Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Karl

Dearest Karlito,

It's been three years today. Life is no kinder than when you left us, but at least there's been love and happy moments.

Three years, and I still think about you all the time, and wonder what you'd make of some silly scenario, or a thing I heard about on the news, or Lisa's boyfriend, or me. Would you still laugh at our old jokes, or are we too old for that now? Would you be worried about this war, would you smile at some nonsense, would you tell me more about some book you read that explains the true nature of why something backfired and society had let yet another criminal go free? Would you tell Lisa to leave that foolish man already, because clearly he will never appreciate her the way you did when the two of you were together?

Three years, and I wonder if you'd be married by now, and to whom. Would you have a teaching job, or be working on your Master's degree? Would you still live with your parents, or would you be on your own in a bachelor pad like your brother? Would I be going to your house once or twice a month so we could cook something fun that we'd been craving? Would you be making plans to go back to Fresno to visit the families you taught during your mission? Would you still make cornbread out of sour milk? Would you still make up Quotes pages filled with all the dumb things I'd told you? Would you let me highlight your hair again? I promise, this time I won't trick you by using the big size H crochet needle instead of the little itty bitty one that comes with the highlighting cap. But really, you did look great with all that blond hair.

Would you and I still be as close as we once were? Would I come to you when my husband does some strange man thing that requires an explanation? Would my kids call you Uncle Karl? Would my husband laugh at us, and how goofy we are when we get together? (Actually, I can answer that one: yes, he would. He still does.)

Three years, and I still laugh at all our old jokes, at the pictures of us acting goofy.

Three years, and I still want to talk to you for the sheer pleasure of good conversation.

Three years, and I still love you, and there's an empty spot in my soul where you're supposed to be.

Three years, and I still don't know what to do, except go on.

Love always,

P.S. HOOTERS! (Heh, you thought I forgot, didn't you!)

Thursday, July 27, 2006


So many things to do, so many other things I'd rather be doing instead. Like creating this Meez!

Yes, that's the skinny version of me, Cubmaster style!

What about you?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Insomniac Movie Review: Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

An amazing film, beautiful and thought provoking. Although it is certainly adapted by the novel (of same name) by Diana Wynne Johnson, the film departs from the source material to examine the harsh effects of war on the central characters and the world they live in.

The central plot revolves around a girl, Sophie, who falls under a witch's curse to become a 90-year-old woman. I could go on and on about how she comes to interact with the Wizard Howl and have a positive effect on the people around her as she struggles to overcome her own curse, but I won't. It's much more fun to watch it unfold than to be told about it. One thing about Miyazaki, he loves to tell a good story. It is not by accident that John Lasseter and Brad Bird (Pixar geniuses of storycrafting) have raved about Miyazaki in general and this film in particular. Well, okay, it's more than coincidence; the English dubbing was directed by Pete Docter (also of the Pixar genius clan). But directing the English voices is not nearly the same as directing the movie itself, and Miyazaki does a superior job.

The warfare in this story is not glorified, like some kind of Richard Donner movie or G.I. Joe cartoon. It is made very clear that war and violence disrupt the peace and beauty of everyday life, and it may scare younger children. The war storyline can easily be construed as a judgement of the current wars in the Middle East, but it holds true for any war that is fought close to someone's home. Remember the lesson of Tolkein, and look for applicability to many aspects of our lives, not allegory to one particular situation.

The animation is, quite simply, superb. Perhaps the people's faces are typical of anime, but the scenery is outstanding and the transformations astounded me. I wish I had a Hi-Def TV just for this movie.

Be aware, parents, that there is very slight, brief nudity. The central character is even trying to look away, so it's not like some gratuitous derriere footage. Honestly, if you think a quick side view of a cartoon butt is an issue, then you really need to see a therapist. Your kids look at their own butts in the full length mirror, people, whether you know it or not. Get over it.

If I must address a perceived flaw, it is that the ending seems too neat. However, it should be noted that the book itself has an absurdly neat ending, in which myriad storylines are all wrapped up in so concise a manner that I found myself checking to make sure I hadn't accidentally skipped some pages. So get over it, critics.

