Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cutest Swimming Lessons Ever

video via arbroath

Guilty Pleasure No. 132: Will Smith.

This morning, I watched the lion's share of Hancock. This shouldn't be somehing I'd want to widely post for several reasons: 1) I watched this R rated film with my high school students during a final day of class party (and just for the record, I did fast forward through what promised to be a racy sex scene); 2)does anyone really find Will Smith that cool anymore? That's the thing about guilty pleasures, though, isn't it? Something you know is kind of lame. Something you know other people would make fun of you for, that you don't leap forward to announce.

I remember the summer of my eighth grade year, going to an all ages club and dancing and singing along to "Parents Just Don't Understand." I never got into Fresh Prince, though I easily could have. I think it came on at a time when I wasn't usually home. Never minded the show, though. I recall watching Seinfeld and being intrigued by Jerry's choice of songs when he was appointed the job of music monitor at a friend's party. He was pleased that he'd "gotten jiggy with it." I didn't buy the whole album, but I certainly downloaded it later. I've seen just about everything he's made. Well, not I Am Legend, but only because I can't bear to see the dog die. I don't necessarily go out to the theatre for these, but I don't flip away if they come on cable.

He's got such a seeming charmed life. I hope it's as great as it seems publicly. Beautiful couple, beautiful kids, talent, talented family. They just seem so in love and so together. What's not to love? Maybe this is why I've decided it's uncool to like him. He's just so damn likable. It's like loving somebody just for being America's Sweetheart, and that's a little too much for me to 'fess up to.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To Err Is Human; To Forgive Is Divine. Or For Suckers?

I have come to the realization over the last few months that I am disproportionately empathetic when compared with the average bear. I've always known that I can relate well to others and see different points of view, but I didn't realize that the extent to which I do it is so unique until recently. A discussion with a student, actually, is what made me think about it. She revealed some very personal information about a terrible experience in her life, and I shared a similar story. Suffice to say, a wrong was done to me and she wanted to know how I'd dealt with it. I told her that though I was hurt and should've been upset, I'd ended up feeling really bad for the other person involved and couldn't bear the thought of what any sort of recourse would do to them. She looked at me like I was crazy, and it made me start thinking about other life experiences.
I get pissed at a situation, I react, and then I'm done with it. If it's a serious enough situation, then I back out of the relationship altogether so I don't have to deal with a reoccurrence. I don't want to hang on to a lot of anger and bear the brunt of all that negative energy. But, I have had it brought to my attention that a lack of anger can actually cause problems, too.
When I was laid off from work this spring, I told my employer, "Please don't feel bad about this. I know you do, but I get that it's just one of those things." When a co-worker told a large number of people something that was supposed to be kept just between us and another person got pissed off at his gabbiness, I defended him, saying it was my fault for having revealed something secretive in the first place. A miscommunication with a friend resulted in a big ta-doo not long ago. I ended up in tears, feeling awful. I ended up apologizing for that. Not just the argument, but the fact I'd been upset. I'm the idiot that lends someone money that already owes me so they can pay somebody else back. A friend that once betrayed me terribly suffered a similar experience not too long ago, and I supplied the shoulder they needed to recover. Actually, that one's happened several times in recent memory. There never seems to be any sense of irony recognized in such situations, either. At what point do you move from being someone that's a good friend to being someone that's a glutton for punishment?
I'd always believed that it's best, if at all possible, to "forgive and forget" in order to move on. I have to wonder, though, if instead of being a forgiving and kind-hearted person, I'm not really just sort of a doormat.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Really? People Wonder Why Conservatives are Considered Heartless Jerks?

Bible Belt Folk Art.

Why in the hell is this piece of creepy considered "folk art?" This was found at a massive antiques mall called "Artichoke Annie's." Eye of the beholder and all that, but all I see is a decapitated, eyeless baby head in a valise reminiscent of those with which Jews left for the ghettos.

Mock Crashes.

