Archive for the 'Diurnal' Category

29
Mar
10

There must be something different in the water

It’s official.  American men just don’t make the cut.  After having travelled  a bit myself, and comparing notes with my girlfriends, I have come to the conclusion that foreign men are somehow…superior?

Don’t get me wrong, I am a full-blooded American- well, that’s not true, I’m only half- but I have all the necessary patriotic sentiments. America the Beautiful, home of the free and the brave!

And interestingly enough, while I was living abroad, I really missed American men. I wanted a manly man, someone who was as wary of committment as I was, someone who knew how to just date for extended periods of time. 

Then I came home, and was awakened from my romantic reverie. American men are manly men- macho and clueless.

So I went back to dating European guys- men who said they were in love after three weeks, men who cried when we broke up, men who were really good at cuddling.

Disclaimer: The sample of European men included French, Italian, and German. And I’ve only dated American guys from the East Coast, two from the Midwest and one from Texas.

13
Jan
09

I’m Just Sayin’…

It’s that time of year again. We’re two weeks into January and the New Year’s Resolutions are now just frustrating reminders of our complete lack of self-discipline. (Which makes me wonder, why do we have this tradition anyway? Think about it- every year, to start off the year, we focus on our worst personal traits and concentrate on changing them, which only serves to make us focus on our worst personal traits, because how often do we ever really stop eating so many chocolate-chip cookies? Or get up at 5 every morning to go run 10 miles?)resolutions-calvinhobbes

It is also the time of year when we are done with vacation and heading back to the drudgery of our regular lives. Work, eat, sleep, drink, drink some more, pass out.  Why give ourselves the extra stress of trying to fight against our natural tendencies on top of that?

I know the idea is to “better yourself” and to “grow,” working towards some personal goal you’ve set for yourself.  But why do we even have this drive anyways? If someone is really dissatisfied with something, I mean really, truly dissatisfied, she’ll make the effort to change it, New Year’s Resolution or not.  Otherwise, we don’t really have the motivation and we’re just making more work for ourselves. And most of us make resolutions based on what we think we’re supposed to be like, or supposed to want, without taking into consideration who we really are as a person.

I didn’t even bother with a Resolution this year, because in the two weeks of the New Year, I’ve made fifty resolutions (with a lower-case “r”) and haven’t kept but a few of them. Granted, sometimes they were short-term resolutions like, “I’m getting drunk tonight!” or “I’m getting laid tonight!” or “I’m going to buy myself something nice today.” (I kept those kinds of resolutions.)  But I also made grander, long-term plans. Things like- “I will lose ten pounds this month,” and “I will be more realistic this year,” and “I am going to make time for all those little things,” and “I am going to be punctual,” and “I will love myself more.”

I’ve found it harder to keep on top of those.

Deep down inside, I liked the old way of doing things. You know you did too.  It was comfortable(-ish) and familiar.  At this point in my life, I know my own vices and I like them just fine.  So what if I tend to drink a glass of wine (or two) too many when I go out? It just means I had a better time.  So what if I tend to get anyplace at least fifteen minutes late?  That just means that I was having a lot of fun with whatever I was doing before.  So what if I’ve gained a little weight this past year? I love food, and that means I was having a lot of something I love.
And I think we secretly need to have something wrong with our lives. What else would we talk about in awkward social gatherings if we couldn’t complain about ourselves?

Fine, go ahead, make (and break) your resolutions. You were probably much better off as you were to begin with.  But don’t say I didn’t tell you it was a futile task.

So what were your New Year’s Resolutions? (It’s ok, you don’t have to admit if you haven’t kept them.) Did you go with the little things or the big things? Or did you do like me and just avoid the problem altogether?

I’m just sayin’…Old habits die hard.

08
Jan
09

Sesame Street: Causing A.D.D. 50 Million Children at a Time

I know I am about to step on a sacred cow for many out there.  Face it, Sesame Street played an integral part in our generation’s development.  How else would we have learned our letters, or the difference between near and far, and who can forget “Rubber duckie, you’re the one.  You make bath time lots of fun!”  Sesame Street was that home away from home for me and my peers, but little did we know we were being wired to fail horribly when we entered college and would have to sit through lectures 4 times longer and 839458345783489 times less interesting than an episode of Sesame Street.

