Monday, March 27, 2006

Just call me Ginger Ed...

What Is Your Animal Personality?

Near miss

Yesterday I went to brunch with my friend Donnetta. We spent a couple of hours eating and gabbing at La Conversation on Doheny in Beverly Hills. La Conversation is one of my favorite places in LA to have brunch; the food is delicious and fresh, and the décor is adorable, imitating a French café style (badly - the cheesy "curtain" wallpaper and metal Eiffel Tower statuettes are what make the place achingly cute). It's bright and intimate, the perfect spot in which to catch up with someone that you haven't seen in a long time. It was already 1:30pm when Donnetta and I met up, so I wasn't quite in the mood for anything too breakfast-y. I settled on the huevos rancheros, which were amazing and really hit the spot.

Afterwards, we decided to take a walk through the surrounding neighborhood, which is primarily residential and features every style of gorgeous house imaginable. It's the kind of neighborhood that's perfectly, eerily quiet; you know that people must live there, but you rarely see or hear anyone except for the occasional cyclist or jogger (who are probably just passing through anyway). Some of the houses are similar to the large bi-levels that my friends and I grew up in back east, but most of them are one floor, and quite small. There's something both thrilling and utterly depressing about looking at a tiny, 2 bedroom house with a postage stamp of a lawn, knowing that it costs at least $700,000. I call them "chic shacks"; many of them are no larger than a Montauk beach house, with only a row of hedges preventing a direct view into the neighbor's kitchen. These shiny, perfectly manicured abodes are often built with barely 50 feet of space between them, giving the whole area a kind of glamorous claustrophobia - as if the glitterati of Beverly Hills clamored in a mob to get their little house built first.

We were doubling back towards Doheny, on a street called Keith Avenue, and I was checking telephone poles and street lamps for flyers. A friend of mine is looking for a new apartment, and she likes the area, so I thought I'd collect any info that I saw on our walk. At the end of Keith Ave., near Willey Lane, I spotted a telephone pole that had a purple flyer stapled to it. I had to step off the sidewalk and turn my back to the street to read it. No dice - it was just an ad looking for a housekeeper.

When I turned back towards Donnetta, she had her hand over her mouth and was trying to suppress a laugh. "Oh my God, that's one of the funniest things I've ever seen." She was looking down the street after a young guy on a bike.

"What did I miss?"

"Ok. Um," - more laughter - "these two guys on bikes were coming down the street from opposite directions, and both of them turned their heads at the same time to check you out. They almost hit each other."

"Stop it! They did not." I was actually kind of appalled. Oblivious Ginger missed the whole thing!

"No, really, they missed each other by about an inch. I thought that kind of thing only happened in movies. It was the funniest thing I've seen, ever." She was still laughing, so hard that I started laughing too.

We were still giggling almost a minute later. "So funny," Donnetta sighed. I laughed and shook my head. "Men are such odd creatures," I mused, which elicited a hearty laugh from the newly divorced Donnetta. Dear readers, the male penchant for rubbernecking has always seemed a little "off" to me. There are what, 6.5 billion people on the earth? A little over half of them are female. We are no rarity, and we're everywhere. What's the fascination? Why do some guys have to fully "check out" any female that they find remotely attractive? It's a habit that crosses every racial and economic boundary, and some guys never seem to grow out of it, which I find amazing. Don't get me wrong, we women have our own hottie-spotting systems ("Eye candy at 11 o'clock!" my girls and I will whisper to each other), but there's no turning of the head to watch the guy go by. It's playful; it's quick; it's subtle. One cute guy seems much like another in LA; tight T-shirt, fashionably faded jeans, well-worn baseball cap, perfectly even stubble. It's a cookie-cutter hotness, the male counterpart of the tan, blond, skinny girl in her too-tight halter top. Still, strange men hold less fascination for us than the ones we already know. Women (I can't speak for all of us, but I can speak for the ones I know), take a quick peek, and we're done.

