frogg files

"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." --Flannery O' Connor

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Wait

"How long do you intend to walk the earth?"

"Until God puts me where he wants me to be."

"What if he never does?"

"If it takes forever, I'll wait forever."

--from Pulp Fiction

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Nothing Much

I was a little bit zombie-like today, seeing as how I worked from 6pm-2am yesterday. I tried very hard to sleep in this morning, by which I mean that I didn't want to get up before noon if I could help it. Unfortunately, I woke up around 9am. Sigh...

And of course Leo regaled me with his usual unwelcome shrieking when I came downstairs for breakfast. (I really cannot describe how much I hate that bird.)

But things improved when I took the time to lie out in the sun for awhile.

Work was ok. Not too busy, actually, but that was good since being a zombie is not really conducive to dealng with hordes of customers. I did have one odd experience, however. An old woman and (I assume) her granddaughter came up to the register while I was working it and I asked (as I usually do), "How are you today?" and the old lady said, "Not so good." So I asked why, and she said, "Because you are going to take all my money." Ah, I thought, a joker. Well, I'll play along. But she was too much for me in the end. She was not by any means senile, but she was definitely a little strange. She said, apropos of nothing that I could tell, "So are you going to invite me over for dinner?" I laughed and said, "Trust me, your day won't get better if I cook for you." She said, "Don't you know how to cook?" and I said, "Not very well." Then she told me that she was German, which meant she was a wonderful cook. I didn't know what to say to that.

It was all a little tangential, if you ask me.

But the best part was at the end, when she leaned over the counter and said in a low voice, looking intently at me, "I'm looking for sex."

I nearly choked.

"Um, I can't really help you with that," I said when I had recovered.

"Do you know what sex is?"

"Yes."

"You do?"

She was staring at me, and suddenly I wasn't so sure. "I think so."

"What is it?"

Ok, so it's not often that someone manages to render me speechless, but this was definitely one of those occasions. If I recall correctly, my exact words in response to her persistent query were, "uuuuhhhh, hmmmm, uuuuhhh." Not my wittiest hour, to say the least.

Then she told me that my mind was in the gutter and she was referring to her dog. "His name is Sex, and I am looking for him," she said. Ooooooh!

Of course it was a joke. It's just not the sort of joke that I imagine an 80-year-old woman saying, that's all. Kind of threw me off, just a little bit.

But it definitely gave me my good laugh for the day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Playing God

For those of you who have had an insatiable desire to play God but have been frustrated by your lack of omnipotence, your prayers have been answered with the recent release of the droolingly anticipated Sims 2.

For those of you who haven't the slightest idea what I'm talking about, I'm referring to a computer game wherein you, as the player, essentially are given the power to create a family from scratch, right down to determining their DNA. Then you get to watch them grow, live, and die. You can fulfill their dreams (which of course you probably have to define for them first), or you can crush their hopes and deny their desires at every turn. You can lead them into the morally murky territory of extreme living, or you can make sure they have the goody-two-shoes-white-picket-fence-3.5 kids-and-a-dog life. The possibilities are endless!

And so, of course, are the ironies.

I read a couple of reviews of the game online. One person wrote,

I love the fact that interpersonal relations is much more advanced, and I love the fact that they grow up, learn, live, love, and die. makes you want to accomplish as much as you can in the time you have.

The same person wrote that they spent "80% of [their] freshman year of college playing the original sims." Hmmm.

Naturally I am hardly one to point a finger at people for wasting valuable time on this planet. I write a blog, after all, AND I usually do it when I have something else that I'm supposed to be doing. Like right now. (Never mind what I'm supposed to be doing, the point is I'm not doing it.)

I'm more interested in the philosophical implications of a game where players finally get to "live" the dream of Bruce Almighty. Sims 2 bolsters, or rather caters to, our need to feel like we have some sort of control over our lives. Oh, we have control over some things, of course. I am in control over what clothes I decide to put on in the morning, or whether or not I will eat ice cream for breakfast. I think. But the deeper things lie beyond our reach. (Personally, I've found that there is nothing like unrequited love for shattering the illusion of control into a million jagged pieces, but maybe that's just me.)

So actually I can kind of understand why a game like Sims 2 would be attractive, because we have our Sims to live the lives we wish we could live for ourselves. And on some level, the popularity of the game suggests that it's a way of expressing our collective disappointment with a God who, let's face it, seems at times to block our dreams, manipulate our existence, and let us down when we need Him most, at least according to our perspective on this side of the supernatural divide.

I'm not saying this is true. But perspective, while it isn't truth in itself (as I said in an earlier post), is a powerful force for all that.

Right now, for instance, I am perceiving that 1) I am tired of thinking, 2) it's a nice day outside, 3) I have work to do that isn't getting done the longer I write this. And so all my perceptions added together lead me to the truth that I need to post this and be done with it, or I will be sorry later.

Until next time, then...