There are some things that I just don't get. Mock Crashes definitely fall into this category. I understand the basic concept. High school students get to see a drama played out of the potential of dangerous driving. They see their peers play the parts of both driver and victim. It actually gets pretty intense. A kid is actually pulled from a smashed car and zipped into a body bag. It's highly effective for the kids that play the roles. They can get, understandably, pretty traumatized by it. But for the others -- the ones that are supposed to be receiving the message get really mixed signals. You've got kids seeing the "reality" of car accidents, but they also know it's pretend. They stand around and mutter about the drama department kids and then say, "When do we get to the cool part where the use the jaws of life? I wanna see them take that car apart." So... is it effective or no? Afterwards, there is a debrief in the auditorium. The students that "died" read their own obituaries. Obviously, this has the potential to be extremely disturbing and emotional, but you have a lot of jaded kids that just wait for it to be done so they can move on to lunch, too.
It's hard to look at the amount of money of being spent, the amount of resources being used and hear the kids that could care less about what's being done for their benefit. But of course, if even one kid is made to think differently about speeding, driving under the influence, texting and driving... obviously that's well worth the time and expense. It's a mixed bag, I guess. I still just find the whole thing pretty creepy. It's definitely not something I'd willingly view again.

Side note: A word about the community where this school is located. Someone saw the red car upside down on the lawn of the school and pulled over and called in emergency services. A great gesture, except that an ambulance, fire truck, tow truck and hearse were parked about ten feet away.

Something I'll Miss About My Current Job.

For Teacher's Appreciation Week, our principal always has the ice cream truck come to school. Very cool and very appreciated. And, this is a great shot to spotlight my super-rad Magnum PI mouse pad.

Great Link to "Lost Series Finale Theories" Writing

Lost Series Finale Theories, by Gary Susman

See You in Another Life, Brother.

Time always flies when you’re having a good time. There’s no way to capture it and make it slow down, no matter how you may try. I remember years long ago, coming from college to spend the weekend with a boyfriend I simply could not get enough of. From the second I arrived at his apartment, I would try to slow down time. “Let’s smoke,” I’d plead, with reckless college abandon for things like rules and decorum, “so it will seem like times lasts longer.” I wanted every second to stretch. I’d make him stay up until the wee small hours, saying sleep could wait for weeknights, so that we’d have more time with one another. From the very first episode six years ago, I have felt a similar affinity for Lost.

Even from the original promos, the series just seemed special. It’s one of the few programs I have loved like this that I actually watched from its inception. From the second Jack opened his eyes in the forest, to the bittersweet moment when his eyes closed there again in the finale, I was an absolute devotee. Others lost patience, waiting for explanations, wanting something huge to happen, determined that the show should move ahead at a much quicker pace. I was the opposite. I savored every single moment of storytelling. If a new question was posed, it simply meant that there was something to prolong this glorious story. There would be new facts to discover, but all in good time. I loved that the show just developed naturally. Just like life would be on such a mysterious, magical island – not all answers came at one time. You’d make discoveries and have aha! moments as they occurred, not on demand. I developed a great respect for the speed of the storytelling, and a love of the slow reveals simply because it made the magic last longer. Let it be said that I am one to unwrap a package by undoing each piece of tape and undoing folds rather than tearing it all off, and I have never, ever, ever read ahead in book to “get to the good parts.” The destination is a reward in itself, but the real joy of anything in life is the journey that takes you where you are meant to go. Things must happen in their own time. You must slow down and allow things to unfold, savor things as they occur, rather than look back on it and wish you’d allowed yourself to be more in the moment instead of hurrying to the end.

Television plays a huge role in my life. I love it. I’m still like one of Ken Nordeen’s television addicts, regardless of the fact that it’s commonplace. I just can’t get enough of it and have felt pangs of withdrawal if forced to go too long without it. The tv’s basically always on at my house; if anyone is up, there will be a blue-hued glow and a murmur followed by overly-loud ads for car dealerships. Rarely is watching something an event, though. A few special shows get some special attention, but Lost was always an exception. Lights off. Phone off. No computers, no multi-tasking permitted. Drinks, okay; food was too much of a divergence. Lost was made to be paid full attention to, made to appreciated not simply glanced at and bits picked up.

