Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What Are You Watching?

I was talking with some friends recently about how the writer's strike has changed our daily routines. For my part, I usually like to come home, curl up on the couch with my laptop and watch three hours of TV. Especially Thursday nights. It's a perfect way to unwind from the daily stress.

With the writer's strike shutting down Primetime TV, the networks are scheduling competing, knock-off reality shows. Well, I do love a small amount of trash TV, but I just can't waste my limited brain space for "Duel" or "Clash of the Choirs". Particularly when I can get the wrap-up report on The Soup.

The Soup is a gem of a show. Witty, timely, and to the point. I don't need to watch "I love New York", when Joel McHale reenacts his own interpretation of each week's reality offerings. It's unfortunate that New York had to visit the 'parrot zoo' given her fear of parrots. This important tidbit, sure to be a question in future editions of "Trivial Pursuit" (The Reality Show Edition), was gleaned in five minutes, rather than dragged out over the course of an entire VH1 episode.

Of course, a friend of mine has turned me on to a new show on MTV, the inventor of the 'reality program'. It's called, "A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila". Sort of like "The Bachelor", this reality farce poses man vs. woman for the affections of Tila Tequila. For those who may want to watch the full series online (currently not a reasonable source of income for writers, but reality show writers aren't unionized, and so they choose to get screwed so watch online), this is a spoiler. The series ends, according to,

This is it... the final elimination. Tila explains her emotions of excitement and nervousness. A teary-eyed Tila explains to Dani and Bobby that she has come to love the both of them and that this decision was far harder than she expected. She goes on to further explain what qualities she has come to love in both of them and thanks them both for opening their hearts to her. Tila Tequila wants to take a shot at love with... Bobby.

After a long kiss with Bobby, Tila remembers Dani, who has already begun walking back to the house. Tila yells for her and chases down Dani. They embrace and Tila breaks down, explaining that it isn't easy for her.

Tila takes Bobby up to her room, which he has never seen. In the end, she chose a man.

In full disclosure, I haven't watched this show yet. And, despite my displeasure of reality shows, I found myself setting the Tivo for Wednesday's airing of Tila. Maybe it's because I just can't force myself to go to the gym, live healthier, smarter life. No, I need to be home. I need to exercise my Tivo. I need to curl up on my couch with my laptop and forget who I am for a few hours. And hopefully with Tila Tequila, I can forget the troubles of our economy, my personal life, and focus on something more important: someone else's nuttiness.

All this brings me to a very important question. What are you watching in lieu of your favorite TV shows?

LinkedIn, or My Chance at Popularity

Recently, it came to my attention that 2008 will be my 20 year high school reunion. I'm experiencing a lot of mixed emotions, stress, excitement, need to eat, need to starve, etc, etc. I never was a popular kid. I suppose that was a good thing. If you aren't a cool kid, you experience less pressure to do stupid things. I could always shrug off my unpopularity by acting like I didn't care what other people thought of me. I believe that was true for the most part, but I'd also be lying to say that I didn't want to be popular.

I don't generally dwell on my high school dramas, but the realization that my reunion is coming up, I find myself thinking about this question: how is popularity measured among adults?

I signed up for LinkedIn a month ago, for research purposes. I didn't do much with my pages (similar to my approach to blogging, myspace, etc). But I got some invitations to join networks, to my delight. For a few moments, I felt popular.

Tonight, in the absence of real TV, I decided to work on my profile. How exciting it was to find so many of my friends on the site. Way more friends on LinkedIn than are actually reading this silly diatribe. I couldn't help myself. As I was reviewing some profiles, seeing how many people are "linked in", I suddenly had flashbacks to my high school days. No prom date for me. Just a few people - well, my closest friends, in my network.

This time, I'm being more proactive. Because I do care what people think. I do want people to like me. And so, with much glee, I spent much of the night reaching out to old classmates, current and past colleagues, and others whose paths I've crossed. I may not have 500 contacts in my network, as one friend does (she is REALLY popular), but I hope to have more than three.

I share this all with you, the one of you who is reading this, in the hopes that you will sign up for LinkedIn, accept my invitation, or invite me to be in your network. After all, if we work together, we too can be popular!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Where Did the Gays Go?

Today I stayed home with a stomach bug. It was a pesky little critter, that scratched and gnawed at me, but didn't reveal itself. Not knowing how serious this event would be, I decided to get out of bed and work. Although the new place isn't quite settled, I feel at home enough to camp out on the couch and crouch over the laptop, squinting at spreadsheets and numbers, looking out on the Queens/Brooklyn skyline.

