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My All-Time Favorite Book: Safe As The Grave

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When people ask me what my favorite book or movie is, I usually can’t rank one above all the others.

With movies, it is because the movies I watch vary greatly across several genres. And also, there isn’t one movie that I am absolutely gaga over. (TV shows fit more into my obsession tastes.) Would I say Jurassic Park or Sweet Home Alabama top the list? Sure. But if you stopped by last week, you will know that I finally decided on “Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael” as my all-time favorite movie.

With books, I could easily name my two favorite series of books: The Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer and The Fearless series, by Francine Pascal. Out of those series, New Moon would be my favorite Twilight book (for the heart-aching way Bella tortures herself on the flight back to the United States from Italy, soaking up all the Edward time she can, knowing (thinking) he will abandon her again upon their arrival.). #19 Twins would be my favorite Fearless book. It contains the few heavenly minutes of afterglow following Gaia and Ed having sex, before the world starts to fall in on them again.

But, my favorite stand alone book has probably been the same since 2nd grade. I am not ashamed (OK, maybe a little) to tell you that my favorite book is Safe As The Grave by Caroline B. Cooney, a Weekly Reader book, published in 1979. It was given to me by my second grade teacher, Mrs. Raines*. (A lovely woman who still recognizes me when I see her.) She picked out a different book for each student in the class. I like to think that she tried to suit them to our individual personalities. Safe As The Grave definitely has kept my interest all these years.

Safe As The Grave by Caroline B. Cooney, Weekly Reader Books, copyright 1979

Safe As The Grave by Caroline B. Cooney, Weekly Reader Books, copyright 1979

It is a mystery (I HAVE always been fond of Scooby Doo) centering around two 11 year old twin sisters, a missing bejeweled church cross, a dead ancestor, and lots of poison ivy. It is a quick read at only 48 pages.

What does it say about me that I want to be a writer, and my favorite book is only 48 pages long?

[I think it says that I like a story that is very succinct, to the point.  That is also my writing style.]

But it also has pictures! I think the pictures add to the story. I love the blue of the cover. I loved that the main character’s name is Lynn. I love that name, mostly because I always wished Lynn was my middle name. Instead, my mom had to go off and be all original (FYI–I hate my middle name. And no, I am NOT going to tell you what it is!). I think I loved reading about the sisters interactions and bickering because I was an only child. Everything I learned about twin sister relationships I learned from Safe As The Grave and Sweet Valley High books. Any time I had an imaginary family when I was a child, it would have lots of siblings.

“Lynn, who was grubby and didn’t have on matching socks…” p.15

I also loved Lynn’s curious nature. Which, I did not particularly have at that age. Her instinct was to NOT DO as she was told. But I could experience that vicariously through her.

That is what reading is all about!

I also liked that it took place in a (family) cemetery. Because my dad died before I was born, I spent more time than the average kid riding in the car through the cemetery. Probably like five times a week my mom would drive us through. I wonder now if she did that so that he would be in my life in some way. Or maybe she just missed him. Or maybe she just wished she had some backup for raising a kid all by herself. (She has always said that if my dad had lived, they would have gotten divorced anyway. Talk about crushing a small child’s impossible dreams! I told you she was negative!)

I love the morale of the story, that a young girl can solve a mystery that no one else in town has been able to solve in 100 years. It illustrates that kids can come up with original ideas that maybe adults would never thing of, because they haven’t lost the ability to tap into their full imagination, which seems to happen at puberty.

Hey, that reminds me of another movie I like which illustrates the same principle, “Radio Flyer”. Wait. Maybe it isn’t appropriate to say that a movie featuring gratuitous child abuse is one of my favorites. OK, I like everything about that movie except the child abuse. And the bullying.

* CHARMING TIDBIT ABOUT DEAR MRS. RAINES: She never fills up her gas tank before it gets to E, and usually only 20 miles after that. I learned that working at the local gas station ;)

Thank you for the book, Mrs. Raines.  I just reread it today.  And, it is so short, I could reread it again!

Get To Know Dinky Bossetti

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I have always had a problem when someone (or an Internet quiz) asks me what my favorite movie is.

1. Movies are not my medium of choice. Television is.

2. Several come to mind, but none seem good enough to be called my all-time favorite.

But when I pulled Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael off my overflowing DVD shelf today, I knew that I might have a winner. I have watched this movie numerous times over the years.

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael is a movie starring Winona Ryder. Now, you might think that an 80’s movie starring Winona Ryder was of course a huge hit. But it wasn’t. You probably have never even heard of it. It was more offbeat than her usual offbeat.

