campus apartment buildings had been renovated (at least externally) and now featured floor to ceiling windows (I'm actually quite jealous of that). The new bookstore was basically a Barnes & Noble. The mini-strip malls along the outskirts of campus -- where we used to have to make do for meals on the weekends -- were updated and upgraded as well. There was even a "new" grocery store close to campus, eliminating the need for a six block hike into a sketchy area of town to get to the only decent grocery store around.

Chad, who has visited the city much more than I, was able to point out to me various changes, as well as stuff I had merely forgotten about. We stopped into a new swanky tea shoppe and had a few pots of tea with a peanut buttery desert. Things would have been so different had I attended this school when they had all this cool stuff around. That means I would have flunked out with a year. It was just such a cool campus.

We attended a few alumni mixing events. All the minority alumni groups co-hosted an event: the Asian group, the Hispanic group, the African-American group, the gay group. We hung out, scoping out the free food and (more importantly) free booze. Try as we might, Chad and I couldn't strike up a decent conversation with anyone for the life of us. Seriously now, what's the purpose of attending an alumni gathering if you aren't going even show the slightest interest in meeting fellow alumni? If you're only going to talk to the friends whom you usually would have talked to anyway, can't you just do that, say, in a bar, or at someone's apartment?

Chad and I eventually bailed on the thing completely and went back downtown for dinner. It was a great dinner, may I just add.

The day with Chad was nice. Oh, the dinner and the tea and the meandering around campus were nice, but the point here was the company. You can't buy friends like that. Memories like what we shared don't grow on trees. Our friends help shape our lives.

And our friends are also the ones who will be there for our future. We're no longer the high school kids whose biggest fear was an algebra exam or a date to some stupid dance. We're dealing with issues like how to balance insane hours at work with a decent social life. Our concerns include how to live life with HIV and whether we should execute plans for massive career shifts.

In the end, it wasn't about meeting fellow alumni. It wasn't so much about seeing the city and the campus again. Really, it was all about reconnecting with Chad.

Verizon Family Values

From the "I don't get why this ad is supposed to make me want to buy your product" department, I bring you the latest ad for Verizon wireless plans. As you're probably aware, Verizon offers a program called "in", which means you can talk free to other people who are also "in" the Verizon network without using any of your plan minutes. Okay, so the commercial in question goes like this (I'm doing this from memory, so these aren't exact quotes):

Father (to approx. middle-school aged kids): Guess what, kids! I got us all cell phones from Verizon's family plan! No we can talk to each other all we want!

(Kids stare blankly).

Mother: It's also got "in," so you can talk to your friends all you want, too!

Kids: Yay!

Father: Yay! Family hug. (Kids grab the phones and run off, all happy-like. Obviously, hugging is not in the cards.)

Father: (pretty much looking out at the cloud of dust left behind by the kids) Uh, well, okay. Uh, call me!

Okay, two things about this commercial that are just weird.

First, what's the difference between a "family plan" and "in"? Isn't the former just a subset of the latter? If everyone who's "in" can just talk to everyone else who's "in," and all your family members are, by definition, also "in," doesn't that render the whole concept of "family plan" redundant? "I can talk to my family all I want... oh, and that also applies to everyone else in the country on the Verizon network too."

Second -- and the real reason I wanted to comment on this commercial -- how sad is the premise? How dysfunctional must this family be, and why then would you want to get a Verizon plan if that's the kind of family that gets them? The kids can't even muster up the energy to feign emotion when Daddy announces the acquisition of phones. "Ooo, we get to talk to Daddy. Woo hoo." But when Mommy puts it in proper context -- "and all your friends, too!" -- suddenly they're all excited. That's just rude and disrespectful.

And then to top it off, the kids don't even thank anyone for the phones. They just run off like greedy little rat bastards, screaming "me me me" and taking what they get and not even acknowledging that they possibly didn't do jack shit to deserve a cell phone.

