Tuesday, November 15, 2011

When Dead Animals Attack!

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person lying on their bathroom floor in possession of a wretched case of food poisoning, must be in want of a quick death."

November 11, 2011. Many were excited about this date and hoped to give birth or get married. I guess because having 6 number ones in a row brings good luck?? Never heard that before. Sure I suppose it’s kind of cool to write out 11-11-11. But after the 30th email I sent that day for work with the date 11-11-11, I was over its very minor coolness. I understand 7-7-7 when that day came and went 4 years ago. Because lucky number 7 right? But I’ve never heard of lucky number 11 and for me it’s turning out to be a real shit number. You see, on 11-11-11 my food tried to kill me for the 3rd time in my life.

Let me take you back to Jr. high school and a very nasty Domino's Pizza my mom had ordered us for dinner. It had sausage on it, it had pepperoni on it, it had green pepper on it. And about 5 hours later so did our living room couch, chair and floor. My 2 older brothers and I all got sick at the same time. I suppose it could have been a stomach virus, but with the way that green pepper was flying through the air, I’m convinced we had a killer pizza. My poor mother. It should have been easier on her considering we were all teens and should have been able to make it to the bathroom in time for some of the chucking, but sometimes when your food attacks you, you don’t have the strength to sprint to another room. Sucks big time. I could not eat pizza for many years after that episode. People thought I was un-American. How do you not eat pizza Meredith? Because even the smell of it brought back memories of wishing for death. So no thanks, I’ll pass. When I did give in and started eating pizza again, I spent another few years pulling all toppings off so I just had the crust and tomato sauce. I got grief for that one too. I don’t know why. Why should anyone else care if I ate naked pizza for a few years?

Food poisoning episode number 2 took place in November of 1996 when I was 24 years old. I waited tables at night and shared a rental with my mom and brother during that year. I left my job early because I just wasn’t feeling right. The moment I got home I had the most violent puking I had ever had in my life. Coupled with the “rain” of terror coming out my backside, I thought I was dying. I was wishing for death out loud and became completely bonkers and incoherent. All of this was in only a matter of a few hours. My terrified mom who was probably channeling Ellen Burstyn’s character in the Exorcist didn’t know whether to call a priest or an ambulance. Thankfully she chose ambulance or I would be ashes on top of someone’s fireplace today.  When the head EMT arrived he asked (like they all do), "What seems to be the trouble?" Are you freaking kidding me!? What seems to be the trouble? A volcano just erupted inside my body while lava guts are spewing out of my gob and my ass and you want to know what seems to be the trouble? "Uh Mister, can't you take a guess?" Is what I would have asked, had I been able to speak. There was no 'seems' to be trouble...this was full on trouble! I could not hold my head up or even open my eyes fully. They had to carry me out on a stretcher and hurry me to the hospital. They could not get an IV going because my veins were being difficult due to the extreme dehydration. They kept sticking me and sticking me all over my arms on that bumpy ride.

Finally, once I made it to the hospital, they were able to get the IV going through my hand. Those poor ER nurses and docs that night were in bed pan hell. They opened the door ever so slightly, just enough so that a forearm with an aerosol can attached to its hand could reach in and spray disinfectant. No one wanted to be my caregiver that night. Can’t say I blame them. Not a pretty sight (or smell) in my ER room. My mom peeked her head in to check on me at one point and said, “Meredith, don’t ever let anyone tell you your shit doesn’t stink. Because they’re lying.” True story. I will never forget lying on that cold bed in that cold room whimpering in misery alone while my ever so precious and dear mother practiced her stand up routine. Ba da bum! Good one mom. If I had the strength to lift my middle finger, I would have enthusiastically. A tearful look of desperation from my deathbed had to suffice. No, I wasn’t mad at my mom. She was trying to make me laugh. Something I find impossible to do when my body turns on me and decides to expel every single ingredient that ever entered my mouth. I’m quite sure there was a piece of brussels sprout in my vomit, and I hadn’t eaten a brussels sprout in 11 years. (My 7th grade Home Economics teacher made me eat one if I was going to get an A in her class. Torture.)

So the fluids and medicines in the IV finally started working and I went into a calm haze for a few hours. Some Dr. talked to me about Salmonella and told my mother she did the right thing by bringing me to hospital when she did because I would have eventually died at home otherwise. Gee whiz – thanks undercooked chicken. Clucking bastard. They cleaned me up and I was sent home. Now I cook my chicken to a nice boingy burnt finish. And pretty much put on a hazmat suit whenever I have to handle the raw stuff. However, thanks to those beautiful already cooked rotisserie chickens they sell everywhere now, I rarely have to handle the raw stuff. I truly can’t believe I ever ate meat again after that nightmare.

But I did. And on 11-11-11, a dead piece of it turned on me again. Of course these days the plants are turning on people too. Spinach, tomatoes, cantaloupe. Maybe I need to just stick with Pop Tarts – nobody gets food poisoning from them. Perhaps a bigger ass and a bad cholesterol reading, but not food poisoning.

I ate an all beef burrito at a little strip mall Mexican restaurant. Mexican food is my absolute favorite. Chips, salsa, guacamole, beans, cheese, non-psychotic beef, queso. The list of deliciousness goes on and on. But the beef burrito was very odd. It was a tortilla filled with beef only. No cheese, no spices, no sauce, no tomatoes, no onions. Nothing but ground up cow parts and a few tasteless toxins (I would find out later).  7:00 pm was the first hint of my near hellish future. You know that feeling. Just a little odd flutter in your gut that makes you put your hand on your stomach, wince a little and start the prayers. Something like this, “Oh no, please God. No. No no no. Don’t let this be what I think it is. Please let this be just a little upset stomach. One round on the potty should get my belly right….right? Oh please oh please oh please.” For me, those prayers fell on deaf holy ears. 

You don’t need details about the next 10 hours. Because there is not a single one of you that doesn’t already know what those details entail. But I will tell you I traveled (usually in crawling style) from my bed, to the bathroom floor, to the hallway floor, back to the bathroom floor, back to my bed, back to the bathroom floor, back to the hallway floor and so on until it was 4:30 in the morning. That is when the retching stopped. But it wasn’t over yet. It’s not the puking that dehydrates you. It’s the other foul stuff that I can’t seem to bring myself to spell out in words. And that bullshit (there you go!) went on throughout the day. By Sunday morning, I was as pitiful as a legless zombie. Moaning rather than talking, crawling rather than walking. My husband had had enough and scooped me up to take me to the hospital. One IV and a magic bag of fluid later, and I was almost not pitiful anymore. If my husband had told my mom’s joke from 15 years ago, I would have chuckled a bit.  

So what I have I learned from all of this havoc that has been wreaked to my insides? Bacon. Bacon is where it’s at. Bacon has never turned on me and it never will. Don’t say “Huh uh, you had sausage and pepperoni on that Domino’s pizza liar!” Because then I will be forced to say, “You’re right. Sausage and pepperoni. Not bacon. I didn’t say pigs, I said BACON! Ya useless wanker.” 
The end.

Monday, November 7, 2011

By the Breaking Dawn's Early Twilight

Oh, say can you see, Breaking Dawn at midnight on November 17, 2011?

Nope, can’t say that I can see it. That’s because I’ll be busy that night. I’ll be washing my hair. But in my family, I am in the minority. A little hair scrub would never get in the way of my Twilight obsessed family members who are of both the male and female persuasion. Oh I tried the obsession for a bit. But things took a turn for the worse when I was in the middle of the 3rd book Eclipse. More on that in a minute. First a bit of a warning for the Twilight lovers in my life:

I will be taking the piss out of Twilight in this blog much like I do in Facebook status updates. But remember, I’m just having fun at the phenomenon’s expense. I mean no real harm. I have my obsessions too cough cough Russell Crowe cough cough. And some might say, “Geez Meredith, Russell hasn’t looked like Maximus in 10 years, so what the hell can you really say about R-Pat and his ironing board face?” To which I might say, “That’s a teeny tiny good point but Russell and his 47 and a ½ year old love handles could squash R-Pat with his big toe on a bad day.”

The pissing match I have created between the vampire du jour and the Gladiator is beside the point. The point is that since this isn’t “my” phenomenon, I am going to poke fun of it until I’m as bored with the poking fun as I was with the first 20 minutes of the movie New Moon (never did finish it.)

Okay – so what do I have against Twilight? Well let me start at the beginning. It was 2008 and I knew nothing about Twilight. Not a thing. The movie came and went, people were talking and I just ignored the noise. I was busy carrying my 3rd child and dealing with a chronically constipated 4 year old. Anyone who has ever had a chronically constipated child knows how much time that takes out of your life. So I paid no attention. After my daughter was born, Twilight was on DVD. I rented it out of a slight curiosity and was absolutely shocked by how much I enjoyed it. I immediately called my niece who was a fan and asked her all about it. She had all the books. Maybe they were my sister’s books. I can’t remember, but I wanted to read them. I was going to become part of the Twilight culture, and was excited about it.

