Tales of a wandering lesbian

An open letter to the folks at SURVIVOR


I know it’s been a while.  Frankly, I was hurt when I didn’t hear from you.  I thought I would be okay.  That the expression of my feelings was the most important thing to me.  That I could tell you how I felt, and that would be enough.  No expectations, no judgment.  That’s what I had intended.

But it’s not the reality of the situation.  That’s funny.  REALITY…

I can’t script my feelings –  and I really don’t want to.  I can’t cast who I fall for – and I fell hard for you.

I mean, I poured my heart out.  Videos, pictures, “three words to describe yourself”.  I did what I was asked.  Not even a phone call.  It’s true, you said you probably wouldn’t call, but I had hoped.  I had dreamed.  I had even planned and schemed a little.  And no call.  I was obsessed with you, studying your every move, your every word.  Enamored.  So, I took some time.

I took some time for myself.  And here I am, making myself a better person – not for you – for me.  I’m making myself a better friend, a better partner, and yes – a better applicant.  And do you notice?  No, it doesn’t matter.  I’m not doing it for you.  Still…

I thought maybe you’d like to know what I’ve been doing while I’m away.

For one thing, I’m building fires.  Yup, I’ve gotten pretty good at it.  One match every time.  If I had a flint, I’d be all set.

And I’m gathering food.  I can find food in strange settings, searching for local delicacies.  And I eat what I find.  I’ve made myself sick a couple of times eating strange things.  But it’s worth it.  It’s all worth it.  I’m growing.  Learning a lot about myself.  And the language.  Oh yes, I’m even learning the language.  When I do something, I do it right.  But you wouldn’t know about that.

It’s okay, really it is.  I wouldn’t be here on this adventure if you’d put me on your island.  So, I guess I should say “thank you”.  Thank you.

So now it’s my turn.  You probably won’t hear from me.  Now I’m the interesting one.  And what are you?  An aging fad?  We’ll see who outlasts whom, won’t we?

Well, I’m off to see the world.  I’ll let you know if I’m in your neighborhood.  Or, I mean, I guess you could call sometime if you wanted.  Or something…Oh, who am I kidding?  I still love you.  I still want you.  Maybe we could give it another go?  Tell you what, I’ll send you a video and three words that describe myself.  But only if you’ll call.  Can you handle that?  Just one phone call?  We can take it from there.  We have the whole world in front of us.

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November 23, 2009   Comments Off on An open letter to the folks at SURVIVOR

The grey area

As I’ve mentioned, I tend toward binary thinking. The black-or-white thought process was helpful in law school – if not in practice. Following rules and constructing rules has long appealed to me. Just tell me what the parameters are and I’ll figure out how to do what I want within them.

I laughed when Clinton said “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” He was totally right. And totally horrible.

When someone asks to copy a CD, I flinch. And usually only say yes if I haven’t let anyone else do it, and make them agree that they are holding my “backup” copy, in case mine should disappear in a ball of flame (I’m pretty sure that’s legal).

Yesterday brought a conversation about DVD burning and its legality. “I paid for my license. I just want to be able to view it on my ipod!” Sounded fair to me, but (as one law professor used to tell me) I didn’t go to fair school. “You can probably find an illegal copy on youtube,” came the suggestion. True story.

Yesterday, when I climbed on the elliptical for the first time in about a month, it was with high hopes of watching SURVIVOR on Hulu or CBS.com. SURVIVOR is really the motivating factor behind my workouts. I love the show with the kind of fervor usually reserved for religious zealotry. I’ve applied 4 times, attended an open-casting call and brought a replica Buff to Italy with me. I watch recorded SURVIVOR episodes while I work out. During the season, it’s great. I record on Thursday and watch every morning for the next week, rehashing, analyzing, plotting my own takeover of the game.

But I left for Italy in the middle of the season, and haven’t had occasion to catch up on episodes. Until yesterday.

So, I plugged my computer in, set it in front of the elliptical and logged on. And got this message “this program is not authorized for your geographic region.” What? You’re kidding me, right? This is some elaborate scheme cooked up by the same people at CBS who keep denying my application. Must be. Not authorized for my geographic region…

Okay, okay. Not to fear. Next stop: youtube. I was able to find part 1 of episode 7 relatively quickly (AND WITHOUT SPOILERS). Soon I was in workout heaven, cursing Russell and working the puzzles with everyone else. Part 2 was easy to find as well. Part 3, however gave me some troubles.

This is the part of watching bootlegged copies of shows on youtube that isn’t so glamorous. First, you’re watching what someone recorded off their tv, and in some circumstances, what they recorded using a video camera pointed at their tv screen. Insane. Second, the programs are posted in 10ish minute chunks, requiring you to find and load multiple parts of the program. Third, people don’t always post the entire show, or don’t post the parts with any type of naming-convention. So you have to scout around to find the whole program. Yesterday I used at least three different people’s posts to piece together most of the show.

And I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I would have HAPPILY watched the 20 minutes of commercials that usually infiltrate the broadcast program. I find commercials fascinating. I TRIED to watch them on the CBS site, but “this program is unavailable for your geographic region.”

