Wednesday, November 27, 2002
THE PERILS OF THANKSGIVING
Thanksgiving is a holiday that's tough to ignore. You can sidestep July 4th or Halloween without too much trouble, pass over Passover, or sleep through Easter. But all it takes is one really good Thanksgiving, and you spend the rest of your life trying to match the magic of that day - the fluffiness of the mashed potatoes, the juiciness of the turkey, the way that slice of pumpkin pie looked so happy and snug next to that friendly slice of apple pie, all covered in a blanket of whipped cream.
The sad thing is that the perfect Thanksgiving dinner is almost impossible to achieve. The mediocre Thanksgiving dinner, on the other hand, is well within your grasp.
I learned this the hard way in my twenties while I was living in San Francisco. Each year, lacking the funds to fly home for the week, my ne'er-do-well friends and I would latch onto the sad illusion that we could create our own family-style Thanksgiving dinner. And it was a lot like a family gathering, if your family tends to drink a great deal, argue a lot, and get so distracted by the passing of the bong that they forget what day it is, let alone that there's a turkey in the oven.
And so, year after year, the turkey tasted like month-old lunchmeat. The cranberry sauce was canned. The gravy was thin and tasteless. The bread was a stale french loaf that someone grabbed on the way over, the green beans were brown, and everything was cold by the time we sat down.
And then there were the mashed potatoes, which were inevitably made with an exorbitant amount of garlic - yes, garlic, the fledgling chef's special friend. I have nothing against garlic on most occasions, but this is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving mashed potatoes should be made James Beard-style, just salt, pepper, cream, and an unholy amount of butter.
But then, everyone's tastes are different on Thanksgiving, depending on what they grew up with. Some like garlic-heavy gourmet Thanksgiving meals. Some like canned cranberry sauce, served intact in that perfectly alluring and classy tin-can shape. Some feel empty without sweet potatoes with little marshmallows melted on top. Some must have green bean casserole covered in those canned fried onions that look like freeze-dried earthworms. Some like brown 'n' serve rolls, while others can't live without their mom's homemade crescent rolls.
And I could've handled all the variations on my own personal favorites, had it not been for that one late guy - you know, the one in charge of the stuffing? Stuffing man shows up an hour and a half after dinner, which means that everyone at the table sits there, staring at their imperfect plates, feeling all empty and alone inside. Sure, they'd all try to make the best of it. But notice, how the conversation is slightly stilted? See how, when Craig isn't talking to Kerry, he appears to be sobbing quietly into his napkin? See how Carina is rocking back and forth, mumbling "Stuffin'? I'm stayin!" to herself, over and over again?
You'd think after a few experiences like these, I'd just skip the whole thing. And one year, I did. Most of my friends were out of town, and I didn't want to spend the holiday with a random collection of fledgling chefs, so, I figured I'd have my own little decadent day of thanks. I bought two pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, rented 2 movies and settled in for the day.
Three hours later I had a stomach ache from the ice cream, and I kept pausing the movie so I could peek outside to see who was arriving where for dinner. I made a game out of trying to figure out what relationship people had to each other (tougher than you might think - this was the Castro) and guessing what was in those covered dishes they were carrying. "Oooh, I bet that's baked yams. Hmm. Corning ware. Must be some kind of casserole... God do I love that zucchini casserole with the water chestnuts..."
After that day, I decided that turning your back on Thanksgiving is futile. The best you can do is manage your own imperfect version of the holiday, and drink enough wine that you don't notice that the potatoes aren't fluffy enough, or the turkey is a little too pink for comfort.
Or, better yet, fly home and leave the job of Thanksgiving dinner to the one person you can trust to do it right: Mommy.
Which, of course, will ensure that you'll spend the day missing your ne'er do well, bong-passing friends.
Tuesday, November 26, 2002
THE THREE FACES OF KAREN
Lately, my boyfriend has been asking me if I am you. I've told him that I'm not you, but he doesn't seem to believe me. (Or he says he believes me, but with a gleam in his eye that says, "I'm saying that I believe you when really I don't.") Sometimes your columns ARE a little too close to home. That's weird, sure, but I think it's just coincidence. I mean, it IS just coincidence, right?
As further proof that I am not you, (we live in different cities, we look completely different, etc.) I can't even spell your last name. I tried the other day, but I think I wrote, "I am not Heather Havriletsky!" (Sorry.) I think that he thought that I did this on purpose to throw him off. I'm not that wily. A little paranoid, maybe. And definitely histrionic. But not wily. (Is it my imagination, or is "wily" one of those words that starts to look really meaningless after you type it a few times?)
So I know you aren't me and YOU know you aren't me, and I'm pretty sure you're relieved about this, or would be if you knew me. If you could just tell him for me, that would be great. Hey, maybe this all is just some kind of whacked out manifestation of his desire to date you and not me. Maybe he likes to imagine that I'm someone that I'm not -- like someone who is not too lazy to write a blog, for example. Oh crap, maybe our problems run deeper than I thought.
