Tuesday, May 30, 2006

10 Questions for Bill Maher in Time. Time: Would you ever run for office? Maher: I think religion is bad and drugs are good. Why don't you find me a campaign manager?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

My birthday!

Today's my birthday. My birthday + unofficial first day of summer = best day of the year for me. Twenty-four is a good number. Hopefully it will be a good year, too.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Awesome video blog: My Life with bad English.
I -heart- Anderson Cooper.
I've had this conversation with myself more than a few times.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Need a job? Check out hansocareers.com.

Feeling Listless goes postal

A few months ago Stu proposed a little experiment: to post to his blog through postal mail. Being the eager volunteer that I am and always delighted to get international mail, I e-mailed him to say I wanted to participate. A few weeks later Stu sent me an e-mail saying the letter had been written but not mailed. I have to admit, after that I was just dying to know what was in that letter. It finally arrived last Monday morning, in a square, white envelope, my address hand-written across the front. I cut it open with scissors and there was the much-anticipated letter, written on a sheet of notebook paper in handwriting I can only describe as messy in the way that guys' handwriting usually is.

I have to say, as personal as a blog can be, it really can't match the personal quality of a hand-written letter. How cool to imagine Stu writing this on the train that he has written so much about. And he has a strange way of forming his t's that threw me for a loop at first but which I found quite charming after awhile. The content was also definitely more personal than what he usually writes about, though unmistakably in the format of one of his blog posts, this one categorized under "Life".

The topic I asked him to write about was "living with your parents". I chose this topic because I'm going to be 24 soon and I still live at home with my mom, so I thought it would be interesting to get his take on this since he also chooses to live at home with his parents. Despite the personal and potentially embarrassing nature of the topic, he agreed to write about it, and I found his reply to be open and honest and very relatable.

From my own perspective, I don't feel a lot of shame about living at home. It is, after all, a bona fide cultural phenomenon. I have cousins and friends my age or older who live at home and it's not a big deal. But I think nearly everyone in this situation (including Stu) wishes they could be out on their own and independent, and I'm no exception. My own reasons for living at home: First, the financial. I don't make enough money working part-time in a newsroom to pay for a place of my own, and I don't want to get a full-time job I hate just for the money. I want to take some time to explore job options before I give up the financial safety net. The second reason is for my mom's sake. I like being here to pick up the slack, to make dinner for her after a hard day, to help her figure out how to use Microsoft Word. I wonder, what would she do if I weren't here? I'm sure she could manage, but for now I think it's a nice partnership. And the third reason is the one I don't really want to admit to myself, which is that maybe I want to stay in this extended adolescence, that I don't want to grow up. Stu mentioned being sort of psychologically stunted by living at home, and that's about how I feel, too. I mean, some people at my age are married and starting families of their own, and I often feel like I'm still in high school, still defined by my role as the dutiful oldest daughter.

I haven't always lived at home. For my junior year in college, I was able to rent an on-campus apartment, and it was probably one of the best experiences I've ever had. There's something exciting about being on your own, about having complete freedom to venture out and try new things. It's something that forces you to define on your own terms who you are and what you're about. And not to say that I don't ever try new things or try to go further in terms of personal development now, but it's just different. Say one day I want to paint my room orange or become a vegetarian, that gets to be difficult when I know I'm going to have to explain it to my mom. Not to mention the effect on my social life. I'm already a shy, introverted person, and living at home doesn't help much as far as social development. Sometimes I wonder about the life I'm missing out on, and I worry that I'm becoming this sheltered, inhibited person versus the more independent person I might become if I were out there on my own.

Living with your parents is not all that bad, but I agree with what Stu wrote in the last line of his letter, that he is looking forward to the day when he is "working to earn and earning to live." Definitely. Thanks to Stu for the fantastic letter and for thinking up yet another cool idea.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Yay for Po Bronson's column about today's college students. Work + school, that's pretty much the norm for UTEP students, as I witnessed firsthand. It's nice to see someone in the media give credit where credit is due.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Interesting post and comment thread: Who do you blog for? (Actually, shouldn't it be "whom" do you blog for?, but whatever, it's a good post.)

Dan Brown FAQ

FAQ with Dan Brown. I like his response to the controversy over The Da Vinci Code: "....the debate that is being generated is a positive powerful force. The more vigorously we debate these topics, the better our understanding of our own spirituality. Controversy and dialogue are healthy for religion as a whole. Religion has only one true enemy--apathy--and passionate debate is a superb antidote."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Proud home of President George W. Bush

"Welcome to Texas, proud home of President George W. Bush." I saw this on a sign crossing the Texas-New Mexico border this afternoon. Given Bush's current approval ratings, I don't know how proud we Texans are of the fact that Bush calls our state home. But for better or for worse, Bush did get his political start here.

