Saturday, July 31, 2004

It's official. I hate my computer.

I haven't been writing as much as I used to. It's not because I don't have the time, I think I lost the patience with my computer. After about 10 tries, I actually got the Internet to pull up tonight. This is driving me insane! Oh wait, I'm already there.

I mentioned in a blog not too long ago that I moved recently. I think I'm getting way too used to having my own place. I still enjoy the company of my former roommate, but there's something about your own place that is just terrific! It's the first time in my life that I've lived by myself (besides the dorm). I can have room for my scrapbooking stuff, I can cook any hour of the night, and I can watch whatever movie I feel like watching at any time. Not that my roommate had a problem with any of this stuff, but you know how it is. You want to respect their space too and leaving junk around isn't courteous, banging pots and pans around at 2 AM while they're sleeping is not nice, and it's hard to watch the same movie over and over without feeling goofy.

You know what I love the most about my new place? It has nothing to do with being out on my own. It has nothing to do with the fact my drive to work is about 6 minutes long and a tank of gas lasts three weeks. It's not the fact the water pressure in the shower is better than I've ever experienced in my life. It has to do with my alarm clock.

My alarm clock (thank you Mom for the great Christmas gift) is one of those with a CD and I can pick which track to wake up to. Lately I've been awaken every morning by Rob Thomas singing to me. Ah, Rob... Sorry, I digress. The thing is, I'm not a pleasant person when I wake up and I don't function completely for at least 15 minutes. Usually about an hour. (Which is weird when I get to work and have only been awake for about 40 minutes. Caffeine is such a good thing.) Since I don't get up right away, I hit the snooze button quite regularly. At my old apartment, I had set up my room so the alarm clock was on the other side of the room. I used to get out of bed, walk 5 paces, push the snooze button, and then crash back into bed every morning. I would do this for over an hour. Now, the alarm clock is within arm's reach and it gives me an extra 30 seconds of sleep for each cycle! Yea!

What happens when you push the snooze on one of these types of alarm clocks, the CD stops playing but it keeps spinning. This means electricity is still going full force through the piece of machinery, which is not a big deal, but with this alarm clock, it picks up radio waves in the area and plays the sounds. Even if a certain station is not set, the radio will still play the sounds if the signal is strong enough. My former place was close enough to an AM station and so each day when I pushed the snooze button, Rush Limbaugh would talk to me. I became convinced that he was trying to kill me with his Republican propaganda. It is such a relief that I no longer hear voices talking softly to me while I'm half asleep. I'm pretty sure this is how brainwashing takes place.

One of My Obsessions

I'll admit it. I have a problem. I've been much better lately, but I still feel the pull. I'm addicted to office supplies. I just opened a drawer next to the computer from heck and realized the entire drawer was full of pens. Have you seen those commercials for the click Sharpie pens? I was speechless and I wanted to run right out to any office supply store to buy them. I have absolutely no need for them, but I WANT THEM. It's a disease.

In this drawer, I have every style of gel pen I've ever seen. The sick part about this drawer is the fact that I can't fit all of the pens I have in it. And you know what? I don't really like writing with pens. I like pencils. This is ultimately sick. What is even sicker is my desire to organize this drawer and test out each of the pens. I probably will freak out and do this soon. I'll keep records of it and you'll understand my obsession.

Dana said to me once that I can't do anything without going for the gusto. Take scrapbooking. I started for one Christmas present project and now my entire dining room is a scrapping room. I started rubber stamping (Thanks Kim!) and I bought about a gazillion stamps. I try to find ones that coordinate with scrapbooking.

I became obsessed with Clint Eastwood movies recently. Now I have two copies of "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly", as well as 14 other Clint Eastwood movies. I collect miniature liquor bottles. I have about 300 of them. I have no space for them, yet I still collect them. And then there's the penguins. I collect penguins. I have a penguin tattoo and my apartment looks like a rookery half the time. I need to get better at controlling the obsessive part of my personality. It's going to hurt me one of these days.

Okay, I'm signing off now. To stare at the pile of pens. More to come!


At 10:04 PM, CarpeDM said...

Let's face else do you think Republicans get people to vote for Bush? I seriously think this is how it happens.

