succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, May 04, 2007

Book in Progress: Mr. Adam, by Pat Frank. It's not as good as his second, Alas, Babylon, but it's interesting in its similarities to Children of Men. Miriam's monologue in the movie (haven't read the book) about noticing no appointments for the next six months, and then calling around to her midwife friends and hearing the same thing, is awfully close to the opening of Frank's book:

"You don't mean," I suggested, "that people have quit having babies?"
"All I know for certain," said Thompson, "is that people have quit making reservations to have their babies at Polyclinic Hospital, as of June 22."
I looked at the ledger. There were twenty names, addresses, telephone numbers, names of attending physicians, and amounts deposited listed for every day in May, and every day in June, until June 22. Then, as he said, nothing at all.
"For the twenty-second," she said, "we don't have a single reservation. As a matter of fact, we don't have any at all beyond June 21." The redhead frowned. "That is peculiar," she said. "That is very peculiar. Funny I didn't notice it before."
I went to the AP office and called five other hospitals.
"No babies. No babies after June 21."

It's not so exact as to be plagiarism per se, but it does seem close enough that some credit should be given. Mr. Adam is currently out of print, but was originally published in 1946. Children of Men (the book) was written in 1992. I may not have the best googling skills ever, but I have yet to find anything anywhere that links the two. Seems odd.

Books Purchased (thanks mostly to a Borders gift certificate from my puppy-owner friends):

The Demon in the Freezer, Richard Preston - the true story of the eradication of smallpox, and what's happened to the existing samples of smallpox.

It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis - originally published in 1935, warns of how fragile democracy is and how easily fascism could take hold (and origin of one of my favorite quotes - "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.").

Emergency Sex (and other desperate measures), Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait, and Andrew Thomson - true story/memoir of a legal expert, social worker, and doctor on a decade of UN peacekeeping missions. Recommended, oddly enough, by a prof.

Fly Solo: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone, Teresa Rodriguez Williamson - it's a little too girly for me (lots of bits about where and how to pick up men) but was mentioned in Ms. and actually seems to include quite a bit of other useful information - cities that are generally women-friendly and safe, restaurants and cafes where it's good/fun to eat alone, transportation advice, etc.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dirty Dancing!

I'm really glad that Melissa was able to take a break from her moving extravaganza to join me for Dirty Dancing, back in movie theaters, for its 20th anniversary! It was corny and awesome (there was applause and cheers after "Nobody puts Baby in a corner!"). Things I noticed for the first time this time:
The age difference. I guess in my memory I knew he was older, but I never realized just how much older. She's like 16. And he's like 30. It should be a little creepy.
How tiny Penny is! Ok, I've noticed that before, but in the little retrospective they showed before the movie the director revealed that the actress who played Penny was a former gymnast. So I spent the whole movie not being able to get over how simultaneously tall and tiny she is - I find it impossible to believe that she could support herself on her arms.
How sleazy the other boys are - Robbie and whatever the son's (grandson's?) name is. Yes, it's all just to make Johnny even more of a hero, but I was totally oblivious to that as a kid. The way they look at and talk to women throughout the movie makes my skin crawl.
"If you love me, you have to love all the things about me." It takes real guts to say that to your Dad.

Therapy affects everyone

One of the things Becky and I talk about is the fact that when you change as a result of therapy, that change inevitably affects the people around you and the way you interact with them. When you show up differently, when you refuse to fit into the box you used to fill with your friends and family, they have no choice but to wiggle around the boundaries of their boxes. Sometimes negatively, sometimes positively, that's sort of the double-edged sword of therapy.

What I'm getting at is that for all the general greatness of my folks, and for as frequently as we say I love you, we're still not all that touchy-feely with the emotional stuff. We're not very good at talking to each other about what upsets us and hurts our feelings. Mom and Dad certainly try to be there for me, but they often mis-guess at the things that are really going to hit me like a ton of bricks and the things that are barely a blip on the screen. It's still trial-and-error with them, but lately they've been really nailing it. Partly because I'm consciously and intentionally being more honest with them but I think also as a subconscious reaction to the work I've been doing. They've been great about each of my recent conference experiences, making a point to remember to call or e-mail with a little message of good luck and relax and we know you'll do great and we're thinking about you. And just this morning Dad included a little "how are you? don't stress about the roommate thing, and go drink a molson for the Canadians" (who moved away last week and whom I already miss desperately) in his usually rather impersonal daily e-mails linking to newspaper and journal articles.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Mechanical Electronic Galactic Assassination Neohuman

Get Your Cyborg Name


So the other thing adding to my general grumpiness is my current roommate's announcement that she's moving out this summer. I'd rather do just about anything to avoid moving, so I'm in the market for a new roommate. Which is annoying and tedious and I feel like I'm too damn old to be doing the living-with-a-stranger dance. But it is what it is. It's impossible for me to not take current roommate's decision personally (in my head it sounds like, living with you is so awful I'd rather go through the pain and expense of house-hunting and packing up all my numerous belongings and paying for movers even though I'm probably graduating in a year than spend one more week with you). Rationally, this is totally not the case. Or, highly unlikely to be the case. As far as I can tell we haven't had any big fight or disagreement. And it's highly likely that this has more to do with her, and her boyfriend, than me. But nevertheless. It sucks.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


On the one hand, I tell myself that women have been having babies for centuries, without vitamins and supplements and avoiding soft cheese and caffeine. On the other hand, as many as one fourth of pregnancies end in miscarriage. With stats like those, how does anyone spend those 9 months without holding their breath?

*no, I'm not pregnant.