the circular runner

Posts Tagged ‘People’

taking my silly male ego to the virtual world…

In humor, life, observations, writing on March 7, 2012 at 6:23 am

Last night I was feeling low.  Beyond low, actually.  I was in one of those moods that makes me want to pull my skin off.  I don’t get like that often, but when I do, I am a royal pain to be around.  I am murderously restless and uninterested.  I spared my wife my mood and went to the bedroom where I decided I’d catch up on my bog-reading.  Blogs are wonderful.  There’s a community here.  And I guess I just wanted a little virtual community last night when all was said and done.

Girl in the Hat, the Wuc, Joe Ponepinto’s The Saturday Morning Post–all of these are lovely blogs by great writers, and there are a lot more.  (Marc Schuster’s Abominations–can’t forget that one or Just Sayin‘–love that one, too.)  I like that most of the blogs I follow are varied–there’s no real pattern to what these blogs cover.  I like a lot of things, so why not.

One of the things I like to read about is politics, and among the blogs I follow, there is one that uses ethics as a way to look at current events and politics in general.  I don’t agree with the blogger (who will remain nameless) but he is a smart guy–usually.  Last night, I did not feel the smarts.  In act, I felt he was not only ridiculous; I felt he was using ethics to cover up a political agenda.  (Of course, I was also spoiling for a fight, so there’s that.)

You know those shows in which the main character, basically a nice guy, has a bad night or week or year and he goes out to a bar and gets into a blow-out fight in order to cope with his feelings, well that was me last night.  I read the blogger’s posts about Sandra Fluke and Olympia Snowe‘s decision not to run again, and I felt the criticism this blogger put forth was just beyond the pale.  My blood pressurize. My chest pumped up as I readied myself to comment.  It was like a cerebral war dance.  I put on my plumage or is it war paint? Girded loins.  I honed my ginsu-sharp argumentative knives for this guy’s jugular and…

You get the point.  My wife came in during my heated exchange with the guy (we traded 4 messages on his blog) and she started laughing. I had been a jellyfish of despair, spinelessly apathetic an hour before.  And all of the sudden, I was sitting up straight, tapping away at my keyboard, having a back and forth with a guy who I don’t know but who I suspect is conservative and who I know from his bio is a lawyer who fancies himself an ethicist–the fancies-part is mine.  He calls himself an ethicist, though really, I’m not sure what that means.  If I call myself a unicorn, am I one?  Yes, unicorns and ethicists are equally fantastical labels, though to be fair to unicorns, I can define what makes a unicorn a unicorn whereas I cannot say the same for an ethicist.  Mind you, I studied philosophy in grad school.

But all of that is prelude to this: I pulled myself out of a depression by basically fucking with a stranger, and I’m a little ashamed.  That blogger has a right to blow hard–I do it all the time.  I don’t agree with the guy. But I don’t have to read him.  In a sense, I was being a dude in the worst sense of the word, bullying a bully.  Even as I write this blog, I am smiling thinking of how I challenged this guy who I’m willing to bet doesn’t get a lot of challenges–he actually has a warning on his blog telling would-be commenters that they should be aware: he is not one to mince words.  YAWN.  Look, the guy was annoying.  But my joy in poking this guy is a sign that I might have caught the annpyance bug myself.  I’m not above him.  I’m no better.

Then again, I was right and he was an idiot.  JESUS, I’m doing it again. Help me. Somebody. Please.

my brush with primal machismo…

In humor, life, observations on February 23, 2012 at 5:23 am

don't flirt with my pregnant wife or her 70+ year old mom...OR ELSE

OK, so I’m not what you’d call macho, I’ll admit it.  My wife laughs at me when I get angry.  But every once in a while, I have these moments when I am very much a guy.  Yesterday, I took my mother-in-law and wife on a small road trip up north.  My mother-in-law lives in South Florida and though she was born and raised with the ocean (she’s originally from Jamaica) she’s not seen rock formations like the ones we have up on the Sonoma coast.  I think she was really moved, and I was moved by her movement.

