Saturday, January 27, 2007

Change Their Minds and Change The World

You are Wonder Woman



You are a beautiful princess with great strength of character.





















Wonder Woman
83%
Green Lantern
75%
Supergirl
73%
The Flash
70%
Iron Man
70%
Spider-Man
60%
Superman
55%
Hulk
55%
Robin
50%
Batman
35%
Catwoman
15%

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

This comes as no surprise. I mean, no other superhero had long hair and wore go-go boots. Her disguise is to wear glasses, pull her hair back into a bun, and to do things really well. She has a lasso of truth and she's not afraid to use it.

I snagged this quiz from e-LAH

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Everyday Is So Glorious


What Thirty-Five Looks Like

With no makeup, bad lighting, in the bathroom mirror. Technically, as the photo was taken last night, it really is what thirty four years, 364 days looks like, but what are a few hours among friends?

Julian sang Happy Birthday and then asked, "Can I hug you mommy?" before demanding we go downstairs and watch Curious George. Fred had spelled out "Happy Birthday" in blocks on the table, but Julian got to them before I had a chance to read them, so the message I read was,

HAPP
DA
YIRTHAY


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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Twenty One Years Later


My mom has been trying to teach Julian the Chicago Bears Fight Song. On New Year's Day, she got excited because Julian was climbing a ladder and she said, "Get down!" And he responded, "Chicago Bears." My cousin, Valerie, revealed that some of her friends were trying to learn The Superbowl Shuffle to sing at parties (I should mention that when Valerie was in high school she and a group of friends learned the entire dance from the 'NSYNC video Bye Bye Bye and would bust it out at parties, leading me to admire Valerie's superior party foo) and I bemoaned the lack of style of this year's Bears when compared to the Shufflin' Crew of '85.

Thank Google for YouTube (because I will accept Google as my internet saviour).

And I don't even like football. But you know, I like parties, and having your city's team in the championship sortof counts as a party. And I think this just shows that The Cubs are more than due for a World Series appearance (an event which would make me crazy with glee and happiness).

Not the Hepburn I Aspire To Resemble

Katharine Hepburn

You scored 19% grit, 23% wit, 42% flair, and 23% class!

You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet. You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who like strong women.






The Classic Dames Test

I should be writing right now, but instead, I am goofing around, procrastinating, taking online quizes and quibbling about the results. Serves me right.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Brain Cells I Waste On My Neuroses

I read this article today. For those who choose avoid it (and who trust me for providing a coherent synopsis in less than 100 words) the author's thesis is "women who fixate on their weight, unless we're dealing with eating disorders, are not intelligent" because "counting calories and wondering what size a Gap 2 really is in English" takes up space and prevents the user from using their brain for more edifying, intelligence enhancing pursuits. I think she is being terribly simplistic when she reduces a person's concerns about weight to mere vanity. Many of the people who commented said as much, pointing out that weight affects one's self-esteem, one's professional life, one's romantic prospects, one's place in the social pecking order, and, ultimately, one's health. The sad reality is that thin or fat, the number a woman sees on the scale defines her as much, if not more than her IQ.

But as useless as I found the article in question, I must admit, it touched upon thoughts I have entertained in the past.

I fixate on my weight. My self-esteem is so wrapped up in whether or not I fit into certain clothes that I sometimes forget that not everyone judges my worthiness this way. It goes without saying that I think I am fat, that even when I fit into a ridiculously small size, I think it is a function of vanity sizing and being super short. I long ago came to realize that the image I saw in the mirror was, perhaps, not the image that others saw. I have slowly come to accept that the areas that I see as gigantic flaws do not necessarily even register with someone who isn't looking for these flaws. I know, intellectually, that the circumference of my thighs has no correlation with my moral rectitude or worthiness as a human being.

As you may have gathered, I have invested a great deal of time in trying to lose weight and a great deal of emotional and mental energy in thinking about weight. There are benefits to this. I know a great deal about nutrition, exercise, the psychology of eating disorders, and the current scientific research on obesity. However, I am not sure that the positives outweigh the negatives in this respect. How much does my perception of weight affect my mood? How many great things would I have achieved if I had been slightly less concerned with a number? Why is it so damned important to me?

