Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sanjaya Crya

I am now a Sanjaya Crya.

But not for the same reasons that little girl had last week on American Idol. God love her, she was just overwhelmed with love and admiration of her "Idol". I can imagine that after he hugged her, she wept quietly into her pillow that night and swore she would love Sanjaya for life. "He's only six years old than me. Wait for me my sweet Sanjaya, wait for me..."

No, I'm crying because for the last several weeks individuals with more talent than this little fella have been voted off. Don't get me wrong; he's a cute as a button. But I'm guessing that the population voting for Master Malakar is as varied as the contestants themselves. You have your 11 year old contingent; your Michael Jackson - the "Thriller" years - fans; there are the myspace devotees jonesing to see a young girl starve herself, and Howard Stern sycophants who want to make their god happy.

I liked Chris Sligh. He had more character and class than a lot of the contestants I've seen, and he made me laugh. But, as our judges tried to remind us earlier in the season, this is a singing competition, and unfortunately, Chris did not perform at the Idol level for the last few weeks. Indeed, he hadn't even performed adequately and that was another reason he didn't make the cut this week.

Singing competition be damned in Sanjaya's case though. Incredibly, in last night's competition Sanjaya was the most relaxed I'd seen him; almost as though he said "Eff it"; embraced his legions and was going to ride the wave as far as it took him. In previous weeks, nerves and immaturity caused him to butcher every song he delivered to the audience, and yet, here we are. Not even in the bottom three.

What's my point? I don't know, I seriously hadn't developed one when I sat down to express my ire, hence the poor form. But the whole Sanjaya Crya Drama points to what this season says about the contestants and their lack of star quality, or the show and how quickly it became a caricature of itself, or maybe American Idol says as much about the audience and the culture of the American viewer than anything else.

Style over substance, beauty over brains, teeth over talent.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My Books

My life is a book.

Not an original analogy. But some people compare their lives to a box of chocolate, a la Forrest Gump, or to a train wreck a la Anna Nicole Smith. I think my life is a book.

Well, more like books. Maybe not leather-bound gilded with gold leaf, but a complete set of 26 volumes; A-Z, probably covered in moss-green corduroy with some of buttons missing. My books have all been written in, though none of them are finished.

Journaling is in my blood. My paternal grandfather was a great diarist and it was a revelation to me reading him 25 years after he passed. Every day, he'd write down what the weather was, what he ate for breakfast, what his beloved "Flossie" had made for supper, where he drove, who he saw. A great smoker eventually taken by emphysema, he was terrified of cancer. He had been my father's hero, and in talking to my Dad's surviving brothers I was able to read between some of the lines. I realized that what wasn't written on paper was as important as what was documented.

The point of journaling or blogging is, to a large extent, an effort to share some of the pages in our books with others. The process of taking the thoughts and words inside us, putting them to paper and looking at them existing independently can be healing. Cathartic for me; perhaps a little disturbing to others, but lets face it, it's my book and it is all about me.

Right now, I'm working on Volume O; specifically, the Osh*t chapters. Good times, when you can read these through the clarifying lens of time. Most recently, I've offered up the the Osh*t: I'm 40 sections – Osh*t: I Need Bifocals! Osh*t: I Fell in the Shower! There are also the Osh*t: I Got Rear-Ended! and Osh*t: My Husband Left Me! Ah, and then there's the anxiety-ridden; Osh*t: I'm Pregnant Again! and the face-draining; Osh*t: I Just Accidentally Overheard My Son's Girlfriend Say "I Got My Period"! chapter.

Like I said, good times, when you can read them a few years later. And I do re-read those chapters. In fact, many pages are dog-eared for quick reference enabling me to look at the forest for the trees so that I can remember the people, the pain, the love, the lessons.

There are books in there that are available to only a privileged few. There are books in there that will never be available to anyone ever. Some pages are dusty with big childish writing; and some are tear-stained with a rigid little scrawl penned with a tight fist. On many occasions, I wrote with permanent marker and there were some pages I wrote in pencil fully meaning to go back and rewrite in pen but it has faded so much now that I can't capture the words any longer. That loss bothers me the most.

My words. My pages. My books. My life.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I spent the first 19 years of my life on the same hill in the same town in the same part of upstate New York. The same school, the same friends, confident that my consistent world would always exist. Then I got married.

