You're my favorite.

No, really - you are.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

He does what, now?

The people on the 16th Street Mall in Denver are a diverse group. You get your businessmen and women, swinging a briefcase as they speak firmly into their cell phones. You get your teenagers cutting class staring with disdain at the kids on school fieldtrips. You get the homeless and the tourists, the dealers and the sports fans, the artists and the elderly, all together, pushing past each other, waiting for the shuttle, sitting on a bench, playing chess. And you get the Jesus Saves guy.

He’s a middle aged white guy who dresses casually but not too casually – no t-shirts but maybe a polo shirt or a button down, Docker-type slacks. He carries a big yellow sign that says JESUS SAVES. He stands on the street, exhorting people to devote their lives to Jesus, to open their hearts and let Jesus in, to accept that Jesus died for their sins and what have they done for Jesus lately, hmmmm? People look away as they walk by, or smile briefly, or cross the street, or occasionally glare or snap at him. I often feel like snapping at him myself. Not so much because I disagree with his proselytism, although to some extent I do; more because I feel like he could so easily be more effective.

Proselytism is a big part of Christianity, and that’s fine with me. I’m not particularly religious myself, despite being raised Lutheran – I’ve never been too into the whole thing. (When I was 13, I took confirmation classes at my church. It was a two year process, I believe, and I made it…..oh, maybe 18 or 20 months? A few months before my confirmation, my mother and I met with our pastor to discuss the confirmation. It was more a formality than anything else, or at least it should have been. We sat in Pastor Johnson’s office, and he said that the confirmation was when I would stand up and declare my faith in the tenets of Christianity and Jesus Christ before the whole church. I said that I couldn’t do that, because I didn’t believe in the tenets of Christianity or Jesus Christ as the son of God thing. Pastor Johnson looked at me. My mother looked at me. They looked at each other. I never had another confirmation class. But I digress.)

But despite my own disinterest and disbelief in Christianity, I understand that conversion is an important part of the religion, and that many of the people who attempt that conversion honestly believe they are doing it to save you from the fires of hell and eternal damnation. Which, okay, nice of them to try, very friendly (very Christian!). I do expect that if I ask them to stop with the lectures and the prayers and what not, they will stop. I expect them to respect my wishes, and if they don't, then they've moved from a good natured attempt to open me to something new to being rude, and I will feel no compunction about being rude right back.

But that's not my issue with this guy. The Jesus Saves guy has never actually approached me. My problem with him is that I don't think he's ever converted anyone either. Because honestly, if you’re having a personal crisis of some sort and are prepared to finally consider a higher power or are looking for forgiveness or just want some deeper meaning in your life, is some guy with a plastic sign going to be the one you look to for spiritual guidance? Frankly, I’m skeptical. And I think there are so many opportunities for him to actually help someone concretely and then perhaps spiritually as well. The man obviously has a fair amount of free time. Well, there are hundreds of organizations in Denver that could use his time. He could peel potatoes at a soup kitchen. He could spend time with troubled teenagers. He could offer his time at homeless shelter. He could sort food supplies at a food bank. He could help teach people to read. And in the process of helping people, he could eventually talk to them about Jesus and being saved and life after death and forgiveness and understanding and mercy. He could offer them more than two words, all in caps, in black ink on a yellow background. He could actually do some GOOD and not just annoy the crap out of the vast majority of the people who are just trying to get to lunch or a meeting or the other end of the mall. To me, his efforts seems like he's just paying lip service to the whole thing, kind of phoning it in, not really interested in offering any help to anyone, just trying to look like the sort of person who loves Jesus so much that he can't stand that anyone might not believe in Him too.

But I suppose suggesting that’s not very Christian of me, now is it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I joined Amnesty International today. Because Don Cheadle asked me to.

Ben and I watched Hotel Rwanda last night. Technically we watched the first hour and twenty minutes and have the last forty to go – I just couldn’t finish it. I cried and cried, pretty much from fifteen or twenty minutes in until we turned it off. You just keep hoping that something, anything, will go right, that someone will do something, that some country or politician or corporation will care and help and stop what’s going on, and then you remember that it’s a true story, and all us western motherfuckers didn’t give a shit, and 800,000 people died in three months. Eight. Hundred. Thousand. In one hundred days.

