Monday, January 27, 2003

Close the sarcophagus. You're letting cats in.

It's not the tragedy of the world, but I couldn't sleep last night. I don't mean that I laid in bed for half an hour or forty-five minutes, staring at the ceiling interminably until I finally drifted off. I mean I couldn't sleep. All night.

This is always a miserable proposition, for those of you who aren't at least occasional insomniacs. Since this happens to me on a fairly regular basis, perhaps once or twice a month, I knew that sleep was a lost cause after lying in bed (or on the couch, as I was, trying to escape the aforementioned drip in the bedroom) for about an hour. I didn't get up and do anything, although I probably should have—evidently you're not supposed to just lie there and be frustrated, because that causes problems when you go back the next night. But I didn't really want to get up because it was cold and I had nothing worthwhile to do, so I stayed under my comforter. There was no reason I should be unable to sleep—my caffeine consumption had been minimal that day and had stopped almost eight hours before bed. No preoccupying dilemmas running their endless sprint sets on the track of my brain, back and forth, back and forth, until you want to rip the little Carl Lewises out and beat them to death with their stupid gold track spikes. Why couldn't I sleep?

I played little games while I was waiting for my conscious mind to give up control of my body. I pretended to be an Egyptian mummy, Nefertiti perhaps, flat on my back with my arms crossed just so over my chest. This was enjoyable until my cat pounced on my stomach and then laid on top of me at the point where my wrists crossed, compressing my sternum so I couldn't breathe and causing my breasts to point uncomfortably to the disparate poles. I kicked her out of bed and rolled into the fetal position. I put my comforter over my head and pretended to be in the womb, but that lost its allure when the air under the blanket turned stale. I laid on my stomach and let my arm and leg dangle off the edge of the couch, a mountain climber hanging precariously off the edge of a cliff after a long fall. Perhaps my imagination was too vivid for sleep last night.

Finally, around 5 a.m., after I kicked the cat out of bed for the third time and fluffed my pillows again, I achieved a sort of deep daydream state, not quite awake, but still completely aware that I wasn't asleep, either. This limbo is worse than being entirely awake, because you're conscious that you're not getting any good rest, but you're not motivated to do anything about it. I suffered until 7:45 when my alarm went off, and then got up and went about my day with no more lethargy than normal. I'll crash sometime this afternoon at work, I would imagine, when the flip side of insomnia—narcolepsy—comes out to play.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

"You know, you look like a normal person, but actually, you're the angel of death."

I've been moping all day. Not for any particular reason; it just seemed to be a day for it. The weather is grey and dreary, I didn't have anywhere to be, and I had plenty to brood about. I overslept and lamented losing "the best part of the day." I took a shower and sulked about how I hate being wet, but yet I'm going to have to take a shower every day for the rest of my life. If I live 50 more years, that's 18,000+ showers. And if each shower is 10 minutes long, that's 180,000 minutes. That's over four months of wetness. Ew.

I brooded about homework I don't want to do and errands I don't want to run. I put "Inconsolable" by Jonatha Brooks on repeat and stewed about CDs being too expensive. I moped about the phone never ringing and then, when it finally did ring, about not wanting to talk to anybody. I lamented the pile of bills sitting on my coffee table. I listened to the leak in my bedroom ceiling as it dripped into a giant bowl, and I concluded that my landlady is never going to get that damned thing fixed, no matter how many times I remind her, so every time it rains I'm going to be stuck sleeping on the couch to get away from that "ploonk...ploonk...ploonk," instead of in my very comfortable bed.

I wallowed. I sighed. I moaned like Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. "No, I can't sleep. I think I'm just going to lie here and moan. Uuuuuuuuhhhhhhhnnn. Uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhnnn."

I'm not really feeling better now, but I'm starting to feel exasperated with myself, and that's a step in the right direction. So I think I'll do a little of that homework, listen to a few more sad songs, go to bed, and maybe things will be brighter in the morning. And if they're not...well, there's always chocolate and the fetal position.
Board games, mind games, and beer

I'm not really sure what to blog about; it was a busy night. So suffice it to say these things:

  1. Congratulations to my sister, who has won two big-ass scholarships in the past week.

  2. Monopoly has little or no relationship to real life, except for that feeling of desperation you get when you can't pay the rent.

