Friday, February 25, 2005

you win some, you lose some..

today, friday, is a really weird day for me. it started off weird with an unexpected phone call in the middle of the night which then led to some really, really weird and crazy dreams. i can't get into details behind the phone call, but let's just say it didn't leave me in the best of spirits, and it's carrying over into today. i'm a little saddened actually.

but it's friday, so i'll make the most of it. my social calendar for the weekend is way too hectic for my own good, and it wasn't really planned that way.. shit just sort of started presenting itself. it also doesn't help that it's tax season and i'm busy as hell.

speaking of tax season, for the first time in my life, i owe money to the irs. and it ain't chump change. i'm pretty annoyed. i was looking forward to a refund. you think maybe if i started one of those paypal thingies, i could get 1,500 visitors to donate $1 each between now and april 15th? yeah, i didn't think so either.

i want to get this really badly. i want to sell my honkin' huge 51 cd changer stereo and just buckle down and get it. it'll take up practically no space, it'll even be portable, and when you think about it, it's actually quite genious. and i've never owned anything bose before..

if you haven't heard ani difranco's new album, knuckle down, you probably should (if you dig ani that is). i like it. there are several songs on there that i love, but i'd have to say manhole and knuckle down are my favorites. she's playing two shows in chi this weekend, but i'll be catching the sunday night show at the intimate vic theater. here's hoping all the annoying teeny bopper fans will be at the saturday show at the auditorium theater..

i saw million dollar baby last weekend. it was very moving. i was very moved. i'm glad i saw it but.. it was hard. next up, hotel rwanda.. but i really have to prepare myself for a movie like that. speaking of genocide.. check out the link on the side bar for info on how you can help with the crisis in darfur. i wasn't really interested in jumping on the wristband bandwagon, but this cause is definitely one i'd join the trend for.. it's seemingly the most overlooked and urgent issue in the world today. too bad they don't have gold mines or diamonds in darfur. if they did, there might be u.s. and other western troops over there as we speak, helping to end the violence. there are other ways to help besides wearing a wristband so follow the link if you'd like more info.

i played poker with some friends the other night.. texas holdem.. it was a lot of fun despite losing $10. i'm learning all the lingo now.. blinds, flops, etc.. the good thing, though, is that i'm supposed to be joining some co-workers for a serious game next weekend.. so it was good for me to get in my first round with folks that actually didn't mind teaching me the game without taking advantage of my novice. the co-workers on the other hand are sure to be brutal.

how's the smoking going you might ask? i don't know. i'm revisiting day 2 for the 12th time. i didn't smoke all day yesterday. i even went out to a bar with a friend and managed not to smoke at all (she's trying to quit too). there were about 12 different instances when i could've easily tried to bum one off someone, but i resisted. i kept telling myself that if i could get past an evening at a bar without smoking, then i'm two steps further than usual.. and i did it. not one drag. and actually, the beer tasted different without a cigarette. it tasted good. tonite i have a dinner invitation to hang out with some bengali friends. the nice thing is that none of them smoke, so hopefully it'll be an easy night for me.

i've made a lot of new friends in the past few weeks.. and it's nice.. i'm surprised at my own openness in doing so, as well. i'm usually really shy and introverted, but lately that hasn't been the case. i suppose after my other friend fucked me over a few weeks ago i realized that in life, sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

brace yourself...

my teeth are jacked up. so says my dentist. well, not all of them.. just a select few.

i hate when you go to the dentist with one issue and come out with 12. i mean.. after my tooth extraction in december, i figured all i had to do was get a bridge to close the grand canyon gap in the back left side of my mouth, but i wanted to wait until i got back from vacation to do it. but then i got lazy. so in the meantime, i've been chewing all of my food almost exclusively on the right side of my mouth... until of course my right jaw starting hurting in the middle of the night a couple of nights in a row. so armed with my layman's understanding of dentistry i concluded that i probably needed to go ahead and get that bridge so i could go back to chewing on both sides like normal human beings.

so i went to the dentist this morning (a new dentist at that, because i hated the guy i went to before) and after doing a full set of 18 x-rays and a physical check of my teeth and gums, he pretty much dismissed the chewing factor as the reason behind my jaw aches. he said that my bite was off, and probably has been for years and years and that the only way to fix that would be to get.. (yikes!!) braces. he'd have to do some work on a few cavity-ridden teeth first before i go to the orthodontist, but it could happen as soon as the middle of this year.

