Monthly Archives: December 2009

Why Yesterday was the Best

Filed under a taste for tv, no i really do love ohio
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1) I spent the night with my best friend, Tracey, as I will do nine out of the thirteen days I’m in Ohio, and as she was dropping me off at my parents’ house yesterday morning, one local radio station played Soundgarden’s “Blow Up the Outside World”, and another played Grant Lee Buffalo’s “Truly, Truly” after it, and we affirmed our dedication to 90s music despite the overall concensus that it sucks.

2) While getting ready to go to my great-aunt’s house to decorate a gingerbread house with my cousins, I happened to turn on “Degrassi” to celebrate the fact that my parents have cable for the first time in my entire life, and it was the episode where J.T. gets stabbed! Which I had never seen before! It was meant to be.

3) I came home from my great-aunt’s house to find my dad, one of his friends, and my step-sister’s future husband using a wooden board in the backyard for target practice. I was surprised to find that I thought it was kind of cool.

4) My parents drove me two towns over to buy New Super Mario Bros. for Wii as my final Christmas gift, and the guy who checked us out at this tiny gaming store that probably sees ten customers a day told me, “Just so you know, this game is awesome.” I didn’t tell him that my co-workers Jeff and Steve stayed late at work with me every night the week before vacation so we could beat it on the office Wii before I left for Ohio.

5) My parents and I watched Julie & Julia, and then when they went to bed, I found an episode of “The Office” on. It was the one where Jim tells Pam he loves her at the office casino night and then kisses her. I am a sap and won’t apologize.

Modern Modes of Transportation are Only Cool When They Actually Work, or Why I Should Have Never Left Ohio in the First Place

Filed under living in new york sucks so hard
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I bought a plane ticket to Ohio for two weeks’ worth of Christmas presents, Christmas parties, and Christmas-themed desserts at chain restaurants several weeks ago for $291.90. The night before the snowstorm hit, Delta canceled my flight but politely allowed me to reschedule myself for the next day. I was slightly disappointed in the delay but used the night to make a lot of unnecessary noise in Kamran’s apartment while he studied for his final exams.

Three hours before my flight on Sunday, I packed the last of my things, put on really comfortable underwear for the flight, and began saying goodbye to Kamran. Which mostly involved lots of “I don’t want to go!”s and “Let’s get back into bed and not leave for two weeks!”s. I WAS KIDDING. But moments before I left, I happened to check my flight status to see if there was any residual delay from the day before and found that it had been canceled.

Even though the streets and the runway had been cleared for 18 hours.

The Delta website wouldn’t let me reschedule again, so I called customer service, and after listening to twenty minutes of “White Christmas” and other ironic holiday hold tunes, I found that the earliest flight they would fit me on was on DECEMBER 25TH.

I called Orbitz, who I had used to buy the flight, and after twenty more minutes, the slightly-more-helpful customer service rep said I was approved for an automatic refund if I wanted to cancel the flight and start over with another airline. She said her computer wasn’t showing flights available until the 23rd, but the Orbitz website was listing flights on the 21st, so I gave her the exact flight numbers I wanted to book. She acted like this was all fine and dandy but then said, “Now, you know it’s a $25 fee to book over the phone, right?” EXCUSE ME? No.

So I selected my flights and tried signing into the site with my account to pay for them, but it said customer service was already logged in, which meant I had to manually enter my payment information. By the time I did that, my flight was gone. I chose another one and tried the same thing, but it was gone again. And again. Finally, though, I managed to snag a flight at 3:25 p.m. today, three days later than I was supposed to be home, for $452.

The great part is that when my first flight was rescheduled, my best friend, Tracey, said she was going to drive the ten hours from Ohio to pick me up, and we laughed. Turns out it would’ve been way faster. Hahahahahaha . . . ha . . . ha . . . ha.

Santa Claws

Filed under holidays don't suck for me, no i really do love ohio
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My friend Roy sent me a link to Sketchy Santas yesterday, and while I appreciate their offerings, I think I have a photo of the sketchiest Santa of all:

Tracey may be smiling here, but not ten seconds before, she was crying out in horror from her car at this giant red-faced Santa. The thing has been hanging outside of my Crazy Great-Aunt Dorothy’s house every Christmas for as long as I can remember. The smashed nose is a recent addition, but the duct tape holding it up is not.

We’re thinking it may have been used as anti-American Indian propaganda back in the day. No?