Around noon, the president of Iran spoke at Columbia. I decided to tune into this presentation. I'm always curious to hear what idiots have to say. After he got bitch slapped by the President of Columbia U (which itself is interesting considering they invited him to speak. Kind of unprofessional, in my opinion. But then, despite my reputation, my liberalism doesn't bleed that much).

But I digress......

So most of what Ahmadinejad said was quite boring.....blah blah blah on peaceful nuclear production, their rights to self-determination, etc, etc. But, like so many of you, I learned there are no gays in Iran.

Who knew?

Well, this changes everything.

Clearly dating in New York has not worked for many of us. Perhaps it's time to look east. To the land of the land of.....well, I don't know what they have. Good kabob, caviar. The Caspian Sea could become the new Hamptons. Think about it. No competition from our gay boyfriends. And, because we'll need to wear veils, we can stop spending all our money on coloring our roots. This could be great!

There are other implications as well.

1. Young Iranians can join the US military - no issues of "don't ask, don't tell"
2. The RNC can move it's convention to Tehran. Who needs Log Cabin Republicans - time for the Iranian Republicans to stand up.

Of course, it's sad there are no gays in Iran. I mean, who else can Design on a Dime? Can they really pull off "Straight Eye for the Iranian Guy"? And what girl doesn't feel better after getting a pep talk from her best girlfriend, Tim?

It makes me wonder, where did the gays go?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Should I Stop Watching TV - How RCN is Ruining My Life

I'm having a nightmare with RCN, and I have to share with anyone who actually checks on this site. I moved in to my new apartment last week. The RCN technician set up my two cable boxes and the wireless router, and left. Not 10 minutes pass when the DVR box goes out. I go to pull up the number online, but I can't access the internet b/c the guy put a password on the router, but didn't give me the password. He leaves me no paperwork - nothing. I'm currently stealing someone else's internet (sorry).

I've been on the phone with RCN twice - you know it takes an average 15 minutes on hold just to speak to a rep. Crazy. I explained the problem, spent an additional hour unplugging/replugging the box while they keep sending signals out to the box......the box is dead. I knew there was a problem when I saw all the scratches on the thing. At least Time Warner cleans their boxes and pretends they are new. RCN didn't even bother.

I made an appt for a technician to come out. Then the onsite RCN sales rep I happened to talk to on Saturday came up and looked at it. He suggested I try calling again - maybe the signaling would work. Spent another 1+ hour on the phone with them. Nothing changed.

RCN calls me yesterday to confirm the appointment for tonight. They tell me that if I don't cancel, but miss the appointment, I have to pay them a $50 no-show fee. I confirmed I would be there.

Tonight, I rush home, leaving work early so I could be there at 5p, and waited, and waited, and waited, etc, etc, etc. Finally at 8p, I called to see what happened b/c the technician is a no-show.

Takes an hour for the technician to respond to say I wasn't home. Even claimed he called and left a message. I have no calls (no one has the home number but RCN - and there were no calls in the log), no messages, no cable, no internet access (accept that which I am stealing). The best they could do is say "sorry".

I kept asking for the supervisor, who refused to get on the line. I actually felt bad for the phone rep b/c it isn't his fault, but he has to hear it from me and gets no suppport from his supervisor.

Anyway, I have no rescheduled appointment. The best they could do is send a note to the regional office and I have to wait for someone to call me to reschedule the appointment.

Personally, I'm wondering if this is a sign from God or whoever, telling me to stop watching TV and playing on the internet - and go to the gym. And maybe I should just cancel the account entirely. But then, the new TV season premieres in two weeks. How can I live without The Office, Ugly Betty, Desparate Housewives, and Pushing Daisyies (I haven't seen it and I already love it), or my new favorite shows - Weeds and Californication?

Of course, they could give me the $50 no-show credit, give me a free month, and maybe I'll keep my account and I can maybe go on living.........

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Good Citizenship

I wrote this email last night when I was pumped up. Somehow the adrenal faded and I fell asleep. But I wanted to share my adventure with you. Why - b/c I'm a good citizen, a girl scout (sans uniform), practically an American hero. Maybe one day, someone will nominate me for World News Tonight's "Person of the Week".

This is what I wrote - before I fell asleep-

Adrenalin is racing. What a night. It started out normal. Met my friend Paul - we saw Spiderman. After, it was a nice night. We decided to walk home. At 61st and Park, he turned right to go home. I continued on. Called Colleen b/c I didn't want to walk alone. Strangely, she was not at home waiting by the phone for me. So I'm walking, listening to the Killers, when I see this guy going towards his car. But, it wasn't his car. He was tring to break in. And he as looking for something on the side of the car, but what? As I got near, he started acting weird. Waving his hands in the air like I had a gun. He backed off the car. I passed him and pretended not to notice. He followed me. I walked a little faster. I crossed the street. I turned to see where he was. He was waving his hands in the air - examing them in the street light. He was high. Like, really high. I walked into an apartment building and told the 2 doormen what was going on. I thought they'd call the police. They told me to stay inside.