Guys seem to have to take it all in, to get a good look at everything. When I do notice them doing it, it can feel downright invasive. A couple of weeks ago, I was walking to work in the morning, and I passed a group of construction workers that were building a new restaurant across from my office. One of them looked right at me, said nothing, but silently watched me walk by him. After I passed by, I could see him reflected in the windows of the building next to me, turning to watch me walk away. I kept walking; he stood and watched. What for? Was he just bored? Tired of looking at his coworkers and just happy to look at someone new? Was I supposed to be flattered? Do guys not comprehend that doing that is CREEPY? Say it with me: creeeee-py.

Long story short, those two bozos on Keith Avenue could have put each other in the hospital because they liked the way I filled out my jeans! Does that make sense to you? I guess it makes sense in Testosteroneland.

Strange creatures, you men. But you do, however unintentionally, make us women laugh; I guess that's your saving grace.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tasty pastry psychology

This fun little test was sent to me by my good friend Meredith. It goes like this: If all of the desserts listed below were sitting in front of you, which would you choose? Pick your dessert, and then look to see what psychiatrists think about you! Sorry, but you can only pick one.

Angel Food Cake
Lemon Meringue Pie
Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Icing
Strawberry Short Cake
Chocolate Icing on Chocolate Cake
Ice Cream
Carrot Cake

You can't change your mind once you scroll down, so choose carefully! Ready? Now check your results:

Sweet, loving, cuddly. You love all warm and fuzzy items. A little nutty at times. Sometimes you need an ice cream cone at the end of the day. Others perceive you as being childlike and immature at times.

You are adventurous, love new ideas, and are a champion of underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up, you whip out your saber. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal.

Smooth, sexy, and articulate with your hands, you are an excellent after-dinner speaker and a good teacher. But don't try to walk and chew gum at the same time. A bit of a diva at times, but you have many good friends.

Fun loving, sassy, humorous. Not very grounded in life; very indecisive and lack motivation. Everyone enjoys being around you. You are a practical joker. Others should be cautious in making you mad. However, you are a friend for life.

Romantic, warm, loving. You care about other people and can be counted on in a pinch. You also tend to melt. You can be overly emotional at times. And sometimes can be annoying.

Sexy; always ready to give and receive. Very adventurous, ambitious, and passionate. You can appear to have a cold exterior but are warm on the inside. Not afraid to take chances. Will not settle for anything average in life. Love to laugh.

You like sports, whether it is baseball, football, basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to participate, but you enjoy watching sports. You don't like to give up the remote control. You tend to be self-centered and high maintenance.

You are a very fun loving person, who likes to laugh. You are fun to be with. People like to hang out with you. You are a very warm hearted person and a little quirky at times. You have many loyal friends.

Well, it's not very scientific, but it's fun, isn't it? I chose the chocolate cake with chocolate icing...for me, there really was no other option. Then I read the description and blushed. Not sure quite how accurate that is, but I do know that now I've got a yen for chocolate cake! Yummy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Strangers with condoms

From my "WTF???" files:

It was October 1996, and I had been living in Boston for about a year. I was still new to the city, and mostly hung out with my girl JoAnne, who was my closest friend there; she and I had known each other since high school. We share the same strong independent streak and twisted sense of humor, and have always been perfect activity buddies. We'd trek all over the city and its surrounds, checking out new places and trading stories about work, guys we'd been dating and how fucking cold it had gotten already.

As I've mentioned before, Boston is a very social place, with a young population and a lot of activity. I was always looking for something new to try, so when one of my coworkers gave me two tickets to a Halloween party that was sponsored by a local radio station, I was down. JoAnne didn't have anything to do, so she was game to come along. It wasn't a costume party, so we didn't bother with costumes, but made with the pretty going-out clothes. It was a frigid Saturday night, but we got ourselves onto the T and made our way downtown to check out the party.

