Friday, November 30, 2012

A Conversation from Last Night

Bloody Munchkin: We kept getting him to try and say her name but he kept saying something about pancakes. Turns out, the first day the little munchkin met him, she up and stole the pancake he was eating right out of his hand. He's still mad about it.

Fighting Nun: That kid better prepare himself for a lifetime of that because it only gets worse there on out. 

Bloody Munchkin: Probably. Anyhoo, your daughter's nickname is now pancakes.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dismantling the already Dismantled A Christmas Story 2

So we're watching the TV over the weekend and Comcast has these incredibly bad banners at the bottom of the TV menu and one of them caught my eye and I immediately pointed it out. Somebody had the audacity, the outright nerve to make A Christmas Story 2. Yes, you read that right. There's a sequel to the much beloved A Christmas Story. And despite my outright horror of even attempting a sequel to this movie, Fighting Nun and I attempted to give it a shot. The outcome? Not good. Not good at all. They took everything I loved about the original and mutated into the most generically toned down, unfunny, sad depiction of all the characters in the original. It was so watered down that I wasn't angry at it, I just pitied it. I even remarked to Fighting Nun that the saddest part was I probably wouldn't be mad enough to tear it to shreds on this here blog.

Well, I've decided, that even with a few days since watching it, I'm still mad enough to want to catalog as many of its sins as I can, because you don't just create a sequel to a beloved classic without kicking a few hornets' nests. I won't be able to list them all, because we'd be here for ages and I have Christmas shopping to do, but I'll do my best.

And the sins this movie committed:

Sin #1: Blatant, Bad, and Blatantly Bad Stunt Casting

This movie is ripe with it. Actors were either cast because they would be good as cartoon versions of our beloved characters or they tried to find the blandest substitutes. In the case of the former it was so blatant as to be criminal. I mean, you are not casting Daniel Stern because he's a master of subtlety and will give the character of the Old Man the nuance he deserves. You're casting Daniel Stern in a movie essentially to play Daniel Stern in Daniel Stern: The Movie. That man is sending it to the nosebleeds is what I'm saying. And hey, Darren McGavin's performance wasn't a master class in laid back performances either. He was probably buried with set pieces from this movie still stuck in his teeth, but there was a heart in that character clearly visible that Daniel Stern's version just didn't have. Yes, we get it, he's a cheap old man. There are better ways to sell that than to have a temper tantrum in a butcher's shop. Gah!

And where it really gets horrible is with the side characters the movie took the time to include (which no Scut Farkus? Of all the indignities... Well I never!), but didn't take the time to do anything with. Take the beloved Schwartz and Flick as another example. In the original, both characters, while plucky and trouble-making, always felt like kids, not cardboard cutouts walking around in kids bodies. And they felt like Ralphie's friends, not people he begrudgingly hangs out with, but friends. Friends that don't rat you out when you clearly dared them to do something stupid and friends who watch in horror as you beat up the school bully.

This movie's Schwartz and Flick were obviously none of those things. The only thing they tried to be was really schticky comic relief and that failed miserably. There's a whole bit in the movie where Schwartz sticks him mouth in a compressor tube hole that was obviously supposed to mimic the flag pole scene and it was so lame as to even make my eye rolls at it seem redundant. Heck, I even got angry when they were introduced. I think I ranted "That's Schwartz. That's who you chose for Shwartz!?!!" at the TV, as Fighting Nun laughed at me.

But then there were those instances of stunt-casting that felt like the movie didn't even try to come close to the original. I mean I get that Peter Billingsley is a hard act to follow because he will forever be Ralphie and those are some mighty big breeches to fill, but filling those breeches with this kid? And giving him the worst dye in a box bleach job the world has ever seen since Courtney Love? Not filling those breeches in the tiniest. It's as if some casting director just threw up his hands, handed the director a head shot and said "Eh, he'll do." And it's ever so sad. the kid tried. He was trying to deliver his performance to the back of the house, but it just came off as trying too hard and sad.

And the other place where the casting director didn't even try? The role of Mother. Melinda Dillon was incredible and played the part of harried housewife to the nines. She wasn't prim, she had a hard time getting out of the house with her apron off and was covered in flour and probably her kids' bodily fluids. Stacey Travis did not even attempt to play the same role as Dillon. She was playing June Cleaver for Christ's Sake and it was so obvious and it took away all of the things that I loved about the original character. It was just embarrassing.

Also, do not even get me started on the Narrator for this movie. He wasn't a good imitation Jean Shepard.  Imitation Cheese could've done a better job than this guy.

Sin #2: Paper Thin Plot

Not that the original didn't have a paper thin plot. I mean come on "Kid plots way to get his parents the Christmas gift of his dreams" is not rocket science. But it blended in seamlessly with so many other plots and themes the movie was trying to get across that it made such a blatantly obvious story so much more. In this one the paper thin plot never materializes into anything else. "Ralphie wants his own car and a girl. Ralphie goes through needless rigamarole of Goldbergian proportions to try to get car and continues to fail miserably until he doesn't and gets his car and his girl." So lame, so unearned, so generic. The other plot is "the Old man is a cheapskate and tries to cheapskate Christmas. And in the end he learns.... nothing." Yawn.

Sin #3: Gags in the first movie did not work in the second

The aforementioned tube gag, a leg lamp moment, some big to-do involving the department store Santa Claus, and the little day-dream fantasy sequences were all used to hardly any degree of success. It all fell flat. The only part that worked was when Randy had to suffer the same costume wearing fate Ralphie did in the first movie. I mean, come on. Forcing kids into uncomfortable, horrible-looking costumes is just plain fun!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Relationship Memes

One of these days, Fighting Nun and I are going to be at some get together and I'm going to have a glass of wine in my hands and just as I'm about to take a drink of wine, he's going to give me the side eye, utter the term "Hindenburg air tunnel" and I'm going to my best to swallow that wine without doing a spit take, but I'll be overcome with a case of the church giggles at that very moment and I'll have to choke down that drink of wine and it will sound like I'm gurgling and everyone will wonder why I'm making a scene and I'll blush wildly and demure by saying "Oh, its nothing." whilst still catching my breath and Fighting Nun will smile smugly and laugh knowingly that he got me.

(That is if he actually remembers what "Hindenburg air tunnel" is and how he came up with it and how we laughed when he created and how perfect an inside joke it is. Because it is hilarious I assure you.)

Everybody already knows what a meme is right? Well everybody but my husband because he lives in a pop culture bubble and the only things that penetrate that bubble are things we wants let in and just as many things leave and are forgotten about, but that's besides the point.

I think a relationship, one that's worth its weight in salt, has its own memes. These moments, or phrases or things that happened that tend to live on in a relationship in infamy. Fighting Nun and I have several. Fighting Nun and I currently have probably forgotten a ton more than we actually use even. And they all get our points across with surprising accuracy.

Fine, you can call them relationship inside jokes if you MUST, and yes, if you aren't my husband you are going to have no idea what I mean when I say "Bitches Be Crazy" (ok, maybe you would if you watch Big Bang Theory and have committed that to memory like me, but probably not). Or you wouldn't be able to finish "Bring me a for realz salad." with the appropriate "and put some chickens on there" when I say this in public. Or *Gasp* you wouldn't say "Turkey Slapper. Ham Slapper. We Both Slap Meat" with me in unison.

