Thursday, January 25, 2007

An Actual Wardrobe (Department) Malfunction

Television watching requires a person to suspend disbelief a little. I get that. I watch a lot of sitcoms and some sci-fi and I know that not everything makes sense, that artistic license comes into play a lot for the sake of the plot-line. But there are some things I see that consistently drive me nuts because they don't benefit the plotlines.

I think the biggest peeve I have relating to any television show I watch, is with Medium. I realize that it's a program about a psychic woman solving murders. I don't have a problem at all with this woman speaking to the dead, getting visions while shaking hands, or even occasionally seeing the future. What I have the problem with is the fault of the wardrobe department. I have to ask, why on Earth does Allison Dubois sleep in a support bra? What woman sleeps every night in a support bra? At least three times every episode they show the woman in bed, either waking up from a bad dream or going to sleep to have one, and every time she ends up lying on her back with her boobs pushed into her chin. The character is a mother of three, in her (probably) mid-thirties, and thankfully has the figure of an average healthy woman her age with three kids. But full-time mothers in their mid-thirties do not, without surgical anhancement that has never been implied in the show, possess breasts that defy gravity to such an extent as to stick straight upwards like cantelopes glued into place. I'm not saying it would be better for them to fall into her armpits, as boobs always do, but maybe she could sleep in something a little looser, with a sport bra underneath. I doubt even Heidi Klum sleeps in a Victoria's Secret push-up bra. I am almost to the point of blaming Mrs. Dubois' constant nightmares on poking underwire.

This doesn't bother me all the time, only when I'm watching the show, which I am right now. Thank the gods for the DVR; it makes it easier to pause a show to rant about unrealistic breasts. I mean, really though, sometimes her chin doesn't even make it into the shot.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

God Save The Queens

Check this out. I love that fourth paragraph quote. "...unreasonable, unnecessary and unjust discrimination against Catholics..." To use a discrimination defense in an attempt to circumvent anti-discrimination laws! That takes balls. Big shiny smoking incense filled balls. Well, it either takes balls or it shows an incredibly huge amount of self-righteous stupidity: self-righteous to believe it's fine to treat others poorly but that it's a moral tragedy for the world not to bend to your rules, and stupid to be unable to see the complete irony to the whole "It's discrimination not to allow us to discriminate!" statement.

Yes I feel bad for the kids who may not be adopted if the Catholics close their agencies. But the Catholics are closing their own doors; nobody else is. The anger over the closings, when it hits, should be aimed at the diocese, not at the government or the gay community.

If Jesus preached love and judging not, then the Church leaders are going to have a lot to try to justify when they die. With hypocrisy like this, I wonder why church attendance is down.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Is Abandonment Abortion?

Can this be seen as anything but pro-life? (I happen to be pro-life, but I'm not too sure life begins at conception. I just think that most of the behaviors that lead to abortion deserve some consequence, and that too many abortions are performed a little late. I am for Plan B and stem-cell research, but against the 12 week abortion. Maybe not entirely pro-life, but not entirely pro-choice either. Nasty political comments will be deleted.) What makes me laugh about this column is that it bills a frozen embryo as Katrina's Tiniest Survivor. Never mind all of the living people who could have been rescued in those flat-bottomed boats, the fact is that it is implied that these parents are deeply religious and see their baby and the frozen embryo it once was as being the same person. They then go on to say that they're not sure they will use the remaining three embryos, in part because their toddler now takes up so much attention, and also because pregnancy is hard on the mother.

So let me get this straight. The embryo that became Noah can be viewed as a child which needed to be rescued, but the other three can't? And viewing such embryos as conceived children already in existence is fine until you realize that a) pregnancy takes a lot out of you, and b) once thawed, children actually require parenting. It's a lot easier to defend all unborn human life when it's either frozen or somebody else's problem, isn't it? And it's a lot easier to decide to put off carrying an already-conceived child when you can hide behind the thin line between destruction and suspended animation in an ice tray. These people make me sick with their short-sighted views. Maybe it's just the reporter who wrote the article injecting his own views into the narrative. But either way, it's a very narrow way of looking at the world. Would abortion be legal if they could freeze the embryo rather than destroy it? Even if the parents had no intention of ever implanting it?

