Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sesame Street Too Sexy?

I may only be twenty-three, but sometimes I feel like a parent of twin daughters. I'll explain. I notice that I see things around me and remark how inappropriate they are considering children see them. There are ads for The Virginity Hit, which is some movie that will undoubtedly bomb at the box office. The various tag lines refer to virginity as a problem or at least something embarrassing. One read, "Still a virgin? We can help." I'm just envisioning my 12-year-old sister seeing this ad and thinking that virginity is something disposable. And in true Ann Daemer (my mom) fashion, I threaten to write letters and complain.

Kids grow up quickly and tweens / teenagers have so many pressures that I didn't face when I was going through that awkward stage of life. There are so many mixed messages and traps for adolescents these days. But you would think that toddlers and young children are exempt from all these corrupting influences? You'd be wrong!

I was making my hourly visit to PerezHilton.com and saw a story on Katy Perry's appearance on Sesame Street. I was intrigued and a little worried. First she's singing "Ur So Gay," which I find offensive and next she exploits girl on girl kissing to gain popularity. How exactly does she fit into the target audience for Sesame Street? She did a re-worked version of her hit, Hot N Cold. I'll admit that it was well-written and showed her brains, but it was her outfit that revealed even more. As you can see from the picture below, this is entirely inappropriate for a children's program. Honestly, what the hell was she thinking? It was the VMAs, it was Sesame Street. Of course parents complained and they banned the clip from ever being aired. Good! If the producers, wardrobe people or Katy herself had used any common sense, she'd have put on a complete outfit.

Maybe I'm conservative. Maybe I'm old-fashioned. But, really - what is the world coming to?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

iHeart my iPhone

I always wanted an iPhone, but never quite thought I'd ever get one. I'd have to save up the money for the phone, switch to AT&T, and figure out a way to pay for the upgraded plan. So I was shocked when an iPhone was practically handed to me on a silver platter.

Here's the story:

I was talking with Dr. Goldstein about the new neuroscience clerkship that we're starting very soon. He said that the medical school would give money to start up the program to buy things for the program. We're going to be putting in a new video monitor in the Yahr library, adding new computers, etc. He asked me if I had a Blackberry or Smartphone of any kind. I didn't. I had the same phone that I had when I was a sophomore in college. He said that we'd get me a Blackberry. I went to make copies of some student evals and thought about the Blackberry. I went back and told him that I appreciated it, but that I was planning on getting on iPhone eventually so getting me a Blackberry wasn't necessary. I'll never forget what and how he said, "Oh, you want an iPhone? We'll get you an iPhone." He said it with this matter-of-fact attitude that I was taken aback.

And tonight I went to the AT&T store near my apartment and got it. The salesman and I went through my plan and protective covers and how the phone works. Then Dr. Goldstein met me there and swiped his card for the full price of the phone. Why would he do this? It has very practical work applications. I can check my email whenever I need and this will allow Dr. Goldstein to better keep in touch with me.

This really shows me what kind of man he is. He is a true mench, which is a Jewish word for a generous person. At least that's what I think it means. He cares about the people works with and wants to see that they are comfortable and happy. He realizes that when employees are taken care of, they tend to be more productive and efficient. I don't know if this was his intention, but he's really earned my loyalty. Not because he bought me something, but because he went out of his way to make sure that I was taken care of. The plan is for him to be reimbursed by the department for the phone, but I don't really think that's going to happen. I think he went into that store tonight with the thought that this phone was going to be paid for at his own expense. And I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and selflessness.

Now the fun begins. I can download apps, watch YouTube, and check my email and Facebook. This phone is really going to change my life. I feel like I've stepped in to the 21st century and I like it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Heart of Silence

After missing two weeks, I decided to go back to All Souls and give it another chance. I hadn't dismissed it after my first service, but I wasn't sure if I would be able to muster the dedication to making it a part of my Sunday routine. I am fairly certain that I will be returning to the congregation week after week.

