Thursday, September 16, 2010

If Mark Sanchez Wears a Shirt with a Target on It, Does That Give Me the Right to Shoot Him?

Why is it in our supposedly enlightened day and age, do we still blame the victim? Why do the media demonize the person who was not at fault?

Inez Sainz went to the training camp for a story. She was there to do a job. Various Jets team members were trying to prevent her from doing her job. Why? They wanted a better look at her. Is it her fault that she’s good looking? I have honestly heard it said by TV and radio personalities that if you’re a beautiful woman hanging around a group of jocks in the locker room, you should expect to be gawked at.

I have heard that she was inappropriately dressed. Sainz has said that she was dressed no differently than she normally dresses. She certainly looked hot in those pants, but she would likely look hot in anything short of a muumuu. Does she deserve to be distracted from doing her job because she committed the crime of being a good looking woman with a hot body?

Why do men still feel it’s their “right” to behave in inappropriate ways just because a woman “invites” such attention? Even if she were inviting it, you don’t have to accept the invitation. The entire burden is on the woman to dress in a way that won’t dare excite a man sexually. Why are men given no responsibility in their actions? I know I may at times make disparaging remarks about the male race and how they’re all a bunch of troglodytes, but really, I do believe men can control their impulses.

I know that Sainz has been downplaying the incident, although she did say the Jets were extremely rude, but I just feel this situation is an illustration of a bigger problem in society. Sainz had a job to do. She went to the Jets practice to do it and deserved the same level of respect and courtesy that would be granted any other reporter. The Jets had no “right” to do otherwise just because she’s hot. They could have simply let her do her interview in peace. Tight pants are no reason to throw footballs at someone who is trying to work.

Mark Sanchez looks pretty hot in tight pants. If a group of women started screaming catcalls at him, throwing things at him, and distracting him while he was trying to concentrate on the game, would that be okay? Why would the opposite not apply?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bedbugs and Nut Dilemmas

Kevin is convinced we have bedbugs.

It all started when he developed a nasty welt on his wrist that he determined was some kind of bite. There have been some subsequent "bites" although I don't believe any were as ugly as the first one, and he complains often about his whole arm flaring up.

My body is completely unbitten. I'm fine. I start to itch by the power of suggestion when Kevin starts insisting we have bedbugs, but otherwise I'm feeling just dandy. The only marks on my body are the ones I get scratching myself at night as I'm so prone to doing.

I see no evidence of bedbugs on the sheets and mattresses either. Nonetheless, Kevin has called the exterminator. The exterminator agrees that we have bedbugs after hearing Kevin's side of the story. Of course he would say that. He's going to charge us just for the visit. Even if we have no bedbugs, he makes money.

Let him come. I want to play with the beagle.

I just wish he would calm down. He's so paranoid about the bugs that he can't sleep at night. Now he wants to make sure no one else in the house can sleep. He keeps me awake at night telling me he can't sleep. If he's that paranoid about sleeping in our bed, I suggested that he make up the futon in the guest bedroom, or if he's going to sleep on the living room couch, to please use sheets (sheets are easy to wash and getting one's bodily effluvia directly on blankets that aren't washed as often just invite more critters). He keeps sleeping in our bed and making me miserable.

I feel his pain that he can't sleep at night, but I wish he would remember what a delicate thing sleep is for me. I am so prone to insomnia. When I sleep, I sleep lightly. If anyone or anything wakes me up once I'm asleep, it takes me a long time to go back to sleep. Last night I went to bed while Kevin was still up watching the Jets game. "a dream had scarcely approached my ear, when it fled affrighted." I was awakened by Kevin's ranting. All I wanted to do was go to sleep and I had to hear more about the bedbugs.

The exterminator is coming tomorrow. I hope this is all taken care of quickly. I'm tired of being made to suffer for someone else's discomfort!

Yep, that's me. Queen of Selfish.

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And now for something completely different...

I had a crazy ethical dilemma last week.

I was having a dinner party on Sunday and I was making, among other things, duck breasts with a fig balsamic glaze and a chocolate cake filled with hazelnut ice cream.

