Thursday, March 27, 2008

My evening conversation on the E train

Me (riding into Manhattan on E train, reading Daniel Gilman's Stumbling on Happiness) to self: Wow, this book is fairly interesting; I wonder what my boss is going to want me to do in the next few weeks; that guy that just sat next to me is a little odd...

Guy: What is that you're reading?

Me (tilting book towards him so he can read title): It's pretty good. It's about how the human brain forms experiences and memories.

Guy: Oh, that sounds good. I'm writing a book myself and that sounds similar to what I'm writing about.

Me: Hmmm

Guy: Yeah, its all about emotional and how people don't deal with their emotions. About how they hold everything inside and then how they carry it with them.

Me: Wow.

Guy: I noticed that after I had some pretty bad things happen to me [goes on about some theory about how emotions work. I was spacing] ...I joined a Sioux tribe and worked with them for 3 years. I was alone in the woods without food or water for four days. During that time I was able to really work through some things. You know, they have had to rely on spiritual healing for hundreds of years... they haven't had the benefit of modern medicine, which doesn't work anyway...[blathers on about various topics, my attention drifts away, but then is brought back by this statement] So anyway, I found my first few days in New York were entertaining, but I kept getting mugged, and then I almost got arrested for chasing after a mugger with pepper spray. The police out here are useless. If some ghettotrash wants to mess with me I'll freakin paralyze him. I studied chow jin (?) koi jung (?). Have you heard of it?

Me: No.

Guy: Well, it's based on prhana yahma. I studied for years with these [ monks? yogi masters? jedis? I forget, at this point it would be the most sensical thing this jackass has been saying, I space again, but somehow get brought back by this question] So are you from New York?

Me: No, I'm from Colorado.

Guy: Oh really, that's funny. I went to Ft. Lewis.

Me: That's cool. All the skiers go there.

Guy: Yeah, but I was too poor too ski

Me :(make fake sympathy noise)

Guy: When I went to Ft. Lewis, I lived in the back of a bus. I froze my ass off in the winter. I had no one to help me through school [at this point I have the urge to mention things like student loans and dormitories but prefer to keep silent and nod every few seconds] My mom had everything handed to her, she got two Bachelor's degrees in Business and Accounting, had all her bills paid, but she wouldn't give me anything. [rambles on about something to do with his girlfriend at the time and how his mom wouldn't give him a car and something was funny in all this because he laughed and I did a little return chuckle, and then he continued on about his mother donating all her money to TV Evangelists] My stop is next but let me give you my card
[roots around in his fanny pack.Yes, he had a fanny pack] Here ya go.

Me (glance at card. Ben Ooza-something. Last name most certainly made up. Under his name it says "Native American Healer". Place in book to use a temporary book mark. Will discard later)

Guy: Take care.

Me: You too.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Favorite men in literature

I'm so glad I discovered the sci-fi and fantasy section of the bookstore, because once I started with Stephen Donaldson's Mirror of Her Dreams, I was hooked. I'll pretty much read anything in the fantasy section that's got an interesting cover or is about vampires. As far as books go, I definitely judge a book by its cover, expect for those occasions where a book has been recommended to me by someone, or I have heard about it somewhere else. And I'll read ANYTHING that features vampires. Vampire-lit has grown into a pretty big genre and a lot of it isn't the greatest writing you'll ever read, but I don't care, I still love it. Romances involving vampires/paranormal activities are especially popular, reinforcing the allure of the dangerous man/bad boy with a deep emotional maturity and longing for commitment (ahhh, fiction). The vampire/werewolf/mystical man has replaced the dashing duke/rogue in the romance genre as the it man. (I recognize that my overuse of slashes is probably annoying)

I remain tempted by both. I have always loved a really trashy period-romance, as long as the dialogue is fairly believable and not too cliche-riddled. The wickeder the man, the better. The more of a rake, the better. The fact that he changes his philandering ways just for one special woman is a powerful fantasy. I don't know why, but there is just something so hot about a man in breeches and those boots that fold down at the knees, riding around on a horse and getting into duels. I always picture these men as having collar-length hair that is perfectly wavy and unkempt. I don't particularly like really long hair on men but I wish more guys would grow their hair out a little. This probably explains my love of British period dramas (as mostly seen on PBS), which showcase the most beautiful male actors Britain has to offer. The only thing that bothers me about these is that the majority are based on Victorian novels, so you never get any really good romantic scences, everything is just hinted at.

