Thursday, August 27, 2009

Like a Cheesy Low-Rent DJ, I Take Requests!

Just two days after embarking on this scary new endeavor, I've been overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement you guys have already shown me.

While staring stupidly at a blank page for the past hour, it's dawned on me that one of many reasons I haven't started a blog until now has been that I'm not too adept at coming up with ideas of what to write about. (Some may snark that I'm not too adept at the actual writing part either, but that's for another post!) A few of you have emailed me with terrific suggestions for future topics, all of which I plan to shamelessly steal and claim as my own ;)

While my knowledge of most topics is, at best, terribly limited (let's take a quick moment to mourn the copious amount of brain cells I've killed off over the years!), I'd love to write entries that are of some interest to YOU, my tremendously awesome readers. Please feel free to suggest anything that springs to those fine minds of yours, though don't be offended if I'm too clueless or lazy to ever actually write your proposed entry.

Meanwhile, please forward this blog to everyone and anyone who might enjoy it and be willing to follow it, as I am eager to take over the cyber universe---or, perhaps more realistically, to just have a slightly larger pool of readers kind enough to at least pretend to enjoy my work ;)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Proudly Obliterating Brain Cells Since '74

It happens to all of us. You meet a seemingly awesome person who turns out to harbor a friendship-ruining flaw. Maybe they hold socio-political ideas that are scarily similar to the ones embraced by your friendly neighborhood Unabomber. Maybe they're venturing out of their mother's basement for the first time since poor Monica Lewinsky and her penchant for 'cigars' was still considered timely and witty fodder for talk show hosts everywhere . Maybe they're one of those people still doing keg stands at their old fraternity house despite being on the wrong side of 25. Or maybe, just maybe, you've had the misfortune to cross paths with (*shudder*) an anti-television crusader.

I'm not referring to people who simply choose not to spend their time in front of the affectionately dubbed 'idiot box.' I'm talking about those who proudly and loudly declare their disdain of the medium as if it were indicative of intellectual and moral superiority.

"I have better things to do with my time," sniffed one self-proclaimed Anti-Television Activist.

Oh. Well, I'm happy for you and all, but-

"And so, may I add, should YOU. It kills off brain cells, you know." She punctuated this warning with a swig of her fourth martini (extra dry, natch) which, if my admittedly limited knowledge of biology is correct, is not exactly known to replenish the brain cells about which she'd just expressed such grave concern.

To be fair (which we all know takes a concerted effort on my part!), this particular booze hound did have a point. Certainly, the airwaves are clogged with programming that's neither educational nor entertaining, and when subjected to shows like "Who Wants to Marry a Drug-Addicted, Philandering Hobo", it's hard to deny that we could all spend our time on more worthwhile and enriching pursuits.

But there's just one small obstacle preventing me from turning off my 'boob tube' and prancing off to cure cancer or single-handedly eradicate global warning...I truly, madly, deeply (did I just bring back memories of that ghastly song?!) love television.

It's an unfairly derided, surprisingly rich medium that allows us to explore characterizations, storylines and themes to an extent that neither film nor even literature allows. TV grants us the luxury of getting to know a group of compelling people across time and watching them confront a wide variety of situations; some of which we can identify with and relate to all too well, and others which are comfortably far-fetched enough to provide a welcome diversion from our own bland reality. We spend time with our favorite TV people on a weekly (or, if you rewatch with the embarrassing frequency that I do, DAILY) basis. If you have as, um, 'tame' a social life as I do, you just may end up spending more time visiting with some of these TV characters than you do with your real life friends, most of whom are too busy with their own lives and perhaps nurturing their own secret TV addictions to get together with such comforting regularity.

Contrary to what the militant anti-TV crusaders might warn you, TV doesn't have to be an isolating, anti-social activity. In fact, TV has helped me bond with co-workers and acquaintances with whom I have precious little else in common. Nothing breaks the proverbial ice quite like bonding over how fed up we are with the perma-smirking, smarmy 'McDreamy' and how few of America's Next Top Model contestants are actually, like, remotely attractive. The Internet has also helpfully enabled and deepened my addiction, connecting me with surprisingly fascinating people all over the world who enjoy analyzing, gushing over, criticizing and just plain geeking out about our common shows. In other words, TV has actually enhanced my social life rather than dampening it.

Okay, now brace yourselves for my most profound analysis to date: TV viewing is just plain fun. (*If only I could hear those gasps of awe as you all marvel at my unique insight*). Whether or not you're content with the current state of your life, there's no denying that most have us have days that can only be described as dull, dreary, depressing and probably a myriad of other less-than-idyllic adjectives beginning with 'd'. TV provides a reliably effective diversion, however fleeting. It allows us to laugh over Dwight Schrute's amusing instability rather than dwelling on our own irritating and all too real co-workers. It provides us with a small but much-needed ego boost as we smugly observe that at least our own romantic relationships are healthier than the one between...well, between any characters on any show ever to air on HBO ;)

I've spent a lot of my waking hours watching and subsequently dissecting TV shows. The anti-TV activists would use me as a poster child for how to most tragically waste one's time and potential, but I prefer to feel grateful that I've found a form of entertainment that provides such a reliable diversion and mood-boost. Some TV even ranks among the most thought-provoking, cerebral art---yes, ART, that's not a typo!---to which I've ever been exposed.