Monday, June 27, 2005

You've Got That Puuukey Feeeeeeling (AKA Ugh, It's Monday)

Ok, today I am too lazy to think of my own funny story to share, and feeling too shallow to dredge up anything deep. So with his permission, I am borrowing a story from my friend SB. It is about barfing, so if you have a weak stomach, maybe you shouldn't read it. And if you are Mark H, you probably shouldn't read it either, because you have heard it ten billion trillion times, and I can SEE you rolling your eyes from here. If you are me, you have definitely heard the story more than once, but it still makes you laugh, because 1) you grew up with three brothers, so you actually find humor in barf stories, and 2) it doesn't take all that much to amuse you.

Anyway, the following is an actual transcript of the IM conversation that SB had with the cowgirl awhile back, in which at my suggestion he told her all about the time he...well, I'll let them tell it! I've edited the transcript for readability and length, but otherwise pretty much left it in their own words and style.

Enjoy, and have a great Monday! (Or maybe this post will give you an exuse to call in sick, ha!)



COWGIRL.: grackyfrogg wants you to tell me about your story when you barfed on a kid you were babysitting

SB: oh yeah, well i was baby sitting these 2 brothers and as part of the deal the parents fed me dinner with the boys. normally, as was the case in this incident, i was fed a Swanson Hungry Man Salisbury Steak dinner.
SB: with a LARGE glass of choco milk
SB: nestle quik actually

COWGIRL.: say no more!!! ha ha ha

SB: SO, the younger brother, J, says to the older brother, P, "P, you're this *insert loud belch here*" and then runs out of the room
SB: so P, not wanting to be upstaged by his younger pipsqueak brother, needs to come back at him, BUT lacks the ability to burp on command
SB: thats where SB comes in
SB: ive been blessed with that amazing gift

COWGIRL.: ha ha ha
COWGIRL.: how romantic!

SB: so P says "hey SB, you can burp whenever you want, so you burp for me" and then we devised this plan. you see J was out on the front lawn just running around, satisfied that his bro had been upstaged, so our plan was to go to the corner of the garage and P would face J while I hid directly behind P

COWGIRL.: uh oh

SB: so we start to get into position and meanwhile im swallowing large amounts of air to get ready for the big explosion

COWGIRL.: LOL

SB: so we're in position and P says, "J, youre THIS!"

COWGIRL.: oh no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SB: and at that point i opened my mouth and pushed the air out as normal
SB: but this time MORE than air came out

COWGIRL.: ew grooooooooossssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!
COWGIRL.: grackyfrogg is dying right here
COWGIRL.: that is totally funny!
COWGIRL.: not just partially...but TOTALLY!

SB: yep, salisbury steak and choco milk, and other stuff, including CORN, spewed out all over P's back

COWGIRL.: corn in the puke...yuk
COWGIRL.: that's the epitome of gross

SB: yeah, and i dont even think the meal included corn
SB: anyhoo, P just stood there frozen in position and said "there is something warm all over my back"
SB: i said, oh sorry i just threw up all over you

COWGIRL.: so nonchalant?

SB: so being the good baby sitter that i was i just walked him a few steps out into the drive way and hosed him off

COWGIRL.: how old was this kid?

SB: he was like 10
SB: i went to his college grad a couple of years ago and he still remembers that story and tells all his friends

COWGIRL.: how old were you at the time

SB: um like 20

COWGIRL.: 20 yrs old????

SB: yeah

COWGIRL.: I can't BELIEVE that!

SB: you dont know me very well then
SB: thats something id probably do now

COWGIRL.: its gotta be published or something

SB: there is prob a reason i dont have any kids

Friday, June 24, 2005

Rainbow Watching

This morning I walked through a rainbow.

I woke up early because I am meeting a friend for coffee and I felt the need for some exercise beforehand. I live in a great neighborhood for walking–wide streets lined by lots of trees, rosebushes, and flouncing summery blooms.

About a half mile or so from my house is a botanical gardens. On the broad lawn outside the gates, right by the street, the sprinklers were watering the grass. The sprinklers are set to arc high and through their downward mist I could see a bright, intensely-colored rainbow. As I drew closer, I couldn't stop looking at it, and somehow (a trick of perspective, I'm sure) the rainbow grew until it was a perfect circle and I was right in the middle of it.

I was also too close to the sprinkler, and next thing I knew I was all wet.

But I didn't mind; I laughed. It was a good way to start the day.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and hey, look around for some rainbows. You never know.

Seek and ye shall find...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

And This Is How I Feel

The quest for faith is a lunar endeavor
Not warmer and brighter but darker and wetter
I trudge and I slip as I reach out for daylight
But grasp only fistfuls of night.

I wonder is doubt the way of faith sometimes
I try to move it aside, but never leave it behind
Balancing the weight of the state I'm in
On the head of a pin.

But I'm tired of being afraid
That I might slip away
Some day walk away
And fall down...