I read the first book quickly, even read in the dark with flashlight so as not to wake a sleeping infant. Devoured New Moon immediately after. Thought it was a bit slow and Bella started to get on my nerves but I enjoyed it enough to want to keep going. Maybe Bella would develop a personality in the 3rd book. By the time I got to the middle of Eclipse, my interest really started to wane. I was so over Bella whining about wanting Edward to turn her into a vampire that I kept flipping the book off. I mean really Bella? You want to give up food and drink and live off animal blood for the rest of your life? Which will be a very freaking long time – especially for the already immortal Edward who has to share that very long life with your humorless ass.

So the annoyances in the 3rd book brought back memories of annoyances from the 2nd book that I tucked away due to my momentary lapse into Twilight frenzy. Poor pitiful Bella falling apart in the woods in New Moon because her cold dead boyfriend who knows nothing of the meaning of inflection, dumped her so that she could have the life a teenager should have.  I so could not relate to this character at all. Get over it like the rest of us had to when we got dumped as teenagers. Do like we did – date older guys who go to rival schools. Or in your case, younger werewolf guys who are in rival families. Most importantly, get your ass up and live woman! You think Scarlett O’Hara would ever lie in bed and whimper for half a year? Hell no. ‘Cause she knows tomorrow is another day. And she isn’t going to waste her time pining over Rhett (boy did she ever screw that one up.) or Ashley. And certainly not a flat faced dead fucker.

Speaking of flat-faced dead fuckers, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t get it. Forget the actor behind the character. Let’s be nice and leave him out of it. Let’s just talk about the character. Edward. What do Bella and all of those team Edward freaks see in him? So he gets a little sparkly in the sun, big deal. So does Liberace, who also happens to be dead, and you don’t see droves of teenagers fighting over his sheet music. If it’s not the sparkles, maybe it’s the cool skin. Perhaps Bella has a fever and the only prescription is the teenage Snow Miser. Nah, that can’t be it. No one’s attracted to cold hard flesh. Oh wait….

Hmmm. Maybe it’s his obsessive love for her. Do we want the one we love to be obsessed with us? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have 3 ones that I love who are obsessed with me and I haven’t had a peaceful People magazine reading enhanced bathroom break in years! So I don’t believe that one either. Ahhh. It’s immortality. As miserable as she is for only being on the planet for 18 years, she wants to live forever and make all the other immortals long for the day they could get hit by a car and not get back up. I swear if I had to spend an eternity with Bella, I’d be looking for the nearest stake. As I said in a recent Facebook status update, Bella’s about as much fun as a Laundromat with empty candy machines and only Fingerhut magazines to read. Ehhh - you might as well throw in an “out of order” Ms. Pacman arcade game while you’re at it…to enhance the fun. 

I finished Eclipse feeling very unsatisfied and never even read a page of book 4…Breaking Dawn. Didn’t care anymore. I got nothing out of this love story but bad jokes and boredom drool. Although I do dig the werewolf part of the love triangle. It’s not the abs, (well maybe it’s a little bit of the abs) it’s his sense of fun. Jacob actually wanted to do things other than watch Bella sleep. Of course he needs a good vigorous shake to snap him out of his Bella stupor but I’ll cut him some slack due to immaturity. (And I’ll pretend no one told me he imprints on Bella and Edward’s half fanged baby) Yikes.

In short Twilight, I tried. It didn’t work, no hard feelings. Let’s just go our separate ways and cling to those few memories we had together when I was immersed in book 1 & 2. Those were fun times…right? We just weren’t meant to be. Besides, I have been swept away by your more violent and entertaining cousin The Hunger Games. Now Katniss is a heroine I can get behind. March 2012 – I will be watching.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Only Thing We Have to Fear is...Well Lots of Things

With fear as my guide how can I know
What it is here that frightens me so
He’s got a grip on my gut with ultimate force
A grip that steers me way off course
I want to scream at him to back away
But his grip on me gets tighter each day
I’ve become a prisoner to this frightening creature
Who has taken my will and become my teacher
But I’m learning nothing
Nothing but more fear

Words from my early twenties when I was in a little darker of a mood. Those words were light compared to some of the other things I jotted down in my lonely, pretentious twenties. But have no fear (hehehe). I’m not about to get deep on ya-all. Fear can be a subject of great depth, no doubt. There are many facets to it. It is the cause of great harm but can also serve a purpose like keeping most people from jumping into Niagra Falls. It’s the subject of endless quotes, anecdotes, books and speeches. But I’m not here to delve into the subject on a great level. Nope. I just want to poke fun of phobias and commiserate with others. Some of which are a real laughing matter. (Well depending on who you ask. My snake-phobic mother would probably not laugh if we hid a rubber snake in her bed. In fact, it might just kill her. So nobody ever do that okay?)

This past weekend we had a 50th birthday party for my brother-in-law. He has a tremendous fear of dolls and clowns. Since it is so much fun to torture someone with a doll/clown fear, my brother bought him a book titled, “Scary Ass Dolls.” Hard to believe he left that book behind when he flew back home. Did my brother really think he’d ever take a peak at that book? Of course not, it was all about the delivery. We could throw the book away for all anyone cared. Spending the money was all about the expression on his face when he opened his gift. (It was not pretty, but it was pretty funny!)

I get it though…I really do. Dolls can be real freaky. And they have their ardent fans and collectors. I will never understand someone who wants to collect something that constantly looks at you with wide botox eyes and keeps an expression of “What me? Of course I didn’t throw little Timmy down the stairs. It must have been Fido.” Huh uh. Never trust a doll. They will turn on you. Holly Hobbie and Raggedy Ann are okay I guess. They are cloth like. It’s those antique-y little cracked porcelained skinned things that make me want to run for the hills.

In the 1968 Roger Vadim movie Barbarella, Jane Fonda takes on an army of dolls who yap and snap their teeth while drawing blood with their bites. I hated that movie. And I’m not particularly afraid of dolls. But that whole scene was a freaking nightmare. They didn’t really move very fast, but much like zombies, their slow moves added to their creepiness. Never mind that the movie was a complete mind fuck anyway. Add a few psycho snapping dolls and you got a total freakfest.

From The Twilight Zone, to Karen Black being chased by the shark-toothed Zuni Fetish doll to Chucky and that damned Poltergeist clown, dolls have had a bad reputation on the small and large screen. And it’s no wonder, they will, (as we’ve seen time and time again,) turn on you in an instant! As a side, if you are afraid of dolls, you are a “pediophobe.”

It’s only natural to move from dolls to clowns.  Coulrophobia is a fear of clowns. It has got to be one of the most common fears. And is it ever a legitimate fear. Let’s face it, if you are making a living by painting your face beyond recognition, you have GOT to be hiding something. I’ve seen Paul Stanley post the Kiss make-up phase. Yikes. He was definitely hiding something there. I sure wish he’d hide it again. That scalpel happy face looks right at home in one of Jim Henson’s movies and it ain’t pretty. At the very least he should apply the star to his right eye again. No worries Paul, with all that botox you have injected, no chance of that star ever falling. Can I say yikes again?

Back to clowns…I know there are some lovely clowns out there. Red Skelton for instance. He was the right kind of clown. He could sing, dance and make you laugh with general silliness. I loved him when I was a child. Never once did I think Red would kidnap me, turn me into mincemeat and eat me for breakfast. I was even okay with Ronald McDonald. Sure he has been poisoning me since I was old enough to chew a French fry, but I can live in denial on that because I love his large sized fountain diet Cokes. How does he do it!? The Hamburglar is way creepier than Ronald anyway. He spoke gibberish and walked a little Nosferatu-ishly. I could really have done without him. However, I do often wonder what happened to him. Ronald seems to be the only McDonald’s character to have survived the 80’s.

So many poor clowns out there just want to make people, especially children laugh. But all they do is make them cry. And wish they’d never asked for that damned balloon animal in the first place. Then John Wayne Gacy came along and took all the dignity the clowns were clinging to, away completely. So. Not. Fair. Poor Bozo. He was a nice clown. His ratings had to suffer after all the bad clown press. Before Gacy, the clown world had Pagliacci to thank for their bad rep. Pagliacci was one of those Italian clowns with the poofy white holiday decoration collar and the cone hat with the ball on the end. Just kidding. I have no idea what the hell Pagliacci looked like. Truth be told, all I really know about Pagliacci is what I saw in the movie The Untouchables and the Seinfeld epidsode with crazy Joe Davola. Sigh. I’m not as worldly as I’d like to be. The only foreign clown I know, I know from an American movie and an American TV show. I think Kim Jong-il is a clown though. Does that count?

