Saturday, June 23, 2007

So Sad, Because It's True

I have an unfortunate habit of getting myself into work situations where I feel unchallenged. A few years ago (and a few jobs ago), I started freaking out and hyperventilating because I literally could not remember the word 'atrophy'. I was sure I would never recover.

Today, I don't know if I have actually recovered, or adjusted to living with a smaller brain, which is still shrinking away.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Non-entertaining Crap All Night Long

So it's that time of the month. No, not that time of the month! The time of the month where I sit by the mountain of bills (not including those we receive electronically) and grudgingly try to pay them all. Nothing makes me less amiable than paying bills after a 'pleasant' day at work.

As I was completing this dreaded task, I was watching re-runs of The Office (which I LOVE, if only because someone seems to know what my office is like) and half paying attention to promos of upcoming shows and new programs. I have concluded that whoever is in charge of Prime Time scheduling at NBC must be a little woo-hoo. Why am I so judgmental? Because of shows like Singing Bee, Deal or No Deal, America's Got Talent, The Real Wedding Crashers and Age of Love. I only saw ads for Singing Bee and America's Got Talent on this particular occasion, however the whole genre of crazy people doing stupid things just to be on television is getting really, really annoying.

First, we have a whole collection of people with no original ideas or talent throwing up--I mean throwing together--programs that copy each other down to the bitchy judge with a British accent and crazy alcoholic. I just don't understand what kind of crazy person would think David Hasselhoff is a good judge of talent. Someone please explain that to me.

Second, we have an array of crazy people who just want to be on television. Everyone knows they don't belong on a big public stage, but they jump on and make fools of themselves anyway. People, that is what the internet is for! If you absolutely must have attention, start a blog or open a MySpace account. Post stupid pictures or try to be anonymous if you must--don't go on national television. After your fifteen minutes are up, you're still going to be the crazy person--but now everyone with a television knows it.

Third, have we sunken so low that we can't find people to write something funny--even slapstick funny--and have to resort to bringing a bunch of people on a stage and mocking them? How many well written shows are left out there? I realize some of the shows I watch are truly crappy, but Deal or No Deal?! Why? How many times does the bald guy have point to girls in short, shiny dresses and whip people up in a frenzy to make bad decisions? Doesn't it get tired after like, 5 minutes?

In conclusion, I'd like to say please visit your library or local bookstore. There are some great books out there. Heck, rent a few movies and have a movie marathon with a theme. There's nothing on TV that won't scare the daylights out of you on any given night.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mmmm...Smoothie: A PSA

If you ever find yourself in a situation where a medical office employee offers you two bottles of Barium Sulfate, but highlights the fact that it is "Berry Smoothie" flavor, feel free to give them a dirty look and start gagging. What they are giving you is essentially liquid chalk with a drop of vaguely berry flavored stuff added.

While I'm sure whoever makes this stuff is trying to provide a service to hapless patients by making it more palatable, they are failing miserably and sullying the good name of fruit smoothies in the process.

The Father, The Daughter and The Bug

In honor of Father's Day (belated), I thought I'd share one of my fonder memories with my father:

When I was a sophomore in high school, my parents decided that my father should drive me to school (actually, I'm pretty sure my mother decided this). This despite the fact that most girls younger than myself were going to school on their own, and that my school and my father's business were in opposite directions by about half an hour. After a while though, our morning drives were a little bit of quiet time we shared. He would sometimes try to make me open up and talk about things, and I would generally try to stick to topics I knew were safe and wouldn't get a bad reaction first thing in the morning. Most days, it was a pretty quiet ride.

One cool autumn day, I was pouring over my geography book on the way to school. I just knew my religion teacher would call me to the head of the class and quiz me (that's what most teachers did--and still do on a weekly basis). The ride was pretty uneventful, until we hit traffic and my dad started commenting on how late it was getting. I was more worried. For the first time all semester, I was ready for religion and I didn't want to miss class because I was too late.

When we got close to school, Dad said the same thing he said almost every morning, "Be careful crossing the street. People aren't paying attention as they drive." Which is true. Iranians can be a dangerous people on the road, whether they were driving or jay walking or just hanging out on the middle of the street checking to see if they know anyone walking by.

