Monday, August 29, 2011

what I know for sure

If you invite 10 people and make food for 20, you will have a lot of leftovers.

If you let kids watch TV unmonitored, they will eventually find the inappropriate channels.

Firemen are hunky.

The shortest distance between A and B is a straight line.

I don't care how comfortable they are, Crocs are not cool (the shoes, not the animal).

People look to the side when they're lying. Up or down, too, sometimes. Just not directly in your eyes.

Bees like barbecues. Flies do too.

Don't wear socks with flip flops. Ever.

If you marry your best friend, you will have no one to bitch to about your marriage.

On a similar note, the seven year itch is not just a movie.

Numbers don't lie. People who tell you the numbers, however, can twist them any which way they want.

You can correct a red-eye in a photograph, but there's not much you can do about someone blinking.

We're all going to die.

Only water can properly quench a thirst .

If you keep spreading malevolence, you shouldn't be surprised when some of it comes back and splatters you.

Dogs like to lick themselves.

You cannot unsay something.

Having a kid changes everything.

Love is better than hate, but it is more fattening.

The sound of waves is the best sleeping pill.

If you talk about someone behind their back, it will come back and bite you in the ass.

Short-term and long-term goals are a good idea. Medium-term goals get a bad rap.

Pearls class up any outfit.

If you are OCD, don't volunteer to clean someone else's house.

Gravity is more powerful than your willpower.

On a related note, don't mess with anything that begins with "grave".

Having money is a good thing, until you start losing some of it.

Metrosexual doesn't mean homosexual.

Measure twice and cut once.

The movie business is very fickle.

Move over Oprah, you're not the only one with hard-earned wisdom.
What do you know for sure?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

the monsters among us

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

After hearing the buzz aplenty about Stieg Larsson and the clearly unwarranted conspiracy theories surrounding his run-of-the-mill-heart-attack brought on by his poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle, I was intent on reading his trilogy at some point. I must confess that since this is not my usual fiction genre, I would have missed it altogether, without said buzz. The advent of the movie based on the first of his three novels, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, made me hurry up and get my hot little hands on the book, before the movie imprinted my brain with its own clever but potentially biased interpretation.

I was not disappointed. It was a page turner, in the true sense of the word. I include in this qualification the fact that I turned pages backwards many times to reread a passage or to look up the initial introduction of a new character. The plot was dense, with very well detailed characters (in fact a whole family of it), and the storyline jumped between the two main protagonists at dizzying intervals. So yes, I read it all in one shot, but I must confess it was mostly because I knew that if I put it down to restart some time later, I would need to reread a whole bunch to get back in the swing of things. And partly because I couldn’t believe where the story was heading. So yes, it was that good.

When a book/movie/topic finds you still thinking about it after a few days or still dreaming about parts of it, catches you off guard in the middle of your regular routine with some rehashing of its minor detail, you know the author was competent. Aside from some minor language snafus, which I assume mainly stemmed from the translation from its original Swedish version, I found the book very well written. And I do like me good-wins-over-evil plot twists, eternal optimist that I am. But what I keep coming back to is whether the relatively small but incredibly graphic gore and disturbing elements were warranted, or at the very least, about how much they contributed to the success of the book as a whole. Clearly, the contrast was necessary, to a certain extent, to delineate good from bad, but just how bad did bad have to be?

At the risk of divulging too much for those of you who have not yet read this book, aside from the aforementioned disturbing details that would make a normal person ooh and aah, if not wince outright or drop jaw to floor, there is a serial killer in it ::: Shudder::: It is cleverly hidden and plods along behind the scenes of the main activities, but it’s there. And it’s brutal. And it involves a bible freak. Who takes the bible literally. Which explains the bad taste in my mouth, in retrospect. No matter how many times I think about this topic, or witness it firsthand, I still don’t get it: the violence that religious fanaticism begets, completely at odds with its fundamentally compassionate tenets, is something for which I cannot find any justification! Religions, despite their worthy emphasis on virtuousness and moral decency, seem to contain some pretty discrepant opposites and guess which ones fanatics latch on to, to make their warped point? Worrying about mentally deficient violent individuals comes with the territory… I can even find some plausibility to the violence perpetrated by victims of abuse and violence themselves (emphasis on some). But to expect evil from people who are purportedly on the “good” path, that is a worry overload that I cannot make peace with. Yes, I am fully aware that this was a fictitious character in a work of fiction, unfortunately, the same monsters depicted in works of fiction roam freely in our society, and may in some instances, be stranger than fiction. And it scares the bejeezus outta me.