So while I think the author got it wrong when she accused women in general of being vain and stupid when they worry about weight, I suspect she may have gotten it exactly right in my case. I can analyze it and talk about it and perhaps even create some interesting art about it, but from the perspective of the everyday, this desire of mine to be as thin as Audrey Hepburn, perhaps even thinner than Audrey Hepburn, makes me boring.

But knowing that isn't going to make me put away my scale or stop doing Pilates. Boring I may be, but hopeful, always hopeful. Someday the number on the scale, the tape measure, the jeans will be a number which makes me happy. And, really, I would pick happy and boring over sad and interesting every day of the week. Wouldn't you?

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Personality Test

My Personality


Neuroticism
82
Extraversion
29
Openness To Experience
77
Agreeableness
26
Conscientiousness
51

You are introverted, reserved, and quiet with a preference for solitude and solitary activities. Your socializing tends to be restricted to a few close friends. You can be very easily upset, even by what most people consider the normal demands of living. People consider you to be extremely sensitive and emotional. Novelty, variety, and change spice up your life and make you a curious, imaginative, and creative person. People see you as tough, critical, and uncompromising and you have less concern with others' needs than with your own. You are reasonably reliable, organized, and self-controlled.

Test Yourself Compare Yourself View Full Report

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Blogs and Mirrors

I am vain and needy. Because I am vain and needy, I want to believe that people read my blog. Awhile ago, in a moment of (for me) astounding reasonableness, I realized that most people don't leave comments, so I couldn't extrapolate anything from the fact that only a few readers speak up. Also, I wondered if all my attempts at self-promotion were paying off and I wanted to know how people were finding me. So, I installed the code for sitemeter a few weeks ago. I wasn't aware that sitemeter was a form of intercrack. I didn't expect to be checking it every day. I didn't know that they had maps and charts. How can I look away when I see that someone found me when they google searched "women who go nuts when breakups happen"?

But shouldn't it have occurred to me that this is what happens whenever I am given an oblique view of myself?

I have spent hours of my life looking in the mirror. The thing about the image one sees in the glass is that it isn't real. It isn't the image one has in one's head (because that is as much a result of mood as anything else) and it isn't what other people see when they look at you (because, in addition to the image being a reverse of what they see, others are more likely to see your whole package as opposed to the flaws on which you focus or the attributes on which you hang your ego). The looking glass is a dangerous and powerful thing and it is surprising it exists in so many places in our world. Even if they aren't portals to another world, they still are capable of sucking us in. Though none of us may be as beautiful as Narcissus, aren't we all at risk of falling in love with our own reflection?

I was a child before the advent of the video-recorder. While my parents did have a personal computer (an Apple IIe) before the Mac OS or Windows made them easy to operate and more necessary than a television, they aren't the most technology savvy, so while there are hundreds of photos of me and my brother throughout our childhood (and my mother feels the need to display some of the more unattractive ones prominently throughout the house), there are no Super 8 films. All my images of my girlhood are still. If a machine like the one in the film Until The End of the World were to fall into my hands, I suspect that I, like the film's main character, would become addicted to it and its ability to show me my memories and my dreams.

Julian is already displaying this sense of self-awareness and self-absorption. Fred and I have both noticed how he will sometimes watch himself in a mirror as he is playing or talking. (Fred also says he gets this from me. I say, no to that, I say that even if we allow for my extreme vanity, fascination with one's own reflection is a universal trait among all animals capable of recognizing the image in the mirror to be one's own.) Until we can figure out how to work the used video camera which my brother gave me, we are making little 30 second videos of Julian. In 30 years, he may be staring at the mini-films, enamored of his two year old self and all the experiences that awaited him.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Affirmation



My blog is worth $16,371.66.


How much is your blog worth?


I was visiting Kim and she had a link to this site which tells you how much your blog is worth. I can only imagine the intricate details of the formula they used to calculate the monetary value of a blog, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that this blog is worth more than my acting career (hey, if I made that kind of money in less than a year, I'd be eligible for health insurance through SAG. At present, all I am eligible for is participating in the nominations for this year's SAG awards, an experience about which I will blog about in the future).

Apparently, it is de-lurking week in the blogosphere. I found this out when I visited Amanda's blog. I didn't actually leave her a comment (I have done so in the past, I will do so in the future, I am not sure I qualify as a lurker on her blog).

