Saturday, February 28, 2009

The scarecrow and the Bristol Stomp

Between undergrad and grad school I worked for 3 years in a lab at Rohm & Haas (sal-LUTE! we would shout, every time we passed it on the highway.) I worked with "pressure-sensitive adhesives. ("What?!") I made tape and stickers. In many ways, the 3 years there shaped me more than college did. 

I was lucky. My boss was great, and my group was interesting and fun and smart and mean. It was fantastic. They reminded me that science was fun, and research is what you make of it. We talked science a lot (but at lunch and after hours, no work talk was allowed). We quoted Elvis Costello, played phone pranks (I don't know how many times I answered the phone to get an earful of handcream and the sound of about 5 guys hooting with amusement), swapped baking tips, and tried to stump each other with useless trivia.

The boys pushed me to play sports. Not me, I said, I'm awful. But Lou had a convincing argument: "We're chemists, Ang. How good do you think we are?" So, I played softball. Then volleyball. Then I was the scorekeeper for the basketball league. Then I formed the all-girls golf team (Babes with Balls -- we were very popular.) They taught me how to hit a softball properly, how to set a volleyball, "drive for show; putt for dough." They took me drinking afterwards.

At work, I was the girl who could get it for you. Sure, we were only allowed two ovens in our lab, but I had access to six, which allowed my boss to try all sorts of wacky experiments. Tim would just make requests: "I need glass plates..." "How many? What size?" "About 10, 12 by 12, quarter inch thick." "See you in an hour." An hour later, I'm handing over a stack of glass plates. Tim squints his eyes: "Do I even want to know?"

They pushed me to go to graduate school and then pushed me to go to a good graduate school. They wrote recommendations and told me what to look for in a school. And then they gave me advise to get me through grad school. ("Remember: grad school is pass/fair." "Grad school is not about being smart; it's about being tough.") (The best one: "You will hate grad school. It's awful." "Why are you telling me this?" "Because, when you are hating it and wishing you had picked another school or another program or advisor, you will remember that no matter what you did, you would hate it.")

I am a scientist because of them. A real scientist. I will always be grateful for everything they gave me. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Am I a poser?

I want to be a better writer, which is why I do this. But is it right? Here I am, claiming to be, trying to be, some sort of writer, and it's coming out of an entirely untrained place. Let's see, I took one composition class. In high school. I didn't even take a course in college. I've had brief periods of keeping a journal (which are all hidden away, thank you very much. No, you cannot see them. Ever. Ever ever. No, I mean it), but I've never written a work of fiction, a poem, a song. So, do I have the right to even try to be a writer?

I've thought about this when I think about discussing books with my brother. He always claims he wants to talk about what I'm reading, but, really? Does he? He has a PhD in literature, I have an overused Amazon credit card. What can I add to his conversations regarding literature? "Oh, this is what the common folk think?" Perhaps. 

Part of this comes from my own prejudices. I will admit that I took nothing higher than Mr. Thomas' American Lit class on the literature front. But I did study quite a bit of science. So, when Scott (who had his last science course in high school) wants to talk to me about that sort of thinking, well, I don't really think he gets it. But that discussion is for another time.

Is it fair to the real writers out there, the ones who have studied and worked and really committed to it? Is it fair that I am swooping in: "Oh, I'm a writer now." "Yeah, I suppose tomorrow you'll be Princess Buttercup. Try doing this for a while, sweetheart. Stay up all night worrying about which tense verb you used. Please. You know nothing about nothing." 

So, maybe I'm a writer-ish.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm just a dandelion

I wish I were braver. I wish I had the courage to do drastic things. Everything I do is thought out. I have a back-up plan. A back-up to that plan as well. I can't remember that last time I did anything on impulse. I won't even take a trip on impulse. I'll barely leave the house just to see what happens.

There are things in my life I wish I had done, choices I could have made. I have no idea how things would have turned out, but sometimes I wish I would have tried something a little crazy. Or a lot crazy. I have always gone the safer way. The sure, probably-more-boring route. I've never really had an adventure. I've barely had a "miss-step". I haven't had interesting mistakes. I haven't had big surprises. And I believe it is because I am so calculating.

