Friday, July 31, 2009

End of the Month

Even by usual standards, this has been a tough month for me and those that I love. But take heart sufferers, this is the last day of the month, and a Friday at that. I declare this must bode well for a fabulous August.

Eddie and I hit a tremendous marital roadblock, Jen's Little Rosebud had surgery. My BFF Gary graduated from his MSW program May 8th and has been wickedly exposed to the cruelty of the job market, right as his student loans are about to come due. Little C lost her position. Jeremy's mother died yesterday. It seemed that July was unseasonably cool this year in more ways than one. I send my love out to those going through troubled times, as they have sent their love in return to me.

Tomorrow is August 1st. One week from then, Boop will have to confront her 31st birthday. A few months ago I swore I would have a better attitude about it than I did my milestone birthday last year. Despite a few setbacks, I still cling to those plans. August is the last month of summer and I think the long suffering citizens of Chicago deserve to see it go with a little heat and happy times. I will do my part.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Like This Kid

Boy Takes Car to Skip Church

I've always said that perhaps more people would turn to religion in this day and age, if only it weren't so damned dull. Right on little man.

Go Cubs Go?

Drum roll please...this is our 101st post! I just became aware of this milestone as I sat down to the computer. On the one hand I can hardly believe I have found so many topics and occasions on which to blabber, and at the same time, I feel like I'm just getting warm. Sorry folks - Becky Boop is here to stay. My thanks to everyone has read along with Jen and I the last 7 months.

I have had a curious relationship with my favorite baseball team, especially this decade. Like that old friend who annoys you more than anything else, the one your husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/partner asks you why you keep around, and you don't really have an answer? This friend only calls you when he/she is in trouble or needs to borrow something like your car, couch or money. They have no discernible ambition or skills and may still live with their parents. In short, they're a royal pain in the ass, always taking and never giving. But somehow you just can't seem to let them go. They've been in your life forever and you don't know what it would look like without them.

So it is with me and the Cubbies. We quarreled badly at the end of the 2008 season. Or rather, I was left in shock in my living room, clutching myself to quiet the shivers and wiping my tears as another false promise was made from April-September. I will not rehash what went down. It was tragic.

When Spring Training 2009 rolled around, the familiar murmurs of the Cubs being "loaded with talent," began. I tuned them out. I would not be fooled again. I kept the team at arm's length, the way you avoid hugging or kissing your Mom when she drops you off somewhere to hang out with your friends. You know she's there and you love her. You're just too embarassed to acknowledge her. "Talent nothing!," said I. Bah! If the Cubs could finish with a 97-64 record last year, make history by tying the record for the most All-Stars on any one team, watch Big Z throw his first no hitter, and still get swept in round 1 of the NLCS? Phooey. I will believe no more.

And it seemed I was on the right track. The Cubs woefully underperformed before the All-Star break this year. Injuries, the returning suckiness of Fukodome, the shittiness of big name pickup Milton Bradley, and worst of all, the seemingly hapless attitude of Big Lou. I felt smug in my aloofness, smiling wickedly and knowingly at the twinkling ballpark lights I can see from my living room.

I have three acquaintances who shall remain nameless (my father, Theresa and my trainer Rob). These individuals have tried to sell me their theory that last year the Cubs crumbled under the weight of high expectations. After their humiliating exit from the first round of post-season play, the bar is set so low this year. Wouldn't it be just like the Cubs to sneak up and take it all now? It's a nice thought but I just don't associate the North Side team and winning, no matter how perverse the circumstances might be. I snickered at these people. Fools.

And yet this week, I have become aware of an unconscious stirring in my breast. The month of August is upon us and the Cubs appear to be in the division race. As of the time of this posting, they are in a dead heat with the St. Louis Cardinals. Dammit. There was an exciting game this week, which ended in a walkoff grand slam by the not-good-often-enough Alfonso Soriano. Double dammit. Because, somehow, though I thought I was enjoying the view in my lofty tower, I have begun to care again. I am being sucked in.

Do not accuse me, as you might, of being a fair weather fan returning to the fold in times of calm. I have sat through many a game, live and on TV, happily during years of mediocrity. I just can't tell you how bad I wanted it last year, and how much I truly believed it was going to happen. I worked it up in my head that 2008 would be the best year ever because Obama would be our new president, and the Cubs would win the World Series. I was left to console myself with 50-50. Can I really put my heart on the line again?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wishful Thinking

I still watch NBC's "Meet the Press" almost every week. It is one of few remaining venues for hard hitting, nonpartisan breakdowns of the day's issues. That said, I am less than enthused about replacement host David Gregory, though he has occupied the seat once held by the inimitable Tim Russert for nearly a year. Gregory is competent sure, but his somewhat whiny and nagging interview style just doesn't hold up against the alternately benevolent/attack dog beauty of the departed Mr. Russert.

