Sunday, July 30, 2006

There Goes The Gayborhood

I will admit it. I am a person with a lot of pet peeves. One of them is when a group of people move into a place (presumably because they are attracted to the character of the place) and then do everything possible to change the character of the place where they have just moved. I see this a lot with sprawl. People move out of the older suburbs and cities into rural areas because they like the country. I can understand that. I like rural areas. But then, the first thing they do is tear up the fields and plant icky lawns. Then they decide that living in the country is inconvenient so they demand stores and strip malls and wider roads, etc. Pretty soon, the countryside strongly resembles the suburbs they were trying to get away from.

It turns out that this happens in cities too. A place develops some character and becomes attractive to people who start moving in. But as soon as they are there, they start wanting things that ruin the character of the place. Maybe they want a Starbucks instead of a non-chain coffee joint? Maybe they dont like the poor people in their rapidly gentrifying neighborhood? Maybe the dont like cheap student housing or porch couches? Or maybe it is like (as they say in the segment below) moving next to a busy airport and then complaining about the noise?

Anyhow, this is something that has bugged me for a long time and that is why when I first saw this piece from The Daily Show, I about bust a gut and peed. It is so spot on for me. And now, I have found it on YouTube so I can share it with everyone. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Sometimes I feel that I have been the most unlucky woman in the world when it comes to dating. Generally, I have a hard time finding dates and when I do, I seldom like the guys enough to go on more than one or two dates. Part of the problem is my weight, it is true, but I suspect that even if I were drop dead gorgeous, I would still have problems. I guess I am picky. I generally think that is a good thing though because I firmly believe it is better to be single than with the wrong person. I mean, all one has to do is listen to a Lucinda Williams album to be reminded of THAT.

Anyhow, as much as I feel unlucky, every now and then I am reminded that I am not the most unlucky woman nor have I even encountered the real jerks out there. Check this out if you want to see what I mean:

The Worst Date Ever

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Thanks Ypsi~Dixit!

Earlier this week I saw a post on freecycle from someone wanting a rotary phone. As it happens, I had one. I got it from my mother's great treasure trove of stuff. I didnt want to give it back to my mother because I think she has too much stuff that she doesnt need but cant get rid of because it is still useful. She is a hoarder although not quite so bad that she has mountains of stuff in her house with little aisles through the rooms. Still, my mother has absolutely NO USE for an old rotary phone. I dont even know where she got it but I wouldnt be surprised to learn that she's had it all along.

So here I was stuck with this phone. I didnt really want it but I didnt exactly want to give it back either. And yet, I am enough of my mother's daughter that I also couldnt throw it away. Oh no, this phone still worked you see. So, I did pretty much what my mother would have done and stuck it in my attic where it would have stayed FOREVER had it not been for this request for such an item on freecycle.

When I saw that post I jumped on it like a starving cat on a well-fed mouse. And lo and behold it was fellow blogger Ypsi~dixit who wanted the phone. Even better. Now I could know I was giving the phone a good home which would satisfy the Eileen Fremont code of stuff disposal. Such was this great favor that Ypsi~dixit was doing me that I even offered to drop the phone off to her.

Anyhow, I went over there and gave her the phone. I admired her lovely garden. It is exactly how I would do my own backyard if I either liked gardening or had the money to hire someone else to do it. She has great taste in gardens! Then she gave me a whole bunch of flowers cut from her amazing garden. WOW! I not only got rid of the phone but got flowers too. Lucky me. And they are really nice. Here are a couple of photos. Notice how lovely they make my dining room look!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ypsilanti Stuff

Last night I stopped off on my way home from work to treat myself to Ypsilanti's best rueben sandwich from Cafe Luwak. I noticed that they now deliver free to the corner brewery which made me happy because there have been a couple of times when I wanted to meet someone there but ended up agreeing to meet someplace else so that we could get dinner. It gives me one more choice and I am sure that in the fall when I stop spending so much of my free time up at the lake, I will appreciate being able to eat dinner and have fabulous beer...AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Also while at Cafe Luwak, I noticed a suggestion box for the upcoming mayoral debate. I am unfortunately unable to attend because I wont get off of work in time but I thought I would post a link to their website anyways on the off chance that there is anyone in Ypsilanti who reads my blog who doesnt already know of this event. I didnt add a question to the box but I did consider it. My question would have been to ask the candidates their position on the city's lawn enforcement ordinance. Later, when I mentioned this to my neighbor she laughed and said that if I did that, everyone would know that it was me!