I'd like to be able to throw caution to the wind. To be brave enough to make a crazy decision. Heck, to get really drunk. But I don't think that I'm brave enough to let go. And I think I am missing out on things because I fear taking chances. I would like to be brave, but I always hesitate. I need the wizard to give me some courage.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It wasn't all bad

Although I am filled with bitterness towards the 7th grade, sometimes a good thing would happen. It's a minor story, but an important one to me. One day, shortly before the start of 8th grade, I was babysitting a neighbor. Let's back up for a minute and explain something. Going into the 8th grade was kind of scary for me. This was the big transition from grade school (about 40 kids in your grade) to the junior high (about 1000 kids in the 8th grade). A different teacher for each subjects, lockers, bus rides, the whole deal. I had about 2 weeks until school started and I was starting to stress a bit.

Instead of the kid's parents relieving me at the end of the job, it was her older brother, a high school senior! And then he did one of the nicest things he could have done. He actually talked to me for a while. He asked me if I was nervous about starting junior high. I admitted I was. He then said the very best thing. Basically he said: You know, it's a really big school, and there are lots of different people you'll meet. But there are so many people, you'll meet people who are just like you. So you should just be yourself.

And with that, I was no longer afraid of starting junior high. In fact, I couldn't wait.

So, Jay Van Cleve, you rock! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Leave the cannoli

I've decided to give up carbs for Lent. My disgust with my body and my admiration for Bru have helped me reach this decision. I don't know how long it will last. I'd like to think I have the willpower to make it through Lent, but I am kind of a baby. A whiny baby. A whiny baby who loves her carbs.

I guess I am hoping the a drastic change can be a good jumpstart to a diet. I do love my carbs and totally crave them, but I suppose I am the person who should give them up. After all, the guy who should give up drinking is the alcoholic, not the one that has that occasional glass of wine.

So, tonight I had that last hunk of bread, that last chocolate cookie. Oh, refined sugar, I will miss you. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

California tumbles into the sea

Yesterday, someone from grade school sent me a friend request on facebook. Let's just start by saying how much I absolutely hated grade school. I do not want to be a little kid again, I don't want to be a 10-year-old, I don't miss the "innocence" of childhood. Being a kid was no fun. You have to follow a whole mess of rules; school is boring; you can't drive; heck, you can't even check out more than five books from the library.

I was awkward. I had bad teeth. I was shy and unhappy. The only good news was that I thought everyone else was also as miserable as I was, so it's not like I thought a was missing out on anything. And, as much as I disliked early grade school, it did not prepare me for the hate I would have for 6th and 7th grades. But the details of these years are for another time. Let's just say I was not the popular girl, and I was especially miserable, mostly because that's when I realized that other kids were not miserable. 

But this was many years ago. I have moved on (mostly). Sure, I saw some of those grade school idiots at the reunion, and all I could think is "Thank God I got the hell out of Toledo and away from these assholes." But then facebook came into my life. On one hand, it's been great reconnecting with all these people from my past. But on the other hand, a friend request from the crappiest time of my life, from one of those guys that made it crappier. And I'll admit, I accepted the request partially to see what (if anything) he would say to me and partially to see if he turned out to be a loser. 

Should I tell him what an asshole he was? Should I unfriend him? Should I just pretend that everything is forgotten? Should I move on?

I'll tell the truth; I really want to tell him to fuck himself. I am not deep.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hocus pocus

Where do things go that disappear? I have some things that I just can't find, that seem to be just gone. Recently, a couple pairs of sunglasses have just vanished. I have no idea what happened to them, but they are nowhere to be found. I'm in a 1-bedroom apartment and I've lost 2 pairs of sunglasses. Seriously, they have disappeared. Maybe the cat is using them for one of his "projects", but I'm not amused.

When I was in the 8th grade, my glasses disappeared. Sure, I probably left them in a class or dropped them in the hall, but they never turned up. They were prescription glasses; who was keeping them? Who was not turning them in to the lost and found. And, yet, poof! Gone forever.

I lost my diploma for a while, but that eventually turned up. I had some computer software that disappeared but reappeared when I was cleaning the house. I cannot find my personal cookbook, where I keep all my favorite recipes. (I still think it will turn up at my parents' house.) I have lost about 10 pairs of sunglasses, which is why I buy cheap ones, and I got my left ear pierced a second time because I had lost so many earrings that I had too many single earrings to let go to waste.

