Friday, January 29, 2010

And just like that...

If you didn't trust my word that I didn't see this until roughly an hour after I wrote my last post, you'd think I'd ripped it off. Maybe you still will. But this piece, written by Mark Mofard, SF Gate columnist fits my mood. Even love the headline, "Why are you so terribly disappointing?"

Best quote is as follows.

But we don't stop there. Not only are we disappointed, we need to express it. Vent it. Hiss it and spit it and hurl it like fistfuls of mental manure at the great wall of hey, screw you.

You have but to take a peek in the comments section below this column, any column, any article on this or any news site whatsoever, to see just how mean and nasty we have become. It does not matter what the piece might be about. Obama's speech. High speed rail. Popular dog breeds. Your grandmother's cookies. The anonymous comments section of any major media site or popular blog will be so crammed with bile and bickering, accusation and pule, hatred and sneer you can't help but feel violently disappointed by the shocking lack of basic human kindness and respect, much less a sense of positivism or perspective.
As someone who edits stories for a major news website, I'm consistently disgusted by the comments (nay, judgments) people leave on other's writing, anonymously. Hey, yeah, it's the business, but hey, yeah, it's not life or death. I manage some "talent" facebook pages, run live chats, and you wouldn't believe how vile and cruel some people are. I find myself wanting to jump in and tell people to knock it off, and sometimes I do, but I don't want to feed into it.

Pfft... this internet... anyone can just say anything they want! Any yahoo with a user name and password or a blog... hey wait a second...

And things will be just fine

Are you a selfish person?

That sounds like the lead line to an ad. Or maybe a sermon. Let me try again.

Are YOU a selfish person?

Wait, that wasn't any better. This is why I'm not in advertising or religion.

That thought came into my head tonight while I was switching clothes over from the washer to the dryer. Heady thoughts come frequently in mundane moments for me.

I don't mean selfish in a typical way. As in, if you have something I want, I want it or I'll cry and stomp and pout. That's not selfish (well, maybe it is), that's immature.

No one really likes to consider themselves selfish. Everyone would gladly put themselves under the heading, "I'd do anything for anyone at anytime" and think they'd help someone in need if they could. Heck, Jeff asked me a few weeks ago if we wanted to donate money to the Red Cross. The exchange went something like this.

Jeff: "Do you want to donate some money to the Red Cross for Haiti? Minimum donation is $10."

Me: "Let's do $25."

(Sits back with a smug, satisfied look on her face.)

Of course $25 is nothing, and I could probably do more (sans the probably part). But that's not even the selfishness I'm referring to. I mean the kind of selfishness that comes with getting constantly lost in your own thoughts, worrying just about your life and no one else's, wanting your cake and eating it too, changing your mind every five seconds, being recklessly independent and emotionally needy, wanting people to know what you're thinking without telling them, waking up every morning and just thinking about yourself.

You should, in theory, lose a little of that selfishness as you age, and certainly when you get married. What's best for Jeff, what's best for our life together, that needs to be at least the second thought of every day. I'm working towards making it the first. There isn't anyone I want more for in my life than Jeff. Because he chose me to share his world, I want him to have the best of everything. The same applies for my family and friends. You can only want something for someone else so bad, before they need to be selfish and get it for themselves, but you can always be unselfishly supportive and unflappably loyal.

This idea of selfishness/selflessness popped into my head because, naturally, as a 26-year-old just married (six months on Monday) female, I'm a ticking clock ... when are ya gonna have a BAY-BE?! And while the decision when to have kids is personal and not something casual readers of this blog will know about until well AFTER it happens, of course I think about it. Jeff and I talk about it dontcha worry about it.

People "in the know" seem to think that you should only have a baby when you've shed this selfishness. Two years seems to be the acceptable waiting period for people our age, apparently we're supposed to see the world, swim with dolphins, go bungee jumping, eat a sundae of 14K gold or something before we make that decision to start trying.