This morning, I was able to find a complete set of the episode, as well as the next episode. I think I’m only one behind now. It’s a beautiful thing. (Did I mention I haven’t spoiled anything? I still don’t know who was voted off in the last two weeks. For the love of all that is holy, don’t spoil it for me by posting in the comments. I’m a forgiving person, but I’m not sure how I would react to this, and I don’t want to find out.)

People have long said to me that I’d eventually move out of my black-or-white thinking in to an understanding that there are grey areas; that there need to be grey areas. Okay you people who said that, listen up. I’ve always said that grey is just black and white when you get close enough to it.

I don’t know copyright law as it applies to SURVIVOR episodes on youtube. No idea. I’m okay with that. What I do know is how to find the complete set of Season 19, Episode 7. Took me two days, but I figured it out. It was in the grey area, just between “willful suspension of disbelief” and “ignorance of the law is no defense”.

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November 19, 2009   4 Comments

Old habits

People often ask me why I don’t drink. Honestly, I think I was just a really lucky self-aware kid. As I watched most of my high school friends start drinking, going to parties, and into the woods for keggers, I started to plan. Sure I’d like more friends, sure I’d like to socialize more. But in small-town Idaho, those opportunities aren’t had at the mall. Here’s what the plan sounded like:

Plan A: I will begin drinking small amounts daily, gradually increasing until I can drink anyone under the table.

Yes, this was the plan in my 15-year old brain. Build up a tolerance so I could compete. Not so surprising, really. It’s a lot like athletics. Work-out harder and longer each time, preparing your body to do more than your competitors’. I was an athlete, so this was just like any other training routine. Fortunately, I was also already a little Type-A, so I had a Plan B. Here’s what it looked like:

Plan B: I will never drink.

Now, it’s possible that these two scenarios are a bit extreme. I’ve been known to tend toward this type of binary thinking. However, it was the realization that I was thinking in just this way that allwoed me to pause and say to myself, “self, perhaps we should give serious consideration to Plan B”.

And that is why I don’t drink. It’s also why I don’t smoke, do drugs, or engage in very many things that could lead me to that place known as “rock bottom”. Don’t get me wrong, I have my vices. I realized I had a problem with coffee when one of the judges I worked with walked into my office – where the coffee-pool kept its coffee and coffee pot – looked at me, looked at the third pot of the day, and said “you know, the definition of insanity under the DSM-IV includes mania, aggitation and other elements related to consumption of substances.” When I removed myself from the coffee-pool, daily consumption went from 3 pots a day to 1. Yeah, 2 pots a day might be excessive. Just maybe.

I didn’t totally give up coffee until the prilosec I was taking for acid reflux (due to coffee) wouldn’t work anymore. And sugar. Blessed sugar.

You know, it’s entirely possible that the sense of euphoria I felt the first time I was in Italy was due to the fact that I suspended my 2-year coffee embargo and 1-year sugar ban for the duration of the trip. The coffee made my head swim and the sugar induced a little mania. In hindsight, I was probably high for the entire trip.

When I got back, I was able to cut out most of the sugar again, but the cappuccini stuck. And now I’m back in the land of caffe and pastry. For some reason, the coffee hasn’t torn up my stomach yet, so I’m still drinking it. That means I’m pretty much dependent on it if I don’t want to be a raging jerk everyday. As long as I have 3-4 cappu a day, and a pot of tea, I’m good to go.

The sugar, however, is a problem. It started as a cookie every now and again, and a lovely pastry – or two. Then it became a pastry or two, and another snuck in the kitchen. I know it’s getting bad when I start eating sugar alone…

Yesterday, I hit a place that I’m not proud of. Nutella is the devil. I mean, really, I think there are stories in the Bible about the temptations that Nutella poses to the mortal world. I am mortal. It began as a little bit spread on a piece of bread with everyone else, maybe once a week. Yesterday, faced with the stress of the internet I snapped. While Sandra napped on the sofa I tiptoed into the kitchen to find bread and a knife. The Nutella was already purched a foot from my elbow as I typed – and it had been whispering to me. Okay, maybe I sound a little insane, but I’m fairly sure that most anyone reading this who has lived with a jar of Nutella understands what I’m saying. Or I’m projecting. Either way, it wasn’t good.

The scene rapidly devolved from slices of bread, to one giant knifefull shoved into my mouth. When you go to bed thinking about sugar, and wake up thinking about sugar, it’s time to admit you have a problem.

Fortunately, along with the Nutella, I discovered something else yesterday. Deb and Sandra have an elliptical trainer! Yes, it’s true! It’s hidden in the studio in the garden. I had no idea it was there! My daily routine in the states was to wake up, workout on the elliptical (on on the wind trainer), watch recorded SURVIVOR episodes, and then get ready for the day. Waking up in the morning with the prospect of a workout and SURVIVOR was one of the best parts of the day. So, along with sugar plums dancing in my head, the vision of working-out and watching SURVIVOR sustained me through the day and night.

This morning I entered the studio in my ridiculously short running shorts, turned on my computer and loaded SURVIVOR. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to trade my old habits for the new ones. The 45 minutes of bliss that followed left me lighter and more awake than the caffeine and sugar I’ve been relying on. Of course. I know this. But sometimes I need a little reminding. This morning was a good reminder. Don’t get me wrong, I still had my cappuccino this morning, but I left the Nutella completely alone. Baby steps.

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November 18, 2009   7 Comments