Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Now for Something Lighter

I'm not actually as late to this party as it may seem, I just haven't talked about it. Then again, I'm not sure how many people (who actually read this here blog) would know about it anyway. So let's talk about American Blogger shall we?

Have you seen the trailer for this cinematic gem? No? Well, here you go! The director/movie maker guy is married to a thin, white, attractive mommy blogger. This movie is supposedly a documentary about bloggers across the country because homeboy decided he wanted to learn more about the blogging, instagramming, twittering being done and document it to show "how cool it is to have an area on the internet that is all yours." I know, sounds like a really profound and moving premise for a documentary right? People all over this country care so hard about bloggers and they are frothing at the mouth to see how awesome it really is to be a blogger who actually makes money from said blog (for the record, I make zero point zero zero dollars from this stupid blog because I don't have sponsors because no one reads it).

Yeah, no one gives a shit. But OK, fine, make this movie and maybe it will be interesting. Even jaded old might be interested and surprised by seeing all the different kind of bloggers out there in this country. But have you watched the trailer yet? Because no, that isn't what this film is about. This film is about some guy who restored a wind stream in order to go around the country and meet all his wife's friends, who are also thin, attractive, mostly white, and well to do mommy bloggers. This is a film about mommy bloggers. Homogeneous mommy bloggers who say things like "if we don't share it, why do we bother experiencing it?" I'm not making that up, as you know if you have watched the trailer (seriously, watch that shit).

The one good thing about this film is the overwhelmingly negative reception from pretty much anyone who has watched said trailer. Twitter exploded when it was released and there are all sorts of articles on web-based magazines about how ridiculous this shit is. A common refrain is "I'm an American Blogger and this doesn't represent me at all." To which the director guy replied something along the lines of "uhm, that isn't what the title means. It's called American Blogger because I traveled the country and interviewed bloggers." I don't think you need to have an English major or know ALL the words or anything to understand what a ridiculous response that was. Really? You called your film American Blogger because you traveled to/through 40 states? Bullshit. I mean, dude, make an effort, will you?

Another fun part of this has been the way critics all seem to mention the wind stream. I mean, in my opinion, the fact that this is just a circle jerk and one involving privileged, white mommies who like to take pictures of pretty things and whore out their kids on the internet to get sponsors and money is enough. But people really seem to feel the need to mention the wind stream and so now I feel like it, too, is a character and an important part of the documentary. I'm willing to bet it has the most character in the whole thing.

So do yourself a favor if you are bored and have time to kill. Google American Blogger after you've watched the trailer, and sit back and enjoy some good criticism. It reminds me of how good it felt to read negative Amazon reviews of those horrible fifty shades books.

You're welcome.



Monday, April 14, 2014

"Slut" and Facebook

You know what I'm fucking tired of? Posts and memes (whatever they are, sorry, so old, so fat, so out of it) and pictures talking about girls being sluts. The one that pushed me over the edge was one of the pictures of Will Ferrell in a smoking jacket talking about how Ms. Pac Man is the biggest slut because she swallowed balls till she died. Or biggest prostitute, whatev. You know who her predecessor was? Pac Man himself.

We live in the 21st century for christ's sake. Why are we still doing this? Memes about "shout out to the girl who got drunk and doesn't know she's pregnant yet!" How about "shout out to the boy who got drunk and doesn't know he's going to be a daddy yet!"?????

We are supposed to be a more understanding society here in the good U.S. of A. and yet we still treat young women - or any women for that matter - as though they are to feel shamed and blamed for every fucking thing that has to do with sex. Well guess the fuck what, it takes two to make sex happen. And we are supposed to be at some higher functioning level where we have stopped demonizing women for having a healthy libido whilst also doing the whole "boys will be boys" bull shit for when men/boys sex it up here there and everywhere.