The one place where I know I can find duck breasts and fresh figs is Whole Foods. I thought I could make a visit on my lunch hour. My current office is between two stores. There is one in Westport and one in Darien.

I opted to go to the Westport one as I also wanted to go to the bank and there is a branch of my bank right down the street from the Westport Whole Foods. I unfortunately forgot that the store was undergoing renovations. When I walked in, the bulk food department was right in front of me. I decided to grab the nuts for my hazelnut ice cream from here since it was so convenient to do so. I took a bagful of nuts from the bulk bins.

I went on to find the rest of my groceries. I found a bottle of xtrav olive oil. I went to the meat department to look for my duck breasts. I knew exactly where to find them. They were usually in a small case of frozen foods right next to where they keep the packages of chicken. Unfortunately, I didn't see them there.

A store employee asked if she could help me find anything. I said I was looking for duck breasts. The woman went to the butcher counter and asked the man behind the counter if he had duck breasts. He said he could give me a whole frozen duck. I said no. I wanted the Bell & Evans frozen duck breast cutlets that were always in the case by the meat department. The woman who originally spoke to me said to try the frozen food aisle if they normally came frozen. How can this woman work for this store and not know that Whole Foods never has any meats in the big frozen foods aisle (just those nasty, heavily processed, unhealthful, artificial, chemical-laden soy fakeouts)?

I went to the produce section for my figs. Also not there.

I realized that this store was not worth my time. I would just have to stop by the Darien branch, which is bigger and better-stocked to begin with anyway.

I put back the few items I had in my basket. The problem was that I had the nuts. They were plucked from the bulk bin and bagged by me. Now what? Could I put them back?

I hadn't really handled them. I hadn't touched them with my hands much. They were scooped from the bin with minimal skin contact. I could probably put them back without touching them as well. Could I do that? Was it allowed? Was it gross?

I decided to give it a shot. I thought if I did it really quietly when no one was looking, I could get away with it. Unfortunately, the entire row of shelving was under construction. Two workers were standing at one end and moving the row around. Some other guy had a dolly and was unloading big boxes right near the hazelnut bin. I could not let them see me pouring nuts back into the bin!

In the end I paid for just the nuts and left the store. I had a tiny piece of my shopping finished. On the way home I went to the Darien branch as planned and bought my figs, olive oil, and duck breasts. Dinner was saved.

That really does make me wonder what one should do if one has a change of heart on something pulled from the bulk bins. I could put olive oil back on the shelf with no problem. I had no recourse once I realized I didn't want those nuts anymore. Such is the dilemma of the modern shopper!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Classic Repost - Vampire Go Away!

Since I originally posted this two years ago, it seems that vampires have not gone away. They have become bigger and bigger and more ubiquitous. Can I tell you how SICK AND TIRED I am of vampires? If I see another vampire drama on TV, I think I'll gladly offer up my own neck to the next vampire who wants to bite me.

I wish I could figure out where this vampire obsession comes from. What's it all about? Why are vampires, scary, hideous, ugly, undead beasts, so sexy all of a sudden.

Can't we put some kind of moratorium on vampire entertainment? No more vampire movies, comics, books, or TV shows for another 10 years. How does that sound?

Unless you're Terry Pratchett or Christopher Moore of course. Then you can write about vampires all you want because it's actually funny when they write about them.

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It seems the Twilight movie and the books upon which it was based are creating a lot of controversy among vampire-literature aficionados. It seems that Twilight doesn't properly conform to the standard vampire mythology.

What I find funny is that everyone seems to have a different standard of what proper vampire mythology is. Does sunlight kill them or not? Will they eat garlic? Can they handle crosses? How exactly do you kill them? Are they viscious killing machines who will go at it without remorse, or are the misunderstood tortured souls who really don't want to kill people? (Unless you're into From Dusk Till Dawn or 30 Days of Night.)

