Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Not a joke

I was originally going to post this as a response to someone's blog, but I thought it would be better as my own blog entry. It has been slightly edited.

You're just mean, aren't you? Or perhaps you think poking fun at scrawny women will make them eat? Yeah, that's a real self-esteem booster. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. *eye roll*

Don't get me wrong, I think the skin-and-bones look is unhealthy and unattractive, but anorexics need to treatment that is based on positive reinforcement and good nutrition, not snarky comments from movie critics and gossip mavens who would better serve the world by discussing films and television shows or shutting up entirely.

You think anorexia is an important issue? Treat it that way, not as a passing joke meant to get cheap laughs. People are dying, have already died, from anorexia. Do you have anything funny to say about that?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I don't want to see it

Attention: all ladies, young and old, tall and short, thin and chubby, born-a-girl and used-to-be-a-dude.

I'm not about to tell you never, ever to wear short skirts in public. We live in a free country, so I can't do that. Everyone has different ideas about modesty. Fine. But please listen this heartfelt plea:

When you wear a skirt that comes to the knee or above, please do not cross your legs at the knee when seated. Whoever is sitting across from you can see all the way up.

I do not want to see the color of your underwear while resting on a bench at the mall. I do not want to explain to my children why they can see your ladyparts, or (so help me) what they are for. I do not want to have to go over to you and whisper in your ear that I can see your stuff, but I will if you don't uncross those legs already, because there's nowhere else for me to sit but across from you, and there's no way I'm spending my only ten minutes of rest with your womanly glory in my line of vision. And I imagine YOU don't want some pervert guy taking my seat after I get up, pulling out his camera phone, and e-mailing pictures of your womanhood to his skeezy friends.

This goes double for church. In my opinion you have no business wearing a skirt that short to church anyway, but if you do insist on entering the Lord's House dressed like it's time to go clubbin', please have the courtesy to either cross your legs at the ankle or not cross them at all. I certainly do not want to see your panties while I'm sitting in the foyer waiting for my appointment with the bishop, nor do I think that 10-year-old boy's mother would appreciate your inadvertently educating her son on the mysteries of How Lingerie Fits. And I can assure you, the bishop doesn't need to see it, nor do any of the other husbands. That's why they have wives.

So from now on, keep your Victoria's Secrets to yourselves.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Insomniac Movie Review: Over the Hedge

Over the Hedge
Starring: Bruce Willis (who I love because he's not afraid to be silly), Gary Shandling (in his least annoying role ever), Steve Carell (I normally can't stand him, but here he's great), William Shatner, Avril Lavigne, Wanda Sykes, Allison Janney (who knew she could play so evil?), many others
MPAA Rating: PG, for rude humor and mild comic action. Wait, what is "mild comic action" supposed to mean? Is that supposed to mean the part where the skunk does her skunk thing? Is slapstick comedy a PG thing now?

The Plot: As if you hadn't figured it out from all 497 million commercial spots. A group of forest animals wake up from hibernation to find that most of their forest has been cleared and turned into a suburb. A raccoon named RJ (Bruce Willis) shows up and teaches the others how to steal food from the humans. He has an ulterior motive. The Homeowners Association President has motives of her own. Bonus: this movie is based on a comic strip by the same name. It was written by a man who lived in Houston (!) and saw how the wildlife had to try and live right in the middle of civilization. Double bonus: the day after I saw this movie, I saw a dead racoon in the road near a shopping center, not fifty yards away from the nearest suburb.

What annoyed me: The previews. No, seriously. I am so sick of seeing that stupid preview with the animated penguin, voiced by Robin Williams, singing "I Did It My Way" in Spanish. It looks stupid, and I will not see it. Besides which, it scares my children. Both of them. Every time. Crying. Stop showing it. I also refuse to see Santa Clause 3, because Tim Allen does not need encouragement to keep making dumbass movies. Also, sequels to GOOD movies don't usually do as well as the original, so I don't see why anyone thinks it's a good idea to make a sequel to a SUCKY one. (Do not send hate mail. Santa Clause 1 was not bad, but part 2 was a piece of crap, and you know it.)

