Thursday, June 30, 2011

A 42 hour Internet/phone outage...

Thank God for my iPhone.  The other day, we had a thunderstorm that knocked the power out for about an hour.  In the course of knocking out the power, the storm also knocked out our phone service, which effectively wiped out the Internet.

The 'net was down from about 5:00pm Tuesday until 11:00am today.  It was a major bummer.  Of course, the withdrawal I went through was a reminder of how addicted I am to my computer.  Hard to believe I got through about 27 years of life without Internet access and now I'm pretty uncomfortable if I can't get online.

I would rather the television go out.  I'm pretty used to not having a TV to watch.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

People who refer to military servicemembers as "kids" need to get real...

Last week, President Obama announced that he would be withdrawing military troops from Afghanistan.  A lot of people, my husband included, were happy to hear that news, even though it's almost assuredly politically motivated.  My servicemember husband told me that a lot of his colleagues are as sick of repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as civilian Americans are of hearing about the wars.  So I think, on the whole, Obama's news was good.

The next morning, I was on Yahoo! reading about Obama's announcement.  I went down to the comments section, where someone wrote "It's time to bring our kids home".  It always bothers me when people refer to those who choose to serve in the military as "kids".  Let's be real about this.  No one who is legally a child is allowed to serve in the Armed Forces.  Yes, there are many 18 year olds out there who act like kids.  But legally, they are NOT children and should never be referred to as such.  We've got enough elderly teenagers out there who need help getting launched without people extending their childhoods by calling them "kids".

There may be immature people serving in the military, but make no mistake about it, their jobs are not child's play.  It's insulting and offensive to refer to the people who take on the job of serving in America's Armed Forces as children, because that implies that they're innocent, naive, and somehow need special help.  While I can admit that there are some people in the military who are not "mental giants", I also know that anyone who joins the military does so voluntarily.  Military recruiters can be persuasive, sure, but ultimately the individual makes the decision to join up.  No one holds a gun to their head.

Unlike a lot of other countries, including some in Europe, the United States does not currently force people to serve in the military.  But anyone who joins the service must know that going to war is part of the job.  Those who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan know firsthand that what they are doing isn't playing a childish game; it's war. And because it's war, Americans damn sure better hope their Armed Forces are not run by or populated with "kids".  Moreover, Americans should be grateful to those who have made the brave decision to join the military.  The lifestyle is not easy.

I have a lot of respect for people who serve in the military.  They are some of the finest people I've ever known.  I would never demean what they do by referring to them as "kids", because what they do is vital to the American way of life.  In order to remain a free society, the United States must have an effective military.  The military is most effective when it's run by people who have volunteered for the job, rather than people who have been forced into it.  It's okay to be glad that the troops will be coming home.  It's not okay to refer to them as innocent children who have been put in harm's way.  They put themselves in harm's way the day they made the decision to join the military and I, for one, am grateful every day for their sacrifice and service.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Back from vacation

So, my dear spouse and I had a lovely time in New England.  Neither of us had ever been so far up north before, so our week was full of new discoveries.  Maine reminded me quite a bit of Washington State, except for the New England accents.  We did a lot of eating good food, driving around, and drinking good beer, though we did not combine the drinking and driving.

I spent my birthday sitting on this beach, watching people gingerly test the frigid water.  I did manage to get completely wet, but only after we'd been there awhile.  It was so nice to smell the salt air, feel the sand under my feet, and let the cold water rush around my ankles.  In fact, I noticed one lady giving me a knowing smile when I took off my sandals and sighed at the feeling of the sand massaging my arches.

I ate my first whole lobster on the night of our arrival, which we spent with friends who live in Maine.  We went to a local restaurant situated right on the water.

We enjoyed some beautiful scenery in Maine, especially as we drove up Route 1.  This shot was taken near Kennebunkport.

My husband treated me to a delightful birthday dinner at a restaurant in Cape Elizabeth.  I enjoyed a five course lobster tasting feast.

And we went spent a day in Portland, where we visited Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's house.  Afterwards, we went to a place called Soakology, which offers foot soaks and massages, as well as teas and snacks.  My back was killing me, so I got a Chinese curative foot soak and some spicy peppermint tea.  My husband got a neck and shoulder massage, because he got a sunburn on his feet.  After our blissful spa experience, we ate lunch and then saw Woody Allen's latest film, "Midnight in Paris".  All in all, it was a glorious day.

