Monday, June 27, 2005
First of all, we are not New York. Thank God. I will never live in New York because all its young, overeducated, snappy people can talk about is the superiority of their particular slice of burrough, just to justify making them feel better about paying $1600 a month for a shitty studio over an Indian restaurant.
"Sure," they say, smug glances sliding up and down your Gap-clad body, "Everything I own smells like curry. But it's so much better than living on the Lower East Side, that gentrified hellhole. Astoria is where it's at, bitches."
Second, the investment required in real estate requires a certain flexibility when it comes to judgment. If I'm signing a year-lease for a place, you can bet your ass that the question "Whatever will others think of my neighborhood?" has only slightly more relevance than "Are the closets big enough for all my diamond dog collars?" Roll your eyes at my total lack of coolness when it comes to my CD collection (currently holding two different casts recordings of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), but when it comes to the ass-expensive property for which one pays, merely nod your head in sympathy that one must fork over such outrageous sums in order to live in a great city.
I will never judge anyone on where they live in an urban area (though if you voluntarily reside in, say, Cleveland, you can bet your trucker cap I will). Ballston, Silver Spring, U Street, whatever floats your boat and allows you to find what you want.
Like, for example, an adorable one-bedroom English basement in Eastern Market!
I knew it was meant to be when I stood outside the door waiting for the real estate agent and heard the birds in the front yard tree squawking "PIT-EUW! PIT-EUW!" Growing up, the tree outside my bedroom window housed a family of these exact same birds. Normally I hate anything that wakes me before 11:00 and is not Jake Gyllenhaal, but for some reason I really liked that birdcall. Very silly, but the familiarity of it was the universe's way of telling me "So what if you can't really afford to live here until you get your raise? RENT THIS HOME."
And so that's what I did.
Oh, and you Yahoo searchers are still pervs, and were absolutely no help.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
More importantly, how about helping me find an apartment? Studio or one bedroom for under $950/month. Needs must include cheap/free parking, Metro access and allowance of cats is a bonus. Acceptable neighborhoods include Capitol Hill (preferred), U St. corridor, Columbia Heights and Woodley Park/Adams Morgan.
Go use your search engines for something productive!
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
And unlike the stupid, trivial things that have made me cry in the last 24 hours, actually means something in the end.
I don't mean people are stupid or trivial. They are being judgmental and small-minded, but I feel fine writing that here because I can and have said it to their faces.
There are unsolvable situations in the world. This is not one of them. Come on, let's do this thing.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
These are the quotes that make me laugh.
That make me snort Diet Coke onto my keyboard.
That makes me spill.
On my cute new dress.
Monday, June 20, 2005
The article draws a critical distinction that the media and liberal activists simply cannot get through their heads. Just as Dennis Kucinich is not the same kind of Democrat as Wes Clark, there is a spectrum of conservative philosophy. There is an enormous difference between the mother in Ohio who doesn't know any gay people (or get Showtime) and is vaguely queasy about the idea of two men having sex, and the activist in Maryland who uses Bible-thumping to conceal good ol'fashioned hatred. However, both of these people would likely say that they are against gay marriage, and that is all we see-- not the ability of the former to be educated, to be made more open-minded, nor the absolute rightness of calling the latter out for the prejudiced bigot that he is.
This brand of conservativism is especially frustrating to me because it ultimately leads back to Christianity. Those who espouse it absolutely will not argue or budge on any shred of their philosophy, because they believe that they hold the ultimate endorsement of Jesus. It's like talking with the proverbial brick wall, only a brick wall that shouts back at you while standing firm.
This brand of hatred was exactly why I became an ex-Methodist at the age of fourteen. My church brought up the idea of becoming a "welcoming congregation"-- Protestant-speak for "accepting openly gay members"-- yet ultimately rejected it in a contentious vote. It was my first lesson in how otherwise good people could be capable of spewing hate and vitrol. In our townhall meetings I watched seemingly tender, lovely churchgoers stand up and proudly proclaim their hatred of "those people" and "what they do."
I remember speaking up in tears, crying out "I know gay people! How could I tell them that they wouldn't be welcome in this place I love so much?" I only managed to choke out "God's love," before I couldn't continue, and I sat back down in my chair, my mother's arm over my shoulder as some members of the congregation applauded in a combination of solidarity and pity.
After that, one elderly widow with whom I sang in the choir came up to me and said "Oh, honey, I wasn't talking about your friends. I wouldn't want you to think that! It's just..." Her leathery, paper-skinned hands grabbed mine and she implored me with her eyes: Don't think I'm a bad person. I know this is what's right. I had to look away.
