31 May 2008

Financial Times

I'm conflicted. I know that part of the reason the government is sending out the "Economic Stimulus" checks is to pacify a discontented populace. I often refer to the checks as the "No, there's no war" checks, or "The dirty monkey's dirty money" checks. My dad has already stated that he will be donating his check to a charity. Good for my dad. My situation, however, is a bit different.

Speaking plainly, I'm broke. Once I pay my rent, I'm going to have a net worth of approximately $12.47. I'm not a huge spender; I can easily not buy shoes, or clothes, or even (this one hurts) books. I can pack my lunches, eat leftovers for dinner, and drink work coffee. What I cannot do is drive to work with no fuel, or allow my cats to starve because I can't keep them in kibble.

So, I really want that fucking check and it isn't being mailed until the end of June. This does me no good. Plus, I really hate that I want that fucking check so bad. I wish I could get that fucking check and sign it right over to my non-profit, or Planned Parenthood, or another worthy group but that's not going to happen. The best I can do is pledge to use the money to pay rent, my PGW bill, or the credit card bill. For some reason, I really don't want to use that money to buy things that I wouldn't have normally. No mattresses, tires, or any of the other things that the advertisers are trying desperately to convince me that I need.

30 May 2008

Bathroom Watch: Day 3

Massive hole in ceiling? Check.

Nasty soggy debris in tub and on floor? Check.

Complete and utter lack of surprise? Check.

29 May 2008

Bathroom Update

I was sitting at the Annual Meeting for the non-profit where I am a board member, and all I wanted to do was go home. A massive headache was pulsing behind the thick bone of my forehead, my ass was numb from the cheap plastic seats, and I was concerned that the elderly lady next to me was going to flop into my lap. I wanted my sweats and a smoke and I wanted them now.

The meeting finally broke up (and somewhat earlier than expected) and I rapidly made my escape. Aside from another driver with the mistaken assumption that he was at a 4-way stop intersection, the drive home proceeded without incident. At about the half-way point, I wondered if any progress had been made on my bathroom ceiling. I cautioned myself not to get too excited.

When I got home, I dropped my stuff and walked directly to the bathroom. Lo and behold, there was no apparent progress on the ceiling. There was, however, fresh mess, so I know that someone was in my bathroom. Whether it was to fix the ceiling, or to merely scatter new debris, I may never know. I pitched a bit of a fit - stomping and whining like a two-year old. I fed my cats and sat down to blog.

Here's the rub: I had a topic all picked out. I was quoted Elizabeth Kubler-Ross at the meeting. After doing a bit of checking, I discovered that the quote was actually a combination of two different quotes. I realized that when the quotes were read separately, Ms. Kubler-Ross was saying something very different. I was all riled up about the misquote. It went something like: "If we can raise just one generation to know unconditional love there will be fewer Hitlers." I started thinking about the nature side of the nature v. nurture argument and my Intro to Soc classes came flooding back. I was ready to discuss.

Then I saw my bathroom. I don't even have the energy to clean up the new mess. I KNEW it would be dirty when I got home, but part of me had all my fingers and toes crossed. I know I'm going to have to clean it before I go to bed because who wants to deal with a gritty bathroom floor, or toilet, or sink first thing in the a.m.? Big, fat "Not I" coming from my corner. Sigh, off I go.

28 May 2008

"Hi, Neighbor!"

I was in a pretty good state of mind as I drove home from work yesterday. Nothing major had happened, the weather was beautiful, the traffic was light, and I had a book waiting for me. Yes, life was thick and rich (thanks, Dad!).

As I got out of my car, I noticed that my neighbor's door was flapping in the breeze. I figured that maintenance was, well, maintaining something, and wasn't too concerned. Then I noticed that my door was also open. I was ready to be seriously pissed of at the maintenance guys because I have a cat who has lately been itching to explore the great outdoors. If my fat little cat had escaped into the wilds of NE Philly, I was gonna rip someone a new asshole.

