Quote Of The Day

Loved this thing that I saw today. (from Matt Yglesias)

From Byron York's Washington Examiner column:

On his 100th day in office, Barack Obama enjoys high job approval ratings, no matter what poll you consult. But if a new survey by the New York Times is accurate, the president and some of his policies are significantly less popular with white Americans than with black Americans, and his sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are.

Office Costume

I met a girl after work.

She was dressed in a formal orange and white blouse, white pants, high heels that matched the blouse, and rouged cheeks and lips.

I was astonished how much less pretty she was that way. Everything about the costume shouted that she was artificial, much older, or bland.

I suppose those are office work values, though.

She couldn't walk much through the neighborhood in those shoes either.

Especially distinct was how much less enticing her face was when all painted. Women have told me before that face painting makes them more appealing to fellows; this idea is dead wrong.

Good thing she was still fun to talk to. Once the office work complaints were over she was the same as ever. All that fancy blouse and bad shoes and ugly paint is just a shell and eventually scrubs off.

Life Is Tough

A few weeks ago a friend of mine on LJ posted about a dating frustration and told the story of how she visited a local bar and took home a fellow she met there. She had sent him away first thing in the morning with no intention of ever seeing him again.

I wanted to post that I was jealous. As a man I can't just go out to a bar and meet someone who will be interested in a quick meaningless night together. When I´m frustrated there really aren't any such easy outlets to forget things for one night. But men aren't supposed to admit in public that it's hard to seduce women so I didn't say anything.

A week later I was introduced to a new acquaintance. V and I have some common friends. She's a student at a large public university near where I live. She was very aggressive and direct about why she had requested an introduction. Apparently she finds me very handsome. She asked me soon after meeting if I was a little shy, and I told her that indeed I am. She then promised to be hot and exciting enough for both of us. She mentioned that relationships don't really need to be serious and that she really liked sex.

I was more put off by the whole meeting than I expected to be. V is a pretty girl but slightly overweight. She smells nice and I liked sitting close with her pressed up against me. But she displayed no interest at all in who I am deep inside or my interests in science or books. Any time I tried to expand the conversation to find commonalities she turned right back to how nice it would be if we were just kissing already.

I took her number but when she texted me later I didn't respond. I guess I was wrong about the whole jealousy of one night stands thing.

The next day I was at lunch with some friends. A very pretty college girl I didn't know was with them. I made some small talk about books and she had obviously read some. C was a little bit too pretty for my usual taste. I feel like the really sharp looking girls are a little dangerous and prefer a more rough hewn outdoorsy look more than the model look. After lunch we all had appointements including C but instead of heading out to her class, she followed me to the juice bar where I bought an orange juice. She didn't get anything but suggested we could find a place to sit while I drank it. We talked for another half an hour together before I had to leave but I still wasn't thinking of the event as more than casual. She was already very late for class by then.

And when I was expecting to say goodbye she asked for my phone number. And carefully entered my full name into her phone. I was a little surprised but realized that I'd somehow inspired more interest in her than I'd expected, though I still didn't know her intentions.

We exchanged a few text messages over the next week and she suggested we should get together. When I called her on the appointed day she told me something had come up and she couldn´t go out. We talked a couple more times on the phone and set up a date for last week. When the time came she didn't show up. I called her and she didn't answer.

Guess I was right all along about pretty girls.

Even though I was prefectly happy to let this girl go without ever getting her contact info it really hit me hard when she stood me up. I was kind of befuddled and upset all evening.

Sunday I went on a tour of a local archaeological site. Pretty, but more the athletic type than the model type, A climbed the hills with me much swifter than our companions. We talked a lot between the sites. She slipped me a post it note with her name and phone number written out. After last time it makes me a little nervous, though. I suppose I ought to call her.

International Coffees

I went out for coffee with some friends. Some of them were German and some Mexican. We all sat down with our coffees, which were really milkshakes as is the custom nowadays. Well, they all sat down with coffees. If I'm going to have a sinful snack, I'm going to eat cake instead of coffee so I picked a nice slice of carrot cake.

We started trying to talk but quickly noticed that all but one of us spoke English and all but one of us spoke German and all but one of us spoke Spanish. Yup, another language barrier situation. Four bilingual and trilingual people couldn't get it together to agree on one language.

With patience we managed to get along fine. But each one of us had to do a little translating from time to time. Translating is really much harder than simple bilingualism.

We did hit a rocky reef of misunderstanding once we entered on traditional cooking. Sometimes there simply aren't words and especially aren't words I know to describe traditional Mexican and German food ingredients in English. I told a story about traditional Indian cooking to break the tension -- that way nobody understood the exact foods involved, including me.

Responsible Citizenship

The County came by every building in town last week to post a notice about what we should be doing to help with the water shortage.

The first item was that we should fix all our drips and leaks.

I'd known for a couple months that I needed to deal with the drip in our apartment. My roommate is good at cooperating in home maintenance but even basic plumbing is well beyond his expertise. I knew from the start that this was the kind of job where I would have to turn off the water, haul out a half dozen tools, try to be gentle with plastic flanges, and reassemble pipes exactly the way I took them apart.

So I was putting it off. I didn't really want to have to deal with it.

And then the County came by with their notice.

I did it that same day.

But I wonder why a notice from a giant faceless government body posted on every building equally was what it took to spur me into action.

Food And Stuff

Tonight I cooked chard, onion, and garlic tacos with stringy cheese and fresh tortillas. This morning I had a Oaxacan style tamal with red sauce and a fresh squeezed orange juice.