After the "no" vote came in, I stopped going to church, instead embracing the apathy and indignation of an agnostic teenager in a hippie town. At that age, only a dramatic gesture would have the impact I wanted to make. Staying in the church to discuss my beliefs, to learn how they worked and could be reconciled with Biblical text was out of the question. Even if I had cared enough to continue that education, I refused to spend time in the company of those whom I considered bigots.
Looking back, I wish I had stayed longer. I only remember the bad of that time now, but I know that some of that applause for a self-righteous, emotional child was in agreement with what she had to say. There will always be people who hate without reason. Far more common, though are those who fear what they do not know, and are fundamentally decent individuals. Jesus and God really have very little to do with it. If I had truly wanted to change people's minds, I could have toughed it out, showed the same strength of will that those who hate show every day when they insist that gay people spread diseases, that two women in love have the power to damage a marriage between a man and a woman, that a gay Cub Scout leader will molest their sons.
I wish I had not let hate get the better of me then. I hope that we can show the same certainty of our moral rightness that those who hate seem to have. I hope that we can debate and grow and educate without ever stopping to spread a message of decency and kindness to all people.
Maybe one day I can change a mind, after all.
Ditto watching Closer and Garden State in the same night. Natalie Portman's shining career should not be taken in such concentrated doses.
If used recklessly, the combination of the above can lead to listening to Lyle Lovett's "Nobody Knows Me Like My Baby" while looking at this site.
Thank God tomorrow is a work day. If left to my own devices, I would probably wind up crocheting baby booties while crying into a pile of scented tissues over Ordinary People. As it is, I listen to Interlochen Public Radio on my office computer.
Girls are silly. I'm going to listen to some Ramones and eat beef jerky before I become an even more horrible cliche.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Ex-girlfriends are a sore spot. I don't care about them as people, I don't want to know anything about your relationship and I will view them with suspicion no matter what. Sorry, it's my one completely irrational, obnoxiously stereotypical girl thing I do (besides spending entire days watching Sex and the City DVD,s but we don't talk about that I said that is not the point here!). I don't like her, I don't like that she's still in your phone and your life, and I will not ever try to change my mind. The last time I did that, I wound up getting cheated on. End of discussion. And by the way, when your new girlfriend has the same name as your old one, do you think it might be just a touch insulting to have your new girlfriend listed as [Name] 2????
Which brings me to the confession that I see metaphor, allegory and meaning where there is none. It's a girl thing, a writer thing, an acting thing, but I will see subtext when all you mean was exactly what was said, no more and no less. I know that's really bad, and I'm trying to stop. I'm a lot better than I used to be, seriously. For example, I once picked a fight with someone entirely based on the fact that he gave me cookies for an anniversary, when I'd totally set myself up for it by suggesting that we "make gifts for each other." Wow, someone baked for me, what an asshole. Yet of course, I flew off the handle, saw it as a symbol for all that was wrong, and dumped him a week later. God, I'm a bad person.
Look, there are things I want to fix and change about myself, and then there's stuff there that's pretty okay. You were right when you said that I'm holding back, that I'm not letting you see all of me. Frankly, that's because I want you to still like me. When I was growing up, my mother used to say to me "EJ, you and I are like spinach. Not everyone likes us, but we're good for people."
Sometimes I get tired of being good for people. Sometimes I just want people to find me pleasant and adorable.
And, in my final confession, sometimes I work stuff out by writing about it on a website.
Friday, June 17, 2005
- How the first three emails in my personal account this morning were Evites. Rooftop parties with semistrangers are what makes living in a city great. Urm, and the museums, too. Yeah.
- Starr and I have been dating for over two months and have yet to see a movie together. This will be remedied on Friday, and then continued on Saturday's movie marathon. The fun thing about this period of dating is that you know one anothers' friends, stories and basic likes/dislikes, yet have a great deal still to share. In that spirit, we're having a "this is my favorite movie ever/omigod how can you not have seen this movie/you are so watching this movie right now" weekend. Do you think I can make him watch The Way We Were if I bring over a six-pack of Stella?
- How a perpetual snit I was in with a Very Important Friend seems infinitely better. Am not 100% sure of why, but it makes life seem happier and sunnier.
- CNN had a headline that included the words "virus-laden poo."
- I have managed to go out three nights this week and STILL watch eight episodes of Dawson's Creek on TiVo. And Pacey is just starting to fall in love with Joey.
