Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Return of RDF: The Gardener

He held the hose like a gun.  Arms stretched forward to meet at a point, index finger poised near the trigger.  Anticipating for a beat, he soon gave in and squeezed, soundtracking himself with a little "Pew-pew!" uttered under his breath.  Water shot out in a grandiose arc, matching tone with its swooshing fanfare.  His amusement at enjoying this basic task was reflected only in his eyes, which hid smiling behind oversized raybans that gave him a slightly alien appearance.  Shifting the hose into his left hand, he reached down with his right to scratch.  The mosquitoes at last night's barbeque had been prolific, and particularly keen.  One had gotten him squarely in the middle of his newest tattoo, an extravagant byzantine cross that took up nearly the entirety of his right calf.  He hesitated to scratch the skin that was still tender and recovering, but the urge to itch won out.  It was painful yet still satisfying, sort of like poking a bruise.  As if facing those overzealous pests during his day job weren't enough, anytime he socialized outdoors he further exposed himself to their gnawing incursions.  Suddenly, the door of the corporate building whose lilies he was so playfully tending swung open. A young woman materialized, exhaling a half sigh half exclamation at the brutal temperature.  He gave a sidelong up and down glance.  Brunette, petite and curvy - not his type.  Back to his lilies then, tall and slender in their plumb beauty.  The sun beat down on the back of his neck, but he felt light as the droplets of water still misting gently through the air.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Musical Mondays: Hard Sun for a Day of Hard Heat

A really fantastic song from the soundtrack of an absolutely incredible movie. Eddie Vedder sings "Hard Sun" from the soundtrack of "Into the Wild."

Rain Tableau

It was so hot, it was almost oppressive.  She walked out the door for lunch and the scalding, humid air resisted her like water.  She was swimming upright through the heat.  She perched on the low concrete wall that enclosed the pond, taking tiny bites of her sandwich and chewing them up slow, pondering.  She noticed the air around her start to hum, felt its low, guttural vibrations the sky above prepared to open.  Suddenly, she was being pelted with droplets fat as egg yolks.  She looked up and saw the rain pouring down, glittering like millions of Hope diamonds, crystalline and breathtaking.  She closed her eyes and a scene popped into her head.  He was here. They ran for cover together, but stopped short.  "Kiss me!" she beseeched him, while warm rain obliged on both their skins.  A memory she suddenly longed to create.  She opened her eyes.  Stuck out her tongue to taste the rain, finding it a touch bitter.  Popped in her last bite of sandwich and ran back inside, alone.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Strange Dreams

A night of weird, strong dreams.

First I dreamt that she came back. She came back and made everything terrible, and no one got what they wanted, even him. No one was happy. Not she, nor I, nor him. Everyone was in terrible pain.

Then I dreamt about Keith Jarrett. And I missed you. And I noticed your hands and how much his resemble yours.

Then I dreamt of falling.

I woke with a start every time. Strange night.

Also? Postscript unrelated? I can't believe you're engaged. If even a scumbag like you can find someone, I guess there's hope for the rest of us.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Remembering Life's Fabulous Realities

The person I was my first two years in high school was SO different than the person I was the last two. Part of this had to do with the fact that halfway thru high school my parents dragged me halfway across the country to Michigan. Different school: different people, different classes, different culture. But I think another big part of it had to do with becoming comfortable with standing out. As has been discussed here before, so much of my middle school and high school years were spent being teased by everyone. As a result I developed a finely honed desire not to stick out. To be purely average. I didn't want to attract attention because I had trained myself mentally to recognize any attention as negative (which had a strong grounding in reality!) Even though I had been recognized/isolated as "gifted" in elementary school by my teachers, I stopped trying to live up to that label for awhile in middle school and early high school. Even though I was in all honors classes, I was perfectly fine to make Bs and coast my way through without making too many waves. Suddenly, moving to Michigan was like - whoa, blank slate. I really started to love school, and realize how much I had been missing by not giving it my all. The relationships I formed with teachers, the degree to which I found my inner voice, my initiative and spirit - these things all were strengthened by giving myself a chance to really be who I was. I am so grateful to have had that opportunity and experience, though before it happened I was certainly dreading it! As most kids forced to move in the middle of high school would be.

