Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tech, Social Networks, Blah Blah

YG and I finally got around to watching The Social Network last night after much cajoling by me. I have no idea why he didn't want to watch this movie and think it had more to do with the fact that it was one of "my movies" and not so much the subject matter. Anyway, I enjoyed it. There's been a ton written about how Mark Zuckerberg comes across as such as an asshole, but I didn't really feel that way. He certainly wasn't likeable, just young. We live here in the heart of Harvard, and I see so many entitled little shits like those Winkleturd twins that it was really hard to feel any sympathy for them.

I like the way this article in The New Republic explains it,

"The total and absolute absurdity of the world where the engines of a federal lawsuit get cranked up to adjudicate the hurt feelings (because "our idea was stolen!") of entitled Harvard undergraduates is completely missed by Sorkin. We can't know enough from the film to know whether there was actually any substantial legal claim here. Sorkin has been upfront about the fact that there are fabrications aplenty lacing the story. But from the story as told, we certainly know enough to know that any legal system that would allow these kids to extort $65 million from the most successful business this century should be ashamed of itself. Did Zuckerberg breach his contract? Maybe, for which the damages are more like $650, not $65 million. Did he steal a trade secret? Absolutely not. Did he steal any other "property"? Absolutely not — the code for Facebook was his, and the "idea" of a social network is not a patent."

The movie got me thinking about how much technology has changed just in my lifetime. Some disjointed thoughts:

* When I was in high school, my mom would talk about how her company was working on something called "The Information Superhighway" and I was beyond eye rolly in that 'whatever mom' kind of way.

* I remember being with NN in the computer lab at Syracuse using said Information Superhighway to print out Phish lyrics and thinking it was the coolest thing in the world. This is embarassing on many levels. Phish?

* Dial up.

* I belonged to a chat room to discuss My So-Called Life.

* I distinctly remember sitting on the couch at 913 watching some show about cell phones and declaring that I would never own a cell phone because they were so pretentious. My first phone was enormous. Thirteen years later, I still have the same phone number.

* I said the same thing about iPods. Who needs an iPod when you have a DiscMan?

* And then I said the same thing about digital cameras. At one point in time, I was very fond of my Kodak Disk camera.

* During my semester in London, we would have to sign out time to use the computer lab. I would send email once a WEEK.

* I've been working at high tech companies for most of my whole career. I remember one particular tradeshow where I had back-to-back media interviews scheduled, and my spokesperson would start off every meeting with "Imagine a world where your kids can watch a movie in your house and then program that same movie from your car!"

* I said I would never join Facebook, that it was a time suck and a waste of time. Same for Twitter. I was briefly on Friendster. Ha ha, remember that? Totally missed MySpace.

* I remember discovering "web logs" and thinking, "god, what douchebags."

* My first major at Newhouse was Newspaper Journalism. I cannot remember the last time I actually held a print copy of a newspaper, other than those USATodays that get put under your hotel room door on business trips.

* I very rarely talk on the phone with friends.

* I have some friends, via the Internets, that I have never actually met in person.

* I have almost five years of my life logged online.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poem In Your Pocket: One Day Later

That, Poem in Your Pocket Day, sounds a lot better than Tax Day, no? It feels like an e.e. kind of day.

Not much has changed.

the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
by E. E. Cummings

the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds
(also, with the church's protestant blessings
daughters, unscented shapeless spirited)
they believe in Christ and Longfellow,both dead,
are invariably interested in so many things-
at the present writing one still finds
delighted fingers knitting for the is it Poles?
perhaps. While permanent faces coyly bandy
scandal of Mrs. N and Professor D
....the Cambridge ladies do not care,above
Cambridge if sometimes in its box of
sky lavender and cornerless, the
moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy

On a more positive note.

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
by E. E. Cummings

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This Is What A Relationship Looks Like: Deaf Husband Edition

YG: What's so funny?
JM: Do you like that someecards website?
YG: What? Really?
JM: Yeah, it's pretty hilarious. The signs are the funniest.
YG: Blank stare.
YG: Really?
JM: What?
YG: Some retards? That's a website?
YG: Oh, okay.
JM: You really think there's a website called Some Retards?
JM: That I would go to?
JM: Don't answer that.

