Saturday, April 28, 2007

Patience is Obsolete

Please excuse me for a moment while I geek out.

When I was a teenager, I spent my Sunday nights watching Channel 11 (i.e. PBS). The schedule looked like this:

10:00 PM Monty Python's Flying Circus
10:30 PM Dave Allen At Large
11:00 PM Doctor Who

I only watched Dave Allen because it felt like it took too much work to change channels. Also we got cable towards the end of my high school career, around the same time WTTW started messing with their Sunday night lineup, so my Sunday night allegiances switched to The Young Ones, The Comic Strip Presents and 120 Minutes. But for all intents and purposes, this was how I spent Sunday nights for the first three years of high school. Yeah, I started the sleep deprivation thing early (but my issues with sleep are a whole 'nother blogposting, if not a whole entire blog of its own.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, I spent my late Sunday nights watching Doctor Who. Alone.

When we first started living together, I tried to introduce Fred to the Doctor, but they didn't get along (Fred may be a mechanical engineer, but a SciFi Geek he is not). Fred watched the shows, some of which were older than both of us, and saw the crap sets and special effects and couldn't get into the plots. He always said he just couldn't get into science fiction, but this is the man who called The X-Files his favorite show for half a decade. The truth was, he had no emotional connection to Tom Baker's wackiness, Peter Davison's frailty, or Colin Baker's smugness. It broke my heart, but he just couldn't feel the same excitement when he heard the sound of the TARDIS powering up.

But it didn't matter, really. It wasn't like Doctor Who was still being made and rebroadcasts of the shows were decidedly down market for the shiny, classy, rich public television station that our local PBS affiliate grew into. Yes, for awhile, the PBS station from Northern Indiana showed Doctor Who on Saturday nights, but we were often out doing stuff. The truth was that I got into Doctor Who in high school, at least in part, because it was on and I wasn't doing anything else. I wasn't going to not live my life for a television show.

And then I discovered the new series and suddenly scheduling life around a TV show didn't seem all that ridiculous. I am a stay at home mom, it isn't like I have that much of a life to schedule. It seems kindof wonderful, in a way, that once again my social life dwindles to nothing and the Doctor reappears to fill the void.

The thing is, there is absolutely no reason to schedule my life around a TV show because, as I said, some very nice people in Britain are uploading the episodes on YouTube.

I may be speaking heresy (the science fiction equivalent, perhaps, of saying that your favorite James Bond is someone other than Sean Connery), but it is my considered opinion that this new series of Doctor Who has the potential to wipe my mind clean of all memories of any other Doctors. Yes, I have a huge crush on David Tennant (which, by the way, if you are reading this David, call me). Yes, this new series is phenomenally well written and the special effects look real. But, perhaps most importantly, for the first time in my life, I am able to watch episodes within hours of their broadcast. Which means that the 2007 jokes and references actually make sense to me (as opposed to seeming stale and/or going over my head). And the truth is, there is an excitement in watching something current, in knowing that you aren't consuming a television version of year old coffee cake.

So, when you have a chance and are looking for a good time, I recommend you watch The Shakespeare Code now. Don't wait until the fall when (if) the SciFi channel broadcasts it because the references to Harry Potter won't seem nearly as exciting (because, presumably, you will be have read Book Seven between now and then).

Friday, April 27, 2007

"I'm Too Little"

This is the explanation Julian often offers when he doesn't want to feels he is unable to do something. We tell him he will grow big and he refuses to believe us.

As my profile indicates, I think I am a lot taller than I am. Or rather, I believe I should be taller than I am. You see, as a child, I was on the tall side (not abnormally so, but definitely in the upper percentiles of the growth charts). I shot up fast and was always one of the taller girls in class, but when I was around 12, I stopped while everyone else continued to grow. I am only 5'3" (on a good day, after doing an hour of Pilates) and while I know that is a fine height and nothing to be ashamed of, deep down, I feel my height to be a cruel trick played upon me by fate.