Finally, the commercial ends with the poor dad, having been royally dissed now, reduced to a pathetic charicature of a man, saying, "Call me." I mean, that's just pitiful. The kids weren't that enthusiastic about talking to you on the phone in the first place, dude. Then they dissed your idea for a frigging hug. Apparently the only way you're ever going to exchange two words with those bratty little kids of yours is if you go over to where one of their friends live and call them from that phone, because that's the only time they'll get excited when the phone rings. They sure won't get excited when the call is from you.


Oh yeah, that there's that other commerical. I think it's also from Verizon. Parents dropping off their kids at college, and the father says, "Don't forget to call." "Sure," says prodigal son, "I got your number right here, Dad." (He starts scrolling through all the names in his cell phone's memory, and the parents just stand there, and it soon becomes obvious that the home phone number isn't in there. In fact, (I guess for humorous effect), the kid stops once or twice, as if to say, "Aha! There's the number!", only to find that it's not. He even mutters once, "Oh yeah, gotta call her back...."

Why do you have to have your parents' number stored in your cell phone? Do you not know it from regular memory? If we presume that this kid is a freshman and that he lived with his parents up until he started school, why are you unable to just say, "Sure Dad. I know the number."? Why must you search for it?

The saddest part is -- I actually have a Verizon cell phone. But in my defense, I got it before these commercials came out.

Hot or Not

What's with Bravo and gay men? I'm not complaining; it's pretty cool. Okay, I take that back. If you read the rest of this post, it does contain a pretty substantial complaint. That's why the "About" section of my blog reads the way it does.

First it was Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which, while not really doing a heck of a lot to shatter stereotypes about gay men, lets more of America take a peek into how people can actually invite gay men into their homes and lives without dropping dead of AIDS or getting sodomized or something.

Queer Eye having taken a hiatus, Bravo has taken to presenting us with Manhunt, basically the gay counterpart to Tyra Banks' America's Next Top Model. It's billed as "The Search for America's Most Gorgeous Male Model." Okay okay okay, Manhunt isn't actually gay, but it's all about a bunch of half-naked guys running around doing little more than, well, looking good. I've only seen one episode so far, but I'd have to say the scorecard reads something like Entertainment value: 3; Eye Candy 9.5. (Why do I have a song from A Chorus Line running through my head now? Well, never mind.)

So I'm looking at the Bravo TV / Manhunt site now, to confirm something that's kinda bugged me for a bit, and I was right: There is a serious lack of men of color on this show. Of the 20 featured men under "The Models" (we're talking the ones with 1" x 1" photos of them posted), my count is one identifiable black man (Ron) plus one other one who looks non-white, though I can't place whether he's Hispanic or light-skinned African-American man. There are zero identifiably Asian men in this crew.

Under the "Other Models" heading -- a smaller set of photos, and in black and white -- I guess these guys are ones who just didn't make the cut -- I count two more black men, of ten. Again, no Asians.

Keep in mind, I may be wrong... some of these guys may have some Asian blood in them. But none of them are identifiably Asian. If they're Asian, they're mixed-race.

And I'm totally raging about this.

It's awful to have "the search for America's most gorgeous male model" without even remotely thinking that an Asian man might possibly be considered attractive. And that only three black men make the cut for possible attractiveness (although only one in the apparently Elite Twenty).

Don't get me wrong, most of the guys on the show are, in fact, really hot, and few would ever find themselves kicked out of my bed. But come on. Does it have to so overwhelmingly lily-white? In a diverse society like America, can't we acknowledge that the White Man does not hold the monopoly on physical attractiveness?

Oh, and don't get me started on how a room filled with 20 men primping and prepping and working out 9 hours a day somehow doesn't include a single gay man. Women complain that we have all the hot ones on our team. Someone forgot to send that memo to the casting people at Manhunt.

Random Photography

Check out Found Photos. Apparently someone has assembled a collection of random photos available from those file-sharing programs. They're fun. An interesting foray into someone else's world, however transient that visit may be. I'm kind of enjoying building an entire story around some random shots. What led up to it? What followed? Who are these people? It's an exercise in creative storytelling.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Going Home (sorta)

Okay, so my homecoming is this weekend. When I first started getting informational materials on homecoming a few months ago, I unceremoniously chucked them in the trash like I usually do with mail from my alma mater. But they're persistent, those alumni relations people, and eventually I opened one piece of mail and thought, "Maybe I will go this year...."