I walked through the half-open door. I noticed that the light was on in the bathroom and before I could drop my purse, an unfamiliar man walked out of my bathroom.

"I'm from maintenance. My name is John. We just tried calling you."

I pulled my phone out of its nesting place in my purse, and sure enough, I had a missed call from the apartment office.

"So, what's up, John? I asked.

John steps out of the bathroom and I step forward. My formerly neat and clean bathroom looks like a construction site. My towel, bathmat, and toilet seat cover are saturated with dirty ceiling water. I enter the bathroom and cast my eyes upward. Oh, hai naybur! i can haz ceeling, plz?

That is correct; my upstairs neighbors and I now share a bathroom. Droplets of water still fell from the sodden support beams. My neighbor's sad, dripping roll of toilet paper sits in the corner. Ew.

So I start laughing. Because, really, what else can I do? John and John the maintenance boys seemed concerned that I was going to go berserker on them, but I don't blame them. The neighbors had, on numerous occasions, reported that their bathroom floor was less than stable. It wasn't until John #1 pulled up the lino that the extent of the damage was clear. There was a kinked pipe leaking in the floor, and when the neighbor's floor came up, my ceiling came down.

The next two hours passed pleasantly enough. My neighbor and I sat outside, chatted, and smoked cigarettes. I was dying for a lager, but I had none. John and John managed to put down the subfloor and reinstall my neighbor's toilet (which had been sitting in her bathtub during clean-up. hey, maybe a new all-in-one shower/toilet combo? anyone?). The boys did a fairly decent job of cleaning up the mess, but I still had a job ahead of me.

I finally change out of my work clothes and set to work. First, I coaxed the cats out from under the couch. Even though I fed them lightly, Penguin still vomited up his dinner. Nervous stomach. Secondly, I took down the shower curtain and added it to the laundry pile. Then came the bathroom scrubbing. I couldn't stand the idea of leaving the bathroom in its dirty state, but it all seemed rather futile because John and John are just going to dirty it up all over again when they come back to fix the hole.

Moral of the story?

Fuck morals, I've got a giant hole in my ceiling.

Happy News of the Day

Yay! Baby Olivia has finally graced us with her presence. Congrats Victoria and Steve!

William Gibson at Market Fair

On June 14th, 2p.m., sci-fi author William Gibson will be at Princeton Market Fair. Will I be there? Oh yes.

27 May 2008

Shall I Go On?

The more I post, the more I wonder if this blogging thing is a truly good idea. I look at what I have posted so far, and part of me wants to take it all down and pretend like it never happened (much like Emily Gould) and I haven't even written anything especially incriminating. Sure, it's mildly embarassing to have my gaffes pointed out to me, but it's not going to kill me.

I think I was hoping that I would use this blog as a forum to explore topics that are of interest to me, and not just as a glorified journal. So far, not so much. Part of the problem may be that I loathe doing research. My thesis was a trial, despite being very interested in the subject matter; and I shudder to think what I'm going to do when/if I go to grad school.

We all know that you can pop a search term into Google, or Yahoo, or Dogpile, and get pages upon pages of results. All that lovely information, but how to determine what is worth having? It's the culling that tires me. The sifting, and determining, and ugh. How I managed to earn a degree is beyond me.

Now I have to make a choice: do I continue to expose myself online in a very personal, yet poorly researched manner? Or should I make more of an effort to come across as the educated woman that I am?

Daily Displeasures

- I'm trying so hard to sound smart and I end up making no sense. At all.
- I can't stop checking to see if I have a new message from CB (cyber boy, the intellectual crush).
- I didn't make more of an effort to find a new job this weekend.
- The hordes of clueless newbies surrounding me at work.
- I'm going to have a buttload of mail to sort.
- Training someone to DO THEIR JOB! Especially since I've been doing it for her for the last 6 months.

26 May 2008

Hello, Abraham?

Another essay from my early college years.

This idea may seem a little radical, but the time has come for desperate measures. I propose that we have a seance. Gather together all sorts of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian religious types, call up the spirit of Abraham (and possibly Isaac and Ishmael), and settle this issue once and for all. It won't be easy.