Years ago, some guy who was trying to date Maria (who is also vertically challenged though you might never know as she calls 3" heels "walking shoes") once asked us why we, who were both short girls, only looked at guys who were over six feet tall. She told him that it was because she wanted to give her future children a fighting chance at height. Although I never would have put it in those terms, I will freely admit that Fred's height (6'1") is one of the traits I hope Julian has inherited.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I found the height predictor on babycenter. Finally, a completely non-scientific means of determining how tall my son will be. What is the word on Julian?

Your son will likely be 6 feet, 0 inches tall at age 18.

This prediction is a "best guess" but it's still just that -- a guess. Based on the formula we used,* there's a 58 percent chance your son's full-grown height will be within 1 inch (above or below) of this prediction, an 85 percent chance it will be within 2 inches, and an 96 percent chance it will be within 3 inches.

Wait! Not so fast! I have my baby book and I can punch those numbers in. Let's just see how accurate it would have been for me.
Your daughter will likely be 5 feet, 6 inches tall at age 18.

This prediction is a "best guess" but it's still just that -- a guess. Based on the formula we used,* there's a 50 percent chance your daughter's full-grown height will be within 1 inch (above or below) of this prediction, a 69 percent chance it will be within 2 inches, and an 84 percent chance it will be within 3 inches.
So, um yeah, it is important to note the +/- bit of the predictor.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Buying The War

If you did not manage to catch Bill Moyers' documentary last night, you can watch it here. None of what was presented is new information, but it is still shocking to see all the ways members of the press dropped the ball on Iraq (or rather, picked up the ball the Bush administration handed to them).

In 1994, after the genocide occurred in Rwanda, I remember reading reports about what had happened, about how the government had broadcast inflammatory, anti-Tutsi radio reports which encouraged people to pick up machetes and view their neighbors as enemies who had to die, and I remember that I felt sympathy for the Hutus who had killed because they were manipulated by their government and media to commit unspeakable crimes.

While I felt sympathy for the ordinary people who committed extraordinary crimes, I must admit I believed that the sort of manipulations which their government was able to exert would have been impossible here. I mean, we have a free press and we, as a society, are all a lot more media savvy. Americans tend to claim a healthy distrust of their own government and elected officials and we have a free, independent press. The government could never use the press to manipulate us into allowing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people without someone noticing and bringing it to our attention.

Or so I thought. That was before September 11, 2001.

I am disgusted by the way our fear has been used (and continues to be used) to justify an increasingly expensive war which it now seems was started only because the President wanted to depose Saddam Hussein (as he said in July of 2002, the man did try to assassinate his dad) and which has no basis for continuing except that we have to finish what we started. But more than that, I feel an incredible amount of shame and guilt when I think of all the people who have died in this war. I think of all the Iraqis who are unable to live anything resembling a normal life and I think of all the military personnel who are separated from their loved ones. And I am so sickened that we aren't asked to make any sacrifices and that it is so easy for me to forget sometimes that the war is even going on. (But, of course, why should we make any sacrifices, why should we encourage our loved ones to enlist when the Presidents own daughters haven't done so? Regardless of what you think about royalty, it is nice to see that some people have a sense of duty.)

When we talk about the Holocaust, we always have the question in the back of our mind: how could people have let this happen? We all so smugly believe that if WE had been there WE would not have idly stood by while people were being sent to concentration camps and murdered. We say that ignorance is no excuse, that they should have known. So now, 62 years since the concentration camps were liberated, I find myself wondering what sort of questions and accusations our children and grandchildren will be levelling against us. How will we even be able to explain this to them?

Even though I know that I could not have stopped this war from happening, I still see blood on my hands.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fun With The Internet

I found this at Jhianna's blog.

1. Go to Wikipedia and enter your birthday without the year: January 23

2. List four events that occurred that day:

  • 1533 - Anne Boleyn, mistress of Henry VIII of England, discovers herself pregnant.
  • 1973 - President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam.
  • 1977 - The first segment of the Roots mini-series airs on ABC.
  • 2002 - Reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped -- and subsequently murdered -- in Karachi, Pakistan.

3. List two important birthdays:

I already knew I shared a birthday with Jeanne Moreau, Princess Caroline, and Mariska Hargitay.

