Tuesday, November 30, 2004

"Anyhow, I've gotten way off course here. My point's just that I can't stop thinking that people are as their blogs make them seem, like, on the rare occasions that I read other people's blogs, when someone seems y'know brutally cool, I can't keep in mind that it's absurd to consider that the 'real' them."

"Uh huh."

"'Cause like, people reading my blog, they've probably got a fascinatingly warped take on me, to the extent that they give a sh*t. They might think 'Oh, she's so self-deprecating', not knowing that I'm really nuts and nothing's exaggerated."

[nearly audible biting of tongue, then:] "I . . . I think they might actually be pretty clear on that, babe."

Monday, November 29, 2004

This year, the holiday-tableaux designers at the Giannini building across the way have introduced a new note of poor taste to the usual orgy of PCP-eyed mittened snowmen, tweetastic electric trains and occasional carolers in full Victorian garb (who holler more than carol). Among the poinsettia lining the space between the two escalators are a few dozen orchids. Standard-issue white ones, with faintly violet innards. Are you processing this? Poinsettia abutting orchids? This strike anyone else as profane, as screechingly discordant? The damp-paper-towel petals ("petals") of the loathsome poinsettia nonconsensually stroking the orchids in the escalatory breeze, the poor orchids leaning away from their colossally less appealing distant cousins, leaning too close to the escalators and getting their heads lopped off by passing briefcases, oh goodness, it's hearty eyesore vs. fragile loveliness and the eyesores are in command.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

[I'll pretend I still have readers, after yesterday's unbecoming (but not to be deleted) meltdown.]

A conversation I just had, with one of the two male co-workers (out of 12 or so) who've been able to force themselves to accept that I'm a credible sports-chat participant:

B: So what'd you think about the big suspension?

J [reddening, unsure if I will be able to remain coherent and professional]: I . . . I like Ron Artest.

B: Oh me too, he's a hell of a basketball player, very good player, but -

J: No, that's not what I mean, I don't just mean I like him as a basketball player, I mean that . . . well, I'm a female sports fan, and I have certain . . . soft spots that male sports fans don't seem to have, and [increasingly aware I am losing control of my mouth and my tear ducts] . . . with Artest, see, and others like him, if I feel like a player has certain vulnerabilities, you know?

B [says nothing, is looking rather strained]

J: So I feel . . . I feel . . . that's just it really, I feel too goddamn much, like a big dumb girl [tears now surely visible, but not yet spilling], and I see that certain players who are taken to be thuggish are really just hurting, and -

[Remainder of exchange omitted for reasons pertaining to self-esteem]
The point of recording this conversation (such as it was) here? Credibility, however hard-fought, can be squandered in seconds.

Monday, November 22, 2004

[This post will be meaningless to anyone not aware of the situation and will probably alienate those who are, but I can't keep my feelings to myself on this one.]

25-game suspension for Jermaine O'Neal, 30 for Stephen Jackson, the rest of the season (73 games) for Ron Artest. I will never again in my life roll my eyes at any NBA (or NFL for that matter) player who claims the league treats him and other black players like slaves. Although I still think it's not quite an apt metaphor: "like retarded children" is better.

The league must always contend with the fact that most players are black and most fans are white. In order to make this less unsettling for the average white fan, the players are not treated like "grown-ass men" (as Rasheed Wallace, who looks more insightful all the time, puts it). Ron Artest, a grown-ass man, reacted with violence to being hit in the face with a full cup of ice & booze by a fan. Because he is paid millions of dollars a year to play basketball, the average fan believes Artest should have ignored it. He should have ceased to be an emotional being, because we pay him a lot of money to play sports for us and make us cheer. We don't want to see your humanity, we want to see your vertical leap! An "example" was made of him. He is a grown-ass man, not an example. He's not a symbol. Ron Artest symbolizes nothing other than Ron Artest. Fuck "sending a message". His punishment, assuming he should have received one, which I do not believe he should have, should have focused on the individual facts of this individual incident, not as an opportunity to "send a message" to other players who might at some point consider acting without regard for the financial well-being of the white-run league. "Sending a message" is how you discipline children.