And I wondered today if I've shed that selfishness yet, or it only comes with having a child. I do know it will come, I know that.

I'm beginning to think I'll welcome it with open arms. Thinking only about yourself can be exhausting.

Says the girl who writes a self-serving, painfully tiring online blog ...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

And many times I've listened

Jeff and I got a brand-new flat screen television on Black Friday.

This came after (literally) years of begging from Jeff. We've lived together for almost four years and have never bought a new TV. Our old TVs had been lugged from New York > Boston > San Diego (and two apartments there) > New York > Massachusetts (and two apartments there.) They were worse for the wear. One hummed really loudly if you turned the volume up too high. The other had a giant scratch on it from our trip across country and a precariously-placed bedframe (which also left a nasty gash in my dashboard.)

They were also small (insert size matters joke here). For people who watch as much TV and sports as we do, it was almost silly how crappy our TVs were. But we always seemed to have wiser places to spend our money, and that didn't change, but the time seemed right. We scouted Black Friday deals and found a great one which basically amounted to about $500 off. Jeff got in line at 2:15 a.m. They offered only two in store under this deal, and Jeff got it. Success!

Anyways, TV watching has been significantly better these days.

The only thing is... I'm actually watching less of it now. Jeff can't believe when he comes home after work, flips it on, and sees that it's on the same channel it was the night before.

"Did you really not watch any TV today?"

I think everyone who reads this blog knows I work from home. For the past 18 months I've watched a variety of daytime TV, which as you all know, sucks hard core. I've watched Maury, I've watched hours and hours of women giving birth, I've watched more Jon + Kate and 18 Kids and Counting than I'd like to admit. I wish I'd watched more Oprah, but I always forget that it's on. Oh, and roughly 1.673 million hours of SportsCenter.

Just somewhere along the line I got sick of it. I got back into music. You'll be surprised, or bored, to learn that this long lead-in was about me listening to music again.

My relationship with music in my life has never been clearly defined. I didn't own a CD until ninth grade. Before then my music tastes included, by default and time-period, some greats: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston... the Grease soundtrack? Oh, and Queen's Greatest Hits. (My family also used to listen to Monty Python skits on tape as well, so that earns me some cred, right?)

My first CD I bought was Sublime/Sublime. We used to play it on band trips (I was in marching band, yes. And I did go to band camp! Is that joke not old yet?? And how about that Sanjaya?) While I'll still defend that CD as I know every word and still would list Sublime amongst my favorite bands of all time, I can't much defend the CDs I owned immediately after that: Limp Bizkit, Eminem, and of course, N*Sync. (I owned two of this Justin Timberlake poster. Ohhh yeahhh...)

Then junior year of high school, I had a boyfriend who was into classic rock. Where would I have been if we hadn't dated? I shudder to think. Anyways he got me into the Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, and loads of other great bands. I started listening to a lot of John Lennon and Tom Petty.

Now I was never a music snob, and I loathe music snobs. I don't particularly like Dylan. I didn't start liking the Rolling Stones until recently. I stopped listening to the radio ages ago (May 2006 and still counting...) so I have no idea who's "cool" now. I know that Ting Tings "That's not my name" song came out a while ago, but it's all I can listen to now. If ever a song makes you want to shake your head side to side and do a 90s-style skip/kick dance it's that one, am I right?

Anyways, considering that I've pretty much been from the depths of bad music, to the height of good music, and that I've been listening to music 8 hours a day for two months or so now, I thought I'd list 10 of my favorite songs of all time. And I'd LOVE to hear yours in the comments. Top singles. Desert Island songs. Here's my crack, in no particular order.

* Everlong, The Foo Fighters: Right now this is listed as my most played song in iTunes, with 30 listens. This song belongs in that same category as the Ting Tings song and what it makes me want to do when I hear it. Also: amazing lyrics. This isn't exactly an original pick, I know lots of people love this song as well.