I'm not quite sure how we are going to lure the religious leaders to our gathering. Maybe the undeniable appeal of an all-you-can-eat buffet, or some kind of sham movie premiere would be enough. Who can say thay wouldn't like the chance to hob-nob with the glitterati? I suggest having some tasty snacks on hand to soothe ruffled feathers when out little ruse is discovered. Oh, and nice comfy armchairs.

The calling up Abraham bit is going to be tricky. We will need to find an agnostic medium. He or she can't have an affiliation to any particular religion because that could skew the answers. We need someone who is open to anything. This person also needs to have thick skin because I think that the religious types may have some scathing remarks.

If Abraham can't provide us with any definitive answers, we may need to call upon his children, Isaac and Ishmael. Now, I would assume that there was a fair amount of brotherly competition between the two, but hopefully they could put past differences behind them and fairly answer our questions. If all else fails, we will call upon Sarah and Hagar. Women always have all the dirt. And we all know how women love to gossip.

Settling this issue is fraught with various pitfalls. We don't even know if Abraham existed. In order to ascertain that he is truly Abraham we will need to ask him some questions that only he would know the answers to. That is, if we get a hold of anything at all. Perhaps something like, "What was Sarah's favorite desert flower?" Then we can get to the loaded questions: "Who are the Chosen people?" and "What kind of a god asks you to sacrifice your son anyway, hmmm?"

My professor said that this was "beautifully metaphorical" but I was really just being a smartass.

25 May 2008

My Utopia

I wrote this in May of 2004 for one of my philosophy classes.

I think my idea of utopia might frighten some people. Somehow I don’t think that having me lording over everyone as a benevolent dictatrix/goddess figure is going to fly. Having said that, I will try to craft a society that a majority can handle.

I would start out by legalizing a few things. Gambling would be legal in all states. The sheer amount of money that it would bring in to each state is mind-boggling. Of course it would be taxed. Marijuana would also become legal. Anyone would be free to waltz into Wawa and buy a pack of maryjane sticks. Since marijuana impairs certain functions there would be laws enacted similar to alcohol laws ensuring that people are not driving or operating heavy machinery under the influence. A certain acceptable level, if you will. Lastly, prostitution would be a perfectly normal way to make a living. Workers would have monthly exams, benefit packages, vacation time and any potential customer would be required to sign a disclaimer stating that they will not hold the house responsible for any marital problems that may occur. Not the lady’s fault (or man’s for that matter) if the spouse is creeping.

Time to tackle the employment issue. Somehow all people will hold down a job. If it entails digging holes all day then so be it. Any drain on the economy, layabouts and the like, will be ‘donated’ to science to be used for drug testing and medical advancements. The family will receive the subject’s pay until the subject decides that digging holes is preferable to getting injected with foreign substances, and then the subject will be released, or expires. The funeral will be on the state. Harsh, but too bad. My world, my rules. I know circumstances sometimes dictate that a person is unable to work. There will be some sort of public assistance program but having babies will not be the way to get it. I will address this further in the healthcare issue.

No more tax breaks for the wealthy. They will get taxed just as much as any other poor sap, if not more. Hopefully this will help eliminate some political issues. No longer will politician pander to the upper classes because they can’t offer the wealthy any monetary incentives to back the campaign. I’m not too good with the political angle, but it would be a one person, one vote system and there would be no political parties. Everyone who wishes to run for public office has to have his or her own platform and cannot use party clout to get what he or she wants. A certain number of votes, maybe a petition, would be required to enter the race. Maybe some kind of playoff system to determine who would be the final candidates.