I called my friend Chad, who not only graduated from college with me but also from high school with me, and asked him if he was planning on going. This simply because I had absolutely no intention of going to the homecoming alone, not knowing if anyone else I remotely like was going too.

See, the problem is, I didn't really enjoy my college experience at all. I didn't make many friends there. I didn't even enjoy being on my own. I had spent the first 17 years of my life in cozy seclusion, not being spoiled by my parents per se, but not really left needing anything of any importance. At first going away to college was like an extended summer camp -- you got a room, you had activities, you spent 100% of your time away from your parents... oh yeah, and you had classes too. Those pesky classes.

I quickly came to realize that I simply did not have the discipline to smoothly make that transition from high school kid to quasi-independent kinda-adult. I could skip class and no one would know. I could not do my reading and no one would yell at me. I could stay up until 3 a.m. on Tuesday and sleep until 5 p.m. Wednesday and the world would not end.

And I was not used to this. Nor was I prepared for this.

Obviously I didn't actually do all of the things I could have done, but I did relish my new-found independence all too well. While my peers made a nightly ritual of dinner followed by a few hours studying at the library, I bummed around my student lounge because I simply didn't feel like studying. Come midterm season, and then again come finals time, I panicked like nobody's business and managed to keep my head above water, but ugh. I could have handled it better. I should have. Somehow I never quite learned after first year that studying was a pretty damned important part of the college process. Every semester I'd repeat the same vicious cycle of goofing off and cramming, goofing off and cramming. It's a wonder I got the grades I did; even more so that I got accepted into law school and then passed the bar.

See up until the day I moved to college my life goal had simply been to get into a good college. Having accomplished that, I had no idea what happened next. I had failed to make any life plans beyond application and admission. Sure, I'd go to college, but what would I do there? I didn't have a clue. I had a general thought that when I left there I'd have a degree, from a good school, which would lead to a good job. But a degree in what? A job in what? I was aimless and drifty; as long as someone else was paying the bills, I was happy to do whatever.

I was no better socially. I was a maladjust. No one really wanted to be my friend. I kind of imposed myself upon certain groups just because they were there, but we were never really great friends. Eventually after first year we all moved to different dorms, and my contact with them was sporadic at best, again mostly because I hadn't formed the friendship bonds with them necessary to actually consider them good friends.

It didn't help that I was starting to finally acknowledge sexuality as part of life. In high school I was so busy with academics and extracurriculars and being with my friends that, honestly, I didn't give sex much thought at all. I graduated from high school a virgin and seriously don't think it was that big of a deal. I had more imporant things to do, like prepare for a speech and debate tournament, or study for that pop quiz which you know is just coming up in U.S. History when you least expect it, or rent movies and hang out with my friends.

But in college it was inescapable. People all around me were having sex, and no one thought twice about it. A bunch of 18- to 20-year-olds all running around the dorms, it's a recipe for orgasm. But I knew that the people I was sexually attracted to were not the ones who I should be attracted to. I didn't think Amy was sexually appealling. She was cute, but certainly not someone I'd like to have sex with. Now Kurt. Kurt was cute, and I definitely would have loved to see him naked. And so was Bob. And Mark. And the other Mark. And Peter. And Chip. And his roommate, whose name escapes me at the moment. You get the picture.

They say coming out is a highly individualized process, and each person takes it at their own pace. That being said, I still think it took me much longer than it should have to own up to the fact that I like guys. For two years I continued to hang out with Janet, a girl from my home state whom I knew when we were in the fourth grade. We were never dating, but just having her around made me feel more normal, like I was hanging out with the "right" people -- that is, a person of the opposite sex. But there was always something else. In my second and third years, my next door neighbor, whom I would see from time to time leaving for class, was cute as all get out, and carried a book bag which prominently featured a pin with a pink triangle on it. Oh, how I wanted to get to know him, if only to talk. Sure, it might have been fun to experiment with him sexually, but what college fag is going to want to get it on with a newbie? I never got to talk to him, and eventually in my senior I took an off campus apartment instead. My neighbor across the hall was hot, and straight. The first time I met him he had his shirt off, and I almost gasped.