I know you are thinking, “How, Victor? How could one of the greatest shows of all time have done this to me?”  I will tell you.  It was the completely unfocused manner in which they taught us everything we needed to know to succeed in the world.  Think about it.  First you learn that Big Bird is afraid of the dark, then all of a sudden the Count is counting cookies as Cookie Monster eats them, then Bert and Ernie are getting ready to go to sleep but Ernie isn’t tired so he starts counting sheep, then there is a big ass Q on the screen in psychedelic colors, then there is a video with penguins and music, then we finally get back to Big Bird and his irrational fear of the dark and with some help from his best friend Snuffeluffagus, or Snuffy as he is lovingly called by Bird, and finally there is a cartoon with a ball in a pinball machine that is teaching you how to count to 13.  After aaaaaaaaaaall of this, the theme starts playing slow and soft in the background and you hear, “Sesame Street was brought to you today by the letter D and the number 2″… neither of which were mentioned that day, but I guess they needed the publicity so they bought ad space on Sesame Street.  Now think back, where was the focus here? There wasn’t. No segment lasted longer than 2 or 3 minutes tops, with most of the lessons being a matter of seconds and having absolutely nothing to do with the segment before it.

This is how we are introduced to education, and we wonder why 50% of the kids in school are on drugs to keep them focused.  Shit, at least Barney had a continuous narrative throughout the show.  There was some direction to everything, you know.  Baby Bop lost her binky or something like that and the kids to had to find it, the kids made sure everybody cleaned up everywhere… then the kids and the big purple dinosaur professed their love for each other at the end of every show (I wonder if the guy who wrote “This Old Man” got royalties from the “Barney Song”. I hope at the least he cleared the sample). This post has got me nostalgic.  C is for cookie, its good enough for me. Bitch.

xoxo

-vˆ2

08
Jan
09

Bromance vs. Girlfriends: biology or society?

Re: Chester Cheetah’s comment on “Can’t we just be friends?”

Very smart people put a lot of time into studying the questions as to whether white people were really different than black people too. Just because the academic elite like to publish new and sensational ideas doesn’t give them status as absolute scientific fact. The amount of biology at stake here is MUCH less than people like to imagine when they want to maintain the idea that “that’s just the way things are.” Women are more emotional and lovey-dovey than men, and women form different kinds of relationships. I just spent an entire semester looking at the research in this area, and you know what my conclusion was- looking to biology to explain the kind of sex differences we want to explain is just a bunch of crock.

men-vs-women

The typical assignment of female nuturer/male strengthener is VERY socially based. Don’t even get me started on the androcentric interpretations that we’ve slapped onto other species in an effort to say that that paradigm is “natural” when a closer examination reveals a very different distribution of the roles.  That aside,in parent-child relationships the man is usually cast as the protector and provider while the woman is cast as the homemaker and nuturer. How does THAT translate to same-sex relationships? (“Hey Bro, I want to protect you, man. And make sure that you have, like, food on the table and stuff. Cool?” “Hey girlfriend! I am coming over to clean your room today! And do your dishes, and pat you on the head because you got a good grade, okay?”)

I’m not saying that men and women aren’t different at all. I’m just saying that we have expectations for the way they should behave (whether these are accurate expectations or not), and these expectations color the way we see male/female behavior; we consider as awkward or abnormal behavior that does not conform to our expectations. I think it is reasonable to believe, however, that these expectations we have are, in fact, largely based on a long social tradition and maintenance of the status quo. Call me a ball-buster, but that’s how I see it.

As far as the show itself goes- I wouldn’t be surprised to see some cattiness arising. I’ve known some really gossipy (straight) guys who talk more than girls! That being said, I don’t like watching cattiness, be it male or female, and I like “Rob and Big” as a good example of a healthy male relationship…but that has its problems too. Think, big, black sidekick…

Photo courtesy of flickr.com

02
Dec
08

My social network has crashed

Every night between the hours of 8:00 and 9:30, Facebook crashes because there are too many damn people on there.

Of course that is the time when everyone checks who has poked them today, or how many event invitiations in other states they have, or how many new friend requests they’ve gotten, but Facebook should know this by now and be prepared for the traffic.  How am I going to be able to see how many friends I have (i.e. how many people love me) if the site keeps “experiencing an error” ?

20
Nov
08

Mom- You used to embarass me. Then I met my friend’s mother.

My relationship with my mother is, by far, the most complicated relationship in my life.

My hysterical, co-dependent affair with my ex looks like the very picture of normalcy next to what’s going on between her and I. 

Over the years, she says my erratic behavior has conditioned her to an emergency response.  “I just don’t know what to do with you, Carlotta.”   Well I don’t really know what to do with you either.  My best friend, I can’t just tell you to piss off, because then who would listen to my whining and moaning about the unfairness of it all?  My slavemaster, I can’t stand to be around you for more than three hours, because inevitably during that time period, three directives to “stop playing and do some work” will have been directed my way.

Yes, she still tells me to stop playing.

I used to think that my mother was a self-righteous, interfering nuisance.  And then I met some of my friends’ mothers.

Mrs. Chintz is now a saint.

The utter dysfunctionality of those relationships mirrors and magnifies that which exists in my own relationship.  Except that I would never dare scream at my mother, “Just shut up!”  Nor, “What the fuck do you want from me?”  Nor would I ever tell her to her face, “I hate you.”