Health care would be universal and doctors would not get grossly inflated salaries. Doctors do have a difficult and delicate job, but no way will a doc be able to practice medicine three days a week and then play golf and goof off the rest of the week. There would be no private practice. All clinics would be open seven days a week and the docs would have a rotation. Anyone fresh out of med school would get the crummy shifts for a while, but interns would not be pulling thirty-six hour shifts. I know I don’t want some bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived sucker stitching my body up. As for things like birth control, well, it would be required. And not just for women either. It is all well and good that many women are responsible and take steps to protect from unwanted pregnancy, but it generally takes two people, so guys would not be exempt from the issue. That way if one method fails there is a back up. Oh yeah, and free condom dispensers on every street corner. Some may say that this would encourage younger kids to start having sex, but that’s a parenting issue and I’m not touching that one.
Education would be overhauled. No more private schools or universities because everyone has the right to an education. Part of the taxes taken out of everyone’s pay would go to funding educational institutions. There would still be a small tuition fee, but nothing like it is now especially if one is attending a school within his or her home state. Gotta get some points for not running away from the parents as soon as possible. Teachers would get paid more because it is not the easiest job in the world. I know I don’t want to do it.

All people would have the same percentage of their pay taxed. I’d like to envision a world where there are no class distinctions, but people are egotistical creatures and someone is always going to want to be better than the neighbors are. If I don’t factor this into my society people will rebel and I can’t have that. A little competition is a good thing.

This all sounds pretty good. I wonder if I can purchase a small island somewhere and start building my utopia. We’d export excellent marijuana, have a thriving tourist trade due to all the gambling and hookers and no sort of laws because I just realized that I totally forgot to discuss the issue of the criminal justice system. Umm, murder is bad, don’t steal your neighbor’s wife (or husband, lover, dog, car, etc.), always vote in the elections and eat your carrots because you don’t want to go blind now do you?

24 May 2008

Towel Day

Apparently, tomorrow (it'll be today by the time I finish this sentence) is Towel Day. Towel Day is a tribute to the magnificent absurdity that is Douglas Adams. So grab your towel and make sure you have some nutrients in one end to suck on, because the Electronic Thumb is activated and it's time to put your Guide to good use. Sunglasses may be a good idea, too. At the end of the day, we will gather up and have a couple of Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters and watch the end of the Universe.

Stupid Fantasy of the Day

Miracle of miracles! A comment on my "And Then What Happened?" post! Three words: "Is this me?" Commenter name: "his name here".

The feather mallet resumes its work.

"If you greatly desire something, have the guts to stake everything on obtaining it."

23 May 2008

And Then What Happened?

There I was; close enough to smell, to touch (provided I vaulted two rows of chairs). The air caught in my lungs, my heart whomped against my ribcage like a mallet covered with a feather pillow. Love spread like a virus...

You'll forgive my hyperbole, I hope. After several days of nervous anticipation and wild fantasy, what happened? Big pile of bupkes. I got a face to go with the name, and I was pleased. Was it shallow of me to hope that the outside matched (what I knew of) the inside? After my lament about being wanted for my brains, probably.

It's all over and the lights come up. A choice needs to be made: stay or go? Could I overcome my twitchy nervousness and my inherent ability to say exactly the wrong thing and make my approach? Or would I pack up my complete ball-lessness and slink away with my metaphorical tail between my actual legs?

I attempted to linger. I made a phone call, smoked a cigarette, and I chatted briefly with the director. I meandered along the streets of Manayunk towards my car. What was I hoping for? For a voice to call my name (which I don't think he knows). For me to suddenly grow a elephantine set of 'nads? Guess what happened? None of that. I sadly slid into my car, disgusted with my inability to make an approach. And now I confess my lameness to you.

As a side note, I quite enjoyed the play and perhaps next time I won't fail so spectacularly.

What I Want to be When I Grow Up

All kids have hopes and dreams. Some kids want to be firefighters, doctors, vets, astronauts, writers, chefs, housewives, video game designers, chemists, or bums. Other kids, and I think these are the smart ones, haven't a bloody clue what they want to be when they grow up. What's "grown up" anyway? Legally speaking, I am adult. I'm old enough to drink, smoke, vote, and rent a car. I have a full-time job, bills, a car, and an apartment. I remember to regularly feed my cats and I actually enjoy vacuuming. Does this mean I'm a grown-up? Eh, maybe. Maybe I just subscribe to the only-as-old-as-you-feel school of thought. Maybe I don't care if people see me as an adult.