Twenty-Four Hell

It's back. I don't know when it was exactly that networks decided to start seasons in both September and January, but my DVR has started working overtime in the last week or so. I record shows for Tom and he (usually) watches them in the mornings before I wake up. But since he's home during the week this time, and since I wake up to get my daughter off to school, I have spent the last four hours in 24 Hell.

bink bonk bink bonk

I hate Kiefer Sutherland, and I most definitely hate Jack Bauer. Not only am I incredibly bored by real-time filming (The Johnny Depp movie a few years ago bugged me too) but I also find the whole topical terrorism plot trend to be highly irritating, especially when viewed through bureaucratic red-tape, complete with incompetent presidential advisors and overshadowing sub-plots.

bink bonk bink bonk

The entire show, regardless of "hour" or season, can be summed up in one blog entry, in case any of you are lucky enough to have escaped this unworthy cultural phenomenon. Jack, the unshaven, brave, heroic lead character, who seems to be the only one in the entire U.S. Government to know how to stop terrorists, is assigned by the highly secretive Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) to fight bad guys before they enact a huge plot to kill the president/blow up America/suicide bomb strip malls/ poison the water supply/ taint the froot loops/or whatever else the invariably Muslim and brown-skinned bad guys want to do. CTU only finds out about these plots about (duh) 24 hours before they happen, but always with a wealth of details such as who, what, where, when, and how. The average discovery is made via a bat-phone like direct line to the oval office.

President who may or may not be corrupt and/or incompetent and/or the leader of an elite squad of Army "clerks" called The Unit and/or an insurance salesman hawking accident forgiveness and/or the brother of a former president who took over for an incompetent president, who then got killed as part of a corrupt advisor's plot to discredit Jack Bauer: We have received information that Musharref Al Saminadabab may be plotting to put stolen Russian warheads into the water supply at the froot loops plant, thereby killing himself and dozens of strip-mall shoppers. CTU, your nation needs your help.
Leader of CTU, who may or may not be incompetent, having an affair with Jack, a former lover of Jack's, or Sean Astin: There's only one man on my team I would trust with the job. Sir, I'm sending in Jack Bauer!
Presidential advisor who may or may not be corrupt, actively on the side of the terrorists, aiding in a future presidential assassination plot, or recently ejected into orbit on a completely separate prime-time drama: Mr. President I highly discourage you from trusting Jack Bauer with such an important and crucial mission. He's spent the entire series hiatus in Mexico faking his death/in a Chinese prison/cosmetically removing all of the scars he wore in previous seasons that the writers don't think viewers are smart enough to remember! His judgement is questionable at best.
***President looks pensive***
Jack Bauer, piped into the conversation via a series of cell-phones, bat-phones, military satellites and Chloe (the shy and bucktoothed computer whiz who somehow manages to subvert military security systems to get to the truth, yet seems to spend half of each season either crying or waiting for permission to establish satellite links.): Mr President! I don't have time to explain but I am right here with the terrorists and if you don't LET ME DO MY JOB I won't be held responsible for the DEATHS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS.
President who may or may not be married to a schizophrenic who despite a lifetime of psychiatric commitments managed to survive a presidential election without costing her husband the election or having a breakdown but who now knows exactly who is to blame for this crisis and therefor must be locked up again to keep her quiet: I trust you Jack. Do what you have to do.

bink bonk bink bonk
(see how annoying that gets?)

Well, "what he has to do" invariably involves just about every single unconstitutional thing our president is doing now, plus getting hit by shrapnel strategically over one temple so that the blood manages to look dashing and heroic without impeding his vision. He tortures people with only a shred of circumstantial evidence, he violates direct congressional orders, he shoots up populated civilian gathering spots, and he all-but-verbatim, declares himself to be the Decider. He is everything bad with the Patriot Act and Homeland Security. The problem? His torture sessions invariably result in the very information he wanted. More people watch this drivel than can name the Speaker Of The House. This is why people vote Republican. I think the thinking goes somewhat like this: "Torture works when Jack Bauer does it, so what can be wrong with Gitmo?" Substitute the term 'racial profiling' for torture and the thinking remains the same.

bink bonk bink bonk

I really hate that show. I can't wait until Jack dies, or the dems have him tried for war crimes.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Pursuit of Forgiveness

Tom is right now somewhere in New Mexico, online, trying to find me a shrink. Why, you ask. Is it because of his magnificent powers of observation? No, he is doing it because I am having a bad day and because I asked if it would be financially possible for us to go to counseling together before trying to get pregnant...a year from now.