Exemplary youth that I was, I got out, went around the back of the car glanced to the left and waited for traffic to pass before I ran across the road. Suddenly, I felt something hit me and go up my leg. The impact knocked me off my feet and threw my books out of my hand and into oncoming traffic. By the time the movement stopped, I was pinned under my dad's VW Bug, with my upper body facing oncoming traffic. After what seemed like an eternity, my dad got out of his car and stood over me in complete shock, asking what any good father would, "What are you doing down there?"

"Nothing." Perhaps my casualness added to his sense of confusion. Meanwhile I was in agony, lying on a busy street with a car on my right leg and traffic whizzing by, and getting close to missing my religion class.

He quickly came to his senses and got back into the car and moved it off my leg, helped me up and tried to get me in the car. That is when my true madness kicked in.

"I can't go anywhere, I have class! I have a religion quiz--you'll make me late." The fact that I could barely stand, was a minor detail--I was overcome with adrenaline. He managed to get me back in the car, where I sat scowling at him, urging him to hurry and get me back to school. The first thing out of his mouth since he had found me under his car was, "Do you think your mom needs to know? I think we shouldn't worry her about this."

It was a rare occasion that my father would worry about what anyone else thought. While he has many wonderful qualities, concern for what others think is not one of them.

"I promise not to tell her, just get me back to school. I don't want to study for religion two weeks in a row!!"

I did not prevail, he kept on driving until we got to the closest hospital--the shiny new Rassoul hospital which was semi-private. As we drove up, he tried to drop me off at the front door.

"Don't wait for me, just go and check into the emergency room."

"I don't know how."

"Just go and tell them you got hit by a car. They'll take care of it."

"Where are you going?!"

"I'll park the car and wait for you in the cafeteria." And with that, he drove off.

I hopped my way to the admissions desk, told the nurse I was hit and pinned down by a car and that my leg hurt more than an average pain level. She whisked me away and had me sit behind a curtain, where a doctor appeared in a few minutes, confused before he even saw me.

"You got hit by a car and hopped in here by yourself? I swear to God, the people of this country get crueler and more heartless every day. How could they leave a child on the side of the road to fend for herself? La illaha il-Allah! You're very brave for making it to the hospital on your own. Do you remember what the car or driver looked like?"

I was getting a little overwhelmed and dizzy, which is why didn't realize he was cursing my father for being a hit-and-run driver. I should have said, no I didn't see who it was, but I was feeling faint, and exceptionally honest.

"It was my dad--he drove me here and is in the cafeteria. Do you think it will take much longer? I have a religion quiz."

He stopped what he was doing, holding my swollen and bruised leg in mid-air. "What is your father's name? I'll page him."

"Please don't yell at him, it will take too long and I'll miss my quiz."

By this point, I kind of knew that focusing on that damned quiz was the only distraction I had to keep me from collapsing and giving into the pain or looking at my ugly leg. It was also the last thing I seem to remember other than a hazy fog of x-rays and questions about my marital status.

Turns out, I was fine. My leg was bruised, swollen and hideous, but not broken. I never took the quiz, although I was called to do so around the same time I was hopping through the ER. My teacher gave me a suspicious scowl as I hopped into her class, guided by the principal, with only 10 minutes left of her class. I even volunteered to take the quiz, which seemed to make her more suspicious.

I tried not to tell my mom what had happened, but she figured something wasn't quite right when I got home almost two hours late, hopping through the front yard.

I will say though, it was one of my fondest memories on my morning rides with my dad.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Friday Night Madness--Extended

Usually on Friday nights, we call a couple of our friends have dinner and unwind from the week that has just gone by. Since we meet at restaurants, there is little pressure for anything but to show up. Last Friday however, I had promised M that we would see Ocean's Thirteen. It is not the kind of movie I typically enjoy, but I have seen Eleven and Twelve, so why not?

We went home, dropped off the work accessories, changed and headed toward the megaplex. I can say with absolutely no exaggeration at all, that the strip mall that houses the movie theater closest to us is hideous. It's saving grace is the Barnes & Nobles that takes over the bulk of the north side of the strip. Its neighbors are a bunch of restaurant chains and Gap-ish stores. Occasionally handy, but generally dull. With the exception of SF, NY and Boston; I haven't been to any American cities that don't delight in their strip malls. It's almost as if city planners pride themselves on assembling as many interchangeable stores as they can on a major intersection.

