Jan 29, 2009

I'm sitting here in my office trying to convince myself not to put my fist through the wall. Or rip the door off it's hinges and throw it down the hallway. It's a toss-up. The first option has the benefit of being remotely possible. Yet with the second, I'm less likely to break every bone in my hand and end up in the emergency room.

My father had a heart attack.

Even typing the words, staring at them, there is no way for me to put them together in a way that makes sense to me. Attack had a father my heart. On some level I understand that he is fine now, that he had his angioplasty and is resting comfortably. I heard from my mother that he was joking with the nurses when they put him on the heart monitor. And before they did anything, he had my brother call me to let me know that everything was going to be alright.

Still, I have this overwhelming urge to break things. To scream and cry and exact revenge on a world that would dare harm my father. And I think there must be something wrong with me, that my first reaction isn't fear, or grief. It is rage.

Me: Get better soon, or I will kick your butt.
Dad: With both feet?
Me: Damn straight.

Jan 26, 2009

You're only young once

... but you can be immature forever.

Mike and I drove up to Northern Virginia this past weekend, to visit friends. I didn't get to see everyone (next time, I promise!), but I did spend several productive hours playing various games. There were Wii Sports at Doug's house, Rock Band at Chris and Kent's new place, and D&D at Maggie's (with a side order of Cranium).

The sad thing is - after all that, I am pooped. Of course my Wii Boxing was more like Wii Disorganized Flailing, and I'm so out of shape that I was winded after two rounds. But then my arm got tired holding the guitar game controller! Granted I was at an awkward angle - trying to cram three people and two wriggling Jack Russel terriers onto a love seat turned out not to be such a great idea. Still, I am thoroughly (and appropriately) shamed at my wimpiness. Maybe if I spent more time on the treadmill and less with my 20-sided dice and Cloodle pad.

Somehow, exercise has always been associated in my mind with peril. This weekend I got to see my long lost friend Davina, and we reminisced about or short-lived two-person swimming club: Don't Laugh, You'll Drown. We used to wear goggles and nose plugs, even though the pool at my apartment complex has a "deep end" that bottoms out around six feet. My brother has suggested I try martial arts... but can you imagine? Punch, punch, kick, overbalance, slip on a practice mat, fall, crack skull, coma, death. And I am certain that I would be one of those hikers that was tragically mauled and eaten by pack of wild dogs escaped from the zoo.

I know this sedentary lifestyle is going to catch up with me. Every morning I resolve to eat better and to work out more. Every evening I return home, completely exhausted after having eaten my weight in jelly doughnuts from the break room. Also, it's bloody cold outside. But I've come up with the perfect solution. I just need to hook my PlayStation up to a generator powered by an exercise bike. By March I'll be 30 pounds lighter and will have finished a Rock Band Solo Tour.

Jan 19, 2009

Tomorrow is a brand new ... everything

At this moment, the sun is setting on George W. Bush's America. We are experiencing the worst economic crisis since, some pundits say, the Great Depression. We are entrenched in two wars and have lost major ground in the areas of scientific discovery, gay rights and reproductive freedom. And yet ...

I resisted the Obamania for so long. I backed Hillary Clinton in the primaries, because she was someone who could match Republicans blow for cynical blow. When she lost, I supported Obama more out of party unity than real faith that he could change the world.

But I've seen the effect he has had, even as Not Quite Pres. Even as the multitude of weights on our shoulders grow heavy, our hearts grow light. President (Elect) Obama's smile is infectious, and we can't help but think that we're going to be all right. If the rest of his term in office is mediocre, at least he will have given us this gift. Hope.