In the movie they talk about how bad her hair is.  But I would look at this pic and wish mine looked that good. Photo: TV Guide, April 13, 1991

In the movie they talk about how bad her hair is. But I would look at this pic and wish mine looked that good.
Photo: TV Guide, April 13, 1991

I think the biggest reason it was not a hit was that it was a very 80’s movie…that came out in 1990. By then, the world was moving on from big hair and poofy clothes. It actually works in the movie, because it takes place in tiny Clyde, Ohio. You are supposed to get the impression that they are rural and behind the times. But that didn’t come across in the movie previews.

The main young guy in the movie that has a crush on Winona’s character, and she on him, isn’t exactly heartthrob material. Instead of a Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles, Gerald is more of a wannabe Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. We see how much he cares for Dinky by how he stalks her.

Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael also suffers because while it stars Ryder, much of the action and story of the film focuses on the adults around her in her life. Her adopted parents struggle with Ryder’s antisocial behavior. Ryder herself clings on to her guidance counselor and the local landscaper as mother and father role models, respectively. (Whoa. I never quite realized that until I just now typed it.) We also become involved in the life of the former best friend who is returning to town, which leads us to…

The fact that while the movie is called Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael, and Winona Ryder is the lead, she does not, in fact, play Roxy Carmichael. Ryder plays Dinky Bossetti. The audience never even SEES Roxy Carmichael’s face, and SPOILER ALERT, Roxy never, in fact, returns home.

So, it is a teen movie featuring adults. Or an adult movie with teens, I’m not sure. It is a movie behind its time in fashion and moral. But a bit ahead of its time, in that it does contain a big gay reveal for two of its characters. And a disappointing departure for a Winona Ryder film, in that she does not in fact lose her virginity in this one :(

I believe I always deeply connected with this film not because of the large amount of carpet samples, but because it shows that no matter what your family looks like, as a teenager, you just don’t fit. Anywhere. EVER!

I watched this movie the morning of my high school graduation on HBO. It perfectly echoed everything I felt about my school career that would be officially ending in a few hours. From the scene where Dinky tries to make herself more attractive, only to end up on the school bus floor, to finding that you can’t make the world fit what you want it to be, you have to find a way to fit into your world (wow, deep).

The bus floor grime is highly realistic. So are the cafeteria horrors that she endures. The costumer dresses her in dog tags, hoodies, and boots to illustrate her anti-social tendencies.

Wait…that is what I wore in high school. Hmmm. Was I too cool to care what I looked like? Ahead of my time? Or just horribly dorky? These are rhetorical questions.

There was something fitting about her sitting on the lawn in the pink floofy dress, eating ice cream with Gerald and his new braces at the end that made me know everything would still be hard, but it would be OK.

Many other great things about this movie that I would rather list than try to fit into paragraph form:

My favorite quote from the movie:

“It’s good to want things.”

Dinky says it to Gerald, and he later turns around and uses it on her. It is applicable to tons of real-life situations.

Gosh, and I forgot to mention Melissa Etheridge’s great version of the central song in the movie “In Roxy’s Eyes (I Will Never Be The Same)”. We find out that Roxy Carmichael is only famous because a singer made her the object of a hit song. But, as an audience, we believe it, because Etheridge wrote and belts out a REALLY great song.

Or the other fine quote: “I’m gonna laugh at you someday Gerald Howells.” I want to say that to many of my former classmates.

Or the work of the always excellent Jeff Daniels, proud Michigan native, resident (30 miles to my north in the land of Jiffy Mixes), and friend of Adrian College. Daniels always plays such likeable characters, and he is good-looking. My best friend and I were going to stalk him one night, but she was driving and she chickened out. (I would not have.)

The school counselor: That’s a funny analogy.
Dinky: I’m here to amuse.

AND ALMOND ROCAS! Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael really plays as a giant Almond Roca commercial. I had never heard of this candy until I saw this movie. And then it would be another 20 years before I would actually see them in stores and try them. Soooo yummy, by the way.

“Dave, don’t be a cliché.” In the movie, this is told to a pig trying to steal another animal’s food. I tell it to my dog when she tries to pee on fire hydrants.

The movie also featured a great supporting cast of Dinah Manoff, Stephen Tobolowsky, Robin Thomas, and Micole Mercurio.

I feel like I am the only person out there who ever saw and/or loved this movie. Although that cannot be true, because it was released in DVD. So, if you are out there, please give me a shoutout.

BONUS MOM RANT: Oh, and FYI, the morning of my high school graduation my mom wanted to clean the bathroom after her shower, but before mine, so that when my gramma came, it would be clean. Except my gramma came over once a month or so, she had seen our bathroom dirty before. And my mom almost made me late for my own graduation because she just had to clean the bathroom.

 

What I Learned This Week – 4/6/14

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WEEK-baby

This week I have been following a new drama.

It is a medical based drama. A baby was born at just 24 weeks (they are supposed to cook for a full 40, or as close to it as possible) and less than a pound. The doctors said the preemie wouldn’t last 48 hours. But the couple was still so positive and happy. Getting pregnant had been a struggle for them. They had tried for years to have a baby that they could take fishing and make root for the Green Bay Packers.