Long story short, it was awful. Neither JoAnne nor I were familiar with the radio station throwing the party; it turned out to be some kind of insane death-metal indie station. Most of the attendees looked like extras from a Cure video, with white makeup, black kohl eyeliner and all black clothes. We tried to be open minded; we did a quick walk-through, but decided to bail almost immediately.

We were about twenty feet from the club's front door when I got stopped by a guy in the lobby. "Excuse me," he said, "I have something that I think you need." He grabbed my hand before I had time to react.

He put a condom in my hand. I've forgotten what kind it was, but it was in a black wrapper, and looked like it had been in the back pocket of his jeans for about 10 years. I looked up at him; I'd never seen this guy before. He looked like Benicio Del Toro's character in Sin City; lanky, greasy hair, beat-up leather jacket, dead eyes. Dear readers, did he think that this old rubber was a present? Was it a hint? Did he think I'd fall in love and go home with him because he was 'prepared' (with a decades-old, possibly petrified prophylactic)? Was he high? Had he meant to give me a stick of gum, and just made a mistake? What the hell???

He was sneering at me. In the corner behind us, one his cronies started snickering. I dropped the condom on the floor. "Thanks, but I'll pass." I turned to walk out. "You have a good night," I said, my back to him as I walked away.

As JoAnne and I pushed past the bouncers and smokers crowded around the front door, she turned to me and said, "What the fuck was that??" That's the $64 million dollar question, and I have the answer: Freak Magnet strikes again.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Ginger Croft, Blog Raider!

...and I don't even have to stuff my bra. Take that, Angie!

You Are Lara Croft

"Everything lost is meant to be found."

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Women as "change voters"

I just finished reading a very interesting study called Women on their Own: Demanding Change and Attention to their Challenges. It provides some surprising statistics about the marriage gap in America today:

Collectively, unmarried women have the power to change our country. They are part of an emerging American majority as family structure has changed dramatically over the past 50 years, and the number of unmarried Americans has increased considerably. During the 1950’s, approximately 80 percent of Americans lived in households headed by married couples; now that number is just less than half. By 2008, more than half of households will be headed by an unmarried person.

Wow. I had no idea that the marriage gap had grown quite that much! A full 46% of age-eligible voters are unmarried women, and they are largely an untapped resource: many single women don't vote because they don't feel that they can find trustworthy information about candidates, or they doubt their ability to change the system. However, single women in particular have tremendous reasons to vote:

...[we see an] Administration that continues to fail to address rising healthcare costs, education, the economy, and retirement security. The current budget proposal, moreover, promises further trouble; cuts to Medicaid, housing assistance, childcare assistance, childcare enforcement and job training will further challenge unmarried women, particularly if they have children.

According to the study, 74% of unmarried women think the country is on the wrong track. If all those women were to vote, what could stop a major change in Washington come November?

Voting results show that unmarried women vote for change; in the 2004 Presidential elections, single women chose Kerry by a +25 point margin. Imagine how different our country would be today if all single women voters had made it to the polls!

...this gap signifies one of the most important developments in American politics – unmarried women represent the greatest source of growth for a progressive coalition, and the expression of their views have the ability to change the public policy direction of the country.

Do you still think your vote doesn't count?


Monday, March 06, 2006

Screw the flyovers!

Hahaha. I don't really mean that, dear readers of the heartland! In fact, I hope to make trips to Chicago, IL and Lincoln, NE in the near future. Here, marked in red, are the states I have visited:

create your own visited states map

I clearly have bicoastal tendencies. Give it a try! You can also mark the countries you've visited on a world map:

create your own visited countries map

Readers, I am so lame! I've only visited 3% of the world's countries. I need to get out more!

Thanks to Douwe Osinga for the maps.

