Scary Stuff.

0000 blasphemy

I was raised in a pretty strict religious environment. Not as strict as some faiths, but still fairly rigid. We were told not to befriend outsiders, not get involved in anything at school that means more time with unbelievers, etc. I honestly blame a lot of my social anxiety on those teachings, and my mother’s determination to follow it to the letter. My dad wasn’t involved in the religion, but he really liked the no dating until you’re ready for marriage aspect, so he let my mom take us.

The people at the lovely Kingdom Hall are not bad people. They’re warm, friendly, honest to a fault. Provided you follow the rules. I can’t count how many times someone was ‘marked’, meaning they couldn’t socialize with others outside church; I think they’ve changed that phrase, or disfellowshipped. Usually over something stupid. Dating a non believer, marrying one. Having premarital sex. You got a warning, the marking, and if you didn’t change what you were doing, you were out. Disfellowshipping means no talking to anyone. You can still come to the meeting, as Witnesses call them, but you arrive and leave quietly. Preferably before the ending prayer is over, lest anyone have to be uncomfortable with your presence.

You know how you watch a scary movie be jumpy for a night and get over it? Yeah, not me. I watched The Ring at a sleepover I had to beg to go to and couldn’t sleep for a week. Why, you ask? Being taught that watching those kind of movies opens a door and invites demons in will sort of ruin it for you. My mother had my father’s copy of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom outside because she didn’t want spirits in the house. It took me 5 years to get that fear out of my head.

That’s the other fun side effect of being indoctrinated. The first few years you stop going, you feel like you’re detoxing. All the irrational fears and idiotic rules still feel like it’s wrong to disbelieve and break them. Oh, and forget about exploring other religions. When you’re constantly told that all other religions are wrong, they feel wrong. If I weren’t an atheist now, I could probably objectively study other religions and see if they fit without feeling like I was sinning. 11 years later. I would say I was mostly deprogrammed after 7 years. I still catch a thought pop into my head when I’m doing something that goes against that particular faith. Like eating a medium rare steak. I wish I were kidding.

I’m all for believing what you want. You should be able to. I don’t think you should be allowed to force your children into believing it too. Or inserting it into politics. One of the Witnesses’ “signs of the end times” is religions being abolished. I wish. I have a really hard time accepting religion when I see toddlers being forced to hold up signs that say “abortion is murder” on Sunday afternoon at the mall. The most free and clear headed I have ever felt has been these past few years, when I discovered how lovely it was to believe in nothing. Other than science and the inherent goodness of people. At least my faith in science doesn’t waver. People, it depends on the day.

I say deprogramming and indoctrination a lot. I don’t mean that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult, because they aren’t. If they are, all religion should be considered a cult. They don’t do anything other faiths don’t do. The rapture nightmares I’ve heard from so many people, for example. I am glad I was not taught that. Scary stuff.

Us taking R out trick or treating or putting up a tree get a lot of “you know it’s Pagan, right?” Yes, I do.

Pagan and fun.

Gone Girl; Or Why Being the Cool Girl is Bullshit.

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Warning: Spoilers.

I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?

So begins Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Easily one of the most twisted, intriguing books I’ve read in the past few years. I went to see the movie today.

The casting for Gone Girl was perfect. Ben Affleck as douchebag Nick, for one. My personal disdain for Affleck probably colors this a bit. I love Rosamund Pike. I thought she portrayed Amy well. The only criticism I have is Amy was above it all, but relatable. Pike is too untouchable. I thought the scenes she really shone in were her life in the river cabins, post disappearance. Her fear at being hit and robbed, gave you the illusion she wasn’t quite as clever as she thought.

This film is the best adaptation of a book I think I have ever seen. Gillian Flynn writing the screenplay adds to that, I’m sure. Everything important was left, insignificant details were left out. Amy is not featured as heavily as she is in the book, it is more about Nick. Amy gets the last word in the book, not so in the movie.

I will admit, I was squeamish about Neil Patrick Harris playing Desi.  As creepy as he is in the book,  I was afraid I would never be able to look at Harris the same. This was one of the parts the editing really worked. Desi was just creepy enough to unnerve you, but not so creepy that you’d want to immediately shower.

Amy is such a beautifully flawed, vindictive, multi layered character.  I should probably not admit this, but I liked her.  I somewhat understood her need to teach her husband a lesson. Not go as far as she did, maybe just disappear for a few days and show back up to give him a jolt, but not a national scene. You sort of have to admire her determination and resolve. She decides to do it, she does it. In this, the tables are turned. Rather than the mistress turning the man’s life into hell, a la Fatal Attraction, the wife does.