Although I can see why some people have doll and clown phobias, I’m not really worried about Raggedy Ann or Bozo. I have a bigger fear of bears. Oh why is that? Probably has to do with the fact that those carnivore fuckers will maul you in a second. Forget about camping while on your period. You’re just asking for trouble.  You may as well make a sign that says, “Hey Smokey, I dare you to try to put out this cigarette. Go on…coward! People = Number 1. Bears = Number 11. Right behind the Hyenas.” Now nothing pisses a bear off more than being told they are lowly compared to a hyena. I can’t say I blame them. Hyenas are nature’s assholes. They are weasels with a little bit of power. I can’t like them. And thanks to The Lion King, I don’t like Whoopi Goldberg or Cheech anymore either.

But bears freak me out. I think they are just amazingly beautiful creatures. But I have had nightmares about them for over 20 years. As much as I loved Grizzly Adams in his day, I just can’t get on board with the bear whispering. Uh newsflash Grizzly, ummm, you may think the bears are your friends but Werner Herzog will tell you differently. (Or he’ll let you hear the audio he did not share with the rest of us in Grizzly Man.) Wild animals will turn on you as quickly as dolls and clowns. I promise. I will keep my camping in New Zealand where I only have to tend with hedgehogs and Kiwi birds. P.S. a fear of bears is called Melissophobia. Don’t ask me where that name came from.

Which brings me to my final phobia of the blog. Ligyrophobia: Fear of loud noises. I can actually condense this fear into a certain type of loud noise. Popping sounds. I hate latex balloons (because they can pop), opening champagne (I have never opened a bottle), those teeny little sperm shaped fireworks that you throw at people’s feet on the 4th of July, and I hate Pillsbury biscuits. I carefully pull the paper back waiting for the damned can to pop but nothing ever happens. It’s like a Jack-in-the-Box. Then I have to start banging it against the kitchen counter never knowing when the thing is going to make the loud pop. I HATE IT! It is a nerve-wracking experience every single time. I just don’t like sudden loud noises. Never been a fireworks fan, never will be. Never been a skeet shooter, never will be. Never been a storm chaser, never will be. Never been the guy who shoots the pop gun to start a Track and Field race, never will be. I like my loud noise planned. I’ve been to a Metallica concert more than twice. I expect and welcome loud noise there. (And I realize just how badly I’ve dated myself.) My point is, at the target range or the racetrack, I am prepared. But don’t be blowing shit into my eardrums…I can’t take it.

See, I told you I wouldn’t get deep. We all have our phobias. Some are very serious and some are comical. My question is, is FDR correct when he says, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself?” Hell if I know. What I do know though is that whenever I hear the recording that plays his famous speech, I get the heebie jeebies because it sounds all ancient and spooky-like. See – sometimes fears come in the most innocuous places. Speaking of phobias – anyone know the scientific term for fear of Gary Busey’s teeth?

Monday, September 5, 2011

By George, I think He's Screwing With Star Wars Again

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a die-hard movie fan. I could happily go to the cinema every single weekend. I used to think that I could only ever love another who was as movie crazy as I was. Until I fell in love with a die-hard rugby fan and had his babies. Then I realized, “you know, thank goodness I didn’t marry a movie fan, because who would take care of these children so that I could continue my movie obsession?” So it all worked out.

Anyway, my favorite film going experience in my entire 39 years of film going experiences occurred at the end of May in 1983. Yep, that’s when Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi premiered at this amazing old theater called the “Eastwood” on the East side of our town. The Eastwood Theater was the Margo Channing of movie theaters, it had it all until the scheming Eve Harrington’s of the theater world  (AKA multiplexes) came in and invalidated the one-screen movie houses. But they could not top the original - great sound, an amazing 70mm screen and a projectionist who knew how to frame a film. This was the place to see a movie in our town in the 70’s and early 80’s.

So my dear mother bought us tickets to the midnight premiere of Return of the Jedi even though it was a school night. My memories may be deceiving me a bit, but I’m almost positive it was a Thursday night at the end of the school year. I was a fifth grader. We had to stand in a line that wrapped around the parking lot, but we weren’t worried about getting in because my smart mother bought our tickets in advance. She didn’t want to crush her beyond excited children who would never forgive her if she failed us on this one. A Princess Leia and a Darth Vader stood in line ahead of us, which just added to our anticipation. It was the first time I had ever seen people wear costumes to a movie. (This was 5 years prior to my Rocky Horror Picture Show phase.) Today, the geeks come out in costumed droves for movie premieres! Not unusual at all.

After we took our seats and got through the previews, the famous 20th Century Fox logo and musical intro appeared on screen, which gave me instant chills. People were already cheering when John Williams’ musical masterpiece filled the theater with its glorious sound. Every seat was filled and every eye was glued to the enormous screen. The beauty of 1983 was that you were not ever going to be interrupted with a telephone ring tone during a movie. Sure you’d hear whispers and whiny children as much as you do now. But no flashing lights or sounds from mobile phones. It was fantastic. A true escape from the outside world. The only noise in that theater that night was cheering every time one of our beloved characters made their Return of the Jedi debut.

Darth Vader was first. He was the ultimate villain that we all loved to hate, and he got a nice round of applause. C3PO and R2D2 were second. Applause. Lando and Chewbacca were next. Applause. Leia freed Han. Applause. Luke performed a Jedi mind trick on that serpent faced Bib Fortuna. Applause. The whole gang was back together. It was like a family reunion only this one would end with the untimely yet not so tragic death of Boba Fett. Didn’t see that one coming. Jabba’s lair segment was as entertaining as a movie could get. From the annoying but comical little runt, Salacious Crumb to the ferocious head heavy monster the Rancor, George Lucas got it right. All of the characters were fun to watch. Even the dumb looking blue Babar on keyboards, a clear sign Lucas was running out of character ideas, was tolerable. Miles more tolerable than some of the creations to come in the future of the series.

The movie had great battle scenes in the beginning, middle and end. The special effects were amazing and there wasn’t one drop of CGI. Nope. Just a lot of talented people from Industrial Light & Magic. And magic they made. The great battle to destroy the almost complete new Death Star is one of the best achievements in special effects I have ever seen, and it stands the test of time in my humble opinion. Lando and that fishfaced guy (who even C3PO and his "6 million forms of communication" cannot understand) in the Millennium Falcon, with help from the great Admiral Ackbar, destroyed the new Death Star and brought the excitement to its peak. Speaking of Admiral Ackbar, I am convinced he is Tori Spelling’s biological father. Look at the photos if you don’t believe me. Candy Spelling isn’t talking, but I have a sneaking suspicion about what she was doing and who she was doing it with during the late summer of 1972.

So Darth Vader turned good, Luke and Leia turned out to be siblings, Han and Leia confessed their love, Chewbacca made some new Ewok friends, and C3PO and R2D2 remained “best friends”. All was well on the Moon Endor when the credits rolled. It was a perfect blast.

BUT, apparently George Lucas can’t stop tinkering with his toys. And because he can’t stop tinkering with his toys, he is adding more crap to the new blue ray edition of Episode VI. In the original, Darth Vader watched as the Emperor tried to destroy Luke with his lightning bolt fingers. You could see the inner struggle within Darth as he turned to look at his son dying, then back at the Emperor, then back at his son and so on until he stood up, reached for the Emperor and tossed him over the rail to his death. Vader did not need to utter a word for the audience to get the power of that scene. But Mr. Lucas doesn’t agree. He has added a couple of “No’s” for Darth Vader to howl before and after he reaches for the Emperor. Sigh. It doesn’t fit. It doesn’t make sense and it’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard of.

I understand, George is probably salivating over all of the advances in film technology. So I say, “Create something new George! Leave your Sci-Fi masterpiece trilogy alone!” Sure some of the fight scenes seem a little cheesy when compared to The Matrix style of fighting that populates current films. And poor Luke does look a bit sloppy with that light saber when you compare his moves with the moves of the characters in the prequels. Whereas CGI Yoda in Episode II is flyin around like a little green Jackie Chan, Luke looks like a 9 year old determined to be the kid who splits open the birthday party piñata during his final fight with Darth Vader. But none of that should matter. It doesn’t mean George should replace Mark Hamil with Andy Serkis in front of a green screen. (Although after seeing Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I’m sure George is tempted.)

I can accept (although with a tiny bit of grumbling), the additions of other creatures, and even the musical changes in both Jabba’s palace and during the celebration on Endor. I can accept (with a larger amount of grumbling), the replacement of old Anakin with young Anakin at the end of that same Endor celebration. However, the addition of these “No’s” makes me want to slap George over the head with my giant Rancor doll. I wish he’d just leave well enough alone. Accept that at the time, 1983, this was the best that cinema had to offer in action, adventure and special effects. It is not a 21st century movie, and it never will be. And that’s okay. Someone tried remaking Psycho once and look how well that turned out. So George, I thank you and appreciate all you have done for the world of movies. Please be satisfied with your accomplishments and please, I implore you, listen to Paul McCartney when he says, "Let. It. Be."  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

When Celebrities Had Talent

On the morning of the vulgar Kardashian wedding exhibition that is sure to saturate the news this weekend, I am sitting here longing for the time when the only weddings that made the news were Royal weddings, Kennedy weddings or Elizabeth Taylor weddings. Interest in those weddings made sense to me.  The fascination with these talentless celebrities of the Reality TV age though completely baffles me. I don’t get it. What is so interesting about a spoiled girl with a big bum who garishly flaunts her material possessions and her boyfriends for hungry US Weekly readers while having no claim to fame other than her father was friends with a famous ex football player turned movie star turned wife killer and her mother is married to an Olympic athlete turned crypt keeper look-a-like? (huh eh huh eh huh…that’s me panting. Should have taken a breath while writing that sentence.) Really though, I want to know. Because I think the whole thing is BORING.

