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Taking Manhattan

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April 28th, 2006

Dear Diary

Things I've realized about myself lately that I should be probably be telling to a therapist:

1) I didn't have the happiest childhood. I had a weird and lonely childhood, overseen by two weird and lonely people. Which is why I turned out to be weird and lonely and live a mostly weird and lonely life as an adult.

2) When I talk to people, I share information, not emotion. Psychologically speaking, then, I am a male. This has something to do with my mother, who is gay, but, more to the point, was raised by a woman who is tight-lipped about how she feels. We just keep passing down that internalization thing. Its also a confidence thing: I assume that people want to know what I'm doing but don't care to hear *how* I'm doing. I don't want to burden anybody. In that sense, I'm very female. The gender-dysphoric thing goes back to my gay mother, if you believe that gay people have gender confusion, which many of them will argue that they do not. A shrink would have a field day with this, come to think of it.

3) Biology is not destiny. I am more than the sum of my parts. God gave me my own unique purpose. (Put all of the above on endless repeat.)

4) I am almost entirely incapable of developing and/or maintaining healthy relationships with other women. In college, I thought I was just mature for my age and would have lots of friendships once I was in the real world associating with other adults. Not so much. My personal Dark Ages with the UU gang I think put strange ideas in my head about what is appropriate in a friendship. I get my emotions confused when I'm trying to get to know another female. Falling in love with R set me straight, so to speak, with regards my sexuality, but I still haven't fully processed the notion that friendships can exist without subliminal lust as a factor. I can be just trying to have a conversation with another woman and realize that what I'm doing is courting her. Or, at least, I feel like that's what I'm doing. I'm always stiff and trying to be interesting and impressive to her. It's so uncomfortable that I just don't do it anymore. I don't get to know anyone without R being there. There was B, then L, then A, then the bible study group...I give up! I really hate this about myself.

5) I'm insular and afraid and avoidant of the entire fucking world. Real life stuff that happens is so frightening to me. I sound like one of those people who ends up with dismembered bodies in her basement...I'm not psycho, or even especially antisocial, I just feel incredibly unprepared to be out where life happens. That's the word, unprepared. I don't know what I missed but it was something major. This bleeds over into all other aspects of my life. Fear of failure, of embarrassment, lack of a basic understanding of grown-up life, it all keeps me from having a healthy social life or seeking out new experiences. My parents aren't stellar rolemodels. Mom didn't figure it out until she was 40 or so. Dad still hasn't. There are Mary and Tom, who to me are everything functional people ought to be, but, again, I don't have the tools I need to follow through on their examples. I don't know, maybe God is breaking me down in order to build me back up into something far more acceptable. It's certainly what I pray for. Even with the light ahead, its very hard to go through every day in this fog. I feel like Gollum, who retreated into his cave and didn't come out for 500 years.

April 27th, 2006

Dear Diary

R is okay, after all. Dr. H was public enemy number 1 for a couple of days after performing certain diagnostic procedures (I felt bad for R - he was really upset - but all I could think was "at least it didn't involve a popsicle stick and scraping" which the ladies will understand). Naturally, right after we determined that R was going to be fine, we discovered just how painfully B-R-O-K-E we are, so that sent him right back into worry mode. He's very tired of stressing all the time and so am I.

I suppose its a good thing that I really don't have any friends. When I do talk to people about my life, I realize how close I am to being depressed myself. All I want to do is hide in the apartment with R. The world is a little too much for me these days.

I don't think the government should send us rebate checks for gas, I think the *oil companies* should send us rebate checks for gas. The only way they're going to reform is if Congress makes it very, very painful for them now that they've crossed the line. I don't see what good it will do if Big Oil is whistling all the way to the bank while Congress spends more out of its own pocket. I sat next to our company's lobbyist at a lunch yesterday, so I'm thinking what the oil companies' lobbyists must be doing right now. Something akin to chickens without their heads, I'm sure. How many meetings can one human take in a day? Those poor guys are finding out. Dozens of Republican Josh Lymans scurrying around the Hill, Starbucks duct-taped to their sweaty palms, cellphone-ear-thingys ensconced, trying to convince our representatives that those record-shattering profits and 6-figure-per-day retirement packages are purely coincidental with the ungodly gas prices. Its a shame that they will work so hard only to burn in hell.

Speaking of Josh Lyman, yeah for Josh & Donna! Finally! Long after I gave up on the show! He's even taking her on vacation! I'll watch this whole last season on DVD when its out. I hate that they pushed so many of the main characters into the background. It was bad enough losing Sam, but this year we pretty much lost everyone but Josh, Donna, and Leo (until...yeah, ugh). I guess Toby was in there somewhere. Occasionally, so was the POTUS, but I don't think anyone tuning in for the first time this season would believe that Jimmy Smits wasn't ever not the main character. Josh was always my favorite but I liked him best when he was surrounded by the people who could keep him in check. Toby, Sam, and CJ were his Greek chorus. The unmitigated Joshness of this season could be a little much.