Carve a coat hanger into Mt. Rushmore

Hello readers,

This is normally a very light and funny blog, meant to entertain (as I hope it does!). I debated whether or not I should post this here. But, people like South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds put a very large thorn in my hide, and I've got a very tough hide, dear readers. This is an important enough issue for yours truly to be compelled to speak my mind, loudly and publicly. You see, South Dakota has gone and done it - Governor Rounds signed an abortion ban into law. No exceptions for rape or incest. I'm sure it will be tied up in the courts for a while, but that's the whole point; to challenge Roe v. Wade, and send the abortion debate back to the states.

Below I've attached a letter that I emailed to Gov. Rounds. Several other states are now entertaining similar bans. This is really happening, and no one can afford to stay silent. I think it's a great idea to send letters to our respective governors urging them to take a stand against restricting women's privacy and autonomy. You can do so here.

I've never had an abortion, and I don't know whether I would be able to, even if I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. I have friends who have had abortions; I supported them. I have seen the difficulties they faced when making that decision - the gravity with which they weighed their choices. I am enraged when I hear people complain that "women use abortion as a form of birth control", when all of the women I knew had to have abortions because their contraception failed. Besides, it's surgery, people, not a trip to the spa! Christ on a cracker!

I do feel passionately that sex education, widely available contraception, education about sexual violence, and strong support for victims of sexual violence, are the only ways to truly reduce the number of abortions in the US. Regardless, the right to choose whether or not I carry a pregnancy shouldn't be anyone's but mine. Let's not kid ourselves - having the state, rather than a woman and her doctor, decide whether that woman continues a pregnancy or not relegates all women to less-than-human status. And let me be clear - an outright abortion ban violates the 13th amendment of the Constitution, which states that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

If forced pregnancy by the state is not slavery, tell me what is. Thank you for listening, and I hope you will take action.

And now, for your reading pleasure:
Governor Rounds,
Congratulations on passing a total abortion ban in your state. Congratulations are definitely in order, as the ban will force traumatized women and teenagers who have been raped to relive the brutality of their attacks day after day, as they carry their rapists' babies to term. Congratulations on establishing a legal right to force young girls whose fathers have raped them to give birth to their own brothers.

Congratulations in advance for increasing the number of women who will die each year from seeking illegal abortions (it has been proven that abortion bans don't stop abortion; they just send it underground). Congratulations on increasing the number of unwanted children born in South Dakota - I'm sure that the affluent white population of your state can't wait to adopt babies born to black and hispanic women who didn't have the financial capability to raise them! I'm sure, Governor Rounds, that you yourself are prepared to adopt one of these children, since you enforced the ban so readily!

You, sir, are a trailblazer; nothing says "culture of life" like passing a law that ruins the lives of those already born. Congratulations on pushing women's rights back 33 years in your state. Most importantly, congratulations for establishing - once and for all - that the women of South Dakota are not people, just baby machines that happen to walk and talk.

You have acted with deplorable self-righteousness, insisting that you are saving innoncent lives, without a thought for the innocent lives that this ban will ruin. How very proud you must feel, and how relieved I am that I live in California.

Ginger Lime

If you'd like to give Governor Rounds a piece of your mind, as I did, email him here.
Hat tip to Feministing for the graphic above.


Till dessert do us part

About six months ago, I went out with a guy called Andy. He had been interested by my online profile; he was very complimentary, seemed to have a healthy sense of humor, and to my great relief, was able to write in complete sentences (a skill which eludes many of my suitors). Andy lived in Long Beach, and I'm in West Hollywood; we couldn't decide on a place to meet halfway, so Andy decided to drive out to meet me in my neighborhood.

Although we hadn't yet met in person, Andy wanted to take me to dinner. For reasons that I explained in a previous post, I don't like being taken out to dinner by men I've just met. I guess Andy had caught me at a weak moment; he convinced me, saying that he'd be coming out right after work. It was a long drive, and he'd be hungry. That sounded reasonable enough. I insisted on a casual, inexpensive atmosphere, and he agreed. We made plans to meet on a Thursday evening.

