Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Photographic Evidence

that I am the luckiest momma on the planet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Found the Yearbook Picture!

I found the yearbook picture! See post below. Yep, that is one sexy sneer.

A Response to a Response to a...whatever the heck it was

1.) I didn't use the phrase "nintendo playing couch potato" three times. It was at least seventeen times.

2.) Yes, women are just as shallow as men. Sometimes even more so, especially if shoe shopping is involved.

3.) If those yearbook pictures of Mr. McDreamy Debate Man should show up, say on your son's blog (since he has nothing better to do right now, judging from his last blog entry), it might be worth his time posting them. I assume it would pretty much nail my point home, a picture being worth a thousand words and all that.

4.) "There seemed to be a subtle implication that somehow I'm only mad about this because I'm not as hot as Edward is portrayed to be..." Yeah, see number three. However, I do give you a teeny bit of credibility on this one, at least the claim that you had a few years of adequate 'coolness'--or should that be 'hotness' since my argument was based on the relative hotness factor of Edward vs. other men? Anyway, since you did manage to score a wife who is both pretty and smart, I begrudgingly concede this one. Honesty compels me to point out, though, that this same intelligent and beautiful wife of yours is known across thirteen states for her compulsive need to bring home sick, deformed, and universally pathetic creatures, and I've noticed that the more pathetic they are, the more she loves them. Draw your own conclusions.

5.) Bald men ARE sexy, but that's another post entirely. Um, make that "SOME bald men are sexy."

6.) Vampire light bulb jokes? Groan.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Organizing the SMUTS, or In Defense of Vampires

Ladies, a few of the Nintendo-playing couch potatoes we know have wised up to the unnatural pull that a certain pallid vampire exerts. They are organizing. This isn't necessarily a worrisome thing, since men organizing themselves tend to be about as effective as you would expect a bunch of Nintendo-playing couch potatoes to be.

I tried to let it go, but ah, the pain! From lame acronyms (GAVEL, seriously???) to gender generalizations to misinterpretations of the text...Mr. Brain-Pain's argument contains a few logical fallacies that are making MY brain hurt, and in defense of my gender I've got to let it fly.

Let's deal with acronyms first. I propose a more descriptive name for GAVEL. SNOUTS--Sleepy Nintendo Obsessed Underwear Tugging Slobs. Or maybe CRANKAS--Crabby Regressive Anal-Retentives Not Known As StephanieM Super-fans. Since women are far better at closing ranks, we could come up with an acronym of our own. SMUTS, Serious Matrons Under Twilight's Spell. Or EDWARDLUV, Edgy Daring Women Advancing Righteous Desire Lusting Unbridled for Vampires.

I planned a careful literary analysis that countered Mr. Lame-Brain's description of Edward as a 'bad boy,' pointing out that you could make a solid argument for Edward as the moral center of entire series. It was brilliant--pulling in Kierkgaard, C.S. Lewis, and Virginia Woolf to support my thesis. However, I realized a careful literary analysis would be a mistake for two reasons:

1.) It would reveal far, FAR more of my inner geek than I care to show, and

2.) It would be a waste of good typing time, since Mr. Brain-Strain apparently HASN'T READ THE BOOKS! I quote here from the eminently quotable Orson Scott Card, who said, "Freaking idiots who don't even read books are not allowed to offer any kind of criticism of said books." Okay, he didn't say exactly that--he was referring to an opportunity to review a particular book, an opportunity that he declined because "the book was clearly not written for me--I was not part of its natural audience." According to Brain-Drain's wife, "In order to appreciate Stephanie Meyers' books you have to channel your inner teenage girl. S doesn't have an inner teenage girl, not a teeniest little bit." And to quote his teenage daughter, who is in the throes of page 600 of book four, "Dad won't read the books because it would be an affront to his masculinity." Uh-huh. I'll save the complex character analysis. For you women out there, I'd be preaching to the choir. For anyone else--READ THE BOOKS! Then we'll talk.