With great sadness, this final season has played. During a period of time when work has been unhappy and there’s been little to look forward to in daily life, Tuesdays have been special. Texts from the finance would bring the most welcome reminder, “Tuesday! Lost night!!!!” Suddenly a dreadful day was made so much better. Each episode was watched with 90% jubilation, 10% despair. It was ending. It was all leading to the end. Of course everything has to end, and I fully agree that a show should go while at its best. There’s nothing sadder than watching something become a ghost of its previously glorious self. And yet.

Lost was a wonderful show. It was part science-fiction, part adventure, part mystery, part homage to oddities like The Twilight Zone, part romance, part morality play. The program gave viewers a look at the life of plane crash survivors as they attempted to form a workable society amidst great adversity on a hostile, mysterious island. At the same time, through the magic of flashback, we got to see who each of the individuals were on their own, prior to their arrival on the island. Each was broken in some way. Each fought demons. Each struggled with their identity, some because of how others forced them to exist and how they’d come to view themselves, some because of inner battles. The title of the show had far more to do with the souls of the characters of the program than it did with their lot on this quasi-uncharted-desert-isle.

As the show progressed, it became clear that this island was a place of refuge and a place of healing. For some this was physically evident. One woman’s cancer disappeared; one man’s spinal injury disappeared. For others, healing occurred with work. Addictions were battled and conquered, marriage in a state of disrepair found new life. For others, this was simply a place where healing could occur internally, a place where second chances at everything were possible, including the most elusive – self-forgiveness.

For a while, some of the lost made it off the island back to their lives. The Oceanic Six. But they all returned, as the island called them back.

In the final seasons, we stopped seeing flashbacks mixed in with present day story. Instead, we saw “sideways” views – the “what if” universe. What would have occurred if the plane had never crashed? Who would these people be? What would life be like? Some things were very similar, some things were different in each person’s life. Despite the differences, however, each life still touched the others. Just as they had all been pulled to the island for a specific purpose, for potential and investigation, in this parallel world, they were pulled together again. Webs developed. Seemingly random strangers who’d all sat together on a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles were repeatedly thrown together. And ultimately, they begin in pairs to remember the alternate past of the island. It is their destiny to be a group lot. Despite the differences, the changes, the new options – these people were fated to be together, connected in life. It was inescapable.

The final episode showed an epic battle between good and evil; of those out only for their own selfish gain versus those determined to protect the island for the good of the world. In the sideways world, everyone recalled their life on the island, and realized that it, along with the other survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, was their destiny. They are all led to a church of sorts, and all but one go inside, waiting for the others and what comes next. Viewers discover at the same time as the primary hero does that he has died. That time no longer matters. That everyone who spent time on the island had realized that part of their life and the time that spent together was the most important part of their existence. They had developed this place as a way to reunite, and then to move on together, en masse.

The show could mean so many things, all depending upon your point of view. The most simple explanation is Biblical, for the agnostic sort it could certainly be defined as a philosophical realm where the concepts of good and evil are explored. There were probably a lot of sci-fi viewers that were disappointed by the fact not all of the mysteries of island were tied up with a neat little bow. I just don’t think this series was about this, though. Lost was an exploration of people. Who each of us is, how others see us, how we perceive ourselves, how we deal with the issues of our lives, what becomes a demon, what becomes defeated – these were the real questions of Lost. The Oceanic passengers were broken. They were, aptly enough, lost. Some were unable to defeat their demons, and they were eliminated. Some were successful with their redemption and able to move on while still on the island. The Oceanic Six, those that returned to their lives, were never quite able to do it on their own. True redemption was not something they were able to achieve on their own, and so back they went to the island. There, on the island, the remaining survivors met their ultimate destinies. The time on the island was a baptism through fire. Only when each of the souls truly conquered their doubts, their demons, their destructive tendencies, were they able to solve the crisis of the island, and then make their way to the joyful place of redemption they’d created for one another. The one fellow that didn’t enter the church said of himself that he still had some things to work out. There is strong implication that this most morally ambiguous character had simply not been able to fully atone yet, and must wait to move on further with the others.

