Sunday, December 31, 2006

popping the cork


happy new year, people!

i'm back, relaxed, i even have a slight tan from LA and so frakking relieved that 2007 is here. (wasn't 2006 a little boring yet also stressful?)

i have to get ready for the sharon jones show at the park west tonight; after my freak out with B- last week, G- wanted to come out to chicago and help me ring in the new year but his father burned down his kitchen this morning so now i'm going with E-, an old nerve pal from milwaukee. (i'm a firm believer in recycling. there's no need for past internet dates to die on the vine, you know?)

be safe, be happy and have a great new year!

-ding

Sunday, December 24, 2006

merry merry

i'm off early tomorrow to the west coast to see the family.
posting will be sporadic and will most likely be an act of desperate procrastination while i fall farther behind my writing schedule.

but i hope everyone's holiday (whatever it is you celebrate) means you're surrounded by people you love and who love you back.

cheers,
ding

Saturday, December 23, 2006

last of the year

if i wasn't so gassy right now i'd be laughing.
i think the 'reunion' with B- has come (once again!) to an ignominius end.

i think i know why i always went back to B-, even though nothing materially changed. pride. at every email from him telling me how he missed me or wants a 'doover' my pride and vanity (ok, two reasons why i always went back) were pricked and it was an irresistible challenge to me to see if i could seduce him all over again and try to return to our initial period of intensity. but i should have paid attention to the law of diminishing returns. with each reunion, my mental and lifestyle difference from B- increased - as his from mine and the pleasure i sought soon dwindled to nothing the more we tried.

so last night, prompted by my ONE girly act of insecurity ('is he seeing someone else?'), which was also prompted by pride and vanity, the short-lived ding/B- show ended. we fought, we argued, we insulted one another, laid bare our misgivings, he admitted that he's thinking of someone else, and we came to the mutual conclusion that perhaps this was not a good idea.

so.

let this be the last B- post of the year - and hopefully thereafter.

Friday, December 22, 2006

i'm supposed to be working, but...

instead, here's something from some friends over on myspace:

2006 Awards

1) DRINKING BUDDY OF THE YEAR?
roomie and the presbyterians, man. no one gets plowed better than a scottish pastor and his minions.

2) LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD
me. i'm working in non-profit, dude. that deserves something.

3) NEWCOMER AWARD
hm, the friend group has been closed for a while. must work on that next year.

4) LOW POINT OF THE YEAR?
most of the summer, august when roomie's mom died and a couple of weeks in november when i just went brain dead.

5) BEST HOLIDAY?
thanksgiving. out of the country and loved it.

6) ANTHEM FOR 2006?
hm. based on my wine intake last night, i think ray lamontagne's 'three days' sort of hits me right in the girly parts.

7) ANY REGRETS?
not a single one. (although this latest go-round with B- might just be it.)

8) BEST NIGHT OUT?
jeebus. H-'s birthday party in november - the tequila, the horrific stories (all of which i told), the pregnant pinata. classic.

9) WORST NIGHT OUT?
last friday, schlepping my tired ass up to rogers park to be with B- and spending as much money on a cab as to go to o'hare. ass!

10) WHO DID YOU SPEND VALENTINES WITH?
when's that again?

11) BEST RELATIONSHIP?
my friends and roomie. love them.

12) WORST RELATIONSHIP?
it's a tie between B- and tequila. but tequila gets me in more trouble than B-, so it wins.

13) BEST CONCERT?
ravinia, tom jones and etta james. watching skinny north shore wives set fire to their picnic table, they were so drunk.

14) BEST MEMORY?
watching the dems take the senate and the house in november. in your FACE GOP!

15) BEST DECISION MADE THIS YEAR?
kicking ass at work. oh, and to go without sex for a year. i think that's why i got my promotion.

16) WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR?
well, i certainly hope i'm past that whole celibacy thing.

17) MOST STUPID IDEA WHEN DRUNK?
opening my mouth. sometimes, things are secret for a *reason.*

18) TWAT OF THE YEAR?
it's still the president.

19) MOST LOYAL FRIEND?
roomie. she puts up with more crap...

20) BIGGEST CHANGE OF THE YEAR?
great new promotion. love it.

21) BEST TRIP OF THE YEAR?
thanksgiving in montreal. though the traverse city trip on 4th of july was all sorts of interesting.

22) BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE YEAR?
my writing gigs.

23) BEST FALL OF THE YEAR?
wearing new shoes and totally biting it in front of my office building, almost crashing my head right into the us bank window.

24) BEST JOB OF THE YEAR?
mine.

25) WHAT WILL U MISS THE MOST OF 2006?
nothing. it's done. over. kaput.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

i had to write anyway...

that's it.
no word from B- about this weekend so i'm going to old orchard instead of lolling about in a hormonal haze with a boy before i leave.

grumble frakkin' grumble frakkin' grumble.

update:
B- has emerged after i emailed him asking if he'd been overcome by carbon monoxide and eaten by his cats. his response to my invitation: 'i'd rather hang out at my place. give me a call.'

well, FRAK! i'd rather NOT.

update #2:
there's a personal post today on his site. i'm reading it, seeing me in what he's writing (aw, he likes my belchiness!) then the post ends with a reference to this awesome woman, whoever she is, who makes him want to write poetry to her, wearing sweat pants with 'hot metal rocks' emblazoned across the ass.

this is not me.

i'm going about my pre-christmas business right now, in the apartment, and there's a part of me that is also going slowly insane. i don't want to go insane like those other hugely insecure, neurotic women. i don't want this...this doubt (about myself, mainly.) i'm not used to self-doubt. i left that behind in junior high and high school. that's not the Me that i am now.

fuck!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

boy blogging is boring but i still haven't heard if B- has accepted my invitation to spend the weekend with me before i leave town. it's driving me nuts, making me second-guess friday night and wondering if i did something wrong.

aagh. i hate this. i hate. this.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

building trust is like building a bridge on the river kwai

once B- finds out about this little blog, i'll have to stop with the stories about him, but until then, let the B- train roll on.

yesterday i was in a dire quandary; foolishly i had triple booked my evening. drinks with a girlfriend right after work, then the movie premiere at century landmark for A- and S-, then B-. for some reason i thought i could handle all of this in four hours. it became clear to me, however, that something was going to give -- and it couldn't be B-. he was already a little snitty that i had him down for 9 pm. 'i had a feeling it would be late,' he'd said in his best Eyore voice.

you see, i'm trying to build trust. i'm trying to demonstrate that, yes, being his friend is a priority, i am interested in spending time with him and that, yes, i am different from that shallow, callow girl all those years before. (cough) but i'm finding that finding the time to build that trust is frakking hard when my time management skills are lacking, my other friends are very nice people and i like spending time with them, and B-s totally not ready for full Friend Circle Integration (FCI.)

so i'm in my office with some coworkers hoping they can help me figure out who exactly i'm going to blow off (but not B-.) and while they seriously weigh my options, i ask, 'is this what it's going to be like? having a steady boy in my life? a constant process of negotiation between my wants and his needs? this sucks!'

my marketing manager said, 'relationships are all about compromise.'
i said,'i have no idea how to do that. it's either win or cave.'
'ah.'

but a decision is made. i can't handle any of it. so i reschedule my girlfriend for next week (she also happened to overbook so it was fine); i called A- and offered up dinner on saturday night instead of the premiere and drinks with his partner and family (while blaming my flakiness on B- and this whole building trust process.) then i call B-, thinking he'd be glad that i totally rearranged my whole evening to be with him. instead, we have a truly lame O. Henry-like moment.

'ohh,' he said. 'i thought you were coming later, like 9 or 10 or whatever, and so i invited a friend to come over to watch the bulls game.'
'well, you were clearly disappointed i was coming up later, so i shuffled everything around. now i can come up earlier. like now.'
'but i thought you were coming later, so i invited my friend over...'
'does your friend hate girls? i'm coming up.'
'but i thought - '
'ok! ok. i get it - you have mentally prepared yourself for guy time. i have to run some errands anyway and get some things, so how about a couple hours? i'll see you in a couple of hours.'
'fine. i'll see you then.'

painful, isn't it? the two of us are totally retarded. i run my errands (which include buying a totally cute nightie at Old Navy) rush home to freshen up and change (remember i haven't been home in 24 hours) and then catch a cab ALLL the way to rogers park.

i didn't think it was possible, but B- lives even closer to wisconsin than ever before. in the cab, i note all the streets i'm familiar with, then start noticing that i have no idea where i frakking am. and the cab fare? i might as well have gone to o'hare. but that's ok! we're building trust.

up some rickety stairs, i'm in B-'s new place and - hey! it's nice! clean, white walls, built-ins, new couch, new dining set. and look! a friend! an actual, living breathing friend with red hair and a beer; we all introduce ourselves, we watch some basketball over beers, i discover they've been friends since college, the friend is married (i.e., he's NORMAL!) and B- likes kitschy hammond organ music. he's got loads of it and plays some for us.