With the prayers of all their friends and family and Facebook friends, the baby boy made it past 48 hours. He then made it past 72 hours. They called him their little fighter, their little angel.

I couldn’t help but be envious of their positive attitude. I had to send my own son off into operating rooms three times in the past, every time I was almost hysterical and convinced I would never see him alive again. And he was six months old and a healthy weight the first time that happened.

The thing is, this wasn’t a new television show or a Hollywood movie. This was the child of my former neighbors.

Neighbors are a weird thing. We are in the city. We lived close enough that our driveways and back doors are only a few feet apart. We would help each other look for our lost dogs in the dark. We would hear each other arguing with our spouses, either outside or when the windows were open. We would reveal things to each other in passing. For example, they were the third people to find out when I was pregnant with my own son. Only because they happened to be outside that night.

Yet, when all this happened, we aren’t technically close enough to them to help in any meaningful way. All I could give them were thoughts and prayers.

That wasn’t enough. The baby passed on after 4 days.

I know from my own limited experience with a child in the hospital that their lives must have revolved around that baby and that hospital for that period of time.  A hospital is not a nice place to live.  Especially if you are not the one who is being treated.  I have never lost a baby myself. I can’t imagine how horrible it will be for them to return home after this ordeal, empty-handed.

What I learned this week is that I am not good with birth. Or death. And that we never appreciate what we have.

I didn’t get that shining moment when you hold your baby and smile at it. I was busy puking while someone else was trying to tape a bag to his tiny nutsack so they could get a urine sample.

I live in denial about death. I try not to think about my hamster who died over ten years ago. I compartmentalized my gramma’s death. Part of my brain just thinks she is still off in the nursing home.

I think we are just programmed as humans to not be able to realize how lucky we are. It is so easy to get in an argument with my 3 year old son over eating his breakfast or sitting on the potty. I should be so happy that he is here and healthy. But, I guess, if I remembered that, I would also never discipline him and buy him Thomas toys until we are broke, bankrupt, and foreclosed on.

Life balance is hard. Maybe we should just spend a few minutes every day realizing what we really have.

This is all painful. It is not my story. That is why I haven’t included any names or dates. But a lot of my past week was thinking about this little peanut, and I felt like I had to spill it out of me.

Jennifer’s Doggy Daycare

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When I first heard there was such a thing as doggy daycares, I thought it was a GREAT idea! Cute little dogs, running and playing all day while their owners were at work. I didn’t have a dog at the time. And when I did get my furry daughter Dave, I couldn’t afford to enroll her anyway. There was one in the city I worked in, but not in the city I lived in.

Then I got the great idea to start my own doggy daycare. I could take my dog there with me, to work every day! I wouldn’t have to miss her! I wouldn’t have to pay to enroll her! I could be making money off other people’s dogs! I could have it right in my own town and alleviate my two hour daily commute!

Why, Dave could be my mascot!  She could also be my mascot for my dream of a Jennifer’s Wiener Hut.  Hmmm.  There must be someway to combine the two business ideas.  Customers who don’t pay up, their dogs get ground into hot dogs!  Wait, too gruesome?  Scratch that.  Just a cost-cutting idea ;)

My Dave, the mascot of my dog empire, featured her in an early mock-up

My Dave, the mascot of my dog empire, featured her in an early mock-up

I love organization. I could have spreadsheets about what dogs get fed how much and what kind of food. I could make forms for prospective clients to fill out and submit with their proof of vaccinations and emergency info. I could keep have a file full of dates when I need to nag the owners to get me new annual shot records.

I made a mental plan to get a job at a doggy daycare for a while so that I could get paid training and pilfer their best practices. I looked up all the closest ones online. I watched their job postings. I even took an American Red Cross Dog First Aid class (required or highly recommended to work for most of these places).

My American Red Cross Dog First Aid card

My American Red Cross Dog First Aid card

At one point, I even had a job offer from one. At the time, it did not fit the requirements I needed for a job to support my family’s needs. Which, was kind of a huge bummer.

It seemed like a great plan and I held on to that dream for several years. But I finally gave it up. Mostly because our Pointer Parker is such a troublesome dog, he turned me off to spending all day, every day, with dogs. As I speak, Parker is pacing through the house. He will momentarily pee on the floor is I do not jump right up and let him out. It doesn’t matter that he just went out two hours ago. Or that I purposely left his water dish empty since breakfast so that he would not drink the whole thing all at once. I really do not like him. And part of that could be that he took my dream away from me. One of the few I ever had that seemed like I would be able to make it work.

This is the horrible Parker dog who has stolen my dreams from me.  Don't let the Santa hat fool you.

This is the horrible Parker dog who has stolen my dreams from me. Don’t let the Santa hat fool you.