I was satisfied when Tom Brokaw became the interim host of the program after the untimely death of Mr. Russert in 2008. Who doesn't esteem Brokaw, especially during an election cycle? However, Brokaw inevitably shuffled back into semi-retirement. So things have changed and the new "Meet the Press" may never get me as jazzed as it once did. And yet, the show continues to carry the clout required to book high profile names each and every week.

Yesterday's episode was a dessert buffet for Boop. Our current Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, appeared on the program, of course, to discuss the number of pressing foreign policy issues facing our nation: Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, and for those who forgot this quagmire is still going on, Iraq. Of course, Gregory grilled Clinton on Obama's current health care war, though it is a domestic issue, becuase of the Secretary's own belly flop in the fight for change in that area in the mid 90s.

True, I do not hide my love for Madame Clinton under a bushel. I think she's fabulous. So well spoken, never stutters, never goes off message, never gets tricked by pundits into saying things she doesn't want to. The lady is a true pro, a veteran of the political game for decades in a variety of remarkable positions. Ok, I know the election is over. At one point, I took Obama's nomination over Hills very hard. Though I believe you can tell I have since come around.

But there's one decision made in the course of the 2008 campaign from which I have not recovered. I, like so many Democratic party supporting women, wanted Hillary for VP. As I watched her professional grace and je ne sais quoi at work on "Meet the Press," I thought of the week in media for our current Vice Prez, Joe Biden. You know, the guy who is aware that Obama is trying to push the "reset" button in our relationship with Russia, yet ran off at the mouth (again), declaring the former Soviet nation to be out of touch and "unsustainable?" Yeah - that genius. Believe me, I have tried very hard to get over Obama's political tactic of choosing Biden as his running mate during the campaign. At the time, I understood that Obama needed to answer the recurring charges of inexperience with a gray haired sidekick.

But as the last 6-7 months have played out, I ask you America, what else has our VP done other than create sound bite problems for our new president? Seriously, what? Because maybe I am not aware of Biden's early greatness, too distracted by his foolhardy claims that the young administration "misread" the economy and other such malarkey.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday the 24th

It is fairly obvious to most of you that our Jen of All Trades has been on hiatus for quite some time. What might not be so obvious is that for months on end, she has been dealing with a sick child. Rosebud, her two year-old, has been suffering recurring fevers, sleep apnea and eating troubles since early winter. Lost for answers for a long time, it has been very trying for Jen and her family to figure out how to help their child. After a dedicated period of personal research, stick to-itiveness and doctor visits, it was finally determined that Rosbud had some bum tonsils and adnoids causing these problems.

So today was the day my baby niece had surgery to have these nasty parts removed. As you might imagine, it was a very rough ordeal for the little one and her parents - not the least because the procedure began at 7 AM. I am happy to report the process was a success, but healing will be tough and demanding. I have KK for the evening, and we are lucky enough to be heading off to a Demi Lovato concert at the AllState Arena in a few minutes. I know I will be the least cool person there, but hopefully KK is willing to forgive me. David Archuleta is the opening act. I am perhaps more excited about that than I should be.

But Rosebud and her folks aren't the only ones having a tough day. When I brought KK home to my place for lunch and a nap, I got an email from my favorite cousin, Little C, that she had been laid off. She is philosophical and serene as always, believing everything happens for a reason, and she is probably right. Sill, I adore this girl and just hate to see her down in any fashion.

So I dedicate this post to the tough ladies in my life who have suffered a knock this day, but keep on chugging. Nothing - unemployment, surgery or a little fatigue, can keep a good woman down.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Hangover

This is a surprisngly accurate rendering of Boop and her day yesterday. Boop is slightly heavier, but as lily white as the female depicted here. In addition, I was forced to assume this very position no fewer than three times during the course of the day. However, I wouldn't be me if there were anything remotely standard about my hangover.

In the first place, can I tell you how much I loathe getting old? I drank five glasses of wine while out and about Monday afternoon with Theresa and Gary. Fine, that is a lot, but I was completely done drinking after 6:30 PM. Afterward, I ate dinner, drank lots of water and felt fine enough for a spirited game of Wii bowling at my friend Brandon's house later that evening. I am not looking for sympathy. I am well aware that most people cannot even entertain the thought of binge drinking on a Monday. Quite the contrary, I am in a spiral of self-loathing and welcome any comments that will assist in my self-flagellation.

