Monthly Archives: July 2009

Minnesota, here I come.

Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. I will be on a plane for the first time in my adult life — and I say adult life because I was on a plane when I was eight months old. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. Peter invited me to travel to Minnesota with his family for their reunion. I am terrified for no apparent reason.

I met most of his family when I attended his sisters’ weddings last fall. They are all incredibly sweet and accepting. Now I get to meet the extended family on his mom’s side and the people who weren’t able to make it to Florida on his dad’s side. Not only that, but I have been enlisted to take pictures. I know I should just relax and enjoy the time that I’ll be spending, but I’m definitely stressing about getting good pictures for them to be able to remember every little detail of the great times they will have. Peter’s mom is already talking about creating CDs for each family member with pictures from the event as a memento. I’m so worried the pictures are going to suck and everyone will stare in wonder and disbelief as they think to themselves, That girl wants to be a photographer?

My dreams for the past two nights have been terrifying. Both nights I’ve woken up sweating, confused and nauseas. The night before last, I dreamed that I was at a party in a very old house and the second story collapsed. There were so many people calling out for help, but I had to get my family to a safe place because there was an ice storm moving towards us very quickly. Candice (my sister) and I found an abandoned house to hide in. We hid in a dark room while the storm passed, surrounded by old fur coats and thigh-high leopard print boots. My mom was trying to put the boots on and freaking out because they were “so rad” but her thighs were too big to pull off the look. When she would zip up the boots her leg would look like a piece of asparagus: skinny until the top, then BOOM. We heard the winds die down and decided to venture out into the main room of the house. Candice and I went out first, while my dad stayed behind to help my mom take off the latest pair of boots she had tried on. As we moved into the main room, with its high vaulted ceilings and sweeping bay window, we realized that something had launched through the sliding glass and been frozen there. Walking forward to investigate, we could hear what sounded like two ice cubes rubbing together. It made my teeth clench. There, lodged in the sliding glass door, frozen half in and half out, was a man. We could see his mouth moving as he tried to eat his way through the six-inch thick layer of ice that surrounded him. We both began to scream when we realized that not only was there a man stuck in the sliding glass door, but he was also alive. My father came running and tried to get him out, but as he did the sun came out in all its brilliance and began to melt all of the ice from the storm.

Here’s where it gets weird.

A great flood descended upon the land — no, seriously, it did. There were wild, rushing currents pulling at everything, taking it down one street, to the next, to the next, until at last all of the separate streams joined together in one great rushing sea. People were clinging onto bits of driftwood and other floating objects, trying their best to stay above the water. Underneath, the current was so strong that there was no chance of survival if pulled down. I was holding onto a piece of a roof when I saw Peter go by, sitting comfortably atop a raft made of shutters, playing the guitar to a satyr. He was singing “The Rake” by The Decemberists.

And then I woke up. Any ideas what it means?

Getting over it.

I don’t want to let my insecurities hold me back. It’s hard when there is something staring you in the eyes, telling you that you’re not good enough, not strong enough, not attractive enough. But for everything that tells you that you don’t deserve what you want, there is at least one thing that affirms that you do. There is a smile, a pat on the back, a hug.

When I was growing up, I was extremely insecure about how I looked. This led to doubts about any talent that I’ve ever possessed. I wonder to myself, Am I earning this on my own merit, or is because they feel bad for me? Writing is one thing that I am fairly certain of. (Playing the violin was the other, but I had to give that up in the move to Florida when I was young, along with so many other things I loved about Massachusetts.) I know that I can write well; I know that sometimes people want to read what I write; and I know that I receive constant encouragement and praise for this one thing from people that I barely know.

But if it’s true, if I am a writer and destined to make a career of this, then why do I receive so little praise from the professionals for whom I am interning? I constantly second guess myself. Every day, I look at what I’m writing and wonder if it will be good enough, if it is what they want or if it will be chopped and sliced and copied and pasted until it is what they wanted but I was unable to produce?

My insecurities are what hold me back. I have never felt comfortable in my own skin. I don’t like meeting new people in general, but when I do I paste on the happy face with the knowledge that they are judging me from the moment they lay eyes on me. I wear my mask as well as they wear theirs. It hurts to think that people can be so cruel, but I know from experience that appearance is important.

I just don’t know what to do anymore.

Not to mention the fact that I am completely broke. I have $27 in my checking and $50.01 in my savings (the minimum amount to keep my account open). I have a job that offers me work, but it is not consistent. Unfortunately, I realized only too late how dire my financial situation is and now I am left with a month until I go back to school. No one will hire me for a full-time job for a month. As it is, I applied to more than 30 places when the semester ended and only heard back from one. I’m broke, I’m frustrated, I’m tired, I’m sad and I can’t sleep. Throw me another punch, Monday.

Another rough draft op-ed.

Please let me know what you think of this.
Who knew that a political practice invented 207 years ago in Massachusetts would have so much effect on current politics in Florida? That’s right kids, it’s time to talk about gerrymandering again, that practice first used by Gov. Elbridge Gerry in 1812 as a way to have better control over sparring political parties in his state and effectively control his bid for reelection. Florida is now one of the worst offenders in this practice, especially through the southeast part of the state. And an upcoming election is a prime example of how gerrymandering has been used to control Florida’s elections and partisan representation in the state Legislature.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Pete Burkert, a Democrat from Ft. Myers, is running for the Florida Senate seat of District 27. Currently occupied by Democrat Dave Aronberg, who announced his resignation to pursue the title of Florida Attorney General, District 27 spans five counties — Palm Beach, Hendry, Glades, Charlotte and Lee counties — and includes parts of Wellington and Loxahatchee. The people of Lee County have been lobbying for years to have representation from their county; however, the gerrymandering process has sliced and diced the county into three districts, none of which have a State Senator from Lee County.