On our way home, feeling great, I decided to cap the day off with a short stop in Port Reyes Station, a cute village where every other store is an antique shop (antiques are another thing my mother-in-law likes.)  In the town, there also happens to be a nice bakery that I’d heard of. (Besides rocks and old things, my mother-in-law has grown especially fond of sweets of late.)  The bakery was small and there was a long line, so I decided to wait outside. But even down the street, I could hear this dude talking up a young lady inside. I didn’t see him talk her up, but I have heard enough lines to know a pick-up in process. The guy was shameless. “You’re from Melbourne? Really? What’s it like there? I have a friend who lives in Australia, but he lives in Melbun.  Oh, it’s the same town? Melbourne is called Melbun in Australia, really? That’s so cool.”

The guy, as I would find out later, was a park ranger. I’m sure that helped his sense of confidence.  This small village was his stomping grounds, his village to be a fool in.

Because of the line (the actual line, not the ranger’s) my wife and her mother were taking a while, so I went off looking for a public bathroom and for reception for my phone. I found the bathroom but AT&T blows everywhere, and beautiful coastal villages are no exceptions. When I walked back to the bakery, I see the dude, Ranger Rick or whatever his name was, talking up my wife and her mother. I don’t know where the Australian woman went, but she had fled the scene, and now, the Mr. Shameless was hanging with my wife and mother-in-law, telling them some joke or something.

I’m not ridiculous.  I know he wasn’t really talking up my 70+ year old mother-in-law or my 7-month pregnant wife.  They are both beautiful women, but it would be hard to believe that even this letch was trying to woo them.  AND still, when I walked up on them, I am sure I pumped my chest and stared him down as if I were some kind of alpha-ape warding off an interloper.  I don’t even know where that came from. I mean I smiled. At least, I told myself to. But that’s just it. I had to actually tell myself to smile so as not to grunt or beat my chest or something.

This experience has made me glad that my first child is going to be a boy.  I’ve always laughed at those overly protective fathers. I tend to think they’re kind of ridiculous. But I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’m one of those hard-ass fathers-in-the-making. God, I hope not. But how can you tell? How can you know what you’ll be at any given time until that given time comes when you turn out to be that person you otherwise laugh at. It’s scary, I tell you.

That said, it’s nowhere near as scary as my pumped chest.  Did I mention that Ranger Rick slinked off after I gave him the look?  That’s right, I’m bad.  That’s right.

The Monster Inside Me

In humor, life, observations, Uncategorized, writing on December 16, 2011 at 5:17 am

It’s happened more than once lately. I’m sleeping and off in the distance, I hear something. It’s not me. It can’t be. It’s just too horrible. So, being human, I do the same thing we have done forever as a species when faced with the incomprehensible: I have tried to come up with stories, reasons and causes, to help me make sense of the frightening thing that’s making the racket in my room. One time, I heard this pinging sound and I imagined that the plumbing in my Edwardian flat was going bad and that soon, a flood of sewage would be washing my wife and I away. Another time, I imagined that the low, vast murmur off in the distance was some kind of beast, like a giant toad, bellowing its war cry just as it was about to attack. Most recently, I imagined that the percussive beat that was engulfing the room was coming from some traveling German rave scene that had chosen to camp out right next to my bed. I can still see the giant Gunther-looking dude DJ’ing and his head bobbing aggressively to Kraftwerk. (If you’ve ever heard the song, Autobahn, then you know that this is the most frightening images of all.)

The sounds, of course, were not caused by any of these things.  As much as I don’t want to admit it, the sounds were all in my head–literally. I am snoring. My wife has said this for some time, but I wouldn’t accept it. She had to be wrong. I just don’t do that. Why I react this way to the idea of snoring probably has to do with the fact that for me, snoring is just such the cliche of the old, bald, cranky man. I don’t see myself that way. Bald and cranky, I’ll cop to that. Maybe I’m even a little proud of those qualities, but old? Me? I think the traveling techno party in my room or the giant toad makes a lot more sense. At least I did until recently.