--Five O'Clock People, "Lunar", from their album The Nothing Venture

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Empire Strikes Out; or, Why Fiction Needs Truth These Days

A couple years ago, I began to notice a change in myself that disturbed me exceedingly: I'd go into my favorite bookstore, or any bookstore, and I would look around at all the shelves and instead of breathing a deep happy sigh and getting to work browsing and eventually buying, I would roll my eyes and breathe a heavy, unsatisfied sigh and walk out again empty-handed. Maybe I would poke around in the fiction section for awhile, picking up a book here and there, looking at the cover wearily and then sliding it back without bothering even to leaf through the pages.

What had happened to me? What was wrong?!

Well, kudos to The Daily Pepper for an excellent and hilarious article attempting to answer the question I was secretly asking myself, hardly daring to utter aloud for fear my whole identity would come crashing down around me. The title of the post is:

"The Goat in the Hot Tub; or, Why Fiction Is So Boring These Days."

Pepper's writing is witty and insightful, and I think everyone should give the article a read--I promise you'll be entertained. However, I did have to disagree with Pepper's ultimate conclusion, which is that class conflict is the real driving force behind fiction, and where class conflict is absent, then the fiction will be boring.

I think fiction in general has become boring because, philosophically speaking, our modern, or post-modern, or post-de-constructionist-anti-modern-nihilistic-existentialism (whatever you want to call it) society has deemed absolutes as out of style, and has instead opted to decorate in any amount of shades of gray. Where there are no absolutes, it really is difficult to find a logical, rational basis for the existence of truth. And where truth does not exist, any struggle between good and evil becomes academic, arbitrary, and not a little pointless. We are left with what I'll call (if Pepper doesn't mind) the Genevieve effect, described by Pepper as follows:

"There's way too much stuff like this out there: 'Genevieve wished she could say something to Martha, but Martha always seemed so absent ... Genevieve fumbled with her teacup, sensing an ocean of distance between herself and her mother.' Add a few more pages of Genevieve searching for answers inside her teacup, and you've got what's hot in fiction today."

I am reminded of a scene from The Empire Strikes Back, where the wise old Jedi Obi-Wan (well, actually his ghost, because he was dead at that point...or maybe he wasn't dead, but ANYWAY, he was transparent)--anyway, Obi-Wan tells Luke that one of these days he's gonna have to wake up and realize that truth "depends largely on one's point of view."

And there it is. The answer to the problem of what's inside Genevieve's teacup--nothing at all. It's empty, and so is the story. That's because there are no absolutes, there is no truth, to give meaning to anything anymore. They aren't there, because everyone has a different point of view. Where knowledge is only experiential, it's difficult to know anything, because everyone will always know something different! How can we function?

Well, the fact is, we can't, and it's interesting to look at the Star Wars story again and see that neither Obi-Wan nor Luke actually lived and acted according to their philosophy. Because if truth really does depend on point of view, who is to say that Darth Vader was actually wrong? Perhaps he was operating according to the truth that he perceived, and just because it differed from Luke's or anyone else's did not mean it wasn't truth. So the battle against the Empire--and Luke's continued assertion to Vader that he "feels the good" in him--was simply nothing more than a "my ideology is better than your ideology" sandbox rumble without any well-constructed, rational basis for either side.

And yet, countless fans cheer them on in the struggle. Why? Because it's compelling fiction. And what makes it compelling is not that there is a difference in Luke's and Vader's class status; it's the fact that, regardless of what they may say out loud, both Obi-Wan and Luke and all their friends obviously believe very much in the existence of good, and the existence of evil, and that good is worth fighting for simply because it is good and right. And the audience believes it too!

I mean, let's try to imagine the Star Wars story if it were written in our Genevieve model, abbreviated:

Obi-Wan: "Luke, truth doesn't really exist. It's all about how you feel on any given day. It's all about point of view."

Luke (pulls out his light saber and stares at it gloomily): "Then why did you give me this? What is my purpose in life?"

Obi-Wan: "I don't think anyone really has any, son. Sorry to break it to you."

[A moment of silence, punctuated only by the sound of water dripping in the rain forest and Luke's whimpering. Obi-Wan looks at his watch and yawns. Finally Luke speaks what is on his mind.]

Luke (whining petulantly): "Maybe I should just kill myself!"

Obi-Wan: "Well, I thought it might be a good idea to kill Vader instead."

Luke: "Why?"

Obi-Wan (shrugging): "No reason really. Something to pass the time though. Have you got any tea?"

Now there's a box office smash.

Look, the audience gets drawn in because in our collective consciousness (wherever that may be), the audience knows that Obi-Wan is way off the mark this time. They know that truth is out there, because Fox Mulder believes in it and he is, after all, way cuter than Obi-Wan.

(Sorry, couldn't resist!)