I woke up at 8 AM Tuesday morning. I felt well enough to sweep the house, go with Theresa to breakfast, even conduct a phone interview with Preferred Hotels. I am attempting to be hired as a Marketing Communications Consultant. I felt a bit wobbly at the Golden Nugget, but vowed to push through the pain.

I had a meeting at my friend and colleague Bryan's house, two hours spent with me being a complete waste, wanting nothing more than to curl up on his couch and go sleepy. Bryan prepared me his famous "hangover remedy," which consists of one part honey, one part pomegranate paste, a pinch of sea salt and plenty of water. It was oddly tasty and yet, as I left for my 3:30 meeting at the StreetWise headquarters on Lake, I knew trouble, was quite literally, brewing.

I am now a member of StreetWise's Publications Committee, a group that basically decides the editorial direction of the paper. I rang the bell, introduced myself and made a beeline for the ladies room, where I turned on the sink full blast in order to mask the sounds of my heaving. I will never eat a dark chocolate protein bar again. Surprisingly, I masked my pain well and got through the meeting, even managing to contribute a coherent thought or two.

As I began to drive him in rush hour traffic, I decided to stick to side roads. And it's a good thing too. Because right there on Halsted St., mere blocks from my old high school, I politely pulled the car over in front of St. Vincent DePaul Center. I was quite the spectacle and began to wish in earnest that I were dead. If not because I felt horrible, then because I was keenly aware that a woman nearing 31 years of age has no business puking in public in the middle of the day.

I returned home at 6:30 and commenced dry heaving before taking an anti-nausea pill (a bit late, no?) and falling into bed. That's right - at 6:30. I had to take an online test for the Preferred people, but thankfully it wasn't due until 9 AM this morning.

Lessons learned? Well I'd like to think so, but my track record suggests otherwise. What a mess.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Old School

I have been down, and rather avoiding life, since I came back from my Pilates class on Friday and curled up into a fetal position on the couch. The sudden chill in the summer air reflected the emptiness I felt in my own heart, and the two environments definitely fed off each other.

I am willing myself back to life today. I have a very busy workweek ahead, and this afternoon, I am welcoming a dear friend to my home. That would be Theresa, my former college co-hort. What a pair we made at old U. of I. from 1996 to 2000.

T lived in the same dorm as I in the Fall of 1996, FAR, also known as the Florida Avenue Residence Hall. The housing project-like building meant we didn't have much chance to get acquainted at home, seeing as we lived on different floors. No, we formed our bond instead working at the Wendy's in Campustown. Sadly, this landmark is no longer present, but I remember it fondly. Not only do I love Wendy's food, it was also my first real job (not counting babysitting and volunteer work). It felt sort of neat to earn my own way. I was, at the time, paid $4.75 an hour for my work, minimum wage in '96.

As all freshman years tend to be, mine was a volatile and painful experience. I fell hard for the first time with another guy who worked at Wendy's, James, a 24 year-old brooding, recovering drug addict. When he broke my heart, as all but me rightly expected, it was Theresa, with her Wiccan practices and black lipstick, who took me under her wing. I am forever grateful.

As the years passed, Theresa and I got an apartment together, got drunk and threw a Chambana legend of a Halloween party. I was there when she fell for her now husband Jake, the birth of her two sons (fine, I wasn't literally there for that - Boop doesn't do blood), and she was there when I announced that I'd be flying to India to marry my own soulmate. 13 years of friendship.

I have no idea where the day/evening will take us, but consider yourself on notice Chicago. It is not often that Theresa can step away from her hectic life minus hubby and kids. With Eddie gone as well, we might have a mild version of 30-something Girls Gone Wild, before we wake up with hangovers and remember why people over 20 do not drink Natty Ice.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Is There A More Delusional Douche on the Planet than Jon Gosselin?

I was on the "Hate Kate" bandwagon for a long time. I still in fact think both parents are shameless to an extent, mercenary people who fooled around with fertility drugs, then cashed in when they were in over their heads. That the Gosselin kids are so adorable only gives the whole situation that much more pathos.

Even so, the male "better half" of this relationship is really a piece of work. Yes, Kate is a bitch. Fine. But come on. Mistress #1 on the bottom, a 23 year-old schoolteacher named Deanna Hummel. Not content with someone old enough to have a graduate degree, Mr. Gosselin moves on to lucky lady #2, Hailey Glassman.