Many years ago, I saw a comedian who said that when you go to heaven, the first thing St. Peter does is hand you all those things you've lost. So, if you see me in heaven, I've got sunglasses and earrings!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mirror ball

I don't like my body. I look in the mirror and I see the flaws. It's lumpy and out of shape and, well, over forty. I know that things could be worse, but things could be better. If you were describing me (and were being nice), you'd say I was "curvy." I'm in okay shape: do a lot of walking, that sort of thing. But there are times I see myself in the mirror or see photos and just absolutely hate what I see. So, I have a question: should I learn to love my body or is it better to not?

There is a part of me that thinks I should learn to accept my body. I should love myself as I am and get some damn self-confidence. I see women (and men) who are larger than me and just seem so comfortable in their skin and I wonder how they do it. Could I do that? Should I do that?

There is another part of me that says I shouldn't settle. That I could be better. That I should buckle down and diet and exercise. If you're dissatisfied with the way things are, should you just accept the way things are or try to change it? I do think I should try to change it. But then I worry that I will never be happy with the way things are. That no matter what I do, I'll see the flaws.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What's in the case?

Yesterday I got a notice that Yahoo briefcase is shutting down. "Yahoo briefcase?" Oh, yeah, that's one of those places that you can (well, could) store things on-line. Do I even have anything there? I open it. One thing.


Oh, that.

So, what to do with it? Do I save it somewhere? Does it even matter? What would I ever need it for? I'm almost 100% sure that I'll never need to go back to it again. I have a hard copy of it. The data has been published. And, really, on the highest level, who really cares? It's over. Over. I've moved past graduate school (thank God), and onto other things. Frankly, if I had to defend my thesis again, oh, that would be embarrassing. But that's not the issue at hand; the issue is what should I do with my thesis.

I know what I want to do with it: nothing. I am planning to scatter the electronic ashes of my thesis into the wind of the web. And that makes me happy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I am too lazy to write today, so I will post my favorite pictures from Sunday's trip to Philadelphia. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Random soapbox

The other day on the radio, they were discussing breast feeding in public. And I feel very strongly: no. I'm sorry, no. And by not in public, I am saying whipping it out at the food court and letting little Johnny go at it. I understand that sometimes there are emergencies, and in that case, you go off and try to do this as subtly as possible.

Don't give me the argument that "it's natural." So's taking a crap and having sex, but I don't do either one out in the open for everyone to see. And, fine, if you feel that way, then I (or anyone else) can look at your boobs whenever they want (because, after all, it's perfectly natural!)

Just try to plan ahead a bit. Bring a blanket or towel to cover up if you absolutely have to. Try to find a place off away from the vast majority of people. Yeah, this may not be the most forward-thinking piece, but, guess what: we don't all think it's the most beautiful, natural thing in the world.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thrill me, chill me

Now that I've had my ipod touch (I've already been corrected too many times that it is not an itouch!) for about two months, let me tell you what I think about it. Let's start by saying that I really do love it. It's super-slick and fun to play with. There's lots of free apps (and even the pay ones are cheap), so you can load it up with all sorts of useless nonsense. Do I need a woo! button? Of course not. But I have one.

I actually use it primarily as an ipod. I know, weird! And it works fine. It sometimes turns sideways or changes the display when I swear I haven't done anything to it, but it's an ipod. I don't like that the way you upload songs is different. For my previous ipods, I could juts drag a song onto the device in itunes. Now I have to put it in a folder, which then gets uploaded once you sync it. If you don't sync, no upload. Same with pictures, which seems like extra steps. The old way was better.

Although there are a lot of free apps, it's kind of a pain to find out which apps you really want or need. I don't think the store does a particularly good job explaining what the apps do, and there still needs to be some organization to the store. My guess is that they have a lot more apps than they had anticipated. It's fairly overwhelming. But, here's an example, I wanted an app for twitter. Well, there's about 20 apps that you can twitter on. It's not clear what makes them different, why you would want one over another, etc. You kind of just have to download and try them out.