There. I just let him outside, and back in again. Of course, while he was out there, he danced the Riverdance in the mud puddles. He comes in covered in mud (and I know what else) from head to toe. He is entitled and ungrateful. He is actually a cat.

Cats would never be allowed at Jennifer’s Doggy Daycare.

I have returned to my ultimate dream: early retirement. I might need the help of the lottery to make that one happen.

What I Learned This Week – 3/23/14

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**SPOILERS AHEAD**

This week I got to see the movie Divergent.  I have been waiting to see this movie for eight months!  From the very first time I had ever heard of it in Entertainment Weekly.  You can read more on the birth of my obsession here.  My primary motivation for reading all the books and anticipating the movie release is because of Theo James’s good looks.

Theo James as Four Photo: Summit Entertainment

Theo James as Four
Photo: Summit Entertainment

My asbestos friend pointed out that Theo James, who plays Four,  looks a lot like the boy I had a crush on all through school.  Except that Theo is British.  And Theo is probably a good 5 inches taller and 9 years younger than the boy I liked in school.  And Theo has amazing model/actor good looks.

Now that I have given you a little background, I will share with you that…

This week I learned that the only actor I liked in Divergent was Theo James.

Oh wait, that’s not true.  I liked Mekhi Phifer as well.

It was a good movie.  A very faithful adaption to the book about a teenage girl, Tris, choosing her future in a dystopian world.  Of course, some things had to be cut for time.  Many things I thought would be cut were still included, which was nice.  They cut out the scene where Peter stabs someone in the eye.  Removing that scene makes it seem uncalled for later when Tris shoots Peter very deliberately when she and her crew are sneaking back into Dauntless headquarters.

I just find that Shailene Woodley bothers me.  She has a squeaky voice.  I don’t enjoy watching her on screen.  (It took me seven years to decided that Kristen Stewart was a bad casting choice for Bella in Twilight.  But I knew right away about Shailene.)  The actor playing Al wasn’t fat enough.  Zoe Kravitz was alright as Christina, but she had a much smaller part in the movie compared to the book.  I don’t like Ashley Judd.  I don’t like Tony Goldwyn (He will always be the bad guy from Ghost to me!).  I don’t like Kate Winslet.  Maggie Q is not the look I pictured for Tori.  I pictured Tori as Caucasian with blond dreadlocks, and a little chubby.

None of these actors did a poor job.  It is just not the casting I would have chosen.  And that greatly distracted me while watching the movie, except for scenes that Four was in.  He keeps you glued to the screen.

Also this week, “U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman on Friday ruled that the state [Michigan]‘s ban on gay marriage, approved by voters in a landslide in 2004, the ballot box is no defense to a law that tramples the rights of same-sex couples.”

This made me happy.  (I voted against that law in 2004.  The vocal man in front of me in line that day did vote for it.)

I thought that some other law would have to be passed in order for gay marriages to proceed in Michigan.

Nope.  Apparently, we just needed to REMOVE the law that was PREVENTING it from happening.  On Saturday, some county clerk’s offices around the state had special hours to perform the state’s first gay marriages.  My county was not one of them (Not a big shocker).  But, when I followed some links from a news story about the topic, I did find an officiant in my county that would perform such ceremonies.

I was SO PLEASED to see that it is the same woman who performed my wedding back in 2003!  I knew she was open-minded about getting married in jeans, but I am happy that she is open to all types of love as well.

I tell my son that I don't care if he grows up to be gay, but it would be a lot easier on him if he wasn't.

I tell my son that I don’t care if he grows up to be gay, but it would be a lot easier on him if he didn’t.

 

Veronica Mars

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*Decade Old Spoilers Ahead*

Three weeks ago I started watching the TV show Veronica Mars, which aired on UPN and The CW, form 2004-2007.  I watched it because I wanted to see the Veronica Mars movie, currently in theaters.  I wanted to see the movie, not because I really gave a damn about the character of Veronica Mars, but because it was the first big movie to hit theaters financed through Kickstarter.  And I wanted to totally show the studio system that movies based on [good] cancelled TV shows will draw people and CAN make money.  To paraphrase one of my favorite dead dad movies, make it, and they will come.

I am so excited about this idea possibly working for other cancelled TV shows, that I almost contributed to the Kickstarter campaign for the Veronica Mars movie, even though I had never watched a full episode.  I didn’t contribute, so I will have to provide my support by purchasing a theater ticket and/or digital download.

I was already contemplating watching the series when my beloved Entertainment Weekly did a cover story on the VM movie.  I read the whole article, totally clueless as to who these characters were.  I figured, if I am going to go see the movie, I might as well find out who the hell they are.  Not wanting to spend much (any) money, I used a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime.

I really love high school based dramas with some humor, especially those with chicks as the central character.  So why didn’t I watch VM the first time around?  I am not big on mysteries.  I don’t want suspense.  Just let me watch the event happen, then let the aftermath play out.  I don’t want to have to “solve” anything.