There was a Bloom County cartoon that I loved in which cockroaches (that looked vaguely like Jiminy Cricket so not at all gross) would talk to you at night while you were sleeping - it was the explanation for a lot of things, such as babies crying at 3 AM (cockroaches telling them Big Bird was dead) and why men did the whole comb over thing (cockroaches would tell them that women would find them sexy).

I mean, really, when you think about it, doesn't it make perfect sense? Cockroaches and Rush Limbaugh are responsible for what's wrong with our country today with their subtle brainwashing.

On an unrelated note, do you ever want to throw Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern into a room and have them duke it out for most annoying radio personality in the world? And then, when the winner has finished bludgeoning the other with a chair, fill the room with poisonous gas? Or is that just me?

Don't worry about staring at the pens, Beth. Worry about when they start talking to you.

Monday, July 26, 2004

It's no wonder I don't date

I went on a blind date once. I understand why this is the worst thing anyone can hear. You know what I mean. The phrase, "I know someone who would be good for you." That's not fun. I hate it when people play matchmaker. I don't want to be paired up with someone a friend thinks "would be good" for me. What does that mean?

I was in high school when my best friend, Liese (pronounced Lisa), decided it was time to set me up with one of her boyfriend's friends. This was a guy she had never even met and that may have been the first mistake. The other might have been the fact I was almost seeing someone else. I do not know what convinced me to say yes to the evening, but I did.

It was January, 1996 in Minnesota. It was freezing cold outside and oh, so romantic. The evening before had sported one of the worst storms I've seen in a winter. It didn't snow. Oh, no. It rained. And rained. What happens to rain when it's cold? The rain turned to ice instantly when it hit the ground (and every other object). I was working part time at a local retail shop at the time. The ice came down so quickly that when I was sent home after a 1/2 hour of working, I needed a full can of De-Icer just to get into the car. The ground was covered quickly with a layer of ice and the trees all glistened the next day. The views were quite beautiful, just dangerous and hard to maneuver in.

So, understanding what a fun driving experience it would be, I said yes when Liese decided to set me up with this guy.

Liese was dating Kevin and his good friend's name I'm changing to protect the guilty. Let's call him Bobby Ray. It just seems fitting.

The idea was to go on a double date. Liese and Kevin were coming along. To add to the excitement, our other friend, Renee, was going to come with her boyfriend, Scott. Scott was a friend of mine and his best friend, Adam, was a great friend of mine. Adam also tagged along. That's right, 7 people on a double date. 7 people and I was the only one with a license. Keep in mind, I also drove an '87 Chevy Nova. This car would seat 2 people comfortably. If you had two smaller (for example, children under 5) individuals, the backseat could fit a couple more. All 7 of us were in one car. It was time to get friendly.

I picked up Liese (two blocks from my place) and then went to get Scott and Adam (2 blocks from Liese's). Hindsight being 20/20, I should have stopped there. But no, I'm the perpetually nice one and I follow through with my word to Liese to try and enjoy the evening. It made the most sense to pick up Renee next, which meant heading north on the ice for a drive that normally took 15 minutes. After a half hour, we had Renee. Scott and Adam were the skinny little guys and they shared the front seat. (You know, the more I think about that time of my life, those two would have probably ended up as lovers if they were about 5 years older.) We then headed south past my home to Saint Anthony, Minnesota, which should have been a 25 minute drive. It took an hour. Having fun yet? I wasn't.

We picked up Kevin and then Bobby Ray. I did try to keep an open mind about this date, but I'll be honest. My heart did not flutter when we picked him up. I thought, 'Okay, I'll see what his personality is like.' Why, oh why, did I bother?

What do high school students do for a fun-filled, wholesome evening? They decide to go to a local restaurant and order appetizers and split the bill. This is known as the cheap date. We decided to go to a local restaurant for some food (aka appetizers) and on the way there, my car got a little stuck on the ice. Remember the ice? I do. Clearly. I'm in a car with 4 boys and my car gets stuck. What do they all do? Sit there, on their butts. Bobby Ray decides to open his mouth with some wonderfully witty comment, like, "Ha ha. Oh man, we're stuck. Hee hee." My response, as nicely and sugary as I could say through gritted teeth, "Then get out and push." At that moment, I rocked the car free of the ice and we were back on our way.