Perhaps as I approach middle age, I am turning into one of those out of touch old “bitties”. You know, those old people who yell at you for acting your age or for walking too close to their overly manicured lawns. I don’t think so though. I may be a teeny bit out of touch with some things but I still got some spunk dammit. I just think what passes as entertainment today is as dull as those rusty old toe nail scissors on the top shelf of my bathroom closet that will surely cause my big toe to fall off from gangrene if I try to use them again. Dull and harmful. Harmful to our brain cells that are just trying to cling to this life of “fast, cheap and out of control”!

Back to sounding like an old fart who complains (while shaking his fist) about “you kids today!” I really miss when a celebrity was a real star. Talent and moxie and interesting looks and did I mention talent? Now anyone (and when I say anyone, I mean a16 year old boy) with a video camera and a Dorothy Hamill haircut can cut a youtube video and become Beatle-esque in his mania.  The kid looks like he needs a babysitter yet is all over the magazines on fancy balconies vacationing with his Disney girlfriend. Not that I read “those” magazines. I just accidentally walk past them when I am visiting my mother’s. And then a light wind blows past so that the page turns again and again. I can’t figure out why my mom’s house is so breezy but before I know it, I’ve gone through the entire magazine…accidentally.

I’m not really sure what started all of this famous for nothing crap. Was it MTV’s 90’s show The Real World? Was it the Bee Girl in the Blind Melon video? Was it Survivor? Was it George Hamilton’s tan? Maybe it was Clara Peller’s “Where’s the Beef?” She was a huge celebrity for that 30 seconds of TV time. She was likable at least. But I only say that because she was a funny old lady. For all I know she was a real bitch. I guess it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Elizabeth Taylors and Paul McCartneys of the world have been replaced by the Kim Kardashians and Justin Biebers. In fairness to Justin, at least he tries to sing. I mean he is singing songs. He’s not just walking around L.A. while a video camera catches his every shallow move.

Speaking of Elizabeth Taylor. Sure the tabloids loved her. Sure she flaunted her jewels and her fancy lifestyle. BUT she still had talent, class and real beauty. Okay, well maybe the cheating with your friend’s husband is classless but Debbie forgave her, we can too. She wasn’t just a pretty face mugging for any camera. She was a true actress. Just watch Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf if you want to see acting at its best. The woman had it and her philanthropy only made her more appealing. So when I read an editor to Life & Style magazine (consider the source Meredith…consider the source) call Kim Kardashian “our people’s princess,” on CNN’s entertainment page that shares space with ads promoting aid for starving children, I can’t help but hope that every camera malfunctions so that we get badly framed and blurry photos for all the celeb rags. Since that won’t happen, I will do the mature thing and take a black pen to all of the magazine photos that will be at my mom’s house and give her and the wedding party gapped snaggle teeth and black eyes, and I’ll place moles in unappealing places. I hold the power with my black pen you Kardashians!!  I used to do that all the time when I was a child. Take black pens to People and Cosmopolitan magazines. Everyone was ugly by the time I got through with them. Occasionally I gave them black eyeliner and red marker lips to try to make them pretty, but mostly I desecrated their Herb Ritts shots. In fairness to me, I did wait until my family was finished reading them before I wielded the black pen of destruction. I’m pretty sure poor Cheryl Tiegs got the worst of it back then. But at least Cheryl was a legitimate model who had every right to be in those magazines.

I’m hard on the Kardashians. They may be lovely people for all I know. But my mother is lovely people too. And if I had to see her at every single grocery store check out aisle, and hear about her every time I turned on the boob tube or read about her every time I opened up my yahoo page, I’d be sick of her too. Kim…oh Kim. You are a pretty girl with a smoking voluptuous figure, but I wish you’d give up the “reality” job and get a “real” job.  And soon....please.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Greatest Food Group That Ever Lived

If I had to choose a favorite food group, there would be no competition. Breads and cereals all the way. I can’t get enough of the carbs and grains. When the low carb diet was all the rage a few years back, I tried it and lasted 3 days. It was ridiculous that I even tried really. I can’t live in a world without biscuits, pasta and Honey Bunches of Oats. I was going to personally strangle Elsie the bleepin cow if I had to endure another freaking cheese cube. Stupidest diet ever.

Speaking of seer-e-ul. (That apparently is the way I’m supposed to pronounce cereal. I have always pronounced it, “Sir-yull,” and have been given shit for it for the 37 years I have been pronouncing it that way. My brother says, “Ceres, the Roman Goddess of agriculture is not pronounced, sir-eez.” Yeah well kiss my ass. It’s hard to break 37 year old harmless habits.) But again, speaking of cereal, I feel lost if my day does not start off with a giant bowl of it. Screw the small portions bull crap. When it comes to my morning bowl, I go for the gusto. The flakes start jumping out of the top once I start pouring my milk because I’ve already filled it to the rim.

I love the stuff. It’s delicious. There are some crap versions, but I am hard pressed to find a cereal I don’t like. These days though, I stick to the “we pretend we are healthy for you, but c’mon, you must have doubts with how sugary this stuff tastes” brands. Like Kashi GoLean Crunch. Let’s face it, it tastes like a bunch of Super Sugar Crisp was glued together and thrown into a box with an “Organic” label. Good enough for me. I’m not mad. I can pretend I’m eating well. I refuse to read the nutrition label anyway. No need for that nonsense to enter my brain.

Which is why I don’t touch the rainbow trio cereals of my childhood. I accidentally read the nutritional information once. It’s like going to a fast food restaurant where you can actually see the employees making your food. Don’t look for God’s sake. You will never want to eat your food. You have to live in denial in order to enjoy fast food or a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

But I do dream about the rainbow trio to this day. Members of the trio include Trix, Fruit Loops and the Mick Jagger of all cereals, the one, the only…..Lucky Charms! (You know it’s not good for you, it’s not even that pretty, but you can’t turn it down and soon you are another notch on its headboard.) Uh we are talking about Lucky Charms…right? Yeah, well they truly are “Magically delicious!” And they turn your milk gray. Because if you mix a bunch of pastel colored marshmellow pellets together, you get a lovely dull gray. Betcha didn’t know that. I would eat some Lucky Charms every single morning if I could. But I can’t because I have a sweet tooth and to have a sweet for breakfast limits the amount of cookies and brownies I can have the rest of the day. I don’t want to peak at 6:00 am dammit. So I forgo the delectable artificial crap, and eat the “pretend” really good for you crap.

 Of course if you are poor like we were growing up, you have to skip Trix/Fruit Loops/Lucky Charms anyway, and go for their cheaper cousin called, “Kaboom.” Oh yeah Kaboom. It’s like they didn’t even try with that stuff. Even the Kaboom box looked chintzy. As though the guy who won the turtle drawing contest on the back pages of a 1980 copy of the TV Guide got to design the clown on that box. The cereal itself was just slightly colorful and the taste was like a diluted bowl of Fruit Loops. Clearly the makers didn’t want to spend much on the food dye. Which today might make people happy considering all the bad news about food dyes. Back then? Not so much. We wanted color! That’s why Boo-Berry was so in demand. (And hard to find!) What could be better than pretty blue cereal?

It wasn’t all sugar and food coloring when I was a child though. We definitely had our granola-y and bran-y moments. My mother used to buy this tiny box of something called, “Natural Hearth” I think. And we all fought over it because one expensive box netted you about two bowls of cereal. Which didn’t get far in our household of five kids. But damn it tasted good for a “healthful” cereal. Raisin Bran too was a star in our house. Until we developed a cockroach problem right around the same time the movie “Creepshow” came out. Then Raisin Bran was never to be heard from again. And I'm guessing we weren't the only cockroach havers to give up the Raisin Bran in the early 80's. Just not worth the risk. Oh and I can’t forget Grape Nuts. The Chia Pet of cereals. Just add milk and watch it grow. But remember, a spoonful of sugar helps the Grape Nuts go down…in the most delightful way!

Then there are the “Good try but you really aren’t going to cut it,” cereals. Like Kix. What the hell is that crap? The slogan is total bullshit too. “Kids like Kix for what Kix has got. Moms like Kix for what Kix has not.” No they don’t. Nobody likes Kix. That's because Kix sucks. It is only still in existence because there are enough people to go around who have not tried it for the first time. Right up there with Kix is Quisp. I’m fairly certain that if you even find a box of Quisp, it will have an expiration date of December 1982 on it. Because no one buys Quisp. Why would they? The box cover is a thousand times less enticing than a box of Kaboom. Our Kaboom artist is freaking Monet compared with the Quisp artist. I mean what IS that thing on the box? A rabbit? Sea monkey? Alien? Beats me.

