maarmie's musings

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

If you can't go to the UK, then the UK shall come to you

From: The Olde Travel Agente, London Towne

Hear ye, hear ye!

Let It Be Known that (insert name) has hereby booked himself passage on ye olde steam boat to the colonies of New America.

He's a-coming, oh yeah, it's for real.


Her Maj., the Queen

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey-induced Thanksgiving nightmares

Since I'm an orphan, my friends and coworkers always know that I'll need to be taken in on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every year for Christmas, I try to go somewhere where there's snow. Two years ago, I went to Montana. Before that, it was Providence, Rhode Island, and Boston. This year, I'd like to be in Scotland, but I don't think that's going to happen, so my Christmas plans are up in the air if there are any takers out there who want to play host for me that day.

For Thanksgiving this year, I went to two homes for two very different meals and to a third home for a little Thanksgiving greenery. I didn't show up to the meals emptyhanded, however. I made cornbread! And not just any cornbread. Cornbread that required boogers in snot sauce. I wasn't sure it would turn out OK (this thought was made worse by the fact that I almost threw up while I was stirring the mess and was driven to exclaim "this stuff smells like shit" when I was checking on it in the oven). But it turned out fine, of course, as evidence by these photos. Call me Betty Crocker.

Kitchen overview

First, there was the cornmeal, 1.5 cups

Then flour, 1/2 cup

Buttermilk, 1 cup

Olive oil, 1/4 cup

2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. sugar and 1 tsp. salt

Two large eggs

Snot sauce, aka creamed corn, 1 can (8 ounces)

Boogers, aka diced green chilis, 1 can (4 ounces)

Cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup (2 ounces)

Stir for 30 seconds

Empty pan, sides and bottom greased

Pour it in

20-30 minutes in 450 degrees. Et voila!

Oops, I forgot the chili powder (1 tsp.). They were good anyway!

I made two of these, one for a coworker who invited me to her mom's house to eat with her, her ex-husband, her current live-in boyfriend and her son from hubby #1. We played Scrabble. We had the typical turkey feast that included this fabulous stuffing and some kind of pumpkin trifle that just happened to be the best dessert I've ever had in my life before playing Scrabble. I came in third out of four people. I was almost in second place. Swear.

Afterward, I went to my friend Michael's house to eat with him, his wife, his two sons, one daughter and their significant others and children. Vegetarians, all of them, so we ate tempeh (moldy soybeans) with cheese, salad, potatoes, green beans, cranberries, pumpkin and apple and blueberry pies, etc. Delish. Topped off the evening at my coworker's house where we lit a fire among other things and finished the evening on a mellow note.

A superior Thanksgiving was had by all, though I had the munchies at 3 a.m. and finished off most of my turkey leftovers. Hence the title of this post.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

ze frank back

ze frank, the latest, greatest comic who gives me a chuckle each day, has recently honored me with a nugget of wisdom, one I feel just maybe might could solve one of the most confounding riddles that plagues humankind: What is love?

Being that I am mildly insane at most and not at all in my right mind at least, I wrote him this romantic missive by way of introduction:


On 11/15/06 1:12 PM, "maarmie maarmie" wrote:

You're smart.
You're funny.
You're cute.

I'm horny.
No, I'm in love.
No. Horny.
In love?
What is love?
No, just horny.

Keep up the good job.


In lieu of barricading his apartment door, forwarding my message to the local authorities or ignoring the e-mail so as not to egg on a would-be stalker/attacker, the luscious ze chose, instead, to potentially thrust himself in harm's way by answering the one question buried deep inside my emotional outpouring. Yes, he, or someone mightily resembling himself, responded thusly:


love is just horny + valium.


A comic genius AND an insightful philosopher? Once I obtain ze's home address, he can look forward to stumbling upon one pair of crusty undies steeped in my deepest affections. Muahhahahahaha!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Stephen Colbert was here

Stephen Colbert came to speak at Florida State University's homecoming powwow last night. He wore a suit. He did his political bit. He added bits about Florida. He added bits about Florida State University football (rah! rah! rah!) and it's not like he really cared about Florida State's loooooosing team but it's the...bit?...that?...counts?

He's hot. I want to have his baby. Some other girl in the audience wanted HIM to have HER baby - and loudly proclaimed her passion to him and the other thousands who attented.

I took lots of bad photos at the event. This posting holds the best of the worst, including this one:

where Colbert was giving a geography lesson to show us that Tallahassee is where the balls of America would be - noticeable pause for comedic effect - if America HAD any balls. Hee haw! Snore!

He had a "today's word" to introduce a bit about how crazy/zany/weird/pick a word Floridians are

and talked about pot, being a college student, football, Florida, Bush, politics, blah, blah, blah. He was dynamic. He was, as always, cute. He tried to be funny. But with many of the same tired lines, it's kinda hard.

But I'm glad I went.

Because, if nothing else,

Colbert is a smart, little hottie

who can make my panties wet.

Friday, November 03, 2006


If you haven't seen it yet, you need to check out The Devil and Daniel Johnston, a nifty little biopic about Daniel Johnston, the most famous musician who hardly ever was. His life was/is a brilliant nuclear mess, and this T-shirt I just bought -

the cover of his very first album - is way cool. He's still performing all over the world. I don't know whether to bow to him, fear him or pity him. Probably a little of all three.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy Harroween

Instead of sitting at home Halloween night watching some scary movie on TV that I've already seen a million times, I decided to go to the mall and buy myself a few treats - namely these:

and these:

And what day - much less holiday dedicated to sweet, sweet candy meat - would be complete without a sackful of these:

If only I had a costume, I might get some candy for free for a change.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Negligent blogger

Haven't been writing lately, have I?

I could talk about how my ex friend and ex boyfriend are STILL together - surprise, surprise. I could talk about the fight my dad and I got into last weekend and how he told me he'd never talk to me again before hanging up on me. I could talk about all the weight my brother has lost and how proud I am of him. I could talk about the fact that my therapist is moving her practice, and I will have to find a new shrink. I could talk about how I won't have anyone to spend the holidays with or the awesome time I'm having taking tennis lessons. I could talk about how I survived the round of firings at work. I could talk about my plans to go to Europe for a month next year or what's going on with my law school dreams. I could talk about the nasty e-mail I sent Heather Armstrong (dooce) about her bitching and moaning over a matter in which she was clearly in the wrong. I could talk about how she's probably going to sucker punch me when she meets me at a future BlogHer conference but not the 2007 one because it's going to be held in Chicago and I've already been to Chicago and I am going to Europe for a month in 2007 anyway so why would I waste money going to BlogHer? I could talk about how I recently got screwed out of some virtual money or about the extra duties I've taken on in my volunteer work. I could talk about the cigarettes I've smoked lately or about all the sleep I've been getting, the bad dreams I've been having that include everyone I dislike including my former boss. I could talk about the weight I'm trying to lose but doing a bad job of it because I love, love, love to eat pounds of Jelly Belly jelly beans in one sitting. I could talk about my miserable foray into the disgusting bowels of The Ashley Madison Agency or about the 14 X-rays I recently had on my wrists, knees and left elbow. I could talk about today's lunch - beefaroni served up by lunch ladies in an elementary school cafeteria.

But what's the point? I no longer have a direction for my blog. Should I be "me" or should I be maarmie, a more sarcastic and nasty version of me? What should I write about? And can I keep whining about the same old shit and expect to have any readers left at the end of the day?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

New plan

Alternate decision time. I decided to put off law school for a year (Fall 2008) so I can pay off my debts, have plenty of time to study, take the test again, apply early.....and.....go to Europe for a month before I, hopefully, start law school.

I don't want to rush into anything, and there are things I have and want to do before I commit myself to years of singleminded study.

I did worse than I ever feared

Score in moments ago: 147

I guess I, in fact, will be attending the Florida Academy for Future Psychics and Lawyers. They churn out mostly psychics, but they churn out a few, ahem, lawyers, too.

No doubt about it. I'll be taking the LSAT again in December.

Monday, October 02, 2006

So, so tired

Yesterday's fund-raiser for America's Second Harvest of the Big Bend went off without more than a couple of hitches, a wondrous fact considering it was a first annual event.

My friend and former employer, Denise, and her employees worked for months to put on this fund-raiser, one held in the downtown park that included musical acts, poetry and literature readings and an experimental theatre piece about hunger. Hundreds of local schoolchildren crafted bowls out of yarn, clay and paper mache for the event. The empty bowls were displayed on rows of tables containing facts about hunger. A silent auction included artwork created by local artists and donated to the cause, and local eateries donated all kinds of yummy soups and breads for the people who showed up. The attendance wasn't stellar though the event had been promoted on the radio and in the newspaper, but it made the food bank some good money and laid the groundwork for similar events in the coming years.

I got there at 3 p.m. and stayed to help pack everything in the trucks after the event. My biggest job was to hang out at the table that held flyers about hunger and the food bank and one of the band's CDs that were on sale. There were about a trillion volunteers - school kids from the various Tallahassee schools - on hand to man tables, put up and take down tents and tables and pack and unpack the bowls and works of art. It was amazing to see just how much work and coordination it took to pull off such an event, and I was sad that I didn't work there anymore and couldn't have been responsible for helping the event come to fruition. That's probably why I worked so hard after the event to take down tents and load trucks, my knees stiff and hurting by the time the evening was over.