'no willie nelson?' i said.
'um, now's not the time for that,' he said.

the friend leaves, i play with the kitty, i stretch out on the couch and, of course, a very nice 'hello, how are you, let's make out' thing starts. then, all too soon, he pulls me up and behind him to the bedroom.

i pull back. 'oh, do we have to? so soon? this was so nice.'

apparently, a tactical mistake. because B- went into another snit about how maybe this wasn't a good night after all, i keep saying i'm tired (which i was - tired of transportation), and if i wasn't in the mood maybe i should have kept those plans with all those other friends i have. and he actually flops over to the far end of the couch, crosses his arms and pouts.

i'm stunned. i'm speechless. i just want to hang out on the couch a little bit, finish my beer, kiss a little bit and i'm getting shade?! (have boys forgotten how nice it is to just sit and kiss?) but then i remember, ok, he's a depressed hermit, and who knows what kind of social cues he's missing? but then i get mad. so we have a very tense, low-voiced fight about his expectations, our lack of communication and my time management lack-wittage and how he needs to understand that if i didn't want to be here, i wouldn't. and, yes, i have friends; yes, i have a job that requires me to work late; yes, i have responsibilities. i'm a freaking grown woman.

then he says, 'well, i have lots of grading to do, too. i'm actually sort of wiped.'
i say, 'no. no, no. you don't get to do that. i'm here, the beer's here and i'm not getting into another cab, bus or fuck all. i'm here and staying until the morning.'
'fine.'
'fine!'

silence. he putters. i play with his cats (i hate cats.) then, it blows over. he comes over and wants to know what i'd like for dinner. he teases me about my salad choice, we talk about work and we watch the bulls feebly kick the bucks' ass. we talk about movies, i still try to discover what it is he likes to do outside his apartment, and then i feel a telltale internal twinge.

when i come back from the bathroom, i look at him and say, 'well. my period just started.'
he just stares at me blankly and then says, 'you're killing me, you know? you're just. killing me.'

later, he says, 'you know if we'd had sex earlier we could have beat it.'
'probably. my uterus - what can i say?'
'you're so contrary. it's such an effort with you.'
'i don't think so. last time, i thought that happened pretty organically and spontaneously. i didn't make you work for it at all.'
'yes, you did.'
'no, i didn't.'
'you did. you always do.'
'well...i don't know what to say to that.'
'that's ok. i've accepted this is the way things are.'
'hm. so, where are the bucks from?'

and on like that until bedtime. he goes in before me but i dither. do i sleep with him or am i on the couch? we never made that clear. and i'm disturbed that i need to have things spelled out for me so precisely. but we're building trust and communication! i'll get better at this. then, from the bedroom, his very dry voice: 'what now? do you want me to sleep on the couch while you take my bed? or are you coming to bed - with me?'

i'm so retarded, you know? so very very retarded. i can research government appropriations but i can't figure out if i'm the girl who kits out on the couch or the bed.

anyway, this is where we are. one step forward and then two stumbling, misunderstood steps backward; building our trust bridge, one brick at a time, all the while conscious that one false move and the whole thing could tumble down.

at this pace, we could officially be in a relationship by the year 2010.

Friday, December 15, 2006

my own carless office party commute

i was held hostage yesterday by my own bad planning.

the plan was to leave work early, pick up a couple of bottles of champagne, catch a bus to the north side where my coworker was hosting this year's office party, and arrive by six-thirty. a snap! so easy!
so didn't happen.

5.00 pm - left the office. (the plan in action!)
5.15 pm - caught the very crowded grand bus.
5.45 pm - at Binny's, buying champagne. (ok, the plan is starting to falter a little bit)
5.50 pm - waiting for the Grand bus to take me to ashland. phone call to hostess. ('hi, i'm waiting for the second bus of the evening, but i should be there by 6.30, no problem. see you later!')
6.05 pm - waiting for second ashland bus because first one was too crowded (plan definitely in danger at this point.)
6.20 pm - while stuck in traffic realization dawns that i'm on the wrong frakking bus.
6.21 pm - while asking directions, inappropriately hit upon by bus driver who wants to 'recruit' me to be his girlfriend. sorry, buddy. i have an office party to attend.
6.25 pm - bus driver polls passengers and all agree that, yes, i am on the wrong bus and i need to be on the clark bus. he drops me off on clark and irving and says it's too bad destiny wasn't on his side. (plan is officially tanked.)
6.27 pm - phone call to hostess. ('hi, um, i'm now waiting for the clark bus. i'm so close! i have no idea when i'll get there but don't eat all the food! i'm on my way!')
6.57 pm - clark bus finally comes and i'm desperate for a cigarette but NO ONE has a light. damn north siders.
7.20 pm - encounter J- and T-, also on their way to the party, one block away from the party. am sweaty, thirsty, and exhausted.
7.25 pm - arrive at party, at last! immediately guzzle two glasses of champagne in quick succession.
7.30 - 11.45 pm - slightly inappropriate, not-safe-for-work story follows inappropriate, not-safe-for-work story; 4-5 gin and tonics consumed; good times.
12.00 am - am too tired and tipsy to take CTA again. after canceling on B-, i crash in the hostess' extra bedroom and immediately dream of evil italian plumbers and christmas elves.

happy office parties to you all!
Campaign pushes car-less commute | Chicago Tribune

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

whoda thunk?: b- is back


where to begin?

if my roomie was writing this, she'd say 'and, like clockwork, B- has returned and Ding pretends it's over, but it's not. it never is.' but she's not writing it so i'll fall back on my standard protest: it was like a bolt from the past! i didn't see it coming! it took me completely by surprise!

one day i'm just desultorily pretending to work at my office because i'm muzzy with a head cold, i'm physically exhausted, i'm mentally wasted and i have no energy for anything. i'm all a-fuzz. then, an email from B- signalling that perhaps his Eyore existence isn't all that it's cracked up to be. he misses me. he may even venture outside. because of his email and the ones that follow, i lose a whole week of work.

(my boss says to me monday that she'd like to be kept more informed of what i'm doing. i'm zoning out because of a boy! that's what i'm doing! i can't concentrate of government appropriations because of a boy! actually, that's not true. since i've seen B- again, my powers of concentration are much better. too, this could be a result of no longer overdosing myself with cold medicine.)

so what's different now? i don't know. seeing him in my apartment, on my ground, made a huge difference. he feels different - less closed off, more secure. but am i different? i'm trying to be. Making an Effort.

anyway. that's where we are with that.

Monday, December 11, 2006

an interesting thing just happened in the office; a coworker and i just spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to address a letter to a pair of women who may/may not be domestic partners. their donation was a tribute to someone else, so we could assume they are sisters. but they could also be domestic partners.

should our formal letter of acknowledgment say Dear Ms. Cathy Stone and Ms. Emily Stone?
or should it be Dear Cathy and Emily?
or should it be Dear Mesdames Stone? (Miss Manners recommends this approach.)
or should we send two separate letters that just say, each, Dear Ms. Stone?

it's a puzzlement and we are both waiting for Emily Post to get back to us.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

robin, can i touch your hair?

ABC News: Confronting Tough Issues of Race

this one made me and my roomie laugh; we saw it advertised on GMA yesterday (roomie watches it religiously) and we recorded it this morning. the clip yesterday of robin getting all sorts of uncomfortable when diane sawyer touched her wrist and said 'what do you say to that?' after a segment about michael richards losing his shit was priceless. we just laughed and laughed and laughed.

but if this segment is supposed to explore race (a woman from my organization is one of the panelists) it seems really sort of Race 101, you know? like, Race for Middle Class Dummies. (see, i was going to write 'Race for Retards' but, though it rings better, that would have been insensitive and boneheaded.)

i mean, really:

Sawyer brought up the first topic: do a lot of white Americans feel they're
being tested by black Americans by having to watch every word lest they be
accused of racism ? She asked, "What if I said something really insensitive and
boneheaded?"



i like my answer much better than dubois' - then you're insensitive and boneheaded, diane. shouldn't the more interesting question be why shouldn't a lot of white americans feel they're being tested by non-white americans by having to watch every word they say?

otherwise, we'll end up finding a nice way to justify/normalize being insensitive and boneheaded. let's put an end to the benign 'pass' we give for comments that make us inwardly cringe but we never call people out for it because we make the excuse 'well, they just don't know better.' i'm putting my feet down; y'all people should know better by now. it's fracking 2006.

again, shouldn't the bigger goal be for all of us to watch what we say? at the very least? i mean, that just seems basic - the dumbass end of the DiversityBehavior spectrum - Don't call someone a derogatory name.

jesus. do people actually have to be told this?

but if you want an extra gold star, how about making friends with someone who doesn't look like you? at the very least, your Diversity Learning Curve will increase rapidly. i remember when me and roomie first met, the first 6 months of our friendship was spent in bars while she asked me things like, "So what the hell is up with Martin Lawrence?" and explaining why the cocktail hour seems to only happen in white households (though i had white friends growing up, i didn't encounter cocktail hour until i moved to the midwest.) by having at least one friend with different levels of melanin, it puts you one step further away from Diversity Dumbass and several closer to Diversity Expert.

