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+

Monday, July 23, 2012

OMG A Guest Blog, Featuring Eden Baylee

Spring into Summer – Official Release Date: July 9, 2012

 Life is funny sometimes. You don't know what life is going to throw your way or who. The same could be said for twitter. Somehow, all these fabulous people have become a part of my life, online and off and if it wasn't for twitter I would've never found them. My friend Eden is one of those people I'm thankful to have met because she's such an inspiring presence. 

Her new book was released on July 9th, and I decided to give her and her book a little presence on my blog. Please give her, her book, and her website a gander:
In Eden’s own words …
Spring into Summer is the companion piece to my first book, Fall into Winter. It’s comprised of four distinct erotic novellas; two take place in the spring and two in the summer.

The inspiration for this book is vast. My love of poetry has connected me to some amazing poets, and their words have seeped into my subconscious. It’s reorganized the way I write and ripped stories from my heart. “A Season For Everything” is heavily influenced by my affection for poets.

In “Unlocking the Mystery,” I pay respect to the serendipity of life. Though my writing is steeped in reality, this story acknowledges we can’t always explain the magical quality of love.

“Summer Solstice” kicks off the hot season. Everything about this story is hot—the men, the women, the toys. It’s a party with pagans, and they know how to have fun.

The final novella is “The Lottery,” a story that touches on many themes, but at its core, is about the choices we have, the sacrifices we make, and the relationships we keep.

The common thread? Sex, of course. This is erotica, after all.

Buy Links: Ebook             Amazon.UK
Eden Baylee writes literary erotica. Her stories are both sensual and sexual, incorporating some of her favorite things such as travel, culture, and a deep curiosity for what turns people on. Spring into Summer is her second collection of erotic novellas.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Screw you Roomba for making me a better Housekeeper

Alternate Titles include:

Don't eat that Flip-Flop Roomba!

50 more ways to entertain your daughter/annoy your dog!

Sorry you're choking on mountains of Dog Hair Roomba!

So my husband got a Roomba for his birthday via my in-laws. My Brother-in-law and Mother-in-law went halvesies on the birthday gift. I'm trying not to read too much into what they think of my cleaning/housekeeping skills by giving him this. I guess it really would've been a pointed statement if they had waited for my birthday.

It's become a point of interest for my daughter because now suddenly there's something underneath the entertainment center that wasn't there before and it's shiny and it has buttons and if the big button gets pressed, it moves!

Now that she's crawling, anything that moves has her moving and it could turn into sheer pandemonium pretty easily. Thankfully or unfortunately, depending on how wicked your sense of humor is, there haven't been any dog/baby/roomba entanglements. We mainly run the roomba when she's at daycare and the dog is upstairs in the bedroom. If the roomba could walk-up/clean the stairs, the dog would really be in trouble, but that ain't happening (much to my shagrin. After the metric ton of dog poop I've had to pick up off the floor lately, the dog could use with some annoyance).

But the thing about the roomba is I now have to pick stuff off the floor now, like on a daily basis. And this simply will not do. I'm a member of the fraternal order of Sloth and I try to do as little of that as possible. I pick up around the house once a month and that's mainly right before the maids get here because if I don't they tend to put my stuff in weird places where I can't find it. But now, thanks to the Roomba, I'm forced to pick up random toys, the blanket, shoes and anything lying around on the floor, because if I don't things will happen.

I forgot my flip-flops on the floor this morning and dropped downstairs to get cereal/check Roomba's progress and as soon as I did I watched the roomba put the moves on my flip-flops. A lot of bumping and grinding was involved. So now I have to put my flip-flops in a place where the roomba can't get at them, protecting them like a father tries to protect his teenage daughter's virginity. No flip-flops you can not see Roomba again. He wants to do untoward things to you!

So screw you Roomba for making me do housework before you can do actual housework for me! I'd wish a metric ton of dog hair on you, but apparently you're already picking that up off my floor, so.... thanks?

The other thing that I can't get over is how completely without purpose it's meanderings look, It'll be stuck in corner, humping the furniture for what feels like ages and then all the sudden it'll shoot across the middle of the floor. I'd heard about this, but I always thought there was a purpose, a point, and right now I'm still not seeing one other than to give the Roomba a new perspective. 