Tell Your Gay Mom I Say Thanks

I listened to Tina Fey's interview yesterday on Fresh Air, and I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants. Then I read the Curtis Sittenfield column in the New York Times and the Motherlode blog post, both talking about how Fey interprets the question, "How do you juggle it all?" as incredibly rude. Comments were as expected, ranging from the "she's rich, how dare she" and "people that outsource raising kids suck" to the more general "men never get asked this."

I'm not sure if I see it as a judgmental question. I guess it depends on who is asking. Is the intent to figure out how I do, in fact, fit 3000 things into one day? Or is the intent to make me feel guilty about not giving each of those 3000 things my full attention? I find that when I ask that question it's because I'm genuinely interested in figuring out how to do this better. It's 'how do you schedule everything' as opposed to 'however do you find the time to work and ignore your kids at the same time.'

It's sort of like that question that Stay At Home Moms get asked all the time: what do you do all day? The tone is usually interpreted (and unfortunately usually intended) to make them seem like life must be wonderful and easy with all that free time. But when I asked a SAHM friend, "How do you usually plan out your day?" it was meant as a plea of "please help me. I don't know what to do with these kids all day." I have never spent that much time alone at home during the day with the girls, but when I do, I find that I can't get ANYTHING done. At work, I am expected to do certain tasks, but I generally have some time to devote my full attention to them. At home, there are tasks to do, but there is no way in hell, for me anyway, to give my full attention to anything when there are screaming monkeys around.

So yeah, I'm not sure where I was going with this. Intent matters? Mean people suck, no matter what you do? And that Tina Fey is always awesome.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Less Than 30 Things I Remember on My Brother's 30th Birthday

Or fifteen random memories:

* I do not have a lot of memories of my time before siblings, and the two that I do have involve pooping or peeing my pants. In the first, I had a flowered bikini bathing suit and we were in Long Island and I really had to poop. The one bathroom was being used, and I remember doing the dance in my grandmother’s bedroom right outside the bathroom, begging to be let in before finally just pooping. I remember the wet bathing suit bottom on the clothes line in the back yard. In the second, my dad was driving me home from daycare (this is how I know it was pre-Brian because we had an in-house babysitter after he was born) in his newish car that had leather seats. I don’t remember what made me pee my pants, but I distinctly remember that leather does not absorb and it was a HUGE puddle.
o How My Somewhat Random Thought Process Works In Case You Were Wondering Why I Might Start This Entry With ‘Happy Birthday, Brother. I Pooped’ – I read SKB’s pants peeing story on Thought Cannon, I remembered peeing my pants, I remembered it being in the car and then I remembered I was in the car because it was before Brian, and then I remembered Brian was about to turn 30. I probably thought of the poop story as a natural jump from the pee story. As one would.

* I got my ears pierced at The Livingston Mall the day Brian was born.

* I was supposed to be able to choose his name because my dad chose his sister’s name, but fortunately or unfortunately, Frank and Chocolate were rejected.

* We had a book called ‘The New Baby’ that my parents would read to me from that had a mom with a ponytail on the cover. The new baby in that book was a girl.

* The room that later became mine and my sister’s room was where Brian slept. It was green then, and we had a changing table where he would pee on the wall while getting changed.

* I had a brass bed in what is now Brian’s room.

* I have clear memories of my brother’s baptism. His godfather is a priest so we had it at our house, and I remember the ceremony part being in the living room because I remember the light blue rug that they still have in there. Afterward everyone hung out on the front lawn, eating and talking. I had a white dress with a blue ribbon sash. My mom has a framed picture of that day on her coffee table, and all of the older people, with the exception of my one Nana, are dead.

* I have absolutely no recollection of time between either of my siblings being born, or of my mother being home with us. I remember the day when Anne, our babysitter, started working for us. I had a blue polka dotted outfit.

* My brother was pigeon toed and had to wear those shoes with the bar in between them. You had to do some serious kung fu moves to stay out of his way.

* I remember the day we lost his first monkey, creatively named Monkey, at the supermarket. I think it was Shop Rite.