* Over the Hills and Far Away, Led Zeppelin: I think I feel safe saying the opening bars to this song are the best opening instrumentals of any song ever. Yeah, that's right. When this song starts, I immediately feel happier. It's very soothing at the start, and then just transforms from there. Like a story. How's that analogy!? I'm a writer, yo.

* For No One, The Beatles: This is probably my favorite Beatles song of all time. Do I need to say more? (Let It Be/Happiness is a Warm Gun (surprise) also up there. OK, I guess I did need to say more.)

* The Wind Cries Mary, Jimi Hendrix: My desert island songs are pretty mellow. I wouldn't even say I'm a true or huge JH fan. But I do love this song.

* A Dustland Fairytale, The Killers: I guess I find myself picking one song per favorite artist here, and even though this is off their recent (and not best album) this is my favorite Killers song of all time (* for now).

* Hallelujah, Rufus Wainwright: I know, this song is way played out. But I don't want to hear about your "original" or "better" versions. This is the only version for me.

* Angel Dream No. 2, Tom Petty: You probably haven't heard this one. You probably should.

* Sweetest Thing, U2: OK this is a new addition to the list. I'm not sure I feel comfortable having it here. I reserve the right to ditch it.

* I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You, Colin Hay: Ditto previous song.

* Only You, Yaz: Well, come on, my wedding song had to be on here right? First song Jeff ever said made him think of me.

Honorable Mentions: Wise Up, Aimee Mann; All My Days, Alexi Murdoch; Stay Together for the Kids, Blink-182; Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen; Round Here, Counting Crows; Lost Cause, Beck; Save the Last Dance for Me, the Drifters; Bad Rabbits and Some People Live Between Holidays, Gavin Castleton; Just a Thought, Gnarls Barkley; Patience, Guns N Roses; Lots of Killers songs; Going to California and What is and What Should Never Be, Led Zeppelin; Will You Be There, Michael Jackson; Hey Ya! Outkast; 3 Libras, A Perfect Circle; Ruby Tuesday, Rolling Stones; Lots of Tom Petty songs (Crawling Back to You); Lots of Queen songs; Into the Mystic, Van Morrison; Say It Ain't So, Weezer; Suite Judy Blue Eyes: Crosby, Stills and Nash; The Scientist, Coldplay...

... and tons more I'm sure I'm forgetting. I definitely do, and probably always will, skew classic rock. What about you, what songs am I missing from this list? I'd love to hear them!! New and old commenters alike!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Last night ramble: a retrospective

Fellow bloggers/writers, do you ever start to write something and quit right in the middle of it? Move on, like it never happened? Give it a 'Nah' this doesn't work and click the red X?

I probably should have done that last night.

Usually when I write, if it doesn't flow naturally, if I have to go back and re-read it a lot or if it's a struggle to find out where I go next, it's going to stink.

I remember the first time I really wrote something that gushed out of me naturally. It was a column for my college newspaper about Will McDonough. And in fail of fails, it doesn't seem to exist online anymore and I'm pretty sure I don't have a copy anywhere -- this bums me out big time. Perhaps my mom saved it somewhere, I know she really liked it.

I wrote the 600 or so words in about 15 minutes. And while I'm normally a fast writer, that would be deemed as exceptionally fast for me. (Fastest ever? A 13-page college paper in 2 hours. Booyah!) I was sent out on close deadline assignments when I lived in San Diego because I was the fastest writer. As in, a basketball game that started at 7 and needed to be filed by 8:30. In most cases, that was good enough to get you to the end of the game. In some cases, it was good enough to get you to the end of the game with 5 minutes to spare. It was nerve-wracking, but also a challenge, and I'm one of those 'works well under pressure' people.

Last night I was trying to get my thoughts out in front of a blaring TV. Never a good idea. I'd go back and rewrite it, or take it down, but nobody will read through it anyway. It will serve as a reminder of that time I tried to say something meaningful and I failed miserably.