Maybe it's finally time to stop lying to yourself. Maybe it's time to welcome all three of your selves into your life, once and for all, instead of banishing one of them to a "different city" and the other to the irrelevancy of the web.
Why do you hide behind Karen, who you claim isn't "wily" and is "too lazy to write a blog"? Is Karen living the easy life? What else is she too lazy to do? We think our boyfriend would really like Havriletsky and the Rabbit. Why can't our boyfriend meet them?
We resent the fact that Karen isn't pulling her share of the weight around here. We bet Karen has an easy job, and gets paid to sit on her ass writing emails to the rest of us, while Rabbit has to dance little virtual jigs and do verbal somersaults to charm the pants off our boyfriend. Then what happens? Karen swoops in for the kill. Is that fair? What, you thought those pants just came off by themselves?
You're so full of yourself. You're not the only one in here, you know.
Igor the Underdog
Monday, November 25, 2002
MY BABY'S GOT SAUCE
My girlfriend and I of two years just broke up, mutually. A week later she's dating the douche-bag who lived downstairs from us when we lived together. Seriously, this guy's a total tool - I've often caught him emotively playing folk songs on his guitar for gutter punks on the front step of the building. The ex and I used to make fun of him all the time. Meanwhile, I'm totally alone, drunk, in a barely furnished apartment. I feel like my life is a shitty rendition of High Fidelity, only with more vodka and without The Boss. I'm easily replaced, by a nitwit no less.
So tell me, rabbit, is there hope? Short of praying for death, do I have any options other than soldiering on?
Sauced in Seattle
Boy, that's a good one. Tender folk boy downstairs wins over supposedly snarky girlfriend. Surely you could've offered some more details, though. Do you see or hear her coming and going downstairs? As long as we're getting drunk and wailing at the gods, we might as well go into the heartbreaking yet perhaps deliciously literary details. I've got 1,000 people to entertain here, the least you can do is meticulously outline your lucid agony in order to amuse and comfort us that our own lives are relatively good, if only for the moment.
So send us more scary details. In the meantime, let's face facts: Your girlfriend wasn't completely honest about who she was, or she wouldn't have made fun of this tender folk boy and then turned around and slept with him. It also seems like she was craving someone who wears his heart on his sleeve, perhaps to an unsavory degree. Naturally, we can write off this wild swing in her taste as classic rebounding. One week later, she's dating a guy who I can only assume is your opposite? Let's not worry about her. She's young, she's confused, and she's destined to swing from branch to branch like a happy little serial monogamist until she dumps the wrong branch and ends up depressed and lonely and looking for someone to blame, but without the time to build a proper story around her blame, since she has to pick her kids up from soccer (shared custody) and she still has no groceries at home.
Besides, you said it was mutual. Sounds like you weren't completely sold on her, either. And no wonder.
But there's something that sticks in your craw about folk boy, aside from the more obvious things, like he writes shitty songs that you can hear from your living room, and, oh yeah, he's fucking your ex. I think you may be jealous of folk boy, because he's unselfconscious about his art, however bad that art might be. Do you think you might want to be the guy with the guitar, instead of being the guy who takes the piss out of the guy with the guitar? Maybe you're too cynical and self-conscious to ever be the guy with the guitar, and maybe you don't like guitars, or only have one hand.
But you're writing for advice. Why? I don't think you want me to tell you how to get over someone. I think you want to change your life. Your mutual break-up (with a person who didn't know herself and was dishonest with you about who she was) was the first step. What's the next step? You tell me.
Still on step one,
Friday, November 22, 2002
IT'S FRIDAY AFTERNOON!
You're sitting in your cubicle, bored shitless, with a week's worth of unrealistic expectations for the weekend making you feel anxious, nauseated, cramped, and kinda gassy. You're watching the clock. You're rubbing your eyes. You're calling your friends and then getting impatient with their tedious, self-involved anecdotes.
It's time to take your mind off your painful existence. It's time for another pointless quiz!
Wondering what the fuck is wrong with you? Take this quiz and find out!
1. If someone in your office were to hand you a penny and say, "A penny for your thoughts!" what would you actually be thinking at that moment, before you lied and made something else up?
a. "Go fuck yourself."
b. "I wonder how her tits would look without that bra on."
c. "I think I might like black people, if I knew any, because on TV, they seem really cool and funny, and I'm just self-deprecating enough to take it when they call me a fucking honky or a cracker or whatever they call white people these days."
d. "I wish I were at home right now, in my soft pants, eating doughnuts and reading."
2. What would you say you were thinking?
a. "I was just thinking about how, at this time last year, I was still going out with Ann, and I was so much less happy than I am now."
b. "I was just thinking how moody I get when I'm PMSing. Like yesterday, this little kid gave me this really mean look, like I was making him sick or something, and I'm thinking, 'Fuck that kid, that kid has a bad attitude!' Then I notice that he's not even a kid, he's just a little baby. And then I'm like, 'For christsakes, Nicole, it's just a little baby! What the fuck is wrong with you?!!'"
c. "I was just thinking about Chicken McNuggets, how disgusting and vile they are, but how I really want some right now. With the honey mustard sauce."
d. "I was just wondering how your tits would look without that bra on."
