Wednesday, May 31, 2006

your wednesday one-liner.

courtesy of Overheard in New York, here is this week's installment of Weird Kids on Public Transit:

Little boy: I want your DNA.

--Metro-North train

and all across the jurassic land, there was much rejoicing.

after a long hibernation (i.e. time-sucking internship), the dino is back!

you know him around here as BoyCat, but he is a complex man with many sides. large-headed, opinionated dinosaur is merely one of them.

(and he can correct me if the historical pachycephalosaur didn't actually live in the jurassic period. i just get my dinosaur terms from michael crichton.)

click over and say hi!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

summer in the city.

well, it's hot. here are some other enlightening thoughts and opinions from me on this tuesday morning:

- junebugs are big and loud and scary. and when they try to get into your camper, it's very uncool.

- people really shouldn't try to drive anywhere on the friday before memorial day. this includes me.

- taco bell is kind of delicious.

- my biggest pet peeve about summer is bees. all stinging insects, really.

- BoyCat's biggest pet peeve about summer is dealing with my screeching about bees.

- my second biggest pet peeve about summer is shorts. i am not built for shorts. i have one functional pair that i can wear out in public without feeling a bit trailer trash-y. i have two pairs of cut-offs that, while functional, make me feel a bit trailer trash-y. me + shorts = vain, whining asshole.

- i don't understand how people can walk around outside drinking coffee on a hot day. i mean, get it iced. if i've got to be out in the sunny, 90 degree weather, you can be damn sure i'm not going to be compounding the problem by drinking a hot beverage. it just defies explanation.

ok, more later. and by later, i might mean thursday, as nonprofitland is deadline-driven this week. but maybe sooner, if i get my act together.

Friday, May 26, 2006

information station.

within three minutes of each other, this blog got hits from people querying: 1) "seasonale how do you know if you're pregnant," and 2) "can you root for two teams."

a cat and twenty was a veritable font of information during the 3:00 hour.

well, probably not so much for the person with the seasonale concern. but for the two teams questioner, i was hopefully somewhat enlightening on the topic. intra-city two team fondness = out of the question. everything else is negotiable.

ok, i'm out. happy weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

grrrr. argh. (UPDATED!)

ok, i am super fucking pissed right now, because nothing gets me super fucking pissed like trivial shit.

so i got home from work, walked up three flights, came into the apartment and said to BoyCat, "holy shit, it's hot in here." he nodded from the couch, sweaty and seemingly immobilized. so we did what any right thinking people would do, which is jump in the car and go to Target. at Target, we perused a whole aisle of fans - box fans, table fans, tower fans, oscillating fans, little fans, big fan, fanless fans, etc - and finally got one box fan for the window in the living room and one tower fan for the bedroom.

now, have you all seen these tower fans? i always mistake them for air purifiers at first, but they are in fact fans. because of my said air purifier confusion, i have harbored a deep seated mistrust of these towers fans' ability to actually cool down a room. i mean, it doesn't have giant blades that go around and around really fast, so it can't be good, right?

but. but. i decide, since these are the most prominently displayed fans, and they're kinda new, so that means they must be improved, that maybe i should reconsider. all right, i say to BoyCat, let's get one of these new-fangled tower fans. and secretly, i am impressed with myself for my forward-thinking ability and overall sophistication in fan-related matters.

we get home, and after going out and grabbing something to eat, we put the tower fan together. we plug it in, rattles. loudly. and not a rattle like oh, that's a powerful fan, a rattle like there's a loose pin (or twenty) banging around inside of it at a high rate of speed. BoyCat has been attempting to remedy the problem for the last fifteen twenty-five minutes, but i knew after the first five seconds that it was doomed. why? because we threw the box away on our way to dinner.

so i fear that i have wasted $40 on a defective tower fan. i knew they were suspect. damn it all.

on a totally unrelated note, BoyCat and i are off on some family-related travels over the long weekend, so if i don't get a chance to post tomorrow, i wish everyone the happiest of memorial days. enjoy the day off at the expense of uncle sam. and don't buy any tower fans - they're the devil.

UPDATE: ok, so we totally went back outside with a flashlight and pulled the box out of the dumpster. yeah we did. i mean, it's forty bucks! i'm not made of money here, people.

i would just like to note something.

for some strange reason, i really enjoy the use of "snarl" as a verb regarding transportation. as in today's yahoo headline,

Power outage snarls northeast U.S. rail service

i mean, i would hate to be a stranded rush-hour commuter, so i don't necessarily delight in the snarl itself. but the word choice? trite and tired as it is, i kinda love it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

your wednesday one-liner.

learning the rules of city living, courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Pregnant woman to 3-year-old son: Do you remember what happened last time you licked the subway? That's right. You threw up.