So I’ve had my fair share of flavors and flakes over the years, but I tend to go in spurts. A couple of years ago it was Life every single morning. It just turns into the best tasting mush if you let the milk soak it for a bit. I love it. These days it is the Kashi tree bark mixed with the Kashi super sugar crisp. The hint of bland from the bark makes me feel better about the so sweet and crunchy cinnamon brown sugar clusters in their “GoLean Crunch”.  And it is really filling. So I leave for work every morning with a full belly of my favorite food group, and I count the minutes until lunchtime.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nerds and Robots and Hef, Oh My!

Computer nerds are taking over the world. And they know it. The rest of us just do what they tell us because we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing. I click on a data tab in Excel and click some other bullshit and then some more and some more and then I cut and I paste and I sort and paste special and then Ta Da! All of the sudden my information is so neatly presented in a spreadsheet. But I have no idea how it really got there. Just some dude (which is a gender neutral term for the purposes of this blog) told me to click where I clicked and everything magically appeared where I wanted it to. And I only wanted it to because someone else told me that’s where I should want all of the data to be. Whoa. See? I am a little puppet. And because I am such a clueless little marionette, I could actually be creating little mechanical monsters that will slay us all in another 10 years while I really think I am creating reports about numbers, numbers, numbers!

I joke but then again I am serious. I have no idea how any person’s brain has the capacity to come up with this shit. I’m glad they do or I wouldn’t be able to blog like this. Having access to major celebrities via Twitter? Unheard of just 10 years ago. So imagine what another 10 years will bring? (Other than robots that will destroy us). Although I could use a Jetson’s style Rosie. She was a doll. Nothing is more awesome than a middle aged apron wearing robot.  But I’d be nervous having a robot maid really. I mean she may seem all nice and “Rosie” (hee hee) because she is sweet and loving and folds your underwear, BUT, she IS a robot. And those fuckers will turn on you just as quickly as that cute little Tiger cub you foolishly thought you could domesticate and raise into a grown up Tiger pet (or Vegas Act, right Roy?) We’ve all seen the Alien movies. The androids all turned out to be dicks in the end. You just can’t trust them.

But daily we trust the people who are sure to create these killer robots of the future. We’re lost without them. The busiest people in every business are the IT people because no one will ever leave them alone. They don’t get 5 minutes of peace. No wonder they want to destroy us. I can’t say I blame them. If someone was in my office every 2 minutes because another system has gone wonky, or their email is locked up, or the system used to create their reports left some information out, I might plot their future demise as well. But you don’t have to worry about me because I wouldn’t begin to know what to do. The extent of my world domination would be me getting on Microsoft paint in Word. Drawing some very lame stick figures, printing them out, and then hanging them throughout the building one night while everyone was home asleep. It would look like the Blair Witch came for a visit after I was through with the place. And much like the audience for that movie, no one would be scared. At all.

I really feel a little bad for the computer dudes out there. I bet they are similar to the pickup truck driving dudes. (Remember gender neutral). People only call them when their computer takes a crap or for the pickup truck guys, when they are moving. My husband drives a pickup. He’s number one on a lot of folk's, “when we move, who to call” list.  He never complains though. He does his civic duty. Just like all of the computer geeks out there. One of which is a friend of mine who drives a truck (or used to) AND fixes computers. So he gets used more than a famous octogenarian we all know. Give you a hint: TAKE THAT FUCKING ROBE OFF HEF, YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS! WHY AREN’T YOU WEARING ELASTIC BANDED JEANS LIKE ALL OF THE RESPECTABLE 80 YEAR OLDS OUT THERE! But Hef clearly likes being used for his money and good looks. (Cough cough). Hell maybe he was good looking once upon a time. He’s been an old gramps for as long as I can remember. And I’m pushing forty. He’s like the actor Max Von Sydow who recently turned 82. I remember Max as an actor when I was a kid. You could have told me he was 82 then and I would have believed you. I don’t believe IMDB. He must certainly be 125 by now.

Anyway, I have gone off on a large tangent. Hugh Hefner and killer robots in the same blog. Oooh Perhaps a future Roger Corman film? He’s older than Hef and Max. Perfect. Well only 4 days older than Hef. (Thank you again IMDB.)

Okay back to the IT guys. I joke about them but the truth is I am so grateful for them and their ability to keep the modern world running. Keep it up guys, I like watching movies with the click of a button (and a small monthly fee). I like being able to stalk old boyfriends on Facebook. Well at least the ones who have the courtesy to make their page and photos public. I like being able to diagnose my many ailments via a mouse click or two. I like being able to find out Roger Corman’s age without having to move very far to do it. I like that an Oscar winning actor told me I was funny and cute because he read my ode about him. I like that the airplanes stay in the sky at a super high percentage of the time. I like that I can pay a bill without begging a coworker for a stamp. I like you, very much, just as you are. You complete me. You had me at “Hello, did you try restarting your computer?” (Yeah right, like an IT guy ever says hello first.) And if I am secretly creating a race of psycho cyborgs, it is so worth it to me because my kids are leaving me alone right now to watch Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. A movie I would never exclusively pay for. I will however, click an instant play key and say, “All right boys, nothing to see here…move along. Go watch the creature feature.” Thanks.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Classic Rock Blues

I have a serious case of the classic rock blues right now. The classic rock radio stations in my town play the same crap over and over. It’s ridiculous how much great old music they ignore just so we can hear a little ditty ‘bout Jack and Diane again. I get it Mr. Disc Jockey. You have to play Jack and Diane at least 5 times a day or you won’t meet your John Cougar Mellencamp quota. Well I’m here to tell you, there are plenty of wonderful John Mellencamp songs out there that do not ever mention a dude named Jack or a chic named Diane. But how would you know? You never give them a try. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Pink Houses makes its way into the play list fairly often. So does that early one of his about needing a lover that won’t drive him crazy. Hey John! I need a Mellencamp song that won’t drive me crazy. How about some of his later songs people? They exist. I want to hear them!

It’s not just Mellencamp. They will not let Journey go away quietly. Don’t Stop Believin' is on the radio every day during at least one of my commutes. Dudes, I stopped believing a long time ago. Probably when you let Randy Jackson into your band. (Just kidding, I didn’t even know Randy Jackson was in your band until American Idol told me.) As soon as I hear that piano at the beginning, my fingers can’t click the station changer buttons fast enough. One bad click onto the wrong station though, and I’m in 38 Special land, yet again. My younger readers, you may be scratching your head going, “38 Special. Who the fuck are those guys?” Exactly. Oh it seems in classic rock radio world, they are one step away from the Beatles. At least you’d think so with as much airplay as they get. You know the band Asia was big in the eighties too, but nobody goes around playing them all the time anymore. I would trade a 38 Special song for an Asia song any day. “It was the heat of the moment, da da da da da da da!” I liked that song. Haven’t heard it since probably 1985. I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that if radio stations took 38 Special out of play rotation for, oh let’s say a month, not much hate mail will be generated because of it. Why don’t we try it, just for fuck’s sake.

Let’s move on to Led Zeppelin. How could I possibly have anything but a kind word for Robert Plant and company? No worries. My unkind words are not for the Zeppelins. They are for the DJs who mistakenly think that Black Dog and Stairway to Heaven are the only worthy Led Zeppelin songs. Have they never heard of a little album called Houses of the Holy? You can’t play a little No Quarter every once in a while? And don’t get me started on Pink Floyd. Ugghh. I don’t need to hear Money ever again. Ever. Again. Cool bass riff, no doubt. But enough already. I think listeners would love a little Shine on You Crazy Diamond if you’d just give them a chance. So what, it’s a long song. I know our attention spans are lacking, but for a great enchanting song, we will hold it. I promise. How do you think Phish got so many damn fans? It ain’t because they chop their songs into little bits so they fit nicely into a radio station’s play list. Nope. They make the music they want and their fans are the most loyal of any.

Speaking of chopping songs, nothing peeves me more than a radio station editing a song for length (or cuss word, right Charlie Daniels?) Sweet Child O’ Mine isn’t even long to begin with. You really have to cut out half of the guitar solo? Listen people, if you don’t have the attention span to listen to the greatest Guns N Roses song ever in its 6 minute entirety, then you need to place your little finger on the button that will take you to Radio Disney. I hear Miley Cyrus is a great singer. Well that’s if you like the same sound that came out of all those Little Orphan Annie wannabes who attended Elementary school with you. You know who they are. They always sang with big wide arms and annoying smiley faces while their stage mommies gestured their movements for them in the front row of the auditorium.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is a notoriously long classic rock song. But you will never hear the full length version on the radio. However, there is a terrific scene in the movie Manhunter where the song is the backdrop. The whole seventeen minutes plays during the climatic ending of the film and it’s just awesome and brilliant! One of Michael Mann’s best films, and it’s one his earliest. But I’m not here to talk movies. This is classic rock talk and I am burnt out on the same old stuff. C’mon radio, spice it up for me. Please?

