Thursday, November 30, 2006

but maybe you should plug it with a beer

There is something I have not mentioned in all the commotion. Actually, I have not mentioned it because the commotion overshadowed it. I think that is the true mark of being happy- that the perturbations of life fail to sway you out of glee.

It has been cold here lately, unseasonably it seems, though it is nothing compared to the cold climes in which I was raised. I have turned into a wimp over time. But I enjoy a brisk walk in such biting chills. Last Saturday, I wrapped my favorite and warmest scarf around my neck several times, grabbed my jacket, and walked to the Castro Theatre. It is a pretty solid half-hour walk from my house, which I rather enjoy, despite always winding up late as a result of foolish optimism. On that particular night, within three blocks, I was warm.

I love walking down Valencia Street on the weekend (but then you all probably knew that already). It is not the same as walking around Manhattan at night, but it is not shabby. The street is alive, the hipsters are out and about, and the Marina folk are not trashed and sloppy yet. I like darting my eyes into the windows, seeing which restaurants and bars are filled and which have a few die-hard locals. The bookstores are casually closing shop. Even all the dirt and grime, all of it is welcome, infuses a sense of being that I will never adequately explain.

By the time I got to the Castro, I was in perfect spirits, still soaring about The Goal and now toasty from the walk. When I met JI at the bar, I barely stopped to say hello before ordering a drink from the handsome (it's the Castro) bartender.

When JI got to chatting about our days, I told her the highlight of mine had been the walk over to meet her. Hers, on the other hand, had been lunch with SC. I know- based on previous accounts, some of you are cringing just seeing those initials. And I am not going to lie. When she told me that she had lunch with SC, I felt as though I had momentarily been punched in the gut. After that, I had a moment of feeling really annoyed with co-worker GBF, who I decided was full of stuff and nonsense.

And then the next moment, it passed through my mind completely. Maybe that's because the alcoholic beverage appeared at that moment. But maybe it's because it did not really matter that much. You would think logic would not really play a part at such a moment, but my brain rattled off like a computer:
    Should I be upset?
    Do I like him?
    Maybe- especially after co-worker GBF encouraged it.
    Should I be upset with co-worker GBF?
    But maybe co-worker GBF was just mistaken.
    Yeah. Or maybe SC just didn't think I was interested.
    Yeah, and besides, JI seems to like him.
    Right, and plus, dude, I am so happy- something this inconsequential cannot phase me.
    Yeah- there's nothing to be upset about!

And then the brain just shut that sh*t down. Really. I truly bore no one ill will. SP asked me about it when I talked to her this week, and she was completely dissatisfied with my lack of rage about it. She wanted me to be upset and hysterical, but really, why? Then she tried to blame it on me not showing enough interest. And I shrugged that off as well.

Because, dudes, as Popeye says, I yam what I yam. And, boy, am I happy right now. Honestly, I have neither the patience nor the inclination to coax someone into appreciating that.

Then co-worker GBF told me today that it was all an awkward situation and that SC remains interested. Do you know what my response to that was? Yep. I shrugged that sh*t off too.

Happiness makes a person invincible in the game, y'all. That's all I'm trying to say.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

the bubble floats so madly, will it stay sky high?

You guys (picture this uttered by an immature 16-year old)! I really do not even know what to say anymore. Too much, too much sweetness. Comments, emails, phone calls, big hugs. I am going into seizures and diabetic comas. Seriously, y'all are killing me.

Okay, in the best way humanly possible, though.

It is just that I am touched. And I do not really know how to write about that without sounding like the village idiot. Just imagine me with a big, dumb grin on my face. And maybe giggling. I was already head over heels, over the moon about the current state of affairs, but having you all share in that with me- well that's enough to melt a cold, black heart. Really, people. My heart is not cut out for this beating and soaring thing.

All kidding aside, I cannot give out any more concrete details at the moment. I can give you even more Heisenberg Uncertainty trash though, like this:

  • There is a 100% chance that I am leaving the city of San Francisco in 2007 (okay, that's technically not very Heisenberg-ish).
  • There is about a 50% chance that I will be in the Chicago area in 2007.
  • There is a 90% chance that I will be around the New York area in April.
  • There is about a 35% chance that I will be in the New York area in late 2007.
  • There is about a 1% chance that I will still be in California at the end of 2007.

Clear as mud, no? You know, the thing is, I could have written out some statistics like this two weeks ago, but some of those bullets up there might have represented bad outcomes. In the above list, should any of these uncertainties become a reality, it is a good thing. This might be the first time that I can honestly say I am in a no-lose situation.

I am sure I will go back to b*tching and griping and all that hand-wringing that I do best, because the human mind is not built to sustain this kind of euphoria for very long. But for now, I will keep the posts short, sweet (like all of you), and stupid.

p.s. I have not had any Grey Goose since this news. That seems the only real tragedy worthy of mention.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

dreaming my dreams with you

I laugh in tears and hope in despair
I cheer up in sad hopelessness
I’m joyful and no pleasure’s anywhere
I’m powerful and lack all force and strength
Warmly welcomed, always turned away.

That is how I have felt almost the entire time I have been writing here for the past few years. I have been a walking contradiction, a bundle of doubts and insecurities. And those of you who have stuck with it from the beginning have borne it all with impressive tolerance and grace.

If my last post was cryptic, it was because I was tongue-tied and useless, weak-kneed and brainless, unable to speak plainly. There is another reason too. It is because naming something The Goal was always meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek. It makes it sound lofty and grand, like I am training for the Iron Man. I gave it the moniker because, in my world of self-absorption, it was blown up to such melodramatic proportions. But truthfully, The Goal is not some massive accomplishment, nor is it even novel. It’s only this- it means a lot to me.

And after all, that is the absurdity of the blog- to write about the very slight and very small as if it were the very momentous and very enormous. I owe so much of my sanity to everyone who has read this nonsense and gone one step beyond putting up with it- you have sent sweet emails, you have left supportive comments, you have cheered me on along the way.

Now I am left trying to figure out what more there is to say, what more there is to share. There is so much to write and nothing at all to write. Right this moment, I can only write the reasons The Goal has meant something to me:

It is, truly, no matter what The Goal is/was. Everyone has their something. But ah, to get that which you have wanted for so long, that which you have devoted so much of your blood, sweat and tears, well, that matters. That matters quite a lot.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

inarticulate speech of the heart

A wave rose up and knocked me down. I swallowed a river of relief. The dam broke, unleashing a flood of blood to my brain. I thought I could not breathe. I thought I might be drowning. In the excitement, I had simply forgotten to inhale. I had failed to notice I was floating in the shallows.