- Speaking of my girl, how the TomKat Clearly Heterosexual and Entirely Real True Definitely Not Fake Sexy Lusting Passion Together Forever Engagement has delighted me so much, I'm not even sad that I forgot to TiVo the PWT wedding of Britney and Cletus Federline. Of course, I'm still proud of my girl Brit-Brit. They said the worst thing she could do was have her own reality show on UPN and once again she proved the haters wrong: the worst thing she could do was have her own reality show on UPN be a spectacular failure. That'll show 'em, y'all!
- Wonderful, wonderful music. Great concerts over the last nine days. Even better, it will be a loooong time before I battle 6PM traffic to Columbia again.
- That it's no longer 89 bajillion degrees Fahrenheit, and I can actually walk from my back door to the Metro in the morning without requiring a second shower. I know, enjoy it while it lasts, EJ.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Him: "So, you know CI starts today?"
CI, or Colonial Inauguration, is the pissing contest that my alma mater/employer masquerades as freshman orientation. There are laser shows, Capitol Steps performances and useless free stuff like beach towels with the university logo for every student. I can still hear my mother's gleeful cackle upon finding out that the parent itinerary for Night #2 included a moonlight trolley tour of the monuments followed by cocktails and jazz on the quad.
And now, five years later, the prefrosh are back for another chapter in the saga. Flipfloping around campus, toting spanking new Kate Spade bursting with glossy color brochures extolling the virtues of shitholes like Thurston, they trail behind impossibly petite and overtanned mothers in gold lame flats and tasteful-not-matronly linen capris. Two of them were behind me in line at Starbucks this morning, mother yapping away.
"This... Scholar's Village Townhouse... Dawn, that sounds cool, doesn't it? Dawn, doesn't that sound cool?"
Dawn did not respond, her stoic early morning face only hinting the mixture of pride, mortification and anticipation that appears during the pre-prom photo session and college orientation. She stayed silent execpt to order her nonfat grande caramel macchiato. Maybe she thought it was cool, but the excellent poker face didn't betray any emotion. Clearly, Dawn will fit right in here.
As I waited for my own four dollar cup of coffee, I debated striking up a conversation with them. A friendly encounter can take on extra significance in a transitional time. I remember my own CI experience with incredible clarity-- the small group I was late to because I was too busy talking with someone who I would later learn had massive people issues, the test-tube shots at Tequila Grill, the hideously cloying clap and chant routine used to introduce us to our leaders ("HI! I'm Shendrika, and if you're in Group 28 you're with me!!! *CLAP!*), waiting in line for student ID cards with a stranger who would wind up causing insane amounts of drama in my life exactly four years later. Orientation can be a time when everything takes on incredible importance and seems filled to the brim with possibility and potential. Yet, as Peter Parker taught us, that potential comes with responsibility. Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, you absorb everything around you in fear that should you stop you'll miss out on what could make your college experience fantastic.
The admissions staffer part of me wanted to say hi and welcome to Dawn and Dawn Mom. The 9:00 AM worker bee part of me didn't let that happen. EJ before a cup of coffee should never be anyone's defining memory. I just hope she and all the other newbies have a great time at CI and still manage to leave having learned something about their new city and their new selves. They'll have successes and make mistakes, and the groundwork for some of those mistakes will be laid over the next few days while they meet each other and try to get a handle on the next four years. Still, I hope Dawn lets herself be wide-eyed and eager, as I suspect she probably is under that facade. The last thing this school needs is more apathetic yes-men.
And if nothing else, hopefully she'll learn never to go to Tequila Grill.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
The Washington journalistic establishment just doesn’t like Howard Dean. He’s rough around the edges, and he doesn’t play by the rules, especially the rule casting Democrats as perennially weak and apologetic . And reporters didn’t have to look too hard to find Democrats who would go on record about their displeasure with Dean...
Everyone now agrees that Howard Dean needs to be careful about what he says. But there may be no way for him to win. Consider the last of Dean’srecent“controversial” comments, his statement that the GOP is “pretty much a white Christian party.” In other shocking news, the sky is blue and the sun rises in the east. According to the 2004 exit polls, 87 percent of Bush voters were white and 89 percent were Christian (by comparison, Kerry voters were 66 percent white and 71 percent Christian). If as mundane an observation as that can be twisted into the question, “Does Howard Dean hate white Christians?” (as Fox News did), no amount of care on Dean’s part will stop Republicans and the press from turning what he says into a “controversy."
