Saturday, January 28, 2012

Do you know what your children are being exposed to?

I am such a liarface. I say in my last post that my next one should be coming up soon, and here it is...a week later (almost exactly. Prize for me!). Though if you were expecting me to actually do it soon, you're probably going to be repeatedly disappointed by my posting speed. My awareness of time is kind of nonexistent in any kind of accurate or consistent way.

As I hope most of you are totally unaware (Because it would be weird if you, anonymous readers, were aware of my daily life...Even though my only followers know me in real life.), I spend my Tuesday mornings around small children. Around ten of them. The ages range between five years and about six months old, and it's basically my only, pitiful source of income right now.

So the answer to my title would really be me and my brother, which should strike fear into the heart of any parent, but that's not actually my point.

In any case, one of the things I do to occupy the hours with these tiny monsters is read to them. Mostly we just let them run wild in the nursery (within reason), but periodically one of us will stack two or three in our laps and read to a handful of them, and you know what I noticed? Children's books are terrifying and ridiculous. And I'm not just talking about the illustrations in some of them.

One of the recent favorites:

What's crazy is that I remember liking The Poky Little Puppy as a wee littlun.

I know. I'm old.

For those of you who spent your formative years in a hole, it's the repetitive story of rebellious puppies that sneak out during the day and then get denied dessert as punishment for their exploits.

Where is their mother, by the way? Is she nocturnal?? The only mentions of her appear when they've returned from gallivanting over "the wide, wide world" to be fed. Who is supposed to be taking care of these beasties during the day?

So the titular character: He is dubbed the Poky Little Puppy because when the puppies dig under the fence to run around in the wide world (which is code for down the road, across the field, and halfway up a hill), he lags behind to use one of his five senses (scent, sight, and hearing) to discover what dessert is going to be, at which point they all race home to be chastised.

Great message, right? You disobey your parents, and they won't love you until you behave. Or something like that.

Here's the thing, though: The Poky Little Puppy gets ALL the dessert two out of three times. He lags behind and lets his siblings get punished, and then sneaks home like the little douche he apparently is, and scarfs down all of the dessert that the others were denied. The only time that he doesn't get rewarded is when the other puppies suck up and fill in the hole under the fence on their own, and their mother decides they must have learned this time, so she rewards them.

Since when do people (or humanized animals) get rewarded for doing what they're supposed to be in the first place? I find that wildly unfair. No one rewarded me for rectifying my insubordinate mistakes as a child.

This is also another strike against their mother. She's clearly unfit. How do you not notice that one of your offspring is missing? Seriously. There's only five of them. It's not that difficult. My mom kept track of seven of us, and we were all usually running around screaming in about ten different directions. This creature is idiotically neglectful.

The only real message I get out of that book is that you need to be smart about how frequently you try to get away with things. Two of the three times, he succeeded in quadrupling his portion of deliciousness. Once, he ended up getting nothing. What does this teach kids? It's all about the risk versus the benefit. What was the cost there?

And what the deuce was he doing the whole time between telling his siblings about dessert and coming home? For being the main character of this story, he's got a lot of time totally unaccounted for. I feel like that's just weak story telling.

You wrote a bad story, Petey! >.<

Everyone should watch The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Because that was a reference to it, and you're deprived if you didn't catch that.

I think I'm going to start calling everyone Petey when I ridicule them. Not to be confused with Pete or Peter, because I love Spiderman and my brother-in-law.

Speaking of Spiderman, holy crap, The Amazing Spiderman is going to be freaking awesome o.o

The other book I wanted to talk about is C is for Clown.

The main merit of this book is the entertainment value of tongue twisters. Assuming you like that kind of thing. (I do, though "Irish wristwatch" still boggles my mind after two or three time. So does "red leather, yellow leather" on some occasions. Seriously. Say those to yourself five or six times. It's ridiculous.)

Tim and I both found this book kind of depressing. I think it's about as nihilistic as it's acceptable to be without grownups noticing.

You've got Clarence Clown being steadily piled under a bunch of things starting with C, and it starts out pretty reasonable, but just gets steadily more impossible. It's always phrased as a question followed by a simple, declarative sentence.

"Can Clarence Clown catch cats carrying canes?"

"Clarence Clown catches cats carrying canes."

Easy to read, easy to understand. Good, yes?

The thing is that it gets ridiculous. The poor clown ends up balancing cats carrying canes, collies carrying clubs, cows carrying cakes with lit candles, and because that's simply not cool enough for the sadistic little beasts that consume these books, they throw in Caroline Catfish, who looks like a pink whale with whiskers. But Clarence is freaking awesome, and he catches the fat lard. He sits there wobbling and looking pained for a second before the demon author (I suspect the little red bear, mouse, ringmaster thing. What a dick.) decides that's not enough to make his point, and he throws in Clara Canary.

