Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Familial Squabbles

As infrequently as I visit home, our family still succumbs to the force of a good quarrel. Some are dramatic and linger, while others combust quickly and diffuse. Rarely are fights between only two people. As a perspicacious observer, I've examined why fights in my family occur and when they do, why they continue. With an overly zealous hypothesis my prognosis is this:

It's my sister's fault.

I'm teasing (sorta). What is often a contributing factor to fights is when a 3rd family member intervenes between two having a dispute. For example, if my Pops and I are disagreeing about the day's itinerary or lack thereof, and I say something condescending, he may react defensively. Usually, if he and I are alone, we will placate one another and move on without intensifying things. But add another family member to the dynamic and have said member raise an unsolicited remark, a fight spawns.

Why?

Now there's a two on one situation and the person who should be offended (in this case, Pops) is now further enraged because he feels disrespected. Now the offender has to mollify two tempers while voicing their unpopular opinion. An uphill battle to say the least. Remove the third person from the situation and the argument can often be placated amicably and quickly.

I am not pointing fingers, nor am I professing to eliminate future fights. I'm just acknowledging that you have to tread delicately when a trio forms. You have to be cognizant of multiple personalities and third person intervention. If the third wheel abstained or didn't choose sides, many disagreements would avoid exacerbation.

There's an adage that states it's not the action but the reaction. I would say it's not the action nor the reaction. It's the reaction to the action of the reaction.

My head hurts ;).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Your HMO

Ring, ring, ring:

"Welcome to CITANUL Insurance. Your call is extremely important to us. That is why you have reached our automatic answering service. Please choose from the following prompts:

"If you would like to listen to baroque music while using your cell minutes then be cut off please press 1.

"If you are calling to determine if your 'provider' is a member of our 'network,' we have no idea either but press 2 and see what happens.

"If you submitted a claim that was denied and wonder why, remember, you are not alone, press 3 for a group conference call.

"If you are calling because you believe you have finally reached your deductible, then 'the sky is falling, the sky is falling, quickly press 4.

"If you are a time traveler calling from the 19th Century and still are on hold, please hold for the next available...

"To lie about pre-existing conditions, which we both know your body is riddled with, please press 5.

"If you would like to enroll in an auto-draft or prepay your premium, while defaulting on your mortgage, please press 0 and an operator will get with you immediately.

"If you are having trouble understanding your co-pay, so are we, so get over it and get on with your life.

"If you would like to cancel your coverage and instead enjoy benefits of being a shareholder, join the club. Press 6.

"If you are calling about lost paperwork or you were denied because of a typo error, please take this matter up with your fourth grade teacher and the postal system.

"If you believe your illness is in any way related to our persistent denials, we deny, deny, deny.

"If you wish to punch, kick or slap me, remember I am not real, but try all three on your phone. You may feel better.

"Please remember that if you are sick, that is God's punishment. If you have grave concerns, we
suggest you call a mortician.

"But before you do, please take a moment to be part of our customer satisfaction survey."

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and have a wonderful day off to everyone. I wish my readers a safe and lengthy break. Today I'm beginning to compose my personal statement for graduate school. And then I'm going to exercise and watch Lebron and Kobe battle it out. And then a family dinner and Avatar, perhaps.

Anyway, posts are slow this time of year, so patience is appreciated. Will surely post again once or twice before the new year.

Til then...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In Colorado

Originally, I was arriving in Durango on Saturday. That is, until the blizzard engulfed the east coast like a tight stocking. The stranglehold lasted approximately 36 hours, albeit it was ferocious. Snow dumped down in soft, white, sheets and although it prohibited any travel departing DC, it was quietly spectacular. It was so thick, that I could plop down into a snow angel without discomfort.

However, it entailed that I didn't arrive to meet my family until late last night.

And even that was quite lucky as the weather in Durango forecasted snow the entire day.

Now, I'm in Colorado on some antiquity of a computer, where the internet connection takes naps in between links. But I'm here nonetheless and it's a pleasure to see my family again. Since I moved to San Diego for college, it's morose how infrequently I see my folks. I generally see my Pops during the summer for an exotic excursion (will be discussed in the near future), but visiting my Mom, sister and brother is now limited to once a year. I guess the adage, "welcome to the real world," includes more than just 9 to 5 and a paycheck.

