3 Topics x 5 Comments = 1 Column

5 Reasons I Have Been Remiss in Article Writing During the Past Few Months:

1. We bought a house/condo/unit/whatever-you-want-to-call-it and moved in. The stress of this should be self-explanatory. It also de-motivates you for a period of time to do anything aside from shopping for things for the new house ("Oooh, that would be great for the new place..."/"What cute trivets!" /"These apples look so real! Wouldn't they look good in a decorative bowl on the dining room table?" and keeping the new house clean, which essentially means that I am armed at all times with a combination of 409, Fantastik , Windex and a vacuum cleaner.

2. Work. For some reason, I find myself generally concentrating on my career, every so often coming up for air and going through the following thought process: "What am I doing? Am I a fool? All this extra work and I'm still getting paid dick! I'm an idiot. That's it. I'm not staying late any more. But what if it will all pay off at the end of the road? I think I'll take on some extra projects." And so the cycle continues.

3. No one around here has a web site. No one does! The web is not that big in Connecticut. A lot of people don't even have computers at home. Whenever I regale someone with tales of living in the mysterious and esoteric dot-com haven that is San Francisco, and I tell them that nearly everyone has a website, or writes for a website, or publishes a web-zine or online journal, they give me looks of bewilderment and wonder. "Really?" they say. "Oh, wow. Why?" And then I tell them that it's the only good way to keep up with one another's lives, but out here I guess they do that the old fashioned way. The only time I hear of anyone surfing the web it's to get an airline fare from Priceline, get directions from Mapquest, or read the sports news on ESPN. com. Sigh.

4. The web is a giant capitalist billboard, full of selfishness and self-promotion. I recently went onto the 'net with a mission: to find information on work teams, team dynamics and team building, for work (of course.) Every site that I found in my search offered one or two paragraphs of good information, but as I scrolled down further, I would get the same general message: "If you want to finds out more, click here to buy the book/order the videotape/sign up for the seminar." What happened? Since when is every website just a virtual storefront? If it's not someone's resume, it's someone's independently-owned business, or someone's invention, or just a site which hawks every beauty product under the sun. Or a site with the sole purpose of advertising other sites! Me, me, me! Look at me! I've placed ads in newspapers, taken out ads in magazines, recorded spots for radio, and now I'm conquering cyberspace! Look ma! I can reach millions! I'll be discovered, I'll be popular, I'll be rich! I want my slice of the dot-com pie, god-damn it! This is disturbing, especially when you consider that back in the day, the main purpose of the internet was to promote the free and easy exchange of knowledge and information.

5. I am not as bitter and hostile as I once was, more specifically when I was living in San Francisco. Much of my previous writing stemmed from my hatred of San Francisco. Since we moved back east not as much pisses me off. I haven't been able to get really riled up about anything aside from the occasional tiff with a co-worker or the terrible Connecticut drivers (which is weird. Am I getting too mellow? Do I no longer have an "edge"?) Either I can't come up with a topic because it's already been done to death, or I find that I only have about 5 sentences worth of convincing thoughts on the subject, or after it tinkers around my head for a day or so it all of a sudden seems really dumb. Politics? Blah. Reality TV? What hasn't been said? The series finale of Beverly Hills 90210? Donna Martin just seems so...1999 at this point.


5 Reasons that I am glad that we moved into our new place:

1. The wildlife stays outside. There are no longer squirrels, or mice, or rats, or whatever it was in our previous ceiling in our new ceiling, mostly because we have no ceiling, as we now live on the second floor of a building which is not a house, but rather a building full of condo units.

2. The silence. We cannot hear any of our neighbors (due to damn good soundproofing) at all, which is in stark contrast to our previous apartment, where we could hear everything our downstairs neighbors did, including hearing their telephone conversations, hearing them argue, hearing their CD collection (which included repetitive listenings of the 101 Most Beloved Christmas Carols during the entire month of December), hearing exactly what TV show they had on (they favored Friends, the Sopranos, and once in a while Ally McBeal, but not too often, and besides the fact that we could hear their TV loud and clear, they used a different cable TV service than us so when we did watch the same shows - like the Sopranos - their TV volume would be cranked as usual, making it all the more evident that their broadcast of the Sopranos was about a second ahead of our broadcast of the Sopranos, so we'd hear everything that was said on their TV a second ahead of what was said on our TV, which gets really annoying really quickly), hearing their dog barking, hearing them talk baby talk to the dog ("Who's a good dog? Who's a good dooo-oo-g?"), hearing them vacuum and/or rearrange their entire apartment at 9:00 AM on random Sunday mornings, and hearing them have sex (that was actually kind of funny).

3. No more Jewel. Our previous female downstairs neighbor was very fond of Jewel -- usually at full blast. There's nothing like a little acoustic warbling to get you out of bed bright and early on a Saturday morning. "Who will say-ee-ayve your soul..." over and over and over again.

4. No more trips to the laundromat every two weeks. I have yet to get used to the fact that I can wash any piece of clothing any time I want to. I definitely do not miss having to wait in line at the bank to get $10.00 worth of quarters.

5. Not dreading coming home at the end of the day, as I often did at our old apartment. Due to the bat scares we had, and also because the place was in general disrepair, it was depressing to come home to that cramped, 3rd floor apartment. Now we are bat-free (knock on wood), with a dry-cleaning service and newspaper delivery to our door to boot!


5 Reasons I have bid The Gap Corporation adieu:

1. The word "Stretch" on all of their labels. Evidently, everything the Gap carries is now made out of a stretchy, spandex-y-like material which clings to your body like a second skin which, if you are 15 years old, flat-chested, hip-deficient and a general size 2 is no problem , but if you're looking at 30 and weigh more than 155 pounds is just not good, not good at all. How may times must I bring a simple button-down shirt which looks like it should certainly fit into a dressing room only to find out that I can barely button the thing without it sproinging all over the place? I just want some clothes to wear to work! (This goes for Express as well, a store which I used to buy most of my work clothes, which now only sells outfits fit to go disco-ing in Cancun.)

2. Old Navy - It's Crap. I recently went into an Old Navy which had turned into an Old Navy Clearance Outlet. How much lower can you go? As it is, Old Navy sells shoddily-sewn clothing which rips, unevenly shrinks, and otherwise falls apart in no time flat. Now you can get "as-is" shoddily-sewn clothes and shoddily-sewn clothes with gaudy colors and funny stains. But, at only $5.00 for a T-shirt, I guess some people can't complain.

3. They can't seem to find the steamer thing. Even the clothes on the Old Navy website are wrinkled! On the website! At least spare some computer-generated airbrushing to make them look presentable on the website!

4. The sewing talent of the Third World. You can try on 4 pairs of the same pair of pants at Old Navy, all the same size, all the same style, all the same color, yet every single pair will fit differently. You'll think you have the wrong size, but no! My favorite Old Navy faulty-pair-of-pants scenario is trying on a pair of pants only to find that one side grips your butt cheek, while the other side fits normally. Ah, slave labor!

5. Where're all the wardrobe staples at? You can no longer walk into the Gap, the once-considered king of casual, affordable, yet hip-and-stylish clothing and buy a simple plain cotton T-shirt with no stretchy fabric and no pocket on the front. It does not exist. Nor do shorts with more than a one-inch inseam. Nor do comfortable, non-stretchy, non-skintight jeans. This is distressing. Does hip now equal form-fitting?