The newest move of the Democratic Party to select a representative from Ft. Myers to run for the currently-Democratic seat in District 27 seems like an attempt to placate a group of people who are tired of being disenfranchised. However, why should the people of the western communities in Palm Beach County have to sacrifice representation so that people on the opposite side of the state will feel that they now have full representation for themselves? Here lies the primary flaw of gerrymandering, perfectly summed up by now-President Barack Obama in a quote from 2006: “Our representatives are selecting their voters, as opposed to the voters selecting the representatives.”

Essentially, most politicians don’t want districts that are non-partisan and contiguous. This makes their job more difficult. They have to pay more attention to census statistics, and send out surveys asking what the voters want in a representative. Why go through all of that when they can just appeal to the state legislature when the time comes for redistricting, and beg for a district shaped like a caterpillar that encompasses primarily lower-income Caucasians who vote along the Republican Party line? In a 2007 opinion piece written in support of redistricting following the 2004 elections, Aronberg stated, “The political process benefits when candidates must reach out to voters from other political parties. But when districts are drawn so that only a Republican or only a Democrat can be elected, the other part of the electorate can be ignored. The result is more hard-line conservatives and liberals and fewer moderates.”

There is a way to fix the nest of snakes that tries to pass itself off as a district map: following the census in 2010, the process of redistricting will again take place. A non-partisan group that claims no affiliation to the state Legislature must be allowed to take charge and work to draw the district lines along existing geographical landmarks that are more reasonable than those already in place. If this is done, the state will be one step closer to a fair vote, instead of the calculated manipulation of voters that has taken place for the past three decades under the rule of both Republicans and Democrats.

We would like to encourage everyone to contact your voting precinct to obtain a constitutional amendment petition form (request the form for the non-partisan redistricting petition). You must be registered to vote to fill out the form, and you may not fill it out more than once. For more information on what is being done to ensure a non-partisan redistricting, visit

Another belated rant.

Following my late revelation of Joaquin Phoenix’s intentions in becoming a rapper, I swore to myself that I would try to stay more up to date. However, I must write about this, because it is still relatively timely, and hopefully someone reads it and understands what I’m trying to convey.

Let me begin the rant by saying that I hate the Ed Hardy line of clothing. I think it is garish and tacky. I have never been a big fan of wearing a label instead of wearing an article of clothing, and Ed Hardy promotes just that. Their motto should be, “Wear our clothes so people know how much you spent.” I think the straw that broke the camel’s back in this case was when I went to the Sawgrass Mall and saw Ed Hardy in every storefront. I attempted to escape by ducking into Bed Bath & Beyond — only to be confronted by Ed Hardy bedroom accessories.

“Honey, you sleep on Ed tonight, I’m going to sleep on Hardy.”

Moving forward, I’m also not a big fan of the TLC show Jon and Kate Plus 8. Thankfully the show is now nearly defunct, so I won’t have to avoid watching TLC programming in order to avoid watching terrifying commercials of two completely overwhelmed human beings (Jon and Kate Gosselin) chasing their brood of children (Plus 8). The show, which has been a suprisingly big hit, is in my opinion popular because it follows the lives of this family as they attempt to maintain some semblance of normalcy in a situation that is undoubtedly abnormal to American culture.

When TMZ came out with the pictures of Jon with another woman and Kate responded in turn by telling him on national television that they should separate, I rejoiced. I thought to myself, “Good. Now I won’t have to listen to people talk about how saintly those two are for staying together and coping with their eight rugrats.” WRONG. The debate soon turned to a discussion of whether or not Kate deserved it. This line of thinking is completely irrational. There is never any call for cheating. No matter how poorly she treated him — and yes, I did watch two episodes, which was enough to witness her berating him at a birthday party and then again at an amusement park — extramarital affairs should not have played into the equation. Especially since they had to have known that it would play out on a national level.

Now we bring things up to the current situation. Jon Gosselin will be designing a line of children’s clothing for Christian Audigier, the man behind Ed Hardy. I think this may be the best move that Audigier has ever made. He has hired a man famous for insemination and philandering to create a line of clothing for kids, which will then be modeled by — who else? — the original source of the new hire’s fame. Not only that, but now Mr. Gosselin, who was married to Mrs. Gosselin for 10 years, has taken up smoking, gotten his ears pierced and begun dating the daughter of the plastic surgeon who performed a tummy tuck on his soon-to-be-ex-wife in 2006. It makes me wonder if a contract or agreement was signed with Audigier before all of this cheating nonsense that prevented Audigier from pulling out of the deal before the divorce was announced.

I also can’t help but think about what must be going through the heads of the children right now. The older ones must be aware of the negative attention, and it’s not exactly something that has gone down quietly or privately. Every last detail has been broadcast across the world. I hope they get the opportunity to truly be children and can put all of this behind them to grow up in a positive atmosphere.