The wi-fi thing is also an issue for me. I'll admit, I'm a bit slow with this technology stuff, but I seem to have a hard time hooking up with wi-fi. It'll say there's a network, and I'll select it, and it will say that I'm connected, but then when I go to an app that requires the hook-up, nothing. I wonder if the iphones have the same issues, being in a plan and all. And, warning to those of you who get an itouch (shut up; that's what I'm calling it!): it will search and search for a network and run that battery down, so shut off wi-fi unless you want to hook up.

I know I'm not using it to its fun potential, but already, I'm digging it. I'm not much of a games gal, so it's nice to be able to grab a few for free and then not feel guilty for not using them. I'll try to get better at some of the mobile apps. Really.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I fake it so real

I just watched the pilot for "Dollhouse." Oh Joss, you know we want to love everything you do, but there's just something missing. I understand that it's just the pilot and one hour isn't enough to fully flesh out a complicated story with wacky sci-fi details, but there are some obvious problems straight up.

Although I generally like Eliza Dushku, she just doesn't work with as this character. She's Faith -- tough and street-smart, not this kind-of-innocent, blankish slate. I just don't think Eliza Dushku can pull that off (although I think Amy Acker could have). And instead of trying to make her fit that character, they should have changed the character a bit. Here's my idea: make it so that the dolls can't be wiped completely, that there are traces of each mission left behind. Heck, let's go one step further and say that the older dolls get "used up", kind of a Logan's Run sort of deal. Make the "newer" dolls worth more. Then you could have Eliza Dushku be a sort of world-weary type of doll, near retirement. That would fit her better.

Maybe I missed it, but are all the dolls women? Because I am not in love with the idea of these girls being completely manipulated by a bunch of (mostly) men. It's not that empowerment message I was hoping for.

Here's a question: why don't some of these shows take advantage of the internet. I'd guess that about 99% of the folks who watched "Dollhouse" are kind of internet junkies. Instead of clunky exposition, you could kick people to a site. We're nerds! We'll do the homework! We'll do the background reading and click on sites and listen to ads so that we can learn more. Take advantage of that. If you can do a sing-along blog, you can give us some backstory on-line.

Now I'm off to fix "Two and a Half Men." Oh, just kidding.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

All in all...

Today we took a mini-trip to Philadelphia. We didn't really have a plan, but it was a sunny day and we had nothing else to do. We started out around Chinatown where there was this weird parade-ish thing happening. We watched for a while: it involved a couple of dancing dragons (or so we thought -- we looked it up later and they are actually lions) in front of shops, then a bunch of fireworks. Oh, and lettuce. Apparently, it's part of Chinese New Year. 

Then it was off to the Reading Terminal Market for lunch. Unfortunately, my favorite stand appears to be gone (I miss you, Mexican place!), so I had some disappointing duck. Mr. HP had a really nice pork sandwich, and I had an awesome coffee to make up for the duck. I do love the Market. I always feel like I should buy a stack of baked goods and cheese and fresh seafood. Instead, we just walked by the Cookie Company and took in the smells of fresh cookies.

We then walked to the American Institute of Architects, which has the best gift shop ever. Books and wire miniatures and funky cards and sock monkeys. I found a wallet that seems about perfect. I know it won't be, but, for today, I am pretending it is perfect. It's a "taxi wallet"! I don't know what that means either, but it's red and lovely. The real reason we went to the AIA was to see a display of neon signs that Mr. HP read. Yay! Lights and stuff. There was also a model of Philadelphia and tiny, weird houses.

We next walked through this park with super-huge game pieces and a statue of Frank Rizzo. I took lots of pictures of pretty buildings, which always makes me happy. I sometimes forget how beautiful Philadelphia can be. We then went through Love Park; neither of us had been to Love Park before, which is kind of surprising. We watched the skater kids for a while, then went to the Comcast building to watch this weird video display (definitely more Mr. HP's thing). 

Although it was cold, it was really nice to just walk around the city. It's one of my favorite things, just seeing what happens. Fireworks, good coffee, skater boys, a good day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I am afraid of Nazis

Whenever I have read about World War II, the thing that is always striking to me is that there were people who had so much, and then it was eroded away down to nothing. That one day, all was well; the next, all was gone. I think that there was a belief, that everything would be okay, that it just couldn't get worse. And then it did. And when I think about that, it scares the hell out of me.