Also, I was probably busy watching another high school drama set in sunny California featuring tensions between the rich and the poor, Fox’s The O.C.

I kept watching VM this time because she had a cute, flippy haircut that I wished I could pull off.

Cute hair.  Photo: Warner Bros.

Cute hair. Photo: Warner Bros.

I really like the theme song “We Used To Be Friends” by the Dandy Warhols. But, I heard it on The O.C. first.

After watching about four episodes, I went back and reread the Entertainment Weekly article.  The article talked about how all the fans wanted her to end up with some Logan guy, played by Jason Dohring.

WAIT AN F’ING MINUTE!

The asshole who just tormented Veronica for four episodes?  He is mean, evil, possibly mentally disturbed.  The guy who knocked both headlights out on her car AS SHE WATCHED?!

I’m sorry, but if you f’ up my car, I am not going to forgive you and start dating you six months later.  This information made me very eager to see how the show would make such a leap.  I did not believe it could be done. I was very stubborn in my convictions that no matter what, I would never believe that she should be with Logan.

But by the first season finale, I realized it HAD happened.  I now wanted them to be together.  Oh, he was still an asshole.  But the writers set it up that his whole life was falling apart around him.  And they showed that he could feel love.  So, I guess a mixture of pity and showing love towards Veronica won me over.  I kept waiting for his voice to change in future episodes, but it didn’t.  It is very high and smarmy.  He needs a black mustache to twirl as he makes his snide comments.

I swear to God I found this photo AFTER I wrote the statement above.  What are the chances? Photo: Warner Bros.

I swear to God I found this photo AFTER I wrote the statement above. What are the chances?
Photo: Warner Bros.

I have read where the creator Rob Thomas didn’t first intend for Logan and Veronica to get together. Apparently, when Logan and Veronica were on screen, everyone with the show saw the chemistry and said, “Ya, we want to see more of that.” The problem is, the times when Logan and Veronica were dating, they actually had LESS screen time together to do their finely-timed wordplay and flirty looks. The times that they were dating, Logan just sat around and mooned for Veronica, waiting for her to stop by his penthouse. The times they were broken up, he just sat around and brooded. It was like dating Veronica turned him into a eunuch. It actually made me miss him being a giant asshole. At least he was more interesting then.

Veronica Mars is not the type of show you expect it to be. A lot of the episodes are about a student you have never seen before, and how Veronica helps them solve their problem.  It is pretty deep.  People are raped, people die, those dead people come back and haunt the living.  There is also a class war in Neptune, between the haves and the have nots.  It just seems too ambitious for a show about a little blond high school girl.

Most TV shows I can predict what will happen before it does. That is not the case with VM.  That is both a compliment, and probably the explanation for why it was cancelled.  People like predictability.  That is why Survivor and America’s Funniest Home videos are still on the air.

Veronica drives an older convertible that she uses to bop around town and trail people.  It is quirky and I like that.  It represents that she is a have not.  But it is badly damaged in the season one finale.  How is it that she is still driving it, fully intact, in season 2?  I think the insurance company would have totaled it, with all that front end damage.

I found it interesting that they cast the show with what I would call an unconventional cast.  Neither Teddy Dunn, who played Duncan, or Jason Dohring, who played Logan, were guys you look at and instantly think they are superhotties who could be magazine models.  Don’t get me wrong, they were not trolls either.  And Kristen Bell, while great in the roll, stands at only 5” 1’.  Without acting talent, it would be very hard to get a part at that height.  (I am short, and I have another 3 ¾” on her!)

“Annoy, tiny blond one, annoy like the wind!”

–Logan to Veronica

The O.C. always ended every episode happy to a kick ass song, with everything more or less everything resolved (Marissa letting Volchok slither into her trailer would be an exception.  EW.).  Veronica Mars ended almost every episode with a cliffhanger, which is kind of annoying when it is already 2AM and you need to use will power and turn it off and go to bed.  VM had some songs in it, but they just didn’t strike me as impressive as the ones used on The O.C.  Maybe because watching it so much after the fact, the songs are no longer timely?  I don’t know.

Haven't I seen this on The O.C. a half dozen times? Photo: Warner Bros.

Haven’t I seen this on The O.C. a half dozen times?
Photo: Warner Bros.

Sorry I keep comparing VM to OC, but it seems as though even the staff at VM realized the similarities.  Season 3 of VM the credits were even redone in orange and bars, very similar to The O.C. opening credits.  Probably a suggestion by the network to emulate the more popular O.C.  Except that The O.C. would sadly only last another year itself.  There is a quick reference to The O.C. in the VM movie as well.