Feel free to tell me if I’m losing my marbles or taking my role as a mother to the overzealous extreme. 
How do you feel about the monsters among us?

Monday, August 15, 2011


There was a time in my life when I was perfectly able to juggle boyfriend(s), work, school, dormlife, and even pull a couple of all-nighters per week. Sometimes for no reason at all than smoking and chatting had been so entrancing that when we’d look up, my roommates and I would realize it was 4 or 5 am and it wouldn’t be worth it to go to bed for only an hour or so. So after a vigorous shower and some strong but crappy coffee, we'd skip sleeping, head out to work/school/whatever, and start it all over again.

 Figgedaboutit! Those days are gone.

I am now an old woman, by my twenties’ standards. If I sleep one less hour than needed per night, I wake up with a migraine and it takes me a few consecutive good nights’ sleep to bounce back to my usual self (and I am still worthless without my morning 2, 3, or 4 cups of coffee, except now I can afford the good kind). Which means that my time has become even more precious than before. Which means that people and things that drain it unnecessarily must be dealt with swiftly and sometimes unceremoniously. Which means that I am no longer open for the business of time-suckage.

Gone are the people who constantly whine about their problems and always seem to have some sort of drama, legitimate or worse, otherwise. If you are not someone who can once in a while (not all the time just once in a while, that’s fair right?) get outside of your petty self and be grateful for the abundance of good in your life, then buh-bye!

Gone are the things that require too much time, like cooking daily elaborate meals that are wolfed down in a few minutes, or organizing elaborate parties for which I would have only aching muscles and a couple of good photos to show. After this year’s simple birthday party, even my spoiled little miss Em is on board.

And by the same token, gone are the themed chocolate lollipops that I used to make for every event/occasion/holiday to all the kids in my daughter’s class as well as the staff at her school. They all seem to have major oral hygiene issues anyway, so their parents must actually be thankful… the staff is just gonna hafta learn to deal with the disappointment!

Gone are the board meetings in charitable organizations -- where the purpose has long ceased to be swift action but turned into an excuse to get together over some sort of potluck foods and “socialize” (code for gossip)--, where the same tired (and as of yet) unresolved issues are needlessly argued over ad infinitum. Charity begins at home, or more lyrically in French, Aides-toi, le ciel t'aidera. Amen!

Gone are the so-called friends who call only to want something from me. If you cannot even manage some semblance of reciprocity, don’t even bother barking up this wrong tree.

Gone are people who make plans and flake. Worse, flake after you took the time to get there or cleared your schedule for their sake. And worse still, don't bother answering texts inquiring as to their whereabouts. Or the worst yet, who call you back after a couple of hours, or the next day, to tell you they forgot, or fell asleep, or just didn't feel like it. AGAIN AND AGAIN! Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!

Gone are people who cannot tell time and are therefore always late. Being on time once in a big while, by mistake, does not indemnify you. 
Get a watch and wear it!

Gone are the days where I would jump and volunteer for every Tom, Dick and Harry who pitifully relayed their woes to me -- I am understandably becoming bitchier choosier. I come first, I choose how to spend the limited resource that is my time. That said, I am still a softie, so this list may need to be altered to reflect my better mood days. Right now, I’m liking the sound of my new simplified life and am totally digging my crisp new lighter schedule.

What have you or would you give up to increase your quality of life?

Monday, August 8, 2011

speaking of hypocrites

Top of my list: politicians. Thank you for the goddamn mess you made. The economy is in the crapper; national security is still (way) in the crapper with more troops dying senselessly every day; the stock market is going straight to the crapper and taking us all down with it; and the only people benefiting from all this generous onslaught of crap are the politicians who got us here. Meanwhile they never have to take a pay cut, their perks are not in any danger of being curtailed, and their jobs are pretty much secure for the duration of their terms (and according to the incumbent reelection statistics, apparently well beyond them too). They champion one thing from one corner of their mouth and vote for the opposite from the other corner. Hence their top billing on my hypocrite shit list.

I have had it up to here [raising arm way above head] with the blatant national hypocrisy and all around effortless duplicity. Let’s take off the kiddy gloves (i.e. this is not a PG post, reader beware) and actually hold some people accountable for their actions, shall we?