-- 4 Train

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

one false step.

i know there are people out there who think that anyone who sheds a tear over an animal is a maudlin idiot. if you are one of those people, this post isn’t for you.

i read an article in today’s trib titled Barbaro’s fight for survival strikes a human chord. For me personally, this is an understatement. what happened to barbaro at the preakness has been rolling around in my mind the past few days, like a pin come loose from the machinery, and i can’t quite get a handle on it. i can’t figure out what it’s all about.

from my thanksgiving posts, you’ll remember that i have a bit of a fondness for horseracing. this was passed along to me by my parents, when we took our first family trip to saratoga in the late 80s. i couldn’t have been more than eight years old, but the track, the horses, the energy and excitement and pulsing life of the whole enterprise took hold of me even then. now, after almost twenty years, there is still nothing quite like standing along the rail near the finish line, the anticipation palpably building in the crowd as the horses turn for home, and watching this wave of joy and hope and enthusiasm explode along the stands as the field thunders down the stretch. and you see these horses go by you, so close, and the power and grace of their bodies takes your breath away.

there is really no other singular experience like it. none.

and so, on sunday, when i read this article , a particular point struck me:

At its best, horse racing can make romantics out of hopeless cynics. At its worst, it can smash a romantic's heart.

this is it. this is the thing. i am the cynic. i don’t believe in things, really, i just cross my fingers and hope for the best. i don’t expect divine intervention, i don’t expect the kindly hand of fate, i don’t think that things happen for a reason or that it will necessarily all work out for the best. this mindset colors most of my waking life, and i’ve made do with that thus far, constructing a functional little perspective from a few scattered shards of all the belief systems i’ve discarded along the way. and that’s fine.

and then i sat on the couch on saturday, watching barbaro drop away from the pack, listening to the announcer's shocked scream, feeling my own hand clasped instinctively to my mouth. i sat, stunned, and felt the crush of reality. the reality of a dream shattered in the space of fifteen seconds - the reality of limitless potential struck down by one false step. and it didn’t matter that it was “just” a horse. the grief of those moments was real, and it was an understanding that even in one of the few remaining idyllic refuges of my life – the revelation of a beautifully run horserace – there could be cruel, improbable, unearned despair.

perhaps this sounds childish. i guess that’s because it is. i didn’t have a lot of faith left to lose when the starting gate at pimlico rattled open on saturday, but the small amount that did remain i had been clutching intensely, nurturing through so many other instances of darkness and disappointment. a little bit more of that faith fell away with the sight of barbaro twisting in pain, felled by an errant step - by something so inscrutable and remorselessly random. and since i don’t have that much faith to spare, barbaro’s fight to stay alive now consumes more of my attention than should be reasonable.

but i watch and hope, along with millions of others, because that’s all there is to do. i hope that something can be salvaged from tragedy. i hope that a resiliency of spirit takes hold. i hope that he survives.


sometimes, i have these moments. usually they happen right around when i'm finishing my first cup of coffee at the office, and i'm sitting at my desk pulling up this or that half-finished document. flush with the first round of caffeine making it's way through my system, i get the idea that it'd be great to try to be really productive today - to just plow through a ton of work in the next eight hours, and that will be hard, but won't it be great when all of it's done?

luckily, these moments wear off.

hmmm, what does The Gilded Moose have for me today?

Monday, May 22, 2006

cat people, you will laugh. guaranteed.

so i just found a hysterical little photo montage via thesaurus rex, and i had to share. seriously, i was trying to laugh under my breath at first, but gave up about halfway through. it is now evident to my co-workers that i am not actually doing work, because no grant proposal is this funny:

read the narrative that goes along with the montage too, it's hilarous.

i'm not mad, just disappointed.

i expected more from you, BC.

Ovation, Polite Protest Greet Rice at Boston College

About 50 students stood with their backs toward the stage as Rice was introduced to give her commencement speech, but they were quickly drowned out by a standing ovation. A half-dozen signs that said "Not in my name" were held in the air by students, who sat down by the time Rice started to speak.

fifty? a half-dozen? jesus. the rabble-rousing youth of america, ladies and gentlemen.

more good news.

two encouraging, female-centric stories in as many days? fetch me the fainting couch!

for your monday morning "lady parts" primer, check out this article on the growing popularity of period-surpressing pills.

now, i use seasonale, and let me tell you, i literally did a happy dance back in grad school when i heard they were coming out with this pill. and i have had no complaints since i started taking it (other than the high co-pay that i had to endure while the drug was so new to the market). but according to the article,

Amid wide acceptance by doctors, [Seasonale] sales shot up 62 percent last year, to $110 million.

i'm not the only one who thinks this is the best thing since sliced bread. and apparently there's a 2.0 on the horizon, called seasonique, which I imagine will come even closer to, if not actually accomplish, blocking periods entirely.

and though seasonique is a ridiculously stupid name, i won't hold that against it if it relieves me of my womanly duties. hell, i've already reneged on so many others, why stop now? out, damned spot, indeed.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

some good news.

gotta share it when i hear it.

according to the chicago tribune, the mexican congress has told the country's judges who perform civil marriages to stop reading the Epistle Melchor Ocampo, an obsolete bit of gender stereotyping that has long been part of the ceremonies.

