Monday, July 30, 2007

This would be inspirational...

if it weren't so depressing. I'm not in the worst shape for retirement, simply by virtue of having invested paltry amounts at a really young age (thank goodness my parents were really adamant about that back when I had my first high school job, instilling good habits that I then...totally couldn't keep up once I had a good job, a marriage, a house payment, and a car payment). But I still have lost time to make up for, like pretty much everyone I know.

I'm also off the property ladder, having unloaded my Phoenix townhouse and moved into a rented apartment in Brooklyn. I'd love to own again, but I also just love my neighborhood, which is full of elderly places that require massive maintenance fees over and above a mortgage payment. I can just about conceive of a time when I could afford the mortgage, but between the payments and the maintenance fees, I'd have to give up investing for my retirement.

I guess the good thing is that if I keep saving like these folks, I might eventually have a large enough down payment to do both. Or, if prices keep going up, making buying here eternally out of reach, maybe I'll just have to buy an investment property somewhere else. It does feel good to see these people beaming in the rosy glow of home ownership. One of these days....

Found the Link

Aren't they darling?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harvard Has Stupid People, Too

I'm not sure we ever doubted this, but lo, there's proof. Today's Times (the print version--I can't find the story online) contains a fantastic story about a group promoting chastity at Harvard. Kissing and cuddling are in. But then the boy goes back to his dorm room. The Times, thankfully, does not press the issue of what might happen after that. The Times is, in fact, very respectful and even-handed, and does not ask half of the truly incredulous questions that people really tend to ask when they find out you're not having sex (whether by choice or by circumstance).

I'm allowed to mock, because I abstained from sex during college. I generally regret it, and I'd go so far as to say that as a policy, it was stupid. I must admit, I don't think it would have been all great experiences if I had done it. There's no particular person I could have had sex with that I think I'd look back at and think, "Well, there was a smart decision. Thank goodness we had sex." But still, I do wish I'd been open to the possibility like a normal human being. It didn't seem like a big deal at 20, but as I've gotten older, I've often thought that I was trying to avoid experiencing pain and looking stupid, when in reality I did both and ended up missing out on a lot of potentially good things (not all of them sex).

I think the smart bottom line is that sex might cloud your decision making. I'm not sure this is univerally accurate--sex is powerfully instinctive, and I think the sexual knee-jerk reactions we have can contain good information that can help us make smart decisions. But for the sake of argument, let's assume that's true at least some of the time. Unless you're joining an order, here's the winning strategy: Get used to it. Pretending you can be in control by not having sex? I'm not so sure that isn't just as stupid as pretending you're in control by having sex whenever possible.

There's a heartbreaking quote by the woman in the piece where she explains that because of the chemicals released during orgasm, people will be sad if the relationship goes wrong. Let me just say that if it were the orgasmic chemicals that caused end-of-relationship sadness, there would, without question, be such a thing as painless divorce. But there isn't. Because humans, ingenious little fuckers that we are, find more than one way to bond with each other--some of them much more profoundly dysfunctional than sex.

Friday, July 27, 2007

IMAX in a Basement

I'm sure other people are way more up on what's on YouTube than I am, but I thought this was kind of interesting.

Okay, he reminds me a lot of my ex-husband (pouring money into a bank of computers and then spending all his time there). The video is essentially a narrative of his struggle for proof of concept--he wants to make an IMAX movie about Saturn in his basement. Once you get past the weirdness of the concept, it's not all that hard to grasp. Why does he want this? Not sure. Apparently he was raised in a cult that forbade movies and computers, and he thinks Carl Sagan and Stanley Kubrik are the business.

But I have to say, the video is clever, and he certainly seems determined. He's looking for people to donate photos (no, not of Saturn) and money so he can achieve his dream. All donations are apparently tax-deductible, and every dollar goes to save his marriage. Okay, I added that last part, but it's totally true.