Claiming gays are an abomination and getting caught in flagrante delicto in the very same abominable state: Yeah, yeah, the bible says don’t lie with another man, blah, blah, blah. This very same esteemed document also condemns to death anyone who works the Sabbath, sees no problem with you selling your daughter as a slave, allows you to own slaves yourself (provided you buy them from adjoining counties), and finds planting two different seeds in the same field or wearing two different fabrics at the same time punishable by death by stoning! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that it’s not to be followed verbatim. Keep in mind that it's roughly 2000 years old, and it was never 100% accurate or reliably transcribed in the first place. But that’s beside the point. If you, Senator Larry Craig, want to use your neighborhood airport to get your jollies, have the guts to admit that getting blown but not necessarily flown is what you are really after. And you, Congressman Mark Foley, pages are not your private boy-toys, they work for the government not your personal harem, so get a ruler and measure it yourself. And you, Bob Allen, member of the Florida H. of R., since you're so intent on severely penalizing offenses involving “unnatural and lascivious acts”, how much do you think your $20 blowjob in a men’s room in a public park should be fined? Prostitution and homosexuality and dogging... tsk tsk, that's gonna cost you! 

Do it man, talk the talk and walk the walk. Truth will set you free!

Claiming you will work tirelessly to restore America then hanging on to the status quo for dear life: Your intentions are wonderful but it’s not enough to mean well. Yes, I agree, we need to fix this mess, because, as stated above, the shit has already hit the fan, the air-conditioning, the ceiling, the roof, the dog, the cat and the mailman. We need people who will work at solving this mess, not perpetuating it ad nauseam just to stay employed. Not people who claim they care about their country, or their state, or their constituents, but actually devote most of their time in public office lining their own and their biggest contributors’ pockets. Which industry allows you to spend half of your payday on getting hired by another company??? I mean it, which one? Tell me, coz I could see myself working there.

There is something inherently wrong with our whole campaigning system, where you can disappear from your job for days and weeks at a time and use other people’s money to get a better job elsewhere where you would reload and repeat as needed. I could maybe get behind this warped system if only the actual job was actually getting done somewhere, somehow, in the interim. 

Can we just fire everyone and start over with proper interviews, as done in every respectable business? How about we try this line of questioning:
  • “Do you see a conflict of interest between your personal pursuits and the job you will hold *cough* Dick Chaney *cough*? Yes? Thank you for your response to our job opening but that position has already been filled by someone who actually gives a damn” or
  • "Do you think you would want to quit mid-term to follow your financial ventures elsewhere *cough* Sarah Palin *cough*? Yes? Thank you for your service and don’t ever apply here ever again, you opportunistic-fuckwit-parasite” or even
  •  “Are you a team player *cough* name of member of the U.S. Congress *cough*? No? Thank you for your interest in our government and good luck with your future endeavors, we already have enough fuckups here as it is.
See? Not that hard.

Claiming “When I’m president, I will [fill in the blank with your favorite empty campaign promise]": Okay Obama, I get it, your predecessor was a solipsistic douchebag and you inherited a gigantic turd of a mess.  You didn’t have to have 20-20 vision to see that you needed to do three things right away: 1) roll up your sleeves, 2) end the wars, and 3) fix the economy. That’s why we hired you. You may have rolled up your sleeves (and if I may, you do look dashing in them you sexy mocha man), but you didn’t get anything done. Except slowly lose your credibility by bending over backwards so far as to make your fanny readily available as a repository for anyone with a penis. 

Pick up your balls off the floor, yes I know they are humongous, you did sing their praises in your campaign promises and we* believed you, yes, that’s it, pick them up, put them back in your shorts where they belong, and lead goddamnit! No, no, don’t think outside the box, don’t come up with another re-haul of a flawed entitlement program as you did with the healthcare system which, granted needed changing but not quite as desperately as other more imperative national matters, just take care of the problems on your desk right now! Get the troops home and cut some expenses or raise some revenue or do something so we can pay our debtors. To continue with the scatological metaphor, time to drop your deuce my friend or get off the pot! 

I know this is a long shot, but may I be so bold as to suggest applying your reelection campaign money to the national debt? It’s a win-win, believe me, you don’t want to keep doing this job plus you are not that good at it. You will be happier elsewhere, trust me, an erudite lawyer like you, they will eat you up at any prestigious university. Or you can build houses for Habitat for Humanity where, at least, you will put a roof over someone's head not take it away.