Remember the stupid games you play as a kid? Like Truth or Dare. Now, I understand this is a 'risky' game to play but it never worked out like that with our group. We actually had a rule with our version of the game to keep it fair. You could not ask someone something that you weren't willing to answer yourself. The dares picked were always lame (yes, I use the word lame) because we did it more to get to know each other better. The answers always stayed 'in the car' and I think one of the best dares ever involved Scott howling at the moon. As I said, lame.

So we decided to play Truth or Dare. As we are playing, Liese and Kevin are holding their usual session of necking in the backseat. What does this wonderful 'date' of mine do? He wants to watch so he pulls out a miner's flashlight (you know, the ones that strap to your forehead) and turns it on so he can watch them.

What type of person carries a miner's flashlight in their jacket pocket? I need an answer to this question. This is not like having a pen in your pocket. I know the Boy Scouts' motto is to 'Be Prepared' but this is ridiculous.

As Bobby Ray is watching them make out, someone dares him to kiss me. It might have been Renee or Scott. Is it a wonder why our friendships have faded over the years? He looks at me, trying to strut his stuff as much as you can from the passenger seat of a Chevy Nova, and says, "I'm game."

Oh baby, oh baby, oh.

I politely make up a lie, "I don't kiss on the first date." Totally not true. I've never had an objection to a small kiss on the first date. Not like I've ever really had a relationship that started with a first date. Most of the relationships I've had, I've known the guy for at least a year before we even go out. This might also be a slight problem in my dating life. But back to the date.

I got out of kissing Bobby Ray. Thank you God. I mean that.

At this point, we pull up to the local restaurant. Since there are 7 of us, we get two tables pushed together in the middle of the place. Here is the seating arrangement:

Kevin Liese Bobby Ray

Renee Scott Myself Adam

This was so I could be forced to stare at Bobby Ray throughout our meal. I say forced because I did not want to stare at Bobby Ray. By the time we reached the restaurant and had sat down, I knew I was not interested in Bobby Ray and so pleased that Adam had tagged along.

We ordered our appetizer samplers (also, this is easy for girls to not eat as much, since they can just nibble from the tray). Bobby Ray showed his class and style by telling witty stories throughout the meal. Such gems are hard to forget. I heard every single penis joke I had heard from second grade through fifth grade. Wow. My heart was a flutter. Oh, how could I pass up this lovely, sophisticated man?

Bobby Ray also decided that dinner was the perfect time to start making fun of Adam. That's right. He started ripping on one of my best friends and the boy I was ecstatic was there to save me from this torture. A word of advice to any man wanting my heart: Making fun of those I love the first night you met them or me is not a good idea. I'm pretty loyal to my friends. So we sat during dinner, Liese, Kevin, Scott, and Renee all at their end of the table missing the comic gems from Bobby Ray, Adam and I lowering our opinions of this boy every time he opened his mouth.

Finally, finally, it was time to pay the bill. The seven of us arose from the table and headed to the register. As we were paying, Bobby Ray found it socially acceptable to have his hands creep up from behind and start fondling Renee's chest. That's right. He started groping her. I'll admit, Renee had a good rack for a teenager, but come on. She actually shrieked. Scott was pretty pissed off by this point and we quickly ushered everyone into the car.

Don't ask why we didn't drop this loser off right then and there. The only thing I can think of is that Liese and Kevin wanted to give the night another chance. The seven of us headed up to Renee's house, since she had the earliest curfew. When we got there, it was decided to watch a movie.

What movie is perfect for a romantic evening? What could possibly make the night better and better? I'll tell you.

Stephen King's TV mini series, "IT." That's right. We watched a cheesy horror movie that did the book absolutely no justice what-so-ever.

Liese and Kevin found a spot on the floor to cuddle. Renee sat down next to her mom on the couch. Scott and Adam also headed for the couch while Bobby Ray found the only available chair. I stood there, wondering where to go. I knew for a fact I wanted to be away from Bobby Ray. Can you blame me? Do you think I was not giving him the proper chance? Is it wrong of me to pass judgment based on the miner's light, the penis jokes, the insulting of my great friend, and the groping of my other friend? Maybe it was.