A lot of women I know have confessed to relating to Amy.  If for nothing else but the “cool girl” speech from the book. I think all women have aspired to be the cool girl, not nag, be their husband’s buddy in that aspect. “My wife is so cool”.  Let me tell you something about being the cool girl. It’s bullshit. Deep down, every cool girl is seething and wanting to rage. Incidentally, this is what happens to Amy. She completely changes herself to be exactly who her husband wants, and he cheats on her anyway. That’s the breaking point.

Nick deserves a touch of credit. Him deciding to turn the tables and lure Amy home is brilliant.  Ben Affleck did a decent job of playing the stoic, uncomfortable in his own skin husband. Even though he wins in a sense, getting Amy home and not being charged with her murder, she is still pulling the strings.

In the end, even over Nick’s half hearted protestations, I think they both get what they want.

Just Keep Swimming. Unless There’s a 300 Pound Weight on Your Fin.

I’m prefacing this blog with a  pseudo apology.  I rarely rant/whine about my personal life. However. It’s been a long two months.

I don’t want to refer to myself as a single parent, because I am not. I am the only caregiver, and I keep things running. But, I don’t have to worry about employment, how to pay the bills, etc., because my husband is working. He’s just not here right now.

I was doing okay, mostly.  I found a suitable daycare for my son, I was accomplishing what I needed to, the two days/4 hours he was there. It was moving along swimmingly. Then the daycare became a inhospitable environment. He was acting out a lot at home, starving all the time. That’s what happens when someone doesn’t feed your kid lunch. So I pulled him out.

I’ve met with 5 potential nanny types since then. I am not comfortable with any of them. I went by the base regulated childcare.  I didn’t get a good feeling about that place either.  So, I’ve been juggling only having a break when he sleeps with full time school, laundry, housework, etc.  It’s safe to say my house is a disaster zone. I can pretty much only manage to keep the bathrooms and kitchen clean. Laundry piles everywhere. I know, my life is so hard.

My parents were supposed to visit this month. My dad has been traveling a lot for work and didn’t want to make the long drive here, which I completely understand. Except now, he wants me to fly in. Which I can’t even begin to fathom or organize in my mind right now. I only have a week break til next semester. I was going to take it off, but my financial aid is already set. I do want to visit. It would be a nice break. It’s just too much now, and I wish my parents would just drive down.

All my friends who lived here aren’t around anymore. Everyone’s gone. My dad keeps telling me to go meet new people, (HA) and I have zero energy for that. I’m tired, I’m lonely, I’m worn out.

And my husband is gallivanting around the Mediterranean for another several months.

Tequila please.

O Captain!

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I don’t remember Robin Williams not making me laugh.

When I was young, I watched Mork and Mindy reruns with my mom. I grew up when Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, and Flubber came out. The Birdcage made me feel like just because I was the only non close minded person in my podunk town, didn’t mean I was the only one in the world. Patch Adams, What Dreams May Come, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Death to Smoochy, etc., etc., etc. Even The Crazy Ones last TV season. I’ve never known a world without Robin Williams being such a talent in anything I saw.

I introduced my son to Mrs. Doubtfire this morning. He hasn’t laughed that hard at anything on television, ever. As an adult, the movie is less entertaining to me, as I can much more identify with Fields’ character, but the end still gets me. Particularly Mrs. Doubtfire saying good bye.

When the news broke August 11, I was shocked, as were most people. I dreaded telling my husband, who loves Robin Williams. I am selfishly glad that he found out before we spoke. That night I watched The Birdcage and laughed.

As someone who didn’t know him at all, I’m so sad that he’s gone. I wonder if the Parkinson’s diagnosis was the last straw. Maybe he was terrified at the thought of not being able to make people laugh anymore. He struggled with his demons, and I’m so sorry that they won.

Since his passing, I’ve seen so much about his work, his talent, but most importantly, so much about his kindness. He was a father and a husband, and a dear friend to so many.

I don’t believe in an afterlife, I think when we die, we just cease to exist. Hopefully we’ve left something worth remembering. Robin Williams left so many somethings.

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Social Media, or First World Problems.

I use my Facebook like most people, to post articles I read that I want to share, keep family and friends updated. I have seen so much ignorance re: Ferguson, and have posted two separate things about it.

I have a wide variety of friends and family, with different views, religions, opposite ends of the political spectrum, etc. If you don’t agree with me over something I post, fine. If you say something about it, even better. We can discuss, right? Apparently not. A friend from high school posted something on a Ferguson article I posted, saying she didn’t think it was racism, we should just group all unjustifiable police homicides in one category. I like reading different point of views, and I responded as to why I didn’t think we could group them all the same. She deletes her comments, and posts the same exact thing on her own wall. I guess more people agree with her over there.

