Thursday, October 28, 2004

gogol ganguli...

i've recently discovered swimming as my favorite new form of exercise. i randomly walked into the (relatively) new health club in my neighborhood two sundays ago with a couple from the neighborhood who i've become good friends with. the health club is literally a 5 minute walk from my house. i shied away from it before because i couldn't justify paying $50/month to become a member of a gym when i have workout equipment on the top floor of my condo building as well as a small gym at the basement of my office building. but once i got there and saw the beautiful junior olympic size pool, i ended up swimming for a good 2 hours!

i realized then how much i enjoy swimming (not competitively) and enjoyed myself so tremendously that i signed up to become a member right away! justification out the window! the fact that i found a form of exercise that i actually enjoy made me very happy! i've since been swimming 4 times a week for an hour each time. then i cap it off with a good 20 minutes in the steamroom. i'm not sold yet on the hygenic attributes of steamrooms, but damn that shit feels good! at first, i have to admit, i was a little scared to go in. i felt claustrophobic almost immediately and chickened out. but my 62 year old neighbor/friend literally came out and insisted that i go back in. he held my hand (yes, i know.. i felt like a child) and led me back into the steamroom and at first i found it hard to take a deep breath, but was comforted by the fact that he was sitting next to me, and that i could see just enough to make my way to the door if the claustrophobia got too bad. you see, i'm extremely claustrobhobic, and the thing about claustrophobes is that we always have to have an exit strategy available and in plain sight. otherwise panic sets in and then it's all over.

so yeah.. swimming is great exercise. i'm hoping this new obsession will help me shed some excess flab. and so far, it hasn't gotten boring. let's hope that continues.

on another note, as many of you may or may not know, the gay games are coming to chicago in july, 2006. i just recently found out that billiards is one of the sports included in the competition!!! i'm seriously thinking about signing up for it. i have a little less than two years to prepare for it, and considering i now have a table in my own house, i have no excuse not to..

it's kinda exciting.. just to be a part of something like that! i think i may go for it..

let's see.. what else? oh.. i randomly picked up "the namesake" by jhumpa lahiri the other day at borders. i flipped to the first page and saw the word "bengali" in it and was sold by the time i got through the second page. it's a fantastic read! i'm so diggin' it right now. she very amazingly taps into the intricacies of bengali culture and describes and translates various bengali words, situations, etc. with such detail and familiarity and at times subtle, yet hilarious humor. it's rare that i find a book with which i can relate so well! not only that, but the characters in this novel are kolkata (f/k/a calcutta) bengalis who just happen to live in boston! how amazingly familiar is that to my life!? kolkata bengalis are slightly different from bangladeshi bengalis. we're all a part of the same region, you see.. only divided by a line that separates india from bangladesh. and i've always been interested in the subtle disparities between the two "bengalis", but from what i've read so far in her book, there aren't too many aside from the obvious hinduism that is prevalent in kolkata. ms. lahiri herself is a kolkata bengali which explains much of the knowledge behind her uncanny descriptions of the bengali cultures and traditions that make up her book.

i absolutely love this book! in two nights, i've gotten through almost half of the 291 page paperback! i can't wait to finish it and then get started on her first book "interpreter of maladies" which is a collection of short stories that won her the pulitzer prize...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

"what my worry is is that, you know, it looks like it's from canada, and it might be from a third world.."

i am really glad that the presidential debates are over. really. i mean, i watched all three of them with great interest, and at the end of the day i'm left with thoughts of presidential candidates who have a very limited vocabulary. if you look closely at the transcripts of all three debates, you'll notice that several issues were handled (by both candidates) with the same responses and same wording over and over again...

it really annoys me sometimes. it makes the skin on my forehead crinkle which causes my eyebrows to bunch up together and forces a sigh from my mouth and a nodding of my head, all the while thinking.. wow.. both of these guys are yale graduates, yet they can't seem to get past all the catch phrases and unimaginative words to describe their policies.

and then every so often my ears perk up because someone says something different, like: "a plan is not a litany of complaints..", or "in his last litany of misstatements.."

ooooh... big word!

but then right after the debate i hear bush's advisor use the same word, and then all of a sudden i'm not so impressed anymore.

i know.. i'm making a big deal over vocabulary which shouldn't really be an issue. but it is dammit! the more you really believe something, the more you should be capable of describing it in many different ways. there's no need for memorization! there's no reason why two intelligent yale graduates who are vying for the spot of "leader of the free world" can't articulate themselves well enough not to be repetitive! i mean, really... what gives?

ok, so now to the meat of last night's debate. they sure did cover a ton of different topics last night, didn't they? let's see..

homeland security
flu shots/health care
outsourcing american jobs
roe v. wade
minimum wage
social security
ban on assault weapons
affirmative action
a nation united
the women in their lives

that's quite a bit for a 90 minute session, don't you think? but i liked it.. i liked the fact that they weren't harping on one topic for too long. and the questions asked were really good.. really solid questions. not questions that allowed you to beat around the bush which, actually, the president is really good at beating around the bush (pun intended) wouldn't you say?