But they are memes instead of inside jokes, because they take on their own life in our relationship. Fighting Nun can look at me, his eyebrows raised and say "Jesus Pole" out loud, and I'm either going to giggle like a school girl or role my eyes at him and hope nobody heard him say it so I don't have to explain where it came from. Maybe a better term for it is shorthand. There are these phrases and terms that have just become a part of our lexicon that evoke certain memories that, upon conjuring those memories up, you know exactly what that person is talking about.

The For Realz Salad meme is a perfect example of this. It was a story I heard on a radio station forever and a day ago about this woman who returned a salad at a restaurant and said "Bring me a for realz salad and put some chickens on there." This was hilarious to me and I committed it to memory and whenever I order something at a restaurant I don't enjoy and Fighting Nun asks me how it is I mutter "Bring me a for realz salad," and Fighting Nun will give me a knowing look and utter "and throw some chickens on there." And we both know we won't have to go back to that restaurant for awhile. It's even appended itself to things we think are stupid. If we're watching America' Next Top Model for example, and some stupid model says something stupid, one of us will look at the tv with our best "Oh no you diin't" face and utter "Bring me a for realz salad" or "Bitches be Crazy." because you know on ANTM, those Bitches be Crazy! with a capital C (Shut Up Victoria 4 Eva!)

I think a relationship has to have that sort of short hand in order for that relationship to mean something, because it means you've shared something with that person, a lot of somethings and those somethings have meaning and, ok maybe they aren't 'worthwhile' per say, but they are notable. And they mean something to the two of you at least. And some should stay right there, between the two of you. Seriously. I'm never going to tell you what "Hindenburg air tunnel' means if I live to be 150. It would just be too embarrassing. Ditto goes for Jesus Pole. Just sayin'.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Running and liking it!

So remember how I decided to train for a 5k and I thought I was going to die, and I was miserable and I had the mother of all running mood swings? Well, I finally ran my first 5k race this weekend and I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised (read: Holy Crap am I shocked!) at my transformation and my results.

**Warning: Boring running training information ahead. I went from running a mile in 14 minutes to running a mile in at around 10:30 . I went from thinking I was going to die after only a mile and a half to running just over three miles pretty gamely and easily. Before I started training, I was pretty convinced I'd be walking that last half-mile. Instead, I ran the whole thing, and I put in my personal best time to date!

I think a lot of that had to do with the experience and the cause for which I was running. I had never run a race before and I really had no idea what to expect. I just knew I needed to pick a race that was benefiting a charity I could get behind. So we found the Run Because You Can race. This race benefits the Runnin' For Rhett organization, which was founded by a family who lost their little boy in circumstances very similar to the way we lost Ukiah. How could I not get behind that? All of the decorations and race t-shirts were baby blue, like Ukiah's eyes. That's really all I needed to sign on.

The race itself was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. At first I was a little intimidated. When the hubbie and I run, it's by ourselves on a very deserted stretch of neighborhood. I'd never been in a mass of people like that, and I really didn't know how I'd manage running in a group. But everybody was cool. People who wanted to pass us did, people who were slower let us pass. I didn't find it intimidating at all. In fact, I felt a kind of confidence in numbers. All those people running around me buoyed me and made me feel confident in my abilities, motivating me. Also motivating? The bag-piper in a kilt. You guys know how I feel about kilts. I may or may not have made my feelings known about bag-pipers, but I'll briefly explain anyway. I think they are completely awesome! He was stationed at a turn in the first mile and he made me completely happy. That is he made me happy until I realized one of my shoes was fully untied and I was slipping out of my shoe and telling my husband that I had to stop and tie it was going to piss him off. And it did. I don't know why he was so bent out of shape though, because I spotted three other racers that had the same footwear problem, but oh well. After I got it tied, he put the hammer down pace wise, consciously or sub-consciously punishing me for not checking my shoes before the race.

Fighting Nun doesn't want to admit this about himself, but thanks to years of playing soccer, he feels this innate need to keep up with or pace the guy in front of him, which means he started going a lot faster than I'd ever gone with him. Until I successfully got him to pull back a little, it was a punishing pace. There was a kid, not more than thirteen that would put the pedal to metal, pass us, then walk and we'd pass him and then he'd starting running flat out again. I think my husband was trying to match that little pain in the ass's pace! At that point, I had no idea how far we had gone because I had forgotten the GPS watch at home and I knew I had to pace myself for the finish. At about the halfway mark, I heard a fellow racer say it was the halfway mark and I breathed a sigh of relief.

At the 2 mile mark, there was a watering station. Fighting Nun had been carrying a water bottle for me and I felt getting water at the water station was an advanced maneuver so I demurred. Fighting Nun got a gatorade from the station, tried drinking it while running, failed and threw the drink away at the earliest possible trash can. At about the 2.5 mark, there was an overpass that winded me and took my pace down a little, but then I saw a crush of people at nearby walking bridge that signified that we were near the end. My daughter and my father-in-law were the only two people there for us at the end of the race, and I doubted very much to hear any cheering. But that's thing, everybody cheered for everybody. Before I stepped on the mat that timed us, they actually announced our names over the loud speaker and a huge cheer erupted from the crowd. I smiled and waved and was completely in awe. Thankful to be done, we kissed our daughter at the end, grabbed some water, fruit and cookies and made our way to the car. I was so thrilled to be done, to have completed the thing, to have been part of something bigger than myself. Hopefully I'll do it again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Worried for My Daughter's Future

So this morning, I watched this movie called Beware the Gonzo. I had started it a few weeks ago, but finally got around to watching the rest so I could clear it off my DVR. The movie is mostly forgettable, but you know me and my high school movies. I am compelled to watch them at least once. I wish it were better. I mean, Campbell Scott and Amy Sedaris are both in it and yet are given hardly anything to do. Ezra Miller is Ezra Miller playing Ezra Miller but admirably. Jesse McCartney, Ugh.

But I don't want to review the movie, not really. There's a scene with Zoe Kravitz that struck a nerve with me. It's basically a cell-phone video of her character right after she had been essentially gang raped. She's humiliated and the humiliation is caught on video. I shuddered, not because of it being graphic, but because I was holding my daughter at that moment and I thought about her and how utterly I am worried that something like that could happen to her. It's terrifying.

Also terrifying is the idea that my daughter could end up like Amanda Todd:

If you haven't seen it, watch it. The ever amazing warrior/writer Lorna Suzuki tweeted it last week and it hasn't stopped shattering my world. For those faint of heart, I'll recap. The video features Amanda Todd, some time before she committed suicide, explaining in detail, one scrap of paper at a time the type of torture she's had to endure at the hands of bullies. It ranged from cyber-bullying to flat out physical abuse and beatings by her bullies. It was something she felt she couldn't face any longer and that's utterly heartbreaking.

What's more heartbreaking is how persistent bullying can be at this day and age. Yes, I was bullied and absolutely hated junior high and high school, but then I got to go home and at least I was in a safe environment and could compartmentalize. Now, thanks to social media, that bullying can follow the kids home and can continue to follow them through their years. Now some drunken mistake could be posted on the internet and never be taken down, or somebody starts a hate blog about another kid, or some text involving something sexually explicit supposed to stay between two people doesn't and it ends up haunting and torturing these kids for a long long time. Kids today have a lot more to deal with, especially on this level than I ever did. And who knows what my daughter is going to face when she reaches puberty. She could come out relatively unscathed, or she could have a slight lapse in judgement and there could be a video like the one in the movie, or worse, she could end up like Amanda.

