Thursday, May 29, 2008

Introduction to Smart Town

This is the name of the town I've begun fantasizing about, a town where I want to live. If I were the benevolent ruler of Smart Town, these are some of the attributes I would demand from the residents, business owners and visitors to my little corner of the world.
1. Roller blading is not allowed.
2. Cars have automatic turn signals that sense when a driver wants to turn and in what direction.
3. People do not jay walk.
4. An ethos exists in which people vote and do so based on information and values.
5. Communication is honest and authentic - no concerns about "hidden agendas" among politicians, neighbors, family members.

Look for more additions to the Smart Town list of positive attributes. Feel free to add your own.

Dream #7

On Sunday night I had a dream that I was standing on a super tall concrete circular pillar approximately twice as wide as my arm span. I have no idea why I was on the pillar; there was no view, nothing I was trying to reach, nothing else around. I also have no idea how I got on the pillar; there was no ladder or elevator or other obvious means by which I had arrived onto this pillar.

What was notable about the pillar was that there was a person trying to climb to the top to join me on one side, and a person in a large, bouncy, hamster ball-like contraption repeatedly hitting the edge of the pillar. The repetition and slow motion of the person in the ball made it clear that her/his goal was to join me on the pillar.

I was very clear that I did not want anyone to join me on the pillar. So, I elbowed the climber off, and then elbowed the bouncer in a different direction, one that would not bring her/him towards the pillar any longer.


Part of me wants to be alone.

But you aren't the kitten's mother!

More than ten years ago I had a roommate who was a little odd. We'll call him "The Whale." We'll call him "The Whale" not because he was fat, and not because he spent lots of money in casinos. In fact, why we call him "The Whale" is irrelevant to the story at hand.

"The Whale" and I had two kittens. (I have a history of getting kittens and then becoming quickly bored with them and giving them away.) I have NO IDEA what the names of the kittens were. (Perhaps because of the aforementioned kitten revolving door in my life?) Anyhow, one morning I came out of my bedroom and saw "The Whale" walking down the hall with one of the kittens. In his mouth. Seriously. The kitten was in "The Whale's" mouth. Granted, he was clenching the scruff of the kitten's neck between his lips, so the kitten was not full on in his mouth. But, he was carrying the kitten. IN HIS MOUTH.

After double-taking, no, make that triple-taking, I said, "Uhm, why is the cat in your mouth?"

He replied, "This is how their mother carried them around. I thought they would like to be reminded of their mother."

I furrowed my brow. "But you aren't the kitten's mother!!"

He smiled and continued down the hallway.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Afro Can't

I'm a little behind the times with my knowledge of Japanese anime. I've just discovered Afro Ken, pictured here at right. Better late than never, says me, for I do believe I love this little puppy with his rainbow nappy locks. And I want him. And, as I was sharing my Afro Ken delights with my dear BMG, he said, "Don't you get it? Afro Ken = African. You can't get him, you can't buy an African!" I am now crestfallen.

Sigh. It is so hard being a liberal. Really, she said.


Speaking of the Japanese, here is a little gem retold by BMG today. "Do you think when Japanese people type LOL they actually type ROR? Raughing Out Roud?"

(I really am going to hell, for having repeated that in print.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


My mom is coming to visit this weekend. I just finished dusting the furniture and washing dishes. The fridge is stocked and I'll have all the miscellaneous crap stuffed into closets before Friday.

I had a little crisis of confidence last weekend, as I bemoaned my fear that I was in fact a "dirtball." BMG was not familiar with this gentle phrase, and as I explained to him that it meant a generally dirty person, he said he preferred that I call myself a "dirt cloud." "It isn't as harsh," he explained, "and connotes that your priorities are loftier than keeping a clean house." (Urban dictionary says dirt cloud means something else entirely.)


Today, I am not a dirtball. I am instead choking on the environmentally friendly cleaning fumes emanating throughout my poorly ventilated and perennially dust choked apartment.

Welcome mom!

I *really* am a winner!