Now that I’m actually hearing it myself, actually hearing all that volume in my sleep, what can I say? Guilty as charged. (And guilty is the right word because every time it happens, every time I catch myself, I sit straight up and look around to see who’s noticed what I’ve done, which basically means, I look to see if my wife is looking at me with a little smile, as if to say, Yes, dearest, that giant alien-vacuum cleaner you’re imagining–that’s no alien appliance. That’s you. I’d love to film my reaction. She never is awake. She’s used to me snoring, I guess. I know this, but still, I seem to forget every time I go to sleep.

I know I must look nuts jumping out of bed, attempting a furtive glance as the reality settles in on me: I’m just getting older. In one more way, I am becoming my father.

Kim Kardashian, are you a real person or a TV personality?

In media, observations, Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 9:36 am

My wife is, and I know this will sound biased, but still, she is one of those quietly impressive people you meet from time to time. She’s smart and she doesn’t feel any great need to remind you of it. But talk to her for any amount of time, and then, suddenly, you get it. She’s brilliant. I’m not being overly modest when I repeat the words of an ex-professor of mine who at a party once told her, “dear, I’m so glad he has you to help him in life. He needs someone smart.” My prof was joking (I hope), but I am thankful that my wife is around. She is smart and I am not always the same.

This disparity in intelligence is why my wife can indulge in certain little guilty pleasures whereas I write blog entries about my “theories”. The guilty pleasure in question is my wife’s love of gossip magazines. She’s not only into the highbrow (relatively so) People, she also loves her some Enquirer and Star and InTouch. My wife treats these the way most sane people do. She laughs at the starlets and the good looking guys and the silly things they say and do.

I, on the other hand, will flip through a copy and I’ll look at all the pics, and I’ll read some little factoid about some star and get all Socratic: why do we all care? Why? Why? I scream at our cat. I know I can’t answer the question (my cat knows it, too). It’s a question for the ages, but I can’t just accept that. A life not examined, etc. etc. Even a picture not examined, I’d say.

All of this leads me to a question that I should ignore but am unable to. So here it is: Why/how does Kim Kardashian have the same look on her face in every picture? It never varies, especially the eyes. They give a tenderness out, but not really human tenderness. Think robot tenderness. Maybe you think I’m a fan, or that I am obsessed with Kim (who is referred to as a socialite and TV personality in most of the fine gossip publications my wife picks up). If you can believe me when I say this, I am not a fan, nor am I obsessed with her. What I am is more than a little troubled by Kim’s smile as I am the title of “TV personality.” I’ve never thought about the phrase before. I usually just assume it stands for someone we see on TV often who is not an actor. But looking at Kim’s pictures, I realized why I’m uncomfortable. What if, and I’m just putting this out there, what if “TV personality” denotes someone who has no personality when not on the screen. I think the only plausible explanation for Kim’s smile is that she doesn’t really exist. She is a figment of our collective TV imagination.

(I don’t think Kim’s the only one, btw. Paris Hilton, I put to you, is also a “TV personality,” but I’ll let you look her up on your own and write a blog posting.

Just in case you don’t believe me about Kim, let’s now go to the photos above. I give you these two photos taken at different times from a cross-selection of gossip sites. Look at the U-shaped smile and the soft expression in the eyes. Notice, they are the same–exactly the same. This kind of exactitude must be computer generated. It has to be. It’s too identical. Too practiced to be human. It says, “I’m cute. You think I’m cute. Everyone will think I’m cute. Human beings are frail-minded. Resistance is futile.” The message is relentless, like Hal in 2001. The computers are taking over. Beware!

Think about it, and I think you’ll see what I mean. My wife won’t agree with me, and she’s brilliant (like I said before). But maybe she’s wrong this time. Maybe this time, I’m going to help her.

Stranger things could happen. (Like computer-generated TV personalities taking over the world–just to name one)

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