(in all honesty, one brown friend isn't going to get you to that Expert level; you'll need to have more than several, be invited over to share a meal with their family and have to attend at least one funeral without freaking out. roomie's already passed this test.)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

cough. hack. still sick.

what's that kind of sick where you touch your eyeballs and they ache?
or the kind of sick where, when you cough, everything feels like it's going to be forced to explode through your ears?

yeah, i'm that kind of sick and i'm back home.
i had every intention to go in to the office, and i did. then i nearly coughed up a lung and my boss said, 'you sound like crap. maybe you shouldn't be here.'

so i agreed and then decided to go to a lunch meeting for a bunch of women working to do some public education around wage equity. i almost tore my face off it was so unproductive. no, it wasn't unproductive. i just wasn't in the mood to sit in a tiny office and listen to stuff.

so now i'm home, plugged into my office email, 'working' and making myself lunch.

viva la inferma!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

i'm sick! i'm sick!

like a kid in elementary school, i'm home sick today. i never get sick. maybe a head cold or a tonsil thing but not the kind of sick where i have to leave the office early (ok, i left at five but i didn't feel good about it!) and then go straight to bed, tossing and turning with weird aches and pains.

(last night i dreamed that the canadian prime minister was fake and no one knew but me and my roommate and no one would believe us and the canadian secret police were after us. he was made out of parts! we saw him being put together!)

so after asking my roomie what one does when they're sick (it entails bundling up and watching tv surrounded by vitamins and tea and romance novels) i think i'm all set for a wonderful, rainy, gray day on the couch under a comforter.

you call in sick, too, ok?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

oh, canada!

Random thoughts on being out of the country during this most American of holidays:

1. MontrĂ©al has a wonderfully silent airport. We shooshed down the people mover and it was eerie – so quiet, so clean, so…Logan’s Run. Fabulous.
2. I tend to freeze like a deer in headlights when spoken to in French. I can’t help it. I didn’t practice any phrases. I could only smile, shake my head and answer in English.
3. It is a city one can crisscross on foot in one day. And, by golly, we were going to do it until my footwear gave out. Old Montreal, Latin Quarter, Ste. Catherine, the business district, the riverfront - very charming.
4. Our shopping is better. It just is – in variety, depth, and style our shopping in Chicago is better. It’s not to say that they don’t have nice things but I didn’t really see anything extraordinarily different or that screamed Must Have! I was hoping for a really great avenue of boutiques and while Mont Royal was nice it was just…meh. However, their winter boots kick ass – stylish AND functional. And, apparently, from Iceland.
5. Being out of the US during a US holiday is incredibly freeing. No blather about shopping or turkeys or worrying about the food or who’s cooking it. It was just about waking up, finding a place for breakfast (an unpleasant sight of the waitstaff eating off of a plate they were clearing meant no breakfast at the hotel), and then walking around. It is the best kind of anonymity.
6. The men are short. And dour, with a kind of existential despair thrown in while also being over-coiffed. Strange. We wonder how the men are in Toronto.
7. Their news is more serious than ours. Quebec nationhood is a big thing. It was everywhere – as well as what looked like the biggest mafia bust in Canadian history. But roomie and I were wondering, Ok, so you get your nationhood – how do you support your new nation infrastructurally? I mean, if Texas wanted to be its own country, I think we’d all be saying Good luck with that.
8. Dinner at Les Remparts was out of this world. Try the tasting menu, if you can. Fabulous. The sommelier, when asked if we should bother getting a bottle of wine with dinner in addition to the wine pairings with dinner, said in his best French-ish accent, ‘You will each consume a bottle of wine with dinner on your own.’ We said, ‘Score.’
9. We had a freaking good time. We planned our days around our meals, took our time with everything and just relaxed. Everyone should go.

Now. Do it. Go.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


roomie and i are on our way to montreal for the holiday!
to all five of my readers, have a great thanksgiving.

i wanna hear all about the going home drama when i get back.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

wow. a bad week for race relations.

a list, in light of the Michael Richards/Kramer and UCLA student taser thing:

1. when talking about the use of the N-word, let's have a basic understanding that no one should be using it.

2. yes, some black folk use it. not all of us like that but that doesn't mean everyone gets to.

3. (similarly, yes, some gay folk also use the f-word when they speak with/about one another, but that's not going to make it ok for me to say it. it's bad manners.)

4. (just the way it's bad manners to whine about why certain people get to do certain things that seem naughty and you can't. you just can't. deal with it. if you're burning with a desire to say a naughty word and you're mad that people will think you're a racist if you do, then you have a problem.)

4.5. (and if you ask if that's fair - what are you, five?)

5. and besides, that's not the point. whether or not you are a racist is not the point. who cares if you're a racist?

6. the point is, Richards used it in a really really problematic way. you get a few racial demerits for saying the N-word but you flunk the whole test when you start referencing lynching.

7. and that's what's ugly. when we use the word racism *properly* we are to understand that there's a whole history and cultural tradition supporting it and giving it life; we understand that history isn't in the past - it's now, it's flowing forward, everything we do make us part of it and we inform it just as we're informed by it. history and cultural/social practice make racism real and Richards basically sickened himself and his audience when he vomited that history all over the stage that night.

8. this history claim - does this mean that we don't recognize other histories? (i.e., the history of the english oppression of the irish, the genocide in darfur, the spanish decimation of the native american and the indigenous. those histories.) no way. but that's not the context of this particular conversation or incident.

9. and don't try to divert the conversation into another direction. it would be great if the folks who always use this gambit when they get super defensive about race/racism actually wanted to talk about other imperialisms and colonialisms and how they inform our contemporary culture and make our current race issues so frakking complicated. they say, 'what about this oppression or that oppression? are you saying that only black people have suffered, only black people have suffered oppression??' no, brother; i'm not saying that. let's DO talk about other people's suffering and oppression! i'd love to, but you're not going to like it. history ain't pretty. you really don't want to go there.

10. but if you do, maybe we can talk about this guy from UCLA (my alma mater!) who totally got tasered for refusing to show school ID and told some campus police to frak off. he probably has some ideas about why it happened.

Friday, November 17, 2006

is he kidding? jonah goldberg can kiss my minority ass.

so here's his piece: Racism by another name is `diversity' | Chicago Tribune

and here's mine (perhaps to appear in a newspaper near you sometime soon):

Mr. Goldberg is probably correct; if all children, across all economic and racial strata, had access to the basic building blocks for stability - adequate housing, nutrition, health care, family support and quality early childhood education from the start - then perhaps affirmative action would be moot. But we all know that hasn’t happened, yet, and perhaps Mr. Goldberg should look outside his own privileged background and take a reality check.

While we work towards a level playing field – and to date, other than to suggest black people should be happy with less challenging schools, Mr. Goldberg hasn’t offered a single recommendation how to make that happen – let’s ask ourselves what our universities and colleges would look like without affirmative action now?

To answer that question let's look at California; ten years since affirmative action was banned in California minority enrollment at the state’s best schools has plummeted. In 2000, nine African American first year law students enrolled at UC Berkely; in 1996, that number was twenty. University-wide numbers show that since 1995, African-American undergraduate enrollment dropped to 4,780 from 5,016 while white enrollment remained steady, hovering in the 50-55,000 area; in 2005 at UC Berkely alone, there were only 829 African-American students enrolled compared to the 1,200 back in 1995. In contrast, during that same period, White student enrollment remained steady.

If the white student population has not been significantly affected, why call for less opportunity for students of color? (It's not true that if you make room for Black Joe you take away from White Tom. In fact, what you've just done is make White Tom the default.)

There was a hope that eliminating affirmative action would force us to change the way we pipeline underrepresented students into higher education – we hoped that improved K-12 education would eliminate the need for so-called racial preferences. But that hasn’t happened, either. Disadvantaged school districts still lack the AP classes and counseling necessary to boost even their top students’ GPAs to the level of a student from a more privileged school district. In addition, recruiting students of color is now illegal under the California law, making it even harder to put students of color in the pipeline for higher education. And so, ten years after the California Prop 209 initiative, we can see that the desired affect has been reached; there are practically no students of color on any UC campus and Michigan wants to do the same thing in their state.

(Of course, Michigan also has a long tradition of being a racially segregated state so perhaps they're just going back to their roots. After all, it is one of the remaining states with bunches of sunset towns still operating in them.)

The privileges of the upper/middle class should be enjoyed by everyone. While affirmative action is an effective tool to give access to opportunity to students who need it, it's important to continue to ensure historically underrepresented populations have those basic building blocks necessary for a full and autonomous life – economic stability, family stability, physical and educational stability.