I just received a one-year National Parks pass in the mail, which I won in a sweepstakes sponsored by in honor of Earth Day.

This is the perfect excuse for breaking out the frequent flier miles and making a trip.

Grand Canyon? BMG and I have already talked about making the trek.

Petrified Forest National Park, as long as we're in Arizona? Why not? Saguaro National Park? I can imagine making that happen while in the Grand Canyon State?
What is your favorite National Park? Where would YOU go if you were me?

I do need to note that it is a tiny bit ironic that a prize valued at $80 won in honor of Earth Day will now motivate me to spend excess time, money and carbon fuels to fly around the US taking advantage of this pass. This pass that will maybe save me $40 total over the course of the year. I also understand the point of the prize (and only 15 were awarded in the ENTIRE country) is to encourage people to visit National Parks with the knowledge that visiting park will either inspire or reinvigorate one's commitment to preserving (and dare I say it, expanding) our natural landscape. No matter. I'm a winner, and I'm pretty psyched.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A message to all roller bladers

You take up too much space when you "blade" (which should NOT be a verb, at least not in my universe, which shall be described in detail in a later post) down commuter bike ways and sidewalks. And, you are rarely paying attention to the world around you, choosing instead crank up your iPod, which swings back and forth as you hyper extend your arms in that rhythmic pumping motion, zooming along as if you think you are Eric Heiden. Find an indoor track! Or, if you DO plan to use your roller blades in public space, turn down the iPod (or take it off) and make an effort to listen to the people with whom you share the trail.


Peyos are the extra long ringlet sideburns that Hassidic Jews wear. It is not very "tolerant" of me, but I have to confess they both fascinate and creep me out. In the same way that transsexuals fascinate and creep me out.

BMG and I were in New York City this weekend, biking through Brooklyn as part of the Five Boro Bike Tour. One of the reasons I love biking is because it gives one the opportunity to really observe large swaths of community. On the tour we biked through Harlem, Astoria (Queens), Soho and Tribeca, along the Upper East Side by way of Central Park, and through crowded Hassidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn. In between waving to the hordes of adorable children waving at the 30,000 cyclists, I had the opportunity to observe many Hassidic males in their black uniforms of trench coat, wide brimmed hat, and long beard. And their peyos, swinging from the sides of their heads like freakish extra limbs.

Embarrassed by my emotional reaction to the mass of dead skin cells hanging off these obviously religious people, I decided to do a little research to educate myself on the symbolic function of peyos in the Hassidic community. What I found was that the Talmud tells men they cannot cut their sideburns (referred to as the "corners of their heads" in some English translations) - in a gesture of humility and an act against vanity. There is some argument among Talmudic scholars and spiritual advisers as to the interpretation of the Talmud - with some believing the written passages simply mean one cannot use a particular type of cutting implement to cut the sideburns, with others believing it forbids cutting entirely.) What is clear it is that the Talmud does NOT tell men to grow pigtails that hang in front of their ears. Hassidim do this in order to go above and beyond the Talmud, to show they are extra pious or extra devoted to God or the Talmud, or their Jewish identity, or something.

Aha! This is why they creep me out. They are an indicator of zealotry and identity (like gang colors), which is a condition I have a hard time understanding. I find myself unable to live in a state of black or white commitment to an ideal, issue or belief - I find myself more comfortable residing emotionally and intellectually in the folds of gray that lie between the poles of any issue or emotional state. In my adulthood I have tended to be more comfortable living as Zelig, bouncing between the various identities that make me, well me: hippie vegetarian, intellectual, foodie, former welfare kid, government bureaucrat, philanthropist, athlete, spiritual seeker, cynic, devoted sister and aunt - the list goes on. I don't identify with the desire to firmly plant oneself in one identity - I couldn't be "all aunt" or "all hippie." Or, "all Jew" if this were part of who I am.

Phew! I'm not an intolerant and anti-Semitic jerk. I'm just comfortable with being somewhere in the undefined middle of life.