Anyway, not the point for today. I wanted to share something with you. In case you don't know me that well, or didn't know this particular fact about me - I save everything. I have pretty much every piece of homework, every paper, every notebook from every class I've ever taken. I have every single debate flow from college. I have all the birthday cards my parents ever gave me, every photograph and negative I've ever taken. Memories, history - these things are SUPER important to me, and always have been. As a kid, I spent HOURS poring through my parents photo albums, many from before I was born. Sitting in the corner of my family room in Parsippany, my ears covered by the giant headphones belonging to our receiver, my parents Miles Davis or George Winston or some borrowed CD of my siblings (phil collins, depeche mode, smashing pumpkins, beastie boys are some of those that stick out in my mind), my head full of music and my eyes scanning the pages of photographs. I could tell you better than they could today about the captions my dad hand wrote below all their pictures.

So recently, I felt a yen to look back at some of my old high school papers. Whenever you get to know someone new, or someone you know even better, you often talk of the past. And for me, that tends to wake inner voices of nostalgia and reminiscence. The other day I was telling a friend about my junior year English teacher, Mr. Staniszewski, or Mr. Stan for short. Other nicknames included NDAS and 'magnanimous individual.' Mr. Stan was one of those teachers who stuck with you forever. He had funny ways of saying everything, his walls were covered in old tennis racquets and vocabulary words, his clock was covered in numbers, and he used to start almost every class with a salutation to the sun. In his class we read Annie Dillard and William Least Heat Moon, we watched "Harold and Maude", we talked about language and words, Thoreau, nature, and whatever we wanted to. He used to joke that he had dementia and might not ever remember our names, but I think this was secretly a ruse to be able to call us whatever he wanted in order to amuse himself. He used to say his wife made him go to marriage counseling for not being able to remember her name. He taught me to analyze, to think, more than any teacher before or after him. He was a creative, intelligent, inspirational and all around awesome teacher.

One of my favorite things from Mr. Stan's class was the "fabulous reality." The fabulous reality was a kind of paper we used to have to write for him. It could be no longer than a page, no smaller than size 10 font. It was meant to describe, in full, an episode which caught the writer's attention and gave them pause. Something that made the writer sit back and say, "Huh", to cause reflection upon the 'fabulous realities' of life on our little planet. It could be anything from seeing a hundred birds taking flight simultaneously to the passionate kiss between a couple reuniting at the airport. And it could include as little or as much setup as was necessary to set the stage for the moment, the attention grabbing piece of life. I always loved this concept. Not only because it is fun to have such a small amount of space to relate something significant to the reader (being concise always being one of my challenges as a writer), but also, because anything that gives us pause and causes us to appreciate life is a big thumbs up in my book. As Mr. Stan believed and so do I, none of us do this enough.

So after reminiscing about Mr. Stan, I suddenly decided I had to dig out these old papers and read a few. Which was a very pleasant way to spend two hours. Then I decided I ought to come on here, write about him, and maybe share one with you. So here ya go, an effort that received an 'A' called "The One Millionth Shopper".

Six girls huddled around the table, arms crossed, fingers stuffed in armpits to keep warm. The door swung open again, hitting them with a cold gust. "Would you like to make a contribution?" a hopeful voice asked. "No thanks," was the unenthusiastic reply. A cup sat on the table. A couple of dollar bills were sticking out of it, some crisp and new, some old and crumpled. The cup was paper, with a flower border. The kind you often find in people's bathrooms for taking a quick sip of water. It looked homey surrounded by plates of brownies, trays of cupcakes, and piles of chocolate chip cookies. "BBG Bake Sales Today," the sign read. It hung in front of the table and swung up every time that breeze of freeze came through the door with a prospective customer.