I liked Veronica Mars.  A lot.  But I still wouldn’t put it in my Top 10 shows.  It is a good show, but mystery just is not my genre. It might make honorable mention in the Top 15.  I just can’t identify with her enough.  She is too sassy and strong, two things I would never be mistaken for.  Even on The O.C., I could see some of myself in geeky Seth Cohen.

“FYI?  If cuddling is the best part, he didn’t do it right.”

–Logan to Veronica

Ryan Atwood and Logan Echolls both got in tons of fights.  Somehow, I just was always rooting for Ryan, and his motivation always made sense to me.  Not so much with Logan.  While I grew to enjoy Jason Dohring’s stage presence and quippy one liners, my heart will always be with Ryan, his wife beater, and his stare that could shut up Seth with one glance.

While Veronica does not make my Top 10, she is way better than most of the stuff on TV today.

Old boyfriend sees Veronica with new boyfriend.  I feel a fight coming on.  Photo: Warner Bros.

Old boyfriend sees Veronica with new boyfriend. I feel a fight coming on. Photo: Warner Bros.

I am glad I watched the series before I watched the movie.  There were parts in the movie referencing the series that made me laugh out loud and others that made me say “aww” and brought some extra fluid to my eyes.  I like it when I am able to get inside jokes.  Although so many people went through Neptune High School, that half of them I can’t remember.  All the blond girls look alike.

“Our story is epic.”

–Logan to Veronica

The movie was pretty much like watching an extended episode.  Maybe it would have been more impressive watching it on the big screen in the theater, which is what I wanted (and still might do).  But, well, I didn’t want to drive and hour and fifteen minutes away to a theater that was showing it.  And I didn’t want to wait.  So I downloaded it from Amazon.  This whole experience has made me realize that I have a more addictive personality than I first realized.  It is a good thing I desire pop culture and chocolate, and not alcohol and drugs.

If I watch too many episodes of VM in a row, it makes me feel very snarky.  Which isn’t good when I am at work getting paid to provide excellent customer service.  Extended viewing makes me feel bad ass, and makes me want to wear my pony tail higher.

[Veronica is trying to change a flat tire]

Troy: Flat?

Veronica: Just as God made me.

The movie adds Jerry O’Connell as the current sheriff.  Tina Majorino reprises her role as “Mac” from the VM series.

POP QUIZ:  What 1992 series that I loved featured Jerry O’Connell and Tina Majorino?

CLUE #1:  Also starred Jay Mohr.

CLUE #2:  Also featured future two-time Oscar winner Hillary Swank.

ANSWER: Camp Wilder!

I can’t resist including a totally off-topic clip from the show, featuring Hillary and fellow recent Oscar winner Jared Leto…

My parting thoughts?  I am busy being amazed that I can watch a 10 year old TV show, one episode after another, and then download the movie instantly four days after it came out which was only made possible through personal donations by fans. What a crazy world we live in today!  It is times like this that the Internet and so much technology seems like a good thing.

I totally cannot get the song “We Used To Be Friends” out of my head now.

Other random trivia:

According to IMDb.com—

Kristen Bell has dessert after every meal, including breakfast.  (For my post on this subject, click here: http://imnotstalkingyou.com/2013/10/09/lunch-dessert/ )

Kristen is from Michigan and roots for the Detroit Red Wings. (Like me)

Guest stars on Veronica Mars the series and movie include:

Richard Grieco

Armie Hammer

Rider Strong

Harry Hamlin

Lisa Rinna

Joss Whedon (acting!)

Alyson Hannigan

Sam Huntington

Lara San Giacomo

Ed Begley Jr.

Charisma Carpenter

Paul Rudd

Ken Marino

Ryan Drummond (I’ve met him!)

Jamie Lee Curis (I’ve met her!)

James Franco

Dax Shepherd (Mr. Kristen Bell)

Principles – I HAS DEM

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A year ago, I was desperate for a job. But even then, there were some things that turned me off to certain jobs.

I applied to many jobs that required a drug test. Only one actually was interested in me enough to want to send me for one. But, as I got a concrete job offer from a different business, I took the concrete job offer. The place requiring the test had not given me a job offer. I was just in a big cue with a bunch of other desperate applicants. Mostly, I did not want to take the drug test. Now, Lazy Hippie Mama will vouch for me, that I am the squeakiest clean girl out there. Actually, she laughs at me that I don’t want to take one. The test would not have found anything. But I don’t really want any job enough to give them my bodily fluids. Unless, say maybe Edward Cullen is looking for blood donors.

I feel the same way about being finger printed for a job. A background check on me would turn up nothing that I would need to hide. But, if in the future, I want to start committing crimes, I want to have that option open. I want my fingerprints to be some of those that have no match in the CSI database. (I also don’t want to get a library card–just another way the government can track you!)