While I know what I want to do with my life, it isn't what I wanted to be when I grew up. OK, I'll tell you. I wanted to be a cartoon. That's right, I idolized Bugs, Daffy, Marvin the Martian, and Pepe Le Pew. I wanted to hang out with Roger Rabbit and swim in Scrooge McDuck's gigantic vault of coins. I thought cartoon food would taste excellent and I would never have to deal with fat or gristle. Plus, I could take a shotgun blast to the beak and still manage to declare war.

No, I wasn't a stupid kid. I knew that people didn't spontaneously morph into animated creatures, frolicking through a neon green meadow. I now know that life can sometimes be gray and dreary and painful. I also know that life can be bright and amazing and scary wonderful. So I tuck away my dreams of pen and ink and apply myself to the task of being a grown-up - which really isn't all bad.

22 May 2008

The Mind Behind the Madness

Who am I? I am a born and raised 'burbs girl. After emigrating to the far Northeast, I decided that the only thing that would make life complete was the creation of a blog. A blog that contains random rantings about the myriad stupid thing that go flittering through my mind.
I suppose I should offer some sort of explanation of my blog title. Loosely translated, it means "I know you are, but what am I." Yes, apparently I am 6 years old.
Ultimately, I am hoping this blog will give me a chance to write more. I'm not promising any deep insights, or stirring political commentary, or, well, anything you want to read, but I do hope it will be occasionally entertaining.

You may be wondering how frequently I will be posting. Ummmmm, approximately whenever I feel like it, and if it wastes company time, even better. So, if you want to waste your time reading, you'd better hope I waste mine.

Intellectual Crushes - Why I Hate the Internet

You may be goggling at my subject and wondering, "But-but-how could you hate the internet? It is a wonderful tool and helps pass the time when one should be a busy little worker bee." Granted, but I still hate it. This says more about me than the 'net.

Let me spin a scenario for you: You have a celeb-crush, whether it be actor, model, rock star. You happily spend your time Googling said crush. Pics become wallpapers and screensavers. You absorb the minutiae of your crush's life: bios, loves, hates. It is easy to embrace this mild stalkerism because celebrities are pretty much public property. What happens when you are crushing on a fellow commentator on a blog that you frequent?

Such is my dilemma. I am in love with someone's brain. His big, juicy, warped, and lovely brain. I am showing all the classic signs of infatuation: craziness, jitteriness, the desire to know every little thing about him. There is also the "do I comment on his comment?" and the "oooooo, he responded to my comment! yay!" I get the warm fuzzies when I read his blog. I get moments of panic when it seems he is referring to a girlfriend. I want him to want me for my brain, too.

Why is this a problem? It's only a problem in the same way any crush is a problem, I suppose. I worry that if I ever do meet him, I won't be smart enough. It's easy to be amusing, engaging, entertaining, and awesome when you're online because you have time to think. I've never made an especially good first impression on guys. What is snarky and fun online, comes across as bitchy and/or aloof in person. While I am aware of this problem, there have been times I have been standing outside of myself, watching it happen. I'm hopeless.

I'll admit that part of me hopes that one day we'll meet (not entirely outside the realm of possibility - he lives in my area, ish.) and he'll see only my sexy brain and the fact that I'm not hideously ugly will just be icing.

So, why do I hate the internet? Because it has introduced me to smart, funny people who share my interests and I have become hopelessly infatuated. Damn you, interwebs!

Why I Want to Hit People

Why does it bother me if some people I work with won't acknowledge my existence? For example: there is this girl who will barely avoid running me over, and NOT SAY ANYTHING! What the fuck, people? Did she think she had just nimbly avoided an invisible wall? And let me make this statement - I don't particularly like this girl and I have been known to make unkind comments about her gigantic ass and sub par weave. Yet I am still bothered by her refusal to make eye contact or mumble "excuse me" after almost bowling me over with her enormous backside.

