Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wisdom of the Panda - Heart - 02/28/09

Topic of discussion: Nothing, really. I was too busy.

Restaurant: Ocean Sky

Fortune: Answer just what your heart prompts you.

Thoughts: I'm screwed.

Really? Answer what my heart prompts me? What's the question and who asked it?

IMHO, my heart isn't to be trusted. As a matter of fact, it's been talking way too much lately and has been nothing but trouble. If you ask me, it's time for my heart to shut the eff up and let my brain take over again!

Score: ?/4

Thursday, February 26, 2009

No good deed goes unpunished

Read the Article

Jim Moffett, a Denver bus driver, saved the lives of two elderly women Friday night, when he pushed them out of the way of traffic and was then struck by an oncoming vehicle. Imagine his surprise when he woke up in the hospital and found out that he had been cited for jaywalking!

The citing officer maintains that his decision to ticket Moffett was just and correct. According to this theory, we should also prosecute someone for trespassing if they enter a burning house to save a small child. This brings up an interesting question. Are laws there to be followed to the letter, or to provide socially beneficial guidelines?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Not without my babies!

Watch the video

By now, almost everyone has heard about Octo-mom.  In case you've been hiding under a rock for the last month (or in a textbook or behind a desk in your office) "Octo-mom" was the term bestowed upon Nadya Suleman after the birth of her octuplets in late January.

Though octuplet births are rare in-and-of themselves, this case is particularly noteworthy because Nadya is single and unemployed.  Oh yeah, did I mention that she already had 6 kids?  In an attempt to have "just one more girl, " as claimed by her mother, Nadya was implanted by eggs that were fertilized by the same sperm donor that helped create her 6 other children.  Eight of the implanted embryos survived and she gave birth to a bevy of babies ranging from 21 oz to just over three pounds.

There's already a surplus of discussion on the morality of this situation in general, so I'm not even going to go there.  What I *do* want to talk about is the newest information being presented.  Apparently, Nadya's house is in foreclosure.  Due to Nadya's financial instability, the hospital is threatening to keep her babies.  Nadya responded by threatening to sue.

Here's my question.  What's the right course of action here?  Is it alright for the hospital to keep the newest members of the Suleman family?  Is the hospital justified in retaining the infants if it does not also try to find an appropriate living situation for the other 6 children?

As a mom, is suing your best option, or does that just further the opinion that you're motivated by money?  

If you're in charge of the children's welfare, what do you do?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wisdom of the Panda - Contentment - 02/18/09

Topic of discussion: One friend wrapping up her life while mine feels like it's really just starting again

Restaurant: Panda Express

Fortune: The Near Future Hold's a Gift of Contentment

Thoughts: That would be a feat. My parents raised me to believe that if you're content, then you aren't growing fast enough. Happy, yes. Joyous, yes. Shooting rainbows out of my eyes, okay. Content? Prolly not.

Score: ??

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Inspired by This American Life - Valentine's Day

My boss is an entertaining guy that I admire and get along with really well (a sentiment that is true and has nothing to do with the fact that he'll probably end up reading this.)  So, when he started talking about the Valentine's episode of This American Life, I listened, expecting another humorous diversion.  

What he actually presented was almost depressing.  A very intelligent man had been on the program, talking about how he had calculated the probability that he would find a suitable girlfriend.  Now, I haven't double-checked his numbers, and granted there's some fuzziness in the statistics, but he ended up with an incredibly small number.  

My face wrinkled as I thought about how small my number would be.  For Pete's sake, I just turned down a second guy because his spelling sucked!  Out of curiosity, I decided to have the guys in my office help me try to do my own number crunching. 

Well, the first thing the guy did was take the population of his dating area.  In his case, Boston.  I live in Eugene, but I think I'd be willing to consider going as far as Portland to meet someone that had the potential to be my lifelong partner.  Then, I thought, it depends on what we mean here.  Because two hours is a stretch if it's just a dating possibility, but if I knew that he was my soulmate - and he would love me as much as I loved him - then what would I consider too far?  In that case, I narrowed it down to America.  Okay, now we have two sets of numbers to work with. Other than that, I'll use the same statistics that he used.

Set # 1:  Probability of finding someone I enjoy dating

1.  Population of Oregon  -  3,701,000
2. Only about half are guys (50%) - 1,850,500
3. Within 10 years of my age (35%) - 647,675
4. College Graduates (25%) - 161,918
5.  SINGLE (50%) - 80,959
6.  Attractive to me (20%) - 16,192

The numbers get narrowed down really fast before we even take into account things like party affiliation, culture and sense of humor.   By this formula, I would consider a first date with 1 out of every 125 guys.  

Now, for the bigger question.  How many people in America have a good chance of being my soulmate?  Even if we expand to the population of America, we have to take in to consideration my additional criteria - intelligence, class, humor, kindness, democrat, non-smoker, clean and not fanatically religious - is there anyone left?  Then, of those, which find me appealing with all of my idiosyncrasies and minuses?  Who would consider me the woman of their dreams, even as a divorcee with 2 kids?

This turned out to be a frightening little exercise, but it did effectively open my eyes to realize that when I find that bond, I'm going to cherish it for the rest of my life  ;)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You - Concept Review

It was only a matter of time until I blogged about this movie. The whole progression was a creation of destiny, a manifestation of fate. In order to understand what I'm talking about, I'm gonna have to back-up about a year.

{back story}

January 25, 2008: I moved back to Eugene after separating with the man I had been with since I was 15. What I needed was a clear head and time to gather the much needed experience that I had skipped my first time through. That's when I created my very first rule - No second dates.

