Yearbook, Minus The Ugly Pictures: Bye Bye 2010

Today I told someone that my motto was now "2011: Better than 2010". I have been wishing everyone that 2011 be their best year yet, but maybe that's just setting the expectation too high? Normally I say I had a good year, but let's be honest, there were a lot of reasons 2010 kinda sucked, and not just because for half of it any time I turned the TV on, I was greeted by the Cabbage-Patch-Kid-as-grownup face of Snookie. Ugh. A quick recap:

What Was Junky About 2010:
*Many friends' loved ones passed away. More than any year year before. Realizing that maybe that's just what happens when you get older, and not liking it one bit; it was too much tragedy everywhere we turned. I was constantly being reminded of how short life is and that we are not owed time, and more importantly, I was being reminded that there is some pain I can't take away for people, and feeling helpless in that regard. The obsessive optimist in me tried to turn it into living it up a bit more and expressing my love for people -- especially those friends -- more often.

*My neighbor who reads my garbage decided NOT to move after all. As a result, daydreams of hot new straight (in my building you have to specify) neighbor moving in did not pan out.

*Realized I needed to part ways with some people in my life. Broke my own heart doing so. It was kinda like the heart version of what Aron Ralston had to do.

*Working myself sick. Literally. Realized I'm not invincible. Disappointment.

*Realizing I need to prioritize better in my life.

There's more, but that gives you the idea.

What I Loved in 2010:
*Traveled tons, as I had promised myself - I rang in the new year in Hong Kong and jetted to Indonesia that morning. Later in the year I did a road trip through Tuscany with hilarious girlfriends. Visited new cities including Houston and Atlanta. And in the fall I went on a Caribbean cruise (in theory). I am ending the year in Vegas, my home away from home.

*Watching my mom publish Sky of Red Poppies, her novel that she has been working on for 23 years. Throwing her book launch party. Watching this gorgeous novel be received by people all over the country who responded to and have supported it beyond my wildest dreams.

*Spending time with friends who make me laugh til it hurts. I'm not naming names, they know who they are.

*Working on my bucket list and my travel list.

*Knocking "Learn to sail" off said bucket list.

*Helping promote Real Medicine Foundation's work around the world and specifically in Haiti. Feeling for once that I wasn't just watching a world disaster, I was doing something to help.

*Reading my face off. A smashing year for Celebrity Trash Bio Book Club, for one thing, by far the best-attended book club in history. Reading The Hunger Games, the first book to completely suck me in in a while; made me gasp out loud and talk back to the book, etc. Recommending it to friends who don't have time to read but made time to, and then loved it too.

*Got way stronger. Can almost do the splits. (It's the little things.)

*Out of town visitors. Old friends, including my old roomie and one of my best friends from high school, came through San Diego. Whoever said old friends are the best friends had it right.

*Seeing an issue that had been plaguing my sister come to an end. Seeing how empowered her art makes her.

*Cooking tons more. Feel so comfy in the kitchen these days. Not ashamed to wear onion goggles in front of other people.

*Seeing so many friends become wonderful new moms. Getting to know my friends' kids. Whispering in their ears that they should come back to me in 18 years for the real dirt.

Favorite moments in 2010:
*Lying in the sun at the resort in Kuta, Indonesia the first week of 2010. Specifically, the part where, in the blazing sun, I carried on a debate with my travel partners over whether the European guy lying on the chair next to us was a member of a-ha. Letting myself think it was.

*Looking around and realizing I was the only woman in conference room on the Exec team and realizing that it took me about two years to even notice.

*The moment when I decided to officially burn my boats.

*Any and all of my hikes with friends at Torrey Pines or walks in PB along the boardwalk with JG, recapping our weeks and strategizing fun and mayhem for days to come.

*Lying in the sun on my pool deck reading the day after I got back from the cruise from hell. Realizing that I pretty much live a vacation life and perhaps I should never leave again.

*Having one of my best friends (my freshman year, rooming-blind roommate from U of M) move across the street in San Diego.

*Jessica's birthday weekend, which gave us occasion to round up a few college girlfriends who and hit a newer club in town. Realizing through said escapade that as much as everything changes, nothing does. (hazing with drinks, giggling about boys, and stories that will be retold for years) Shortly thereafter, describing my life to someone as "just like college, but with more disposable income", perhaps one of the best highlights of my year, that quote.

*Going to Faith No More with my brother. Feeling like he's not my baby brother but a really freakin fun friend. Seeing FNM sing Reunited and Easy live. Loving them as much as I did when I was 16, and not feeling a day older.

*Christmas dinner, sitting around my parents' dining table listening to my parents and their friends tell endless stories about their fathers' bad driving back in Iran. Laughing til we were all crying.

Resolutions 2011 (a work in progress):
*make it to Nashvegas

*listen to jazz in a New Orleans jazz bar

*read War and Peace, to prove it isn't just a doorstop in my house

*take up guitar again

*plan a trip to central or south america. go.

*sleep on the beach (once, not regularly)

*take up yoga again

*cook the perfect steak

*learn more about the history of classical music

*give more unexpected gifts

*learn how to conjugate Spanish beyond present tense

*read Acide Sulfurique (in French)

*learn how to make one of my mom's best dishes from her (fesenjoon?)

*blog more

I Saw 127 Hours & Read The Hunger Games... and Now I Know I'm a Wimp

My new rule is that the less I know about or anticipate a movie, the more likely I am to enjoy it. The opposite is definitely true; the movies you wait forever to see (see also: Sex and the City 2) pin you to your theater chair in absolute despair as the admission price and sheer will keep you from getting up and salvaging the rest of your day.

The other night I was meeting up with with old friends and we wanted to catch a movie. The thing is, much as we're friends, we've never gone to a movie together. So what would we see? I suggested a movie I had heard good things about and thought at least one of the other two was likely to like- 127 Hours starring James Franco. The description you hear on that one is "the movie about the hiker who cut off his arm", which is not much of a pitch/movie trailer. But, per my new rule, that made it a more likely selection for me. And let's be honest, James Franco on screen for 90 minutes? It could have been a freakin screensaver (which coincidentally is Susie's assessment of Lawrence of Arabia) and I would be in.

I was interested to see how the director would make this story of Aron Ralston's struggle between a rock and a hard place (literally) something the rest of us would want to watch. Would it be Cast Away: Part Deux, with less Wilson, more Clif Bar? The idea of a 90 minute monologue worried me, but again, relying on James Franco's beauty and ability to make even the smallest role interesting, off we went.