* My brother and sister had a double stroller with seats that faced each other. It was navy blue with red checks. There was a space between the seats that I was able to sit in if I was too tired to walk. I seem to remember us being at the mall a lot.

* When we were a little older, my mom took us to Bee Meadow Pool after she came home from work one night. It was really late and quiet, and Brian decided to jump off the high dive. He slipped and belly flopped and the lifeguards had to jump in and rescue him. It seemed like he was under forever.

* When we would go to Florida to visit my grandparents, Brian and I would ride their two big tricycles and take turns with Becky in the basket. We would feed the ducks at Tin Pan Alley.

* In our room in Long Island, we had New York Post pictures of the 1986 Mets. I remember Ron Darling and Jesse Orasco above Brian’s bed.

* I graduated from college before either of my siblings graduated from high school. I remember feeling very old when they went to college.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Small Changes/Big Bed

YG and I bought Zygote a toddler bed. She's probably a little young to start sleeping in a bed, but we don't have room for two cribs and we really are trying to stay as decluttered as possible in our small space. When we put the bed together and put all the bedding on a few weeks ago, she immediately began climbing and jumping up and down, yelling "wheeeee!" But when we tried to get her to take a nap in there, it was all 'Bitches, please. No."

We slowly moved some of her things into the bed and that got her comfortable enough to start taking naps in there. I didn't make any attempts to have her spend a full night there, but last night, after the full routine (book, ABC song, Wheels on the Bus, ABC song again, My Favorite Things interrupted, Wheels on the Bus), she pointed at the bed and said, "in."

"Z," I asked. "Do you want to sleep in the big girl bed?"

She nodded and pointed.

"Not in the crib?"

Again with the point and nod. I placed her on the bed, turned out the light and sat down next to her, going through the ABC song again. She grabbed my hand in the dark and placed it on her belly and started rubbing. I stayed a while, kissed her goodnight and shut the door.

Then I cried.

And then I obsessively listened to the monitor and checked on her about 50 times to make sure she was still breathing and hadn't busted out of the house to go buy crack.

Nothing happened. YG was in the living room this morning when she woke up, and he said she opened the door and walked out, but had managed to snag her blanket in the door after she shut it. "Uh oh," she exclaimed, and then figured out a way to get herself loose. She's a big girl now.

I have spent an awful lot of the past two years wishing she could do some things on her own, and now she is, and I am feeling grossly sentimental.

It's a small change -- her moving to a bed--but it's a big thing. For me, anyway.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Things That Make Me Feel Old: Nirvana’s Nevermind Turns 20 This Year

My little brother is turning 30 this week which makes me feel old. Nirvana's 1991 album Nevermind celebrates its 20th anniversary this September, which makes me feel old on a number of different levels. I was a little kid when my brother was born, but sometimes I still feel like the same person I was when Nirvana broke big. And twenty years have passed. Whoa, scary.

Free association or my spontaneous, logically unconstrained and undirected association of ideas, emotions, and feelings related to this milestone:

* I turned 15 in September of 1991. Sophomore year. I met my boyfriend’s best friend at the Sam Goody in Headquarters Plaza after a movie. He told me that I had “Mariah Carey hair” which I took as a great compliment. We went to Pizza Hut. He later introduced me to the guy that would become my boyfriend. The boyfriend worked at Alwik Records at The Livingston Mall. This was perhaps the coolest job in the world to a 15 year old.

* That boyfriend made me a lot of mix tapes. Some I still have. One was a recording of Nirvana’s Bleach. I loved 'Love Buzz' and played it on my Walkman all the time. I also “danced” to it in our basement, meaning I ran back and forth across the room and punched the walls.

* That song was later featured in the opening sequence of the craptastic Drew Barrymore movie, Mad Love. I did not think it was craptastic at the time. It was sooooo real because you know, she was crazy and all, and suicidal people are so cool. And deep.

* I bought Nevermind on cassette at Alwik. Or more likely, I may have stolen it. Either way, it was a cassette that I later replaced with a CD when I got my first CD player for Christmas. My Aunt Joanie bought it for me, along with L7’s Bricks are Heavy. I like to think of her, in her preppy Lands End gear, asking for that at the record store. ‘Shitlist’ still plays on heavy rotation on my commute.