I dated more men in the two months that followed than I had dated my entire life up to that point. Sometimes, I'd run across a guy who would tempt me to break that rule, leading me to make up another rule. Enter rules 2 & 3: No guys under 25 & No dating guys I work with.

The rules did their job and (with one exception),I had managed to avoid developing feelings for anyone or experiencing the sting of rejection. In November, my Ex announced he was moving in with someone and all of the reasons for my limitations started to fade. I figured if he was already moving in with someone it was a little extreme for me to be avoiding second dates. It took a while for the rules to die, but the first to go was rule #1.

In January 2009, Cheri gave me the book "He's Just Not That Into You." Every chapter was fuel, more reasons not to pursue anyone. It was perfect, because I found myself working extra-hard at that point to suppress some completely irrational feelings.

The weekend after I finished that book, I had a revolutionary experience at a bar. I met a man that was exceptionally handsome and we chatted for a while. When I got up to leave, he asked for my number. When he asked if I wanted his, I told him "Nope. If you want to see me again, you'll call." He did...ten minutes later. We hooked up for more drinks and I realized that even though he was straight from the pages of Abercrombie & Fitch, he had about as much depth as a cookie sheet. After I declined to go home with him several times, I figured I wouldn't hear from him any more. The next night, I was out with my friends and they were urging me to phone him. I quoted "He's Just Not That Into You" and got flicked a ton of shit. They may have been right, he might have been glad to hear from me, but if all he wanted was to get laid then I wasn't interested.

The very next day, I saw the ad for the movie "He's Just Not That Into You." What's more, it opened on my birthday! I took it as a sign.

{/ back story}

The movie itself was pretty great. It shone a spotlight on my own insecurities (let me also mention that the main character's name is Gigi) but there were hidden treasures as well. Little truths, like how confusing protocol has become, made me giggle and reflect. One woman desperately wants to find love, one man desperately works to avoid it. Everyone intertwines and learns from each other. Touching.

There was one moment that offered the characters the same type of clarity that it offered me when I read it in the book. The idea is, if he's not calling you, it's because he doesn't want to call you. It seems simple, but it's also so easy for us to explain away. Maybe he's out of town, or busy. Maybe he's afraid he'll come off as to eager. Maybe he's got company. We're always looking for exceptions, but we're not exceptions. Once we realize that we're the rule, we can stop reading meaning into things that aren't there and start focusing on the people who really care about us. If someone really cares, he'll want to call and he *will* call.

Something that came to me after the movie was an explanation of what we're searching for. I think (at least for me) that what we really want in a partner is an extension of a friend. As a woman, I want someone who understands me the way that my best friends do. I want someone who pays attention and knows that I prefer Diet Coke. I want someone who knows that the next time I get married, I don't want a diamond. It seems perfectly logical to want someone who cares about my happiness at least as much as my good friends do. By the same token, it makes me want to be more of a friend at a guy watch the same sports that he watches or try to appreciate his music. It's a give and take.

While the movie subtly refuted many of the ideas in the book, I think both forms should be experienced together. The book is unquestionably extreme, the movie is playful and starry-eyed, but together they formulate some pretty truthful concepts. Two thumbs up.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wisdom of the Panda - Dolled Up - 02/12/09

Topic of discussion: How much healthier Mongolian Grill is than Carls Jr.

Restaurant: Mongolian Grill

Fortune: You should enhance your feminine side at this time.

Thoughts: What?!?! Seriously? I do my hair and make-up every morning. I even wore a skirt on Friday. If people don't see me as a female by now, there's no hope for me at all!

Maybe I'm misunderstanding. Perhaps the fortune is referring to my behavior. Maybe I should start acting like more of a woman. I don't know. I'm confused. This one may not have been for me.

Score: ??

Friday, February 6, 2009

Does that make it a Flo Rida?

So, on my flight to Denver, the seat-back in front of me had a sign that said "Your seat cushion can act as a flotation device."

This alternate spelling of floatation seemed odd to me. Turns out, it's the preferred spelling, but for some reason it just feels wrong. If I land in the water, I don't want to flo...I don't even want to flotate. I just want to know I'm gonna float.

Now I wonder if we can randomly drop the a from other words. How dark do you like your chicken rosted? How bout that new football coch? Would you use a cleaner with foming action? We've got botlods of coxal cables. Yep, nope. I'm not a fan.

Ya know who doesn't like the Eee PC?

Airport Security.

Like an imbecile, I left my netbook in my school bag while going through security. It was amusing to watch them slow down the conveyor, eventually deciding that they needed to look again. They snatched the bag up from the other side and put it back in, this time stopping the belt and having a very quiet conversation.

"You can look inside if you want." I offered.
"That's what we're gonna have to do, Ma'am." He replied.

The security dude walked me over to a small metal table, where he gently laid my bag. After carefully putting on a pair of latex gloves (which seemed a little small for his big ol' hands) he informed me of the rules.

"Please stand there. Do not attempt to touch anything that comes out of the bag, nor the bag itself."

I nodded and smiled as I watched him dig through my coursebooks and personal clothing that I had stuffed into the bag in order to have a make-shift carry-on. My mind went immediately to a metal pick that I have in my bag for sweeping the hair out of my face during tests and such, certain that they were going to take it. He didn't. He didn't even seem to notice it. Instead, he went for the small book wrapped in black foam. That's right, security dude, that little thing is a computer.

The man wiped it down with some magical voodoo pad and re-ran it through the scanner. Once satisfied, he put it back in the foam case and back into my pack.

"Sorry about that ma'am, but with all of the books in that bag, we couldn't tell what it was."

"It's okay," I told him, secretly glad that I was able to keep my hair pick, tweezers, and nail file, "have a good weekend."

I grabbed my bag and made a mental note to take the netbook out before scanning on the way home.