As it turns out, 127 Hours is creatively done, telling the story through gorgeous cinematography, flashbacks, and intriguing fantasy interludes. It flew by, and there was a good soundtrack to boot. A few hours (his time) into the ordeal, my mind started to wander. What if that had been me?

As the movie went on, I was more and more impressed with Ralston's resourcefulness. Is that learned, or is it something that comes to you in a moment of crisis? Setting up a pulley to create suspensions so he could dangle and sleep, for example. I never would have done it. So, that begs the question: what would I have done?

Well, I would have probably started by feeling really bad for myself. Then I would have thought about who I could possibly blame for the predicament I was in. In the movie he seemed to go right to self-blame, which I'm sure I'd eventually circle to, but then you're cutting out the fun part of pinning your troubles on someone who isn't there to defend themselves. I would have probably yelled until I was hoarse. And then I would have probably died of a heart attack because I have incurable fear of the dark and particularly the intersection of animals and the dark. Also, I don't do cold.

These same questions came to the surface when I read The Hunger Games trilogy recently. Long story short, a group of kids 12-18 are put in a biodome to fight to the death, with only one surviving. My strategy in the Games was clear to me, because I worked it out as I turned the pages of the books. While everyone duked it out, I would have grabbed provisions and run for the hills. So, even as a thirtysomething, I am aware that I basically would have played a very hopeful game of Hide and Go Seek with my life on the line.

Although, who knows, maybe I would surprise myself in a similar situation to the one in 127 Hours. Maybe I could be like one of those women who lifts a car off her child, surprised by her strength. It would be ideal to be one of those people who has incredible survival skills (MacGyver), since I'm in awe of them, but I'm probably not *like* them at my core. Partially because I'm lazy and partially because I'm curious about what comes next and I believe in fate, so if I got such a cue that it was time for my exit I'm not sure I'd *know* to fight for survival. I could actually die of just being too dumb to realize I didn't have to. I probably would have misread the cue of the falling rock as "the end" rather than "there's a way out". This is an aspect of myself that perhaps I should work on now ;)

I'm trying to write this without spoilers, because I really do want anyone who sees this to take the time to watch it. There aren't very many movies that make you think or make you feel good or inspire you these days, so I don't want to ruin anything. But, generally speaking, what was amazing was that not only did Ralston find creative ways to keep his cool (he was very aware that if he lost it it was bad news), but he stayed positive and realized what he was meant to learn from the experience. Somehow that felt more than inspiring, it felt miraculous. And the benefit of seeing the movie was to experience, on some level, his predicament, and learn lessons through his experience *without* having to go through it yourself. I'm always grateful for those stories... Although it did make my Torrey Pines hike the next morning a bit tense.

When we left, Tina noted that she had felt too guilty to drink her bottle of water during the movie. Same here. The good news is that my new ability to forgo water made me feel a step closer to those survival instincts I was craving just a paragraph ago.

Solidarity and inspiration, not bad for a Friday night.

Knock Knock.

Last night I opened my work email to a little visit from an old friend. And by "friend" I mean "guy who broke my heart". I won't go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that this person knew they should not be writing me. In fact, he tried before. And guess what he got? Um, not a response. That was six years ago. You say "grudge", I say "consistent".

The fact that he's married with child (children?) should be enough to keep him from saying hello, don't you think? Or maybe not. Boundaries are apparently subjective, as I've learned in this life. The last time he wrote he threw in that maybe someday I could agent his book. You know, because the allure of that would be SO much that I would jump at the chance. Emmmm thanks but no thanks.

I guess that's what happens in the electronic age. First, people can find anything they want about you on the internet (including the semi-flattering pictures you post, aware that this sort of thing could happen). And then they can *act* on it. They can make you their screensaver, they can track your contact information, they can bypass your personal email (where you deleted them) and show up in your work inbox at 10pm on a Monday night (yet another reminder that shame on she who checks work email before going to bed).

No one knocks on email. Don't you wish they did?

Friend Poaching: The Social Crime of Friend Theft

Recently I was presented with two cases of severe friend poaching by friends suffering, as many of us have, at the hands of people who don't seem to check their rearview social mirrors when making their moves.

You've probably done it and don't even realize it. The time you spend not hanging out with a friend who was recently snatched from under your nose is a good opportunity to reflect on your past behavior in a new light. Watching my friends go through this recently has brought to mind my own experiences with this, as a poacher, a poachee, and of course the third-party victim of this sneaky art.

It seems there's some question as to the etiquette of befriending other people's friends, and over the course of the past few years I've re-examined what I think the Friend Poaching Bylaws should be. And we need Friending Bylaws because, let's be honest, the internet has put our social graces in the pooper. Society probably didn't need Bylaws before because people interacted in person in the past; now, the use of phone/Facebook/email has made it easier to sidle up to a new person instantly rather than earning that company through time and effort. It gives you access, after a quick Google stalking or similar, to someone who you wouldn't have seen back in the day until another event, where the Original Friend would be on watch.

As for the recent Cases of Friend Poachery that I heard about:
Situation A: The person had introduced a friend to their larger circle of friends a couple of times. That second person then planned an event to which all of Friend #1's social circle were invited. It was essentially a luncheon composed of people you might expect at, say, Friend #1's surprise birthday party... But it wasn't.

Situation B: This one was a double-whammy because, not only were friends poached, but ethics of female loyalty were crossed. A best friend was poached by another close girlfriend, who then proceeded to set up said new friend with castaways that the Hub Friend hadn't worked as setups. Ouch.

Now, as anyone who has ever come to any event I've thrown can tell, I LOVE mixing my friends. I do it all the time; which is why my college friends know my grad school friends, know my family friends, know my random friends. It's just what I do, almost a game in my head to figure out how I can connect people and who might enjoy each other's company. But there are ethics to befriending the friends of your loved ones. And here they are. Print it out and keep it handy.

1. Before poaching, ascertain status
Thou shalt not poach new friends, exes, or people your friend is currently on the skids with (romantically or socially). We have all watched many seasons of Beverly Hills 90210, and accordingly, we know these rules forward and backwards, so I won't go into them.

2. Ease into it
What is the hurry?

These days I will go to a party and come home to a 2am Facebook add. Is that really necessary? When you're befriending someone through an existing friend, determine whether you need to become instant best friends with that person. Because those are the most egregious poachings.

Connectors (aka. Hub Friends) are connectors because on some level, they *like* introducing people. Their ultimate intent (I say this as a Hub Friend) is for everyone to get along. No one is saying don't go to dinner or a movie or hang out with a new friend. But when it happens quickly or when it's done in a shady manner (which I'm not defining, because the short rule is if you have to ask, it's probably shady) is when it's a no-no. By cutting out Hubbers, it removes the fun for them, and then we'll have less of them. And God knows we already have enough selfish people.

