Monday, March 30, 2009

Stupid things I take from movies (and one book)

  1. I can't eat strawberry pie, just in case a gypsy put a curse into it. Thank you, Stephen King's Thinner.
  2. I can't use four pronged faucet handles because there's a chance that Freddy Krueger might turn them into hands and slit my wrists. Thank you, Nightmare On Elm Street 3.
  3. I can't eat shrimp cocktail that's hung around the outside of a cup because it reminds me of the dinner scene in Beetlejuice.
  4. I can't spray myself in the face with anything because the spray bottles in Patricia Cornwell's novel, Unnatural Exposure were laced with smallpox.
  5. I have never once been able to look into a mirror and say "Bloody Mary" three times. Better safe than sorry.
  6. I can't use an automatic garage door opener unless I am safely inside either a locked car or house because of Scream.

. . . to be continued

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Damn You, Sparkly Edward!

My daughter reads Twilight. I am having a very hard time with this. SHe was all obsessed with Harry Potter for a long time, but I think that's almost a generational thing. Then she was searching for a new series and since Twilight is freaking everywhere these days she got pulled in. I was fine with it (I was a vampire fan back in the day myself) but since then I've heard more about these books that worries me.

She read the first book in one day. She got it at 5:00 pm and finished it at 3:30 am. She never read a Harry Potter book that fast and we stood in a Borders for 6 hours waiting for the last one. Then she went to the library her in town and read book 2 in the series and is now eagerly awaiting book 3, which is 3 weeks overdue at the library and which she is third in line to check out anyway. What worries me about these books is not the violence (I'm not an idiot, vampire books by definition have violence in them) but the sexuality. Not that there's sex, because I've been told that there isn't. But they're all passion and romance and "Edward is so sparkly and beautiful." And Ryan reads this and doesn't give a childlike "Yuck!" in response. She doesn't roll her eyes at Bella's melodramatic professing of undying teenage love. She doesn't question a sixteen year old's eagerness to become an undead blood drinker just to be with a guy she's only known a few months. She doesn't declare Edward's angst-ridden passions to be "gross". And that can only mean one thing.

Ryan is turning into a teenager. Not numerically speaking of course; she's not even eleven yet. But emotionally she's entering the years of overreactions and heartfelt hyperbole. My wonderfully delightfully nonconformist daughter is at the cusp of puberty. That means all sorts of sparkly and beautiful Edwards of her own. That means ten household rules broken for every one she gets caught at. That means a first kiss I may never even find out about. It means me getting shut out while all the bad influences get let in. It means carefully hidden shaving cuts on her bony little legs, red and swollen over-plucked eyebrows, and underwear buying based solely on what she sees in the PE locker room.

Ryan will be entering sixth grade next year, and in this town that means junior high. I remember junior high and while I'm sure it's not exactly the same (the AquaNet haze has probably lifted by now) it's probably kept some of the same themes. Boys, pimple-stress, cliques, peer pressure, fashion obsession. And while it was "Like A Virgin" when I was eleven it's "If You Seek Amy" now. (Say it out loud fast.) I am not ready for this. I am so completely not ready for the day Ryan wakes up and puts on a turtleneck in warm weather, convinced that I'm a blind idiot. And what's worse, I will know what she's planning when she picks out a turtleneck while school clothes shopping, and I will buy it for her in a conscious choice to remain ignorant. Probably not anytime really soon, but not too terribly far over the horizon.

I'm not ready for an adolescent daughter. I want my little girl back.

I Said It Wrong

I just re-read my last post and found that I used the term 'gay marriage', which I hate. I often catch myself saying it, which means that I say it all the time and don't catch it. The reason I hate it so much, and would very much prefer that all people use the term 'marriage equality' is more than just semantics. You see, the term gay marriage implies, quite directly, that a gay marriage would be different from a straight marriage. That the actual union would be gay, not just the people entered into it. And that's not true. If you actually sit down and consider it, how on Earth could a marriage be any different just because the people in it are?

An open marriage is fundamentally different from the assumed definition of marriage without a qualifier. It is a marriage without the monogamy that, for better or worse, is culturally implicit to marriage in America. The marriage is open, not just the people. A polygamous marriage is a marriage that involves more than two people. The spouses aren't necessarily polygamous -often the women aren't polygamous at all- but the marriage is.

