7.30.2009

Does Tweeting in Your Head Count?

I have no desire to tweet b/c everything I do would take far more than 140 characters to describe and likely include lots of digression and asides. Plus, nothing I do is important enough to share with everybody I know.

But sometimes I have a flash of brilliance and I wish I had someone to turn around and share my insight with. Is that what tweeting is? An intangible listener beside you that thinks you are brilliant? That hangs on your every thought? That … dare I say ... gives a shit? Because that? It does sound kind of cool.

But tweeting bs like, “I ate a carrot” or “I’m awake now” is, in my opinion, more than a little bit self indulgent. I know I don’t give a shit about what anybody ate for lunch or saw on the way to work. Do you? Really?

Mainly the reason I don’t Twitter, or MySpace, or Facebook or otherwise socially network is because I like to keep my business private. It’s amazing what you can learn about people from reading their public profiles. In a world where identity theft and cyber crime are rampant it amazes me that people are so willing to publish their personal business! The other night I wasted about three hours of my life looking up people I’ve known: old boyfriends, neighbors, grammar school classmates and such. I was amazed at how much information I could learn about their personal lives without even signing up for an account or “friending” them. (Friend as a verb? Really? Is this what we get instead of flying cars?)

Anyway, I could easily learn their marital status, spouse’s name, children’s names, religious affiliations, employers, Alma maters, and also get a pretty good idea of their current standard of living - and that’s just the public stuff. I shudder to think what kinds of details these people are posting to their friends. Their social security numbers? Savings account balances? Where does it end? What are people not proud of these days? What secrets do they still keep? I’m thinking it must be only the really creepy kinds of stuff because they seem to be sharing everything else with the world.

I prefer to have friends who actually come to my house; people I have to put clothes on to see; people whose voices I would actually recognize in the dark and whose hands I can hold when one of us needs it. I’m not sure I can even really know a person until I’ve felt their heartbeat against my own. Do I have on-line friends? Sure I do! But even with those persons I’ve made the transference into real life and cried with over the phone.

I guess my bottom line is this: If I care about you I have your number and you have mine. If we went to high school together and then fell out of touch there was probably a very good reason for that. I’ll stick with posting the funny crap that happens in my life and I’ll even edit it if it makes a better story. I’ll use pseudonyms as often as I can remember to and if I forget I won’t sweat it. My life is my own to share only as I see fit. I’ll just consider it doing my small part to keep the interwebs free of crap nobody really cares about any way.

And if the rapture happens or the world is otherwise in peril will someone please just call me?

7.15.2009

The Townhouse That Tortured Me For a Year: The Downstairs

It's finally finished (we won't talk about closet doors) and we're all moved in! It was great to be able to be involved in a little bit of design in addition to decorating. I wish I had taken "before" pictures because the transformation was astounding. It went from a place I once walked away from in disgust to a beautiful space we're happy to call home.

Before this it had ugly old carpet, beige walls and pink-ish (yes, pink) trim.

The over sized crown was a must for me, as it created a perfect finish. The light wood floors were chosen to balance the deeper cherry wood of the bookcases. Budget dictated the plantation blinds instead of shutters, but the upstairs carpet made of recycled plastics was a surprise bonus!

I engaged in a stand off with Marty, the Martha Stewart of contractors, about the dining room but won the battle of the solid chocolate walls - though I'm not entirely sure he didn't lower the chair rail I requested as a payback for that and my veto of coloured grout om the subway tiles in the kitchen. (I know the tray ceiling was his own personal victory, as we never discussed it. )

My original design was for these shelves to be stainless steel, but implementing it proved to be a major headache, so I just had Marty build wooden ones. Bob and I did not speak for a week because of these shelves, but in the end it's one of his favourite elements. I did install pre-made stainless shelves along the back wall of the kitchen and all of the new hardware is brushed stainless.


I got my subway tiles with white grout despite Marty's plea to do coloured. I also picked a much darker black granite for the counter tops, but for some reason Marty arbitrarily installed brown. No problem, I can compromise - especially when there are bigger battles to be won. Also, in a world obsessed with stainless steel appliances I opted for all white because: 1. It's easier to clean, 2. There's already enough steel in my kitchen and 3. I'm a trend-bucker by nature.

I hadn't even begun to think seriously about light fixtures when I stumbled upon two of these on clearance for less than $10 each. I had to dig to find the second one, but it was worth it!


This was a quick re-framing of some of my favourite photography efforts for the first floor stairwell. The goal is for LD to do some larger ones for the second floor.

Most people say the kitchen is the heart of the home, but for us it's the bookshelves. They are ever-present in every room of our home, but the main library is in the living room. Those bookcases have been through about 10 moves with me and I'm pretty sure that every mover I've ever used has hated me and my books after moving them.