Maybe those who don’t like affirmative action can work on that.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

the universe hates me

at first, today was normal: morning meeting (cancelled), busy work at the desk, pressing list of things to do and figure out, work work work, lunch, more work.

then comes the afternoon planning meeting for one of our major events next spring and i look down at the tentative schedule of events and see something that makes me sit up, squeak and loudly say, Holy shit.

remember last night? i'm cruising around B-'s archive of writing; i'm thinking that it's sad i didn't get to know him that well; i vaguely register a photo of him and his heretofore unknown well-known sister on his website.

why is this significant?

because she's going to be performing at my organization's event next spring with her nationally recognized spoken word troupe. that's why.

things i never knew about the man i knew

B- sent me an email today. it was a link to his newest article, a review of nbc's 'earl'. i don't think it was sent to me, personally, as some kind of sign or anything. it was probably just a mass email to folks he has in his address book.

but i'd never really read his writing in any close way. since the link was there, what harm would there be? what could i discover about B- since we'd stopped sleeping together?

you know how you read certain authors and you instantly have a sense of where they come from - they're authors of a Place and you'll always associate them with that? like, flannery o'connor is a southern writer; edith wharton is new york; steinbeck is california. well, B- is san antonio. you read him and you can taste the tecate, you feel the dry heat, you smell the dirt. his writing about his hometown should have been all the conversations we never had. the holes in his biography were filled: his sister is a well-known poet and spoken work performer and activist; his father was not just a crazy vietnam vet; he was raised by his staunch baptist grandparents; he may have been well-educated at stanford but he was in contempt of it all. he has a soft imaginative spot for petty criminals, con men, hustlers and winos.

there's nothing about me - and there shouldn't be. but there is a short piece called 'hello, walls,' roughly around the time we stopped seeing each other, and i can't help but remember this day we spent together.

anyway. i thought that was interesting.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

brill-yunt: bush years as hook up

yes, i'm still riding the high of seeing the dems actually win something (see what message discipline can do??) so here's an apt metaphor for the past 6 years:

Listen, we've all had the questionable hook-up. We get it. Bush didn't seem at all crazy when you met him at the club. And sure you dabbled in faith-based stuff, and maybe his foreign policy was a little naive, but come on -- sexy, sexy tax cuts.

But then things got out of control, and kinkier and kinkier and next thing you know you're in a war with no occupation planning and no exit strategy and being told that's okay and back off; and people are being tortured, and then not allowed to talk to their lawyers because they might reveal the secrets of their torture; and the one dude who had oversight on the corruption in the war is fired in secret; and you have record deficits and record spending and Congress meeting over Terry Schiavo and warrantless wiretaps and faith-based anti-science and the end of separation of Church and State and troop families in food banks and the most venal Congress in history and Abramoff and K Street and Young Republican college students in charge of Iraqui reconstruction and fucking HORSE LAWYERS IN CHARGE OF FEMA and bing bang boom you got a whole American city, just lying there dead, no explanations, no excuses, just stunned at how the hell you got here. Exactly like our questionable hook-ups, just substitute "waitress in Provost" for "New Orleans" and "all that vodka and blow" for "Hurricane Katrina" --

But let's not get distracted. Point is -- questionable hook-ups. We, as ordinary citizens, all know how we get out of this: you stop returning the crazy person's calls. We promise never to bring it up when drinking. Several years from now, when everything's scabbed over the two of us can joke about our mutual lapses in judgement while sharing a fine Rolling Rock beverage.


if any metaphor for our political process is going to sink in, it's the metaphor of the inappropriate one-nighter.

h/t: wasp jerky

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

post-election fallout

what an amazing day so far.
the senate is still up in the air, with montana and virginia the deciding factors.
the house is ours.

and donald rumsfeld is stepping down.

i'm sorry. was that a pig flying overhead?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

i couldn't do it

Eric Zorn, loathe as i am to admit it, expresses what happened to me in the voting booth this mornng.

though i liked rich whitney a lot (flaming ex-socialist that he is), i just couldn't do it. i couldn't vote for him. i actually stood in that steaming hot polling room and felt my hair curl as i debated with myself to vote for rod (gag) or vote for whitney, thereby putting topinka (gag) one step closer to the governor's mansion. and so i couldn't do it.

these days, voting is like a scene in sophie's choice, you know?

Monday, November 06, 2006

roomie and i are silently counting down until we can pack up our passports and get on that plane to montreal for thanksgiving. we're both sorta tired and being in another place for the beginning of the family holiday season makes us really really happy.

really happy.
it has given us a reason (uh, excuse) to shop like we're crazy women.

two pairs of black pumps, a black/white chain print wrap dress, and a bottle of marc jacobs body lotion (YUM) later, i can say that shopping is the *perfect* antidote for not having a boy around.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

counting down to another nervous breakdown: politics

Green Party vs. the goliaths | Chicago Tribune

the blagojevich/topinka ads are turning my stomach. can't a girl watch 'dancing with the stars' in peace? apparently not.

so my gaze turns toward a candidate who's been running so far under the radar, when i mentioned him at a work meeting, my very politically astute coworkers went, 'Err?' ralph nader pissed me off but i think i could probably go for a Green governor. and if you check out his profile, rich whitney doesn't sound totally crazy. ok, his gun policy is weird, but i can overlook that. i'm from los angeles.

(my rubric for political candidates is quite simple - don't sound like a nutbag.)

change has to start somewhere, right?
...
speaking of commercials, why don't the GOP just come out and call poor tammy duckworth a 'legless satan worshipper'? it'd cut through all the crap and make their ads so much more interesting.
...
talking to roomie on the phone yesterday, i realized that approximately 2 years ago, bush won his second election, i had a political nervous breakdown and began the shaky process of giving my boss the finger. it's an anniversary of sorts.

so maybe it's rather apropos that senator john kerry (hereafter known as The Supreme Dumbass) says something just ONE frakking week before elections that seemed almost calculated to make the Dems lose any chance of winning back the House, thus leading to another second political nervous breakdown.

so, uh, john. when i quit my job while in the throes of a massive depression and end up living on the streets, shall i blame you?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

our fearless leaders

Rolling Stone : COVER STORY: Time to Go! Inside the Worst Congress Ever

a few things:
where is our national media? shouldn't THEY be digging around, telling us how much our leaders suck?
and, why do we to reward the most stupid among us so richly? the letter from randy (duke) cunningham will make you laugh your pants off.
and where are the moderates? where's their spine, their conviction?

and, lastly, i have to wonder, why is it a chronic habit of our macho progressive muckrakers to be sexist and homophobic when 'sticking it to' the GOP?

Friday, October 27, 2006

awesome!!

jet blue finally gets here!

it's about time, people! no more icky southwest! no more midway! yay!

Monday, October 23, 2006

blogging confessions

i'm at a crossroads, folks.

it's been fun having Screed, but what now? i've had these blogs for the past 4-5 years and it's time to move on, i feel. change things up a bit - get either more introspective or pack it in. but introspective about what? i started this blog because i needed a place to put all my ire. but ire ain't enough, is it?

and having a blog isn't the fun paradise it's cracked up to be: it's strangers stopping by calling you names (bastids), it's feeling the unconscious urge to be current, be funny, be snide, be snarky, be more ironically distant than the next - not to mention the unspoken urge to get to a certain level of production so that you become an even bigger blog. but it all becomes a bunch of noise after a while.

i want to cut through the noise.

and i miss my journals; i miss the physicality, the privacy and the intimacy of them. there's something about blogging that hints at intimacy - an anonymous kind of intimacy, like a really great one night stand - but because i know there's a reading public (albeit a small one), and i know some of that public, there's a veil over everything i write. i never wanted to write things that were veiled. i wanted it to be my truth. but that's not what blogging has given me: instead of truth, i have versions of truth. hints at truth. and trying to decipher which truth to use is a constraint.

i feel trapped by blogging sometimes. i'm trapped by the need to engage a vague public and the opposing need to say to that public 'i actually don't give a frak what you think. this isn't for you.'

my life coach and i talked about this once. she wanted to know what i loved most about journaling and i said the ability to capture and cultivate a moment that was as real as possible. not all moments are nice. they can be mean and hard and awful. but they can also be beautiful and difficult and funny and true. and we're not at our best all the time in those moments. but the best thing of all was that whatever public eye i was writing for was distant; it was an 'eye' i used to shape my voice. and it was comforting to know there was never going to be a response from that distant critic or audience unless i made a conscious effort to get one. here, there is and that's a big variable.

anyway, blather blather blather.

this is all to say that changes are coming and i have no idea what they are.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

while watching PR...


you wanna know another reason to hate macy's?
their commercials.

i mean, my gawd.
how many un-rhythmic people can you have cavorting awkwardly to a lame cover of martha and the vandellas?

it's some serious ugly.

fascinating: black suppression of white votes?

U.S. Says Blacks in Mississippi Suppress White Vote - New York Times

totally fascinating.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

my stars and garters!: BG night

Television Without Pity » Battlestar Galactica » Precipice

holy crap. who else was totally stressed out last night watching the double episode of Battlestar? it made me constipated. is starbuck really going to embrace her psychotic cylon lover of death? and who else was screaming at the screen, "kill the child! kill the child!"? oh, you weren't? well, we were. (what else to do? commit suicide? no! kill the half-cylon baby! push leoben over the edge!) and, come on, Chief! who *else* would be your cylon-colonial contact except gaeta?! get your head out of your frakkin' ass! and who in their right mind would sign the cylon order?? gaius, gaius, gaius! you could have been a hero after the fact *and* you would have been put out of your misery! so short-sighted. and is anyone else giggling over the fact that they made apollo look like the dead engineer who briefly commanded the pegasus? (poor john hurt.)

i like fat apollo; his waddle makes him interesting.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

lock it down, folks.

i think i just got heartburn.

no longer just a hidden paranoia amongst the pro-choice, the new evangelicals' 'war' on contraception has finally broken the surface. i hate being right!

i love all the space given to the anti-family planning side while the pro-family planning side is given just a few inches toward the end, legitimizing the idea that people (mostly women) shouldn't have the right to use contraception.

