May 31, 2010

Last Summer

I was happy with my new boyfriend.

I want it to be last summer again. I was learning and growing and changing so much and I felt like the whole world was right in front of me. I was in that stage where you just realize you're in love and life could not be better, especially since it was life that I was so in love with.

Now I feel the learning and growing and changing has stopped, that the world is so far away, that life is going nowhere. It's all been replaced by sadness and anger and frustration; it's like I'm caught in quicksand and the more I struggle to get back to where I was the deeper I sink. Sooner or later it'll be too late and I'll drown. I'll have to leave the Park that I love so much, and that thought alone makes me want to cry.

At the beginning of last summer I still called myself a Christian, I was discovering that other people shared my passion, and I was living in the beautiful, bustling heart of San Diego and loved my boyfriend. Soon I started questioning my religion even more- I'd already decided I wasn't a very good Catholic and seeing the closed-mindedness of other Christians (The Ex just dismissed my feelings) embarrassed me. When I saw how excited people got about animals I realized how "meh" The Ex felt about them (other than cats and dogs) and started realizing that I wanted to be with someone who shared that passion. Living in Hillcrest, seeing people enjoying their lives made me realize I wanted to really live, not just settle for contentment.

Then, The Ex's former roommate signed a lease with his girlfriend and we all went out for Taco Tuesday. They were adorable in a non-sickening way. It was obvious they were crazy for each other, and we all wanted them to have everything in the whole world. But then, after watching them adore each other, the table turned to us and asked about our plans. I'd already made my feelings known to The Ex months before... but maybe after seeing how excitedly happy our friends were he would see something else for us... But he said, "We'll see when the time comes." No one even asked what that meant. The next day I decided it was time to leave. So I took a week, went out, had fun and forgot about him. He wasn't surprised when I called him after that week and ended it. Maybe he always thought I wasn't serious, or maybe he figured I'd come back after a few months. But I wasn't going to waste this amazing life with someone who wanted different things.

I just found out that the former roommate married his girlfriend. I've never been so truly happy to hear someone got married or engaged- it was perfect for them, and we all knew it. A long time ago I asked the girlfriend about their relationship and she said, with a thick German accent, that she just had to have him. Like it could not be helped, like she had no say in the matter. I know I never would have been as happy with The Ex as those two were every day I saw them. For a while I blamed it on how long we'd been together; 5 years is a long time, but when you start stashing Chipotle napkins in your glove compartment because you'll end up crying during a fight (we fought in the car so roommates couldn't hear) it's time to leave.

At the end of last summer I was talking with a friend about relationships. He said his ideal future is to run a non-profit animal/ecological center with his wife. Living simply, with nature. This would be my ideal future, too. A friend occasionally asks me what I'd do with a million dollars, and I tell her I'd open a rehabilitation center for wildlife. Someday I also want to open a place where rescued elephants can live out their lives, like the Black Beauty Ranch, but designed for elephants.

I went into last summer looking forward to work. When my lead called me early in the morning I asked, "Do I get to work today?!" I ditched plans to stay late or go in on a non-scheduled day (that was only partially because I was broke). I did the dirty work with a smile. Every day was wonderful because every day I was learning about the amazing animals I got to see up close all day long with coworkers and guests who had a real interest in their futures. It was amazing.

This summer I'm trying to figure out how to not get in trouble. There's a fine line between being safe and not injuring myself and being fast, and I don't know where that line is. There's a fine line between an "open door policy" and complaining and being negative, and every thing I say comes out wrong. It might be true that it is what you make it, but it's also true that my guests don't care about the animals the same way that photo caravan guests do. And it might also be true that management in other departments are just as retarded as management in mine, but at least other departments have animals. At least in other departments it's not weird, unnecessary, or "not my job" to continually learn about animals.

I want it to be last summer again.

Really happy.

May 29, 2010

In Which I Disappear

If this is what passes publication, I better be an author.

Even if a book is bad or boring I'll finish it. Since I graduated college and started reading my own books for fun I've only not finished one, and that was because it was going around in circles and I had a more exciting book waiting (it was Catch 22 and I plan on trying again someday). Until yesterday.