3. Which of the following words makes you feel all dirty inside when you use it/them/us?
b. deeply moved
c. as an artist
d. very healing
4. Is it a good kind of dirty inside, like you're turned on slightly, or a bad kind of dirty inside, like you scrub and scub and you can't come clean no matter how hard you scrub?
a. Ooo, yeah, baby! Scrub harder!
b. It's bad dirty, like I want to take it back, because it's embarrassing to use words that a middle-aged marriage counselor might use, but I can't take it back! It's too late!
c. It's good dirty, you know, like when you embarrass yourself on purpose in order to sort of come out of the closet with all the pathetic touchy-feely shit that gets you through the day.
d. It's good dirty, with a bad dirty backlash, like when you want to be self-indulgent and pretentious, so you get one of those little tape recorders and start recording your conversations with your friends, only to listen to the tape and find out that you're a bunch of fucking morons.
e. It's beyond bad dirty, like meeting someone at The Forum and then going back to their hotel room and fucking them, and then coming back for another day of processing, only to find that your "racket" is that you meet people at self-help workshops and fuck them.
5. When you wake up in the morning, what's the first thing you think about?
a. I think about my penis. Then I think about how I'm going to die someday.
b. I think about how I have to pee. Then I think about how pointless it is to get up every morning and work at the same stupid fucking job until you're dead.
c. I think about whether or not I should try to go on a run before work. Then I think about how it doesn't really matter whether I run or not, in the big scheme of things, because some day I'm just going to be rotting in the ground no matter what I do.
d. I think about letting the dog out to pee. Then I think about that fucking stupid song "Who let the dogs out?" and I can't get it out of my head, it's stuck in there for the next 20 minutes at least, while I'm in the shower, while I'm driving to work, and I think: This is how the rest of my life is going to be. A long, unbroken string of mundane moments interrupted only by the trauma of extreme irritation and frustration.
e. At first I can't believe it: Am I really still alive? And then I see that I am alive, and I feel elated, absolutely thrilled, because, my god, another day, alive! The sun, the sky, the air! It's almost too good to be true.
f. I think about how it's been ages since the last time I got laid, and how I should really sign up for that Forum workshop that's coming up next month.
Thursday, November 21, 2002
I WAS INVERTED, I MEAN CONVERTED
Dear Saint Rabbit
I'm not an atheist with a capital 'A'. I'm not a hard core atheist. It's just that my mind tells me that He (It? She?) probably doesn't exist because there isn't strong evidence to support it. I have no hard feelings towards people who believe. In fact, most of my family and friends are religious. However, I honestly don't think that comparing faith in God to faith in relationships is a good metaphor. Let me tell you why. When people talk about faith in God they usually mean that even though they have no rational reasons to believe they take a leap of faith and believe anyways. I would strongly advise against anyone in taking this approach with people. If you have no good reason to believe that a person cares for you or loves you, then why should you think he/she does? If on the other hand that person shows through his/her actions that they care for you then by all means go for it. I'm not saying you need 100% proof, but some rational reason should be required. I'm sure there is much more to say on this topic, but my brain is hurting, so that's all for now.
Godless in Seattle
Hey, you're the one who capitalized atheist, not me.
As far as that holy metaphor goes, keep in mind it was used in response to a guy who was in a 6-year relationship. I was working under the assumption that the two people involved had some rational reasons for being together. Still, those who've been in long-term relationships know all too well that there are times when you forget why you're together. You don't lose sight of the rational reasons for being together, nor do you lose sight of your love for the person or their love for you. You lose your faith in the relationship. You stop stumbling on good, warm, giggly moments, and find yourself mired in drudgery. Without faith in the relationship itself, which you create out of your shared courage of conviction, you'll never stumble on good times again. That's why I think the relationship-as-church metaphor is so unbelievably fucking brilliant. I'm a goddamn genius rabbit.
And anyway, people bat around religious metaphors all the damn time, heedless of either accuracy or irony. Take, for example, the following conversation, 100% real and unedited, overheard at a nearby coffee joint...
Conversation Guaranteed 100% Real
frog: He gave it to the Bunghole Brothers and they took it to their agent and he sold it. He sold his first script ever.
toad: That's cool. You know, you should stay in touch with your friend Joe Blow, he just sold something.
toad: Yeah. I don't keep in touch with him either and I should.
frog: Wow. What did he sell?
toad: He wrote something that I always thought would make a good script and I always wondered why no one had done a movie about it. It was about (plot omitted to protect the not-so-innocent)...
frog: Oh yeah.
toad: He's got some juice, you should contact him.
frog: Well, he's a nice nice guy, but...
toad: You don't have to hang out with him all the time, but you do have to stay in touch with him.
frog: Yeah, I know.
toad: Anyway. That's my sermon for the day.
This toad is spreading evil across the land! Except that he's clearly preaching to the converted.