Throughout the episode, people that had loved and lost were reunited in their sideways lives. With each couple, the emotion was intense. These people that had been separated by time, life, death, alternate universes – they were all reunited with their soul mates. Fate returned them to one another, and each reunion was more beautiful than the last.

Obviously, I take the romantic tract with Lost. I have always been a sucker for the concept of fate and soul mates. I blame it on seeing Somewhere in Time at too early an age. It’s just so comforting to think that there’s a master plan. It’s up to us to find it, but there is a purpose for each and every person, and there is a partner with whom you are to spend your life. Even more importantly, there is an entire cast of characters that you are meant to encounter who will shape you. These people that become your closest friends, your chosen family, these people are the most important things in your life. As they should be. As they were pre-determined to be.

When the show ended last night, I did as I do with a beloved program’s finale. I sobbed. I mourned. No more Lost. The characters were dead. The show was complete. Last night’s reaction was more than just that, though. The parallels of the series’ themes and the upheaval of my life over this last year just seemed too uncanny. Like the characters of Lost, I couldn’t help be struck by the message I seemed to have screamed to me by this series. Life is waiting to be met. Demons have to be confronted. Things have to be figured out. The people I want in my life have to be embraced and held close.

This last year I have faced incredible, occasionally insurmountable depression. I have been reunited with high school and college friends I’d had no contact with for ten years or more and dealt with bits of existential crisis as a result. I’ve made peace with a hurt that I thought I would simply have to suffer and endure for the rest of my life. I have shed poisonous family ties, despite the guilt and pain that accompanies my decision to do so. I have lost my job and due to an unforgiving market, been forced to question my entire career path. What I have taken from all of this is the importance of relationships in my life. Through the magic of social networking, I’ve rediscovered all the people that I’d lost through life changes. These people made me who I am. They are my identity; they are the people I love most in this world; they are my home. I’ve come to look at myself through a different lens, realizing how critical I am of myself and how there’s far more credit I am owed for talents and abilities I typically overlook. My life is changing radically. While the thought of it is terrifying, I also find it exhilarating. I feel like I am on the brink of what it is I am supposed to find, just on the verge of really making my life what it is supposed to be.

I know that Lost is nothing more than a television series, born of the minds of some very talented writers with a vision for a wondrous story. But last night, I couldn’t help but feel that it was made just for me. It’s made me consider my entire life in a very different philosophical way. It’s overdramatic; it’s silly; it’s unbelievably self-obsessed. But this is the meaning I’ve taken from this wonderful show. The finality of the show made me very sad, but I want to keep the sense of urgency it’s provided me with about grasping firm the relationships I have in my life that really matter and that I cherish, and I most definitely want to keep the spirit of adventure I feel about my pending life. People complain about tv and how it rots your brain. It doesn’t have to be. Thank you Lost, for posing some very important questions and just letting viewers think for themselves for a change.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Put Him in a Body Bag!!!!

Keep Passing the Open Windows.

Where does this thing called depression come from? Once, teaching a Psychology class, a fistfight nearly broke out because a boy said he didn't believe it was real. A girl, who clearly knew it was all too real, told him he was a selfish prick and didn't know what the hell he was talking about. She told him that she'd lost several family members to suicide and that she'd battled with it her entire life. The guy felt terrible, and I think it genuinely made him see things differently. He and I had a talk later and he asked me if he had just been blind and born lucky. I was much more gentle at the time, telling him something along the lines of "those that haven't experienced certain things can't be expected to understand them." In reality, though, yeah. He'd been blind. And he'd been born lucky.