Should you see Over the Hedge? Yes. Yes you should. Because it was written by a Houstonian. Also, because it's funny, and the kids in the audience were cracking up. The little ones liked it. The big ones liked it. My husband liked it. My four-year-old, I'll admit, was scared during one part of the movie. But not scared enough to scream. And yes, during part of the movie she started climbing over her seat, but only because her little sister did it first, and because she's too little to understand and appreciate the parts of a movie in which a character has a life-changing revelation (a.k.a. the slow part with all the talking). But after the movie was over, she kept talking about what she'd seen, and continued to do so through the next day. That's more than I can say about the last movie we took her to.

And yes, there were a lot of fart jokes. There's a skunk, people. Get over it. For a couple of hours, pretend you're still in fourth grade and fine that stuff funny. Once you leave, you may resume your hoity toity I-cahn't-aBIDE-bahthroom-hyumour attitude.

Spoilers: The spooky part that scared my daughter was the bear. It was chasing down the animals and attacking an exterminator truck and roaring and trying to eat things that were still alive. Yeah, my daughter hid her little face in the armrest. But afterward, she was fine. She still sleeps with her bear, and does not seem to have had any nightmares. The savage bear still didn't scare her as much as that stupid singing penguin from the preview.

My favorite parts were the cracks about the Homeowner's Association. Honestly, I think the Homeowner's Assoc. may very well be the prime indicator of the downfall of civil liberty. If you own a property that belongs to an HA, they can actually dictate who you sell your house to, what flowers you can plant, what color you can paint your house, whether or not you can have a flag pole on your property, whether or not you can park in your own driveway, all that jazz. I tell you, it's just WRONG. Homeowner's Associations should be deemed unconstitutional, and all the HA presidents should be made to suffer. Which is why I love this movie. Heh heh heh...

So, go see this movie. If you prefer to wait for DVDs, that might not be such a bad idea. I missed some of the lines because the kids in the theater were laughing too hard. I must say, the explosions won't be quite the same without the large screen.

Note to Humble, TX, Deerbrook AMC 24: when you premiere a children's movie, have the courtesy to show it on one of your larger screens, just like you do the adult and teen movies. I'm tired of seeing the animated movies back in screens 8 and 9. Some of the picture is cut off, and the surround sound speakers are starting to fail. Also: fire your projectionist. He clearly can't align the picture to the screen without an extra pair of hands.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

If Size 12 is Not Fat, I'm...Fat

I've put on a good 25 pounds in the last year, and I no longer know for sure what size clothing is right for me. Thanks to my mother's genes, I have the unfortunate trait of storing much of my excess fat in my tummy, giving me the appearance of a "beer gut" or of pregnancy. Thanks, Mom.

I hit the thrift store this afternoon and found two pairs of pants that worked for me. One was a size 12 from The Gap, which must mean it's a size 99 in real life, what with "vanity sizing" and all. Clearly the Gap only wants me to buy their clothes, so that I feel thin when I'm in their store, and plump everywhere else.

The other pair of pants was a size Large. In maternity wear. You know the kind: if you wear a shirt that goes just below the waist, then it looks like you have regular pants, but pulling up the shirt reveals that knit fabric with the really thick elastic waistband inside. I didn't try it on in the store, but a quick hold-it-against-my-waist told me it would fit just fine.

I spent most of the afternoon trying to live that down. For heaven's sake, I gave birth two years ago. I seriously doubt I'm pregnant, and even if I am, there's no way my tummy should be sticking out this much this soon.

I won't even get into the horrors of swimsuit shopping, which I did later this evening.

When I got home I modeled my new clothes for Bizarro Dad. The maternity pants were quite a relief after weeks (months?) of all my other pants squeezing me. He said they looked nice. He also said "we" need to start working out and trying to lose weight if I've reached the point of maternity wear.

He weighs 280 pounds. He is 100 pounds overweight (according to Marine Corps standards, which he no longer is required to adhere to). I am only 25 pounds overweight. And honestly, I'm probably only really 15 pounds overweight, when you take into account my 10-pound chestal extremities. No offense, oh love of my life, but you needed to "start working out" back before we got married. Also: I'm approaching 30. I don't have the same metabolism I had ten years ago. I do yard work and I chase two kids around all day, so it's not like I live a sedentary lifestyle. So don't give me this "we" shit. Butt nugget.

