Saturday, June 30th 2007

Discovering what “no” means
posted @ 8:41 pm in [ ]

I used to have this really cool dance friend — let’s call him Luke. It’s a cooler name than he ultimately deserved, but initially it would have fit okay. Luke used to dance at the studio where I worked and took class. We got paired up in occasional performances, probably because he was tall enough for me. He was a lot of fun, too… Until an organization I would consider to be a white-collar cult got a hold of him. Then he got really weird. He tried to get me to come along to some of their meetings, but I wasn’t interested and didn’t have the time for even one more thing in my life then. Had I been pressed any further or more obnoxiously about it, I would undoubtedly have replied, “No thanks, I don’t need [creepy white-collar cult] because my daddy likes me.”

Anyway, the fun part of all this weirdness was that Luke would go through these various phases while he was in training to assume some sort of leadership role (Kool-Aid tray bearer, perhaps? Not sure exactly). At one point, he asked me some sort of really odd question (which alas, now eludes me) and when I looked at him quizzically, he explained that he had to make “unreasonable requests” of people so he could determine “what ‘no’ means” to him.

Huh, I thought, that is a damn useful exercise. It’s good for discovering what’s jacked up about one’s particular psyche and poking into one’s personal baggage, and also, what a great writing exercise! For my money, there’s nothing harder to teach than comedy writing, but what a fantastic jumping-off point. I set to work on that baby right away.

On a poigniant note, “No” for Luke had some pretty profound rejection attached to it, and got him to work through some tough stuff, which I certainly respected. On a much goofier one, “No” for me apparently means, “Hey, maybe later, Meg! Nothing personal — you still rock!” I immediately spouted off an array of unreasonble requests. Mind if I date your dad? How about I spank you on the courthouse steps? Drive me to Flagstaff tonight, will ya? I’m putting this rabid squirrel on your head, okay? Can I have a kidney?

The last time I heard from Luke, he was far too evolved to spend much time emailing people who had not yet been transformed into full-fledged wankmonkeys. He sent me a naked picture of some female friend of his. Poor naked girl. Apparently, he got past his concerns about unreasonableness. At what cost, though? Sheesh, what a wank.

Friday, June 22nd 2007

Hedonism Lifecoach digs the milihelens
posted @ 1:05 am in [ ]

Milihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship.

As I’ve been taking a bit of modeling work and trying to build up my portfolio, I’ve also been reading books about makeup and beauty regimens and what-not. I don’t have the cash to throw around on spa treatments and professional beauty consultants, although if I did, I probably would indulge, at least a little bit. But hey, I’m competent. I should be able to pick up what I need for the kinds of stuff I need to do and, you know, do it. I expected to find out more about my personal flaws in the eyes of the beauty industry and what I was supposed to be doing differently, but instead it’s making me want to expand my Hedonism Lifecoach services to Hedonism Lifecoaching and Beauty Consulting.

For one thing, I stand by my early observations about this stuff (fall 2002). The beauty/fashion industry was created to be a racket preying on human insecurity. We all have some great feature and can feel good. Being sexy is all in your head, and isn’t even really that closely related to comeliness. And most importantly: Feel yummy and you will BE yummy. I might also add that a lot of the things that are really good for you also feel really good, and some aspects of the beauty industry are picking up on that.

Here’s where Hedonism Lifecoach comes in. I only like to eat things that really feel good. A cold glass of really fresh carrot juice, for example, feels terrific, and it’s very sweet and tasty. Of course, creme brulee also feels really good, but as desserts go, it’s not too terrible, nutritionally speaking. Does creme brulee ice cream also feel good? You bet! The catch is, if you have more than a little bit, you start to enjoy it less. If you have a small amount, it remains exquisite and doesn’t degenerate into just being good. We should let hedonism be our guide here, not some crap called “portion control,” which already sounds sucktastically un-fun on its face. Same deal with alcohol: A nice glass of (especially red) wine with dinner feels good. Drink a whole bunch, though, and you quite literally poison yourself. It feels terrible. Life is too short to drink so much you feel terrible.

Lots of things that are good for us feel good, and I don’t just mean wild monkeysex. Being hydrated, which is terrific for all your systems, feels good, whereas being dehydrated feels crappy, and far sooner than you think it will. Exercise feels good even when you’re just competent but striving to be better, and nothing makes my butt more tired and draggy than not getting enough of it. Moisturizing feels good. Laughing with people you like feels good. A good stretch feels good. Being outside on a beautiful day feels good. Being sunburnt does not feel good and should therefore be avoided. Hanging out in a sunny room full of plants feels good. Doing something you really love feels good. Petting willing mammals feels good for both of you, and it’s relaxing for both of you, too.