Abortion foes' new rallying point | Chicago Tribune

so.
all those married ladies on the pill or using the sponge, diaphragm or IUD? forget it.
all those married guys who don't want to get a vasectomy and so use condoms? too bad.
everyone else who doesn't want to get pregnant (for various reasons) and who don't believe the same as others about the place of sex in a relationship (or out of one)? yeah, too bad.

sex is only for married folks, people. the fundies have said so.
and now they're going to FORCE you to be celibate.

whether you like it or not.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

adulthood checklist

1. realize that in your new job you are fracking responsible for shit. realize that this is slightly different from just 'doing' shit. you're responsible for what gets done. you have a fracking budget, for frack's sake!
2. pay off that student loan, once and for all. they're getting impatient.
3. do something with that stagnating 401k. roll it over, cash it out - something.
4. plan now for whatever tax hell you're going to find yourself in next year.
5. get someone to prepare your taxes.
6. write your will.
7. decide who your medical proxy is (or whatever that's called - who will tell the doctors to shut off the machine?)
8. make a decision *now* about the whole essure thing. or the long-term, 'could possibly poke through my uterus' IUD thing.
9. get a check up and get those boobs checked, see if you have diabetes or any other family-inherited disease and get a whole STD/HIV screen. (drive up those insurance premiums for everyone! bwah ha ha ha ha! sigh. you have to read the whole comment string to get the joke.)
10. buy renter's insurance. (yeah, for *one* painting, the books and the old laptop...)
11. write your friends more letters.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Guy Gone Wild Gets Fined: heh.

remember the reporter who nailed the skeeviness of joe francis for all to see back in august?

she's back and this time, no complaints about 'objectivity'. joe gets nailed (sorta) by the justice department for violating federal laws protecting minors from sexual exploitation:

Maker of 'Girls Gone Wild' Runs Afoul of Law on Minors | Chicago Tribune

Thursday, September 07, 2006

dammit! i'm a girl!

i'm in the middle of hastily cobbling together a GOTV project for NonProfit but i still have a few minutes to wonder about fashion...

what shall my new fall look be?
i've tried sexy librarian and failed...
what should my new staples be?

what are the rest of you wearing/shopping?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

over in churchgal land, i'm losing my temper over the mommy wars.

i shouldn't have called Happy Mom bitchy.
but she pissed me off.

i'll be the first to admit that i'm not a child-friendly person. i was with old friends this weekend, and they have kids; we were looking for a place to eat and i suggested the food court. i said, 'it has wide aisles for the stroller, it has something for everyone and it's kid-friendly. affordable.' and my friend's husband said, 'wow, totally not like you at all. affordable, kid-friendly and accessible.' fucker.

but thanks to folks like bitch ph.d and orange (and the kick ass women they have at their own communities) and to my gig working to 'empower women and eliminate racisim' i've learned more about the connections between us single/childless women and women who care for kids. big epiphany: mommy issues *are* feminist issues and vice versa. i've learned a lot about the burdens that working mothers bear, the pressures on stay at home moms to be everything to everyone, the judgments that land on single gals like me who just may be indifferent to child rearing and create our worlds to make sure we remain childless. i've learned about these things and about how all our disparate issues aren't so disparate after all. again, mommy issues *are* feminist issues, even though i won't ever be a mommy.

(psst. it's all about the patriarchy.)

but i got a little frustrated over at churchgal with the whole 'bad mommy' blame game going on and i'm tired of churchy housewives stepping over who don't know how to look at things critically as a 'system' and instead take criticism of the system as some fracking personal assault. they ask the wrong questions, they jump to conclusions and they don't know how to stay on point. i hate it.

(yeah, i know. i may have learned a lot but didn't seem to learn humility. frack humility. where's that gotten us except where we are?)

the good thing, though, is that i found a cool website for mommies and social change. they write intelligently about mommy issues and sometimes they come down a little conservative and sometimes they're unexpectedly radical. it's a good read and a good resource.

(and for those critical thinking/social change writer-mommies out there, they want to publish your stuff.)
the times has an essay on interracial dating.
read on; i'll probably have more to say about it later.

(shh. i'm at work!)

Race Wasn�t an Issue to Him, Which Was an Issue to Me - New York Times

Friday, September 01, 2006

trickle down theory: breast feeding for the haves and have not so muchs

this is fascinating.

so what trickles down?
from the article:

For those with autonomy in their jobs — generally, well-paid professionals — breast-feeding, and the pumping it requires, is a matter of choice. It is usually an inconvenience, and it may be an embarrassing comedy of manners, involving leaky bottles tucked into briefcases and brown paper bags in the office refrigerator. But for lower-income mothers — including many who work in restaurants, factories, call centers and the military — pumping at work is close to impossible, causing many women to decline to breast-feed at all, and others to quit after a short time.

It is a particularly literal case of how well-being tends to beget further well-being, and disadvantage tends to create disadvantage — passed down in a mother’s milk, or lack thereof.


On the Job, Nursing Mothers Find a 2-Class System - New York Times
before i begin i must make a very strong suggestion.
you must watch bbc america's ShakespeaRE: Told's 'Taming of the Shrew' with shirley henderson and rufus sewell. it's brilliant, it's funny and now it's made rufus a lot more interesting than i would have guessed. i loves me some big, loud, bad, drunk, cross-dressing petruchio.

but now that the brutal summer weather has broken and fall really feels like it's breathing down my neck, i've been giving thought to, of course, boys. not crazy boys, like B- (whom i totally can't handle and who drives me nuts), but perhaps some friendly, fun boys like S-, whom i might visit very soon. you know, for the -uh - art museums. in boston. yeah.

i'm getting my hair done tomorrow (hello, mysterious egyptians who know how to do a blowout), i'm looking at airfare to boston, and i'm also talking to a guy who lives in michigan and, apparently, our paths have crossed without us knowing.

we were both on nerve and we're emailing; he's brown, i'm brown; he's slightly older, i'm slightly older; he likes camping and making furniture, i'm a die-hard city girl who likes sitting in furniture; we apparently lived in the same neighborhood at the same time in michigan, we hung out at the same places, used the same butcher - but we had never ever met one another. then he starts talking about a well-known music camp.

i chime in:
'yeah! i have friends who have family places up there! and a friend of a friend - her family is really involved on their board and she worked at [boop] then moved to new york where she's working for [beep]!'

he writes:
'yeah, E-! i know her - and i know her brother and i see her uncle around town all the time and i've known her dad and she and i used to date for a while!'

i respond:
'get OUT! you know E-?! i just saw her this weekend. how is this possible you know people i know? how could we live around the corner from each other and not ever meet and 10 years later we start talking on nerve?? you used to date??'

i recovered from the shock that sometimes this world is too freaking small and tonight he called. will he come out to chicago? perhaps. it's too soon to tell. but i like the timing. fall, cooler weather, no big hair, new clothes (which i have to plan out.)

hello, boys.

Monday, August 28, 2006

no wonder the good die young


while we were waiting for our flight to minneapolis, me and the girls caught up. it was my turn and i sighed over my snack wrap and said, 'being good is boring.'

and it's true. i've had about the goodest summer EVER and i'm libidinally bored out of my mind.
nothing has happened this entire summer and i'm pissed.

the highlight of my day saturday was the church garden picnic, which was really good, and then the walk i took down to the dvd store. lame.

(though not as lame as 'matchpoint'. watching rhys-davies and scarlett johannsen pretend to be thinking, scheming adults was so painful i had to do laundry to distract myself.)

why can't being good have the same frisson as being slightly naughty?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

about 5 years ago i lost my mother. it was devastating.

and now, my best friend/roomie has lost hers. it's also devastating.
i'll be taking the next few days off to be with her and some of our friends who are flying out to join A- and her family for the services.

each parental loss i and my friends experience tells us how finite family is; our friends become our family.

Monday, August 14, 2006

look out iron john: the Brawny Academy

what. the. hell.
maybe i was tired, or bored, but i watched all 4 episodes and laughed my ass off.

Brawny Academy

(who cares that it's a total marketing ploy? it's men in the woods with the Brawny Man, learning to be 'sensitive'! snort.)

Friday, August 11, 2006

How To Become An Ally (Part 1)

i wanted to keep the joe francis link up at the top for a while but when i read this post from changeseeker i had to give it up.