Rent this movie. You'll love it.

Friday, July 21, 2006

I wish less really was more

Dear Bizarro Dad,

You are bringing us to the brink of bankruptcy.

Stop buying lunch every day. I make more than enough dinner for you to have leftovers the next day. You accuse me of "not making enough," for you to take to work, when really you just leave it in the fridge all week, and my dad ends up throwing it out when he cleans the fridge out on Sunday.

Stop buying shit you think we "need." We don't need it. You just want it.

Stop buying excessive gifts for the kids. A game or toy once in a while is fine. But they'd be better served if we saved some of that money to use for food, or clothes, or school supplies.

We agreed upon a $40 per month allowance for each of us. That's per month, not per week. Stay within that sum, please.

You are not a rich man. Stop pretending you are.

Start asking your brother for his half of the damn Bally's membership fee. I hate paying $68 dollars a month for HIM to go to the gym. I also hate it that you signed up for Bally's AT ALL. I told you I had a bad feeling about that "free trial." Now we'll be paying for it for years, and you don't even GO to the gym.

Last month, you brought us down to a zero balance in checking with less than $50 in savings. You were sorry, you were humbled, you promised you wouldn't do it anymore. You haven't learned anything. Not a damn thing.

You keep buying tools to have for work. I'm trying to pay off your credit card, and you just keep buying shit with it. You told me when you first took this job that you wouldn't need to buy a lot of tools. Apparently that was a lie, because this is the second $400 tool shopping spree you've been on since you went to work there a few months ago.

You purposely leave me in charge of the family budget, claiming that none of the bills will get paid otherwise, then you ignore me when I say "we cannot buy ANYTHING except groceries and gas this week or the bills won't get paid," then you get all pissy when I tell you later in the month that we can't afford to go out to the movies because of said bills, and you make ME into the bad guy. You especially hate it when I point out that the reason we can't go to the movies is that you've been spending all this money.

You don't like to be treated like a child, but you keep acting like one! And I can't just let you run off doing whatever the hell you want, because we have two small kids to support! But I suppose I'm ineffective, since you clearly run off doing whatever the hell you want with our money anyway.

You put me in this position, and then you wonder why I have headaches, why I always seem sad, why money issues always result in an argument.

I hate this.

I hate you, sometimes.

Maybe if you got off your damn XBox and paid any attention to what's going on with the people around you, you might understand why I'm so upset.

(By the way, your stupid XBox 360 keeps costing us money. It wasn't enough that it cost $500 from the get-go, now you have to subscribe to XBox Live ($54) and keep buying "points" so that you can do something as trivial as change your handle ($20).)


Thursday, July 20, 2006

It's called Rooster Beak, not Rooster Sweet Tooth

On PBS, there is a very strange dude telling me that HIS version of pico de gallo (a type of salsa that is not cooked, and consists of certain chopped vegetables mixed with lemon juice) calls for mint instead of cilantro. Now I'm all for doing your own thing, but COME ON! Let's see, thats:
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh jalapeno
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, and
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint??????

What the hell kind of wierdo show is this Barbeque University?

Although, come to think of it, that might be perfect for my old pal Sue, who claimed she was allergic to cilantro....nah, who am I kidding? The perfect substitute for cilantro is Italian parsley. You can take that mint and shove it up your firebox, BBQ Steve!

There was an article in yesterday's paper about Clerks II, but a sizable portion seemed to be about Kevin Smith's feelings about Jersey Girl. Tremendous flop at the box office and all that. According to the interviewer, Smith brought it up frequently, but still maintained that it's not a sore spot but does hurt. Uh, Kevin, sorry man, but that's the definition of a sore spot.

The thing is, I liked Jersey Girl. It's in my Netflix Queue. My mother loved it. It was thoughtful and tender, funny, and had attractive people in it. All the things you want from a PG-13 non-action movie. But because of the Bennifer aspect, and the whole Gigli thing, people just didn't want to go watch this movie. It's a shame, really, because Jennifer Lopez is barely even IN the movie. She dies in, like, the first five or ten minutes. Honestly, if that's not enough of a reason to watch, I don't know what is.