My google reader tells me I have 20 people that subscribe to this blog... 20! Who ARE you people? I'm dying to know. You don't even have to leave your names, just say 'I'm someone you went to high school with' or 'I'm someone you work with' or 'I'm watching you through your window right now.'

This whole "getting back into writing" thing proves I'm rustier than I thought. I promise you something well thought-out next time, faithful readers.

At the movies with Emily and Jeff: Up in the Air/Random thoughts in my head (bonus headline characters edition!!)

(Warning: I'm feeling like I'm about to ramble. Nobody wants to read a blog post by me that's more than 50 wor-- right there, most people will have stopped right there. Given it a scroll down, said, 'No thanks' and moved right back to googling porn. Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment!)

Jeff and I had an Avatar vs. Up in the Air standoff that started right around the new year. We stood our ground, crossed our arms and pouted over which we'd see first. I'll give you a guess on which sides of the fence we were on in the battle of the geeky, CGI-laden 3D action movie and the film starring the wrinkles around George Clooney's eyes.

We saw Avatar first. Here's my review of Avatar. (Ahem)

At the movies with Emily and Jeff: Avatar


Moving on to 'Up in the Air.' Some movies you go to and are pleasantly surprised you like them. District 9 was one for me. Some you go expecting to like and you hate, and some you know you'll enjoy and you do. That's called $21 well spent. ($26 if you buy the coke so large you need two hands to hold it.)

'Up in the Air' added a bonus category for me: movie that feels very apropos of the mood you're in at the moment.

Mini-non-spoilerish synopsis for those who know nothing about the movie: George Clooney plays a single guy who travels around the country firing people. He's happy with his single life and he meets a counterpart in Alex (played by Vera Farmiga looking older than she does in real life). They make each other happy in the periodic spurts in which they exist. Then there's Anna Kendrick's 23-year-old plucky just out of college chick who thinks she knows what she wants and has a perfect vision of life that comes crashing down when she hits the how-they-say real world.

I felt like I could relate to every character in the movie and it had some really great lines, a la Juno.

I've never had a clear idea of what exactly what I want to do with my life ('I don't know what kind of girl I am') or where I want to be or who I want to be. All I know is that I've never wanted to settle or stand still for too long, yet I want to hold the people closest to me as near as possible and never lose them. It's not about being unhappy with what you have, it's about thinking of ways you could be happier. Checking things off the list and moving things from the bad pile to to the good one.

I'll probably drive myself crazy-miserable living that way. So every day I have to tell myself how lucky I am, how I have a husband, friends and job I love. The issues is holding onto the things you love through your shifting life.

I'm stuck in an amalgam of a quarter-life crisis along with seasonal affective disorder with a dash of restlessness. Jeff can attest to this, and he's given me nightly pep talks trying to support me in my decision to do... whatever it is I want to decide to do in the next 15 minutes before I give up, make a joke and fall asleep.

Kendrick's 23-year-old character in 'Up in the Air' reminds me of how I felt coming out of college. I wanted to be a hot shot, but I also wanted to work for what I got, and I moved very quickly to where I am now. (Fortunately, I don't have a job that makes people want to kill themselves!) I alternate between wanting more, immediately, and being perfectly content. The latter I can attribute to the fact that I really enjoy working with the people I do -- the former I attribute to my ambition.

(I told you I was going to ramble).

More rambling: Clooney's character in the movie plays a knowing, slightly-condescending counterpart to Kendrick. My experience in life, and I said this to a group of women I went out with last night, is that no one thinks they're immature for their age. Everyone thinks they're wise beyond their years. That allows us to judge other people. It's a wonderful cycle. I always say to myself how if I could go back and slap 14 year old Emily in the face, I probably would (It probably wouldn't hurt though, I have weak arms). But 14-year-old Emily wouldn't care what I had to say, she'd be more worried about the life or death matter concerning that cute boy with the bowl haircut and nice smile.

