August 31, 2007

Cinema Dagny

Posted in *cringe*, The Funny, The Happy, the pretty, Uncategorized at 9:00 am by Dagny Taggart

No, no.  This isn’t me posting that video that I managed to finagle back from the ex-fiancé.  Not that any such video exists.  But if it did, I wouldn’t be posting it.  That’s not what this is about.

Moving on…

I have a fair number movies that I honestly think I could watch over and over again, until the end of time.   Some I’d put on just so I could quote the entire script as it was playing – kind of a “movie karaoke”, if you will.  Some are movies that I put on for the sole purpose of making myself cry buckets.  Some, I watch to laugh myself silly.  Some are simply old friends.

My current favorite, and I think it’s going to stay that way for a while, is Shopgirl.  It’s not lengthy, or complex.  It doesn’t tackle significant socioeconomic issues, but does an amazing job of character development.  Steve Martin is surprisingly subdued, and good! as Ray, and Claire Danes (my #1 girl crush) is superb.  It draws me in, makes me believe in the places and the people and it’s almost like I’m watching something that happened to myself someone I know.

An extremely close second is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  I’m fascinated by the interplay between the two main characters, and the subplots are sufficiently developed to add a great deal of depth to an already intense tale.

Stranger Than Fiction did quite a bit to satisfy my Emma Thompson fixation, and may contain the most romantic movie scene ever (even better than the end of WHMS)!  Well, at least for a girl who bakes quite a bit herself.  And, it introduced me to one of my all-time favorite songs, “Bottles and Bones” by Califone.

Speaking of When Harry Met Sally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this one.  To me, it’s incredibly well-written, and despite its wit and humor, includes a number of valuable insights into relationships.

And finally, lest you think I’m a complete chick-flick addict, I’ll include Braveheart and Last of The Mohicans, both of which provide excellent plot along with well-executed action and adventure, not to mention some seriously quotable lines.  Which, as you may have guessed, is an important factor in my movie ranking system.

One of the great things I love about movies is soundtracks, especially those with original scores.  One frustrating thing about the Shopgirl soundtrack, though, was that it’s just the original score.  So yesterday, I spent some time hunting down the remaining songs from the film, which led me to this guy.  He might be my new favorite, at least for now.

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!  Hope it’s lovely.  And, should you happen to find yourself in the path of a videocamera, remember that the red light means it IS, in fact, recording. 

Not that I would know anything about that, at all.

August 30, 2007

Why I have no game, Part 2

Posted in *cringe*, Nerdiness, The Funny, The How, The WTF at 8:25 am by Dagny Taggart

This, in case you’re curious, was originally the post that started out, “If one more person tells me I’m too nice…”

Because apparently, I am. Apparently, flirting requires a certain “edge”, and I’m just not an edgy person.

This, I think, is because I really am quite shy. I don’t feel comfortable being even slightly mean, or teasing, unless I know the person at least well enough to know that I probably can avoid their sorest points. So I try to stick to light conversation, getting to know a little more about them, until my intuition lets me know that we’ve reached that more comfortable level. Frankly, one of the reasons why I prefer not to tease, or poke fun, is that I have an uncanny ability to inadvertently pick the most sensitive subject, each and every time. So I just don’t do it.

Apparently, my intuition can just take a hike. Guys WANT us to be mean to them. Or at least, not so very nice. Because nice is boring. Nice doesn’t represent a challenge. Of course, I thought we were trying to get to know each other, not climb Kilimanjaro without oxygen. I’m just not that good at, nor do I see the point of, pretending to be a walking snark dispenser. One would hope that my reluctance to mock someone in public would be considered a good thing.

So reason #2 that I have no game, is that I’m “too nice.” Although, if one more person tells me that to my face, they may find themselves on the receiving end of a very un-snarky, un-witty, and un-flirty rude gesture.

I can’t be that nice, people. I’m from Jersey!

August 29, 2007

I have no game, part 1

Posted in *cringe*, Nerdiness, The Funny, The WTF at 9:41 am by Dagny Taggart

I was (in jest, I think) accused of being the “nicest player [she] knew” by one of my favorite people.  Those who have actually seen me in a mingling/bar situation know differently.

A while ago, I was at a happy hour with a group of friends, and waiting for my date to show up.  As I reached for my signature beverage, a not unattractive gentleman came up to me and asked what it was.  When I told him that it involved cider, he replied that it would have been far cooler, had it been a Black & Tan.  I said I was sorry to disappoint him, and turned back to my friends.

Who immediately began to berate me.  Why hadn’t I introduced this guy, drawn him into conversation?  Even if I was waiting for a date that night, there were several single girls in our group.