  3. The Rolling Stones are still quite popular in Houston, judging by concert traffic tonight.

  4. The Toys-R-Us on Kirby and OST is a little of the sketch.

  5. M2 and I can go from zero to seriously blue in 3.4 IM exchanges. It's good to have a friend to wallow with, sometimes.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

You put the em-PHAH-sis on the wrong syl-LAH-ble.

I went to the movies tonight with M!, M3, and S, because we really only have two entertainment options: watch t.v. at somebody's house, or go to the movies. We're a creative bunch. Anyway, we saw Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which was highly enjoyable. George Clooney is a genius in his directorial debut: flailing skis are always funny, much like midgets, pirates, and the clap.

However good the movie was, I have to say that my favorite part of all movies is the previews. When I rent a DVD, I skip the trailers and get straight to the main event, but when I go to the theatre, I want the whole shebang: the stupid commercials, the previews, and the annoying warnings to be quiet. (I like a little color commentary with my movies—especially when I'm providing it.) I hate it when people say, "Oh, we're going to be late. Oh, well, it's just the previews." It is not "just the previews"! It is the previews! If somebody made a movie that was just previews, two straight hours of three-minute blips of goodness, I would be there! I would be there on opening night, and I would see it twice. I would even pay both times.

Previews are usually all the funniest parts of the comedies, and the most thrilling parts of the action flicks, and the most dramatic moments of the serious films. You don't have to wade through plot (or worse, no plot) or wait for the pay-off; it's all right there. They're ideal for the short attention span. When they're good, they're tantalizing. When they're bad, they're laughable. It's everything I want from a movie in the perfect serving size. And no uncomfortable sex scenes, so they're largely safe for viewing with parents. (Less than 1% of trailers make it to the market with the red "restricted audience" band—instead of the usual green—in front. Those previews can only be shown with R-rated movies, and really, don't go to R-rated movies with your parents. That never ends well.)

Maybe my love of previews—of the most superficial face of movies—makes me shallow. I don't really care; I don't generally go to the movies for the intellectual nutrition; if I did, my poor brain would be starving to death. I go to class for the intellectual exercise; I go to the movies for mindless amusement, by and large. And also for the hilarity of watching M3 try to make it through a small soda by the time the movie's over. Between that and the previews, I'm a happy woman. It also probably helps that I didn't watch It's a Guy Thing tonight, unlike some people I could mention.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Picture me. Now picture me doing a pirouette. Try not to let your head explode.

You know, when I was younger, I had certain aspirations. Until I was six I wanted to be a ballerina, which is laughable if you know me now, but then...yeah, it was still laughable. My grandmother likes to point out that she'd never seen one kid do more undignified things in her life. She's just mad because I spit up blueberry yogurt on her when I was a baby and projectile vomited a pot of tea onto the back of her head when I was 12. (I didn't do it deliberately, but some days I don't regret it.) I could have been a prima ballerina. But my mom refused to pay for ballet lessons, blast her.

My next career phase was much more realistic. When I was six, I met Miss Reed, the children's librarian. I wanted to be a librarian for four years after that, mostly because I couldn't think of any better way to get close to books, which I read voraciously (in my ultracool, I-wasn't-hit-with-locks-only-by-the-grace-of-God way). I had no inkling about the boring side of library life as I watched Miss Reed suggest one fabulous book after the other. I didn't see the reshelving and repair and annoying patrons; I thought Miss Reed just sat around reading all day, unless children came in to pick out a book. Then she chatted politely, suggested something perfect, and got back to her reading. What could possibly be better?