I am not totally sure for whom I want to vote for mayor yet but I am leaning towards voting for Steve Pierce. I like his positions on things but I will admit that at least part of why I am leaning that way is a post my neighbor made on her blog about him. I guess it just goes to show you that blogs can influence.

I will talk more about the City Council race for the third ward in more detail later. I will just say for now that I whole heartedly support Brian Robb for that position. Oddly, it isnt because I dont like his opponent but rather because I simply think Brian would be better at the job. It is nice to have a political race where I dont have to vote for the lesser of two evils but rather, get to vote for the greater of two goods.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday Morning Gamble

I spent the morning with a friend in Detroit. She got a coupon for a free brunch from MGM casino so I went with her because I have a fondness for brunch buffets. MGM's is only $13 or so and for that price it is pretty nice. We played the slots for a couple of hours after we ate and she lost $60 and I broke even which was cool. I had set a $40 limit for myself before we went. I dont know why but I love slot machines and casinos. I love the way they sound and all the blinking lights and stuff.

But it always amazes me how much money other people are willing to lose. I mean, I thought the $60 limit my friend gave herself was a lot being that it was a whole $20 more thanI was willing to shell out. But some of the people there were losing HUNDREDS. In fact, while I was playing one of the machines the woman on the machine next to me won $1000! She didnt seem too excited about it though. I mean if I won a grand on a slot machine I would be all up dancing around the joint and screaming "oh my god, oh my god" but she just sat there. I asked her why she wasnt very excited and she said that she had already lost that much playing the slots that day. I think my eyes bugged out when I said, "You've already lost a grand?"

She said, "Well I've been here since 9a" with a tone that suggested that I was silly to think losing a thousand dollars gambling was any big deal (It was around 1p at that time)

It is too bad that I didnt win big too. There is a house across the street from my parents' house that is for sale and I really wish I could afford to buy it. It is $275,000 which is a real bargain for that house but it might as well be a million dollars since I simply cant afford it. My sister wants to buy it too but she cant afford to buy it either. She suggested that we buy it together but then when I seemed agreeable to that, wished she hadnt suggested it because she thinks I am too much of a slob to share a house with. HAHA. But it has a partially finished basement that has a bathroom and the plumbing in place for a kitchen so it could be easily converted into a small apartment. Of course, I would have to sell my house first and houses arent selling quickly here in Ypsi. So it will probably never happen. Oh well. It would have been nice to live up at the lake with built in doggy care in the form of my mother living right across the street.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Trivial Things

I still cant bring myself to write about the world events that are at the front of my mind these days other than to say that I got an email today from my friend in Beruit and he and his family are ok which has eased my mind some.

I am more interested in documenting the trivial at the moment. When I think about it though, it is a perfectly acceptable coping mechanism as long as I dont tune out so much that I stop voting or working for change.

Recently I saw an interesting site in my front yard. I saw a groundhog *asleep* in a tree. I have never seen such a thing before and hope that it doesnt mean that it is sick. It was funny because when the dogs noticed it, they went CRAZY and barked and barked. The groundhog opened an eye and apparently decided that it was safe from the dogs and promptly went back to sleep. I checked back a couple hours later and it was gone. I havent seen it since.

Now that my brother and his wife have *finally* gotten through their immigration headaches, my brother is moving out of Washington DC and is heading for a place in the 'burbs. He sent me his address and I sneakily used the Google spy website to determine that his apartment complex has a pool. hehehe. So, if I go visit him for a weekend next summer, it wont matter too much to me if it is really hot. Gotta love Google.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What Everyone Deserves

I havent felt too much like writing lately even though there is a lot going on in the world to write about. I worry about it all, of course. But I find it easy on a beautiful July day to ignore such important things. I spent the day at a local beach with my friend Debbie and her kids. When the sky is a cloudless perfect blue and one is having swimming races with a ten year old and an eight year old, it is hard to imagine that anything in the world can happen to change things.