Soaking wet, coughing up water, overwhelmed, I finally put my feet on the ground and stood upright. I emerged from the shore, where they were all waiting. Gathered in such smiles, my heart squeezed into a tight contraction, seized in a tetanus of love. My knees buckled, but they were waiting, keeping me steady.

I thought if I ever found this land, ever put my legs on solid ground again, it would require some kind of transformation. Drifting at sea for so many years, I imagined I had adapted, and that more adaptations would be needed to reverse the effect of salt water and the lilt of rolling oceans.

But as my hair was drying, as they all embraced me, I looked at my hands and they were the same hands. I was always this same person. It wasn’t a change in belief, or the loss of gills, or fine swimming skills that brought me to this country. It was just the tide, the wave that came and finally pushed me towards my destination, rather than away from it. As if the ocean recognized I was not one of her children, and simply spit me out.

And this land is not a beautiful tropical island. It is a rocky northern shore. It is still a long walk to civilization, and when I get there, I will have to build a new life with my bare hands. I will have to dig out stones from cold dirt and lay a new foundation. It will take years to feel that I have found a home.

But I have been treading water for a long time, worried that the sharks would soon circle me, dreading a death by drowning. And it is such a relief to be on the shore, to smell fresh earth that I have a new fear now. I am scared to forget this moment, scared to forget my months at sea. Or I am frightened that I will feel it all too acutely, and die from the wave of joy. Each time I get up, it returns and sweeps me off of my feet.

Friday, November 24, 2006

most of all, when snowflakes fall

November was filled with such angst, such crises regarding how difficult it is to be known, or to be connected, or simply just to be. But yesterday was a day to get centered, bask in warmth, swim in wine, and just be.

On Wednesday night, I sliced apples while listening to Feist, letting my mind do the one thing it rarely does- organize. By the end of the evening, I had mapped out an entire game plan for Thursday, because I had committed to making three different desserts for Thanksgiving dinner. I squeezed a lemon into the apples, coated them with cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and flour, and slept peacefully.

Yesterday, like many Thanksgivings I have spent in San Francisco, had a strange dichotomy. My place is really far too small for a Thanksgiving dinner (and also I'm deathly fearful of preparing a turkey on my own), so I'm always ingratiating myself to a friend who hosts. But as a result, I always spend the morning of Thanksgiving very much in solitude preparing whatever I am supposed to bring. Yesterday, it was regimented. Normally, I really thrive in chaos. I like taking two hours to make what should take twenty minutes. But yesterday, I was following a schedule.

Each dessert baked yesterday had segments. For example, the Gingered Pumpkin Pie had a topping that was made first and set aside. Then I made the dough for the Pecan Tassies (which are kind of like miniature pecan pies). And so on and so forth, until all kinds of components were assembled. The Pecan Tassies were packed away, while the apples were taken out of the refrigerator to add a little dulce de leche (I highly recommend this for anyone interested in kicking up an apple pie a notch, as long as you don't put too much sugar on the apples, and have used sour grannysmiths). While the pumpkin pie cooled, I took a shower to clean off all the flour and butter and eggs. And then I took a deep breath, packed up the car, and headed up to Bernal Heights.

But then I got to the party, and it was the exact opposite. It was all hugs and warmth and people. People everywhere. Two Japanese visitors and three Italians turned up to the dinner uninvited. For the record, I would say Thanksgiving may be the only times Brazilians arch a bit at party crashers. Of course, one of the Italians was a winemaker, who brought tasty wines and cheeses, so all was quickly forgiven.

Everything about dinner was wonderful, and made me realize all the more acutely all the things I will miss the most about San Francisco when I have to leave it. More than that, it made me realize how thankful I am for the people I've stumbled upon throughout the years. I really can't even explain very well how I came to be friends with the Brazilians that invited me to dinner last night, but they reveal this entirely different reality of San Francisco, separate from the one that my more straight-laced coworkers know.

The thing is, I am one of those straight-laced bores myself, so I am so thankful to be included in something so refreshingly different. We had a very traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but that was a first for so many of the dinner guests. We had a 1:1 ratio of wine bottles to dinner guests, which is another reflection of a fabulous Thanksgiving. We sat around the table for hours. We ate dinner, sat back for extra helpings of wine until we were ready for dessert, and then a bottle of tequila mysteriously found its way to the table. We talked nonsense and we talked about microeconomics and we talked about persimmons (which are apparently big in Japan).

I want to call the dinner party diverse, but diverse sounds like such a pretentious word in this case. Yes, the party was a little United Colors of Benetton, but it was not about appearances. Everyone was very much themselves, and yet no one minded each other. Everyone had opinions, but no one was opinionated. And for all of it, I felt grateful.

When I got home, I could not stop thinking about gratitude. Maybe I do not write it so often, but I feel a wave of gratitude every day. Every time I laugh or smile, every time my heart swells, (every time someone comments on this blog!) I am thankful in a way that I hold dear. It's so important to me, to be dazzled by the resilience of the heart despite its extreme vulnerability, to be moved by the kindness of family, friends, strangers. To be grateful for every last minute of it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

they like the way we work

Things I did today:
  • Since I wimped out of going last night, dragged myself to the market during lunch today along with other psychotic shoppers to purchase preparatory materials for the bake-off that will start tonight and end tomorrow (with my planning skills, probably ten minutes before I'm supposed to get to Thanksgiving dinner).
  • Thanks to the excellent advice of Thalassa, purchased tickets to travel between Houston and Austin during the Christmas holidays, thus satisfying granddaughter duties.
  • After wrangling commitments out of flaky coworkers, bought four tickets to see The Sound of Music, sing-a-long version no less, at The Castro theater on Saturday. If any readers are in the Bay Area and have any interest in participating in the foolishness, do let me know. We all agreed that, when attending an event where there will undoubtedly be at least ten men dressed up as Maria Von Trapp, it is important to have a solid drink beforehand. I see a Grey Goose and Tonic in my future. I am only sorry that A N N A is not in the area right now, as I know she is particularly fond of this movie, maybe as fond of it as my cheesy a$$ is.
  • Researched empanada dough recipes. I've gotten it into my head that it would be great fun to figure out how to make an apple pie version of empanadas. Basically a McDonald's apple pie, sans fried crust, burnt tongues, and 700 additives and preservatives.