In the same movie I mentioned at the end Zoe's character says that the she's tired of being a victim and she's not going to let that video the fact that it's out in the world control her. That was a very powerful statement and one I'm glad she made. But the very next scene undercuts the entire sentiment. The scene featured a character named disgustingly enough Horny Rob Becker. He's showing a friend (Ezra's character) a video he uploaded to the internet of him having a three way that he said "was [him] communicating with god." It's totally barf inducing and it's totally the thing I thought the movie was partially standing against. In putting that video out to the world, he exploited the other girls in the video. This message that maybe, just maybe we shouldn't be video taping this sort of thing and exploiting and humiliating these girls was completely thrown out the door in that one scene.

We need to be talking about this more, as a society. We need to be telling girls that people will do this sort of thing and have no guilt about it whatsoever. We need to be talking about how prevalent bullying and humiliation have become with teenagers and come up with constructive methods for dealing with it.

As for me, all I can do is try to arm my daughter appropriately when the time comes and tell her that not everyone has her best interests at heart. I guess I can always buy her The Gift of Fear and force her to read it. But unfortunately this is something I have to prepare myself and her for. I hope for a brighter future, especially in regarding to this, but I'm preparing for a lot messier one.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Helping Hands

If you've lurked around here for any period of time or if you just look at my my blog archive timeline you'll notice I go MIA for big chunks of time. There's a lot of reasons for that. For one I have a lazy streak a mile long, for another I have a full time job, a daughter and husband that keep me plenty busy. But sometimes it boils down to something else, something a little more sinister. I can sometimes succumb to long periods of being down in the dumps. From the time my son coded in the car, up to and definitely for a long time after he passed away I spiraled down into my own depression. It could've been a lot uglier, but it wasn't pretty. I started going to therapy and working myself out of it. I was never officially diagnosed and I'm not seeking medication or therapy for it any longer.

For the most part, I manage it. I'm able to see the silver lining around those low hanging clouds. That silver lining is there in my daughter's giggle or my husband's crack comic timing and I can and do enjoy life on a daily basis. But sometimes it rears its ugly head in ways I'm keeping hidden from people around me and especially from myself. Sometimes I hit a low spot without even noticing it.

It happened the other day and it took just a little word of kindness for me to identify it for what it was and start digging my way out again. It was a simple acknowledgement of something being out of place by someone who cared enough to straighten me out and it doesn't seem like much but in fact it was huge. (Thanks again Jason. I might be thanking you a  lot.)

The topic of mental illness has come up a lot lately in my mind. I've been reading a lot about mental illness on Laura Zera's blog, and having discussions about it with family, and obviously having my own mental health battles. What I'm coming to realize is that a little concern goes a long ways in helping. Just voicing some concern in someone's life who may be struggling with a mental illness or who has someone in their life dealing with mental illness goes a long way. Voicing concern to any one going through a difficult time mental illness or not goes a long way. I know we all get busy and forget to reach out to the important people around us and just see how their doing. But imagine how better off we'd all be if we just reached out every once in awhile to people and find out how they are. I know it did me a world of good. (Thanks again Jason. Told you I'd be thanking you a lot.)

Friday, October 05, 2012

An especially unimportant rant regarding the latest Supernatural episode

So, apparently the most recent episode of Supernatural bugged me enough that I went on a tirade last night to my husband, while running, which is a feat in and of itself. Said tirade bares repeating.

Bloody Munchkin: So I have a bone to pick regarding Supernatural.
Fighting Nun: We've already talked about the flashbacks!
BM: No not the flashbacks.
FN: Ok then. What about it?
BM: Kermit TX!
FN: What's wrong with Kermit TX?
BM: That they mentioned Kermit TX! This is the second or third show in recent memory* that has used Kermit TX in any kind of capacity and it pisses me off every time they do! (This may take some explaining. I grew up in a town (THAT SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS!) that wasn't Kermit, but was very close to Kermit, thus making Kermit kind of my running grounds. Where I grew up, you had to drive an hour to get to the nearest Wal-mart, the nearest decent mall was an hour and a half away and so basically anything within a two hour driving distance of my hometown is basically home turf. I visited a friend in Kermit like every other weekend of my teenaged life. I had a very serious high school boyfriend from Kermit. I would drive to Kermit just to get my Sonic fix. I am very territorial about said town and its surrounding environment that I get uppity when said turf is featured in pop culture. If you feature my little neck of woods, freaking do it right).
FN: But they are featuring Kermit! What, are you like Romney and suddenly hate Sesame  Street and Big Bird and Kermit now too!
BM: Don't bring Romney into this! And don't invoke Sesame Street! You know I love Sesame Street!
FN: So what's your problem?
BM: That they mentioned Kermit TX but that it wasn't the real Kermit TX. And don't tell me they did. They picked some random house in Toronto or Vancouver or wherever the hell Canada and called it Kermit TX, but if they are going to find some backwoodsy house and call it Kermit, they might as well film in Kermit TX, that's as desolate and remote as they come!
FN: So your problem with a show about two people fighting demons, vampires, and other wackadoo creatures is that there isn't enough location realism?
BM: Yes!  God yes. And another thing? Kermit does not have a veterinary clinic. You need your cat fixed, go to Odessa.
FN: Didn't have a veterinary clinic. You haven't been there in what? A Decade plus? They could have one now.
BM: OK good point, but if it did I seriously doubt it would be occupied by the world's hottest veterinarian.
FN: So what, Sam was supposed to fall for an overweight fifty year old with a hump.
BM: Yes! At least then I'd know for sure Kermit was represented properly!

[* Ed. Note: The one other instance that sticks out in my mind was from Heroes. Hayden's character goes from Midland to Kermit. For the record, their representation of Kermit didn't feel right either. I think there is one more, but I can't quite remember from where.]


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Random thoughts regarding some TV obsessions

Regarding Elementary

Dear Jonny Lee Miller;

That crush I've had on you ever since Hackers that has made me endure some very crappy movies (Mindhunters anyone?) and some not so successful TV shows (Eli Stone anyone?)? In case you were wondering it is still very much on. Your hairline may wain but my crush on you never will.

Dear Lucy Liu;

That girl crush I've had on you that began for reasons I can no longer remember but was definitely fueled by your ability to wield a samurai sword? Still very much on. Just thought you'd like to know.

Dear Aidan Quinn;

This whole 'Aging professor silver fox' thing your rocking? It's a good look for you. Keep it up. That is all.

Regarding Revenge

Dear Revenge!

I love you! Never leave me again! I need Nolan's fanciful layering and Victoria's bitchface, and both Daniel's and Jack's alcoholism, and Emily's wardrobe and Jennifer Jason Leigh's face of seriousness (or serious collagen injections, I can't tell which)  and... well I don't really need Deckland, Charlotte, or Emily/Amanda (Lisa P) Clark's pregnancy of contrivance. But I'll take them if I can have the rest! And can I go ahead and put odds on Emily/Amanda being the body in The Amanda, the flash forward at the beginning of this season? Cause she's my horse in this dead pool. Just sayin'. Also, Nolan and Emily as housemates? Best. Idea. Ever. I love you show that I have to wait until my husband is out of the house to watch. Never change.

Regarding Supernatural

Uhm, WTF was that last night? I'm still trying to process it all and I'm not sure that I'm very happy about. The flashbacks were chintzy at best and unnecessary in a lot of instances. Sam's flashbacks? Not worth the price of admission. Period. And the best this show can do for Purgatory is some backwoods somewhere? Lame. But not even that can diminish my love of the brothers. They've got an interesting angle of this season, but I don't know if it'll hold. We'll see.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Random Thoughts on A Cabin in the Woods

I finally got to see Cabin in the Woods on On Demand this weekend after months, nay years of pining for it and I have to say I loved it but I think my love for it is such that I can't put it together in a comprehensible review, so I'm just going to make a bunch random comments about the movie.