But terms like "interracial marriage" and "gay marriage" are misnomers. The adjectives apply to the people, not the institution. The marriage isn't interracial; the couple is. All aspects of the marriage are, unless otherwise specified by a term other than interracial, the same as any other marriage. Same with "gay marriage". Two people committed to sharing responsibilities and experiences for a lifetime, to raise children should they come into play, to care for and support each other, to argue over finances and household chores, to lovingly tolerate each other's family, and to mourn when the first one dies. The fact that they both have the same naughty bits does not change the definition of the institution of marriage. The adjective fits the people, not the marriage.

But using the term "gay marriage" is an insidious way for the anti-gays to plant the idea that the marriage would be different. That somehow the definition of marriage would be changed by allowing gays to experience it. That theirs is a fight to save traditional marriage, not to deny equal access to it. Gay people don't want to change marriage; they just want to be able to have a traditional marriage. The weddings might be different. The cakes might have 2 grooms or 2 brides, but watch Ace of Cakes just once and see how different wedding cakes get for straight couples these days. And gays aren't fighting for weddings but for marriage. Don't want gay weddings in your church, don't allow them. Marriage equality has nothing to do with churches. Divorced people can marry as it is but Catholic churches all over the land still deny them weddings. I got married by a judge in sweats; that's about as far removed from a religious ceremony as you can get.

I feel bad when I use the term gay marriage. I feel bad that I use the term gay marriage. And I will continue to try not to use it. But I hope that when I do, that people will point it out to me. Maybe then it will at least spark a conversation on why it's an inaccurate phrase. At least then whoever may have overheard me use the original term might hear the argument against it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

But not like Nixon, the good ones

I like Christopher Moore. I think his books are funny, particularly A Dirty Job. I read Lamb to Ryan once, glossing over the dirty parts, and thought privately how nice it would be if religion could be like that. If you could be Christian without all the sanctimonious bullshit, without the condescension and the "You're going to Hell" crap. I kind of like the idea of Jesus, a rebel who palled around with whores and whatnot. But I hate the idea of Christianity, with all the evangelists and social conservatives. I personally think that Jesus would be all for gay marriage. For one thing, he was pretty much opposite of the Old Testament; OT being all fire and brimstone ant JC being all forgiveness and saving. But also that he was against judging people. The whole message seemed to pretty much boil down to, "You aren't God so don't try to guess what He thinks, just live your life as good as you can and butt out of other peoples'."

I fear I may be becoming a Christian. Not like my family is; they tend to go overboard with religion. But more like the Quakers. I like the Quakers. They talk to God and then they listen real hard to see if he answers. Too many people these days talk to God but not enough of them listen. They claim God speaks through them and all, but they don't ever just shut up and listen. If I were a Christian I think I'd try to listen. Not to the pope or anyone, but for God. Maybe he does just chat people up like in biblical times. Probably not, but maybe. Maybe the Christians of America today are too busy getting into sex scandals to listen. I wish I knew a Quaker to ask.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just to get it off my chest

It is tomorrow, not tomarrow.

It is definitely, not definately. Think finite.

If it's a person, the word is who, not that. "The guy that wrote the book" is wrong. "The guy who wrote the book" is right.

An apostrophe is used to show possession (or contraction, but that's not relevant now), not plurality. Don't address mail to "The Melton's" unless you're actually sending it to something that belongs to the Meltons.

It's a lot, not alot. Lot is a noun meaning a bundle, or large amount. Like on ebay.

When making a plural into a possessive, you put the apostrophe after the s. Example: The Smiths' house is the house belonging to the Smith family. But when it's a singular ending with an s, you still use an apostrophe and another s. Stephens's house is the house belonging to someone named Stephens. Jess's bike belongs to Jess. Jess' bike would have to belong to a bunch of people all named Jess. Why does everyone get this wrong? be continued

Sunday, March 22, 2009

just fucking awesome

Is Red Not Enough?

I am such a girl. For years I was in denial about it. I sat like a guy and walked like a guy, answered to Chuck. In fact, when Tom and I were first dating I used to hate it when he'd call me girly, which is the main reason he did it. But lately, since I've calmed and mellowed with age, I realize that it's true.
I want a blender. I don't know what's wrong with ours. It seems like the blade doesn't turn, even though it does. When you try to make a milkshake you get two inches of milk shake underneath ice cream; it never gets that tornado thing going on that sucks the top stuff down. So I want a new one. Not too girly in and of itself. But when asked what kind I'd like, this is my answer:


I have no clue how many speeds I want or what features I need. I'd like it to be able to crush ice if need be, and to be easy to clean. But other than that "red" is really all I have to go on. So I started looking up blenders and you know what I've found? I don't understand them at all. Fourteen speeds one of them has. Plus pulse. I like pulse, but what would I need with fourteen speeds? How different can chop and grate be? And why would I need a blender that grates anyway? Do people really put cheese in a blender? I already own a food processor and a mini food chopper, plus a box cheese grater (for latkes. yum) so I don't think I'm going to be grating with my blender any time soon.