I don't know why I gave up the librarian gig; I was still entranced with libraries at age ten, although I'd outgrown Miss Reed. But somehow, I think through the auspices of a Weekly Reader article on King Tut, Egyptology caught my eye and held it for the next four years.This was sort of the next step of the dinosaur phase I went through at five, except instead of identifying stegasauri and tyrannosaurus rexes, I was rattling off names like Ashkenaeton and Nefertiti and trying on pith helmets at Nature Company. I realized when I was 14 that my interest in Egyptology was never going to come to fruition, but maintained a flirtation with it until college, when two particularly boring archaeology classes convinced me that tramping around the Valley of the Kings with a bone brush would have made me miserable inside fifteen minutes. I still read books about it, though, and I drooled over the mummies I saw last year at the Pergammon in Berlin.

Since 14, I've wanted to be a professor, first (and briefly) of history, and after that and up until now of English literature. So WHY can't I figure out what I want to do next year? I don't bloody well know.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Ee-vil. Like it's the froo-its of the dev-il.

I'd like to have a little vocabulary lesson now. The word of the day: schadenfreude. I've got it.

I'm sure most of you know what it means—it's the German word for taking joy in the pain of others. (Those Germans—they've got a word for everything.) It's not the most attractive characteristic. I mean, sometimes people falling down is just funny. And, as I said to M1 the other day, every time the Mets lose I am filled with the unbearable lighteness of being. Bobby Valentine getting fired was the best day of last October.

I try to play fair about schadenfreude and let other people enjoy theirs at my expense (and Lord knows, I'm the queen of tripping over my own feet or walking around unaware of large, embarrassing stains on my clothing, so people have plenty of opportunity for it), but what really gets me is when people pretend to be above schadenfreude. I think almost everybody takes a little secret joy in some unfortunate circumstance or another. Things like freshmen getting kicked out of a popular class (especially delightful when you're an upperclassman who hasn't registered for the class), or seeing the maniac in the Firebird who passed you at 85 miles an hour parked on the shoulder in front of a set of flashing lights.

So don't pretend you don't have that little bit of evil joy. It's there, you're reveling in it, and I know it, so you may as well just let me see it. Otherwise, the next time you walk into a spiderweb, I'm going to be merciless. (Note to my friends: um, I'm not really too worried about you hiding it. Y'all are good to go. Maybe a little too good, really.)

Sunday, January 19, 2003

"Intricately woven" and "mysterious"—I'm the coolest!

Sometimes people are proud of very stupid things, things that are out of their control. I am constantly guilty of this. Being tall is a good example: I'm 5' 8 1/2" tall, and damn proud of it. I didn't have anything to do with growing to this height, other than not putting my legs in front of a buzz saw as a child. I mean, I drank a lot of milk so as to have strong bones and teeth, but that doesn't make it an accomplishment. Yet I take pains to point out that I am "tall for a woman" when ever the topic of height comes up. What is that? It's not even really an advantage in life for women to be above average height. Except at parades, I suppose. Unless there's Shriners. Blast those Shriners and their tiny cars and not-quite-amusing antics!

Anyway. Another good example of misplaced pride is personality. I mean, I took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter a few years ago (there's a less specific version here here—it's free, so take it and let me know the results because I'm interested) and found out that I'm an INFJ. We're the rarest of the 16 personality types (less than 2% of the population), and I'm kinda proud of that. I didn't want to be an SF or an ST because they're somewhat more common (about 40% of the population each). But it's not like I could have changed the outcome of the test without lying on the questions, which I didn't. There's really no way for me to change my introspective, borderline empathic, apparently somewhat self-centered nature to make it SF or whatever, so what's the point of being proud of it? All of the personality types are needed, and all are equally good. It's not like you get a free pass to the state pen if you're an ESFP. I don't know where the pride comes from, I don't understand this, but evidently, according to Keirsey, I'm fated to ponder it for the rest of my life.


Thursday, January 16, 2003

If omelettes are wrong, I don't want to be right.

