Saturday, August 30, 2008

Shania

Back at the end of April, Kristy Lee Cook was eliminated from American Idol. As Ryan Seacrest wrapped up her goodbye video package, the caremas cut to a shot of the final six. I distinctly remember what my reaction was: "Really? That's the top 6? Huh." That's kind of how I feel things have gone on the Republican side of things during this election cycle.

Now I haven't written much of anything about the presidential election and I don't really intend to beyond this post. I know who I am voting for, my mind is not going to change, and I kind of expect others to be in the same position regardless of who they are voting for. Honestly, I'm a little weirded out by those who claim to be "undecided" since, unlike the last two election cycles, the two candidates are pretty distinct from one another and there doesn't seem to be as much of a "Anyone but whats-his-nutz" mentality (at least not as much as the last few go-rounds).

But thank goodness McCain is making this election interesting, at least in the "Really? Huh." sense. First, you have him comparing Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, which has resulted in Paris going up in esteem in many people's eyes (who saw that happening?). Then you have his selection of My-Big-Fat-Karen-SVU-30-Rock star VP in Palin. I didn't see the video of the announcement until late this evening, but I honestly expected to hear a record scratching sound effect followed by the crowd going "whaaaa?" There's being a maverick and then there's queering your message. Which do you think this is? The more I think about it, the more this reminds me of the Harriet Myers debacle three years ago when both Rehnquist and O'Connor were getting replaced on the Supreme Court. It's a sort of half-assed attempt at being pro-feminism -- like lighting a bra on fire that the owner is still wearing. It's going through the motions but not understanding the reasoning for what you are doing at all.

I've never fully understood the politics of VP selection. Supposedly it is a way of balancing out the ticket to round up the most votes, but I have to wonder how much that actually factors into the voter's decision making process. At least in a positive way. With Kerry/Edwards, I don't recall ever thinking "well, Horseface and I don't see eye-to-eye on such and such issue, but Andy Griffith is there with the assist." My internal monologue is a little less polite than the guy you chat with on a regular basis. What I can see is how things can be affected negatively, such as Perot/Scottsdale or Gore/Lieberman. I don't think Biden is a bad choice for Obama, it just isn't a dealmaker or dealbreaker.

This election is getting dangerously close to absurdist and it isn't even September yet. I'm honestly expecting Shania Twain being used as the soundtrack for the rest of the McCain campaign. I don't know her politics (not to mention she is Canadian), but I'm just playing a hunch. I'm just glad I already know I don't have to go to work before 3pm on November 5th -- I'm expecting a late night on the 4th.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

There Will Be Blood

Staff training started on Wednesday and things went off without a hitch. A slight snag occurred Thursday when the Wilder staff scheduled a Blood Borne Pathogen training session and invited the Lanes staff to participate. Judging by the thickness of dust on our blood bucket, our previous training session was my senior year, so the new staff will be the only people on staff who have had this particular tutorial. I'm not sure how we fell through the cracks there, but luckily we haven't had any exposures --- that I'm aware of, anyway.

"Okay, since I give this talk several times a day and I don't want to get bored, we're going to play Jeopardy," the lady from Lorain County Health Department screeched at us. "Now we're going to split up into teams because you can't play Jeopardy by yourself." Apparently the show has been doing it wrong for the last 24 years. Way to go, Trebek. My clusterfuck alarm started to ring in my head and I maybe should have kept an eye on the lanes instead of taking in the tutorial.

Once our teams assembled, we were told that we have one minute to figure out how we are going to buzz in. Since it took everyone forty five seconds to process the WTF nature of the request, LoCo HelDe decided that in honor of county fair week each team would be assigned a barnyard sound. I took this moment to warm up the death glare. We were assigned wolves and would have to howl to buzz in. Death glare still calibrating.

What annoyed me most about this exercise was that there was no prep prior to playing. Jeopardy-like exercises are used to reinforce knowledge but don't work all that well in terms of presenting new concepts. It also doesn't help when Loco Helde is heckling people who give incorrect answers or, in my fellow teammate's case, an inability to remember what stupid sound effect he is supposed to make (or just say "howl").

When we finally suffered through all the questions, we had to do "Final Jeopardy", including writing down answers and whatnot. You know what I don't enjoy? People who hum the Final Jeopardy theme to imply that something is taking too long. Would Helde appreciate it if I started doing that the second she opened her mouth?