"Can Clarence Clown carry cats carrying canes and collies carrying clubs and cows carrying cakes and candles and Caroline Catfish and...

Clara Canary?

CRASH! *clubs, canes, and bits of cake fly all over the page*

No. Clarence Clown can't."

Really, guys?  You can't just be impressed that this bear thing has super powers? It's necessary to crush him? Have a little restraint! Not everything needs to be forced to it's full capacity for your gratification.

And now I've lost steam to rant, and I'm sure you've lost the motivation to read any more. This has ended up being kind of long for me. So you go do something other than read my rambles (like comment, or something), and I'll go rummage through the fridge for something both edible and appetizing.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

500 Days of Summer and Stuff

You can thank my darling Taryn for this blog, internet. Partly anyway. I've had this topic sitting around in my head and on a sticky note (because I'm clever and started putting them somewhere I wouldn't forget) for a while. A few weeks at least.

So one of the things I got for Christmas from my wonderful siblings was the movie 500 Days of Summer (Becca deserves a prize, because I love it now), and I decided ages ago that I needed to blog about it.

Because here's the thing: That movie is stupidly realistic; it's beautifully cynical, reminding us all just how much utter bull is fed to us in the form of romance and romantic notions, and it's freaking hilarious. It's something a lot of movies neglect. They feed us all these idiotic, idealized stories, which we lap up like mangy, starving kittens at a bowl of whole milk, and then one day you wake up and discover that no relationship you will ever have in your entire life will be anything like any novel you've read or movie you've seen.

There's a reason fiction exists, kids. It's because real life is mundane and disappointing.

That's kind of the basis of the movie, for those of you unfortunate enough to not have seen it (Watch it. Now o.o). It follows Tom Hanson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt <3)  in his obsession with Summer Finn (Zooey Daschanel ^.^), because everyone knows you'll never be happy until you meet "The One."

Something Taryn and I have repeatedly discussed: WE'RE NOT SHOES, GUYS. The purpose of life does not have to be finding your mate and being happily with them forever.

Now let me clarify. I'm all for monogamy, lasting relationships, blah, blah, blah, but I think there's a little more to life than that. I don't know about you people, but I am totally a hat or something. I stand alone as an accessory (though why I'm using that as a comparison, I don't know, because they still form part of an ensemble, and my metaphor kind of starts to crumble at that point), but I can fit with other things.


One of the main plot points of the movie--really the main point--is that Tom is convinced that Summer is The One for him, the only woman on the entire planet who can make him happy and all that crap. And (*Spoilers, kind of*) then she dumps him and gets married. The whole journey, the 500 days in which he's all about Summer, ends up with Tom deciding that there is no such thing about destiny, no soulmates, and it's all coincidence...Maybe.

I dunno about that. What I do know (which is supposedly what I'm supposed to be writing, or so they say), is that relationships kind of suck. At the very least, they're not all that great, people. Learn to stand on your own two feet. I think that you aren't ready to be in a relationship until and unless you're comfortable being single. It's not about being half a unit. It's two wholes coming together.

And while I'm on this thread, Valentine's Day >.<

Things have been getting nauseatingly pink in most stores, and I hate that idiotic holiday so passionately. It's all about money. You guys know that, right? And why do you need a holiday to celebrate latching yourself onto another person anyway? It's about milking you blind consumers for every cent you're willing to waste on cards, candy, jewelry, and whatever other crap you buy.

Yes. It can be just like that. Ain't love grand?

You know how I spent Valentine's Day last year? No, you don't, but I'll tell you anyways. I can't remember. You know why? Because I did nothing special with my boyfriend. We didn't go out, we didn't do some sentimental, useless gift, or whatever else it is that couples do. If he was even in town, we probably didn't hang out at all, or if we did, we probably watched a movie or played videogames.

But we didn't celebrate any temporal milestones either. No months. No anniversary. So perhaps I'm not the best example here. 

Either way, my point stands. 

Also, you people who whine and cry about being single on Valentine's, get over it! That's ridiculous. Get over being single. Because the reason you're single is that there's a lack of people worth dating lying around wherever you are, and you know what? That's ok. Being single is being free from all the gunk that comes with a relationship. Yes, you miss the good stuff too, but poor you. Go cuddle a pillow and eat some icecream. You'll get over it.

Because this is all anyone sees, and regardless of what we say when you get a hug, 
everyone thinks you're pathetic.

And now, farewell, theoretical readers. My next blog is likely going to come fairly soon, because I've been wanting to write it for a while. But I keep forgetting to pick up the book I'm writing on. Now everyone be curious and anticipate my next ramble.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mariella walking on miles of eggshells

Like many others have before me, I'm going to do something I generally object to and talk a bit about myself. This is a personal rant, so if you don't want to read it, I advise you to toddle off now before I start really talking.