So, fiction needs truth if it is going to survive, and that means it needs absolutes, and that means that we need them too. I think fiction will help us find truth if it will get back to the job of actually looking for it. Hey, it beats navel-gazing, eh, Pepper? Not to mention countless cups of tea.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Girl Vs Clown


Girl Vs Clown
Originally uploaded by grackyfrogg.
Well, it turns out Steve and I were seeing different emoticons yesterday! Here they are so you can compare. Personally, I think the clown is cuter than the red-haired girl after all.

(The making of this picture comparing the two emoticons and the accompanying online discussion was highly unproductive and shouldn't be tried by any except professionals trained in the art of procrastination.)

Rare Sighting and the Frogg's Beauty Secrets


Me
Originally uploaded by grackyfrogg.
Ok, here it is. A picture of my hair. On a bad hair day, ha! That's how it goes when your hair gets done. The first couple days it looks fantastic, and then after that you are left on your own to attempt to style it the way they did at the salon, only you really have no clue, not to mention none of the equipment. I didn't even own a brush until a friend GAVE me one, probably because she knew I wasn't going to bother to get one on my own. I also do not have a curling iron, or straightening iron, or whatever other kinds of tools are used for hairstyling. (See, I don't even know what to call them!)

I also don't have a good hair dryer. We have hair dryers installed in the house, kind of like those you see in hotels. Which is weird, but that's what we have. They do a terrible job of anything but making your hair frizzy and big.

So my general method for "styling" my hair goes like this.

1) Take a shower and wash the hair.

2) Go to work with wet hair, and drive with the window down, and my head leaning towards the open window.

3) Done.

If I don't go to work, or out in the car, I pretty much just tie it back or let it hang til its dry. Finis.

Since the hair change, I have added the application of this rather nice-smelling pomade ("the pleasin' odor's half the point") to my wet hair and that has helped to keep it from being a total frizz-fest when it finally dries, but still I have not managed to maintain any sort of beauty "routine," for my hair or my skin or anything else, for longer than a day or two, at any time in my life.

I am all about the natural look, but not for any particular reason, I'm just too lazy to be anything else.

Monday, June 20, 2005

"She Is Rather Cute For An Emoticon"

My good humor has been completely restored by an online chat session with my friend Steve (and to whom I must credit the quote that makes the title of this post).

We chat using Yahoo! Messenger as a rule, and I've noticed that sometimes my Macintosh version will not do the same things emoticon-wise, etc., as the Windows version that Steve uses. This can cause some confusion during conversations, as the following story will attest. (Actually, the following story is more about mistaken emoticon identity, but for the record, he WOULD type some things that would show up on my screen as nothing but words in parenthesis, and that was a little weird. But that isn't what this story is actually about. Come to think of it, if you want to read a story with a point, please just stop now. You will be sadly disappointed otherwise.)

It all started when I sent him a picture of myself and my new hair. I had told him I'd dyed it red with blond streaks, and he was having trouble imagining it, so I sent him the pic while we were chatting, and as he was waiting for it to come through, he sent me an emoticon of what looked on my side like a little clown face.

Steve is something of a joker (and saying that is like saying that water is something of a wet, permeable substance), so I thought he was just teasing me about my having red hair by calling me a clown, and I didn't say anything in response.

He asked me later on during the conversation, "What do you see when I type this?" and again the little clown popped up.

"A clown," I said.

"Oh nooooooo!"

"Why?"

"On mine it's just a girl with red hair."

I began to laugh, especially when Steve typed remorsefully, "You must have thought I was a jerk!" I hadn't thought so, but I DID think he was being a dork, because he did the clown-face more than once, and I was like, ok ok, just wait til you get the picture before you start assuming how I look with red hair!!! Everyone ELSE thinks it's pretty cool, so give it a chance!

Steve's remorse actually came from his impression that, when he did the clown-face (fine, red-haired girl), I was seeing just the word "clown." So he thought that I thought he was flat-out calling me a clown! Which I did, of course, because I saw a picture of what I thought was a clown (come on, it had a GIANT red nose, and two little tufts of red hair on the either side of its otherwise bald head, what would YOU think?). My amusement at his remorse came from the fact that I thought the emoticon on my screen was actually different than the emoticon on his, which in fact it was not. We were both very confused (as you probably are now) and very hysterical until we figured it out, and then we continued to be hysterical for awhile longer because it was still funny that we could both look at the exact same thing and see something completely different.

At least in my case, I didn't have to worry about anyone in the next cubicle wondering why work was apparently so amusing all of a sudden.

Well, I missed my chance to sit in the sun; now I have to get ready for work, but it was worth it. I got my good laugh for the day! Thanks, Stevie.

Grumpy

I have been in a bad mood most of the day. Will someone please tell me a joke or something? I could really use a laugh.

At least my tooth stopped hurting. The giant spider is still in my bathroom, but I've lost the heart to do him harm. After all, he's made no move to harm me, so why can't we both just get along? I'm willing to give it a try, anyway. Besides, I don't want to clean up the mess that's bound to be left if I squooshed him with my shoe. Yuck.