Afterward, I went with Denise and her husband, a board member and a couple of employees and friends to dinner. I didn't get home until 11 p.m., but I had a great time. The board member was a cute and single CPA who was funny and nice, too. I put in a word with Denise, and she has promised to have us both over to dinner at her house and perhaps feel out the situation with said board member.

At home, I have thrown every pencil I own into a drawer and hidden all papers and other items that remind me of the LSAT. I have been battling a desire to write to the LSAC - the people who administer the LSAT - and request that my test never be scored. I can do that, you know. I still haven't made a final decision (I still have seven more days to make up my mind) but if I decide to have the test scored, I will have the results by October 23.

Now, I am facing the task of writing a personal statement for my applications. Two people have yet to write and mail the recommendation letters they promised, so I will have to get on them (in a nice way!) as well. For the next week, though, I think all I'm going to do is sleep, read for pleasure and try to have a little fun.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Somebody, please kill me

At 8:15, I was sitting in my seat in a lecture hall at the FSU law school. By 1:30, the test was done. I know for certain that I completely flubbed the writing portion of the test, but I'm not sure how I did on the rest. The writing portion isn't scored, but it's send to all the law schools to which one applies. If two candidates are close in every other regard, writing samples are perused.

Considering my head is throbbing and that it was practically spinning by the time I left the testing site, I definitely wouldn't look forward to ever taking it again.

What I need right now is a four-hour nap. Instead, I am leaving right now to do some volunteer work for a friend and former boss who needs my help at an event to raise money for the hungry.

Yawn! I'll be sleeping good tonight.

Down to the wire

It is 9:45 p.m. the night before the LSAT. I took two more practice tests today (scored 157 and 159 on them) and went to the FSU law school to see exactly where the test is being held tomorrow morning. My alarm clock is set for 6:55 a.m. so I have time to do a few practice questions in the morning (as advised by more than one source) and go over the outline of what makes a good writing sample.

I've got six sharpened pencils, a huge candy bar (a gift from a coworker for test day), a non-noise-making clock, a huge eraser, a pencil sharpener and the form I need to get into the exam all ready and waiting for tomorrow morning. I dyed my hair today so I could be freshly funky and punky for the exam, and I did my laundry today so I'll at least have clean underwear. I'm excited, and, strangely, not too terribly nervous - probably due to the hours and hours of preparatory work I put into this process.

Whatever score I get is the score I get. I'm prepared as much as I can be. That's all I can do. Why sweat the things that can't be changed. I think that's my prescription talking, folks, because it sure isn't me.

Thanks to everyone who wished me luck for the test. It means a lot.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm still alive

The LSAT is in a few days. I'm taking Friday off for some last last minute reviewing and relaxation. These days, I've been doing nothing but taking full-length sample tests. Consistently, I have been scoring in the upper 150s - which is just the better side of AVERAGE.

AVERAGE? Who wants to be AVERAGE? AVERAGE won't get me into UM Ann Arbor. AVERAGE won't get me a scholarship. AVERAGE won't have anyone clamoring to accept me. WTF? I really expected better out of myself and will likely vomit every morning until the day of the test just like I did this morning. No food. Just burning liquid from the stomach. Yum. My favorite.

I hate feeling like the last month has been a waste, but I wonder how I would be doing on the practice tests had I not studied so much. I had a minor breakthrough with a certain type of question last week that is allowing me to answer more of that type of question correctly and am hoping I have a similar breakthrough somewhere else in the next couple of days. I tried out the June 2006 LSAT and found that the reading comprehension portion was harder than I had previously encountered. I also found that logical reasoning questions on the actual tests are easier than any I had encountered while studying.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Stephen Colbert and I have a date

I waited in line for two hours Monday, but I got primo seats to see Stephen Colbert, the hot little Catholic who has his own nighttime "news" show and wasn't afraid to bitchslap the president at the Washington press corps dinner a while back.

Two friends and myself will be taking up three seats in the center of the 8th row at the Florida State powwow on November 17. The night should be interesting. Seems there's definitely a big hype surrounding the featured talent considering the tickets sold out in no time flat. Some of the young 'uns in line still aren't sure what to make of Colbert, however. A group of college-aged kids a ways back in line think he's a Republican. If they don't get his style of humor, the show might not mean much to them.

I'm counting down the days. I'm hoping to get close enough to Colbert to either get arrested or be awarded a restraining order. That would make it a good night, indeed.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The life of a nonprofessional catsitter

I am catsitting for the same people for whom I housesat and dogsat a couple of months ago. I go to their house every other day and refill the large feeding dishes, freshen the water bowls and empty the kitty litter box. I've already done my laundry there and scoured the fridge for something good to eat (to no avail) so I just get in and get out. No hanging around. Especially considering that one of the two cats just sits by the door when I'm there meowing and being all pissy because he's not allowed outside while my friends are gone. And cat shit? It stinks!

On the LSAT: Studying is going slowly and horribly. On two of the three types of questions that will be on the test, I consistently miss 1/3 of the questions on practice tests. I routinely answer the third type of question correctly only 1/3 of the time. I did fine when I was on a beginner book, but now I'm on more advanced books with questions that have a difficulty mirroring questions actually found on the test. The test is in two weeks. So far, I'm up the river with only 1/2 a paddle.

Monday, September 11, 2006

We got our ass kicked by a couple of old women, one of whom had a knee brace

Even though we got our ass kicked (6-0, 6-1) by a couple of old women, one of whom had a knee brace, I rocked at tennis Saturday. Here's why:

1. I wore a sporty pair of retro-style shorts with the stripes down the sides.

2. I worked on perfecting my John McEnroe impersonation by cursing - and often - when I'd hit a ball too hard for the millionth time, thus sending it beyond any semblance of a white line.

3. I raced around like an idiot doing pirouettes "en plein air" whereby slowly working on getting good at a second sport: air acrobatics.

4. I actually hit all except TWO balls that came whizzing at me.

5. My serves improved heartily once I realized we weren't going to win. I guess my nervousness wore off and my killer spin serve came back to me.

6. I regarded them as "the enemy" at the beginning but shook their hands at the end.

7. The winning opponents had been playing most of their lives, they said, and we didn't do half bad on a point-by-point basis.

My teammate and I are meeting up after work Wednesday to practice, and we play again next Saturday. Same time, different location. We'll win yet if I have anything to say - or do - about it. The evil hand of competition is rearing its ugly claw yet again. Woooooooooooo!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


My latest find is a band called Peppertree, the French-Canadian version of Radiohead. That's what they say, and that's how they sound. I highly recommend. The album can be purchased off their Web site.

Losing steam

Here I am. I went to Clearwater this past week and ended up staying there until Monday visiting with my brother. It either rained or was ungodly hot the entire time I was down there, so we just went to the movies, went geocaching for a few hours Sunday and played putt putt golf with my brother's wife and friends. I was the big loser of the game because my brother wouldn't let me cheat, but at least there was an alligator pond out front and people could feed the gators hot dogs using poles and strings ending with clips. Uh oh! Hot dog!

Faithful MAD TV viewers get the hot dog reference. Those of you who don't watch or have access to that show, don't despair. It's not THAT funny.

We didn't want to pay for the hot dogs and poles, so we fed the alligators ants instead. Little known fact: Alligators love to chew on live ants.

My brother and I went to see World Trade Center. It pretty much sucked except I didn't know only 20 live people were pulled from the ruins. I highly don't recommend the film.

Other than that, I've got nothing to say. Nothing funny. Nothing witty. Nothing sad. Nothing horrifying. Nothing stupendous. Nothing revealing. Nothing excrutiating. Nothing sexy. Nothing maddening.

I'm pretty even these days. Still studying for the LSAT. Still getting things together for law school applications. Way, way tired of all the old dramas, it seems I'm a bit boring these days. And not at all inventive. Or manic. Or fabulously interesting. Or hardly so, anyway.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tropical storm be damned!

Today I brave the aftermath of Tropical Storm Ernesto as I head to Clearwater/Tampa for a weekend of geocaching, comedy clubs, the beach - maybe?, good food and visiting with my brother and an old friend.

This old friend is named Pete - he goes by Peter since he moved to Denmark. I met him in 1988, I believe, when I worked at Publix Supermarkets. I was a cashier. He was a bagger. I had a HUGE crush on him and love, love, LOVED it when he would bag for me. Then this geek named Ike (Isaac - but his nickname was altogether appropriate - think Turner) came on the scene and pushed Pete out of the way. I ended up dating Ike off and on for three years. Ike was the first guy I ever had sex with and was the only guy who ever beat and raped me. Nice first boyfriend memories, right?

After all the beating and the raping was behind me, I hung out with Pete a few times. I was living with a couple of roommates, working at Wendy's and going to community college. I have only good memories of Pete, however hazy, and I think this weekend will be good.