Twilight doesn't conform to Busty the Vampire Layer. Vampire Layer doesn't conform to Underworld. Underworld doesn't conform to Anne Rice. Anne Rice doesn't conform to Dark Shadows. Dark Shadows doesn't conform to Bela Lugosi movies, which don't conform to Nosferatu. None of it jives with Bram Stoker. Even the vampire spoofs are inconsistent. Compare the urban vampires featured in Christopher Moore's Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck to the Uberwald vampires featured in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels (some of whom have reformed). Why does no one complain that the Count from Sesame Street or the Vampire character from The Electric Company don't conform to vampire mythology?

Much of what we see of vampires in modern literature is a very glamorized, American version where monsters are seductive incubi who seem to be irresistable until their true natures are revealed. Male vampires are handsome charmers who seem to be able to charm women into being bitten. Females are sexpot sirens who seem to make being bitten almost an erotic thrill. I'm not sure this is really what vampires were originally supposed to be like.

Go to the places where vampire myths originated and you will see something very different from the slick, smooth, pseudo-humans shown in today's vampire media. The old European vampire myths portray vampires as what they are: evil monsters that people naturally run and hide from. We get a hint of this in Jane Eyre when Bertha sneaks into Jane's room at night. Jane describes Bertha's bloodshot eyes, purple face, and bloated features. The next day she tells Mr. Rochester she was reminded of the "foul German spectre-the vampire." Vampires were traditionally foul, ugly, and scary. Even Bram Stoker did not describe Dracula as being particularly appealing in his novel. I think Americans just like the idea of glamour and the idea that we can flirt so easily with death and evil.

I think that vampire enthusiasts who war over which book or movie is the "correct" vampire legend have to remember one thing: VAMPIRES DON'T EXIST. Yes, Vlad "The Imapler" Dracula was a real person who was considered a war hero, but ruthless against his enemies. Regardless, he's not still flying around at night drinking blood. It's amazing how passionate people will become over something that is completely imaginary. Why is one person's imaginary creature more wrong than another?

I think I'm going to make up my own vampire story. How about a vampire western? A group of cowboys are out on a cattle drive and are bitten by a rabid coyote during a full moon and realize it was a magic coyote and that they are doomed to drink human blood to stay alive. But it has to be special human blood. The blood must be consumed after the victim has eaten a meal of spicy chili. Soon, panic sets in and all of the chili cook-offs in Texas have to be cancelled. A very determined group of chili lovers discovers that these cowboy vampires can be killed by assault rifles. Unfortunately, Barak Obama is now president, and assault rifles are quickly become illegal and very few citizens have secret stashes of them. While a few gun-stashing heros manage to keep the growing group of chili-blood vampires away, another brave group manages to lobby Congress to overturn the damage a Democratic president has wrought. Barak Obama is outsted from the White House by angry mobs with torches and pitchforks and Republicans are now in power forever.

Now what could be a scarier movie than that?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Typical End of Summer Musings

Since summer is my favorite season, I’m always sad to see it go, and since I’m always sad to see it go, I have to blog about it.

It was a good summer.

Usually it seems that summer zips by far too quickly, but this summer was different. It seemed so long and leisurely. Memorial Day feels light years away from Labor Day. I barely remember the Fourth of July. Even Chincoteague feels like last year.

What was it about this summer? Perhaps it was the weather. Spring came so early this year. We were experiencing spring weather before winter was officially over. We had warm sunny weather for Easter. It felt like a real spring. Then summer arrived and it arrived on time. There were no cold snaps in June that had me reaching for sweatshirts. It didn’t rain all over every outdoor activity I anticipated. Sure we had some extreme heat, but that’s what summer is about. I’d rather relax quietly on a hot day than feel chilled and tense in extreme cold (I have to wonder if those people who say they prefer to shiver than sweat spend the kind of extended hours outside that I do and understand what it means to be thoroughly cold).

Obviously this summer marked the passing of another year, and this one in particular was the passing of another decade. I found myself oddly accepting of that. It was hard to say the word “forty” and it still is, but I don’t feel too traumatized. My hair isn’t too much grayer. I’m more overweight than I have been in my life, but my butt still passes the pencil test and I haven’t developed bat wings under my arms. My teeth haven’t turned yellow (and they wonder why I shun coffee) and I can still do pushups. I have a bad knee, but considering everything else, I think I’m doing okay. I can survive being forty.

