Archive for the ‘iOpine’ Category

you’ve got to carry that weight

When you’re following a new diet plan, it’s a regimen, not a regime.  OK?!

My annoyance with the misuse of this word is not new, but I’ve been looking at a number of diet books recently and I can’t stop running into that word.  Did anyone assign these writers an editor?  Diet books sell more than any books besides the bible (my observation) so I’d hoped they’d be a little more careful.

Why am I reading diet books?  Because I’ve gotten fat.  I’m not happy about it.

Since I broke my foot (in 2009!!!) I can’t seem to get back to my fighting weight.  I still work out a lot so you might not call me fat.  I seem to be able to carry it without looking obese, but it SUCKS.  I need to reduce big time.  The last time I was this miserable about my body I was 15 and living in Leeds, hence my use of the term”reduce.”

What I hate most, besides just being uncomfortable and jiggly, is that I can’t wear 70% of my clothes.  I have some awesome (and expensive) jeans and I used to rock the shit out of them.  Fortunately I can still wear my pretty dresses - I do so love them.

And frankly, I’m embarrassed.  Maybe that’s stupid, but it’s how I feel.

Just had to get that off my chest.

this i believe

NPR has a series of essays called “This I Believe” that stem from a radio show hosted by Edward R. Murrow back in the 1950’s.  People from all walks of life have written essays over the years and I even have a book compilation of essays.  I love the one by Penn Gillette.

Much as I’d love to compose an essay of my own I’m too all over the place.  I’ve had more than a few thoughts on what I Believe but I must insist on skewing it and putting my thoughts in list form.  Since these beliefs have been occurring to me randomly, and often without warning, I’d like to make this a recurring entry.

  • I believe dry cleaning is a scam.
  • I believe footnotes should be at the bottom of the page, not at the back of the book.
  • I believe marijuana should be legal.
  • I believe that communication failures are the root of most problems.
  • I believe sugar should be a controlled substance.
  • I believe the world is overpopulated.  (And I believe that’s an understatement.)
  • I (finally) believe in the power of exercise and sleep.
  • I believe the Beatles are the best band that ever were.

once more with feeling

I hate to complain about days with “nice” weather, but can’t we just have a sweet, slow progression into Spring without jumping to Summer?  What happened to days and days in a row where the highs are in the low 60s?  Am I the only person in the world who doesn’t crave the heat?

Left the house at 9:30 this morning and walked to the gym.  It’s only a 10-15 minute walk and when I got there I was sweating.  No.  I do not like this.  9:30am and already 65 degrees?  On April 3rd?   And these cloudless skies are killing me.   My walk back home was worse than the walk there because there was zero shade on either side of the street.   After a 2 and a half hour workout I need time to cool down and that just didn’t help matters at all.  Gah!

Winter or Summer, I choose winter.  Never thought I’d feel that way, but there it is.

square peg

Davis Square is a great place to live.  The Boston Globe’s online site did a survey recently of readers’ favorite square and Davis won, running against Kendall (I think), Central, Porter and Harvard.  Yes, it beat Harvard Square.

Davis is perfect because it’s Somerville surrounded by Cambridge on two sides, so it’s artsy, forward thinking and yet has its feet on the ground.  It’s not touristy, it’s got a real “center,” tons of restaurants and bars and shops and the population is a nice mix of locals, Tufts runoff,  mature professionals, families and artists.  I wouldn’t be surprised if all of Somerville contained more musicians than any other part of Massachusetts.

All that said, there is something in Davis that scares me.  It’s a restaurant/nightclub called Sagra.

As I sit here at my desk in my bedroom, which faces Highland Avenue, I hear the effects of this blight on my neighborhood.  Sagra attracts a crowd that simply does not belong here and which is embodied clearly by MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”  Club-going partiers,  girls almost-wearing clothes and stumbling around in heels trying to balance their cleavage and guys who are more Axe body spray and hair gel than man.  All of them are loud loud loud and have so much misdirected or unchanneled energy in them that I’m frightened to even walk past on weekend evenings.  With good reason, too.