So now as I look back on my college years, I wonder what life would have been like if I had had the nerve to come out back then. If I had tapped into the available support networks on campus to let myself become more comfortable with guys-who-liked-guys. I like to think that I would much more socially developed now. I like to think that perhaps I'd have a bit more confidence in myself, that I would know myself better just because I would have had that much of a head start in the process of self-awareness, that I would have just been happier in general if I had met a boy or two in college.

Then again, had I come out in college, I could have simply turned into the bitter, jaded, and evil person I am now that much sooner.

So this weekend I'm heading back to campus just for the day to see what's changed, what hasn't, and maybe just by chance bump into people I may very well want to say hi to. But as a matter of my personal experience, it's a time for me to return to that time of not-so-innocence, where I can face some demons down, look them in the eye, and say, I lived through my own private hell here, and I made it out alive.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Tempe Talk

Strangely enough, I feel like I have no comments on the third debate. I agree with one of Wonkette's observations: the whole thing just got booooring. Sure, W. stretched the truth a lot and dodged questions like you wouldn't believe... but then so did Kerry. No one really touched upon a lot of new ground and after a while, I was ready to just call it a night. Didn't help that I had been putting in back-to-back-to-back 10-hour days in the office and I was just plain tuckered.

My fave bit of scuttlebutt about the debates now is how Lynne Cheney is apparently livid over the fact that John Kerry dared mention in the debate the fact that she and the Veep have a lesbian daughter. Gasp! The shock! The horror!

Apparently it was okay for Gwen Ifill to ask the question of the Veep himself in the VP debate. Apparently it's okay for W. to want to write Mary and her partner out of the Constitution, because the Veep "just supports the President." Apparently it's okay for Republicans like Alan Keyes to go around saying that lesbians are "selfish hedonists" and that if he had a gay daughter, he'd tell her so. But for John Kerry to say that the Cheneys have a gay daughter who "is just being what she was born as" is revolting.

Someone bring these people into the 21st century already.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

More Thoughts

As we get ready for the third presidential debate, I wanted to get down a few more thoughts about the second debate.

First, I'm not sure I was clear in how stupid the Dred Scott reference by W. was. Basically, he said (1) I don't like judges who don't strictly interpret the Constitution; and then (2) invoked Dred Scott. Problem is, the Dred Scott case did strictly interpret the Constitution, and in doing so, held that slaves are property of their white masters. In effect, our president declared that Dred Scott was a well-reasoned, good decision. 'Cause, you know, some people just should be considered property and nothing more.

Second, I left out one major observation from my last post, to wit: Is it just me, or does W. seem like he's still running as a candidate? Most of the debate centered around his plans: plans for economic stimulus, plans to bring more jobs around (after losing a million and having them slowly trickle back), plans, plans plans. He's a fucking incumbent. That means he's had four years to get things done. What the fuck has he been doing if now, after four years in office, he still has nothing but plans? John Kerry has plans, but he hasn't had the office to attempt to execute them yet. W. has had the Oval Office. Plans shouldn't cut it when you're a sitting president. Actions should.

Finally, I find it amazing that W. has the audacity to challenge Kerry's "long record" about this-and-that. At least Kerry has a record. W.'s spent most of the past 30 years engaging in losing business transactions (oil and sports) and generally waiting for his moment of glory. Well, he hit it. He doesn't have the long track record to attack. Strange election tactic, that: "My opponent has proven himself to be bad. I haven't proven anything at all about myself. So vote for me."

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

My World is Falling Apart -- Literally

How do I begin to explain? Everything I touch lately seems to be falling apart.