Things I have not done today:
  • Anything productive for which I am actually paid to be in this office.

Even though I have already shoved this song in the direction of anyone with a pair of ears, I found the video even more precious, so I had no choice but to be even more overbearing. There is a nice Holi-esque moment towards the end that is rather sweet as well.

I am thankful for Regina Spektor, among a 1000 other things. I am even thankful for the absurdity of work, as when my boss sent out an email yesterday with the subject line Gobble, gobble without a hint of subversive humor whatsoever.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I get kind of hectic inside

One of the little glitches that comes with hanging out with lots of GBFs is that you start listening to Mariah Carey and Justin Timberlake. Not only that, but when you admit it, instead of laughing at you as should be appropriate, your GBFs give you affirmations and snaps instead.

Lack of sleep makes me loopy. I found myself chatting up people this morning in a seeming drug-addled nervous giddiness. That's how boring I am at times- my coworkers will probably stage an intervention to tell me I need to get some sleep.

It is actually W's fault. We are probably the worst penpals in the history of penpals. When we were younger, it was even worse, for drama-ridden reasons- there were whole gaps in our history because we were off having a pout and shutting each other out for months on end. Now, the gaps are unintentional. He lives on a different continent, and even taking away the geography, we are in wildly different points in our life. Taking that into account and throwing in sloppy helpings of our busy schedules and our lackadaisical attitude about keeping in touch, it takes the kettle bubbling over to induce us to write.

Then again, sometimes it is okay to take friends for granted. In fact, sometimes that is the whole beauty of a good friendship. I have known W longer than any other close friend, and we seem to have this built-in mechanism of sensing that we are drifting too far apart. When that happens, we snap back together as if we are a rubberband that was pulled taut and let free.

Yesterday, he dropped the bomb that he is planning a trip out here to visit. Most likely in January. I know better than to get worked up about such things. He is almost as bad as TMB as far as dangling the promise of visiting the Bay Area and then flaking out (I keed, TMB!) goes. Come to think of it, I am on shaky ground- I have been making mention of visiting W in Europe for over a year now and I never got around to it. All the same, the mere possibility of him visiting made me heady for all of yesterday. I have not seen him for three years, which is definitely a record, even for our sorry friendship.

Three years. That is what kept me up last night. Three years- thinking about it made me realize how much passed by in those three years. With both of the two friends I have kept since college, I have witnessed such profound shifts. They are not anything like they were when I first met them. And yet they are. There is still some piece of them that remains mine, or ours. I do not know if I have changed that radically. I probably have, but it is hard to notice such things, despite being introspective and navel-gazing to the point of blogging. I have been here all this time, so the changes seem rather gradual and slight. But maybe the cumulative effect transforms me to someone altogether different from who I was.

In other giddiness news, the broseph did really well on the GMAT, a beast he's been wrangling for quite a torturous while now. I am so happy for him that I could explode. He has really struggled with this- broseph's like the anti-Indian as far as standardized tests go, and he also suffers from chronic laziness. So, turning it around and getting his act together on this test is no small feat for him. I told him to go to Union Square, run up the stairs in a jogging suit, and do the Rocky dance, but he sounded like he was not leaning towards taking my advice.

I am determined to determine how to make pie crust from scratch tonight. I predict disasters galore, and that's just the part where I try to go to the grocery store two days before Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 20, 2006

we won't cry, because it could be fun

Well, I make a lot of mistakes, but somehow, I find a way to make my blunders tolerable. It is probably because of the plentiful opportunities I have to practice making lemonade from lemons (one of my mistakes was telling someone last week "to make lemon from lemonade"- I just had to own my stupidity on that one). Here are two examples from this weekend:
    Mistake #1: buying blood orange juice from Trader Joe's
    What went wrong: false assumption that, even though I only drink fresh-squeezed orange juice, everything at Trader Joe's tastes good.
    Corrective action: mixing equal parts of Diet 7Up & TJ's blood orange juice makes a refreshing, Aranciata-like beverage.

    Mistake #2: thinking I could make a sweater that fit perfectly.
    What went wrong: overestimation of talents and blind ignorance of obvious size issues that resulted in a sweater that would be great if my arms were actual tree trunks.
    Corrective action: rip apart sweater by pieces to start again with a better plan, make completely indulgent, small item to keep myself from falling into a rage:

    this close to me

Even though I seem to be on a soapbox lately proclaiming that I am not very girly, it's clear that I have certain domestic inclinations. And that I like a pair of socks with just a little percentage of cashmere in them. Thoroughly impractical, but that is exactly what makes them indulgent. I've also restarted kitchen experimentations, but will have to wait until tonight to see if those efforts turn out to be time well spent or not.

There has also been a bit of a Gift of The Magi incident up in this joint. Due to my grandfather's pleas, I booked a flight to Texas for the holidays. I was feeling pretty fine about that decision until my parents informed me yesterday that my grandfather is visiting EBF starting December 24th. When I called my grandfather this morning to confirm, he whined, "Well, you said you wouldn't be able to come anyways." Not true, but the gramps could not be bothered with details. Technically, it's not really that Gift of the Magi, since my grandfather is not flying to San Francisco or anything. But it remains a massive blunder. I have a few options and I am not sure which I will take:
  • go with the original plan, spend 3 days in H-town, followed by 3 days in Austin, followed by 2 days in H-town. (this works out to spending about 1.5 days with the grandparents)
  • spend 1 day in H-town, spending extra days with the grandparents in Austin instead, go back to H-town right after Christmas (or even on Christmas Eve).
  • cancel trip altogether.

A part of me is really tempted to go with the last option. If my entire initial impulse to go was to visit the grandparents, and they plan to be out the door upon my arrival, perhaps it is better to put the whole thing off until another time. I am hoping to talk to my H-town connection K about it tonight, because I also don't know how tricky it is going to be for me to get from Houston to Austin. Holidays. It seems I really have a knack for complicating them.

Oh also, can I just mention one thing that annoys me? I don't understand one of my friends, who consistently calls on Sunday evenings. Almost every Sunday of late, she says she is just calling to see what is up. But why on a Sunday then? Why not call on a Friday, or better yet, meet up for a drink? Sundays are my evenings to unwind, to talk myself into going to work the next day, to make a pair of cashmere socks. Sundays are not my evening to get a phone call at 10:45 at night to recap the weekend for whatever purpose that might serve. This same friend also tried to whip me into a lather about SC- sometimes I think women are the worst people on earth to consult about men. And actually, I did not even consult her about it- I simply related the hilarity of my behavior in the situation. That was enough for her to start talking about where he could take me hiking. So maybe I am just a little hostile to her about that. But I think it's mostly the Sunday night thing, because it is so wickety wack.