(I keep hoping that he will be overcome by a sudden desire to see the great wide world OUTSIDE of my bedroom, and then I wouldn't have to even deal with him, but so far he is depressingly loyal to his territory.)

I also survived the DMV today with minimal damage to the deep reservoirs of patience that exist in the recesses of my psyche. Well, I am lying, I have no such reservoirs in my psyche or anywhere else, and for that reason I brought a book to read, and that is why I did not turn into a veritable EXPLOSION of impatience during the TWO HOURS that I waited to renew my license...a process, I might add, which took all of 10 whole minutes.

Then I had to go to the mall and stop by the store where I work, and of course co-workers had to ask me why I was "dressed up" because I wasn't wearing my typical scuffy jeans and T-shirt or whatever I usually wear, and I mean honestly, who wants to admit that the reason they look nice on a given day is because they have actually run out of clean scuffy clothes, and they had to do a load (or 2 or 3) of laundry, but of course you can't wear NOTHING when you are doing laundry (or you can, but not if you are going to go out of the house!), and all that was left was nice clothes?

Now I am killing time til I have to go back to work and actually work, as opposed to stopping by and not buying something that I was sure I was going to buy, until I got there and discovered that what I was going to buy was not actually the thing that I needed, and--oh never mind! If I go into it, I'm just going to get irritable all over again. (This is another pet peeve of mine, by the way: going shopping and returning home empty-handed. I hate shopping anyway, so when this happens, it's like insult to injury. I could sulk for days in the aftermath of a non-successful shopping venture.)

Ok, enough. I am going to take my snarky, snarly-cat self and go sit in the sun for awhile. I will feel better when I am tan...at least, assuming I don't get skin cancer, which will make me feel not better at all. In fact, I think I could safely say that that will do some damage to the deep reservoirs of tranquility and happiness that I'd like to think (but am not entirely sure) exist somewhere in the recesses of my psyche.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Two More

6) I now have a raging toothache, which I suspect of being cavitous, and I can barely think straight it hurts so much, in spite of a very liberal application of Ambesol. Is cavitous a word? My whole mouth feels funny now, but not at all in a haha-laughing way. If I tried to laugh right now, I think I would cry. Ouch.

7) I just realized yesterday that my driver's license expired...last week. I've been driving around for seven days with an expired license. I don't remember ever getting a notice about it in the mail, and the only reason I even discovered it was because I moved my license from my wallet to the handbag that I took with me to the reception, and as I did I looked at the expiration date for no reason that I can think of, but I'm glad I did. However, now I am stressed about having to go to the DMV tomorrow. I hate going to the DMV.

Ugh again. On top of everything else, I ate too much today. Bleah.

Distracted

I am feeling very distracted today, for many reasons:

1) I can't find a pack of photo paper, which has been sitting on my desk for months while I didn't need it. Now that I need it (to make a Father's Day card, no less--nothing like waiting til the last minute!), of course I can't find it anywhere. I'm very annoyed by this.

2) The gargantuan spider that prompted a recent cleaning frenzy in my room has not been vanquished; it is alive and well, last seen in my bathroom. I still was not able to kill it, so I still have to worry about it crawling on my face at night when I'm asleep.

3) Leo's horrific shrieking gets worse every day, and terrible thoughts go through my head every time I pass his cage. I worry for my sanity and his safety; both are in an increasingly precarious position.

4) I am haunted by the knowledge that, try as I might (and I do try), I am not in fact a very nice, kind, or thoughtful person. And I also can't cook (but that has nothing to do with trying; more like the lack thereof--still, it's depressing).

5) I'd like to write about the King Tut exhibit and reception, which I attended yesterday, but I can't concentrate because of 1-4.

Ugh.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Omar

Today Omar Sharif kissed my hand.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Exhibition(ist)

On Saturday, if I can get off work in time, I hope to be attending a cocktail reception and private viewing of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's King Tut exhibit, and I am quite excited, because 1) I think the exhibit will be fascinating, and I've been longing to see it since I heard it was coming here; 2) I will be going with my father, and it is not often we get to do things like this together; and 3) I get to dress up and look pretty.

Tonight I modeled a little black dress and black strappy sandals for my lovely friend Andi, and I have her full approval on my attire, which is a relief because my sense of style is somewhat on a par with my desire to go bunjy jumping...neither one makes much of a blip on the radar screen of the frogg's personality, I'm afraid.

(Andi has just asked me if I am writing about how gorgeous I am again, and that makes me wonder what people must think of me from reading my recent blogs! I must sound terribly shallow and conceited. I am not, but I guess you'll have to take my word for it. You'll also have to take my word for the fact that yes, I do look rather gorgeous in the little black dress. I didn't say I wasn't vain, now, did I?)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Song And A Poem

I like the song "Memories" by Eisley.