I do have to give classic rock stations credit where credit is due. They know not to play the post-Disney versions of Elton John and Phil Collins. What happened to those guys? Anyone know? Why does doing a Disney soundtrack make you suck instantly afterward? Sorry dudes. You guys used to rock. And in fairness to Disney soundtracks, they were much better off before you two put your grubby little marks on them. You both need to go back to where you belong, real classic rock land. Elton, you need to shine up those Pinball Wizard boots you wore in the movie Tommy and rock that piano like you used to. Yes, I know it’s tedious how much they play Bennie and the Jets on the radio, but it beats that Circle of Life crap any day. As for you Phil, would it kill you to pull out your rusty old drum kit and rock our worlds like you did decades ago? I don’t care that you won an Oscar for that Tarzan song, (how did Blame Canada lose that one?) it’s lame and the best thing that came out of that movie was the discontinued Tarzan doll that beat his loincloth snake while doing the Tarzan yell.  

Now you might say to me about all of this, “Uh easy solution Meredith. Play CD’s or your iPod on your way to work. Duh.” I do play CD’s sometimes, but there is something about stumbling onto an old goodie by chance. Instant good mood when I click a station and one of my favorites that I don’t own and am too embarrassed to admit that I like turns up. (Can you say MacArthur Park?) Go ahead. Poke fun of me. It’s probably on the most hated songs of all time list, but it brings back wonderful childhood memories for me. So I love it. And it’s a real treat if it turns up on the radio. But you MacArthur Park haters do not need to worry. Classic rock stations will surely (and rightly so) never play Richard Harris music. But they will play lot’s of Eddie Money. So you go on and have fun with that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

So You Know You Can't Dance

I have never had rhythm. Not once. Well maybe one time. But I was drunk – too drunk. And in a couple’s dance contest at a Fraternity sponsored dance my Freshman year of college. Hence the getting drunk. You’re gonna put me in a dress, set me up with a guy I don’t know and then make me dance in front of everyone? Thank goodness we were last because I parked my taffeta’d ass right there next to the keg until it was our turn. I don’t know what happened to me, but damn I was on fire. Something got a hold of me and I went all Jennifer Beals on the place. (Can you say alcohol?) And my date and I won the competition. Then I passed out and don’t even remember his name. Awww. What a lovely little story. The moral of which is: If you can’t dance but you are being pressured to in front of a large group of people, drink fast!

I can’t really give the alcohol all the credit for my badass moves. It just gets the credit for unleashing the dance demon inside of me. (Well that one night anyway.) I know you’ve all seen the drunkies out on the dance floor thinking they’ve got it goin on when they actually look as though they’ve just walked through a spider web and are furiously trying to remove the sticky off of them while swatting about to make sure there is no spider in their hair. I’m quite sure I’ve been the spider swatting dancer a time or two. So I mostly belly up to the bar and watch everyone else dance. Believe me, it’s for the best. I know, I know, there is that popular saying that has been attributed to many an author, “You gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening and live like it’s heaven on earth.” Okay, that’s a lovely little quote, but I’ve seen Seinfeld. Somebody is always watching and next thing you know, you’re a Christmas Party legend. (And not in a good way.)

Oh I can silly dance at home. I love to be the fool to make my kids laugh. That’s what I just did last night. They wanted to have a dance contest, so I showed them how to do the worm. I used to be a worm master. It’s not really a dance move, but I told myself it was since I was supreme awesomeness at it. But I hurt myself. And I knew going in that I’d be sore today. I was right. All because I got on my belly, rocked back and forth and slithered my body up and down and forward. I probably moved a total of 3 inches. My feet got rug burned too. Ouch. I’m such a baby. (Note to self, get off your ass and Zumba or do pilates or yoga or park in a far away parking spot or bend over and pick up the dropped remote control instead of curling your toes around it to bring it to you so that you can use the least amount of body work.)

Speaking of dancing, Saturday night I went out with some friends and family, and we ended up at a bar with a band and lots of dancing. Except I didn’t dance once. I was actually too busy dodging a large mouthed bass named, oh let’s just call him Patron Jones. He probably answers to Fish Lips too. So Patron Jones wanted to dance badly. He finally talked my best friend into getting out on the dance floor with him. My BFF can really shake her groove thing, and she doesn’t need alcohol to do it. She was born with rhythm and Patron Jones could hardly contain himself watching her move. He had his paws (I mean fins) all over her. BFF did not like that one bit. So she stopped dancing. The one person in the entire joint who actually could dance, had to stop because a horny nuisance nicknamed Fish Lips thought all that hip shaking was an invitation for him to touch her hips. Tsk tsk Mr. Jones/Lips. Keep your filthy paws off my BFF’s silky drawers. Would you pull that crap with Annette? (Sorry, the song Sandra Dee from Grease popped into my head for some reason.) So BFF came back to the table where most everyone else was dancing to the music. (Not me.) They didn’t need no stinkin dance floor. Of course the men in our party were doing more of the Grateful Dead/Phish kind of dancing. And you really don’t need a dance floor for that.

Okay – so I got sidetracked with a little story about Saturday night. Back to my kids. I love how much they enjoy dancing. We watched Billy Elliot the other night and they were enthralled. They actually look like they could have some real natural moves. They must get it from their more distant relatives because dad is a stocky rugby player whose body just does not get very bendy, and mom is a slouchy, artless, two left footer who does a much better Elaine Benes than Janet Jackson. Oh well. I’ll always have the worm.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Adventures in Lunching

I’ve mentioned before that I recently started a full time job. One of my favorite parts of this full time job is lunchtime. Being able to eat without sticky little hands grabbing my food and slobbering all over my straw is such a joyous occasion for me. I sometimes even eat in my car and it too is bliss. I live for lunch. If I can’t have lunch, or I get too busy and it gets put off until later in the afternoon, I turn into a crabby bitch. My belly must be fed on time. Every day. Or my head will start doing a 360 degree turn. With the pea soup not far behind. I do not joke.

So today I decided to go out to lunch with 3 of my co-workers (one of them is my older sister).  We were all set on Bob Evans. The only stipulation one of us had was that Bob Evans have salads. Yep, they sure do. It was settled. On the way to Bob Evans we saw a Mediterranean Café/Marketplace. One of us inquired about the place, and my sister who had eaten there before said, “Oh their food is wonderful. The place is never busy, but the food is great, I loved it the last time I was there.”
Intrigued, my driving coworker made a last second turn, and we entered the empty parking lot to try this “wonderful” little hole in the wall. I mean let’s face it, there are some real gems out there that many of us miss out on because we may think empty parking lot = bad food.

We walked in and you could hear an echo it was so desolate. I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous. I’ve seen bad horror movies start out like this and the last thing I needed today was to end up the middle rung of the human centipede. No thanks. But I wanted to give a small business a chance. I think it’s important to support your local restaurants. And it came with a nice recommendation.

So the first thing we did was ask about the buffet. This place advertises a $7.99 lunch buffet. There was a little potato salad on the buffet. That’s all. Well for $7.99 that potato salad better do a Shakespearean soliloquy, a 2 minute comedy routine and a magic trick. Maybe it did do a magic trick, it made the rest of the buffet food disappear. No problem though, it made the decision to not order the lunch buffet that much easier. In fairness to this establishment, they said the buffet would be ready at noon. We just got there too early. It was quarter til noon.

Okay, moving on. A gentleman came to take our order. I ordered the beef something. (some beef and veggies in a pita pocket). Sorry no beef. Not until 1:00. Uh okay. No buffet until 12:00, no beef until 1:00. Whatever. I will take the chicken. But first I wanted to start off with some hummus as an appetizer. Our waiter said, “you want just hummus?” “I want the hummus appetizer, doesn’t it come with pita bread?” How many people do you know who want just the hummus? I’ve never seen a person eat hummus with a spoon but maybe I am a clueless individual. I do know though that hummus is nothing without an edible little triangle of some sort to dip into it.

We finished placing our orders. We all ended up ordering the same thing, the chicken sandwich meal that comes with fries (rice for my sis). My co-worker sitting across from me even pointed to the photo of the chicken sandwich that had fries surrounding it. (I bet you can’t guess where I’m going with that little tidbit of information.) I’ll get to that later.