I like to think that my world is save. I like to feel like everything is basically under control, and that nothing really bad is going to happen. But then I think of Nazis, and how they destroyed the worlds of so many people. I wonder, could this happen to me? Could this happen here? How quickly can everything go to nothing?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Conversation with Mom

Mom: Why don't you look for houses in Virginia?
Me: It's too far, Ma.
Mom: Are the taxes lower?
Me: I believe they are, but it's still too far.
Mom: It doesn't seem to be that far.
Me: Really, it's too far.
Mom: ...but if you can buy a cheaper house...
Me: I can buy a cheaper house in Montana, but it's too far, and I really don't want to take the Beltway everyday.
Mom: I don't think you'd have to take the Beltway every day. 
Me: Ma, look at a map.
Mom: I am looking at a map. There's a major highway that crosses right into Maryland.
Me: 495?
Mom: Yes. See, it's a major highway.
Me: Mom, that's the Beltway.
Mom: Oh, no, this road is outside of Washington.
Me: It's the Beltway.
Mom: Really?! 


Mom: Can you take another way over?
Me: Not really.
Mom: Well, there's got to be another bridge over.
Me: Not really.
Mom: I can't believe there's not another bridge.
Me: Mom, look at the map.


Mom: Well, you'd think they'd build more bridges.

That's my mom: willing to build bridges so that I can buy a nicer house.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Someone is a genius!

At the cafeteria at work, they have this side table that they like to decorate for special occasions. You know, little turkeys for Thanksgiving, stockings for Christmas, footballs for the Super Bowl, that sort of thing. Cute, but somewhat forgettable. Until the Valentine's Day display.

Now, when you first see it, it looks like a typical sort of display. A few roses, box of chocolates, champagne glasses. Then you notice the fake fireplace with the video tape of the fire going, and you think, "Nice." Oh, look, little pictures on the mantle: The Jonas Brothers, Brad Pitt, someone I don't recognize, but also a nice touch. And then you hear it: Barry White music.

Genius, I tell you!

(No picture again! Stupid blogger site...)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's just not fair

It's weird; I don't believe in karma or that things happen for a reason or any of that sort of thing, but I really hate it when things are not fair. If one person is working hard and another is not, but they get the same reward (or, even worse! the non-worker gets rewarded), it makes me nutty! 

There have been a number of things in the news that have really poked at my hate of things that are unfair. Those idiot banker CEO's, who still have their private jets and make over a million, that bitch and moan that there's no way they could possibly survive on a half million, not with their nannies and vacations and wives' trainers. Seriously? How did you get this job in the first place? Hey, aren't you the same guys who give me the financial advice to have at least 6 months worth of savings handy?

And you guys who aren't working that now have to do some housework, guess what? You weren't doing your share in the first place. And don't write "The New York Times" saying that you're different and so are all your friends and that women want to do extra work anyway because it completes them, just shut up and wash a dish. All the studies show that men do less around the house and most of them don't realize it. And, yes, we've asked you to help out, so don't say we haven't. And don't get me started on how women make less. (Although, don't get me started on the exceptions granted to working mothers...) (Okay, we've gotten really ramble-y here.)

Look, I know in many ways I'm lucky. Things have, for the most part, worked out well, and I look at my life and I know I've got it good. But sometimes I look around and do think that things are not fair. And it makes me mad. I need to get over it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Have I become that cynical?

The other day I was listening to my ipod and a love song by John Doe came on. As I was listening to this song, it occurred to me that I don't really believe love songs that are sung by men. As I listened this song of heartbreak and longing, I was thinking, "I just don't believe you."

Whenever I hear a love song about loss or despair or heartbreak sung by a man, I just don't think it's true. I really believe that guys just don't get that involved. Yeah, they feel sadness and disappointment when someone leaves them, but I just don't think it gets that deep. When I hear Eric Clapton wail, "Do you want to see me crawl across the floor for you? Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?" I think, "Now there's a guy who really wants to get laid."

