Giving In

"When did you know?"
The girl looked up from the sofa through her tears, searching for answers only time could offer.

The reply came with a sweet smile of sadness and amusement.
"Oh, honey," her voice cracked with sorrow and gentle laughter,
"It just smacked me upside the head."
She lowered herself into the cushions and pulled her daughter to her chest.
"When your daddy walked through that door, I think I just gave in. Some long fought battle just stopped raging and opened me up to somethin' more."

The girl sighed the deep sigh of young love,
"I want that."

She kissed the top of those dark blonde curls and smiled into the space around them.
"I know, baby girl.
I know."



I have a pet peeve that is beginning to turn into irrational anger.

When I go through a checkout, I want to get through as quickly as possible. I'm ready with my cards, have my bag open, and I put groceries in as they're scanned...all very efficient. I open my wallet to put my cash in and I'm ready to close it up and go every time.

But then...

Then the cash comes out, and instead of handing it to me, the clerk waits until the receipt prints, puts the receipt with the cash, and then hands me the mismatched bundle. The receipts are too big to go in my wallet, so I now have to separate the receipt before putting my cash in my wallet. The clerk COULD have given me my cash, let me put my wallet away while the receipt was printing, and then handed it to me and I'd be out of the next person's way. But no, they have to make it take longer b/c now I have to separate the receipt so I can put my money away and then walk away. It makes the whole process take 5 or 10 more seconds, which between thousands of customers each day, adds up to quite a bit. This is NOT efficient.

Seriously. Walgreens does this every single time. Every time. ARGH. Cala does it, too. I actually sometimes have to calm myself down before it happens so I don't get upset.

Ridiculous, I know. But true. God help me.


Whuh whuh whuh whuh whuh

I have a new favorite song. It's featured in this video made by someone whose job I need to have.

Favorite lyrics?
"Teach me tiger
how to tease you
whuh whuh whuh whuuhh whuh"

Thank you, Cute Overload. I am thrilled to have this song in my head.
oh yeah.


Book Report: How the World Makes Love

Very good, fast-paced piece of travel/relationship writing. I highly recommend it.

Some favorite parts:

A married Nicaraguan woman explains success
Physical appearance is irrelevant, though it is important to be good in bed.

The author has a realization
Love is the only belief on which the world agrees. Meters or feet, coffee or tea, Buddha or Allah, futbol or football, cars on the left or right--our planet cannot come to a consensus on anything. Except love.

The world believes deeply in love. Deeply. Ardently. With a shy smile and an instant nod, people around the globe say it exists in all of us. It can thrive. Sure, they have a hard time describing it, let alone capturing it, but it's there. They know it. From closed societies or Western worlds, in bodies wrinkled or smooth, with preferences for the apposite sex or the same, with pockets well stocked or barren, the world sings the same love song. The practices vary, but the passions remain identical.

A young Nicaraguan woman talking about love
Nica men think love is an empty space you need to fill. For me, love is if I am happy and you are happy, we can share. But if you are not happy, you can share nothing.

When I had sex with the fireman, it was not love. Just I needed a hug. But love doesn't leave in the morning.

Go read it for yourself: How the World Makes Love, Franz Wisner



In this holiday time of thinking about giving, I want to focus on receiving.

Well, it's not so much that I want to, but that the world seems to be telling me that I should. It started a month or so back and sped up a couple of weeks ago with a series of events that have just kept going.

1. I had been looking for a table to fit into my teensy apartment for awhile, but I didn't want to pay more than necessary. A friend just happened to be getting rid of a table that matched perfectly, and now I have a gorgeous table and 2 beautiful chairs that actually work in my place!

2. My sister sent me an incredibly beautiful gift of fall leaves from home just to make me smile.

And then, all in one night:
3. I went out to dinner with a friend. We both were thinking about ordering the goat cheese fondue app, but were refraining. Our server comes to take our order and lets us know that we'll be receiving a free fondue because of the wait (we hadn't really waited that long, we hadn't complained, and we definitely hadn't mentioned the app).

4. We get to our movie, and someone has left an extra ticket at the window. The ticket lady decides I should have it. :)

5. At a bar later that night, a man steps on my foot. I jokingly say "ow" loudly, and he offers to buy me a drink. Despite my protests and his obvious lack of attraction to women, he buys me an uber expensive whiskey martini.

The next morning:
6. I wake up starving but not wanting to leave the house just yet. I was surprised by a yummy mission burrito in my fridge. Best feeling ever when you've forgotten that you brought home food the night before.

7. Found a $20 on the sidewalk.

8. I'm trying to name a business, and just as I was getting really frustrated, one of my classes had a naming expert as a guest speaker. The professor actually arranged for me to spend some time talking with him during class. Incredible.

So now, I'm just trying be open to receiving the things the world wants to throw my way. I think maybe that's something we don't do very often - especially those of us who tend to be giving and/or tend to take action to get what we want. I just don't want to miss out on something because I was so focused on working to get something else.


Bad Sex in Fiction Awards

oh. my.

The Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Awards are out, and they are certainly worth reading.

This year's winner is Jonathan Littell, for The Kindly Ones.

The winning passage:
Her vulva was opposite my face. The small lips protruded slightly from the pale, domed flesh. This sex was watching at me, spying on me, like a Gorgon's head, like a motionless Cyclops whose single eye never blinks. Little by little this silent gaze penetrated me to the marrow. My breath sped up and I stretched out my hand to hide it: I no longer saw it, but it still saw me and stripped me bare (whereas I was already naked). If only I could still get hard, I thought, I could use my prick like a stake hardened in the fire, and blind this Polyphemus who made me Nobody. But my cock remained inert, I seemed turned to stone. I stretched out my arm and buried my middle finger into this boundless eye. The hips moved slightly, but that was all. Far from piercing it, I had on the contrary opened it wide, freeing the gaze of the eye still hiding behind it. Then I had an idea: I took out my finger and, dragging myself forward on my forearms, I pushed my forehead against this vulva, pressing my scar against the hole. Now I was the one looking inside, searching the depths of this body with my radiant third eye, as her own single eye irradiated me and we blinded each other mutually: without moving, I came in an immense splash of white light, as she cried out: 'What are you doing, what are you doing?' and I laughed out loud, sperm still gushing in huge spurts from my penis, jubilant, I bit deep into her vulva to swallow it whole, and my eyes finally opened, cleared, and saw everything.
2005's Winner was pretty good, too. Winkler by Giles Coren:
And he came hard in her mouth and his dick jumped around and rattled on her teeth and he blacked out and she took his dick out of her mouth and lifted herself from his face and whipped the pillow away and he gasped and glugged at the air, and he came again so hard that his dick wrenched out of her hand and a shot of it hit him straight in the eye and stung like nothing he'd ever had in there, and he yelled with the pain, but the yell could have been anything, and as she grabbed at his dick, which was leaping around like a shower dropped in an empty bath, she scratched his back deeply with the nails of both hands and he shot three more times, in thick stripes on her chest. Like Zorro.
And a Runner Up from this year, A Dead Hand by Paul Theroux:
'Baby.' She took my head in both hands and guided it downward, between her fragrant thighs. 'Yoni puja - pray, pray at my portal.'
She was holding my head, murmuring 'Pray,' and I did so, beseeching her with my mouth and tongue, my licking a primitive form of language in a simple prayer. It had always worked before, a language she had taught me herself, the warm muffled tongue.

I don't know that I could write anything quite that amusing with any area of seriousness. 


Soundtrack of My Soul #6

Yellow Brick Road - Kris Delmhorst

I'm off to see the wizard in his castle on the hill
And I never once have known him and I do not know him still
Because his face it is magnificent but you'll never see his hands
And the way he throws his voice around I don't know where he stands

I'm off to see the wizard with his curtain and his crowd
But my hands are not trembling and my head it is not bowed
Cause I'm not looking for any answers, no truths to be revealed
All that I am asking is to show me something real

I'm not on no yellow brick road,
got a mind and a heart and guts of my own
I'm not looking for a one to set me free
I'm not on no yellow brick road, I'll find my own way home
I'm just looking for someone to walk with me

Hey you behind the curtain tell me what is it you see:
From where you sit does it appear that everyone is on their knees?
Their eyes are wide and hopeful and the line grows at the door
Do you sit up there and wonder how you'll ever give them more?

Well I'm not on no yellow brick road,
got a mind and a heart and guts of my own
I'm not looking for a one to set me free
I'm not on no yellow brick road, I'll find my own way home
I'm just looking for someone

Don't say that it's not lonely up above the crowd
Don't tell me you don't find yourself longing for the ground
And when I asked him one more time won't you tear the curtain down,
He said don't you know there's nothing here but me,
And I said baby who'd you think I came to see?