So I think, if anyone asks me what kind of blender I want, that my answer will now be this: Red, but with pulse.

Also I made chocolate chip scones today. Yummy! I need to find a recipe for raspberry jelly scones. Those would be even deliciouser.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Arrogant Repub Governors

I am getting so sick of Republican governors turning down stimulus money because of the condition that the state offer unemployment benefits to part-time employees. I've heard the argument made that there is no reason for the state to pay unemployment to people who are unwilling to work a full-time job. How easy it must be to say that when you work such a cushy over-paid job as politics. But are those governors able to see from the windows in their ivory towers that sometime full-time employment isn't possible?
I am very glad that Illinois pays unemployment to part-time employees. I know plenty of people who work part-time jobs full time. Thirty hours at Walmart and twenty more waiting tables is a lot of work for having no benefits. Almost all retail jobs are classified as part-time, mainly to avoid paying out for health insurance. It's not that people are unwilling to work full-time, it's that it's so much cheaper for employers to offer only 30 hours a week to more people than a full forty to fewer. By keeping employees under a certain number of paid hours they can avoid offering benefits, vacation time, paid holidays, even certain federal employee protections*. College students earning tuition, the uneducated, unskilled, or untrained. These are the people who are being told that they are unworthy of state protection when their governors refuse to pay unemployment to part-timers.

*The Family Medical Leave Act only applies to full-time employees, as defined by the average number of hours worked in the prior year.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Monday, March 09, 2009

A Reply From The Discovery Channel

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

An Email To The Discovery Channel

Dear Discovery Channel,

I don't know if you choose what commercials air or if that's the dish provider, but I would like someone to tell me why, at 2:45 on a Sunday afternoon, my 10 year old daughter is hearing about improved male size and pleasure in the "you know where" while watching what is supposed to be an educational family channel. The commercial was for Exta-Max and my daughter just happens to be too old for it to have gone over her head and too young for it to be appropriate for her to see. On the off chance that this was a provider decision, do you have no say over it at all? I'm going to have to block the Discovery Channel if this keeps up. I expect these ads at 2am, but not on a Sunday afternoon when children are expected to be watching TV. This happens to be one of the few channels I approve of my child watching and now I'm afraid it's become inappropriate.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Brains! Ikea!*

I can't watch horror movies. ANY horror movie. When I was in high school I watched the Elm Street series, and I tried to act like I was fine, but I outgrew the lie and now I don't watch them any more. I've tried to, with poor results. I saw "I Know What You Did Last Summer" when it first came out on VHS and for 3 years I swore I could see a fisherman in my hallway whenever it was dark. I would make trips through the house to avoid the dark. Walk from living room to bedroom, turn on bedroom light. Walk back into the living room to turn the light off, then run really fast across the hall into the lit bedroom, high-stepping it so nothing could grab my ankles.

I am not kidding.

Tom likes horror movies. He doesn't make me watch them anymore because I literally make him go to the bathroom with me. He has to walk through the hall with me to protect me, then stand by the tub while I pee, then walk back to the couch with me after. I make him stay in the potty with me because I don't trust him not to yell "BOO!" when I come out.

I don't have nightmares or anything. I just fear the dark, and behind and under the furniture, and behind doors, pretty much everywhere a monster or psycho could hide. And right now, on the TV behind me, is a zombie movie! Of all the horror movies ever made about anything, zombie movies are the worst. Probably because I grew up a block away from a cemetery. It was where we rode our sleds in the winter and played in the summer. But when it started to get dark I hauled ass back home because the cemetery, in case you don't know, IS FULL OF FREAKING DEAD PEOPLE! Zombie movies use this fact to make people who grew up near these corpse collections wet their pants.

And now Return of The Living Dead is on behind me and I can't turn around. Literally, I am too scared to move, lest I see some zombie tearing into someone. I mean, I'm not pretending to be anything but weak here. The Thriller video scared me, and that was before Michael Jackson got scary!

*it's from a book about zombies.