And I feel like I'm in the minority of people who are not giant, feminist, activists. Yes, I am a feminist, but I don't feel like I should have to, in this day in age, point this out to people. Hell, Monkey taught me and the Bat a new word for "hoe" (thot) and I wanted to scream. Girls are allowed to enjoy sex. Girls and women are allowed to have as much sex as the like (hopefully protected). Why are we still treated like such shit when our gender counterparts are not? It's fucking bull shit.

Yes, girls, young ones, post racy pictures on line that make me cringe, that make me want to fold a blanket around them and explain "oh honey, this is going to last forever and don't you want to be remembered for more?" But they do it for boys/men. And boys/men are not at all shy about sending chicks their dick picks.

It's just that we still have this archaic double standard about sex and bodies and I am just fucking sick of it. Stop demonizing women. It is enough that as soon as a child is weened from the breast, breasts are considered harmful to a child. Yet a man can walk around shirtless or pee outside in front of his kid and not be censured in any way.

So fuck you. Fuck any and all of you who think women/girls are whores for having sex and that boys/men are studs or heroes or whatever. Get the fuck with the current century and act right, please. It's despicable.  

First World Problems

I got em. Today is Monday so I am back in my cubicle, getting ready to put together a test case workbook for a report we'll probably end up scrapping. On Friday it was hard to sit here and stare at the clock, willing it to hurry up so I could go to the doctor and then CAMPING! But there is no CAMPING! at the end of this work day. There is only chores and slowly building panic as my mother will be here soon. I'm not going to do a total clean out like I did last month, but I do want to at least get the room ready for her (so vacuum up the cat litter and mess) and make sure it isn't a total hell pit.

But I also don't want to do any of that because camping is so much more fun. There was fishing and swimming and canoe rides (well, I was in a canoe for about 5 minutes), and sitting around drinking and laughing. There were fires and camp food (smores with strawberries... if you haven't tried them, do so immediately) and laying about lazily. I didn't shower the entire time but instead followed the Bat's philosophy that we spent time in the lake and so we were clean enough (note: that philosophy flies out the window when you get home and you smell yourself, away from the camp fire, for the first time). I admit that the beds in the house are more comfortable than the air mattress in the tent, but still... CAMPING!

There were so many people, too, which made it especially fun. The Bat, Monkey, her friend Squirrel, three other couples, three dogs, two more teenagers, and the Bat's youngest brother's kids (ages 4 and 2). As I've said before, I get pretty peopled out but camping is such a chill activity that one can simply sit in a camping chair and stare in the fire without participating in the conversation if that is one's desire. And these people were all just fun and friendly and so it wasn't nerve wracking at all.

But now, here I am. We got back around 1 pm or so yesterday. Monkey was wiped out and took a shower and then a very long nap. I unloaded most of the car and cleaned the kitchen and did laundry, trying to shock my system into understanding that CAMPING! was over and real life was back. But the transition was a rough one. I didn't want to sit inside and watch television. I wanted to go swimming in the lake. I didn't want to make hamburgers for dinner. I wanted to sit in front of a fire and overcook a hot dog. I didn't even want to take a shower but eventually I was so grossed out by myself that I not only took a shower but also a bath, filled with Dr. Teal's Epsom salts because I'm old and out of shape and as fun as swimming in the lake and hiking up the hill to get to the bathrooms are, they also cause some aches and pains.

I don't know if I'm just tired but I feel truly mournful that it's over. Camping is the best and I'm so glad I've finally started doing it. Gold star for the Bat who is the one who introduced me to this wonderful, wonderful world. I just wish he'd trained me on handling the let down when it's over. Then again, Spring has only just begun so I'm sure we have many trips ahead of us.

OK, cubicle, back to it.



Friday, April 4, 2014

My Dance Card is Full Damn it!

I'm Not About To Go Eat Worms
Have I mentioned that the Bat has been trying to engineer my life a bit lately? He's decided that I need to make girlfriends that are local so that I can have girls' nights and things like that. Tomorrow a colleague of mine will be joining us at the house for lunch, along with her husband and kids. The Bat's suggestion. We ended up talking about it Wednesday, how I understand he wants me to be happy but that he needs to ease up on the "make friends" lark. He reverts to dad mode every so often and I get it, but it's really uncomfortable when someone keeps nagging you about having friends. I can't help but feel like a loser or something and wonder if that is how people see me.