Friday, November 17, 2006

lifetimes are catching up with me

Last night, MM and I went to Market Bar in the Ferry Building. I had hoped to take her to the Ferry Building to indulge in a little window shopping- the place is teeming with ridiculously expensive pastries, cheeses, wines, mushrooms, and JI had told me that on Thursday evenings, they usually hold a farmer's market with all sorts of overpriced and exotic produce. By the time we got there, near 7, the place was empty, most of the stores were closed, and there was no farmer's market to be found anywhere. There was also an event of some sort going on, so Market Bar was deserted.

The food was just what I wanted- everything tasted so good; even my responsible side dish of wilted spinach was delicious. MM even ordered a Kumquat Soda (wtf?!? I didn't even know what a kumquat should taste like) that turned out to be so tasty that I am considering hunting around for it in the local markets. And because I rarely see MM, and she had dropped the news that she was 7 months pregnant, we both turned a completely blind eye to the exorbitant cost of dining there, absorbed instead in catching up with each other's lives.

MM and I diverged somewhere along the way and wound up on completely different trajectories. And it is nice to know that, even when that happens, it is possible for two people to respect each other's choices and to be genuinely happy for each other. That sounds so obvious and so simple, but it is interesting how rarely friendships unfold in that manner.

It turns out we had not seen each other since February. That did not seem that long ago, not even a full year. Yet when we got down to the business of recounting what had transpired for each of us since then, it was rather overwhelming. We kept pausing and then saying, "Oh, and I don't think I told you this either."

I am not sure if it is evident from these daily ramblings, but I was on lockdown for quite some time, years. I had my nose to the grindstone, head to the stars. But as I started thinking of what has happened to me in the past year, I realized that this has really been a period of coming out of my cage, and I've been doing just fine. I am a little surprised at it, because I am still largely preoccupied by The Goal. So much remains uncertain and unclear. But I think at some now-unidentifiable point, I simply snapped and thought f*** it. Or perhaps it was not active. Perhaps it just happened to me. Certainly, a series of unpredictable events have occurred since the last time I saw MM. But I am not sure how much of it was just a bizarre alignment of the fates, and how much of it was what I allowed into my life. I have been just busy enough not to have the time to scrutinize and tease out such nuances- or maybe I have kept myself busy enough.

Just to make life even more unstable and uncertain, that job that got dangled in front of me? The fools are throwing a full-court press at me now. This is a really difficult call, and I am trying to be as level about it as I can. I have told the hiring manager that it is a tough call for me now. This current job is mind numbing and the suck but it's not killing me at the moment, and I plan to hand them my resignation as soon as they hand me my bonus. On the other hand, if I take the new job, it would be interesting work, but intense, would involve a lot of travel, and would mean that I would have to stay in Corporate America all the way to the summer, cutting into plans for a period of rest before embarking on the culmination of The Goal. Now I know why I struggled so much in multivariate calculus.

And let me leave you with more tales of 12-year old behavior:
    Co-worker GBF: (looking out the window) Hey look, it's your favorite guy.
    me: I have a favorite guy? Where?
    CWGBF: There. (pointing at speck in distance in window)
    me: Who is that?
    CWGBF: SC.
    me: Shut up!

Don't get me wrong- I can't think of a better way to end the week than sliding into pre-adolescent conversation.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

still building and burning down love

Last night, driving to the gym, I caught U2 performing on KFOG's Live from the Archives. Even though radio stations around here generally stink, I still prefer the radio to anything else when I am driving. Something about the unpredictability of it and my short-attention span channel-changing appeals to me when I am on the road. When I used to drive from New Jersey to EBF, a 5-6 hour drive, I would pass through some patches where the only radio stations were country, but that just helped me to mark the distance I was passing, bringing me closer to my destination.

When I first caught U2 on KFOG, they were playing Mysterious Ways. Not my favorite song, but since I called a moratorium on Achtung Baby for a long while, it was nice to hear it after all these years. The line if you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel never fails to evacuate the air from my lungs for a nanosecond. Next came All I Want is You, and I could not believe my luck (though I could not stop myself from considering the tragedy that the first time that song was used for dramatic purposes, it was in such a mediocre film). Bono might be a bombastic jacka$$, but the dude could write a song back in the day.

In the parking lot of the gym, just as I was pulling into a space, my heart just stopped. It only took about two seconds of a guitar intro to do me in. There was nothing to do but sit there in the darkness, listening. I have heard the song a million times. And yet, I may as well have been glued to the driver's seat.
    if you twist and turn away
    if you tear yourself in two again

And that is really all it took. Just a little guitar and two lines of a song, and I was floored. I cannot explain it properly, of course. The song is supposedly about drug addiction, and I have never struggled with that and have never known anyone struggling with that. As usual, I have probably completely misappropriated it for some other purpose. The problem is, I cannot even place it to a single person, a single event, a single anything. It is not a memory so much as a feeling. And I sit there in the darkness with it, trying to breathe, stunned by how this song still gets to me.

It was nothing a flailing run could not fix, but if I am being perfectly honest, I love feeling that way. One of the reasons I am so fond of music is that it can be that powerful, that it can stop you from all the banalities of the day and command your attention. And even though I have nothing specifically for which to feel melancholy, I must admit that a good dip into a pool of bad memories is sometimes just what I need. Because they are not really bad memories, they are bad feelings. And I prefer feeling sad over feeling numb.

Of course, I will take feeling happy over both. And that is just what I will be when I see my friend MM tonight, one of two friends I have retained from my university years. A week ago, when she told me she was going to be in town again and urged me to meet her for dinner, she casually included the news that she is 7 months pregnant. Difficult to fathom that a girl that once burst into tears because she thought two guys were cheating against us at a game of Euchre will be a mother in just a few months.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

forgive me for forgetting

Sorry that my posts this week will probably be revolving around grandparents, but it is far better than the other things I might whine or rant about. My grandfather and I talked last night. We usually have this standard routine when we talk: he asks me when I am coming to visit him, I respond with a vague "we'll see" in Gujarati, he makes a "hmmmppph" disapproving grunt, and it is left at that. I know that the "we'll see" thing sounds noncommittal and unsatisfying, but it is actually a family tradition. Our whole family generally responds with "we'll see." In some ways, it is a sign of adulthood. Growing up, I was always on the receiving end of the "we'll see." Can we go to the zoo next week? "We'll see." Can I have a Rubik's Cube for Christmas? "We'll see." Can I get a Cabbage Patch Kid? "Hell to the No." Okay, so I didn't always get "we'll see." But in general, in my family, you get a no or a maybe. There is no getting to yes.