4. List one death:

5. List one holiday or observance:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Best Protest Ever!

A few years ago, my friend Heather (who was working in the School of the Art Institute's Development Office at the time) saw a guy walking down Michigan Avenue completely naked, talking on a cell phone. She overheard some people say that he was probably some guy from "that art school around the corner." When she got back to the office, everyone agreed that it probably wasn't one of their students because Heather hadn't seen anyone documenting this man's art and the reactions of passersby to his art. You see, someone else taking pictures and/or videotaping you makes you an artist. Otherwise, you are just another crazy exhibitionist.

At the time, I thought it would have been an interesting piece of performance art. We have blurred the lines between public and private to such a degree in our society. Would showing one's testicles be a greater act of exposure than having a very loud argument on a cell phone while shopping at Whole Foods? Would I be more uncomfortable seeing a stranger's penis than I am overhearing him begging his ex to take him back? Why do we feel the need to draw a line at physical nudity when we already display so much of ourselves for everyone to see?

So you can imagine how excited I was to read about a recent protest in Moscow. Yes, it is wonderful to see people taking the old saying Make Love, Not War literally.

I think you have to be a serious exhibitionist to do something like this, and, it seems, the police and various onlookers were unaware of what the protesters were protesting against (the article says they wisely did not name names, which may be why these protesters lived to protest another day). So maybe it was unsuccessful as political protests go, but it totally rocks as performance art.

I find myself wondering how such a thing would play here. How long would it take before the car was pulled over and the couple arrested? Would the story be aired on the local news affiliate and cable news networks? Would the sight of people having sex on the top of a moving car shock people into thinking or would it just enrage them? Or would we just notice it and then shrug it off as none of our business, the way we do with so many things we encounter today in urban life.

I must admit, if I saw this driving down the street I would probably not realize it was a political protest and I would have the same reaction I used to have when some of my fellow students got naked at Renn Fayre: I would avert my eyes. And then, of course, I would rush right home to blog about it and regret that I do not own a camera phone.

Oh, in case you were wondering, those are my legs.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Please Sign This Petition

"For the last 75 years the BBC has relied on an extraordinary group of people who go into the world's trouble spots, often just as everyone else is getting out."--BBC deputy director general Mark Byford

BBC Reporter Alan Johnston was kidnapped on March 12. I have been following his story since I first heard about it, over a month ago, but it only struck me this morning (as I was listening to coverage of the multi faith vigil in London) that I hadn't seen it reported in the American media, that if I didn't happen to leave Pilates class when WBEZ is broadcasting BBC Newshour, I might not know anything at all about his kidnapping. Then I thought about how you, my imaginary friends on the internet, might not know about this and thought I had to tell you. Of course, I forgot when Julian greeted me at the door of my parents' house, the immediacy of toddler-hood wiping my brain clean of thoughts and plans.

Thank goodness for Stuntmother who posted the online petition on her blog.

Alan Johnston banner

Alan Johnston was the only Western reporter based in Gaza. We need journalists to provide accurate, unbiased information. Without men like Alan Johnston, we would be susceptible to the manipulations of politicians, militias, terrorists, and everyone else who has an agenda which requires them to only present a portion of the facts (or, if necessary, to lie outright).

I hope he is alright and that he comes home.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

But We're Watching The Baseball Game

It's true, baseball trumps healthy eating every time.

Earth Day!

Alright, as this picture demonstrates, the only way my kitchen could be more tricked out is if I let Xhibit and his friends visit for a weekend. Yes, it is true, the overall design is not to my liking (and I refuse to be one of "those people" who rips out the swank cabinets and countertops in the kitchen merely because she dislikes the color), but the appliances are quite drool worthy. However, I find myself really wanting a sun oven so that I may take advantage of the few months of sunshine we do get and to reduce my drain on non-renewable resources.

I don't really understand why people find the idea of reducing their drain on non-renewable resources to be so offensive. I mean, regardless of your views on global warming, I think we can all agree one the definition of finite.