Unlike many Mexican brides over the last 147 years, Veronica Mendez did not vow that she would not "exasperate" her new husband, nor promise to treat him "with the reverence due to the person who supports and defends us."

Nor was her husband, Gustavo Garcia, told to treat her "with the magnanimity and generous benevolence that the strong must have for the weak, essentially when this weak creature gives herself unto him."

delightful! i can't imagine why some women today wouldn't want this as part of their wedding. but collective common sense seems to have prevailed here.

"Lots of women were already refusing to have it read, because it perpetuates stereotypes of the man as a strong provider, the only authority within the home, and the woman as weak," said Teresa Ulloa, an activist who lobbied against the epistle in Congress. "This is a patriarchal society where misogyny exists, where extreme levels of violence [against women] are supported and permitted."

After 10 years of lobbying, the Congress passed a resolution in March exhorting judges to "eliminate" the epistle from the service.

amen to that.

ozzie guillen makes me laugh.

i'm sure you've all heard about the brawl in game two of this week's cubs v. sox series. and while i'm not generally a fan of violence as entertainment, i make an exception for baseball brawls. i don't know why i enjoy them so much, or whether i can put together an ideologically consistent argument as to why that's ok, but i'll leave that for another day. for now, here's a reason why chicago baseball is just so damn fun to follow:

Cubs pitcher Rich Hill: "I think it was pretty gutless on their part - [Pierzynski] hitting Michael when he didn't even have the ball. That's not how you play the game. If he had the ball and he hits him, that's fine, that's how you play it. But you don't go around just running over catchers. What if he injured him and he didn't have the ball? That's not the way you play the game...It was pathetic."

Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, on the above comment: Tell that Triple A [bleep] to shut the [bleep] up. Tell him to start throwing some strikes or he's going to get Dusty fired."

i imagine we can all fill in the [bleeps] for ourselves....

Friday, May 19, 2006

friday cat baseball blogging, crosstown showdown edition.

CatCat is taking the night off, in order to make way for a grocery bag. that's right, bear with me.

so, this weekend is one of two huge baseball weekends in chicago. i speak, of course, of cubs v. sox. the first game already happened earlier today (sox spanked 'em, 6-1), with two more to go. BoyCat and i will most definitely be tuning in, and making chicago hot dogs and drinking beer while cheering for the world champs.

i know i've posted about the baseball rivalry in chicago before, so i just offer this one story and accompanying photo as evidence that the cubs/sox debate is a conversation that is always - always - going on somewhere in this city.

a few weeks back, i was doing some grocery shopping at trader joe's. earlier in the afternoon, i had made the fatal mistake of walking down broadway wearing a white sox sweatshirt at the same time the cubs game let out (i was about 6 blocks from wrigley, for those unfamiliar with north side geography). as i'm walking, some guy in a car yells out "sox suck!" as he's driving by, and i just have to smile, because hello, we won the world series.*

so anyway, i'm at trader joe's later. mind you, this is on the north side as well, in what would usually be considered cubs territory. but my check-out guy says, "hey, i like your sweatshirt." i said, "thanks." he said, "yeah, i'm a big fan myself, that's why it pains me to have to give out these bags," and points to the tj's bags emblazoned with a big cubs logo. i said, "i know! i've actually made sure to carry them home with the logo facing towards my legs, so no one sees!" check-out guy is like, "yeah, i would too." so i tell him the story of the guy who yelled out the window at me. he said, "cubs fans are idiots. they're just drunk all the time." then the girl behind me in line pipes up and says, "i know! god, they were all so drunk and obnoxious on the train home earlier." check-out guy and i voice our agreement.**

three total strangers, in line at the grocery store, bitching about the cubs. then, check-out guy goes to give me my groceries, then says "oh, wait!" he grabs a red sharpie from the counter, and i walked out with customized tj's bags:

as they say back home and around here...go sox!