This is why you can't write fiction or nonfiction about Hollywood. Because even if you stick to the truth, people assume you're exaggerating. Farce is the only way to go.
Losing my religion,
Wednesday, November 20, 2002
BEWARE OF GOD
I recently read your post comparing a relationship to a church. I found it interesting. However, I have a slight problem with it. It's all fine and dandy for a Christian, but do you have a good metaphor for an Atheist? I mean church metaphors don't really fly with Atheists.
Godless in Seattle
Who are you calling a Christian?
I'm doubtful about the existence of God, but that doesn't mean that discussing relationships in terms of leaps of faith and shared beliefs makes me feel all dirty inside.
Still, let's see if I can come up with a good metaphor for a relationship between atheists who are offended by church metaphors. How about... your relationship is like a windowless cell in a high-security prison, where you can't see or hear your fellow inmates, can't even imagine what they might be going through, and why would you bother, really, since it would just be speculation? The guards who work at the prison are always out of sight, but by the sound of their voices alone, you know that they're colorless subhuman clones with no verbal or physical ticks, no charming anecdotes or rich personal histories to share, and no interest in you. You could speculate what it might be like to live as a colorless subhuman clone, but wouldn't that just be a waste of time?
Every now and then a plate of nondescript food comes sliding under the bars of your cell. You're not sure which meal it is because you don't know what time of day it is, and what would it matter either way? The food is tasteless and textureless. You find it interesting.
Less holy than thou,
YOUR MILK HAS A DICK
Speaking of an emptied out memory of when you were in love, I fell in love in June, and now I'm not in love anymore. I can't believe it. I'm not the most fickle person on the planet (I don't think I am). She changed the second things got comfortable. She became this weird complaining person. When she wasn't complaining, she was totally flat. She lacked affect. She went from charming to whiny.
I'm not talking about yer run-of-the-mill PMS-related neediness, either. That's easy. That's soothing voice, hand-holding, no-I-don't-mind-being-late-if-this-is-really-important. This was different. This was goodbye to yellow brick roads. This was I have nothing to say, I don't want to sleep with you, and you'd better fucking worship me anyway.
Why do people lure you in with a false version of themselves?
Out of Love
Have you ever noticed how some bananas go directly from green to brown, without passing yellow on the way?
Did you ever notice how some shirts will make you sweat, no matter how cold it is outside?
This is why it's important to shop carefully, and take your time before making a final purchase. People like to make quick decisions these days, especially when they get older and they feel like they have less money to spend and less time to fuck around. But I say, don't buy a case of something without tasting it first.
It's a two-way street, of course. You can't afford to spend unless you peddle your own product effectively. On the supply side, sometimes you have to give away some free samples, take a leap of faith. It's a loss upfront, but you could end up with some loyal, long-term customers. You can't give away the milk for free indefinitely, or they'll never buy the cow. Old wives tell that tale because it's true. Don't even let them keep the cow in their barn if they haven't paid for it yet, I don't care how rich they look. And whatever you do, don't let them take that cow for a spin around town in their convertible. They'll go straight to the slaughterhouse and you'll be shit out of luck.
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
CHURCH NOT MADE BY HANDS
Dear Rabbit Face,
What do you do when you are having troubles in your relationship? When you are both funny and cynical and smart, but it's been six years together and you are no longer certain about anything anymore?
Is monogamy for real? I mean I know it isn't for rabbits, but what about humans?
Confused in Cali
I think relationships should be built slowly, starting with a friendship and trust at the foundation, good sex on the first floor, good friends and family on the second floor, intimacy and communication and other frills on the third floor, and extremely tasty food served throughout the structure, Monday through Saturday, with Sundays reserved for a big breakfasts out on the town (but not at one of those rock 'n roll hipster breakfast joints where the wait is too long and the music is too loud and the food isn't very good) and Thai delivery for dinner, eaten on the couch while watching the Sopranos.
So you've lived in your relationship for six years. Have you redecorated at all? Built any additions? Or do you not have the disposable income and extra energy for that? Is it a struggle just to pay the bills? Just to keep the toilet from backing up, just to herd the dustbunnies, and knock down the spiders' webs?
If all you have left is maintenance and high gas bills, it's no wonder you want to move out. Maybe you need to cancel cable and use the money you saved to paint a room red. To keep things from sinking irretrievably into the land of the stale and the dead, you have to take some bold steps, be honest, shake up the status quo. Maybe you need to rip out the hedges in back and put in a pool. Maybe you need to turn the garage into a disco.
Lately I've been thinking that the structure of a relationship is less like a house and more like a church. You can use your relationship in a functional way: It keeps me warm. It's comfortable. I always know that I can come back to it. But those things are easy to take for granted after a while: I'm tired of this fucking house. I want a house with a bigger back yard, with bigger bedrooms, with more bathrooms. I want a house with great big tits.
But if your relationship is a church, it serves more than just a practical function. You turn to it not just to get your practical needs met, but to give and receive ideas, emotions, and beliefs. Together, you and your partner create a vision of what you want from your lives, and you discuss your ideals about what two people might be able to give to each other, in the best of all possible worlds. A house is practical and comfortable, but a church is a place where ideals don't feel awkward and out of place.