1. My cell phone. I hadn't realized how long it has been since I charged it, and seeing as it's been in my bag all weekend (I've been working, so there was very little need for me to ever pull it out), I didn't even hear the discreet "Help me! I'm dying!" tones it emitted. When I finally did pull it out of my bag, I foolishly attempted to actually use it -- turned it on and dialed quickly, hoping to get a word or two in before the battery zonked out again. The other phone rang once and it died again. No problem, I thought. I'll just charge it when I get home. Unfortunately, for some bizarre reason, my attempts to shove the charger into the phone properly were not met with success. No little "Battery Charging" symbol showed up. Nothing. I could have stuck a Q-tip in there for the same result. So, for now, my cell phone is dead and incapable of revivification.

2. My Jukie (I like this word -- just the way it sounds). Just bought it. Eventually managed to get Dell to tell me how to fix it, but for a while I was concerned. I did what the instructions told me to: I charged the device for over six hours, installed some software on my home machine, and started transferring music. It worked for a bit when I first opened the box, so I was happy. Then I took it to work -- because my office machine actually has a better music collection than my home computer at the moment. I happily started putting a slew of music from my computer on to my jukie (I still love this word). After I left for the day, taking my jukie with me, I got home to find that I couldn't turn the jukie on. The little battery indicator bar was there, but I could not get to a main menu. This irritated me greatly.

Eventually I got a customer service rep to talk to me about my problem. He suggested I use the "reset" button on my machine. Honestly, I had thought of that before, but I didn't want to have to reload all the music if I could avoid it. So I made sure I wouldn't lose the data if I hit reset, and he assured me so. So I did it, and it works now! Funny thing is, he said I shouldn't use that button often. And he also said that the jukie, like operating systems, sometimes requires a reboot after installing new stuff. Wait, says I, if I have to reset every time I load new music on, but then shouldn't reset too often, doesn't that mean I can't put new music on here very frequently? Now that I think about it, I don't think I received an acceptable reply to this question: I was just happy that the thing was now playing my music.

Oh, random aside: The hold message I had while waiting for my support guy (in India) said:

We are currently experiencing longer than usual hold times due to a recent outbreak of an internet worm. If your computer crashes upon startup, or if [blah blah blah], you may be infected with this worm. . . . Point your browser to [Norton or McAfee web sites] to fix this problem.

My question is this: If your computer is "crash[ing] upon startup," how the hell are you supposed to point your browser to anything, let alone anti-virus sites?

3. As mentioned above, my home computer isn't doing so hot. I installed a second hard drive where I'm storing data (as opposd to programs), including my music collection, and (ahem) pictures. Well, the hard drive is slightly farged. I've identified that there are some specific files in there that suffer from a "cyclic redundancy error", making them unreadable and, thus, useless. Problem is, the error also apparently renders them undeleteable, and they're stuck on my machine. Moreover, something about this error, it seems, prevents my Explorer from being able to "see" everything on the drive. So while my RealPlayer gives me a complete list of the music it can get to, my Windows Explorer won't show me music files past "D" on my subfolers.

4. My ceiling. Okay, so I didn't literally touch it, and it's really not even my fault. But earlier this summer, I noticed some slight water stains on the ceiling in my living room. Eventually these water stains turned into a giant water bubble -- sort of like an off-white version of those black domes that house security cameras in department stores. One night it finally hit breakdown, and dripped all night long onto my shelf. I know because a pilsner glass I have was filled with water, and then some. I complained to the condo about it, and they're getting my upstairs neighbor to pay for the fix-it job.

5. The closet door in my bathroom. Okay, again, I didn't touch it, and I don't know how this happened, but I was awakened in the middle of the night last night by a tremendous THUD. It had been a long day at work (literally 10 hours in the office -- on Columbus Day!) so I awoke groggily, thought What was that?, and looked up to verify that my front door was still closed. As long as no one had broken in and started doing bad stuff to my apartment (or me), I decided whatever that was could wait until morning. I went back to sleep.

This morning I found my closet door halfway to the floor in my bathroom, its fall broken only by the ironing board which used to sit right in front of it. (The ironing board, by the way, is now rendered dangerous to useless, seeing as a door collapsing upon it caused its legs to become uneven.) I spent a good part of the morning just trying to get everything out of the way so I could shower and other prepare for the day. I just didn't have the time or energy to fix the actual door.