I asked my friend, John, who is a master craftsman, to build me this CD shelf to be installed in place of the railing in the stairwell. It was one of the rare occasions where I actually measured to very specific requirements. John, however, disregarded my measurements and made it almost two feet longer because he thought I needed the extra CD space. I did need the space, but unfortunately the stair railing isn't eight feet long. It was so beautiful that I didn't care and installed it on the wall over the desk instead.


Over all I think the end result of a home inspired by, and designed around, a Pottery Barn silk drape bought on clearance turned out pretty damned good! I'll post pics of the upstairs as soon as I can, but we're still working out some closet issues.

7.13.2009

3.15.2009

Burning Building: A Poem-ish Political Analogy Fable Thing

I now present to you an analogy to illustrate how idiotic the current political debate is and the selfish attitudes I'm seeing expressed in our country today:

Let's say you're trapped in a burning building with flames leaping closer an closer. Meanwhile, the fire department has arrived on the scene, but the firefighters are doing nothing because:

Some of them think it is an electrical fire and

Some of them think it is a gas fire so

There are two very different approaches to how to put it out and

No one can agree on which one.

Finally the Chief issues orders based upon the best available information and the resources immediately at hand, but instead of rushing to rescue you the firefighters merely stay put and begin to debate the validity of the Chief's decision.

Whoa! Who's that rolling up his sleeves to join in the firefighter's debate?
(Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

While you remain trapped and are now choking the firefighters have moved on to a debate about:

How the fire probably started and

Who started it and

How they should be punished when caught.

Then they remember that the Chief once said that, "It is foolish to rush into a fire without first addressing its cause," so they now refuse to follow his orders because:

He can no longer be trusted.

He is a liar.

Liar!


Hero!

Idiot!

Knowing that you are now likely near death, and amidst the demands of bystanders to "DO SOMETHING!" the Chief himself rushes in to save you. Does he succeed?

Let's say he does:

Half the firefighters think he is a hero.

Half the firefighters think it was merely the result of pure luck, rather than skill.

Some still think he acted stupidly and refuse to ever support him again.


The other building occupants have arrived home and gathered together to:

Complain about the fact that their own apartments have burned and

Bitch about the inconvenience of it all and

Bemoan their personal losses and

Demand to know who is responsible and


More importantly, who is going to compensate them for their loss and

Several people even comment on how stupid one would have to be to get trapped in a burning building.


Angry Rich Guy (Get it?)

The building owner has arrived and:

Is furious that his expensive building has been destroyed and

Blames both you and the entire fire department for his loss and

Demands swift and severe punishment for you all and

Rants about how unfair it all is because, Dammit! He worked hard to earn that building and he deserved it!

Now the neighbors have joined the crowd on the street to:

Complain about the noise and

Order several bystanders to move away from their building; asserting to any who linger that they are guilty of trespassing on private property and

Worry about how the ugly burned out building will affect their property values.

Let's stop here.

This ridiculous analogy can be applied to the President; the Stimulus Bill; the economy; the housing crisis; and even the general lack of compassion in our society today.

Everyone thinks its everyone else's fault.

No one believes they could have done anything wrong.

Everyone seems to feel they are entitled to an existence absent from any loss or inconvenience; citing this belief as the "American Dream" while asserting that it promises wealth for everyone who is just willing to work for it. (More on that later!)

One final comment:

What if the Chief didn't save you and instead you were both killed in the fire?

The reactions of the crowd would be exactly the same.

3.07.2009

A Wedding Dress? Or an Attorney?

Let's say I get bored (or drunk, or crazy, or lonely) tonight and decide I want to get married.

All I have to do is go down to a bar (or wherever) and find some willing guy and tomorrow we can get legally married. The law will sanction our frivolous loveless marriage; society will recognise it; and come next April we'll be filing our 2008 federal income taxes together.

But let's say we get really really drunk after the ceremony and my new idiot husband walks in front of a bus. In the hospital they'll ask, "Who is the next of kin?!" and I'll have every right to step up and assert my claim and control over what medical procedures he receives.

Let's say he dies. Do I shout out Bingo? I mean, I've just inherited his estate.

And then, a few weeks later when I discover that the awkward elbow-y sex we hurriedly had to consummate the relationship has left me with child, I need only to fill out the proper forms to ensure that said child receive the full Social Security survivor benefits due to him or her as the surviving child of my deceased husband.

I don't even have to know his middle name! But I can legally use his last name if I want to.

Yes, the sanctity of marriage is alive and well in the hands of the heterosexuals isn't it?

But let's say that instead of getting married, I accept an invitation to my neighbors' home for dinner. They have been together for 20 years. They are very much in love. Their home is beautiful and on the walls are pictures of their family. They would like to have children someday, but since they both have busy careers they are still working out the logistics of who will take leave from their career to be a stay-at home parent. See, they feel strongly that their child should be the first priority of their family. Both are also very active within our community and serve on local committees and boards.

If these friends were to ask me, "Why can't we get married?" I would not be able to even begin to formulate a single logical reason. The sad truth is that they cannot get married only because our society refuses to allow them that right.