We waited patiently for our drinks. They never came. I saw a soda machine next to the empty buffet, so I went over to make my own drink. Bonus. They had to-go cups so I could take my diet Coke back to work with me. Maybe this place wasn’t so bad after all. Crap they have Pepsi products. No big deal. I can substitute. Crap. No ice. No big deal, I really just need the soda. Thankfully, a man did go get a bag of ice after he saw me struggling with the ice dispenser. I was hoping that if I just held it down a little bit longer, ice would magically appear. So he filled the ice tank, and I put my cup under the diet Pepsi dispenser. Only it was clear. Yay. Carbonated water. Yummy! At this point I couldn’t be bothered and took the lemonade. However, we were going to have to stop at a gas station on the way back to work so I could get a proper drink dammit! (My driving co-worker wanted a Coke slushy more than anything anyway, so I knew there would be no trouble in asking her to stop.)

My sister walked around looking for the Iced Tea container but never found it, so she settled for Pepsi. After about 10 minutes of laughing to ourselves, wondering what the heck would transpire over the next half hour, our food came. Well some of it came. 3 sandwiches came. And a nice little kid came over to inform us that they had no tea. Thanks little dude. We sort of figured it out. You don’t have any diet Pepsi either but I’ll just keep that to myself. The kid serving our food said he had to go get more and would be right back. Good. We assumed he’d come back with my sandwich, all of our fries, my sister’s rice, and my hummus. He came back with hummus that had something on top of it. What the hell is that? Turns out it was chicken. The waiter clearly had trouble with my order. I did get some pita bread and a little bit of lettuce with tomatoes, cucumbers and pickles though. But, no fries, no sandwich, no rice. My sister let him know we ordered the meals with fries, we were still missing a sandwich and she was missing her rice. So he said, “Oh. Do you want it?” “Yeah I want it.” Poor naïve older sister, she was convinced our young waiter was going to bring us all back the food we ordered. No way sis. You are getting your rice and I am having some pita and hummus for lunch. Pita bread that had hummus already spread all over it on the inside (which was kind of weird).

The young man brought back only the rice, just as the rest of us knew he would and we never heard from him again. AND we were STILL the only people in this joint. A couple of us just picked at our food because it was so unsatisfactory. Then we had to practically beg to pay our bills. The thing was, we weren’t angry about any of this. We felt really bad that this little place was being run like this. No wonder it was empty. It was the worst service we’ve ever had. Our young waiter rang us up, and when he tried to charge me for the sandwich I never had, I reminded him that I only received the appetizer. He actually didn’t charge us for any of our drinks, which was fair because well 1) 2 of us didn’t get the drinks we ordered, and 2) drinks were included in the meal deal that we ordered but didn’t get. Oh my gosh! This is all just so confusing!

We left hungry. (One half picked at sandwich just isn’t going to cut it. Nor is a little hummus with rubber chicken sprinkled on top.) We laughed at our experience, then stopped at not one, but two gas station food marts to finish the job this restaurant couldn’t. Ahhh. It turned out to be a great lunch after all: Coke slushy, diet Coke, pretzels, bbq chips, more chips, yogurt covered pretzels and a Mrs. Fields M&M cookie. Who needs a Mediterranean lunch when you can lunch at the Marathon and Speedway for half the headache?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Look Who's Stalking

There is only one thing in the world that my darling 2 year old will pick over me (unless she’s in a real needy mommy moment), and that is the outdoors. Thank you sunshine because I would be writing this blog with her attached to me (like most of the others I’ve written) if it weren’t for you. As soon as it is time for her to come inside, I will be typing one handed again. I better get a move on it.

My youngest babe, I’ll call her CG, (that’s not what I really call her but it will work for the purposes of this post) is a stalker baby. She won’t leave me alone. Stalks me day and night. My niece calls her a “Stage 5 clinger.” I’d say she’s moved up to a 9 by now. It’s bad. I’m sure I am mostly to blame because I am a softy. She is still nursing (hey I’d be considered normal in other parts of the world so no judgy please my Yankee friends) and she co-sleeps. My older children nursed and somewhat co-slept, but I was able to break them of both at younger ages than CG.

I believe it has gotten worse over the last month because I started a new full time job. I’ve only worked part time since her birth, so she is not used to the long hours away from me. I walk in the door and am greeted by, “Mo-mmy!” With big toddler arms ready to wrap around my neck. Precious isn’t it? Just wait, she hasn’t hit stalker mode quite yet. I greet the rest of my family, while little footsteps follow me (and they’re getting closer). I set my things down but if I haven’t picked her up by this time, (I’ve been home probably 75 seconds, which is a long time when you’re a stalker baby) CG loses it. She’ll start the long armed baby stomp. (Picture a toddler-sized orangutan doing the River Dance). And she’ll whine, cry, blubber and wail until I pick her up. Which takes me another 75 seconds because I must change out of my work clothes. If I am going to have a barnacle attached to me then there is no need to be wearing business casual.

So she gets her lovies and cuddles and all is well with the world. AS LONG AS I AM SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO HER UNTIL IT’S TIME FOR ME TO LEAVE FOR WORK THE NEXT MORNING. That’s right. I get up to get a drink and guess who’s on my trail faster than a damn bloodhound? If I sneak into the bathroom to have some peace and a little reading time? Well it’s not long before little CG has discovered my hiding place and starts poking things under the bathroom door. (It’s an old house and the door does not touch the floor). Have you ever seen the old TV horror classic Trilogy of Terror starring Karen Black? There is a scene where Karen Black’s character Amelia shuts herself in her bathroom to get away from the Zuni Fetish doll (known as the Yi-Yi Monster in my family.) So the Yi-Yi Monster takes his little knife and starts waving it under the bathroom door to get at Amelia’s feet while she screams her annoying head off. The scene in my bathroom when my little stalker is waving one of her little toys under the door always makes me think of the Yi-Yi Monster. Only I don’t scream, but I do whine my annoying head off. I whine things like, “Go away CG. Can’t mommy have some peace? Go find daddy. Hey look Caillou’s on! Wanna watch Toy Story? Have daddy take you outside (that one works sometimes. It doesn’t always make daddy happy, but he’s pretty outdoorsy too, so he mostly doesn’t mind.) What happens most of the time though is one of CG’s older brothers decides to open the bathroom door for her because, “Mommy, she wants you.” Gee thanks little dude. I didn’t notice.

Bedtime is a terrible time. If I’m not around, she’ll go to sleep for daddy no problem. But when I’m at home, (which is pretty much 365 nights a year, but who’s counting?) it’s all about nursing herself to sleep. Still. 2 Years Later. There must be high fructose corn syrup in these puppies because I have to use a lot of force to dislodge her Pitbull grip on them. How the heck am I ever gonna wean this girl? Anyway, once she finally falls asleep, usually in my lap while I am online, social networking, I have to get her out of my arms and into bed all while keeping her in a slumber. It is not an easy task. I tiptoe (well as much as one can tiptoe while holding a 25 pound baby) to the bedroom, which is really pointless since we live in an old house with hardwood floors. I look like I am dodging laser beams as I try to avoid the creakiest parts of the floor. Then every single door squeaks when it opens. It’s like an old Vincent Price film in this house.

If I make it to the bedroom and she hasn’t wiggled, then I know I am in the home stretch. Just have to lay her down and press my arms deep into the bed to remove them from around her without her noticing. Oh it’s so nerve-wracking. So I place her down but hover over her for a minute so she won’t detect a sudden cold snap from mommy removing her warm arms. Now, if I can get to a standing position without any CG movement, then I am usually good to go. There has been the occasion when I accidentally knocked the remote onto the floor as I turned to leave. Man does it ever suck when that happens. I have to start the whole process over.

When morning hits and my alarm goes off, I have to battle the hardwoods again. I roll to the edge of my bed, (I want to make the least amount of mattress movement and rolling seems to be the best method) and slowly put my feet on the floor. If I’m smart, (which is never) I will have laid my undies out the night before so that I only have to grab them and head to the shower. Nope. Not smart. I have to open my dresser drawer which has the potential to wake the sleeping Yi-Yi Monster if I don’t do it just the right way. Can’t be too fast or too slow. Once I make it to the shower, one of two things happens. I either get to enjoy the nice warmth of the water and peace of being alone. OR I hear the creaky floors and the squeaky door and see a teeny little head full of matted hair and crazy eyes peering at me from behind the shower curtain while fighting off the water sprinkles that are lightly pounding her face. Yep! Some mornings she finds me. And until she gets her cuddles and Memmies, (her name for mama’s milkies) she will shadow my every movement and beg for me to "Hold you. Mommy hold you.". 