Now to sweeping gender generalizations: myth one, women like bad boys. This seems to be stated as fact only by those same Nintendo playing couch potatoes, and ladies, it's an excuse. It lets them off the hook. It's not their fault that women don't fall for them--in fact, it's honorable, because it demonstrates that said men must be the opposite of 'bad boys', otherwise women would be falling all over them just like they do for Johnny Depp. I know, I know, my first response was also "And have you SEEN Johnny Depp? With or without eyeliner, he's nice brain candy anytime." If it makes you feel better to assume that women are only attracted to Johnny Depp in pirate costume, that's okay. We women usually keep our fantasies a little more private than men do. I think it's more accurate to state that women like hot guys, bad or good being a separate consideration. We can discuss later to what extent relative goodness or badness plays into hotness; the point is, you can tell yourself women blew you off in order to hunt down some leather-clad bikers running from capital murder charges, but it won't change the fact that really hot accountants and computer geeks and Silicon Valley millionaires have no trouble getting women.

Myth two, women eventually give up lusting after cage fighters and settle for regular schmoes in favor of a regular paycheck and in spite of the incessant video gaming. I'm not sure who looks more pathetic in this scenario--the men who sit on their butts until a woman gets desperate enough to take them, or the woman who lets a bitsy little paycheck win her over to someone who falls asleep on the sofa drooling in front of the TV. Oops, sorry--I didn't mean to make this personal. Here's the real deal: for some unexplicable reason that I can't begin to understand, let alone verbalize, we women actually sometimes find pathetic-ness CUTE. Cute is closely related to Hot (see above), so it happens from time to time that a regular, nerdy, even pathetic schmoe will luck out and end up with a real live woman. This is not because the woman is settling; it's because miracles happen ['fairy tales do come true, it can happen to you' as the song goes] and she somehow sees beyond the drool and the glazed-over eyes and imagines to herself that there is an Edward lurking beneath the boring exterior. Men, when this happens to you, thank your lucky stars and worship the ground that woman walks on for the rest of your natural life.

Myth three (closely related to myth one): In order to capture women's hearts and/or imaginations, it's not enough just to be 'bad.' The danger and bad-boy factor has to consistently rise, otherwise women will be bored. Hence, if a pirate is exciting, a vampire is even more exciting. Let's see--my first response to this generalization is READ THE BLEEPING BOOKS! Bella doesn't fall for Edward because he's a vampire; she falls for him because he's hot--okay, technically he's very cold, but hot in a sexually attractive sense--and the fact that he's a vampire is rather a complication to her attraction. I feel myself falling back into literary criticism mode, that conflict is the first rule of fiction, and placing seemingly insurmountable challenges in the path of true love is cliche, true, but consistently effective nonetheless. Guys, it is fiction. Female fantasy in vampire form. Really smart men would be reading the books themselves and taking notes, looking to unleash an inner Edward.

And for a post bashing female fantasy, dare I comment on the irony of supplicating Buffy in conclusion? If ever there were a poster girl for male fantasy, in all her blond perkiness, Buffy reigns supreme. Not only is she buff and kicks butt in her sports bra tops and tight pants, but she kicks VAMPIRE butt. Men get to watch their fantasy woman engage in a smackdown with the object of their wives' lust, and Buffy always wins. Male fantasy squared.

Ugh. I'd write more but I've still got 140 pages to go in Breaking Dawn and I've got to finish in time for the first meeting of SMUTS. In true female fashion we've already organized ourselves into twenty committees and sub-committees, and I'm in charge of refreshments ("all chocolate, all the time" is our motto). Eat your hearts out, couch-potato boys.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Losing our Virginity

One of my very favorite events of the year took place this weekend—the annual retreat with my sisters. Once a year we escape husbands, kids, jobs, houses, and every other mundane and boring aspect of life in order to lounge, eat, gab, eat, watch movies, shop, eat, play tourist, eat, sleep in, and oh yeah—eat some more.
This evolved from a tradition began when we were all teenagers, sharing a bedroom and staying up half the night talking about boys. We called them 'socials,' and we planned them out like military maneuvers. We'd stock up on ice cream and potato chips, stash it all in the garage, and then late at night when everyone else was asleep, we'd climb out the bedroom window to retrieve our snacks and spend the rest of the night stuffing ourselves, giggling, and playing absurd versions of "Truth or Dare."
Adolescence is still in style at our yearly retreats. "Wendy, why are you wearing white tights with your pajamas? Oh my gosh, those are your LEGS!" Snicker, snicker. Wedgies and belching contests... some things never change.