This week, Minister Galen Guengerich spoke of silence and the lack of it. This is something that I had thought about it in the past. I'd noticed that I constantly seem to be around noise. TV, phone calls, texts, and iPods - it's never ending. I had always thought it was a nuisance, but something one must live with when living in Manhattan. I had not stopped to think about the spiritual / emotional consequences of this constant noise.

Minister Guengerich delved deeper into the spiritual noise and the impact on the mind. You can't really devote your full attention to any one thing if you are managing multiple devices. Compound the several things that you're focusing on with the anticipation of noise (texts, phone calls, knocks at the door). He says that you aren't focusing on anything at all, but you are exhausted.

He doesn't advocate eliminating technology, but rather suggests that we increase the amount of silence in our lives. The world is a noisy place and we can't control it, but we can control certain aspects of lives and we can ensure silence. Rather than listening to music while clean, close iTunes. Instead of watching TV while making breakfast, leave it off and enjoy the peace of the early morning.

After listening to his sermon and realizing the negative effects of being constantly bombarded by noise, I can see the benefits to increasing the time during my day when I can experience silence. It'll be a needed break for my brain and an opportunity to clearly ponder my thoughts and goals and my life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Random letters? Nope. I'll explain. I'll admit that I was left with a bit of an addiction to gambling after Antonio and I's trip to Atlantic City. The thrill of the potential big win is such a rush. Now, everyone knows that the house always wins at a casino so striking it rich is unlikely.

I've found a way to get a similar rush with a more reliable (though not necessarily right now) form of gambling. The stock market! I recently found out that a skin care company that I use just became a publicly traded company. It's a very scientific, yet fashionable company so I figured they'd do very well. Once I started reviewing their stock charts and history I became really interested in some other companies. I still plan on buying their stock, but am going to wait until I can buy a larger quantity, something like 100 shares.

I wanted to find stocks that were really cheap so that I could make a game out of it. I didn't want to invest serious money because I'd be seriously upset if I lost it all. So I used Google to find penny stocks, which are really cheap stocks. I found one company called Golden Valley. The site recommended it as a hot stock, so I began to follow it. It was less than a penny when I first started following it and then rose to 3 cents. Obviously, I won't be making enough to retire on this stock. Eh, that's fine! It'll be fine. I just did my first trade and purchased 250 shares for a total of $3.40 + $9.99 in trading fees. So it's about $14.00 for the rush of gambling. Who knows - maybe they'll discover a new source of energy and it'll take off. At the very least it'll be fun to log on and see how it's doing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Coming Out...For Real

Let's be clear. I came out over four years ago to my immediate family. But the more I think about it, it was really more of a hypothetical coming out. Telling your family that you're gay, but single is like telling them that a change will come in the future. If you're single then nothing really changes. At least that's been my experience. My relationship with my parents did not change because I didn't change who I was, but rather just the person that I'd date in the future.

I made the mistake of telling my mother about my first relationship. It was an unhealthy and complicated partnership, though that doesn't diminish the way I felt while I was in the thick of it. I can fully understand my mother's reluctance to accept him and I don't blame her at all. I was wise and never told my father about the seedy situation.

But now I'm in a relationship with a great guy who is very respectable, clean-cut and someone I would consider to be "wifey material" as Bethenny Frankel's assistant would put it. I don't have to pretend that we're just friends. I don't have to act differently around him. It's a very open and honest relationship and it's something that I'm proud of.

So now the question becomes - how do I come out for real to my parents? Now I'm happy and in a relationship, do I tell them? There is a certain fear that they won't react the way I want. My parents have been very supportive and I love them for that, but they've never been tested in this way. If they don't react as positively as I want, I know that it'll make me mad and resentful. If I feel like they don't want to hear about it, I'll feel like they don't really want to know about my life. And that's a slippery slope. First I keep part of my life to myself and then as Antonio becomes a bigger part of my life, they'd become a smaller part of my life.