We'll be having dinner tonight. Tomorrow morning, we're meeting for breakfast before he heads off to the airport. He's married now, though, so there'll be nothing exciting happening between dinner and breakfast. Unless we get in a car accident or one of us breaks a leg or something, that is.

The rest of the weekend will be spent with my brother. If it isn't raining, we'll be going geocaching (for those who don't know what geocaching is) and we hope to catch a show at a comedy club. At minimum, we'll be going to the movies, I'm sure. In any case, I'm bringing two of my LSAT study guides for downtimes.

Wish me luck driving to Central Florida. I'm thinking there will just be bands of rain, but you never know.

I'll have plenty of photos for your viewing pleasure when I return. And you know me. I can turn opening a jar of mayonnaise into a grand adventure. Or maybe I'm just easily amused.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I need to learn how to cut hair

I just paid $17.95, including tip, for a five-minute haircut. I'm serious. I left the house 15 minutes ago to get my hair cut, and I'm already home.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Law school update

With a little less than five weeks until the LSAT, I have plenty of studying to do. I got a lot done last week, but my steam petered out this week. Instead of studying, I spent my time adding a couch to my office and rearranging the rest of the furniture there to make room for it; reading other books (excuse: These will be due soon, so I better get them out of the way); hanging out with Michael; and sleeping. The Princeton Review advanced logic skills guide is kicking my ass, and I'm worried that I won't do well on the actual test. On the upside, my book of 10 previous REAL LSAT tests arrived as well as an addition one: the actual June 2006 LSAT just administered - along with the correct answers. I haven't looked it over yet, though, because I wanted to learn more before I tackle the real thing. I also don't want to get thoroughly discouraged until the week directly before the exam. That way, I can spend my last week crying and wishing for death, wetting my bed and drinking lots of alcohol to get my mind off my impending doom.

On the upside, here is a list of things I HAVE accomplished:

Transcripts: FSU and St. Petersburg College - check

Recommendation letters: Three of my four recommenders have copies of my resume and a three-page essay on what makes a good law school recommendation letter. The fourth recommender will hopefully receive the packet this weekend. All have or will be given a directive to have the letter completed and mailed by mid to late October.

Criminal/driving record check: I paid $10 to get a copy of my traffic infractions e-mailed to me and checked the public records in Leon and Pinellas counties to see how many traffic tickets I've had. I checked to see how much the tickets were so I can classify them as "major" or "minor." Only "major" ones have to be disclosed, but every school has a different definition for "major." I also looked into getting my criminal record sealed or expunged. I won't go into the fight I had with my dad when he INSISTED on taking care of this by TELLING me he would have his lawyer buddy look into it and then come back with a bunch of noninformation that didn't help me at all. All I'll say is that - after I found out how worthless my father's help would be - I made two phone calls and found out everything I needed to know. A few days ago, I mailed my check for $1.50 to the Pinellas County clerk of the court to get an official copy of the disposition mailed to me and ordered an application from the FDLE to get my record sealed. Since a ruling was made on the case (adjudication withheld), I can't get my record expunged until it has been sealed for at least 10 years. ARGH! I'm hoping that an admittance of all my misdeeds on my applications won't hurt me too badly. After all, I'm sure most people have SOME kind of blemish on their records.

Picking out law schools: UM, Ann Arbor, is still my top pick, but I've also been researching other schools. UT, Austin, is my second pick. I've also been looking at American University and schools in Wisconsin, Chicago and Boston. It all depends on my LSAT.

Personal statement: I also need to come up with a personal statement. Tricky. Some schools require it to be two pages long, some require up to four pages - double spaced. It can be about anything, but it needs to be original. I've read that it shouldn't be some dried-up old "why I want to go to law school" screed. But the ones I've read on line (examples of GOOD ones, supposedly) are all about why the people wanted to go to law school. DOUBLE ARGH!

I'll keep pecking away at it.

So that's my update for now. I'm going out of town next weekend to visit an old friend who lives in Denmark now. He'll be in town for a business conference, and I'll be spending next Thursday night with him. Then, I'll spend the rest of the weekend and possibly Monday with my brother. My parents will be out of town. Darn. I won't be seeing them.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I never knew I was such a hardened criminal

Up until last night, I thought of myself as relatively innocent. It's interesting how the mind works.

Looking over fall 2007 law school applications last night, I came across a section that's similar on all the applications: criminal/driving record. They want to know if I've ever been arrested, and they want information on all "major" traffic infractions. Crap.

Well, I was arrested for underage drinking when I was 19. But I was told at the time that if I paid a $75 fine, the arrest would disappear from my record - as if it never happened. All this time, I have lived under the assumption that my criminal/arrest record was clear. WRONG!

I searched the criminal database for Pinellas County last night, and there I was. 1991. Underage drinking. No contest. Adjudication withheld. $75 fine paid. It's still there!

I paid $19.95 this morning to get a record of all my traffic infractions in Florida. There are plenty, some I don't even remember. I also searched the free online database of traffic infractions and came up with a few more. Those, combined with a speeding ticket in Oregon (which wasn't major) and the whole speeding in a work zone debacle in Illinois (definitely a major infraction) will leave me with two or three major infractions to add to law school applications.

I don't really know what can be done about the major traffic infractions, but I definitely intend on getting that arrest record sealed. It shouldn't even be there in the first place, and I'm really upset and wondering if I can even GET IN to law school. I feel like such a loser, but I never thought I'd be having to list traffic infractions or even misdemeanors on my applications.

THIS SUCKS BIG TIME! But I'm still going to take the LSAT on Sept. 30. I think it's valid for more than a year...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Smoky returns?

So this putrid smell started off as this faint odor and grew and grew into this awful imposition until today when my friend Michael showed up unexpectedly and I got him to figure out the odor's source. I knew it was in the kitchen. I just didn't know where. The fridge is spotless. The cupboards? Nope. Oooh. Yep. Michael confirmed it. It was coming from the stove. Nothing in the stove. Nothing on the stove. Move the stove. Nothing behind the stove...except....rat droppings. Unscrew the door that would have been a drawer under the stove. Nope. Take off the burners and plates. Nothing there...except...rat droppings. Argh! Then.....

This little panel on the back of the stove that could be unscrewed. Michael took the screw out and pulled off the panel door. The stench! Fur! Gray fur! Smoky?

A little tiny rat was in this little tiny cubby in the back of my stove. It had long since been dead and was rotting away, its fur dried and shrivelled up and dropping off in clumps. The rat is in the garbage can outside my neighbor's front door now, but a bit of the stench remains. RIP

LSAT progress

On Sunday, I bought two LSAT guides. I'm done with the learning portion of the Kaplan guide, but I have yet to take the three practice tests at the end of the book. I still need to go through my LSAT for Dummies book as well, and I ordered a copy of the June 2006 LSAT and a book of 10 previous LSATs from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). All the tests come with an answer key and explanations of the answers.

I spend a big chunk of time each day studying for the LSAT. I still need to pick the schools to which I'd like to apply, though. Michigan, Florida State and the University of Florida are the only three I have decided on so far. I guess I'd like to see what kind of LSAT score I get before I make a final decision. I'm planning on applying to about a dozen schools.

Also on my mind: a personal statement and recommendation letters. I will be needing four letters to go along with my applications. My boss from the Oregonian has agreed to write one for me. Getting people for the other three won't be a problem.

I understand the need for confidentiality as far as the letters are concerned. If the applicant has a chance to read the letters, there is a greater chance the letter writer would be less than 100 percent honest in his or her evaluation of the candidate. I get it. But it's more than a little scary to mail a form to someone in Oregon knowing she can write whatever she wants about me before sending the letter directly to people who will be deciding my future. That's trust.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

LSAT = September 30

I signed up today. I have six weeks to study. The Kaplan LSAT guide and LSAT for Dummies better come through for me.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

UM Ann Arbor and other odd ramblings

My recent other cockeyed plans have fallen apart after just one of two days of mulling, but this law school plan is becoming more concrete every second I think about it. The more I chew on the idea, the more I feel that taking this step would be taking the next step toward my destiny, that this was always meant to be my purpose, the reason I was born. I've tearfully asked myself that question many times in the face of lifelong rejection by my family. I've allowed my own deep well of pity to overflow and engulf me. Why was I ever born, anyway? I'm pretty sure that's the question that has plagued me most throughout my 34 years of being me.

I grew up learning about men's superiority to women, and, as a result, I grew up hating women and denying my own femaleness (what does that mean, anyway?) in an effort to be a second son to my father. I have always prided myself on my "masculinity", and it has taken me a lifetime to realize that my strongest traits need not be categorized as such. Why can't being "female" include being strong, intelligent, fearless? When I was a kid, it was unthinkable, so I played rough and tumble with my brother and his friends. I didn't cry - or, at least, I didn't let anyone SEE me cry. The thought of wearing skirts or dresses repulsed me. Instead, I wore faded corduroy pants handed down from my brother. I played in the bay when the tide went out, walking barefoot on painfully shelly sand bars, messing with fiddler and horseshoe crabs. I dug in Dumpsters with my brother, spent my spare time playing basketball, football, running and roller skating. To be "male" was good, I learned both covertly and overtly. To be "female" was to be inferior.