But I'm not lonely and I do have friends, they just don't live in Texas. What's more, I've never had a ton of friends and the good ones I've kept in touch with for years. Besides, it is hard as fuck to make friends as an adult and it takes time. I even told the Bat that if this was about not having alone time in the house, I'd be happy to go out some evenings on my own to leave him to it. That's when he said that sometimes the dad in him comes out and he just wants me to be happy and have someone to talk to. That's an interesting part of the Bat's personality; he sincerely does not understand that other people have different ways of living and doing things. Because I don't bring friends home or go out on my own with friends, he seems to have assumed that my life was lacking. In reality, between work and his plans, I get enough socialization that I don't think I have the energy for my own friends yet.

He's a funny guy, is our Bat. And an incredibly sweet and caring one when you consider his intentions.

Speaking of Plans
My social calendar is pretty booked right now and it's crazy. As I said, my work girlfriend and her family are coming to lunch tomorrow. In the evening the Bat and I will go out and celebrate the birthday of a woman who works at the sushi bar we frequent. I'm hoping after all that activity that Sunday will be a day of lazy resting and sleeping in.

Next weekend the Bat, Monkey, Squirrel and I are going camping at Daingerfield, the spot we previously visited last October. We may have the company of two of the Bat's friends or it might just be us four. Either way, it should be fun so long as we have nice weather.

The following Thursday, my mother will arrive for a long weekend visit. She gets in on Thursday morning and leaves Monday afternoon so she'll be here for Easter. The Bat's cousin will also be in town, so my mother will be meeting quite a few member's of the Bat clan when we head to McKinney for holiday lunch or dinner or whatev.

Then, the next weekend, I believe, the Bat hopes to take me, Monkey, and his parents to Lake Palestine for another weekend of camping, this time possibly in a cabin.

That's a lot of activity for this girl. I remember my mother once lamenting the fact that I would be alone on weekends and holidays after my divorce and my telling her that by the time the weekends rolled around, I didn't want to deal with people at all. That was back when I was in Ohio and working in my previous capacity which included a LOT of phone time. I also had a briefer commute so when I got home on Friday afternoons, I just wanted to decompress. These days I don't talk as much in my work and I have an hour long commute so I can unwind and decompress on my way home. But I still don't necessarily want to fill all my free hours with people. Sometimes I just want to be by myself and sometimes I just want to spend time with my boyfriend.

And I'm perfectly happy with that. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Surprises

Two things sneaked up on me today (odd, isn't it, that 'snuck' isn't a word). The first was adulthood. Monkey had her friend, Squirrel*, over last night. This morning I found myself awake before everyone else and I made orange juice because I figured the girls would want it later. Then, when the household was awake, I began making myself breakfast only to find that I was making breakfast for the Bat and the girls. The Bat didn't eat any of it and neither did I, finding that, as I was making it, I didn't want it. I also found myself telling Squirrel to ask the Bat for information as to how make French toast as I didn't know how and honey, please don't put a pan on the burner with heat without putting butter in it. No, it's OK, if no one tells you, you won't know.

I'm at an age where I know to cook eggs and bacon for breakfast so that the children in the house will have something to eat. I know to ask if they'd like water or juice. I know more than they do, where we keep the powdered sugar, how not to ruin a pan. I asked the Bat if it was ever odd to him that he's been a grown up for nearly 15 years. He didn't understand and said that he's been a grown up for longer even though he might not have acted like it. I'm no longer the girl at a sleep over, having food prepared for me, helping to pay my debt to the mother of my friend. Instead, I am making eggs and teaching friends how to make French toast when I've never really made it, not that I can recall.