What this tells me is that it is a new year and everyone is feeling a bit low. Maybe we made some resolutions, maybe not, but it is likely that we all did a bit of stock taking and found ourselves wondering if our voices were being heard. I am no different.

So if you are reading this, please leave a comment. I will even put a link to your blog or website in my sidebar if you like (and, cough cough, if you do the same for me), but you have to let me know you're there. Because, as the photo to the left says, in cyberspace, no one can hear you read.

Because no matter how confident you are, sometimes you just need to know that you are not alone.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Random Thoughts on Memes


Readers of this (or any other) blog should recognize the above phrases as memes. Even before I began blogging, I had encountered the meme. People sent me, via email, personal questionaires (which I sometime filled out and disseminated). I sought out random tests on websites like Sparks.com. Heck, back in the day, before the internet, we had slam books and sex quizes to pass the time and reveal very specific aspects of our character to friends and acquaintances. Of course, back then it wasn't so easy to encounter these options for revelation and we all huddled around the few we encountered: that evil slam book passes around in seventh grade, the immorality quiz published in a number of "student handbooks", which asked about drug use and brushes with the law as well as sex, and the "MIT" quiz of 500 questions, all of which were sex related though some were along the "have you ever held hands" lines which, in my opinion, made the sheer enormity of the number of questions less impressive (and, since the point was given for every "yes" answer, the fact that holding hands carried the same weight as sexual intercourse called any evaluative basis the quiz claimed into question).

So the meme and its antecedents have been with us for awhile and, I must admit, I am a fan of them. I like that there seems to be a quiz for absolutely everything. I like that when I have nothing about which to blog, memes provide an easy outlet. I like that the quiz is ostensibly about me, but not (because, let's face it, no one really would confuse me for an espresso). I like that the questions sometimes make me remember things from my past which I had forgotten or realize aspects of my character of which I had previously been unaware. Life is hard. There are so many opportunities for people to misunderstand another's intentions, for someone you considered to be a good friend to jump to the worst conclusions about you, to find your heart broken and never have the opportunity to give voice to that pain. I blog because I want to express myself and I want to be understood and I find that life offers precious few outlets for expression or understanding. How can I not like something which asks me questions in a straightforward manner and gives me the opportunity to respond?

What I don't like about memes is being tagged. I don't like the pressure, the feeling that I must meme or I will offend the person who tagged me, the way that the whole getting tagged nature makes me unable to answer questions which, previous to the tagging, I could have answered with ease. But what I hate most about this tagging thing is how rejected I feel if I am not tagged. I know, it sounds crazy and nuts, but if I read a blog and see I am tagged, I feel overwhelming dread, but if I read the same blog and see that I am not tagged, I feel left out. Trapped and unloved. The twin poles of meme tagging, with no place in the middle because you are either tagged or not. It's like the online version of people choosing teams in gym class--even if you hated volleyball, it hurts to not get chosen.

So how do I reconcile my affection for memes (cheesy as they may be) with my desire for total creative control (even in terms of what questions I choose to answer) and how do I reconcile my hatred of getting tagged with my fear of being unloved?

Before you answer that, can I interest you in yet another quiz?

You Are 50% Normal

While some of your behavior is quite normal...
Other things you do are downright strange
You've got a little of your freak going on
But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself

This is in honor of The Ravin' Picture Maven who suggested that the weirdest thing about me was that I thought I was normal. See, there really is a quiz for everything.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Friendly Faces Everywhere

What the family would look like, if we lived in South Park.

Alison

Fred

Julian

Monday, January 08, 2007

MEMEMEMEMEMEME

After The Ball tagged me for this meme.

The rules:
List 6 weird things about you. Tag and list 6 others. Tell the 6 in their comments.

