Ferociously Observant

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. -Anon.

Kate’s Unsolved Mystery 26 January 2008

Filed under: Ponderings — ferociouskater @ 4:55 am

Joyce Carol Oates wrote, “An unsolved mystery is a thorn in the heart.” The biggest unsolved mystery in my life, however, has never been a thorn in my heart, or my side, or even in that really thick skin of my heel. I am reminded of my mystery every now and again, every time I fill out a family health history form or find myself in a discussion about physical features and country of origin.

With our closest friends very soon to being new parents, I’ve been surrounded by baby this and maternity that. I’m nowhere ready to have kids myself, but it has reminded me of my own beginnings. I was a planned adoption straight out of the hospital, and have always, always known this. Many of you probably didn’t know this about me – my best friend and next door neighbor Molly didn’t find out until we were 10 or 11. And whenever people find out they always have these questions they want to ask me, and many times they are uncomfortable or think that I will be uncomfortable about answering them.

I’m not.

So I thought I’d lay it all out for the first time. I’ve never really written about the subject before because it’s not something I think about. It’s like having that mole on your face – the mole is there, it’s always been there, and you would not be you without it. But maybe someone else wants to know about my mole – how it got there, why don’t I just have it removed already (it’s really really ugly and it’s got a hair growing out of it for Mike’s sake), and how I feel about having such a hideous mole on my face. (For those of you going back to my pictures to look for it, it’s a metaphor, people.)

I don’t know who my biological parents are, nor have I ever tried to find out. For some reason, I can’t imagine what in the world I would do with this information if I had it. Send a Christmas card? I suppose it might be nice for them (although it would probably just be my biological mother, since dear old bio dad skipped out after the dirty deed, as far as I know) to know that I grew up in a loving home and have had a really good life. But I wouldn’t want her to feel responsible for keeping touch or sending money or anything. And I think I would want to know two things and two things only: health history and genealogy (Irish? Scottish? English? Norwegian?)

I have always known I was adopted but whenever I used to ask my mom for more information she would get all teary and upset. I don’t know if she was afraid that someone would come and take me back, but after a while I stopped breaching the subject with her. And I think that going on the search for my biological mother would hurt her and undermine her position as my mother. So for that reason, too, I have had no desire to find her.

So there it is, folks. My unsolved mystery. My unsolved mystery that I really don’t care to solve at all. Anyone want to know more? Just ask.

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Monsters of the Urban Jungle 24 January 2008

Filed under: Ponderings — ferociouskater @ 4:06 pm

Upon walking around the NAIAS yesterday with two very excited men (cars, hot women trying to sell the cars, intermittent fudge booths, want more can you ask for?) I became more and more frightened with what I was seeing. And what was I seeing? Teeth. Everywhere. Monsters of the Urban Jungle.

Cars used to be machines. They used to have the purpose to convey us from here to there safely and quickly. They were passive. They were boxy but not threatening in their boxiness. They were like this Model T Ford that Tom is pretending to drive.

Now I think very little when I look at a Model T. Other than maybe about the movie Cars. I think, “Oh, look, a car. It gets me from here to there, it takes me places. It is a inanimate piece of the landscape.”

I like cars that are an inanimate piece of the landscape. I mean yes, I drive a VW Beetle. They are pretty cute. They’re small, zippy, and easy to maneuver and park. Someday I will probably have to switch from it to a bigger car if I decide to have kids, but I doubt that I will go much past cute, zippy, and easy to maneuver.

That is probably why cars like this scare the crap out of me. This Nissan concept car is one of a few that I photographed because it looked like it was going to eat me. When did cars step out of the “inanimate piece of the landscape” category and become aggressive land beasts?

It struck me that designers have taken this turn when I was listening to one of the Ford presenters talk about the concept Explorer they were unveiling. It was a very cool car, no doubt about that, but it was when he got to the grill that I took notice. He said something like, “When people see this grill behind them they will get out of your way.” Or, in the case of this Mazda concept, scream and run for the hills.

It seems like a lot of Ford’s designs have gone the way of the beast. Explorer’s design used to be friendly and boxy, then got a little more sleek with rounded headlights but were still pretty unassuming with their mesh grills. Now they (along with the Edge and Fusion) have these grills that my husband calls “Chrome Mustaches.” They’re horizontal lines straight across that, I guess, do paint a pretty aggressive picture for a Sunday driver in front of one.

