Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why is Everything Voice Animated Now?!

Seriously, you can't talk to anyone anymore. I feel like I'm living in a really bad sci-fi movie starring Heather Graham and Matt LeBlanc about voice animated robots taking over the world. Why is everything voice animated?! I can't stand it. Pretty soon 9-1-1 is going to sound like this:

Hello, you've reached the 911 automated fire emergency directory. Please choose from the following options. If you need an option repeated, press star. Press 911 at anytime to return to the regular menu.
-If you are currently burning alive and need medical attention, press 1.
-If you think there's a chance your house can still be saved from the scorching flames, press 2.

-If you started this fire from a lit cigarette you tossed on the carpet, hit your head against a cement wall 5-6 times, and press 3.
-If the fire is out of control and you think your local television news could catch some great footage, press 4.
-If you could run into your house right now and save three things, what would they be? Write a 2-3 page essay and send it to 911 for a writing competition. For more information, press 6.
If you are not satisfied with these options, call your local fire department so they can assist you. Have a great day and thank you for calling 911.

Pretty soon we're all going to have automated voice messages on our cell phones. Mine will go something like this.

Hi, you've reached Kaz's automated answering directory. Please choose from the following options:
-To pay Kaz a compliment, press 1.
-To invite Kaz out for drinks, your treat, press 2.
-To invite Kaz to a movie or out to eat, your treat, press 3.
-To remind Kaz of what an incredibly amazing person she is and how much she’s impacted your life, press 4.
-If this is Dane Cook, asking me out on a date, press 5.

Something like that…anyway, write your own voice automated directory message sometime. You may laugh at me now, but it's coming.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Long December Night

We got in a fight last night and it was terrible. Why do we get in fights about the stupidest things? Last time it was over a chocolate chip cookie. This time it was over a Christmas tree.

I took Graham downtown and walked around, looking at holiday displays in the store windows. I thought it would sooth my mind, but I didn’t see anything. I saw anger and hurt and frustration slamming me in the face. The warm rain only invigorated me, instead of cooling me down. It made me feel like steam, like exhaust, like the sidewalks around me were melting.

I came home and walked upstairs and sat on the bed. I closed my eyes and pictured plate tectonics. I saw converging plates, fault lines, fissures and cracks, sheets of rock. Maybe it’s how I felt inside. Jarred, cracked, a little sharp.

I walked downstairs and noticed how dirty the carpeting is. How does it get so dirty? We take our shoes off before we come in the house. Why are there black clumps of dirt everywhere? Then I remembered I have a dog.

I sat on the couch downstairs and looked at the red wall in front of me. I blinked at the mantel, covered in garland and white lights and the three stockings that hang over the fireplace. I closed my eyes and pictured home. I pictured my parent’s house, which I won’t see this holiday. I won’t be there to see the tree, usually fat at the bottom and bare in spots and always perfectly layered in large, colorful lights with presents packed underneath. I won’t be there to drink a glass (or two or three) of Baley’s in the living room with my Mom. I won’t eat cookies until I want to vomit and wake up with a sugar hangover. I won’t be there to sit in front of the fire at night and watch Home Alone, or The Christmas Story, or Christmas Vacation, or Rear Window, or To Catch a Thief or all of the above. I won’t see the snow and how it frosts the branches of the trees and hangs like confetti over lights outside. I won’t take walks at night to look at Christmas decorations and breathe the icy, cold air of winter.

I opened my eyes and I thought about Los Angeles, which is soon calling me, and the rain, which I love and the ocean so close I can almost see it from my window. And I felt really empty. The cracks and fissures inside me grew larger. And something sad poured in. And it’s strange because sometimes when I’m the saddest I feel the most alive. Maybe it’s because I know these moments have to happen, because the bad times wake you up to appreciate the good ones. I guess.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Quote

"It's not that I'm incapable of love it's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes."

I must have found this line appealing after a really bad date. It's written by beat poet, Gregory Corso. I highly recommend going to his website below and reading the full poem, “Marriage,” as well as the short poem, “Last Night I Drove a Car.”