(Don't flame me. We watch people die in movies all the time. Might as well work out our feelings about an actor while we're doing so. Besides, I am well aware that it was a sad scene and that Lopez played it well.)

Kevin, let it go. I know it hurts because you spent two years on that movie and nobody seemed to appreciate it. But really, it was good. And you didn't have to worry about Joel Siegel trying to attract attention to himself during the screening. ;)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"They say a bullet always tells the truth..."

First person to correctly identify the movie from which today's title comes from gets a gold star.


My oldest, when she gets a runny nose, tells me she has "burgers" in her nose. I wonder if this is what she's been telling my youngest. It would explain why the little one likes to eat her nose pickings.


My husband has discovered a new game for his XBox 360. He and his brother (who still lives with us) joined a clan on XBox Live so that they can play Chrome Hounds with this group of people all the time. They enjoy the game because it's challenging and requires tactical planning, as opposed to pointing and shooting at whoever comes their way.

I hate it. Not only have I not been able to watch my own TV for days without having to fuss about them hijacking it, but Bizarro Dad has been ignoring the children, and J wasted his time with his son this weekend by making the boy watch movies and play computer games while he, J, took turns playing the XBox. Gina has been misbehaving with the express purpose of getting her father to interact with her. ("Do I have to call your Daddy in here?" *smile* "Yes!") I go to do my Cub Scout thing one evening, and when I come back the baby is streaking and there are stickers, food, and trash strewn across the living room floor, and all the while my husband has been sitting in his rolly chair in front of the TV with the wireless headset on (to talk to his clan) and the wireless remote glued to his fingers.

XBox 360: A marvel of 21st century technology and the downfall of my family.


Now that he got a new daytime job, my brother-in-law has sent his dog to live with my mother-in-law. Thank goodness. I found my family heirloom quilt lying on the floor in the dog's enclosure, with poop on it. Not amusing to me in the least.


There have been a lot of highly publicized teenage killings/attempted murders around here lately. Seriously, do these kids have nothing better to do with their summers? What I thought was strange was when I heard someone say, over the weekend, that the way to stop this is to spend time talking to our kids. I would agree, except that these events occurred either at night while parents slept (during the party hours), or in the middle of the day, when parents were at work. You can't prevent violence with a 24 hour filibuster. These are teenagers, not 7-year-olds. You can tell them "this is wrong" all you want, but they will decide for themselves what they want to do with their free time. The key, I think, is giving them something else to do in addition to the sit-down talks. The Boys and Girls Club, or a summer job, or summer school, or camp, or a big project around the house, or SOMETHING. Idle hands are the devil's workshop.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gomer Piles

My brother-in-law's puppy dog keeps leaving piles around the inside of our house.

My father is trying to be patient about this, but he refuses to clean up the mess. I can't say I blame him.

I don't want to be the one getting bitched at over the toilet habits of a dog that isn't even mine.

Dude, get off my husband's XBox and pay attention to your dog.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Old Boyfriend letters

Dear Notorious D.I.C.,

I don't hate you anymore.

I just wish you would apologize, so that I can finally finish forgiving you. It's been many years, we're both married now, and I'd like to think we can talk about this just enough for you to tell me you're sorry. I think I deserve that much, after everything that happened.

Maybe someday you'll say it. I'd rather it be sooner than later, but I guess if you haven't said anything in the last seven or eight years, I can hardly expect it any time in the near future.

Perhaps you think you can't acknowledge what went on between us, because we're both married now. And maybe you'd be right to think that. But honestly, saying, "I'm sorry I was such a dick," hardly constitutes an affair.

Well, whatever. You never were good at that sort of thing.


Dear Monster,

You saw the bruises on that pregnant girl's arms, yet you maintained that staying married to her husband was a good thing. I'm glad she divorced his sniveling ass, though I wish she'd done it much sooner.

My own bruises healed, but my contempt for you has never died.



Dear Ninth Grade Boyfriend,

I was an emotional wreck at the time. There was some serious family drama going down. Whatever animosity I had at the time was not about you.

I'm sorry. You were a good guy. I just wasn't ready for something as real as a serious relationship with you.