And here's a draft of a poem I found in my writing files the other day. Did you know I had it in me? I had forgotten.

Long days of gray
and the black night slips
into an endless spring
that is waiting to arrive
on a cold mountain.
The black branches of a lone dogwood
are bursting with delicate white
snowlike blooms
as they coil against a darkened sky.
The rain birds fly overhead
and I see for one moment
a well of blue
falling upward in the midst of a swirling storm,
but I can't see to the bottom.
I don't know if there is one,
but the birds go up and up,
a fluttering of white,
and I lose sight of them as the well disappears
into the gathering of clouds,
which smothers the blue, takes it away,
but the echo remains in my soul,
like the shadows of the rain birds
etched into the twists and turns
of the wild dogwood tree that stands
in the midst of a sudden field of green and gold
under a cold mountain.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

What Is True?

The other day, I observed a grown man literally jumping up and down like a child who's just been told he's going to Disneyland, and when I asked him why he was so happy, he told me that the woman he loved--who is not his wife, but he calls her that because "that's what she is to me, and I'd marry her if she let me"--had left him a voice mail simply saying that she loved him.

Another man on the same day told me stories about what men talk about in "the locker room" when women aren't around, and how the fact is that men are dogs mostly because they can be, wanting what they don't have and taking what they can get.

Our conversation reminded me of the time I was walking down the boulevard next to the beach in Pattaya, Thailand, and seeing the middle-aged white (probably married) men walking hand in hand with Thai prostitutes as if the women were their girlfriends and as if there was love between them, instead of monetary compensation for unslakable lust.

Then yesterday I happened to read a short story in the latest issue of a literary journal, that was all about how various men sexually abused the young girl-protagonist.

Finally, I remembered the recent wedding of a friend, and how, as he watched his bride walk toward him down the grassy aisle under a springtime sun to stand at his side in front of a rose-strewn gazebo, he couldn't stop smiling or wiping away tears.

Of all of these stories, which is true?

I wonder sometimes what on earth I'm waiting for, and if it is worth it after all, and that makes me sad, and a little angry as well, that I should even have to wonder this. I know it isn't sex though; that would be easy enough to get if that was all I wanted. But it isn't; never has been. (I'm greedy-I want all or nothing, and sex is not all.)

I just don't know if what I really want is out there, and that's because I don't know anymore which story is true.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Ulysses

I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known-cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all,-
And drunk delight of battle with my peers
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.


--from Tennyson's "Ulysses"

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Happy Birthday To Me!

Well, the big day is here at last! I am 30 today.

Thanks to my friends and family for putting up with me all these years...here's to you being able to put up with me for many more years to come! Or perhaps to me changing into a nicer, more humble, less vain sort of person, whichever is easiest. (Ha! Herculean tasks either way, it sounds like to me! Well, what would life be without its little challenges?)

Anyway, I love you and I just want you to know that I appreciate you loving me. Thank you.

On a totally unrelated and less serious note, I scored my first "30 and how come you're not married yet" comment today when I visited my parents' church for lunch! Woo-hoo! Let's see how many more I rack up before the day is over! It can be a little game I play...the trouble is, I don't know what I get if I win. Hmmm. Oh well.

Ciao for now--hopefully I'll be seeing some of you for dinner later on tonight!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Guide to Flirting

Kudos to BeautiPhil for turning me on to the following link:

SIRC Guide to Flirting

SIRC being the Social Issues Research Center, but I'm sure you knew that. I mean, doesn't everybody?

I'm oblivious when it comes to flirting, I think. Unless it is quite blatant, and then I think it falls under the heading of being "hit on." This is according to one of my co-workers, with whom I was discussing the subtleties of differentiation between flirtation and hitting-on. I wasn't aware til then that there WERE differences, but apparently there are, and they are subtle. So you really have to be up on your flirting etiquette, and that's where the Social Issues Research Center's Guide to Flirting does such a remarkable public service.

For example, its advice for those interesting in workplace flirting is invaluable:

Careful observation of colleagues is the best way to discover the unspoken flirting etiquette of your own workplace - but make sure that you are guided by the behaviour of the most highly regarded individuals in the company, not the office 'clown', 'groper' or 'bimbo'.

That's right. The SIRC doesn't pull any punches, kids. Stay away from the office groper, please!

The Guide is actually pretty exhaustive, covering everything from appropriate places for flirting (pretty much anywhere, as far as I can tell), who to flirt with (someone who is likely to return your interest), how to do it (eye contact is key!), and how not to do it (and for this one I have to include another quote):

Some men...blow their chances by carrying on a conversation with a woman's breasts, rather than looking at her face.

I desperately want to make some funny comment about this, but I am laughing too hard. I myself can think of at least one time when my breasts were asked out on a date (I believe I've mentioned it before). Not a great way to get the ladies, men. At least, not THIS lady!