The second surprise was the cycling. I don't know if he knows or not but the Bat has seen me as close to manic as I've been in years when I was waiting for my neurology appointment, had been off one medication for a month and another for two weeks. Today I found myself feeling... well, blank. I felt like I was unhappy but I have no reason to feel that way. I certainly had no reason to feel that way when it fell. But there it was. So I call it blank because I don't know if it is an authentic emotion or not. Like I said, I have no reason to feel unhappy, especially when I have been so happy of late. So I think it must be me cycling. I'm on the low end of my spectrum for whatever reason and it hit me out of the blue. I feel blank, desolate, and numb.

I did pull the Bat aside to tell him that if I'm quiet or not myself, it isn't his fault. He said "it's your new medicine" not understanding that I'm not on new medicine (I was afraid the psychiatrist would change my meds but then I cried and he didn't) and that wasn't it. I also let him know this won't last long. I don't think it will, certainly not as long as the manic cycle lasted, short though it was. After all, I have my pills and my prescriptions and my appointments so this shouldn't last.

But it is damned hard and I hate that I felt it. I told the Bat that he was fortunate in ways he didn't know. Look, I'm lucky as fuck being who I am, where I am and all of that. But there is a luxury that is not available to me. You can feel something. You can be happy, angry, exalted, sad, angry, frustrated, whatever, and you will undoubtedly know what you feel and, most likely, why you feel it. I don't always know. I, sometimes, have to muddle through things and figure out if I really feel a certain way, if there is a reason to feel that way.

That is the burden of someone with bipolar depression. I can only wonder at what the burden is like for someone living with a person like me.

*I know I seem to name everyone after animals these days but that is what we actually call this girl. She walked like a squirrel when we went camping. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Why I'm Not Unhappy That My Dream Didn't Work Out

For much of my life, I wanted to be a writer. I even chose English as a major when I went to college (choosing to also major in Psychology as a back up). I realized, eventually, that I didn't have it in me to be an author, not in any real way. I have my share of imagination, creativity, and writing ability, but I felt what I lacked was the endurance and stamina. I mean, even to write a short story you need a beginning, middle, and end. That's a fuck of a lot if you think about it, especially if what you are writing is entirely made up in your head. So I figured, meh, I can't hack it so let's let that dream die.

But now I'm thinking that what I lack is something that isn't something that is too terrible to miss out on. I honestly think that in order to be a decent author, you need to be seriously fucking disturbed. Take the Hunger Games trilogy for a start. If you've only seen the movies, you should seriously read the books and not just because "Catching Fire" was a very, very poor portrayal of the book (to be fair, that is a difficult book to turn into a singular film). First of all, the author has the idea of a yearly event in which children -  children - are forced to fight to the death. OK, that is fucked up in and of itself, especially when you consider that two tributes come from each district and so the winner is going to end up killing someone they probably know. But there is so much more. I remember reading the third book and thinking what horrible nightmares the author must have had to come up with some of that shit, especially the mutts. It's one thing to write a crime novel about a ruthless killer, regardless of how horrible the murders are, but to conjure up a game where children not only have to kill one another but have to be chased by weird, giant, dinosaur-lizard-rats is quite another. Suzanne Collins is a terrifying woman.

But it's not just that sort of thing that makes me think authors are disturbed. I still have not forgiven Muriel Barbery for how she ended the exquisitely beautiful The Elegance of the Hedgehog. If you haven't read it, please skip to the next paragraph as I'm going to give the worst spoiler .........................OK, those who haven't read it  have had a chance to leave the room. So just when Rene finally gets to be who she is, finally gets to be appreciated for the beauty of the woman she is and has the opportunity to live in and engage with the life she should have had, WHAM! she's dead. What the fuck?!?!?! When I really love a book, as I love hedgehog, I will read it multiple times. I've mentioned before that I've read The Westing Game at least six times. But hedgehog? I've only ever been able to read it once and I actually gave my copy to Tits when I moved to Texas. Because I simply cannot forgive Barbery for what she did. She created these complex characters, so rich and dimensional, and made me fall in love with them. She built up this story about despair and sadness and regret, and then she dangled hope in front of me and Rene before she crushed it out. I get extremely involved in what I read or watch and so I literally fucking wept at that book (my ex husband can testify to my getting lost in books as he said to me, whilst I was reading 1,000 Splendid Suns, "Kitty, honey, I think you should take a break. You've been steady crying for about ten minutes now".)