Part of being a good couple, I think, is refusing to be embarrassed in front of your partner, or to allow your partner to feel ashamed of who they are. To make sure that you don't slide into some chasm of untruthfulness and hiding from each other, I think it's a good habit to embarrass yourself and push the limits of self-expression, in moderate doses, every day. I'm not talking about farting in the bed here. You'll do that regardless. I'm talking about making the guy read a poem you wrote, or making that woman listen to a song that you loved in 7th grade, and then telling her why you loved it. If two people are going to feel good about themselves within a relationship, they need to feel that they can show their true selves to their partner and be met with love and acceptance. It's amazing how self-conscious and judgmental a relationship can become, if both partners are prone to falling back into their own alienated little self-protective shells.
In short, monogamy is for real if you believe it is. But to build your faith, you have to be selfless, focused, and trusting. You have to lead by example - you can't just preach or be a martyr about everything. You have to feel genuinely grateful for the other person, and you have to express that gratefulness every day. You have to sincerely want to make the other person happy, without fear that they'll take advantage of you or take you for granted.
Like I said, it's an idealistic venture. But if you can somehow manage to embrace the same ideals together, you'll have a relationship that feels like a living thing, not some emptied out memory of the good time you had back when you were in love.
Best of luck,
Friday, November 15, 2002
I like this one, too.
Where's that one about how tough it is to be a woman in San Francisco? I can't find it anywhere. I thought it was 2001 or 2000 but now I don't know. Just figured out that this one is missing from the archives: Dances With Yuppies. God, I miss making fun of yuppies. I long for it, now that I'm poor.
I'M A CREEP
I was just looking for something from the Filler archives about creepy San Francisco guys, and I stumbled on this, which made me laugh, particularly since Steve got married last month. I particularly liked the quiz. Since I don't have the money to work with Terry, you'd think at least I could have some more quizzes around these parts.
Thursday, November 14, 2002
DOWNPLAY IT FORWARD
Not that you care, but... Re the note from the blog scientist, "Evan Williams himself fixed your problem because you're in print, and can do him damage." Actually, I (or someone else at Blogger) answers *all* the questions/problems that come in via the new help system (which you used) from Pro users. We haven't always been able to keep up with the support in the past via email, but we're getting better with this system.
Not that you're not important. ;)
You can downplay it all you want, but the fact that you're responding to stuff posted here on my humble blog makes me think that I am, indeed, very important, more important than, perhaps, even I know. I guess that makes you important, too, which I'm not denying, but which is somewhat less exciting to me than my own importance.
Of course, when someone as important as I am compares you to Bono, well, that must be pretty exciting for you. I'd be excited if a crazed junkie on the street compared me to Bono. Still, given the fact that you're reading my fucking irrelevant blog, I'm inclined to think that I'm even more important than you are.
Could you possibly become defensive about this, and insult me mercilessly? I know you're a busy guy, but it would make for a compelling read.
We owe it to my readers, don't you think?
FREE BUT CHARGED
Am I "a blog scientist"? Hardly. But I know enough to know that when a software application says X should happen when you do Y, and more than half the time Z (or, worse, nothing) happens instead, something is seriously amiss with that application. And I know as well that when Z happens, and you seek assistance from the maker of the application as to why Z happened instead of the specified X, and in return are greeted with a resounding silence - time, after time, after time - something is seriously amiss with that maker.
I trust the above is not couched in language too scientific for ordinary understanding.
As for your invitation to suggest alternatives to Blogger, BloggerPro, and BlogSpot - two words: Movable Type. It seems to be the alternative of choice for scores of Blogger-disabled veterans, and no wonder. You do need to have or find a host server (there are dozens of commercial ones out there, and most charge a reasonable rent), and the installation's a bit daunting if you're not techie inclined (but for a mere $20 the folks at Movable Type will do the installation for you on the server of your choice), but the rewards of near-illimitable customization to one's blogging needs, near-flawless operation, and copious support for those rare times when problems do arise, make this "personal publishing" application well worth the inconveniences of setup.
And, no, I did not mean "twisting in the wind." When one not in a position to do harm to Blogger's reputation seeks support for the more-often-than-not malfunctioning application and/or server, one is whistling in the wind, as I said. It's Blogger's *response* (or, rather, non-response) that leaves one "twisting in the wind."
Finally, as to the "music scientist [who] seems to think there is such a thing as an unresolved note": If you take a look at the example given, she speaks of an unresolved note within its *harmonic* context. It's always the harmonic context that determines whether a note is resolved or unresolved. A note absent that context can be characterized neither as resolved nor unresolved. It's simply a note.
Thus endeth today's lessons.
Thanks for the information! I've heard Movable Type is much better than Blogger from more than one person.
Back to that unresolved note. What if it's just a metaphor? Can't I use the term "unresolved note" and those who know what that is will know I mean a note that's unresolved within its harmonic context?