I also am kinda angry that I even have to worry about this. I'm gay, not a mass murderer. I shouldn't have to worry that being in love with a guy is something that my parents want me to hide. But, I k now that I'm probably creating a huge situation out of nothing. But, there’s still this nagging thought in the back of my head that just maintain the status quo. But, then I think that's not really fair to Antonio. His mother knows all about me and even invited me to dinner, though we both thought it was a little soon as the time of the invite.

It's a very delicate situation and I'm not exactly sure how to handle it. Coming out in theory was hard, but coming out for real is even harder.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I recently saw a new tab on my BlogSpot dashboard called stats. I was so pleasantly surprised to see that the site keeps all kinds of interesting data on my blog. They track what countries readers are from, where they are coming to the blog from, and lots of other information.

I was pretty surprised to see that I've had readers from countries all over the world. I don't want to blow this out of proportion and think that I'm bigger than I am. But, I do like that I've had over 50 viewers from Canada and even some from Latvia and Hong Kong. I was shocked to learn that I’ve had over 1000 viewers since July.

I blog because I like to express myself and I do it best through writing. I like to look back and see what I thought and felt in the past. It's funny to see how scared I was of the subway and how buying groceries was such a different experience for me in New York. I look forward to continue writing and growing.

The only thing that I things that I think are lacking are comments. I'd love feedback. A lot of my blogs are opinions and questions. If you read it, I'd love to know what you think. I think that I'm pretty smart, but I think that someone who's truly smart can have a dialogue and answer tough questions. So, please feel free to leave feedback.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

American Idiot

One of my dreams came true tonight. I'd always dreamed of going to a Broadway show with my boyfriend. I bought tickets to American Idiot for Antonio's birthday back in August. The show was tonight and it was amazing! I wasn't sure what to expect. I have the Green Day album and loved it, so I thought I'd like the music. At the same time, I wasn't sure how they'd adapt an album into a musical. They did a great job -fantastic music with a very heartfelt story.

Among the highlights were the amazing use of video screens and visual effects. Our society is so engulfed with media so it made sense that television, news reports and pop culture would be a major part of the show. It really makes you step back and consider the reality and negative aspects of the American way of life, which I believe was the mission of the original album.

The ballads (Wake Me Up When September Ends, Boulevard of Broken Dreams) were amazing! The lead was a very talented (and gorgeous) singer and guitar player. The emotion was palpable and the story was so real. It was very interesting to see the three characters and the different paths they choose and the consequences of their actions. There was a lot of heart and deep emotion that shine through the grungy rock exterior.

It was definitely not your typical musical. The music was loud with lots of guitars and drums, the choreography was fast and angry and it definitely was not fabulous. While I still believe that Next to Normal is my favorite musical, American Idiot was a great Broadway experience.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Gambler

I immensely enjoyed my weekend at the Borgata, but I couldn't help but notice the other people. I'd wonder about the other people and think about their lives. We'd wake up, go to breakfast and see people sitting at slot machines, just pushing the buttons over and over. We'd finish playing video poker and head back to our room and see people hunched over at a blackjack table. Seeing them made me sad.

Sure, it's possible (and probable) that they we're enjoying in the same adrenalin rush that I was. But, I couldn't help but wonder if they were lonely. The entire casino floor had a grand, but empty feeling. I know that my grandfather gambled a lot (and lost a lot) after the death of my grandmother. I can't help but see the people at the machines in the same way. I see them and wonder if they're just playing to fill an emptiness. Are they missing someone? Do they have nothing else to beside sit alone at a game? Are they addicted to the feeling of putting $20 bills into the machines? How does that affect their family? God, I need to stop. It's exhausting being inside my head.

After a day of lounging, eating and gambling, it was nice to relax in the hotel room with my head resting on Antonio's chest. It's nice to finally not be lonely.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Go Big or Go Home

I haven't been on a real, adult vacation...ever. I've gone away with my family and visited Radford solo, but I've never done a romantic, couples vacation. I was pretty excited when Antonio proposed going to Atlantic City for an extended weekend getaway. We had a great room with amazing views of the marina and the most stunning bathroom that I'd ever seen. And I've always heard about the first thing couples do when they check into a hotel...it's true.