However, as melancholy as I can get out here, I'm pleased to live independently and away from my folks. The separation makes me appreciate them more and cherish the time we spend together. Dynamics within the family shift over the years with age, moves, new developments, etc. It can never again be the way it was. And it shouldn't be.

My father is always concerned about his kids reverting back to their lethargic, self-centered ways as we behaved as children, though his inclination is less prescient than presumptious. We've matured. Although we maintain a certain level of comfort around one another, the kids are out of the house and it's a difficult adjustment period for everyone. A part of me is compelled to bring a bottle of wine over, like a guest would, and a part of me wants to ask my Mom to make me lunch. I try to indulge in a middle ground.

We also all wish to share our experiences and knowledge with each other, which if not practiced 'kosherly' can disintegrate faster than you can say poof. The subtle competitions and posturing practiced in a competitive family like mine result in a hightened state of tension. In our desire to please and make our family proud, we belittle, scorn and ridicule in the process. We all need to make a concerted effort to accept one another, for ultimately this immediate family is the only one I got.

And I love em.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What Women Want

Most heterosexual women adore chivalrous men. They appreciate the unfeigned effort of men opening doors, walking on the outside of the sidewalk, deference when ordering at a restaurant, etc. They also enjoy the safety and security a man provides when they walk at night and sleep.

Does adhering to feminism imply having the best of both worlds? What do I mean?

I have never encountered a cogent argument persuading why women shouldn't be paid as much as men in the workforce. Women are intellectually equivalent colleagues of their male counterparts and any inequity should be remedied. Working in the non-profit sector, I witness women occupying significant roles in the hierarchy of organizations. They are every bit as effectual, professional and successful as men.

Having various female friends, I enjoy analyzing their individual predilection when it comes to what type of treatment they want (deserve). Some demand to be catered towards incessantly like a princess. They believe men should purchase drinks and dinner pull out all the stops, etc. Interestingly, these same women often are vociferous proponents of female equality. They want men to participate in household tasks, make a sizable income, and they want to be paid just as much as men in the workforce.

Which begs the question - where's the line between feminism, chivalry and patronization? Can we disassociate some parts of our lives with others? Or does the chivalry instilled outside the office seep through into other areas?

What do women want? What we all want, the best of both worlds. They want equality in areas that assist them personally (i.e. salary, raises, being heard at meetings) and they want to be pampered outside of the office. And why wouldn't they? Men aren't any better, just different.

Most men want a woman to confide in, to sleep with, to cook and clean for them and to nurture them when they're wounded or sick. Is this an admission of subservience of women? Or does this compensate for the chivalry women receive consistently in the dating world?

It's subject to interpretation. One thing I know is that it's better to understand the challenges that both sexes face. And to recognize that there is a bit of hypocrisy in demanding equality while also demanding the other sex go overboard. A healthy relationship balances this issue with great care. As women, take a minute to think of how your viewpoint may be provincial. Men, do the same.

Making a concerted effort to empathize with the other sex is easier said than done. Talk about it, it's fun and the increased communication and information may improve your current relationship.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Test Time


8AM tomorrow morning the GRE and I will square off. After studying consistently the past month, I am cautiously optimistic. A part of me fears panicking and failing miserably. A part of me is confident I've prepared adequately and my results will be commensurate with my efforts.

Both sides are yearning to put this hurdle behind me.

I have geometric equations percolating with algebraic computations swirling around as well. I've constructed the most ostentatious sentences in my brain to jog my memory come test time. My study book has stains of mashed potatoes, squash and broccoli, soda, milk, drool, and rain from enduring the past month of being a constant fixation in my life. (Sounds appealing ladies, doesn't it?). I slept with the book by my side hoping to forge a bond and to connect on a deeper level. (That's a joke....sort of).

Ultimately, I'm hoping this test isn't an inhibitor or a game-changer. My work experience, consistency in blogging, mentality and preparation for this Master's program, college experience, recommendations, and burning desire to transform canonical thought through peace should be more than enough to solidify a spot.

