A Room of My Own

the inner ramblings of a self-declared geek

When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be… June 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — aroomofmyown @ 12:56 pm

I haven’t been able to answer that question since I’ve been an adult.  When I was about 8, I would have answered that I wanted to be an author. I had an amazing third grade teacher who took the time to see past a lonely little girl who didn’t have the coolest clothes or the best lunchbox, but instead had a whole lot of emotion and imagination brewing beneath the surface.  She was the first person to tell me I had a talent for writing.

When I got to high school, I had decided I would be a journalist.  I read incessantly, wrote angst-filled teenage poetry and managed to become the editor of the school paper by the time I was a senior.  But I hadn’t yet learned to think for myself.  I was mostly following the path laid out before me without forging my own trail.

In college, I decided to major in English (among other things).  Novels became how I viewed the world.  A section on post-colonial Indian literature connected me to a subcontinent I would probably never know.  A directed study of Virginia Woolf lead me to an awareness of women’s rights and the modernist movement (and a name for this blog).  But what I really did in college was figure out what I thought –  about politics, about the world, about myself.

It took at least another five years after college to be okay with all of that, to finally like who I was and feel secure with my place in the world.  And I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, even though I was started to feel decidedly “mature,”  if not yet long in the tooth.

I worked, but I didn’t have a career.  I paid the bills, but I didn’t feel like I was following my dreams or changing the world.  And for a large majority of Americans, that’s what we do.  We go to work, and then come home to our real lives.  But I wanted to love my life and my work.

So I did the unthinkable (at least for a non-risk-taking person such as myself).  I quit my job just as I was starting to make progress financially to start over in a new career.  Untested.  Broke.  Scared.

Because I’m so terrified, I’m pretty sure that means it was the right decision.  The easy path is rarely the correct one.  I may not know what the perfect career for me will be, but I think this is a good start.  And when I grow up, I can say that I am happy.

 

Too Damn Hot June 23, 2010

Filed under: my house — aroomofmyown @ 7:20 pm

It’s too hot to think of anything funny to say.  The cats are all strewn about the floor in random patterns, plotting an uprising against us as soon as they can find it in themselves to move.  If I’m hot just sitting here, I can’t imagine how they feel covered in fur.  Although, they clearly aren’t all that clever, as Hurley has tried to snuggle on my lap.  He obviously knows nothing about relative body temperatures and cat-to-person inverse heat ratios.

While watching Deadliest Catch last night, I kept wishing one of those huge, icy waves from the Bering Sea would crash over me,  just for a minute.  I took a shower before bed, hoping to simulate this sensation, to little effect.  I think the plastic shower curtain sticking to my legs and the scent of Bath & Body Works shower gel killed the mirage.

I know I’m just rambling out of heat-inspired dementia, but I haven’t posted for two weeks, and I was feeling guilty for backing out on my plan to stick with this blog thing.  However, you are now reading the effects of that dedication – forced and boring writing.  Perhaps if I keep typing, I’ll get inspired…

…10 minutes later…

I guess not.   Okay, next week, I will have a better topic.  Or at least some pictures to distract the reader.

 

The Ultimate Question June 2, 2010

Filed under: waxing pseudo-philosophical — aroomofmyown @ 5:32 pm

I mean, we know the answer is 42.  But what’s the question?  As silly as those stories can be, it has got me thinking.  Maybe the answer isn’t always as important as the question itself.

Awhile back, I was reading this article in the Times science section about conditional probability.  Now this is stuff that I can only wrap my head around in the most abstract sense, and in no way could I ever understand the math and statistical analysis behind it.  But the basic idea was to pose not as a yes or no, but as an if/then scenario, calculating the probability of Event A based on the occurrence of Event B.  Setting conditions for an answer can drastically change the outcome.

They used an example of a legal argument from the OJ Simpson case.  (Forgive me, for I am going to paraphrase this example from month-old memory)  The defense, after much testimony to the fact that OJ physically abused his wife, made the argument that only a small portion of domestic offenders go on to murder their victim.  The odds were something like 1 in 2500.  That seems like sound logic, right?  They are making the case that murder is not the next step in an escalating chain of events.