I am having a problem writing a blog that I don't absolutely despise (I've started three before this post), so that explains the dearth of interesting news items. About the most interesting thing that I have to report is my successful assembly of a sweet potato casserole last night. I fully support the consumption of Thanksgiving foods at inappropriate times. As a matter of fact, I support casting all food against type. I frequently eat cereal and other breakfast-related food for dinner. (For that matter, a lot of candy masquerades as breakfast cereal, so it's like anti-antitypecasting. Or something.) I also often enjoy spaghetti or pizza or a pork chop for breakfast, although that usually only applies if I get up late. But regardless of the hour, the first meal of the day is always breakfast, so the food role reversal holds. Brownies, cake, and other desserts often make fine breakfast foods, perhaps because they go so well with coffee. Lunch is like the meal that can't be messed with, though. I supposed it's a little odd to eat like, huevos rancheros or flapjacks for lunch (or huevos rancheros and flapjacks), but you're not going to get really weird looks in a restaurant or anything. Your waiter will just assume you got up late.

Is there a point to this? Not really. Just...don't stereotype your food, I guess. Cause, you know, that flapjack has feelings.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

I forgot what I was going to say

For those of you who were terribly concerned, I like my glasses better today. Moving on.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

If you can't say something can be my friend

My glasses came today, a few days earlier than I expected. I was right; I kind of hate them. Or I hate my face; I lean a different direction every time I look in the mirror. I also change my hairstyle hoping it will improve matters. Whatever, it will be nice to have something to throw on when I'm running late for class (as I was this morning) instead of having to stick my finger in my eyeball when I'm in a hurry and not paying attention. And these glasses are perfect for doing the librarian stare-over, which is shockingly effective on some of my friends, particularly the ones of whom I am the boss.

Monday, January 13, 2003

An Idiot's Guide to Classroom Behavior

And by "idiot," I mean "freshman."

Today was the first day of classes for the spring semester, which, barring a cruel act of God, will be my last as an undergraduate. After six full semesters at Rice, I have a few things to say about how people should behave during class. I realize I'm preaching to the choir or to people who aren't even in the church anymore, but it will make me feel better.

  1. Arrival. If you're going to be late, sit in the exact geographical middle of the classroom. (Measure if necessary.) If this means you have to climb over twelve people while the professor is trying to explain a very important theory that will appear on the midterm and the final but never be mentioned again in lecture, so be it. You deserve to sit in the middle of the room. Be sure to put your ass in as many people's faces as you can while making your way to a seat; people always appreciate that, especially first thing in the morning. (For professors: if you're going to be late, make sure you are more than ten but less than fifteen minutes late, so as to raise hopes of a walk to fever-pitch, only to dash them at the last second. Do not explain or excuse your tardiness.)

  2. Participation. Raise your hand as often as possible, particularly if you have nothing intelligent to say. Everybody wants to hear your voice as much as you do, so under no circumstances should you sit quietly and take notes. This is only for boring people who have done the reading and want to hear what the professor has to say. People will be mightily impressed if you talk at least twelve times in a fifty-minute lecture. Some of them will probably want to date you. In fact, they will be hard pressed to keep from ripping your clothes off right there if your comments are only vaguely related—or better yet, completely unrelated—to the lecture or the class in general, or if they repeat verbatim something somebody else has just said. Bonus points if that somebody was the professor or if the repetition has been made more than once. If this is impossible, fall back on simply contradicting the professor or the last person to speak. Be unable to support your claim. (Profs, encourage everybody to participate by calling on people at random and humiliating them if they don't know the answer. Students respect you if you're an absolute hard-ass—show no mercy. Let all-stars and people who have no clue talk as often as they want, especially if they're repeating what you've just said or contradicting you outright.)

  3. Nourishment. Eating in class is not only tolerated, it is encouraged. You should try to take all your meals in classes, if possible, and discussion classes are preferred over lectures, with labs preferred over both, of course, because the Bunsen burner will take care of any nasty spills. Speaking of spills, if you do happen to tip your tasty beverage, don't worry about it. It will eventually evaporate, leaving no sticky residue or nasty stain, and nobody will notice in the meantime. As far as your food selection goes, it is best to eat things that are especially crunchy, such as carrot sticks. This will demonstrate the fabulous musculature of your jaw and provide a lovely background noise for the lecture. Bonus points if you can eat your food out of a bag that makes delightful rustling noises. This is why Doritos are the preferred snack food in classrooms everywhere. (If you are eating and giving the lecture, you are quite possibly the most gifted human being alive. Demonstrate this talent as often as possible. If you don't have time to run to Subway before class starts, a pack of gum will do. Chew all five pieces at once, while talking. Spit. If you prefer to eat in private, make sure nobody else in your class eats, either. Berate people who do. Make them cry. This rule is especially good for classes held at noon.)