*for the record, i completely acknowledge that red sox fans' beloved "yankees suck" chant falls into exactly the same trap. however, while i don't tend to use it myself, i enjoy its persistent ubiquity in the face of such overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary. it's endearing.
**roni is a non-drunk-and-obnoxious cubs fan. so there is one. the rest, though, are all suspect.

pro-choice connecticutians, rejoice!

toast will be pleased to hear (if he hasn't already, that hartford politics wonk) that NOW's PAC has endorsed ned lamont for u.s. senate.

go on with your bad self, ned. somewhere, joe lieberman is nervous and sad, waiting for another hug from dubya as consolation for his re-election bid slipping away...

(hat tip, feministing)

a gold star sticker and a cookie.

god, i just spent two and a half hours at a united way luncheon, clapping for huge corporations who have so magnanimously donated .00001% of their profits to the little people. and watching poorly produced promotional video. and eating hotel banquet food. and did i mention clapping for banks and insurance companies?

someone shoot me.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

stop the duck!

this just made me laugh out loud.

you bostonians will get it. i think chicago is safe from the quacking menace...for now...

paging emily post.

ok, here's a capital 'E' Etiquette question (because i know you all read miss manners like it's your job, right).

if a woman gets married and takes her husbands last name, can she then request mail as "mr. and ms. john smith?" or does she have to go by "mrs." if she's requesting the "mr. and mrs. man" model? because i know the point of "ms." is to have a term that doesn't designate a woman as married or unmarried, and i imagine she could get away with being referred to singularly as "ms. smith" or even" mr. and ms. smith." but with the full husband's name, i don't think "ms. john smith" makes sense. or does it?

either way, i have definitely overthought this. and in practice, i couldn't give a flying fuck what prefix a woman uses. but the theoretical side of me is screaming, "figure it out!," which is drowning out all rational prioritization of ideas in my mind at the moment. so humor me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

the storm.

the hail starts to come down moments after the train lurches away from the station. i watch the pellets fly diagonally past my line of vision, clear and clean against the blurred cityscape, and my boss says "this is some shitty weather." i nod in agreement, and we barrel north toward our separate destinations.

when i step off the train fifteen minutes later, i am hit not with hail but the remnants of rain, falling in sweeping arcs from the station overhang. i bend my head toward the ground and make for the stairwell, watching the fat droplets soak into my new linen pants, feeling the cold seep through to my skin. the station offers only a brief respite, and i move forward through the turnstile and onto the street, hit with a blast of wind off the lake that blows my jacket out around me like a cape. i grab at the jacket with one hand and for my umbrella with the other - i snap it open against the gusts. the umbrella protests mightily, curving its edges back towards me as if to swallow my head. i hold it in front of me like a shield, and keep my eyes on the pavement two feet in front of me.

this tactic works for half a block. the winds shift - as winds are wont to do - and turn my umbrella inside out. i shake it in vain for a moment or two, trying to navigate the street and re-construct the umbrella, but it doesn't take long for me to give up. i'm tired. i'm frustrated. i'm chilled, and alone, and just trying to get home. so i shut the umbrella with a decisive pop and snap, and let the rain do what it will. i cut across belmont, then halsted, then duck onto my little tree-lined street. i am almost there.

a rush of wind from behind me lifts my loose hair in a whirl, blowing it into my eyes and around my face like a cloud. i brush it back as best i can and look around as i walk, watching the leaves on the trees move in big, twisting waves. i see the sky through the tree-tops, gray-green and angry. i see the rainwater pooling in huge puddles, formed in a rush and with nowhere yet to go. i see all of this and it makes the blood in my hands tingle, it makes the wet skin of my bare calves crawl. in this moment, i see myself - bag in hand, umbrella abandoned, striding purposefully through the storm.

i am so close.

your wednesday one-liner.

though apparently they've scaled back their one-liner offerings, we still love Overheard in New York for providing gems like this:

Irate man on cell: It's all the same. Because Art and Commerce merged in '92. [Pause, yelling on the other end of the line] That's when the NWA album came out.

--38th & 6th

playing the game.

i know it’s registration required, but i just have to post a link to the chicago tribune’s series about the new WNBA team, the Chicago Sky. i haven’t had a chance to take a look at all the articles yet, but what i have read has been really engaging.

to me, a girl who inherited from her mother a love of throwing up jumpshots and throwing a few elbows, watching women's basketball post-high school has been a strange experience. strange in that even though i gave up the ghost of seriously playing when i was 15 (it’s a long story, involving a dictator of a high school coach), part of me still feels like a basketball player. i really loved it. so when i see these women out there, making a living doing something they love, well – you know. i kinda idolspize them.

but it’s not all fun and games for these women, as the trib series points out:

Imagine a time when professional athletes had to find jobs in the off-season, when they were paid salaries to which normal working people could relate, when they signed autographs with a smile.

