Sunday, September 30, 2007

Out of sight, no invite

Usually when one overhears a conversation about someone feeling hurt over being left out or wondering if they've been ignored for some unknown personal reason, one would think it's spat between two women.

In this case, however, it's my male friend, TJ. I found out over the weekend that he was asking why he had not been invited to a birthday party I organized for Tim. C3 made me aware of his inquiry. Apparently the reason he found out about it was because a friend asked TJ, "are you going to Tim's party at C3's?" Then, on the day of the party, Hula had called TJ asking if he wanted to carpool to C3's place for Tim's party. (Hello? Check the invite list before mentioning these things to people.)

Naturally, you can understand why this would be rather perplexing and somewhat hurtful to feel left out. Upon hearing this, I felt rather bad myself for hearing that he could not understand the reason for being excluded. TJ is a very gregarious person and likes to include others. I'm sure he expects similar behavior from others.

Before asking Tim, I chatted with C3 about it. My natural assumption is that Tim does not feel particularly close to TJ. There have been a few times where Tim expressed surprised at being included by TJ. Secondly, the party itself was never intended to be big like the parties that TJ likes to have. We kept it to less than a dozen people who Tim chose. Even I was surprised at how few people Tim wanted to include after asking him for additional names. Thirdly, given that TJ has never gone camping with us, spends much of his free time socializing with his girlfriend and her circles, and rarely shows up for casual events due to his work, it's easy to forget about him. He hasn't been there to "bond" with us (at least me anyhow).

Tim has been in my life for over three years. Besides big social gatherings like BBQs and house parties, I don't think TJ and Tim ever talk. On the other hand, friends like Hula, Drummer, Ig, and C3 see Tim monthly as a result of various outings and get-togethers. While I feel bad for forgetting TJ, there's a reason for it. Hearing him comment to C3 that he's the reason Tim and I even know each other is not fair. Just because you take credit for linking friends together doesn't give you an automatic ticket to events. (TJ and Pku are friends. Pku and Tim went to college together. I met Tim when Pku invited me on a group vacation.) I don't think TJ was implying that he should be invited for that reason alone, but he made that observation just the same which I find illogical.

Basically, C3 and I agree that it's tough when there are overlapping circles of friends. Not everyone needs to be included in everything other people do. For example, sometimes it makes sense that a casual evening is for people who live near by each other. I am very aware that I'm not invited to certain events, but I know it's because I'm not from the same college or ethnic group. Even though events may not be specifically organized around a specific theme, I certainly understand that I'm not being intentionally excluded sometimes. Come to think of it, I wasn't invited to TJ's girlfriend's birthday dinner even though Hula and C3 were; that's fine. Why should complain?

I told Tim about what has happened. He laughed a bit and then said, "whoops." It was plain to see that he had simply forgotten about TJ. It was mostly what I had thought, Tim hasn't seen TJ in months and didn't remember him. He was thinking of people he's hung out with over the summer. The thing about it is that, normally, TJ is so busy, he wouldn't have cared. His girlfriend happens to be out of town and he was alone the evening we had the birthday party.

I don't know if TJ will ever bring it up with me or Tim. C3 certainly felt bad because it was at her place. TJ targeted her with a bit of guilt. I take some responsibility since I controlled the invite list. At least Tim knows now to remember him next time. I only hope TJ realizes (or someone points it out to him) that sometimes he's not going to be included when he doesn't invest the time to hang out with people. Just because he sees Hula and C3 more regularly doesn't mean that Tim or I should be held to the same level of familiarity. It's not out of malice, just simply about people with who you have a current connection.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The lows of resale

Reading things like this remind me of why I'm not always comfortable buying from sites such as Craigslist and Ebay. As much as I like the concept of recycling and things like the Compact, it unfortunately also encourages the evil world of theft.

"Hi - My black macbook was stolen from my car while eating dinner in SJ on Wednesday September 12th. The serial number is 4H6201HFVMN and it was in a black backpack.

I'll offer a reward (how much depends on how much of my backpack comes with it) but at a minimum i thought I'd get the word out on this laptop in case someone is thinking about buying one and finds this machine.

It's been reported to the Police and to Apple so trying to get it serviced or phone support for it will end up in an awkward conversation for whomever needs assistance with it... There was another friend's computer stolen at the same time as well as three other cars broken into and had stuff stolen so whomever is selling it is someone who makes a habit of it and doesn't deserve your money. They're a cowardly thief that makes money on the misfortune of others.

Some punk named sent me a mail claiming to have the unit and claiming to be in the proces of parting it out b/c he thinks i don't have the major module serial numbers. Well, I do have access to that (HDD serial number is ST9120821AS, the MAC address of the computer is 00:16:cb:cc:50:ba so check these things before you buy!). In the meantime, i'll leave your email address here so other lowlife dirtbags can crawl this page, get your email address and send you spam."

