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Speaking of Sophie

In my last post I mentioned that I related to the character of Sophie on HBO's In Treatment so much that her last few sessions had me in tears. It was like watching my own teenaged self going through therapy - which I probably should have. Abandoned by dad, depressed mom, feeling responsible for everything, acting defiant ... I swear the writers of this show found my diary from when I was 16. I wasn't a gymnast, but I did have red hair and I was in a motorcycle accident and I did OD. Hell, I even once bought a brass sailboat for Rick. I didn't have a therapist, but I did find a priest who met with me in his office once a week one summer. *sigh* "What did I do?" I still ask myself that question to this day.

Watch this video and then comment to let me know if Sophie made you cry too.

Also, in case you've ever wondered what I was like at 16, well, here ya go!

The Kids Are All Right ... Despite having seen this dumb movie

 I love the fact that even though both of the kids are officially "adults" now they still like to go to movies with mom and dad. We managed to coordinate all 4 of our schedules and spend a recent Friday night at the movies seeing Scott Pilgrim, which we all enjoyed for different reasons. On the heels of that bonding experience we made plans to see The Kids Are All Right a couple of weeks later.

I had been anxious to see this movie since first hearing about it. As a major champion for same sex marriage rights, I was thrilled to see such a relationship depicted in a mainstream movie. I anticipated realism without sensationalism; in addition to superior acting. I've loved Mia Wasikowska every since I had the pleasure of watching her act out my own life story via her role as Sophie on the series In Treatment. (Okay, so maybe I was never a gymnast and my parents were not rich beautiful successful California people, but the pathos and daddy issues were dead on. I literally wept through her last few sessions with Paul.)

D ended up being tied up with band practice but LD, KD and I went ahead to see this movie.

Wow. What a disappointment; an uncomfortable disappointment. We weren't very far into the movie before being hit with our first gratuitous sex scene. I'm by no means a prude, and the kids have not been overly sheltered to the sexual realities of the world, but sitting between my 18 year old son and twenty year old  daughter while gay male porn plays across the screen was definitely one of my most uncomfortable parenting moments. I knew without looking that LD would already be eye rolling at the gratuitousness of the scene, but KD was caught off-guard.

"Well. This is certainly uncomfortable," I whispered to her. "Probably won't be telling grandma we saw this movie."

I don't have a problem with the fact that our movie couple watched gay male porn - okay, I'll admit to a tiny problem with it because it defies both reason and the opinions of my lesbian friends (whom I queried later). My problem was with the fact that they made us watch it - and that it was completely unnecessary to the story line. We were also treated to a second showing later (including a man-to-man blow job) which was again, completely unnecessary.

In fact, I felt like maybe there was a whole subplot to the movie left on the cutting room floor which might have made the whole gay male issue a bit more relevant to the plot line. Like maybe Laser (the son) was, indeed questioning his sexuality. That certainly would have explained why the character of his douchey friend was included in the movie. Instead, the character of "Laser's friend" (I don't even remember his name) served no purpose except to nose around the lesbian moms' bedroom; find and play the porn; attempt a stupid skateboard trick; and almost pee on a stray dog. Relevance? I sure didn't see any.

And then we have the committed lesbian couple I was so eager to see portrayed. The set up is that they have been committed to each other for (at least) 18 years. They each underwent AI in order to give birth to a child of their own. In my opinion that shows a serious commitment. Why then does the doctor mom act so surprised when the hippie mom acts like ... a hippie. Is this news to her? I've only known them for about 30 minutes but I'm not at all surprised by her behaviour because that's so clearly a fundamental aspect of who she is. Ditto on hippie mom's surprise and indignation when doctor mom is discovered to be on the phone with a patient (okay, never mind that the phone never rang). They've been together 18 years - has she never EVER been called away to deal with a patient before?

And then we have my main complaint about the whole stupid movie, which is that apparently even when someone is in a near 20 year committed monogamous loving homosexual relationship all it takes for one to stray from both the commitment AND their own sexuality is a guy with a big dick. Seriously. The first time hippie mom hops into bed with the hetero male she's known for only a couple of days she is quick to make sure we know she's quite impressed with his endowment. And so begins the numerous scenes of them having heterosexual butt-pumping sex in too many different positions to count.

I'm not even going to bother with talking about the rest of the movie because it pretty much lost all credibility with me right there. Lesbians are turned on by gay male porn and when presented with the opportunity to enjoy a well hung man they will turn their back on their partner, their family, and everything they've ever held sacred. Yeah, right. Ugh.

I would love to have known what led Laser to want to find his bio dad, or why the moms seemed to suddenly not know or communicate with each other, or even why Sophie (she'll always be Sophie to me) was so concerned with her bff's sexual exploits. Instead, the only thing this movie showed me was a bunch of sexual positions I had already seen ... and some gay male porn.