I'm not on no yellow brick road,
got a mind and a heart and guts of my own
I'm not looking for a one to set me free
I'm not on no yellow brick road, I'll find my own way home
I'm just looking for someone to walk with me


Feeding my Crush on Peter DeWolf

Seriously, the man is amazing. I wonder if his real conversations are ever this cool.
an excerpt:
“I adore a woman who’ll straight up order a burger.”
“You’d love me if I was eating tofu.”
“Busting out ‘love’ already?”
Her eyes got big. For a half second, she thought she had ruined it. Then she saw his face.
“Please. How could you not love me?,” she asked, as rhetorically as anything had ever been asked.
“You make a good point.”
“I always do.”
Their feet accidentally bumped together under the table. Neck hair stood up on end on both sides of the booth.
They left their feet touching.
He smiled at her. Warm. Honest.
“Baby…?” he slightlyabovewhispered.
“Tofu would be pushing it.”
“Shut up.”
He smiled at her. Warm. Smitten.

Peter, can you just write the rest of my first dates for me? Pretty please?


Who Controls the Definition of a Word?

Erin McKean is changing the way dictionaries are created. Which means that Erin McKean is changing the way proper word usage is defined.

In my business model innovations class, we frequently have guest speakers to tell us about their entry into a market. We were fortunate enough last week to have Erin McKean of Wordnik. Erin is one of approximately 145 lexicographers in the country, and she knew that she wanted to work with dictionaries from the time she was 8 years old. To watch her present her new company, Wordnik, is to watch a woman in love with what she does. I highly recommend watching her speak if you ever get a chance.

After Erin spoke at TED, venture funders approached her, wondering how possible it would be to capture all of the words that were used in the English language, rather than simply the small set included in print dictionaries. Regardless of your interest in language or dictionaries, the story is pretty damn fascinating. Print dictionaries capture less than a million words, and it takes years for a word to make it into the collection. Wordnik uses a technology to mine a large corpus of historical text and contemporary writing (including the internet). The algorithm pulls information about words and how they are used, offering immediate context, definitions, and references to "words" that aren't included in the print dictionaries. To date, Wordnik has counted about 4 million words, and about 10 million things that are used like words, far surpassing the capacity of print dictionaries - and it does so automatically and immediately.

An interesting question that arises from Wordnik is the question of who actually defines a word. In Erin's dream world, gone are the days of 4th grade English teachers correcting your usage of who and whom. Erin believes that the users of a language define the language, and she bucks the idea the only real definition is the one in the OED. It's an interesting question, really. Is the correct usage of a word the one defined for us and listed in the print dictionaries? OR is the correct usage really just defined by how the population uses it? Take a look at Erin's talks, browse the site, and decide for yourself.

Erin McKean at TED

Erin McKean at Google

Erin McKean article about using words



American Health

The Japanese eat very little fat,
yet suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

The Mexicans eat a lot of fat,
yet suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

The Chinese drink very little red wine, 
yet suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

The Italians drink lots of red wine,
yet suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat a ton of sausage and other fats,
yet suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

Apparently speaking English is what kills us.

Eat and drink what you like.


Soundtrack of My Soul #5

Just Dance, Lady GaGa

RedOne, Konvict
GaGa, oh-oh, eh

I've had a little bit too much, much
All of the people start to rush, start to rush by
How does he twist the dance? Can’t find a drink, oh man
Where are my keys? I lost my phone, phone

What’s going on on the floor?
I love this record baby but I can’t see straight anymore
Keep it cool, what’s the name of this club?
I can’t remember but it’s alright, a-alright

Just dance, gonna be okay, da da doo-doo-mmm
Just dance, spin that record babe, da da doo-doo-mmm
Just dance, gonna be okay, d-d-d-dance
Dance, dance, just, j-j-just dance

Wish I could shut my playboy mouth, oh oh oh-oh
How’d I turn my shirt inside out? Inside outright
Control your poison babe, roses have thorns they say
And we’re all getting hosed tonight, oh oh oh-oh

What’s going on on the floor?
I love this record baby but I can’t see straight anymore
Keep it cool, what’s the name of this club?
I can’t remember but it’s alright, a-alright

Just dance, gonna be okay, da da doo-doo-mmm
Just dance, spin that record babe, da da doo-doo-mmm
Just dance, gonna be okay, d-d-d-dance
Dance, dance, just, j-j-just

When I come through on the dance floor checkin? out that catalog
Can’t believe my eyes, so many women without a flaw
And I ain’t gon? give it up, steady tryin? to pick it up like a car
I?ma hit it, I?ma hit it and flex and do it until tomorr? yeah

Shawty I can see that you got so much energy
The way you?re twirlin? up them hips 'round and 'round
And now there’s no reason at all why you can’t leave here with me
In the meantime stay and let me watch you break it down

And dance, gonna be okay, da da doo-doo-mmm
Just dance, spin that record babe, da da doo-doo-mmm

Just dance, gonna be okay, da da doo-doo-mmm
Just dance, spin that record babe, da da doo-doo-mmm
Just dance, gonna be okay, d-d-d-dance
Dance, dance, just, j-j-just dance

Woo! Let’s go!

Half psychotic, sick, hypnotic
Got my blueprint, it’s symphonic
Half psychotic, sick, hypnotic
Got my blueprint electronic

Half psychotic, sick, hypnotic
Got my blueprint, it’s symphonic
Half psychotic, sick, hypnotic
Got my blueprint electronic

Go! Use your muscle, carve it out, work it, hustle
I got it, just stay close enough to get it
Don’t slow! Drive it, clean it, lights out, bleed it
Spend the lasto
(I got it)
In your pocko
(I got it)

Just dance, gonna be okay, da da doo-doo-mmm
Just dance, spin that record babe, da da doo-doo-mmm

Just dance, gonna be okay, da da doo-doo-mmm
Just dance, spin that record babe, da da doo-doo-mmm
Just dance, gonna be okay, d-d-d-dance
Dance, dance, just, j-j-just dance


Urgent Requirement Plz Fwd To All

Apparently there is a highly desired Indian woman with my name who has given her email address to many people incorrectly. In fact, she's given them my email address. Over the past couple of years I've received more and more random emails from people I don't know, often in either broken or incredibly proper English. As google chat became more popular, I started receiving messages from men insisting they knew me. They met me at the call center when we both worked there. They knew my brother. Why was I being so mean to pretend I didn't know them? I feel a bit bad for the poor girl, because she probably gets a lot of people angry with her after I insist that I do not know these men.

This morning I received my favorite email thus far. I'm sure it's a joke, but I'm still very amused. :)


Dear Ones,

Due to recession, I left my Girlfriend (as part of my cost cutting efforts). I need new one now, so pass on this information to your female friends...

Applications are invited for the following post. The package and incentives are mentioned below:

Designation : Junior girl friend (trainee)

Experience : at least of 2 years (Fresher with excellent credentials will be considered)

Other requirement : Should have the Potential to do street bargaining and fight if required.

Age: 18-23 (if the individual is too good looking but not in the age group can also apply, special consideration will undertaken for them)

Height, weight, complexions no bar, but is subjective.

Perks and incentives:

Total gross ( Monthly ) :
• 2 gifts worth not exceeding Rs. 1000/-(no precious metals, stones)
• Bike rides each duration 1 hour
• Trips to National Highways
• 5 Trips to Hanuman Mandir / Iskcon Temple
• Kulfis / Chocobars at a regular gap of 3 days
• Daily Provision of Samosa/Bread Pakoda/Bhel worth Rs. 10 /-
• 2 movies per month (on weekends)
• Visits to Shopping Malls and BARISTA every weekend (On your own expense)
A Pair of Jeans or T-shirts according to demand will be gifted, subject to finance availability and to the size available with the shopkeeper.

Net Deductions (Monthly): Affair Fund and Un-professional taxes will be informed on joining.
The probation period is 6 months, after which confirmation (with Promotion to fulltime Girlfriend)

Please NOTE:
1. Only females.
2. Girls who left in the last 2 months need not apply.
3. Ex-girlfriends will be eligible only if they agree to the above mentioned conditions.

There is more:
For girls who are not eligible, can take advantage of the referral program by referring their friends, colleagues etc.
Candle light/Tube light dinner will be given on every referral, even if candidate is not selected.
Search never ends!!
Interested candidates can send their resume with

Subject: Name/fresher-exp/age.
Full Photo must be attached in the email

Note: Applications without photo will be rejected.
This message (including any attachments) is intended only for
the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and
may contain information that is non-public, proprietary,
privileged, confidential, and exempt from disclosure under
applicable law or may constitute as attorney work product.
If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified
that any use, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this
communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this
communication in error, notify us immediately by telephone and
(i) destroy this message if a facsimile or (ii) delete this message
immediately if this is an electronic communication.

Thank you.


Brilliant Friends

I was talking to a friend who is going through the end of his marriage, and we were discussing the weirdness of being so much older now than we were the last time we dated. I've definitely grown a lot as a person since that period more than 4 years ago, but it seems my dating maturity hasn't. My friend put it perfectly:

It's as though my mind is 31, but my heart is still 21 in its capacity for excitement and nervousness. And now my mind doesn't really trust my heart, but still is letting it drive the ship.

That is exactly how I feel.


A Real Love Story

I've never been as affected by a description of real love as I was by this passage from Marian Keyes' Anybody Out There? Such a moving moment, and I can only hope that someday I, and those I love, can experience something this beautiful.