I'm not saying that men don't love. But I believe it is a more logical form of love. They know they won't die or their heart won't truly be broken if someone leaves them. That there are other options out there. That, for whatever reason, most girls will do some chasing, and, if they don't, another will probably come along that will do the work. I don't think, in general, women approach love in this way. I do blame biology a bit -- a woman has a biological drive for a single companion whereas a male has the need for multiple companions. I know that we're all supposed to be evolved beyond on this, but I also think that there is this underlying drive.

I'm probably wrong. There may be men out there who are crying over women right this minute. Who can barely breathe, they are so heartbroken. But I don't actually believe it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Every little bird in the tall oak tree

I am trying out twitter and trying to decide if I like it. I like the bite-sized aspect of it. Sometimes it's actually  challenge to give an update in 140 characters. I guess it's a good way to prevent a long rant about anything. I like have a quick moment to blow off steam or comment on crazy, then move on.

I am following a handful of people and groups. A couple of friends, a couple of celebrities, and some fake people (I love the fake people!) I was following The New York Times for about 10 seconds, but they post, like, every 10 seconds. I just don't need to know that much that quickly. I am following Darth Vader which makes me giggle every time he posts. Darth, call me!

The weird thing is the people who follow you. I don't have any issue with friends following, because that's the point of twitter, but I've had two complete strangers follow me. I have no idea how they found me and why they are following, but there you go. I've actually had a bit of a conversation with one person, which makes it all just a bit weirder.

I wish more friends used it. Yes, I am that nosy about their lives. I get a sense of what it would be like to get updates from profile updates on facebook, and I'm still trying to decide if I need both twitter and facebook. (As I sit here, wearing my sock monkey necklace, I do wonder how old I am. Thanks for asking.)

It's goofy and kind of fun, but I need more people to follow.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Won't you spare me over til another year

Two of my older relatives are very sick. They both have cancer and it's pretty far advanced. These are relatives that have been a part of my life as long as I can remember -- part of the holiday-poker-family gathering crowd. I'm sad that this is happening, and it's weird to imagine that they won't be around for much longer.

The logical part of me knows that it could be a lot worse. Both of them are in their 80s. They smoked most of their lives, drank, barely exercise, ate nothing but crap foods. Let's think about that for a minute. The Big Guy comes down and asks you: Door #1 is you die in your 80s of cancer. You get to basically take minimal care of yourself; go ahead: drink and smoke and have half-and-half on your cereal. And bologna salad for lunch. Door #2 remains a mystery. So, which door do you want to pick? I don't know about you, but I'm picking Door #1 every day of the week.

It's always a bit weird, watching things change. I know, circle of life, blah, blah, but it's still sad to see.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

That clinking, clanking sound

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things was going with my dad to the money machine. When we'd get the money, it was always new money. It was crisp and perfect and had that great smell. He would hand the money to us kids so that we could crinkle the money. It was an important job -- it prevented the bills from sticking together. When we gave it back, Dad would put it in his wallet and point out that the bills should all face the same way, and you should always keep the smaller bills in front. I still organize my money this way and am surprised when people don't have their money sorted in this fashion.

My parents would keep the extra money in a book (Sylvia Porter's "The Money Book," so clever!), a habit I started in grad school ("What It Takes", if you're wondering.) (See? I can be clever as well.) Of course, when you get money now, it's usually not brand new money. However, today when I got money, it was super-crisp new money. The bills all stuck together, and I had to take a few minutes to crinkle it. And I thought of being a kid and how it always seemed like it was so very much money.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Not sure what to think

Mr. Higgy-Piggie does not read my blog. I am not sure what I think about this. I know that if Mr. HP had a blog, I would want to read it, but I am nosy that way. I read so many blogs -- people I don't even know. If I actually knew them, even better. But, then again, I like reality tv and Mr. HP hates it. "Why are you even interested in these people?" Because I am super-nosy, of course.

There's a part of me that is glad he sort of let's me have my things. He gives me space and privacy, which should be a good thing. But there is also a part of me that feels: "aren't you a bit curious?" There's a part of me that takes his disinterest in the blog as a disinterest in me. I know that comes from putting my feelings on his actions, which isn't really fair. He's just not that guy.