We grabbed sandwiches at Panera's, where I was offered one of the most bizarre side order options ever: they offered me a choice of apple, chips or BREAD with my tuna sandwich. In case the two slices of whole wheat bread that came with my order did not contain enough processed carbohydrates, I could supplement it with either fried carbs or baked carbs. The apple was just the token fruit offered for diversity's sake. Now I realize that nutritionally, having a side of bread isn't too different from a side of potato salad, french fries, chips, or macaroni salad--but it just struck me as an unusual side dish. Even funnier was the look on the girl's face when I asked for a fruit salad on the side. Her eyes practically popped out of her head as she said, "But that's $1.60 more." I'm pretty sure she would have been ok with a request for a giant chocolate brownie...

Anyway, I managed to drag M to B&N before the movie started. In less than half an hour, I had grabbed eight books. Mind you, I had no intention of buying books when we left the house--but then again, I rarely do. I try to avoid bookstores, the same way some women avoid shoe stores; I have no self control. I may be benevolent and buy books for others, or practical and buy a book that will help me do something useful with my life (which is very, very rare)--but I have never entered a bookstore and left empty handed. I only ended up buying four books, only because I didn't feel like carrying two bags of books to the movies--only geeks would do that.

I am now the proud owner of Persepolis: A Story of Childhood, Mission Al-Jazeera, No god But God, and It's Not News It's Fark. I have already completed Persepolis, and will share my thoughts on it a little later. I spent a good part of my day reading Fark, while I pretended to work. I got caught reading by my co-workers a few times and complained that the servers were so slow I could finish a book while I waited to open files. Of course, the were so shocked to see me reading a book, they scurried away in horror--it's just not a good situation.

(That is the problem with reading books at work versus listening to them. Since I became a member of, I have been listening to books at work all day. It's brilliant and inconspicuous. I have my headphone in my ear, look at my 'detail oriented' boss as he talks and listen to David Sedaris read Me Talk Pretty One Day. It is a special moment when my boss thinks I'm laughing at his jokes, while in reality I'm laughing at David. This is much harder to do while reading a book.)

Anywho, we enjoyed the movie--although I never really figured out what Eddie Izzard was doing in some of the scenes. I don't really mind, considering how much I get a kick out of seeing him added to the cast. Next movie on my list to see, Knocked Up.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I Should Have Said 'Yes'

I'm spent. After four days of anger and frustration, I'm bone tired--and nursing the same headache that enhanced my bad mood a few days ago. And I got a call from my father.

It is safe to say that my parents are very different creatures, and my relationship follows the rhythm they set. I joked with them a few years ago that when I was a child, my mother's nickname for me was pishi (kitty) and my father's nickname for me was mooshi (little mouse)--if this didn't doom a child to a lifetime of confusion, I don't know what would.

Seeing as our relationship is so different from with my mother (in addition to the emotional and mental exhaustion), I was polite and tried to keep as light a tone as possible. I know when he is alone, he tends to be nostalgic about a past we may or may not have shared (we lived apart for so many years that he saw himself as an guest in his own home). He was talking about how he dreamt of having us by his side now that he is older and tired, which despite my own tumultuous thoughts, always makes me nostalgic for our time together as well. Of course, then he had to turn philosophical.

"You know, when I was younger, I never even looked before I crossed the street. There was an opportunity on the other side and I couldn't wait to reach it. There was never a challenge I didn't jump at. Now, I'm so cautious and tired, I second guess every decision I make. I keep hearing these voices telling me all of the things that could go wrong. It's almost like..."

I finished his sentence for him, "'re turning into me?"

He laughed in approval. When I was a child, even when I barely spoke Farsi, that is how he would test to see if I understood what he was saying, by making me finish his sentences. It is an unfortunate habit I still maintain, despite my best efforts. But he was also glad that I had spoken a truth he was not in the mood to utter. My father has always maintained that I am too anxious and full of fear to go out and fulfill my potential. What he has never understood is that much of my anxiety has been based on my family's approval or lack thereof. While I cannot say in honesty that I have followed the path they wanted for me; neither did I follow the path that I wanted for myself. I compromised--and learned that no one is a winner in such compromises.

There was a quiet lull that could have turned awkward, dangerous considering my mood these few days.

