Thursday, April 27, 2017

Inappropriate?




I recently recommended the book The Handmaid's Tale on my FB page, and had someone ask if it was appropriate for older teenagers. I said it would be a judgment call for that parent. But, now I kind of want to change my answer.

YES! It's absolutely appropriate for older teenagers. And younger teenagers. And anyone else who starts reading the book and finds it interesting enough to continue.

I was always an avid reader. And I was definitely reading things that a lot of people would have called "inappropriate" for someone my age. I started reading Stephen King at eleven. Firestarter. My dad had bought the paperback, and when he finished reading it I swiped it from his nightstand. I haven't re-read it since, but it stands in my memory as one of my favorites. I also read all the V.C. Andrews books, and John Saul horror and more Stephen King, and scared myself silly.

By junior high I had already read all the Judy Blume books, and then came Forever. Oooooh, racy! It was a Young Adult book with S-E-X, and I read it as a Middle Grader, and it did not make me want to have S-E-X. In fact, it made me not really want to have S-E-X. Wifey was an Adult Judy Blume title, with a capital A. I didn't read the whole thing; but read the dirty parts when it got passed around my seventh grade science class. It, also, did not make me want to have S-E-X.

I feel like that is one of the concerns parents might have when wondering about the appropriateness of a book. If it's about sex and my teenager reads it, are they going to want to have sex? Books are a whole different animal from TV and movies. Books, I will always recommend. Read everything. The more you read, the more you know, and the more you know, the less likely you are to make terrible decisions about important things.

If you're worried about how a book might affect your child, have a book-club-like discussion with them while they're reading it (or after). Discussions are always a good thing in a family.

My question would be: what are the concerns about? Are you worried your child might not be able to process the material? If they can't, they'll usually just stop reading it. Or, are you worried the material might put ideas into your child's head, that weren't there before? Because, chances are, someone they know (or internet or TV or a movie) has already put those ideas there. Or, are you worried the material might give your child nightmares? Because, I will tell you, I didn't have nightmares from the book, but I just watched three episodes of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, and I am going to have nightmares.

Photo: George Kraychyk/Hulu

Monday, April 10, 2017

Oh, United



I recently had to look up what "SMH" meant. The kids say it on the social medias, and Granny was all, "What's that you're sayin?" It means "shaking my head" and it's totally what I'm doing right now about United Airlines. I mean, my GOD.

First, there was the Affrontery of the Leggings! Egads! Leggings!

Now, I am a big fan of people dressing nicely when they travel. And all the other times, really. There's no excuse for constant slobbery. I also don't think leggings are pants, because they're not. They're just really thick tights, and yes, they're comfortable, but you can actually make them look fashionable too, if you wear a tunic or something that hits around mid-thigh. It's a fashion suggestion, and I guarantee it looks better than just the thick tights and a sweatshirt, which you can wear on your flight if you must. But now I need a "however".

HOWEVER: My friend's sister works for United Airlines, and so she gets to fly on the special pass. Every time she has done this, she's explained how she has to dress up for the flight. United is doing its part to encourage fancy flying, and I applaud that. If you're flying for free, dress up. It's part of the rules, and my friend knows the rules and follows them. So, apparently the leggings sisters were flying on that same pass and did not abide by the rules, in which case I think United was within their rights to ask the girls to put on a dress or whatever it was they did. But now we need another "however".

HOWEVER: The girls' dad was apparently also flying with them, on that same pass, and was wearing shorts. He was not asked to put on a dress or whatever, and this is where I NEED TO GET SHOUTY! IF YOU HAVE RULES FOR FLYING ON THAT SPECIAL PASS, THEY NEED TO APPLY TO EVERYONE, ESPECIALLY THE MEN BECAUSE WOMEN ARE REALLY SICK AND TIRED OF BEING TARGETED FOR THIS KIND OF NONSENSE (if you need examples, see "Prom dress codes"). AND, ALSO, RULES!

*takes breath*

Today, United outdid themselves. From what I've seen on the Twitter, with the video and the explanations of what happened, I've learned this: United Airlines overbooked one of their flights, as we all know airlines do nowadays. They needed four passengers, who all booked their flights in advance, and paid for a specific seat (Ms. Leggings, you are in 14C), to volunteer to give up that seat for United employees to fly somewhere for something. When they did not get all four volunteers, United brought armed goons onto the flight to drag a paying customer (it's irrelevant, but he was a doctor who didn't want to give up his seat because he had patients to see the next day) out of the seat he had paid for, and booked in advance. United's PR response to this was that "one person refused to volunteer his seat, so he was removed".

No.



No, no, no, no, no, no.