Okay, can I start by saying that I don't actually think I am all that weird? I think I am aggressively normal, really. Everyone is just like me. Nothing to see here. Except I then start telling people things and I see their eyes widen, slightly, and realize that even if I think I am normal, they don't. So here are six things about me which may or not be weird, since I am not necessarily the best judge of these things.
  1. While I don't know how many black dresses I own (since I forget about some dresses which are at the cleaners or my mom's house only to remember them later) I own a lot. I definitely own over forty black dresses. I can remember how I acquired each and every one of them and, for the majority of them, how much I paid and the significant events which occurred in my life while I was wearing them.
  2. I am very particular about the silverware I eat with. I like small spoons and large forks for almost everything. Maybe I can eat salad or dessert with a small fork or soup with a large spoon, but I do so under protest and only if the silverware as a whole is unfamiliar to me. I will wash forks and spoons if necessary.
  3. Everything on the left side of my body is larger than on the right. My right eye, hand, foot, breast are all smaller than my left. I'll bet if we opened me up, we would find my right kidney and lung dwarfed by the corresponding organs on the left side. I am the only one who notices this.
  4. I chew my hair when I am thinking. Also when I am worried or nervous.
  5. I develop intense crushes on obscure actors and musicians (or rather, actors and musicians I perceive as obscure) and am shocked when I find out (via the internet) that other people may feel the same.
  6. I have an overactive imagination. It sometimes makes life difficult. Like the time I had to stop swimming laps because I became worried a deep earth monster would break through the concrete at the deep end of the pool. People think I really like stuffed animals when the reality is I am afraid they will exact their vengeance upon me (while I am sleeping) if I do something disrespectful like put them in storage (but Kim feels the same, so how weird can this be?) I can't even see a commercial for a horror film without having nightmares.
Okay, so maybe I didn't quite get the point of this exercise. I think I was probably supposed to think of the light and goofy quirks about me, not the things which cause my mother to suggest I need to talk to a medical professional about my obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety. Anyway, I tag- One Weird Mother, Stuntmother, the Kitchener Bitch, Knuknitter, Judy's Journeys, and e-Lah

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Friday, January 05, 2007

John and I

John Adams has been a hero of mine since my sophomore year of high school when I took US History. To be completely honest, I was more of an Alexander Hamilton fan while we were actually studying the founding of our country and the people who made it happen, but at some point soon after, I saw the film version of 1776 (the musical about the Continental Congress in Philadelphia) and, as a result, John Adams became my favorite Founding Father.

While the writers of the musical say that they combined the real life efforts of both John Adams (the second president of the US) and Samuel Adams (Brewer, Patriot) into their lead character and while both men were very vocal for independence, it was John who was called the "Colossus of Independence" by Thomas Jefferson and it was John whose influence emerged not from his charm and popularity, but through his work as a lawyer and his analysis of history. This is the man who is at the center of the musical and this is the man I admired.

It concerned me that the John Adams in the musical, a man who was direct, honest, and moral, was constantly referred to by everyone (including himself) as obnoxious and disliked while the genteel men of the delegations from the Southern colonies were supposedly the men with manners. Because John Adams was viewed as the coarse Northerner, he had to be especially careful as to how he presented anything and everything, and even his own friends were quick to accuse him of rudeness. Meanwhile, the gentlemen from the South, because it was understood that they were most refined and mannered of people, could get away with the all manner of insults and slights without censure. Of course, it wasn't just the men from the South who hated John Adams, pretty much everyone found him hard to take.

John Adams did some amazing things for our country, but at great personal cost. There is a moment in the musical where he is writing a letter to his wife (which ends in a duet between them) where he speaks of being lonely and misunderstood. For us, the people in the audience and those who read the history books, John Adams is clearly the sympathetic character and the rightness of his arguments are obvious to all, however, in real life in modern times, who do you think people would vote for, the obnoxious and disliked or the saccharine sweet?

Obviously, this is something which has bothered me for years, since I, like John Adams, won't be winning any popularity contests anytime soon and often get accused of being rude when I am simply defending my point of view. And, because I am the obnoxious one, it is usually considered totally okay for the self-professed polite person to be rude to me because, well, obviously they can't actually be disrespectful or impolite, they have already told me and other people that they are known for their fabulous manners.

It hurts to be misunderstood, especially by people who you thought knew you, especially when the people who choose to vilify you choose to ignore the facts in order to paint the ugly picture that best suits their own purposes. Being right and honorable is cold comfort when one's so called friends call you a monster. Having history view you positively doesn't entirely take away the pain. The problem with being a passionate advocate for one's beliefs, for the cause of truth, and to expect others to support their statements with facts and thought (as opposed to feelings and manipulations) is that it is impossible to be otherwise. One cannot change one's nature, one cannot become suddenly easygoing and blind to hypocrisy just because it would make things easier for everyone. I am positive John Adams sometimes wished he could be someone else, someone who cared less, someone who got along, someone who could keep his mouth shut every now and then. Lucky for all of us, he couldn't.