  4. Communication. There are many ways to communicate with your classmates and professor, but the best method is by cell phone. Leave your cell phone on at all times, and make sure the ring volume is turned up as high as it will possibly go. Set your ring tone to something perky and fun, such as "Mexican Hat Dance" or, if it's Spring Semester, "Jingle Bells." Then, arrange for a friend to call you during class, or better yet, a few friends to call you at regular intervals. When your phone rings, look confused, take a good sixty or ninety seconds to answer it, and then carry on a brief conversation. Hang up, report to the class who was on the other end and what he or she wanted. This allows your prof and fellow students to see how important you are. They will respect you more, and you will get a better grade. If you don't have a cell phone, the class listserv is a perfectly acceptable communication alternative. Treat the listserv as your own personal discussion forum. Make announcements about your personal life, especially if they are a) entirely unrelated to the class topic, and b) a little too personal. For example, "Jimmy Smith gave me the clap, so don't sit next to him in class," is perfectly appropriate. For further suggestions, see the rules in Participation. (Profs: have a totally unreasonable cell phone policy. Either end class the moment a cell phone rings and drop everybody's grade an entire letter point, or allow cell phone use to rampage unchecked throughout your lecture. Your own cell phone use can, in fact, be a good reason to be late to class or to interrupt your lecture. As for the class listserv, this should be allowed to run unchecked, and should, if possible, include people who aren't in the class and exclude people who are. Promise repeatedly to rectify this. Don't. Don't answer email from students for at least a week, regardless of topic.)

  5. Office Hours. Don't go. Ever. If you must go, stay for at least five hours and ignore subtle attempts to usher you out the door. Ignore blatant attempts. Leave when you are ready and not before, no matter who's waiting. (Professors, the number of hours you spend in your office should be inversely proportional to the number of classes you teach. If students need to see you, they can find you—kids like to play hide-and-go-seek, don't they? If you must hold office hours, hold them at inconvenient times like 8 a.m. and noon.)

There are actually a number of other classroom behaviors that irritate me, but these are the major ones. If everybody could just follow these simple rules as I've laid them out...well, I'd have to shoot myself.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

A bit of light bedtime reading

I'm currently reading Nuremberg Diary by G.M. Gilbert. It's about the Nuremberg Trials after World War II, and specifically deals with the psychological state of the 21 men on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Gilbert was the American army psychologist assigned to monitor the defendents throughout the trial process, and he writes clearly and concisely. I recommend it if you're interested in the subject at all; it's a fascinating portrait of how Hitler's most powerful henchmen operated, and how they felt about it afterwards. For example, Hermann Goering (Hitler's Reichsmarschall and President of the Reichstag—generally his right-hand man) had no remorse and used the trial as a platform to point out parallels between the behavior of Nazi Germany and "manifest destiny" America. Hans Frank (Hitler's lawyer and the Governor-General of Poland) felt real remorse and regarded the trial as truly just. Very interesting to see the broad span of personalities who were seduced by Hitler.

I also recomend the film Nuremberg, which was a TNT original a few years ago. It's very good, despite the fact Alec Baldwin plays the main character.

Friday, January 10, 2003

You can't wear a white T-shirt to eat spaghetti

My grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary is coming up in April, and my mom is putting together some sort of memory book for them, for which I have to write a couple of essays about them. I haven't seen my grandfather for 7 years and my grandmother for 4, so I thought I would brainstorm a bit here, see if I can dig out any really good memories and maybe get a bit of the flotsam (and Jetsam, my pet eels) out of the way.