When I allow myself to think beyond idylic summer days in Michigan, I sometimes get sad that everyone in the world cant enjoy such things. Everyone should be able to feel the sun on their face while chatting with a close friend. Everyone should have a wonderful healthy lunch packed. Everyone should be able to close their eyes and listen to children laughing. Everyone should know they have a bed to collapse in when the swimming and the sun and the just being so alive that it consumes one's soul, exhausts one into a state of sleepy bliss. Everyone should be able to feel safe and a million miles away from bombs and missles and hatred.

Those are things that everyone deserves but not everyone gets.

Monday, July 17, 2006

On Writing

I never really understand what compels people to write. I mean, I wouldnt mind the lifestyle of a successful writer. I always envision them living in quaint cottages in south of France where they walk down to the local cafe and order red wine and write masterpieces while inhaling the lavender scent of Provence. I have never been to Provence, of course, and my entire notion of how the place smells comes from some Pre De Provence soap I once bought. The truth is though, that it isnt the writing itself that appeals to me but the freedom I imagine can be had from such an occupation. If I am honest with myself, I would never write just for the sake of writing (other than this blog which is writing but isnt intended for a wide audience so it is different).

I was thinking about this for two reasons. One, I spent Saturday with an old friend and among other things, she mentioned that she writes screenplays. And Two, I pretty much spent the entire weekend at the lake and the thought occurred to me that if I were a writer, I could write from a lakeside deck and wouldnt that be nicer than working in an office all day? Or would it? Because writing is work to me. I enjoy it in small doses but if I had to make a living off it, I might be miserable. And is miserable on a lakeside deck better than miserable in a windowless office cubicle?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bury my head in the sand

There has been a lot going on the world this week that makes me sad and worried and selfish and angry. Hundreds of people in India were killed or injured when terrorists bombed a train. There is conflict and war in the middle east that looks like it might get worse. Gas is almost $3/gal.

And yet, I am removed from all of that (except for the high gasoline prices). I am in a place in the world that is my favorite place to be in the summertime. Yes, I know. Not everyone appreciates Michigan in the summer time but I love it! I kind of like late spring too. Which why, even though I know I shouldn’t, for the next couple of days I am going to forget that people in the world hate each other and I will spend some time in the sunshine with my family, an old friend I went to kindergarten with, and the couple of beasties pictured below. Sometimes one has to take a break from the hatred before one can work on changing it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Meme which exposes me as a TV Junkie

Bold all of the following TV shows which you've ever seen 3 or more episodes of in your lifetime. Bold and Italicize a show if you're positive you've seen every episode of it. If you want, add up to 3 additional shows (keep the list in alphabetical order).