The WNBA harkens back to those days, with this exception: The best players can and most do supplement their incomes by playing basketball overseas for six-figure salaries.

But they come back. Back to the league they hope will one day compete with those salaries. Back to roles through which they are expected to contribute to the growth of the WNBA by helping promote it.

and really, the WNBA isn’t exactly throwing money at them to pull double duty as players and marketers:

A love of the game keeps most of them going. Though it's not bad money for a 34-game regular season, it is surely not NBA money. The WNBA rookie minimum is $31,800, as opposed to nearly $400,000 in the NBA. The average WNBA salary is $50,000, as opposed to the NBA's $4.5 million.

i could go off on a rant about the vicious cycle of devaluing women's sports by saying “but nobody watches womens sports,” and thus not putting it on tv, and thus no one has a chance to actually watch women's sports, and thus the idea that “nobody watches women's sports.” it almost makes you dizzy, right? but i will say that i’m going to do my part to support the cause by going to some Sky games this summer. i’ll eat some nachos, wave a foam finger, and reminisce about floorburn.

really, a good case of floorburn is just like a perfect slide tackle on the soccer field: painful, incredibly satisfying, and hopefully resulting in your adversary taking a spill too. except, with the slide tackle, you could potentially have the added bonus of doing all this in the middle of a mud puddle.

god, i really do miss playing sports.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

deadlines - the ultimate motivator.

this will be my only meager contribution to you all tonight, as i am attempting to get my act together and submit a little article for bitch magazine's june 1 deadline. i think it will be about the feminist blogosphere and the issue of bloggers "educating" the scribbling (or in this case, typing) hordes about feminism. there have been some interesting tussles as of late, particularly over at I Blame the Patriarchy, and i think it's a fascinating display of different attitudes about what a "good feminist" does or does not do in order to further feminism.

so anyway. that's what i'm up to. i'll be back tomorrow to complain about linen pants, and the government asking me to live in a perpetual state of pre-pregnancy.

lest you think i was exaggerating.

you non-new englanders, that is.

(c) Boston Globe

this is a fifteen minute drive from my parents' house.

Monday, May 15, 2006

ok, that's enough.

people, it is still raining. and i don't mean like, oh, it's been a rainy weekend. it was raining when i posted on friday afternoon, and it is still raining. precipitation has not ceased for over 48 hours. massachusetts is in a state of emergency, backroads are flooded, and it's continuing to come down.

they're saying if this were snow, it would be seven feet of accumulation.

i am flying back to chicago later today, where i hope to find dry pavement and possibly - can i hope against hope? - the visible sun tomorrow.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

love that dirty water.

i'm broadcasting today from beautiful, sunny massachusetts. well, it's neither beautiful nor sunny today, but i am actually in the bay state. i flew home yesterday to surprise MomCat for mother's day (awwwwww, i know. very cute.), and apparently i have brought more rainfall with me. the weather that we had in chicago on thursday is in the boston area today. rain, rain everywhere.

luckily, out here in the suburbs, we get to drive everywhere! score.

so i plan on driving to "live free or die" tax-free new hampshire for some shopping with MomCat and SisterCat, and then driving to the beach tomorrow for a mother's day feast of lobster and fried clams. ah, new england.

so anyhow, posting will be light until tuesday. until then, enjoy yourselves, stay dry, and drink responsibly. or something like that.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

viva mimi.

no, not that mimi. mimi smartypants. this gem is from her most recent post:

One of my favorite [internet messageboards] is this crunchy-hippie forum where there are many threads on "consensual living." This mostly means that parents should not impose fascist rules like bedtime or "three cookies only" or the monitoring of TV content on their children, because children are naturally self-regulating and can decide those things for themselves. Because everyone has heard a toddler say, "That's enough M&Ms for one night, Mother, and it is getting rather late so I think I'll turn in now." Interestingly, this messageboard of PeacefulRainbowUnicornFamiliesLivingWild AndFree has some rather strict and draconian "moderation," where anyone who dares to post a dissenting opinion gets kicked off. Thus I could not pop into the thread where a woman let her son eat a BOWL of sugar because he was "curious about it" and post "I can't wait until he gets curious about bourbon!" Complete with smiley face emoticon, of course.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

ooh, ooh, one more.

i just found a job posting for an abstinence education group called Project Reality.

i think this is the new gold standard for misleading monikers. Independent Women's Forum, well, better luck next time.

potential pitfalls for the freelance writer.

things i have not done tonight: write anything of worth.

things i have done tonight: watched two re-runs of sex and the city while consuming three homemade margaritas.

i may need to rethink this potential self-motivated career path.

two truths.