He once asked me if he should read the blog. I wasn't sure what to say. I felt a bit like Jennifer Aniston in "The Break-Up": "I want you to want to read it." He also pointed out that we do actually talk to each other -- was there anything new in the blog? And, for the most part, it is all things we talk about. So he shouldn't have to read it. But, on days I'm feeling sorry for myself, there is a part of me that wonders if he just doesn't care. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Difficult concepts

A long, long time ago, people used to live out in the open. Which was fine, until someone found a cave and thought, "Hey, I should live in there." And the other people saw that the cave guy wasn't getting rained on and decided to join cave guy in the cave. And that worked for a while.

Then someone decided she wanted some privacy. Sure, the cave was nice and big and everyone fit just fine, but sometimes, you wanted to go off and be on your own, and, gosh, there just wasn't really anyplace to go. So, she thought, hey, let's divide up the cave into compartments and call these compartment "rooms". And everyone rejoiced because they could have their own little place. 

Sometimes people would go and visit each other in these "rooms". And even though these "rooms" were somewhat private, there was still that big hole that let you get in and out of the room. And if you wanted to gossip about the cave guy three rooms down, he might hear you thought that hole. This was an issue for a while, until someone came up with the idea of a big plank that could be opened and closed. "We'll put a 'door' on each of these 'rooms', and then you'll have complete privacy." And it was good. 

But there is one flaw: if you want privacy, you have to shut the damn door. So, everyone who uses the conference room by my cube, I know it's a tough concept, but can we shut the door once in a while? Thanks!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rock on, y'all

Mr. HiggyPiggie and I were at breakfast and the Allman Brothers came on, and I had to confess that when it comes to music, my knowledge of Southern rock is lacking. So, who is Southern rock (and who is not?)

Well, obviously, Allman Brothers, yes. Skynyrd, definitely. Then we were stumped. I said that ZZ Top should be on the list. Sure, that sounds right. I thought of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Gov't Mule. We thought about it for a while.

Tom Petty? Mr. HP said no, but I disagreed. BTO always felt like Southern rock to me, although they are Canadian. We pondered a bit. What about Graham Parsons? Mr. HP didn't know who that was (we're now divorced. Oh, I'm kidding. Mostly.) I was like, you know, The Byrds "Sweetheart of the Rodeo", Flying Burrito Brothers, "Love Hurts", died of a drug overdose, his friends tried to burn his body in the desert...That's when Mr. HP looked at me like I was nuts or something. (And I started to wonder, did I dream this -- he's a real guy, right?) "We need Wikipedia," declared Mr. HP. 

Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge, has a fairly broad definition. Too broad. I think we both feel that Southern rock was not only a genre but an era as well. Wikipedia pulls in all sorts of acts. If it had anything to do with the South, it's Southern rock. R.E.M.? Really? B-52s? Come on! Bo Bice? Influenced by, sure, but that's a stretch to call him "Southern Rock." But we did add Molly Hacket, .38 Special, and Black Oak Arkansas to the list of what we feel is real Southern rock.

But no Tom Petty. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's out there

Our house is officially on the market. I am so relieved it is out there, but now I just want some activity. It's weird to sell your house. On one hand, I think it's a super-great house, clearly worth millions of dollars and I can't understand why someone isn't trying to buy it this very minute. On the other hand, I see all the flaws and all of the reasons someone shouldn't buy the place.

I actually think the house looks great. All of the rooms are pulled together. Minimal, but nice. The closets are clean, everything is organized. It's as nice as it's ever been. I think of some of the houses we've seen. Shudder. Weird stuffed animals as kitchen decorations, clothes in the shower, baby seats on the dining room tables. What are these people thinking? Yet, I worry that with all our work, it's still going to be a struggle to sell the thing.

It's tough not knowing when this will happen. Will it take days, weeks, (god forbid) months? What kind of price will we get? Will the next person who sees the house be the next owner? How many times will we have to show it?

Of course, once someone buys the house, this new life gets more real. There is still a feeling that I could just go back to my old life, as long as we still have the house. I can still be in a bit of a state of denial as long as I can go back to the house. I wonder what I will actually feel when we sell the house. Will I be happy and relieved, or will I freak out all over again?

At least we got the clothes out of the shower.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Rethinking location

We are thinking about where we want to live. I want to live near a Metro stop, because I want to get into the city easily. I want it to be easy to pick up and go into DC. I want no excuses. And we want to live where we can walk to places: stores, restaurants, etc. So, Bethesda seemed to be it.