Maybe it's because we take yes very seriously. Or maybe it's just because we are a bunch of fools. Either way, as aggravating as it might sometimes be, we have all gotten used to the response. So, I was taken aback when my grandfather's reaction strayed from our established script. He burst out, "So you're not coming for Christmas?" with such disappointment that it was jarring for a moment. I assured him that nothing had been decided. That was not satisfactory. Next, I tried misdirection, and pointed out that the bro-seph was a firm no. This just seemed to make my grandfather sad, so I decided I had better stop, telling him I would try.

In all honesty, I was frustrated with the conversation because it uncovered how much my command of Gujarati is constantly deteriorating. While I understand it without any difficult, my spoken Gujarati must be like nails against a chalkboard for my grandparents. They are, of course, extremely understanding because:
  • When I was nearly 3 years old, I went to India, and left speaking pitch-perfect Gujarati. When my father picked me up at the airport, he asked me questions in English, and I kept replying in Gujarati. Even though that should be ancient history, it somehow secured my grandparents' favor.
  • If you give me enough time, I slip back into a closer semblance of fluency, and my grandparents know this.
  • I try to speak to them in Gujarati, which is a rarity amongst their American-born grandchildren.
  • I am also the only American-born grandchild who learned to write in Gujarati, so they have misplaced faith that I will one day regain full fluency.
  • They are my grandparents, and they have no other choice.

Probably the most comical part of my language issues is that, occasionally, I throw Spanish into the mix by mistake. My grandfather speaks English, and my grandmother understands basic English. But neither of them knows a word of Spanish. So when I start babbling in Gujarati and pick up real speed, I inadvertently drop in a Spanish word, and confusion ensues. Likewise, when I went to Peru, every so often, when I was finally feeling confident that I could converse with a local in Spanish, a Gujarati word would find its way out of my mouth, and a perplexed que??? would follow.

Anyway, I guess I have to hunt down some flights now. I am actually going to try to hit two cities in Texas in one trip: H-town and Austin. Oh, and I have to get a ticket to Cleveland for January. I really know how to pick my destinations, don't you think?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

going back to my own ones

Even though I am not a religious person, I guess I have a sense of faith. It comes at moments like this. It came to me young, when I realized my immediate family was never going to be idyllic. Just as I realized that my little family unit was never going to live in perfect harmony, a large segment of my family swept into my life and filled the void.

When you have that many people genuinely vested in your well-being, you can feel it, and you know that ultimately you will be okay. My extended family lets me down all the time- they do not understand me, they have that special knack that family has of saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time, and my, are they demanding. But I cannot hold it against them for long, for two reasons. First, they love me, and in a way that no one else ever will. Second, every so often, one of them comes through, and always in such a spectacular fashion that I feel like I am going to burst.

My cousin A emailed me yesterday pleading with me to come visit for the holidays. I was resolved to begin a traveling embargo that would not be lifted until 2007. But a constellation of symptoms has me reconsidering. There is the email from A, which had his signature sweetness dripping in every word. But there was also, last night, a voicemail from my grandfather. My grandfather has been calling me a lot lately, and this is not a good thing. He has been lonely and generally unhappy of late.

And something about listening to his voice last night on the answering machine calmed me down from the unsteadiness and annoyance I had been experiencing intermittently the past few months. Co-worker GBF noted yesterday that everyone wants a piece of me. That is not really true- as I have mentioned before, co-worker GBF is prone to exaggeration. But I have been feeling pulled, I have been feeling unable to meet the demands that people have been making of me.

You would think that my family pulling at me would just exacerbate that feeling, but it did not. It snapped it all into focus. It made everyone else's expectations all the more impossible and yet so much less troubling. I cannot meet everyone's expectations. I cannot even meet my family's expectations most of the times. The difference is that my family's demands are easy to handle; even if I disappoint them or let them down, we will still be family, we will still be bound.

I sometimes think it is easier for me to let go of friendships because of my relationship with my extended family. Even though I value my close friends immensely, and in some ways am closer to them than my family, I do not do much in the way of striving to mend a broken friendship or to tolerate the drama that comes with some friendships. And I am fairly certain it is because I am spoiled, incredibly spoiled by my family.

Even though I know this betrays a lot of shortcomings, for some reason, it makes me feel quite a bit better about life. I was getting to the point of feeling universally reviled, so just now, it's good to hear a message from your grandfather scolding you for not calling him, scolding you in that loving way that only grandparents can. For all its flaws, which he knows all too well, my presence is wanted. And actually, with all its flaws, my presence is wanted. Maybe that is what makes his voice enough at such a moment.

Monday, November 13, 2006

it ain't me babe

Even though I was all set to start off the week with a hissy fit about how I do not understand women, and how I've come up with a new rule (the rule is- if I'm not getting any action from you, I am not putting myself on the receiving end of histrionics, drama, or pissiness), this morning a metaphorical bucket of water was thrown into my face.

I had brashly prophesized in September that the clowns were on their way, that there was undoubtedly one in my future. What I failed to realize, of course, is that I am, in fact, the clown.

It dawned on me this morning in terms of equilibrium. Every system has a point of equilibrium, but that equilibrium is not consistent or uniform. It is not smack in the middle, sitting on the fence. It's just innate- a point of comfort, a point you reach after the backwards and forwards of life shifts you from one extreme to the other. You reach an equilibrium point that is your center, not the center, if that makes any sense. It is the point where you are you, and things make sense, and you can get through the day without feeling in some excitable transition state.

People have frequently asked me why I am single. It is a question which always irked me, because, to me, it seems like asking, "Why do you have black hair?" But maybe that's just it. Being alone is my equilibrium, my natural state. I have good evidence to back this up. I'm never more neurotic, insane, unsteady, uncomfortable than when I am trying to navigate sharing a space for a minute or two. And even though I get thrown a few right hooks from time to time, I manage to feel mostly grounded when I am by myself.