This is an awfully long-winded way of preparing you guys for the fact that a heavy percentage of my blog entries are likely to revolve around TV. (Hmmmm, how come my follower count just decreased so dramatically?!)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some more brain cells to mercilessly assassinate!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fascinating Fantasies of a Female Football Fan

I guess the first thing I should clarify is that this post really doesn't detail any of my fantasies (you can all breathe that sigh of relief now!), and referring to this exploration of my fandom as 'fascinating' is pretty grandiose. Honestly, I'm not sure that even 'of mild interest' would be an accurate assessment. But, as you'll probably discover if you stick with this blog, I'm excessively fond of alliteration...hence the title ;)

Okay, so on select Sundays of every year, you can find me curled up on the corner of my sofa in a fetal position. I'm too distraught to formulate coherent sentences, but occasionally a plaintive moan escapes my lips (when said lips aren't busily wrapped around something chocolate and fattening, that is). It's not because I dread returning to work the next day, though I most assuredly do. It's not because I've just gone through a particularly heart-wrenching guy-related drama, though certainly with my tumultuous romantic history, that can never be ruled out as a possibility. No, the key to why I've temporarily morphed into an immobile mute on these special Sundays can be found on your TV or on any one of a zillion sports-centric websites.

I'm a football fan, and unlike many members of the team I root for (you know, the guys who actually PLAY the game rather than sitting on their well-exercised butts watching it), I do not lose with grace. When my team loses, *I* lose a little something as well. I lose the hope that I'll be able to vicariously revel in their triumphs. I lose the satisfaction of knowing that this team---'my' team---is worth the emotional and financial investment I've made in them. I lose my voice after hours of futile screaming at the TV. (Because, clearly, the team would be far better off if they followed my ill-informed, somewhat hysterical ideas of how to proceed in any given situation). I lose...well, okay, by some measures of clinical assessment, you could argue that I lose a tiny bit of my sanity as well.

Is this a measured, logical or even remotely rational response to watching a group of people I don't know throw and kick a strangely shaped ball around a little less skillfully than another group of people I don't know? To quote my beloved Emerson Cod of the dearly lamented show Pushing Daisies: "Hell, no!" As other people afflicted with the chronic disease of fandom can attest to, however, a fan in the throes of a heartbreaking defeat loses all perspective. One disappointing game---perhaps even one disappointing PLAY of one game--confirms all our worst fears that the team we've invested our hopes in were unworthy of our optimism, our support and the $25 we spent on the grossly overpriced snacks they serve at the stadium.

As I've mentioned, fandom is a chronic condition. Once you've contracted this disease, you're never truly cured. Your emotions will forever be at the mercy of these athletes who are paid obscene amounts of money to...well, to play games. And, in between playing those games, they're sometimes paid even more obscene amounts of money to sell us sneakers and hair growth products and even underwear. (Don't ask...if you don't know the commercials to which I'm referring, consider yourself fortunate!)

Why do we willingly ride the emotional roller coaster of fandom when we could devote our free time to far more soothing, less blood-pressure-elevating activities? Well, partially because most of us harbor a stronger streak of masochism than we're willing to admit ;) But there are also the undeniable joys of being a fan, some of which can compensate for the heartbreak. There's the constant excitement, the far from constant but richly savored moments of triumph, and, perhaps most importantly, the eternal hope. Our teams, just like our lives, may always be just on the verge of getting better.

Oh, and those $10 hot pretzels really ARE awfully delicious ;)

Blogging: Creative Self-Expression or Narcissism?!

*tiptoes hesitantly into my own thread* Welcome! I'm happy and flattered that you're taking the time to read my thoughts, particularly as they tend to border on the rambling and incoherent ;)

At the risk of getting way too 'meta' here, this first blog entry focuses on...well, on blogging itself. What's our motivation for doing it? Is it an attempt to connect with both friends and strangers who may share our interests and empathize with our views of this endlessly weird world? Is it to vent our feelings and beliefs so that we can achieve that 'catharsis' much lauded by mental health professionals? Are we seeking to relate to others or to figure something out about ourselves? Are we bloggers (a title for which I barely qualify, given that I'm yet to complete one entry!) a bit grandiose for assuming we have a unique perspective and insight that the cyber-universe will find entertaining and/or enriching?

As always, my own motivations remain nebulous to me. Hey, just because I spend an inordinate amount of time ruminating and analyzing doesn't mean I ever gain any actual self-awareness ;) Part of me is writing this blog because writing is my true passion. It's the one activity that I always find stimulating and fulfilling and which makes me feel genuinely thrilled to be alive. Yes, to answer your unspoken question, I find it even more stimulating and fulfilling and life-affirming than that other activity you may be thinking of---the one we see an awful lot of on HBO and the sort of programs you can only access on pay-per-view;) Now, get your collective minds out of the gutter that I've unwittingly led them to!

In marked contrast to my never-quite-finished novel, maybe writing blog entries will provide me with a 'woo-hoo, I actually completed something!' sense of accomplishment. Maybe they'll spark a few interesting and/or amusing discussions. Maybe they'll help me connect on an even deeper level with the people I already know and introduce me to a few potential cyber-friends I've yet to meet. Maybe there will be benefits I'm not yet anticipating.

I'm eager to hear from you (yes, YOU---all two or three people whom I've coerced into reading this entry!) Have you found blogging to be a worthwhile activity, or a self-indulgent waste of time? Which sort of blogs do you find most enjoyable to read? Oh, and are you perhaps interested in reading about a 35 y/o's thoughts on everything from being a female football addict to the perils of Internet dating to why my addiction to TV deepens by the week? On the remote chance that you answered 'yes' to that final question, this is so very much the blog for you ;)