When Chris and first started dating he was up late and I was asleep (what else is new?) and he heard a commotion on the street.  He went outside to check it out and witnessed a fight.  Not only did he see some punches thrown, but he saw a guy get hit and then fall backward so hard and so solid that he could hear his head crack on the sidewalk.  For months he said that sound haunted him, it was so visceral and disturbing.

Davis Square isn’t for melees and testosterone-filled macho “who you talkin’ to” fist-fights.  It’s also not for hoochie mamas and “like, ohmigod” spouting bimbos.  Begone foul pestilence!  Stay in the ‘burbs or Faneuil Hall and the clubs near North Station, please!   I moved here because you were not here.   If I had to choose I’d keep my white trash local yobbo neighbors (the ones who were up at 10am last July 4th starting a giant fire in their hibachi and drinking quarts of beer.  The ones who never did any actual barbeque’ing and who turned in for the night at 2pm) over this unsavory element any day of the week.  My WT neighbors may be ignorant or uneducated, but they keep to themselves and don’t stir shit up.  I appreciate that.

can’t or don’t want to keep up with the joneses or anyone else for that matter

Get a life, Twitter.  Screw you, Facebook.

What is my problem?  I would like to appreciate Twitter as it seems to be an amazing communication tool for reporting things that are happening in the farthest reaches of the world where technology and/or political or religious restrictions have made it hard to know what’s really happening.  I see the same 4 or 5 people updating and twittering over twenty times in a day.  Granted I don’t “follow” that many people on Twitter, but seriously, who needs to communicate that much?  It reads as egotistical to me, posting every hour.  Does anyone want to read every thought that enters your mind?  Who has the time?  How do you have the time to make this many observations and still get anything done?

I like Facebook, and I love getting a glimpse into my friends’ day-to-day lives with their interesting and relevant status updates.  But there are some who update constantly.  All day.  I don’t understand it.  And what’s with all the complaining and woe-is-me?  Or the obvious statements that amount to polite conversations between strangers waiting for an elevator?  Yes, I live in the world and it’s hot where I am in the summer, too.  I’m annoyed about the rain as well.  Deep thoughts.

If you’re going to update, have something to say or at least be silly and/or entertain me.  Do I need to know you had four cups of coffee today or that you slept till 11am?  Should I send you some aspirin because your status reads you have a toothache?  In describing and photographing what you’re having for dinner are you inviting me for a meal or just taunting me?  I enjoy the glimpse, but if I wanted a full picture, I’d call you or email you or see you.  In person.  Yeah, weird.

Gee-zus, am I turning into an old lady?  “Am I so out of touch?  No.  It is the children who are wrong.”  - Principal Skinner, The Simpsons.

I started a blog not just to have a soapbox to climb atop and bitch, but to tell my friends what was going on with me and my cancer and my chemo in detail.  Yes, I’m a Leo, so me likey lots of attention, sure!  But I’ve no doubt that if I had been on Facebook when I was first diagnosed I wouldn’t have mentioned it much there.  It’s not my style.  Just as it’s not my style to feel sorry for myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of poor me, poor me, pour me another moments, but I try to force perspective.  I make myself see how good I have it in the grand scheme of things.  And when I complain, I try to make it fun, funny, or constructive.

That’s all.

zooey shmooey

Like the rest of the hip, with-it world I fell in love with Zooey Deschanel when she played the older sister in Almost Famous. How could I not? Her big, blue eyes, her generous lips and that lilty-sweet innocent-and/or-stoned low little voice… she’s infinitely girl-crush-worthy.

Almost infinitely, that is. When the hilarious movie Elf showed the girl could sing, it blew all our minds, didn’t it? The problem is that her people must have told her she should make an album, so she did. She made a record with M. Ward (calling themselves She & Him) and her classy 30’s sounding voice got mashed into 00’s emo and whoa, it ain’t good. No sir, it ain’t.