When I was in college, I was browsing in a bookstore and picked up a book called, “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families.” It was an interesting title, so I bought it. It’s about the genocide. The title comes from a letter that a group of Tutsis wrote to someone in power, I don’t remember who, asking for help. They and their families were imprisoned somewhere and were going to be killed the next day. I don’t think they were helped.

The hotel manager that Don Cheadle’s character is based on is featured in the book. I don’t remember if I got to his story or not – I think so, but I’m not sure. I couldn’t finish reading it; halfway through, I found it too depressing to continue. I put it down and although I still have it, I haven’t gone back to it since. I haven’t been able to. I don’t know if I can finish watching the movie or not.

I read somewhere that the US failure to intervene in Rwanda is the thing that Bill Clinton is most ashamed of from his presidency – it damn well should be.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

When Ben and I first started looking for a house, we spent a lot of time driving around the neighborhoods we were interested in, looking at the outsides of houses that we'd found on the internet and picking up flyers for other houses. We were in the Highlands neighborhood one day, just off 32nd and Lowell. There was a cute little brick bungalow that had a for sale sign in the lawn, so I had Ben pull over. I got out of the car and went to pick up one of their spec sheets. As I opened the thing on the sign that held the descriptions, a man came out of the house, probably to water plants or mow the grass or something. I saw him, and I panicked. I grabbed the sheet, ran back to the car, threw myself in and frantically told Ben to go NOW. He didn't question me, just drove off fast, but then asked me why. I said, “He saw me!”

Ben looked at me. “He saw you?”

“Yes! He saw me! Now he knows we're interested!”

There was a pause. “Now he knows we're interested.”


"And he shouldn't know that?"

"No! God, of course not!"

Apparently, in house-hunting I was a 12 year old girl who didn't want the cute boy in English class to know she had a crush on him. Apparently, the fact that the man was SELLING his HOUSE and WANTED people to be interested in it and stop and look at it and hopefully BUY it didn't keep me from running and hiding behind my best friend's locker, heart pounding and stomach churning.

Ben laughed at me, as well he should. Hell, I laughed at me. It was silly and weird and if it happened again, I'd still run. In some ways, I may always be 12 years old.

Update on the parking lot: Okay, it wasn't being repaved. It was actually being used for the LoDo Music Festival - they set up a stage and had it fenced off and everything. So if you had a house guest coming to stay with you, wouldn't you remember that and tell everyone else who lived in the house so they didn't walk out of the bathroom naked and meet your Great Aunt Sally for the first time? Because I would.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Who here tries to keep track of when property they own or lease is going to have some major construction done on it? Come on, show of hands.

Yep, me too. I think it’s important to know if, say, my sidewalk is being repoured, or my bathroom is being redone (Ha! I wish!), or my garage is being rebuilt (Again ha and I wish!). I think it’s something that could cause some inconvenience to me and others who walk on said sidewalk, or use said bathroom, or park in said garage. (Actually, I’m the only one who parks in the garage. I bet Ben would need to know too though.)

But apparently, the company that runs my parking lot disagrees. It doesn’t matter if the whole lot is being repaved or some such crap. Why bother to inform the people who park there until the day before, and by inform I mean leave a note on the windshield saying the lot will be closed for the next four days? Why bother to inform your front desk staff of this so that when they get angry phone calls about this they actually have some clue as to what is going on and can offer some sort of solution?

Silly me. I’ll know better next time. Because why would a company that offers a service actually want to do it well and keep its customers happy?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

P. Not B. P.

Ever suddenly learn something about yourself that surprises you just a little?

Last night, Ben and I were in the car on the way to Wilbert’s graduation from his obedience school classes. We were driving down Evans, talking about I have no idea what, when Ben said something about thespians. Except he pronounced it as thesbian. As in rhyming with lesbian. And I proceeded to freak the fuck out.

When I was in high school, I was a big-time drama geek. I was in a number of the plays, worked on the others, student-directed two, assisted the drama teacher and was on the Drama Club Exec Board. Biiiiiiiiig drama geek. And I knew many people who were not, in fact, big drama geeks. And who thought drama geeks were funny. And who thought lesbians were funny. And constantly pronounced thespian as thesbian, because hey, any time you could make fun of the drama geeks and the gays, well, that was a good day’s work and twice as funny as just hitting one.