So I give in. Again and again and again. I hope I don’t come home to my pet rabbit boiling in a pot on the stove one day. That would be terrible. No, just kidding. We don’t have a pet rabbit. But we do have several dust bunnies that may be in danger thanks to stalker baby on the loose. Boiling a dust bunny might be interesting though. Hmmm. I joke about CG. I mean, she does cling to me, but she is also a loving, funny and darling baby girl. She will pet my hair and tell me, “Good try mommy, good try.” As though I’ve just lost on Jeopardy. She also has a great sense of humor and laughs quite a lot. I probably shouldn’t complain and enjoy these little moments with my lastborn because one day she will be embarrassed to be seen in the same city as me and I will be crushed. Damn I can’t get sentimental or I'll never get this baby weaned. NEVER.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Motherhood in the Age of Twitter

I swear the internet exists just to remind me what a shitty parent I am. The opinions about what makes a good mom/parent abound. If you don’t have those little fuckers quoting Shakespeare by the time they are 3, your kid is going to be Shift Lead on the fry line apparently. Now a really good mom would let the shit roll right off her back. She’d say, “Fuck you, I love my children, what’s it to you how I raise them?” And sometimes I do. But since I am a flawed human, sometimes I let the passionate opinions get to me. Damn being human has its sucky moments. I wonder if Spock could turn that shit on and off when he needed.  I shoulda been a Vulcan.

Oh man though, the mommy competition is brutal. Some women are really unkind to their gender. They don’t give you any leeway for a bad day. If you don’t have a fucking twinkle in your eye and a grin on your face while little Bartholomew and his bulbous head make their way into the world via your coochie corridor, “Well, maybe you just shouldn’t have had kids.”

Looking for a rogue turd that has disappeared under furniture while potty training? “Smile, you are blessed to be a mom!”

Turning your nipples into crunch berries because you’ve been breastfeeding half your adult life? “Well that’s what they are there for. Good for you mom. Yay! Clap clap clap.” (Pistol, please.)

Wanting so badly to poop alone so that you can read People magazine in peace? “Well, if you didn’t want kids and everything that comes with them, then maybe you should give them up to a family who would love them and everything about them, even the exhausting things and all the time. Every second of every moment in time FOREVER.”

See, what these pretend people with the pretend quotes don’t understand is, I do love every exhausting thing about them. But a day or two later. When I can tell it as a story. Not at that exhausting moment tantrum #3 is occurring. During the moments they are taking me there, you know to that, “mommy’s head is seriously about to pop right off her neck” place, I want to put a “flux capacitor” into my car and drive 88 miles an hour back into the year 1999. Oh yeah. Sleeping in on the weekends like humans are supposed to. Sprawling out onto my bed (instead of teetering on the edge while I’m curled like an armadillo into a teeny tiny ball). Going out to dinner. Watching rated R movies at 6:00 pm. NEVER buying chicken nuggets for any reason whatsoever! Making love loudly and in any room at any time. And so on. That dreamlike moment doesn’t last long. I come back to reality and perform my mommy duties to the best of my abilities with a smile. Sometimes it’s a forced one, but dammit, it’s there. It counts!

Okay, so what brought this shit up? This mommy uncertainty? Well, it’s been clearly established on this blog that my favorite famous male human is Russell Crowe. However, his little tirade about circumcision on Twitter recently (last night to be exact) brought to surface old guilt I had tucked nicely away into a teeny tiny corner of a synapse inside my cerebral cortex about circumcising my own boys. Why should I care what this person who I don’t know and will most likely never meet face to face thinks about a parenting decision I made once upon a time? It goes back to that flawed human thing I was talking about in the first paragraph. A part of me does care. Especially about the opinion of someone I respect and admire. I don’t want someone I like to think I’m a shitty parent. And I hate the fact that I care. It pisses me off actually. What’s it to this privileged man who doesn’t have to deal with half the shit I do on a daily basis? (now he could say the same about me. I could go on a Twitter diatribe and unless I’m threatening Barack Obama, or flashing my Weiner, it isn’t going to make the news.) So that’s neither here nor there. I actually agree with his stance, but his delivery was as stinky as an intact penis. (That was a joke. Ha. Ha. Ha. I love my intact friends. They are right with nature.) Oh and I promise that will be the only time I ever criticize Russell’s delivery. Speaking of which, he better DELIVER in his next film!

HOWEVER, you don’t change hearts and minds by insulting everyone who thinks in a different way about a certain subject. You lose people when you do that. When one’s defenses immediately sprout up, it’s hard to get them back down, and dialogue is dead and soon both sides have created an arsenal of weapons to shoot at their enemy because he insulted your stupid penis. I think that pretty much sums up how wars start. Men and their FUCKING penises. UGHH!

How bout you start a dialogue and leave the insults out. It’s a valid topic. I changed my mind about circumcision around 3 years ago. And not one nasty thing that an “intactivist” said to me moved me. NOT ONE. It might dredge up that little bastard guilt, but it won’t call me to action.  A picture of my second born immediately after birth in his “full” natural state really moved me. I could not think of a really good justified reason for cutting his foreskin off. That’s all. I should’ve left him alone. It’s not that I have regret so much as guilt. If that makes sense. Because my boys are fantastic, Kiwi cut and all. I adore them. They are unique and they are not damaged by a decision that me and my husband agreed on years ago. I would make a different decision today if I were to have another son. (Never gonna happen. Baby making has been put away on a nice little shelf next to the frozen peas.) But when someone I admire goes on a diatribe about us barbaric parents, I can’t help but feel a little shitty. Boo on me. He’s lucky he’s a good actor, because I’d hate to put him in the “inactive” file next to Mel Gibson. No, in defense of my (#1 freebie), he is passionate, and that is a great thing. But shut the fuck up too!

So enough of that. I'll have to make up for cutting short their penis capacity by being a kick ass mom in other ways. What else have I done wrong according to total strangers on the internet? We’ll have to save it for another time. My family just arrived home and I want to be a good wife and mother. So off I go. Cheers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jaws and Friends

My 9 year old son just spent his allowance money on a 30th Anniversary Edition DVD of the movie Jaws. “The greatest of the shark eating people movies!” According to his 8 word review of the film. Why yes, I’d have to agree little man. Jaws is nautical miles above Shark Attack 3 – Megalodon (you want a good laugh, watch a scene or two of this gem on YouTube) and Giant Shark vs. (oh pick your ferocious animal and either put a “Mega” in front of it or a “Saurus” behind it. That’s how they do it on the SyFy channel.)

Until I became a mother, I had no idea how much little boys are into menacing creatures with sharp teeth and deadly bites. I have two older brothers. I do not remember this part of childhood. They are only 1 and 2 years older than me. We hung out. But one was into Olivia Newton John (Gimme me whatcha got, ready or not my love’s totally, Totally TOTALLY HOT!) – You gotta really hit that high note at the end to do Olivia justice. The other brother was into The Six Millon Dollar Man. Dn-Dn-Dn-Dn-Dn (that’s my imitation of Steve Austin during bionic slow-mo battle.) Six Miilion?! Today he’d be worth at least 500 million and he’d have his own reality show with Jaime Sommers probably on the SyFy network.

Okay, back to scary toothed beasts. I wonder if you google those 3 words together, “scary toothed beasts”, then click images, if a picture of Amy Winehouse will pop up. Somebody should try that and see. Anyway, my boys are picky about which creatures are allowed in their exclusive club of scary beasts worthy enough for them to want a stuffed animal version or watch a movie about. Take for instance the mandrill. I think it is the most terrifying looking animal in existence. It’s basically an evil baboon (aren’t they all really?) with gigantic fangs, a long blue and red snout and a mouth that can open wider than Steven Tyler’s. Come to think of it, mandrills actually resemble Steven Tyler. He used to be a drunk, he’s probably got a blue and red snout by now. I joke, Steven. You are very loved in my family.

But the mandrills are not scary enough for my boys. And they haven’t yet been the subject of a SyFy movie creature feature starring a who’s who of has been stars from the 1980’s. Although I think calling Lorenzo Lamas a star in any decade is a stretch not even my lower intestine in a zombie tug-of-war could handle. The mandrills may not make the list, but I bet they and other kinds of baboons would if I let my boys watch The Omen (like my parents let me and my siblings). Those baboons sucked. But they were nothing compared to that thing they were terrorizing in the car. Yikes. Me no likey evil kids in movies. That movie ruined a lot of things for me. Baboons, no thank you. Rottweilers, no thank you. Nannies in black dresses, no thank you. And kids named Damien. NO THANK YOU! If you are reading this and you happen to have a child under the age of 5 named Damien, do not…I repeat, DO NOT give him a tricycle for his birthday. Not a good idea, I promise.

Moving on. So baboons don’t make the list. Hippos, (which kill a shit load more people annually than a lot of the other creatures on their list, according to one of the Netflix instant play nature docs I watched once) don’t make the list. Komodo dragons on the other hand, are second in line behind the Great White Shark. King Cobras, crocodiles, anacondas, polar bears, wolverines (although I’m convinced that one has more to do with the X-Men.), bats (but only vampire ones), spiders, Sharktopusses, Crocosauruses and Piranacondas etc. You get the idea. They all make the cut. Those animals are cool because they might eat you. Nice. I must be raising either future "Crocodile Hunters" or B-movie directors. Which is fine with me as long as they don't bring any of those damn creatures into my house. Well not the real ones, the animatronic or plastic mold ones (you know, for the cheesy special effects) are okay with me. Love those boys, they are awesome. And Jaws just finished so I must conclude until another time. The end.