Got my Warcraft character to 40 last night. Woo-hoo! I can't believe that I've stuck with that game for so long. It must be truly addictive to hold my miniscule attention span.

April 24th, 2006

Another format change

I realize I have nothing substantial to contribute to the blogosphere, so I'll just use this as a good old-fashioned diary.

I saw a frog swimming in the pool at our apartments this morning. How adorable. It was a nice interlude in a morning when R was scared about his health. He's had blood where no one ever wants blood. As he says, he can't catch a break with this stuff. It makes me scared to turn 30, like my body will suddenly turn against me like his has against him. His doctor's appointment is this afternoon. Thank God, he does have a great doctor, Dr. H, who is very thorough and a no-bullshit kind of guy. Dr. H is good at handling R's anxiety. R has learned to trust his opinions and will settle down if Dr. H says its okay. I feel like I have another ally against the depression monster which is very comforting.

We watched a doc on HBO yesterday called "A Century of Living." It consisted of a series of interviews with some truly remarkable people who were all born in 1900 or earlier. They were discussing how it was to live through the entire 20th century. I'm in awe, quite honestly, of all of them. What an incredible perspective to have, from being born in a farmhouse with no electricity to typing letters on a computer! This one woman touched me especially, who had lived to see five of her children die of old age. I can't imagine what that must be like for a mother to see her children through all the way from birth to death. These are the people who should be writing best-selling books - the ones with real human stories to tell -and not those chick-lit hacks.

I'm becoming seriously addicted to "Big Love." It's compulsive, I tell you, evil even. I wonder why A)no one ever figured out until now how good of an actor Bill Paxton is (I almost called him Bill Pullman so shame on me too); and, B) why no one thought to make a show about polygamy before as it is obviously so ripe with drama. The show is written and produced by a gay couple, which adds yet another interesting tweak to the phenomenon. Anyway, last night bitch-wife Nicki had her very first seemingly genuine non-manipulative moment when she copped to her compulsive spending and credit card debt to Barb. She begged Barb to keep it all secret from Bill, which might be another way she wants to put a wedge between Barb and Bill, but also kinda makes sense. Now that all the stuff with Roman is hitting the fan, if Bill found out about Nicki's gross irresponsibility, he'd have a perfectly justifiable shit fit. When he hears that Roman has been feeding Nicki money, his head will probably just explode. Barb is on the verge of telling him, I think, so the shit fit is forthcoming and I can't wait. I also wonder about the actor who plays Alby, who is taking him to the Buffalo Bill place ("it puts the lotion on its skin"), how he manages to go home and act like a normal human being. I wondered the same thing about Ted Levine. Anyhoo, I love this show.

Speaking of Buffalo Bill, there was one of our security guards in the elevator this morning whose name is Clarice. Heh.

March 23rd, 2006

Here and Back Again

Sorry to be gone for so long. Work, illness, laziness, all that. Anyway, lots to catch up on:

I am urging everyone to contact their Congresspersons in support of HR4731 (text is here: http://tinyurl.com/px3au). This bill would require Internet companies that store personally identifiable data about their customers to purge that data once any transactions with the customers are complete. It was proposed in response to the DOJ's subpoening of Google's search records, which could possibly include information about individual users. The text of the bill states that other telecommunications companies are already subject to similar regulations. There is no reason why Internet companies should be exempt. Be aware that Google is one of several search companies that was subpoened, but, it was the only one to resist the order. MSN and Yahoo have already turned over your personal information to the government! HR 4731 would prevent overreaching government agencies and enterprising hackers from violating consumers' online privacy.

Molly Ivins - a classic onry liberal and Texas treasure - is making me think of Shakespeare this morning. First, Molly on the Patriot Act:

"Another reason to worry about a huge domestic spy operation is it will inevitably be manned by nincompoops. Take this 2003 memo from an FBI agent railing at what he perceived as dreadful restraints by John Ashcroft's Justice Department: 'While radical militant librarians kick us around, true terrorists benefit from [Justice's] failure to let us use the tools given to us.' Yep, time after time, it's those radical militant librarians impeding those pitiful, helpless agents at the FBI."

This makes me think of Hamlet's observations of "the proud man's contumely, the pangs of despised love, the law's delay, the insolence of office." We've witnessed pride, delay, and insolence from our leaders all in the past twelve months. Speaking of insolence, I mean, the nerve of this FBI agent to accuse librarians of impeding our freedom and security. Isn't this what psychiatrists call transference? I don't know how these people sleep at night. BTW: a group of librarians from the ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom made "Radical Militant Librarian" buttons that are selling like hotcakes at all the national librarian conventions. I believe I shall order one.

Adventures in Googling, No. 3, will be up sometime this afternoon. Maybe I'll search for "nincompoop"...

March 16th, 2006

The librarians won! Yippee! http://tinyurl.com/q9tjl

Note to our United States representatives: Stop comparing each other to Nazis, slave owners, and terrorists. It's stupid.