The first doorman asked me if I was sure of what I saw - he said, "are you sure....on this street....park avenue"? I said yes yes. He was glad b/c his car was on Lex. Mrm "high guy" passed the building and walked up to another car. He peered into the windows. He tried opening the door. No alarms. Don't people on Park avenue have car alarms? Maybe they can afford to have their cars stolen. Then, he started opening the gas tank. He was trying to inhale the fumes. I have never seen anyone actuallu sniffing car fumes before. I knew I should have had my "action 12" camera with me today.

So I'm hanging in the building for another minute, to the annoyance of the residents who were coming and going and giving me dirty looks. Apparently seeing me in the vestible talking with the doorman was more upsetting than the bozo sniffing gas outside the door.

A minute later, the crazy guy is a half block away, and the two doormen are talking to each other about druggies on the subway. I realize I have to do something. The guy is completely wasted and is going to hurt himself or someone else. The doorman aren't calling the police, so I did. I left and followed the druggie - who attempted to sniff a third car and then tried breaking into a dr.'s office.

So I called 911 to make a citizen's arrest. At first they kept questioning my location - as if 74th amd Park hasn't seen its share of drugs and gasoline sniffers. They turned me over to EMS. In two minutes, paramedics arrived. It was funny b/c they we're stuck at the light and someone ran up to them and pointed out the druggie.

EMS pulled over and parked. They approached the guy. I stood back, not wanting to get in the way, or attacked in some crazy crystal-meth rage. I have to admit, watching them talk to the guy was boring, and it was 10p, so idecided I was no longer needed. I knew Mr. High guy was in good hands, soon to be in lock down or the druggie detox ward at Bellvue.

Normally, I would have minded my business and let the guy sniff all the gas on the upper east side. But I'm glad I took action. I so feel like a super hero. As Spidey says, we can all make a difference, if we choose to.....

I wonder what will happen when Michelle and I walk home tonight?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Devil in the White City

A friend of mine recently read "Devil in the White City". She had been reading it for what seemed like a year. She did not enjoy the book. Too historical, factual for her tastes. Seemed like the perfect book for me. As I was wandering around the Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago, I saw the book and decided to read it.

I've been to Chicago several times. I went to college near there. At one point, I thought I would move there, not New York. The book is interesting because it conveys the "little kid" syndrome Chicago has relative to New York. I remember when I was dating this guy from Chicago a few years ago, his parents made some remarks about Chicago being just as great as New York. I wonder if this sentiment that was felt so strongly 100+ years ago is still alive today?

Regardless, the book was quite good. It tells the story of the Chicago World Fair (which was the impetus for the Columbus Day holiday), and a psychopath serial killer who was in his prime during the same time period. Both stories by themselves were worth reading.

This was a great time in American history. We were moving out of "3rd world" status through westward expansion, industry and the great inventions from men like Edison. We were the land of opportunity and immigrants were sailing over in the hundreds of thousands. Yet, despite all of the economic and social change that was happening, the US was still not considered to be a country on par with England or France. As a matter of fact, feeling very much like the under dog, there was great apprehension of not meeting the standards set by the Paris World Fair a few years earlier.

And so what do we do? We ask the city of Chicago, the city known for its meatpacking industry, to pull of the impossible. But she does it, despite many of the obstacles we recognize today: politics, multitude of committees and vested interests, too little money and time. Yet the driving force had a vision and collected some of the great architects and designers of his day to create a vision of what city life could be. It was a direct contrast from the realities of Chicago - the "dark city". It was heaven on earth. And inspired cities to adopt urban planning. It inspired future architects like Frank Lloyd Wright. It was also a place of invention - the Ferris Wheel, Wheaties Cereal, Columbus Day - these all came out of the fair.

The sad side of the story is about a man named Holmes (his most common alias). He was a classic serial killer, although at that time, the idea of a serial killer was inconceivable. He prayed up young women, who represented the first generation of women who lived and worked on their own. This was pre-suffrage. They were young, they had big dreams, but were vulnerable. His method of killing was cruel, although I can't imaging how much worse he would have been if he had our modern video technology. He used the fair as a lure. The exact number of people killed is uncertain - nine for certain (including 4 children), but probably much more.

The stories are written in parallel. They are different, but I can't say I liked one more than the other. I hope someone in Hollywood takes up this story. I'm sure my friend won't see it, but I would.