I have been in equilibrium for so long that it is no wonder that the thought of shifting into unsteadiness fills me with dread. Molecules can exist on their own peacefully, but they can also find a state of equilibrium when combined. The problem is that you have to knock the individual molecule out of its comfort zone to get it to that next point of stability. This is particularly difficult because a molecule does not know what lies ahead. It does not know that there may be another trough ahead- all it sees is the upward climb of anxious energy. One has to take it on faith that something calm may lie ahead, but there is no guarantee.

So I hold that lack of faith directly responsible for my behavior this morning, when I boarded an elevator with SC and acted like a 15-year old, making small talk and shifting my eyes nervously to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. This is after getting about five different lectures from friends, strictly instructing me to be friendly to SC the next time I see him, because he is a nice guy. And as a nice guy, he deserved an olive branch, a flag wave that signalled that he could proceed without fear. But I just could not do it. The fact is- he should tread lightly, he should be cautious, he should be afraid.

Friday, November 10, 2006

stranded at the drive-in

I am marooned at the airport, but it has been kind of a surreal day. When you find yourself deep in conversation with a Mormon kid who dropped out of college to have a daughter, you have to think you might be bent. But next best, I talked to a woman who had anger management problems in high school and had to be sent to a separate school as a result. That's when I started to wonder if it's just th way people relate to me. The comfort of invisibility is that people feel bizarrely fine with sharing personal details with you.

SP says I am a fake, because I carry myself like I am a working class stiff, but don't get paid like one. But old habits die hard. And one of the advantages of my childhood in EBF is that I figure out ways to find common ground with unexpected people. Of course, one of the disadvantages is that I don't relate to people who should be considered my peers.

Anyway, I am just babbling because I will probably be at the airport for hours. When I tell you where I was, some people are going to think less of me. I should have attempted to see them, but time won't give me time these days.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

are you for real or are you bluffing?

Brooklyn Brown's post on movies today started me thinking about one of the most nefarious aspects of good movies. Yes, there is a dark side, an underbelly to fine film fare. And here it is: a well-crafted film can trick you into thinking actors have talent that they do not actually possess. You may think this is a side effect of a good script or a good director. But it is a serious problem. Because I have wasted hours watching those actors in other movies, hoping that they will live up to the glimpse of greatness I caught in them once. Here are my examples:
  • Front and center, and by far the most egregious example is Out of Sight. This immensely watchable movie is responsible for duping me into believing that Jennifer Lopez has the makings of an actress. Pretty much every movie she has subsequently made proved that belief to be completely misplaced.

  • Since I swore off the new Star Wars movies until the very last installment came out (and even that, I only endured on television), I went into Shattered Glass with an open mind. It had two actors I am especially fond of- Peter Sarsgaard and Steve Zahn. However, the main role was played by none other than Hayden Christensen. I know you are probably wondering how I managed to sit through an entire movie that revolved around him, but he was perfectly cast in it. He was the perfect whiny, entitled b*tch who had no concept of telling right from wrong. It took viewings of Life as a House and the Star Wars movies to realize he may not have been acting.

  • Richard Linklater owes me a lot of money. See, he made this fantastic movie a while back. No, not that one. I'm talking about Dazed & Confused. Endless supply of quotes perfect sense of time and place, oh, nostalgia. Problem? The introduction of one Matthew McConaughey. He played a lovable sleaze who trolled around trying to relive his high school days and hit on teenagers. McConaughey really pulled a great snow job, because the next time I saw him, he had popped up in a John Sayles' film- Lone Star. He was only in it for about 10 minutes, which is probably why I didn't realize he was soon to become an unwashed generic actor. That was a big disappointment.

I know you all can probably come up with even better ones. These are just the ones that led to viewings of particularly horrible movies.

In other news, do you know that you can download a free Lily Allen song from iTunes this week? You really should indulge- infectious little Smile has been just the thing to keep me from losing my mind today.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

blowing every time you move your teeth

This probably makes me the odd one out, but I really do not feel like writing much about the elections. The media frenzy makes me a bit ill. Here is what I do have to say about it:
  • JP, last night over dinner, asked, "That Vangelis, did he beat Schwarzenegger?" I think it took me at least two minutes to stop laughing about that one.

  • Even though Clinton was all over the television with the thoroughly stupid slogan, "if Brazil can do it, so can California" regarding Prop 87, it failed to pass. Initially, I thought if you were going to be silly enough to go with this tagline, it should be "even Brazil can do it." But now, I guess it ought to be: "even though Brazil can do it, we still can't." It is really disappointing that the proposition did not pass in California, though I suppose I should not be surprised when the governor drives a Hummer.

I do not think I should write anything about the national results. I have my opinions, but outlining them would mean getting ridiculously high and mighty about things I only barely understand. The days of getting really excited about any outcomes have left me behind. The federal government is currently a massive morass, and I remain skeptical as to how a changing of the guard is going to miraculously transform that. What's more, this seems like something that happens at work. Someone b*tches about how badly a project is going, they are handed over authority on the project, but the project is already so FUBAR that it's nearly impossible to turn the tide. And guess who gets blamed? The person last in charge.

Lucky for me, I did not watch the results trickle in for very long because a) watching the media try to analyze the public is always infuriating and b) JP and I had plans to go out to dinner. Even more fortunate for me, he picked Tokyo Go-Go. And let me tell you this: one cup of hot sake + one vodka tonic + unusually adventurous rolls of sushi (asparagus, avocado, salmon and lemon?!?) + really neat light fixtures + seeing JP after nearly 2 months equals one happy customer. JP totally does not believe that I am capable of anything radical, so when I unveiled to him my plan for what happens if The Goal fizzles, he gave me that patient, tolerating look that indicates no confidence. All the same, as predicted, he did take pity on me and invite me to Thanksgiving dinner at his friend's house. Yes, I am a pathetic leech.

We walked home, and it was a perfect San Francisco evening. I have to say that I feel most San Franciscan when walking around the Mission with JP. We are always a little buzzed, he always runs into people he knows, and the Mission has the grit of reality obscuring any glaring evidence of gentrification. This particular evening was even more San Franciscan. Hints of fog that never really materialized wafted around us. The moon was large and glowing, but every so often clouds would lick it, blur it, dim its light. You leave a loud and warm restaurant into the cool evening and it does not matter that you are in the heart of the Mission: you have to inhale deeply. You have to drink the night. You have to drink it all in, because if you live in San Francisco, you know that more likely than not, it is not a permanent gig. You close your eyes and capture it like you are snapping a picture. I walked the last two blocks home alone, thinking with amusement that what I cherish most about San Francisco is what most people consider the least aesthetically pleasing.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

it's okay, I know nothing's wrong

Whereas in September and October I was rather enthusiastic about crossing the country repeatedly, I have lost the will to get onto an airplane. Silly really, because this time, I am just landing in the middle, half the distance at most. But somehow it feels more daunting. And not just because my bank statements of late look alarming compared to usual.