1) i have any man of mine by shania twain on my ipod. and i like it. on one level, this horrifies me - it is corporate-packaged country, it has lyrics that manage to cram every female stereotype into four minutes of music, and christ on a bike, it's shania twain. and yet, i cannot help myself.

2) it's really creepy when a guy walks down the street with his girlfriend, and instead of holding her hand, he holds the back pocket of her jeans. creepy on a "too much PDA" level, and creepy on a "unneccessary control of personal space that isn't his" level. creepy all around, boys, so stop it.

a burning question.

hey, does anyone know whatever happened with that woman in tennessee that shot her pastor husband? i am morbidly fascinated, but haven't heard anything about it in weeks and weeks.

i could google it, i guess. what would the search be? "tennessee pastor shot"? "tennessee wife, dead pastor"? "he was obviously molesting the children"?

so many options.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

it's a small blogosphere after all.

ok, well that's not news. but this morning, i read toast's smackdown of jonathan chait's recent article in the new republic. basically, chait is arguing that joe lieberman is being villified by a pack of angry, good-for-nothing beatniks - a.k.a. the lefty netroots - who will ultimately hurt the democratic party with all our hysterical, foamy-mouthed caterwauling. toast, in sum, says fuck that.

then, this afternoon, i click over to pandagon and what do i see? jedmund's post about the exact same chait article. the title of the post? "A Toast, To Agreeing With 'Dangerous Fanatics' 80% of the Time."

toast! "A Toast"! oh, the meta-ness of it all! and unintentional meta-ness, at that. wait, can meta be unintentional? anyway. it's funny. now, get out of here, and go ready another lefty blog whose mere existence threatens the stability of the civilization as we know it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

not writing, or, the ubiquitously boring problems of the english major.

i don't write enough. this may come as a surprising contention to those of you who notice how often i post on this blog, but it's true. i don't write like i used to, and i don't write like i could. i need to figure out what to do about it.

as i mentioned awhile back, i'm going through one of those "hmmm, what shall i do with the rest of my life?" periods. i don't imagine i'll be in my current job past my 26th birthday (that's in august, by the by), and on the off chance that i don't win the lottery between now and then, i need to decide what to do next. of course, there are many mitigating factors to this decision.

for one, i am part of a couple now, and while this brings me much happiness in many ways, it also means that i have to take not only my own needs and desires into consideration, but another person's as well! shit, who knew? but actually, this has been relatively easy for BoyCat and i to manage for the last three years - during the first year and a half we were in grad school together already, and for the second year and a half we've been living in chicago, a mutually agreed upon locale. we've both been doing work that pays the bills and that doesn't make us totally crazy (well, there was a little stretch there for BoyCat, but he can tell you about it later if he'd like). but now, coming up on the time when we need to decide whether we're signing another year-long lease in this fair city or not, and when he in a prime position to look for a new job, we have some big decisions to make. together.

obviously, before we start debating the merits of boston, washington d.c., miami, podunk iowa, etc, i need to get a handle on where i want to go with my career. at this point, i have a solid body of experience in non-profit development, and could easily stick around the field if i wanted. but i don't want that. i could attempt to segue into communications, ideally non-profit but potentially for-profit, but from what i can tell this is difficult with only one solid year of communications-based work under my belt. this is demoralizing, but not completely insurmountable. if i had an insatiable drive to be a communications director somewhere, i'm sure i could figure out a way to do it.

therein lies the rub, though - i really don't have an insatiable drive to be a communications director. so i feel like i need to decide now whether i'm ok with that and pursue it anyway, or give the road less travelled a try now, before it's too late. the road less travelled, if you're not anticipating the circular nature of this post, is trying to write for a living.

writing for a living is actually almost impossible. i know this. i didn't get spit out of grad school with rose-colored glasses intact (for more on this, ask me what i hate about academia). i know that in order to be a writer, some crazy negotitations would have to be made and uncertainties would have to be lived with. but i have to ask myself*, if you're ever going to try to make this work, shouldn't you do it now? before you settle for the next decent job because you can't handle the one that you have now? before you wake up in 10 years as a communications director and realize that you hate it? before you sit in your little beach cottage at age 65 and regret not trying to be a writer for some nebulous reason - insecurity, laziness, timidity, fear?

i don't write like i used to. and i'm not sure that i ever will. but does that mean that i shouldn't write again? that i shouldn't buckle down and give it one good chance before giving up the ghost?

lately, when i stare at the ceiling trying to sleep, this is what i wonder. one of these waking days, i'll figure it out.