I used to be a right hypochondriac. Not that I faked being sick, but when it happened, I was very interested in and tried to involved Aidan in the drama. If I had, say, a toothache, I'd give him regular bulletins on my symptoms. "It's a different kind of pain now," I'd say. "Remember when I said it was a kind of hummy ache--well, it's changed. More darty." Aidan was was used to me and my drama, and he's day, "Darty, hey? That's new."

I'd even broken a bone about a year and a half ago; I'd been rummaging through cupboards looking for something and I turned around too quickly, cracked my finger against a drawer, and started bellyaching, "Ooh, Christ, oh God. Oh, my finger, that's awful."

"Sit down," Aidan said. "Show me. Which one?"

He took my finger and--I know this sounds a little weird--he held it in his mouth. His mom used to do it for him and Kevin when they were little and now he did it for me whenever I injured a body part. "I seemed to have a very accident-prone crotch.) I shut my eyes and waited for the heat of his mouth to effect the merciful ebbing away of pain.


"Actually, no." Surprising--it usually worked.

"That's bad, it'll have to come off." Before our eyes, my finger swelled and fattened, like a speeded-up video of bread rising. At the same time the color changed from red to gray to almost black.

"Christ," Aidan said, "that is bad, maybe it will have to come off. Better get you to the ER." We jumped in a taxi, my hand laid across our laps, like a sick little rabbit. AT the hospital they took me off for an X-ray and I was thrilled--yes, I admit it, thrilled--when the doc clipped an X-ray to a light box and said, "Yep, there we are, hairline fracture across the second knuckle."

Even though I didn't get put in proper plaster, just a splinty-type thing, it felt nice not to be dismissed as a malingerer. I had "a Fracture." Not just a bruise, not even a strain (or sprain, I'm never sure if they're the same thing, and if they're not, which is more impressive) but a Fracture.
In the following days, when everyone looked at my splint and asked, "What happened?" Aidan always answered on my behalf. "Downhill skiing slalom, she clipped one of the poles." Or "Mountaineering, small rockfall, hit her hand."

"Well," as he said to me, "it's got to be better than saying 'looking for my blue shoes.'"

The hospital had given me two X-rays to bring home, and hypochondriac that I am, I used to study them; I held them up against the light and marveled at how long and slender my fingers really were beneath all that pesky muscle and skin and stuff, while Aidan watched indulgently.

"See that tiny line on my knuckle," I said, holding an X-ray right up close to my face. "It just looks like a hair, but it causes so much pain."

Suddenly anxious, I said, "Don't tell anyone I do this."

A few days later, he was home from work before me--an unusual occurrence--and there was an air of suppressed excitement about him. "Notice anything?" he asked.

"You combed your hair?"

Then I saw it. Them. My X-rays. Hanging on the wall. In frames. Beautiful distressed-gold frames, like they were holding old masters instead of ghostly black-and-whites of my spindly fingers.

My arms wrapped themselves across my stomach and I sank onto the couch. I hadn't even the strength to stand. It was so funny that for ages I couldn't even laugh. Finally the noise fought its way up through my convulsed stomach and heaving chest and emerged as a ceiling-ward shriek. I looked at Aidan, who was clutching the wall; tears of laughter were leaking form the sides of his eyes.

"You mad bastard," I finally managed.

"But there's more," he gasped. "Anna, Anna, there's more. Watch; no, wait, watch."

He doubled over again with hilarity, then straightened up, wiped his face and said, "Look!"

He pressed a switch and suddenly my two X-rays lit up, blazing into glory, just like they were on a hospital light box.

"I got lights," Aidan sobbed. "The guy in the frame place said I could get lights, so...so...so...I got lights."

He turned them off, then on again. "See? Lights."

"Stop," I begged, wondering if it was possible to actually die from laughing. "Oh, please, stop."

When I was able, I said, "Do the lights again."

He flicked them on and off several times, while further waves of mirth seized me, and when we were eventually exhausted from laughing, and curled up on the couch, Aidan asked, "You like?"

"I love. It's the best present I ever got."

ohmygoodness. I. want. that. love.


Such a Loser

After a weekend of no sleep, non-stop working, a total computer meltdown, throwing a couple thou at a new computer, and very unhealthy fast eating, I just received word that my deadline is now tomorrow morning instead of Wednesday.

I cried. Seriously could not even contain it. I cried right in front of my boss.



Songs the Perfect Man Would Sing to Me #3

James Otto's Just Got Started Loving You

You don’t have to go now honey
Call and tell ’em you won’t be in today
Baby there ain’t nothin’ at the office
So important it can’t wait
I’m thankful for the weekend
But two days in heaven just ain’t gonna do
This is gonna take forever darlin’
Girl I just got started lovin’ you

What’s the point in fightin’ what we’re feelin’
We both know we’ll never win
Ain’t this what we’re missin’
Let’s just stop all this resistin’ and give in
Let me wrap my arms around you
You know you don’t want to leave this room
Come back and let me hold you darlin’
Girl I just got started lovin’ you

What can I say I’ve never felt this way
Girl you’re like a dream come true
After all the love we’ve made
It sure would be a shame
If we let this moment end so soon

So won’t you lay back down beside me
Girl just like I know you’re wantin’ to
Trust me when I tell you darlin’
Girl I just got started lovin’ you

I’m thankful for the weekend
But two days in heaven just ain’t gonna do
This is gonna take forever darlin’
Girl I just got started lovin’ you
Come back and let me hold you darlin’
Girl I just got started lovin’ you

Songs the Perfect Man Would Sing to Me #2

Clay Walker's Fall

Hold up there you go again
Puttin on that smile again
Even though I know you’ve had a bad day
Doin this and doin that
Always puttin’ yourself last
A whole lotta give and not enough take

But you can only be strong so long before you break…

So fall go on and fall apart
Fall into these arms of mine
Ill catch you every time you fall
Go on and lose it all
Every doubt every fear every worry every tear
Im right here
Baby fall

Forget about the world tonight
All that’s wrong and all that’s right
Lay your head on my shoulder let it fade away
And if you wanna let go baby its okay

Fall go on and fall apart
Fall into these arms of mine
Ill catch you every time you fall
Go on and lose it all
Every doubt, every fear, every worry, every tear
Im right here
Baby fall

Hold on hold on hold on to me...

Fall go on and fall apart
Fall into these arms of mine
Ill catch you every time you fall
Go on and lose it all
Every doubt, every fear, every worry, every tear
Im right here
Baby fall


Songs the Perfect Man Would Sing to Me #1

Keith Urban's Making Memories of Us

I'm gonna be here for you baby
I'll be a man of my word
Speak the language in a voice that you have never heard
I wanna sleep with you forever
And I wanna die in your arms
In a cabin by a meadow where the wild bees swarm

And I'm gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I'll earn your trust making memories of us

I wanna honor your mother
I wanna learn from your pa
I wanna steal your attention like a bad outlaw
I wanna stand out in a crowd for you
A man among men
I wanna make your world better than it's ever been

And I'm gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I'll earn your trust making memories of us

We'll follow the rainbow
Wherever the four winds blow
And there'll be a new day
Comin' your way

I'm gonna be here for you from now on
This you know somehow
You've been stretched to the limits but it's alright now
And I'm gonna make you a promise
If there's life after this
I'm gonna be there to meet you with a warm, wet kiss

And I'm gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I'll earn your trust making memories of us
I'm gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I'll win your trust making memories of us


The Nice Guy

My friends and I have been talking more and more about the Nice Guy lately. I think it started with the Feathery Stroker excerpt and the night with Period Boy.

Period Boy was a very sexy, very fun guy my girlfriends and I met at a club in Vegas. He became known as Period Boy because after spending an hour or two dancing with us and his friends, he started pouting anytime he wasn't getting enough attention. He got all sulky and needed to be attended to. Obviously, we got bored of this very quickly. Cuteness does not make up for the need for a babysitter in a grown man.

And then I came across the ad about a man's job, and it all started coming to a head. Coincidentally, it's also been coming up more in my blogroll, and I've been feeling inclined to say something about it. Amanda over at Dating is Miserable recently even had a slew of guest bloggers write about the issue. I'm not sure I'm talented enough to accurately capture everything that's rolling around in my head, but I'll try for the essence here.

Having pretty much always ended up with the self-defined Nice Guy, but having had enough experience with his opposite to feel expertly qualified, I think I can diagnose this issue as a problem of semantics.

The Nice Guy we root for in movies is nice, but he's still the Man in the relationship. He still knows how to handle his woman, and hot sex is not automatically thrown out the window just because he brings the female protagonist a cup of soup when she's sick.

So what makes him more appealing than the Nice Guy we meet in real life?

Well, for starters, it isn't about Nice vs. Not Nice.

The original Nice Guy debate sees to have stemmed from the difference between the bad boy that's fun and exciting versus the nice guy that will always be there and is thoughtful and, well, nice. In this face-off, bad boy gets the dates and nice guy gets the wife and 2.5 kids.

Side note: this doesn't even begin to address the problem of Nice Guys learning to affect Bad Boy characteristics and Bad Boys pretending to be Nice Guys, which Amanda deals with in her follow up to her guest week.