I love, love, love Richard Jenkins for so many reasons and in so many ways and in the first seconds of the movie, as he's getting coffee and jumps into that go-kart, I knew my love would only grow. And it did. He was great in this.

I have loathed Bradley Whitford for a number years for a lot of reasons, but they actually boiled down to one reason, which is that his character in My Adventures in Babysitting was a dick and I will always hold that against him. He could cure cancer, adopt a million puppies, and whatnot, and there would still be a part of my brain that would seethe upon his presence, but this role? Made me love him just a bit. I mean, come on. He's dancing with Jenkins! I can't not love that!

I love, love, love Amy Acker and so I beamed when I saw her. She gets all demanding and chirpy in the first couple of minutes and all I can do is smile. But I have to know one thing. Does Joss have some fascination with Acker in lab coats? Because I swear, every role she's played in the Whedon-verse has involved a lab coat at some point. Angel, Dollhouse, this. I'm not complaining. Acker rocks a lab coat. But I'm just wondering, is it some sort of nerd fetish Joss has to live out? Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'd just like to know.

And the other thing I love, love, love? Fran Kranz and his coffee cup bong of awesomeness. Speaking of nerd fetishes, I think I have one for Fran Kranz. Ever since Dollhouse and the "Glasses?" "On a chain!" "For the Win!" exchange between his version of Topher and Enver's version of Topher, I was absolutely smitten with both of them and now I'm in deeper smit because he ruled this movie and for the following line; "I'm drawing a line in the fucking sand here! Do not read the Latin!" Swoon. That's horror movie geekery at its finest and I love him for it.

That phone call bit with Mordecai had me cackling to like an insane degree. They totally hit the nail on the head with that one. 

 "What girl in her right fucking mind dances alone in her room in her underwear?"
"Uhm, all of them."
"Yes! Duh!"
This exchange has been brought to you by Kristen Connelly's dance of awesomeness. Dancing in your underwear is never the wrong answer.

Other random thoughts:

I don't know what it is with Joss Whedon and giant snakes, but maybe he just needs to direct an animated movie called Snakey: The Snake That Ate Some Cities and get it out of his system, because every time he brings a giant snake into one of his live-action projects, it just looks video-gamey as hell.
I read this via Joe Reid's awesome blog forever and a day ago and made note of it somehow in my brain and wanted to see if I agreed with that assessment or not and it turns out I agree. It's chintzy and cheap but in an awesome way that only Joss could manage I think. Yes I was all "Look, the Mayor is alive and well." but the sight gag was still worth it. Also, I would totally watch Snakey: The Snake That Ate Some Cities if Joss ever made it. Just saying.

Can we talk about Ron the Intern for a moment? Because I think I love Ron the Intern. Tom Lenk can be hit or miss in a lot of things he's been in. Andrew bugged the fuck out of me. He was the weakest link in the geek trio from Buffy and he just grated to no end. And it was because of this that he would show up in things, things I legitimately liked but I would still grumble "Andrew." And so he showed up in this and at first I thought he was Danny Strong, who I love, so I got all excited, but then I realized it was him instead and I got hesitant but then Ron the Intern and Maintenance guess correctly and he cheered and I melted. Ron the Intern 4 eva!

My last thought. What the hell is up with Sigourney Weaver ending up being the stern endgame in a lot of movies lately? She just shows up at the end, rattles some cages and then.... credits. What is that all about?

I loved this movie and it's everything people like Joe Reid and Jason at My New Plaid Pants had told me it would be. A+

I'm baaaacccck

I just looked and the last blog post I did was on 9/5. September officially kicked my ass ya'll. I mean, up one side and down the other kind of an ass kicking. On twitter, I just did a quick recall of events for the month, and it was freaking nuts! The hubbie had two business trips out of state, for starters, and the baby had a bladder infection during one of those trips, making a already frazzled mother even more frazzled. On top of that, the baby's birthday was smack dab in the middle of the month, and all the out of town family came in  for the occasion making about a week and a half of the month a complete zoo. There were family gatherings and barbeques and swim classes, and parties upon parties and five foot teddy bears that filled up a section of the living room, and it was just plain nuts! I always had something to do.

Finally, things started settling down. I started getting things off my to-do list (including long over-due notes to my writing critique partner. Hey Jason! Sorry), getting work done, and things felt momentarily normal. We started running again (I can almost run 3 miles now without dying! I know, I'm as surprised as you are! I might actually be able to do that 5k I signed up for without endangering a bunch of people! Should be fun!).

And then the baby got sick, which meant I got sick soon after, which meant my husband got sick soon after that, which means all three of us were miserable and cranky for the better part of this weekend. The bloody munchkin household has just not been able to catch a break.  I'm fully exhausted. I'd do a bunch of really desperate things right now just for a half-hour nap. I'm serious. I might actually consider committing crimes just for some R&R and the off-chance that my sinuses will stop throbbing like they are playing out a baseline to a Skrillex song.

But there's a bunch of things I want to say this week, so I'll try to get them off my chest, despite this stupid cold. Until then, somebody get me a nap! My whole kingdom for a nap!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A few more conversations tangentially about Coma

So we watched part two of Coma last night and had a few more random conversations involving the show.

Fighting Nun: So James Woods isn't the bad guy?
Bloody Munchkin: I know, right?!? Surprising! Also, beware the Garbage Truck of Doom, James Woods, beware the Garbage Truck of Doom.

Later On....
Fighting Nun: Oh, Dreyfuss.
Bloody Munchkin: Should've known. If not Woods, then Dreyfuss. I feel there's some sort of math equation in there: If Both Woods and Dreyfuss are in a project and one isn't the bad guy, always assume the other is, or something.

And a little later:

Bloody Munchkin: I am Ellen Burstyn! Fear me and my hypodermic needle of death!

Other things that I found out by watching the show. Micheal Weston is never not going to give me the heebie-jeebies. Ever since that one episode of Six Feet Under where he kidnaps the brother and takes him on a drug-fueled rampage, he scares the living bejesus out of me. I know in this show his character was meant to freak people out, so the casting director did a spot on job. Mission Accomplished, good sir or madam. I couldn't not shudder every time he was on screen, and using a microphone to announce your murdering of someone? Who does that?

Also this show may not have killed off little Joe Mazzello, but they made him and his story line, or lack thereof boooooooring. If this actually gets picked up, he better be given more to do. But don't kill him off or I will rampage. That's all I'm saying. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Two conversations tangentially involving the episode of Coma we watched last night

So, my still prevalent Lauren Ambrose girl crush (which dates all the way back to Can't Hardly Wait, for those of you wondering) compelled me to watch Coma last night and because of this, some weird conversations arose that are sort of but not totally related. Enjoy! 

Conversation 1:
Bloody Munchkin, Watching Fletch on cable while wrangling the little munchkin: Morning
Fighting Nun, walking down the stairs: Is that Geena Davis? Are we just going to make it Geena Davis week?
Bloody Munchkin: Why yes! I fully intend to find Earth Girls Are Easy followed by Thelma & Louise and if the cable gods are with me, Beetlejuice.
Fighting Nun: Ok, then.