We have since seen a number of houses, and we think we have a fairly generous budget, but these houses. They just make me sad. Or annoyed. All of these need major changes. Mr. HP and I are thinking, should we be spending this much and compromising this much as well?

Yesterday we went to an Open House in the neighborhood I am currently living in. As you know, I live walking distance from work, but not walking distance from the Metro. What you might not know is that the community I live in is a sort of artificial town. It's got a center, places to eat, places to shop, Whole Foods. It's convenient, but a bit soulless. Anyway, back to the Open House. This house was as cheap as any we've seen (cheaper that most of them, by a lot), and it had almost everything we want. And I'm thinking, maybe it would be better to walk to work than the Metro. So I am rethinking my location philosophy.

I have to say, it does feel a little like we're selling out. Is this what we really want? What about the charm of an old neighborhood? What about those cute, little houses? Are we going to go downtown as often as we should? I feel like we didn't use Philadelphia enough -- is the same thing going to happen here?

Anyway, I'm thinking about it. There's certainly a good chance I'll rethink the rethinking. As I do. Poor Mr. HP, having to deal with all this...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I have challenged myself

Yesterday I made the comment that I could name 100 movies that were better than "The Graduate." I would like to point out that I think "The Graduate" is a perfectly fine movie. It's just not one of the top 10 or 20, as some lists like to point out. I find it to be one of those movies that Baby Boomers like to think speaks to their generation, which is one of the reasons I kind of hate it. But I do love Anne Bancroft, although the fact that she was supposed to be much older than Dustin Hoffman's character but is actually less than 6 years older is another reason to hate those idiots in Hollywood. Okay, rant off; here are my movies (in no particular order):
1. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
2. The Philadelphia Story
3. Gone with the Wind
4. Wizard of Oz
5. Singing in the Rain
6. The Miracle Worker
7. The Sting
8. Howard's End
9. Room with a View
10. The Wedding Banquet
11. Barcelona
12. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
13. Blazing Saddles
14. Star Wars
15. The Empire Strikes Back
16. Godfather
17. Godfather 2
18. Random Harvest
19. Good-bye Mr. Chips
20. Henry V (1989)
21. Pulp Fiction
22. Jezebel
23. Dark Victory
24. The Great Escape
25. Young Frankenstein
26. Casablanca
27. The Bridge over the River Kwai
28. Blade Runner
29. Psycho
30. Meet Me in St. Louis
31. Pat and Mike
32. Fargo
33. Blood Simple
34. His Girl Friday
35. The Thin Man
36. The Shop around the Corner
37. Hannah and her Sisters
38. Crimes and Misdemeanors
39. Ninotchka
40. The Freshman (the one with Brando -- I stand behind it.)
41. My Fair Lady
42. West Side Story
43. High Noon
44. The Searchers
45. True Grit
46. The Terminator
47. Unforgiven
48. Raiders of the Lost Ark
49. Spellbound
50. Roman Holiday
51. To Kill a Mockingbird
52. Bringing up Baby
53. The African Queen
54. Pat and Mike
55. The Lion in Winter
56. Lawrence of Arabia
57. The Big Sleep
58. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
59. The Maltese Falcon
60. House of Games
61. Repo Man
62. Gaslight
63. It's a Wonderful Life
64. Tootsie
65. The Milagro Beanfield War
66. Now, Voyager
67. Silence of the Lambs
68. The Princess Bride
69. Big Fish
70. The Dresser
71. Sense and Sensibility
72. Waterloo Bridge
73. The Deer Hunter
74. 12 Angry Men
75. Once Upon a Time in the West
76. Metropolitan
77. All the President's Men
78. Carrie
79. Love Affair
80. My Man Godfrey
81. The Grifters
82. Swing-time
83. Terms of Endearment
84. Dangerous Liaisons
85. Ghandi
86. One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
87. M*A*S*H
88. Network
89. Silkwood
90. Moonstruck
91. Amadeus
92. High Society
93. Grand Hotel
94. Ronin
95. Mary Poppins
96. The Shawshank Redemption
97. Four Weddings and a Funeral
98. Parenthood
99. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
100. Kill Bill

So there!