*it took every ounce of restraint that i had not to write "i couldn't help but wonder..." and make a bad sex and the city joke. but who are we kidding, i'd give my right arm to have carrie bradshaw's gig.


i am sitting at my desk, and it is 9:15 a.m. the other two people in my department are not here. this makes me think that, while we were out drinking copious amounts of vodka post-event, my boss's semi-drunken exclamation that we (meaning my department) should have a half-day today was in seriousness. it's hard to say, though. everyone was a little (or a lot) drunk.

for now, i'll poke around the internet and drink coffee. a solid plan, if i do say so myself.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


i got in at 4:45 a.m. last night.

my head hurts.

Friday, May 05, 2006

friday cat blogging, easily distracted edition.

she tries very hard to concentrate on the task at hand - chasing her tail and/or invisible objects.

but then BoyCat walks by.

she loves BoyCat.

sister outsider.

so this morning, i was sitting on the couch watching a few minutes of the re-run 11:00 p.m. sportscenter before i had to actually get ready for work. at this time of the day - a.k.a. before 8:00 a.m. - i am not the sharpest tool in the shed. it takes me a little while to process things, especially if i'm also in a state of pre-coffee ingestion. so, when i heard neil everett say the following to segue into commerical, it took me a few minutes to get sufficiently annoyed:

"hey, you've waited this long, why flip over to the Girls Next Door now? sportscenter's Top 10 plays are up next."

um, excuse me. i don't watch Girls Next Door, because i have no interest in playboy bunnies, the playboy mansion, or playboy anything. i am a chick, and i like sports. you are a sports network. in 2006, it fricking frustrates me that you assume if i like the Top 10, i must like boobies too. but i have my own, thanks. what i don't have are fun highlights of good dunks and great catches, so please just pass them along without the wink, wink, nudge, nudge. thank you.

and you know what? all you people out there ready to jump on the Hysterical Feminist train right now, save it. save your breath about whatever blahdy-blah percentage of men make up the regular sportscenter viewership. save your breath about my "over-reacting." and certainly save your breath with the "it was just one off-handed comment, you can't expect every broadcast of every sportscenter to to be sexism-free." no, i can't, and i'm not saying that. i'm just taking a few seconds out of my morning to note that women sports fans still have moments where they're slapped in the face with their continuing "outsider" status. and that's frustrating. especially before 8:00 a.m.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

just sayin'.

some numbers, from an article on the mainstream media in salon:

Between August 5 and August 8, the time frame during which the Times called Sheehan a "phenomenon," here's how many times "Cindy Sheehan" was mentioned on CNN: eight. Between August 5 and August 8, here's how many times "Britney Spears" was mentioned on CNN: eighteen.
really, cindy, did you expect the anti-war movement could compete with the anti-federline movement? silly woman.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

your wednesday one-liner.

a dirty liar, courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Woman on cell: Yeah, I'm in the Bronx right now... No, I don't know when I'll be back, you know how crazy this borough is.

--57th & Lex

instant karma's gonna get you.

i just fucked up royally at work. and not in a "whoops, gotta re-do that tomorrow" kind of way, but in a "whoops, i just kinda sorta messed up a whole publication" kind of way. my bosses have not killed me, nor have they requested that i pony up $2,000 to have to job reprinted, so i am lucky in that regard. i am just going to have to live with the fact that i fucked something up that i have spent the last six months chastising people about not fucking up.

oh, the irony. i could just suffocate from it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

a fictional president and real statistics.

perusing the contents of the latest ms. magazine, i came across this article about geena davis. now, of course i'm hoping that geena davis is cool because a) she was in thelma and louise and b) she's the first female president of the united states, albeit in the fantasy land of network tv. turns out there's one more (far less circumstantial) reason to think she's cool - she's started up the See Jane program, which advocates for gender equity in media.

See Jane just released a study of gender breakdown and representation found in G-rated movies. according to ms.,

[See Jane's] Research showed that in 101 top-grossing G-rated movies released between 1990 and 2005, three out of four characters were male. Girls accounted for only 17 percent of the film’s narrators and 17 percent of the characters in crowd scenes. Only seven of the 101 movies were nearly gender-balanced, with a ratio of less than 1.5 males per 1 female character. “Although many people would argue that things seem to be getting better, our data shows that this is not the case,” says the principal investigator, Stacy L. Smith, an associate professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

i include smith's quote along with the stats because i think it's important to highlight the fact that there are numbers to back up the idea that we haven't really come a long way, baby. i've complained here before about people trying to pull me up short with the "relax, already, it's just a movie/tv show/advertisment/game/etc," like the fact that something is pop culture related means that it can have no great social and political import (thanks to my ipod and janis joplin for that phrase springing directly to mind). it is dangerous to assume that because something is coded as "entertainment" that it doesn't have long-lasting, far-reaching effects.