The torture ended at about 11:30 but I don't feel any more enriched than I did at 10:30. Of course, pathogen stuff is easy (from my tutorial my senior year...of HIGH SCHOOL): wash your hands, use gloves, double bag and throw out anything that comes in contact with major bodily fluids. See, I just saved you 59 minutes.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Girl You Know It's True

I didn't watch the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics this year. Although I love the Olympics, I'm not so keen on parades and decided to pass on the festivities. What I haven't passed on is the controversy about a girl lip-synching some ballad during the ceremony. I love these sort of controversies because it is quite a bit of hullabaloo over something that doesn't seem that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. Though without such controversies we, as a culture, would not have had VH1's Behind the Music (probably) or Ashlee Simpson's Dance Academy.

My favorite part of the New York Times version of the story is this correction at the end:

"A Getty Images picture that appeared earlier with this article and on the home page was published in error. The girl shown was an unidentified performer in the opening ceremony at the Olympics; it was not Lin Miaoke, a nine-year-old who also performed."

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Deserve

I try to avoid using the word "deserve". I think part of this stems from the idea that it is often used incorrectly. Many times when someone starts a sentence with "I deserve...", it is bolstered by a misplaced sense of entitlement or, at best, self-righteousness that is so over the top that it is almost laughable. Maybe I'm a pushover, but I am hard-pressed to find a situation where I would actually attempt to appeal to someone by saying "I deserve" something to correct some perceived wrong.

This is not to say that the opposite should be avoided: "I do not deserve this." My thinking on this comes from one of the common applications I encounter with the term, that being a sort of Old Testament style punishment cast upon a sinner. My favorite is on court shows where the litigants are ex-lovers bickering over every petty item and going into almost obscene detail of every act of revenge. After about fifteen minutes of downright upsetting, filthy laundry, the judge will stop the arguing by declaring that both litigants deserve each other, which: true. I seem to recall a number of children's stories where the bad guy ended up getting what he deserved, be it getting eaten by a wolf, thrown down a well, or carted off to debtors' prison. The bad guy may scream out "I don't deserve this sort of treatment," but karma can be a harsh mistress.

But every so often I feel like I am getting some sort of cosmic raw deal and I am unsure of how to react. A story:

Ben had mentioned getting a date or two through the site OKCupid. The gimmick with this site is that the users not only fill out profiles but also surveys about their ideal match. Each question (and the importance that you enumerate) gets factored into a logarithm and results are compared to other users. The site has a sense of humor and is also a hub for a number of those goofy internet surveys, such as "Which Skittle Flavor are U?!" Anyway, I started playing around with the site and it actually is pretty nifty -- I recommend it. Last week I got an e-mail from a guy interested in my profile and we sent some e-mails back and forth. They have a chat client on the site and we talked and seemed to hit it off really well. We agreed to meet this past Saturday for dinner.

Saturday morning, before I leave for work, I get a phone call from him saying that his grandmother is in the hospital. I honestly believe his intention was to warn me about plans possibly needing to be shifted, but I couldn't help think that maybe he was trying to blow me off. However, given the timing and everything I trusted that it was genuine. That and it is customary for me to freak out for approximately 12 hours prior to any date (it keeps me chatty).

We both ended up running a little late (we were meeting in Strongsville), so that wasn't a significant issue. The dinner portion went relatively well -- the food was gross but the conversation was engrossing. We left the restaurant and started to drive around to find something to do. There's not much going on in Strongsville or the surrounding areas. We drove through a nearby Metropark and got a little lost before finally returning to the restaurant parking lot. Things ended somewhat awkwardly (I think we were both intimidated by each other) but overall things seemed positive.

I didn't hear from him on Sunday, but I still don't know the post-date protocol -- when it's two guys who is supposed to call whom? I came up with a date idea and e-mailed him Monday morning and did not get a reply. No worries, he typically responds to my e-mails at night. Anyway, I'm playing on OKCupid and he IM's me. Things start off pleasantly enough, but then he has what he calls good and bad news. I'm expecting something like "I can't make it on Saturday, but I've got tickets for something on Friday." Not quite. His ex heard about his grandmother and contacted him to find out how things were going. Apparently this rekindled some old flames. To clarify: It's not separate good news and bad news -- it is good for him and bad for me. Despite the fact that we both had a wonderful time on Saturday and we are both attracted to each other, in less than 48 hours I'm back to where I was two weeks ago, only more bitter.

This is (by my count) the third time this year where a guy makes me feel so much better about myself only to yank the rug out from under me. As far as I can tell, this has nothing to do with me, but I am the common denominator. If I am such a catch, why do I keep getting thrown back? Have I done, or not done, something to deserve this?

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