I am convinced that Rob was born with gypsy blood coursing through his veins. Married for 15 years, we moved 11 times. Not the move-out-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-avoid-paying-rent or anything, just a nomadic search for some sort of contentment I guess. But not long after having settled into a new place, was my husband scanning the Pennysaver for something less expensive, maybe in a better section of town, or with more bedrooms. If he weren't looking for a better rent, it was for a better job. Always looking, always searching, always doing what he had hoped would be the best. God bless him.

I went along with it every time though and so am not without ownership. I figured it was what you did - if that's what your husband wanted, well, why not? Gosh I was so young. :)

Since the split, I've moved twice and today am working on the third time.
I hate moving. I mean really; who likes it? I've cut down the frequency by about half - having moved 3 times in 7 years - which I consider real progress.

Moving is so much easier when you are young, you can haul and pack and toss and lift all day; you are tired at night, but its a good tired. I now have to hire people to move me. I'm older and sometimes its all I can do to carry the dirty clothes hamper into the laundry room. My strong young backs all reside in New York and I don't want to make them drive 10 hours to move me and then go back in the same weekend. They would if I asked them to, but that would just be a big ball of wrong. Meg and I are looking forward to the change though. New is always fun. She is such a good sport about it all. She has gone through so much loss; so much change.

But we aren't moving far. It's in the same complex, and Meggie will stay in the same town, be educated in the same school, hang out at the same Starbucks with the same friends. I can give her that at least.

How sad I am - unlike me at 15, she will never have the same confidence that her world will always exist. My only hope is that she will be a stronger person for it.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I am not a numbers person.

That’s not even a secret shame for me. I’ve never been able to do math. Many of my elementary school memories surround the mortification I felt not being able to do long division in Mrs. Reams’ class in the fourth grade. She spent an entire 40 minutes on a tirade to the class about me and my inability to complete the problem. It’s actually a very painful memory for me, but I wish her no ill. She was a short, poorly dyed, scrap of a hag who upon adult reflection probably needed anti-depressants. I know Mrs. Miller sure as heck did.

To this day, I count on my fingers to add and anything more complicated than that either gets put on a piece of paper (long division finally mastered!!), or I utilize the miracle of modern technology, a calculator. Excel? Microsoft Excel is my friend.

I have many memories rife with humiliation, but one in particular was when I was trying to work out some mystical computation. You know, it was one of those frightening calculations they put on SATs, “How many cups are in a bushel?” (Not the real question) Something like that. Anyway, I’m frantically counting on my fingers, working up a few charts, when then 10 year old Adam pipes in “Eleven”. I scowled at him – smarty. “No it is not. Whatever.” Smart-mouthed little kid. A full ten minutes later, I twice arrived at the answer, which of course, you know was “Eleven”.

Part of me wanted to believe it was a good guess on his part. The other part understood just by looking Adam in the eye that he knew I was an idiot.

But God Bless you numbers people out there. No disrespect to your game whatsoever. I have nothing but admiration and wonder of your ability. I’m just not a number person. That side of my brain functions only occasionally, when for example, I don’t want any coins back from the cashier, so I give her the correct change, or when I try to remember how old I am, I have to subtract 1964 from the current year. On my fingers.

Its why this:

astounds me. “The Ten Coolest Numbers”. I thought it would be something like “22” because that’s what Dan Hughes’ football jersey number was in high school. mmmmmmmmdanhughesmmmmmmmmm.

No, its stuff like “Though the choice of 2 here for the exponent is somewhat non-canonical (i.e. we've just noted that , where stands for the Riemann zeta function), and though this is largely
interesting for math-historical reasons (it was the first sum of this type that Euler computed), we can at least include it here to represent the amazing array of numbers of the form for a positive integer.

Or it will talk about things like Feigenbaum’s Constant. The only thing constant for me
here is the constant ice cream headache I get when I try to wrap my brain around what the writer is trying to say. I’ve heard of the Golden Ratio, Fibonacci’s Sequence, and well, we’ve all heard of “pi”...uh, noooooo, I can't articulate them, but I've heard of them. What about Khinchin’s Constant? You’d think it should appeal to me because of the obvious Asian extraction, but never heard of it!! And there is just no way that 163 is the coolest number in the world. I mean come on:

The maximal conductor if an imaginary abelian number field of class number 1 corresponds to the field , which has conductor .

Who does that? Bwpthththmwff. I’m sorry - I just threw up in my mouth. The math was too much.

blogger templates | Make Money Online