The kids in my own life are definitely all right, as on the ride home they had a long discussion about how gratuitous sex or violence in movies is stupid and how they don't believe that one's sexuality can change on a whim. By the time we got home we were all three pretty much over it. When D asked how the movie was the kids just rolled their eyes and I gave him just enough information to horrify him (he's far more protective than I) before we all turned our attention to playing with Jake, who had been locked in the back yard all evening with no one to play fetch with.

Sometimes just having all of us dorking around together at home is way more fun than going to the movies. anyway.


Random Shout Outs, Kudos & Complaints

The world is a beautiful place today! I forget how much fun it is because I tend to stay holed up wallowing in my unemployed-ness, but today I ventured out and functioned among the masses for a change. The weather was beautiful, people were friendly,  and the traffic was tolerable.

Speaking of traffic:

To the man in the white truck with the old school trailer: It was very nice of you to stop in the middle lane so I could turn right even though the guy in the right (my) lane already had it covered & I had even begun my turn, but was it really necessary to honk repeatedly at me and gesture wildly towards the center lane? I mean, we were all stopped because of the red light a few car lengths ahead. So like I said, it was nice of you to stop also, but what you didn't seem to understand was that I did not want (or need) to turn into your lane, as I was just going to hook another right as soon as the light changed. The first time you honked and pointed I smiled and politely pointed back at my own lane to try and convey that I was going that way. The second time you honked/pointed I checked for a stalled car in my intended lane to make sure you weren't giving me some kind of polite friendly-driver heads-up. The third time I thought you were being far too bossy, so I just exchanged a wtf look with the red truck in my own lane. I'm sorry your lane wasn't appealing to me - despite your best efforts to get me to join. It wasn't you. It was me. We were just on different paths in life.

To Whole Foods: Your garlic pesto knots complete me.

To the nice mail carrier who traded lanes with me on the parking lot: Thank you for the car window service mail pick-up.

To the city worker guys with the Ditch Witch (Shout out Littlefield!): It's hot out there, but I want you to know you are appreciated.

To Dr. Cobb: Thank you very much for the supply of free samples!  It sucks to be uninsured in the U.S. NHC now!

To Bodhi: I said you could go with me, but you didn't want to, so quit acting like I abandoned you.

To DD: I want my steak dinner and I'm quite confident I earned it.

To Ilonka: So glad to have you back in my life!

To my neighbor who is moving to China in 3 days: I'm so excited for you and can't wait to hear stories of your experiences as an expat!

To iTunes: I'm already a genius so I'm not at all interested in your slow loading recommendations! Also, YES, I do want to continue to receive my podcasts. That's why I subscribed to them and I'll listen to them when I'm damned good and ready. And NO I do not want you to auto delete anything. STOP TRYING TO SECOND GUESS ME!

To Obama: Hang in there - not everyone is an ethnocentric idiot.

To Ethnocentric idiots: SHUT UP!

Life After Lay Off: Weeks 9 and 10

I've had strep throat. Or tonsillitis. I'm not sure which, but my throat looks like raw meat and feels like someone ran an electric sander over it. It hurts to swallow. It also hurts not to swallow.
Unfortunately since I no longer have health insurance, or you know, a job I cannot afford to go to the doctor.
Fortunately since I live with an autoimmune disorder anyway I have a giant stash of antibiotics on hand. So, I've simply used my Google-fu to determine which antibiotic and in what dose and have been medicating myself.
Hmmm ... even with my mad medical skillz I still don't have a job.


Popular Phenomena I Will Never Understand

There are many things about popular American culture that absolutely baffle me. It goes without saying that I abhor media manipulation, but the increasing willingness of people to succumb to it leaves me both disgusted and saddened. In many instances it's as if logic has ceased to exist. To wit:

1.  Lady GaGa: For starters she looks like a drag version of Howard from the Big Bang Theory. I do agree that she has a beautiful voice, but whatever happened to letting that stand on its own? I have no problem with celebrities using their platforms to educate and inform about causes they believe in, but Lady GaGa is promoting nothing but her own self with all the ridiculous costumes and videos. In fact, by appearing as a freak show she's alienating a large portion of an audience she might otherwise be able to reach and instead appealing to the lowest common denominator. I'm a huge proponent of individuality  and self expression. I was saying "fuck the fascist beauty standards" long before people  like her came along, but there is a difference between drawing attention to a cause and drawing attention to oneself. Lady GaGa is doing only the latter, which is shame because she seems to be an intelligent and articulate person underneath all the BS.

