Monthly Archives: February 2013


Daily Prompt: Cliché

Clichés become clichés for a reason. Tell us about the last time a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush for you.

I have a hard time with clichés and idioms, because I tend to be very literal. When I try to use them, I end up mixing them up, and I get them completely wrong and embarrass myself. David uses them often, and my response is usually, “That doesn’t make any sense!” or “Why don’t you just say what you mean?!”

I’ll admit that I had to look this one up, because I wasn’t 100% sure of the meaning. Once it became clear, I wasn’t exactly sure that I agreed with it–not at this point in my life. I’d much rather focus on possibilities than take comfort in something lesser but safer. Settling is not an option (That’s not a cliché, is it?).


An Alternative to Reality

Daily Prompt: If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

The cast of the Real World San Francisco

It all started with MTV’s Real World in 1994. The premise: gather some young people from different walks of life, force them to live together for a few months, and follow them around with cameras to see what happens. It was a sort of social experiment–pretty brilliant, really. The result: honest TV programming. The first season, set in San Francisco, featured people who were educated, interesting, and relatable. They had discussions about race, sexuality, socioeconomic issues, politics. Sure, there were arguments, and one member was even evicted from the house, but you got the sense that these people shared a one-of-a-kind experience and developed a strong bond that would last much longer than the season.

Fast forward to today, the world of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, The Jersey Shore, Hillbilly Handfishing, The Bad Girls Club and that one about the guy who likes to gnaw on his own flesh. (Yes, I made that last one up, but it’s only a matter of time.) There is no limit on how far people are willing to go to be on TV, nor on the amount of money that networks are willing to pay them to make complete asses of themselves. And yet, the so-called “Reality TV” phenomenon is bigger than ever. In fact, it’s so popular that it’s spilled over into other genres. Think of all the sitcoms that use a “mockumentary” style: Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, The Office, to name a few. And let’s not forget the news programs, which have no qualms about exploiting drug addicts and otherwise mentally disturbed people to improve their ratings. As hard as you try, you cannot escape America’s fascination with shameless exhibitionism.

Agent 86, Maxwell Smart

But I ask, has reality TV improved our lives or even contributed to it in any positive way? Are we better people, a better society, a better nation because of it? My answer is no, and I’d go even further to say that it’s done quite the opposite.

I grew up watching a lot of Nick at Nite programming, along with plenty of Looney Tunes cartoons, and I have such great memories of these shows. They were clever, funny, sometimes even a little risque, and they are still so much fun to watch. I wonder if 20 or 30 years down the line people will say the same about Honey Boo Boo. I sure hope not. If I could undo any invention, Reality TV would be it. It would open up more opportunities for talented writers, actors, directors, and for programming that is inspired, imaginative, and not entirely about shock value. At least that’s what I’d hope would be the result. As for repercussions, I’d never know about Puck’s nasty habit of eating his roommates’ peanut butter from the jar with dirty hands, or the way Kim Kardashian whines about, oh, pretty much everything, or how much butter Honey Boo Boo consumes in a single day. But I think I could live with that.

Let’s Meetup!

About a month ago I started a Meetup group for women. Before I go any further, I should explain that is a website that allows you to join or create local members-only groups based on interests, and to schedule group events called “meetups.” There are Meetup groups for just about any topic you can think of, and they are oddly specific. There are groups for Raw Vegan Singles, Jewish Cyclists, and Michael Jackson Fans. I belong to a group for Brooklyn girls and one for Paleo enthusiasts. More recently, I discovered a group that offers classes in web development for women. I’ve been to a few meetups and have always had a good time and learned something new.

When I created my own group, my goal was to gather women in their 20’s and 30’s who are not afraid to use the f-word (feminist), but who are not necessarily defined by it. I had no idea what to expect, but so far, the group has 12 members. I’ve organized two meetups, and there are others coming up in the next month. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few of my members, and I have to say, it’s been an uplifting experience. We’ve had a lot of fun and laughs, as well as conversations about family, education, and career goals, which is exactly what I had hoped.

I would highly recommend checking out Meetup and giving it a shot. You’re not obligated to join any groups or attend any events, but you may be surprised to find that there are plenty of groups in your area that may be of interest to you–whether you want to make new friends, network with people in your line of work, play a sport, or just try something new.

Have you tried Meetup? What has been your experience with it?

Schmalentine’s Day

Daily Prompt: Cupid’s Arrow – It’s Valentine’s Day, so write an ode to someone or something you love.

Das Boot

David + Das Boot at Oktoberfest

I unintentionally wore a red sweater today. When David pointed it out over breakfast, I joked, “Ugh, now I have to change….” But I did not, because I really love this sweater and the way I look in it. This is the goofiest holiday of all. I don’t need a special day to love or feel loved. I eat chocolate almost every day, and David doesn’t believe in giving flowers as gifts, so that’s not happening either.

I am incredibly lucky to have two great loves in my life. Yes, two! There’s my boyfriend David, and my dog Izzy. What’s so remarkable is that I never imagined that I’d love either of them as much as I do. For months, I insisted that David and I would never work as a relationship. As for Izzy, I have never been attached to an animal in my life. In fact, I thought the idea quite ridiculous. And yet, these two bring me insane amounts of happiness–more than I knew was even possible.

But love isn’t all about romantic dates, flowers, chocolates, or stuffed animals. What about the other 364 regular old days when I’m just doing my best to share my life and my home with another human being and a small dog? It’s not always easy, and it’s not always fun, but that’s love too. Sometimes it’s in those moments of frustration or disappointment that I realize how much I care. I don’t just want the good stuff, I want all of it!

poppers in bed

Sir Issac Newton/Izzy/Mr. Puppers/Poppers/You little shit!

Shoulda Woulda Coulda…

Daily Prompt: Shoulda Woulda Coulda

I am completely aware of the myriad of benefits of exercise. I have books, videos, equipment; I belong to two gyms; I have a dog that needs walking. And I know from experience that I feel great when I am active, but I will find any excuse to avoid it–not that I need a very elaborate excuse; “I’m tired” or “it’s too cold out” is usually sufficient.

It’s not that I’m a lazy couch potato. What it boils down to is that the idea of setting aside a time during my day specifically for exercise seems so unnatural to me. I wholeheartedly enjoy activities like walking, running, cycling, dancing, even rock climbing–but the moment I start to view them as an obligation, as something I need to do, because I’m getting fat and/or out of shape, the same activities that I love lose all their appeal.

But the fact is I am out of shape, and it’s precisely because I don’t get enough exercise; therefore, any effort I make to rectify this situation will feel forced, and I will vehemently resist it, because I do not like being told what to do by anyone, not even myself! I know what I need to do: change my attitude/perspective, but that’s easier said than done.

One thing is certain: I’m definitely not alone in this battle, otherwise the fitness industry wouldn’t keep growing while people are getting heavier and heavier. Does anyone have any suggestions or words of encouragement?