No, you can't use it even as a metaphor (unless you're addressing exclusively the totally musically ignorant). It simply sounds wrong (N.P.I.). As I said, it's more than a stretch.
I'm willing to bet that many of my readers, perhaps 30-40% of them, are totally musically ignorant. I also don't think that many of them stretch regularly. They could probably use a good stretch.
What then? Do you suppose it's OK then?
Oh, deary dear. You really have become attached to that particular bit of prose of yours, haven't you.
Well, OK, go ahead and use it. You're surely correct that a good stretch can be of salutary benefit to many. Of course, if you insist on using it, you leave yourself open to attack from snotty wiseasses such as myself.
But if I were you, I wouldn't let that deter me.
Leaving yourself open to attack from snotty wiseasses is a way of life, not unrelated to the discussion of vulnerability, below.
Still, I'm disappointed that you couldn't be increasingly defensive about this. Your diplomacy is taking its toll on this dialogue, which was meant to devolve into a bratty "I know you are, but what am I?" downward spiral.
We could've had it all, baby.
Alas, it was just one of those things.
Just one of those hairsplitting flings,
One of those unresolved bells that now and then rings,
Just one of those things.
If you'd thought a bit, at the end of it,
when you started putting me down,
you'd have tried a glare or an evil stare,
we need a snotty wiseasses around.
So goodbye, dear, without satisfaction,
Next time get more defensive
for the sake of the rising action,
It was great fun, but it was just one of those things.
When I refer to warm, accepting, non-judging people, below, I'm not talking about repressed, pandering pushovers. Warm, accepting, non-judging people are still opinionated, entertaining, garrulous, and even obnoxious, because they accept themselves and are, therefore, not holding anything back or denying their feelings. They don't let you walk all over them, because they respect themselves and know where to draw the line. Repressed, pandering pushovers, on the other hand, give you what you want and tell you what you want to hear, to the point of being really boring and lame. They're boring and lame because they're repressing half of their personality along with all those negative thoughts and judgments that they've deemed unacceptable. The trouble, then, is not only that they're boring and lame, but also that they secretly hate you. You know this because, when you're really close to them, you have the sneaking suspicion that if anything severs that closeness, they'll never talk to you again. They do too much for you, listen too patiently, and maybe their intentions are good, but you know better. You know they're not really around, they're only half-assing it.
So, you see the difference? Most of us would chew through our own paws to escape from a pandering pushover, whereas we'd gladly hog-tie ourselves for the chance to spend more time with a warm accepting, non-repressed, non-pandering non-judgmental type of guy. Or gal.
That's because you can trust a warm accepting, non-repressed, non-pandering non-judgmental type. In contrast, a pandering pushover will kiss your ass for a good decade, then leave you for their dental hygienist.
COME ON BABY, LET'S DO THE TWIST!
The answer, my friend, is __________.
a. twisting in the wind
b. whistling in the wind
c. pissing into the wind
d. blowing in the wind
I did a search on "twisting in the wind" and landed here and then here, which made me think I should reinstate the "stupid search" of early Filler fame.
Anyway, something in the tone reminded me of myself, back when I was younger and more depressed.
I think the mistake I made back then (that a lot of people make) was that I presented myself to the world as a tough, funny, carefree person when, in fact, I was somewhat moody, often fearful, and pretty consistently confused. It's certainly easier to present yourself as someone who can handle anything, for whom life's challenges are merely a running joke. The trouble comes when someone who's been lured in by your carefree je ne sais quoi stumbles on the trunkload of unresolved issues which are jammed, like unresolved notes, in the dusty corners of your home. How can you ask your feckless guest to stay and sort through your trunk with you, to abstain from judging you for misusing the term "unresolved", when, if you were put into the same position, you would run away, and judge as you were running?
That's the problem that people with problems don't see. If you accept and embrace your problems, people are happy to discuss them with you, and love you in spite of or even for your flaws. If you reject and censor yourself, you'll pretend you don't have major flaws, or even minor preferences, you'll go along with whatever comes along, secretly hoping that if you're "good" enough, you'll trick people into hanging out with you and loving you, and then one day you'll stumble on your trunk of problems, and everyone will see the trunk, and you'll see the trunk, and you'll be angry at them for backing out the door, slowly but surely, and you'll insist that you don't have that many problems, they're the ones with the problems, for fuck's sake, and then you're in a fog of confusion and fear and pain. You get into a protective stance, you overstate your troubles, or you deny that they exist, and most importantly, you refuse to be vulnerable.
Admitting your problems means allowing yourself to be vulnerable to others. Being vulnerable means accepting that you, like everyone, has flaws. Accepting that you have flaws means accepting that others might see your flaws, and if they judge you badly for them, it's a reflection of how they judge themselves. Similarly, you have to depend on your own feelings about yourself, first and foremost, to guide you. You create your own reality with the way you choose to see yourself. If you don't see yourself in a positive light, it's up to you to do something to change that.