"The good news is, maybe as I grow older, I'll become more like you as a young man. I'll start crossing the street without looking. I'll make a decision and ignore all the voices around me."

"Daughter, you just need to accept challenges. You just need to say 'yes'."

Of course. From this perspective, I had spent my entire life saying no to my dreams and opportunities; rejecting possibilities.

I should have just said 'yes'.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I Never Said "No"

I hear you are not supposed to call an ex, or other people you have strong opinions about, when you're intoxicated--the 'don't drink and dial' rule. My intoxicant is rage, and I am not at fault if someone dials my number when I'm white, hot angry.

I should have known that I wouldn't have a nice, quiet weekend Friday morning, when I finally let my boss know that his decisions were ridiculous and that his vaunted communication skills only made everyone feel hostile. Once I get to the point of telling people I disagree with that much how I feel about them, the aftermath just won't be pretty. Which is why I warned my husband of the fallout, my way of protecting him from any unintended consequences.

I should have known the real explosion was yet to come, when I finally went to bed with a headache that was practically choking me; and when I finally opened my eyes, resentfully because after less than six hours of sleep, the headache had grown larger. I realized I was a small keg of dynamite in the form of a woman, waiting for a spark.

That's when my mother called. My flat tone had not changed since the last time we had spoken, and even though I warned her and she knew the source of my discontent She. Just. Couldn't. Let. It. Go. Unfortunately, this is a curse of the women in my family, myself included. When we know someone is unhappy we have to try and 'fix' it. No matter that we may be the problem, or the problem may not have a solution. We just have to keep picking until something happens. And this morning, something did happen.

It all started innocently enough, talking about her travel plans and her friends. But things started quickly going downhill when she mentioned a situation that my brother hadn't handled well.

I'd like to say I reacted primarily because I was defending my brother, but the question I put to her had little to do with him. "If the mother of a family accepts a bad situation and suffers for it, then the daughter tolerates the bad situation and suffers the consequences, do you really think it's a good idea for them to be advising someone else to follow in their crooked footsteps?" And that was just the beginning. I launched into my angry discourse of how I had never been allowed to make decisions, had obeyed what everyone around me had told me--not just ignoring my own ideas, intelligence and instincts but doubting their validity at every turn. I told her how everyone's 'help' and advice had put me where I am--miserable with my job, and constantly reminded of what a disappointment and failure I have been.

Her response when she could get a word in edgewise? "You're lost. You don't know what you're talking about. Stop blaming everyone for decisions you made. I let you go when you were 18 and you could have done anything you wanted to. Anything. You could have become an addict and gotten 10 abortions but you didn't, you chose to listen to your parents' guidance. You know why? Because you're good. You did this to yourself. And by the way, everyone loves you. People back home, people think you're so good, you're untouchable."

Never has a perceived virtue been used as damnation; never has there been a better argument against virtue. I was stunned into silence, and even angrier. I would never be able to get out of this hell because I was damned to 'goodness'. My mother has no greater pride than how highly people back home think of me. And nothing confuses me more. They think I'm dignified and 'good' because on my rare trips home, I sit there politely and say little. I don't tell them I find their hypocrisy rank; I don't tell them I have gay friends; I don't tell them my choice to demure from drinking has little to do with virtue, and greatly to do with lack of taste for the stuff; nor do I say that I rarely dance because I am self-conscience of my jerking motions but desperately want to be there making as much a scene as the next girl And so on. The reality is, if people back home really knew anything of me, they would probably see me as anyone else who knows me , the wallflower few notice or pay much attention to. I never correct their perception, because their idea of my virtue is my only alternative to oblivion.

When I could finally hear over the sound of blood rushing to my head, she was saying, "You could have said no to your father, or me or anyone else who was telling you what to do. You could have been like X or Y who did what they wanted to. But you didn't. You never even said no. So stop blaming everyone else for your decisions."

With that, the whole argument was over. She was right in a way. People cross boundaries and interfere in others' lives everyday. Parents intervene and advise their children, because that's what they think is best. Smart people say 'no' and put their foot down. I could have cut the string that stretched over continents and oceans, keeping me in line years ago--but I didn't. I could have taken a risk and jumped into my dreams with both feet, but I couldn't. I allowed that string to become a rope, and then a noose that would choke me.

