Thursday, September 27, 2007

Amateur Entomology

My roommate seems to be an expert on insects. We live in a group house that on bad days overly resembles a frat house, although with two girls residing here, I like to think its a few rungs nicer than that.

At any rate, ever since the basement flooded last August in the epic storms of '06, we've had on and off issues with bugs in the house. Mostly we've seen centipedes roaming the basement walls, despite Orkin's best efforts to eradicate them. Upon the first discovery of these centipedes, K jumped online to classify them, learn where they come from, how they breed, what they eat, and anything else she could dig up. Me, I just assumed they bred from the mold in the walls due to the flood, and if I keep stomping all the ones I see, eventually we'll beat them back.

So naturally I come home tonight to find K in the kitchen, as soon as I say hi, I get:

K: "We have fruit flies."
Me: "Huh?'
K: "Fruit flies, haven't you noticed them?"
Me: "No."
K: "They're in the kitchen, I built a trap. I looked them up online, they're definitely fruit flies, but I don't know why they're here, we don't leave fruit out."
Me: "Ummm, okay."

The trap for the record, seems to be a glass of balsamic vinagrette, covered in saran wrap, with a cone made of cardboard stuck through the roof. These alleged fruit flies seem to climb down the cone, but are too stupid to climb back out?

And how she was able to identify them online when none of them are larger than 3 millimeters with 100 percent certainty is beyond me. But then again, I nearly failed 9th grade biology.

Thank god I have these big tough girls to kill the insects for me...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Honesty is Such an Easy Word

"Honesty is a selfish virtue." - Gertrude Stein

I've been thinking about this quote a lot the last few days. I'm not entirely sure what she meant by it...

Is it selfish to be honest to those around us, knowing that we have the satisfaction of being certain our genuine feelings and emotions are being conveyed, regardless of their impact? Or is the protection of those we care about more important than the purity of our morals? In fact, is the choice to protect them selfish, as we take away their option and ability to react and feel?

Or is it selfish to demand honesty from those around us, to expect them to uphold some code of respect and morality and represent themselves how they actually are and feel? Should their role as friends or family require them to be honest with us? And is our expectation of that honesty selfish, and an unfair burden?

I tend to internalize much of what is going on with me, when I do try and express myself genuinely, the people who get that information are few and far between. Recently, the attempt to open up to someone a bit more than our relationship had previously seen, backfired on me, to the possible destruction of our friendship. I've having trouble accepting that, and my attempts to repair the rift seem to be only opening it further.

Adult communication is hard...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"I'm Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Boy..."

So as I work (or don't work) from home, I have the privilege to sit and analyze the variety of movies that digital cable throws at me over and over again. Some of you may remember my thoughts on Say Anything, well yesterday's viewing brought me another film to deconstruct, Notting Hill.

I know, I know... I'm stepping on sacred chick flick ground here. But bear with me...

Much like Say Anything, I never really thought about the romance between international movie start Anna Scott (played by America's sweetheart Julia Roberts) and foppish bookshop owner William Thacker (Hugh Grant, whose presence is required in at least 46% of all certifiable chick flicks). But yesterday brought me a new perspective, that I'm sure will alienate most, if not all my female readership...

William should never have taken her back.

Let's look at the evidence, and try to keep our perspective outside the realm of the silver screen.

Encounter/Heartbreak 1: William and Anna meet in his bookstore, flirt lightly. He ends up coming to her press junket as a representative from Horse and Hound magazine, where after more flirting, she agrees to accompany him to his sister's birthday dinner. A lovely, if awkward evening is had by all, they walk home, only for her to invite him up to the hotel suite. He shows up, five minutes later, to discover that her on-again/off-again boyfriend has shown up. William is mistaken for a busboy, embarrassed, and sent on his way with a stack of dirty dishes and a bag full of trash.

Analysis: Not that big a deal, it was somewhat a case of misunderstanding, she was looking for a distraction from an unclear relationship, not really anything more than a one-night stand that never happened.

Encounter/Heartbreak 2: The couple reconnects, she's just fought with the boyfriend. She needs an escape from the glare of the Hollywood world. She crashes on his couch, he provides a shoulder to lean on. As in all romantic comedies, they end up in bed together. He leaves bed to get the newspaper the next morning, only to discover the entire London entertainment press camped out on his doorstep. Instead of asking rationally what could have led them there, she assumes he or his roommate notified the press for publicity and screams and storms out.

Analysis: While it would be very easy to paint this as the "irrational female striking again," I won't go there. I will say though that she's completely unable to let herself trust him, and open herself up to the possibility that sometimes bad things just happen, like paparazzi stalking every move you make, and that it has nothing to do with the nice guy who is taking care of you. Instead, she chooses to crush what was a dream of a night to this poor guy, dazzled by the superstar who happens to notice him. Much stronger/long-lasting impact than Encounter 1.

Encounter/Heartbreak 3: Turns out an off-handed comment from William about how great she'd be in a Henry James story, leads to her taking a role. However, the guilt from the way she left him last time prevents her from coming to see him. When he learns of the movie, he goes to see the filming. While wearing the audio headsets, he overhears her telling a costar, "He's just someone from the past. Nobody really. I don't know why he's here."

To his credit, William gets up and leaves.

Analysis: The argument here would be, oh she's just lying to herself. But the point is irrelevant. With no prompting, and with no reason to lie, she completely belittled his character because it was easy and safe. Obviously, she doesn't know that he's been listening, but it doesn't matter. If she'd tell one person that, she'd tell others. She's embarrassed by him. Once again, his hopes have been raised, only to be crushed like a bug. 3 strikes and you're out?

OF COURSE NOT... it wouldn't be a romantic comedy if it ended this way. So we get her showing up at his door, hat in hand (or original Chagall painting as the case may be). Yadda yadda yadda, passionate plea for forgiveness which contains the title quote. And get this, William has a backbone! He turns her down! He knows he's been hurt too many times, and he refuses to set himself up for it again...

For about an hour. He tells the story to his friends, he decides he's in love. Blah blah blah, press conference of love. Happy ending.

Okay, so now that we've established the train of events, here's my problem:

In what universe would we let our friends be beaten down by a potential girlfriend so many times, have their hopes smashed over and over, and tell them that its a good idea to continue to pursue this and try again? Each time he takes her back, he gets a bit more invested, and then gets deeper and deeper hurt by her actions.

I know that people say you can't deny love, and perhaps its true, but why do we idolize a movie like this that shows such an unhealthy one-sided relationship dynamic, and think its a romantic story. It is practically a movie about emotional abuse, not love and happiness.

So... is William a fool? Or will he end up with half her assets in the divorce, citing emotional vacancy?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

These are my Neighbors?

Things you don't expect to see at 3:30pm when you come home from a job interview:

Two guys in nothing but speedos and socks, throwing a football on your street.

Maybe that's how they pregame for tonights Saints-Colts kickoff?