We're still trying to name the roomba because we figure if its doing chores it should have a name. I suggested RoomBob but then quickly had to take it back because I don't want to step on Sars' toes. I tried convincing my husband that it should be Room-Benedict Cumberpatch, but he didn't get the reference or the joke, so I'm at a loss. I'm considering naming him Humpy given that it humps and bumps everything in sight, but I'm not sold. Feel free to drop any naming suggestions in the comments. If you don't I'll take it as a sign that I should feel free to name him Humpy.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Come join my fish bowl

Seeking: Another fish to swim furiously in my bowl... Of writing!
So, remember how I said I felt like I was in a fishbowl while I was waiting for my book critique? Well, I got the critique back a while ago. I haven't talked about it much because I've needed some time to digest it all. The one thing I have figured out is that I may be in that fish bowl in more ways than one. I'm just beginning to realize that I might be doing an injustice to the book by not having more than family and friends read it and offer their feedback.

I really want to take the process of getting this published seriously. I'm taking a getting published class from Gotham Writer's Workshop right now. I'm thinking about different publishing methods/houses that might work for me.

But I need to take the process of critiquing just as seriously, only I don't know where to turn. I know that there are some editorial services that I can pay to get my work critiqued, but when you factor in their per word or per page charge, well... it ain't a huge amount but it's not something to just shake a stick at either. I'm not sure I'm ready to sink that much money into having my book critiqued by an outside source.

People have mentioned finding a critique/writers group either in my area or online as a free/cheap alternative, but I'm not sure where to begin. If you have any good suggestions, I'm open to them. I'm in Norcal, so a writing/critique group in the bay area would be great. Any online options you've had luck with would also be appreciated.

But I'm also putting out an open call to writers who have stuff they'd want me to critique and who would be willing to critique my stuff in return. I don't really care what genre you write in. I'm willing to give any sort of work a read and turn my critical eye to it, if you'd be willing to read my work in return.

What do you say? Ready to jump into my fishbowl? Come on in, the water's fine!

Hungry cats need not apply

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Just Breathe, Part 2: The Panic Button

We hit the panic button Sunday night. Actually, I think we prematurely hit the panic button Sunday night. I heard my daughter through the monitor at around nine and she didn’t sound right. I ran up the flight of stairs and sure enough she was really stuffy and congested. I tried suctioning her out with a bulb and cursed the sky that I hadn’t hung on to my son’s old suction machine for the millionth time since her birth.

I tried settling her down, but she wasn’t having it. She coughed, and the cough became mangled and her breathing sped up and the cough got mangled again and my husband and I both went pale as we looked at each other and then back at her. We both started wracking our brains about what might be going on. We had gone back to the river again for the second time in about a week and had a lovely time. She played with the grass and I wondered if she had an allergic reaction. We fed her strawberry yogurt and despite all the research we’d done, we worried she might have an allergic reaction to that.

We called the nurse’s help line listed on the back of our insurance card and explained the situation. Their recommendation was to call 911. We weighed our options as she slowly righted herself and stopped crying. As we saw it, we had one of three options. We could wait it out at home, put her in the car and take her to the hospital, or call 911. A million thoughts rushed through each of our heads simultaneously. If we kept her home, we ran the risk that it would get worse and how horrible would we have felt if it did get worse and we hadn’t done anything? If we took her into the hospital in our car, we ran the risk that she could have an event her car seat the way Ukiah did at 7 months and that terrified us both. If we called 911 at least we had a safety net. We just didn’t know if she really needed it or not, but at a certain level we didn’t care.

So at 9:30 at night, we called 911. The fire department showed up first, followed by the ambulance. By that time, she was fine, smiling gamely at the firemen (until they touched her) and back in good spirits. But we hated risking it, we couldn’t bear if things got worse and we hadn’t done everything to prevent it. Everyone looked at us trying to convince us with their eyes that we didn't need to go in. But we couldn't trust their assurances, unspoken or otherwise. We couldn't trust our own daughter's airway to do what it was supposed to, obviously, so we weren't going to trust the assessments of a bunch of strange men in out house. So we made the ambulance ride the ten miles to the hospital. We spent another five hours in the hospital, listening to all manner of weirdoes and put-upon curmudgeons who apparently frequent the ER in the middle of the night. We tried not to get too irate at a drunk girl admitted to the ER by her parents when she woke up our daughter and then told our daughter to shut up (true story! ER = fun happy story time!)

We found out she had a cold. We spent a whole evening in the ER because of a cold. And you know what, I don’t regret it. I don’t care if I’m being over-protective or if you think I scare easily. After everything I’ve been through, I’ve earned my right to press the panic button when I think it is right, pre-maturely or not. Because I love my daughter just as fiercely as I did my son and I will fight tooth and nail to make sure she’s alright. I’ll do all manner of things, including singing children’s songs just loud enough to drown out drunken ramblings so that my daughter can get to sleep. I’ll do anything I can just to ensure she’s breathing, even if that includes dialing 911 when I probably didn’t need to.

But just to be safe, don’t sneeze in front of me if I have a phone in my hands. I have a real itchy trigger finger.