The vampire/paranormal allure is the fact that he is an outsider in society, and through love this woman is going to bring in him, save him from himself and his loneliness.
Laurell K. Hamilton is one of the top writers in the the vampire/paranormal fantasy genre. Her Anita Blake novels are numerous and highly addictive. This series plays into a huge variety of female fantasies (and apparently male, too, because I have met male fans of her). She sets up the two main male characters to be a dichotomy of the ultimate male. First, we have Jean-Claude, vampire, master of the city, and businessman, bad boy. Then we have Richard, werewolf, junior high science teacher, outdoorsman, all-american male. Of course, both of these men are breathtakingly beautiful. Who should Anita choose? The dangerous, powerful man or the moral, stable man? The author doesn't make Anita choose, not really, and she gets to have relationships with both. Actually, she not only gets to have relationships with these two, but with a host of other men: all beautiful, all possessed of a number of desirable qualities. What makes this idea so evocative is not many women have had the experience of a number of males jockeying for her attention, and most women have not explored the idea of having multiple partners at the same time, all equally enticing. Not only that, but the majority of men are completely ok with sharing her, and they are monogamous to her, for the most part. The main trouble I've come across in this series is that Anita is sometimes too much the alpha female. She never really lets the men be the total badasses that they're made out to be. Anita is always the one who has to save the day. I'd like to see the men step it up a little and kick some ass instead of hanging out on the sidelines while she saves the day. Don't get me wrong, I like how strong Anita is, but I don't think it threatening or in any way diminishing to have the guys get to save her every once in awhile. Her last book in the series, Blood Noir, was a bit ridiculous and disappointing. But the first 8 or so books in the series are definitely worth checking out.

There are a lot of other writers who have created great male leads that I could go on about at length but I will list a few more here for fun:

Jamie Fraser and Lord John Grey (Diana Gabaldon)
Acheron (Sherrilyn Kenyon)
Joscelin Verreuil (Jacqueline Carey)
Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher)
Jack Shaftoe(Neal Stephenson)
Mr. Darcy (duh)
Horatio Hornblower (but I haven't read the books, just seen the films, but wow.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


So I've been browsing some other people's blogs and I've discovered that all of them (including mine) are pretty similar. It seems as if a bunch of people need to write about all of life's little inanities. It's like the written version of coffee shop conversations. This led me to the conclusion that blogging is the the ultimate form of post-modernism. Dear God. Help us all.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The young, the single, the bitter

It's not a very good title, I realize this. It's not a very original title. How many other young single women have branded themselves this at some point? The title also suggests that the bitterness is a direct result of the singleness. Which would be true, to a point. But you have understand that I have always been a little bitter, and liked it that way. If I could whine and complain about my life then I didn't have to take any responsibility for my failings. Plus, like many other people, I like to have that aura of outsider-cynicism. Not that I ever tried to be shockingly so. As a late nineties teen, the goth movement type of "outsiderism",(which I'll call it, knowing I'm making up my own word here,) never appealed to me, seeming to be just as trendy as whatever the cool kids were doing.

At the very root of it, being bitter is about being entitled. You feel a certain entitlement to have certain things in your life, and when you don't get these things, you become bitter. What I'm really doing with this title is insulting myself; and as self-deprecation is one the subtlest forms of narcissism, what this title is really about is me being a self-absorbed, silly girl who wants to whine about not getting her way, and, thinks she's funny enough or interesting enough to want a record of it.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The thing about living in New York

Place has always been important to me, and I tend to think of myself as someone who appreciates all the little nuances a place has to offer. I love the little things about a place-the small family-owned shops (how do they stay in business?), the mix of old buildings and new, the vegetation, the layout of an area. I think I'm fairly open-minded about place, I have been to small towns and large cities and have found things to love about both.

Living in the New York City Metro area has been interesting because there is so much here.
So much to love; so much to hate.