Back to the fact I'm looking for a place to sit and watch the movie. Bobby Ray slides over and says, like one of those oily, sleazy men in a bar as they stare at your tits, "You could sit on my lap." His eyes drop a little and a sly little grin shows up on his face. Just thinking about it to this day makes me want to vomit.

Adam pipes up at this moment, and believe me, my adoration for him increased tenfold. "Hey, Scott, Renee, slide over. Beth, you could join us here." Thank you Jesus! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! The trumpets sounded and my heart wanted to leap from my chest. It doesn't seem like much, but I was so grateful for this simple act.

We watched half of the movie before we realized Scott and Adam should be getting home soon. It was time to head south again. Here's the adventure for the evening.

Remember the ice? How could you forget. I'm driving south on the highway, going about 50 miles an hour (the limit was 55, but I slowed down for the ice). A red light is coming up so I gently pressed the brake pedal. I didn't swerve. I didn't lock up my brakes. No, what happened is that my car stalled, still going 45 miles an hour. The light ahead is still red, I have 5 additional people (without me) in the car, no brakes, and cars are crossing the highway for their green light.

In one liquid motion, I put my left foot on the clutch, my right foot started pumping the brakes, I swiveled the steering wheel, and pulled the emergency brake. The Nova spun 270 degrees and came to a stop. We stopped in plenty of time for the light and no other cars were near us on the road. We were safe.

Liese and Kevin sat in an oblivious state in the back seat. I think they'd been smooching again. Probably. The looks on Scott and Adam's faces were remarkable. There was a slight bit of stun and a look of awe. I think they enjoyed it. Bobby Ray picked this moment to turn in his seat, look me in the eyes, and arrogantly say, "Way to go . . . Babe."

Now, my knuckles did not turn white from the adventure with the car. They now gripped the steering wheel because every bit of my being was holding them there so I wouldn't deck this guy. I hate, I hate, I HATE, pet names. If I know someone for a long time, I could handle maybe a couple of minor pet names, but there are an immediate pet peeve. There is only one that I can put up with because it is what my mom calls me. Babe is not it.

As daggers formed in my eyes, I glared at him. You know the look. Vivian Leigh had it best in Gone with the Wind. It's the look that says, "I want you to be wiped from existence."

I turned to Scott and Adam, my look softening greatly as I turned, and said, "Is it okay for us to drop Kevin and this guy off first?"

They both agreed and thankfully the rest of the night went off without a hitch. Scott got into a little trouble for curfew (I'm so sorry, to this day I'm sorry) and Adam got into a little trouble (for something completely unrelated to curfew. He'd been experimenting with hairspray and a lighter on the kitchen counter before I picked him up). Everything else was pretty much okay. I figured this guy was out of my life forever.

To explain how much I disliked this individual, here is a phone conversation the next day.

Ring, ring:

Me: Hello.

Guy: Beth? Hey, how's it going?

Me: Fine. Oh God, why, why, why? (Okay, the italics are what I was thinking. The tone came out the same.)

Guy: What are you doing?

Me: Cleaning my room.

Guy: Are you really busy?

Me: Yes.

Guy: Oh. What are you doing tomorrow?

Me: I'm in a bowling tournament. (Did I ever mention that I was a huge bowler in high school. I used to bowl 6 days a week.)

Guy: Really?! What one? (Smile in his voice.)

Me: It's a parent/child tournament.

Guy: Maybe I could join too!

Me: No, you can't.

Guy: Why not? (Confusion sets in.)

Me: I'm pretty sure you have to be on a league.

Guy: Yeah. I am.

Me: Oh yeah? What league are you on?

Guy: I'm on your team.

Long pause.

Me: John?

Guy: Yes.

Me: Oh, I'm so sorry! I thought you were Bobby Ray! Thank goodness. How's it going? (Hear the smile in my voice now.)

John: Man, I was really trying to figure out what I did.

The conversation kept on, but you get the point. I was rude, curt, and trying to get one of my great friends off the phone because of this guy. I ended up seeing the guy a few years later at something and ran the other way. The one blind date I ever went on turned out horribly and this is why I cringe every time someone says, "I know someone who would be great for you."


At 10:36 AM, CarpeDM said...