Why am I having a bad day and suggesting marriage counseling? Because, without giving too many intimate details, I'm having trouble forgiving Tom. Maybe I'm making a big deal out of nothing; maybe it is a big deal and I made a mistake by dropping it when I did. But at the time I felt that bitching and ranting and crying and beating the subject into the ground would be counter-productive and of no help to my marriage. So when he came home with a tattoo of both my and my daughter's names (a symbol of both his intentions of permanence and his dedication to our family, etc. etc.) I let it drop. But really, it's not completely let go. It's dangling on a yo-yo string, an ugly blob (I picture it kind of brown and fecal in appearance) of hurt and resentment and fear. I keep it to myself mostly; but occasionally it unrolls and just hangs there, reminding me of it's presence and making me cry.

Today it was a pop-up ad that brought it all to the surface. Last time it was a comment made in the heat of passion. I suppose I could blame advertisers or Tom himself, but the fact is, it's my problem. Forgiveness is a lot harder than I thought it was when I closed the door on this topic. Tom said everything he should have. He told me ugly truths I never wanted to hear; he apologized profusely and repeatedly, he accepted all the blame and fault, and he invited me to yell without consequence. Now somehow it's up to me to turn all of that into peace. And that's hard to do. It's harder, anyway, than trying to hide the resentment and smile no matter what.

Like I said, I'm having a bad day. But it's almost over now and Tom, ever the distractible male, has moved on to pondering the meanings of several Latin-derived medical specialties. No, I don't need a nephrologist; I'll let you know if I do.

How I Rot My Brain

It has been suggested that I write a post about what television shows I watch. Personally, I don't know why anyone would care what other people watch, unless they worked for Nielson or were fighting to keep their own programming on the air. But, anything for a fan, so here goes nothing.

On Mondays I watch How I Met Your Mother, because I like how Ted is written; Two and a Half Men, because the kid is funny; and The New Adventures Of Old Christine because sadly, I can relate to Old Christine, and also because Mathew is funny. I hate myself for watching the sitcoms, but on Mondays I let myself. I also watch What About Brian, mainly because I was too young to appreciate Thirtysomething the first time it came around.

Tuesdays are devoted to Law And Order CI, but only if it's a Bobby Goren episode; I don't like the other guy so much. Then comes House MD, if it's actually on and hasn't been preempted by American Idol or The World Series or something equally useless, and I watch that for the same reason everyone else does; House is cool and I keep waiting for the British accent to sneak through. Hmmm, Eureka when the new episodes come, because I love the town it portrays and the sheriff's reactions to it. And finally, one of the high points of my television week: Boston Legal. You know a show is great when the theme music gets you smiling. Denny Crane is the Stephen Colbert of prime time, and although I couldn't look at him in the beginning, Alan Shore is a great character. Dry humor, irony, sarcasm, he has it all. And when I saw Jeffrey Coho the first time, I knew he was a character of Crane/Shore caliber, but one who looks like Bruce Campbell too. Yum!

Wednesday is dedicated to Medium and CSI NY. Medium because of the mystery and the realistic portrayal of a) the body type of a standard mother of three, and b) the married life of a happy couple with three children. And CSI NY because I like forensics (Scarpetta novels and The Bone Collector, the book NOT the movie) and I watch all the CSIs except Miami, mainly because I hate that redheaded guy and I don't care much about drug smugglers and crocodiles.

Thursday nights I watch My Name Is Earl, because I like the concept of actually trying to correct bad karma, and because I can relate in a way, since this hick town I live in is full of people like Earl and Joy.