I vaguely remember the heated election for governor between Bush and incumbent Ann Richards in 1994. I was only 12 at the time, but I remember thinking it was unfair that this guy could just come out of nowhere and just because he's a Bush get a chance to run for governor. And yet people liked him. He had charm, and his common-sense conservative (some would say simplistic) ideas for reforming government had their appeal. He ran on a platform of uniting Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature and on the idea of compassionate conservatism. Somehow he managed to defeat Richards.

I had a grudging respect for Bush as governor even though I was definitely not a conservative in my teen years (or now). He was a popular governor who got high marks from the media for his bipartisan approach to leadership. He visited El Paso several times during his term, and since El Paso has a history of being ignored by the leadership in Austin, it was a big deal that the governor and first lady made it a point to visit. Bush was re-elected in a landslide in 1998. To give you an idea of how popular he was, Bush nearly won El Paso County, almost unthinkable in this traditionally Democratic county.

In 1999, my dad took me and my sister to see Bush give a commencement speech at UTEP. There was a lot of speculation that he would run for president, so my dad saw this as an opportunity to hear our possible future president. The speech was in a bowl stadium so it was pretty distant view, but you could make out his smallish head, which looked even smaller in contrast to the baggy black gown he was wearing. Unfortunately, I don't remember much of the speech. The parts I do remember were funny and light, with a couple of good-natured references to the Cardiac Hill that UTEP students sometimes have to climb to get to class. It wasn't exactly a life-changing speech, but I went away from the speech with a positive impression of Gov. Bush.

And then, Bush won the presidency, and it's amazing how my view of him changed. Obviously, there's a world of difference between being governor and being president. But to me it was like Bush morphed into a whole different person. In 1999, Bush was a charming, conservative nice-guy governor that I had some respect for. In 2006, he's an inept, dim-witted politician that I have very little respect for. Where did my negative impression come from? Well, I'm a liberal and Bush is a conservative, so there are obvious political disagreements, and I can't even comprehend the mishandlings of war in Iraq or the response to Hurricane Katrina. And, of course, I've been exposed to the stream of constant criticism of the President in the media (most of it merited, I would say)- movies like Fahrenheit 9/11, the caricatures on late night TV, the articles about Bush being the worst president ever. I think all of that has shaped my impression of the President into something very negative, and apparently I'm not the only one who sees things that way.

But even aside from all the political disagreements, I have to wonder, where's the charisma that got him elected in the first place? It's strange how someone who was so popular as governor, even among a lot of Democrats in El Paso, now has some of the worst popularity ratings of any president. Where's the man with enough charisma to unite Democrats and Republicans to get things done? Where's the guy with straightforward, common-sense ideas that people can support? In short, what happened to the charm factor? Even that is missing with this President right now, which is sad. We've lost confidence in our leadership, and that's a bad place to be.

So those are my recollections of President Bush, coming from Texas, the proud home of the President. Frankly, I think Bush made a much better governor than president. If only he had stayed on as governor instead of running for president, maybe things would be different today.

100 unsexiest men

The Phoenix's list of the 100 unsexiest men in the world. I concur, with the exception of Chad Kroeger. He's hot, even if Nickelback sucks. via NewMexiKen.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Nintendo Wii

Check out the preview of this elegantly-designed Nintendo video game controller in this week's issue of Time magazine. I don't spend a lot of time playing video games, but this sounds like something I could get into.
The waiter from Waiter Rant was interviewed on the radio in Boston. So weird to hear a blogger's voice, you kind of imagine what that person sounds like when you read their blog, then it turns out to be totally different.

Looks like he made it

Steve Vaught is set to be on the Today show tomorrow when he walks into New York City.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Graduate

Friday night I watched The Graduate on Turner Classic Movies. Two things have kept me from seeing this movie over the years: 1) Fear of disappointment, since a lot of times when a movie is hailed as a classic it doesn't live up to the billing. 2) The subject matter is on the crass side. But I liked it more than I thought I would. The performances live up to the acclaim- Dustin Hoffman really shows the awkwardness of a relatively sheltered young guy getting into a taboo relationship, while Anne Bancroft is great as a manipulative older woman. What I loved most was the way the movie captures post-graduation angst so perfectly, i.e. the scene where Dustin Hoffman's character Benjamin is floating in the pool. The metaphor smacks you over the head but it's still a good one.

The second half of the movie didn't make much sense to me. Why is Elaine in such a rush to get married and why is Mrs. Robinson now so eager to get her married off? And you never find out what Benjamin decides to do with his life other than to marry Elaine. Maybe that's the point, though, that it doesn't really matter because true love matters more than a career (especially one in plastics).

And, finally, you can't go wrong with a soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel. Yeah, this movie is definitely from the '60s, good thing that happens to be my favorite era of music.

So here's another classic to mark off on that list of movies I should watch but haven't. I would definitely recommend this movie to the few who haven't seen it.