On our last night in Portland, we decided to avail ourselves of the Manager's Reception in our hotel.  I sat down next to a woman who was drinking cocktails and had ordered surf and turf for dinner.  She tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to take her picture.  I did and it turned out nice, so she said she would post it on Facebook.

As we were sitting there enjoying cocktails, the lady sitting next to me struck up a conversation.  We learned that she was an executive who travels a lot.  She asked some rather intrusive questions, then started giving my husband some unsolicited career advice.  The lady had a job that my graduate school education trained me to do.  For the longest time, I've felt kind of guilty for being an overeducated housewife instead of a career woman.  However, after watching this lady, who said she travels all the time on business and has to leave her son and husband at home, I started to see that working in corporate America isn't all its cracked up to be.

I noticed, too, that the woman made a few thinly veiled cracks that made me think that perhaps she might even be a little envious of us.  After all, my husband and I were together on vacation.  She was sitting alone at a hotel bar, downing cheap alcohol, and asking strangers to take pictures of her for Facebook.  And she also asked some rather intrusive and presumptuous questions, like whether or not my husband and I had kids and if we planned to have them.  I usually cringe when people ask that question.  I would love to have a baby with my husband, but unfortunately, he sacrificed his fertility during his first marriage.  Try to explain that to strangers, though.

Anyway, I ended up with some insight after talking to that woman for awhile.  I doubt giving me insight was her intention, though.

Our flights back from New England were pretty rough.  Both were delayed and uncomfortable, certainly less comfortable than our flights up had been.  However, I did find an excellent wine bar at the Newark airport, where I tasted some sensational red wines.

So now I'm back and ready to write some more blog posts... and plan our next adventure.  As an overeducated housewife, I do live to travel!

Friday, June 17, 2011

About to go on vacation...

I'll be away for the next week or so, collecting some new memories while on vacation with my husband.  I've been looking forward to this trip for a long time, so I should have plenty to write about when I come back next week.  Hope everyone has a nice third week of June!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Go the F**k to Sleep...

A few weeks ago, I saw an ad for Adam Mansbach's hilarious new "children's" book, Go the Fuck to Sleep.  Samuel L. Jackson did the honors of reading the audiobook and someone on my Facebook was good enough to post it.  So now I am posting it here on my blog.

I don't have any children, but this book almost makes me wish I did...  Too funny!  And Samuel L. Jackson is the perfect choice for the narrator.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Carrie Fisher and Jenny Craig can kiss my big fat ass...

I know Tyra Banks told her detractors to kiss her ass...  I don't usually admire the things Tyra says, but in this case, I'm like "right on, sistah..."

Of course, I'm writing about all the weight loss products people are bombarded with when they watch television.  The one ad that is currently bugging the shit out of me is Carrie Fisher's for Jenny Craig.

I don't think I've ever actually seen Star Wars, so I don't think I've seen Carrie in the famous gold bikini that she's missing now that she's 54 years old and "fat".  Besides, as a heterosexual woman, I don't get any particular joy out of looking at women in bathing suits.  However, I am already pretty sick of seeing Carrie Fisher pitch Jenny Craig.

In any case, I saw the offensive ad last night.  In it, Carrie is wearing the pink top and jeans and talking about how she's slowly making friends with her mirror and finally fitting in her jeans again.

She does a little tap dance and bizarrely sings, "I'm eating Jenny..."

Then she looks dead in the camera lens and says, "Thank you Jenny for giving me the chance to look pretty one more time..." or something to that effect.  That comment is offensive on so many levels.  First of all, it presupposes that all fat people are ugly.  That is not necessarily true.  Secondly, it also presupposes that all thin people are attractive.  And that is not necessarily true, either.

Thirdly, I find Carrie Fisher's thanks to Jenny Craig for making her pretty "one last time" a bit of an ageist comment.  She's 54 years old.  Okay, she's not exactly a spring chicken, but she's not yet elderly.  But again, not all elderly people are ugly.  In fact, I've seen some elderly folks who are downright stunning.  Ever watched TVLand's show, She's Got The Look?  It's a talent search show for models over age 35.  Some of the women on that show are quite lovely.