I just wanted to express my sincere disappointment because she’s getting so much press lately with her new movie. Perhaps it’s just not my cuppa. I like the music, which is emo-y beatles-esque, but the singing just doesn’t do it for me. she&him

That’s all.

early morbidity

You may have noticed an overarching preoccupation of mine with death.  When I was four years old I had the realization that we will all one day die.  Being only four you could suppose this epiphany frightened me, but it had quite the opposite effect.  I felt comforted by the idea that everything is temporary and saw how we are all in this together, us humans.   Everyone who is alive goes on this journey called life.  (No, I’m sure you’re right, my four-year-old thoughts were hardly so eloquent or lucid, but it’s a feeling I’ve since worded.)

Dying and everything about it has been a fascination of mine since then, I guess.   In re-examining things I like and have liked throughout my life, I have found many roots and reinforcing influences, the above-referenced realization being the first.

So the other morning NPR’s On Point had a program about poetry and committing entire poems to memory.  I knew I had to have at least one memorized poem rattling around in me noggin.  (Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies doesn’t count, though I do know it by heart.  “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs, B is for Basil assaulted by bears…”)  Rinsing conditioner through my hair I mentally sifted through pages.  Excluding “T’was the Night Before Christmas” and William Carlos Williams’  “This Is Just to Say”  and “The Red Wheelbarrow” did I know any other poems by heart?

Suddenly I remembered one of the poems my mother would read to me from this book called “One Hundred Famous Poems.”  It’s one of my absolute favorites ever, and looking back, I see how it’s quite morbid and sad, yet empowering.  I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember.  It’s called Solitude, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has troubles enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air,
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Morbid may not be exactly the word I was going for, but… acceptance?  To me this poem speaks to my personality.  This isn’t to say that no one ever wants to hear or see me be sad or that my friends will turn and go anytime I need an ear.  Far from it.  But I do my best overall to not focus on the sad and negative side of things.  Bright side, right?  When speaking about circumstances I’m dealing with directly, like my cancer, I will do my best not to bitch and moan.  I naturally gravitate towards seeing beyond the problem.  That’s all.  Well, that and I try to remain aware that everyone’s personal experience is theirs alone and to respect that.


I’ll be the first to admit it, I love TV.  If I’m left unchecked I could watch television shows and movies all day.  ALL day.  I would get incredibly depressed, though, and I know this because it’s happened before.  It’s like doing a drug or drinking too excess; you have fun while you’re doing it, but you pay for it later.  But it’s less an addiction than an example of laziness and giving in to inertia.  This is a problem I’ve mentioned here many times before.

It’s my opinion there are tons of good programmes on TV these days, especially if you count the shows on Showtime and HBO like Weeds and Flight of the Conchords, but I find there’s plenty to keep me occupied on regular TV and especially on PBS.  Nerd alert!!  ha ha  But could someone please tell me why the hell a show like Two and A Half Men is still on the air?  Not only that, it’s “TV’s number one rated sitcom.”  ????

I can find redeeming factors in most shows, but this one blows my mind.  It’s just so bloody awful.  The gags are lined up ever-so-perfectly, the laugh track is insidious and spine-tingling, and the very idea that anyone still finds Charlie Sheen a hottie is way too big a suspension of my disbelief to withstand more than a moment of this fiasco.  He was adorable as the drug addict in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but that was twenty years ago!  Many men look better with age, I mean, “McDreamy” from Grey’s Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey, he was a goofball in the 80s movies.  Who knew he’d become so attractive?  But Sheen passed his prime years ago.

Not to mention this show is a sad coda to the memory of lovesick Duckie from Pretty in Pink.

I don’t know, I just felt I had to vent.

unwelcome in the pleasuredome

Anyone who knows me, or has read a fair portion of this blog, knows I’m a big fan of Target. HUGE. And you probably also know that I’m a stickler of the worst kind. It’s true. And here’s an example.

This past summer at Target they had an amazing array of fun and/or cute t-shirts. In all fairness, Target always has a pretty good selection of t-shirts, I’d say 75% of mine are from there. I even got this awesomely-cool superhero tee for Chris there and it gets compliments every time he wears it. Now if only he could locate the damn thing.

But I digress.