This one is a real winner, a proper stepmom in waiting. I don't really care that she has a "racy past" or that she's an obvious idiot. What else to expect from, a 22 year-old? The only truly telling thing about her character is that she's a famewhore, and like almost everybody else in this situation, not worried about the children.

The true slimeball here is Papa Jon. Whatever is going on with he and his soon-to-be-ex-wife is between them. But one day he will have to account for this trashy, opportunistic, whorey behavior to his brood of 8. What will he say to them? Mumbling into the camera with his head down like a beaten animal won't do. Does he think anyone will ever give a damn about him again? What career does he imagine for himself?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Southern Hospitality

At first I found it rather unsettling. I dropped Eddie off at his office in Blythewood, SC on Monday morning, and my first stop was the Waffle House near my hotel. I was happier to see a number of these famed outlets than I care to admit. Let me let you in on a little secret: the completely citified Boop has a terrible soft spot for Southern cooking and soul food: greens, biscuits, grits, hamhocks - yum, yum! So it was I went to the famed Waffle joint, where you can still eat your fill for under $5. I indulged in smothered, covered, and capped hash browns (that is cheese, onions and mushrooms for you laymen), a bowl of cheese grits, and a glass of sweet tea. Healthy? I think not. Delicious? Si!

The high calorie count of my early lunch is not what set me at ill ease. It was the impertinent friendliness, the unwavering eye contact of everyone I encountered. I was very tired from my early morning flight, and still cantankerous after my horribly emotional weekend. I curtly returned these pleasantries and made for the door as fast as I could.

But no, it seemed the relaxed, friendly manner of the Waffle House staff was contagious. I was warmly welcomed and inquired after by the Residence Inn employees as if I were a long lost relative. "Well, I am paying them," thought I. It's just good customer service. Later in the day, I jumped on the gym's treadmill only to be engaged in a lengthy chat by an elderly lady enjoying a stroll on the machine next to mine. Later that evening, Eddie and I stopped at Food Lion, a grocery store, to buy a pie. We were welcomed and requested to have a good day by people with genuine smiles, as if they actually gave a crap about their minimum wage jobs, like there's nothing else they'd rather be doing.

It has gone on. I have been called "baby" and "child," by chamber maids, front desk clerks, and any assortment of cheerful women. The older you get, the more you learn to love this. It was at some point yesterday that I finally grew ashamed of my own urban scowl, the way I walk speedily with my head down, not willing to be delayed in my travels from Point A to Point B. How rude and unconcerned must I have appeared to the locals during my first 36 hours here?

I am learning now to slow down, give folks a wave, actually, gasp! look them in the eye as if they were people rather than obstacles. I am still not sure I could live here year round, but I have felt a bit of human love and connection when I needed it the most. Thank you South Carolina!

As an unrelated coda to this post, and in case anyone has forgotten that Boop does more than blog about her own melodrama, I have taken out my recent bad mood (deservedly) on a hideous play I saw last Saturday:

Boop doesn't like it when people trifle with Bill Shakespeare.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Have Bitterness, Will Travel

I am a woman of many faults, as imperfect as they come. But one thing I have always prided myself on, and I think my loved ones do as well, is my honesty. I do not do bottled up or secretive well, and never have. This cuts both ways in a lot of cases, but I think it's a trait that has served me well as a writer and a blogger.

All seriousness: no witticisms, pop culture cross references or sarcasm. Mine and Eddie's marriage is in trouble - in a big way. Some problems are old (his constant business travel and our maturity disparity), some are new (I will still protect my privacy as well as my husband's here), but they have spiraled out of control, been neglected and ignored for too long, and now we find ourselves at a crisis point a mere 18 months into our union.

Eddie is my soulmate. Despite the pain I am currently in, I still believe that. I also believe that the last week has been a major wake up call. Nonetheless, my emotional state right now is highly volatile. One minute I am hating myself, the next Eddie, ready to go, desperate to stay. One thing was very clear however: after 4 straight weeks of being locked up with my in-laws, and after the most trying and awful weekend I can remember having in a long time, it was definitely time for a change of scenery.

So here I am in Blythewood, SC for 3 1/2 days of working out, sunbathing and swimming. Eddie works until 7 PM most nights, and we are ensconced in a two-bedroom suite at a Residence Inn. That second bedroom, scoffed at only two weeks ago, now couldn't be available at a better time. I have setup a laptop and am working as fluidly as if I were still at my desk in Chicago. I am tan and fit, have made some new friends (a group of army officers in training), but am lonely and confused.