Conversation 2:
Fighting Nun, out of nowhere while feeding baby: James Woods is bad right? Because James Woods is always bad, even on Family Guy, so he's bad right?
Bloody Munchkin:  Well, yes, history implies that. There was that one show, Shark I think, where he was a good buy but it didn't even last a full season* because, well James Woods is the bad guy.
Fighting Nun: Just so we're clear.
Bloody Munchkin: But what I really want to know is how conflicted are you that the awesome black cop dude from Speed looks like he's playing an eeeeeevil doctor?
Fighting Nun: Who?
Bloody Munchkin: Not very conflicted apparantly.
*IMDB corrected me. Shark lasted two seasons, which WTF? How, because that show looked really stupid. Guess I don't know my James Woods roles like I thought I did.

I would've launched into a rant about how protective I am over Joseph Mazzello ever since he was in The Cure (God, I miss Renfro, sniff) because he was an adorable kid with AIDS and I just wanted to put him in my pocket and keep him safe and how The Pacific took that feeling and turned it up to 11, because here's this adorable kid who is now a young adult and he's in a war! A big bad war and if they killed him off in that miniseries I was going to rampage! Rampage! But they didn't so I was OK, but if they kill him off in this miniseries I will most definitely rampage! Protect Joseph Mazzello from harm at all costs people!!!! But I didn't have to rant about that while I was making coffee. So this is what you get.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An open letter to the world from my uterus

Dear World;

Thank you for your multiple inquiries into my current employment status. No, I am currently not taking on any nine month projects at the present time nor do I plan on accepting any roles as an incubator in the near future. I am weighing my options presently and I will get back to you if the opportunity presents itself. I appreciate the inquiries but am just not interested. Please stop inquiring about my status or plans for future projects. I would deeply appreciate it.


The Bloody Munchkin's Uterus

Addendum from the Uterus's owner: I'm serious people. Now that the little munchkin is one, I've had to deal with an onslaught of questions about when I'm going to have the next one. Uhm, how bout 'None of your damned business' is when! Seriously. My uterus is flattered but not interested. Are we all clear?

Monday, August 20, 2012

These Days are Just Packed

This Calvin and Hobbes book pretty much sums up my weekends in a nutshell. I use to think this was such a childlike conceit, the idea of doing so much while doing nothing much really. I just didn't think this was something you could embody as an adult. But now that we have the little munchkin, my stance on this thought has done a 180.

The days, they are REALLY packed. To the gills even. Our days may be an 18 piece matching Louis Vitton set is how stuffed they really are. There's breakfast to fix for the little one and laundry to sort and the munchkin to wrangle and breakfast to grab for the bigger ones and an outing to plan and a diaper bag to pack/check and a munchkin to continue to wrangle and a stroller to wrangle into the car and that zoo is not going to walk itself and and a bottle to mix and elephants to see and otters OMG Otters and then there's a rice and beans to feed the baby and a burrito for my mouth and other errands and strolling and walking and driving and home and laundry and 'Hey, why don't pop over to the pool with the baby?' and splashing and swimming and dinner and bottle and bed and then TV for us. And that was just Saturday.

There are moments of utter and pure bliss in the busy that make the busy worth it. Take the zoo. The Oakland Zoo, bless it, can be a bit of a slog at times. It's built on a hill, with a lot of slopes. If you park your car at the top of the hill, that means, you'll walk down through the zoo but it also means you have to walk up that slope to get back to your car. Thank goodness we finally learned something this trip and parked on the lower level, which means the slog back to the car is downhill.  But my point is there's a lot of walking, which means, the munchkin whose chilling in the stroller entertains herself with an endless string of consonant and vowel sounds with an occasional mouth fart (ppppphhhffffttttthhh) added in for good effect and a couple of well timed EEEEEEEEs just to break up the monotony. But then we'll get to an animal exhibit, and if she can actually see them, it's incredible. She's a fury of sounds one second and then she gets really quiet and watchful. She particularly loved the bears and the giraffes. The camels also seemed to have her rapt attention. I just love to watch her in these moments. She's so studious and serious and then the next second, she's all bubbly smiles. It is pure glee and it's what I live for, maybe even vicariously a little bit. To peek inside those moments of joy from her perspective is a thing of beauty.

Going to the pool is the same way. You get her close to the water and she lights up like a Christmas tree. She splashes and giggles and plays and splashes and kicks and attempts to swim as we walk her up and down the pool. She's the life of that pool when she's there. There's a neighbor kid who loves to play with her and splashes her hands and she splashes back and they both laugh and giggle and it is pure mirth. No matter how tiring the build up is, those moments are what make it, all of it, totally worth it. 

My days are just packed. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Laura Zera's Guest Post: If Sharing is Caring, then Giving is Living

I think I've mentioned how I'm sometimes thankful that certain amazing, generous, incredible people have just up and appeared in my life and thanks to twitter I've somehow been surrounded by a whole lot more of them. Laura Zera is one of those amazing people. She's incredibly funny and personable on twitter, her website has now become a daily addiction for me and I also just recently bought Write for the Fight. She is also incredibly dedicated and passionate about this world we live in. Her guest post today is an insightful plea for why we should keep giving, not to just George Mark House, but to our favorite charities and organizations and explains the philanthropic spirit better than I ever could. Thanks again Laura.

(Also, remember, all you have to do to get my blog for a day is be the first to tweet or blog about George Mark House for the week and send me a link! Next week is wide open!)

Laura Zera's Biography

Laura Zera has lived and worked in Cameroon, Canada, Israel, South Africa, and the United States. Her first book, Tro-tros and Potholes chronicles her solo adventures through five countries of West Africa. She's currently working on a memoir about being raised by a schizophrenic mother and is a contributor to Booktrope's 2012 anthology Write for the Fight: A Collection of Seasonal Essays, a fundraiser for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Laura has volunteered for more than 10 organizations in her lifetime, and has donated dollars to many more, so she expects to still be stuffing Ben & Jerry's down her piehold when she's 110.

If Sharing is Caring, then Giving is Living

Don’t let the title of this post fool you; I am going to try to make it through the whole piece without talking like Yoda. Try. Ever since I finished with my Wayne’s World phrase phase, I’ve been floundering…

First off, thank you to Tylia for letting me run amok on her site today. She’s been using her blog as a platform for good and coming up with creative ways to get the word out about George Mark Children’s House in northern California, a non-profit that specializes in pediatric palliative care. 

Originally, I was going to write a mental health piece, as that’s one of the core themes of my current work in progress, Crazy for You, and something I blog about quite often on my own site. But the more I read through Tylia’s blog posts, the more that giving stood out as a unifying theme.

Sometimes, believe it or not, giving can be a bad thing. You’ll not be thought of with any particular fondness if you’re remembered as the giver of hickeys, noogies, wedgies, or STDs. For the most part, though, giving is an act that makes all involved parties feel really, really swell. In fact, Stephen Post’s book Why Good Things Happen to Good People cites a 50-year study showing that people who are giving during their high school years have better physical and mental health throughout their lives. Other studies show that giving when you’re older leads to a longer life.

Giving doesn’t just make you feel good in the moment; it actually has long-term health benefits!
Non-profit organizations are a great way to give, through time or money, because they are vital to our society. They fill gaps in services that have been left by corporations and government, plus, they fill those gaps with a whole lot of heart. In other words, we’d be both sad and royally screwed without them. Agreed, all the TV commercials, direct mail campaigns and phone solicitations for donations can be annoying and overwhelming, but for the most part, non-profits are the real deal, so don’t let your favorite cause or charity get left in the cold because of ‘ask saturation.’