But that's not what we're dealing with in dating anymore. That's an oversimplified version of the real issue. Rather than having 2 men: the Bad Boy versus the Nice Guy, I'd argue, that there are really more like 4 archetypes, with dots on the spectrum all across the way. I propose using 2 variables (I'll leave incorporating other planes to someone out there who has far more time than I do): Nice and Sexy.

I propose The Nice Guy Graph:

It just so happens that many of the qualities that make a man seem Nice (sensitivity, friendliness, openness, approachability, humility) negatively correlate with the qualities that make a man seem Sexy (confidence, experience, edginess, mystery, toughness). This means the the upper left and lower right quadrants contain a significantly large percentage of the population. Thus the typical Nice Guy versus Bad Boy debate.

Being the complicated and never satisfied woman that I seem to be, however, I simply can't settle for one or the other. I want Nice and Sexy. I believe this is what most women want (although I can't really speak for all of us, now can I?).

The problem for me is that most of the nice guys I meet are too passive (asking me for the first kiss, not making a move at all), too sensitive (they want to talk about their feelings more than I do), too open and available (they lose all mystery, which is fun), too inexperienced (they have had less experience because they don't just take what they want, so they just aren't as good in bed), too humble (confidence is key!), too complimentary (if you worship me so much, maybe I'm out of your league), too...well, feminine. But most of the truly sexy men I meet are too mysterious (you've gotta open up a little), too arrogant (c'mon...you've got to have some weaknesses), too insensitive (I don't want to cry at home b/c you were a douche...this is when Nice Guy gets called), and too assholeish.

There's got to a balance. The aggressive man who takes what he wants but is happy to work to get you to want it, too. The guy who is open and honest without divulging all of his insecurities. The guy who makes you feel sexy without making you feel like he's not good enough for you. The guy who is confident without arrogance, rough with tenderness, and has the answers but doesn't mind asking questions.

I think the key factor for me is capability. That upper right quadrant is a capable man.

He is capable of love, romance, commitment, conversation, emotional sharing. But he is also capable of turning you into goo with a look from across the room, kissing you in a way that makes you think you never need to breathe again, getting what he wants in life, keeping you interested and excited, getting into trouble, getting out of trouble, fixing things. He is capable of handling me in all of my complexity. (On this - Amy Brown wrote an interesting post on how she doesn't like Nice Guys because she's not a Nice Girl. She poses that Nice Guys just don't want her because she's too complicated and restless. This seems right on for me. You can read more Nice Guy posts over at the Heartless Bitches archive.)

He can party you under the table, but will get you home safe and get you that awesome bowl of chicken tortilla soup for brunch the next day. After a night out he'll have you up against the wall before the door is closed, but the second time around, he'll take his time and be sweet and slow. He'll have his own life, his own friends, his own dreams, but he'll be there for you and support yours. He'll make you dinner, but he won't feed it to you unless it's leading right into dessert. He'll feed your cat when you're out of town, but he won't coo at it in baby talk. He'll fix your internet and your broken lock; your emotional drama and your sexual frustration. He is capable in many ways on many levels.

My favorite image of the Upper Right Quadrant Guy?

Peter DeWolf's guest "word doodle" on the Dating is Miserable blog:
i chuckle sometimes
i really do
i chuckle when you mistake
kindness for weakness
not malicious
i know
your warm dark eyes twinkle
lips turn up just a little
the smugness
i'm nice
it's true
and i like being good to you
if i thought for a minute
a second
that you took it
for granted
you'd miss
popsicles and west wing dvds
when you are sick
and wearing those thread-bare pjs
you got when you
were sixteen
you'd miss
me sensing the need
for a back rub
a foot rub
a soft but sturdy shoulder
when your boss
doesn't realize
everything you do
and are
and can be
you better
i guess
what i'm saying is
i will remember
our anniversary
and cook you a romantic dinner
but you better believe
when we're done eating
i'll be bending your ass over that table

And with that perfect thought, I'll leave it to you all to add your thoughts.

Oh...and you can read more of Peter's stuff on his blog.


A Man's Job

I ran across an ad on Craigslist recently that I found all too amusing. I had to share. The first part of his ad is a description of his job, which is incredibly detailed and accurate.
I know my job and I own up to it, I learned the hard way - but I own up to it now. My job is to be decisive when you say "what do you want to do tonight?" My job is NOT to say, "I dunno, what do you want to do?" It is my job to say, "I would like to [verb here] to [insert place] and [activity here]. Yet, I must also know when you have your own idea and actually want me to say, "I don't know, what about you?" How should I know? That's my job as a man. I must know. I do know.

My job is to be ambitious in my career and make enough money that if we live together and your career takes a turn for the worse - I would have the money to afford to keep you fed and healthy AND sexy.

My job is make you feel safe with me. I know when to be cool and aloof most of the time when you are just engaged in friendly flirting. I have to NOT feel threatened when guys stare at you, not be jealous when they flirt, not be insecure when you flirt back, just relax and enjoy your happiness. Ok? I figured it out. I know. I am not jealous by nature so this job is easy. But the moment a guy mistakes one of your signals (which happens because you don't quite realize all the signals you give off) and starts trying to do something to you against your will, I need to be ready to be incarcerated after I make him sorry. That's fine. Hopefully it will never get that far and my sharp tongue will scare him off.

I agree to it every day when I put my pants on, or when we take a photo and you have to lean into me (we know who is who). I don't lean into you. We don't have photos of me sitting in your lap.

My job is to intuit, using my sexual psychic powers, when you need to be objectified and fucked like an animal (yet still ensuring your orgasm) or spanked or hair pulled, or more, and when you need gentle love like what you saw in that romantic movie you watched. I need to also magically know when you want it quick and urgent and when you want it to take all night. And when you scream the very painful words "fuck me harder," even whilst I am fucking as hard as I can and running out of breath, it is my job to find a way to do it harder. Yes, it is tough, but it is my job, I accept it.

All the hours I spend at the gym will help me fuck harder when I am supposed to. I work hard for you. And somehow, most of the time, I have to figure all this out without anything but your body language and your subtle female hints and the infamous girl code. Fine, it may not be easy, but I accept it and I do my best because this is how it works.

It is also my job to be funny and entertaining yet a little dark and mysterious at times. Don't ask me how either. But, I can do it. You can't teach that by the way. God forbid you should be able to figure me out entirely. Your boredom means the end of good sex, orgasm and eventually the relationship. Or it just means the beginning of the nagging and bitching, which neither of us want.

I realize that. I accept that. I have to be your clown, yet keep your respect. Get you to laugh at me, but not reduce my prowess in your eyes. It is a fine line. It is my job to walk it and know how to keep mystery alive, maintain your respect and awe of me as a man and at the same time make you smile when you need it and keep things light when you get too lost in your intensity.

It is also my job to make you feel comfortable to express yourself to me, to listen, to show you I care (without ever caring too much). I have to care for you and show love without ever making you feel that I am more sensitive than you, more emotional, more emotionally intelligent, sweeter or more romantic. If I cross those lines, you will run from me and say I am too nice - or just not feel complete because I am walking in your territory as a woman. Again, that's fine with me. I know the line, I will walk on the right side of it and I will accept responsibility when I screw up. I will be your listener and still ignore you at the right time, or fuck you like a bar room whore when I need to. I can figure out what to do when, or at least accept that it is my job to figure that out. Call me a multi-tasker. I recognize that sometimes you need to be told to shut up and put in your place or sent to your room, but still left to feel like you can express yourself freely to the guy (me) who loves you. No one taught me that. I had to figure it out.

And when you get into a car accident, and the guy you hit is yelling at you and you call me on the cell phone, I need to be able to drop what I am doing and effectively manage whatever tragedy has occurred. Sure, you can do it yourself - you might even resent girls who are helpless in such situations - I am not criticizing your skill set here at all. I am just saying that when tragedy goes down, and [if] you are in need of help, I need to take care of it. The relationship requires that I be able to stay calm and solve problems when you can't. And you know you can smell fear in a man. If you catch the slightest hint that I am just as intimidated by the tragedy as you are, forget it, I will sit in your lap for the next photo. Of course there are tragedies where you need to take charge - I will cover that in a few

Now in exchange for me doing my job well and keeping our relationship alive and well, you will have to do your part as well. If one of us fails to perform his/her role, the arrangement crumbles and I become an asshole and/or you become a nagging bitch. I know. I have seen it on TV, in the grocery store on a Saturday morning, in restaurants etc... It's all around us. All the couples fighting - where you can just feel their bitter energy and you know they are doomed - that's why. One of them did not step up and the relationship is crumbling. And you say, "no, maybe it was something else." Perhaps. But most likely it is what I am talking about here.

Now you: There are many jobs for you. Your first and last job are the same. The rest of the list is important too, but they don't work if you don't do your first job first. Your first job is to be sexy in the way that you can be. It is your job to discover your own natural sexiness, manifest it, AND your job to figure out what I think is sexy. How do you normally attract men? If you think it is by wearing your thong above your jeans so that everyone can see it - then you are a moron. If you think it is getting wasted at some club and making out with your best girl-friend while guys cheer - you are an idiot. I have met you already, you bore me. I think you need to pull your pants up, drink less, bathe more and try to be more original than the Girls Gone Wild video that your former boyfriends got boners watching.

