10 Short Shameful Confessions

Jul 24

You know, I haven’t done this for a while, and confession is always good for the soul. And now…10 Short Shameful Confessions (with a bonus confession!)*.

* Now edited to include more shame.

  1. I don’t actually think that many things are awesome. I say “Awesome” because it’s expected, but most of the time I’m really “Meh.”

  2. I don’t check my site stats or how many people are following me on Twitter or anything like that. I feel as though I’ve missed the purpose of the internet not caring, or I should get really into it and try to really attract a following or something. Perhaps I don’t care as a way of pre-emptively dealing with failure at not being a top blogger?

  3. I set up Google alerts to send me mentions of when my name or Darin’s is mentioned anywhere, and now I’m just annoyed when I actually receive the alert emails. I am too lazy to discontinue them.

  4. I have ever only seen one episode of “American Idol,” and that was from the first season. I don’t understand the continual AI hysteria and feel like I am watching a mind-control experiment on the general population. I secretly think the people who watch AI would be better served by finding another hobby.

  5. Entertainment Weekly is the only thing standing between me and complete and total cultural ignorance. I sound like I know so much more than I do, and it’s only because of EW.

  6. I’m sad we don’t go to ComicCon any more. It does sound like it’s become a complete and total circus now (which is hilarious, given what a circus we thought it was 10 years ago). At the size it is now, it wouldn’t be fun, it would be wall-to-wall work, so why do I care?

  7. I have become completely and totally bored with gossip, whether about people I know or celebrities. Especially celebrities: yes, they’re deeply fucked up people, but speaking badly about them doesn’t make me feel better. And if there’s some topic concerning a friend I could gossip about, I think I’d rather discuss the matter with the friend than someone else. The worst part about this: I find myself being mildly judgmental about other people who gossip, and that’s perhaps worse than the original gossiping. So I have to stop that.

  8. There is, in fact, only one celebrity on the planet I want to meet, and I have it on very good authority that I don’t really want to meet this person (as is usually true for the celebrities you admire or lust after or whatever—trust me, for the most part you don’t want to meet them). So I’m cool with it…but still, I feel kind of stupid for actually wanting to meet a celebrity.

  9. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I started coveting a Mercedes SL. The second I did, I began to see them everywhere (which isn’t hard, given that much of the Silicon Valley looks like downtown Düsseldorf). You might have to know me in person to know how unlikely it is that I would covet not only a car, but a wildly impractical car (for both my everyday life and my values). I’m understanding midlife crises a whole bunch better now. I am also hoping the phase passes.

  10. I switched from ice cream to soymilk ice creams and coconut milk ice creams. I made a whole lot of drama in my head about my great sacrifice and I don’t miss the real stuff at all.

  11. Secretly, I feel I deserve some sort of prize for this.

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Forgiveness

Jan 17

I realized today that I have to do some serious work on forgiveness. I don’t forgive and forget. I might forget — as I keep telling everyone these days, I no longer have any short-, long-, or even medium-term memory — but I find it very, very difficult to forgive. I am probably not alone in this inability or unwillingness to forgive. That’s why most of the major religions, including psychiatry, point to it as one of the things you have to do in order to grow. And if it were easy, no one would have to tell you that you have to do it.

I followed a link from a favorite blog to an essay on another blog. That essay was well-written, it spoke to a lot of things on my mind, and since I am always happy to find new blogs I added it to my friends list over on LiveJournal. Then I looked at the name of the person who wrote the blog.

And my first thought was, Goddammit, I am not reading anything by her.

The blog is written by the person who was supposed to buy our house in LA. When I mentioned I was moving, she wrote me within minutes to ask about buying the house. We took care of everything ourselves, because, you know: friend. And with that, we packed up all of our stuff and moved back to the Bay Area. We got installed in the company-paid apartments and got ready to move into our new house.

Then the day we were supposed to close on the house in LA we discovered she had backed out of the deal. Did she call us? No. Did she have her lawyer (who was handling all the paperwork) call us? No. We found out when the title company called us and said, “Where would you like us to return these house keys?”

(My blood pressure is going up just writing about this.)

The purchase of our house here was contingent on the sale of the house down in LA, of course. And without a sold house, the deal up here almost fell through. Almost, because Darin luckily has very trusting (and very wealthy) friends who loaned us the money we needed on the spur of the moment in order to complete the transaction up here, and we managed to get the house in LA sold a few months later. But our move, already stressful enough, was made nearly unbearable. And if this house deal had fallen through, I don’t know what we would have done — housing prices in the rest of California might have leveled out, but they’re still increasing at 10-20% in this area.