THIS is the one post everyone should read about 'race', the construction of 'race', privilege and how a little hard work needs to be done. she breaks down the system of race in a way that a sociologist can - and that it comes from a white woman is doubly powerful to me.

but her post also prompts something for brown folk to consider. when we look at race, whiteness and blackness as a system and not as a personal thing, then i think that frees us. because 'blackness' is a construct, too. we are caught up in this system of racial oppression - not just as victims but also as people who have internalized these lessons. it's what makes it easy for us to call another brown person the n-word; it's what makes it easy for us to erect even taller walls of us/them within our own community.

what kind of liberation could we face if we, too, vowed to not participate in the maintenance of a racist system of oppression?

anyway, you must read it. she's working on a second part and i can't wait.

Why Am I Not Surprised?: For White Folks: How To Become An Ally (Part 1)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

rather proud of this one

it's my alter-ego, ChurchGal, on joe francis, those soldiers accused of raping/killing a 14 yr old girl in iraq and what they have in common.

Monday, August 07, 2006

the guy behind 'girls gone wild': nutbag freak


the la times piece on joe francis is great.

talk about holding up a skeevy mirror to a guy who has a lot of influence in shaping young male sexual identity:

In short, Francis wants to insinuate himself and his view of the world into the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the vacations you take and the entertainment—filmed and glossy—that you consume. He sees "Girls Gone Wild" as the ultimate lifestyle brand. "Sex sells everything," he says. "It drives every buying decision . . . I hate to get too deep and philosophical here, but only the guys with the greatest sexual appetites are the ones who are the most driven and most successful."
if that's the case, and after reading this profile, you'll hope a flaming meteorite lands on joe and all that's left is a crater. his vision of the world is one that turns every woman into a pink hole.

why is it always women pointing out the total scary inappropriateness of guys like this? why aren't men the first to hold up the mirror and say, Dude - you're fucked in the head and have a serious problem with women.

follow the links in the feministing piece for more discussion and analysis.

[update: here is another really fascinating take on the times piece which says that hoffman is a bad reporter for doing it. read to the end when he wonders what kind of world we live in that a pig like francis won't get clocked by a woman he's just assaulted? i say that it's a world where women are afraid of the bastards who hurt them. the same kind of world where we force a rape victim to watch a videotape of her own gangbang and the kind of world that allows a man to make money coercing barely legal drunk girls to have sex with him and his crew.]

dude, wake the fuck up.

(note: let's not forget this is also the joe francis who was in court last year because some guy broke in his house and made him say/do something 'sexually humiliating' with a dildo. i remember writing that if anyone deserved a big bite of karma it was him. let's hope this expose is just the beginning.)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

making it work - your way

it's sunday afternoon, a rare day that i've been able to enjoy without 'running errands' or otherwise being outside in some heatwave.

i've stumbled across two articles today in the 'paper' that are sort of like bookends to one another; one looks at the declining number of men without college educations marrying and the other looks at women, with educations, entering financial services and what they encounter - as well as the adjustments some firms are having to make because of them:

Facing Middle Age With No Degree, and No Wife - New York Times

Wall Street's Women Face A Fork in the Road - New York Times

what's interesting to me about both these articles is how they avoid the tone of a fake 'crisis' (unlike the Times' previous shoddy Opt Out articles, which one of these is a tonic for) and they show how the idea of what's 'traditional' is changing because people (men and women alike) are saying up front 'this isn't working for me.' and their rejection is saying something about the way our worlds, social and corporate worlds, are organized.

when looking at the low trends of young women entering financial services it's offered that 'Generation Y cares less about money if it comes at too high a price, ...throwing a wrench into Wall Street’s past assurance that it could demand cultlike devotion from employees in return for fatter paychecks than any other profession.' instead, younger men and women (even those who'd like to return) are demanding something less insane than working around the clock to the detriment of their personal/family lives.

and the guys featured in the marriage piece - they seem ok with their status, whatever their reasons for remaining single (financial stbility, fear of divorce, can't commit.) to the pressure of marriage, the effort and expense of it - they're saying no. while the article makes a lot of the stats showing how the pool of available women has shrunk for these men, their own personal stories tell a different story - they just don't want to marry. it's working for them.

of course it makes me think what things will look like down the line when most folk in my generation will be living as roommates, unmarried and pretty happy about it. it'll be unlike life as we've known it (or heard about from our parents and grandparents).

that'll be sort of interesting.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

i had lunch with an intern and two other brown girls yesterday from my office. the poor little intern had no clue how to go about grad school, finding a job - totally lost.

we were talking about how she needs to create a network for herself and i found myself saying, 'you need to widen your circle of friends. and it wouldn't be a bad idea to make sure one of them is white. some white folk can be very helpful.'

'i don't know any white people.'
'you need to. at least one.'
'really?'
'really. but find a good brown mentor, too. you'll need both. cover all your bases.'
'really?'

the other two women nodded. 'we didn't think this was important when we graduated college, but after working for a while, yes. ding is right. you need a white friend. at least one.'
'but why?'

i said, 'first, it's always good to be friends with everyone, but it's especially good to have a bridge to white folk. it's about strategy. i've grown up around white people; i've always had white friends. but it was still an eye-opener to see how white guys i worked with made connections, met one another, promoted one another, got up that ladder. they're bold, assertive, they do their homework and they think ahead. i learned a lot observing them and my roommate's way of thinking about work and management has actually helped me. our friends and family back in the neighborhood - they're about safety. as long as you find a good job, baby, you'll do ok. nice advice, but not really gonna help you be anything more than safe. you need someone to show you how to get your foot in the door and keep it there until you get what you need. white folk know how to do that.'

(the white guys at the table next to us fell silent.)

the other two brown girls nodded.
one of them said, ' my dad worked his way up the ladder to a senior executive position at the post office. he has a great job but all he wanted was for me to get a good job at the post office. i didn't want to work for the post office.'

i said, 'and my mom wanted me to get my teacher's certification and be a high school teacher back in california. she thought grad school was risky.'

the intern asked, 'does everyone know about this?'
'well, you won't find it in a black MBA book, but we think it's useful.'

Thursday, July 27, 2006

from television without pity 'project runway' forum:
I'm listening to my boyfriend right now talking to one of his co-workers on the
phone about how horrible Angela's skirt was and what he would have done with
Keith's dog instead of that lame-ass bracelet. This, from a guy going on a
camping trip this weekend to shoot guns in the country with some friends.
love. this. show.

i'm going to stagger home now from the office. i wore white pants today and i've been a nervous wreck because Hugo is still visiting. Hugo has been visiting for months. in any other situation, any other woman, three months of Hugomenses would be a cause for alarm; alas, for me, it's merely an emphatic sign that i'm totally effing stressed out. i've killed my uterus.

and i have about 10 phone calls i have to return, that i haven't had a single chance to get to.
once i get my sister's visit out the way, i'll concentrate on roomie's birthday, next month's trip to new york (STILL have to buy the ticket and talk to my friend L- about it), my birthday and perhaps a visit from a boy.

where has the summer gone?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

bush to everyone else: what civil rights?

so...you have a department charged with enforcing civil rights laws on our books. who'd you rather want enforcing it: someone who agrees with the law or someone who thinks the law is crap?

my favorite, totally insane, 'up is down' quote from the conservatives who think this makes total sense:
But Roger Clegg , who was a deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights during the Reagan administration, said that the change in career hiring is appropriate to bring some ``balance" to what he described as an overly liberal agency.

``I don't think there is anything sinister about any of this. . . . You are not morally required to support racial preferences just because you are working for the Civil Rights Division," Clegg said.

no, roger, you're right. you're not morally required to agree with civil rights legislation. you're just legally required to adhere to it.

since when does enforcing the law need balance? since when does making sure there is non-discrimination need balance? let's think about what 'balance' means in this context.

what balances enforcement? non-enforcement!
what balances non-discrimination? discrimination!
what balances civil rights? fuck your civil rights!

Civil rights hiring shifted in Bush era - The Boston Globe

Friday, July 21, 2006


oh, the internets.
always a good source of weird myspace pickups:

"nice pictures. what do you do for a living? how tall are you? what do you do for fun?" - F.
(hi, random.)

"I read your profile and would be very glad to talk with you in real time, to start our relationship.I'm gentle and passionate man with a velvet sight and tender hands, kind heart and purposeful, resolute character. I can be soft and gentle as a cat, and I can be a passionate lioness with my unique lion. I very romantic and very much love a life! In fact in it so a lot of interesting! Very much I like to travel, meet interesting an pls if u wanna get to contact me real fast i mean to know each other better u can IM me on this yahoo ID [boop] u can as the same drop urs too thank u." - D.
(he's my favorite; notice how his language deteriorates as his message continues.)


"when i move to chicago u gona be my friend?" - G.
(um, no.)


"you like to be entertain me to were do you like to go?" - Godly
(the irony.)