Why not ride your bike and walk more often? Why not try to dry your whites on a clothesline as opposed to the dryer? Why not unplug appliances (like toasters and coffee machines) when they are not in use? Everyone focuses on the grand gestures (like buying a hybrid car or installing solar panels) and while those are very helpful big steps, we can all do our part by taking small steps.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"It's like putting up pictures of puppies."

The other day, I was talking to my brother, Jeff, and he mentioned how he tells everyone to read my blog. I said something about how it is just pictures of Julian these days, not anything really impressive or anything. He started to chortle and said that putting pictures of Julian on my blog is so clearly an act of cynicism to increase my blog traffic, that Julian is so cute that, of course, people who wouldn't care about my writing are tuning in to see the kid and, well, even if you do like my writing, you still probably like to see pictures of the boy even more. While I had not considered this, now that it has been mentioned, I will admit that I am not above using pron to get you to keep coming back. Seriously, if my family didn't occasionally read this and if I thought it would help, I would put naked pictures on this blog. I have no shame.

So, yeah, look at the cute little puppy.

Then he recommended his friend's blog. And I have been sucked in as it is one of the most brilliant, surreal, postmodern (in a good way) things I have encountered. My only complaint is he didn't actually create the other blog and all. Go and read it when you have the opportunity.

Oh, and I nominated some people for Blogger's Choice awards. Check out there blogs (here, here, here, and here) and then, if you like them, go and vote for them (and vote for me if you haven't already)

Come on, how can you say no to this face? (I offer this photo as further proof that D.W. and I are soul sisters, lest you had any doubts).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Let Us Only Remember The Names Of Those Worthy of Memory

We always want to know why murderers and terrorists commit the crimes they do. We can't believe someone would show such a casual disregard for human life. We ask questions in order to find some solace in knowing the answers. But in our zeal to make sense of the incomprehensible, we give too much attention to the perpetrators of the acts. We find out their life stories, books and movies are made about their lives and why they did what they did, and, when similar crimes are committed, theirs are the stories the media retells.

The people who find themselves victims have stories of their own and theirs are the stories we should be hearing.

But for some reason, after society grieves, it forgets about the victims of a murderer. Being a victim isn't anywhere near as sexy as being a perpetrator. Who was the most fascinating character in The Silence of the Lambs?

We think we know what the victims lives were like, so after we mourn, we start to forget (these are, after all, people we do not know personally, people who we cannot miss because they were never a part of our lives to begin with). But every individual life is fascinating. Every single one of us has failures and successes which make us who we are. Yes, it may be that the stories are not as strange and as far outside our realm of experience as that of the killer, but so what? Why should we give these creatures any more power and attention than what they already stole for themselves? Why are we rewarding the criminals when we should be honoring their victims?

I don't know what makes people view others as disposable. Maybe if we stopped glamorizing violence, maybe if we ceased conferring celebrity (albeit often posthumous) upon those who commit atrocities, maybe if we remembered the names of the innocent, the sociopaths wouldn't find it so easy to disregard the humanity in others. Maybe we, as a society, should say (through our actions), "These acts and the losses are significant, but you who have committed the acts are not. We will never say your name again and no one will mourn your memory." Maybe if we only honored the humanity in others, it wouldn't be so hard for some to see.

Early Morning Chat

Today we were waiting for Curious George to begin and Julian began singing "The man with the yellow hat, the man with the yellow hat, the man with the yellow hat, the man with the yellow hat." (I can't tell you what melody he used, but I was pretty impressed.) After he was finished, he said to me, "Mommy, I just sang The Man With The Yellow Hat."

"Did you write that song?" I asked.

Then he said, in a slightly panicked voice, "It's not on my blog."

"Did you just say that it isn't on your blog?" He has never mentioned blogs before. Maybe I just misheard him. He is only two and a half, far too young to be concerned with intellectual property rights. I mean, he is still pretty shaky on concepts like sharing and ownership.


"Do you have a blog?" Not that I thought it was likely, but as this conversation had already taken an unexpectedly surreal turn, anything was possible.


"Do you want a blog?"


I wanted to ask him if he understood what a blog was, but the show began and Julian lost interest in our conversation because, well, it wasn't nearly as exciting (it was the episode where George tries to stop the cows from eating all the wildflowers.)