I know for certain that I am not going anywhere for Thanksgiving. Sometimes, this time of year, I make plans to go visit family, and spend my Thanksgiving taking requests in absurdly spacious kitchens in Texas, while mamas give me lectures about getting hitched. This year, I am crossing my fingers that the original G, JP, will tolerate my presence at his table. Last year, after he cooked a mouthwatering meal at Thanksgiving, I further coerced him into hosting Christmas dinner at his house, because his place is the Breakers to my cardboard box.

It feels a bit like I am begging for my supper. Then I must remind myself that I create these situations of solitude. They are all of my own making. My parents would have liked me to go back to EBF, the rest of my family would welcome me in Bush country. It is my choice to stay here. But during the holidays, everyone scatters back to the places they call home. And what's more is that I get these idiotic visions of what I want the holidays to be. I somehow wind up buying into the whole turkey, pumpkin pie, watching some lousy movie notion of what Thanksgiving ought to be.

I am whining about all of this now, but I know I am actually quite fortunate. More likely than not, JP will take pity on me, and he will cobble together a strange bunch of foreigners, locals, and maniacs. He will forgive me for not meeting him in Madrid last month. He will say, "You are ess-stupid. I don't like you." And I will apologize profusely. He will then deliver an unintelligible lecture about how I need to "just shine" (seriously, he's done it before and I still haven't figured out what he is talking about). And finally, he will threaten to force me to do a line of cocaine, while I shake my head at him. Hey, I never said he was perfect.

Speaking of JP, I am supposed to meet him for dinner tonight, and made a typical miscalculation today at lunch. I could not resist the call of the burrito. Oh, will I be sorry tonight, because JP almost always suggests that we hit his favorite tacqueria. Two burritos in one day- I might be heading to the ER by this evening.

Can I ask you all a Guju question? Here is the thing. I have been doing a lot of traveling lately, and I am starting to feel like I am hemorrhaging money as well as vacation time. I am not sure if I should indulge in a splurge or not. I have to choose between this place and this one. The problem here is that one is $110 more expensive than the other. If I posed this dilemma to the broseph, he would undoubtedly respond with his signature, "you're worth it." But frankly, I am not sure I am worth it. And I am also worried that I am becoming some pampered wuss who cannot handle one night in a lousy hotel room. But then comes the other factor- I have to don a suit the next morning and look professional, so it would behoove me to be well-rested. I don't know. Help me, people, I'm holding out for a hero.

Monday, November 06, 2006

my feet don't touch the ground

Though I do not often remember dreams, I know that I have many that fit into the same basic theme. I had such a dream this weekend, more than once. In the dream, I am running. I am not running from anything. I am not being chased. I am just running. And in the dream, when I am running, my legs are moving in perfect rhythm, and I feel no fatigue. I do not have to catch my breath. And often during the dream, I am running with such ease that, quite naturally, my stride gets paced such that I am actually leaping from one step to the next. Eventually, each leap is actually a bound, and I am taking flight. I can feel the sensation of soaring. It is not frightening. In fact, I feel a bit giddy.

In my waking life, I am a crap runner. Actually, let me rephrase- I am a crap jogger. I doubt what I do on a treadmill would be considered running by any true runner's standards. And in my waking life, I rather loathe running. Since I have allergies and lousy lung capacity (and also because I have no concept of how to establish and maintain a pace), I have to run indoors. And at most, I run 2.5 miles when I am at the gym. During those 2.5 miles, at least 2.3 miles are spent trying to talk myself out of stopping. The other 0.2 miles are spent walking.

But- when I finish running, when I descend from the treadmill with my legs feeling like rubber, when I splash off the sweat from my face, when I leave the humid air of the gym for the cool fog of the evening air, I do attain a strange sense of peace. It is good evidence of my stupidity that I cannot seem to hold on to this feeling, that I cannot seem to remember it. I spend the hour before I am supposed to head out to the gym inventing excuses to squirm out of it. And I am miserable for most of the run. Yet, every time, at the end, the tranquility washes over me. Every time, and still the cycle always proceeds in this manner.

Maybe the dream represents what I want to have, but do not. Maybe the dream represents what I think I can achieve, but actually can not. Maybe it has nothing to do with running whatsoever. To tell you the truth, I do not spend too much time thinking about this dream, because it is not at all jarring. It is an exuberant dream filled with potency and possibility that only exists in dreams. Maybe it is just my brain's way of coaxing myself into believing, contrary to the data stacking up against believing.

Or maybe this is just what happens when you feel a little ill, and make really foolish decisions, like taking a dose of NyQuil after three vodka tonics. Yeah, apparently I lose my scientific reasoning abilities at 1:30 in the morning on the weekend. It has been over 24 hours, and I still feel groggy and disoriented- which is why I will put off gushing about Chai's bachelorette extravaganza until tomorrow.

Friday, November 03, 2006

if the fates allow

I am a little surprised that no one was horrified that I conjure up images of Keanu Reeves in my head to calm myself down. But, because I cannot seem to stop talking about the morbid movie I saw on Wednesday, I have to share this next bit. Co-worker GBF called me the next morning to commiserate on how damaged we were from the film and he confessed this: "Listen, if you tell anyone this, I will deny it and tell everyone you are on prescription pain meds, but do you know what I had to do to fall asleep on Wednesday night? I had to listen to Amy Grant's Christmas Collection." Come on, that sh*t is funny.

After the GBF's admission, I have been indulging in more holiday kool-aid than is appropriate for this time of year. It is not even Thanksgiving yet, and I have become irrationally distracted by thoughts of Christmas (which is even stranger when you note that I have no religious connection to the holiday at all). Most of this revolves around baking, I think. Unlike last year, this year I want to avoid the mad scramble by having a plan. But it means I need some time to myself to catch my breath. And that does not look like it is going to happen for a bit.

That is fine as well. I have noticed that often I am devising some game plan subconsciously. In the back of my head, little daydreams allow me to think about things, things that will need to be more tangible and defined some day, but not today. Even some larger realizations just push themselves forward from the back of the crowd. My brain forces it front and center as if to say, look what I figured out while you were determining how to renew your vehicle registration.