Because it hadn’t even occurred to me, that he might be hitting on me.  Not even for a second.

And this is one of the many, many reasons I have no game.  Because I have zero flirt radar, apparently.  Even when a guy is blatantly (according to observers) all but grovelling, I think that maybe he might like me a bit, but I’m not really sure.  What if he’s just, you know… friendly?

Apparently, I am clueless, and therefore have no game.

August 16, 2007

Game Theory

Posted in Nerdiness, The Why at 7:34 am by Dagny Taggart

Big doings today.  Too nervous to write something new, so you’re getting that Game Theory analysis I yammered about some time ago.  Less geeky topics when my hands have stopped shaking, I promise.

I took Game Theory for my Government major, and thus the class was skewed toward application in economic and international relations contexts.

At the time, I was also taking three classes for my English major ( British Victorian Novels, Shakespeare’s Histories and Comedies, and a seminar on Classic Lit.). I started thinking about the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and how it could apply to interpersonal relationships, and how maybe when people cooperate, they reach the interpersonal Nash equilibrium.

I am, in fact, the nerdiest chick anyone knows.  Seriously. I quote “Real Genius” like it’s my job, and now I’m talking Nash? Intervention?   Please?

So the Prisoner’s Dilemma involves incomplete information and decision-making, and can be applied to single-round or repeat interactions. Largely, each of two players can decide to trust, or not. If they both trust, they achieve the optimal outcome, or the end result with the highest “score” – as when two suspects charged with the same crime choose to trust each other and not confess. Both go to jail, but receive lighter sentences, because there is insufficient evidence to convict of greater charges, as denoted in the top left square.

If they both choose not to trust, they achieve the lowest possible “score” – that is, they both receive longer punishments, and thus have less benefit, as noted at the bottom right.

If either chooses not to trust when the other does, the trusting party is, essentially screwed – he/she gets zero benefit, while the other tra la las merrily along. Note, however, that this option still carries a larger total utility score than when neither party trusts.


Option A

Option B

Option A

25, 25


Total = 50

30, 0


Total = 30

Option B

0, 30


Total = 30

10, 10


Total = 20

So the point of all of this is that it is consistently more beneficial overall to extend trust.

But when you’ve extended trust in the past, and been screwed, it’s hard to do it.  However, if you’re anticipating repeated interactions with the same person, as in the dating/relationship context, it’s clearly worth it.  Once you’ve opted to “not cooperate”, the other person is motivated to be selfish as well, to protect his or her own interests.

Sometimes, it’s best just to walk away from the game entirely, if you think you’ll never get to the full cooperation box with the other party.  Sometimes, the important thing is to realize that you need to be okay with how you’re acting, regardless of whether the other person is being selfish or not.

August 13, 2007

Why I Can’t Have Nice Things

Posted in *cringe*, Nerdiness, The Gnomes, The WTF at 10:24 am by Dagny Taggart

So I spent most of my weekend away from my computer, which was pleasant for the most part, though I get a little antsy when I can’t check my email regularly.

As it turns out, I probably couldn’t have done anything anyway.  My computer ate itself at some point, and started flashing evil, nasty, sharp pointy blue screens and freezing up or running very, very slowly.

I found this upsetting, because this machine is only 18 months old.  And it wasn’t exactly cheap.  And there’s a lot of stuff on here – my iTunes alone!

My apologies go to anyone I might have called in my initial state of panic.  I’ll try not to let it happen again.  And, my undying gratitude goes to the person who talked me down and explained that I probably hadn’t, in fact, turned my computer into a useless hunk of plastic by virtue of my mere existence.

I blame the gnomes.

In other news, I’ve got another 5-day weekend coming up, but this one will be spent working on various things.  First, of course, is a nursery.  For two wee ones.  I’m pretty excited about that.  The other, is two days of videotaped lectures to satisfy bar admission requirements in one of my states.  Since I don’t have to provide proof that I was paying attention, book recommendations are most welcome.  Something substantial, and moderately substantive, would be lovely.

August 10, 2007


Posted in *cringe*, The Gnomes, The OCD, The WTF at 8:32 am by Dagny Taggart

So, I’ve noticed a couple of bizarre patterns in my dating life.

We’ve talked about the Chris thing before, I think. Lots of guys named Chris, and also, lots of September birthdays. The 2nd, the 3rd, the 11th, the 15th, the 17th. According to those random astrological thingys, I’m super-compatible with Virgos, and I am the case that proves those random astrological thingys are full of crap. 

That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not a believer in signs, omens, and portents.

I might have mentioned the “now that I’ve dated you, I’m ready to get married…
to someone else” thing.