So, I guess he knows how I spend my free time.

Maybe you should go vote for my blog while I still have one. He already pulls me out of the chair so that he can have quality time at the keyboard. Just imagine what he'll be able to do once he can type more than "iehh/ ssdhjkf=[ 4\ jkld/x0 i ds lfa u\6[q u e9vsk 7 s9."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Overheard In My Kitchen

"Julian. I have some bad news. The Cubs lost," Fred said.

Julian replies, "That's alright Daddy, I'll find him."

Friday, April 13, 2007

It Was Only a Matter of Time

Julian says to me, as he lays down in his crib to take a nap, "Maybe we could get a little TV for my room so I can watch Curious George."

Yep, less than a year ago, he had never even watched television and now he is a little addict. But hey, check out his language abilities. And he doesn't even like Sesame Street. I must be doing something right, right?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Please allow me to make an announcement which will surely embarrass Julian when he is older: This morning, at 9:30 A.M., Julian (who was running around the house naked while I begged him to put some clothes on so we could go to my parents' house because I really wanted to go to Pilates class at 10) did his business on the potty. This was not the first time he has expelled liquid waste in the potty, but it was a first for the solid variety.

Of course, this could mean nothing. It could be a fluke. Or it could mean he will be in underpants by the weekend. It is too soon to tell. What we can all agree upon at this time, however, is that this post will mortify Julian when he is a teenager.

My Soul Mate-The Cartoon Variety

For years, I have been compared to Lucy. Some of this was a result of having a younger brother who walked around sucking his thumb, dragging a blanket. some of this was a result of having dark hair. But, sadly, some of this was a result of having a somewhat crabby personality.

However, the truth is that Lucy is a little too sharp. Surely, I thought, there must be a cartoon character who more closely resembles me.

The other day, I was watching Arthur with Julian. Now, previous to this episode, I was always kindof irritated with DW. I mean, usually we see the show from Arthur's point of view and DW is the annoying younger sibling (as opposed to Kate who is still a baby). However, in this episode, DW is jealous of Kate and her parents dealt with it in completely the wrong way (unless, of course, you think the way to deal with sibling rivalry is to send the older kid to her room). I suddenly felt an affinity with DW. Maybe the reason she had always annoyed me is because we were so much alike. (She wears pink, I sometimes wear pink. She is smart and bossy, I am smart and bossy. She has a brother, I have a brother. See, we are practically twins!) When I mentioned this to Fred, he started to laugh because he had already made the connection. I asked how and he said (albeit with a huge smile on his face), "The little miss know-it-all thing." I'm so misunderstood!

Finally, A Style Trend I Can Endorse

According to every fashion magazine and style section of the newspaper I have come across, the trend for spring and summer is dresses. Some of these style arbiters have gone so far as to say that denim is out. You knew it was only a matter of time. I mean, it is cruel for the same people who encourage baby mania to promote the wearing of jeans which would barely cover someone's cesarean scar. Something had to give. Most women (even celebrities) are not Heidi Klum (and really, is it any wonder she keeps getting pregnant? I mean, who among us wouldn't keep having babies if we knew that we would have our bodies back within weeks of giving birth?)

So, yay, dresses are back! Finally, a style trend which doesn't penalize me for having hips (because jeans really do nothing good for me. I mean, yes, they are practical, but they are designed for body types different from my own.) Finally, a style trend which doesn't involve me embarking on quests to find the impossible (i.e. a pair of jeans that look good on me). Finally, a style trend which I already am following.

Of course, this does mean I have to shave my legs. Assuming it ever warms up enough for me to ditch the opaque tights.

This Old Thing?

Karrie has nominated me for a Bloggers Choice award.

I just wrote a self-pitying post about no one loving me (or rather, no one loving my blog) and now I have to eat my words.

Also, by choosing to "go public" with my insecurities makes
it impossible for me to play it cool. There is absolutely no offhand way I can play this. I can't pretend I am cool and that I don't care if you vote for me or not. Not now. I mean, that would sound phonier than Madonna's faux Brit accent.

So, go register and vote for (me) your favorite bloggers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Abigail Breslin or Colin Firth?