Last weekend, Eddie gave me an early birthday present, which I have already alluded to in a previous post. I am off to London, solo, from 8/22 - 8/27. It's a dream come true, yet in some ways, so not how I imagined it would be. Eddie cannot get any time away from work through the end of the year, and anyway, right now, I am not sure I would want him there. I studied all things British for 7 years during undergrad and again as a grad student at Northeastern. I can't wait to get lost in a world I know intimately in my own imagination, yet haven't seen in 3-D. Boop is, after all, a humungous nerd, and her visit to the Isles will be her own conception of Nirvana.

I just wish I could feel the full force of the excitement. 2009 is a cruel mistress indeed.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What the Lord Giveth...

I am not typically religious, but I have had an unusual day. The worst thing I could imagine came to fruition in the morning, and yet the day ended with a dream come true.

Has anyone else out there experienced a single day that went from tragedy to triumph or vice versa?

FYI - don't bother with questions on the "tragedy" front because I am not yet ready to answer them. Not being a bitch, just keeping it real. I won't speak until I know what I am trying to say.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mummy Dearest

The month long visit is over. I am depositing Mummy at O'Hare for her Air France flight back to Mumbai at 3PM this afternoon. I am worn out, mentally and physically exhausted, and yet, I have more mixed feelings than I expected. In many ways, I feel Mummy, Papa and I have made great strides in our relationship over the course of the last 30 days. The one thing I am most proud of, that I will take way, is that I made these people love me for me.

When I married Eddie in Raipur, India in December of 2007, I am not ashamed to admit, I didn't know myself very well. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I was very comfortable in my role as an insecure social chameleon. Because of the rejection and loneliness I endured in my own childhood, I was so eager to become part of a loving family, to finally "belong" somewhere, that I was willing to erase any parts of myself that my new family might not like, in order to make myself more suitable. The end result was that Boop felt like someone's Barbie doll, a miserable person, unsure who she was anymore, and feeling very much like a fraud.

I have been seeing a great therapist for the last 9 months (who, incidentally, feels I have made so much progress that she's about to cut me loose) to work out these issues. How would I learn to hold onto the important parts of myself, the very essence of me, and not deal these traits away like a bad hand of cards, depending upon whom I was trying to please? I strategized internally that it would be different when they came to my home in Chicago. I am going to be part of this family for many years, and I just have to be myself. It's in everyone's interest in the long term. And for the most part, I have done exactly that.

My in-laws are now not quite sure what to make of me: a girl who wears her mangulsutra every day without fail, but no other jewelry (Jen could also tell you what a big deal ornamentation is in Eastern cultures), a women who feels absolutely fine bumming around the whole day in sweatpants and a ponytail, a lady who doesn't cook, doesn't pray daily, and who has these wildly feminist ideas about not being ready to rent her womb out to the next generation. At the same time, I have been kind, flexible, dutiful, attentive. I have cleaned, done laundry, drove them around, run errands, given up my bed. Mummy and Papa have wanted for nothing and have not relaxed so much in many years.

In short, even my in-laws have developed a more complex picture over the last month over what it really means to be a good daughter. It is not only about rituals and traditions. They know very well their son is far from a traditional guy himself. For this, I am proud. I am additionally pleased that I held onto my Boopness. It's not something I am willing to relinquish anymore.

This visit has made me feel more at ease, about future stays, either them here, or Eddie and I over in Mumbai. That is not to say I don't need a long break before the next one. But it's no longer this scary idea, this vaguely threatening prospect that keeps me up for nights in a row (such as I experienced in the lead up to this trip). Mummy and Papa are goodhearted people. I had them up on a pedestal, these perfect and wise people who had the ultimate power to decide my value. I have come to realize that they are learning as much from me, as I from them. Pretty cool actually.

Monday, July 6, 2009

WTF is up with Sarah Palin?

I realize I am a few days late on this. As usual, I have been self-involved and monumentally busy coping with the last three days of my mother-in-law's visit.

Let me start by saying, I am no fan of this chick. I was talking to our cousins, Cindy and Sanjiv, over the weekend, and we all kind of agreed the GOP's attempt to ram the "Barracuda" down our throats as a Hillary Clinton replacement never sat right. On one side, I admire Governor Palin, slightly, I say slightly, for her rep as a loose canon. Anyone who gives old Republican stalwarts a headache warrants an occasional chuckle from me. But Palin proved herself an overmatched chowderhead on the 2008 campaign trail. This rather stymying resignation does nothing to change my opinion.