Type your cut contents here.
3rd Rock from the Sun
7th Heaven
Aeon Flux
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Allo Allo
American Idol /Pop Idol/Canadian Idol/Australian Idol
America's Next Top Model/Germany's Next Top Model
Arrested Development
Babylon 5
Babylon 5: Crusade
Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
Beavis & Butthead
Beverly Hills 90210
Bosom Buddies
Boston Legal
Boy Meets World
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bug Juice
Chappelle's Show
Charlie's Angels
Commander in Chief
Cowboy Bebop
Crossing Jordan
CSI: Miami
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dancing with the Stars
Danny Phantom
Dark Angel
Dark Skies
Davinci's Inquest
Dawson's Creek
Dead Like Me
Deadliest Catch
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Designing Women
Desperate Housewives
Dharma & Greg
Different Strokes
Doctor Who (new Who)
Doctor Who (series 1-26)
Due South
Dungeons and Dragons (old cartoon)
Earth 2
Everybody Loves Raymond
Facts of Life
Family Guy
Family Ties
Fantasy Island
Fawlty Towers
Get Smart
Gilligan's Island
Gilmore Girls
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Green Wing
Grey's Anatomy
Growing Pains
Happy Days
Head of the Class (!!!where I fell in love with Billy Connolly!!!)
Hill Street Blues
Hogan's Heroes
Home Improvement
Homicide: Life on the Street
I Dream of Jeannie
I Love Lucy
Invader Zim
Iron Chef (Japan)
Iron Chef (USA)
Hell's Kitchen
John Doe
Kath and Kim
LA Law
Laverne and Shirley
Law and Order
Little House on the Prairie
Lizzie McGuire
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lost in Space
Love, American Style
Magnum P.I.
Malcolm in the Middle
Married... With Children
Melrose Place
Miami Vice
Mission: Impossible
Mork & Mindy
Murphy Brown
My Family
My Life as a Dog
My So-Called Life
My Three Sons
My Two Dads
Mysterious Cities of Gold
Night Court
Northern Exposure
One Tree Hill
Perry Mason
Picket Fences
Pirates of Darkwater
Power Rangers
Prison Break
Project Runway
Quantum Leap
Queer As Folk (US)
Queer as Folk (British)
Remington Steele
Rescue Me
Road Rules
Saved by the Bell
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
Sex and the City
Six Feet Under
Slings and Arrows
So Weird
South Park
Spongebob Squarepants
Sports Night
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate Atlantis -- New season!!!!
Stargate SG-1 -- New season!!
Teen Titans
That 70's Show
That's So Raven
The 4400
The Addams Family
The Andy Griffith Show
The A-Team
The Avengers
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Bionic Woman
The Brady Bunch
The Cosby Show
The Daily Show
The Dead Zone
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Flintstones
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Golden Girls
The Jetsons
The L Word
The Love Boat
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mighty Boosh
The Monkees
The Munsters
The Mythbusters
The O.C.
The Office (UK)
The Office (US)
The Pretender
The Prisoner
The Real World
The Shield
The Simpsons
The Six Million Dollar Man
The Sopranos
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
The Twilight Zone
The Waltons
The West Wing
The Wonder Years
The X-Files
Third Watch
Three's Company
Top Gear
Twin Peaks
Twitch City
Upstairs, Downstairs
Veronica Mars
What Not To Wear (US)
What Not To Wear (UK)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)
Will and Grace
Young Hercules

I added: Fantasy Island; Upstairs, Downstairs; and Wonderfalls

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Giving up

"To love oneself is the beginning of a life long romance" -Oscar Wilde

Recently I was watching the last season of a favorite TV show. They were kind of wrapping things up and in the last episode, they had a character who had spent the entirety of the series looking for a partner make a speech about how he finally realized that he didnt need someone in his life to make him whole and how even if he never found someone, he would be happy. Within ten seconds of making that speech, in walks the love of his life as if that where the reward for finally accepting himself.

Our culture is so obsesssed with people being coupled. Even dramas that explore the notion that a person can be happy single end up hooking everyone up in the end. I sometimes think the message is: You wont find someone until you finally give up and accept that you are ok being single but then you will suddenly find someone. Which is silly because if the reason someone is "giving up" is so they will find someone, they arent really giving up at all. Just once I would like to see a TV show where the character makes a speech like that and then actually stays single because they wont settle and are happier alone than with the wrong person.

If my life were a one hour TV drama, I would give up that notion around 10 seconds before the premier of such a show on ABC.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What do you think?

A friend of mine who must remain anonymous due to her company’s draconian blogging policy, has an interesting dilemma and I am curious what people might have to say about it.

She works for a company that used to be a wonderful place to work. It used to be the kind of place where everyone loved the company and would often talk about how even though it is a major company and one of the leaders in its industry, it wasn’t “corporate” The company used to do lots of nice things for the employees. Everyone was treated well and in turn everyone worked very hard because they wanted the company to do well.

Over time, management started taking away as much as could from the employees. Raises became less than the inflation rate. Personal days were reduced. Work spaces were redesigned so that management could better monitor the staff. The little parties and other such perks were stripped away. When lay offs happened, it was usually the most senior workers who got the ax. Where there once was a feeling of team work, slowly an adversarial atmosphere developed between management and labor. The workers started caring less and less about the company. The attitude used to be “What can I do to make this company do well because if the company does well, I do well” and it became, “Why should I work hard for this company when they’ll just screw me in the end”

As the workers slacked off, management clamped down on them in order to get them to work harder. And that is when the cheating started. Cheating at the lowest levels anyways which is where my friend is positioned in the company. She has no idea of there is cheating going on with the upper management but after Enron, she wouldn’t exactly be surprised if it were. No this is cheating that happens at the bottom.