i found it really, really interesting, that the two questions the president completely and totally avoided answering were the ones in regard to overturning roe v. wade, and affirmative action. essentially, women and minorities. that's really interesting to me. and it really solidifies my opinion that he really doesn't care about us.

but i will admit this, and i'm not totally certain how i feel about it yet on a social level, but i agreed with the president when he commented about immigration and giving amnesty to "illegal aliens" by saying "there are plenty of people standing in line to become a citizen. and we ought not to crowd these people ahead of them in line", these people of course being illegal "aliens". on a personal level, i agree with this because i myself am a victim of an over-extended immigration system. i applied for permanent residency (not citizenship) well over four years ago, and have been waiting and waiting and waiting. and i really have no fucking idea how much longer i'll need to wait. so yeah.. amnesty for illegal "aliens" chaps me a little bit because it's taking the immigration authorities' attention away from folks like me and several others i know, who've gone through the relentless and tiresome and lengthy process of doing things the "right way". it just doesn't seem fair.

however, i'm not one to allow my personal experiences to cloud my judgement of the experiences of others which is why i'm not sold on getting rid of amnesty entirely.

another interesting issue that i thought the president clearly shied away from was affirmative action, and the need for it. kerry did a good job of admitting and even acknowledging the fact that yes, there is indeed a need for it. that discrimination still exists. bush didn't even go there. he didn't even acknowledge the needs of women and minorities. all he did was start talking about how people need to be educated.

"do you realize today in america, we spend $73 billion to help 10 million low- and middle-income families better afford college? that's the access i believe is necessary, is to make sure every child learns to read, write, add and subtract early, to be able to build on that education by going to college so they can start their careers with a college diploma."

now, this strikes me in two different ways. first of all, yes.. education, for the most part, is the foundation from which people grow in this society. however i'm struck by the implication of the presidents comments, that all people who benefit from affirmative action are somehow not educated enough.. which brings me to the focal point of my annoyance with some people's perception of affirmative action, and possibly some people's application of affirmative action.. which is that somehow being a beneficiary of affirmative action means that you were less than, but because of your skin color or your gender, you managed to slide in. of course we all know that was never the intention behind the program, but unfortunately it has become a common perception among many non-minorities. and the president's response proved this. yes, we need better education programs at minority schools, and yes we need to start with children on a going forward basis.. but what about the minorities and women who are applying for jobs and colleges and loans and housing now?

moving on, now.. because, you know.. i could talk about the plight of women and minorities all day long.

i'm not sure how i felt about kerry using cheney's daughter's name when responding to the question of whether or not homosexuality is a choice. eh.. i take that back.. i am sure how i felt.. i didn't like it. edwards used her name during his debate with cheney as well. what gives? just because she's an out lesbian doesn't make the use of her name fair game for debate discussions! did they get her permission to use her name in the debates? if not, they should have. i think that was pretty fucking weird if you ask me. and i don't care if it's because she's related to the vp. it's just weird. it's unnecessary.

and why the fuck would anyone ever need and assault weapon if not to bring harm to another person?

woah, where did that come from?

ok, so we all know where my allegiance lies (even though i can't vote), despite my disappointment with a few of kerry's remarks. but he really made up for it with his last comment about "marrying up". that's was damn funny.

still, he could've been more aggressive. he could've taken advantage of some of the stupid shit bush was saying. he could've made bush look even dumber had he pointed out, as i did, the flaws in his affirmative action argument among others. there were several missed opportunities. it's unfortunate he didn't seize them.

Monday, October 11, 2004

i bet you taste like dark chocolate, only sweeter..

being single again hasn't quite hit me yet. maybe it's because c and i still see each other quite a bit, although not in a romantic or intimate sense. we're still friends, which is a great thing, but it sort of makes me hesitate when it comes to dating again. i guess you could say i'm still carrying around some baggage.

i haven't been to the bars in a long, long, time. not that that's ever been my pick up spot of choice, though i must admit most of my dates with women have resulted from us meeting at a (gay) bar. in fact, there was one bar in particular where i met three of the women i dated (including c). but outside of gay bars, i find it somewhat difficult to approach women because sometimes it's hard to tell whether or not they're.. you know.. gay! i guess i'm just shy like that.

but there's a beautiful, dark-skinned lovely that works at a store in my neighborhood. she's got the greatest smile and the most amazing complexion. i've had my eye on her for a while, only, i have no idea if she's family. it's a tad frustrating, and while my gaydar is normally on point, i'm not really sure what my gaydar is telling me about her.

i may have to do some investigating..


right.. so.. i saw her staff profile at the store.. she's into "fine dining, fine wine and fine men"... with her fine ass.

oh well.. they can't all be gay, now can they?!

note to self: if you're not really sure what your gaydar is telling you, chances are it's telling you she's straight.. you just don't want to hear it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

nip/tuck is a wonderfully trashy show...

this is just a quick entry to let all you readers know that i've finally posted at my spin-off blog called "chotpoti" which i'll use to share some of my short stories with you. some are fictional, some are not.

feel free to leave comments, critiques, etc..

on another note.. i took the day off work today to be home for a couch delivery and it arrived with two major parts missing. how annoying is that? so i called customer service to bitch about it and got $50 off my order.