It would be one thing if I were able, somehow, to chalk up the coming end of her reign as a savvy political move. But to announce this the day before a holiday weekend, a virtual media blackout? And call me crazy, but if you do intend to run for higher office, like say, the presidency, doesn't it help to have a steady job while doing so? Ask Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson if not holding an office did them any favors when they went after the brass ring. Why would a person repeatedly pelted with the label "inexperienced" so oft last year, pull the plug on the only avenue she currently has to gain knowledge?

The possibility that her resignation pre-empts some shocking scandal that was about to come out has been thrown around. But I really don't like this either. If the juice is any good, we'll find out anyway. John Edwards anyone?

So I return to my initial question: What is up? And moreover, do any of you care what Sarah Palin does next? For the meanspirited of our readers (like me), are you enjoying the summer movie implosion of the GOP favorites?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Conversations with Kevin - Part #1

It's sort of comforting in advance to know that Kevin has written such a heartwarming post about our first "business lunch," it is not worth my while to try to top - emotionally speaking. The one thing I will say is that I thought I was the only one who secretly viewed our monthly meeting as a lifeline to our shared suffering, and our bond with Jesika.

That is however, not to say, that when we met at Kuma's Corner on Wednesday at noon, the mood was at all somber or stuck in our recent grief. As a matter of fact, it would be tough to stay serious at a place like this. This was a find of Kevin's, and to know my friend, the last place you would expect him to seek out is a heavy metal burger joint.

I arrived about ten minutes early, and before noon already, the place was hopping. I took two seats at the bar, and a good look around, while I waited for Kevin. The metal music was deafening - before lunch. More than that, I could tell it was, as my friend Pete might say, "real metal." In other words, I had never heard any of the tunes before. Kuma's Corner is unabashedly not radio friendly. They have a list of "rules" posted at the front of the restaurant that, at first glance, don't seem very customer-friendly either: We Will Not Change the Music, We Will Not Put on the Game, We Do not Do Take-out Orders if the Patio is open. They do things their way, not your way - how rock and roll!

I do wish the list of rules had also included, We Do Not Keep Working Locks on Our Rest Room Doors. Perhaps this would have spared me the indignity of being exposed on the pot by a middle-aged lady, who took her sweet time about closing back up after discovering her error. It is a good thing Boop no longer has much pride left after a lifetime of humiliating herself.

But I digress - the longer I know Kevin, the more I realize that no matter how diverging our perspectives and viewpoints, we really enjoy talking to each other. We covered a variety of topics duing the course of our get together: naturally a bit about how much we miss Jesika, and what she might make of our current situations in life. But we also talked about the recent death of Michael Jackson, and what role his comfort level with his own blackness played in his downfall. I don't think it is all crazy to remark that Mike obviously had issues with his appearance - strong enough that he was willing to disfigure himself through multiple plastic surgeries. So there you go, a small white woman and a huge African American man discussing what it meant to Michael Jackson to be black. Why not?

We parted on the unusually cool afternoon with a hug in the rain: me on my way to a meeting with a fellow freelance writer, Kevin, his head full with several missions confronting him (career development, finding a new apartment). We kept things loose on this first lunch. Next go around, I am to pick the place. How do I outdo a heavy metal burger joint? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Conversations with Kevin

We are going to try something a little different this week on "Which End is Up!?" My good friend Kevin Smith, whom you may know as the beloved of my recently departed partner in crime, Jesika, has become a blogger in his own right - a pretty good one too. Check him out at It Ain't Hard to Tell.

Kevin's blog was begun as a way to cathartically chronicle his recovery from the loss of Jesika. But over time, it has become about other things too: say, Kevin's obvious love for comic books, and the crappy state of hip hop music.

A couple weeks back, as I was ill and repressed, Kevin suggested that we test out a sort of cross-blog promotion. Once a month, we will meet for lunch and discuss a variety of topics: maybe pop culture or current affairs, maybe a little venting about our various trials and tribulations, with a dash of career development progress. In turn, we will post rundowns of these conversations on our mutual blog platforms. Kevin and I have two very different viewpoints, so the hope is that our meetings trigger some healthy debate, and the involvement of all of our readers.

We are supposed to meet for burgers at noon today. I haven't had red meat in almost three weeks. However, due to a four day bender of PMS-induced gluttony last weekend, I think it will be the salad for Boop.