Fridays are devoted to Monk (one of my daughter's favorite shows), Psych, and Numb3rs. I love how Monk figures things out while avoiding the dirty nasty frightening world he perceives. And I happen to think the guy on Numb3rs is hot, which when added to smart makes for compelling television, at least to this often lonely thirty year old woman. I don't suppose Rob Morrow looks too bad either, but he named his daughter Tu, and any grown man who actually names his child Tu Morrow is too stupid to appreciate in any carnal way. Psych is just way too funny. It's been a long time since Moonlighting and we needed a detective agency comedy; the market demanded it.

Somewhere in there is CSI, the original, but I can't remember what night it's on. Thursday, maybe? I happen to think Grissom is sexy as hell (smart, full of obscure facts and literary references, and that salt and pepper hair drives me nuts) and again, the forensics angle. Also, Monday through Thursday nights I watch the news: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. And I try to squeeze in any Monk and Law And Order CI reruns I can find that I haven't seen before, as well as various documentaries and biographies which spark my interest.

Weekend nights are when I catch up on whatever's left in the DVR from the week before. I know it seems like I watch a lot of television, and I do watch more than I should. But aside from catching Project Runway and Queer Eye every once in a while, I don't watch reality shows. I tend to see most reality shows as catering to the lowest common denominator. Humiliate yourself for fifteen minutes of fame and a one in a million shot of winning some cash. I'd rather pick briefcases with Howie Mandel or identify strangers with Penn Gillette to win my cash.

Tom has shows I record for him: 24, The Unit, Smallville, Heroes, Prison Break, etc. Basically anything with a) a good chance of blowing things up, or b) a cheerleader in the tag-line. And of course, any televised event featuring more than five men in matching outfits trying desperately to blow each other's kneecaps out. He likes all sports, except wrestling because, "That shit's kinda gay". Typical male.

So there you have it, graffiti knight. That's what I watch. My kid throws some Food Network and Animal Planet programming in there, and Tom's always willing to pause his channel surfing for anything in a bikini, but basically I run the TV and so this is what we watch, and why. But please, don't try to engage me in conversations about television shows. I probably haven't even watched the thing yet and I don't want it spoiled for me.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Dieting Again. Ugh.

I'm back on my diet. I hate diets, all the worry and guilt and deprivation. That's probably why I've only ever been on one in my life, that and a fast metabolism. But I'm thirty now, and a mother, and I'm planning on having more children in the next year or so, so I should try to keep small rather than get huge and then try to shrink myself back. At least, that's what I tell myself; the truth is, my jeans are getting a bit tight and the new parts of my ass seem to be growing. Women thirty and older should all know what I mean by "new parts"; they're the bubbles that form on your hips when you bend over, the bulges at the end of the crease between thigh and abdomen. I hate them and they're ability to appear from out of nowhere in one day.

Anyway, back to the diet. As I've said, I've only been on one diet before, and since it worked I'm going back on it. It's probably not one anyone has heard of before, as it has no medical or celebrity endorsements, as I invented it out of spite about three years ago. I was tired of hearing all the women I worked with bitching about the no-carb diet, so just to shut them up I decided to go on an all-carb diet. I ate nothing but carbs for two months, stuffing my face with carbs right n front of them, just to be evil. Of course, my diet wasn't ALL carbs, but it was mostly grains so I pissed them off enough to make myself happy. After a couple months, though, I discovered a pleasant bonus to my spite diet. I had gone from a size 9 to a size 5! Well, now that my 6's are getting tight in the waist, I'm back to the carbs.