...
the flaming bag of poo called work is finally over this week. and - i was dinged yesterday for wearing jeans - despite my wonderful new jacket and 'denim trousers.' (they're trousers! not jeans!) i was told i now have to be 'an example.' dude. after years of giving management the finger, i'm about to be coopted!

but thank you, S-, for your unique relaxation technique this afternoon. worked a charm. (hee!)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

squee!

i've always written.
in 2nd grade i wrote stories about smart, nosy girls solving mysteries like What Was in the Janitor's Bucket.
in 5th grade i wrote a sci-fi story about an invasion from mars and how a ship of women saved the world while their boyfriends got shot. (i also bound and made the cover for it.)
in junior high i wrote gothic stories of victiorian ladies who were locked in rooms, broke out and shot their captors. (sensing a theme?)
in high school, i wrote plain stories about people living in los angeles in an existential torpor.
in college and grad school, fiction died and then i started to write self-aware, dry, academic things - conference papers, research papers, drafts for articles, book reviews.

and during all of this i scribbled in my journal - drew maps, made lists, sketched folks i saw on the bus. i traced my sexual (non)development, bitterly chafed against my baptist bonds, wrote more fragments of stories about being religious, funny stories about the latest boy i was stalking (oh, Knightley). so i've always written. and written. and written.

but today was the first day i actually got a check for it.

(the current issue of geez, kids! i'm in it!)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

our president: man with a slow hand


nevermind she's the leader of all of germany.
she's a soft, warm woman and like all soft, warm women, she craves the touch of...our President.

dude. cussing on mic, blathering about pigs - is our president off the wagon or does he always give leaders of the free world back rubs?

the video of bush's 'love attack' is here.

Monday, July 17, 2006

in the world away from crisis communications and appts with community leaders, people are having much more interesting conversations than the ones i'm foisting on you all over here.

like, this conversation over at Bitch Ph.D. about the head butt heard 'round the world. JP has a response of sorts over here.

ok, back to crisis communications.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

shopping


i have had to patch my favorite pair of jeans. the cuffs are frayed and the pants have that worn in look that impressionable young fashionistas pay scads of cash to get. after years of faithful service, they have become my new weekend jeans. long live the weekend jean.

and long live the jeans i replaced them with from forth & towne. roomie and i trekked in the blazing heat to old orchard and, there, i immersed myself in the really great sale they were having.

(where else can you get a cropped poppy jacket for $30 when it was once over $100? or a green straw handbag for $20, marked down from $98? or a couple of soft as silk t-shirts that drape just the right way for under $10? get thee to this sale!)

these jeans...i thought they weren't going to fit, that they were going to make me look like a big muffin top, but once again forth & towne totally surprised me: dark wash, straight through the thigh and hip, very slight bootcut at the bottom. it makes me look tall-ish. and it rests at just the right spot at my 'waist.' whoever is making their pants, and whoever their fit model is, it is working for me.

we did other shopping at pottery barn (paisely plates for just $13!!), stopped into nordstrom for their anniversary sale, but it was a bloodbath.

(and word to the head honchos at macy's: the field's out at old orchard is already suffering from the macy's malady - over-stuffed floors and racks, poor merchandising and tacky, undistinguished clothes. what used to be a store with at least attractive merchandise, with some really great surprisingly quality lines, is now a jc penney. and MOVE the big soft girl section from the FURNITURE department. not a good way to create a loyal customer.

thanks for that. can't wait until you finally ruin the store downtown.)

then, we came back into the city and stopped at vive la femme, a cute boutique in bucktown for big soft girls, something that's rare for this part of town. bucktown likes to act like everyone is hip, rich and the size of fiona apple. VLF is normally very very pricey (sometimes, prohibitively) so i was cautious when the really aggressive owner made me try on a very disco black/white sweater with kimono sleeves and a wide waist band. what a surprise that it rocked! i never would have picked it but now i'm wearing it to new york. and it only cost the equivalent of a cheap pair of steve madden shoes! add to that a black party frock with a disturbing band of silver under the ruched bodice (hm, must be removed) and this was a surprisingly productive shopping day - all this for just under $200!

see what happens when you wake up in the morning and do your yoga? you turn into a freaking capitalist, shopping pig!
...
and i know i said the door was closed on this topic, but he keeps emailing me.
it turns out B- really wants to date seriously and wants to correct any misapprehension i may have had about him 'bowing out.'

i give up. i really do.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

my own personal west wing

boy situation aside (which actually isn't that big a deal since expectations were so low), this week is going to give me a stroke.

work has, to put a fine point on it, exploded all over me like a flaming bag of poo. i stepped into my new position officially last week and, man, is the learning curve fast and steep. our government affairs contact said to me, as she handed me her copy of the IL general assembly directory, 'don't worry. in a year, you'll be great. flashcards are useful.'

holy crap. flashcards. and - a year?!

i have to learn names, committees, titles, interest areas - for city, county, state, and federal level officials (elected and appointed).

what the hell. those 7 years of frolicking were nice. who needs friends, family and boys? not me.

i have the illinois general assemby and the cook county board to keep me warm.

(of course you know i'm secretly thrilled. i love this stuff.)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

the last word on B-


in the twisted opera that is my non-relationship with B-, i think we have approached the final aria. the hero (that would be me) comes onstage too late to save poor butterfly (that would be B-), in his death throes, having chopped up his own guts after deciding, 'i can't meet your friends.'

the past few weeks have seen poor B- calling while i stalled, trying to figure out just what it is i wanted to do with him. i didn't want things to be the way they were. but i didn't know, couldn't see, how things were going to be different. so i stalled.

but still he called.
he called while i was at roomie's corporate event at navy pier.
he called when i was at a party for pride weekend.
he called when i was in michigan.
he called when i was at work.

(were his calls about getting together for the future? no, they were about getting together that night. please.)

so yesterday, when i call him (i have a 25% return rate with him) from the office i still have no idea, really, why i'm doing so. we chat awkwardly. i invite him to catch the world cup final with me and some friends on sunday afternoon. he says, 'right, that friendship thing.' and then says no - he's not into it, he leaves his sundays to prep for work the next day. ok. i can understand that. so i leave it. i offer to call later, but i'm still stumped what i'm going to be calling for.

the curtain is just hovering over the stage, folks.

i wake up this morning (er, afternoon) to an email from B- that says 'it seems you want me to perform certain social feats before we can hang out together alone. it feels like penalty kicks before the end of a game. good thing i'm bowing out before you make me go shoe shopping with you.'

butterfly has just inserted the knife and has hit the boards. bastard! i KNEW he'd do this!

my return email said 'i don't want you to perform anything. it would have been nice if we could have existed outside the bedroom. take care.'

enjoy all that alone time, dude.

(and note to self: when a guy gets dumped, he stays dumped. erase his phone number, block his email. waste of my fucking time.
yes, those three minutes i actually gave some thought to B- - i can't get those back now, can i? bastard!)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

i have returned!
rejuvenated and refreshed from 5 days out of town.

did you know there are vineyards in michigan? had no idea!!
the northern part of michigan is so pretty.

but god i'm glad to be home.
i'd forgotten how totally scary silence can be.

Friday, June 30, 2006

i finally had to do it.
i had to cancel the mysterious US magazine i've been receiving over the past 5 months. at first i thought one of my friends signed me up as a joke. then i thought i got automatically signed up when we bought something at best buy.

who fracking cares now? thumbing through this crap has made my brain shrink!

so i wrote them a strongly worded email asking them to STOP DELIVERING IT, for the love of god, or my head would pop off.

they're so incredibly gross, you know what they give you when you click on FAQ, on their subscriber services page, wanting to know how to cancel your effing magazine? this crap.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

What Happens When There Is No Plan B?

did anybody see this??
where was i when this came out?

below is a story about real-life consequences when Plan B isn't available to normal, everyday women. unbelievable.

who is still thinking that women shouldn't be able to retain *full* control of their reproductive lives??

Dana L. What Happens When There Is No Plan B?

senate to telecom: do me, baby.

more news on how big business wants to screw the little guy and our government says 'sounds fine to me!'

Senate Panel Defeats Net Neutrality - 6/28/2006 4:29:00 PM - Multichannel News - CA6348259
the very long 4th of july weekend is almost here and, thankfully, i will be with girlfriends on a road trip to michigan to invade a parental home and sit by the lake. my goals will be to sleep in the sun, not catch west nile, and read serial killer novels, comics and such while getting so brown i will eventually resemble a jimmy dean sausage patty.

i emailed B- to say hi (can't think of anything else to say over the phone...) and to tell him i'm out of town this weekend, though (in our past) this would have been the perfect weekend to Get it On. it's at these crucial boy-junctures in my life that i wish my life coaching sessions about intimacy hadn't ended quite so abruptly when i got this job.

oh, well. must muddle through somehow.
...
in other news, over on my churchgal blog, i've been asked to be the new thursday blogger for a coalition of progressive church folk on their site. when the post is up, i'll point y'all to it. apparently, my technical lack-wittedness is slowing down the process...

i'm sorry, but i don't know what you mean when you say 'post it on Movable Type'! how? where? why? just post it randomly? somewhere specific? huh?

if anyone knows how these weekly contributor things usually work, please clue me in.

and i have other technical questions: how does that whole blogrolling thing work when you sign up with blogroller - so i don't have to keep futzing and endangering my template when i wanna add something? and how can i set up a site meter thing? and how can i put a hyperlink in comments that actually works when you click on it? again, please clue me in.

jp's already making fun of me down below.
...
and has anyone read the new linda hirshman book? i've been getting questions about it and i'm curious.