2.  Miley Cyrus/Jonas Brothers/Justin Beiber etc.: Remember the days when musical success and chart topping hits were the result of talent? Sure, good looks and connections played a role, but overall it was about musical ability - a good voice, a mastery of an instrument, the ability to write both music and lyrics. Songs used to stay at number one for weeks. The same names dominated the charts repeatedly. Stars had staying power. These days "stars" are manufactured by giant PR organizations (Disney anyone?) and actual talent has very little to do with it. Whenever I hear Justin sing I can only think, "Shut up little boy! You know not of what you sing. You are a child!" Seriously! Songs have become nothing more than commercials for a brand. I'll pass.

3. Dressing your dog: The basic reason people wear clothing is decency. We simply do not live in a society where it's acceptable to let your nipples or penis hang out for all to see, therefore we wear clothes. As a result of wearing clothing we develop personal style. Dogs? They are not required to conform to standards of decency. They "wear" their skin. That should be the end of it. No matter how much one might want to believe their dog loves designer clothes it simply is not true. Fido does not prefer pink over black; Yankees over Cardinals; Cowboys over Patriots; Harvard over Yale or anything else his/her owners might want to project upon their pet. Unnatural fibers probably irritate their skin. Ruffles itch on their necks as much as flies would. A collar weighted down with rhinestones and charms strains their necks. Shoes and hats throw off their balance. Get it? This dog does not look happy - it looks stupid! The beauty of a dog is that it is perfect in its natural design: feet that are padded to sustain walking on various surfaces; whiskers to help with balance; ears and eyes shaped in specific ways to facilitate survival; and coats of fur designed to keep them both warm and cool as weather dictates. Dogs need us to feed them, protect them, and to obtain medical help for them when they are sick. That is all. if you want to dress something up in costume and carry it around then get a freakin' doll. If you simply must buy clothing for someone other than yourself how about spending your money to help clothe needy people - you know, the ones who are freezing to death on the streets in the winter b/c they do not have coats. For the love of all that is right and good please let your dog be a dog and maintain his or her own doggie dignity.

4. Facebook/MySpace/Twitter: Identity theft is an ever increasing problem in our society. Privacy is a growing concern. The ink is barely dry on our stalking laws. One of the biggest fears of the neocons is that "Big Brother" is watching. Spam infuriates everybody. And yet millions of people have signed up to post all of their very personal information - including their innermost thoughts - on the most public forum existing in our world today. Does nobody see the irony in that?!

5. Reality TV: Here's a medium that celebrates the worst of human traits: greed, lying, stupidity, selfishness, ridicule, manipulation, and a whole host of other base human emotions and actions. This is not entertainment. Why are people so quick to want to see a fellow human being debase his or her self in pursuit of the almighty dollar? Why do we want to see people thrown together in a community only to divide and form allegiances against one another? And for the love of all that is sacred why on earth do we wish to watch people eat disgusting things until they puke? Game shows based on intelligence and knowledge are great. Those based on bodily urges and functions are not.

6.  Sushi: Newsflash here ... Every since the discovery of that nifty thing called fire (along with the appearance of opposable thumbs) there is no longer any need to eat raw fish. I don't care how trendy, pretty, innovative or fresh it is it's still RAW FISH and unless your only means of obtaining food is to catch live prey with your bare hands/paws, rip it apart immediately as its lifeblood drains out, and growl to intimidate any nearby predators as you ingest it then there is no reason to eat raw fish or any other meat.
 7.  Angelina Jolie: A very wealthy white woman who travels the world purchasing human infants is also considered to be a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and bestowed with humanitarian awards? I will NEVER understand that one. We have limits on how many fish you can catch or how many deer you can shoot. Can we not limit this woman's collection of human children?!

8. SUVs: Unless you have to regularly haul large masses of equipment from place to place, or drive in areas without paved roads, there is no reason at all for you to drive an SUV. None. You choose to do so only because media manipulation has convinced you that all the cool people are driving them. And another thing: Quit trying to tell me they are safer because I'm not buying it.
9.  Birthers: We live in a world of instant information. The vetting process for elected officials - especially those vying for the highest office in our land - is extremely thorough, not to mention extreme. The background check required to obtain security clearance to work for the government is beyond comprehensive. Despite all of this there is an amazingly large part of our population who believes that Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen. My own teenage son could not get a job serving ice creme until he proved he was 16 and a citizen. I hardly think that Obama could survive the vetting process, background checks, opposition research and the process of gaining security clearance unless he did too. And if the whole thing is a conspiracy then all of those necessary to facilitate such a cover up would mean that the whole idea of his holding any actual power is moot, so it wouldn't matter anyway.

10.  Fox News: I don't even know where to begin with this one. You don't get to claim fair and balanced when you financially support one political party over another. I don't begrudge them their right to show only what they want, but at least call it what it is.