I don't have a vast store of memories about my grandparents because they live two days' drive from my hometown, so we saw them once, or at most twice, a year. The major visit came in the summer, usually in August, when my mother would lose her mind and pile the four of us kids into the family van, wave good-bye to my father, and head west. We went for two weeks, and certain things always happened while we were there. Grandma always took us shopping in Walla Walla, Washington. Grandpa always disappeared with my brother, doing "guy" things for hours on end. Mom and Grandma canned peaches, applesauce, and jam. My cousins Kristy Lynne and Stacy came to visit in the second week of our stay—this always inspired a great deal of high emotion: first a flurry of joy and mad playfulness, then eventually anger and yelling and misbehavior. To this day I don't get along well with Kristy, who my grandmother calls "Krissy" and refuses to hear a word against. Incomprehensible. We were always reluctant to go home again.

My grandfather is a giant of a man, even though his legs were amputated just below the knee before I was born. Until the year after I graduated from high school, he spent hours on end chopping wood, hunting elk, and helping my great-uncle Phil farm his land near La Grande. My grandmother is short, shorter than my mother, with bad bunions and ingrown toenails and fluffy hair that spent an unfortunate amount of my childhood dyed an unbelievable black. My grandmother always smelled good, despite the fact that she smokes. She smells like lilac lotion and the perfume she has worn as long as I can remember, and the skin of her arms and cheeks is soft. I used to pet her.

Okay, all of this has made me nostalgic, but at least I have some ideas for writing. Maybe tomorrow I will cover the scandal that pervades the maternal side of my family. Maybe not. Depends on how lucky you are.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Hey, lawyer lawyer! Sue! Sue, lawyer!

For those of you who missed the news, the Owls are ranked second and fourth in the preseason polls by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, respectively. We may be headed back to Omaha, not that it ever does us any good.

As I was telling M1 last night, I'm ready for baseball season to start again, and I'm not just talking about college baseball, although I enjoy following the Owls. No, I'm talking about Major League, going-down-the-tubes, steriod-infected, ridiculously budgeted baseball. I'm not sure why I'm so taken with it, since I'm consciously aware that there are major flaws in the system, on both the owners' and players' sides. But I like seeing how much Barry Bonds's head has expanded (due both to ego and "performance-enhancing substances") in the off-season, watching Lance Berkman lollygag his way to a .292 batting average with 128 homers, and keeping track of Curt Schilling's walks-to-strikeouts ratio. I don't follow any team particularly closely—Houston gets attention solely because of proximity—unless you call rooting rabidly against the Mets "following."

I don't have any grand theories about why baseball is so fascinating to me, much less to anybody else. In my case, it might be that it's the only sport that works at my particular speed—slow enough that my brain can process all the necessary information (yes, I understand the infield fly rule, and I can score a game), yet not so slowly that the grey stuff begins to consume itself from boredom (golf, I'm lookin' at you). Maybe it's just that I can't possibly force myself to care about football since there's no team in Nebraska anymore. So bring on the steroids, the infuriatingly sissyish designated hitter, and ballparks with increasingly stupid names. I'll go get the measuring tape for Barry.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

"The King" is not on the list

Happy [muffled]th birthday to my mom. Also, happy birthday to Elvis. We'll forego the "and many more" on that one.

I have no particular beef with the world today, so I thought I would just give you a list of things I like, because I can:

    • sneezing

    • the way fresh newspapers smell

    • that thing my cat does when she jumps up on my desk and headbutts me

    • having deep discussion on Instant Messenger

    • filling in birthdays and important dates on a new wall calendar

    • vacuuming my living room (using the crevice attachment, in particular)

    • disassembling things with tools that have to be plugged in

    • shifting into fifth gear

    • the word "inculcate"

    • also, "cacaphonous," "thrice," and "immolate"

    • choosing classes for the semester

    • movie previews

    • going places with the Ms, especially banal places like the library and Target

    • Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball pens, blue and black

    • my running shoes, although I never run

    • playing cards and board games

    • imbuing my comments with hidden meaning, then refusing to explain

    • Diet Vanilla Coke

    • snark

    • when old people assume that DTA and I are dating because they see us kiss hello

    • long road trips

    • the hypnotic, sluggish feeling of watching television for hours on end

    • mail

    • Berry Lime Sublime smoothies from Jamba Juice

    This is, of course, only a partial list. Go write your own and send it to me (or post it), because another thing I like, of course, is lists.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

It's a sign from God

This was Sars's link of the week on Tomato Nation. "Wanker." Hee. Good to know I'm not the only one who thinks Internet writing is crap.
Oh, and one more thing

Template redesign underway in order to incorporate my favorite color. And my incompetence at HTML.
Btw, imho u r not 2 cool 4—uh, brb, k?