So, like the blunt girl I am, I make a comment about how I hate the delete function. She comes back, reposts her post, continues to discuss. She then deletes all her posts not about her dog or child, and posts something sanctimonious about not having her Facebook as an information page, just about her life. Okay, who cares? If you want to discuss, do so. If you want to post ‘hot topics’, do so. Just stand by it, don’t delete everything because someone dares to disagree with you. If you don’t want to hear a different view, don’t post something that is guaranteed to do just that.

This rarely happens to me. Anyone who knows me, knows I deal with a crazy political person, and he can’t see my posts. When he could, I was kind and level headed when disagreeing with him.  As I could be. If I had someone do that on every status, I wouldn’t post that kind of thing anymore. Luckily, I’ve only had the one issue. This girl has a ton of people kissing her ass on her wall, so I know she’s not dealing with that. The last time this happened to me, a dear friend stopped talking me because she said I was too liberal. That happened over me applauding a young man refusing to recite the Pledge because he felt we all weren’t equal in this country. My bad.

I just can’t take the back pedaling and acting like a child because someone disagrees with you. I don’t care if people agree with me, obviously, and I know not everyone is going to agree with every single thing you think. Her posts are hidden for now. I may revisit deleting her later. This whole situation is just so obnoxious to me.

Side note: People from my hometown acting like black people are to blame for their scuffles with police or claiming racism is dead; thank you for reminding me why I don’t live there anymore. Your ignorance is showing.

Cutting Off The Nose To Spite The Face.

I love Mayim Bialik. I love that she’s not afraid to share her beliefs and opinions. She’s an intelligent woman, she and her character on Big Bang share a degree. When her attachment parenting book came out, she faced a ton of criticism, and handled it gracefully without backing down from her convictions.

That being said, I’ve found myself being disappointed with her as of late. It started when she posted an editorial Jon Voight contributed, ‘calling out’ celebrities like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem for speaking against Israel’s actions in regard to Gaza. Side note: Are people actually taking anything Jon Voight says seriously? I haven’t for years. Moving on. I don’t understand, but I realize the plight of the Israelis, I do. I know what’s happened to them and it’s despicable and abomidable. No one is discounting what they have been through.

Today, I read Ms. Bialik’s post on Kveller, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. It doesn’t have anything to do with religion. If I saw someone wearing a Star of David, I wouldn’t approach them and badger them about Israel’s actions. I also wouldn’t assume they stood with Israel. Her caption for the post she shared on Facebook in part read: “despite all of the hate for Jews I’m seeing here.” sealed my feelings about her attitude. I glanced at the comments on her other posts, and there is minor prejudicial commentary. Out of 200 comments, I saw maybe 2. I don’t know if that’s the hate she was referring to, but if it is, it’s not really overwhelming. The majority is praise and support, which more than cancels out the bad. Not excusing those little keyboard warriors, they suck, but it’s not predominant.

I am not a fan of Israel’s actions in the least. Gaza is small, and Israel is bombing schools, hospitals, and shelters. I understand defending yourself against Hamas, but they aren’t targeting them. I do not like Hamas either, and find their actions inexcusable as well. All that being said, it has nothing to do with religion. If the predominant religion in Israel was Mormonism, it wouldn’t change my feelings. If I subscribed to any religious sect, I would not associate myself with their warfare. When a country, person, group, etc., is doing unconscionable things, you speak up. Look at all the people in the US that spoke out against the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan. When we were bombing Baghdad, so many made sure to make their voices heard.

I don’t like reading stories about children dying because of bombs, or seeing a Twitter feed of a 16 year old girl who has never known what freedom is like. Hamas is in the wrong, but Israel likes to make sure their enemies are aware of their capabilities. Hamas stepped on their foot, and they’re cutting off heads.

Sorry, Mayim. I have to unlike you on Facebook. I thought an educated, compassionate woman such as yourself would speak against atrocities. Not excuse them.

Links for Voight’s Letter and Ms. Bialik’s column

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jon-voight-pens-letter-ignorant-723007?template=cap&utm_expid=19303748-95.-MaQhQt6RHyzFO0fFD96sg.1&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3D%26esrc%3Ds%26source%3Dnewssearch%26cd%3D1%26ved%3D0CB4Q-AsoAjAA%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.hollywoodreporter.com%252Fnews%252Fjon-voight-pens-letter-ignorant-723007%26ei%3D-RPpU7PiE8ycyAT6wIDQAw%26usg%3DAFQjCNFp_toF6WZPuv9XFppxyCIARYIBAw%26sig2%3DiLWNmCaftlE4jRqrd0AoUQ#

http://www.kveller.com/mayim-bialik/mayim-bialik-why-i-wear-my-jewish-star/

Still Learning.