If it's not, then I'll continue to explore other options. However, today I remain confident that the work I input results in a productive output.

Here goes....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gay Marriage


Today, the District of Columbia City Council voted to legalize same-sex marriage and won resoundingly. Progressive Mayor Adrian Fenty promised to sign the bill into law and homosexual couples can begin marrying as soon as March. The vim behind this movement is slowly transforming the nation.

With much of the rustic booboisie still in opposition, giant steps have been made in the past few years. D.C.'s new brethren includes Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Iowa, Connecticut and Vermont as enablers of homosexual matrimony. There is an irrefragable semblance that this issue is only possible in the northeast conurbation, though my penchant is more progress is on the way.

Younger generations are introduced to homosexuals through television, LGBTQ presence on school campuses, mainstream movies, and the continued 'outing' of celebrities. Instead of growing up in fear of the unknown, they develop a brookable outlook. And sooner than later, these kids turn 18 and they vote and voice their support.

Granted, many teens still derogitorily use the words, 'fag' and 'gay' to describe things undesirable, though the connotation is less about sexual preference and more about venting teen angst. It shouldn't be condoned, but the abundance of this common disparaging should be understood, not used to reflect vitriol and disgust toward homosexuals.

Of course there have been setbacks. Recent shortcomings in New Jersey, New York and Maine deduce that many citizens prefer their electorate dominion over a small segment of society. The defeats are closer than expected however, and the ukase for the future shows a refulgence for homosexuals in the United States.

While health care reform dithers, the war in Iraq simmers and the lost jobs linger, I focus on progress today. One step ahead for mankind.

Today, I'm proud to be a D.C. resident.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Office Parties


Whenever you conflate alcohol with people, inhibitions take a back seat and people you never even expected to hum "Jingle Bells" unleash into break dancing pop stars. Yep, it's December, the culmination of a tumultuous year when raises are, well, missing (this year), and work parties moderate from grandiose festivities of caviar to open bars with cheap liquor.

Merry Christmas!

In college I wrote for the school newspaper and we hosted biannual work parties for staff and friends. In baseball terms we fouled up and we're outta there pretty quickly. Once, the editor of my section vomited generously on the bar counter top. Another time the sports writer could barely stand he was so inebriated. The Editor-in-Chief was castigated by staff of the restaurant for being overly crude and obnoxious. The Managing Editors were hooking up and fell into the pizza. I guess you can deduct that office etiquette never transferred over into office socials.

But that was at the college level.

This year, I had the distinct pleasure of my eyes bulging as one colleague after the next became looser than Peter Griffin's mouth. The fiesta morphed into spilled drinks, slurred sentences, dizzy dancing and a chorus of jumbled mouths singing. At one point, our IT guy repeatedly flipped the lights on and off to induce the effect of strobe lights. However, I must add the disclaimer that although people were 'different than normal' everyone remained within the boundaries of professionalism.

And I loved it.

Our typical work environment includes strict business attire, punctuality and political objectiveness. Not exactly my forte or penchant. Friday night, those rules were tossed aside and I stood slack jawed as older professionals gyrated on the dance (boardroom) floor. At one point I was dancing with the HR representative laughing about my paltry benefits. Jocularly!

Although some were more sloshed than others, everyone retained impunity from Monday morning imitation reprisals. Mostly. Given how I enjoy the sly exaggeration I was quick to remind people just how much fun they had (included with an ounce or two of self-deprecation). But this work party was phenomenal because the patrons were all acting accordingly to the lax attitude.

Unlike other times.

So enjoy yourself at the holiday receptions this year. And remember that an ounce of caution isn't equivalent to an ounce of Cuervo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

References

Hypothetical Scenario: You embark on a romantic relationship with a co-worker. Eventually you disclose to fellow employees that you are indeed, together. Everyone's happy, a few people offer skeptical words of wisdom and you continue the relationship. Around a year later you vacate your position and begin looking for another metier. In the interim, your former lover gets promoted to a highly respectful and qualified position within the same company and for a brief period he/she is your direct superior. You, not having profuse work experience, wish to use your ex as a reference on your C.V. Given their established clout and testimony of your professional work, this could be just the recipe you need to attain a new job.

