Stop and smell the roses, darling
Or, cabbage

We rarely sit still. For me, I'm still haunted by a guest speaker who came to my middle school and from what I remember, basically said us women folk would be failures if we weren't wives, executives, mothers and volunteers all wrapped up in one neat package. And I thought I had accomplished something by putting myself through grad school; clearly, I have some work to do.
I'm not sure I want to run around like a crazed, busy person constantly stressed out and missing out on all of the subtle moments. I like the quiet, contemplative times even though I have a hard time accepting that it's OK to not save the world by one's self.

This is why I'm really looking forward to creating a garden in my backyard, which, is currently a rocky and brick filled disaster. I'm going to create a space where I can sip my morning coffee, read, entertain friends and do a little gardening and cultivate tasty green things. This weekend, I was lucky enough to experience Dumbarton Oaks through the eyes of someone who is passionate about gardening, outside space and natural environments. Dumbarton is an amazing 15 acres of huge, old trees (often sculpture-like in presence), installation art, garden pools, flowers, vines, and space. Lots of space. Probably very lush and beautiful come spring time.


It ain't just for the ladies any longer...

Howdy and meeYOW to our faithful male readers out there--today is a momentous occaision in the Annals (that's with 2 Ns) of Vitals History--our first male contribution!

Kudos to the Y chromasome! (now, if we can get a certain Snake to write about his deep man-love for Chuck Norris...)

Brokeback Mountain: A Straight Man’s Perspective

So the other week I went to see "Brokeback Mountain" with my fiancée. I can’t claim it was "her idea"—we actually both wanted to see it. We’re definite film aficionados and like it or not, this is a historically significant film. I’ve also been a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal’s work since "Donnie Darko" and felt he was coming off a strong performance in "Jarhead." Heath Ledger I can take or leave, but "10 Things I Hate About You" (and his performance of "Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You") was classic and enough to earn my respect.

Now I’ve had some straight friends joke to me that they didn’t go see this one because they were afraid to discover they were secretly gay; and then they might have to divorce their wives or something. I can’t say I quite had that reaction. I had my inevitable flinch moment when Ledger and Gyllenhaal first kissed (as Liberal as I am, folks, it just didn ’t feel natural to me), but the "sex" after that actually more closely resembled some fights I’ve seen, or perhaps the Greco-Roman wrestling I used to do in high school. A lot of the time I couldn’t tell if these guys were beating the shit out of each other or making love. Ladies, if you like rough sex, this is the one for you. You’ll be fantasizing for weeks after seeing these studs literally maul each other with passion.

But, ultimately, what was harder for me to deal with was not the intimate scenes but the intense feeling of loneliness and despair that permeated the film, particularly in its second half. The emotional weight of "Brokeback" was incredible and it really humanized the story. It’s a tremendous credit to Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana (who wrote the screenplay) that by the end of the picture you’ve forgotten you’re watching a "gay" film at all.

The gay issue inevitably comes up, however, and recently, when I was talking to a woman at a party about the film, she asked me if I was "homosexual friendly" for having seen it. Apparently, she knew a lot of straight men who had taken a pass on "Brokeback," and she was impressed by my willingness to open my mind or heart or whatever.

Is it really that big a deal? Heck, it’s 2006, not the Middle Ages. If a guy can’t make it through a two-hour Hollywood film with his sexuality intact, how’s he going to one day make it through a marriage, fatherhood, old age, death? Let’s get real, people. Then again, come to think of it, I grew up around a group of friends who wouldn’t even admit they masturbated until age 30 or so.

Cowboy Up!

Brokeback Mountain



How You Compare to Your CEO

The AFL-CIO website has this horrifying little widget where you can enter your annual income and compare yourself against one or many of the top dollar CEOs.
I compared myself to Terry Semel, CEO of Yahoo!; I would love to have his job one day, but not because of his $109 million+ compensation package. I mean, I certainly wouldn't complain; however, as the CEO, you are tasked with providing vision, drive, innovation, trend-setting, and technology advancement for one of the most enterprising web/internet companies in the world. I want that job.
Here's my comparison:
You would have to work 1235 years to equal Terry S. Semel's 2004 compensation.
You'd better get working, because you can't take a vacation until 3240 A.D.



Use in a sentence, win a prize (or, just impress your friends)


1. Given to or characterized by the use of long words.
2. Long and ponderous; having many syllables.

Store this one away in a special place - it deserves to be dusted off and thrown into casual conversation whenever possible. Or, see how many drinks it takes to completely butcher its pronunciation.

I'm waiting for the perfect moment when I can throw this into an IM chat with my father, who may be the only person in the entire world that insists on using correct grammar and spelling while having an IM conversation. I guess that makes me the only person who always has dictionary.com ready and available when commencing in the act of IM'ing.