We understand what "volunteering" is, right? And, we've all been there. Sitting uncomfortably in our plane seats while the flight attendant asks for "volunteers" and we nervously shift around, and look at everyone else, hoping someone else doesn't really care to get home or to their connecting flight for their vacation or whatever, and they'll volunteer. And, sometimes, it takes several rounds of playing auctioneer on the part of the flight attendant. "We're offering a free round-trip ticket and ten dollars! No? Okay, how about a free round-trip ticket and eleven dollars!" And they go up from there. And, eventually, the Price is Right, and someone finally says, "Okay!" If no one says "Okay!" you know what you need to do? You need to offer more money. Everyone has a price.

There is absolutely no excuse for how the employees of United behaved today, both on the airplane and in the PR department. You, as a massive corporation, can no longer act like complete assholes in hopes of saving $1000, because we all have cell phones with cameras and video. I'm only guessing that they didn't want to have to offer too much money to get someone to give up their seat, and then (for some reason) decided to select someone as a "volunteer". I have no idea how they even made that choice, but it doesn't matter. The lawsuit they are going to face, as a result of all this non-thinking, is going to be monolithic, and I am looking forward to it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hating the Hate

Whooosh! I am struggling right now. I mean, having a harder time than the time I was still trying to do my Sweat With Kayla burpee workout with a sprained big toe (i.e. VERY hard).

I've always considered myself someone who can deal with a normal amount of bullshit. Not too much bullshit, but a normal amount. I think what must be happening right now is that the bullshit has overloaded and spilled out of the dump truck, and is blocking every highway, street, road, sidewalk and footpath. What is up with all the Hate? It is Capital Letter Hate, and it is all over the place and I CANNOT DEAL WITH IT!

I keep my Instagram feed strictly tuned to Things That Give Me Warm Fuzzies. I do not follow any news there, I do not follow any Angry People there, I don't even really follow people I know, because they all have ups and downs and I just want Instagram to be UP UP UP. I follow museums. I follow make-up artists. I follow interior designers. I follow fashion people. And you know where the Hate is? It's freaking EVERYWHERE.

The most recent Hateful episode was seen on a post from The Zoe Report. You know, Rachel Zoe, that's BANANAS, and Shutting It Down, and fun and fashion, no? They posted something completely innocuous about a beauty product that Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama had apparently discussed, and Oh My God, there you go. Someone who follows The Zoe Report, and has a bikini-selfie as her profile photo and (of course) a private account, starts yelling about how those two women should never be mentioned in the same sentence (I'm paraphrasing), and how one of them (not the white one) should go away NOW.

I had a rage stroke, and every expletive I've ever heard in my life marched in a jolly parade across the wide screen of my brain.

I have had enough of this. I've just seen too much of it lately. The fiasco in Clay, West Virginia, was this exact thing, except exploded and exacerbated and eventually (I think) handled pretty well by the people (those two delightful ladies were, thankfully, fired from their positions, and I hope that one day they will understand why). But, Oh My God, so much WTF. I cannot understand this. Where is all this Hate coming from? What is wrong with these people? In what reality do these people think these kinds of comments are okay to say aloud? I can't do anything about the rats nest of bile and putridity (maybe not a word) that people have living inside their heads. But what makes them think those thoughts should be aired, and why do they even have those thoughts in the first place?

We all have hateful thoughts. We're human. When you do not use your turn signal, and pull in front of me on the road? My thoughts toward you are not kind. When you are in front of me at the store with twenty items in the "15 or less Express" lane? My thoughts toward you are not kind. When you have a delicious goat cheese appetizer on the menu, and then tell me you are suddenly out of the goat cheese? My thoughts toward you are not kind. But these are all actions. Careless, inconsiderate actions, that make me think the unkind thoughts. The Hate I'm seeing is based on literally nothing other than individual, deep-seated ignorance, fear and insecurity, and the Hateful People want to share that all with everyone else. I have no idea how to fix this. WHY ARE PEOPLE LIKE THIS?

Please, please, for the love of humanity, dig deep down inside yourself and ask yourself where the Hate is coming from. What is it really about? Read Eckhart Tolle. Read Louise Hay. Read the nice, uplifting parts of the Bible (not the scary stories about people marrying their siblings or killing their children). Try to find the Good in yourself, because, ultimately, that is what the Hate is about. It is about You.

Feel free to visit my "General Cuteness" Pinterest board if you are also suffering the rage strokes.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Open Letter to Cubs Fans at Wrigley



I will preface this by saying that I am not a typical sports fan, per se, but I bleed Cubbie Blue. The past two games of this series have been rough. They have not been playing their very best, but if the Cubs lose this, you, as fans at Wrigley, will have to accept your fair share of the blame.