The girls had been there all day, calling, coaxing, and convincing. Their goal was to reach 400 dollars by four o'clock. There hadn't been too many customers when the sale started around ten. But now it was three-thirty in the afternoon, and with three hundred and sixty making an uncomfortable lump in the back of one girl's pocket, their goal was in sight. Another customer entered the store. The small blonde girl, who had asked, didn't manage to finish the word "contribution" before the cold woman had hurried by. The girl hadn't been loud enough anyway. She looked as though she never ate, and consequently spoke in a voice which could easily be confused with a balloon hissing out the last of its air. Her head hung down, like that of a dead flower, and she apologized in her whispery voice for not being faster. The other five comforter her, as they could only have been expected to do, considering that teenage girl tendency to form groups of confidence. "We'll get the next one," a heavyset brunette said decidedly. The blonde gave a slight smile in return.

For the next twenty-five minutes people came rushing in and out of the store. Some hurried by, some stopped and considered, and others came over with inquisitive looks, wanting to know what they were contributing to. The girls had smiled, and given their set speech. Most people, when hearing it was for charity, stopped and gave a dollar or two, so the girls learned that if they started talking when people walked in, they could usually express their charitable intent before the indifferent ones got by. And so it had come down to this: The store's clock, hard to read, because of a newly cleaned gleaming glare, read 3:58, and the girls had in their possession three hundred and ninety-two dollars. The automatic supermarket doors swung open again and a mid-twenties couple could be seen coming through. "I call this one," the evident leader of the pack whispered to her girls.

"Hi would you like to make a contribution?" she asked. "We are working to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation, which helps ill children all over the world get their wishes granted," she continued, not bothering to take a breath and looking the semi-assaulted pair straight in the eye. Still not waiting for an answer, she added, "We had set a goal of 400 dollars for the day, and we have 392 and two minutes to go." When she had finally finished, there was a small pause. It seemed to the six girls, standing unbreathing, apprehensive, around the table, that the pause lasted for minutes. The man reached into his back pocket, slow like molasses, and pulled out a wallet. Then, without another apparent thought, he pulled out a ten-dollar bill, and said, "Well how much do you want to give us for ten dollars?" The collective squeal of six teenage girls was comparable to that of a countryside pigsty. Choruses of "Thank you so much!" and "Oh my gosh, we did it!" could no doubt be heard throughout the entire store. The husband chuckled, picked up a cupcake, and said to his wife, "I feel like one of those one-millionth shoppers, don't you?" as the two turned and walked away from the group of girls still hugging, laughing, and clapping, with the pure happiness of success.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Am Not An Angry Girl... Usually

But today I am livid.  There's something that makes me madder than almost anything else, and so I try not to think about it.  But sometimes I need to think about it.  Sometimes the things that move us most dramatically need the attention their scope commands.  Getting away from myself though.
Hardly a day goes by anymore that I don't think about bolting.  I feel like the time for hitting "reset" is coming close.  How can it not be, with such things dominating my consciousness such a large part of the time?
and generally my generation
wouldn't be caught dead working for the man
and generally I agree with them
trouble is you gotta have yourself an alternate plan

Sometimes I just want to ditch all of my possessions except a few pieces of clothing and my favorite, most rereadable books. And my camera, of course. And maybe a few photos. I'd pack up these few items into my little hatchback and drive out to the desert to live like Georgia O'Keefe taking pictures (since I can't paint) of skulls and rocks for all eternity, until I die or lose my mind completely.  (Aside: I never knew much about GO'K until fairly recently, not being a particular fan of her paintings.  But the more I learn about her, the more I respect and admire her.)
Other times I want to shave my head and move to Kathmandu and go hang out with some monks and practice denial, simplicity, meditation.  Try to reach a place of peace that is so far from the reality of my current existence as to feel unreal.
Sometimes I want to abandon the desk, the chair, the house, for the hoe, the field, the ground.  Work my hands til they're blistered and raw, dirt caked under fingernails, and then fall asleep to the tinkling music of insects under a bowl full of softly glowing stars. 
And then occasionally, I want to jump.  Not just metaphorically as we've discussed, but literally.  Though I know the solace imagined in the freefall would be fear and pain instead, and maybe even a little regret.
and I have earned my disillusionment
I have been working all of my life
and I am a patriot
I have been fighting the good fight