I have something important to share with you, internet (And by "internet," I mean you, my imaginary, theoretically interested audience). And in order to make my point effective, I shall post this wonderful song.

Now, assuming you actually bother to listen to that song--"Mariella" by Kate Nash, for those curious but too lazy--I'd like to point out the first verse.

"I"m heavy-handed to say the least.
My mother thinks I'll be an awful clutcher, 
'cause I spill things from stirring 'em too quickly.
I'm far too...LOUD.
It's like as soon as I've got an opinion, 
it just has to come out.
I laugh at stupid things
just 'cause they tickle me
And sometimes I wish
sometimes I wish I was
Like Mariella"

I've commented before to Tim and Alexis that this verse is very much like us overall, but me especially in that I am too loud, and I state my opinion freely almost as soon as I have one. Except there's one major difference between me and the speaker in this song. I don't want to Mariella. Which is apparently something that repeatedly offends people. I am the first verse, but I don't glue my lips together. I will not shut up to please you people.

Here's something people don't seem to realize:

Walking on eggshells all the time REALLY SUCKS.

Unless it's these eggshells. That would be ok with me. 
My stompy boots will take good care of your feelings, little eggs...

I don't know how many of you realize this, not being me or remotely like me, but I have an opinion and an attitude about everything, and I'm not shy about sharing it. I will not be made to feel guilty simply because you can't handle it. 

It's not arrogance or meanness. I just say what I say, and you can deal with that on your own. I am not obligated to make you feel good about yourself, and I'm not obligated to agree with you.

See, the thing is, people give lip service to the idea that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but what I repeatedly see is that I'm entitled to your opinion, and if I have my own, I'm an arrogant witch.

And you know what? If I piss you off, awesome. Tell me. Explain why, argue with me if you feel the need. But don't just get offended and be huffy and snide to me without explanation. Or worse, get pissy about it, say nothing to me, and then bitch about me to someone else.

Also, it's not a contest. It's not about who talks louder, more, or more forcefully. A conversation is an exchange of ideas and information. Just how do you expect that to happen if the participants don't do that?

The fact that I'm not afraid to be me when interacting with people isn't something I'll never apologize for. And if I do, have no doubt that I'm lying, because I don't want to deal with your insecurities or persecution.

So go back to all your other people, audience. Because there's a large majority of mousy idiots who'll take your crap and agree with you. Probably because they're just like you in a lot of ways. I'm not one of them, so stop expecting me to be.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy 2012. I'm going to rant now.

I actually have a few things to blog about in the near future, but because I'm awesome, I'm going to break them up into manageable chunks for you, audience. So that you don't all (all four of you) choke on a deluge of my thoughts.

Today's rantable topic? The interwebs. More specifically social networking and sharing of information.

Here's the thing, my precious, largely imaginary readers, I hate things like Twitter and status-whoring. (Nevermind that I can sometimes be a status whore. It's somewhat off the point for the moment.) You know what I else I hate? Finding out important, personal things from the internet. Not earth-shaking things, though I sometimes find out about global events in that fashion, which is kind of sad, but I no longer have to read the news to pass my class tuesday/thursday morning. But, if you ignore the irrelevant part of that last sentence, you might realize that, hey, those two often go together.

When people are sharing their daily news with the world at large ("Coffee with Dave Smith in an hour. Super excited :)" Guess who doesn't care? Everyone, but me in particular.), it's easy for them to post things that actually matter in the stream of pointlessness. So when you find out that you're brother is engaged via facebook (not me, my brother-in-law), or that someone is dead, or that someone who matters is moving, married, had a baby, or is absurdly pissed off at you without anyone actually communicating with you directly, it gets a little ridiculous.

You know what else happens when you share your life with the internet? Stalking.

Because if you tell people where you are or what you're doing, they know.

I don't begrudge the internet it's convenience. Yes, I like knowing when people who moved across the country had their baby, or that something awesome happened to so and so today, and yes, I like sharing quotes or random things that've happened to me, but you know what? I don't feel the need to tell the internet (and by "the internet" I mostly mean facebook) FIRST. There are the people who can find out about everything on facebook, but the people who matter find out before I've posted a status or written a blog, note, or journal. 

And I'm sadly losing motivation again. Leaking out my ears and fingertips was, I believe, how I phrased it last night when I decided I didn't actually feel like writing enough to post anything. So I shall end that awkwardly and abruptly. You're welcome, disappointed, voracious readers who have nothing better to do with their time. 

Go do something productive with this unexpected free time. Learn to knit, or read some Dickens, or make brownies, you bums. And then bring me said brownies to munch on while I read some Dickens. By which I mean Cynthia Voight, because though A Tale of Two Cities sits neglected and unread on my crowded and haphazard bookshelf, Elske is nostalgic and sitting two feet away. I already did my productive hours for today. Go do yours.