Today I finally borrowed My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult from the library. I knew a lot about it from talking to people and, actually, when I got to the big climax, I remembered that someone told me what the twist was because I said it was fine, I was never going to read it. Again, if you haven't read it, don't read this paragraph. .............................................
So this is a story about a thirteen year old girl who decides to sue her parents for medical emancipation because she doesn't want to keep having to be a donor for her sister who has a rare form of leukemia. The protagonist was actually conceived, specifically, from an embryo that was a perfect genetic match for her older sister. Initially, the just thought they'd use umbilical cord blood but over the course of years, Anna (protagonist), had to donate other things, including bone marrow. The final straw was being asked to donate a kidney when she was thirteen and her sister, Kate, was sixteen. So you read this heartbreaking novel from the perspectives of multiple people and you get to the climax, right? Turns out it was Kate, not Anna, who really wanted it all to stop. She was tired of living this life she'd lived for the past fourteen years, the trips to the hospital, the treatments, the constant sickness and ruining of other peoples' lives as she saw it. So you look at Anna again and really see her. She's a thirteen year old girl who loves her sister and wants to do what is right. She's also at an age where she is growing into herself so she has conflicting emotions about wanting her sister to live and always be there but also wanting to be allowed to live on her own terms, not just regarding keeping her sister alive. But up until this point, she's never had to face this sort of choice. Her parents want her to donate a kidney. She wants to donate a kidney. But Kate says no, Kate give Anna an out so that she, Anna, can live her life. She's been carrying this burden around, wanting to do what is right for Kate and do what will allow her to be free.. even though what she really wants is, in her mind, impossible; I cannot live independently and autonomously as long as I have things that can be donated to my sick sister.

OK, I know this is a new paragraph but here comes the big spoiler so again, if you haven't read My Sister's Keeper and you want to, skip it. So everything is settled, it comes out that Kate is the one that wants Anna to not give the kidney, the judge decides that Anna gets medical emancipation and forms are signed. And then the story is told from the father's perspective. He is a firefighter and he has gotten called out to a car accident. And you know what? Picoult fucking kills Anna in a car crash! Anna dies and her kidney goes to Kate and that's about it. I cried so much that I was extremely glad that the Bat and Monkey were both out because I wept and said things like "Oh no" and "not Anna" and who knows what else. What the fuck? This girl, this poor, strong, brave, confused girl that I fell in love with was just ruthlessly stolen from me after being put in my charge. Fucking Picoult. I glanced at the Q & A section at the back of the book and she says that her eleven year old son read it and couldn't talk to her for awhile after he finished it (he, too wept). He asked her why she had to end it the way she did. She gave an answer but all I can think is "you are a terrible person."

So there you have it. Authors, in my very humble opinion, are fucked up, disturbed people. And all I can say is that I'm grateful for them. All the books I've discussed in this post are ones that have given me great pleasure. I think we readers are as fucked up and disturbed as the authors as we love their work so much. But I still think maybe it is OK that I can't inflict this kind of horror or emotional turmoil on others.

I'll stick to writing my dry business documents for the moment.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Meeting Notes

My company likes meetings. A LOT. Fortunately for me, I don't get invited to many but when I do, I'm usually a bit distracted or bored or just I-don't-care-y. But I like to put in some effort and take notes to pay attention. These notes, however, usually end up covered with random doodles. And that is what I'm giving you today, some random doodles.

Ladies Man Banana


Sinister Apple

Distinguished Pear (hiding behind Sinister Apple)

Femme Fatal Eggplant

Meetings are important.