I have heard girls get upset about this. They say, "it is not my job to be sexy all the time," or "It is not my job to meet your definitions of sexy." And I say, bullshit. Have you never stepped outside? Who raised you? It IS your job. It may not be your job to be sexy ALL the time, but you better believe it is your job to be sexy when you are around me, my friends, our friends, and the neighbors. I am not saying you have to dress up, I am only saying you need to figure out where/what and how to create your sexiness and make sure I agree with it. Sure you can have your off-days where you don't change your underwear until noon the following day, or you are bloated and gassy and you just can not be sexy.

That's ok - I like girls who are real - I will still love you. I know you fart and get acne in strange places sometimes and have all kinds of biological processes that are esoteric to me - those things don't turn me off either, afterall I like real girls. I just ask that you manage and control the things that are in your control. But don't let me catch you eating pork sticks everyday and then complain that your stomach hurts and you have the runs for weeks.

You be sexy. Eat right, wear sexy underwear (which I will gladly buy for you), comb your hair and as you dress in the morning DON'T ask yourself, "will this outfit make guys at the county fair want to jerk off on me? If yes, then change and stop wearing shirts with your name airbrushed on them. Ask something like, "Would this look turn my man off if I were giving him head and he were looking at me." or "would my man be proud to walk with me in this outfit?" This question will keep you from dressing like your grandmother, a nun and the lonely lady you work with that, when she shows up in the morning you look at her clothes or hair and murmur, "what is she thinking? And she wonders why no men are attracted to her?" Don't be that woman. You be sexy. Ask the right questions when dressing in the morning.

I want to love the sexy girl who will occasionally be ugly. Not the girl with no taste who once in a while gets lucky and looks nice. Now, I don't want to discourage girls who feel unsexy most of the time. In cases like that - I just ask you to not book me on those days - lets have some away

And you need to be able to figure out when not to be sexy, like: when I am sick in a hospital bed, incapacitated and unable to move, but only able to see that some male interns and you are talking about my condition. At that moment you need to be clinical and NOT sexy; when you are at the dentists
office and he is about to put you under (wear ugly stuff), when I am feeling down on life and we go to a party - don't be hot, you are only going to get me to sink lower. Just be nice looking or better yet, suggest that we cancel and have some "us" time.

I can not tell you how to locate your inner sexiness - but I can offer you some advice on how to avoid being unsexy.

Unsexy: always wearing a seamless sports bra, especially girls who dont play any sports and have no athletic ability (unless complaing and nagging count. I dont count them). Fine for sporting times or gym time, very sexy when sweaty - I may grab you and want to get animalistic on you. But to wear them on a day to day basis because they are comfy is to completely give up on life, or to say "I have a boyfriend now, nothing matters anymore." You do your job and stay sexy and I promise to work-out regularly, keep my cholesterol low, dress well, pluck my ear hairs, get laser hair removal whereever else, not leave you hanging when it is your turn to orgasm and not to wear my dirty sweat pants. Just you keep your sports bra for work-out time.

Unsexy: Bras with big thick (wide) straps in the back or over the shoulders. That's just weird. Ok, at times it is necessary, like when you are all swollen up from breast feeding and you need more strap-strength to hold your product in place. Or if you have a very large chest. But outside of that, what is wrong with you? Under what assumption are you operating where you concluded that the "nursing" look was sexy? Unless you want men to suckle you in a child-rearing kind of way, wear something else - lace is nice.

Unsexy: photos of yourself cramming food in your mouth, or cookies or an alcoholic beverage. Or photos with your mouth gaping open as if you are wasted and screaming at a party. I am out here working out, staying in shape and taking care of myself - for what? For you to cram cookies and beer into your mouth, run around drunk with your jaw hanging open? and take photos? No. We will not date.

Unsexy: Your growing gut. Pooch like Maya Rudolph - very hot. Gut like post high school ex-jock? It is diet time.

Unsexy: yellow underwear. You wear it, you sleep on the couch. I don't want to see it and I don't want it touching my laundry.

Unsexy: panties with little cutesy polka dots on them or any pattern that looks like something a 4 yr old girl would wear at her pajama party. Save those for when you feel puffy and bloated and want to snuggle with your stuffed animals and eat chocolate ice cream.

Unsexy: Girls who are nutso about shaving and plucking. I know you don't want your eyebrows to look like Santa's - but why remove them entirely and then draw a line with a pencil? Are you my grandma? And your pubic hair is not your enemy - starchy food is your enemy. Unless it actually makes you physically uncomfortable - it is ok to have some pubic hair. Yes, porn has become mainstream now - and all those chicks are shaved - but I don't want the trash porn girl who fakes her orgasm or the Pamela Anderson wench, I want you. And Pamela Anderson is ugly anyhow - why doesn't the whole world know that? You be you.

Sexy: girls who take care of themselves physically and emotionally. Girls who manage aspects of themselves that are in their control. Meaning, I don't care if you are short, tall or medium, have huge breasts or no breasts, brown hair or red hair, enormous feet or a funny nose - you have little control over what you were given. So I don't judge those things. I just ask you to take care of what is yours to take care of. Don't tell me that your ass is fat because that is your body type - and then shovel lasagna down your throat 3 days a week. We have a deal. I will do my part. You do yours. Stay thin - meaning if you are 130 pounds - you need to stay around 125 to 135. I like slender girls or muscular or thin or thinner than average. Slender does not equal thick. If you look like Minnie Driver or Kate Winslet
- then your excess weight is hot and I love it.

Your other jobs are very important as well. It is your job to nurture. If I am down and not feeling so great, you need to be building me back up. You need to be reading self-help books once in a while and see to it that we are both emotionally balanced. You need to make sure that we both communicate what is bothering us and all that stuff that you women want us to talk about in relationships. I need that. Do your job, I respect it. And when I am not feeling like such a man, you need to find it in yourself, even if you have to fake it, to build me right back into the alpha male that I should be(I believe a woman tests a man until his last day(lol), so you don't have to worry about me being a Beta/wuss..World is full of wussbags..I AM not one)

Your job is to find it in yourself to want to do things that the last 3 decades told you were not women's work. You know - the huge double standard - how you were taught that it isn't your job to do anything that your dad expected your mom to do, yet you still expect me to open doors for you, fuck you like the world is ending, be strong, buy you nice things when I can, make money, jump in front of a bullet for you, provide security for you, take initiative and make you feel safe. Well you don't get it both ways. I
told you I would do my job. You must do yours. Personally, I like to cook and clean, do my own laundry and wash dishes and I am not asking you to do ANYTHING for me. But if I need help in that area - you better put on an apron and cook some food, or make the bed, or offer to make sandwiches on
rare occasions when my friends are over, or do some laundry or fold something, sweep - whatever because you WANT to do it. Again, I am not asking you to do those things, I wil l do them myself when they need doing. Your job is not to be my maid at all, your job is to WANT to care for me in those ways and/or offer or just jump in and help when I am doing it myself. I will help you too - but don't refuse to do stuff because you feel offended because you learned in your college class that men oppress women. Personally, I only know oppressed men and frustrated women. Men afraid to be men and women who are frustrated with them.

But its harder than that. And you can blame your feminist aunt. You have to figure out how to be all that while also being modern and knowing how to hang with the guys. Don't ask me to explain that - I would not know how to pull it off. But I have some touch jobs to do that I cant explain either.

You do that, and when the guy is shooting at us I will take the bullet. When the bad man is attacking you, I will make him sorry. When you break your leg, I will carry you to the hospital. When the heater doesn't work, I will chop wood. But believe me, if you refuse to do your part you can walk yourself to the hospital with a broken leg and bullet in your chest while fleeing the bad guy - because I will have left you.

Your job is to be in charge of our morality. If we are at a dinner party and I say something a little mean to someone and you notice it. It is your job to pull me aside and say, "that was wrong - you go and apologize because you hurt that persons feelings." I won't like it - but I will obey. You are doing your job and I respect it. I will somehow find a way to go apologize.

You are in charge of our emotional health. Even if I say I am fine. When you notice that I have some unresolved issue that I need to work on, I have to listen and do whatever it takes - even if it means seeing a therapist or counseling or reading some stupid book. You are in charge and you must find a way to do this without ever being bossy or over-critical. How do you do that? I don't know. It's a tough job and only you can do it. My job is not easy either.

When we are having friends over for dinner and I say that it doesn't matter if everyone has matching napkins and you say it does matter. You better believe we will have matching napkins.

When I feel like not going to the new stupid shit museum and you think that it is better than me sitting around the house on Saturday playing with my computer - you better believe my ass will be going with you to the museum and with a smile on my face.

You will also select my clothing when we shop. And I will obey, pay and wear it - whether I like it or not. You will pick out my cologne, my soap, my whatever, to meet your tastes.

Your job is to rule all of the things you can rule, by using my love for you against me, by teaching me shame for wrong-doing, by communicating what is in your heart - and whatever, without ever nagging, being a non-sexy bitch, emasculating me or smothering me. It's a fine line - but you must walk it.