Jan 12, 2009

Courage, thy name is Wickrematunge

On Thursday Lasantha Wickrematunge, the editor of The Sunday Leader, was murdered. The thing is ... he knew it was coming. We know he knew, because he wrote an editorial about it, set to be published in the event of his death. His newspaper is one of the few independent voices in Sri Lanka, speaking out for the many disenfranchised people of this troubled nation. Press freedom in Sri Lanka is the worst in any democratic society, and journalists are in constant danger. You can almost hear Wickrematunge's passionate yet rational voice as he accuses the government of his assassination.
No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories and now especially the last.
It's tragic, inspirational, and even funny. You really should read the whole thing. But just in case, here is a particularly salient excerpt.
Every newspaper has its angle, and we do not hide the fact that we have ours. Our commitment is to see Sri Lanka as a transparent, secular, liberal democracy. Think about those words, for they each has profound meaning. Transparent because government must be openly accountable to the people and never abuse their trust. Secular because in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society such as ours, secularism offers the only common ground by which we might all be united. Liberal because we recognise that all human beings are created different, and we need to accept others for what they are and not what we would like them to be. And democratic... well, if you need me to explain why that is important, you'd best stop buying this paper.
Wickrematunge also addresses his friend, President Mahinda Rajapaksa:
In the wake of my death I know you will make all the usual sanctimonious noises and call upon the police to hold a swift and thorough inquiry. But like all the inquiries you have ordered in the past, nothing will come of this one, too. For truth be told, we both know who will be behind my death, but dare not call his name. Not just my life, but yours too, depends on it.
I won't belabor the point - you all are smart people, and can draw your own conclusions. No matter your politics, you have to admire this man's bravery. Not just for writing this article, but for living his life. Godspeed, Mr. Wickrematunge.

Jan 5, 2009

And I Suck!

Would you believe that not blogging for over a month is a Sri Family holiday tradition? No? Well, it was worth a shot. Here are the highlights of what's been going on with me.

1. I spent my birthday with wine, friends, and baked goods. My brother got me a PS3, which I just set up this weekend. I'm already developing Gamer's Thumb from playing Ratchet&Clank for twelve hours ... at a time.

2. The next weekend I went up to DC to play Dungeons and Dragons. You read that right - I play the geekiest game ever. I am not ashamed. This is why I can't be friends with all the weird hipsters in this town.

3. Luckily, I am able to find my own level. At Wistar's bridal shower, I was just sulking in the corner until I met Mimi, one of her cousins. She and I bonded over our shared love of the SciFi/Fantasy genre, and I'm trying to get her to invite me over to play with her Legos.

4. On my way to Richmond to visit Brendan, Sarah, and Mr. & Mrs. Z I almost ran over two dogs that were wandering around the interstate. You know how I feel about dogs - that they are barely-tamed wolves just waiting for us to let our collective guard down. But something in my brain changed the day I bought Gilda ... if she somehow got out of her cage, out of my room, out of the house and into the street, I'd want someone to stop. So I pulled over and called animal control. Meanwhile, the dogs are running in and out of traffic and I'm trying to stop them with increasingly panicked calls of, "come here, puppy!" The animal control officer told me to leave them alone, as they were more likely to run into traffic if someone was there 'agitating' them. I still wonder what happened to those poor dogs.

5. I got a haircut (shock!), from my good friend Leslie. I finally know why women open up to their stylists - having someone else wash your hair is just so soothing. You immediately revert to childhood and begin feeling like you can trust this person with your deepest, darkest secrets. No that I have any ... *shifty eyes*

6. Holidays at Casa de Sri were a low-key affair, since my grandmother passed in February and we're not supposed to do any celebrating for a year. We had a nice turkey dinner on the 24th thanks to an awesome crock-pot recipe I provided, and exchanged gifts on the 25th. I got my mother season three of Meerkat Manor, my father a golf cap from Banana Republic, and a dance shoe-bag for my brother. They were, of course, thrilled.

7. Wistar's wedding was beautiful, quirky, and comfortable. I was lucky enough to get some one-on-one time with the bride at the after party, which made me happy. Around two in the morning my new friends, Lynsie and Collin, and I were walking back to our respective cars when we heard a series of bangs coming from the parking lot.

Me (in a voice of cautious optimism): Maybe it's firecrackers?
Collin: Those were gunshots.
Lynsie: We'll walk you to your car.

Not to spoil the ending, but I survived.

8. I spent New Year's Eve at home, because my plans to go to New York fell through. C-SPAN was showing Obama's election day speech, which was awesome (of course I'd seen it already, but re-watching it struck the perfect note for the new year). I switched over to the ball drop just before midnight, then kissed Gilda and sang her a few bars of Auld Lang Syne.

9. Work was kind of awful the past month - I had way too many complicated cases on my desk. I think I permanently ruined Christmas for at least two families, because I had to give them such bad news. On the upside, things are settling down now. At least, they're quiet enough for me to blog!

I hope this mega-post makes up for the long wait! If I had made a new year's resolution, it would be to post more frequently. Pictures and posts about Egypt are coming, I promise!