I love the idea of saving money by getting this on sale, but this makes me feel a little guilty. I must admit that whenever I browse the pages and pages of NWT and NWOT designer clothing makes me wonder how they get such items, especially when they are still in stores. I realize there is a group of sellers that legitimately cannot return the items and changed their minds. There is surely, however, a number of people who sell items for which they never paid.

I once worked part-time for a year in a popular retail store. For weeks, someone was stealing flatware. We joked that they were probably working to build up a set of 8 place settings. They were very smart about how to disguise the theft so that it went unnoticed for several hours. Also, when inventory was done on the smaller kitchen items, more than $20,000 in inventory was missing in a six-month period. Maybe most of this stuff was theft for personal use (or gifts), but just imagine how much more reasonable prices would be if stores didn't have to worry so much about theft.

When the time comes for me to buy a laptop, I'm going to make sure to write down all the computer information and store it somewhere safe.

Monday, September 24, 2007

New chapters

It's all about television this week. Besides going to the gym and having a crack in my wall inspected, my eyes will be glued to the tv virtually every night this week.

The new tv show season has started and I'm so excited!!!

Monday - "How I Met Your Mother," "Dancing with the Stars" (in between other shows), and "Heroes"

Tuesday - "Bones" and "House"

Wednesday - "Kitchen Nightmares," maybe "Bionic Woman

Thursday - "Survivor" (we'll see how long I last) and "Grey's Anatomy"

Friday - Has there been anything good on Fridays since "X-Files?"

Saturday - FOOTBALL

Yikes, this is a lot of tv... and when January rolls around I'll finally get to watch "Lost."

Sometimes I think about all the interesting things other people I know do at night, like work, read, volunteer, hobbies. That's when I wonder if I should enrich myself with something or join some professional society to broaden my mind and hone my skills. But damn, it's just so nice to kick back and relax.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Spam wasn't so bad until Africa

We all get spammed, it's a fact of life. The one account I've had since forever gets a decent amount of spam. Fortunately, I learned early after giving my e-mail to someone whom I later learned worked for a spam-like company. I still think she sold my name as part of a list. These days, I get a lot of untitled e-mails and lame attempts titled "You have an e-card!"

My general e-mail account gets an enormous amount of spam. Within days, the junk folder gets up into the hundreds. It's rare there's anything worthwhile to look at unless I'm interested in my pharmacy prescription, Rolex watches, secret shopping, a larger penis, and $500 gifts cards.

Another account I have originally meant to be a spam account but ended up being an online dating account. Occasionally, I'd sign up for mailings from stores. For three years I didn't get a single piece of spam.

Recently, I slipped and used the e-mail address to inquire about a room reservation for a hotel in Africa. Yipes, was that a mistake. I swear it has to be because of this one contact. Now, I'm getting the most obnoxious kind of e-mail I've ever seen. The subtle titles I get on my other accounts have been amusing and suggestive. Whatever list my third account has been put on is down right annoying. The titles I have today, like "hookers" and "cheap sluts." What if I was a kid? At least my e-mails titled "Penis enlargement" are somewhat more... health related.

I know I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure it was due to this hotel. ARGH!!! I hate to perpetuate the bad image about African countries, but this doesn't help with my impression that they have some crooked people over there. I'm a nice girl, I don't want to see this stuff. Oh well, time to ditch that account!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Is there more still to accomplish?

I went to my therapy session knowing I had little to say. I rambled on about how work is mind-numbingly boring this week. There are always little things to do, going to the library, returning stuff to the store, filling out passport visa forms, getting postage from the post office. I talked about how this was a rather boring simple week.

The silence and exchanges of stares made it clear that I had little to say. I've been coming to this place for almost four years. It's what kept me sane some weeks through getting over Ryan and dealing with the absurdities and frustrations of dating. It's been an opportunity to talk aloud about my issues without looking like one of those homeless people who aimlessly wanders the streets talking to themselves (and answers).

Over the past year, I've been wondering how one is supposed to know when therapy is no longer needed. It's not exactly cheap to pay to talk to someone for an hour every week. It's not that expensive either (given that I don't have a daily $4 coffee habit or cable tv). Still, it's money that I question whether I still need to be spending rather than put in the bank or spend to get a slightly nicer hotel on my next vacation. I started here because I was having trouble coping, but now my life is more stable.

I have spells where there's little I want or need to say to my therapist. It's a funny contrast to Is who I know looks forward to babbling all her drama each week to her therapist. She operates differently than me. She can't stand the idea of sleeping in a tent, and I refuse to wear the skimpy Forever 21 clothing she buys.

Overall, for better or worse, I'm a pretty self-contained person. My understanding of how people socialize and behave may be limited, but I can understand myself pretty well. I know what it is I need to do and why I procrastinate from changing personal quirks that could make my life better.