You don’t have to be wealthy to give, or always have to give big. Trust me, even a small amount creates a lot of happiness. I remember when I worked in a non-profit back about seven years ago, and how excited all of the staff got (there were six of us) whenever a donation came in the mail. One of our favorites was from an elderly gentleman without a lot of means who used to send us ten dollars a month. It would totally make our day.

One of the great ‘giving vehicles’ that is often overlooked or forgotten is the bequest—giving or leaving personal property through your will. Wow, talk about leaving a meaningful legacy. And here’s one that will have triple happiness impact: make a surprise donation in honor of a friend to an organization that’s meaningful to them.

If the idea of a financial contribution makes you itchy, then consider donating your time. It still holds all the ‘feel good’ aspects of giving money, AND you have the added benefit of gaining new friends and, quite possibly, new job skills. Finally, if time is also tight, then how about your blood? Don’t let the tax collector and your ex-spouse be the only ones who draw down on it. Note: if you have ever lived in Cameroon, then you will be on a permanent donor ban list, as I’ve found out. If not, then you’re golden!
You know, it’s crazy, but I feel better just from *writing* this blog post. I think giving really does a body good. And now I’m going to go give my stomach some ice cream.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On Running and Blogging

This was me yesterday, and tomorrow and from now on!
So I went running yesterday. I'm not thrilled that I ran. I'm not thrilled that I'm going to continue to run. But I don't have to be thrilled I just have to do it. But after last night's first training session I'm not sure how I'm going to continue, thrilled, not thrilled or any other emotion not withstanding.

My running attempt must look a whole heck of a lot like one of my mood swings. First I'm completely even-keeled and then the longer things stress me out, the more emotional I get. I get sad and want to stop, and then I get angry then I get sad again, then I get super angry and then angry and sad that any of this is happening, and then I really have to pee for no good reason, and then I want to double over and scream when the cramps set in.

All of that happened during my run last night. And how long did this mood swing last? 1.6 miles. Or roughly 15 minutes according to my husband. Yes, I'm able to pack in that much of a mood swing in so short a time frame! Why do you ask?

Why would someone who doesn't run and hasn't had much luck with the endeavor like ever suddenly attempt it? That's a very good question! But I think I have a good answer. I finally found a good reason for doing it. A couple of good reasons actually, at least I hope its a good reason. I'm going to attempt to run a 5k, or possibly a couple.

I guess I need to do something more tangible than what I'm doing for George Mark House. Yes, a couple of tweets a week and forcing my twitter friends to tweet about George Mark House for space on my blog is something at least, but it doesn't feel like enough. It never feels like enough. When it comes to keeping the memories of our children alive, their legacies alive, it never does.

I've been thinking a lot about that lately, and about a lot of other things too. If my running attempts read like a weird moodswing, then my blog posts must read like somebody with bi-polar disorder. I go from cheerfully tweeting pop-culture nonsense to having a full on cryfest regarding grieving for my son. I'm thinking I need to create a dedicated blog to all things special needs/my son/grief and coping/highlighting charities like George Mark and the like. I haven't decided how to go about doing it, but I know it needs to get done. But what's the right choice? Should I create a tumblr instead of a blog? How do I go about setting up a new twitter account for this new site, and junk like that? I have questions. I need guidance!

With both running and blogging, I'm finding I'll probably need as much support/advice as I can get. Feel free to give both in the comments. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Weird thing I wrote that I don't know what to do with

I can see the future. I can see a thousand different futures all the time. Actually I can see two futures that can happen thousands of different ways. Those two futures are either how my daughter dies or how my daughter injures herself significantly and I see the myriad of ways it can happen all the time. Now that she’s teetering on the edge of walking, I see these scenarios playing out one over the other with each step she takes, each step I take or her father takes. I get up from the rocking chair holding her and I can see the scenario in which I trip over the leg of the rocking chair ottoman and there I go tumbling head long into the bureau, holding her causing her bodily harm. I’ll put her on the bed and in the blink of an eye she’ll be teetering on the edge and I can see the future where she falls, breaks her head open, is a bloody mess and has to be rushed to the emergency room. I’m terrified of these futures, these events that could seemingly unfold at any second but so far have not unfurled themselves upon us. I know that the difference between our present and future and those futures is infinitesimally small. A few seconds, one different decision and I could be living one of those parallel futures. I hope each decision I make keeps those other futures from happening, but I don’t know if it will or if we’re just living on borrowed time until one of those futures manifests itself. 
Thankfully though, I just found out I'm not alone in this power. It was a a revelation to find another mother who also saw those futures. I watched as she told my baby "Don't chew on that. You could crawl away with it, trip and then it would get jammed up in your mouth, and then...." She let the sentence linger. She saw it too, another future, a different horrible future I could be living in.  This gift, this terrible gift must be bestowed on all parents at some level, and depending on our level of neuroses, our ability to see those futures must be heightened. Based on that logic my capabilities must be bordering on the supernatural.
But what do I do with this supernatural power? Do I find other mothers and let them know that I know? Do I just keep it to myself and hope that I keep making the right decisions? It's not like I don't see these futures for other people. That kid on the street pulling wheelies on his BMX bike without his helmet? I see his future and it never ends well. Should I continue to quell the urge to yell out "Wear a helmet!" or should I tell him? Should I tell him about this horrible future in which he ends up with a hematoma in his brain because he didn't put on a brain bucket? I don't know. 
 I do know that these futures are infinite and I have to decide which future I want for my daughter, for myself, maybe for the world.

This just came out of me and I have no idea what to do with it. It is sort of autobiographical and what I'm feeling right now. But it feels like it's the beginning of a short story or something. Just putting it out there. 

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Stephanie Lucianovic's Guest Post!

I hate raisins. I hate raisins with a blinding passion that SF Giants fans like me usually reserve only for the Dodgers. I just can not abide the raisin. Raisins in cookies are a waste of a perfectly good cookie. Chocolate-covered raisins should be added to the Geneva Convention as a crime against humanity. And don’t even get me started about the atrocity that is Raisin Bran. The only thing I hate just slightly more are prunes *shudder* but that’s a discussion for a different day.

Thankfully I’m not alone in my hatred for the Damien of the grape-product family. Stephanie Lucianovic is the writer of the delightful GrubReport. She’s also a writer whom I’ve followed for, well it will show both our ages if I admit how long. She also shares my loathing of the wrinkly little bastards and, as the winner of my first ever #WW Challenge, was kind enough to share her thoughts on my blog. Her new book Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater’s Quest to Understand why we Hate Foods we Hate is on Amazon and hopefully at a book retailer near you! Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. 

Hate in a Time of Raisin

By Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic

Tylia kindly asked if I would write a guest post in support of George Mark Children's House, a place that no parent wants to ever spend too much time thinking about, but one that every parent is grateful exists. Deep down in the marrow of our souls, we are grateful. My following post on raisin hate might be lighthearted, but that doesn't mean I didn't cry hard as I read Tylia's posts about her beautiful son Ukiah and what George Mark Children's House meant for her family during their desperately hard times and what it continues to mean for them and all families. They need and deserve our support.

"[Raisins] are disgusting little bits of wizened chewiness that came into being only because Friar Tuck was too drunk to remember to pick all the grapes in a timely fashion." That's a quote from my book, Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate. I may be a former picky eater turned career food lover, but there are still some things I can't abide, and raisins top the list.