why? because our lives are absolutely subsumed by media. the average american is exposed to over 3,000 ads a day. 3,000 ads in one day!* and what we think of as our "entertainment" is pretty much a vehicle for advertisers to reach us - $40 billion a year in advertising revenue is generated for radio and tv alone, never mind movies, magazines, newspapers, online publications, etc.** we are literally stewing in this stuff, so if stereotypical gender roles are predominant in media, it means they're predominant in our lives. period.

on that note, i got to thinking about what i would commission as a study if i ran a program like See Jane. you know what it would be? the percentage of all car commericals that show a female driver and a male passenger. i'm willing to bet that it's tiny. microscopic. hardly visible to the human eye. maybe i'll write geena davis a letter.

*from jean kilbourne's can't buy my love: how advertising changes the way we think and feel.

Monday, May 01, 2006

staties are good for something.

i love this town.

Catcher Doug Mirabelli got a police escort from the airport, changed into his uniform in a car and made it to Fenway Park just in time to fill his unique role as personal catcher to knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

i saw on espn earlier that it took him fourteen minutes to get from logan to fenway. 6:48 he "de-planed" at the airport, and at 7:02 he was at the ballpark. brilliant.

then, i caught a post-game interview with big papi, and they asked him about mirabelli's return, and with this big grin he said, "aww, it woss great. he came in tha locker room, and we woss all over heem, hogging heem and telling heem we meesed heem."

i freaking love these guys.

why A Day Without Immigrants gives me hope.

ok, without the capitalization, the above sentence would mean something diametrically opposed to its intent! but my point is that today's immigrant rights marches and efforts across the country have given me a breath of fresh air the likes of which i haven't had in a long time. here are two examples of why.

(AP photo/Star Tribune)

and from the chicago tribune:

On the way to Grant Park, the dominant chant was "si se puede" (yes, it can be done). No matter their apparent background, participants raised the Spanish chant to support their Latino comrades.

Serigne Diop, 40, led a group of Mexicans in the chant. "I studied Spanish in college," the Senegalese immigrant said with a smile.

Brian Smith and Zack Wicks, both 15-year-old students from Francis Parker School, turned "si se puede" into a modified rap.

A busload of Koreans and Filipinos riding to the march broke into the chant, banging a traditional Korean cymbal-like instrument for punctuation.

And Roger Brewin, a British immigrant, joined in the chant as he marched through the Loop. "I am an immigrant. These are my people," he explained.

what thrills me about today is the message of solidarity. now i'm no expert on economics, or immigration law. so, while i can say that i think "learn to speak american" is an idiotic argument for harsh immigration law, i can't argue for or against the particulars of the proposed immigration reforms. i have my own ideas about what make basic sense and what doesn't, but i recognize that it's a complicated issue. like anything else, there are no easy blanket solutions that will please everyone.

but here's what i do know. there are many categories of people that need to start standing up, together, and demanding better treatment under the mantle of american democracy. as mr. shakes put it last month,

The internecine warfare that occurs between women and men, people of color and white people, straights and gays, as they all squabble like schoolchildren in an attempt to gain or deny rights, is exactly what those in power want. They promote it, they foment it, they do everything they can to aggravate it, because they know that if we were all ever to get our fucking shit together, and demand that the society we all live in and contribute to should be fair and decent to everyone, then the egregious wealth and power that they enjoy would finally meet its end.

in these dark times, the only way out is going to be building bridges that unite movements. the only solution is going to be a critical mass. you read a people's history, you know, and you take away this idea that the only way anything ever changes in when enough people get enough riled up to demand it. (of course, even then, there's as good a chance that we'll all just get clubbed to bloody pulps and no progress will be made. but sometimes, just sometimes, the ground shifts.)

the last time i felt this kind of intoxicating solidarity was just over two years ago, when a million people converged on the mall to stand up for reproductive rights. now, i've certainly experienced the depths of despair since then - that all of us marched and sweated and chanted wasn't enough, and the conservative christian agenda rolled on in spite of our efforts - but that doesn't change the fact that there was a breathtaking amount of potential swirling around in DC that day. and i think that, while at the moment it seems like our efforts were for naught, that day was hopefully part of a bigger turning of tides. and maybe A Day Without Immigrants is another push of that tide, a surge toward people standing up for their rights, standing up against unjust power structures, standing together and saying "enough is enough."

si, se puede, indeed.

a snippet from the trib's streaming coverage of the immigrant rights march.

reading this just made me happy.

There is conflict with three or four skinheads on LaSalle Street. Charles Williams, deputy superintendent of patrol, takes a handful of officers into the crowd and kicks them out. The crowd cheers the police, chanting "paz. (peace)."