Last summer I picked up the most interesting looking thriller book from a sorry looking pile of freebies in the employee lounge because, well, it was free. I just got around to reading it about a week ago and the first sentence is:
An hour before his world exploded like a ripe tomato under a stiletto heel, Myron bit into a fresh pastry that tasted suspiciously like a urinal cake.
Already I knew I wasn't going to like this book. But I don't give up on books very easily; I want to give them a chance because sometimes it takes a while for it to get going. But then I got to the first paragraph of chapter 6:
Myron mixed childlike Froot Loops and very adult All-Bran into a bowl and poured on skim milk. For those not reading the Cliffs Notes, this act denotes that there is still a great deal of boy in the man. Heavy symbolism. How poignant.
Aaand I'm done. Your sarcasm does not work, Mr. Coben. Luckily, my newest book came in the mail the other day and I'm way stoked to read it (see image to the left). It's one of those books I want to finish as quick as I can and make it last forever at the same time. So I'm going to be MIA for the next however-long-it-takes-me-to-read-this-giant-book-in-between-my-2-jobs. This one I'll probably stretch out a little longer than the last two in the series because the author died right after delivering the manuscript... so no more Lisbeth Salander or Mikael Blomkvist. That is, at least, until they make a movie out of it. And I dunno quite how I feel about that...

May 28, 2010

Planned Parenthood

If Chloe were a nurse.

Let me just say I love Planned Parenthood. Genius idea. Makes me want to become a nurse. Seriously.

Last time I went I could only get 3 months of pills because their supply was low, so when I went in to get the rest of the 9 months they said, "Oh, looks like your prescription ran out. We'll refill it and get you a whole year's worth." Hell yes! It's like a buffet of services every time I walk through the door: "Would you like an HIV test?" "Would you like us to test you for STDs?" "Free condoms?" "Plan-B?" I always feel good when I have enough money to leave them a donation.

I've seriously been applying to the one position I can at PP since I got laid off over a year ago. Working for an organization I believe in and support, even if at a low level, would make me happy (thus me putting up with shit at the Park). Every time I read ZooNooz, talk to a researcher or get an e-mail about the conservation work being done at the Society I realize how desperately I want to be a part of it. But then I go to PP and hear a calling to become a nurse so I can be an educator as well as a helper. Gaah, do I become a nurse and help women or pursue biology and help the environment (in 10+ years...)? Is it really pathetic that I'm worried about how long it will take me to pursue a biology degree?

May 25, 2010

Letter To My Dad

Dear Dad,

Here is the response I'd like to send you, but won't because it won't do any good. So the Internet gets it! Ha. Oh isn't family fun?

Yes you heard me wrong. I did say you should find someone else, someone that would make you even happier because she would be liked by those who love you, and yes, I did call her a "butterface" (which, by the way, you laughed at and agreed to). But, and listen up because this is a BIG but, in no way, shape or form in any language on any planet in the whole universe did I say or intend or imply that you should find someone prettier. On the contrary, dear dad, I said you should find someone who isn't maybe so perfect by society standards, maybe someone with a beautiful face but who physically matches you (what, you think you take such good care of your body that you deserve someone who weighs 90 pounds?). In fact, I said that maybe you're overlooking some wonderful women who would be more welcomed into your family because they had an extra pound or two from kids. But no, you have such high physical standards that personality and compatibility and being liked by your family are a far second, third and fourth. You said if you loved someone enough you'd spend the rest of your life living in complete isolation from the world. You think that's romantic but it's just stupid. But if you want to isolate yourself from your friends, relatives and kids for the sake of the latest "love of your life", then I wish you happiness. Actually that's a lie... I'd sit back and wait for you to realize how silly you are and then smugly say (to myself) "I told you so."