Anyway, I pointed out to my husband that my new maternity pants were really no different than the elastic-waisted jogging pants he wears constantly. Except mine look nice. Mine can be worn out, even on a date. His have paint stains. Even the one without stains still looks incredibly tacky when he wears it out in public.

Yeah, I felt really bad about having to buy maternity pants. But then I tried them on when I got home, and you know what? Those babies are the most comfortable pair of pants I've ever owned in my LIFE. More comfortable than the linen ones from Old Navy. More comfortable than the maternity pants I used to wear when I WAS pregnant. Screw what anyone else thinks about my clothing. I may very well buy nothing but maternity pants. And I'm not going to let myself feel anything but happy that I finally have clothes that are comfortable.

Unless, of course, "I" lose some weight when "we" finally go work out.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Stuff and Nonsense Cafe, 5-10-06

Welcome to the Stuff and Nonsense Cafe! We do hope you enjoy our myriad selection of meals actually being served by our content mistress, Sleepless Mama, in her own home. Please have a seat, enjoy your meal, and read on as Sleepless Mama rambles about anything that happens to cross her mind.

Today's lunch menu:
Potato Soup
Leftover Potato and Egg Tacos from Breakfast
Ice Cream Sandwiches

In entertainment news, Mission Impossible III is or is not doing so well, depending on how you spin the numbers. According to The Houston Chronicle, MI3 made $48 million its opening weekend, more than the rest of the weekend's top ten films put together, and the second largest opening weekend this year so far. However, the Chronicle also admits that the expectation was a $60+ million dollar opening. It also says that MI3 cost $150 million to make and millions more to promote. Finally, the first two Mission Impossible Films had much better opening weekends when you figure in the cost of inflation. MI1 made $45.4 million (the equivalent of $67 million today), and MI2 $57.8 million (the equivalent of $70 million today).

Clearly, two problems are at work here. 1) Not enough people want to see Tom Cruise's movie now that he's gone completely overboard. I already thought he was a buttnugget back when he and Nicole split up, but in the past year he's upgraded to full-on assclown publicity whore. People are sick of him already. 2) The box office slump is almost entirely due to the rising cost of movie tickets. No, seriously. That MI2 figure I presented you with? Yeah, MI2 was released only six years ago. Ticket prices have gone up THAT MUCH. It doesn't matter whether the movies up on that screen are awesome examples of their respective genres or flaming turd piles, if ticket prices are too high then more people are going to say "screw that, I'll just wait until it's on DVD and rent it at Blockbuster for $4."

The following was taken from this week's column of News of the Weird:

The Continuing Crisis
Eleven women in the area around the nation's capital have bonded, according to a February Washington Post story, around a tall, athletic man of German heritage (with a master's degree and who tans easily), whom none has ever met. The man, known as donor 401, is the one whose sperm each of the women chose to be inseminated with, selected from a biographical catalog of the Fairfax Cryobank. That the women's 12 offspring have a common father has provided powerful motivation for them to learn about each other, as a way of learning about 401 (who has now retired as a donor, though there is still a waiting list for his stored sperm.) [Washington Post, 2-27-06]

This goes to illustrate the point I've been trying to make for years, which is that there is an unregarded danger in having children by anonymous sperm donation: the potential for future children to not know they are biological siblings, and form relationships with each other that would be considered incestuous. Just think, what if these 12 women had not rallied around each other and decided to meet, play getting-to-know-you, and wonder which of their kids would get the tanning gene? For all we know, some of the sons could have grown up, met one of the daughters, and thought "Hey, she's cute, and she tans so easily. Maybe we should hook up." Studies show that people are attracted to individuals who have facial features similar to their own. What's to stop these anonymous sibs from getting jiggy with each other by mistake?