At least that is what I tell myself. It is cold comfort though and it isn't like I am doing anything so important as founding a country. But hey, maybe great things will come from my own inability to keep my mouth shut, too.

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Blogstyle meTotem

My father-in-law, Bob, has created a product he call meTotem. It is a plastic totem pole with the faces of twelve presidents. Why twelve? Because there have been twelve presidents (so far) in Bob's lifetime and those are the ones he used when constructing the prototype. (No, I haven't asked him what he plans to do in two years when another president is sworn into office.) When I first saw this product, I must admit my initial reaction was, "huh?" Why create a plastic totem pole of presidents? It struck me as odd. But he mentioned it in his Christmas letter and I have been thinking about it and I must admit, I am grooving on it more and more (and I am not just saying that because Fred told his parents how to find my blog). Seriously, I like the idea of having all the presidents available to choose from and having to pick your favorite twelve. I wonder if the requirement of choosing would make one think about what makes a great leader, what makes a great person and, maybe, ask themselves if it is possible to be both. Also, since it would expand beyond one's lifetime presidents, one can ask themselves if great leadership is something that must be seen through the prism of history.

So, in honor of Bob's invention, I have decided to write some essays about presidents every now and then. I warn you in advance, my essays won't necessarily be about what the presidents did in office or about presidents whose views I supported. I hope you like my totem pole of essays.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Scintillation and Luminosity

A new year. It hasn't started well.

Stuntmother mentioned picking a word for the year and then spending the year trying to live into the word one has chosen.

Right now, the words which describe the feelings inside me are all the bad WR ones: Wretched, Wrenched, Wrung.

I feel like I have been bled and the fluid coursing through my veins is the venom of the wronged, the acidic liquid by-product of pain and anger.

I am aflame, set alight by the inner fire that was set when the match was tossed in my direction. This is what burning a bridge feels like. Actually, I was the bridge that was burned, so while I am incandescent with hurt and rage, I'd be burning even if I could care less.

Some people might actually thrive on this feeling, but I have found, over the years, that while fire can be nurturing and cleansing, it can run amok and decimate everything which gets in its way. I'm an air sign, so you know I can just keep this thing alive forever if I have to, even as it drains me of energy and transforms me into a withered stunted shell of what I once was. Not to mention that I don't want to transform my soul into a cozy environment in which my inner demons may thrive. No, I may be grieving the death of a friendship, but I don't have to throw myself onto the funeral pyre.

So what words do I want to be mine for the year, being mindful of the conflagration of negative emotions which are currently afire inside my heart?

I have consulted the online thesaurus and think I have found a few synonyms for fire which I think I can live with. Scintillation and Luminosity

scin·til·la·tion

1. the act of scintillating; sparkling.
2. a spark or flash.

lu·mi·nos·i·ty

1. Luminance (the quality or condition of radiating or reflecting light
2. the quality of being intellectually brilliant, enlightened, inspired, etc.: The luminosity of his poetry is unequaled.

Scintillation. Luminosity. Those are my words for 2007. I will strive to sparkle, to flash, to radiate a light of my own and reflect the light around me, and to be intellectually brilliant, enlightened, inspired, etc. Fred would probably tease me and say that these are my words for living, that this is how he sees me (have I mentioned what a great husband Fred is lately? I probably don't write enough about Fred simply because it gets boring to constantly talk about how terrific he is. It's like calling the sky blue-but I digress). I must be mindful to keep the incandescence in the realm of the radiant, being mindful that the fire not flare out of control. I can live with these words and strive each day to live these words. Scintillation. Luminosity.

I suspect my chronic insomnia is fueled by my demons attempting to turn me into a more comfortable and congruous host. So I must go to bed and get some sleep. For the first time in days, I actually feel like I can sleep, the pain and anger appear to have been smothered, replaced with my words for the year.

What will I dream tonight?

Happy New Year!