And actually, I did give her a chance. When I first met her and I heard all the good (/indifferent) reviews my sisters gave her, and she tried taking me for a pedicure and seemed very into you, she earned points. And it was cool that she was accepting of my sister needing help and a place with family to stay. But when my sister called me to ask for some help because your girlfriend was making a fast job of running her life (I read "the contract" and am not just taking sides without reason) I had to speak up. And then when your daughters tell you, to your face and in front of me, that you don't listen to them and you respond with, "I'll listen but don't expect anything to change," how can you expect us to see it any differently than you being a lazy, pussy whipped man looking for any way out of responsibility? You're right that I didn't know her very well, except for what my sisters told me, but when they both tell me the same thing, and that thing is something very typical of you, why would I not believe them? Would you believe them if they said I adopted another cat/rat/dog? It's something I've done in the past. They told me your girlfriend was trying to act like their mom and you weren't listening. You said they never approached you with their concerns, but did they and maybe you just didn't listen? So yes, I believed them.

I didn't break your heart, dad. You didn't even listen to me, didn't care enough about my opinion or the opinions of my sisters to listen. It was like you made a ransom note using choice words I did say in order to create something so completely different, and held it up to me as proof. There's no arguing with that, I'm afraid. You will see what you want for as long as you want, and we'll just have to wait it out. You won't believe me, but I'm not resentful that you have a girlfriend. You will believe until the day you die that all us kids want is for you and mom to get back together so we can be one happy family, but it just doesn't work that way (despite what your own parents did). You're projecting your feelings on us- you wish mom didn't leave you, maybe you even regret not trying harder to stop her (or trying at all), and we certainly wish divorce wasn't the ugly beast it was, but all the wishing in the world won't change a thing. What we do resent, however, is the person you become when someone tells you they love you. You lose a part of you, and you certainly lose a big part of us.

You think we just don't want you to be happy, that as long as you're miserable and alone and bored we'll be happy. You know why you think this? Because we're different when you're single, because you're different when you're single. You have time for us. You call me. You take an interest. You tell us you're proud of us. But as soon as someone else comes into you're life you almost seem to forget you have kids; it's like you regret that you have a minor living with you, cramping your style, regret that we don't all live farther away so we only see you for holidays when everyone is happy and smiling. You didn't want kids, you didn't want a divorce, but you didn't stop either one from happening (in fact, I'm pretty sure you took an active role in both acts). Don't blame us for that.

This is not new and uncomfortable for us, I promise. You going from a beer drinking, gluten eating, full-blooded Italian-American man to a gluten-free, nothing-but-Coors, organic yogurt boyfriend is what unnerves us. Remember with Sue you drank martinis and went to nice dinners? Remember with the dog trainer you were going to sign Boo up for obedience classes? Remember with your cousin (or whatever she was) that you wanted family around for Easter? You change so much with each new "woman in your life." That's what's hard for us to keep up with. You should figure out who you are before you decide a woman is "the one." I can't believe I, at 24, am telling my 50-something dad this- you were married for more than 20 years; it's time for a reevaluation. Find someone who suits you as a person, not only someone who has a skinny frame and wants a happy family. On your online dating profile (come on, I know you still have it) un-click the button that says "looks are extremely important to me." You'll probably find women who would not only make you very happy but make us happy too. Wouldn't that be better?

This is not about Cheri, dad. It's about you. Find your backbone. Find out what it means to be a dad. Admit your mistakes, including allowing Cheri to try controlling your daughter's life. We appreciate what she's been through, but quiet support would go miles farther than a fucking contract. And you know it.

So, since this is my response to your e-mail, and you won't read this, I guess we won't have much to talk about for a while. That does make me sad, but you forget I did this already, and you don't even know why. I'll wait for this to blow over, because I'm sure it will sooner or later.



May 24, 2010

More On Condoms


Because apparently I really like writing about sex.

The Washington Post wrote a 2 page article on how Washington DC decided to spend an extra few thousand dollars to buy brand name condoms to give away for free because the young public doesn't like Durex.


If I could just go to the school nurse or a liquor store for free condoms whenever I wanted I would not be complaining that Trojans were better than Durex. (OK, I would complain if there wasn't a latex-free option, but that's a whole 'nother point.) Especially since they're exactly the same. And especially since they're free.