As I am a negative "glass half empty" type of person, I will begin this list with my hates:

1. Lack of personal space. It can be so crowded here in so many places-on the streets, in stores and restaurants, airports, and especially on public transportation. The result of this is that you're constantly getting your personal space (or bubble, as I like to call it) invaded. I don't know about anyone else, but when I feel crowded and uncomfortable in public my sense of empathy and basic human decency goes out the window and I want to start throwing punches. Semi-attractive redhead who won't move THE HELL out of the bus's back doorway so I can get off? Even after I've said excuse me? Twice? Bam! Elbow in the face. Man who is walking so close behind me that I can practically hear him breathing in my ear? Hiyah! Swift, sharp kick to shin. Who's in a hurry now, asshole? Woman who insists on sharing my pole on the train even though there are plenty of other free hand-holds in this area? Chaw! Punch in the gut. People wonder why New Yorkers are cranky? Maybe its because we have are in each other's faces all day. If you have to deal with this day in and day out, you would start hating people too.

2. Everyone is an asshole. Its all about me, me, me. A lot of people out here walk around so busy and self-important. A lot (not all) treat most strangers like shit. I know, I know, I just said that there is a good explanation for this, but come on, you can hate people but that doesn't mean you have to start acting on it. Geez.

3. Traffic/driving. Everyone makes up their own rules, especially taxis and Lincoln Towncars. Yuck.

4. If you're making $48,000 a year, you're just scraping by.

5. So you want to live in a decent place in a decent neighborhood? And you're not rich? Haha. You're funny.

4. No open space. Hardly any greenery. Aside from Central Park and a few other (granted, nice) parks scattered around, this is a concrete-covered world.

Okay, okay. Now I will make a list of awesome things about living here, because I may be bitter, but I'm not all about the hating. And, honestly, I can't bitch too much. I did choose to live here, after all.

Good things about the New York City Metro Area:

1. Beautiful buildings, amazing architecture, brick everywhere, nothing looks the same. Many of the buildings are old and wonderful.

2. It's not just the shopping. It's the little Buddhist gift shop down the street. It's the store that sells nothing but buttons. It's the bookstores, the boutiques, the art stores, the dollar shops, the Brazilian clothing store. Whatever you want, whatever you're into, you can find it here.

3. New York City may be the center of the fashion world, but you can wear whatever you want, and I mean WHATEVER you want, and still blend in. And, if not blend in, you would at least not shock people.

4. The restaurants are not chains, there are lots of them of all types of cuisines, and the majority are really good.

5. Delis down the block.

6. Straws are included with cans of soda.

7. I can go to the bank, coffee shop, doctor's, salon, laundromat, library, shopping, out to lunch/dinner, without ever having to get behind the wheel of a car. Most everything you need is within walking distance. I love it.

8. Obviously, the culture. Music, theater, museums. Besides the well-known ones, there are musuems dedicated to the history of sex, TV, film, etc.

My domestic situation

Typical conversation with my roommate John when he gets home from work:

John (walking in the door): Slacker!

Me (sitting on couch in front of TV): suck

J (walking into my room): What is this gay shit you're watching? Probably porno-

Me: Shut up! You're gay-

J: You're a gay

M: No, you're a gay

J (walking into his room): A complete waste of Netflix!

M: Kiss my ass!

J: You better watch it, woman, or it'll be the stairs for you

M (turning to my cat): Lando, attack!

L (sitting on bed, eyes slightly squinting in that "you deign to address me mortal" look that all cats have mastered): ...

M: Lando! Bite! Slash! Claw!

L: Mrow

The apartment is quiet for a moment.

J (from his bedroom): Hey Amanda-

M: What?

J: Shut up!

M: Suck it.

J(Throws books, pencils and ever-present 25-cent notebook journal into a backpack, throws on dark green Carhart jacket and shoves dark-blue, faded, Colorado Avalanche hat on head): I can't take it anymore. I'm leaving.

M: Good. Leave. I don't want you here anyway

J: Slacker! (closes and locks door)

M: FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!!

Apartment is quiet again.

Friday, March 7, 2008

This amuses me

I started this thing because I am perhaps the only person in the universe amused by my thoughts. I find myself funny; I doubt anyone else does. This site is purely a self-absorbed means to record my meditations. If you happen to come across this posting, my apologies.