However, and this is a big however, the break up started amicably and has since disintegrated into minimal, terse contact. You're hesitant to include your ex-lover on your resume now, in fear it'd be used inimically. Can you expect your ex to maintain a professional, objective disclosure? Or do you omit them altogether? Does the risk outweigh the reward?

To make the stakes more interesting; let's say that your former employer's management had all left the organization save for your ex. Implying you no longer have the capacity to solicit other references within your former organization. And the job you're applying for is in the same vicinity and would assuredly appreciate feeedback.

What would you do?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Washingtonian Jumble


One highlight of my position is accompanying students to congressional and senate offices for site visits. Students mingle with the representative and are encouraged to ask questions of any nature. Remaining pertinent and current, each student resides in the district or state and I always encourage students to challenge the representative.

"This is your face time. Don't waste it. Don't mollify any sentiments you hold. They work for you, remember." So goes my impromptu motivational speech before the meeting.

This week I have numerous visits, some with Republicans, some with Democrats. All with grandiloquent rhetoric which elicits obsequious flattery from the shy students. I bite my tongue and fidget through the time as I'm required to remain apolitical per my job requirements. However I do insist on asking a few questions during each visit, and if you listen acutely, you'd know my predilection based on parlance.

Which denotes that ratiocination often exceeds the intellectual capacities of our elected officials.

Yesterday, I begrudgingly entered a GOP office adorned with 'game' photos. Known to people who actually give a s@#$ about animals as imbecilic slaughtering glamorization.

So we sort of started off on the wrong foot.

His cordiality wore thin when he mentioned how divisive and polarizing a figure President Obama is. Now look, I'm a vocal critic of this President. He's a nebbish and consistently compromises unnecessarily. He lacks essential leadership skills and negotiating tactics to coalesce his cohorts in Congress. However, what he is not is a polarizing figure. He is surely not someone unwilling to act bipartisanly. His problem is not a closed fist, it's that he keeps it open long after shop has closed.

I bluntly asked one Republican member if they want Obama to fail on every issue. Explaining it bodes well for the GOP, is there any other rationale to obfuscate such obvious efforts Obama has made to include conservative ideals? He was taken aback and laconicly dismissed my assertion. A hard party-liner, he represents his constitutents (also mentally paralyzed) and therefore doesn't support anything Obama does.

What's further revealing is the probity of responsibility these zealots vociferously champion is cheapened by their refusal to accept any responsibility for their own actions. They blame climate change (better known as global warming) on God or cyclical nature. Sarah Palin, who opines in today's Washington Post, never takes responsibility for her abysmal interviewing skills or her diminishing effect on the presidential ticket with John McCain. They point fingers at anyone not within visual distance. You can't call it self-righteous because that entails actually being, well, righteous.

It's easy to get disheartened when mulling through the hallways in Longworth, Rayburn or Cannon (House Office Builidings). With POW flags abound and U.S. flag pins worn on coats, within the clutter is an absense of iconoclastic thought. With our current dissaray on so many levels, that is sorely missed. Instead the offices are filled with gasconading 24 year-olds touting their finite level of expertise. Everyone is so enthralled by the mystique of the environment.

It's a treat to be part of such a historical and important centerpiece of the nation. Well, that is if you like that sort of bologna.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Eye of the Tiger


The brim of his hat bends to focus,
Impalpable his control like hocus pocus,
Control over conditions using telepathy,
The gallery stands in awe collectively,

With fame comes options of women to tend,
Models and actors, waitresses, hens,
All lurking for a piece of his aura,
The allure's seducing him over and over,

He grabs the club from his caddy,
Feels the grass, thinks of his daddy,
His body torques as the ball glides,
The silence is riveting - jubilation or sigh?,

We gasp in awe of his 'transgressions,'
Just how we salivate our celebrity obsessions,
A man only as faithful as his options,
Quanitity proves their plenty, obnoxious

The ball lips the cup, a different 'awwwwwe' sounds,
A curse is grunted from the top of the grounds,
Mothers cover children ears like earmuffs,
Tiger disgusted, taps in - the crowd he rebuffs,