Since I realize that there is no nutritional evidence to back up an all-carb diet, or more accurately, a heavy-on-the-carbs diet, I feel the need to reiterate:
That being said, here's how the diet goes. Eat as much bread, potatoes, cereal, and rice as you can. Not to the exclusion of everything else, but something with every meal is good, according to the plan if not medical science. But, eat whole grains. Whole wheat breads, brown rice, boring adult cereal with no cartoons on the box or colors not in the brown family. The theory here, invented again by me only after being asked to explain how on earth eating tons of carbs can work when Dr Atkins said different, is that sugar is not fattening. It might be, but my theory says it isn't so we'll go with that. Sugar isn't fattening; fat is fattening. Sugar is only bad when it is a source of empty calories. And since most people in this culture think sugar is white, it makes sense that sugar is empty. But sugar is only white when it has been refined, reduced, and bleached by man into nothingness. And the sugar that your body makes from carbohydrates has not been refined, reduced, or bleached. It is energy sugar, and can speed up metabolism and provide energy to exercise, if you exercise. Now, the motivation to exercise is a difficult thing to find, unless you have spent the entire day eating foods that your body has turned into sugar. Carbs give you the calories needed to exercise, but they aren't empty calories because they are natural. Like I said, this is my own theory and it is no more scientific than the theory that I know what the hell I'm talking about. Because I don't. But I know that lunch today is brown rice with soy sauce (butter is fat, so it's off the diet), and supper will be whole wheat spaghetti drizzled in olive oil, diced tomatoes, and basil. Sound dull? Well it's diet food so it is dull. But my jeans will fit again soon and I will have the wallpaper stripped from the bathroom walls in no time.

Disclaimer: I have never claimed to have any medical training or knowledge and do not even pretend to know what is good for me. This diet is not a balanced diet and no one should go on it, ever. Unless, of course, science ends up discovering that it is good, in which case I thought of it first. I know nothing of nutrition so there is a very good chance that following this diet could result in some form of vitamin deficiency and or malnutrition. If you want to lose weight, visit a nutritionist, not a blog.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

How To Annoy Me...Even More!

I did this a while back, and it was fun, but society at large has found new and inventive ways to annoy me since then, so I'm doing it again.

Decide to write a book as though it were no big deal, when I've been struggling with it for twelve freaking years!!! (yeah, I know. it's getting old.)

Make fun of my use of the word Dude. It's a word!

Insist that "funner" is a word. Ehhhh, no.

Start a sentence with "Speaking of trailer trash, your brother said something about you the other day..." it doesn't matter at that point how flattering the compliment was, you've ruined it now, Mom!

Ask me to proofread your book and include sex you had with other women in it. I'm skipping that part and you'll get no feedback!

Introduce your girlfriend as Jenny Jamieson, and NOT expect a smirk. Come on!

Hide vibrators in my Christmas stocking and then not warn me before I empty the damn thing in front of my kid. That was a close call, and not at all amusing!

Tell me specifically NOT to buy you a router if I'm going to buy you a Dremel, and then put down the Dremel on Dec 26 to go buy yourself a router!

Roll away from me just to fart in your sleep. I know you're aiming at my ass on purpose!

Eat tater tots while playing Sims and leave my mouse all greasy. Again.

Tell me they don't sell orange Windex at Wal*Mart. That's where I buy it and I know they have it.

Try to say I snore, and somehow convince everyone else in the room to say it too. I would know if I snored.

Roll your eyes at me when I get "that look" holding someone else's baby. Wanna get rid of "that look"? Knock me up.

Force me to download a toolbar just to run spellcheck.

Criticize me for drinking at Christmas celebrations. Christmas is a time for family; family necessitates drinking.

Tell me I haven't changed a bit since high school, and expect me to take it as a compliment. I remember what I looked like in high school, do you?

Correct me when I say I like the ladybugs. They're round spotted flying bugs. Orange, red, yellow, or black, they're ladybugs, even if they are from Asia. And they've never pinched me before so I can damn well like them if I want!

Ask why I insist upon eating chocolate even though I know it will hurt my teeth. I'm female, it's chocolate, enough said.

Try to initiate conversation while I foodgasm. If I'm chewing slowly with my eyes closed, I'm not up for chit-chat, okay?

Poop on the steps to the pen, thereby forcing the other dogs to walk in it and smear it around like some grotesque finger painting. I have better things to do than douse the back porch with dishwater.

Give me your email address, make me promise to keep in touch, and then never write back. I thought I was done with that "I'll call you," bullshit when I got married!

Spend over $1000 on me for Christmas and then complain that what I spend on gifts is too much, thereby forcing me to cut back and look cheap Christmas morning.

Tell me that Christmas isn't a competition. I know it isn't but come on! I wasn't even allowed to buy you the stupid router!

Suggest we get the kid an iguana for Christmas. Easy for you to say, you'll be in a truck while I take care of it. I don't think so!