now, truth be told, my shit should've been in braces back in the stone age when i was a teenager. but i never really cared. my parents sort of didn't care either, and i guess i don't blame them entirely.. only a little bit though.. cuz i mean, what the fuck do i know about scheduling regular dental check ups when i'm a teenager?! i'm pretty sure i had way more important things on my mind at the time.. like how to score a duran duran poster in exchange for a glow in the dark pen, for instance.

but that's ok. i suppose it's far better to get braces at the age of 32 when i'm secure and stable and not worried about public opinion, rather than as an immature, self-conscious teen. i mean.. fuck it.. if tom cruise can do it, then so can i dammit!

but maaaan, braces and psoriasis? all the ladies will be lining up to get a piece of me.. i can just see it right now!

perhaps i should scope out a girlfriend before the braces come in (shh.. don't tell anyone i said that!). then if she leaves me after i get braces i can blame her for being trifling and superficial! ;)

Saturday, February 19, 2005


so, perhaps i'm not completely comprehending how i-tunes gets their music/licensing/whatever that allows me to buy tunes for my ipod for the low price of 99c... but i'm a little disenchanted with a couple of things.

first of all, how the hell do they have "partial" albums?? did they just get lazy or run out of money and decide not to buy the license for the "whole" album?

and while the concept of i-tunes certainly has its merits, i'm a bit baffled at why they wouldn't have a particular artist's entire collection.. i mean.. again, perhaps i just don't understand how they get the rights to the music... for example, (purely hypothetical example here) does prince decide to let i-tunes sell lovesexy and not purple rain ?

another issue: i really dig ub40's version of many rivers to cross, and i-tunes literally has 40 different artist's versions of it.. but not ub40's.

and finally, i'm in absolute shock and horror at the fact that they do not have a single song by gil scott heron. can i get "the bottle" please? please???!!!


Thursday, February 17, 2005

smoke free: day 2 - revisited

hmm.. yes.. well.. ahem.

i didn't last very long at pool league. i tried. i really did. every time one of my teammates lit up a cigarette i cringed in my seat trying really hard not to ask for one. but you see, the problem with not asking for one, is that it then becomes the one thing you constantly think about until you finally do ask for one and subsequently light up. it's like the thought of that one cigarette, just a small request away, consumes your entire being and prevents you from being able to concentrate on anything else. your brain becomes fixated.

so you justify it a million different ways. "just one" you say, and that's it. or "i can't be that hard on myself.. maybe i can allow myself one once in a while", or "i wish i could just be a social smoker, dammit!". see....? it's the easiest thing in the world to justify having a cigarette. and so i did. i finally broke down and asked for one.

did i enjoy it, you ask? eh.. sort of. after almost two days of not smoking it feels a little weird, but it really doesn't take long to get used to it all over again. and so i had yet another one that same night. and then i chided myself for doing it because it essentially brought me back to square one. that's the problem with trying to quit smoking. it's so easy to get back to square one, yet it's so hard to get several days of abstinence under your belt.

so.. i'm back at day 2. only, tonight i have plans with some friends to go see a play at the steppenwolf called intimate apparel. normally it would be cool, except they're smokers, and we're meeting for drinks before hand and that is always a dangerous spot for an ex-smoker to be in. but can i really even truly call myself an ex-smoker yet? no. not really. maybe if i can go by for a year without smoking..

perhaps two days from now, i'll be revisiting this revisit. who knows? what i do know though is that just two days of not smoking has made a tremendous difference in my lung capacity as far as swimming goes. last night i swam 3 laps in a row without stopping, when before it was a struggle to do 2.

these no-smoking progress reports maybe boring and repetitive in nature, so consider yourself warned.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

smoke free: day 2

before you go patting me on the back for making it to day 2, let me just inform you all that i've done this a million times. i've actually lost count of how many times i've tried to quit smoking. the longest i ever lasted was 110 days.

i clearly remember the day too.. when c and i originally met, i had just quit smoking about 2 weeks and found out that she was a smoker.. and smoked my brand! so even though we started seeing each other i felt pretty good about the fact that i was ok with her smoking around me.

well, we had a bit of an argument one day about 3 months into our relationship, and as soon as we parted ways i went straight to the store across the street and bought a pack of camel lights. but it really wasn't the argument that made me smoke. the argument was just an excuse to do something i'd been wanting to do for weeks.

so anyway, that was pretty much the last time i really, really, consciously put any kind of effort into not smoking. and that was 3.5 years ago! so now that i am consciously trying again, i figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to have little blog notes to track my progress.