I also learned about racism from an early age. It was nothing to hear the word "nigger" being bandied about at family functions and to hear all kinds of racist and sexist jokes being openly told among family members to rounds of laughter I was too young to understand. As I grew older, I began to understand these jokes, and, while I don't remember ever laughing along with the rest of them, I distinctly remember not disagreeing or even actively thinking the jokes - and the beliefs behind them - were necessarily wrong or untrue. If someone rewound the tape of my life and I saw myself smiling or laughing then, it wouldn't surprise or shock me. It would, however, reinforce my horror at the destructive cycles families repeat over and over and over.

The United States is superior. Americans are superior. This is also something I grew up to believe. Of course I can see these beliefs don't originate with my family. They originate with the culture. In so many subtle and not-so-subtle ways, Americans are taught from the time they are born that their way of thinking is the right way, the good way, and that the rest of the world falls short in terms of how to run a society, how to conduct business, how to exist as individuals. Americans are very good at making fun of anything that is different. Of categorizing "different" as "inferior." Of having a "my way or the highway" attitude. And we back it up with firepower and brute force. To me, that is the first sign of just how inferior we really are.

If you start talking about God and Jesus in front of me, I instinctively tune out as urgently as if my life depended on it. Organized religion scares me simply because so many people I have known (and been related to) have used religion as a crutch for unspeakable thoughts, viewpoints and deeds. Hypocrites, most of them. I'd rather see them in coffins, dead, than hear one more word from any of them. Though I don't subscribe to any kind of organized religion, I still feel that everyone has some kind of purpose on this planet and that our jobs are to figure out what that purpose is and to spend the rest of our lives fulfilling it. I've always thought - and have told others - that I feel my purpose is to help others, even at my own expense. Always, always. Even from the age of 10 I have been sticking up for the underdog and have been shunned and mocked as a result. It seems most people like to side with the winning team and that, for them, loyalty is something that can be taken away as easily and quickly as it is given.

I've always wanted to change the world, and law school might be the way to do that - or at least try. My whole life I have told those around me that I can't stand how things are, how power is distributed, how so many people are treated as second-class citizens, how the white male wields all the power and uses it in ways that horrify me. As a result, I am not interested in specializing in environmental law, corporate law, international law or intellectual property law. Public interest - civil rights - law is the only kind of law that draws my attention, and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor - ranked at number nine in the country for law schools - apparently has a very good public interest law program. My undergrad GPA is a smidge below the school's median range, and a lot of where I go will depend on my LSAT score, but UM Ann Arbor is my top choice right now. The tuition is steep. Classes alone cost $35,000 a year, the same as Harvard Law School. If I go there, I will have to get some kind of scholarship, and I'm hoping that my years as a journalist combined with my current job experience and my volunteer choices would make me a highly desirable candidate.

The school also has a kind of dual enrollment curriculum that would allow me to get a law degree AND a master's degree in a discipline of my choosing (sociology with a focus on gender) in four years - instead of three for the law degree alone.

So, here I go. I'm going to pursue this. First step: Buy an LSAT study guide and prepare myself for the test in December. Concurrently research other schools so I can apply to at least 10 of them when I get my score back. I'm not going to get my hopes up hugely high right now, though, because I'm going to have to forget the whole idea of law school if I do poorly on the this test.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Not ALL lawyers are bad, right?

I interviewed a lawyer about his experiences at law school. His memories go back 20 years, however, so I think I'm going to be interviewing some of the younger lawyers here as well. I'm pretty sure I've got it figured out. (big breath) I'm going to law school - if they'll have me.

For the past year I have known that I want to go back to school, but I haven't been sure if I want to go to law school (my first thought) or to get a graduate degree in public policy, sociology (focus on gender), or psychology. Considering my personality (huge ego mixed with self loathing, highly argumentative, inquisitive) and considering the things I value in this world (truth, justice, equality) it seems that a law degree (focus on civil rights) is the logical choice. Not that I'm all that logical. Oops. That can't be good!

Strange that I am who I think I am (all the good things in the world) yet I choose careers that most people revile. People hate reporters (someone made a cross sign at me once as if I were the devil), and people hate lawyers. I'm drawn to politics as well.

After my little vacation, I'll be buying an LSAT study guide and taking the test. Then, if I like my score, I'll shop it around to different law schools. I'll be needing a scholarship, so that will limit my choice of colleges. I hope all this works out. It seems that my experiences the past couple of years have been leading me right to this point.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My laziness has finally paid off

I just returned from a trip to Bordes where I was on the hunt for The Betrayal Bond by Patrick J. Carnes. They didn't have the book in stock, so I had to order it. I had planned on sitting my lazy, cheap ass on a couch in the cafe and reading the entire book cover to cover, but, since I now have to wait for the book, I had lots of time to kill. After a quick tour around the music section (most of the featured music there sucks) I made my way to the new fiction, nonfiction, memoir and original voices racks and got excited when I saw a stack of a new memoir I'm waiting on at the library. I won't reveal what it is now. You'll find out when I have it in my hot little hands. I desperately wanted to buy the new Writer's Market guide, but stopped in my tracks when I saw the price: $50. It's definitely worth it. I'd like to write some lighter feminist-type/empowerment stuff for teen magazines and some heavier stuff for women's magazines - and maybe some travel articles - and make money.

As always, I ended up in the magazine section. I'm looking for a cool art magazine to subscribe to. Sadly, the ones I saw focused on single mediums. I'm looking for a magazine that showcases modern works in all genres from painting to sculpture to experiemental video and interactive art. No deal.

Of course, I had to pick up the latest issue of bitch magazine - especially since I saw an article on sex workers and a trade magazine dedicated to the oldest profession made by and for its workers: Spread.

I've been interested in prostitution from a feminist perspective for quite some time. I used to be hardcore against it, keeping in mind that a majority of sex workers work in unsafe conditions and do degrading acts while exposing themselves to possibly fatal diseases and violence for a pittance. My brother and I got into an argument about it once, though. His attitude is that the government expects women to give for free something that men very much want and are willing to pay for: pussy. If women can make money on it, he argues, why should the government step in and tell them that's illegal. Rape is barely illegal. Why should prostitution be?

I sit squarely on the fence here, though I feel like prostitution is an answer for some women because other alternatives don't exist. I feel that the reason it's an alternative for women is that there's such a demand. I think there's such a demand because of the way too many men view women. I think too many men view women in a certain way because of society. I think society perpetuates certain beliefs because it benefits those in charge: men. Things are changing....slowly, slowly. I hope.

Anyway, I moved on from the rack holding Adbusters and all the queer magazines to the music rack. From there, I went to the news magazine rack and flipped through the Atlantic Monthly to look like I'm informed then turned my front registerward. As I rounded the edge of the magazine stands, I saw a bright orange cover. I almost kept going. Then I stopped. U.S. News and World Report 2007 Edition America's Best Graduate Schools covering everything from business to law to medicine and more. Kaching! My week-and-a-half of lounging in my apartment NOT researching law schools wasn't such a waste of time after all. It's all here in one handy dandy guide. HA!

Now to take the LSAT...

And get a good score...

And get a scholarship.

Do they have a magazine for these things?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

He had me at "hello"

The second I laid eyes on him, I began sizing him up for the tuxedo he would buy for our wedding. I studied his hair, his teeth, his eyes - imagining what our two daughters and son would look like when they were babies, children, teens, adults. I hoped they would have my nose but his eyes. DEFINITELY his eyes. Then he spoke his first words to me: "Hey, sweetheart. Regular oil change?"

Oh. Don't listen to me. I made up that last part. Someone else asked me if I wanted the standard service, some lowly oil jockey. The guy on which I had pinned all my hopes for my future marriage and family was the MANAGER of the place. He ran the show. A man who can make decisions. Large and in charge.

I talked about him before, but I didn't update my readers on how our relationship has progressed. I really think he's going to pop the question any day now. Wait. I think he probably already did. Years ago. To someone else.

I gave him my number. He called me and asked me to lunch. He stood me up. I threw away his phone number. He called with some lame excuse. I accepted a second request to meet up. He said he'd call later that week. He never did. The end.

Savia was right. I should have waited outside his workplace and followed him home and hid in his bushes until he wasn't looking then snuck in his house through the unlocked sliding glass door and crouched in his closet til he was asleep then slit his throat as he let out his first snore. I mean, I should have kicked him to the curb the first time!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What I did while I was sick

I've been burning through my sick days lately thanks to a nasty little virus that's been terrorizing our office. I already thanked the knucklehead who must have given it to me (he's a lawyer - of course he's not to be trusted with an illness) and have been spending most of my time at my apartment for the last 11 days. That includes weekends, of course, but I've still demolished the 70-odd sick hours I've been sitting on.