I will enforce my power by giving you verbal commands to which you will obey. You will enforce your power by giving me the guilt/shame stare or the silent resolute, refuse to look at me stance - both of which usually will trump all my power. I respect your power, you respect mine.


Feathery Strokers

Now that I'm back at a point in my life where I'm meeting men here and there again, my friends and I talk quite a bit about men, and of course the quality of men, in the dating pool.

One thing that many of us have agreed upon is that men in San Francisco are, in general, not as aggressive as we would like. They tend to be soft and passive in a way that just doesn't work me, personally.

Well, I just read Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes, and there's a fantastic notion about a "feathery stroker". I would like to point out that Keyes is NOT a local author.

An excerpt:
Jacqui's Feathery Stroker test is a horribly cruel assessment that she brings to bear on all men. It originated with some man she slept with years ago. All night long he'd run his hands upa nd down her body in the lightest, feathery way, up her back, along her thighs, across her stomach, and before they had sex he asked her gently if she was sure. Lots of women would have loved this: he was gentle, attentive, and respectful. But for Jacqui it was the greatest turnoff of her life. She would have much prefrred it if he'd flung her across a hard table, torn her clothes, and taken her without explicit permission. "He kept stroking me," she said afterward, wincing with revulsion. "In this awful feathery way, like he'd read a book about how to give women what they want. Bloody Feathery Stroker, I wanted to rip my skin off."

And so the phrase came about. It suggested an effeminate quality that instantly stripped a man o all sex appeal. It was a damning way to be categorized and far better, in Jacqui's opinion, to be a drunken wife beater in a dirty vest than a Feathery Stroker.

Her criteria were wide and merciless--and distresingtly random. There was no definitive list but here are some examples. Men who didn't eat red meat were Feathery Strokers. Men who used postshave balm instead of slapping stinging aftershave onto their tender skin were Feathery Strokers. Men who noticed your shoes and handbags were Feathery Strokers. (Or Jolly Boys.) Men who said pornography was exploitation of women were Feathery Strokers. (Or liars.) Men who said pornography was exploitation of men as much as women were off the scale. All straight men from San Francisco were Feathery Strokers. All academics with bears were Feather Strokers. Men who stayed friends with their ex-girlfriends were Feathery Strokers. Especially if they called their ex-girlfriend their "ex-partner." Men who did pilates were Feathery Strokers. Men who said, "I have to take care of myself right now" were screaming Feathery Strokers.

The Feathery Stroker rules had complex variations and subsections: men who gave up their seat on the subway were Feathery Strokers--if they smiled at you. But if they grunted "Seat," in a macho, n0-eye-contact way, they were in the clear.


On Being Tall - Comments from the Underlings

I ran across a fantastic article today (only fantastic because I've never seen this in non-tall-focused media before) and have to share it. This is vital information for most men.

10 Things You Should Never Say to a Tall Woman (from Asylum.com)
My comments in RED.

Statistically, Americans may be getting shorter, but like all evolution, that takes time, and not everyone has shrunk. Take, for example, that tall girl you've got your eye on across the bar. You'd like to impress her, right? Two key pieces of advice: A) Be yourself (as your Mom told you about 10 years ago) and B) don't make a big thing of her height.

In the interest of aiding your love life, writer Laura Gilbert asked a WNBA team's worth of willowy women what clich├ęd lines turn them off most. Heed their warnings and you might just get to check "chick over six feet tall" off your "to do before I die " list.

10. "You must be a model!" (This line shows that you're not trying very hard, even if you clarify up front that you're only asking because she's really rilly pretty.) Believe it or not, I'm actually TOO tall to be a model, but thanks for reminding me. I'm actually also far too big to be a model. Height does not a model make. And NO, I won't model for you, jackass. I'm not interested in posing for your creepy photos, thanks.

9. "You can't be 5' 10". I'm 5'10"!" (It's one thing to lie about your height while you're sitting down or on an Internet profile. When you say this to someone who has to lean down to hear it, you're busted.) No guy wants to believe that I'm 6'4". It KILLS them when I say that technically I'm only 6'3.75". Sorry, boys...NCAA measurement trumps drunk guy tape measure.

8. "Is it hard for you to meet people taller than you?" (If she has to explain the bell curve to you, you might not be an intellectual match.) Nope, happens all the time. You see so many of them, right? That's why you're talking to me about my height, obviously. That pool is further limited by the fact that so many of you can't handle a tall woman to begin with. AND, why do I have to meet people taller than me? That's a silly assumption.

7. "Now there's a tree I'd like to climb." (Yummeh.) Honey, if that's how you approach it, you'd fall off before you got to the ankles.

6. "How do you kiss?" ( Or the skin-crawling subset: "Wow, I feel like I'm the girl!" You do realize that kissing doesn't require her to use her legs, right?) Well, hopefully I've got a man who is actually a man on the other end.

5. "I could eat my way to the top." (Stop. Just stop.) You know what's so sad about this one? Had you started with my brain, you might have even had a shot.

4. "How tall are you, anyway?" (Think about it: Whatever she answers won't make much difference, except that you'll look sorta insecure for having asked. Use some deductive reasoning and you should be able to guess within an inch or two.) Will it change your life to know the number? The variation of this one that really gets me is when it's a stranger just passing me on the street and they'll never see me again.

3. "How do you wear heels?" (Like everyone else: one foot at a time. She looks even better when she does it, shortstack.) And yes, I LOVE heels. Deal with it.

2. "It won't matter much when we're lying down." (Only a fool would invite commentary on the inches that do make a difference during horizontal integration.) Exactly. My inches won't matter. :)

1. "Do you play basketball?" (People don't ask "Do you play professional baseball?" just because you're paunchy and chew tobacco. Pay it forward by giving tall women the same courtesy.) I was once told to ask in return "do you play miniature golf? or the piccolo?"

My additions to the list:

11. "You're a big girl!" big? why do you have to say big? TALL is the word, thank you.

12. "Can I have some of that height?" Sure...find a way to do it and I'm happy to give up a little to be able to fit into clothes, shoes, cars, airplane seats, etc. But really you're just reminding me that I can't do that, so this sucks.

13. "Must be nice to reach things (or see over everyone)!" Yeah. Must be nice to fit into clothes, shoes, cars, airplane seats, etc.

14. "Those legs would look really nice wrapped around me!" Yes they would. And it would be nice, if you were worthy. Too bad you'll never find out if that's how you start the conversation.

15. "How did you get so tall?" or "Are your parents tall?" I drank a magic potion and *poof* one day I was this way. 'Actually, my parents are midgets and I'm a freak of nature.'

16. "Damn you're tall!" yep. and damn, you're rude.

Really, the thing that bugs me, is simply that people feel they can approach me without manners. My height does not give you permission to be an asshole. Just be nice, and I'll be a happy girl.


British Reaction to American Health Care Debate

A couple of friends living in London have made me aware of the reaction there to our current Health Care debate. Many Brits are appalled at the reluctance of Americans to adopt health care reform, and even more so at the falsified information that is being touted about their own system.

I was directed to a discussion on yelp.com, and decided to add my two cents. Thought I'd throw it up here, since I've mostly avoided the discussion up til now.

My post:

I'm approaching this conversation as a fiscally conservative and socially liberal American with decent medical insurance.

What's happening in the town halls and across the middle and rural areas of our country in regards to the health care debate is the result of American pride, a bit of cognitive dissonance, and a big dose of fear. For years we were told we had the best doctors, the best specialists, the best hospitals, the best research, etc. We took pride in having beautiful teeth and state of the art treatments, and told ourselves that we paid so much because it was worth it. We had to justify the cost, and we've spent years cultivating a sense of pride to validate the outrageous costs. We were told (and told ourselves) that if we didn't pay so much, we'd all have bad doctors and long waits and inferior treatment (and the worst of all things...bad teeth!)

It is only as blogging has become accessible to those for whom this system is not working that we've started to become aware of just how bad it really is. We are now faced with daily (hourly?) reminders of how the American healthcare system has failed the people, and we are reacting to this information with the stage-appropriate denial and fear that you are all seeing. It will take time for the middle of America and rural America to understand what is going on and why this needs to change. The coasts and the cities are starting to understand better, but the reluctance of the more conservative people should not be seen as stupidity or unwillingness to change - it is simply the result of learning that what we thought we were good at really wasn't all that great.

A number of republicans are using fear tactics and distorting the truth to compound this fear. But the democrats aren't helping much, either, by just trying to pull heartstrings rather than offer tangible, balanced solutions that can work in a capitalist society. The fact that there are so many possibilities further confuses the issue and adds to the fear you are seeing from our people.I think if someone could really highlight for people how our system works (because believe me, none of us really understand how it all works in our country, let alone anyone else's), we'd find that we could come to a new system through relatively minor overhauls, and that the new the system wouldn't be so different as to be socialist (which is a bad word here).