* * * * *

Phew! There, I feel a little better. Please feel free to disagree with me while I go figure out how to circumvent the AA+ credit rating from screwing me royally. And go to Costco to stock up on small batteries before they run out.

*By we I actually mean the American people. In the spirit of full disclosure I must admit that, even though I am a registered Democrat (for now), I voted for the Green Party and not Obama, because they had the balls to run a woman on their presidential ticket. And because Obama lost my vote when he didn’t pick Hillary for vice-president (he could have made history twice but he squandered the perfect opportunity and I couldn’t forgive him for that). And because when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Monday, August 1, 2011

3 reasons why I couldn’t be a nun

Having been educated (scolded, molded, and folded) by the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, and having recently had a long-awaited reunion with our deliciously awesome mother superior, Soeur Cécile, I can safely say that I could never, not in a million years, be a nun.

Here’s why:
1. My intense dislike of being poor: Living a life of labor and moderation ain’t in my cards. I may be able to pull off one or the other, but not both, at least not simultaneously, and certainly not in a sustained amount of time. If I had to pick one, I would have to choose labor, because, being the unofficial/undiagnosed but blatant OCD that I am, I would work hard to yield a desired outcome. Though I certainly couldn’t do it all the time. And as far as moderation goes, so as to allay the fears of anyone who thinks I may suddenly attempt to take the robe route, I have two words: purses & electronics. Can’t live without them. Have to have them. Have to have the latest ones (Valentino and Apple tie for first place, almost always). Must have all their peripherals. Must have enough of them in neat rows in their dust bags and sometimes even fancier storage bags purchased lovingly for the same purpose. Glorious, luxurious, designer purses! Ahhhh, my babies! So.. umm…yeah, poor is not something I could do well.

2. I stopped being chaste a while back: I have been married for 12 years, so obviously chastity went out the window a-running. If I had been asked this question, say… 13 years ago, I may have given a different answer. But now I know that I am not meant to have a pillow for a husband. I dare say I am quite fond of turning mid-sleep and hugging a warm body (a hairy, snoring, warm body, which I may then be quick to kick to its other non-snoring side but that’s neither here nor there). It did take me a long time to train this one so I am understandably reluctant to envision a future without it. Should anything happen to this one (divorce is not an option so basically mortal tragedy is the one possibility that could curtail my happy routine), the idea of another warm body would not be entirely displeasing, mind you, it just feels pretty foreign at this point. So, no, I'd rather not give up the male companionship altogether.

3. I could never willingly take a vow of obedience: I have a big problem, BIG problem with authority. In fact, the nuns of my childhood could attest to that fact with many, many anecdotes. Quick story: In 9th grade, after having just read Sartre, Camus, and their brethren, and having declared myself an unwavering existentialist, one Friday morning, I stood firm about not attending our weekly mass in an impromptu boycott, on account of I don’t believe in God. In my mind’s eye, I can still see the quivering lip of the Sister of the Immaculate Conception I told this to, as I stepped out of the obedient line of uniformed girls, marching two by two to the chapel. She quickly separated me from the herd, lest anyone else get any ideas about joining my solo defiance, and took me promptly to Soeur Cécile. I have to give her credit for her quick thinking. Instead of punishing me, calling my parents, sending me home, or suspending me permanently, our wise mother superior gave me the open-ended “chore” of cleaning her office every morning. So 10 minutes before the first bell, I was there, every morning, rain or shine, in her sanctuary, dusting her tchotchkes, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. She would sometimes come in and we’d chat as I tidied up an immaculate office that really didn’t need to be cleaned at all.  It took a whole academic year, but by the end of it, slowly but surely, she had convinced me that God and Nietzsche were not mutually exclusive. What’d-I tell you? She was awesome! Regardless of the outcome (and keep in mind that good catholic girls don’t stray too far away from their God, no matter how rebellious), this germinated the seed of revolt in me of any and all things one must accept without question, especially ones solely on the say-so of someone in a position of power. Now imagine me be-robed and be-humbled. It. Just. Would. Not. Work!

And there you have it. Truth be told, besides being physically incapable of taking the only three vows required to be a Sister, I can also be vain, haughty, unkind, and let’s just admit it, downright bitchy, especially when it comes to hypocrites who have the gall to condescendingly lecture me on my own morals, while theirs reside squarely in the crapper, just because they attend mass on a regular basis and say God willing and God bless a lot. Big problem, BIG problem with hypocrisy, but that’s another blog for another Monday morning...