A year and a half ago I laid out all the options.  Considered them, making calculations, savoring their different flavors.  How to escape, what path to take.  In the end it came down to money.  I chose the tamest path, the change with the least change.  The path defined by money.  And money is what makes me so blindly, haphazardly angry.  It is nearly impossible to live without money.  Each generation that has proceeded mine has taken more and more steps every year to further cement this detestable, illusory system into the fabric of our lives and our society. 
From the very simple, to the very complex - money is required for nearly all actions.  Want to drive your car off to the desert to create?  Better have money for gas.  Money for food and water. Money for shelter. Want to go work on a farm?  Better have money to pay the doctor when the inevitable injuries of hard labor begin to take their toll. 
Or at least, this is what we've been taught to believe.  That money is somehow necessary for all of these things.  But it feels so ridiculous if you actually stop and think about it.  Nothing hammers this point home for me more than gold.  Gold is pretty and can be used to make beautiful things, but what is it really worth?  What is it really useful for?  Someone decided it had an inflated worth and everyone else went along with it.  People in my business always talk about there never being anywhere safer to put your money than in gold.  In Turkey, families in rural areas often store their wealth by buying gold bangles, as opposed to putting it in banks or even tin cans in the backyard.  Our own government has impenetrable fortresses whose only purpose is to store it.  But if it really came down to it, if we faced some kind of apocalypse or reset - what good would it do the government to have a bunch of gold?  "Here, take this, give me something of value in return!"  Um.  "Let me melt it down to make a blanket."  Oh wait.  I'm pretty sure a shelter made out of gold would work similarly poorly.
In that same vein, I always loved the idea that today a cigarette lighter costs 99 cents in any convenience store in america, and a cell phone costs 99 dollars, or more.  Yet if the whole world came crashing down around our ears tomorrow, which of those two items would have more value?
I am questioning questioning always.  There are some things I know for certain in my heart or in my mind, or sometimes both.  There are so many more things I still need to figure out.
One of the things I thought about as an actual option, as opposed to the hyperbolic examples above (which I do actually think about, just not seriously considered last spring) was joining an intentional agricultural community in Virginia.  I was motivated by a desire to do more simple, physical work.  To live in a place with less electronic stimulation and more books and good conversation.  To escape from the trappings of money for awhile, having felt like the last 5 years had been spent over obsessing about it (or at least citing it as a primary motivation to remain in my stagnant situation).  I even contacted the people who ran the community by email to ask them some questions that had occurred to me while reading their website and literature.  But there was one factor in particular that ended up stopping me cold in my tracks.  This particular community, which had seemed so awesome and progressive and hopeful versus others I had looked at, had a hard and fast rule.  People who join their community on any kind of permanent basis (which I think they defined as longer than 6 months) had to turn any income earned on capital assets over to the community.  Meaning, I couldn't join these people for a time and allow my fifty thousand dollar IRA to keep growing while I did it.  Any 'unearned income' is the 'property of the community.'  And to me, that just didn't seem fair.  I reasoned that I worked hard to save that money long before joining the community, so why should ANY of it benefit them?  And they didn't just want earnings on stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. but they also went as far as to specify social security, pensions, and interest from a plain checking account.  I guess their philosophy is that by joining the community you are accepting their social contract of providing for members based on need and equality in exchange for work credit, and that represents some sort of rejection of capitalism (therefore justifying any income earned from that system becoming communal property).  But at the time, I couldn't handle that idea.  I was super protective over what I had earned and been given.  And to be honest, even now, the idea sort of bugs a little.  Although I get it.  And I respect it. 
It gets me thinking, because the money thing is definitely one of those questions where it seems a little silly to go half-assed on it.  Either you buy into the system, or you don't.  The thing is, there are so many pragmatic challenges to rejecting the system outright.  Truly rejecting money is an incredibly difficult thing to do in our society.  I know of a few people who have done it, like the Peace Pilgrim and Suelo.  But it is a hard existence, or at least, it seems that way to me as an outsider.  One of the biggest difficulties for me is property ownership.  I don't want to live in caves where I occasionally get ejected by a park ranger.  I think I would want to own some sort of semi-permanent shelter.  But then very quickly you get into the question of property taxes and how even when you own something in our society you never really own it.  How crazy is that??  The day I learned about property taxes so many years ago was like a giant rambaldi ball bursting and drowning me in the resultant flood of water.  I guess maybe a way to circumvent that would be to rent but use bartering of goods and services for rent instead of money.  Although it's still a form of currency.  God, the issue goes so deep.
Anyway, I've been working-on-slash-thinking-about this thing all day today, and there's still so much more I could say.  But I really can't right now.  And my anger has faded quite a bit as the realities of the day, and of work, intrude on my musing.  Perhaps I'll write some more when I get home from bowling tonight, but in all likelihood probably not.
Either way, rant about money aside, the winds of change are blowing.  I feel them on my skin.
i've got a lack of inhibition
i've got a loss of perspective
i've had a little bit to drink
and it's making me think
that i can jump ship and swim
that the ocean will hold me
that there's got to be more
than this boat i'm in