When the Cubs clinched the pennant they gave so much credit to "the fans." Everything came back to "the fans" - how great "the fans" have been, how loyal, how supportive. The fans, the fans, the fans.

Tuning in to the 6th inning tonight (after a birthday dinner for my sister at a restaurant that had no TV), I was in shock. Not so much by the score, but more by the hangdog expressions of all the faces in the stands. Chins in hands, droopy, pouty lips, depressed, dejected, defeated.

In the 6th inning!

Now, I know the number 6 looks a lot like the number 9, but only if you're looking at it upside down. The 6th inning is not the 9th inning and there was no excuse for the gloom and doom that had descended over the entire stadium. NO EXCUSE! You are Cubs fans, watching the World Series, at Wrigley Field. What the hell is wrong with you?

You have a responsibility to rally the team, to show them all that loyalty and support they kept talking about in all those interviews. And no, I don't mean just standing up after Rondon has already pitched 2 strikes, and you haul your carcasses out of your seats and give some half-hearted hoots for the last (hopeful) strike.

In the 6th inning, when your beloved Cubs are down by 3 or 4 or 5, and Addison Russell steps into the batter's box, you get off your lazy kiesters and you get loud. You cheer, you holler, you clap, you roar, you bring Wrigley alive. Enthusiasm is palpable and contagious and can turn a temporary slump into a victory.

I was at a Cubs game, back in October of 1995, when they were playing the Houston Astros. I can't remember exact details, because the newspaper article is packed away with my yearbooks somewhere, but Cubs were down by like 6 or 7 or some ungodly number. Most of "the fans" had already left, but there were a handful of us still hanging around. My boyfriend asked, "Do you want to just go?" and I turned to him and said, "You do not leave a Cubs game before it's finished." He was from Pennsylvania, and didn't know any better, so we can't get too mad at him.

So it was around the 7th inning, and one of the infamous SuperFans that Chicago is known for - mustache and sunglasses in place, beer in hand - stood up, turned to our section and started hoisting his arms up and down and shouting, "Everybody UP! Everybody UP!" And, as you do when faced with a Chicago SuperFan, we got up. And we started to cheer and holler and clap and roar, in a sort of audible wave that built, and grew, and brought Wrigley alive. We stayed on our feet for every single batter, and kept the roar going. Our throats were raspy from the screaming, our hands stung from the clapping. And the Cubs started knocking hits out - out beyond the infield, out of reach of the outfielders, and out into the stands. You could feel the enthusiasm, and the Cubs could feel the enthusiasm, and it exploded into this growling, stomping thing that took out everything in its path, including the Astros. The Cubs rallied and came back to win the game. The details are in that newspaper article I can't find right now, but the title of the article was "Fans Win Game For Cubs."

If ever there was a time for a repeat of this, it is now. At Wrigley Field, in Game 5. Do you think the Cubs don't have what it takes to win? Because I think we've all seen that they really do. The question is, as fans at Wrigley, do you?

You don't let the stadium get all quiet, mopey and depressing. You don't leave before the game is over. And you most certainly don't give up in the 6th freaking inning. You give it everything you've got until the last pitch is thrown. The way you expect your team to do it. Cheer, holler, clap, roar, stomp, and bring Wrigley alive. Cleveland won't know what hit them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On Reading

I used to read books all the way through, front to back, regardless of how much I was enjoying them. I don't do that anymore. Although I know how much work goes into writing a book, and I absolutely appreciate each and every author's efforts, I know I will enjoy my life more if I don't force myself to read things I'm not enjoying. I'm not in High School English anymore, and I don't have to write a report if I don't want to. If I like a book, I will rate it on Goodreads, because that is a fun space for me to keep track of books I've read and books I want to read. If I don't like a book, I just put it away and never mention it again, unless in absolutely private company where I can be honest and be assured no one's feelings are hurt. (OR if the author has passed away, in which case I will tell you that I thought The Bourne Identity was a terrible book, and Tony Gilroy was a magician with that screenplay because the movie is one of my absolute favorites.)

I have recently arrived at a First Time Experience where I started reading a book, and was really enjoying it, and then I reached the first, what I'm presuming to be quite major, plot twist. And I know that I can't read the rest of the book. Not because I don't think it's going to be good, because I know it is, but because I know that it will send me into the Ugly Cry. My Ugly Cry is on par with a violent illness, and no matter how temporary, it still means severe discomfort. All the blood in my body rushes up to my head, and, for some reason the front of my face. My nasal passages swell to four times their normal size, and my eyes do the same, rendering me both oxygen-deprived and blind. I savage entire boxes of tissues, leaving unruly, wet, cold Kleenex Mountains on the nightstand. And the resulting headache from all this covers my frontal lobe and crown and throbs on a level that would register on the Richter Scale.