I should have just said 'no'.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Day Imam Died

As I now live in the US and am minimally aware of Iranian 'holidays'*, it almost completely slipped my mind that (Imam) Khomeini passed away 18 years ago. I remember the events surrounding his death clearly, as they were truly strange days in a time when strange was almost normal.

Looking back, I remember Khomeini more than anything, as a stern face, hovering over masses of people as he sat on the balcony of his complex, with devotees at his feet chanting their loyalty and devotion. He was mad, but not as mad as he is made out to be in the US for obvious reasons. He was--I think--a pragmatic opportunist who at once held a country together and shattered it to pieces. Oh, and he single handedly made Salmon Rushdie famous for a book that would have never been read had a death sentence not been associated with it.

When my parents decided to move to Iran in 1984, they were truly trend setters. Most people were giving their worldly possessions to leave Iran at that time, my parents decided to sell everything they had, pack up their bags and go home. When we arrived in Tehran, we were surrounded by family, friends and chaos. At the time, Iran had been at war with Saddam's Iraq for four years. People were displaced, embattled, tired and angry. Yet, the message was clear: we will not compromise, we will not give up an inch of this land. For all of the talk of martyrdom, heaven and revolutionary ideals that are publicized, many, many men voluntarily fought and died in that war out of sheer nationalism. The war was a unifier, creating a strange brotherhood of people of different religious and cultural beliefs. Many, my family included, supported the young men who were giving their lives to protect us, in spite of Khomeini's looming face.

So it was a relief when a cease fire was finally accepted in 1988. In his letter/speech to the nation explaining his decisions, Khomeini said accepting the cease fire was like "drinking a glass of poison". People, who were exhausted from the death, destruction and toils of war, rejoiced wondering why he was still alive after his drink. His death couldn't come soon enough.

In May of 1989, Khomeini was hospitalized and everyone knew he was dying. The death watch was as close to a media circus as two state owned television stations could provide. We watched as he sipped broth, prayed and talked to various members of the government. Students like myself wondered if death would disrupt finals and how many days off we'd be granted. By the end of May, there was practically a count down.

On that June morning, I raced to put on my school uniform and scarf and got myself to school as fast as possible, not in a rush to take my final, but to meet my best friend. When I walked into the building, our school janitor who lived on the premises was sitting in her usual place on her rusty folding chair, her face in her scarf, crying as if someone in her immediate family was dead.

"Imam is dead", she sobbed. I looked at her, not understanding why she was hysterical.

"He was like a father to me. He gave hope to the poor, he kept this country together, he saved us." I kept staring at her, not knowing what to say. I felt a tap on my shoulders, it was my best friend E.

"We don't have a test today, right?", I asked getting to the most important issue. She gave me the look she always gave me when she thought I missed the point entirely: a mix of amusement, surprise and sisterly affection. The school was almost empty, except for the three of us, the principal and her assistant sitting in their office waiting for instructions.

"I think all of finals will be canceled, at least half of them. If you play along we may be able to get extra credit for something." I looked at her in awe. She was from a religious, baazari family and had lost a favorite cousin and a young sweetheart in the war. She hated Khomeini and his ilk for the war, for her loss and for the constant 'insult' to religion in the name of religion. She had no qualms milking this situation to her advantage.

"If you want to cry about anything, this is a good time to start.", she whispered as we stood by the weeping janitor. I started giggling, because for almost five years, I had developed a reputation for crying at the drop of a hat. I had been chastised, mocked and soothed into stopping. Today, my best friend was encouraging me to give in to any unwept tears. Unfortunately, it was not a good time to be laughing, but her stern look only made me laugh harder.

This made the janitor look up to me in horror, practically screaming, "You spoiled, ungrateful child! How dare you? Don't you know what a calamity has fallen upon us? Ingrate!" Normally, a stern look would have sobered me, but on this day, of all days, I started laughing louder, doubling over and gasping for air.

E. looked at me with annoyance. "Forgive her, mother. She is in such deep sorrow, she is hysterical." And before I could try to apologize, E. smacked me in the back of the head with a force that was impressive from such a skinny girl. I almost fell over, still laughing, with tears streaking down my face.

"See, she is hysterical.", said E. apologetically. "I know her, she is devastated."