Does it ever once occur to a member that because we are ostensibly working for the same causes, are members of the same political party and are faced with the ever-growing dominance of a common opposition, that it might be nice to show unity? How are we ever to convince an undecided voter that Democrats can provide a functional, beneficial alternative to a Republican-dominated government if we can't even keep talking points straight?
Pelosi, Biden and Co. might not especially care for their new chair, but it would be in their and their party's best interest if they could learn to save their snippy sound bites for attacking Republicans instead of fellow Democrats. Priorities, people, priorities. If you want to make your party appear strong and groundbreaking (to say nothing of actually being stong and groundbreaking), perchance 'twould be unwise to trash thy leader at his debutante ball.
Monday, June 13, 2005
RETIRE? RETIRE FROM WHAT?!?!
Now imagine that instead of letting Cindy take care of her with ice packs and painkillers, Brenda went to a rap concert. Then you get an idea of how I feel/look/singe right now.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
The answer, as always is with me, is multi-part and can be considered in either bullet point or essay form. We shall pursue the former.
- Much of his anger comes from the incompetence of people in charge, something I happen to agree with. I love this city for its vistas, views, actual seasons and constant influx of new people. I do not love the jackasses who milk the system for their own benefit, leaving a trail of desperate, undereducated, impoverished people in their wake. I also hate Congress for treating DC as a petulant stepchild who must be punished when it asks for pesky things like informing the mayor's office when there's a suspected terrorist attack on the city.
- He created the phrase "personalized novelty legislation" in reference to Terri Schiavo. Not one Democratic media consultant in the entire town could have come up with something that devastating if you locked them in a room for a week.
- He lives in Virginia, and so I can see where a great deal of his anger stems from. I did a morning commute from Oakton to the Hill, and this 19 mile drive took me eighty fucking minutes. It's a wonder more people don't have websites dedicated to their hatred of DC. If I had to do that drive every morning, I'd probably snap and start picking off commuters with a sniper rifle from atop the Lincoln Memorial.
(And for a little of why I hate DC too, sometimes: that last sentence probably got me flagged by some government agency)
Mostly though, I love this guy because he figures out a way to be angry, to show you why he's angry and to get you to agree with him. Sounds simple, I know, but Democrats in this town are so scared of even the first step. Anger, it seems, can no longer be identified with companion words like "righteous." This just makes me even more angry, because there's so much to be angry about. I'm angry that media outlets allow pundits to say outrageous and idiotic things just for the sake of bringing up alternative viewpoints. I'm angry that no one in the mainstream media has the balls to call a spade a spade, and refuse to dignify lies, partisan slander and malicious intentions with the gift of airtime and space. I'm angry that there's no cantankerous old guard around to put the lazy, yes-men whippersnappers in their place.
I'm infuriated that the media clearly knows that they're in trouble, that they are increasingly not worthy of the public trust, and yet make no effort to fix themselves. They instead attack the sources of information that do editorialize, that point out the absurdity and crap that mainstream media dignifies as newsworthy. They slam The Daily Show and the blogosphere (and yes, I hate myself for using that word, but get over it) for being too opinionated, too subjective, for not presenting news in a respectful way. I say, however, that the real flaw is that not much out there is worthy of our respect. New media at least has the stones to call them on it.
While I'm at it, I'm also infuriated with Democrats. I'm infuriated with a party that is directionless and yet insists it knows exactly where its going, like a stubborn husband who obstinately refuses to stop at a gas station for orientation. It infuriates me that Democrats have at their disposal a cadre of young people who are willing to sacrifice material comforts and silly, frivolous things like health benefits or a year-long contract for the sake of working for the causes we believe in. As a reward for our sacrifices and idealism, we are underpaid, taken for granted and denied even the most basic respect from our supervisors. I can't tell you how many hardworking, devoted, highly educated liberals I know that have been unceremoniously dumped or abused by their so-called "progressive" employers.
I had drinks a few weeks ago with two close Democrat friends who also survived the election. Of the three of us, one had been chucked despite helping fundraise her way to an enormous upset victory. A second still had her job, but had not been paid in over a month because her bold-named boss was completely unaware that her organization's finances were in the crapper and was insisting on staying in big name hotels on various business trips (again, a Democrat). The third, me, had been so burnt out by a campaign job that she found two months being homeless in Europe to be hugely relaxing and was more than happy to leave politics behind for academia.