Some people seem to think that depression is when you feel a little blue because you've lost something that mattered, or when you just lack the energy to do the sorts of things you'd normally like doing. You feel down, and it kind of sucks, but you'll bounce back. Even at the time, you know you'll bounce back. That's not depression. Depression is Sylvia Plath's bell jar. The goddamn thing just descends down upon you from fucking nowhere. You can see life around you, a little distorted perhaps, but it's all still visible. None of it can reach you, though. All that you can feel is the hell that exists inside your suffocating cage.

I've suffered from clinical depression from the time that I was three. I know it well. I do what I am supposed to do to keep it at bay. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not work. Sometimes it hits and I can muddle through, put up a decent front, feign that things are all basically alright. Other times, it is totally incapacitating. Sleep is the only drug that works, because it is the closest you can come to death while still holding out hope for a better tomorrow.

I was fine yesterday. A little angsty, perhaps, but nothing too severe. And then down it descended. Really rough night, really rough day today. I'll sleep some, maybe put in a movie and try to get lost in someone else's life for awhile. I don't plan on telling anyone about it, though. People don't get it, or they make far too much of it and that ends up making it worse.

JK Rowling apparently suffers from pretty intense depression. She said the Death Eaters that haunt poor Harry were based on the sensation of depression at its worse. Weird what people do to try to battle their demons. A former boss suffered from it terribly. We once discussed how he dealt with it and he said that he just did. He'd had three suicides in his family and his father had become a pastor hoping that religion would be the cure he needed. Clearly, none of those had worked, so this guy just did what most of us do. He hoped for the best, took some meds and muddled through.

I've always been a fan of this story from John Irving's Hotel New Hampshire. It seems appropriate enough to include here:
There was a street clown called King of the Mice: he trained rodents, he did horoscopes, he could impersonate Napolean, he could make dogs fart on command. One night he jumped out his window with all his pets in a box. Written on the box was this: "Life is Serious but Art is Fun!" I hear his funeral was a party. A street artist had killed himself. Nobody had supported him but now everybody missed him. Now who make the dogs make music and the mice pant?...It is hard work and great art to make life not so serious. Keep passing the open windows.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

As Far Back As I Can Remember, I Always Wanted To Be A Gangster.

I consume a lot of media. Appreciation of cinematic art form or vice, I watch a lot of film and television. So much so, that it apparently now my subconscious turns my thoughts into a form it thinks I’m more likely to understand. I dream quite frequently in an episodic nature. I dream entire episodes, replete with advertisements, of programs I regularly watch. Sometimes I will have recurrences, but not in entirety. Instead I’ll have recurring characters (that often enter the dream accompanied by the sound of canned applause, as if to recognize the special guest star), recurring places, or references to things that have happened in previous dreams. If I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s quite possible I will fall back into a dream I had earlier, and to make it easy for me to catch up, my brain will give me a recap, a special “last time, in your dreams...” review. Frequently I switch roles in my dreams. I will sometimes be purely an observer, then an actor, then actually one of the main characters. I’ve found myself thinking, “This isn’t right. Kate was never involved with Sayid,” but typically, the dreams are so realistic, so well-written, if you will, that upon waking hours, I can’t recall if the events I remember were actually part of a program or made up. (This was quite frustrating in the days when I suffered from acute GeneralHospitalitis.)

Last night was an installment in an ongoing saga. It’s a sort of imaginary film festival, I think. This is the third in an in-the-styling of Martin Scorcese series of dreamland cinema. Part Goodfellas, part Shutter Island. It starred both Ray Liotta and Leonardo diCaprio. And, as if it needed further nods for proper homage, I am constantly reminded that these dreams are connected due to the use of “Sympathy for the Devil” playing on the soundtrack of each related dream.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I am funny about church. I was raised in the Baptist Church for a brief period of time as a very small child. My father died when I was three, and made my mother promise that “his girls would be raised in church.” It lasted for about two years, but when an older sibling began acting out and each Sunday became a major battle, teen angst won out over Christ. The seeds of Christianity are there as a foundation in my family, but it’s shaky at best. I have only the most rudimentary understanding of the Bible and Christianity. A variety of boyfriends who have all leaned Agnostic haven’t helped to change this. Perhaps because of a dislike of most social situations in general, perhaps because of church culture seeming formal and peculiar, I really dread having to visit a church. I feel as if I’m constantly being observed, with people watching to see all the things I will get wrong.