did you know that i smoked my first cigarette when i was 8 years old? yep.. that's pretty sad isn't it? my best friend at the time, who's dad was a chain smoker, stole a cig from him and we both went down to a secluded spot near our building and smoked it. the irony of it all is that she never smoked, and i became addicted later in life. i think i pretty much picked up the habit when i was 16. sure, you can blame it on peer pressure or what have you, but the truth of the matter is that i thought it was cool. and of course i was totally stupid in my teens and never gave heed to all the warnings of addiction and lung cancer. not that i didn't think it would happen to me, i just didn't pay attention to it.

so now, 15-16 years later, i'm ready for this monster to be gone. but it's sooo hard! for those of you who've never been addicted, let me just say that it's harder than anything else i've done in my life. everything else is just peanuts compared to this. you have no idea how easy it is for me to justify a having a drag or "just one" cigarette.

but yesterday wasn't so bad. i smoked so much this weekend that my chest was actually in knots from all the abuse. once you get through the work day, it's sort of easy, but when i got home and had dinner, i pretty much craved the hell out of a cigarette! so instead, i turned off the tv, grabbed the book i'm reading (fasting, feasting by anita desai) and went to my bedroom at the oh-so-early hour of 8:30pm. i think i was asleep by 9.

today however, will be even harder methinks. i have pool league tonight; smokers all over the place, including 3 on my team. i'll have to do everything in my power to get through tonight, and if i do, i think i'll be okay.. for now. after day 3 it supposedly gets easier because by then, all the chemicals are out of your system. but then how does that explain day 110 last time i quit?? well, from speaking with several ex-smokers, i've made a mental note in my brain that the craving never really goes away. it just gets easier to say no.

if you've never smoked a cigarette in your life, i absolutely urge you never to do it. and if you have, and are thinking about quitting, do whatever you can to quit. i actually have some zyban handy just in case but i'm hoping not to have to use it.

smoking is for suckers. i'm gonna try to quit while i still haven't been diagnosed with emphysema or lung cancer. and also because i think it's time to be the change and prevent my niece from ever picking up such a filthy habit.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

draggin' out the birthday..

well, my birthweek is officially over, i am officially 32, and my hangover yesterday morning officially reminded me of that fact as i struggled to move around with any sense of grace or dignity. i managed to waste away the day, sleeping, after stumbling home on sunday morning at 6am! and to top it off, it rained all day yesterday which made for perfect under-the-covers reading and dozing.

i invited a bunch of my friends to meet me at joie de vine saturday night to cap off the birthday celebrations. almost everyone came! it was fantastic to be surrounded by all but a few of my closest friends in chicago. everyone seemed to really enjoy the ambience of the bar and had a great time. needless to say the drinks (mostly wine) were flowing freely along with flights of cheese and chocolate! at one point yours truly was busted double fisting with a glass of wine in each hand! yes, i was drunk, like i haven't been in ages.

but i have to admit, as gross as this is going to sound, i was very proud of myself at one point after taking note of the rumble in my stomach... i very calmly walked over to the bathroom, and because there was a line, i basically turned around and very calmly walked out of the bar, turned the corner into the alley, grabbed hold of a pole, and took care of business. yes, it was like that. it had to be done. but at least no one knew about it. that's a sure sign of age and maturity no? being able to handle oneself enough to puke in private? haha..

so yeah, i felt much better after that, and well.. the party went on. a couple of us ended up going to the crocodile afterwards for some dancing, but it closed not long after we got there. that was followed by late night eats at the white palace grill which i will never again go to because the food absolutely sucked ass. i don't know if it was because of my drunk ass tastebuds or what.. but you'd have to really work hard to fuck up some pancakes and hash browns...

Monday, February 07, 2005

choose your friends wisely..

sunday morning drama is the last thing a person could want. sunday mornings are supposed to be special. that one last weekend morning where you can sleep in as late as you want, and linger around in your pajamas for as long as humanly possible.

but this past sunday morning you woke up to some outrageous drama which essentially forced you to give up a friend you'd known since 1994.

you see... sometimes, you find yourself in a really fucked up situation and analyze it to death only to realize that there are just some people in this world that don't have a place in your life. you've played the role of big sister to them. you've tried and tried for years and years to be patient and tolerant and understanding and forgiving. you've tried not to be judgemental and gave the person the benefit of the doubt over and over again because you figured that one day the person would grow up and realize the true meaning of friendship. you've been loyal to this person, as you are to all your friends, and you've been there to bail them out of difficult and/or embarrassing situations. bottom line: you went out of your way to do all of these things because the person is your friend and you had faith in the person's ability to be your friend.