The "message" that should properly be sent is: Hey, drunk-ass white trash fans who believe your paid attendance at a game permits you to harass and assault the players? You deserve no protection, any more than you would if Ron Artest worked at an insurance office and you entered the building, ran up to his desk and threw your drink in his face there.

I'm physically sickened by this mess, not because of players going into the stands but because as soon as Artest started swinging I knew how the nation would react. What are the images associated with this? Are we being shown the pictures of Jermaine O'Neal completely soaked in beer and spit? Are we seeing the colossally drunk asshole who was on the court baiting players to punch him? Nope, the photo on every newspaper cover is Artest's scary black face and scary black muscles. Oooooh, you see that big black guy? Why, he's such a beast that if you throw a full cup of ice and liquor in his face, he might react! We'd better send a message.

I literally gagged on bile listening to Commissioner Stern's condemnation of Artest and the other players involved. His purported moral outrage, expressed with no shortage of name-calling and infantilization, was mere theater, scripted to hide his true interest, which is strictly financial. These boys acted up and damaged the NBA brand. That's their real crime. That and behaving like autonomous individuals, flawed but sentient. The owners and executives of the league make their money off the bodies of these athletes, and thus expect to control those bodies.

It is not, I realize now, my citizenship I want to renounce. It's my race. Where's the consulate for that?

(On the very off chance anyone wants to debate this, feel free to e-mail me. My girlfriend would probably appreciate someone else agreeing to discuss this with me.)

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The marketing tactics of certain seafood restaurants strike me as inadvisable. Whenever there's a copious amount of shellfish on the market, and chain seafood eateries wish to share this bounty with their not-all-that-picky clientele, the advertising seems always to center around mental infirmity. Insane Shrimp Spectacular! Lobster Madness! Krazy Krab Feast! And so on. Is this wise? Should consumers really be made to think about the insane preparing this highly perishable, food-poisoning-friendly fare for them? Me, I think imagery pertaining to psychological derangement should really be restricted to foodstuffs with longer shelf lives.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

These philanthropically-minded exhortations the New York Times dumps at the bottom of pages during the holiday season - they getting to anyone else yet? I finished skimming a theater review and was told, yes, bold and all-capped, "DO NOT FORGET THE NEEDIEST!" Then, one page later, at the bottom of an Ol' Dirty Bastard obituary of sorts, "REMEMBER THE NEEDIEST!" Are we really such a squirrelly, easily distracted bunch that such shouted redundancies are called for? The neediest, I've got it, I've grasped it, they're unforgettable, Christ.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Soon, the long hallway in my apartment will be painted two complementary shades of quite strong pink, in large part a show of devotion to '70-'71 Cudas done up in what Plymouth called "Moulin Rouge" - a stock color for this vehicle, if such a thing can be believed. My point in mentioning it is this: friends and visitors inclined to call the hallway either The Birth Canal or The Barbie Aisle? Consider this your preemption.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Odd that folks who're cold when no one else is are considered pantywaists, while their hotter-blooded brethren, sweat beaded dreamboatily on their upper lips, come off as rugged, sexy. There's really no reason this should be. Why's one strain of poor internal temperature control a sign of weakness while the other's a sign of strength? In fact, aren't the cold-blooded in a sense tougher, as they share their cold-blooded circulatory system with the reptile kingdom? They're closer to the black mamba, the devilishly striped Caribbean-slicing sea snake, for God's sake the Komodo dragon. The Komodo dragon, with its flesh-rotting spittle and Mesozoic hissing, would like to be wearing a sweater most of the time too. So why's it those strutting malarials that we regard as the cool ones? With their mania for open windows in December, their unending flush, their sneering condescension toward people who don't feel overheated as promiscuously as they do? And why have I spent the last couple years struggling to switch teams, from the cardigan crew to the upper-lip-sweat crew, with much internal crowing when at last I succeeded? And for god's sake hit the A/C, it's like an Ecuadorean coal shaft in here.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The courier service my workplace uses is a small one, and nearly every time I call to arrange a pick-up, I reach the same dispatcher. After I give him our firm's account number, he asks "To whom am I speaking to?" This . . . this profane utterance, with its redundant "to", is uttered in a voice I can best liken to the auditory version of velour with a thick layer of mayonnaise on it. He thinks it's classy, boy, that elegant phrasing. He's so sure of it he coos the offending query like it's too sexy for him to say without letting his eyes drift closed, like I'm going to shiver luxuriantly at his soft verbal touch. Then, after he oleaginously asks to whom he is speaking to, I must continue the conversation without whinnying, seal-barking or otherwise expressing my displeasure. Someday it will just be too much.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A tele-recluse, I subscribe to an almost Teutonically strict call-screening service, essentially nitro-powered Caller ID. Callers with blocked, unlisted, or otherwise Caller ID-proof numbers must go through a three-step process in order to cause our phone to ring. Each step is narrated by the same recorded female voice - I call her Yvonne - and her behavior toward the caller is richly comic to me:

Step 1 - Yvonne "answers" phone. Sternly, with thin patience: "The person you are calling does NOT take unidentified calls! Your Caller ID was not received! To enter an access code, press 1. To record your name so that we may announce your call, press 2." Yvonne can barely bring herself to address the caller in a cordial manner. She is scolding all the way through Step 1, openly skeptical that the caller is credentialed, desirable, not a telemarketer or a creditor.

Step 2 - Prompt for recording/access code. Let's assume the caller chooses Option 1. Yvonne, still with deep suspicion, yet now with a barely perceptible thaw: "Please enter your access code." Yvonne is willing to give you this one chance, but she's still far from sold on you. You can hear her wary squint over the phone.

Step 3 - Putting-Through of Call. Warmly, clearly grinning: "Please hold, while we attempt to complete your call." Ah, so you're one of the good ones: Yvonne is so sorry she sounded so cross!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A few minutes ago, I saw a '72-ish Skylark equipped with varsity-level hydraulic effects. How it shuddered, pogoed and tilted, trembling like a metallic-burgundy leaf in the Financial District drizzle. It revived my flagging afternoon spirits, but prompted the same thought such vehicles always prompt: hydraulics are perhaps the ultimate badge of urban vehicular cool, but no one looks cool being jostled.

Monday, November 08, 2004

In 2000 it was something I publicly professed to embrace, but really it was just lip service, like the lip service I pay to sushi and to safe gun handling. This time I mean it, deep, like cell-deep: I can't pay attention to politics anymore. I withdraw. My choices are disengagement or massive stroke. I choose to live past 28 without my arteries bursting out through my skin like a roiling Medusa's head of sheer impotent rage. From here on out, it's all football and baby animal pictures for me. Who can get worked up about foreign policy when young red pandas are this fluffy?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

At least, uh . . .

We should be grateful that . . . umm . . .

Well, if nothing else, 4 more years of Bush will . . .

I got nothing.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

What's to be said. What could I usefully add, however ruefully. The Republican Party first linked government inextricably to religion, then severed the link between religion and any kind of morality. This suits the majority of Americans just fine. As such, America can now be given up for dead.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Just overheard in the elevator, said by one man to two others: "She doesn't want to get married on a golf course, because she says everyone does that now [they do?], but I said the reason why everyone does it [do they?] is because it's the best place."

Someday soonish I will no longer work in a corporate office environment, and every time I see a man in a suit I will flush with the ecstatic realization that such a world is no longer part of my life. I will finally be able to wake up thinking "I don't have to be around investment banking today, or ever again", replacing what I've woke up thinking since 1998: "I don't have to go to gym class today, or ever again."