Politics and public service requires sacrifices of those who pursue it, make no mistake. I feel much the same way about politics as I do about the theater career I once considered and ultimately rejected: if you can see yourself being happy doing anything else, do it. You have to need it in your soul, crave the lifestyle and the high of devoting your career and life to doing good and working for causes you believe in, in order to deal with the lifestyle that accompanies your job (assuming you're lucky enough to havce a job).
I don't know the intricacies of finance and campaign management well enough to suggest specific ways of funding the young staffers that make up the bulk of the liberal workforce. However, I know that it does not have to be this way. Republican staff know how to keep their worker bees happily droning away. They keep humane hours, pay them a living wage and maintain functional offices that encourage as much order and respect as is possible in a political campaign. For more on this, check out what DC Media Girl has to say. She's far more concise than I could hope to be on this issue.
Sorry, didn't mean to lecture for so long. It's just beyond frustrating to watch talent and devotion be underutilized when it's needed now more than ever.
Friday, June 10, 2005
And then you get a Note in your inbox with the headline:
Don't Be Offended By Frank Analysis; Think of It As Personality Dialysis
And because your dorky side is not limited to politics, the first thing that pops in your head is "It's 'My Frank Analysis,' bitches!" And then you hang your head in shame.
The first step is admitting you have a problem.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
This week is an excellent kickoff to the Summer 2K5 FunFest. Lo and behold, Starr has turned me into an indie girl. Behold our 4 Concerts in 9 Days Extravaganza. Just goes to show, you can take the girl out of Ann Arbor...
June 7: Ryan Adams
June 8: The Killers, with Keane and a bunch of others (yeah, it's at Merriweather and not Vienna at an abandoned industrial slaughterhouse, but it'll do).
June 12: LCD Soundsystem and M.I.A. The former is all well and good, but I'm beyond excited for the latter. If you haven't heard her, she's a rapper whose music kind of sounds like African schoolchildren chanting to Missy Elliot beats. I really didn't know that I needed Sri Lankan dancehall music in my life until M.I.A.
June 16: Modest Mouse. 'Nuff said. Aren't I the dickens?
I also joined a summer/fall kickball league. Starting in July, I will officially be a 12 Stepper. There might even have to be the purchasing of a mouth guard. Let's be honest, though-- I'm in it for the flip cup tournaments.
The new job is going swimmingly-- people are lovely, work is interesting and fulfilling, and am treated with respect and kindness by everyone in office. Ahem. Wish, however, that was somehow able to transmit good office vibes over to those who are not having such luck with their employers. I remember only too well how tough that is, and how it colors everything else in your life, even the stuff that is supposed to be unrelated and separate from work.
Speaking of, much to do. Holla being useful!
Friday, June 03, 2005
EJ is the last of the great eccentrics. The funny thing is, she doesn't know it. She thinks her behaviour is perfectly normal. She sees herself as a pillar of propriety and a paragon of protocol. EJ has strong views about every topic under the sun. There's not a subject she doesn't know about or a moral point she can't pontificate on. EJ is entitled to be a little arrogant. She knows an awful lot about an awful lot of things. She is well versed, well rehearsed, and deeply immersed in the kind of knowledge that we lesser mortals can only dream of attaining. Thankfully, she is there to shed the light and show the way. This, she does generously and patiently, as befits a person of superior intellect. EJ is wise, intelligent and (thankfully) oblivious to irony.
Or, at least, that's how EJ is, at her worst. She can't help it. She's an Aquarian and Aquarians are infamous for their occasional outbursts of pomposity. Happily there is another truly delightful side to her. EJ is as honest as the day is long, as generous as the ocean is deep. This is partly where the eccentricity comes from, for a person with such strong opinions EJ is surprisingly willing to please. she is keen to win friends and influence people. She loves to feel that she belongs. She always wants to be in on the action, part of the scene and one of the gang. Rather like Groucho Marx though, she is never sure that she would want to be part of any club that would a member. She is always on the lookout for some new cause to support, or enterprise to sign up to. You might think that this would make her fickle but actually EJ is exceedingly loyal. She may be forever expanding her horizons but she never forgets her friends and she never reneges on her commitments. This is why, despite the highly idiosyncratic nature of EJ's personality, so many people think the world of her.
In other news, a girl got robbed in our backyard/alley last night and we had helicopters with search lights circling the neighborhood for an hour. In the immortal words of The Boyfriend "yessssss."
Also, I really like my new job. So this is what it feels like to be happy, hardworking and made to feel competent and supported! That warrants another yesssss.