Every time I brought this up in school, or with a health care professional, I got the brush off. "Oh, that's not a problem. More than likely they'll be separated geographically and will never meet." Excuse me, but how does anyone know this? Are the sperm donations of a single man separated and sent to different parts of the country? (If the article quoted above is indicitave of standard procedure, then the answer is no.) Does the fertility clinic ensure that all women who accept sperm from the same donor live in different parts of town? If one of those women move in close proximity to another, do they get little fliers in the mail saying, "By the way, one of the children in this community was fathered by the same donor as your child. For reasons of privacy we cannot actually tell you who that child is, so to be on the safe side, don't let your kids make out with anyone who bears a slight resemblance to themselves." WHY don't people make more of a big deal about this? Here this man with the nice tan has 12 children on the way in DC, and a WAITING LIST to have more (also in DC, I'll bet), and nobody wonders what will happen when a man's seed has been spread anonymously throughout a community. People, WAKE UP! Do we really want the next generation to be the children of unknown inbreeding?!

Product Review: LCD Cleaning Wipes by MG Chemicals
According to the label, it safely cleans LCD screens, laptop screens, and plasma screens, is anti-static, non-streaking, and germicidal, and is available in a plastic canister of 90 wipes. Cost: $7.99 USD. Consumer opinion: This stuff ROCKS on our LCD computer monitor! Very effective at removing grubby fingerprints provided by the children. Be aware that it contains isopropanol; if it gets in your eyes or on your skin you should rinse well with water. Also, remember to close the container after each use to avoid wipe dry-out.

Spanish language version of the American national anthem: good, bad, neither?
Personally, my national anthem will only mean something to ME when I hear it in English. I wish the translation into Spanish had been a direct translation, because then there would have been less fuss about it. Nonetheless, I recognize that not everything has a direct translation, and that someone was simply trying to do a nice thing by providing a way for new immigrants to understand the meaning behind the words to our anthem.

My husband, the Marine, is all pissy about this new version. "It will never mean the same thing! It's a symbol, you can't mess with it! How long before it's being sung at baseball games! Why can't people just learn it in English?!" (I wonder what his grandparents, who spoke only limited English, would have to say about his point of view.) His brother J, also a Marine, doesn't have a problem with the Spanish version, and made the same points I did. I pointed out to my husband that since he swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, he can't demand that this Spanish song be taken off the air or never be sung in a public venue, since it is protected by the First Amendment. He looked at me, blinking his eyes, and asked what on earth the First Amendment had to do with it. I blinked right back. "Free speech, honey?"

I am completely supportive of our servicemen. I know they don't start wars, politicians do; military members just go where Big Daddy sends them. But I think perhaps there needs to be some fine-tuning of the education going on in basic training. Because if thousands of men and women are going going to fight, be wounded, and/or die to uphold our Constitution, then damnit, they need to know what it says! Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Immigrant Protest: The Day After

Just so you know, my great-grandmother came to Texas decades ago, bringing her widowed mother and younger siblings to some place where they could find work and be a family. She payed six cents to cross the border.

Does this make her a legal immigrant, or an illegal one?

Yesterday factories shut down, businesses probably closed (though from what I read, there were still a large number of people out shopping), the neighbors didn't send their kids to school, all that jazz.

You know what? My garbage still got picked up on time. One of the sanitation workers in the truck was on his cel phone, jabbering away.

I didn't go grocery shopping, not because of my immigrant sympathy, but because I had a migraine.

On the one hand, I think there's something to the idea of a Guest Worker program, with the option to become a citizen later. Give these people a chance to be taxpaying citizens instead of burdens on welfare programs. I certainly oppose any law that would make illegal immigration (or giving aid to illegal immigrants) a felony.

On the other hand, I agree with the legal immigrant who said that instantly granting citizenship to 12 million illegal aliens is a surrender. We can't handle having the entire Western hemisphere show up at our border demanding a green card, a job and a house. We only offer that kind of welcome package to people from the Eastern hemisphere, particularly Arab countries. (What? It's true. The U.S. recruits people from Arab countries to move here, granting them $50,000 and ten years of free rent.)

Seriously, how screwed up is America's immigration policy?

One thing I definitely oppose, and that's a wall along our border. When did we become East Berlin? Does anybody seriously think that if we put up a wall, the terrorists won't get through? Does anyone actually think some razorwire is going to keep someone from getting into our country and bombing us? Honey, I lived in a prison town during college; we had three separate incidents of escapes in a single year, include men on Death Row. Trust me, razor wire is not the most effective deterrent to a truly determined man.