Speaking of - fun additions to our vernacular:
Podding, i.e., I'm Podding (listening to my ipod), can't speak with you at the moment
.Com (as in, "my company has gone .com" - either the person's company has purchased way too many pieces of Herman Miller furniture or the company has gone belly up)


Supreme Court Justices take responsibility and
must be accountable; this applies to you too, Judge Alito

It's very simple to me. Memory. Recall. Supreme Court justices are expected to have sharp minds that are agile, they must be articulate and introspective and can always speak to their opinions, whether they are welcomed or repudiated by the public and press. Perhaps Alito needs to take some gingko biloba or reach deep into his mind and extract those suppressed memories in order to face the Senate committee with confidence and honesty.

"Well, Senator, I have wracked my memory about this issue, and I really have no specific recollection of that organization." (NYT transcript, Day 2)

This was Alito's response to Senator Leahy's question regarding his association with Princeton's CAP group.

I just don't buy it. I can't help but think of the Iran/Contra situation, Clinton and Lewinsky, and Abu Ghraib. All parties implicated in the forementioned situations denied accountability until the media ate away the bullshit and revealed (while simultaneously forcing) the guilty party to take responsibility or find a willing group of scapegoats. One can't help but visualize the memorable Tootsie Pop commercial with the owl gleefully licking the lollipop until he reaches the Tootsie candy center.

One thing Alito did pull off, was providing answers that veered from the original question. Again, regarding the CAP question, Alito stated that he didn't recall his association with CAP and then launched right into his recollection about the expulsion of Princeton's ROTC unit. His thoughts about this situation were relevant only because he was both involved with and believed in ROTC. Of course, these details had nothing to do with the specific question asked by Senator Leahy. Misdirection and avoidance, though politically shrewd, are not characteristics of a Supreme Court justice. No one has made perfect decisions or calculations in the game of life, but there are plenty of us who are willing to own up to our faults or mis judgments.


Residential Street Cleaning in DC Suspended Jan. 9-March 17

From a DC Department of Public Works press release:

Daytime Residential Street Sweeping Will Be Suspended January 9 Through March 17, 2006

Street Cleaning Along Major Arterials Continues All Winter

(Washington, DC) As it does every winter, the Department of Public Works (DPW) will temporarily suspend routine residential street cleaning from January 9 to March 17, 2006. During this time, “No Parking/Street Cleaning” restrictions will be lifted. Residents and visitors who park along posted, alternate-side, daytime street sweeping routes will not be required to move their cars on street-sweeping days during the sweeper hiatus.

Residential street cleaning resumes Monday, March 20, 2006.

However, overnight sweeping scheduled for the District’s major arterials (such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, Constitution, Independence Avenues, and others) will take place as usual all winter, with the attendant parking ban during sweeping hours. Motorists are urged not to park in these areas during the posted overnight hours.

As colder weather approaches, motorists are also reminded that during declared snow emergencies, vehicles can be ticketed and towed if they remain parked on designated snow emergency routes. Look for the red and white signs before parking this winter.

Convergence: embrace it
Unless you are my best friend who lives on a gorgeous parcel of land outside of Fairbanks, AK, you are dependent, in some way or another, on princess Technology. Pants pockets are no longer the home to loose change, lint or crumpled-up gum wrappers; they have recently been housing more desired and sometimes even sexy objects such as Motorola's Razor cell phone, the RIM Blackberry, an iPod or Nano, possibly a TRIO and sometimes even a pocket PC. For some, one bulge is just not enough and all of these objects must rattle together in order for the individual to feel complete.

If all of these gadgets aren't enough, imagine that your television (some people do still refer to it as a shrine) is also introducing its own accoutrements, but these little extras aren't something that you click, dial or play. Your television's future "extras" will give any couch potato the ability to interact with what we currently refer to as web content in addition to traditional television programming. Web content is not just invading your TV, but your cell and Blackberry too. If we're not currently bombarded with enough information, we'll have the ability to really get our fix the moment we plop down at home to the minute we run out the door the next morning.

Don't for a minute think this information push is all about informing you, intriguing you and or offering you more choices. This is all about knowing who you are, your demographic definition and what strata you fall into and pushing selected advertisers directly to you.

I will admit that I don't particularly loath advertisers - I feel like I have enough self-control to not purchase every diet drug, kitchen apparatus or skin tightening serum that is dancing across my TV set these days. I do loath losing my anonymity. Sometimes I want to just research something without receiving a customized email five minutes after I navigate away from a specific website. There are certainly easy ways to prevent this, such as rejecting Cookies, always using bogus email addresses, etc., but there are companies that mine for your data and the next thing you know, text messages are appearing from advertisers who have organized you into an advanced cellphone strata because they have access to data that shows you send/receive more than 30 text messages a month.

I think I'm going to tie two empty cans together with some old fashion string and use that as my means as communication. C'mon, the crazy lady look is in...check out the Olsen twins these days-they are the leaders of this "sack" style fashion trend.