Our principal and her assistant walked out just in time to see me, leaning against the wall, gasping for air with tears rolling down my face. The assistant came and gave me a hug. "It's God's will. Join us for a prayer." E. came and put an arm around me, guiding me toward the office, hissing in my ear, "Stop laughing before I beat you. You'll ruin everything. Just cry--you do it all the time!"

Needless to say, the only tears running down my face that morning, were as a result of my laughing and gasping for air. By the time our principal had instructed E. to make sure I got home safely, everyone was worried that I was so heart broken in my grief, that I would have to be sedated. As we got into the cab, E. had taken her chador out of her school bag and covered her mouth as she whispered calmly, "I think it will work out alright. They think you have lost your mind."

For the next week, all government organizations, including schools were closed to allow the nation to properly mourn The Death. We watched the hysteria on television, wondering who was on the streets. Iranians, ever the conspiracy theorists, came up with all kinds of crazy ideas: the body in the cooler being paraded though the streets wasn't really Khomeini at all; people had been throwing rocks at the glass encasement, expressing their hatred; as the body was being lowered into the ground, people were pulling the corpse apart...This is how Khomeini was buried, in a swirl of conspiracy theories, hysteria and curses.

Almost instantly, a shrine was erected over his grave. What is actually forbidden in Islam, was done in honor of the man who had forced religion onto a nation in chaos. People started organizing pilgrimages, field trips, and picnics to his shrine. While open insults would be severely punished, 'subtle' games were the stuff of legend. The glass encasement around the grave, open enough to drop in donations and alms was suddenly being filled with dirty diapers and underwear. Of course, re-tellings of what people claim to have done while visiting the grave are the stuff of legend, everyone trying to outdo each other. Regardless of these claims, there it stands, so gaudy and big, you see its gold dome from the air before you land at Mehrabad Airport.

As for me, my performance on that day became a legend of sorts. I didn't take any more of my sophomore year's finals. My principal so moved by my emotions and by E's gentle caring for me "despite her own grief", that she insisted we only return when we feel ready. We did not feel ready until the following autumn. I was especially mentioned to teachers and administrators who weren't there that day, because "although I had grown up in the US, my grief for the Imam was overwhelming". I realize I should have put an end to the madness somewhere along the way, but I didn't. It was one of my most bizarre reactions ever, and I finally had a legend of my own. I wasn't ready to destroy it.

* Iranian 'holidays' refers to celebrated and recognized birthdays, such as the birth of the Prophet; deaths, such as the death of the Prophet--and more dramatically his grandson, Hossein; religious Eids; and traditionally Iranian/Persian holidays such as the Winter Solstice and the Persian New Year (which as an Iranian, you'd have to be dead to ignore).