I don't know when and where raisins ran afoul of me because I ate them as a kid and I even sort of liked them, especially when my mom stuck those tiny red snack boxes from Sun-Maid in my lunch. (Mind you, I dreaded getting those snack boxes at Halloween, but somehow they were more welcome in my lunch as an occasional addition.) As a pre-teen I went to a canoe camp in the Minnesota Boundary Waters where a daily handful of raisins was prescribed for our trail lunches. The non-perishable dehydrated grapes were there to keep us "regular," and once again, I had no problem eating them. I'm sure it was because a certain level of starvation set in after a morning of portaging and sweaty palm attempts to steer a big aluminum canoe with weak sauce J-strokes. In those situations, you snarf down any form of sustenance that hits your collapsible metal mess kit cup.

We don't need our food to look like Insects! Yeesh!
Of course I crunched through my fair share of that the popular children's snack, Ants on a Log, which, while not my favorite pairing with my late-afternoon 3-2-1 Contact, [Ed. Note 3-2-1 Contact, that takes me back! Those were the days weren't they?] was fun to make and eat. (I wonder if it will gross anyone out to know that we vastly preferred the cream cheese version over the peanut butter one...which is apparently called "Ants on a Snowy Log." You know what? That's just a touch too much descriptive detail for me. You mention snow on a log and then I start to think about lichen on a log and the creatures that you find inside logs and how the ants on all these logs are sitting on fallen logs, which are dead, decaying, softening, ripening, and I'm out!) Strangely enough, while I've never forgotten about Ants on a Log, until a fellow raisin hater likened their presence in rice pudding to bugs, I never truly thought of raisins as insectile before. Unfortunately, now I can't stop thinking of them as fat black flies crouching in my food. You know the kind of flies I mean, right? They're the ones that buzz louder than an electric razor, and summer heat makes these flies drowsy, so when they bump, sun-drunk, into windows, they make a loud juicy sound. Like someone launched a particularly large and wet spitball against the glass.

That's what I think of raisins in my food, because while I may have enjoyed snacking on them at some point, I have never, ever liked raisins in things. I loathe them in oatmeal, despise them in carrot cake, abhor them in apple pie, and resent the hell out of them in cookies.

But if black/purple raisins are ants or drunk flies, golden raisins are lumps of earwax. Those anemic little turds stage a sneak attack in what appears to be a rare raisin-free oatmeal cookie. The worst of it is you don't realize that your oatmeal cookie has been compromised until you've taken a large, raisin-riddled ecstatic bite and chew into that weird, sudden sweetness. This then leads to spending an inordinate amount of time breaking the oatmeal apart and excising the golden raisins away from the parts of the cookie you want to eat. Golden raisins turn dessert into dissection class.

It looks like you baked a million ants! Gross!
I'll end my treatise of raisin hate with a literary reference. When I first read Langston Hughes' "A Dream Deferred," in my mind it was always a raisin that festered like a sore, ran, and then dried up (all crustifed) in the sun. (Sorry, I have one more thing to add because I just learned about RAISIN PIE THIS IS A REAL THING THAT EXISTS AND IS A PIE MADE ENTIRELY OF RAISINS!)

[Ed. Note: Ew! Raisin Pie! God no! Geneva! Convention! That's a Hate Crime!]

Thanks again Stephanie! That was insightful and gross and now I will never stop thinking of raisins as juicy fly bodies (as if I needed a reason. Heh!).

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The #WW Challenge

It's another Writer Wednesday today. I love #WW days because I get to tout writers/twitter friends I really like and who I think are deserving of a follow. It lets me express my love and respect for some truly unique writers/individuals. I enjoy that wholeheartedly.

But today, I thought I'd do something a little different. Recently I just found out that George Mark Children's Home has a twitter account (@gmch, not to be confused with @GMHC, and AIDS non-profit I also follow, and definitely not to be confused with @GMCLA, the Gay Mens' Chorus of LA who I also follow.) Obviously I think this is awesome and I followed right away. I don't have to tell you guys about George Mark House and the good they are doing and have done not just for my family but other special needs families do I?

We have a real opportunity to get the word out about George Mark House, to spread their twitter account and their message to the masses. So here's my proposal. Every #WW from now to the foreseeable future, the first writer or anyone really who sends out a tweet about George Mark House and forwards it to me gets to run my blog for the day.

Want to tell my (limited) readership about your new book for the day? Great! Want to Hijack my blog to post a billion kitten videos? No problem! Want to get all political or religious? Well, I'd prefer it if you didn't because I try not to do either of those here (although occassionally I do) but if its within reason, I guess I'll allow it. Here's your opportunity to use my blog for free to do whatever you want and say what you want for a day. Just spread the word about @GMCH on twitter or better yet, give George Mark a shout out on your blog and you've got this space all to yourself.

Any questions, concerns, issues? Email me at tyliagardner @ hotmail . com. Now lets do this thing!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bullied Girls, Ears That Stick Out, and Plastic Surgery

So I read this this morning. I also read this (I read this one first).  I wish I had something witty and articulate to say but the best I might be able to do is rantingly all over the place but insightful. When an issue is too personal and also when I haven't chosen a "side" on the issue, my ability to be articulate (which is fleeting at best anyhow) goes out the window.

And the articles, this girl, this whole issue is personal for me. It's not personal in the since that I know this girl, but I do 'know' her because I was her. Every description about the girl, from the too big ears that stuck out, to the relentless taunts I lived. If you were to compare a picture of this girl to me at that same exact age, our ears would've been a match. I had those ears that stuck out way too far and were too big for my head. If you were to compare our experiences at that age, they would've been eerily similar. I was called 'dumbo' on a daily basis, along with Dopey, the stupidest dwarf from Snow White, and I was called a donkey and about a thousand other 'clever' taunts the kids in my school could come up with. Sometimes, when I wore my hair up, some jerks at my school would run past me, flicking or thumping my ears. I was a very sensitive kid and it would make me cry all the time. Everything described about that girl's bullying  I experienced for myself.

I should also mention that 14 was the exact age I first looked into the same surgery she had, otoplasty. I should also mention that because it was elective we would've had to pay for the surgery out of pocket and because it was what I considered at the time to be way too expensive, I opted out at the time. In that way I'm a bit different from the girl in the article. I put up with the taunts and the evilness through high school and it did get better.

Based on the picture, do I think she was beautiful just the way she was in the before shot? Yes. Do I think having her nose and chin done at the same time was excessive and unnecessary? Yes. Am I a little grossed out that this non-profit helped get these elective surgeries? Yes, but they sound like they help with a bunch of other facial deformities and given my history with clefts I won't badmouth them.

But I'm not going to preach that she shouldn't have had the operation, the way the Jezebel article tries to say. I won't that she should've stuck it out.  Because I did have the surgery later in life. I was in my early twenties, when I had the income to pay for the procedure myself and also the good sense to know that a) the surgery wasn't a game changer, self-confidence and security wise and b) just because I was changing this one thing did not give me reason to go ahead and change anything and everything else. And I'm glad I had the surgery. I'm glad I made the change, because making that change gave me the ability to forget about my ears. The amount of mental energy and time I wasted, especially when I was a teenager thinking about my ears, making decisions solely based upon my insecurities around my ears, the bad hair choices I made in an effort to hide my ears became a total non-issue after I had the surgery. And can I just say perms are out of the kettle and into the fire as far as hair choices based on ear insecurities is concerned? Yes the big spiral perm I sported between sophomore and junior year did a good job of hiding my ears but but that afro-perm had its own orbit! So not helpful!

My Hair in the 90's.
Ahem. See what I mean about rantingly insightful? Although finding out I had hair that was similar to that new contestant on Project Runway maybe stretching the defintion of insightful, but whatever.