I am sitting at my desk seriously wondering if there is anything I hate more than Internet abbreviation language. Right at this moment, I can't think of anything. I realize it's supposedly efficient and "hip" or whatever, but honestly, if you're over the age of 13, give it up. You sound like you're signing a middle school yearbook, and you're never going to get far in life that way. Frankly, even if you are a 13-year-old, if you have an IQ over 100, you're SOL on looking cool with the abbreviations. ("SOL" is one of the few abbreviations I can get behind because it's been around since the beginning of time. And it contains profanity. Funny story: when I was six I heard my dad say SOL, and when I asked what it meant, he told me it stood for "Sorry, Out of Luck." I believed that until I was eighteen and used the phrase in front of some very conservative, very Christian friends. They were shocked and I was confused for about thirty seconds. I tried to explain what I thought it meant, but I don't think they bought it. Darn you and your not swearing in front of a six-year-old, Dad! [And then I stabbed him. Sorry, not as funny as I first thought.]). As far as efficiency goes, making me decode "imhbeo" and "yaifutsoa"* is not saving anybody time, particularly because I'm going to take ten minutes to chew you out about it. And you can't possibly make me believe that it takes SOOOO much longer to type "you" instead of "u", especially for a good typist. Admittedly, most 13-year-olds use the hunt-and-peck method, but then they go to high school and (hopefully) learn to type, supporting my point that after age 13, there's no excuse.

I'm not a total hardnose about it—the occasional "brb" is fine, although I generally avoid using it myself. "Lol" makes me cringe for the sheer dorkiness factor. I use "k" when I'm being patronizingly tolerant on Instant Messenger, but otherwise I try to eschew unnecessary abbreviations in my own writing, and I avoid people who use it. Maybe this means I'm not "hip" (although it's surely not the only indicator on that front), but mostly I think it means I have a modicum of respect for my mother tongue and I like to pervert it as little as possible. And before you get started, I know that language is in a constant state of flux, blah-betty-blah, but in general, the point of language is to promote understanding. This is just promoting my irritation and your laziness, so knock it off.

*"you're an idiot for using this sort of abbreviation"

Monday, January 06, 2003

Comprehensible, comprehensible! Not a bit reprehensible...

Yes, I realize that being ridiculously rich is not a superpower. My point being that it might as well be, the way those people are treated. So give me a break.

Happy fifteenth birthday to my sister, the littlest E.

By my reckoning, there are four people that read this blog. Three of them are close friends. It's the fourth one I want to talk about: M1, this is for you. (Quick side note: I think the Ms 1-3 sound like robots in a science fiction movie, don't you? Like the next episode of Star Wars is going to feature R2D2, C3PO, and M1 as they try to stop Anakin's wacky hijinks.)

I've known M1 for about six months now; we were introduced by M3 and usually only spend time together when she is also in attendence. We don't have any problem getting along: I like hanging out with people who are as good or better than I am (as M1 is, by far) at trading barbs and cracking jokes (see the comments on my last post for an example). This verbal banter and a healthy dose of quantity time has led to an...association that I just can't define and a question that applies to a few people in my life. I also have this question about DTA's friend Maxwell House and any number of M3's other friends, although most of the latter live far away now and are thus less worrisome to my overwrought little brain. Anyway, my question is this: at what point do you get to claim people as your own? When do people become MY friends and not just the friends of friends? Does it make any difference? Does anybody know what I'm talking about?