I don't know what the new system should look like. I don't know if the NHS is the perfect example of the right answer (although it does seem like a great step in the right direction, and one that could work here). I do, however, know a few things about the fears people have and how are current system addresses those:

1. We are scared of the QUALITY of public systems because we've only seen bad examples. In our cities, community health clinics are supported by the government and private donations, and they are utilized by the poor, the homeless, and those other people who are NOT US. We have an image that they are dirty and inferior and that they cannot attract good doctors. And many of them are, but we do have good community health clinics that are totally supported by the public and by government grants. Clinic Ole, in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, has become so well known as an excellent provider of health care that the demand from insured patients required them to start accepting insurance when available. The clinic itself serves the entire community on a sliding scale based on your ability to pay, with many free services. If the public could see more examples like this, rather than the images being strewn about by those against reform, they might believe we could adopt something like the NHS and make it work.

2. We are scared of LONG WAIT times and not being able to get the services we need when we need them. But we already have those. How long do people have to wait to get approval from an insurance company to have a procedure? I would much rather wait because the doctor is not yet available to perform the surgery, than be waiting when the doctor says I need it now because an insurance company wants to approve the necessity of the cost first. I had a fairly urgent, but not emergency, surgery 2 years ago. Once diagnosed, I had to wait over a month to have the surgery. Not because the doctor wasn't available, or because there were no operating rooms - but because my insurance company made all of us jump through hoops to prove that it was necessary. However, I was fortunate enough to work for a private funder who happened to be a major donor to the hospital where the surgery was to be performed. Somehow, once that became known, I was immediately booked for surgery within 2 days. The hospital insurance liaison worked with the insurance company to get me approved right away because I was suddenly a VIP. Meanwhile, millions of other Americans were waiting for their insurance companies to approve their treatments. Although thankful for the bump, I find this incredibly depressing.

3. We are scared of bad teeth. I kid, a bit, but seriously...too many people in this country think all Brits have bad teeth because of public health care. Ridiculous, but it is a common perception. But here's the thing...I have pretty good insurance with good dental coverage, and I still can't afford to care for my teeth. Cleanings are covered, sure, but anything else is so expensive that many people can't take care of it. Even root canals that are deemed medically necessary are usually only covered at half cost, if that. A root canal in a city like San Francisco costs a well insured patient about $600 at a mid-range dentist. That doesn't included xrays, diagnoses, and follow-up. So many people forgo them all together. There's a reason we have images of hillbillies with no teeth. We are scared of not being able to access the best doctors and the best treatments, but honestly, most Americans can't do that even here, because the cost is so prohibitive.

4. We are scared of not being able to get treated well when we need specialists, but we don't get the preventative healthcare that would keep us from ever needing it. I currently am working on funding for obesity clinics for children. They need private funding because insurance companies won't insure a child who has been diagnosed as obese. We know that obese children turn into adults with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. Yet we don't fix it when we can? There are countless examples of how the American system represents sick care rather than healthcare.

Just throwing out what I know. I have a great deal of respect for the pride you take in your system, and am looking forward to our government offering a system that might work for us.


Book Report: Secret Diary of a Call Girl

A friend mentioned this to me, and then another happened to have it on her shelf. Just read it during a trip to Vegas.

Very graphic, very sexy, very funny book. Not for the prude. I enjoyed it immensely.

A few tidbits of incredible insight:

Dictionary Entry: in love - a momentary instance of being almost as interested in someone else as in oneself

"You know the feeling where all the pent-up energy goes straight to your legs, and you just want to run and run until you jump off a cliff? ... I'd fallen hard and had to see the man."

"My eyes followed Dr. C's lithe form around the room--eyeing the table, setting up a shot, the confident swing of the arm below the elbow on the follow-through. Competence so turns me on."

"Sexiness is not a square-yards-of-cloth to exposed-skin ratio. Sexy is not the inevitable result of being blonde, tan, and thin. Sexy is the result of being pulled together and comfortable in your skin. Holding your stomach in when your clothes are off is not fuckable. Slapping your ample behind and inviting him to ride the wobble is."

Buy the book.



He stole my heart when he was 3 weeks old (he was dirty and sick and too young to be away from his mom).

He always curled up next to my face, frequently nudging himself between my mouth and the phone (jealous boy!).

He always came when I called (even when it took him several minutes to get to me because he was blocks away).

He interrupted any sex I tried to have at the house all those years ago (maybe Mom trained him).

When I pulled into the drive, he jumped on the hood of my car every time. When I tried to leave he frequently tried to come with me, walking along the windowsill trying to get in (see...there's a reason I was always late!).

When I left for college he sat in my room and cried and howled all night (who doesn't want a boy to miss them that much?).

He came to visit me in my freshman dorm and got me into trouble for having a cat in my room (it was worth it).

He was with me through that incredible summer after high school graduation. He loved Mom through years of breast cancer treatments. He loved me in the aftermath of both devastating returns from San Francisco. He saw me through nine boyfriends (and nine breakups) and more bad dates than I can count. He loved me unconditionally.

After years of not living at home, he still remembered me every time I visited. The second I walked into the house he jumped on my lap and stayed until I had to leave. He never forgot me.

I'll never forget him.

RIP sweet kitty.


A Night Full of Quotes

"It was really nice, if you like really horrible things."

"A little bit of formaldehyde can't be that bad."

"She's got emotional tools to deal with things."

"Can we keep making out, just in the dark?"

"That's why I'm wearing a tie and stuff. That's what I call polishing a turd."


Texts From Last Night

I just learned about a new website that is keeping me highly amused today.


A few of my favorite entries:

Just think, the more you drink, the more options you'll have of people you want to hook up with.

she just sneezed while going down on me. is it rude for me to ask her to do it again?

Words i added to my t9 today: gnomes, facebook, and chlamydia.


The Autism Vaccine Debate Again

A classmate of mine from way back when posted a couple of interesting articles today that sparked my interest.

The first is a blog on Discover's website:
Discover Blog: Antivax kills.

The second is a publication regarding much of the research that has been done on the autism vaccine link:
Science Daily Vaccine and Autism Article

My classmate made a really good point about how it's easier for people to blame the government than their own DNA. I absolutely think this is the case. It's so much easier for us to believe that we can change things than it is to believe that we are doomed to whatever diseases our body has predetermined.

As in most things, I find myself firmly in the middle here.

Do I think vaccines cause autism? In general, probably not, but maybe in some cases.
Do I think the debate is over? Definitely not.
Do I think parents should avoid vaccines? NO!

This is a difficult situation because the waters are so murky.

First of all, the autism diagnosis is handed to people with a wide array of symptoms. As an ABA therapist I worked with children who many different sets of symptoms. At the time we frequently referred to that as high functioning or low functioning, but I don't think it was just on a spectrum of bad to worse. Some of the symptoms were qualitatively different.

For example, what about the difference between kids with autism only, or those with autism and mental retardation. Is it really that they have both, or is it that they have a qualitatively different type of disorder? We called the first category high functioning, but it's really just totally different. I had one kid who could read, write, draw, speak in sentences after being taught, but could express no emotion. I had another kid who couldn't sit for more than 2 seconds. Yes, they shared some common symptoms - language delay, eye contact, lack of emotional involvement, and a little OCD, but they were very very different and required much different treatment plans. I've got a ton of these types of comparisons.

Doesn't it seem possible then, that maybe we've grouped a whole bunch of different things into one lump called autism? Just so happens that mercury poisoning looks a whole lot like some of these kids, but definitely not all or even most. Some cases seem to be more about extreme sensory sensitivity than anything else. Others mimic the isolation and turning inward that happens to some kids after severe trauma. Maybe they differ so much because they are actually different. And if that's the case, doesn't it follow that maybe they have different causes?

And if THAT's the case, then it seems totally plausible to me that SOME cases of autism were caused in SOME part by vaccines. I find David Kirby's hypothesis in Evidence of Harm particularly reasonable. He basically says that some kids are born with a genetic defect that keeps them from processing toxins properly. In those children, when you introduce vaccines containing thimerosal (which contains mercury and other toxins) in high doses, you might get autism-like symptoms. We also see the same thing in small communities where there has been significant exposure to mercury through fish consumption or environmental waste. A genetic problem would also explain differences between communities that aren't accounted for by toxin exposure. Anyway - this is all a MIGHT for SOME of the population, and it doesn't actually state anything conclusive.

What we do know is that children are getting more vaccines than ever before, and that some of them are thought to be unnecessary by some parents. So do we stop vaccinating our children?
NO! I really haven't heard anyone rational state that parents should forgo vaccines. Even Jenny McCarthy suggests an altered schedule, rather than not getting vaccines at all. I personally recommend learning about the issue as a parent and working with your doctor to determine what you feel is safe for your child. Make sure your doctor takes your concerns seriously, and then listen. One mother described this process on her blog about an alternative schedule.

It is irresponsible to not vaccinate your child at all: to your child and to the children with whom he'll come in contact. I think the biggest takeaway here is that there are a lot of possibilities, but reacting out of fear won't help. Educate yourself by reading many sides. Read David Kirby's book, read all the stuff on both sides of the issue, then work it out with your doctor. Ask for thimerosal free vaccines whenever possible. When you get the flu shot, get the pregnancy version (the one with no preservatives). Just be smart about it, don't overreact, and approach it from a middle ground that makes sense. Would you really risk your child dying of diptheria because you were too scared to work out a better way?

Heather Armstrong wrote a great post about her feelings regarding the responsibility of mothers to vaccinate their children.