I know someone who would be good for you. The scariest words in the world.

Brooksba, I loved this. Even though you had just told me this story the other day, I loved re-reading it and getting the whole effect of the car description, Bobby Ray in all of his oafishness, it was so much fun.

Kudos to you. Babe (Don't kill me. I'm just kidding).

At 4:57 PM, Matt said...

Little Sister-(that is an ok name isn't it? I would hate to have a blog written about me on that-just kidding) I loved this blog. You are incredible, and yes those words are even scary for men to hear as well. Of course, I think that's true, because well I would have to be aman to know that wouldn't I? I will talk to you later, take care Little Sister. Remember, the right guy had better pass the Big Brother test, because if he doesn't I would hate to see what Scott would do to him.

At 5:13 PM, Chiraag said...

Hi, I was just reading your blog and I think it has good potential. Would it be possible to blog roll me or add a link to my site please? My url is

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

It's time to talk about it

We are all human beings. We all deserve the same basic, civil rights.

Dana has been posting lately and finding some great blogs about same-sex marriage. I'm not here to talk about same-sex marriage specifically. I think it's important to express your beliefs while treating others fairly.

A few years ago (seems like forever and a day), a young man visited my home from Ukraine. I was just finishing my first year of college when he came to our home. The experience of meeting him opened my eyes to a world of diversity and love.

People are different, yet we are all very much the same. We all want to survive, we all feel hurt when others inhibit our rights, and we all have connections with others. Andriy, the young man from Ukraine, opened my eyes more than I could have imagined.

My parents brought me up to respect others. No matter what social, religious, ethnic, or political views others may have. I look at some parents today trying to teach their children diversity. I've seen people tell their children, "You can't say that. It's wrong to say that." What I respect and admire about my parents is that whenever they would see behaviors in public of people using blind hatred to hurt others, they didn't just say, "You can't say that." My parents explained to me that the behavior was wrong for more reasons than the behaviors being 'socially unacceptable.' They explained that it is not only wrong to say it, but wrong to think it. It was shown to me early in life that judging someone by their skin, religion, or sexual preference was wrong. They never said that one can't hold a grudge against another person, just that the grudge needs to be justified. If someone hurts you, you have a right to be upset with that person. How you choose to react is one thing, remember to keep a perspective.

I enjoyed Andriy's company while he stayed here. I cried when he returned home to Ukraine. What I learned from the experience of knowing him was that people are not that much different. Here was a man who was my age but grew up in a completely different environment. He watched the Cold War end, democracy come to his land, and watch his country form when he was 13 years old. When Communism fell, it wasn't happy days for the people of the Post-Soviet States. People had to learn how Democracy works. This might push a couple of buttons, but Communism is not all that bad. When there are corrupt leaders use the system to oppress people, it turns out poorly. But in Communism, everyone is considered equal. Every family has a home. Every person has a job. Every child receives an education. Every family gets the food they need to survive. It takes away the differences in economic structure. Now, this goes against the American Dream, and I'm not saying I'd like America to be a Communist nation. I'm just saying that when Communism fell, there were a lot of people forced into change that they were unprepared for. It was a tough time and I admire those who went through the turmoil. Andriy is one of my heroes.

Spending time with Andriy showed me that I could make a friend with anyone in the world. No more do I look at another country as the political structure that governs it. I see other countries as made up of people not so different from myself. People who have hopes and dreams. People who care about their friends and family. People with different cultures and customs that have come from the interactions of people. Where does culture and customs come from? They weren't here before people were. It's how people treat each other that becomes our culture. I have a strong set of values that form my beliefs. I believe that all people deserve fair treatment. I believe that all human beings deserve the same civil rights.

The current topic of civil rights is same-sex marriage. Here's my questions and thoughts about the matter.

Why does society/government feel the need to keep finding another group of people to discriminate against? Think about it. My mom told me that in the 70's, there was a speaker (whose name I do not know) she admired. One speech she remembers (30 years later), was called, 'We always need Indians.' (Granted, I never heard the speech, I don't know the speaker, and I'm relying on the recollection of a secondary source. I might be a little off on the title. But the meaning is still the same.) This speech was directed towards women's rights. The thing is, it will always be relevant. When this country formed, the colonists tried to oppress the Native Americans. This group of people were considered savage and dangerous. Once the Native Americans were not the 'big problem', blacks were treated poorly and forced into slavery. Our country has taken steps to changing it's ways. We now have protected groups that only need protecting because people were stupid to begin with. And you know what, we need to have protected groups. Because people as a whole are stupid and don't think before they act.