Who is more famous?

This game is a time suck. I have no idea what criteria they are using to determine who the more famous person is in any given match up. I mean, yes, some are no brainers like Oprah vs. Anyone, but then others are not so easy. In some pairings, like Mary-Kate Olsen vs. Miranda Otto, they seem to be factoring in body of work and talent in the determination of famousness (because if we just went by number of trees killed to publish the pages of tabloid which has been taken up with her image, you would think MK would win, wouldn't you?) It looks easy, but then it isn't. And, of course, I am determined to win, even if it is some stupid game than means nothing in the whole scheme of things.

Try it out, if you have nothing else planned for the day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

20+ Years Too Late

Forget happiness, the in-crowd is being moved to tears by a new wave of super cool misery clubs, which give visitors (with the help of a pile of chopped onions) the chance to weep away their woes

Misery clubs? Places which actually encourage their patrons to sob like babies? And they need to resort to chopped onions to get the desired effect?


Back in the day, bursting into tears at a club was par for the course, though we usually locked ourselves in a bathroom stall. Yes, that's right, it was once embarrassing to weep in public over adolescent heartache and betrayal and we didn't want people to see us. We all did it, but it was still a sign of weakness which we all sought to avoid displaying. Of course, everyone knew when you got that look on your face and ran off to a bathroom that the black mascara would soon be flowing freely, and since pain, anguish and drama have always been staples of the goth girl's social diet (though we didn't call ourselves goth back then), maybe it is for the best that crying has not only become acceptable, but desirable.

I still think the onions are cheating. I mean, people, if you are truly, exquisitely miserable, you don't need vegetables to make your cry, all you need is memories and the right music.

Pictures of You - The Cure

The place is called Loss and promises "an evening of exquisite misery." How perfect is that?

Genetic Material

A woman left infertile after cancer therapy has lost her fight to use embryos fertilised by an ex-partner.

Natallie Evans has been fighting for nearly 5 years to keep the embryos from being destroyed.

None of the articles I have read thus far have represented her ex-boyfriend's point of view and I really wish they would. I want to know why he would begrudge her the use of the embryos. I am sure he could legally sever his parental rights and responsibilities to the children which may result from these embryos.

I agree that a person has a right to determine what happens to their genetic material and I don't believe anyone should be forced to have children they don't want, but this man entered into IVF treatment with his girlfriend. It isn't like she tricked him into getting her pregnant (employing the "I'm on the pill and I don't think I am fertile anyway" trick). It isn't as if she collected his sperm from him in the dead of night with the aid of oral sex, a turkey baster, and a test tube. It is possible he felt pressured to contribute his genetic material to this enterprise because his then girlfriend had cancer. But wouldn't you think the same guilt that got you to spill your seed into the cup would also keep you from phoning up the clinic and saying you changed your mind? He must realize this is her only chance at having her own genetic children (and given her health history, she may have difficulty adopting children, so this may be her only shot at motherhood, period). So why would he deny her the right to have the embryos implanted, why would he insist the embryos be destroyed? How bad was their breakup anyway?

Natallie Evans has claimed that destroying the embryos would be denying her a basic human right. In one sense, she is right, getting our DNA into the next generation is an essential human right and, if you think about it, the only real reason we exist (well, that and raising our DNA's hosts so that the DNA can be represented in future generations). However, I have often argued that parenthood is a privilege, not a right. It isn't necessarily fair that some people get pregnant just from swimming in the same pool as a member of the opposite sex while
others can try and try and still remain childless, but that is how things are.

I have wondered if the brave new world that medicine has given us, this world of test tube babies and hormonal injections, has created a world of overly high expectations and harder to swallow disappointments. Years ago, people who couldn't have children would adopt. Now, they still may adopt, but there are all these options available which make it possible to have your own biological child. You hear people say that they want to try to have their "own" child, as if an adopted child is somehow less yours because they don't share your genetic material. Years ago, surviving ovarian cancer would have been enough to be grateful for and Natallie Evans would not have had to spend five years fighting only to have to come to terms with the fact that she can not be a mother, at least to genetically related children. The average cost of adopting a child is around $40,000, while there are laws (in some states at least) which force insurance companies to cover a few rounds of IVF. Are we really better off now than we were forty years ago?