So that's my laundry list so far of things broken. I do sincerely hope my work machine doesn't pull a kaput on me. I have got a lot of work to do this week.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Flaming Liberal?

I've never considered myself a strong partisan. I'm a registered independent, and I like to listen to opposing points of view and make up my mind about things.

But this election cycle has spurred something in me. George W. Bush called himself a "uniter, not a divider" during the 2000 campaign. He was wrong. He has polarized the nation. If nothing else, he has inspired such ire, such revulsion, in ordinary, free-thinking people like me, that we are rising up and taking action. Well, at least I am.

I have jumped from centrist to left-of-center. This means I have given enormous amounts of money -- more than I can afford, frankly -- to John Kerry's campaign as well as to the DNC. I see young, idealistic people on street corners downtown saying, "Do you want to help get George Bush out of office?" and I can't keep myself from stopping and providing my credit card number. I spent some volunteer time at John Kerry's campaign headquarters. I attended my first rally: The NARAL March for Women's Lives.

I am so angry at this administration. It literally hurts my head to think of it.

I have watched all the debates thus far. George W. Bush is an idiot who can't string together two sentences without flubbing. For some reason, the American public seems to think that John Kerry's ability to speak foreign languages makes him less attractive as a political leader. A man who can barely speak English is preferable. Remember my past post about stupid voters?

During the first debate, George W. came across as moronic and uninformed. He was clearly annoyed and is not used to being challenged. If you dare challenge the administration, you are deemed traitorous. John Kerry wiped the floor with W., appearing presidential and calm, and commanding a solid grasp on the issues. W., on the other hand, looked stupid.

The vice-presidential debate was of a completely different character. Cheney and Edwards were both in solid command of the facts. Neither of them really answered any of Gwen Ifill's questions, of course, but at least they were generally articulate. Cheney definitely seemed strong and firm in his convictions, yet professional and decidedly boring. Edwards, on the other hand, came across as the personable one, charming, smiling and animated. Both were charicatures of themselves -- Cheney unlikeable in his woodenness; Edwards freakishly saccharine. Sadly, the substance of the debate was a little lost just because no one responded adequately to the questions, and Ms. Ifill failed to reign in irrelevant responses.

Wait, I'm sure "You may not reign in irrelevant responses" was a rule imposed upon Ms. Ifill. Still, it looked stupid.

The second presidential debate was relatively dull to watch. George W. did better (after all, he had no place to go but up), but again he clearly demonstrated that he's not used to being challenged. It was painful watching his face; he was clearly coached very strongly to avoid smirking or otherwise looking annoyed. After a season of "campaigning" -- i.e., picking out Bush loyalists for "town hall forums" which feature laughable softball questions ("I'm going to toss this very large beach ball to you ver-r-r-r-y slo-o-o-o-o-ow-ly....") -- he's clearly not used to having to actually answer the hard questions. Interrupting the debate moderator was classic. "No, shut up, I want to talk, so daggone it, I'm going to talk!" And the man was completely unable to come up with ANY mistakes committed during his administration. NONE. Admitting defeat is for "girlie men," I'm sure. It's all about the talk, and the talk is "we're never, ever wrong."

Don't get me wrong, Kerry didn't do that well, either. He had a few attempts to hit W. out of the ballpark and didn't pick up on them. He had some great points, though, so I guess he did all right. He really should have taken down W. on the Supreme Court question, though. Did W. really say, "I want them to like me because I want them to vote for me?" -- a man who had the presidency handed to him on a silver platter by a court rather than by the electoral college should not be making jokes like that. (By the way, did someone say something about being against "activist" judges?) And why didn't Kerry mention W.'s track record for judicial nominees already? Screw the Supreme Court -- the Supreme Court hears under 100 cases every year out of the thousands that seek their review. What that means is the real law is made by the thirteen courts of appeals and the handful of district courts, each of which also are composed of presidential nominees who are put there for life. W. has shown that he's prepared to push for placing radical, right-wing judges all over the judiciary. The Supreme Court is drop in the bucket. The lower judiciary is a bigger threat.