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Things I Don't Understand

After a ridiculously long quest for The Perfect Lipstick (and by ridiculously long, I mean a whole YEAR), I now have time to ponder some of the things that have been said and seen recently which I just don't understand:
  • Who will buy Danielle , by Danielle Steel? It scares and confuses me to know that people read her books. Now people want to smell like her characters? What will this scent say about you? That you're a morally upright, yet sexy woman waiting for a rich man overcome socio-economic barriers to find you and swear he cannot live without you?
  • Why are our expectations for presidential candidates so low? I was listening to NPR on Friday, and someone was saying how Fred Thompson was the first truly folksy candidate to through his hat into the ring. Apparently, Thompson will be stepping into Ronald Regan's big, folksy shoes as no other candidate has to this point. Really? Is that all we want from a candidate? Bad acting skills and pretending to be an 'Aw shucks' kind of a guy? Have we learned NOTHING? Look where that got us last time we selected for ordinariness? To paraphrase Bill Mahr, I want a president that is smarter than me. I don't want to drink beer with him (especially if he is a recovering alcoholic), I don't want to hang out with her/him and have her/him pretend like s/he has something in common with me. I want a president who will have something intelligent to say about what is going on in the world. I want someone who can string together a sentence in a language, any language, without sounding like the village idiot who strayed onto the world podium. I am pretty sure 'folksy' is not the quality we should be looking for this time around.
  • If you've ever visited the American Museum of Natural History, and thought to yourself, "This is just a bunch of heathen hogwash" or just felt isolated because science does not support your special interpretation of how we got to this point, take heart! The Creation Museum is the place for you. For the price of a ticket to Petersburg, KY and admission, you can see how the world was created in six days, with a day left for God to rest. After all, being omnipotent, doesn't mean creating the universe isn't exhausting. You will be able to see how Adam and Eve lived with the dinosaurs before they sinned. Every complicated question you have about the universe, biology and natural history will be answered referencing the Bible and books like Evolution Exposed. In case you think these people don't have enough books to fill a library with insanity, check out these gems. And all of these seem to go very well with the flier in my mail box last week, inviting me to study 'real' astronomy and learn that the earth is not in fact rotating around the sun. Apparently, there are a bunch of people who think the issue of the heliocentrism is another atheistic plot.
  • In other Genesis citing news, the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi advocated collective punishment for all of Gaza's inhabitants, as "the whole city holds collective responsibility" for the bombing of Sderot. Since there seemed to be some confusion, his son, also a Chief Rabbi, clarified and said it would be immoral for the IDF to launch a ground offensive as it will put soldiers in danger. Carpet bombing Gaza's more than 1.5 million people however, is ethical. Yay!
  • Unfortunately, some people don't know where to draw the line and act professionally in the work environment. While they are the reason people like me have to sit through five hours of harassment training, some people are thinking outside the box and are find more 'interesting' solutions. Their solution is more complicated, as women would have to get pregnant, give birth and raise a child in order to establish a semi-familial bond with a co-worker. Almost makes the harassment training sound fun. By the way, what I'm really thinking right now, is WTF?!?!
  • The best thing about going through five hours of harassment training, is the free bagels and lunch. The worst part? Thinking the people who were the cause of everyone going through harassment training, would learn to stop harassing you after they left the presentation. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? I could learn by example of course, and do everything I was just told not to do...
  • I personally have nothing against lawyers. I still occasionally think of becoming a lawyer myself--then remember how I suffered through my last academic experience. However, I'm thinking there are some really stupid judges out there. And why hasn't he been disbarred yet?
I just want to repeat, I have no intention of insulting people of any faith, profession or even reading preference. However, I just keep thinking, we are not that smart as a species. I'm amazed we have made it this far. Holy crap, I just disproved evolution!

Now that I have sufficiently scared myself, and have still not gotten any closer to understanding insane people of every walk of life I'm going to try to go to sleep.

Just Wondering

I know a few of the people reading this blog: not so anonymous pranksters, old friends and a few new ones. Still, even those I know always manage to surprise me with some little tidbit of information. So here, I have some of my favorite borrowed/stolen questions, possibly known to you from James Lipton's "Actor's Studio" as a way to know my visitors a little better. I've even responded:
  1. What is your favorite word? Serendipity
  2. What is your least favorite word? Islamofacist
  3. What turns you on [creatively, spiritually or emotionally]? People
  4. What turns you off? People
  5. What is your favorite curse word? F@$@#$%@$
  6. What sound or noise do you love? Babies laughing
  7. What sound or noise do you hate? Bomb sirens and military planes flying.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Writer or Lawyer
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Mortician
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Welcome"

Story Teller

For as long as I remember, there have been two things I have loved with a passion: reading and writing. Long before I enjoyed cooking, talking or entertaining, I loved reading and writing. My love for the written word has not made me a connoisseur, nor has it made me a good writer--but it has made me a dreamer. Since I bound my first book in third grade, I have wanted to write a real book. This passion was met with a mixed reaction in my family: confusion at best, and disapproval at worst. No one understood why I would obsess over books of fiction, yet be less enthusiastic about my science and math books (hint: it is harder to escape into the minutia of plant biology and imagine living their lives). That is why I eventually perfected the art of reading in the near dark for years, and writing stories in the white borders of my school books, where everyone thought I was taking notes. It was my rebellion. If you find some of my old biology texts from high school, there are whole stories and poems winding and snaking their way around the books' text, punctuated with a single red, underlined word: MITOCHONDRIA, or whatever else the theme of the section was. That was my encoding method.

Now, I have online anonymity to mask me a little. Writing about my beauty (mis)adventures, brought back some other college memories, many of them painfully lucid as I never drank or used drugs, even when they could have possibly helped dull the pain (or shame). I think I will start writing about them, occasionally punctuated with something completely irrelevant: DIPLOID EUKARYOTIC MEIOSIS.