Connectors want to build and expand the network, not create grounds for a disassociated rebel camp elsewhere, which is often what happens. To properly poach/acquire a new friend, it is helpful to retain respect for the original friendship, because no matter at what point you join in, by definition you can never have the history the others have.

The goal is to grow your social network, not steal it.

3. Exemption: friends in close geographic proximity to one another.
When a friend moves to a new town, I will often try to introduce them to locals. Logic dictates that those people might become close or that they will hang out more than the distanced friend is able to. My first group of San Diego friends (the ones who set me up blogging, actually) is based on friend poaching, something I constantly acknowledge and thank Hub Friend Amit for.

4. If you poach friends, there are consequences.
There always are. And you have to know this, because when you befriend someone else's friend, a quick calculation can be done in your head to figure out if it's worth it. It's cost-benefit analysis, with people on the scales.

There are people I would have loved to get to know, but out of respect for the friend who introduced us, I keep a distance until I get the signal that they're cool with it- or I ask. If an assessment of other people's feelings doesn't come naturally to you, err on the side of caution. Wait it out. You do not want to be the leader of a rebel camp, nor do you want your life story to read like cheesy US Magazine tabloid fodder.

In the cases where I have poached too quickly (Rule #2, above), the Hub Friend became more distant. Likewise, when my friendship grounds are poached upon, I tend to lose interest in both of the people involved, whether it's to a degree, or completely.

Now, this morning a friend mentioned a poaching situation in which a friend started dating a sibling... Being a romantic, I think some of these rules go out the window for love. But the distance is gonna happen and you better be prepared for it.

We all get excited about new people; the crime (and consequences) appear to come in two forms:
1) becoming so excited that you neglect your original friendship
2) moving in so closely/intensely that you railroad the Hub Friend (aka. The 7th Grade Popularity Contest poach maneuver)

I could write a book on this, but I have Facebook friend adds to attend to.

A Final Note
Most legislation has notes at the bottom, where Congress or whoever talks about the reasoning or the way the laws should be interpreted. For the avoidance of doubt, Friend Poaching isn't the same thing as "Befriending". You befriend a new person with time, shared effort, and generally some level of inclusion of the person who introduced you. If you notice yourself cutting someone out of the loop, chances are you are friend poaching. If you mumble the Poachee's name in conversation with the person who introduced you, chances are you're friend stealing. Maybe you're doing so because you're retaliating ("Poaching Warfare"), or maybe you're doing it because you don't think they'd be interested in whatever you are proposing to do with your shiny new friend. As always, err on the side of caution. Maybe Sid doesn't want to go get a pedicure with you and Nancy, but it's nice to ask.

Most of us have down pat the social etiquette of not moving in romantically on other people's crushes, exes and such. We don't think twice about the fact that it's wrong. The Anti-Friend Poaching concept is the corollary of that.

In closing, be nice to your friends, and enjoy their friends... But don't poach them, for the only things that should be poached are eggs. Because they are mm mm good.

La Jolla Holiday

"I hate this nightgown. I hate all my nightgowns... and I hate all my underwear too!!!"

So last night I finally saw Roman Holiday . My friend got us tickets to see "Flicks on the Bricks" at the Atheneum; they sit you outside, this particular night with a Bellini in hand, and you get to watch classic movies thrown up on a big white wall out in the summer air.

I loved the movie, to pieces. The script was impeccable, the acting was fabulous, and Gregory Peck was oh so easy on the eyes. Which brings me to the evergreen question : Why do movies suck these days? Dinner With Schmucks, I'm talking to you.

The movie is awesome for a number of reasons:
1) Audrey Hepburn's impulsive haircut. This moment rings in the hearts of women worldwide, I assure you.

2) The script was impeccable.
Princess Ann: I've never been alone with a man before, even with my dress on... With my dress off, it's MOST unusual.

3) You can take a moment to envision what it would be like to be royalty. I can't be the only person who sat there imagining if I could get away with telling my friends things like "You may be seated." I'm halfway there though, I leave the house without my wallet all the time.

4) Classic men.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, but classic leading men are something else. I was raised on the likes of Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant. I would love to be a fly on the wall when any of them were sent the Twilight script. Mad Men is trying to bring back the classic leading man, but they still have to make him a little bit scuzzy to compete with Jersey Shore and other fine television fare. So as for revising the classic man, it just can't be done.

On a related note, let's be clear, we're being misled on some of this movie: I just got back from Rome in June and I didn't meet anyone looking even vaguely like Gregory Peck. I didn't even see anyone who looked like that if I drank fast and squinted my eyes. Looks aside, the charm was lacking too - the closest I've come in Italy was meeting some googly-eyed Italian guys who told me I looked like a famous actress... then clarified for me that they meant "the comedian! Whoopi Goldberg!"

For those of you who don't know me, I'm not black. Also, I have eyebrows.

As for last night, I left with a mixed feeling of happiness (because I'd had such a fun night) and complete dread (at the cultural wasteland that surrounds me). But to be fair, I realize that I play a part in this machine, refreshing my "US Weekly Blog" screen as regularly as I do.

Escaping is nice. I'm sure you got the same takeaway I did - May we all pass out on a bench in a strange city and hope for the best!

Ole ole ole ole!

There's nothing I love more than the sound of vuvuzelas in the morning.

Unfortunately, tomorrow will be the last time I hear them for a long time. Partially because World Cup is about to end and partially because I will be really, really surprised if FIFA does another WC in Africa in my lifetime. The good news is I think the vuvuzela market had a boom this year, so for all you shareholders, you should be making some serious dolla dolla bills y'all. I personally didn't mind them at all; I think it made everything more festive. I even had one blown in my ear at a Spanish bar one fine morning. I wouldn't mind getting my own so that if someone pissed me off I could just pull out my vuvuzela and blow. I may do it.

It seems like just yesterday I was excitedly filling out my brackets for this event. I filled out two; one allowed me to select how it would all go down from start to finish; you had to fill every single bracket for the entire tournament (on The other (Yahoo) drew out the pain, having you pick winners for each individual match. Now, there has to be some sort of award for the fact that I came in at the bottom of both pools I was in; and my selections, if you really lined them up next to each other, weren't even consistent. I felt like this accomplishment on my part was actually impressive. Unfortunately my poolmates don't seem to agree.