I am aware that I say this as a woman who was lucky enough to experience pregnancy, childbirth, and the joys of seeing my husband's and my own features in my son's face. Perhaps it is unfair of me to ask the questions I am asking. But, as I said, life isn't fair.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Opening Day

Or, as I like to call it, the reason we have such achingly cold days in April.

The WeatherPixie

I am dead serious when I tell you that if Major League Baseball ever decides to start the season in March, we will never have a cold day in April again. No, don't tell me that will be the result of global warming. I believe in my heart it will be because it is impossible for people to experience an opening day at Wrigley Field without freezing. You think those Gore Tex lined coats will keep the wind out, but honey, it is impossible for anyone to get drunk enough to actually feel warm on Opening Day.

So now, I give you a little joke.

We are in Hell. Satan is checking out the various denizens of Hell and notices that one guy doesn't seem particularly unhappy or hot. So he turns up the heat a bit, but this guy is seemingly unaffected by the scorching weather. So Satan turns up the heat some more. But, still, this guy is just going about doing his work (they work in Hell, who knew?) So Satan goes up to the guy and says, "Dude, look around you, you're in Hell, everyone else is incapacitated by the heat, so what gives?" And the guy politely explains that he is a farmer from the Midwest, so he is used to suffering through really hot summers, and Hell isn't really that much worse. So Satan goes back to hell's thermostat and turns it down. Way down. Everything turns blue and the souls which were formerly roasting are now blocks of ice. And Satan looks over at the Midwestern Farmer, expecting him to be frozen like everyone else. But instead, the guy is jumping up and down hooting and hollering, "THE CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES!"

Now With More Lint!

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Know by the Smiths because, really, who better to take us down my path of self indulgence than Morrissey?

Today I am making a brief foray into the land of naval gazing. "What do you mean "a brief foray"? This is a blog, isn't naval gazing all you ever do?" you say in your head. And yes, dear reader, you are correct, a blog is really, first and foremost, a vehicle for my gigantic need for attention.

So, this leads to a question, if a blog is unread, does it actually exist?

A friend asked me a little while ago why I blogged. I gave him my general explanation that I need an outlet and until I get off my butt and try to get some stuff published, the blog helps provide me with an outlet to get my work read. He rolled his eyes (well, I am assuming he rolled his eyes, he was on the phone) and made a comment about how all girls think they are writers. While I felt pretty annoyed with him for being so dismissive of an entire gender and, more to the point, so dismissive of me, I kindof understood what he meant. Over the years, I have met a lot of people who say, when I tell them I am an actress and a writer, "oh how fun. I have always thought I'd be great at that," as if this is somehow supposed to make me respect them (it doesn't. My feeling is that you should go do it and you may find you are good at it. You may find out that it only looks as easy as switching to Geico.) But, really, what makes me a "real" writer anyway? I rarely submit my work anywhere, so I am as virtual and phony as anyone else when you get right down to it.

I used to just blog and not care if people read. Well, that isn't true, I cared intensely, but I told myself that just because people hardly ever left comments didn't mean they weren't reading. After all, this blog wasn't a popularity contest. But then, in a moment of insanity, I attached the code for sitemeter. And discovered that people were, in fact, reading (I also discovered that sitemeter was intercrack). Not many people, but some. I found bloggers I loved who made me think about things in a new way and, I hoped, I was doing the same for other people.

Then, about two months ago, I wrote a piece about the passing of Anna Nicole Smith and posted a photo. I was terribly proud of the piece I wrote, I felt like I touched on some important topics relating to feminism, sexuality, and commodification, and yes, I was very honored by some of the comments people left. But sitemeter has told me this post has hijacked my blog. I am getting more visits than ever before because people want this picture. And, sitemeter tells me, no one actually reads my blog anymore.

Which really shouldn't matter, right? I mean, readers come and readers go and I don't write for an audience, I write because I have something to say, even if no one reads it. It is only my ego that minds if my blog remains unsold in the bargain bins of the internet and my ego should not be indulged. Right?