March 14th, 2006

Search term: "chairs"

http://www.designboom.com/eng/education/foldingchair.html - More than you wanted to know about pivots
http://www.skychairs.com - The groovy hanging chairs they sell at RenFest
http://www.cockeyed.com/pranks/chairs/starbucks_chairs.html - This person is way cooler than I am
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chair - Someone put a lot of work into this...
http://www.treehugger.com/files/chairs/ - Hemp chairs! Yay!
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/set/crimechairs.html - The bad kind of chairs

March 13th, 2006

Okay, so, here's the deal: my butt is officially too big and I am approaching the dreaded 30-year metabolism breakdown. I will eat three GOOD meals per day, with no snacks or desserts, and I will do some meaningful exercise each week. The thing is, folks, that I am kind of just the teensiest bit obsessed with food. I think about it a lot. I follow my cravings like a craven puppy. Also, I don't exercise at all. My company gym is free, located two floors below me, and open 24 hours a day, and, yet, I do nothing. It's ridiculous and I have no excuse. I don't care about losing weight or counting calories or good/bad carbs because that's not what this is about. This is about actually living like the smart person that I am. I know better, so I will do better. That, and I don't want to hit 30 and explode.

Part of my problem - actually, a BIG part of my problem - is my adult ADD. Without chemical assistance, I have absolutely no ability to motivate myself. This is a part of ADD that most people don't know about. It isn't just about bouncing off the walls - that's AD/HD which is actually a different thing. I'm not hyperactive but I am extremely inattentive. The normal mental focus and energy that adults have that carries them through the day is all together dissipated in my brain (dissipation, in fact, in my normal state of being). I can't go five minutes without forgetting what it is I'm supposed to do. I also can't get it together enough to carry through a task, even a simple one like "get up and load the dishwasher." To say the least, it's very frustrating. I can't stick to a diet and I can't motivate myself to go the gym, no matter how easy it actually is. So, I am trying very hard to stick to my daily dose of Adderall, and that is starting to pay dividends. I care again; I feel some imperative, obviously, or I wouldn't be writing this. Anyway, wish me luck! I'll let you know how it goes.

Reading on a Monday morning

I have a major case of the Mondays, BTW, so forgive me if I sound a little strident this morning.

Reading Slate.com is becoming something of a hazard to my health. On the one hand, I tend to want to agree with most of their decidedly liberal rantings. Saletan, The Fray, Hitchens...if Graydon Carter and Al Franken started columns then Slate would have collected in one place all of the media liberals capable of putting a farking sentence together. Great. Good for them. On the other hand, their relentless secularism and near-constant derision of religion is wearing mighty thin with me. OKAY, we get it, liberals hate Christians. I checked that off my list of "things to know" a very long time ago. Hence, my comment that I only want to agree with them. Sometimes I feel like I can't, though, because of the lengths to which they will go to ice their opinion cakes with humanist snobbery. I know that liberals feel like they've had religion shoved down their throats for so long and its just payback for Pat Robertson and blah blah blah cry me a river. The solution to this problem isn't to merely adopt the embarrassing tactics of one's opponents but to actually do the work to raise the level of debate in this country. All of us, whether red or blue or whatever, have gotten lazy. I wish I could get all the Slate folks to shut up for a second, go to the library, and read a book called Rights Talk. It is by far the most cogent politcal treatise I've ever read, and, incidentally, it is the only book I read in college that remains relevant in my life.

I added a new link this morning. "The Common Scold" is a so-called blawg, or blog written by a lawyer. I work with lawyers, so this will be my one shout-out to my work. TCS is a woman lawyer, who is actually fun to read and not just totally in love with her own opinions like most blawgers (and lawyers in general).

March 10th, 2006


Last movie watched: Pulp Fiction
Next movie to watch: Block Party or Libertine

Last book read: Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
Next book to read: Wicket's Remedy by Myla Goldberg

Song that was in my head: Walk the Line by Johnny Cash
Song in my head at the moment: Walking in Memphis by Mark Cohn

Favorite TV show last week: Lost
Favorite TV show this week: American Idol

Latest purchase: cute Fossil grooming kit-cum-handbag (black leather with embroidery)
Upcoming purchase: Comcast DVR

Plans for the weekend: play World of Warcraft, hang out with Mom

"She said 'Tell me are you a Christian, child'/and I said, 'Ma'am I am tonight'/When I was walking in Memphis..."

March 9th, 2006

New New Orleans

My parents and their closest friends lived in New Orleans throughout the '70s. They worked at a bookstore in the French Quarter and at the University of New Orleans and were totally steeped in the jazz/bohemian culture. One of those family friends has been visiting NO recently to help an acquaintance sort out her assets (those poor people, who are living as refugees in their own back yards, still have to file their bloody taxes). She brings back reports that are sometimes hard to hear. She has described going to the top floor of one of the downtown office buildings and looking out over the city. All she can see for miles is blue tarp roofs. That must be a very poignant sight for someone who knew the city in its prime. She also shared an anecdote from a secretary in that building: the poor woman has had a FEMA trailor in her yard for some time now, but no one can find her the key. This from the world's most powerful government? It makes me sick to my stomach.
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