(A better way is calling me up at the store where I work and pretending to be a customer who has a crush on me, and asking me out. If you are convincing enough, I will be so flustered that I will say ok. I know this because a co-worker played this joke on me yesterday. I still have to think of a way to get him back! Any ideas?)

Anyway the Guide goes on (and on and on) about how to flirt successfully, but I leave it to you to find out for yourself. Visit the link, and enjoy. It's quite educational, on so many levels.

Thanks again, BeautiPhil. I owe you one! What would I do without you?

(That may or may not be flirting--read the Guide to find out!)

Friday, June 10, 2005

Alive!

Well, I am alive this morning, which means that I didn't die, which means the spider from last night must not have crawled on my face. What a relief!

I still have no idea where it went though, and that is no less disturbing in the light of day than it was just before hitting the hay. (Ah, my poetic streak cannot be repressed!!)

Today is cold and gray (ha), and if my eyes don't deceive me, I believe there is a bit of misting going on...wait a sec. No, that's just the dirt on my windows making things look hazy and such. Hmmm. I really need to clean this place.

But it really is unseasonable weather for June in southern California. Usually about this time, I have forgotten that I own things like sweatshirts and sweaters (hoodies and jumpers for the New Zealanders/UKers/Aussies among us!); today I'm actually wearing them. Weird.

I guess I shouldn't complain though. By the time the dog days of August roll around, I'm sure I'll wish that I didn't own anything such as clothes.

Although I've always wondered why they call those the "dog days." Does anyone know? Dogs don't really seem all that happy when the weather is hot like that, so it seems weird that they would name hot days for them, but maybe that's just me.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I Hate Spiders and Bugs

The biggest spider I have ever seen, barring a tarantula in Thailand, is crawling up my curtains right in front of me as I type this.

It occurs to me that I probably need to kill it, or I won't be able to sleep tonight, knowing that it is in the same room. But I hate killing things. I always feel so guilty. (Although I think I could kill Leo and not give it a second thought, but he is more like a demon in bird form than anything else, and who cares about killing demons? Not me.)

So the spider is on the wall now, and he is waving one of his ENORMOUSLY long legs, and honestly, it's freaking me out. Gross, gross, gross.

I am suddenly very aware of all the cobwebs on my wall, up by the ceiling. My lack of domesticity is a little embarrassing.

So the big project tomorrow: clean the room!!!! After getting the eyebrows done, of course. First things first!

But if that spider crawls on my face tonight while I am asleep, I will die. I've lost sight of it, and that makes me quite nervous. If you don't hear any posts from me after a few days, you'll know what happened; i.e., that it crawled on my face and I died. What a way to go.

And then I won't get to celebrate my 30th! How sad.

That settles it. This room ain't big enough for the both of us. Hang on a second while I hunt it down...

[Sound of Jaws music playing. Or "Jeopardy" if you prefer something more cheerful.]

Um, I can't find the spider anymore. I am not happy about this.

I vividly remember an incident that happened at a friend's wedding reception in New Zealand, wherein a horrible bug that bore a striking resemblance to a cockroach, except it could fly, actually was flying around in the room I was in, hit the chandelier above me so that it dropped, stunned, onto my upturned face (which was upturned because I didn't want to let a bug like that out of my sight while I was still in the room with it). I can still remember the feeling of its icky, stick-like legs gripping tightly onto my lower lip--ALMOST INSIDE MY MOUTH! What happened next will not be described, to save my dignity in front of my readers; suffice to say that it provided a great deal of amusement for my friends who were present at the time.

I can't take another experience like that, that's all I can say. Especially now that I'm getting older. I'm sure it's very bad for the heart.

Quote for the Day

I do not know how long this road may be, but do not fear the obstacles in your path...for fate has vouchsafed your reward.
--the blind prophet, O Brother Where Art Thou

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Ah, Vanity, Speak Thou A Little Softer...

Ok, so at the risk of sounding terribly vain and stuck on myself, I have to make the following statement:

I got my hair done today, and I look, well, freaking HOT.

I know how it sounds. But it's no use denying the truth, is it? And it's not often that I feel like I am dazzling, so I have to milk it when I do.

I went to a salon where everyone (customers and staff) was Chinese, except for yours truly. My friends, Hannah and Grace, who go there regularly and were the ones who recommended it, went with me and discussed my desired cut and color with the stylists in Chinese, while I nodded and smiled and hoped that they hadn't asked her to dye my hair black and give me bold green streaks or something, as a practical joke.

Thankfully, they did nothing of the kind. The process was long and arduous (four and a half hours, and included a full color, then shampoo, then highlight, then shampoo, then cut and style), but it was worth it. My hair looks awesome.

In fact, when I was at dinner with Hannah and Grace, and went to the restroom, I actually did a double take at the woman in the mirror, because it took me a second to realize that it was me.