There are people out there who love to cry with their books. "I love a good cry!" Their Good Cry must be something pleasant, like a bunny sneeze. With this book, I don't even want to chance that it might just be a Wee Good Cry, because I know it won't. The blurbs on the front and back of the book did try to warn me. "This unforgettable novel...doesn't just break your heart; it takes your heart and won't give it back." But I said "Pshhht. You don't know me." And I foolishly started to read.

I finished page eighty-five, also the end of Chapter 5, and I said to myself, "Ohhhhh no. I don't think I can proceed here." Because when you know that something is going to make you violently ill, you avoid it, right? Lactose-intolerant people do not dive willingly into the cheesecake (even though it's delicious). Celiac sufferers do not see a batch of chocolate-chip cookies and think, "Oh, absolutely" (even though they are delicious). People with nut allergies do not immerse themselves in a bathtub full of trail mix, because KNOWLEDGE. Knowing what I now know, at Chapter 5, about the characters in this book, I am 100% certain it will send me into the Ugly Cry, and I do not want to be in the Ugly Cry. The last time I made the mistake of reading something guaranteed to put me in Ugly Cry was this:

https://www.amazon.com/Completely-Beside-Ourselves-Faulkner-Award/dp/0399162097/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

And I only got halfway through the book.

For those of you who love a Good Cry! try that one, or this one, where I had to stop at page 85:

https://www.amazon.com/Completely-Beside-Ourselves-Faulkner-Award/dp/0399162097/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=


Proceed at your own risk. And then please let me know how it ends! But only if your summary is not going to make me cry.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Edible Accessory

Just a mere ten days after I wrote about my black and white cookie problem, Etro sent their Spring/Summer 2017 collection down the runway in Milan. Coincidence?


I think not.

But those are still the wrong black and white cookies.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Importance of Naming Cookies

I frequently find myself at a loss for the official/proper name of random items, and have to rush to Google to figure out what the thing is called. It's most frustrating when said thing is a cookie. In the olden days, when I was temping in Seattle, I would work in various big, shiny office buildings which usually had a sundries shop on the ground level. That was, incidentally, how I learned what "sundries" were. In these sundries shops I would find delicious, individually-wrapped cookies, which I would refer to as "black and white cookies". "I'll be right back, I'm going to get a black and white cookie." One episode of Seinfeld discussed the importance of the black and white cookie. However, when Jerry purchased and bit into his black and white cookie, I noticed it was not the same black and white cookie as my black and white cookie.

The wrong black and white cookies
Having moved away from Seattle, it has been years since I've seen my black and white cookie. When I asked the Whole Foods bakery manager, he directed me to the Seinfeld black and white cookie. When I visited other bakeries, the same thing happened. I realized if I ever wanted to see one again, I might just have to make it myself. When I Googled "black and white cookie", the only results that came up were for Seinfeld's black and white cookie. So many results for the wrong black and white cookie. Pages and pages of wrong cookies. I became agitated, stressed, and eventually despondent. I wanted my black and white cookie. Where was my black and white cookie? Based on my unsuccessful Google results, I knew I must have been calling it the wrong thing, but I didn't know what the right thing would be.

I finally Googled "double chocolate chip cookie dipped in white chocolate," because that was exactly what my black and white cookie was. The first image result was perfect. THAT was my black and white cookie!

Hurrah!

But the link went to Ebay. I didn't want to buy a cookie from Ebay. The Ebay lister called them "Homemade White Chocolate Dipped Double Chocolate Chip Cookies!" That just takes so much longer to say than "black and white cookie," but if I wanted the right cookie, I was going to have to refer to it in the right way. Except that most of the other results were not for this type of cookie.


 No.



 No.





What? No!

Urf. There needs to be a standardized, proper name for my black and white, white chocolate dipped double chocolate cookie.

This brings me to a recent conversation I had with my cousin-in-law, Sarah, who was rolling her eyes when I was trying to get her to say "macaron" instead of "macaroon". Yes, saying "macaron" makes you sound totally pretentious, and like you're trying to be all French and whatnot. But it is important, because a macaron is an entirely different cookie from the macaroon. I like them both, but if I'm having super-cravings for the wee French sandwich cookie and mistakenly say "I'm dying for a macaroon!" Some kind, thoughtful person might show up at my door with a small bag of these.


When I really wanted these.


All because I said it wrong. This is a widespread problem, evidenced in the Google results for "macaroon". There are bloggers all over the place, using "macaroon" incorrectly.

So, it's not only important to name the cookie, it's also important to pronounce that name correctly. The English language seems to be devolving into a grotesque mish-mosh of acronyms, slang, word-fragments and emojis. But, people, please. Please think of the cookies!


THE COOKIES!!!!!