Individuals cheat in order to benefit themselves of course. This affects my friend in a negative way because everyone is competing for the same money at raise time. Her colleagues’ cheating makes her look worse relative to others on her team and did result in her receiving a lower raise than others on her team. On the other hand, all of the cheating makes it look to upper management like more work is being done than is actually being done. Therefore, when there are layoffs, her team doesn’t get hit as hard as it otherwise would. The long and short of it is that the cheating means that my friend gets less of raise but still has a job.

The dilemma is an ethical one. Does my friend have an obligation to the company she works for to report the cheating? Doing so would mean tense relationships with her peers. She doesn’t particularly like the company and generally believes that the actions of upper management created an atmosphere where people are prone to cheat. So even though she, herself, isn’t doing any actual cheating, she kind of thinks the company has it coming and certainly is experiencing more than a little schadenfreude watching this company get screwed by it’s own poorly treated employees.

So what do you think?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Goodbye Larry

Yesterday, I spent most of the day attending the funeral of a family friend, Larry Hawkins. It is weird when someone you have known almost one's whole life is suddenly gone. I have spent some time reflecting on the huge impact Larry had on my life and I keep realizing that it was probably even bigger than I realize.

It was nice seeing all the people at the funeral. Some of whom I havent seen since I was a kid. I have seen Anna over the years but not her brother, Nathaniel. In fact, I dont think I have seen him since he was around 14 years old. So it was especially weird but nice too because he has grown up into a really good man. I hadnt seen Anna's sister, Jenny, for years either and that was nice too. I love having conversations where a good number of sentences begin with the words, "do you remember when...".

I liked the obit Anna wrote so I am going to post it here because I think it really says a lot about the guy.

Larry Hawkins died peacefully June 29th, 2006 in Lansing, Mi. He was born in Detroit 63 years ago. An employee of the State of Michigan for 35 years, he was instrumental in implementing social programs that improved countless lives across the state. A vivacious man with a spirit of compassion and admiration for everyone who was fortunate to cross his path, Larry made friends around the world. Never a weary traveler was he; from Paris, Kentucky to Paris, France and places all in between, he loved learning local lore and discovering the best places to dine. Erudite in history, politics, art and culture, he broadened the horizons of so many. An avid cyclist, a marathon runner (Bay-to-Breakers 12 times), a film buff, a gourmet, a cross-country skier, the best camper ever, a voracious reader, a life long democrat of the most progressive kind, a rare brilliant wit, and last but not least, an amazing loving father who never said “should.” He would want the good that is in us all, even in the worst of us, to flower and grow. Sic transit gloria mundi.

In honor of Larry, his children Nathaniel, Anna, and Jennifer are hosting a memorial service Saturday, July 8th at 11am at Gorsline-Runciman, 1730 East Grand River, East Lansing.

The memorial will be followed by a celebration of Larry’s life at Beggar’s Banquet, 218 Abbott Road, East Lansing.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Larry’s name to National Public Radio at NPR Foundation - 635 Massachusetts Ave. NW - Washington, DC 20001-3753.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My Own Private Elvis Fest at Riverside Park

Cookie, singing her own version of "I Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog"

Monday, July 03, 2006

Boring Stuff

My internet connection went down on Friday. Ugh. I hardly even notice how much I depend on my internet service until it goes down. It was funny too because it has become so natural for me to look things up on the internet that I hardly know what to do when I have some desire to know something and cant immediately look it up. For instance, I was watching a movie this weekend and I thought the actor had aged more than I would have expected so I was curious about how old he was and then realized I couldn’t look it up! Ugh. It is just my luck to have my DSL go down on the first day of a long holiday weekend.

So I spent my day on Saturday talking to people on the phone and reading books instead of blogs. I even managed to do a little yard work. Actually, I did about two solid hours of yard work and I barely made a dent into what I think needs to be done. Oh well. I guess that is how it is with yards.

On Sunday, I went to a family party. It was very fun and we all had a good time. I played a very simplified version of croquet with my cousins. By simplified, I mean: no real rules. It was fun though. I think there might be a croquet set up at my parents house. I’ll have to look for it.

Larry Hawkins's funeral is going to be next Saturday. I hope to get a chance to see Anna before then though. I am going to a movie with Kate tonight.

And that, is pretty much what is going on with my life at the moment.