But the strangest one of all might be Samsung’s Curse.

That’s how I know a relationship is over. Buying a ginormous TV? We’ll be broken up in less than 2 months. It’s held true in each of the 4 relationships that spanned a TV purchase. 

Okay, so in The Case Of The Philandering Fiancé, it wasn’t that big of a deal, nor that bad of a thing.  He has already cheated, and the relationship was stumbling along toward the Death Cart anyway. But there it was – a new TV for his room, and then… poof! 

And we all remember this guy.   He actually bought a condo to put the TV (and spare girlfriends)  in, then bought the TV, and then… poof!

The last one bought the TV and then spontaneously exploded a month later.  I’m still not even entirely sure what he thought was going on – he accused me of cheating, or being about to cheat, or something.  Because I emailed a friend of mine, who happens to sport a Y chromosome, as frequently as I emailed my female friends.  I think the TV talked to him in toshibatongue, or something.  But I digress.  Poof!

So, that’s why I’m a little skittish around DLP, plasma, or LCD TV’s.  Yep, I’ll probably hang on to my 27″ curved screen Panasonic with broken speakers for a nice long while…

***Thanks to DCBlogs for “noting” yesterday’s post!***

August 9, 2007

Haiku, Part 2

Posted in *cringe*, Nerdiness, Past, The WTF at 7:44 am by Dagny Taggart

You have been talking
For hours on end. And still,
My watch says 8:10.

He sounded like Mr. Moviephone, but with a country twang. I met him in Adams Morgan, at a club, while out with a group of girlfriends. I was wearing 5″ heels at the time, so he definitely gets props for mustering the courage, and sufficient sobriety, to amble his 5’11” frame my way and slip me his business card. Enough props so that I called him that Monday, having supplemented my hazy recollection of generic, above-average looks with a quick glance at the black and white headshot on his workplace’s website.

Over the phone, the voice was a little … odd, but the accent was more charming than abrasive. I chalked it up to “office voice”. and we made plans to go out.

He was excellent on paper. He seemed like exactly the sort of person I should be dating. Having just been through the wringer with someone wrong in all the classic bad-boy ways, I convinced myself that it would work, that I just needed to give it time. He was Catholic, for crying out loud. He went to church. Dr. Taggart would be so happy.

I probably could have dealt with the overgrown frat boy thing, at least for a while. I could have continued to ignore the strange feeling that he thought his name should have roman numerals after it, or the catalog future (Pottery Barn, J. Crew) implicit in his life plan (partner by 35, 2-3 kids, assortment of small pets). I was sure I could talk him out of picking baby names that all began with the same letter (and if someone could explain to me why they think that’s cute, that’d be great).

That his personality seemed manufactured, molded after a crowd he’d clearly envied but not been a part of in college, was slightly more problematic.

And then it hit me, as such things do when you’ve been on a few dates and sense that the other party might try to move things in that direction. Much like the proverbial image of parental, um… “relations”, I couldn’t ignore it, and though I knew it was just in my head, I cringed nonetheless.

If things got to that point, I’d eventually have to hear that voice in bed. Mr. Moviephone, from Kentucky, in bed. Aaaaaaghhhhhhh!!!!!

A six-pack of Rolling Rock and a fifteen minute conversation later, I was leaving a sparsely furnished (Crate & Barrel, actually) apartment with a deeper understanding of what I wasn’t looking, er, listening, for, in a prospective mate.

August 8, 2007

Conversation the Third

Posted in *cringe*, Darth Vaguer, The OCD, The WTF at 9:15 am by Dagny Taggart

K:  Nooooboooddyyy knooowwwws… the trouble I’ve seeeennnn…

DT:  Ha.  ha.  You know you’re even worse at singing than I am, right?

K:  Yeah, I do.  Just like you know you’re sucking at life, right?

DT:  Has anyone told you how closely you resemble my mother?

K:  Hey now, that’s uncalled for.

DT:  (steely gaze)

K:  I was merely suggesting that perhaps you just need to get over yourself and stop wallowing.  It’s decidedly unattractive.  People want to be around cheery and happy, and not someone who’s sulky and tired all the damn time.

DT:  Well, but… I have been a lot more tired for no good reason.

K:  Fake it.  You made it through three years of law school, two bar exams, and I don’t even know how many times you’ve had to pretend to be happy to wear some godawful satin dress and carry a bunch of flowers around.  You’re a much better actress than you give yourself credit for.

DT:  And then what?

K:  I suspect that if you just pretend to be cheery, you’ll eventually get over yourself and just, well… be cheery.

DT:  That’s your brilliant plan.

K:  Yep.

DT:  Fantastic.