It's just been that kinda World Cup. Here we are, two European teams going into the final, Brazil nowhere to be seen, Argentina nowhere to be seen, the French and the Italians out after round one? Sacre Bleu! The Americans placing above the English? It's like Bizarro World Cup.

A few takeaways:

1) World Cup teaches everyone a little geography.
You know how many times I heard about Ghana over the past decade? Exactly.

2) World Cup solves world problems.
No one has been able to explain to me what language the referees and players speak together. During an Argentina-Germany game, for example, when the ref comes up and confers with disputing players, what the hell are they speaking? No one knows. But they need to find out, because then everyone else can use it and stop bitching about not understanding each other.

3) The First Law of soccer: the team with the better celebration dance will win. I think the African teams had more potential and that's why I was sure (as demonstrated by the aforementioned brackets) that they would progress; but they were so nervous in the group rounds that they didn't demonstrate a la Roger Milla. They forgot to do it! I sincerely believe this is half the problem. For this reason I believe it's safe to say the Spanish will win based on this video alone. Because, let's be honest, it doesn't get worse.

4) I wasn't going to post about dating in this one, but I'll just make a little note from present me to future me: don't date guys who are psycho about their sports. Future me, I know you're gonna be attracted to a guy who knows more about soccer than you do; you want a guy who gets up to watch the games and stops his day to see what's going on, a guy who is obsessive about it. During World Cup season you are prone to fall for such a guy, but trust present you: it's a bad idea.

Two guys I know absolutely lost it during World Cup. One became drunk sports guy (which is such a sad and pathetic thing to become if you're not, well, one of the players). The other became depressed sports guy (which is sad when, again, you don't play for the team you're upset lost, and oh yeah, you're not from their country either). He seriously became the Droopy of the sports world. This guy actually told me after his team lost that this was the end of the road for him; he couldn't "bring himself to watch any more games, or to even hear about them at all." Did I mention this was the first week of the tournament?

I'm not really sure why I get so consumed by soccer. I love it, but I wouldn't throw myself off a bridge for it, you know? So why this love. Well, part of it is that I love to soak in the internationalism of it. My first match was Norway vs. US Women's soccer when I was about 16 years old. Then when I was 21 I went to World Cup in Lyons, France and saw Iran play the US. A group of American men were running around playing bongos and carrying a "Great Satan" banner, and by the end of the night we were all dancing together (even though Iran had won). There was a good spirit to it that I had never experienced before, and it stuck with me. Yeah, sadly, it took me an international soccer tournament to resolve my biculturalism. What of it? ;)

I love the way World Cup takes over my life. In the summer 2002 I could be quoted as saying "the Bar exam happens 2 times a year; World Cup only happens once every four years!" to justify getting up at crazy hours to catch the games instead of studying my civil procedure outlines. I like to think I have clear priorities.

I love the excitement, the games to look forward to, reading up on them, friendly wagers with friends on them. I want to be that into sports year round, but try as I might, I can't get absorbed the same way by my other options. I gave football a shake, but it didn't take. After attending college football games with season tickets (for 4 years, I migth add) one day I asked why I couldn't see my friend on the field; someone else said he was off, that offense was playing. And I said "No no! He was just there... hold on, I'll find him." Then the people in the room explained to me... in small syllables... that offense & defense aren't on the field at the same time (keep reading when you've picked yourself up off the floor).

World Cup really does take over my life. I'm not ashamed to admit (well, mostly because my colleagues don't read this) that this year, in my thirties, I rescheduled conference calls in order to watch games. I started wearing a knuckle ring (like my hero) and reminding people that I'm half serious about naming my firstborn Maradona. I had in depth conversations about how much Ghanaian player Prince's neck tattoo would have hurt to get. And I waxed nostalgic about the bald ref who used to ref World Cup, and how I missed him.

Basically I become "that guy"; but I'm a girl.

But there were upsides too; at a recent meeting with an older team of male executives and colleagues, I was able to participate in the conversation. Usually the one to sit there and smile, I was able to steer conversation and drop points (sure, some of them shamelessly pillaged from the previous night's ESPN broadcast, but whatever, you all do it too!)

And, in what was perhaps my crowning achievement of the past month, I was able to spin game enthusiasm into a series of bets with a coworker that ultimately ended with me earning a week's control of his Facebook profile. Whether or not you are the gambling type, I assure you this was one of the most rewarding things I have ever won.

At first I thought, hey, it's work, I'll be professional and just post about soccer. But it was like the freaking Stanford Experiments; I became evil; I couldn't do anything but carry out the evil intent of posting worse and worse things. I would send him posts which he had to then turn around and immediately post to Facebook as his status -- no explanation given. It might help to know this guy is slightly older than me, an accomplished and well-networked executive, and that several of his former employees are on his FB page.

It began with posts about how he couldn't wait to see Germany play Argentina, he loves soccer "almost as much as I lOvE MiLeY!!!!"; and his joy at the new Twilight film ("On my way to see Eclipse for the third time...they should have frequent viewers cards for Twilight fans...Team Edward!") Then "he" posted "Can't wait to see Spain play on Sunday. I love burritos and tequila! Yay!"

Then he posted a rave review of the new Justin Bieber album "My World: sweet gym tunes!!!". Most recently I had him describing details of the new Sex and the City 2 movie that no straight man would know or give a damn about ("Sex and the City 2 was overrated. and um WHAT was Carrie wearing on her head at Stanford's wedding?!?"). I almost threw up laughing when I read a coworker's response "M, did you take a purse too? To put your balls in?"

He was a good sport about it, but the personal stakes I was able to add onto each match just made it that much more delicious to watch. I'm telling you, by the end of this month I'd become a complete soccer monster, chattering on about it and spouting trivia like a crackhead at any given opportunity. My sister banned discussion of soccer at the family dinner table. I am sincerely worried that by Monday morning I'll look like that heroin withdrawal scene from The Basketball Diaries.

So I realize this is it; soccer is my sport. Until kickball becomes the international phenomenon I keep hoping for, I will just have to hold my breath and try other hobbies and interests outside the sports realm. As you may realize by now, I always find something new to entertain me; so we'll just have to see what it is.

A Tale of Two Italians

I slump over and sigh when I think of the idea of typing up my recent dating adventures, it's true. But I continue to remind myself that my (mis)adventures are to someone's great, great entertainment in the cyberworld. Without further ado I'll entertain you with my latest and greatest.

Date #1 (Wednesday) was with a guy who sounded promising on paper- a mix of my people and Italians (I figure when you add Italian genes to anything it can only be good!).