In the early 2000s in Arkansas there was a huge outbreak of diphtheria because parents didn't have great access to vaccines. I was at a talk with David Kirby and some safe vaccine advocates when a pediatrician from northern Arkansas, who agreed with Kirby about the possibility of vaccine and autism links, begged the crowd to get their children vaccinated. She had just watched a significant portion of her clients die because they just hadn't gotten the shot. Death is not an alternative to a fear of autism. Carrying a disease to another child who didn't get vaccinated is not an alternative to a fear of autism.

Some of my other posts about this issue:

Charity Divided
Missouri Thimerosal Ban
Autism and Vaccinations


Bad Business Models

CitiApartments is losing a ton of buildings to foreclosure. What's interesting to me, though, is that the reasons resemble the same reasons a ponzi scheme eventually fails. San Francisco Tenants Union reports:
The, notoriously bad landlord CitiApartments seems to be in deep financial trouble. The CitiApartments business model was based on forcing out long-term tenants paying affordable rents and replacing them with market-rent paying tenants. This strategy failed as tenants organized and refused to be intimidated from their homes. Their main strategy was tenant harassment coupled with buyout offers. Tenants should be aware that CitiApartments has now reneged on numerous such buyouts, refusing to pay after tenants had moved.
In my experience, Citi's model is dependent upon tenants in rent-controlled units accepting payouts to move out of their units, allowing Citi to bring in new renters at much higher prices. We've received many offers from Citi for moving costs, free rent in a new building, and returned deposits, but we were holding out in hopes of them offering more (and because we LOVE our apartment). I've heard stories of people who've been able to get $10-20,ooo just to move out because they had entered into their lease at a low point, and the sum was not much for Citi when considering long-term revenue increases. They use the profits to purchase more buildings and remodel units to charge higher prices. Citi owns a seriously large portion of the rentable units in San Francisco.

This seemed like a decent model. Until, of course, people stopped paying higher rents. All of a sudden, Citi had to compete on price, rather than total property domination. Rather than moving tenants out, Citi needs them to stay at their current rent prices. No more consistent income increases means Citi has to rely on its actual business, and we can see that's not working. The SF Tenant's Union has published lists of the foreclosed properties. Ours isn't on it yet, but one of the buildings in our little community is. Could be interesting.


Veitch Zingers #1

My macro prof has a habit of making strange analogies and trying to use humor to demonstrate his points. Sometimes he goes so far with the humor that the point doesn't make sense, usually with amusing results. Some from tonight:

"You wanna see a loser? Look in the mirror!"

"You don't have to be the best at anything, and you can still succeed."

"[Adjusting interest rates to fix the foreign exchange rate] is like using a sledgehammer to beat a splinter out of my toe. I might get rid of the splinter, but there will be a lot of collateral damage."

"There's always a place where you can make the trade. Where did I find it? Behind the hotel last night."


Emotional Citizens

Because we are all emotional people, I present Gail Collins' article on irrational expectations in the NY Times.

My favorite part:

Let’s complain about Barack Obama. Why doesn’t he sound angrier? Doesn’t he understand that his job right now is to be the Great Venter?

Sure he keeps saying he’s mad. But you can tell that he secretly thinks it’s crazy to obsess about $165 million in bonuses in a company that’s still got $1.6 trillion in toxic assets to unravel. “I don’t want to quell that anger. I want to channel our anger in a constructive way,” he said on Wednesday. Everybody knows constructively channeled anger doesn’t really count. It’s like diet pizza.

If John McCain were president, you can bet that we’d be getting outrage 24-7. McCain would be so angry that we’d be scared that he’d have a coronary or invade a new country. The New York Post would be running “Calm Down, Mr. President” headlines.

Except, of course, the whole reason we elected Barack Obama was because when the economy started melting down, Obama seemed sane and calm while McCain appeared to be a loopy visitor from the Planet of the Overwrought.

I hate it when we make irrational, contradictory demands of our president. But, it seems as if that’s what he’s there for.


Springfield MO in the Times!

I've blogged about Springfield's Cashew Chicken in the past, but now the New York Times is on board!
David Leong, creator of Springfield cashew chicken said: “When I moved here in the 1950s, people kept telling me about fried chicken,” Mr. Leong said. “I did what they wanted. I gave them fried chicken with Chinese oyster sauce and cashews.”
None of the original restaurants are still open, and Leong family that started it all is retired from operating their own Chinese restaurants, but you can still get amazing cashew chicken at a number of places. My favorite is Hong Kong Inn, on Sunshine. It was on my way home from work when I lived in Springfield, and was a weekly staple in my healthy southern/midwestern diet. I also really like Yen Ching, in Ozark. The family has daughters living in San Francisco, so we always chat about that a bit. They do a take on cashew chicken that I adore when it's on the menu. They remove the gravy and add an apple gravy-like sauce, take out the cashews and add apples in, and use the same crispy fried chicken. YUM. Seriously good. Hmmm...I'm kinda scared to go home now. I'll probably gain 20 lbs on the visit.

Anyway, read the NYT article. Not often that Springfield makes it big. :) Well, not since Brad Pitt, anyway.


Getting What I Can For My Money

Operations is not a class that leads to a ton of "aha!" moments. I really enjoyed this quote today from our prof's foray into explaining CSR.

Transforming our ways of living to maximize the chances that environmental and social conditions will indefinitely support human security, well-being, and health.
~McMichael, Butler, Folke; Science, 2003


Warning Label Translations

We just ordered a DDR mat that's supposed to actually let us play our old DDR games in the PS3. It came with instructions written in an interesting translation of English.
An excerpt from the warning section:
V, matters needing attention
1, do not be please in the high temperature, moist and under the multi-dust environment to use
2, Please not will dancemat to put the place which iwll expose to the sun in the solar storm.
3, guarded against uses the non-neutral solvent to clean this.
4, please do not have to make an effort to twist, pulls the electric cable line, in order to avoid the ties damage.
and my favorite:
5, the child, the old person and bodily illness carry on the game, avoids the period of revolution excessively being long.


A Question For Maupin

Q: What else is going on?
A: I'm really excited about the "Tales of the City" musical slated for Broadway. It's in the hands of very talented people. Jake Shears and John Garden of Scissor Sisters are composing the music and lyrics. I've been listening to the songs and offering comments on the script. There's a raunchy whorehouse number, "Ride 'em Hard and Put 'em Down Wet," a tune called "You May Be the Last Good Lay He'll Ever Get" and some gospel-singing A-gays (as in A-list). Jeff Whitty, who won a Tony for "Avenue Q," is writing the libretto. It's brilliant. He managed to be faithful to the story and make it work for the stage.
AHHHHH!!!! - I can't wait!!!


California Senate Passes Budget

The Senate had been one GOP vote short until Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria (Santa Barbara County), changed his mind to support the budget plan, but only after Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders agreed to his demands.

"I know there will be dire political ramifications for me, but I know the ramifications for the people of California would be more dire (without this budget)," said Maldonado. "This budget is about shared pain and shared sacrifices."

Glad you finally figured that one out, Maldonado - everyone else came to that conclusion, oh, about 4 days ago - BEFORE the deadline. Thanks for your sacrifice.

What's even crazier, though, is that I agree with ONE of Maldonado's demands:

Maldonado's demands included the removal of a proposed 12 cents a gallon gasoline tax, suspending hikes in pay and per diems for lawmakers when the state is facing budget deficits, and a ballot measure in June 2010 that asks voters whether they want open primaries.

A 12 cent/gallon gasoline tax? Now? Right - because that doesn't hit the families that need the most help or anything. Historically, particularly in California (except for the Bay Area), the people in the most dire circumstances are the people who have to drive the farthest. That's because they can't afford to live in the cities, so they live farther out and have to cross longer distances to find work. So increasing the gas tax almost immediately hits the people who are already struggling the most. I can't believe the democrats supported that one. I mean - 2 or 3 cents maybe, but 12 cents?!?

But Maldonado's other demands? NOT suspending hikes in pay during budget deficits? If a public company is in bad shape, employees don't get raises. Why should it be different for lawmakers? Might actually get them to work to close the budget deficit. But Maldonado doesn't want to have to come up with solutions in order to get a raise. What I will agree to, though, is that this really shouldn't have been tacked on to the budget in the first place. This isn't part of the budget, so why does it matter in face of the deadline? Same thing with the primaries. I don't really understand everything behind it at this point - I know it's a big deal - but why does it need to be tacked on to the budget?

So anyway, I'm actually kinda happy with the results of the delay. Craziness.

Regarding the original budget plan, I do have to comment on the sales tax increase. This doesn't help the economy. I propose a plan more like some other states (Minnesota comes to mine), with sales tax eliminated on necessities (food, school supplies, children's clothing). Then maybe we could increase the sales tax more on other items. Perhaps you just do a moratorium for a year, which would boost the economy by encouraging people to buy more of those necessities now while there is no sales tax on those items. At the very least, we shouldn't be increasing the sales tax on food. How is that helpful at all? People will just be able to afford less, which means food banks will have more demand, which means the government will have to provide more in food stamps and aid. Not smart people.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could get our officials to think past the next election?