I would have been slapped across the mouth.  With good reason.  If my kids (should I happen to produce such spawn at a later point in my life) ever even thought about talking to me like that…

Sure, my mom has a tendency to micromanage.  She calls me six times a day.  She pesters me about what I’m doing with my life.  And that won’t go away.  And I’m glad that I have company in the overbearing mothers boat.  But she doesn’t try to control the minute details of my life.  Or manipulate my emotions.  Who I date is my mistake.  Where I eat lunch is not her problem.  That ridiculous thing I was wearing two days ago is a result of my own lapse in judgment.

I can keep my autonomy and still keep my best friend.

20
Nov
08

The new world of non-smokerhood (it sucks)

What I feel like doing right now

What I feel like doing right now

So I decided to quit smoking. Again.

Fuck.

I went into Wallgreens to arm myself with the necessary materials: patches and lozenges, all chock full of glorious nicotine.

The lady rang me up, “that will be $83.45” she said, annoyingly cheerful.

“83 DOLLARS???” I thought. “What the fuck?!”

I was so close to telling her to forget it and just getting in my car and heading to Low-Bob’s Discount Tobacco for a carton of Marlboro lights, which would have been roughly half of what I was paying for these fake cigarettes. Instead I just reached into my purse and cringed as she swiped my credit card.

“Are these for you?” she asked me with an earnest smile. “Yeah,” I replied, not wanting to get into it with her; the transaction was painful enough as it was. “Well it’s good that you’re quitting. Smoking is so bad for you.” I fought back the “Fuck off” that was making its way up my vocal cords and said something along the lines of “Yeah, I know.”

I sauntered out of the drug store and into the freezing cold air of Northern Indiana. Once the engine turned over and the heat was pelting me in the face, I reached into the bag and pulled out a patch. I didn’t have any scissors in my car so I rabidly gnawed on the ridiculous packaging for a minute. I finally got the fucking thing open and slapped the flesh-colored circle on my shoulder-blade. As I drove off I passed that same woman who rang me up, lighting up a cigarette in the parking lot.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

It’s only been a few days, so I know that things will “only get easier” in the coming weeks, but ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT IS SMOKING. How did I get to this point? How is it possible that I have allowed myself to become so completely addicted to any type of substance?

The first cigarette I ever had I was in 10th grade riding around in some senior’s car. He pulled out a pack of Marlboro reds and offered me one with one of those looks that said, “Can you hang or not?” I took a couple of hesitant puffs on it, and coughing sophomorically said, “This is disgusting!” He laughed one of those jaded, experienced, smokers laughs, as if to say “Didn’t think so”.

I didn’t smoke again until senior year with my new “rebellious” boyfriend. I was the school goody two-shoes: overachieving to the max in classes and in as many extra-curriculars as I could fit into my schedule. He was the school slacker: smart, but lacking in direction. He had detention every other day and slept through class — when he actually showed up. I was looking to rebel, he was looking to reform. I remember having a complete aversion to everything cigarette-related (a total product of Truth adds), but for some reason he looked so sexy when he smoked. We started dating, and he quit smoking, much to my reluctance.

Later on I started smoking clove cigarettes with some friends at a pub in Canada. It became a ritual. We’d order a few pints and smoke a few cloves. Soon I began to look forward to going there just to have an excuse to smoke. Then I started buying my own cloves, but only to smoke while I was drinking. Then it turned into smoking when I was stressed, or smoking at the end of a long day, or smoking on a long walk by myself, or or or…

I felt guilty about smoking at this point in my life, but I told myself that I wasn’t really a smoker; I was a “social smoker”, and I smoked cloves, not cigarettes. They’re different.

It really got to be bad when I started dating another smoker. I would jokingly chastise him, “You shouldn’t smoke so much because you make me want to smoke with you”. In reality, now I had an excuse to smoke, because he would smoke.

Then I worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in New Hampshire. Stress, talking to voters, (AKA morons) all day- you get the picture. I bought my first pack of non-clove cigarettes, for the pure convenience. I wanted something to smoke and I realized that, hey- real cigarettes are awesome!

Then I went to France for a semester and my hush-hush smoking habit came bursting out of the closet with colors flying. In France you don’t have to be ashamed to be a smoker, since most people smoke, or at least aren’t bothered by it.

Bad, bad, bad, all of it bad. Now I’m quitting, and I guess that I should be rejoicing and saying things like “Hurrah! Now I will no longer be a slave to an addiction,” and “Yippee! My clothes don’t reek of smoke anymore!” But when I think about my life and my future without cigarettes, I can’t help but feel depressed. It’s so pathetic to think that my life can be controlled by a cancer-causing stick, but it is.

Ugh, I want a cigarette.




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