Some part of me is aware that this isn't really a question at all, that I people are never mine, per se, and I should just be happy when I see them and quit analyzing things all the time. And I am happy to see M1 and Maxwell House and S, but I'm also borderline obsessive about things like this, and by "borderline obsessive" I mean "standing smack-dab in the middle of the capital city of Obsessive, waving a flag and wearing a beanie."

So that's what I'm thinking about today as I copy edit at this half-finished book on Alternative Dispute Resolution and try to get the lyrics to "We Both Reached for the Gun" out of my head. It's going to be a long day.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Faster than a speeding...Tracker

I drove from my hometown to Houston (a little over 900 miles) in 15 hours today, from 6:45 a.m. 'till 9:40 p.m. I seriously got out of the car only when I needed to refuel it. I am able to do this because I have a magic bladder that gets full just when I pull into gas stations and not before. It's like a superpower.

Speaking of, I have spent kind of a ridiculous amount of time thinking about what superpower I would want if I were suddenly granted one. I'm pretty sure it's not flying, because that seems too dangerous, considering how often I run into things on the ground. Think about all those birds and telephone wires and stuff—I can barely avoid those things in two dimensions of movement. (While I was home, I saw a pheasant fly right into a telephone wire. It was weirdly hilarious.) Telepathy would be good if I could turn it off and on at will. Otherwise, no thanks; basic human empathy will get you almost as far. Spidersense? Not a superpower. In the end, I'm going to have to go with being ridiculously, insanely, bathing-in-money wealthy. Practical, possible, damn fun. It's the pragmatist's superpower.

Friday, January 03, 2003

On the road again...

I'm taking off in my baby SUV tomorrow morning at 6:30ish, headed for Houston once again. I am hoping to make the entire 16-hour trip in one day because I'm clearly insane. Wish me luck; keep your cell phone on (and not on SILENT, M3) so I can call you if I get bored with talking to my cat.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

The eyes have it

I went to the eye doctor today. It's really weird; every time I go to see my optometrist, Dr. Anne, she's pregnant. It's not like I'm visiting at regular intervals, either. It had been a year and half since I last saw her, and she was massively pregnant then with her second child. This time I was worried she was going to slide out of her examination chair and become a lumpy heap on the floor—she was completely unable to bend at the waist. She held herself in place by locking her knees and bracing the heels of her boots against the floor. I would have laughed, but I was afraid she was going to hit me in the eye with her belly button.

Anyway, I have this weird love/hate relationship with glasses. I wear contacts and I always think I want to wear glasses, even though it's been two years since I have by the time I get around to visiting the optometrist. So I pick out a cute pair of frames, get the lenses put in, wear them for two weeks, and then remember...glasses drive me crazy. They put everything I see in little boxes, they slide down my nose when I'm up to my elbows in dishwater, they leave little white tan lines on my temples in the summer. But every time I go to the eye doctor's, all knowledge of the inconvenience of glasses is pulled right out of my head by cute half-frames and oversized cat's eyes, and I go through the process of picking out frames, bleary-eyed and headachy from the dilation drops.

This morning I chose some adorable plastic frames with a green tortoise shell pattern; they're small and rectangular. I was worried that M2 would think I was jumping on his "trendy frames" bandwagon, especially considering the comment he made on his blog about being hot and wearing trendy fashion items. But the frames called to me, and before I knew it, I had handed them to the technician and payed my bill. Look for my tan lines in a couple of months.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Happy New Year from your friends at Miramax

Because the excitement isn't really at a fever pitch here in Wayne, America, I didn't do anything for New Year's Eve except watch a movie with my parents, my sister, and her boyfriend, and then go to bed at 12:01. Exciting, I know. I'm a 60-year-old trapped in a 21-year-old's body. Or a 60-year-old's hometown, whatever.

I will take a moment to recommend My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which I saw a few nights ago. I know by now that everybody in America has seen it, considering the fact that it's done over $215 million of business and been out for more than 35 weeks. However, it's wonderful, and even if you've seen it, go see it again. Really, too hilarious. "Jou hunkgry? No? Okay, I fix jou a plate." I am now looking for a nice Greek young man; if you know one, send him my way.

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