With all that free time, you would think I would have accomplished something. I've been flirting with the idea of going to law school. Did I buy an LSAT book and start studying? Did I research law schools? I've been wanting a new job. Have I been checking my Internet sources for jobs in other states? That's a big N-O. Is it possible to actually decomplish things? To be so inert that not only do you stand still but that the tide actually drags you out and you find yourself lagging five miles behind where you once were? If so, that's what's happened to me during the last week. Just when I get into researching something on the Internet, I'm lulled back to my bed, drawn by a grown man making motorboat noises to a laugh track or Shannen Dougherty getting stalked by an ex-boyfriend on a movie made just for Lifetime. While it makes me happy to think of that nasty bitch getting shot in the back, I'm sure there are better things I could've spent the week doing other than:

Eating - a lot. Ice cream, sodas, salads, chips, chicken with broccoli and cheese, lasagna, tacos, cake, cupcakes, popcorn, Lean Cuisine, soup, bread, eggs, potatoes, turkey, Chinese food (my favorite: shrimp lo mein and two eggrolls/fortune: "Luck will visit you on the next new moon."), etc.

Reading - The first 480 pages of a book about a woman who, while on a bicycle trip with a friend, got run over in her tent and hacked at by a crazed hatchet guy in the late 70s in the Oregon desert. Crime never solved. Woman goes back to solve it herself 18 years later. A news magazine. That's it.

Shopping - New grip tape for my tennis racquets, new sports clothes for my Sporty Spice look I'm going for these days, shoes (I passed up on a CUTE pair of Sketchers), music (Cut Chemist/The Audience's Listening) and a DVD (PJ Harvey on tour/Please Leave Quietly)

Taking medicine - On top of my once-a-day Celexa, I've been popping Doxycycline for my cold/bronchitis/whatever, Polymyxin B Sulfate and Trimethoprim ophthalmic drops for my pinkeye, saline nasal spray for my stuffed up nose and lots and lots of Tylenol Cold capsules, Tylenol Sore Throat liquid (for day AND night) and Walgreens brand Nyquil crap so I can (kind of) sleep.

Watching TV and movies - I've watched men dive with great whites, bats avoid predators, Oprah spread her cheer and tears, Dharma act wacky against Greg's normality, Rory grow up and go to college, a home full of tacky broads vie for Flava Flav's attentions, Hef's girls throw him an 80th birthday party, Carlos Mencia do his thing, etc, etc, etc. I've never watched so much TV in my life.

It's turning my brain to mush.

I'm dumber than I was two weeks ago.

If that's even possible.

I'm going back to work Wednesday.

Even though I don't want to.

I have to get out in the real world.

That's why I hauled my ass to the laundromat today.

And did four loads of laundry.

So now I have clean underwear.

And clean sheets.

And clean grown-up clothes.

What? Oh, I gotta go. Doug and Carrie think they're pregnant, and Carrie's not happy about it. Not one bit.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What I just saw on TV

A really cute commercial that dragged me right in - until the end when I saw it was an ad for WAL-MART ORGANIC!

I'm so ashamed.

Stinkeye, pinkeye

I've been home sick with a chest/throat thing for the past week, but I woke up at 4 a.m. today with a whole different kind of problem. I knew it the second I tried to peel my eyes open. Yep. That crustiness felt familiar. And the thick liquid around the eyes. In the mirror? Yep, the familiar pink.


I had pinkeye once before, when I was younger and dumber and much, much poorer. Those were the days when I'd tried to survive on a pair of contacts that had a notch ripped out of one of them. I thought then that the notch was what was causing the redness and watering. I thought that for longer than I probably should have and just took the contacts out (and went blind - no glasses!) hoping my left eye would correct itself. It didn't, and I woke up one morning with that eye crusted shut. I went to the emergency room (I didn't have health insurance) and, $100 later, I had a little bottle of eyedrops in my hand that cleared up the pinkeye in no time.

This time, I didn't waste any time with getting to the doctor. Thank goodness for urgent care on the weekends, because I now have some antibiotics for my chest/throat and that little bottle of yummies for me crusty ole eye. My left eye must be particularly susceptible to infection as she's the only one that's gotten red and watery both times. She doesn't do me much good fer seein' either! Might as well get er taken out and buy me a patch to cover up the 'ole! Argh!

My throat is killing me, and, if I feel back on my tongue far enough (just before I start to retch) I can feel these huge nasty bumps. I can barely swallow, and the doctor used the word "bronchitis" and, when he had me do the cough thing with the stethoscope on my back said, "woah!"

I'm in sad shape, people! Looks like I'll be taking MORE time off work. I need some cheer, so send all monetary donations, flower arrangements, cans of chicken noodle soup and stuffed monkeys to: P.O. Box 5555, Tallahassee, FL 55555.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Close but no cigar...

A friend (who happens to LOVE cigars) found this on Wikipedia:

Little Women is a novel by Louisa May Alcott published on September
30, 1868, concerning the lives and loves of four sisters growing up
during the American Civil War. It was based on Alcott's own
experiences as a child in Concord, Massachusetts.

- - - - - - - - -
"Marmee": The girls' mother and head of household while her husband is
away. She engages in charitable works and attempts to guide her girls'
morals and shape their characters.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I love it when you touch me down there

Schmutzie's recent post on one of her least favorite extracurricular activities has jolted my brain into activity and given me a topic to steal, er copy. I mean write about.

Crotch doctors! Gotta love 'em. Since I've moved around so much and since I faithfully get an exam every year at least and every six months at most (HPV - I have to worry about cervical cancer), I've had my fair share of them. Males. Females. Those who do the lubed-finger-up-the-butt trick after. Those who don't. Those who take forever and a day prodding and searching. Those who are in and out faster than a beam of light. I don't like those ones who take their time. I don't. I don't. I don't. And after having ones that are in and out lickety split (I know it's possible!), I developed a spiel for every new crotch doctor I see:

"Alright. I want you to go in and come out as fast as you can. No taking a million years. I want you in. And out. Got it?" That usually gets a smile and laugh. But they never dawdle when I hit them with that.

The worst part about lying there naked, spread-eagled with a piece of cold metal shoved up my crotch is the fact that I'm lying there naked, spread-eagled with a piece of cold metal shoved up my crotch. Sure, some doctors have warmers or run the speculum under hot water before they insert it. Wow. So generous. Is it weird to give a doctor a tip? Psyche!!!

Second worst is the fact that I am lying there completely helpless and moaning and groaning about my lot in life (I'm kind enough to warn the doctor first that I will likely stage a coup or, at the very least, annoy the fuck out of him/her) and there's some person, some STRANGER, doing things to me that, frankly, I don't like. A Q-tip here, a poke there. "You're going to feel a little pinch!" My ass! Manipulate my cervix? My cervix was never meant to be manipulated! And the only reward I get for all this? One lousy finger up the ass. And that part never lasts nearly long enough for my taste.

That last sentence was a JOKE for all those who read my blog and HATE ME who would love to vilify me and say "See? She loves it up the ass and she's such a fucking pervert that she loves it when her DOCTOR gives it to her. I knew she was a degenerate freak!"

(Confession: One time, a male doctor did the finger in the ass thing, and I wasn't expecting it. It didn't feel half bad, though, and I accidentally said, "Wooooohooo!" I got a laugh out of it. The doctor didn't. Yay professionalism!)

OK. I've been to tons of gynecologists. I've had biopsies of my cervix. I've had tons of people looking and poking and prodding and feeling and pushing and searching and swabbing and blah blah blah. But only ONE doctor stands out as being really, really creepy.

Welcome to the year 2000. The place: Brooklyn. Why did I pick a doctor in Brooklyn instead of one on the Upper East Side where all the GOOD doctors are? I must have been insane. So I walk into the office and it's kinda dark with wood-paneled walls. Real old and kinda dank-feeling. I should have left but the counter lady was right there, and I didn't want to offend. So I'm the only one there, and I go in the examining room right away. (Note to self: If I'm EVER the only one in the waiting room of a doctor's office, RUN!)

So I go in the room and there's tons more wood paneling. I'm uneasy. The doc is a million years old and totters around in a state of extreme mental absence. He instructs me to strip, do the whole gown thing. At least he had the decency to leave the room while I did that. I'm surprised.

So he comes back, and I'm expecting the counter lady to come in the room, too. There's always a second person. Always! Nope. Just me and doc. Argh! Aren't there LAWS in New York????? So he starts with this weird physical that involves him slowly feeling his way over my entire body. I'm telling you. This took, like, 30 minutes at least. I think he was a leg man. Too bad I didn't shave. So then, the crotch exam. He's got me right where he wants me, and he takes forever. Then the finger thing in the vagina (yes, he was wearing gloves - I think). So he's feeling around in my vagina and then he pulls his fingers out. He turns around to go to the counter, and I see him. What? What the fuck!??? Did he just?! OH! MY! GOD! DID HE! HE DID! DID HE JUST? SMELL? HIS? FINGERS!!!? HE DID! HE JUST FUCKING SMELLED HIS GODDAMN FINGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My rationalizing brain tells me that's how they did it in the olden days, right? That's how they tested for a bacterial infection. He wasn't a creep, right? He was just looking for some kind of odor, right? Right?