Our country, with all of its wonderful freedoms, has decided to draw the line at allowing all of its adult citizens the freedom to marry whom they choose. In this great country of ours the love shared by two persons of the same sex cannot be legally sanctioned. We have enacted laws that guarantee the rights of individuals to choose their religion without fear of persecution or discrimination, yet we refuse to let everyone choose their partner with the same guarantees of freedom.

And don't even begin to talk to me about legal unions. Calling a marriage between two persons of the same sex a "civil union" is a separate, not an equal, right. There is absolutely no civil contract under existing law that can enact the same rights to a couple as the marriage contract does. None.

And yet ...

Prisoners can marry women they have met only via prison mail. Convicted rapists or murderers can marry. Sixteen year olds can marry (with parental approval) their first love. Divorced people can re-marry the same person they divorced - over and over again if they want. Perfect strangers can marry just for the hell of it. Gay men can marry gay women. Gay persons can marry straight persons.

If you really want to argue the sanctity of marriage read this.

There is no more sanctity in marriage. It has become a joke.

The divorce rate is through the roof.

One of our most popular TV shows is one where a single person makes out for weeks with numerous other single strangers (contestants of the opposite sex of course) and ultimately proposes to one of them leading the viewing public to celebrate his or her decision!

We talk of the "starter" marriage, as if it is merely practice for the marriages which will follow.

Sanctity of marriage my ass.

Perhaps if we did have the commonsense to allow for same sex marriages those who chose to participate might actually restore some dignity to the institution.

1.29.2009

I Know, It's Face to Palm Time

I cannot believe it has been so long since I have posted anything substantial. Believe me, I have had a ton of topics on my mind and (until now) actual free time. I've just been unable to focus on anything for longer than a couple of minutes lately. I don't know if it is my ADD (or, for that matter, if I even have ADD), or if it's my meds, or my exhaustion, or my stress, or maybe I'm just lazy.

I really don't know.

I do know that there are several people whom I have promised responses to and I hate letting them down.

A while back I bought a voice activated recorder to carry with me so that when I had an idea for a blog, or a school paper, or a freelance project, I could just record my brainstorming and then later transcribe it into a fully formed piece.

Well, I carried the recorder for about a week and even remembered to record a few things. Then, on the weekend I listened to it. Now, absent the original inspiration, it just played back as my stupid voice babbling at me, so I erased it all.

I kept the recorder by my bed, as I tend to have my most brilliant ideas when I'm trying to fall asleep. I recorded some more stuff and when I listened to it in the light of day it sounded like teen-aged melodrama.

I decided that the problem is that I'm too self conscious to listen to my own voice, so I've ditched the recorder.

Now I have tiny incomplete word documents all over my work and home computer. In fact, here are some of the topics:

1. A new installment of "The stoopidest Man I ever Divorced" with a special message for my friend from another Message board I frequent. (Holla anonymous friend!)

2. An opinion piece about volunteering and why you have no excuse not to.

3. An essay about the three traits that I despise (Greed, Lying and lack of Gratitude)

4. How to raise a grateful child (This is an old free lance piece that I never completed - Ugh.)

5. An essay about the state of the economy (and why you shouldn't panic)

6. An essay about the passing of Prop 8 - which is not so timely now, but still an issue very close to my heart.

7. My growing dislike of modern communication

There's lots more, but those are the ones currently in a state of being written.

Sooooo .... all I can say is keep checking back here because eventually I will put some new stuff up.

And, it might just be addressed to YOU.

1.17.2009

Sometimes It's Okay to be Lonely ...

Right?


RIGHT?!


Heh heh. I find myself kind of out of sorts tonight. I'm overwhelmed with all the stuff I need to do. I seem to be at a place in my life where I'm filled with ideas, yet empty of energy. It's weird, but I have so much to say, yet the focus to write it down escapes me. I've been on break from school for three weeks and have managed to get (almost) caught up on stuff around the house and office. If going back to school while also working full time and being a single mom has taught me anything; it's taught me to value my free time. These past few weeks have felt like a vacation! As such, I have spent a lot of time doing ...absolutely nothing.


I have channel surfed aimlessly; read for pleasure; watched a few movies; and even *gasp* walked around the mall. I don't even, like shopping, but there was something kind of fun about getting out there and being a part of the masses.


Maybe that's what's been missing from my life; that feeling of being a part of something.


See, in order to accomplish this whole school/work/life thang, I have to keep myself on a really really tight schedule. This means there's no time to go out with friends; to attend a movie; to host a dinner party; or even to have lengthy phone conversations.

Most of my closest friends live out of town, so communication is via phone and e-mail - both of which get back burner-ed because of school demands.

I keep telling reminding myself that this my last semester before taking some time off, so my self-imposed solitude should be ending soon.

But sometimes I do just get a bit lonely.

Having limitations on your lifestyle is NOT the same as being poor.