I digress. Back to the speech. This speech pointed out that white men ruling the country have always needed to find a way to feel superior and people are hurt by their actions. Native Americans, African Americans, women, and the disabled have all fought their battles for the same opportunities that should be inherent. Why should a human have to fight for the right to speak up for themselves? Fight for the right of equal treatment? Fight for the right to love and express your love?

Someone told me that they were against gay marriage because it goes against the definition of marriage. I looked it up. In Webster's New World dictionary, the definition states: "1. the state of being married. 2. a wedding. 3. a close union." Wedding is defined as: "1. the marriage ceremony. 2. a wedding anniversary." I think he was talking about his religious beliefs. Now, I'll admit, I don't go to church. I am not the expert on theology. I'm not an expert on politics, or anything really. What I can say is that this country was founded on the belief of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom from oppression. Since we can pick our religion, why should it be a factor in deciding laws? Just because one person's religion speaks differently about a subject, does that make that subject wrong? That's faulty logic if you believe that. Should a religious belief be the deciding factor in deciding the rights of all Americans? I don't think so.

Think back into history. Who are the men that come to mind when you think of poor human beings? Do you think of Hilter or Stalin? Why do we hate Hilter? Because he murdered people based on their religious beliefs. He had people murdered because they did not fit in with his ideal society. Those who were not murdered were tortured, punished, and oppressed for their beliefs, ethnic origins, sexual preferences, or disabilities. And if you ask around, people have a low opinion of Hilter. I want to ask the political men trying to oppress civil rights to same-sex couples if they would like to go down in the history books for holding the same views as Hilter.

I think same-sex marriage is something that will happen. People are going to fight on both sides of this issue, but think ahead 50 years. What will the children of tomorrow think when they read how long it took for society to recognize homosexuals as equals? It's the fight of today. It's a fight that needs to happen. Looking at similar fights from history, is there any doubt that this fight will be won with same-sex marriage being accepted? Making laws against same-sex marriage won't silence the population. There is a want and a need for equal treatment, equal rights, and that will not go away. It shouldn't go away. The fight will go on until the just action is taken. Who are the parties making this harder than it needs to be? It's not the gays and allies of gays. It's the politicians and narrow-minded individuals who think they are better than another human being because of their own preferences. It's a battle of blind hatred being fought all over the country. And the world.

I tried to discuss this generally and logically. Now I do want to mention something. I know two different same-sex couples. These couples are very different from each other and I love all the parties involved. They are my extended family. I want the best for them and I see no reason for them not to be treated the same as myself or the other people in this country. My friends are the most important thing to me. I will stand up against oppression not just because of them, but my resolve will be strengthened by the fact I know them and love them. They made my inherent beliefs a personal experience. And they have shown me that standing by is not the right thing to do.

On a side note, to the random guy I overheard calling my best friend a derogative term while sitting with a group of his friends (a couple of these were women). My words to him: "Wow. You should think before you open your mouth. I understand that people have different views and you apparently have narrow-minded views. What I want you to understand is that you're discriminating against someone based on the way they walk and look. If I were to do that, I would say that you are an egotistical man who doesn't value the respect of others. You have now shown the group of people you are with how stupid you are. What are these women now thinking? I know I would be thinking, 'He just showed his blind hatred to a random stranger behind that person's back. What does he think of me? Why am I spending any time with this jerk?' Think before you speak. For your own sake."

Okay, I know this was a long post. And the train of thought wanders back and forth. The main think I'm trying to say is to get the guts to share what you believe. You might find that others share some of the similar views. And talking about it will promote the discussions that need to happen. Diversity is good. It's what has promoted change throughout history.


At 1:30 PM, CarpeDM said...
Yes, it was long. But it was beautifully written and I really enjoyed reading it. I love your parents.

I'm so glad you're my friend, Brooksba. Let's go kick some narrow-minded ass.