Eyebrows will be done on Friday, and then I will be all ready for June 12! Yay!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Cheating

Ooooooh, I am so bad. I really really planned to stay away from the frogg files a bit longer, but I can't seem to do it! The temptation to write nonsense is just too much, apparently.

By the way, I am getting my hair done tomorrow, in preparation for embarking on the new decade! And I will probably get my eyebrows done too, because they are starting to look a little Amazonian, which simply won't do.

I'll be honest: I'm excited about turning 30. Don't try and make me feel depressed about it, because I won't listen! I think it's going to be wonderful.

My 20s were so strange, so disjointed and directionless. I hardly knew what I was doing most of the time. To top it all off, at the age of 27, I surprised myself by quitting my job at a magazine publisher's, packing up my things, and heading to New Zealand for six months, which eventually turned into nine months. I came back to the US for six months after that, and lived with friends in the Bay Area, where I worked part-time at a school, and then went back to New Zealand for another nine months.

My life was very hectic and unsettled, to say the least.

So this past year has been all about transitioning back to "normal life" (is there such a thing?) and let's just say it hasn't been the most comfortable process at times. I am pretty much ready to move ahead into this next phase of my life and see what adventures await! And believe me, I am off to a good start, having just watched Spiderman, "House of Clues," and "Fake Out" all in a row. Nothing like spending a whole evening in front of the tube! Talk about adventure!

Haha. Just kidding...er, sort of. Anyway, here's looking forward to the next 10 years...who knows what they'll bring?

(Hopefully among other things, such as travel and a Pulitzer prize for my Great American Novel, they'll bring along a good man who will see what an amazing, fun, talented, and beautiful woman I am, and who won't let me get away if he knows what's good for him. If not, no loss...I'll just have more funny stories to write about singleness and the lameness of men who don't know what's good for them. Hey, it's a tradeoff, what can I say.)

Teaser

Never fear, the frogg is almost here! Again.

Great things are afoot, I can feel it.

Keep checking in, I'll be back soon...in the meantime, if you stop by I'd love to hear more suggestions for a fun 30th birthday, because I still haven't thought of anything! And my birthday is on Sunday!!!!

(Ok, it's not true that I haven't thought of anything. I am just too lazy to try and make any of the things I've thought of happen. So it would be cool to live vicariously through your imaginative ideas, since I probably won't get my act together to pull anything off. Let me know what you think!)

PS: Apologies for the site being down yesterday, I was trying to move my DNS to another host and it didn't work, and I forgot to change back the servers, and well, look, I'm not a web site genius, ok? Sorry.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Birthday Countdown and Birthday Remembered

Well, the countdown has begun! On June 12, I shall embark on a whole new decade. How exciting!

Still don't know what I'll be doing for the Big Day. Probably nothing, at this rate. I can never be bothered to plan anything. I was thinking that perhaps a bonfire at the beach would be a good option, but that involves inviting people, and setting a time and place to meet, and all sorts of other organizational necessities, and really, do I need that kind of stress when I am already turning 30?

But a bonfire would be fun. Hmmm.

I've never been one for big birthday parties. My 21st was cool, although it was a month after my birthday, and quite a surprise for that reason, among others. Other than that one, the only other birthday I recall with any sort of clarity (good grief, am I losing my memory already??) was a few years ago, I think it was my 27th. Er, 26th? Dang. Well, anyway. We had gone sailing the day before, my roommates and I, and I had gotten very sunburned. I hadn't put any sunscreen on, because "I don't burn...I tan."

Ha. After three hours under the blistering sun, sailing on the San Francisco Bay where not a lot of shade is in evidence, unless you want to hang out under the Golden Gate or Oakland Bay Bridge all day, I was burned. Badly. I put on sunscreen when I started to feel it, but of course by then it was too late. The next day I woke up with a raging headache, and feeling very ill. I also had trouble putting clothes on, specifically (can I say this on a family-friendly blog? I'm going to) my bra. Oh the pain of it! I wanted to die!

I called in sick to work, and lay on the couch all day, feeling utterly miserable. Here it was, my 26th (or 27th) birthday, and I wasn't going to have a good time, all because I couldn't be bothered to put on a little sunscreen. It was tragic.

My sister came home and she offered to cook a nice BBQ dinner out on the deck, so I went out there with her, and that was fine, but I still felt sad. Then my friend Steve called to wish me happy birthday, and that was good, but I felt bummed that we wouldn't all be hanging out to celebrate, which is what we would normally do. We were chatting on the phone when suddenly who should come out onto the deck but...Steve! And my other friend Mark! My sister had invited them without telling me, and seeing them was such a surprise! I was very pleased, and very touched. (Although I mean the latter in a metaphorical sense; I don't know that they actually touched me, because if they had I would have screamed first and disintegrated second, I'm sure of it. Just because I was happier didn't mean my sunburn had miraculously healed!)

I remember that birthday with the most fondness, I think. Because it started out so horrible, and turned out so very good.