A student of mine has a father’s who’s a pastor. An interesting kid. He was homeschooled before his senior year, and I think his parents enrolled him in public school so that he could play basketball for more than any other reason. Public school’s not been good for him. He’s taken to sleeping through most of his classes, and his work quality just keeps diminishing. We’ve developed a joking rapport over the span of the year , and I like him quite a bit. I was shocked when on Friday he came looking for me after school. “My brother and I are going to be singing at my dad’s church this weekend. It would mean a lot to me if you’d come to see us.” This was about the last thing I expected to hear him say. For whatever reason, sometimes things like this will come to mean a huge amount to a kid, and I hate to disappoint them when they’ve asked me to share something.

Sunday morning I wake up much later than I normally do. I check my email to see if he’s sent me directions to the church. I live about forty minutes away from the community where I teach, so this has got to be a consideration. There are directions, but no time. I summon memories of church and the times they seem to run. Eleven sounds like a safe bet, which means I have five minutes to make myself presentable and leave. I find the place, just as the directions indicated I would. Somehow, I actually timed it correctly. Things are just about to start, actually. Unfortunately, this means that I can’t just blend in with the congregation, sitting on a back pew. Instead, my student’s mom graciously leads me to the front of the church where we sit in the vey front pew.

The entire experience is very odd for me. I feel like I’ve been transplanted here as some sort of alien. Nothing is familiar to me in this world. As the pastor begins he mentions a verse and there is a flurry of activity. Every single parishioner pulls out their own special Bible from a personalized zipped Bible case and opens to the corresponding pages. The mom extends hers over so that I can view it. It’s been so long, I’ve actually forgotten how to read one and it takes me a minute to remember about chapters and verses. Any hope I had of blending in is long gone by the time the pastor points me out and thanks me for being there. I will be mentioned during this sermon three times. Everyone is asked to stand and sing. I don’t know these songs, I don’t read music. I feel like the SNL characters that show up for Weekend Update and pretend they both know a song they’re really making up on the fly. The pastor repeatedly speaks of one of the congregation by name. His name must be Aholdt, or something similar, but all I can hear is “Brother A-Hole.” As I fight not to laugh inappropriately, I am totally ashamed of myself for not being able to do something as simple as attend a church function like this as a mature adult.

My student sings, and he does a really lovely job. It’s odd, though, to see him in this light. I can’t look at him straight on, because it just seems too weird. It feels too personal, invasive, to see someone in a moment of worship and praise that I clearly don’t fully understand. I don’t know that I will ever really get why it is that it meant something to him to have me here, but it is clear that it does. It may have been awkward for me, but I’m glad that I came. Maybe he just wanted me to see him in a situation where he could show himself off as he shone, where everyone saw him as golden, instead of as a lazy kid that had grown accustomed to just eking by. That’s plenty. It wasn’t necessary. I didn’t judge him for it before, just wanted him to offer the best of himself to his education.

Religion is a very strong force. Nothing gets my fiancé, a very laid-back non-judgmental guy, riled up quite like what he considers to be hypocritical Christianity. An old friend, as wild as they come, found God and his life changed dramatically. It was so poorly received by others in the circle that two friendships totally dissolved over his new philosophy. I’ve witnessed colleagues at work have a major fallout because one became religious and married a regular church-goer. I learned early on in my teaching career not to ever mention any facet of religion due to the ensuing questions. When a student discovers your religious views don’t match their own, you are instantly a heathen and someone to be scorned.

Regardless of what any of the factions say, there really is no live and let live. Everyone seems determined that they’re right, and everyone else can go to hell – figuratively, or literally.

A Bad Reputation's A Lot Better Than Fat.