So much went on this summer. There was my birthday party. What a joy that was to have so many of my friends and family there. I knew there would be a party, but I had no idea the extent of the people who would come out here for it. I am not just grateful to my friends and family, but I’m also grateful that Kevin would think to do such a thing for me. I have a wonderful husband. I’m so grateful for him every day.

There was Chincoteague. It is always a joy to be there. Nothing particularly different or interesting happened this year, but it was still a joyful trip. What do I remember from this year? I remember riding Cowboy at the Chincoteague Pony Centre and the interesting exercises the instructor had us do for getting him on the bit. I remember Captain Barry’s nature cruise and remembered how many amazing things you can see if you bother to look. I remember the deserted island beach he took us to. I remember the sunset kayak tour where our guide brought us to the back side of Assateague and how we could hear the sound of the ocean just on the other side, and how he plucked clams and oysters from the water and tried to get us to eat them with him. I remember the Pony Swim and the cowboy who fell off his horse.

There was Sian’s birthday party. I spent months wondering how and when her big party would be celebrated and if I would be a part of it. I was so grateful to receive an invitation to her surprise party. I had an amazing day at her party sharing the day with old friends and new. It was unforgettable to see the look on her face when I saw her walk in. I was equally grateful that she and I had some time alone the next day sharing an extraordinary breakfast.

It’s funny. I told Kevin that after Chincoteague was over I did not want to “waste” the rest of summer. I wanted to do as much and experience as much as I could while I still had a summer to do it in. I think we did a good job of that.

This summer I finally started riding Riddle. Let’s just say most of that drama is passed. I guess it has been decided that I’m not so huge and fat that she can’t handle me. Also, her trainer hasn’t been able to be around much and doesn’t ride her as regularly as she used to. Mom knows she needs me to help. She needs a rider who is better and bolder for those days when Riddle isn’t Ms. Perfect. Certainly getting on her back was one way to make for an unforgettable summer.

We spent Labor Day at the barn, staying at Minerals Hotel. It was the perfect ending for the summer. We spent our days riding, mostly riding two horses a day. I spent my down time at the hotel pool swimming laps and jumping off the cliff jumps. I took yoga classes while I was there too. In the evenings we dined out with friends and dined at the Iron Forge Inn. I think I had every kind of experience I wanted to.

That was one way to remind myself that I’m not as old on the inside as I am on the outside. Mostly kids were jumping off that cliff. I had some trepidation as I approached the edge and looked down. It looks much higher at the top than it does at the bottom. I just stepped off the cliff and went down. Once you commit to a fall, you have nowhere to go but down and experience the sweet relief of hitting the water, knowing that you’re in one piece. I think there is a metaphor in there somewhere. Walk over the edge and trust that you can jump. Just jump. Let go and commit to the fall. Eventually you will hit your destintation.

As I will always stubbornly point out, summer isn’t over. We have three more official weeks until the Vernal Equinox. For now the days are still longer than the nights and summer weather prevails. It’s hard to accept this as true summer though. To me summer is defined by one of my favorite activities – swimming. With the pools closed, it seems like summer can’t really still be going on. If you have your own pool, or have access to lakes and beaches that you can get away with swimming at in the off season, then I encourage you to keep the summer going!

I’m not too sad now. Maybe it’s because the summer was so long, because the weather was so perfect, because I had so much and missed so little. Maybe it’s because I have so much to look forward to this fall.

Fall means Paris. It’s hard to believe it will be less than a month until I leave for Paris. Kevin and I were walking to our respective offices yesterday morning and I said to him, “A month from today we will be walking the streets of Paris instead of the streets of NY.” We will be strolling down Champs Elysees instead of 5th Avenuen. It seems hard to believe. Paris went from a city I always wished I could visit, to an abstract idea I was planning to give myself as a 40th birthday present, to money in an envelope, to reality.

Bring on the fall! I’m ready for it.