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Last Enemy

Already had death on the brain this week, what with recent conversations, long solitary hours on the road, and the death of a friend's father.  Now to add a coworker to the list.  Rest in peace, Jennifer. Your brave, protracted battle with cancer was astonishing and inspirational to me.  We will all miss you greatly.   Perhaps yesterday's song should have been the below instead; it is one of the most beautiful songs about death I have ever heard:


"What Sarah Said" by Death Cab for Cutie
And it came to me then
that every plan
is a tiny prayer to father time
As I stared at my shoes
in the ICU
that reeked of piss and 409
And I rationed my breaths
as I said to myself
that I'd already taken too much today
As each descending peak
on the LCD
took you a little farther away from me
Away from me

Amongst the vending machines
and year-old magazines
in a place where we only say goodbye
It stung like a violent wind
that our memories depend
on a faulty camera in our minds
But I knew that you were a truth
I would rather lose
than to have never lain beside at all
And I looked around
at all the eyes on the ground
as the TV entertained itself
'Cause there's no comfort in the waiting room
Just nervous pacers bracing for bad news
And then the nurse comes round
and everyone lifts their heads
But I'm thinking of what Sarah said
"Love is watching someone die"
So who's going to watch you die?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Musical Mondays: Because It's Been Forever

When was the last time you heard this, eh?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ummmm, Ew.

Today I had occasion to see the video for "On the Floor" by JLo. Do not ask how. I wasn't seeking it out, it sort of just happened to me. Here are some thoughts:

(1) Hellllllllllo obvious product placement. The shoutouts to BMW and Swarovski at the beginning were just sad. If you're going to be that obvious, at least be amusing and self-deprecating about it (see: Wayne's World).

(2) Anyone else think Jlo's nude spider-woman costume is a rip off of the Britney "Toxic" costume? It was the first thought that popped into my head, anyway. Let's compare:



ok - they're obviously not the same, but the reference is there, in my opinion. and Jlo? You don't need to take any pages out of Brit's book.

(3) She never really dances in this spider suit. Know why? It's those six inch heels she's wearing. Sometimes women are DUMB. So DUMB.