Guys are also complaining that the free condoms are "too small." Really, guys? You all have giant penises? There are so many of you DC high school boys who have no money, big dicks, and a fear of the school nurse knowing you're getting laid? And DC officials buy this? We're going to have more than a few pregnant kids if high school boys use the free Magnums.

Granted, DC gives away condoms partially because 3% of the population has HIV. That's scary high. Also granted, I think it's a great idea to give away condoms for free to the whole country (hell, the whole world!). Think of how much money we'd save in health costs if 6 cent condoms were available for free? It would be awesome. New York also gives away condoms, only they're Lifestyles brand in a special NYC wrapper that the public gets to vote on.

Awesome? Oh yes, yes, yes!

May 18, 2010


Why can't I be in Amsterdam tomorrow?


A Dutch condom company is giving away pope condoms this weekend. These specially packaged condoms are a jab at the Pope's negative stance on condoms (condoms not only don't help stop HIV/AIDS, they increase it). Condoms are one of the very few proven methods of preventing STD transmission, and though a condom isn't 100% effective at prevention it's a damn good start, and infinitely better than not using one and telling people to abstain from sex. So the lucky Dutch get to get down with the pope wrapped around their packages.

Here's another great condom campaign:

"Such tragedy could have been easily avoided."

Ah, marketing. Sometimes I wish I had the mind for that. Goes back to my earlier post about the German condom campaign featuring ads with Hitler sperm. Funny shit.

More funny shit: The Pope and the Condom. Click the link and read it- it's short and very worth the 2 minutes.

May 10, 2010



How to wear out your body in one easy weekend:

Step 1: Friday
Work at your physically demanding job, which is honestly a good work-out, for 5 hours entertaining around 2 dozen people.
Then go work your night job until 2am.

Step 2: Saturday
Be back at your physically demanding job at 8am, ready to entertain more than 30 people, for 7 hours on less than 4 hours of sleep and 20 ounces of coffee.
Go to your friend's BBQ, then go out drinking and dancing until 2am.

Step 3: Sunday
Be back at your physically demanding job at 11am and entertain another 30 people for 5+ hours.
Go home and crash. Hard. Forget dinner.

And this is all after a week of pretty much the same: Work at the Park for 5ish hours, then work the night shift for 5ish hours, then have a weekend of physical exhaustion and not enough caffeine. Do I hear a 3 day "weekend" anyone? Yes, yes I do. (Well, from one job, anyway.)

May 3, 2010

Call Her A Whore

None of that.

Dear God, I've insulted her cooking.

Friends, if you really want to get an Italian man's blood boiling, insult the cooking of the woman closest to him. Man oh man.

Because no trip to see the family would be complete without some drama involving my parents, I more or less tried talking my dad into breaking up with his now live-in girlfriend. My dad has a tendency to think every pretty girl who goes by could be his next wife, and when one sticks around long enough he gets pretty sure of himself. This one's been around about a year now and is the first to have officially moved in. She feels the need to take it upon herself to act as a mother not only to my dad but to my sisters, too. They've noticed more of a change in him than I have, and what I've noticed are pretty big deals:

He loved good food, including many foods that are mostly for pleasure. She refuses to allow soda in the house, buys only (expensive) organic, and got pissed at him for having a hot dog in New York.

He talks about how slow work is, how he has no money for retirement, and how he has to take money from his house to pay basic bills. He lets her move in rent free in exchange for a Harley, home cooked meals, and a garden.

He lived 50+ years eating like an Italian American and all of a sudden won't eat gluten. Oh, and oatmeal is bad for you. And Coors is the "purest" beer because it's cold filtered. And eating eggs will lower your cholesterol. And Big Pharma is making billions drugging the American people.

Who are you and what have you done with my dad??? He's suddenly a whole foods/alternative medicine radical, regurgitating the random distorted facts that she tells him. Makes me want to become a doctor, just to piss him off.

Moral of the story: call her a whore, but don't call her cooking bland.