As it turns out, these things and many others that feel good are also beauty-inducing. Gorgeous, youthful skin, for example, is greatly aided by pleasant diet and exercise, water, moisture, deep cleansing… all stuff that feels good. A number of things that feel terrific reduce stress, make us healthier, and we therefore look healthier as it shows on the outside. Additionally, even the worst beautyracket imaginable, provided it’s not actively damaging, can make one feel yummy using it, and therefore create the all-important conditions mentioned above for being yummy. Most of all, doing things that feel good are relaxing and make you feel beautiful, and often, they make us focus on doing something nice for ourselves, which is what Hedonism Lifecoaching is all about.

Wednesday, June 20th 2007

Ooh, and one more!
posted @ 7:25 am in [ ]

The person whose conversation helped inspire that post added this while sending me an article about how Colorado is on fire earlier than usual this year:

“Hey. Another sign of a friend gone bad. She drives over to the massive fire burning on the far side of the town line and gives it directions to your house with a trail made of lighter fluid.”


Tuesday, June 19th 2007

Top 10 ways you can tell the friendship is really over
posted @ 11:44 am in [ - ]

I was having a phone conversation with someone yesterday, and this interesting question came up: Just because your friend ran off with your spouse or significant other, is he or she still your friend? Should you still expect to have tea? I’m thinking: No, not so much. Here are a few tips to help you cull your Christmas card list.

  1. You mortgage your house to bail her out of jail and she skips town immediately. She sends you a postcard that says only, “HA-HA!”

  2. Knowing you’re deathly allergic to peanut butter, she invites you over for some nice satay.

  3. You find a large pile of poop on your lawn with one of those little florist’s gift tag sticks in it proclaiming the poop to be to you from him. It does not appear to be gardening fertilizer.

  4. When confronted, he claims that going to the amusement park instead of showing up to donate that kidney he promised you was just “keepin’ it real.”

  5. She poisons you with anti-freeze over several years.

  6. The dummy he’s using to train his attack dog bears a striking resemblance to you and seems to be wearing your workout clothes.

  7. He shot you, or is Dick Cheney.

  8. You find her under your car with a pair of tinsnips and a pamphlet entitled, How to cut brake lines.

  9. He spray-paints “I hate you” on your car or child, or shaves it into your pets.

  10. Given the choice between receiving $5 and saving you from a scorpion pit by pressing a button, she takes the $5.

Saturday, June 16th 2007

Nerdy validation
posted @ 10:34 pm in [ ]

Okay, I admit it: I used to play a lot of D&D. And I wasn’t even a minor — I was in college. I know, what a confession! One thing I always wondered about was my own alignment. Was I chaotic good? Neutral good? True neutral? Now I know…

Your Score: Neutral-Good

66% Good, 52% Chaotic

Plane of Existence: Elysium, “Blessed Fields“. Description: The plane of peace. Notable Inhabitants: Guardinals - noble immortal humanoids with bestial features.

Examples of Neutral-Goods (Ethically Neutral, Morally Good)

Cloud Strife (FFVII)
Boogenhagen (FFVII)
Mother Theresa
Sidhartha Gautama (the Buddha)
Bilbo & Frodo Baggins
Samwise Gamgee
Indiana Jones
The Dali Lama
Ben (O-Bi-Wan) Kenobi
Luke Skywalker
Harry Potter

Often goes along with the laws and desires of the group as being the easiest course of action, but ethical considerations clearly have top priority. May pursue quite abstract goals. Often aloof and difficult to understand.

Will keep their word to others of good alignment
Would not attack an unarmed foe
Will not use poison
Will help those in need
May work with others
Indifferent to higher authority
Indifferent to organizations

Neutral Good “Pure Good”

A neutral good [person] will obey the law, or break it when he or she sees it will serve a greater good. He or she is not bound strongly to a social system or order. His or her need to help others and reduce their suffering may take precedence over all else. Neutral good [people] do good for goodness’ sake, not because they are directed to by law or by whim.

This alignment desires good without bias for or against order.