Monday, July 31, 2006

Tennis girl

I don't like to watch sports, but I'll play most any of them. My favorite sport - besides synchronized swimming, of course - is tennis.

In high school, I took a tennis class to fulfill my physical fitness requirement. A fast runner, hard server and backhand fiend, I won most games. After one victorious round, I attempted a jump over the net. My toe caught the top of the net, and I fell to the other side face and elbows first pretty much ruining my win.

Before my dad switched to golf, mandatory considering he's a banker, his sport of choice was tennis. Sometimes, I'd accompany him to the nearest city courts and watch him practice with a ball machine. One time, I played against him. Of course, I was no match against his expertise gained by playing weekly games against other full-grown men. But those trips inspired a deeper love of the game, and I started biking to the very same courts nearly every weekend to practice against the long, sturdy backboard - all the while longing to have enough money to rent a ball machine that would further bolster my game. That day never came. Because I had to work to make money, all my spare time was taken and I had no more time for tennis.

This coming Saturday, my skill level will be tested so I can join a Professional Women's Tennis League through the City of Tallahassee Parks and Recreation department. Tomorrow, I will mail $15 to the city to join its tennis association, a requirement to play on any of its leagues. Once my skill level is assessed (I am likely a beginner or advanced beginner), I will be matched with others of the same skill level for 15 matches played throughout the fall and early winter. I will also be taking concurrent tennis lessons through the city to improve my game and raise my skill level for other leagues.

I went out to the city's main courts Saturday afternoon. It was a pleasant drive to just beyond the city limits on a wooded canopy road. The facility is huge and contains a weight room, showers and about 30 courts, one-fourth of which are clay. A tennis player's version of heaven, to be sure.

I can't wait to get out on the court and unsheathe one of my racquets. I'll be making new friends while exercising in the fresh air. What could be a better way to spend my Saturday mornings?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Narcissists, narcissists, everywhere narcissists

I know any readers I have left are probably tired of hearing about my problems with other people, my loss of friends, my hard feelings, my anger. I'm tired of it, too. So this will be my last post about my issues with people I know or knew. I'm hoping, in this post, to purge all that crap so I can move on, make new (and, hopefully, better) friends and stop wallowing in my huge, huge trough of self pity in the face of having lost about two-thirds of my "friends" seemingly all at once.

Doing this, though, will require a thoroughness on my part here today, and, probably, several sessions with my therapist devoted solely to this subject.

Here goes...

Is it them, or is it me? Is it a combination of the two? Do I not cut people enough slack? Am I too sensitive? Am I too direct? Competitive? Aggressive? Are jerks drawn to me as my therapist says? Am I drawn to jerks? I certainly don't enjoy the fruits of their labor. Am I a masochist?

The several biggest things I fail to understand are:

1) People who treat others as if they were disposable

2) Some people expect you to treat them like gold but want to wipe their feet on you in return - and expect to still be buddies

3) When you let people know you are mad at them and why, some people turn it around and get mad at you for being mad at them for what they did to you. They don't want to discuss what they did, they just want to discuss why they are now mad at you for bringing up the fact that you are mad at them

4) Many people have a HUGE problem apologizing to anyone for anything and refuse to do so

I'm going to illustrate my point using Jeremy as an example since we have recently agreed to never talk to each other again at his suggestion. Some of you may remember that I stayed with Jeremy for a weekend in Minneapolis in June and wrote about the weekend in my blog when I got back. Jeremy was a complete stranger to me except for several unsettling phone conversations and a slew of e-mails before my visit. You would think we would have both been on our best behavior considering the uncomfortable circumstances. I was. He most definitely wasn't. Or, if he was, he's a really huge asshole.

I didn't write about all the fucked up things he said and did while I was there in my posts about the visit, but these things involved yelling at me, cursing at me, threatening to leave me stranded somewhere, griping endlessly about our museum experience (even after I paid for him to get into the museum since I knew he didn't necessarily want to go), repeatedly embarrassing me in front of his family and basically leaving me walking on eggshells by the time I left because I was scared I'd do something to anger him - again. Why did he always have such a problem with me?

I took photographs of him. I took him to a museum. I played a few games on a slot machine while he was in the bathroom at the casino. I talked to a homeless person. I wanted to dance to the music of a blues band playing in downtown Minneapolis.

Wow. I'm a monster.

In the face of what I saw as his brutishness, I remained nice. After all, I was staying in his home. I should have been more prepared for what he had to offer, though, especially after the first conversation we had in person that involved him ranting on and on about not giving a fuck what anyone thinks of him and that he's always right, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, after leaving there, my anger began to surface. He had been a jerk. More than a jerk. He had been abusive. Instead of confronting him directly, I wrote a few negative things on my blog about my experience there. I attempted to comment to some of his posts in ways that were negative towards him. Finally, I apologized for how I handled my anger.

In turn, he said that he would be more than happy to discuss things in private but that he wasn't going to make things public. I responded by beginning an e-conversation about why I was upset in an effort to finally come up with some kind of resolution. He responded to what I thought would be a beginning with an ending by saying that we just didn't "get" each other and that it would be best to "cut our ties" and go our separate ways.

That's how eager he was to discuss things, I guess. I replied, "Sounds good." Who wants THAT for a friend?

I tell you all this as an example of my frustration but there are many more. The way Jeremy acted was just par for the course as far as my friends have been concerned. I chalk it up to ignorance. I chalk it up to personality disorder. I chalk it up to control issues. I chalk it up to immaturity. I chalk it up to selfishness. But is it more? Does it have to do with me - something about me that pushes people's buttons? I've seen how people I have a problem with treat others. I can tell you it's not the same as the way they treated me. That leads me to think it's something about me, in particular. Or maybe it's something about the other people that prompts better treatment? Maybe they are nicer? More tolerant? More pliable? More compliant and complimentary? After all, my therapist says I attract narcissists.

I have known this for a long time and have read every book and Internet site about narcissists that I can get my eyes on - including the leading Web site dedicated to malignant self-love by Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. This hasn't protected me from the next narcissist and the next, however, as no two narcissists are equal, and it takes a while to figure out who is a narcissist and who isn't. Also, I have, at various times, convinced myself that I am an inverted narcissist, someone who likely grew up with narcissistic parents who doesn't feel complete or alive unless he or she is actively involved in relationships with narcissists. This thought is too scary to hold on to, so I have a tendency to let it go. And if it ever WAS true, that I only feel alive or comfortable in a relationship with a narcissist, it's not true anymore. So how do I reform my signals to let narcissists know their ways are no longer welcome here?

Interestingly enough, today I stumbled upon the Institute for Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy of New Jersey's Web site , which has this to say about narcissists and their inability to apologize:


The Inability to Apologize

Ever since the pioneering work of Klein (e.g., 1937), analysts have been interested in the process of reparation, with both internal and external objects. In a loving relationship perceived as temporarily damaged by one party's hunger or aggression, the (actual or fantasied) injuring party ordinarily seeks to restore the loving tone of the relationship. In adults, the usual vehicle is the apology.

What intrigues us about the reparation process when a narcissistic defense is operating is that what is repaired is not the damage to the relationship, but the subject's illusion of perfection. Narcissistically impelled people may be at least temporarily incapable of genuine expressions of remorse, because inherent in an apology is the admission that one is not needless and faultless. In characterological narcissism, this defect is sometimes embraced as a virtue, as in Woody Hayes's boast that he never apologized to anybody, or in the peculiar belief of Erich Segal's heroine that "Love is never having to say you're sorry." In less gross manifestations of narcissism, the avoidance of apology is much more subtle, much less visible to those who might legitimately expect some expression of sincere contrition. What a narcissistically defended person seems to do instead of apologizing is to attempt a repair of the grandiose self in the guise of making reparation with the object. We have identified several different ways that narcissistically motivated people tend to substitute some other kind of interpersonal transaction for an apology. For the party on the receiving end of such a transaction, it also becomes a problem to restore intimacy, since it is difficult to forgive in the absence of the other person's genuine remorse.

1. Undoing

When a narcissistically defended woman has inflicted some emotional injury upon her husband, instead of apologizing, she is likely to go out of her way later to be especially solicitous of him (initiating sex, making a special dinner, etc.). A father who has unfeelingly criticized a child may similarly avoid admitting his insensitivity but instead offer some attractive treat subsequent to his transgression. The object of the undoing can be expected to remain hurt, in the absence of an emotional expression of regret, and will suffer a natural reaction to the undoing that will lie somewhere between cold rejection and grudging acquiescence. If neither party can articulate the difference between making real emotional reparation to the object and engaging in the defense of undoing, they will both be further estranged by these operations. The undoing party will feel affronted and resentful that his or her ministrations are not appreciated, while the injured person may suffer attacks of self-criticism for an inability to forgive, forget, and warm up to the partner. Both people wind up lonelier than they were previously.