Saturday we realized that we were all, every single one of us, pedicure virgins. Considering all the beauty treatments we’ve indulged in between us, this was amazing and cried out for immediate rectifying. We found a strip mall salon with the winning name of Sparkling Nails, where for $20 a team of Vietnamese men and women will slough, buff, and ‘sparkle’ your feet for an hour.

As you can see from the pictures above, it worked. I felt like I was five again—“I want the pretty flowers with the shiny jewels…” My five year old is insanely jealous and begging nonstop for me to take her to the store with foot bathtubs and sparkly toe nail polish.

We decided that losing our communal virginity needs to be our new tradition at our annual sisters’ retreat. The challenge will be coming up with something that none of us have done. More of a challenge than you might think. Here are some things we thought of and discarded because at least one of us had already done it:

Laser treatments
Bungee jumping
Nose and/or belly piercing
Male strippers
Full-body massage (not by said male strippers, although maybe that could be the new experience next year…)

Because what is said at sisters’ retreat stays at sisters’ retreat, I can’t divulge which of us has done which of the above items. Apparently we are a rather adventurous lot, which doesn’t leave many options for new exploits. The extremely short list of things that NONE of us have done reads like this:

Skydiving (there is a reason some of us haven’t tried this. We’re currently in discussions about whether adult diapers would solve the fear factor).
Making out with a woman (this one isn’t going to happen. For any of us. EVER.).
Reading all of Jane Austen’s novels (the question is, do any of us really WANT to read all the JA novels?)

I'm hugely hoping that we think of more options before next August, otherwise I'm going to end up either reading more ga-ga girly stuff than I can stomach in one weekend, or laying on a table with a tube snaking up parts of me I don't want to think about. I'm not sure which would be worse.

Appropriately for such an estrogen-heavy weekend, in an estrogen-heavy post, quoting from another ga-ga girly girl, "You know full as well as I do the value of sisters’ affection to each other; there is nothing like it on this earth." –Charlotte Bronte. Here's to the girls. Love you!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Retiring the Crown

While the good Lord has blessed me with many talents, apparently artistic ability is not one of them. Normally this would not pose a problem, in fact, it wouldn't even be known, to me or anyone else, but my current calling is leading the music in Primary, and it seems creating visual aids is part of the calling.

Early on I erroneously assumed that because they are children they wouldn't be very particular about the quality of the artwork--in fact, they would be forgiving of my halting attempts. Wrong. The first time I showed up with posters I'd illustrated and drawn myself, no one knew what the stick figures were supposed to be. Some of the teachers snickered.

I gave up on creating visuals myself and decided to buy them. Thankfully there is a thriving industry of psuedo-Mormon "art" for Primary, so for $9.95 plus tax I had visuals for an entire year.

These particular ones have to be colored first. No problem--coloring in the lines doesn't require artistic skill. Once again, wrong.

I finshed the set of visuals for a new song we were learning this past weekend. No matter how I looked at it, every picture looked like the winner of the Miss Jesus 2008 Drag Queen Pagaent. Too late to redo things, I figured the kids wouldn't notice if I just held the pictures up with a smile and acted like they were perfectly normal. Wrong.

Before we could even begin the song, a little girl halfway back raised her hand. "Um, did your kids color those pictures? 'Cause they're really bad." There went the remnants of my ego.

But she wasn't done. After church she followed me outside. "I have a suggestion for you," she said. "I think maybe you should let your kids color the pictures, 'cause it would probably be better than if you do it." OUCH! I asked if she realized how young my kids are. We're still in scribble mode at our house--apparently that includes me. She pondered that. "Well, then maybe I could color them for you. Or maybe we could just learn songs without any pictures."