* With Nevermind came “alternative,” and suddenly there was a word for me. Still weird, but now with a marketing term. I ate that up. I had combat boots and flannels and concert tees and fishnets and lots of Converse sneakers. My boyfriend always wore two different colored Converse All Stars. I was grounded for trying to dye my hair pink with Kool Aid. I was in Hot Topic’s target market before there was probably a Hot Topic.

* Lots of popular girls suddenly wanted to be “alternative.” This is probably when I first really, and truly, became a pretentious asshole because I loved that I had found that music first and was all, ‘oh, Nevermind is okaaaaay, but Bleach was so much more independent and raw. Oh, you've never heard of it? Interesting.’ I think I have out grown this trait, but probably not really?

* ‘Breed’ was my favorite song on the album.

* They started to play ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ at school dances. Or they would play the first few chords and everyone would freak out and mosh, and then the lights in the cafeteria would come up and the assistant principal would warn against the school’s strict ‘no moshing’ policy.

* You know the story: Kurt Cobain came up with the song's title when Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill (also had multiple cassette tapes) spray painted "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit" on his wall. Kathleen Hanna came to a Take Back the Night rally at Syracuse. She played Yoko Ono records on a Fisher Price record player. Holy shit, she was cool.

* I was on a school trip to Europe in April 1994. My dad ran it and the boys from his school couldn’t believe that the strict assistant principal’s daughter was “alternative.” I was really jet lagged when we got home and watched the MTV News Breaking report that Kurt Cobain had died. I cried. My mother rolled her eyes.

* I felt like Nirvana was yelling with me when I listened to their music. I didn't know what I was so angry about, but I was angry at everyone and everything.

* I went to a wedding in 2003 and after everyone got drunk, the DJ played 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and EVERYONE rushed the dance floor, moshing and beating the crap out of each other. One of the brides tore her dress. All these parents and corporate workers were sweating like pigs. We probably talked about how we couldn't believe it was ten years since Nirvana broke big.

* I am equally thrilled and embarrassed to play 'Lithium' on Guitar Hero.

* My musical tastes really haven’t evolved that much since the early 90s. Or they have a little, but every time someone asks me who my favorite band is, it’s always someone that I discovered during that time – the Pixies, Sonic Youth, Pavement, etc.

* That said, I would never, ever want to be 15 again. Even though I was kind of cool. Comparatively speaking, of course.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Self-Discovery Word by Word

Medicinal Marzipan is hosting this month's series of Self-Discovery Word by Word. The idea is to get the blogging community focused on self-discovery via one word, and this month's word is change. Besides the fact that "self-discovery" makes me think of Birkenstocks and gauzy skirts and raw foods, I like this idea. As I mentioned earlier, "transition" is the focus of Lent this year, and I have been thinking a lot about change and transition and where I go from here.

I am a little, well lot, bit lost right now. The winter is over, spring is starting, and I am at 32 weeks. In less than two months, we become a family of five, and in some ways, I feel like I have to start over again -- learning new routines, learning a new kid, dealing with all the physical and hormonal changes, etc. I just changed, and now I have to do it again.

I don't like change. I don't like transitions. I like things to be clear and concise and SETTLED and I most definitely am not.

Then there's the question of what changes happen after Z2. How am I going to make some money and help support all these goddamn kids? I like to poke fun at the Stages of Grief, but here I am, finding myself hovering in between full-on 'fuck off motherfuckers rage' and 'i have wasted vast amounts of the last 12 years and have nothing to show for it' mortification and depression. I don't know what to do next.

And along with those big questions, I am still the old me: still obsessing about how much weight I am gaining with this baby, still sad that I'm not exercising more, still medicating all of the above with a fine layer of processed foods, and then feeling GUILTY because I am an old lady and I really should know better. I should learn to be okay with me, ride the changes, and then the rest will follow. Right? Easy?

I keep coming up with lists and lists of questions without a lot of answers. I heard that there is progress in the questioning, and that it is a useful exercise, but see above: I want things settled, aligned, clean...and delivered in a nice PowerPoint presentation with crappy clip art.

I don't know about change. The one thing I do know is that things have to change, and I have to be somewhat engaged in the journey. This is the hard part.