The only important aspect, I suppose, is to take that moment to recognize what has been sussed. I definitely figured something out today, and though it does not need words, it does need time to take more form. The trick is keeping it inside my head, so that the realization does not slip away like sand through fingers.

Rundown and grumpy, I had maisnon for company last night, much to her misfortune. I am sad to report that I was really no fun at all. All I could offer up was Borat being interviewed by Jon Stewart. Even though I had very little to do with that, it was sidesplitting entertainment. Someone needs to explain Sacha Baron Cohen's new fascination with poking fun at Madonna. I feel like there is some backstory I am missing, given that Ali G appeared in one of Madonna's videos before Cohen had much of a following.

Tomorrow- it's Chai time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

tamper if you like between the doors

My friend RR is one of those office comrades that makes it possible for you to get through your work week without burning the building down. He is a partner-in-crime. If you took away all hints of romantic chemistry or tension from Jim & Pam on The Office, you would have something resembling me & RR. He's also the master of the one-liner. For example:
    me: What are the clinical signs of diabetes?
    TY: Why do you want to know?
    me: I got a headache the other day when I ate too much sugar. I think I might be developing diabetes.
    RR: I think you might be developing hypochondria.

For the past two days, I have been more shaken up than I would care to admit, just by virtue of having watched The Bridge. It is too much of a visual assault. I have not slept well the past two evenings because the disturbing images of people hurtling themselves off one of the most beautiful bridges in this country were too fresh in my head. Every time I closed my eyes, there they were. The whole film was too geographically close. And so much else about it was too close.

The first night, I finally cajoled myself to sleep by replacing the vision in my head to Keanu Reeves. Yes, you read that right. It is embarassing, but he was the only person I could think of that had absolutely no complexity, no nuance, no trace of anything but serenity. People that are too cheerful are scary; people that have a palpable dark side are too real.

Last night, I received an email from RR. His wife had gone in for an emergency c-section. They had a premature baby boy, and his email perfectly captured how uncertain he was about how the baby was going to fare. Focusing on hope was a better way to end my evening than the previous night. I went to bed with fingers crossed, hoping the baby was going to be okay. I had to fight off all the awful scenarios of bad outcomes, but it was still better to think of a little life fighting for its first breaths than it was to ponder a life that was unnecessarily discarded. And so far, it appears that the baby is going to be okay.

But I, for once, am not comfortable here in the extremes. My head throbs from the thoughts surrounding births and deaths. I want to turn my attention back to the simple act of living each day, each week, each month, each year. I need to make lists and plans. And I will.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

like a good book, I can't put this day back

Dudes, I have to tell you that Ashvin deserves a big round of applause today. He saved you from me writing a disjointed post describing how disturbed I was by The Bridge, or from having to read more about my tendency towards irrational flight from good situations. I've been tagged on the book meme that's been circulating.

One book that changed your life-
    This is weird, because one of the books that changed my life was a book I never actually read: Out of My Life and Thought by Albert Schweitzer. But that is a story for another time. A book I have read that changed my life was Beneath the Wheel by Herman Hesse. It was one of the first books I read as a teenager that was non-required, non-fantastic, and absorbing. While I could get lost in C.S Lewis, Frank L. Baum, and Judy Blume books, there was never much danger of me identifying with a troubled character. On the other hand, I got thoroughly lost in Beneath The Wheel. It was the first time the predicament of the character put my brain into overdrive, or that words from the book would rush back into my head over and over.

One book you have read more than once-
    It’s hard for me to pick one, because I develop deranged attachment to certain books. I went through a phase during which I read The Little Prince frequently (and yes, I was an adult at the time). In college, I went through a The Sun Also Rises phase, which shows you that I was prone to misguided dramatics back then. But when I am really looking to retread familiar steps, I read Bellow. For a while, it was Theft, but I think that is because it is a novella and therefore a quick read. The one that stands the test of time is Henderson the Rain King by far. When I am feeling unsteady, I can read that book, flawed as it is, imperfect as its hero is, and suddenly know that everything is going to be just fine.

One book you would want on a desert island-
    A 1000-page blank moleskin.

One book that made you cry-
    The Kite Runner. And not in a good way. More like- here, let’s club some baby seals to death, how are you going to stop the waterworks now? I call this the Terms of Endearment technique. It doesn’t earn the sucker punch it delivers, but I don’t know anyone who managed to get through it without their eyeballs sweating.

One book that made you laugh-
    Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. On an airplane. In general, it is folly to read Sedaris in public, confined places, unless you do not mind being regarded as a potential lunatic.

One book you wish had been written-
    I wish J (formerly of minerva26 fame) would write a book, as I feel certain that it would make me laugh while also capturing her inimitable insights. And it would fill the void in my heart from her departure from the blogosphere. Since I feel certain she spanked her qualifying exams, I am hopeful that the world will be blessed with a book by her at some point. I wouldn’t mind if my cousin K followed suit. It must be something about Houstonians.

One book you wish had never been written-
    The Da Vinci Code so that I could have lived out my last several years peacefully, without everyone and their brother asking me if I had read it, or telling me that I have to read it. And before anyone asks, no, I still have not read it, and have no plans to at any point in the future. Let’s never speak of it again, agreed?

One book you are currently reading-
    Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation. Picked it up in an airport bookstore. If anyone can get me to read about Presidents McKinley or Garfield, it’s Vowell.

One book you have been meaning to read-
    It is embarrassing that I have not read Paul Farmer’s Pathologies of Power yet. I bought it over a year ago, but I never mustered up the required energy to pick it up. I have this problem with substantive, non-fiction books. It might be because I quench my thirst for that sort of reading by perusing journals. However, Farmer’s work is impressive, and I believe the book is probably quite enlightening. Now, I just need to strong arm myself into opening it.

I think everyone’s been tagged already. I want to know how SJM would answer, but I know he can’t post a non-vitriolic entry on his blog. But hey, dude, there’s always email. I’ve already forced Abhi to fill out a meme once, so it would probably be pushing my luck to tag him. I’d like to tag Saheli, since she’s always sending over book recommendations. And I would tag V because she has not posted for a while and her blog has an Annie Dillard quote on it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to conjure up mental images of Gael Garcia Bernal and Borat to distract me from the visuals in The Bridge. Bunnies and unicorns just aren’t going to cut it.