I have always considered myself an open minded person. Especially with the gay community. I never thought being gay was a sin, and didn’t the issue with homosexual couples getting married. However, I never really ‘got’ the transgender community and their struggle. I thought it was a conscious decision on their part, to live as the opposite gender. I understood that some felt the need to transition, but again, I didn’t really get it. Last summer, a Netflix show starring trans woman Laverne Cox premiered, and I had a small epiphany, that maybe it wasn’t as much a choice as I thought.

Earlier this year, author Janet Mock was a guest on Piers Morgan. This made headlines, because of his insensitive questions and unwillingness to empathize with her struggle. A few weeks later, I saw Ms. Mock on the Colbert Report. I was struck by her beauty, and thought ‘I would never know she was trans. How gorgeous is she?” Which now I recognize as offensive, and I shouldn’t say it out loud. Moving on. I was intrigued by her, the way she described being trans. She has written a book ‘Redefining Realness’. I read it in 3 days.

To say I was moved is an understatement. I finally understood the struggle that trans people face. I’ll never experience it, but now I can empathize. Mock’s story is a sad one, yet there’s a happy ending. I follow her and Cox on Twitter, and these two women are among the fiercest I’ve encountered. Their passion and willingness to help others by telling their own stories is admirable. I know I am grateful for the opportunity to learn what being transgendered really is all about. Laverne Cox made the cover of Time this month, no small feat. Her show, Orange is the New Black, comes back June 6th, and she’s been nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award. She and fellow trans woman(also a model), Carmen Carrera, appeared on Katie Couric earlier this year. They handled that with eloquence and grace, in spite of Couric’s inane questions.

I know these two women have made huge differences for the transgender community. I hope that more people are able to step into the light and be accepted for who they are.

Read Janet Mock’s book, Redefining Realness. You won’t regret it.

End of an Era.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written anything. Sorry, guys. I started college, my parents visited, and my child hit the terrible two’s. It’s been busy.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you heard of David Letterman’s impending retirement, and Stephen Colbert being named as his replacement. I haven’t watched Dave in years, but it was still a bit sad for me to hear.

When I was in junior high, my dad owned a little arcade/general store. He’d get home around the time Dave came on, and I’d still be awake. I didn’t see him much then, he was working a lot, so this started our tradition of watching Dave and talking. We talked about everything, college, religion, politics. Stupid human and pet tricks were our favorite episodes, along with the bird callers. Anytime I think of my dad during my childhood, this sticks out in my mind. As far as I remember, this only lasted one summer. My dad got a job in the fall that was a regular 9-5, and I had to go back to school, thus going to bed earlier. We’d stay up on the weekends sporadically and chat, but it wasn’t the same. Letterman has always held an emotional attachment for me, even when my dad stopped watching him because he said Dave got ‘old and bitter’.

So long, Dave. Thanks for the memories.

A Long Time Ago; We Used to Be Friends.

SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE AND DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE PLOT/DETAILS, STOP READING NOW!!

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I got into Veronica Mars shortly after it was cancelled. She was, and still is, one of my favorite female TV characters. She was spunky, quick witted, wonderfully flawed. Alas, the CW didn’t agree and cancelled VMars, leaving so much left unfinished.

When I heard about Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas’ Kickstarter campaign, I was giddy. So many people I knew were fans, I had no doubt the movie would get made. I even kicked in $20.

Cut to last weekend. I had been impatiently waiting for the movie to come out. I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, I wouldn’t like the plot, etc. I was worried for nothing.

The Veronica Mars movie was such a wonderful love letter to fans of the show. It was like a season, condensed into an hour and 47 minute movie. Everyone was there, Dick, Madison, Wallace, Mac, Piz, Keith, Sachs, Weevil, Vinnie, and of course Logan. Who, by the way, ages like a fine wine. That Navy uniform? Drool. To quote Cougar Town, “he makes my lady parts beep”. Sorry. Or not.

I love that Veronica left everything behind, tried to start over and be a completely different person, only to turn it all back upside down. I love so much about the movie, I don’t have enough words. I have absolutely no criticism. Everyone just seamlessly transitioned back to their characters. Nothing about it felt stiff or forced. Given that it’s been 10 years since they’ve played those roles, that’s impressive.

Please, more Veronica Mars. Go to Netflix and bring it back, a la Arrested Development. Or a sequel. I’d be content with that.

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You Learn.

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The Paula Cole station on Pandora IS my teenage years.

I was listening to it during dishes, and was astounded that every single song was one that I played ad nauseam in my room, on my cd player/radio. (Except the Sixpence None the Richer ones. Do I have to thumbs down every single one to get Pandora not to play them?) Mostly I listened to angry girl or depressive girl music. Lots of Alanis and Sarah McLachlan. My poor dad.

Now I want to watch old episodes of My So Called Life and drool over Jordan Catalano. Sigh.

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