Oh, and Dred Scott? I may be mistaken, but that case held that slaves really were property. After a slave escaped his master, the Court ruled that he could be lawfully returned to his master against his will without running afoul of any right afforded to him by the Constitution. (Of course, this was before the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, but still.) Did no one notice that the Dred Scott decision is actually perfectly consistent with the "strict interpretationist" crap that W. thinks is so great? W. just pretty much said the Dred Scott decision was a great one, since it read the Constitution for exactly what was there -- meaning that poor runaway slave was screwed. Since Dred Scott, most of the advances we've made toward civil rights in this society have come from the courts, not the legislature.

I'm frankly disappointed that the polls are still so close. There's actually a huge population of people out there who actually like the direction this country is taking: record deficits, net job loss, tax breaks to millionaires, baseless wars.

All I can say is, if worse comes to worst, I need to prepare to move to Canada come November 3.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Paycheck Envy

In each of the past two days I have had lunch with law school colleagues. Each has done well for himself and seem pretty content.

James is a partner in his firm already. Okay, so his dad's a founding partner, so there may be a slight upper hand there, but still, he's a partner. He's married and living in Annapolis. Talk about a hellish commute. She doesn't really work right now. I can only imagine how much a house in Annapolis costs, on top of the fact that he's supporting a spouse who brings in no income.

Aaron, who was married by the time we started law school, is now divorced. He's moved around from Wisconsin somewhere to Chicago and now is back in DC. He's with a big firm here which is undoubtedly paying him quite well, because he had a $40 lunch. (Mine was $8, plus a $2 cup of tea.) Oh, and did I mention he's selling his 2BR/2BA condo in Georgetown because he bought a bigger place near Eastern Market? (See this previous post about how I've actually looked at houses in the Eastern Market area -- and can't possibly afford them.)

A few weeks ago, my friend Mira held her 35th birthday party at a swanky restaurant downtown. She rented out the "party room" in the back area of the bar, with a full open bar and hors d'ouvres circulating regularly (though perhaps not as regularly as they should have been given the aforementioned full open bar). I can't imagine how much such a party would cost. But seeing as I spent $80 there for dinner the one time I've been, reserving a room can't be cheap.

How is it that I've somehow managed to surround myself with people who all earn more than I do? They seem to have decent lives, they do very well for themselves, they probably have more saved up than I've ever seen attached to my name, and I barely have a cushion should I lose my job tomorrow.

Okay okay, yes, I should be happy that I make a decent living for myself and I'm not starving and own my condo (small that it is), but Aaron's talking about how he's invested $150K of his own money to start some housing construction business in Houston and is looking for investors. If I had $150K of my own ... heck I don't know what I'd do with it, but starting up a whole new business probably isn't want I'd be doing.

Even my other friends who aren't big-shot lawyers seem to earn more than I do. These are people who decline European vacations not because they don't have the money to plop down, but because they don't want to take the vacation time. These are people who think weekend jaunts cross-continent are fun. These are people whose idea of bargain hunting is finding lodging in Tahoe for under $1000. These are people with more frequent flier miles to their names than I accumulated flying back and forth from Philadelphia to Hawai'i for college breaks.

I was born into a middle-class family. We never had all that much money. They say you can't miss what you never had, but you know what? You sure can covet what you never had. I suppose it's cleaner for all involved to instead call it "setting a goal." My goal is to somehow or another accumulate more wealth. Without compromising my social life or my personal beliefs.

Wish me luck.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Marriage Movie

Check out Tying the Knot. The movie chronicles the problems facing two people whose same-sex partners have passed away. Obviously, in the absence of legal marriage for same-sex companions, their stories are heart-rending. I plan to see this movie and blog more about it later, but I wanted to make sure whoever's reading this sees it too! The movie opens this week, so it needs a big push especially on the first weekend to survive so that more swing voters can see it. Look for it in theaters now and go see it!

When Thesauri Go Bad

So I got an email from a client today which, I can only presume, is an attempt to thank me and my boss for a decent job in settling his case. I'm quoting the relevant language (more or less the entire email) below.