I had given Andy directions to North End Pizza, a small, cozy pizza parlor/restaurant a few blocks from my apartment building. I figured we could have a few slices and drinks and get to know each other. He seemed ok with that; the place is very cute, and it's got a surprisingly large menu for such a small joint. When the waitress came over to take our order, Andy asked for a glass of wine, but North End didn't serve it; I can't remember whether they were out, or if they just don't have a liquor license. I'm not much of a drinker, so I didn't care, but Andy wanted to drink. We bailed on North End and walked about three blocks to another small Italian restaurant that serves alcohol.

Andy ordered his wine, and we split a salad to start. The conversation was going well at first - we talked about our careers, where we had traveled, where we were from, his kids (he has two). Normal first date chatter. But as we talked, Andy got four full refills of wine - before our food showed up. As we ate, he drank three more. He didn't seem to be enjoying the wine with the meal; it was more like he was knocking them back - guzzling more than drinking. Yeah, I know some men can hold a lot of liquor, but we're talking about a one hour stretch of time here, and Andy wasn't a very big guy. And, really, doesn't anyone care about first impressions anymore?

I asked him if he'd be ok to drive; I certainly wasn't going to have a complete stranger asking to crash on my couch because he'd gotten sloppy drunk at dinner. Andy insisted that he was fine, that he'd had a long week and just wanted to "relax".

"Why so tense?" I asked. Eight glasses of merlot in forty-five minutes is a lot of relaxation, and Andy still seemed a little jittery (readers, I sure do attract the nervous ones, don't I?). He'd already explained to me that he was going through a career change, but he was happy about that. "What else is going on?"

"Well, my wife and I just separated," he replied. "I left the house this week."

"You...this week??" I was stunned. "Your profile says that you're 'divorced'."

"Yeah, well, we're going to get a divorce." He went on to explain that he was flopping at a cousin's place while pondering his next move.

"Well, Andy, maybe you shouldn't be dating." I was incredulous. Readers, I don't "do" married, for all of the obvious reasons. This guy had been separated for about two seconds. Walking out the door doesn't end your marriage; it takes a little more work than that. Yes, I know that I have no personal experience with this, but I've watched plenty of people go through it; it's a bit of a process. Plus, in this case, there were children involved.

"Yeah...well, I want to move on," said Andy, with a meaningful grin (as he started on his ninth glass of wine). Dude, are you kidding me? Half your stuff is still with your wife, the other half is in boxes at your cousin's, and I'm suppressing an urge to offer you a funnel for that wine. Thankfully, we were just about done with our meal by then. I changed the subject; we talked pleasantly, and I made no further mention of the fact that I was, for all intents and purposes, on a date with a married man. I walked Andy back to his car to say goodbye and then walked home, shaking my head and wondering what, exactly, God wants from me.

The next morning, I wrote Andy an email:
"Hi Andy, thank you for coming out to meet me for dinner. I always enjoy meeting new people, and you were great to talk to. However, I do feel that we're at different places in our lives right now, and just aren't compatible. I do wish you the best. Ginger."

He wrote back, later that day:
"Yeah, Ginger, it was nice to meet you too. I'm kind of disappointed that you don't want to see me again, but I can understand your viewpoint. I guess I should have lied, huh? Ha ha. Well, good luck. Andy."

I'm always amazed at people who jump right back into dating when the dead body of their previous relationship is barely cold. Maybe Andy's marriage had been dead for years. I can't judge that, and I'll never know. But I just couldn't hazard a second date with a Andy. All that baggage would be too damn heavy, and my liquor cabinet is too small!

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

You may call me The Dread Pirate Ginger.

Westley / The Dread Pirate Roberts

Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

I know a ton of people who, like myself, love the movie The Princess Bride. Someone sent me this fun little quiz, so I thought I'd share. Turns out, I'm Westley. How appropriate! I'd much rather be a pirate than a princess. Like a lot of women, I'd rather get with Westley than be Westley, but I do covet the man's undeniably impressive swordfighting abilities. Try it, as you wish!


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