In high school, I was the hottie. Thin and developed. Aware of my sexuality and the effect it could have. Eighteen years later, this is no longer the case. As a facebook reconnection, who I’ve yet to actually see in person, has told me, I’ve “put on a lot of weight since I last saw you.” As much as I’d love it not to be true, there’s just no denying it. There are plenty of reasons, of course. Years of illness and treatments that only seemed to add huge amounts of weight, years of depression and lack of motivation, a very sedentary job, a hysterectomy, general laziness that just seems to sort of seep in and take over life. The worst part is, as much as it bothers me, you’d think I’d have done something about it. I’ve been trying to reclaim some sense of “healthy” for about the last six months. Exercise, eating well. To be fair, there’s been some results, but my God, are they ever slow. I want things to happen now, I want results to be instantaneous. They are not.
I’m seeing an old friend for the first time in fourteen years soon. And another, someone I haven’t seen since I was a junior in high school, I keep putting off, but I won’t indefinitely. This fills me with a great deal of trepidation. They’re very judgmental by nature. They won’t mean for their thoughts to be evident, but it will be there on their face. I’ve no doubts about this. A person’s façade doesn’t determine who they are. I realize this. I know that my friends could care less what size I am or what number the scale reads. I know too, that your appearance is the impression that you offer of yourself. I don’t like that mine says I don’t seem to give a shit about myself.
Women and men age differently. Things that don’t matter for men matter a lot for women. Lines around the eyes, graying hair, extra weight, even lost hair. For men, those things just seem to go with the territory, and most people even find such things attractive. If a person doesn’t scrutinize too closely, I could easily pass for late twenties. No gray hair, no hideous aging. I look like a 28 year old. In my eyes, however, it’s marred by the fact that I look like a fat 28 year old. It’s as if there’s a challenge in life, to be the best possible person you can be, and to present this person to the world. There’s nothing enticing about someone who’s fat. They’re boring. The message is that life offered challenges and rather than meet them, they just succumbed. People don’t see beauty, they don’t see intelligence, they don’t see humor. They just see something unsightly.
The funny thing is, I don’t think this about other people. I’ve not ever been one to think about a person’s physicality first. I like them based on their mind, on their sense of humor, on their spirit. I usually can’t even make a determination as to whether I find someone attractive until I’ve known them awhile because their personality is what decides beauty for me. Maybe other people are the same way, but I’ll never buy it. Until the rest of this weight comes off, I shall remain totally self-conscious and apprehensive, waiting for harsh judgments. When I finally arrive at a weight I’m happy with again, then I can begin to obsess about something new. Then I can decide that everyone sees “old” when they meet me, or develop a drinking problem so that I can be scrutinized for sobriety instead. And the sad part? I’ll be a lot happier that way. Let them find me a bitch, a whore, an idiot, a drunken loser. So long as it isn’t prefaced with “fat” I don’t think I’ll really care.

Monday, May 3, 2010

And the Number They Do On Your Soul...

courtesy of Savage Chickens.

I Wear Black on the Outside, Because Black is How I Feel on the Inside.

image courtesy of Reddit

Oh So Sad Little Kitty.

image courtesy of Now That's Nifty

Quotes About Dogs.

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue. – Anonymous

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. – Will Rogers

Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. – Ann Landers

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. – Ben Williams

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than they love themselves. – Josh Billings

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. – Andy Rooney

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made. – M. Acklam

Ever wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult. – Rita Rudner

Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never bathed a dog. – Franklin P.

If your dog is fat, YOU aren’t getting enough exercise. – Unknown

My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That’s almost $21.00 in dog money. – Joe Weinstein

Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? We come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul – chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth! – Anne Tyler

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, ‘My goodness, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!’ – Dave Barry

Dogs are not our whole life, but they do make our lives whole. – Roger Caras

If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. – Phil Pastoret

My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am. -Tming

courtesy of Bits and Pieces

My favorite wasn't included:
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Personality Tests That Are Totally Wrong.