2. Appealing to Good Intentions

People who are engaged in defending their internal grandiosity may become adept at giving ostensible apologies that really amount to self-justifications. Narcissistically driven people do not seem to understand that saying one is sorry represents an expression of empathy with the injured party irrespective of whether the hurt was intentional or avoidable. The woman who is kept waiting and worrying when her husband is late coming home will feel immediately forgiving if he expresses genuine sorrow that she has suffered on his account. In narcissistically defensive states, however, people seem to go by the general rule that such expressions of sympathy and regret are called for only if they were "at fault" in some way. Thus, the tardy husband meets his wife's anxious greeting with, "It wasn't my fault; there was a traffic jam," communicating not remorse but resentment of her distress and rejection of its validity.

The organizing, overriding issue for people with narcissistic preoccupations is the preservation of their internal sense of self-cohesiveness or self-approval, not the quality of their relations with other people. As a result, when they feel their imperfections have been exposed, the pressing question for them is the repair of their inner self-concept, not the mending of the feelings of those in their external world (cf. Stolorow's [1979b] definitions of narcissism). They are consequently likely, in a state of defensiveness about exposed faults, to protest that they meant to do the right thing, as if the purity of their inner state is the pertinent issue - to others as well as to themselves.

One of our patients described how her close friend had failed to send her a wedding present. When she admitted her disappointment, the friend replied, "Gee, I meant to get you something - I even had a gift in mind, and I don't know why I didn't get to it." This was offered as if it were an exonerating explanation; interestingly, the woman never did buy a gift, even (or perhaps especially) in light of the explicit expression of its significance to her friend. This seemingly odd perseverance in a breach of etiquette might be explained by the observation that the rectification of an error is an admission that an error has in fact occurred. If one displaces the issue to the area of intention an error has in fact occurred. If one displaces the issue to the area of intention, an error has not occurred, since one's intentions were faultless.

3. Explaining

A related substitute for apologizing is the practice of explaining. Unless the listener is particularly sensitive, an explanation can sound remarkably like an apology. In fact, a relationship between two people is apt to go on a considerable length of time before the party on the receiving end of explanations begins to feel a bothersome absence of genuine contrition in the other. The advantage of the explanation to the person protecting a grandiose self is that it avoids both asking for something (forgiveness) and admitting to a sphere of personal responsibility that includes the risk of inevitable shortcoming. Hence, the illusion of personal needlessness and guiltlessness is maintained. "I would have visited you in the hospital but my schedule got really crazy," or "I must've forgotten your birthday because it came right on the heels of my vacation this year," or "Your dog just ran in front of my car and I couldn't stop fast enough" are the kinds of apology-substitutes that may appear to connote remorse, but actually stop short of expressing sorrow and making emotional reparation.

A special case of the explanation sans apology is that of the person who has become adroit in offering his or her psychodynamics as explanatory, exculpating principles behind behavior that is remiss. "Maybe I was acting out my envy," or "I wonder if I did that because I'm going through an anniversary reaction to my sister's death," or "I must have been feeling unconsciously hostile toward you because you remind me of my father" are the kinds of nonapologies typically offered by the psychoanalytically sophisticated when protecting a grandiose self-concept. Evidence that a genuine apology has not been made can be found in the state of mind of the recipient of such commentaries: explanations without apology produce either pained confusion, or understanding without warmth. Because the explainer is defending his or her action to an internal critic who expects perfection, the listener often ends up, because of being the target of a projective-identification process, feeling inarticulately critical.

4. Recriminating

We have noticed the tendency for narcissistically vulnerable people to engage in a kind of ritual self-castigation in the wake of an undeniable or unrationalizable failing toward someone. This is a process even more elusive than explaining, and harder to distinguish from true apologizing. This recrimination is expressed to witnesses and objects of the transgression with the implicit invitation that the transgressor should be reassured that despite the lapse, he or she is really fine (i.e., perfect or perfectable), after all. In the case of a person with a narcissistic character disorder, recrimination is probably as close as he or she ever comes to apologizing, and is doubtless believed to constitute sorrow and reparation.

Self-castigating statements, mild ones such as "I can't understand why I did that!" and severe ones such as "I must be a terrible person," appear to manifest remorse, and may on that basis elicit sympathy and a wish to relieve the offender's apparent guilt and pain. A close look at the transaction, however, reveals that the subject is suffering self-condemnation mainly for a lack of perfection, and that the injured object has been switched into the position of comforting the person who inflicted the hurt. The party who is legitimately entitled to an apology goes without it, while the transgressor achieves reinforcement for a pathological belief about the self.

We have found that a good way to discriminate between narcissistic recrimination and object-related remorse is to ask the allegedly regretful person whether, under identical circumstances, he or she would do the same thing again. A truly repentant sinner will unhesitatingly and believably say no, while a person protecting the grandiose self will tend to launch into a series of hedges, rationalizations, or less than credible denials.

5. Deflecting Blame

The readiness of narcissistically vulnerable people to convey criticism is equaled only by their resistance to assimilating it. Frequently, they seem to have mastered the art of deflecting blame. As an example of this dynamic, let us consider the familiar situation of supervising a narcissistically preoccupied trainee in psychotherapy. If narcissistic patients are hard to treat (as is their reputation), narcissistic supervisees seem even harder to supervise. Except in certain phases of idealization of the supervisor, they react to honest feedback about their shortcomings and limits not just with defensiveness - a natural and universal response - but with a particular kind of defense: the effort to share their "badness" with the supervisor.

When the mentor has failed to support the grandiose self of a narcissistically impelled student, he or she can count on paying for it. A response to the effect of "I'll confess that I acted that out, but I think you have your part in this, too," is typical. And the supervisee is often right, or has a piece of the truth at least, but in such cases, the content of the criticism of the supervisor is usually not the point. The process boils down to: "I feel mortified that you saw a limitation in me because I aspire to perfection. You probably aspire to perfection, too, or should, so I'll point out that you haven't yet reached it, either." The supervisee thus perpetuates the false premise that perfect self-sufficiency is a legitimate goal. It seems not to occur to a narcissistically motivated person that comfort with imperfection might be both the supervisor's attitude toward his or her own work, and the attitude the supervisor wishes to instill in the trainee.

Several years ago, one of us worked with a brilliant, attractive, talented, and quite grandiose analyst-in-training. For about a year, the atmosphere of the supervision was delightful, as both parties engaged in what amounted to a folie a deux of mutual idealization. The supervisor, out of her own narcissistic pathology, joined this man believing that reported problems with previous supervisors derived from his having been insufficiently appreciated by, or even having been felt as threatening to, these therapists. Then he sought her collusion in overreporting his hours of control analysis to the institute. (He believed that he had had so much equivalent training that his background fulfilled the "spirit" if not the letter of the training provisions, and that the particulars of the program requirements were needlessly stringent.) She refused. He abruptly devalued her, as he had his previous instructors, but since it was in his interest to maintain the relationship until he had passed a Case Presentation requirement, he stayed in supervision. When she tried to make ego-alien his narcissistic entitlement, he accused her of acting out all kinds of unpleasant dynamics, including having contributed to his expectation of special favors by her prior warmth and support, which he now labeled seductive and transferential. He was, of course, right to a considerable extent, as narcissistically defensive people, with their hypervigilant sensitivity to others, often are.

He somehow structured the psychological situation as follows: "If you deny your part in the dynamic, you are self-deluded and therefore not worth listening to; if you admit it, you and I can lament your shortcomings together, construe my actions as responsive to your mistakes, and avoid looking at my own problems." It is very difficult to turn this bind into a learning situation for the trainee. We have seen examples of narcissistically preoccupied analysts-in-training who, by structuring their experience of supervision this way, develop a set of quite prescient beliefs about each of their teachers' dynamics, with no observable growth in their comprehension of their own.


I am intimately aware of all of these ways of NONapologizing as I've been on the receiving end of them my entire life. I could give so many examples of times friends or family members have offered these kinds of NONapologies. This paper is illuminating.

So, apparently, I'm a bigger piece of this whole puzzle than is outwardly apparent. My therapist says she thinks I'm perfectly nice and that I attract people who try to take advantage of that. But if I'm so "nice," how come I turn into a beast hungry for revenge when someone wrongs me? My therapist said I am acting in response to others' actions, as if that makes it OK. Why don't I, instead, just smile in the face of meanness and walk away? Why am I always looking for explanations, answers, apologies, promises? Why do I have a hard time just giving up on people? And why do I expect something better from someone who has shown me how he or she has been willing to treat me over and over and over?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Adventures in journalism

The largest employer in Grady County - the Roddenbery plant - was closing and leaving thousands of people in the already-depressed area jobless. Of course, there needed to be a story about it. We knew it would be a tough nut to crack. Companies don't have to tell anyone anything. Of course, the story ended up in MY lap.

My first course of action was to call the plant in hopes of speaking to the plant manager. In usual fashion, he refused comment and directed me, instead, to corporate headquarters in I-don't-remember-where. I called corporate headquarters. Again, no comment. Drat! I only had six hours max to get the story and write it.

This had happened once before. Years and years before this challenge, I was met with a similar one at a different newspaper. A plant was laying off lots of employees. The business editor wanted a story. I wasn't even a reporter at the time. I was a news assistant who had only been allowed to write fluff before. All the reporters were busy. It was up to me. Only that time, I had only a couple of hours to get all the information I could.