The fellow at the market stand who sold me a papaya and some mangoes this afternoon asked why I hadn't been by on Tuesday for veggies. I wonder how I got so predictable. Anyway, I have an afternoon class on Tuesdays now. I'd have to bicycle awfully fast to make it to the market in the afternoon. This particular market only opens on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Monday I had gourmet pizzas with my friends that had avocados and sweet corn along with fancy pepperonis, plus other varieties. Tuesday I ate a chocolate tamal. Wednesday I made spaghetti primavera with chopped veggies and noodles topped with a little cheese.

I called the girl who skipped our date last week to talk. She detailed to me why she was certainly too busy to ever plan spending any time with anyone outside her responsibilities. That really wasn't what I wanted to hear, but it was good for me. She's very pretty and smart and interesting with just a bit of the iron determination I really like in a woman. That kind requires a little more motivation when I have to forget about her, especially after getting unreasonable false hope from her initial feigned interest. A nice explanation of why everything else is higher priority than me, unpleasant as it was, helped me out.

Dinner With Friends and Coffee With Nuns

I went out to have ethnic food with friends. The ethnicity in question was one of those where they write in squiggles instead of regular letters so I couldn't even figure out which restaurant was which. Lucky for me I showed up early and my friends soon found me to show the way.

They may write with squiggles and we did need my immigrant friend of the appropriate nationality to order our dinner but they cook with genius.

Afterward three of our party were walking home and it turns out my nun friend lives pretty close by me. She invited the two of us to come in and have coffee at the local home of the nuns.

It looked like a regular apartment house with very well maintained architectural details. The early 20th century lights were restored and the fancy ceiling moldings were carefully cared for. The living room had been transformed into a beautiful, spare prayer room with stained glass and an altar. There was no late-20th century technology to be seen anywhere.

Quite a few people were living in the building for its size but there was no clutter. The nuns live a life of fundamentals and have nothing to clutter with.

My friend the nun had to leave to meet a new arrival at the airport so the friend who can order dinner in squiggles and I had coffee and tiny cups of spiced creamy rice with the mother superior.

The mother superior has lived in Peru, Ecuador, France, Brasil, Switzerland, and other parts of the world. She stays, like others in her order, a few years to help or start a service project and then moves on to another home of her order around the world. She has eight thousand sisters and every time she moves she gets to meet more and make new connections with old friends.

Outside the poverty and abjuring she made it sound like a great life.


I was walking the streets of the city without much exact purpose, as I like to do. It's a big place so I don't often run into people I know. But this time I met three pretty and inseparable young women I met at a party last week. We asked about what was going on and started a small conversation.

The we realized something.

We didn't share any common language.

Very little of the conversation was getting through; just the "how are you" and "what are you doing right now" and the like passed the barrier. We tried a few mixes to try to get messages through and maybe it would have worked with enough effort.

You know how it seems a little better when someone tries to explain something to you in broken, badly accented Japanese and arm waving but it seems somehow better than just arm waving, even though you don't speak more than 20 words of Japanese? It's an illusion.

Anyhow, we went on our way. Everyone in that group was bilingual; it just wasn't enough.

I love living in the city.

Too Bad

Oh well, she called and flaked.

I thought I'd arranged it pretty well with the puling each other aside at a friend's party to talk, suggesting getting together, and calling to set the date. Anyway, dating is dating and dating things happen to you when you try it. Okay, let's see what's next.
spuffy, nochosen, chosen

A Very Serious Season 7 Manifesto

I've been thinking about the subject of this post for a at least a couple days. And finally, I decided to write down some indisputable truths about the end of Buffy Season Seven (and beginning of AtS5). Not all of these are self-evident, but you will find on careful reflection that no one could honestly disagree in good faith with any of them.

1. Even if Spike hadn't had that amulet and even if only one slayer had managed to survive Buffy's original idiotic plan, the humans could still have won the battle just by retreating to the hellmouth and cutting down the Turok-Han one by one as they came out. That goes double if they'd blow a hole in the roof so they only needed to guard at night (about 8 hours a day in Southern California in May).

2. The closing of the hellmouth was performed by men without feminine help. Spike didn't know what the amulet did when he wore it. Buffy didn't know when she gave it to him and neither did Angel nor Lilah when they passed it on. The heroes of closing the hellmouth were the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart who made the amulet. All men. Unless the wolf was a she-wolf, in which case it was a one-third feminine effort.

3. Angel was supposed to wear the amulet. Why would the Wolf, Ram, and Hart want Spike around keeping Angel honest? They were trying to trap Angel inside the WRH organization so they could corrupt him more easily. Incorporeal but with the WRH staff to do his bidding in the world he would be entirely at their mercy and quickly go bad.

4. Those slayers were going down inside the hellmouth. The went in with about a couple dozen and came out with Kennedy, Buffy, Faith, Rona, Violet, and maybe a couple others. Even if the battle had turned their way by the end, and there's no evidence for that beyond the music, there weren't enough left to survive even the occasional very good day for the thousands of remaining demons.

5. The thing that made the original slayer spell awful was the death sentence. Slayers die young. There's no retirement plan. Willow's spell wasn't a curse because it doesn't have that limitation, so far. We all have to do things we don't like in life like working for a living, or homework, or fighting a war, or being infused with the spirit power of an evil demon so we can fight the forces of darkness. The difference is the surety of death.