(4) Though the conceit (pun intended) of celebrities watching themselves in videos is not a new one, it's still always creepy.

(5) Pop music is out of new ideas right now. SRSLY.

That is all.

Musical Mondays: I'm Late! I'm Late! For a Very Important Date! (well, actually...)

Forgot to post on Monday, being all wrapped up in narrating my funnily bad date. Here's what I intended to post, had I remembered. It's a song called "Beat On Us" by 13 & God:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Open Letter to My Date From Last Night

Dear sir,

You can take this with a grain of salt, since I don't know you very well.  In fact, maybe you should take it with a bucket of salt, since I don't feel I really know you at all.  After two and a half hours of sitting and talking with you, I don't think I know anything more about you than I knew before our date. 
Let's call this problem #1: WHO ARE YOU?  While it is cool to like the same books, movies, and television shows as someone else, it is not endlessly fascinating.  You don't go on dates with someone to drop as many references as possible and see how many they get.  Or at least let me say I don't go on dates for that reason.  You go on a date to get to know someone a little bit and see if you'd want to spend some time with them.  Learn a little bit about them, maybe share some personal anecdotes or stories.  Even if your date actually GETS most of your pop cultural references, that doesn't make it cool to go on and ON and ON about these things.
Let's call this problem #2.  IT IS OKAY TO STOP AND TAKE A BREATH EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE.  If the person sitting across from you LITERALLY has to interrupt you in order to get a word in edgewise UR DOING IT WRONG.  Combine this with problem number one and you'll see that all my attempts to steer the conversation away from "every comic book you've ever read" and into things like where you went to school, where you've traveled to (if anywhere), what your lifestyle is like as a freelance writer without a 9-5 job, were overruled by your need to give me stream of conscious ramblings about pop culture for 2 1/2 hours.
Oh, and 2 1/2 hours.  Let's talk about that for a minute.  I'll call this one "PROBLEM #3: SOCIAL AWKWARDNESS."  When you are having a conversation with me and it's so clearly one-sided, how do you not see that you are making me incredibly bored?  How long did you possibly expect my attention span to last?  How is it possible that an hour and a half into it, none of the following signs tipped you off to how awkward you were behaving: looking out the window every five minutes, paying more attention to the conversation of the people sitting next to us than to you, sitting back from the table, endlessly wrapping my necklace around and back off my finger.  Not until I literally started tapping my foot on the metal table bottom (accidental outpouring of frustration, btw) did you notice and stop long enough to ask me if I wanted to move to the bar next door.  My mental response? "I think emphatically NOT."  My actual response? It did allow me to say that I didn't think I'd make it to pub trivia at 9:30, but once those words had left my lips you considered that license to keep talking until that very minute, never letting it occur to you that my next sentence was going to be "Actually it's getting late and I need to head back to Durham."  Thankfully a well-timed call from a friend allowed me to say to her, "I think I'll be heading back to Durham pretty soon."