The sad thing about neurotic, emotionally hurt, judgmental people is that they tend to seek out other neurotic, emotionally hurt, judgmental people, who seem to have many of the same problems and challenges they have, and then, after the grace period expires, you have two weak, confused, angry people judging each other. So listen up, all you neurotic, emotionally hurt, judgmental people: Find a non-judgmental, non-neurotic, emotionally healthy person or two or three. They'll appreciate your tweaked lens on the world, your intelligence and sharp insights (which come from overworking your poor brain in response to emotional traumas), and you'll appreciate their warmth, patience, and ability to listen without judging.
Sometimes, you'll still want them to be as weird and confused as you are. "Judge something!" you'll screech at them, looking for a mirror of yourself instead of another person who complements and supports you. This is why you should keep a few fellow neurotic judges around - in case of emergency, or to watch The Bachelor with. But when the cheese doodles run out and their circular thoughts and self-involvement get tedious, you can kiss them a fond goodbye for now, and go back to your warm, accepting friend, who's really just as entertaining as your neurotic friends, but without the excess angst.
Plus, your warm, accepting friend isn't too self-involved to remember that there's a whole new bag of cheese doodles in the cupboard, so he gets up and refills the bowl and sometimes even fetches icy cold drinks from the fridge, and he reminds you that The Sopranos is on in a few hours, so you'd better watch last week's episode, which he taped for you.
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER
You're doing your readers a disservice. Evan Williams himself fixed your problem because you're in print, and can do him damage. Otherwise, you'd have been whistling in the wind. Blogger, BloggerPro and BlogSpot are disaster zones, and anyone serious about blogging (or as serious as one can get about blogging) would be well advised to stay away from them -- far away. And, yes, I've firsthand knowledge.
Oh, and there's no such thing as "an unresolved note." I realize you needed that as a launching pad for the following sentence, but the solecism is more than a stretch.
Just sayin', is all.
Are you a blog scientist? I was thinking about getting my masters in Blog Science, but then I didn't really feel like taking the GREs again.
You may be right about Blogger, BloggerPro and BlogSpot. Since you don't offer many specifics or alternatives, we'll have to take yours as an unspecified "No!" vote. I can only relate my own experiences here. If anyone has any specific experiences they want to share, including good alternatives to Blogger, feel free to let me know.
This music scientist seems to think there is such a thing as an unresolved note. But, since you appear to be a music scientist yourself and something of a Wagner scholar, I'm inclined to think that you're in the know here. I assume the term "unresolved" is reserved for chords. But plenty of people use the term loosely to refer to chords and notes that are unresolved in the context of the song, or out of place given the key that the song is in. See, you wouldn't go into detail in your email, and now I have to stick my neck out and look like a big dumbass, which I am.
But my big brother majored in music theory, so there! Don't make me make him kick your ass.
Thanks for the feedback. I love being upbraided on a Thursday morning. My ego is as fragile and brittle as stale vanilla wafers, crushed under the heels of your steel-toed scientist boots.
I'm not kidding. It's about time someone put me in my place.
p.s. Didn't you mean "twisting in the wind"?
Wednesday, November 13, 2002
BEWARE OF BLOG
How many bad blog puns can I come up with, and have I used this one already? These penetrating questions and more, lingering, unanswered indefinitely, like an unresolved note. A note of anxiety, perhaps a suspended fifth, which is the note of the anxiety of influence.
No, I don't know what I'm talking about.
Onward: I've got to change my tune about Blogger Pro. Blogger Pro comes highly recommended! Evan Williams himself, the Almighty King of Blogger, fixed my problem, which is sort of like coming home to find Bono sifting through your underwear drawer.
Only, it's not like that at all, it's more like coming home to find a note from Bono, who felt it was only right to let you know that he spent the evening sifting through your underwear drawer. Also, he handwashed a few things in Woolite. He hopes you won't mind.
In other words, it's like having Bono as your Errand Boy.
But not quite. Anyway, the archive is working just fine, apparently I screwed it up when I tried to replace my archive template with a more basic model. And, I have to admit, Blogger Pro is a lot faster than Blogger. It's very fast, in fact.
Now I have no excuse for not posting. Except that I'm scrambling to write a bunch of other stuff, hopefully for cash money. Boy, do I like cash money!
Monday, November 11, 2002
I finally upgraded to Blogger Pro, thinking that much would be improved, and now my archive has disappeared. Yes, I've tried turning it on and off like the good book of Blogger tells you to, I've republished, I've cut out carbs, but no luck. I've emailed the folks at Blogger many times, with no response.
If anyone has any ideas about how to fix this, please email me and let me know.
And if anyone's thinking of upgrading their own blog to Blogger Pro, can't say as I recommend it, at this point.
Saturday, November 09, 2002
JUST TWO YEARS LATER...
Who would've thought, back in November of 2000, that these would be the headlines two years later?
Bush Approves Iraq War Plan; Large Force Seen
Al Gore Reprises Role on 'Futurama'
"We will not leave the future of peace and the security of America in the hands of this cruel and dangerous man," said Bush.
"I think I may have a future as a disembodied head," Gore joked.