Monday, June 26, 2006

this 'n that

here's a cranky tip to the bands and djs on myspace music: please leave me alone. i don't know you, i don't want to be your 'friend.' if i wanted your friendship, i'd already be listening to you.
thanks.
...
this was a very good pride weekend.
saturday evening my friends and i went to a pride-warming up in boystown and we had a marvelous time. there is something to be said, once again, for adult parties: parties where there's plenty of seating (absolutely necessary when you're in party shoes), plenty of drink that doesn't come out of a keg or bottles that have the word -meister in it, wonderful food made by actual human hands and laid out beautifully on a well-appointed table, and plenty of interesting, funny, regular people who just want to make funny conversations and have a good time, even if it's just for the night.

no drunk girls crying in the bathroom, no couples fighting in the hallway and no one calling the police. (or having the police called on them.) and not a single drug in sight!

toward the end of the night, i checked my mobile to see if anyone had called and who do i see but B-. it was his second message that day, gamefully trying out that 'friendship' thing i demanded. i wonder if he realizes that 'friendship' at this juncture means 'no sex.' hm. probably not.
...
it's weird, this no sex feeling i'm having. it sort of snuck up on me. i don't mean that i'm not feeling the Urge. oh, the Urge is there. the Urge to snuggle up to someone and feel desired and desiring - that's all there. i'm not saying that, if offered an appropriate opportunity, i wouldn't immediately jump on a boy for a really great makeout session. (kissing is the BEST.)

but the sex. meh. not so much.

this isn't the same as restlessness when no one is paying attention to me. this isn't the same as the cagey feeling i have when i just want to get laid and no one's around. this isn't that. this feels like the pause that exists between exhale and inhale.
...
speaking of which, did you know tomorrow is HIV Testing Day? you should do that. i should do that.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

the best bj in town: a follow up and summary


over here you'll find a handy wrap up to all the hullaballoo started by the I Hate the Patriarchy post about giving head i mentioned below. i have no particular thoughts on the inherent politics of giving head.

i do have some thoughts about the phallocentric chauvinism shown in the partners i've had when they effing *expect* it. now, whether their expectation is a sign of the patriarchy, i have nary a clue (though i have suspicions) but it's of our continued acquiescence to that expectation that perhaps Twisty is speaking. nothing turns me off more than some guy who leans back and tries to force my head down into his lap. i remember the incident with 5-Fingered Tom who, while we were in the middle of a very nice snog session on his lumpy couch, whispered raggedly in my ear, 'Can I ask you something?'

and i whispered back, just as raggedly, 'The answer is No, I will not suck your dick.'

(in vain, he tried to change my mind. he said, pointing to his lap, 'But I need to take care of this.'
'So you take care of it,' i said, getting up and taking a chair in the corner across the room.
so i smoked a cigarette and watched poor 5-Fingered Tom wank off awkwardly on the couch and when he finished into a crumpled paper towel, he had a funny look on his face, like 'euww'.

i said, 'not exactly what you had in mind, huh? do not blame me for whatever feelings you might be having right now. that was all you. now take me home.')

and perhaps it's correct to protest the primacy of the blow job in our sexual narratives. though we may feel pleasure in giving them (i have) to the people we care for, there's no doubt that the blow job exists as a sign of masculine privilege and sexual dominance. (don't get me started on the fucking asshats who demand we swallow and the dumb girls who actually do it.)

if you don't like spitting out short and curlies or that slightly musky bj breath afterward, then avoid it. but for those of us who give them, there's nothing wrong with a little bit more introspection to examine why we seem to be getting really defensive about this when the questions about sexual politics should be directed at the guy who's getting blown.

now, i have more thoughts on this but i'm now officially late for work.

noooooo!

to my fellow battlestar galactickers (galacticians?):
the 2nd half of season two won't be released until fracking september 19!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

give Big Business the finger: net neutrality now

over near the bottom of my sidebar you'll notice that little Save the Internet thing.

if the scenario below pisses you off, then click on that button and keep abreast of what's going on with net neutrality. i hate it when people tell me what i can or can't do (unreasonably):
...
Take Action Before Your Internet Sucks!

Ok, it's March, 2008.
You go to your computer and open your Verizon-supertier browser, and everything comes at you with blazing speed. You access your bank, NBC news, Andrew Sullivan's blog through Time.com, and check your email. You watch the last five minutes of Scary Movie 7, which you fell asleep watching the night before. Pretty cool.

Then you remember your best friend set up a new blog about her band and asked you to check it out. It's kind of irritating, because she set it up on the slow tier. You minimize the Verizon browser, open up Firefox, and type in the web address. It takes thirty seconds to load. Ugh. The site's fine, and there are some cute pictures of her band performing in a dive bar. You click on a song, and the browser begins loading the first minute of the song. After twenty seconds, you curse the fact that she didn't pay to be on Verizon's internet, and you close the browser.

You're even thinking of canceling your slow-tier internet account, since shelling out the $45/month for that plus the $29/month for Verizon super-tier isn't worth it. Welcome to a non-neutral internet.

The net neutrality fight is coming to the Senate this week, with the Commerce Committee set to mark up the bill on Thursday.

click on that button and see what can be done.
because of something i read over at I Blame the Patriarchy, i'm now in the process of reevaluating my talent for and, heretofore-thought, pleasure at giving oral.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

not quite apathetic. yet.

y'all may have noticed that it's been a while since i've gotten all riled up about anything i've read in the papers or heard on the news. it's been months since i've parsed an op-ed column, longer since i've quoted anything from president 'numbers in the toilet' bush.

some possible reasons for this political lack:
my job is taking up alot of my time, only leaving me enough time to grab a few cocktails with girl friends when i get home
i'm distracted by the FIFA World Cup
i've forgotten how to read
or...

i just don't give a rat's ass what our president does anymore.

i find myself utterly indifferent to the rest of his term and the destruction he and his people are still wreaking on this country and every oil-rich nation within reach. the news coming from the white house becomes ever more absurd. the news from elsewhere is just exhausting. i think my brain switched off when that guy said the suicides at Gitmo were an act of warfare against america.

it's wrong and dangerous to feel this indifference toward my country and government. when a person no longer feels anything, when the mind and the heart retreats, it permits the outside world to do all sorts of things a person never thought the world could do. then we become the bystander, purposefully blind while a mugging takes place right in front of them.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

misc.

i'm listening to The Roots (ha! gonna get that black card back, yet!) and reading stuff on the internets. thanks to Bitch, who points to Rootless Cosmopolitan, the personal blog from a south african journalist/editor from Time. check it out.
...
speaking of music, i just have to hand it to dave chappelle's Block Party for getting me curious enough to go to virgin and actually go into the rap/hip hop section - for the very first time ever. i am now the proud owner of Homegrown! The Beginner's Guide to Understanding The Roots Volume One and Blackstar's first cd.

what's next?

things i did today:

read a couple green arrow comic books; ollie is mayor of star city!
saw 'nacho libre' because jack black is adorable and makes me laugh till i fart; best line - 'i ate bugs, i ate grass/With my hands i wiped my tears.' heh.
walked to the taste of randolph where i ate 4 tacos, drank 2 beers, met our friend T-, and saw The Bellrays (who did a kickass set and will be at the Empty Bottle on the 22nd.)
got a tan
got a little sticky and stinky
walked back home with roomie and T- for recuperative drinks at our local until, 5 hours later, we left.

summer is the best.
(oh, and B- called while i was out. have yet to decide if i'll check his message.)

Friday, June 16, 2006

sister 'neath the skin: new blog found!

while frustratedly trying to fix the effing template of our new work blog (heh - i convinced them that blogging at work is a good thing!) i took a break and stumbled across this blog.

she's cute, she's in la and she's recording her internet dating. already, i'm hooked.

ok, so now i go back to the Effing Work Blog Template.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

maawidge

i was busy last week so didn't have a chance to say Yay over the Senate giving the House the finger over the Marriage Protection Act. So i'm doing it now. yay!

dare we hope the senate is beginning to jerk that leash a little? perhaps, when the house is finished trying to paint the sky purple, our government can actually try passing some laws that mean something.

madigan's 'modest proposal' approach is rather obvious but effective. and while he says that marriage is the 'best way' to raise a family and nourish values, i like seeing it as the 'most efficient.'

And now, FEMA fixes marriage Chicago Tribune

back when tv was good

my roomie is sometimes amazed at the tv that i know. in our apartment, i have the uncanny ability to stumble upon some gem of 1970s or 80s schlock that she has never seen before but i remember from my childhood and can't shake.

like, The Fury, with Kirk Douglas and Andrew Stevens. so good. or, Baron Blood with Elke Sommer. or either of those Hell House movies (the one with Roddy MacDowall is my favorite). or even that movie with bette davis about the house that was alive. (the scene where it starts replacing its own wood framing scared my hair straight.)

well, roomie will be glad to know that i'm not the only one! author scott heim's list of what scared the crap out of him is a list that could have been written by my own hand. i remember every single one of these shows. (and, yeah, that Trilogy of Terror? that's nothing compared to The Manitou.)

Scott Heim's Noise: Scary, Part II: Television