In Her Shell
Monday, October 27, 2008
  On Being Terrified
We are really buying a house. As in, the sellers have agreed and the attorneys have agreed and the mortgage company has agreed, and in two months all of that theoretical responsibility will become actual payments and repairs and dusting and scrubbing and neighbors we're stuck with for the foreseeable future. And that heart-and-mind commitment we've made to each other will become bricks-and-mortar too. And I thought getting the family plan on our cell phones was a pretty big deal.

The fireplace and the deck and the view of the hills in the distance, the setting up our books on new shelves and walking to the post office, the Thai restaurant or the tattoo parlor are all things that calm the palpitations a bit. The writing checks toward an end, instead of a black hole, and the building something together, something we've chosen together--these are things I've wanted for a long time. But after a decade of renting (and seven different apartments, and eleven different roommates) and a longer list of relationships that fizzled out before I got comfortable calling someone 'boyfriend,' I'm actually facing these things that I've wanted and getting these things that I've wanted and it is new, and overwhelming.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
  On Being A Bitch
I have been a real bitch lately. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

I've been teaching for six years now, and when a student comes up to me with an excuse (not the same thing as a reason) I don't have that sad, this-hurts-me-more-than-it-hurts-you expression on when I tell them too bad, you are losing points/failing/being written up/kicked out of the play/etc. I used to really feel it, too--that it hurt me as much or more than it did them. Now I don't. I don't know when this changed.

That's not entirely true. I do feel compassion for the kid who has to come to me, scared (they never used to be that scared before) and give me his excuse. I don't ever yell. I just tell him, plainly, if something is unacceptable; I look him in the eyes, I don't furrow my brow. I don't check with him twice to see if he is OK afterward. I move on.

The same is true of my interactions with colleagues and supervisors. I don't smile as readily as I did before, and I don't try to accomodate others' needs before my own. I listen, then respond. If something is disappointing or frustrating to me, I name it that way.

It's disappointing that I (the crusader against sexist dress code policies! the presenter of controversial plays!) see this confidence, this lack of bullshit, as bitchiness. Even though it has made some things easier for me, I still feel kind of bad about it. It's frustrating that for the gains it has gotten me, I know it has made me a bitch in some people's eyes, and lost me a little too.
Friday, October 17, 2008
  Bitching About Television: The Fourth* In A Series
I used to really enjoy 'Weeds' and I don't try to hide my crush on Mary-Louise Parker. I really liked how, in the first season, her character, Nancy, would make these bad choices about who to sleep with, but for the most part didn't get 'punished' for it like sexy ladies usually do in movies and TV shows. Of course she was totally exploited because she's hot, but she usually had the power in whatever situation she was in.

Nancy has power

Now I've gotten to season three and she has been held at gunpoint, forced to dance/box/etc., choked, and forcibly kissed in a hostage situation. OK, her drug-selling lifestyle is getting dangerous, I get it. Showtime, wtf? The sex-violence conflation is pretty well handled by the major networks and every Hollywood movie. Oo, look at this smart, confident woman being physically degraded! Look how scared she is! Isn't she so hot? I'm done.

Nancy doesn't have power

*And hopefully final. Real-life stuff is a little intense for me right now, so I've been focusing on the fake-life stuff. I'll be back to my regularly-scheduled blogging soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
  Dear Jon Stewart,

Please stop talking.

Just for a second. I love you, I really do. I mean, I really, honest-to-god, Teen Bop poster taped to the wall, informed about your former job at the Quaker Bridge Mall, angry when you got married love you. But you are seriously bad at your job.

Not the SNL-esque fake news anchor part of your job. That part is really great. Keep it up!

But the interviewing. My god Jon, when you are interviewing people you've got to let them talk. Ask a question that doesn't require a great deal of lead-in or sermonizing on your part, then... stop talking. Seriously, I mean it. It's their turn to talk. After the question, listen.

When you first started working there (which was around the time I first started working there, so I felt our kinship), I gave you some slack, because you were new and nervous and not used to interviewing. But what has it been, eight, nine seasons? I mean it, the chattering through these 'interview' segments while your interviewee laughs appreciatively at your jokes has long grown old. You are starting to sound like as much of a dick as Colbert does, and he's trying to do that.

Don't be afraid, Jon. If you ask a good question, they'll have something to say. Even if they have to take a breath first, and sound doesn't immediately come out, that doesn't mean it's your turn again.

Love (still, regardless),
Monday, October 06, 2008
  Lest You Think I'm Not Shallow*

Or, Why I'm Not Watching Heroes* Anymore

Sylar: It's all behind me now, like a long night after a bad taco.

(dramatic music)

*because even without TV, you can watch TV shows, without commercials, online.
And seriously? This dude is still the gay best friend from So NoTORIous.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
  Why I Don't Have TV

When I was small I got it into my head that the cable box on top of the TV really controlled TV. Not just our TV; TV in general, everyone's TV. I'd get worried when my mom told me to turn it off because we were going to have dinner, because what if someone else was watching that show? I felt burdened with responsibility to watch things that a variety of people might be interested in, so I wouldn't bore anyone.

We didn't get the TV until I was four or five, and after that it dominated the living room and adjacent kitchen. My father installed himself on the floor in front of it, stretched out with a pillow under his head, and grunted in response to questions. My mom had held out for so long for just this reason, and because she wanted me outside playing. I continued to play outside, and I'm grateful that she didn't wean me on TV from the very start. But my dad couldn't resist it, and she later said that was when the marriage started to end.

I am prone to hermitage and a TV doesn't help. When I've lived with roommates who wanted cable, I've fought them but then spent the most time staring blankly at the screen. One year I lived by myself without TV, and in February I merrily gave valentines to everyone at work. The next year, in the next apartment, I sat on the couch and felt shitty about myself for being alone, as commercials told me I should.

I still have a big glass eye that dominates my living room, but I don't have cable hooked up; we watch DVDs. This week I visited friends' TV to watch the VP debate, and lasted all of about ten minutes before I literally started to feel sick and had to leave. On the one hand, I wanted to see it for myself before reading the distortions in the press. On the other, it's only my own distortion I was seeing.

I cannot understand it when people leave the TV on 'for company' or while they fall asleep. When I'm somewhere with a TV on, I cannot look away from it, still feeling responsible to watch, and keep watching.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
  Thoughts From A Stressful Week
Tooling along the highway, what if I get in a car accident and die? Oh, people would say, she was about to buy a house, but what about the person who just got married, just had a kid, had four kids, just got promoted, or was living her dream in some other way? It's always tragic; people attach these descriptors to the person's life as if it makes it more so, but any way around, it's always tragic.

Dear Barack Obama, will you go to a dance with me?

The job I want: everyone leaves me alone.

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In a move that seems to amuse only me, I pull lines from the blogs I hit on the Next Blog button, and arrange them into found poem form.

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