And it annoyed the CRAP out of me. Because drama geeks? Were doing nothing wrong. They were getting through high school the best they could, finding their niche and throwing themselves into it. And lesbians? Were also doing nothing wrong. Because if you can find someone to love, anyone, you should go for it and love them as much as you can because not everyone’s that lucky. And also? Very few lesbians at my school, as far as I recall. Or at least, not out at my school. Quite a few gay boys (many of whom, coincidentally, were also drama geeks…..yep, you’re blown away there), but very few lesbians.

Plus, the Thespian Society was a Big Deal in high school (you know, for drama geeks). Anyone could join drama club, but to be a thespian, you had to have 100 hours of involvement in the club, including both onstage and offstage time. And that may not be that hard to get at some schools, but at my school, maybe 75 people would try out for a play with 8 roles. The musical got a lot of people the time they needed, but for those of us who couldn’t sing, it was no help. So when you did finally make it, you could be justifiably proud of that.

So last night, Ben innocently said something about thesbians. And I immediately got totally annoyed and said something like, “that’s not even funny and why would you even say that and it’s stupid and seriously grow the fuck up already.”

And he kind of looked confused.

And I realized that I had possibly overreacted just a teeny tiny bit.

And he said, “what?”

And I said, “oh, er, sorry, not YOU, exactly.” And explained why it annoyed me.

And he explained that he’d never actually known it was supposed to be pronounced with a P, not a B sound, because he’d always heard it that way before.

And I said that now he knew and I was sure he'd get it right from now on, and he agreed.

And we continued on to class, and Wilbert graduated, and life was good.

But no motherfuckers better be talking about thesbians around me or I will probably once again freak the fuck out. And nobody wants that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

In Which I Ramble About Minnesota and IKEA.

My sister is a big smarty-pants.

Amy graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College this past weekend. This fall, she heads off to Philly where she will spend the next 5 to 7 years getting her PhD in neuroscience (Neuroscience! Brains and stuff! Research that could save lives and stop Alzheimer's and get things named after her someday! See why I say she's a smartypants?) at Penn.

My parents, Ben and I all went up to celebrate and hang out in Minnesota and get bitten by mosquitoes and eat not very good college food at random receptions and do all the stuff one does at college graduations. Or at least, at college graduations at small schools (2,000 students) in small towns (17,000) in the midwest (is Minnesota the midwest?).

And we ALSO went to IKEA. (Ben and I, that is, not my parents or sister - they were busy doing things like packing up the last four years of Amy's life to drive back to Denver and then cleaning her apartment and stuff.)

If you know me at all, you know that I. Love. IKEA. I think it is truly one of the greatest places in the world. The furniture is inexpensive but still decent quality - okay, it's no Ethan Allen, but I don't like Ethan Allen so there. Styles range from very modern to quite traditional, so everyone is happy. All of their kid stuff is made with nontoxic everything. And the founder of IKEA has passed Bill Gates as the richest man in the world, which I approve of as an Apple lover.

We flew to Minnesota, so you might think that meant we couldn't buy anything too significant, and you'd be right. But what you're forgetting is that Amy? Drove back to Denver. And in the car? Was space (once we took a duffle bag on the plane with us) for two new side tables. Brown-black, to semi-match our coffee table. We also got some candles, a candle holder, three stalks of lucky bamboo, a lazy susan, a train for Ben's nephew, several trays and....uh.....that might be it. But not for lack of wanting more.

And it reminded me of my love for IKEA. So I may have to restart my quest.

Because, c'mon. An IKEA in Denver? It'd be awesome.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Second Time Around....

About two and a half years ago, I started a blog. I started it because I was going to Africa for two months, and it seemed like an easy way to update friends and family with where I was, what was going on, if I'd gone swimming with penguins yet (eventually: yes), etc. They could read it if they wanted to, or not. And it was all fine and dandy for the trip.

After I got back, I kept updating occasionally, but my entries became more and more sporadic, and shorter and shorter, and as time passed, I grew to actually dislike posting. Since I posted so rarely, I felt like I should only post if something of Deep Significance occurred, and Things of Deep Significance rarely occur in my life.

But I don't think blogs are only for Things of Deep Significance. I think they can be about anything, of any significance. And recently, I've been mentally writing a lot of entries as I walk to my car or sit on an airplane or watch television. Things I want to say, many of which are of no significance except that I find them interesting.

But my reluctance to post on my old blog seems permanent, and I don't think I can get past it. In fact, I don't want to get past it. So instead I'm going to try this, and see if a fresh start and a new format can help me work through this blog block and get what's in my head down on paper. Or a computer screen. Whatever.

We'll see how it goes.