As you are undoubtedly aware, if you live in the world, 80’s fashions are all the rage. At least they have become so in the last couple years. Nostalgia for the 80’s is at an all-time-high, be it for the games, the products, the music, the television shows, everything! You name it, there’s nostalgia for it. So Target had these “FRANKIE SAYS RELAX” t-shirts last summer. I loved Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Mel and I used to listen to FGTH’s Welcome To The Pleasuredome non-stop and I still have the album. Mel had an enormous crush on Holly Johnson, the lead singer. And I agreed, but liked the bass player, Mark O’Toole, more. And we loved how proud and gay they were - once we realized that they were, that is. ha ha ha… Plus, you gotta hand it to a band who has the cojones to put out a double album as their first record. Dead ballsy that.

You’re thinking, fine, so you bought the t-shirt and life has been grand ever since. What’s the deal? I see the Target plug, but where’s the stickler stuff? Well, as it happens, no, I did not buy that t-shirt. The t-shirt sucked because the t-shirt was wrong and I was pissed. “FRANKIE SAYS RELAX”??!! No Frankie doesn’t. “FRANKIE SAY RELAX” among the many other things “FRANKIE SAY“d. Come on, people!! Is it too much to ask for a little authenticity?!

In case you’re reading this thinking maybe I’m mis-remembering, here’s my undeniable, quantifiable proof: FGTH tees Go to “galleries” and you’ll see “frankie say t-shirts” Mnwlah!!!! :P

I’d forgotten all about my annoyance with this from last summer until I read my latest Entertainment Weekly and there was an ad for 80’s nostalgic tees. Lo and behold, there was the same stupid extra-s shirt for sale. It got my blood boiling - again. Yes, I know, why the hell do I care? I can’t help it!! I’m a stickler. These are the a, b, c’s of me!

fast food - stolen ideas

The new McDonald’s southern style chicken sandwich is a direct rip off of the basic Chick-fil-A. I heart the Chick-fil-A like crazy, but it’s just not nearly as widespread as McDonald’s. (Is anything? Even *$ can’t match Mickey D’s…) So is there any kind of intellectual property infringement going on here or is McDonald’s allowed to run roughshod over their competitors with zero consequences, stealing their sandwich styles with wild abandon? Is it because Chick-fil-A is so much smaller a chain that they figure no one will notice?

I suppose the fact that I work for an Intellectual Property lawyer means I could find out the answer to my question in short order, so to speak, but I’d rather rant. Bastards. Like I needed another reason NOT to eat at McDonald’s.

Speaking of noticing chain rip-offs, am I the only person who noticed how when Krispy Kreme arrived in New England Dunkin Donuts made some carefully orchestrated changes they surely hoped would slip under the radar? It’s true the two companies saw each other as bigger, more direct competition than they really were. What do I mean by that? New England will always choose Dunkin for their coffee, even in the face of a Starbucks location on every other block. Krispy needed merely to focus on their doughnuts and make having them a special treat. They did not do exhaustive market research before expanding beyond their capacity. It would only have cost them the price of a phone call. To me.

Dunkin saw potential problems ahead, unfounded though they were, because they did these three things:

  1. Dunkin made their logo more of a DD, mimicking Krispy Kreme’s KK.
  2. They changed the name of their “honey dipped” donut to “glazed.” The basic, delectably, insanely sugary goodness that they roll off the conveyor belts whenever the “Fresh Hot NOW” sign is on at KK is called a Krispy Kreme Glazed. Always has been. Seems to me that Dunkin changing the name of their donut is meant deliberately to confuse the customer.
  3. Dunkin began putting its donuts in a box the shape of a hat box, exactly like Krispy Kreme’s design. Dunkin used to use the old shoebox approach w/the donuts arranged vertically. The hat box allows horizontal layout with a prettier presentation, especially of holiday donuts.

I’m sure when/if questioned, Dunkin would come up with some reasonable justifications for these three changes, but you can’t pull the wool over MY eyes. I’m onto them.

Guess what I’m trying to say here is that not all the changes these corporations make in their branding and packaging go unnoticed by the general public. For whatever reason I am very attuned to these things and always have been. It’s probably a sign telling me I need a new hobby.