That time, the spokesperson at the plant refused comment. I went on the Internet and in the newspaper database to get general information about the company. Then, I attempted a bit of trickery.

I drove way, way out in the country to the business site with a fellow news assistant (I didn't have a car then. I was just out of college and poor). We parked in the business parking lot and were quickly met with resistance. A couple of managers appeared in no time as we were attempting to interview a bunch of workers milling around in the parking lot. We were told to leave. My next idea was to stand across the street with signs urging exiting employees to talk with us. Someone in a van leaving the parking lot saw us and motioned to the next dirt road, presumably to talk. We walked down there. No van. By the time we got back to our spot across from the parking lot, all the employees were gone.


We went back to the newsroom where I called the company again and pleaded with the spokesbitch saying I hadn't gotten any information and that my story was due in a half-hour. A last-ditch effort and a tactic I never had to use again. She relented and answered a few of my questions. Enough for a six to eight-incher. That's all I could get.

This time, I was going to have to find a different way.

I drove down to the plant and entered the office, hoping the manager would speak with me if I showed up in person. It's harder to brush someone off if they're standing in front of you, and, over the years, I found it a great tactic to just show up. People tend not to want to disappoint someone who made the effort to be there in person. Well, the manager wouldn't talk. So I left. But I didn't go far.

I started walking around the building looking for another way in. Around the back, there was a chain-link fence surrounding a concrete slab full of picnic tables. I guessed this was where the workers took their breaks. A lone employee was sweeping. I told him who I was and why I was there. He didn't want to talk. I convinced him to talk, though, by reminding him that he was already laid off and had nothing to lose.

He was a very nice guy. He talked with me for a little more than an hour telling me his history at the plant (after 25 years working there, he was only making $9.25 an hour!), details about the severance package and what he was going to be doing next (visiting his son in Tokyo). He even posed for a photo that the photo developers the paper uses LOST before they could get me the negative. My story wasn't huge, but I at least got my worker that time. I finally got my worker.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I'm a jerk? I'm a jerk!

Before I leave for a professional development class titled "Communicating with Tact and Finesse," (my officemates think this class will do me some good - bah!) I figured I'd play fairsies and come clean about a relationship where the other person felt hurt by me and cut off all communication after ripping me a new one. If I'm going to point fingers at others, I better be willing to point a finger at myself. Right?


There once was a guy named S.S. who had the most magical brain the world had ever seen. S.S. had read and memorized every book ever published and could talk, at length, about any topic in the universe. And I mean ANY topic. History. Current events. Science. Movies. Music. Pop culture. Psychology. Philosophy. Architecture and art. I mean ANY. TOPIC. maarmie was wholly and completely in love with this part of S.S.'s brain. However, S.S. had been so sheltered and so engrossed in books his whole life that he never learned social skills or how to navigate in the real world. S.S. was lost when he wasn't in an academic environment. Because S.S. was so introverted and was truly happy only when he was alone with a book, he became easily frustrated with the world of man which drove him deeper and deeper into the world of books.

One day, S.S. decided he liked maarmie. Why, he decided he more than liked maarmie. He decided that he wanted to be around maarmie as much as he could and began leaving message after message on maarmie's voice mail, each one more insistent than the other that she call him back and come get him (he doesn't have a car - he's a poor doctoral student). maarmie began screening her calls and lying about being busy. The truth was, maarmie wanted to keep S.S.'s friendship, but she didn't want to lead him on, to give him the wrong idea about the direction of the friendship. She also didn't want to spend as much time with him as he wanted to spend with her. But she couldn't bring herself to discuss these things with him. In short, she did him a major disservice.

Here's the worst part: I stood him up. Twice. Once was years ago. We were supposed to have dinner (I'm telling you, he persistently called me and guilted me into making plans with him on a regular basis) and I showed up a half-hour late. He was already gone. Another time, I made loose plans to hang out with him and then never did. I was an asshole. I apologized. Too late.

One Friday, S.S. took it upon himself to plan the whole Saturday out for maarmie. He e-mailed her with the plan. She was to come to his house and get him around 10, take him to the computer store with his computer so he could get it fixed and then they would go to lunch and the movies. Apparently, he didn't think maarmie should have any say in the matter, and, even though she wrote him back immediately saying she had plans for Saturday already (another lie), he called her every hour Saturday more and more desperately asking where she was and to call him. (Keep in mind maarmie had already told him not to call like that anymore.) When maarmie didn't call him that Saturday, he decided the friendship was over. maarmie e-mailed him explaining her side, and he blasted her about all the things she did that hurt him.

I'm sorry I hurt him. I should have been respectful enough to tell him where we stood. One-sided relationships aren't my style no matter which side I'm on.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Why do I do it?!

As many of you are probably aware, I have a tendency to call people out on my blog. In this post, I will examine this practice and try to both explain my actions and figure out exactly what it is I'm trying to accomplish through them.

This tattling of sorts started out as half paragraphs in my formerly-ongoing-but-now-defunct page titled "How to Piss Me Off" where I spewed some venom at a couple of friends, a former co-worker, a former boss, a friend's previous boyfriend, one of my previous boyfriends, a guy I dated for a while and a guy I had wanted to date for many, many years. I also threw some hate the president's way, but, because he's not human, he doesn't count.

Maybe I got tired of updating this post, or maybe I wanted space to write longer missives. Whatever the case, I began dedicating whole posts to a specific incident or person. In any event, my meanness and hostility are hard, if not impossible, to ignore.

One look at my introduction, though, lets my readers know my state of mind as I penned my first post here. The backstory is that this blog was created a little more than five months after I was bullied, mobbed, sexually harassed, then fired from a job that I thought finally had me on some kind of "right track" as far as a career is concerned and a little more than three months after the lawsuit that ended in mediation was over. I was still crying four, five, six times a day even after all these months. My emotions were dulled. I was painfully (and I mean PAINFULLY) depressed. I felt hopeless. Again, like so many times before, I felt like a victim. Only now, I was a victim who was also diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. Life had never been - and I imagined never could have been - worse.

Without knowing or caring if anyone was reading, I started this blog under that circumstance. I had intended on using this blog as a kind of anonymous on-line diary to both keep my writing muscles flexed and to vent my pent-up aggressions. Along the way, I have become less and less anonymous and have surprised even myself, sometimes, with the depth of my anger toward men in general, someone I thought liked me but didn't, my stepmother, a former friend and ex-boyfriend, my brother in particular and my whole rotten fucking family in general, and certain people I met or visited on a recent vacation.

Some of the people in question have read my posts about them. Certain others don't know about my blog. The ones who HAVE read negative posts pertaining to them pretty much don't talk to me anymore. That is just as well as I tend not to write about people that way until I'm pretty damn sure I want nothing more to do with them, until they have shown me such disrespect or such little regard that I really don't care if they are offended or not by my words.

What I find shocking and more than a little sad is that 99 percent of the people I have written about didn't mind treating me like shit but then wanted to turn around and get mad at me for writing about it. In other words, these jerks are saying it's OK to do what they did, it's just not OK for me to talk about it. Hm. Sounds about right. Isn't that any abuser's or general dickhead's modus operandi? They do what they do thinking they'll never be ratted out? That they'll never have to face what they've done? That no one else will know? That they'll never be asked to own up to their actions?

Fuck that, and fuck anyone who thinks that way.

I'm sure there are many better ways to handle life's disappointments and harsh realities. Knowing that, I have, in the past, deleted some things I have written in pure anger and haste. And, believe me, I don't write about every little grievance here. More than half the people I know piss me right the hell off at one time or another as I have zero tolerance for extreme foolishness and the fools who practice such foolishness. I know that a mistake is a mistake, though, and can usually be rectified. Hell, even I'M not perfect. But I try to be, and a well-honed sense of guilt and shame and a dollop of sensitivity usually keep me in line or at least apologizing profusely when I've hurt someone I care about. Can you see me way up here on my soapbox?

Some things AREN'T mistakes, though. And some things CAN'T be rectified. Enter maarmie and her keyboard of public shame. I guess that's what this all amounts to: public shaming. Maybe the Chinese have it right! You might think public shaming is wrong or bad. Maybe. Maybe not. Worse than public shaming, though, I think, are assholes, assholes who know that they're assholes but don't care that they're assholes, assholes who don't know who they are or care who they are, assholes who neither want to know themselves nor learn how NOT to be assholes, assholes who won't listen when you tell them what they've done, assholes who don't give a crap about anyone but themselves and assholes who don't care who they slash and burn as long as they get theirs.

To those people I say, "Bring it on." But be prepared to read about it here later. And quit your whining. It's about time you know what it feels like.

I am vigilante. Hear me roar! Meow!

P.S. (5:20 p.m. EST): Do you want to slam me? Tell me how unfair I am? How much of a bad person I am? Go ahead! Leave a comment! Send an e-mail! Unlike some people (ymereJ), I don't reject relevant comments, and I encourage any and all criticisms. If I'm wrong, I'm always the first person who wants to know about it.