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Legally Blind

I have really bad eyesight (I think I'm legally blind) so I have to wear glasses. But something I love doing is taking my glasses off at night and driving around. I probably shouldn't confess this to the Oregon DMV when I apply for my license here.

Things look so majestic with blurred vision. Green, red and yellow traffic lights look like glowing fuzzy cotton balls suspended in mid-air. Street signs become floating canvases of light. Headlights shoot by me like comets. I follow a black asphalt abyss because I can’t see the lines or boundaries. Everything is soft, muted, smoothed over. I don't know what the point of this entry is. Maybe it's to encourage all of us to embrace our imperfections because what we lack in some areas creates beauty in others. I think it's by distorting the obvious that you see the incredible. I also hope I don’t drive off the road in these circumstances.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pencil This In

As 2008 approaches, I have to buy a new daily planner. I find this particular errand stressful. Do you ever shop for a daily planner and get really overwhelmed with the realization that you're purchasing one year of your future life? Who will I meet, where will I go—this will all be revealed in the pages I’m about to buy. That's pretty amazing when you stop to think about it.

My problem is I always have morbid thoughts when I buy a daily planner. I think things like, What if I die before I use it all? Wouldn’t it be a waste of money? I also think I’m jinxing myself. Isn’t it vain of me to assume I’ll be so overwhelmed with social engagements that I’ll need to write it all down or I’ll forget? What if I’m never invited to anything? My planner will only exacerbate what an unpopular, unloved social outcast I am. I'll open up my planner in public and people will see it and think, “Aww, that girl has so many blank lines in her planner, especially during the evening and weekend spaces. Doesn't she have any friends?” Or, when I open up my planner next to a friend to compare weekend plans, hers will be packed with events—some even starred and highlighted. Meanwhile, mine will have one or two random reminders, like, “time to cut those nails.”

I put a lot of time into picking out the right planner because I'm superstitious that its cover will somehow directly affect the overall year I’m going to have. I don't know why I believe a little notebook I buy will enable that kind of power, but has it been tested? If not, it should be. For example, I don't want to get a girly planner with a kitty cat and rainbows on the cover, or my whole year could be obnoxious and stupid, filled with social outings like “stamp party” or “knit a hot pad lesson” penciled in. I don't want a daily planner that has a happy quote on every page, or I might feel bad writing something down like: go out drinking with girls tonight because I hate my life and men are dicks. If I can't be honest about my daily happenings, what's the point? On that note, you don’t want to write down really personal things incase you forget your planner at work and someone opens it up to see you’ve reminded yourself to: “price pregnancy tests online,” or “call about the results of STD test.” Ugh, it’s all so frustrating.

Does anyone else ever think this much into buying a daily planner? Probably not.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Trees Can Paint

When Adam regales me of his day, I tend to zone out because it usually sounds something like, “Today I looked at the effects of water velocity on the attachment rates of a parasitic spore to salmon…”

Yeah. Fascinating. But today, he told me about a woman he heard speak at a conference that even caught my short attention span. Nalini Nadkarni, an environmental studies professor at The Evergreen State College in Washington is combining art and science to motivate everyone to care more about the environment. More specifically: trees.

People say trees don’t move. As if by taking away movement, we dehumanize them. To make trees look less than human makes it easier to bulldoze over thousands of acres every day. To illustrate that trees are living, breathing beings, Nalini discussed her experiment of tying a paint brush, dipped in green paint, to the branch of a Douglas Fur. She let the wind move the branch around and paint brush strokes on a piece paper for a couple minutes. Then, she took measurements of those strokes, calculated the number of branches and needles and estimated that this single trees moves over 180,000 miles in a year.

This is just one of the many innovative ways she is trying to give nature a voice and make people appreciate and respect the environment. What I love about this message is that by combining science and art, she gives nature a human side. In English class we call this personification—to give human characteristics to non-living things. But the point is, trees are living things—we’ve just been taught to ignore that. If everyone followed Nalini and took their own passions to a creative level to reach a larger audience, imagine what we could accomplish. It takes people like her to make a difference. I think we should all make tree branches paint for a day and then hang those pictures in our homes and offices. How beautiful would that be?