When I first got matched with him I almost deleted just on the basis of his name, which is an old man name, the equivalent of "Stanley" or "Melvin" or "Milton". Our emails were brief and text banter was funny, example: I had texted that he was "confirmed" for Wednesday night and he responded with a confirmation code.

So, fast forward to the date. Upon walking in, it was immediately clear to me that he was slightly cuter than his pics, more... "petite" somehow than he had appeared in two dimensions. Luckily I knew that lots of guys lie about their height in general, so I didn't wear my big clonker platforms and went with more conservative heels. But that always throws me off. Once a guy said he was something like 5'6 and I wore my clunkers and I spent all afternoon looking at the top of his head while we walked through the museum. I'm not saying don't be short, I'm just saying 1) give me a heads up and 2) I'd have to really, really like you to put my future kids through that genetic sandtrap.

I will now share with you the pro/con list I have made for the entertainment of my friends about said date.

*self-motivated, successful, friendly
*thoughtful (suggested we meet for Chicago style pizza when he heard I was from there)
*multicultured (half Persian, half Italian)
*likes to travel (!)
*polite (!!)

*bottom braces. Ironically, these were not the problem (I realize beggars can't be choosers) until at the end of the meal, when he announced "I have bottom braces, so sorry if there's a garage sale in them". (gagging as i type)

*said Chicago pizzeria was chosen because it's across the street from his house. he has a tab there

*when i commented on his unusual bicultural background and said there must be a fun story to his parents' meeting, he answered that his mom had died when he was 9 and so he didn't know. Um, there are a LOT of reasons you don't have to know, but tossing that out as your reply 40 min into the date is just awkward. Naturally I tried to steer the conversation to something less probing. Silly me. I asked if he had siblings (which, can we agree, is a VERY fair first date question) and he said "I was afraid you were going to ask that..."

Talk about down on his luck: "my sister died too. Of an overdose..." I know right now you're thinking I'm a monster, the Barbara Walters of the dating world, cornering her innocent interviewee until they burst into tears. But rest assured that promptly the phrase "In a lot of ways it was was a relief" was used in reference to said sibling passing. Also said: "When someone dies, you just go 'Ok, they're dead, moving on." Um. Someone call Dr. Phil.

CONs, continued:
*repeatedly commented on the fact that I was his first eH date. fine. but standing on the streetcorner repeatedly saying "YOU POPPED MY EHARMONY CHERRY! POP!" is not ok.

*recent travel = Dubai. Which was fine until I asked him what he liked about it and he said "The women were really pretty, with just their eyes showing. It was cool" When i pointed out that it probably wasn't fun for the women and that, as a women, wearing a burka might be, I dunno, disturbing, he was genuinely surprised, and sat back taking in my counterpoint. UM YEAH.

*politesse involved insisting he walk me to my car and repeatedly saying "Don't worry, i won't try to suck face with you". Did i mention he was 36?

Saturday I tried to bounce back with Date #2. Now, Patti, the Millionaire Matchmaker, is quick to warn that coffee dates aren't dates - "they're auditions". But I thought it was fine; the guy was native Italian, so maybe that's just how Italians roll! When with Romans, etc., right?

My date showed up and looked much like his photos, albeit something inside me kept saying "Jay Leno, Jay Leno" to me, which I wasn't happy about. He smiled a lot and had very pretty eyes, and I'd like to send a shout out to the waitress (thanks a lot tramp!) who stopped by our table to lean over and compliment him on them. We got into a talk about art licensing and he asked how I knew so much about it/how I got into licensing and of course found out I was a lawyer, at which point I felt interest wane a little, but realize that may just be my sensitivity to the fact that how attracted a guy is to me is inversely proportionate to how much he knows about my education.

He was very friendly but after a while I noticed he was not into asking me about myself AT ALL. We talked about his art hobby and his job for the most part. If you quizzed Mr. #2 about me, I think he could tell you that I like sitting in the chair facing the sun and that I have black hair.

That said, I like learning about people and I was interested to hear what he had to say. He did ask me about my sister's art. Like, a lot. The optimist in me says "this is a guy who is family oriented!" the realist in me says "this is a guy who wants suggestions on how to sell his art successfully!"

So the truth is I didn't meet my future husband tonight, but look Ma, I'm trying! And about Date #2 I'll leave with these parting words of wisdom: "Hint: heterosexual male looking to make positive impression on female hereby advised against Cirque du Soleil tee shirt"

Accept No Substitutes!

Slightly disheartened that I came across today. A website with MY blog name!

I think I just understood for the first time what my darling artist sister experiences pretty much every hour of the day with major companies publishing work that looks alarmingly (to me) like her unique, stylized art. You think you're carving a space for yourself being creative, but people are always on your heels. I'm not creative very often, so it's not something I usually deal with. It happens sometimes with fashion. I dress so weird that when someone dresses like me it stands out (see also: Skirt-over-pants, 1997).

I'd probably write him a Passive/Aggressive Lilly Letter(R), but he's an aspiring writer, and God knows it's the one population I have a weak spot for, so I'll let him be.

The good news is whoever bought the website eventual succumbed to the self-titled issue; he just wrote a few posts, and then left. A quick skim of the website tells me he wrote fan letters to Carol Burnett (whereas I wrote them to Jason Priestly). Other than that, we aren't very similar, so don't be confused. Accept no substitutes! The Original! The one and only! Basically if you hit a website and it's not talking about the wilderness of dating, the misbehavior of other people, or useless pop culture, you have been FAKEROLLED!

Getting the website and abandoning it? The horror. It's like salt in the wound.

It's one thing to take my cute little handle, another to not even do it justice! LE SIIIIIIIIGH.

Ok, I feel better now.

Just Because It's Pink Don't Make It a Valentine

I loved the movie Up in the Air. I didn't like the ending, but I loved the writing. And the corporate culture of firing is something I have never ("Tanks God!") been privy to.

Now: a dating story.

It went like this- I met a guy online, and we set up a date. I didn't actually want to go on said date, because the guy seemed like a dud, BUT he had a picture of himself with a painting and a picture of himself in the role of a volunteer Big Brother, so I decided not to judge. We obviously know where not following my gut instinct has taken me before, but OH WELL...

So anyhow, our phone conversation, when we finally connected, was such a dud that I rushed to set the date. He asked for a weekend date, so I gave him my happy hour Friday slot- it seemed like the right thing to do. Don't bank too much on him, don't give him a whole weekend night when I knew barely anything about him (except that he had stood in front of a painting in Dayton and that he passed some sort of volunteer screening test and children don't run screaming from him). I offered to let him pick the place and his suggestion was "Ok! How's Cozymel?"