Continuing in the vein of social awkwardness and not understanding conventions or moirés: let's talk about the fact that you invited me to meet you for coffee/food at 6pm (when you knew I'd be coming straight from work).  Then, you sat in this café for 2 1/2 hours and DIDN'T EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING OR PATRONIZE THE ESTABLISHMENT AT WHICH YOU WERE HANGING OUT.  And looked askance at me when, after an hour of listening to you talk, I couldn’t stand being hungry anymore and had to go up to the counter and ACTUALLY ORDER SOMETHING.  Not only because I was starving (and eager to give my ears a break) but also because it's good to actually buy something if you're going to take up a table for that huge amount of time.  And when I asked if you were hungry you said, "No, I ate right before I came."  WHO DOES THAT?  Someone who doesn't understand how these things work.
Alright.  I hate to do this.  Because I have struggled with my image/weight/confidence/etc practically my whole life.  But the one thing I have never done is misrepresented it to other people.  If anything, I am probably harder on myself and more critical of my appearance than I ought to be.  I certainly don't overpromise and under deliver.  I have several full length pics of myself on my profile and none of them have been digitally altered or strategically cropped.  I am what I say I am - WYSIWYG. 
You, on the other hand, are all about misrepresenting yourself, and not just physically.  Let's call this problem #4: LIES.  Not only did you make the fact that you had lost 60 pounds two years ago a focal point of your profile, but additionally all your primary pictures are you ridiculously skinny.  Then two fat pics at the end where you say something to the effect of "I can't believe I used to look like that."  When, in exchanging messages with you, you mentioned you still go to weight watchers, I was super excited.  I was like, "Ooh great, we'll have that in common."  When I tried bringing it up in conversation, however, you were totally uninterested in talking about it.  Perhaps the reason for this is that in contrast to the 'success story' you make a highlight in your profile, your current appearance is a bit different.  YOU GAINED THIRTY OF THOSE SIXTY POUNDS BACK AND FORGOT TO TELL ANYONE.  Or perhaps, purposefully didn't tell anyone.  I was sort of willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on that, until it appeared you had fudged more facts about yourself than just the one.  Another big part of your profile was where you consistently lauded yourself for being employed as a freelance writer and actually making enough money to live, and live well.  You cited the swanky downtown Raleigh neighborhood where your "sweet pad" was, and said how nice it was not to rely on your parents any more.  Then, on our date, you offered the following gem - your "sweet pad" is actually a condo you inherited early from your parents after they purchased it outright on a real estate windfall from another house.  And this free living situation allows you to write and not worry about exactly how much money you are making.  Ok, here's the thing.  I DO NOT CARE ABOUT MONEY.  Or at least other people's money.  I care about my own money a great deal and have made certain sacrifices to get it, and therefore feel sort of protective over it (even though I think the whole currency thing is kind of a sham, and that's upsetting, because what have I been doing for six years focusing on making money.  Ground we've covered already).  So back to the point.  I wouldn't have cared that you were freeloading off inheritance in order to do something you are passionate about regardless of income. In fact I think it's kind of cool.  But the fact that you thought you had to lie and misrepresent your financial situation, I think, says something bad about you as a person.  That you're not comfortable in your own skin, that you care too much what other people think, and that you actually do play the money game.  Which later, you confirmed by telling me you were thinking of giving up freelancing to write for a company and do press releases and marketing and stuff.  When I asked why, you said "Green talks."   BARF.  I am trying to head the opposite direction from that with my own life and feel like intelligent people make the realization they need to run away from money & convention, not towards it.