It Really Helps with the Whole Guilty Conscience Thing When You Don’t Consider Babies Human

Filed under politicking
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I don’t remember when I decided I was pro-choice, but I remember distinctly that I was still calling myself a Christian when I did. (Realizing that God and I basically didn’t share any common viewpoints is one of the reasons I’m not a Christian today.) I understand that abortion is an extremely polarizing issue and that you can never argue your side well enough to convince someone who doesn’t already agree with you, which is why I like to talk about it so much. I find it unfortunate that the conservative argument is simply “because the church says not to”, because that precludes the need for careful thoughtfulness about the subject on the part of the believer. I also find it unfortunate that the liberal argument is simply “because I should have control over my own body”, because we rarely have control over own bodies when it comes to other kinds of protective legislature (i.e. seatbelt laws, drug laws).

I bring this up because this week’s New York magazine has an infinitely interesting article about modern views on abortion and how they’ve changed since the 70s, when women won the fight for the right to choose. I think the article does a great job of balancing the two sides (though, again, it’s not going to convince anyone of anything), but here are the two most interesting points from my side:

1) Until the mid-nineties, the political debate over abortion remained mostly in the theoretical realm, with the role of government at its center. Had it stayed there, it’s possible we’d be in a different place today. But in late 1995, a Florida Republican congressman named Charles Canady had a stroke of insight that would shift it to the realm of both the metaphysical and brutally physical, which is precisely where the pro-life movement wanted it all along. On the floor of the House, he introduced a bill that would ban so-called “partial-birth abortions,” a second-trimester surgical method previously known as intact dilation and extraction. The procedure was extremely upsetting to behold. In it, the fetus—or is it a baby?—is removed from the uterus and stabbed in the back of the head with surgical scissors. It’s a revolting image, one to which the public was ritualistically subjected on the evening news as the debate raged on the House and Senate floors. Defending it was a pro-choice person’s nightmare. Pat Moynihan compared it to infanticide. Clinton still vetoed the ban in 1996, but it was eventually signed into law in 2003 and withstood a Supreme Court challenge in 2007. More important, women were spooked. “A lot of our patients started asking whether or not the fetus felt pain after that, even if they were early along in their pregnancy,” says Albert George Thomas, who until two years ago had spent eighteen years as the head of the family-planning clinic at Mount Sinai. He adds that many women also came into his clinic expressing confusion about the size of the fetus they were aborting. Some were terrified that it was huge, even those who were coming in at six weeks. At that stage, it’s the size of a lentil.

2) Abortion counselors will also tell you that the stigma attached to the procedure is worse than it’s been in years. “When I started as a patient advocate in Ohio in 1996,” says Jeannie Ludlow, a professor at Eastern Illinois University who has written a great deal about abortion, “what I mostly saw were women who were thinking about abortion in individual ways—this is what’s going on in my life, this is what I’m thinking I should do. But by the time I left in 2008, our patients would be saying all that and ‘Oh, and I know I’m going to feel bad for the rest of my life,’ even if they seemed perfectly sure of their choice.”

I remember the truck that drove around my college campus with pictures of aborted babies plastered all over it, and I hated that I was supposed to be won over by emotional imagery in lieu of actual consideration of how a baby–and even a pregnancy–would entirely change my life in ways that I neither wanted nor was prepared for.

I know that it involves killing (what has the potential to become) human life, but I just can’t imagine myself regretting an abortion for the rest of my life like everyone wants me to think I will. I sort of want to have one, actually, just to make myself a t-shirt that says, “I aborted my baby, and I feel GRRRRREAT!” I don’t want to rub it in anyone’s face or anything, but I want some support for women who made the right choice for themselves and won’t be made to feel guilty.

I’m interested in your thoughts on the article and subject in general, as always.

A Little Xenophobic Cheer for the Holidays

Filed under fun times on the subway, living in new york sucks so hard
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It’s the time of year when NYC is overrun with tourists who are somehow under the impression that the city in winter is worth spending $350 per night for a hotel on. The Rockefeller Center tree lighting, the display windows at Macy’s, the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square–these are all things that would be lovely in, say, Florida or California. But in New York, they’re painful and miserable because of the cold. So I guess those $350-per-night hotels are worth it, because that’s where they end up spending all of their time once they realize walking around Central Park isn’t so fun when the wind is eating your face off.

Anyway, I’m particularly annoyed by tourists for no good reason. I’m not one of those people who’s ever in a hurry, and I don’t have any horrible Christmas memories that make me want everyone else’s holidays to suck, but I require the subway to be quiet when I’m on my way to work. So when these massive groups of tourists all board one train car at 8:30 a.m. on their way to the Statue of Liberty every morning, I get my knickers in a bit of a twist.

On one particular morning, I was standing by one of the poles in the far end of a car, surrounded by French people. The French are especially bad, because they’re so darned happy. At least with the Germans, you get mean-sounding accents with harsh-sounding words that only perpetuate your bad morning mood, but the French are always kissing each other and pleasantly tying each other’s scarves around their delightfully pink necks, and all I want to do is knock them down a few notches.

Read the rest here and earn me some pennies.