Um, Cozymel is fine. In the same way El Torito is fine. In the same way ChiChis is fine. In the same way TGIFriday's is fine. As in, it's fine if you're 16, not so much if you're 40. Which he was. And we'll find out why he was 40 and single after the jump...

So anyhow, I show up for the date and to my surprise he's better looking than his pictures. Dude was apparently not photogenic and/or he had posted pictures from 10 years ago and had aged better. He looked good. The kind of all-American good where the waitress leaned in a lot when talking to him.

We started talking and while we had a lot to talk about, we had zero chemistry. We got along, but there was none of the playful banter one might hope for on a date. To be honest, at points I was afraid to make jokes, worried they might go a little over his head. He was a successful businessman and was obviously a sharp guy. I gasped audibly when he said he was a Republican, but was distracted by the fact that this conversation came up in the context of him revealing he'd been at the last Madonna concert. (Come on, people, you know my weaknesses).

Anyhow, it was going FINE. First dates are awkward, we all know that. But I knew things were going ok, because he had already mentioned that we should go downtown for our next date, etc etc. So I just went with it, figuring that there was enough interesting material there that I should stay open to date 2. Plus he had a nice smile, and I'm a sucker for a smile.

He asked a lot of questions, so I would answer. He asked about my background and what languages I spoke, so I told him. We found out we did the same MBA Marketing program. Then he asked me if I remember how tough the GMAT was. I'm not one to lie, so I told him "I don't know". He asked why and I confessed that I waived out of that requirement. He kept pressing - HOW did I waive out? I told him I was a lawyer.

At this point he sat back, and crossed his arms. I am not exaggerating, this was his actual physical reaction. And then he said -- in a voice that was none too approving -- "Well aren't YOU accomplished? A lawyer, an MBA, you speak 4 languages..." This was followed, in no short order, by him asking the waitress for the check.
Yikes. I felt like I was on a game show and I'd given the wrong answer! I even tried to backpedal and explain that I never tell people I'm a lawyer because I don't have that personality and people always assume this or that based on knowing it. But dude was checked OUT.

I received an email the next day. It read (AND I QUOTE)

"I'm glad I had the chance to meet you. While it was clear that you have many virtuous qualities, I am seeking intangibles that can only be assessed upon meeting in person... I wish you the best of luck with your search."

Seriously, he might as well have added "We will keep your resume on file..."

I was FIRED!

I wish I could say this was the first time I was dumped by someone who I wasn't dating, but sadly, it isn't. Maybe someone somewhere out there in cyberworld has insight into this phenomenon.

I wonder if he thought I'd tell people he's the owner of a prominent yoga studio in La Jolla and that I'd smear campaign him. But I'm not into smearing, lucky for him. Plus he didn't wrong me. I don't mind that we didn't click (and hellz yeah was I quick to reply that "I felt the same way!") BUT such a formal rejection note was a bit much for my taste. Presumptive, don't you think? I got pink slipped from a job I never applied for! The least they could have done was send George Clooney over to fire me, sheesh.

So here's the lesson: you can't judge a book by its cover, but you sure as hell can judge a guy by where he takes you on the first date! Buyer beware.

Pole Position

I know my last post was about tango, but I like to mix it up. God forbid I keep up that class act. In my last class my dance partner said to me "YOU ARE NOT THE PILOT!" I put it in caps because this little Argentinian was truly flustered by me. I can't blame him. I've realized that, while I love tango and intend to continue my lessons, I am not a born follower. I can follow if a guy reallllllly knows how to lead, and quite enjoy doing it (following) but some guys think a nudge here or there equals leading, and then I just find myself taking over. These guys I was dancing with were the dance equivalent of a limp handshake.

So this week I decided it was time to go partner dance with an inanimate object. Groupon sent us the option to buy 4 poledancing classes for a steal, and I forwarded it to a some girlfriends, the ones I had a sneaking suspicion would be interested. I meant it as a joke/dare more than anything, but then the first email response "I got mine! When are we going?" showed up in my inbox. Before I knew it, 5 of us were set up and we began class.

Now, I really tried not to judge. Sure, there were jokes being emailed back and forth about going to "Stripper High" and debating exactly what one should wear for this form of "fitness". But I was open minded about it.
The night of our debut class we eventually found our way to the studio, which was a small, one-room office backed up to a cheap Chinese restaurant, a car dealership, and Denny's. It wasn't promising, but again, trying not to judge. I also tried not to judge when the door opened and we walked in and the "office" was a card table. I mean, not even a $25 craigslist desk, a straight up card table. I thought, hey, maybe they're renovating! But let's just say the ambiance did little to make us feel that we weren't, well, strippers.

I filled out the Emergency Contact form and handed it over before realizing I had put my father as the point of contact. Um, oops.

We put on our high heels and workout clothes and lined up at the poles. I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that my shoes were 4 inch gold heels. When in Rome, people.

Before beginning, we were quickly instructed to clean the poles off. Now, sadly, I know this is what strippers actually have to do - I once cheered a depressed friend up by taking him to a strip club on a Monday night. Apparently Monday night is amateur night (that's a joke, but only slightly). In between dancers each girl would walk up with her bottle of Windex and paper towel. There's something to be said for ambiance, I'll say it again.

So there we were, wiping down the poles with rubbing alcohol. Which leads me to wonder, um, exactly *who* is taking these classes? I take all sorts of athletic and dance classes, but this is the first time I've been asked to formally disinfect the equipment (and nevermind that we were using the same 4 washcloths every other girl had used, so not really sure I see the point).

Class begins.

The instructor walks up, and isn't quite what I imagined she'd look like, but she had beautiful legs. The rest of her was busted street. Honestly, she might have been cute, but she refused to smile, so I will continue to call her Busted Street. I have to confess there was some discussion as to whether she was possibly pregnant. I say that not to judge her body type but because we were in actual amazement if she could flip upside down and in and around with a baby in there. But we decided (courtesy of 2 of my friends, doctors on hand) that she was just "not holding it in". She was wearing stripper shoes and offered us a good deal on a pair if we wanted them. Talk about putting the platform before the pole!

The first move we learned was "Sexy Walk". And here's what I have to say about that: if you have to call it Sexy Walk, chances are it ISN'T. There's nothing like watching yourself in a full length mirror, with dim lighting for an hour to realize how sexy you are or are not. Then we moved to swinging around the pole (easier than it looks). My friend later remarked to me that "I just spent an hour realizing how sexy I'm not. This was a beginner class?? I should be in remedial then."