It is like in high school when my favorite teacher asked me why I wasn’t going to join the school’s anti-drug program. He must have been curious. He knew I was a good kid, did my homework, co-editor of the school newspaper, of which he was the adviser. Aside from the obvious fact that it was a big phoney club full of students who most definitely did do drugs, I told him the truth: I told him that I wanted to keep my options open for illegal drug use in the future. I still have that viewpoint.

So, that brings me to the purpose of this post. I have never been big on dress codes, but realize that in some positions they are made a necessity by the management.

My manager wants me to wear…

Ugh.

I can’t even get the words out.

Matched socks.

Not only that, she wants them to be black!

YOU:  Why DON'T you match your sox?  MY REPLY:  Why SHOULD they match?

YOU: Why DON’T you match your sox? MY REPLY: Why SHOULD they match?

Now, when I was hired a year ago, I gladly agreed to wear black, closed-toe shoes with black pants and a work shirt. They never said anything about socks. There is nothing about socks in the employee handbook. At one point, my manager’s manager saw my socks, and we had a whole conversation about why I mismatch them. She never indicated that this was a bad thing. With new faces at the top of our local rung of the corporate ladder, we have now been instructed to wear black shirts under our work shirts, and black blazers over them. Now, mind you, we have to buy EVERYTHING but the work shirt ourselves. And if the minimum wage were to be raised to the value that the President of the United States has thrown around in the press since his State of the Union speech, I would stand to get a raise of over a dollar. I would be really upset about the blazer thing, if I did not already have one. And since I don’t have any black shirts without Twilight logos or characters on them, I had to buy one of those just to wear for work.

But this sock thing really irks me. Afterall, mismatched socks IS MY THANG! And, I mean, no one is probably even going to notice, as my pants meet the tops of my shoes. But I feel like there will be secret sock patrols out to catch me! I feel like I do my job pretty well. But part of me wonders if they would fire me over non-conforming socks.

THEY ARE SOCKS!

They are not like a ring in my nose or a tattoo on my forehead. Although, what would really be so wrong with those things either. Socks are a personal, private thing between a person’s feet and their shoes. Socks are like underwear. You wear them under your pants and shoes. I would not work at any job that tries to legislate my underpants and bra.

And if they did fire me over socks, it just might be worth it. I would still have my self respect. And imagine when I fill out future job applications. They will say “Reason for Leaving”, I could put “I wouldn’t wear black socks.” Some might see that as stubborn or not a team player. But some future employer might see it for the ridiculousness that it is.

Kesha

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The singer Kesha has bothered me since I first read about her in Entertainment Weekly. She has a lot of songs about partying and drinking, which made me think she isn’t a very good influence for the teenage girls that her songs attract. She also said in the interview that she didn’t like to wear pants.

Um, what?

Not in the ‘Britney Spears getting out a a car’ way. Kesha seems to mean it in the ‘I wear dance leotard-like outfits, instead of pants or shorts or skirts’ way. It seems to be just like how Miley doesn’t like to wear clothes.

What is with these girls today?!

My mom tells me stories about how she was not allowed to wear pants to school because she was a girl. Only skirts were allowed.

That was like an actual school rule!

Even in the winter!!!

I have always been VERY grateful that I live in a time that it is acceptable for women to wear pants and jeans. I am also grateful that I live in a time where yoga pants are increasingly accepted as outerwear as well.

But, damn it, all of Kesha’s songs are so catchy. Even the ones about partying and drinking. And I like that some songs seem to route for individualism, for the misfits. She is a good singer too.

And when she went off to rehab about two months ago for an eating disorder, she made a statement that I thought was very profound:

“I’m a crusader for being yourself and loving yourself but I’ve found it hard to practice,” she tells E! News. “I’ll be unavailable for the next 30 days, seeking treatment for my eating disorder…to learn to love myself again. Exactly as I am.”
From: eonline.com/news/

Apparently, she realized her own problem and checked herself into rehab. Which I think is sad, because looking at these pictures side by side, it seems obvious to me that she had a problem and was going through something. Anyone close to her in her family or “posse” should have realized and taken action.

You can't even tell this is the same girl...

You can’t even tell this is the same girl…

She just got out of rehab this week. I saw it reported that she plans to make important life changes, the first of which are changing her hair and dropping the “$” from her name. Hopefully, all these changes will stick and be for the better.

Here is a video of “Timber” with Pitbull featuring Kesha.  There are many things wrong with this video, including but not limited to: Pitbull, jumpy editing, objectification of women (including a too-skinny Kesha), video doesn’t match the song, video segments don’t match each other, etc.  But, the beat and Kesha’s parts are awesome.

This would be one of those cases where I feel overly emotionally involved in the life of a celebrity. Maybe empathetic is a good way to describe it. Like how bad I felt for Paris Jackson at her father Michael’s funeral. She has tons of money and people around her. She doesn’t need me to worry about her.

Except maybe when she goes to a treatment center for a suicide attempt as happened in June of 2013. I guess what I really mean to say is that my worrying or thinking about a celebrity I will never meet does them no good.