However, based on the theories of conditional probability, the researcher pointed out the question should NOT be how many men who beat their wives eventually murder them; but how many women, given that they  have a history of abuse and that they have been murdered by someone, have been killed by their abuser?  In this scenario, the statistics dramatically flip to something like 90%.

I’m sure I’m doing a lousy job of explaining the issue, but it’s an intriguing concept.  The answer is completely different based on what question you ask, but the facts are essentially still the same.

It makes me wonder how many questions I’m getting wrong.  Would I like the answers better if I got the question right?  Is my whole life an if/then statement in shades of gray?  What is my Ultimate Question?

 

And Hurley makes three… May 26, 2010

Filed under: my house — aroomofmyown @ 5:24 pm

Kitties, that is.  I recently added a new cat to the household, much to Richard Parker’s initial terror and Ella’s continued annoyance.  Here’s a picture:

He showed up rather unexpectedly on Easter Sunday as the sweetest stray you will ever meet.  He walked onto the porch and promptly jumped into Laura’s lap.  That was it.  We were smitten with this affectionate, too-skinny and smelly cat.  After a stint at Animal Control, I officially adopted him April 17th and named him Hurley.

He has this quality about him that is hard to describe…he’s almost mystical.  It’s like a human looking at you from cat eyes.  He’s settled into the household comfortably and has put on some much-needed weight.

He has also proved to be quite playful.  He and Richard Parker are developing into lifelong friends, as they play and chase toys together.  Hurley does have a strange habit of placing his “kills” in odd places.

It’s interesting being a 3-cat-household.  One day, Ella will forgive me.  I have drawn a firm line, however.  Any more felines and we are in danger of becoming crazy cat ladies.

 

What They Died For… May 19, 2010

Filed under: movies — aroomofmyown @ 5:29 pm

Somehow I’m trying to tie the approaching Lost finale into my new resolve to blog weekly, but I can’t do it.  This post is about two things.

  1. I am going to try very hard for the next couple of months to make weekly posts to this blog.  Since I’ve started it, it’s been a rather tepid relationship, if I’m going to be honest.  But, hell.  If I can quit smoking, I can blog consistently.
  2. Lost is about to end!  To put it simply, omg.  O.M.G.

What can I say about this show?  That it’s brilliant.  Captivating.  Frustrating. Heartbreaking.  Exhilarating.  Mysterious.  Thought-provoking.  Classic.  Seriously, whether they are flashing backwards, forwards or sideways, I love this show.  We only have one episode left and I still don’t know what the end will look like.   It’s pretty useless to try to make predictions, because this show has a habit of going places you didn’t even think possible.

But let me say this.  After a brief period of trepidation at the beginning of the season, I have grown to love the flash sideways.  I’m not sure if I love season-four-Desmond or season-six-Desmond better, but I always love him.   For a minute, I thought Ben might redeem himself, but I think he’s going to go out like the bastard he came in.  Of course it was Jack.  It was always Jack.

I’ll miss it when it’s gone, but I’m more excited to finish this journey.  To stand at the end of it all and say see you in another life, brother.

 

Say, You All Didn’t Happen to Do a Bunch of Drugs? September 10, 2009

Filed under: politics — aroomofmyown @ 4:21 pm

It’s been a weird summer.  Hectic.  Strange weather.  Lot of angry people.  And that is not just my reality.  It’s as if all the real prim crazies in the country  decided to stand up.  For example:

  • You had the birthers movement.  Let me just say right now, as far as names go, this one sucks.  I mean, it sounds like some sort of genetically-modified cow you find on a farm in Nebraska.  I had to refrain from correcting a number of such people at a movie theater in Brookfield.  I switched seats rather than be subjected to that kind of offensive insanity.
  • You’ve got wanna-be soldiers waving around guns at healthcare reform protests…where the president is speaking.  First of all, let me just say that I think it is a colossally stupid idea to let people that angry (not to mention bat-shit crazy) anywhere near the president with an armed weapon.  And I don’t for one minute buy their bullshit reasoning of  “guns are for protection.”  Anyway, let’s just assume that if you are within a quarter-mile of the president, you are surrounded by a small militia that includes some of the best marksmen in the entire world, so that handgun strapped to your thigh like some sort of penis-metaphor is somewhat purposeless.
  • Parents all over the country objected to the president addressing the nation’s schoolchildren.  His message was full of socialist propaganda, such as “stay in school,”  “work hard,” and “pick yourself up after you fail.”  Who could possibly oppose that message?  Take a moment to reflect on the irony of parents who kept their children home from school because of a speech the president gave about staying in school.  It baffles the mind.
  • Our mayor was beat up.  Like, in-the-hosiptal, beat-up.  A guy hit him with a lead pipe.  After the mayor tried to stop him from taking a child from a grandmother.  And then he proceeded to break his hand trying to stop the guy.  Actually, just the would-be kidnapper is crazy. Our mayor is actually kind of bad-ass.  Laura and I have taken to calling him the Mayor-in-shining-armor.
  • Glenn Beck told the country our president is a racist.  Our black president harbors racism against white people.  Yeah, there’s a problem that’s sweeping the nation.

In the midst of all these thoughts, I had dinner last night with my parents and I decided to bring up politics in a conversation with my father.  Clearly, I normally know better than to do this.  I’m going to blame the martini.  Or the wine.  Or possibly both.  Either way, I am still recovering and will stick to safer subjects in the future, such as “when was the last time I went to church” and “why haven’t I given them grandchildren yet?”

Meanwhile, during that dinner, a senator called the president a liar on national television during a joint session of Congress.  And the craziness goes on…

 

It’s very gripping…Needs a third act. July 20, 2009

Filed under: movies — aroomofmyown @ 4:43 pm

I’ve been on a movie marathon lately.   In the span of one week, I have been to three films (incidentally, each movie at a different theater).  Even more unusual, every one of them was good, if not great.  It seems hard to believe in the season of superheroes and dirty jokes, but I have found a few gems.

The first, I guess, doesn’t count as something other than a summer blockbuster  (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, iPic Theater).  But the Harry Potter movies just keep getting better and better.  And I don’t think you have to be a Potterhead to love them.  In fact, I saw the first four movies before I ever picked up one of the books.

But this one has a little bit of everything.   It’s fun and exciting.  It’s also the darkest and saddest of the movies.  And it contains a genuine, jump-out-of-your-seat moment.  I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish.  It was also the first time I could have a beer whilst watching a Harry Potter movie.  Not that I did, but I could have.

Another movie on my list was Away We Go at the Oriental Theater.  I knew I loved Sam Mendes for a reason (besides his excellent taste in wives).  This is certainly his best movie since American Beauty, but not really anything like it.  Except maybe it’s also about people struggling to follow their own path.

Yet instead of being surrounded by a deadened suburbia, these characters are surrounded by freaks, in every corner of our country, and some others as well.  It’s sweet and funny and irreverent and tender and over-the-top to a perfect amount.  You can’t watch this movie and not fall in love with the main couple.

Finally, I saw Julie and Julia at the Majestic in a sneak peek.  I went to this movie expecting to be mildly entertained and slightly amused.  It turned out to be everything I expected, only more of it.  I thought it would be funny, but there were more laugh out loud moments than I expected.  I knew I’d love Meryl Streep, but I was completely charmed by Amy Adams as well.  In addition to the women, the men playing the husbands were also extraordinarily good in their roles.

I liked that it was a fun, intelligent movie for women that didn’t have to be about getting the guy.  It was not a romantic comedy, but it had plenty of romance and comedy in it.

I would suggest all three, but maybe not all to the same person, seeing as they are wildly different movies.  It’s not often I say this, but I would own every one of the movies I saw last week.

Enjoy them if you can.  Let me know what you thought.

Next up, (500) Days of Summer. It has possibly two of my favorite actors in the lead roles.  I’ll keep you posted when I see it.