And it doesn’t stop with Ford. Certain Jeep models, too, have started looking less rugged and more street aggressive. Jeep and Land Rover have changed from looking at home in the Jungle Jungle to looking at home in the Urban Jungle.

I miss the Jungle Jungle. I miss the inanimate Explorers of the late nineties and early oughts. I miss those cool Land Rovers that looked like they could help you stalk a lion after picking your kids up from school. Now most of them look like they’re meant to plow over half the kids in your kid’s class just for looking at them funny.

I will leave my car design lamentations there for now, because I am still happy with my cute little Beetle, even though no one will ever get out of my way or think I am a tough chick for driving it. I do, however, think it looks a little more tough than this concept from Japan, which any of the above cars (even the Model T, even my Beetle) would either consider a midnight snack or an entertaining pet:

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Lots and Lots of Colored Paper 23 January 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 2:32 am

I know I haven’t posted a real blog lately, and I swear I have an excuse. It’s not a very good excuse. I should be able to at least get something semi-lucid out every day on my blog. But I haven’t really been doing a lot of writing lately.

I have been cutting and pasting lots and lots of colored paper.

I had a really good time making my friend Kela’s baby shower invitations. And then I decided to make her thank-you notes too. And then the other day while we were out she asked if I would make birth announcements to match. And oh, she might need some more thank-you notes.

Now I’m more than flattered that she liked my invite and thank-you notes enough to want to send out her son’s first picture in custom-made birth announcements. And I’m more than happy to make them – I’m only working about 15-20 hours a week right now. But I haven’t been doing much else.

Hence, my temporary hiatus from the blogging world.

I promise at some point I will get back to it. I need to be writing more anyway, especially if I’m starting a writing degree this summer. For now I will leave you with this link to an ongoing post I worked on with Brian on coffee shop dwellers.

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I love the Onion. Oh No Wait…it’s the AP? 15 January 2008

Filed under: Randoms — ferociouskater @ 12:42 pm

I woke up this morning thinking I had maybe skipped a couple months as I slept and that this was April Fool’s Day.

This story is the impetus.

This quote, especially, made me re-check my calendar: “‘People wonder what in the world it is because this is the Bible Belt, and everyone is afraid it’s the end of times,'” said Steve Allen, a freight company owner and pilot who said the object he saw last week was a mile long and half a mile wide. “It was positively, absolutely nothing from these parts.'”

Anyone else get the sense that they’re watching Men in Black on cable?

I could rattle off a post about how there are so many things going on in the world, so many wars and famines and people dying of AIDS. But you’ve heard it all, and already know that sensational news sells. UFO sightings and the death of TV’s Vampira are some of Yahoo News’ most popular stories this morning. Sometimes I’m too depressed about the intellect of Americans that I can’t put it into words.

And I swear, I just opened the story to make fun of it.


Passenger Seat 14 January 2008

Filed under: Reviews — ferociouskater @ 2:09 am

I love this song. It’s perfect. It makes me cry. So it’s perfect.

Passenger Seat, by Death Cab for Cutie

i roll the window down
and then begin to breathe in
the darkest country road
and the strong scent of evergreen
from the passenger seat as you are driving me home.
then looking upwards
i strain my eyes and try
to tell the difference between shooting stars and satellites
from the passenger seat as you are driving me home.
“do they collide?”
i ask and you smile.
with my feet on the dash
the world doesn’t matter.
when you feel embarrassed then i’ll be your pride
when you need directions then i’ll be the guide
for all time.

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Bogged Down and Unfocused 5 January 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 3:31 pm

I’ve been feeling very bogged down lately with all of the things we had to get accomplished once our loan money hit the account. And still, the house is in a state of wreck and I’m only slightly closer to finishing my personal essay for grad school. The application is due Feb 1.

Somehow I can’t focus. I know why, I just don’t want to admit it.

I’ve been using having to go to work as an excuse as to why I can’t accomplish many of these things. But since I will be getting my hours drastically cut as all part-time retailers do after the holidays, this will no longer be a possibility.

In my grad school essay I say that one thing I want to learn in grad school is how to live the writing life. This not only includes learning how to deal with editors, agents, rejections, copyrights, blah blah blah, but also comprises of learning how to take a chunk of time and sculpt words with it. Right now I’m letting my chunk sit around, get a little dusty, and then finally be carved into maybe a few words but mostly other less important things, like a load of laundry.

Can one learn organization of time at school? This one certainly hopes so. In the meantime, I think I’ll do another load of laundry and then try to finish my essay.

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