Well, yes. And no.

I am starting to wonder what the hell the point is if no one is actually reading. Sure I get to work out some ideas I have and "get my writing out there", but if no one is reading, isn't blogging then just an extension of the problem I have as a writer, namely that I don't actually make any effort to get my work published? So this blog gets to join the novel, the play, the numerous short stories, and hundreds of pages of poetry sitting on this very hard drive. It isn't the same as having an unread novel because, well, people had to read your novel and believe in it in the first place in order to get that book on the shelves. An unread novel is sad, but an unread blog is truly pathetic.

I tell myself that if I want readers, I should work harder at promoting this blog, but I have really no idea how one does that. I tell myself I should write more posts, that I should be wittier and more sparkly, but things have been stressful lately and, the truth is, I don't really see the point in posting much if no one is reading.

I hadn't realized that blogging would start to tap into all my insecurities, my feelings of general unworthiness, that I would once again be plagued with the feeling that people just don't like me very much. I really don't think it is about blogging or the internet at all. I mean, it isn't like people like me much in real life either. (You see, there was a reason I picked Morrissey as your musical guide.)

I am not saying all this for sympathy (well, not much). I am just making an observation (albeit in a fairly self-centered and self-pitying way) about the nature of blogging and how, maybe, it is impossible to change who you are, even in cyberspace. If you feel compelled to say something snarkfilled or tell me all the things that are wrong with this blog, please do so, but have the gonads to sign your name (because nothing says total lack of courage like anonymous nastiness).

Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy Hour

I only recently realized how my favorite cocktail can also serve as a decorative object.

I don't know what this particular drink is called. I have been told it tastes like a liquefied Jolly Rancher. I have never had a Jolly Rancher, so I cannot confirm this assessment.

2 oz. vanilla flavored Vodka (any brand-I have made it with Stolichnaya, Absolut, and Skye brands)
1.5 oz. Midori
2 oz. lemon juice with 1 tsp sugar dissolved (or you can use sour mix instead of the juice and sugar)
Shake with ice

It is super yummy and makes me almost feel like I am getting the hang of being a mom. Almost. But such confidence is not in my nature and it feels odd to shake off the cloak of guilt, doubt, and self-criticism which enshrouds my parenting skills, so I don't indulge that often. That and the fact that it is the equivalent of 3 glasses of wine and I am a lightweight.

But look how pretty it is!

Whip Me, Beat Me, Make Me Write Bad Checks

So, I was goofing around on the internet (following the links from one story to another) and found myself on the casual encounters page of Craig's List. Where I found this posting.


I'm a good looking guy who is dying to please a MILF... even better I love spoiling them :)

I have a lot to offer... who can keep up? how do you wanna be spoiled and pampered?

You wouldn't think this guy would have to resort to a personals ad, would you?

I have an urge to contact him now and have him clean the house, buy me a diamond necklace, and send me to a spa for a 3 hour massage. Or maybe he could do my hair and makeup and take me to afternoon tea at the Four Seasons. After all, he says he wants to spoil and pamper a MILF. (For the moment, we should ignore my negative opinions on the term MILF and just assume, for the sake of argument, that I qualify as such.)

Fred's response to this observation was, "What is a MILF? Can I contact him?"

No darling, I am afraid he is all mine.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Blueberry Boy and Kitty Cat Waffles

I recently acquired this lovely waffle iron and we finally got around to trying it out this weekend. I used the standard waffle recipe in the Joy of Cooking, but replaced the all purpose flour with equal parts whole spelt flour, ground flax seed, and almond meal. We also used blueberries instead of maple syrup.

The waffles were good. Well, Fred and I thought so. Julian really was just interested in using the waffles as building blocks for his gigantic breakfast tower. There are times when the "engineer DNA" is so strong in him that I suspect he will not escape the fate which befell his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather before him. (He did eat the blueberries).

Of course, there are days like today, when he goes in to hug me and rubs his face on my sweater and says, "Oh, what is that you are wearing, Mommy?" and I am reminded that he has inherited a few design ideas from me as well.