. . . I received my check today. I really appreciate the deference your team gave us. Its hapless I'm unable to revere all of you face to face. I believe that our relationship has been pithy, and affable during my resurgence. You are my implicit family, I hope to visit you on my vacation next June. In hindsight, you were sagacious, and this promoted a win/win aplomb for our denouement.

I particularly enjoy having our attorney-client relationship being described as having been "pithy."

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Jack & Bobby

I have to say, I was prepared not to like this show. It's from the WB, what do you expect? But somehow I started watching it at the third episode, and I'm hooked.

The show is remarkably well-done: powerful both emotionally and intellectually. It's fascinating to know from the onset that Bobby is going to grow up to the be the President. With such a great premise, the show can take liberties with the historical events between 2004 and 2040, and we get to watch as life events shape Bobby's mindset, which leads up to his eventual political career.

Tonight's episode was particularly fascinating because of J&B's mother's position on organized religion. Now, personally, I'm not a fan of organized religion myself, but Prof. McAllister's tirade was inexcusable. So what really turned my head is when the Muslim woman whom the Prof. singled out as being too constrained and, indeed, enslaved by her beliefs took her to task for that comment. It really gave me a new perspective. I've never even thought to call anyone stupid for willingly oppressing themselves under the guise of religion -- that's just rude -- but watching the Professor get her comeuppance like that was, well, cool.

Competition in Bed

Continuing the ongoing thread of "Wow, I am so pathetic" lines of thought:

Last night I had the strangest dream. I wish the dream had involved me sailing away to China in a little boat, only to meet someone who had to get their laundry clean, but it does not.

The characters in this odd dreamscape: Mark, my friend in Seattle; an Unnamed Sexy Man (kinda reminded me of Anderson Cooper, but it wasn't him, alas); and a third man with whom I know USM has been flirting all night. USM and the third man are not "together" -- yet -- but if all goes according to USM's plan, they will be. I find USM incredibly sexy and nice, so of course, I'm kinda crushing on him as well.

I forget the circumstances leading up to the events, but the setting basically is this: Mark, USM, USM's Object of Interest, and I have somehow been brought together for an evening. It could have been a party, or perhaps we were all volunteering for an event together and were chatting during down time. In any event, we were all gradually getting to know each other over the course of a few hours. (I don't know if I knew Mark in my dream, or if he was just some random avatar of Joe Everyman.)

At some point, USM kisses his OOI. This does not make me happy, but I'm cool because, frankly, I'm used to not being anyone's OOI. The dream takes a turn, however, when Mark expresses his interest in USM as well, and somehow draws him into a kiss of their own. This is remarkable in and of itself as Mark (in real life) has a boyfriend of several years. This, of course, annoys me.

So, being the upfront and ballsy guy that I am (literally, in my dreams), I decide it's my turn. I take USM's hand and gently direct him towards me, where I have every intention of making out with him. Unfortunately, even in my dream he turns his cheek to me so that I don't make contact with his lips, but the Forceful Me takes a hold of his face and directs it back to me so that I actually succeed in making lip contact with him. And he doesn't resist, and in fact, it's quite nice.

I don't know what happened next. I don't know if that's because I woke up, or just because I dreamed on but don't have a recollection of it.

Even in my dreams, I play second fiddle. Something's not right.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Animated crushes

Okay, so we've established that approaching a random blogger on the street to say hi is probably inappropriate, although potentially fun.

What makes me even sicker than you could ever possibly imagine, though, is that I can develop crushes on comic strip characters. I'm flipping through an online strip right now thinking, Wow, the boys in this strip are CUTE!

I'll have to allow you to judge for yourself: Check out Boy Meets Boy. That link is for the first day of the strip. You can keep reading ahead a day at a time. I've been addicted to this for hours now.

I should possibly also point out that I have crushes on Rob from Get Fuzzy (though he does have some not-so-flattering moments) as well as Jeremy from Zits. Or perhaps I shouldn't point that out. It's just plain embarrassing.

I am sick beyond my wildest dreams. I need help.