On the other hand, it is good to have someone who will listen and not judge me, unlike myself or mother. Everyone around me seems to know that I'm very critical of myself and set expectations that are unrealistic (although I think they're totally reasonable, I'm just not willing to work that hard).

So back to the question... how do I know it's time to move on? More often than before we have those pauses where I have nothing to say. There are days where I feel like I have to come up with something to make the hour move. My therapist, at times, thinks that I filter my discussions because I predetermined that some topics are not important. That's when she reminds me, "let me be the judge of that."

There will always be issues to discuss. Everyone has something they could talk about when you have a fight with an SO, have a bad day at work, disagree with a friend. The things I need to work through with Tim are something for me, but I don't think she can directly help me solve them. I feel like what needs to be done lies between me and Tim. We need to work through this together.

Admittedly, there's part of me that just wants my free time back to myself. I hate always needing to leave work early and having to be late to evening events one day a week. I want my flexibility back. I can't tell you how many activities and events I've passed up over the years because of this time commitment.

I think I'm ready to go it on my own. More often in the past year, I've come into the office with nothing to share. Is that not an indication that I'm handling life? Of course, that's easy to say when it seems things are going well. As Is once said, it seems like you only need to talk to your therapist when there's some kind of drama going on in your life.

The weird thing is that this is a business arrangement. Isn't it a conflict of interest to decide whether your patient is ready to move on? I mean, if they say you no longer need to come, they're out money. How do I bring up this discussion?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Autism-Spectrum Quotient Test

Someone posted this quiz link in the comments section of Megan's blog. I found it entertaining.

I scored in the high 20s on this test. Yipes! I wanted to laugh at myself when I read statement #6 because I SOOOOOOO do this and turned into a party trick.

So what's the difference between someone who's simply good at math and someone who's potentially autistic? Does this explain some of my disinterest in large groups?

Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at Cambridge's Autism Research Centre have created the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, as a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger's report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives.

Take The AQ Test

Friday, September 07, 2007

What happened to you?

I was watching a rerun of "Gray's Anatomy" last night. It was the one where Meredith's mother is lucid for a time. She wants to get to know Meredith and acts all nice. It's clear Meredith is happy as she tries to hint at the joys in her crazy life. Unfortunately, all her mother hears is that she's not being aggressive about her job and that some man is distracting her. Clearly Meredith was hoping for a more touching "reunion."

As I watched, I couldn't help think about my own life. There's a part of me that's pretty competitive and sets high expectations for myself. I've never been happy with who I am because I always thought I could do better and feel like I'm not living up to my potential. I meet people who are far smarter and far more socially skilled than I will ever be. It's frustrating sometimes, but on the other hand I sometimes don't want to be on that path. It would require me to give up part of who I am now.

The other reason watching this struck a chord is because I've been keeping a secret from most people until recently. I haven't talked much about dating because Tim and I have revisited dating each other. It started after my vacation earlier this summer. Being apart, it was clear we missed each other. After some talks, we went on a couple "dates." I put that in quotes because we spend so much time together as friends, it barely seems different.

Things are going well, and, in fact, he's the one who went with me on a tropical vacation. We had the best time and really enjoyed just being together. There's truly a special bond between us. The vacation is probably one of the best I can recall.

That said, however, some of the things that were a concern for me the first time around are still there. At least this time, we're talking about them. He knows that I don't appreciate his badly timed humor. I recognize that I can nag and whine a bit too often. We both need to develop some patience and learn to constructively discuss things.

Tim was very understanding about my preference to keep things quiet for awhile. Given our history and a handful of well-meaning, but nosy friends, I wanted to avoid immediate pressure and curiosity. If we couldn't work things out, I didn't want to have to explain again a brief attempt at dating a second time. Enough time has now passed that I feel like we're really working at this. It's also clear that Tim has gotten to a point where he no longer wants to dodge people's questions about his dating life.

We still have some obstacles to overcome. There's one big one we're tackling now. It's complicated and a bit too personal for me to write about just yet. Unfortunately it's something that must be worked around rather than fixed or changed, so it's going to be a longer process. In my opinion, there'll be some sacrifice from both of us on this matter. I don't like that either of us will have to lose anything, but hopefully there's enough else to make up for it that we won't notice in time.

For me personally, the next hurdle will be my mother. On one hand, she'd be happy to just know that I'm not alone anymore and that maybe I'd be married someday. On the other hand, he's not the right ethnicity in her eyes. He's also not tall enough, not from a good family, blah, blah, blah. She will look down on him (and Tim knows that). I dread hearing the judgemental comments that she will share with me whenever we talk. I don't know how to manage this part. It is what it is.

All that matters right now is that I'm happy. I love knowing he's going to give me a hug and kiss me when I see him. I know that he loves me for who I am. I look forward to cooking meals and sitting down to eat dinner with him. Whatever happens, I'm having fun and can enjoy life for a little while. These are the times I hope I can look back on years from now when I need a smile.