Tell me my gay nativity is blasphemous. Number One, DUH, that was the point. And Number Two, the guys from Brokeback Mountain were shepherds, Liza does have the voice of an angel, if Ellen ever births a child it will probably be without the touch of a man (and it may end up being Bowie's, who knows?), and a Tinky Winky doll was the only gay icon small enough to fit in the basket! And don't tell me Carson isn't a perfect "Star In The East". Queer Eye is filmed in New York, on the east coast.

Say James Blunt is "gay". He isn't and you obviously don't mean it literally because you say nothing when I listen to Rufus Wainwright, Mr Expert Of All Gay Music!

Insist that you're right and then offer as proof your status as a man. That thing between your legs is not a fount of wisdom, no matter what you say, and I was being sarcastic when I said that means wisdom tastes like salt and smells like bleach.

Put off a colonoscopy because it sounds uncomfortable. Go through 16 years of paps and nine months of pregnancy, not to mention childbirth during shift-change, and then complain to me about personal dignity and comfort.

Pluck the gray hairs from your chest. You look like you have mange when you do that, and I LIKE the gray.

Tell me The Daily Show isn't accurate or impartial. You watch Fox News, for gods' sakes!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Et Tu, Thomas Part Two

Apparently I now have three loyal readers, as it seems my husband decided just once to read my blog. Of course, he read the last post and got very upset. Not upset in a silent sullen way, but more in an insulting kind of way. So, deciding to be nice enough to set the record straight, I will attempt to clarify my last post.

Since I was twelve years old, I have wanted to write. From coffee groups full of old ladies discussing how best to word memoirs written for their grandchildren to classes taught on Saturday afternoons by "published writers!" whose names bring up no results on either google or, I have studied the craft. I have read hundreds of novels, short stories, plays, and articles and studied them all for tips on writing style and form. I have felt an absolutely undeniable conviction that somewhere in my mind, waiting to come to the forefront, was the one story which needed to be told, the one character who needed to tell his story through me.

Before I was out of high school I had written stories, plays, and poems. But since then, I have hit a wall. Easily blamed on being too busy, too distracted by life, I let it slide sure that one day I would have the time to sit down and write the Great American Novel, or at least the Great American Short Story. But now I have that time, and the character still hides among the folds of my brain, and only mediocre plots fight for prominence in my mind. But still, despite not writing anything of consequence in over ten years, I somehow consider myself a writer.

Now along comes someone who considers himself to be many things, but never a writer that I know of, and he decides to write a book. Just like that, as if it were nothing. I don't question that he has a story to tell; interesting people have interesting histories. But how did he know at what point to start? How did he know what was needless preamble and what was the point at which his story actually began? And why, if I may be allowed a brief moment to cry to the heavens. Why did the story needing to be told come to a man who never claimed story-telling as his craft, instead of to me who always has? Why is it so easy for him and so damned hard for me? I have spent years studying where to use 'who' and where to use 'whom', learning the difference between affect and effect. I know when to use a colon and when to use a semicolon instead. I understand the perils of head-hopping and why it's important to avoid the temptation to speed through in narrative what can best be explained in dialogue. And he decides, seemingly on a whim, to write a book! The ease with which he made the decision, and is actually carrying it out, seems almost designed to belittle my own difficulty, to show me how easy it really is for anyone but me.

To breeze effortlessly through a task while your mate struggles with it inevitably fosters a resentment born of envy. I'm jealous; I admit it! I'm jealous in the same way that I get jealous when Jame loses weight with no struggle, or when I hear of women going through labor with no drugs. But the worst, the absolute most painful part of this, is the creeping suspicion that I'm not destined to be a writer, that I just don't have the talent for it. Because, if that's the case, what do I dream of now? It's always been my lifelong goal, my attempt at immortality. Some people want their names in the history books, some people write or record music to live on after them, some design massive buildings. I just want to write. I have no other career aspirations, just this. I don't dream of being the next JK Rowling, but I'd like to be able to write one thing I could be proud of. And it's sad to see someone else doing it so effortlessly, right in front of me.

It's envy, and self-pity I suppose. But it's certainly no reason to be insulted by one's own husband. It's especially no reason to have one's worst fears thrown in their face by their own husband!