I did alright, a few spins here, some smooth moves there. But I fully lost it when we got to floor moves. For 20 minutes we were basically recreating scenes from glam rock videos. ("Goddess pose!" she'd yell, without a drop of irony) I mean, we were a step short of going out to the parking lot and rolling around the sports cars at the dealership next door.

Our instructor was ornery, which of course just made me laugh more. We'd crack jokes, but she wasn't having it. She wanted us to pole dance like our lives depended on it. Unfortunately just a peek to my left would reveal my friend (a doctor by day) swinging around the pole hollering "I wanna be a stripppppppppeeeeeeer! I wanna beeeeeee a strippeeeeeeer!" like a kid who'd been let loose after eating a Costco size bag of sugar. The instructor didn't laugh. Apparently there is a line between pole fitness and stripping. Who knew?

Toward the end, our instructor proudly informed us that she'd be competing in a reality show. "Just like American Idol!" Um, but *not*?! Reality tv at its best, I'm sure. Oh so sorry I missed it.

So the good news is that pole dancing is really fun. The bad news is people who do this actually take themselves seriously. And now I might have to too.

It Takes Two.

So this year while blissfully flitting around the pool in Indonesia ("Resolution 1: Travel more") the first week of January, I worked on my New Year's Resolutions list. Most people make one, but I like to make a list, so I can cross a few off during the year and feel good about myself for the rest of it. Basically.

As I discussed with my girlfriends what my goals for 2010 would be, I announced "Learn to tango!" I realized, swimming around, complimentary tropical drink in hand, tempting sunstroke, that as soon as I returned, the tango class I had signed up for would begin. So I retroactively put "Learn to tango" on the resolutions list.

To be honest, I didn't have much of a sense of what tango would be like. It looks like a dramatic, passionate dance from what I've seen (which, granted, is 90% "Dancing With the Stars"). My reasons for taking it on weren't that I was inviting drama into my life (although passion, please note, you're welcome anytime). It was because although I have been a dancer my whole life, the forms of dance I have gravitated to were all individual or company dance. Nothing duetty. I did the normal suburban American kid dance classes (jazz, ballet, tap, oh my!) and when I was old enough to choose I went for hip hop. There was no hand holding and certainly no following anyone else's lead. I choreographed, I was the boss.

I decided that for 2010 I wanted to learn to let someone *else* handle the decisionmaking. In this way, tango was perfect for me. You get into your hold and then follow the male lead as they turn you this way or that, directing you with their torso and the slightest of gestures.

Now, I'm only about a month into the class, going once a week, but I have already learned so much. Yeah, of course I"ve learned the dance stuff- frame, balance, and my favorite new move, aka "clean your shoe on his leg" (yes, this is what they call that seductive footsie move when you are in a beginner class). Here's what I've learned -- so far.

1) Much like the Transformers, there's more than meets the eye. I'm taking my class at UCSD, so I expected a high percentage of nerdage. I'm not gonna say I was disappointed BUT I will tell you that the nerdy, sweet, unsuspecting guy could very well be the best dancer in class. And the macho looking men who you'd think would be the best dancers are (in my experience) just bossy dancers. Um, I'm paying the instructor, not you, so no need to tutor me Mr. He's Been in Class Two Weeks Longer Than Me. My dance partner the first week Li Ming, a quiet guy, led me with great posture and noted that "when we dance together it's like a ballet!" At first I laughed, but then I realized he was kinda right.

2) Everyone wants to be a professional tango dancer. Self-explanatory. There are a few people in the class who are there because they're intent on becoming professional tango dancers. Keep in mind we're taking what is basically a community class. I just thought that was notable. I mean, I've gone my whole life without meeting a single person whose aspirations involved professional tangoage, but now it's very de rigeur.

3) Tango dance students are the worst dressers. Possibly on the planet. I'm showing some restraint here, but let's just say that the first week's class involved a girl in a pair of hot pink cotton gaucho pants that looked like they were made for someone 7 feet tall. And I thought of forgiving them... until they caught wind and lifted to clogs.

4) My teacher came to class the first week in two different shoes. I don't mean she changed shoes the way Diana Ross, ahem, Beyonce, changes costumes at an award show. I mean she had one shoe on her left foot and a completely different one on her right.

5) The tango mirrors male-female relationships. I'd go into this more, but Gloria Steinem's on the other line, so I'm going to choose my words carefully and revisit this one.

6) Tango is the only place where men can wear shoes with a slight heel and look ok. Oh wait, no they don't. I'm sure you're a great dancer, tango-shod guy who I danced with the first week, but your footwear also makes me feel slightly like I'm dancing with another woman.

7) People's interest in tango is inversely proportional to their interest in brushing their teeth.

8) Tango people suck at math. NO they really do. I thought they were all science people, but now I'm sensing the liberal arts because whenever the teachers tell us to pair off there is mass confusion. I don't mean for a second, I mean there is confusion where the teachers have to stop class and line us up... in TWO LINES. You would never in a million years think you were dealing with a group of functioning, professional adults. Which is fine, because I'm always game for mild entertainment. It's like kickball-team-selection-mayhem all over again.

For many weeks there has been a serious man shortage. It's like WWII all over again (I imagine, not having lived through the era myself). However, with every week the deficit is being addressed, and in last week's class, we were only one guy short.

Time after time I found myself dancing alone (and by alone I mean not even my teacher would stay to pity dance with me before rushing off to check form). I figured that's no big deal for one dance, and that when the song changed to a new one, I'd rotate into a new partner, as per the format of the class. However, everyone would move around, partner up, and I was STILL DANCING ALONE. This happened for an hour straight. At one point I even walked up to a couple and said "Hate to break you guys up!" because everyone else was rotating and this was clearly a college couple not ready to part. So they looked down and then to the wall until I walked away.

Suffice it to say that for the rest of the night, I just tried to look very very busy while everyone stayed paired off.

I'm not even going to go to expand on the analogies for this one. Suffice it to say next week I'll be bringing a friend.

Why You Should Spend Your Time Wisely & Bonus Feature!: How To Spend Any Leftover Time.

Author's note: Like life, which has equal parts happy and sad, so will this blog post. Buyer beware!

It's been a tough week boys and girls. I wanted to start this post with a wisecrack, but I honestly don't have one. Do me a favor and take a moment and think of anyone in your life you feel you've neglected (well, the people who weren't asking for it). Call them. Write them. Spend time with them. That's what I'm taking away from this week, where two people I cared about passed away. Suddenly one day they're not there any more. It's that simple and that complex all at once.