Other Alignments and Tendencies (Tendenices are what you would more often sway towards; esp. for Neutrals):
0-39% Good, 0-39% Chaotic: Lawful-Evil
0-39% Good, 40-60% Chaotic: Neutral-Evil
0-39% Good, 61-100% Chaotic: Chaotic-Evil
40-60% Good, 0-39% Chaotic: Lawful-Neutral
40-60% Good, 40-60% Chaotic: True Neutral
40-60% Good, 61-100% Chaotic: Chaotic-Neutral
61-100% Good, 0-39% Chaotic: Lawful-Good
61-100% Good, 61-100% Chaotic: Chaotic-Good

Link: The Alignment Test written by xan81 on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Thursday, June 14th 2007

Lisa’s general awesomeness
posted @ 9:31 am in [ ]

Our fabulous hostess, modern-day Ben-flippin’-Franklin and founder of H2O Town, online newspaper of Watertown, Massachusetts; and the bat-outta-hell success Placeblogger; author; noteworthy tech analyst; fellow cyclist; groovy lady; citizen (and regular) journalist; best friend; and mother of two, among many other impressive credentials, has done yet another incredible thing! Check it out: Placeblogger just got a HUGEASS award to expand its technology and be even more fabulous, if that’s possible. Can I just say I am so proud of Lisa I might hurl?

It’s not just that my friend is unbefreakinlievable, of course. I’m always gassing on to the folks in my global affairs courses about how important and hopeful this kind of thing is. The fact that regular folks have unprecedented access to each other across all kinds of borders is a wonderful thing, capable of changing all the things people all over the world worry about, from being lonely or curious, to the habits of reigning disturbing political regimes, to the price of chickpeas. The Way Things Are is all about cooperation: We all cooperate with the value of a dollar, the price of gas and who rules us on a daily basis. When enough folks stop cooperating or choose to cooperate with something else, they inevitably change the nature of the system with which they’re interacting. In a very real way, then, the access regular folks have to each other really does change the world. Placeblogger is one of the sites that makes that access not just possible or easy, but natural.

So I’m not just proud of Lisa because she’s my friend and does cool stuff wherever she goes, but because she is literally and directly changing the world for the better. Thanks, Nisalator!

Wednesday, June 13th 2007

Naughty pigeons
posted @ 7:23 pm in [ ]

I saw something really funny the other day while I was driving. I was at a red light, and something was in front of the lamp itself. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a pigeon. The pigeon was perched on top of the yellow light’s hood, and kind of dancing around a little bit. I don’t know what this says about me, but all I could think of was Amsterdam’s red light district, where the girls sort of dance around and pose in the windows and you can pick one out like you would a deli salad. Glancing over at another light, another pigeon had taken up saucy residence there, adding to the impression. Stuff cracks me up.

Tuesday, June 5th 2007

Career Plan: Hedonism Lifecoach
posted @ 9:17 pm in [ ]

This week, I’ve been giving out a LOT of free advice. Yeah, it’s worth what you pay for it, but still, some people are willing to pay a lot of money for advice, regardless of quality. And you know what I’ve noticed? A lot of folks around me are just not nice enough to themselves, or they’re having a hard time, or pushing themselves too hard and then being down on themselves for not getting enough accomplished. These people need to be nice to themselves, you know? They need to have more fun and less of a hard time. I’ve decided to help be an instrument of that, so I am now exploring a career as a Hedonism Lifecoach.

Feeling crappy? Hate your lame self? Go do something nice for yourself for half an hour. Listen to your favorite album, take a nice bubble bath, set off some illegal fireworks, watch some lesbian porn, whatever is just a nice treat. Go! It works like gangbusters. Finally, a marketable skill after all these years of just being the devil on somebody’s shoulder.

Friday, June 1st 2007

Welcome to Denver: temporary home of plague monkeys and Andrew Speaker
posted @ 9:24 am in [ ]

Just in time for several family members to arrive, Denver is more pestilent then ever! In addition to the festering posse of plague squirrels in City Park, the odd Littleton-based plague rabbit, scores of thousands of rabid prairie dogs and late plague monkey (ostensibly from eating an errant plague squirrel), we are now hosting the tubercular Andrew Speaker. Speaker is of course the guy who took that little something extra on his honeymoon abroad, and then evaded U.S. authorities (and apparently some evaded him as well) so he would be readmitted to the country in all his festering glory. Will I need to hand out surgical masks at the airport to disembarking loved ones? Now what the hell articles of clothing will we have to remove at the airport? Sheesh!