Unless you believe in the law of attraction.

That maybe somehow all those good wishes are reaching them.

Because I might believe that…

I’m SAD

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I get Seasonal Affective Disorder. I suffered from it long before I ever heard about it on the news. I suffered from it for many more years because I had heard the special lights that could help it were available by prescription only.

I live in cloudy Michigan. It only gets cloudier and more dreary with less daylight hours November through March. Being a fan of the Twilight books, I sometimes like to pretend I live in Forks, Washington, where there are sexy vampires and shirtless werewolves around every corner.

Every year when the Christmas celebration died down and January rolled around, I would write depressing poetry. Or want to quite college. Or quit my job. I didn’t want to get out of bed or laugh or smile. But I did. I faked it. Because I am a Capricorn. Life must have order and go on.

Even at my previous job, when I would walk outside for 30 minutes a day on my breaks and be in the car for two hours Monday through Friday, there still was just not enough sun outside to ease the symptoms.  I believe that people who are more prone to depression are probably more sensitive to this. That has been my experience anyway.

Then, a couple years ago, my mother-in-law’s doctor suggested she order a SAD light to use during the winter. His nurse printed off a list of lights that could be ordered off of Amazon (Go figure!). So she ordered and received her light. I kept inquiring to find out if it was helping. It had only been a short time, but she seemed to think that it was.

So, I totally pestered my husband to order me a light as a Christmas present. After studying them all online, I ended up picking the same one that my mother-in-law had. When it arrived at the end of November, I had to convince my husband to start letting me use it right away, as I could already feel the effects of less light creeping into my body. Plus, it is not like it was going to be a surprise. I had told him which one to buy.

And it did seem to help with my symptoms that year, although I think it would have been more effective had I started it earlier. My light is a SunTouch Plus by NatureBright with an ionizer. The instructions say to start with a half hour of light per day, then you might be able to step it down to 15 minutes. I always do a half hour every morning. With a toddler and two dogs, I have trouble staying seated in one spot for 30 minutes straight. And there are always a few days when I forget, or I have to get to work, so some mornings I might only get ten minutes. It is sort of like taking birth control pills. If you miss more than one day, you are going to have serious side effects.

Rainbow bear demonstrating my SAD light

Rainbow bear demonstrating my SAD light

You have to be fairly close to the light to get the benefits, as the lights are only like 15 inches tall. If I try to use my light and my laptop at the same time, it takes up most of my kitchen table width-wise.

Supposedly, the ionizer will help with symptoms as well. I do not use the ionizer at the same time I use the light (it has a separate switch). I don’t like to be that close to the ionizer when it is on. The ionizer has a slight, weird, plasticky smell that makes me feel a little sick. Sometimes I turn it on while I am making dinner or something, and I feel like it freshens up the stale winter air in my house.

I had a scare when my dog knocked my light over and one of the four bulbs quit working. I thought I was going to have to call the company to order a new one. But it turned out that she did not break the bulb, she just knocked it loose.

In a normal winter, it does help.  It keeps me from wanting to peel my own skin off.  It helps me get out of bed in the morning.  But I have felt especially bad in the last few weeks. I think that is because this has been an especially horrible winter, with too much cold and too much snow. Where I live here in Michigan, we have had the snowiest winter on record, combined with that PMS and the death of my hard drive.

While I can’t wait for sunshine and warmth, I dread the ants waking up and crawling into my kitchen, and days over 80 degrees.

SAD-Once

What I Learned This Week – 3/9/14

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I learned that monster trucks are just as great in person as I always thought they would be.  I was always fascinated with the commercials for monster truck shows.  So much so, that in my spare time at college, I made one.  (Sorry, this one is audio only*.)

My asbestos friend invited my son and I along for a girl’s night out to Monster Jam at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.  My son was a little scared at first.  But I had him equipped with proper hearing protection and he really got into it when the trucks did their freestyle at the end of the night.

Hearing protection a must!

Hearing protection a must!

Grave Digger (the only truck that was there that I had heard of) flipped over–twice!  That was awesome!  We got all the drivers’ autographs afterward.

Grave Digger!

Grave Digger!  He was even on fire (a little)!

I was sad that the Monster Mutt and the Scooby-Doo trucks were not there.  But I would definitely go again sometime.

On to a new subject…

Kids, when you get a new computer ALWAYS make recovery disks right away, and store in a safe, logical location.

Also, regularly back up things you care about.  Delete the things on your computer that you do not care enough to back up.  I had to have my hard drive in my laptop replaced this week, but I am VERY glad to have it back.  (FYI–I did both of those satisfactorily enough that I was not devastated by the loss.)

* To see my Oscar Mayer commercial, please click here:  http://imnotstalkingyou.com/2014/02/06/wienermobile/

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