Normally, I'm a "do unto others" person, but I find myself falling into the trap of expecting people to be nice to me - regardless of my behavior toward them. Hi, Queen of the Double Standard, here. What I don't understand is why I immediately go to a violent place. Why do I want to punch people? I just passed by this chick on my way to the bathroom and she (surprisingly) didn't make eye contact. My 1st thought was, "I could probably knock her on her dumpy ass with a swift uppercut." Completely unnecessary, no? Indeed.

I get that we all have violent thoughts - I used to imagine running over my ex-husbands new fiance with my car - but are these violent thoughts signs of a deeper issue? Do I not release my emotions enough? Can I, one day, be a good mediator even while I'm thinking about burying my fist in someone's face? Sure, why not? As I said, we all have violent thoughts. It's just a matter of NOT acting on them. Must. channel. anger.

It's Official

What's official? I am not smart enough. And, much like Lisa Simpson was accused of being, I am a dilettante. That degree I sweated over? Pah! Worthless! The vocabulary that many people have complimented me on? Insufficient. My hundreds of thousands of dollars of books? Fancy, textured wallpaper.

But, Carrie G., what happened to embracing your intelligence? I do embrace (I do!) but what I am doing here is lamenting the fact that all those brains stuffed into my noggin aren't enough.

You may be wondering where this newfound despair comes from. I'm ashamed to tell you, so come closer and I'll whisper. It's about a boy. See, I told you it was bad. If you'll take a moment to peruse my post about why I hate on the internet, you'll see that I'm cyber-crushing on someone. Well, the more I find out about him (by reading blogs and comments, NOT by sitting outside of his house and chain-smoking while wearing a floppy hat and sunglasses) the more I fall in love with his mind. Again, there is nothing wrong with being attracted to someone on a purely (so far) intellectual level, but now I feel as though he is super out of my league.

Pish-tosh, Carrie G., any man would be happy to have your brain. Perhaps, but, and this is bad so I'm going to whisper again, I'm used to being the smarter one in a relationship. See? I'm terrible. Now, I'm happy to absorb what people have to offer, but it's an unusual feeling for me when it comes to boy-girl things. I honestly believe that this boy will find me lacking in the brains department. Add that to the fact that I'm not super-knowledgable about any ONE subject, and I'm about to give up before I begin.

Danity Kane = Bad Role Models

As I was driving home from work today, alternately pelted with rain and besieged by sunshine, I had a thought: Danity Kane's song "Damaged" is going to create a whole new generation of females who believe other people are responsible for their mental and emotional well-being.

Sample lyric:
"My heart is damaged (so damaged)
Damaged (so damaged)
And you can blame the one before.
So, how you gonna fix it, fix it, fix it?"

We've all had shitty relationships and emerged from the wreckage, broken and weeping. Despite what we may feel at the time, things get better. Time heals all, and other applicable cliches. Some people can take that experience and learn from it, becoming a better and stronger person. Some people gather their pain close and nurture it in a garden of darkness. These people become bitter and angst-ridden, and are all too ready to blame others for what life may be lacking.

The girls in Danity Kane are beseeching a new man to fix the damage the previous man did. If you are going into a new relationship with that kind of baggage, I can guarantee the relationship won't be especially successful. People cannot rely on other people to provide happiness. People (friends, partners, family) can enhance happiness, but they aren't the source from which it springs.

I'm continually disgusted by the notion that a woman needs a man to be complete. I have had happy relationships and I've had not-so happy relationships. When I'm not happy I change things. Familiarity and fear of the unknown can cause a person to stagnant in an unhappy situation, but it is unfair to blame the other person when something can be done.

Don't for a minute think that I'm dismissing out of hand people in abusive relationships - that's a topic I'm not getting into. This is about taking responsibility for your happiness, and not expecting it to be handed to you, all wrapped up in a pretty bow.