A dear friend is on a dating site. She asked me to take a look at her personality profile and give it a critique. In order to do this, I had to create a profile for myself. The thing about the site is, there really do seem to be people there that are just looking for friends and people to hang out with, and that doesn't seem like such a terrible thing. I will soon be unemployed, and without anything to do but think and become anxiety-ridden, so maybe having a link to some new people isn't an awful idea.
I tend to be addicted to personality tests and answering questions about myself. On Facebook I always keep these to myself (I hate those jerks that do nothing but take quizzes and post the results to everyone else, bombarding the page with "If Joe were a color he'd be fuschia"), but on this connection site, the results are just there. And so far, only one result is anywhere near accurate. These quizzes keep making me out to be a giant douche. The first two are okay, I guess: My Lover Profile? "Surprising;" My Funny Test? "The Wit." But the others? Eegads. They're so totally off-base. And just personally distasteful. Personality Defect? "Hippie." My Dating Persona? "The Sudden Departure." My Buffy Character? Dawn. (!!!!! WTF???? I'd rather be Warren than Dawn for crying out loud!)
I don't know what I'm going to end up doing with this profile. I suspect I'll delete it altogether in a week or so, actually. Despite the "looking for friends" category I've got checked, I seem to be collecting a few "How you Doin's" and that's not something I want to encourage. In the meantime, I am sending the message that I'm some sort of love 'em and leave 'em bitch who reeks of patchouli and tries to save the world from itself. It's as if I went out of my way to create a profile that presented the antithesis of the person I'd want strangers to of think of me as. Douchiest loser? C'est moi!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Wisdom of Sarah Silverman.

The other night on The Marriage Ref, a couple was sparring because the wife's best friend was a straight man. They'd been friends forever, well before the husband and wife met. He had an issue with the friendship, and wanted the wife to sever ties.

I know, from experience, that this sort of thing is common. Ever since grade school, my closest friends have been male. I've never thought anything of it. Once or twice, these things evolved into something more than platonic. This easily could have been prevented, though. These evolutions were things that were allowed, not things that "just happened," not things that were inevitable. They were choices, and choices that could just as easily have been avoided.

I've been with my fiance for nearly eight years. He's never taken issue with my male friends. It's not like I don't have girl friends, but the five people in my life I'm closest to, the ones I'm completely honest with and share the bulk of my time with, are all men. He's like me in this respect, too. Typically friends with women instead of men. All the friends he's made at work over the last few years have been girls. It's never occurred to me to be bothered by this; I'm just happy that he's made friends and has people in his life that he enjoys. It drives some of the people I work with crazy because I'm going to spend a weekend with a male friend this summer. They're aghast, like I'm some sort of callous whore, out to to wound. What baffles them equally is that when I've been unable to take time off work, I've encouraged him to go on vacation with one of his girl friends. I just don't see the malfeasance that others seem to think this intimates.

I don't know what the upshot on Marriage Ref was the other night. I turned it off because it irritated me. I did catch Sarah Silverman's input, though, and found it to be perfectly brilliant. She said she believed that a person who doesn't consider cheating to be a likelihood for themselves wouldn't consider it for others. They're not jealous people. They trust because that's the point of view that's organic. Perhaps it is the jealous that "protest too much." The jealous see dangerous potential, because they view all of life that way, with potential and temptation.

Funny who becomes a role model if you're willing to listen to what they have to say.

The Heart Does Go On.

I met a man today outside of a store. Ended up he was from out of town, and here because he was going to a car show with his son's beloved souped-up car. The son had died five years ago, and the car had been his prized possession. He'd worked on it for years, giving it all the bells and whistles that could be added. When he died, his father picked up his son left off. He'd finished the car to his son's specifications. The dream had always been to go to a big car show in Atlanta, and the dad had done that. Now, he takes it around the country to whatever shows come up. Like a proud papa, he had pictures he was able to pull up on his phone. It was so endearing, and so very bittersweet.
So often, people try to make up for things they didn't do properly when it mattered. I can only hope that this man was as dedicated to his departed son in life as he clearly is in death.