What was I saying again? My point is a) I don't think she would've grown into those ears as the article suggests because I sure as hell didn't b)I am happy for her that she did get it done because now she doesn't have to spend the time I did worrying about her ears, but c) I am a little miffed that she pulled a 'while you're doing that, we might as well go the whole nine yards' thing and got her chin and nose done at the same time. That smacks a leeeeeetle on that side of the line of body dysmorphic disorder and that is definitely a slippery slope but d) I'm glad she is getting counseling so that she keeps her self-image in check.

I think what I'm saying is that we shouldn't be too hard on these sort of decisions and make it a capital c Case about the state of teenagers' self image and Oh My God the Horror that she should feel good about herself now. Yes, now that her ears are taken care of, she's going to move on to feeling insecure about other things. But she's a teenager. That's her birthright.

The Headline in that Jezebel article just pisses me off a tad. "Is heartbreakingly thrilled". You know what. She's allowed to be. I was too when my ears were revealed. She's allowed! Now leave her alone and let her be a teenager.

I put the rant in rantingly insightful don't I?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review: Flame of Surrender: The Flame and Ferryman Book 1

Kaliel is an impulsive Elvin girl whose always getting into trouble and falling behind in her studies. Krishani is an insecure boy who isn't confident in his abilities or himself. They meet, either by fate or by chance and instantly fall in love. But this is no simple love story, even though it looks that way on the surface. That's why it's so intriguing.

Flame of Surrender by Rhiannon Paille (who happens to be a lovely person to follow on twitter, just FYI) asks a simple question; What happens when you fall in love with someone else in a world where that kind of love is forbidden? Can it find its place in the world, or will it be wiped out? Or worse, can that kind of love cause the destruction of their world as they know it?

This was a beautiful little book because it did start out so simply without much more to hook me in than to watch two people figure out what love is, and why they might feel it for someone else. But because we find out early on that this kind of love which is hard enough for us all to figure out on our own is forbidden, it makes it especially hard for the two main characters to navigate that part of themselves along with everything else.

But that simple little love story isn't the only thing going on. Not only do the main characters have to navigate their forbidden love affair, they have to figure out what it means to be special, to be more than the sum of their parts when they don't think very much of themselves to begin with. Kaliel and Krishani must figure out what it means to be a Flame and a Ferryman respectively, both titles carrying with them dire consequences. A deadly enemy is tracking down Flames for nefarious reasons and Ferrymen have heartbreaking duties to carry out.

The book is an easy read and the characters, especially the main two, feel very well lived in and fleshed out. There's not much big and important that happens for the first half of the book, which is not a complaint. It goes along at an easy clip. It's not until the last half where I was truly made aware of what was at stake. From there it barreled along and I hated setting it down. The ending, not to give too much away, is a real humdinger and left me quivering for more.

I do have one little nitpick though, which I'm hoping will be explained away maybe in a later book so I can keep it from eating at my brain. And it is the weirdest, nerdiest nit I've picked in a while. I feel weird for catching it and even making it a full blown thing in my head is how weird this nitpick is. There's a minor character introduced named Melania who talks about her father. I was given to understand that the children in the book were born from the land were found in a field certain times of the year and that the traditional idea of mothers and fathers didn't exist. Also, there's a king that has three daughters and I couldn't get a good sense about why that may be. It could be a logic slip by the author or it could be intentional and explained away in future books. If it's the former, it takes me out of the book a bit and requires me to argue with myself like I just did in this paragraph. If it's the latter, I look forward to the explanation, because I'm a little lost.

Nitpick aside, it's a breezy, entertaining read. B+ (If my nitpick really was a gaff on the author's part)/A- if it'll be explained away later.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Disjointed, Rambling Review of the Craptacular In Time

So I watched In Time last night and instead of giving you a proper review, you’ll have to deal with my rambling, disjointed thoughts, again. Spoilers ahead, Fun times ahoy (TM Extra Hot Great Podcast):

Timberlake gives the worst crying faces I’ve ever seen, period. I’m sitting there watching what was supposed to be a tear-jerky moment and I kept looking at Timberlake’s face and laughing. My hubbie was all “That’s cold” and I was all “I’m sorry but I can’t take that at all seriously.

VincentKartheiser unfortunately brought very little bitch face to the proceedings. In fact, he looked botoxed and constipated all the time. I was expecting scenery chewing, deep scowling and pithy…. pith and instead I got sullen and indifferent. I put up with him on, what two, three seasons of Angel and this is how he repays me, by barely showing up to the party? For Shame. 

No, not that suit, although not complaining
EthanPeck looks damn good in a suit. He had like three lines (and if you ask me, the part didn’t require any lines at all) and mostly just stood there as scenery, which, where is that movie? Pretty Ethan Peck standing around in a nice suit and not saying much? Because I would watch that over and over again. I would go on a rant about how I’m tired of having to watch him in bit parts just to get my Peck Fix (Heh! Band Name!) and how I’ve sat through Nicolas Cage half-heartedly chewing through scenery and Jay Baruchel making googly eyes at a girl just to catch a second of him standing around wearing a scarf. He’s under-utilized and if Ten Things I Hate about You taught me anything it’s that he can smoulder and bring down the show if we just give him a part worthy of his abilities.

Far be it from me to complain when Johnny Galecki shows up anywhere doing anything, but he was totally over-qualified and under used. I mean really? The drunk best friend who can’t even make it to the second act? Shame on you movie. If you’re gonna put Johnny Galecki in a freaking movie he better be used to his fullest.

Olivia Wilde was another over-qualified, under-used actor in this one. *Spoiler alert if you’re gonna see the movie Her climactic death scene was so unearned and because it cause the aforementioned crying faces that evoked laughter in me it felt like such a cheat.

At least the movie knew what the hell to do with Bomer. He shows up, he smirks, he brings warmth and something extra to small character and then he leaves.

What the Eff is up with Pettyfer’s accent? So let me get this straight… How did a dude with british accent come to find his way into a cordoned off ghetto that no-one ever escapes? The addition of that accent feels like some half-assed idea Pettyfer insisted be there even though it had no business being there. It was ridiculous and what’s more he had a hard time keeping it up. Dear Douche, er I mean Alex; If you’re going to use an accent don’t puss out half-way through. Commit or leave it jerk wad. Also, it’s the future, not the twenties, drop the zoot suit jerk-wad. Love, me!

Speaking of odd sartorial choices, Cillian Murphy’s wardrobe felt as if the cast-offs from The Matrix and Equilibrium found a back room somewhere, got busy having illegitimate children that Cillian’s character was forced to wear. It was all dark and ominous totally lame looking. I’m disappointed wardrobe didn’t cap the look off with Morpheus shades. Just sayin’.

There’s this flashback scene about how their clocks get turned on that was totally not important and added nothing to the story. Lame upon lame.Although Amanda Seyfried preening in front of a mirror for a time did have its advantages. Speaking of:

My girl crush on Amanda Seyfried? Yup, it’s still there. Not even the crappy red wig could diminish it. Maybe the next movie I should watch/review is that crappy movie with her and Wes Bentley (which, if he isn’t the bad guy, I will eat my hat) just to go for the Seyfried Hat Trick (Heh! Band Name! I’m two for two!)

The total second half felt totally unearned. The whole robin hood bent felt like a lame plot device when the set up gave us so much hope and promise for something more original and vibrant.

Overall, not horrible, not worth much either. C+