I find myself saying aloud lately, "What do I know?" So if I don't know shit as a 26 year old, does that mean I should be listening more to 38-year olds and the wisdom they have to offer?Or as shown in the movie, do you really never learn how to live life, but only to regret the things you did when you were younger and wish you could go back and live life again with the wisdom you have now? Does anyone know anything of value? Is this couch I'm sitting on even real? WELL IS IT?

Sigh. Maybe we should get back to the movie.

I really liked it. Here's a quote that stuck with me:

Ryan Bingham: I thought I was a part of your life.

Alex Goran: I thought we signed up for the same thing... I thought our relationship was perfectly clear. You are an escape. You're a break from our normal lives. You're a parenthesis.

Ryan Bingham: I'm a parenthesis?

Brilliant. And my attempt to tie this all together ...

... I think you can want a lot in your life and you can imagine all the ways your life could be better, that you could be happier. But, those dreams are always going to be half-reality, half-fantasy. I could be an NFL writer, which is a theoretical dream, but I know there are many, many downsides to that lifestyle (and also, a similar on the road lifestyle as in the movie).

But having parenthesis are nice as long as you don't expect them to exist perfectly in reality, because they will never as be the vision that you hope. But they can be great. They can be your dreams. They can be comfort. They can be support. They get you through the day and make you smile. They get you up the next morning and be the first thing in your head. In fact, there's a great song about being someone else's parenthesis.

They're just hard to fit in your life. Your actual life.

This could be the worst thing I've ever written. It sounded nice in my head though as I pieced it together on the ride home.

38-year-old Emily could totally write better than this.

(If you made it to the end of this, leave a comment will ya. Even if it's to encourage me not to blog at 1 a.m.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

You can only do the best with what's given

Has it really been over two months since I've blogged about anything? I don't know who I expect to answer that rhetorical question. It's not a hard question to answer. Last I posted was Nov. 18... that was two months ago.

So the answer, Emily, is yes, it's been over two months since you've blogged. And how about them Jets?

If anything's become abundantly clear in the last two months it's that I miss writing. Very much so. Even if it's writing about nothing, which is basically what I do here.

It appears I missed the cut-off for any end of the year lists, but my bests and worsts are as follows.

BESTS: District 9, Inglorious Basterds, Precious, I Love You, Man, my wedding make-up, The Killers in concert, True Blood, Friday Night Lights, The Lost season 5 finale, Gordon Ramsay's in London, that night in NYC, that day I got married, Away We Go, that week I spent out of the country, rediscovering Led Zeppelin, Seinfeld on Curb Your Enthusiasm, my friends, Wes Welker, my rehearsal dinner, when I switched from 'toasted almond' back to 'french vanilla,' You can find me at Ted's, The Hangover, my iPhone, my success in introducing live chat software at my job, hanging out more with the people I work with in person, that one The Invention of Lying joke that made me laugh so hard I cried, becoming a little more feminist, Les Miserables in London, losing 20 pounds, Rhoos, my google reader, mimosas, paying off our credit cards, my new haircut, my Coach bag, Jeff's Christmas mix, my syndicated blog post, my first pedicure, Jeff's wedding vows, UP, Mad Men, Naveen Andrews.

WORSTS: That time I almost considered renting 'Twilight,' our flight to London, people asking me how married life is, New Year's Eve, Fenway when it's cold and raining, gaining 10 pounds back, Facebook morons, the two and a half hours of my life I've spent crying at 'UP', my free time, the fall of the Boston Globe, going for it on fourth and 2 from your own red zone, the National Guard ad they run before movies, the rental car place not having the car you reserved, Wii Fit, Pineapple Express, Righteous Kill, Step Brothers, not getting to eat at the wedding, Watchmen, blog posts that are overly 'linky.'

More good than bad. That's all one can hope for in life right?

Er, that's not the greatest mantra is it? I have high hopes for 2010.

Step 1: Write more.