One was an older gentleman who I grew up living next door to in the summers. A true thespian, booming voice and laugh, very grandfatherly and kind to me year after year, even when I shamed him for being a Notre Dame fan. I had just emailed him (on Facebook, of all things) a few weeks ago, but didn't hear back, and yesterday got the note from his daughter that he had passed. With age I suppose we come to understand that elderly people can't be here forever, as much as we wish they could.

But the kick in the face this week was when I realized how much I take for granted that the young ones will be around too. We really do think we're invincible. The second friend who passed this week was young... younger than me, actually. Strong, healthy, always smiling, sharp as anything. And absolutely devoted to my friend, his new wife, in the most genuine way. I can't get my mind around it, to tell you the truth. The words of that phone call are ringing in my head, and have been for almost a week now. Some part of me probably thinks if I say it enough or write it enough it will sink in. But it isn't.

So before you read anything further, before we return to our regularly scheduled program, make your calls, return the emails, do it all. I have a new rule: if someone comes into my mind, I'm going to make the time. I've been doing that for a few weeks now - if I have the impulse to contact someone, I just do it, to see where it takes me. So far this week my Impulse PeopleConnect Movement (tm) has brought me news of an elementary school friend who is now pregnant with twins as well as tales of how crappy my Sprint phone service is from a guy who has been trying to call me all week. (Direct quote from my friend/attorney: "We should sue Sprint for interfering with your love life with bad service! Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress!")


In other news, my sister and I went out to dinner with some girlfriends tonight and somehow the conversation turned to punishment. Actually, scratch the "somehow". It came up because our friend is a mediator and she had to mediate the case of a parent who couldn't find acceptable punishment for their kid (an abusive drug dealer). The parent refused to put the boy in his room because doing so "would be sensory deprivation." My sister replied: "Um, isn't that the POINT?!"

And so the conversation evolved to how we were punished as children. Susie and I were discussing our parent's default, which was that we had to go sit in the downstairs hallway bathroom, lights off, until it was time to come out and apologize for whatever that day's transgression was.

Pretty basic stuff, right?

But the conversation had the benefit of Susie's insanely good memory. Before I knew it, we were not discussing the punishments but rather the ambiance of said bathroom. The fact that it was mirrored on many sides, so you were locked in to face yourself (or rather the concept that yourself was reflected all around you, but you couldn't see this, because it was dark. And also because you were a borderline "small person" and probably couldn't see over the counter until you were a teen.)

We talked about the drawer and Susie listed the items from memory: bandaids, "one pencil". She apparently used to open the bandaids and try to close them again, but they'd never close quite right (this explains a lot because I vaguely recall going to get bandaids and wondering why they were half-peeled). She remembered the lacy brass garbage can and the metallic wallpaper.

So that's Susie's memory.

Do you know what mine is?...

It's of a CALCULATOR. My one memory in that bathroom involves sitting on the toilet in the dark doing math.

I remember the old calculator, I remember the glow in the dark red display. I remember my sheer joy typing in numbers (my dinner companions tonight asked what type of math I was doing. Answer: It was basic addition and also trying to see what words I could spell upside down.)

Whether I took the calculator with me or whether I had stashed it there remains up for discussion. I wasn't supposed to have anything in there with me, so now I'm troubled with the question of whether I went and sat in there in the dark voluntarily to do math, which is all sorts of sad. Or did I take the calculator in there during my punishment and my parents *let* it slide because, well, if your kid is that much of a loser, you might as well cut your losses?

* * *
Tonight's laughter about the Bathroom Chronicles and everything else we discussed felt like breath was coming back to me for the first time all week. My mom always says "Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think." You do the math.

Volunteering Ain't Just For High School

I think we can all agree that Facebook really highlights the unexpected suckiness of people around us. We see it all the time; an offhanded status update, the obnoxious and completely not PC Youtube clip they post to their wall, etc.

Today my grievance is with everyone who wrote "Oh my gosh I am SOOOO devastated about Haiti" the first day. I can't count the number of status updates I read like that. Then suddenly... SILENCE. When I sent out my call for volunteers, donations, help in Haiti, suddenly they all went silent. The same people who "couldn't tear themselves away from the television" didn't have time to consider what they might actually *do*.

In today's information age (as much as I hate that phrase) people feel like by chiming in with emotion they are doing something. Because sometimes it creates a tipping point (see: Iranian protesters, 2009. Enough people Tweeted about it that it got increased media coverage and they could spread information. But that situation is different because action from over here would have done nothing, so a purely emotional, e-response was somewhat justifiable).

My friend and I discussed this the other night over a nice dinner punctuated by Jersey Shore-ish behavior at the table next to us (note to us: next time skip PB Sushi on "Sake Special" night). In between the crying of the girl next to us (she appeared to be crying about a guy, but she was more likely crying about the fact that she's a dead ringer for Snookie), my friend and I discussed how lame people's Facebook "activism" can be.

I'd like to harken to another example. The day that everyone posted a color as their status. "Red!" "Pink!" "Black!" "White!" Which led everyone else to wonder why the hell people (always women) were doing this. And then it came out: you were supposed to post the color of your bra, and create a frenzy of confusion. And THIS was somehow supposed to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Um. Ok.

Now, I'd like to ask a breast cancer survivor how she feels about that.

So it seems that we have this magical tool of the internet and all these social networks, but what can be used for immense good can also be used for immense stupidity. It's just a crazy world in which Farmville (whatever the f that is) gets the same space as pleas for social justice. And probably actually gets *more* attention. So basically what I'm saying is that Facebook has quickly taught me how dumb people are.

That said, if you *have* been inspired by what you've seen about Haiti and want to help, there are one billion ways to do it. Tell your doctor friends that medical volunteers are needed (some of them don't even realize it until they're told!), collect the simplest of medicines and donate them to a local collection spot, drop $5 to a charity online. Literally every bit helps. My personal charity will be Real Medicine Foundation. Not to hate on Wyclef's charity, and good for him for having one, but I really never got over his remake of Stayin Alive. ("Looka Looka Looka Shorty got back...Should I ax her for a dance? There's so many in the wolfpack...")

I don't mean to overlook the "real" news of the week (Conan O'Brien vs. Jay Leno: The Contest That Isn't Really Even A Contest Because I Think We Can All Agree That Jay Leno Isn't Funny).
But just had to get this off my chest.

In other news, I've started taking tango. Tonight was my second class and it was yet another hour of pure comedy (and less because of my dance skillz than the general dressing and demeanor of my lovely dance colleagues). I need to get a videocamera stat.