But we didn’t have to do anything. Everything turned out all right. We got the house sold. We paid back Darin’s friend with interest. We’ve settled in, we’re happy, we’re in no way affected by what happened.

It’s been four years since we moved, and I’m still furious about what happened. I get angry when I hear her name. I don’t like to watch the TV show she works on because her name’s in the credits. (What the fuck does she do when something goes wrong on the TV show she works on? Does she wait for upper management to somehow find out? I doubt it. That level of incompetence or underhandedness or whatever she reserves for friends.) I heard a snippet of gossip about this person and felt a certain satisfaction that something had gone wrong for her. And I’m not the sort of person who generally feels schadenfreude, because frankly, life’s too damn short.

At least, I thought that was how I thought about things.

Darin puts this out of his mind. We trusted the wrong person, we don’t need to worry about that again, move on. She has her issues to deal with, we have ours, let it go.

I am trying. I want to find compassion and kindness to replace the anger — if for no other reason than to free up the psychic space. But wow: is that hard.

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Statistically improbable phrases

Jan 03

Things I never thought I’d type into the Google search box (but did, yesterday):

Dr Who livejournal icons

(Turns out there were a lot to choose from, too.)

Feel free to post your own strangest Google searches ever. (Except for pornographic ones, because, like really, who cares? Nothing about pornography is statistically improbable, unfortunately.)

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Pop culture marches on

Dec 18

You know that your vision of pop culture has moved on when you’re reading alt.gossip.celebrities (sigh—yes, I still read some posts in it, I’m ashamed), you read the headline, “Jackson Charges Will Be Difficult to Prove,” and your first thought (I kid you not) is: “What’s Peter Jackson supposed to have done?”

Took me a few seconds to think of another guy named Jackson.

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Stocking up

Mar 19

Darin says, “It’s a good thing we stocked up before the war began.”

He was talking about how many programs we have recorded on our TiVo, which allows us to skip the wall-to-wall war coverage. Six hours of Children of Dune should see us through the entire war.

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Poetry illiterate

Jan 27

Because I haven’t learned my lesson well enough, I started in on another 800-page book, Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford. It’s a biography of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, who was a giant figure in the Jazz Age and is much less well known today. It’s well-written¹, but I think I’m going to have stop reading it. For one thing, it’s difficult to write about charismatic figures, because the flame that drew admirers like moths doesn’t come through on the page. I can’t figure out why all these men (and women) are circling Millay, desperately in love with her, while she doesn’t return their feelings and is always on to her next conquest.

And for another, I’m poetry-illiterate. I honestly don’t understand why Millay’s poetry is considered so noteworthy. This is not to say I think it’s not—I mean, I don’t know why. I read Millay’s poetry, as reprinted in this biography, and I don’t get it. I’m quite sure I can’t tell the difference between the greatest poet in the English language and the worst hack.

I’ve always been poetry-illiterate. I’ve never written poetry, I’ve never read poetry for fun, I’ve never taken taken poetry classes (which is hilarious, given the number of creative writing classes I’ve taken in my life). Periodically someone will shove a poem under my nose and say, “Read this.” Often I find the poem nice and sometimes even intriguing. But I am not stirred to seek out more. Which is odd, given that I love writing in all its many forms.

This is a confession of fear of poetry. You know: poetry is too hard to understand, let alone create, or it requires too great a purely artistic streak. And this is the hardest to actually say aloud, I harbor deep plebian suspicions that poetry is too rarefied and academic. It’s the ultimate expression of the doubts I got as I was growing up: Yes, dear, but writing isn’t a real career. I mean, writers are famous for starving, and poet just seems to scream “extremely starving artist.” Which is nonsense—there does not need to be a connection between “artistic discipline” and “money-making career,” though it’s always nice if there can be. The two concerns really are orthogonal.

I’ve often wondered my lack of poetry chops has affected my writing at all. That is, would I have a better, or at least more distinct, writing style were I a poet? Or if I allowed myself to think of myself as a poet?

_____________________
¹Well, except for one thing: the author refers to her subject at different times as “Edna,” “Vincent,” and “Millay,” and there appears to be no rhyme or reason as to which name she uses when. It’s very discombobulating.

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