He deplores the media's constant fixation,
Yet loves the endorsements, checks, sexpectations,
Unwilling to recognize more than a shudder,
You cannot have one without the other,

Atop the leader board his name is seen,
Despite the missed birdie this guy is green,
Nary a smile until trophy delivered,
Then back to insular without a quiver,

The anger he carries contributes to his mess,
Incessant need to dominate, spread the seed I digress,
Wouldn't it be better for appreciating the journey,
With a Swedish model suffer through monogamy

Friday, December 4, 2009

Riddle


Infringe I do when in the cabin,
Uncomfortable I make you, so what's the matter?
Excuses aplenty for my large disposition,
Quiescent is preference, at this point indifferent,

Am I not still worthy of deference and respect,
I'm Gus - tutoring others how not to be, don't forget

What am I??

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Poem by Pops...

This one really made me laugh. Quiver in fear for the end is near....

Everyone’s Out Ta Git Me!

Army recruiter, ruder, but not a fruiter,

Low hangin’ fruit they look to recruit,

Promise medals galore, virgin whores, more war,

Everyone’s out ta git me!

Any ianian’ maybe Panamanian, Grenadian,

Iranian, vegetarian, sagittarian, librarian,

Pacifist, tribalist, herbalist, Swiss nihilist,

Everyone’s out ta git me!

Maybe it’s an evolutionist or cranky revolutionist,

Could be Obama, bad karma or the Dali Lama,

The newspaper, Cuban dictator, a falling skyscraper,

Everyone’s out ta git me!

Could be science, could be reason,

Two graveyards out of season,

Beauty and intelligence completely irrelevant,

Everyone’s out ta git me!

Hidden meanings with leftist leanings,

Fear tokin’, lies spoken, my brain’s broken,

Two comediennes Rush and Glen, neither Zen,

Everyone’s out ta git me,

Atheists, blacks and beaners, commie leaners,

Comin’ by plane, by train, up my drain,

Swine flu, bad brew, ACLU, voodoo I’m through,

Everyone’s out ta get me!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Change We Can't Believe In


"The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified." - President Obama's Inaugural Address

President Barack Obama delivered a poignant speech on the Capitol Steps January 20, 2009. He spoke of a tumultuous moment where Americans must coalesce for the common good. He spoke of the progression of society and asked the citizenry to concomittantly change. He spoke of peace and ushering in a less divisive era of politics of old. He reminded us not to dismiss his zealous plan for renovation: "Now there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country already has done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage."

And when the opposing party swings into a fervor in a rigid demonstration of their fleeting power...forgot to mention that one. Or how he cowered at the demands of corporations, brazen military impresarios, and blue (dog) ball tea baggers. And I blog hours before a pronunciation of further military imperialism into a nation of disarray many have labeled as a 'meat-grinder.'

I admit, I succumbed to the evocation of the moment. I worked for years convincing strangers, friends, family - anyone who would listen, to vote for this man. Now, I feel like a trivial pawn the king sacrificed, speciously abused.

The only economy that's recovered is Wall Street's. A pathetically dilluted health care bill dwindles in the balance of an increasingly divided House and Senate. And our President, impassive as always, will rescind his pledge to mitigate armed forces abroad as he details in platitudinal rationale the necessity for more troops tonight. He's got the poor economy to provide him with the 'meat.' He retains the hubris from the generals and the patriotic appeal this country salivates over.

I apologize for being credulous. I apologize for disparaging those who warned me the change he promised isn't the change he fulfilled. Optimistically I keep yearning for some silver lining - a master plan to transform our wretched state of affairs. Yet I'm left with an acerbic taste in my mouth, like putting down proverbial myopic glasses.

Of course things could be worse. Of course Sarah Palin could be number 2. But what was squandered was more than hypothetical. It's a reality that will continue to diminish for lack of efficacy and leadership. A reality that just months ago was in our grasp.We are witnessing a sever that will wedge many (including myself) far away from the Democratic leadership. We are witnessing a morose state for the youth of this country.

We are all witnesses.