Thursday, November 07, 2002
Can't post now, but I'll be back soon, with some good stuff. I can feel the writerly mood coming upon me, and I have to milk it for all its worth before the sullen procrastinator returns again. Off to some dank coffee-serving hovel, to grovel.
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
Paolo, I think you should forget the "Island Boy" marketing angle. No one has much extra money for travel right now, so knowing your way around Bora Bora or wherever probably isn't quite as alluring as it once was. I'd suggest an "Errand Boy" strategy instead. I've got a pile of bills here, two packages to mail out, plus countless other small, pesky things that I can't handle doing for some reason. When I lay around and daydream about alluring/adoring men, do I picture an exotic Island Boy? No. I picture a handyman and personal assistant. Errand Boy!
rabbit: I love you, Errand Boy!
errand boy: Get your feet off the coffee table, I just Pledged that shit!
rabbit: Mmm. Me likey when you raise your voice, Errand Boy!
errand boy: Don't talk to me, I've got 8-year-old bills and useless pamphlets to ferret out of your files and throw away.
rabbit: Oh, what a mean little ferret you are!
errand boy: Shhh!
rabbit: Oh yeah, throw out those naughty papers, you dirty little ferret you!
errand boy: You're driving me crazy!
rabbit: The feeling is mutual, baby! Hey, but, um, before you get into those files, could you scrub the shower and hand-wash some bras? I think that plant over there needs repotting. Also, fresh carrot and beet juice. You know I need my vitamins.
Mmm, tasty Errand Boy! Putting stamps on letters, sweeping up dustbunnies, making delicious smoothies! I'd like to do a 2002 version of "American Dreams" featuring a neo-traditional family with one maternal figure and a hierarchy of Errand Boys beneath her. The central conflict would come when one of the Errand Boys runs off to work as Cher's personal assistant, and the maternal figure questions her self-worth and rails against the social changes that would lead one of her Errand Boys out of the fold and into the dressing rooms and studios of stand-in Mommys, charlatans in pleather pants, screeching for mineral water with extra limes. The maternal figure will wonder what's gone wrong in this crazy, mixed-up world when she can't even get the lint removed from her corduroy pants in a timely fashion without lifting a finger. The camera zooms in at the very moment when the maternal figure realizes that she won't be getting what she wants when she wants it anymore.
"No fair!" she'll scream suddenly, looking around for something to break, and all the little Errand Boys will shiver in their G-strings, cowering behind the furniture until this storm passes. After several of these incidents, some of them will join reading circles, where they'll discuss books like "The Erranding Mystique" and "Toward A New Psychology of Errand Boys" and "In a Different, Slightly Lower, Less Screechy Voice."
Sure, times will change. But there'll always be something sort of romantic about those days, when a woman was the queen of her impeccably-organized castle, and an Errand Boy was just an Errand Boy, nothing more, nothing less.
Monday, November 04, 2002
CLANDESTINE ADMIRATION INC.
Guess what... You've got a secret admirer!
Want to find out who?
Just click to http://www.someonelikesyou.com to find out who!
Someone Likes You Matchmaker
Dear SLY Matchmaker,
I don't much care for secret admirers. I don't like anonymous fans, nameless supporters, or faceless adorers, either. I like my admirers to have first and last names, and lots of disposable income looking for a new home.
Mystery does not interest me. Pay pal accounts with a lot of extra cash in them do.
Secret crushes have the unfortunate tendency to remain secret, longing silently as opposed to, say, paying your rent for you.
I don't want to find out who likes me. I want to find out who likes giving me money. I want to find out who likes to imagine me finishing my novel by the end of the year, instead of imagining me doing other things, for example, temping.
Do I have a bloated sense of myself, an unfair sense of entitlement? If I didn't, I wouldn't be able to write a single word. Overblown egos and entitled attitudes are the author's way, as sure as Martin Amis's teeth are capped.
If someone likes me, that means I'm not doing my job very effectively.
Unlikable and broke,
Friday, November 01, 2002
COME ON AND WIND ME UP
I have a cold and need to be propped up by very strong coffee to make it through the day. Plus, I've got a costume party to go to tonight, and no costume. I guess I could come up with something stupid. There's always something stupid hanging out in my closet, pouting. I am definitely looking forward to seeing some of these people I haven't seen in centuries, thanks to the steady flow of weddings this year. I'll forget I look stupid the second I see some of those long lost creeps.
I've also signed up for Nanowrimo again, despite last year's hell with my computer crashing, worrying that nothing was backed up, then getting the machine back after the deadline had passed. Who knows how it'll go this time, but mostly it'll be nice to start from scratch, and finish. So confident, are we?
Not really. But if you go to Nanowrimo and look for a "Rabbit" in "Los Angeles", and she seems to be doing "rather well" with her "word count", let me just tell you right now: That's not "me". That's someone else named "Rabbit" in "Los Angeles". Man, these days every third jerk on the street is named Rabbit. Eminem's character in 8-Mile, for one.
No wonder I have to seek solace in... What do I seek solace in, again?