Of course the main attraction in a casino is to play. I took out the first $20 from the ATM and it didn't last long. I started with the Sex and the City slot machine. That seemed like it'd be the perfect slot machine for me, but it didn't work. I blew through that $20 in about ten minutes. The following day we went back to those slot machines and this big, old lady was going crazy because she was winning. She was jumping up and down and praising the machine. Then the people next to her were rubbing their machines with the lady's handkerchief or something. Antonio and I decided to try the table games. We were so nervous to try blackjack because the lady overseeing the tables seemed like a bitch and we didn't want to look stupid. But we tried and they were both hospitable and helpful. They explained the rules to us and even gave us advice about when to hold and when to hit. We lost the chips that we bought, but it was a fun experience. My last experience with the tables was roulette. I sat at that table like such a beginner. The rules are pretty straight forward, so I felt like I fit in at the table. I bought $20 worth of chips and you have to play at least $10 each hand. I'd lose and then I'd win and then I'd lose and then I'd win. In the end I lost the $20 that I'd started with. But it's fun just to play, though it's going to suck not buying groceries until Thursday. Now I know why they say bet with your head, not over it.

I think that a vacation is really a break from your normal life. My normal life consists of egg whites, tuna salad, and baked chicken. For this trip, I went all out. We did the buffet for dinner one night and breakfast for two mornings. It was incredible. Imagine all your favorite (aka unhealthy) foods and then imagine that you can have all of them and as much as you want. That's exactly what we had! Bananas foster with waffles, hash browns, scrambled eggs, eggs benedict, biscuits with gravy, fresh fruit, bacon and sausage, sounds good doesn't it? But that's not the menu, that's what I ate for breakfast yesterday morning. I rarely (let's just go with never) let myself go like that, so it was really enjoyable. Antonio and I thought about how fat people must not really enjoy their food. We never eat that so the first bite of a crispy, fried shrimp was like nirvana. Even today as we were driving on the New Jersey turnpike, I indulged in my last vacation temptation - a king-sized Payday and Reese's Sweet and Salty bar. But, alas, tomorrow it's back to oatmeal and almonds.

The best part of the trip was all the time I got to spend with Antonio. Dating in New York is great, but being together all the time in the real world is a big test. It was a big step in our relationship and I think it couldn't have gone better. When we were lounging by the pool, I was reading the Star. They had six different photos of Katy Perry in various promotional appearances. I picked my favorite and asked if Antonio could guess my favorite look. It really surprised but he picked it out on the first guess. We really bonded over video poker. Neither of us were 100% sure of the rules for poker, but we figured it out. With the help of the onscreen tutorials and some online hints on Antonio’s Blackberry, we handled ourselves alright. He played so much on those machines. We would get so excited when he'd get three of a kind of two pair, which is like really low hands. We looked like a bunch of queens, but it was so much fun!

Lora and I always used to say go big or go home. I went big and lost some money, but I went home while riding in the passenger seat in my amazing boyfriend's car so I feel like I came home a winner :-)

Friday, September 3, 2010


Antonio and I will be saying goodbye to summer in style. We're going to Atlantic City and staying at the posh Borgata hotel, which is where they filmed the Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion. I have very high hopes for this trip. I'm going into with this naive belief that I'm going to strike it rich, though I'd be happy if I break even. I've never gambled much, but I know how addicting it can be. Let's hope I don't double or nothing until I have nothing.

This trip also makes me nervous. 4 days! We'll be together for four days. That brings up, for me, a lot of logistical issues. Where am I going to go to the bathroom? I would think I'd go to the lobby like I've done in the past, but that seems ridiculous. Oh, being inside my head is exhausting.

I think this is a good step for us. It's like the next step - the first trip. I'm just looking forward to having fun with the guy that I love. We'll relax by the pool, gamble, eat and drink, and RELAX. I feel like I need to recharge. My body is sore and tired from the constant New York pace and hardcore workouts. This little vacation is exactly what I need.