This could have been a great date, and I was actually pretty excited to meet you. But I didn't really get a preview of the real you, and you put up a lot of walls that I have no patience for or interest in breaking down.  I am an open book and I'm looking for the same openness in a partner. You never gave me any fodder to really connect with you on. It's really too bad.

I could go on and on about the things that irked me about you, but I am running out of time on my lunch hour, and I don't need to allow you to waste any more of my life. Let me just close by saying this: 1989 called and it wants its jeans back. 
Your disgruntled date

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Score Thus Far

Week Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Series Avg Season Avg
1 92103117 312 104 104
2 866785 238 79 92
3 7812587 290 97 93
4 13694137 367 122 101
5 12392117 332 111 103
Interesting to note that despite the fact that my overall game has definitely improved this season, my average hasn't matched that of the first week.  But the first week was an uncharacteristically good one for me, score-wise. 
For comparison's sake, here are some sample sets of scores from our last season (in the "Let's Get Started" league, whereas now we're in the "Not That Good" league.)  Foolishly, I did not save my scores from every week, thinking since I was doing it for fun, why should I obsess?  Now, I'm suddenly super interested in the patterns of my score and how I'm doing.  I think the fact that I'm improving is a big part of the genesis of tracking.
Week 4 - 73/105/65
Week 5 - 69/131/87
Week 6 - 67/107/66
Week 9 - 79/104/69
My game seems to have become a lot more even-tempered this season.  More consistent.  Last season I often had this bell curve thing where I'd have a crappy warm-up game, a half-way decent game in the middle, and then I'd get tired and have another crappy game.  Only once this season have I had the bell curve.  In fact, much more often (3 to 1) I'd have the inverted bell curve, where my crappiest game was the middle one.  Explain that to me!
The general improvement between seasons I definitely think I can attribute to getting my own ball.  Having a bowling ball specifically drilled to fit your hand as opposed to a house ball which only has S/M/L holes and is drilled un-angled so it can be used by a righty or a lefty has made a huge difference in my release.  I can bowl much straighter more consistently when I'm not gripping the ball with a death grip because I'm afraid it's going to slip off my hand.
Anyways, bowling has been SO fun.  I'm really glad the two people who were going to do it alone decided to mention it to the group writ large and let us all get involved.  It has been a great way to get to know my coworkers, it's been fun to see myself improve, it's handy and money-saving to have acquired shoes and a ball for leisure bowling as well as league play, and it's been a great way to be social and get out of the house another night each week.
Fun times.  Watch this space for updates on my progress throughout the season.

Where Have You Gone, Joe Philosophy?

Somewhere along the way this week, I lost my ability to be philosophical.
Well, I shouldn't say I lost it.  I should say it went into hiding.  I peered inside myself and it was gone.  Briefly, it's absence made me feel a bit crazy.  Shortly though, I realized I'd just have to tease it out.  I played its favorite movies, thinking maybe it was hiding behind my eyes.  Perhaps the chance to laugh at its favorite comedy or cry with its favorite tear jerker would make it want to come back to the surface.  But there was no stirring, no sign.  I listened to its favorite music, thinking maybe it hid in my ears.  Could these tunes of mirth or significance rouse it to action? It seemed not, as still silence greeted me in return.  I even tried to dance it out, thinking perhaps to hide properly it had spread itself so thin over bones and muscle that it could only be spurred to action through movement, through physical release.  Still it was nowhere to be found.
At wits end, I talked to people about the loss of my philosophical friend.  "If I can't be philosophical, how will I balance out my emotions?"  My best friend in NC, my sister, my best friend from Deis, each had a similar message.  "You rely on us."  "We'll be philosophical for you."  "We'll be the voice of reason."  It was then that I remembered.  Reason can't be lured with imitation of life, bottling and selling of emotion, plated echoes of reality.  It is lured by reason.  Just as we are comforted by other people, so our inner sense of rationality, of reason, is comforted by the echo of the reason in other people.  My ability to philosophical popped back up when it saw it had others of its kind to talk to, to hang out with, to have solidarity with.
Which is all a long winded way of saying, whatever you're feeling - talk it out.  Through discourse, through debate, through camaraderie and cohesion - there is where you will find your comfort.  There is your solace.  There is your purpose.  Put away your movies, music, television.  In others, our energy and wholeness is restored. 
Funny paradox that the presence of our six billion should be both a terrible strain on our planet and simultaneously a consolation to us as individuals.
"Without deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people." - Albert Einstein
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." - Mother Teresa

Monday, June 6, 2011

Musical Mondays: Look Alive

This week's selection is one of my favorite Nada Surf tunes, called "See These Bones." But for a bit of a change I've included a live version hosted by Paste, which I think is vastly superior to the album version from Lucky. Ignore the video, that's not the important point. It's just a beautiful and well written song.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Ocean Breathes Salty

Today, the ocean seems calmer somehow and it is befitting as I am feeling more relaxed than I have been in while. At times, there are even moments of complete silence as a little wave slowly undulates its way to shore, rising higher and higher until it crests, turning over itself in an acrobatic display matching its thunder-like crash. It sticks the landing and the seconds of white noise that follow mimic the applause of a crowd as the water eases its way up the shore in a foamy blanket. Then silence once again.