but then one day something happens to make you realize that the person who you thought was your friend didn't so much as think twice to use your friendship as leverage for their own selfish needs. not only did they use your friendship, they used your absence as a way to manipulate the situation to their advantage.

as a result you just sort of sit there, baffled, as if knocked in the head with a rock. you find yourself having been put in an embarrassing and awkward position, wondering how in the hell this person had the audacity and complete lack of respect for you to do such a thing. and you play the scenario back and forth in your head and you wonder if you could've, would've or should've seen it coming and then you finally come to the all important conclusion that it was probably your own naivete along with the other person's lack of common sense and generally immature disposition that got you in this position.

but at the end of the day, after the initial anger and boiling blood vessels subside, you weigh the pros and cons of the friendship and ask yourself some very crucial questions: "has this person enriched your life in any way?" and the answer is "sort of". followed by: "is being this person's friend more of a chore than a joy?" and the answer to that is a resounding "yes". but then you also have to follow up with the question of whether a drastic change is necessary and whether or not that drastic change will actually make your life easier. and the answer to that is, well.. yes. and so you decide from that point on that this person is no longer your friend. and it makes you sad, and it makes you nostalgic, but it also makes you relieved to know that you no longer have to associate with someone who has taken advantage of you and your kindness and your trust and the friendship you've given them for 11 years. a line has been crossed and there's just no going back. once they drag your family into their mess, it's just.all.over.

so at the age of 32, you realize that you really do have to pick your friends wisely. and you wonder, deep down inside, why it took so long to come to that very important revelation.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


remember that post i had a few weeks before my trip home where i bitched (i do that a lot huh?) about having to get a london visa, etc? right.. well if i managed to express my rage with that situation, you might want to close your ears (or eyes) as i express my fury over this little morsel of absolute insanity i'm about to divulge.

[taking a deep breath; calming myself down; trying to prepare to write without using "fuck" too many times..]

you know what? fuck it. i am woman so hear me fucking roar.

let me share with you some fucking bullshit that came to my attention today. i went to see my immigration attorney because she got something in the mail from the powers that be (re: my green card) requesting additional information to verify the details of my parents. now, you all know how much i love my country. i love bangladesh like i love myself. but it turns out that when i was born, the details on my birth certificate failed to properly identify one absolutely crucial aspect of my birth. confused? yeah. me too. let's play a game shall we? let's play find the missing link..

now, my birth certificate lists several details about my birth and just for shits and grins i'll indulge you in the list of items:

1. serial #
2. # in register
3. date of birth
4. place of birth
5. name, if any
6. sex
7. name of father
8. name of grandfather
9. father's residence
10. religion of child's father
11. name of reporter of birth
12. when registered
13. remarks, if any
14. signature of officer in charge of register

let's see.. anybody notice something missing here? something crucial? someone crucial??? ummm... my MOTHER maybe??? my poor mother carried me in her womb for nine long ass months!!!! and it wasn't easy either. i weighed 7.5 lbs when i popped out one fine morning after hours of causing my mother tremendous labor pains. and do you know where on this historical document her name is listed? i'll tell you. it's on line # 11. yep.. waaaay down on the list. she's not reported as my mother, she's reported as the REPORTER OF BIRTH. like, fuck the fact that she did all the work, she's just the reporter. fuck the fact she carried me for nine months, gave birth to me, lost blood and sweat over me.. she's just the reporter of my birth. almost like just a witness, if you will.

they even identify my grandfather (rip) on the damn certificate and not my mother!

[blood boiling again for the fifth time today over the same thought]

it pains me to even think of the oppressively patriarchal nature of this little document that announced my arrival into the world. and the sad thing is that this piece of paper is currently the only thing holding up my green card. the fact that the imbeciles that (used to) run my country are incapable of recognizing the importance of including a line for "mother" on such an important document just makes me cringe in shame and disgust. and in my opinion all this shit basically stems from muslim law regarding property rights. nevermind the fact that as women, both my sister and i only get my father's property if his brothers are kind enough to pass it on. but when it comes to property rights in bangladesh, it's more important who my father and grandfather are than the queen who gave me life.

but anyway, it's not so much the fact that this is holding up my green card that makes me fucking tremble with disgust. it's the fact that the authorities back in the day didn't give a flying fuck about women. they refused to even acknowledge the fact that children have mothers and that birth certificates couldn't possibly be complete without there being a mother involved. what the fuck???

so now my parents have to find a document that properly identifies and designates the three most important people involved in the scenario of my birth. me, my mom and my dad.

i talked to my sister about this and she said the law has recently changed and that "mother's name" has now been added to all current and future birth certificates.

bangladesh fucking jindabad.