Anyway, the overwhelming message I get from Carrie Fisher and Jenny Craig is that old, fat people are universally ugly and that the only people who count are thin people.  A lot of Americans seem to have that attitude, but given how many people in America look like Carrie Fisher, I have to say that a lot of folks must really hate themselves.

I struggle with my weight.  I have struggled with it for more years than I'd care to count.  Nevertheless, I have a lovely man in my life who thinks I'm beautiful, both on the inside and the outside.  I used to struggle with disordered eating.  I was thinner in those days, but a lot less happy with my life and a lot less fun to be around.  While I'd still love to be thinner, I think I'd prefer to be happy... or at least not grouchy because I'm hungry.

I actually read Carrie Fisher's book, Wishful Drinking, and thought it was hilarious.  That's the Carrie Fisher I'm attracted to and admire, not Jenny Craig's version of Carrie Fisher, which paints everyone with the same broad brush.  So Carrie Fisher... you're eating Jenny... now eat me.  I feel the same way about you that I do about Kirstie Alley, another actress I once enjoyed before she danced with Jenny Craig.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Yet another sucky season finale for Army Wives...

Last August, when Season 4 of Army Wives ended, it seemed like the end of the series.  I was shocked when we had a Season 5, which ended last night... again, looking like the show was over.  But I see that Lifetime has seemingly renewed the series for 13 more episodes.

Honestly, I don't know why they're bothering with it.  Last night's episode was totally lame.  They ended the season like they began season 1, with everybody at a dining out and everybody getting news about their future... along with the news that fictional Fort Marshall is about to close because of BRAC.  BRAC is a big thing to military folks... it's the reason why my husband and I had to move after just eighteen months in our last location.  The military installation where he was working is being phased out.

I don't know... I am disgusted with the show, but will probably watch it next year because I've been watching it all along.  It seems wrong to give up on it.  On the other hand, I watched ER from the beginning and then took a few years off.  And ER was a much better show than Army Wives has ever been.

I just wish the writers would either get their acts together or they'd just pull the plug on the show.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Out for a burger and fries... and a few beers.

Last night, my husband and I went to a local tap room that has sort of become our favorite hangout.  They serve pretty good burgers and fries there, along with lots of beer.  I used to worry a lot about my figure, but I don't anymore... and I get to enjoy stuff like this.

Actually, they went a little heavy on the BBQ sauce... but it was still a nice dinner with my best friend.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Utah dad dresses in drag to greet his son on the school bus

Yesterday, my sister-in-law posted a link to a news story about a wacky dad from American Fork, Utah who donned a costume every day for the purpose of waving at his son as he rode the school bus.  Initially, the costumes were intended to be a prank, but somehow they became a family project.  Every day, Dale Price put on a different costume and stood on his front lawn.  His wife, Rochelle, snapped a picture and eventually the pictures made it to the family's blog.

All day yesterday, people were buzzing about this man and his costumes, which run the gamut from Disney characters to professional uniforms.  My favorite of the costumes is, of course, the picture of dad sitting on a toilet with a newspaper.  I'm inappropriate that way.  You can see that shot on either link posted above.

I posted about this family on one of my favorite hangouts and the reception was almost all positive, except from one sourpuss, who declared the project stupid and a waste of time.  This poster also had an issue with people who felt the dad was "great" for doing this for his son.  Okay... so maybe the fact that dad dresses in a costume every day doesn't mean that he's a good provider or a good listener.  But it does mean that he has at least a passing thought about his son.  A lot of kids would be jealous of even that.

My take is that this dad really is pretty cool for wearing costumes and waving at his kid.  While the project started out embarrassing, it turned into something fun and the family will probably laugh about it for years to come.  Moreover, a lot of kids out there who would love to have a dad who paid that much attention to them.  Granted, the family doesn't seem to be shying away from publicity and even has a PayPal virtual tip jar on their blog... But hell, why not try to cash in on the publicity?  Times are tough.  At least this family was creative and nothing they did was harmful to anyone else.

Anyway, it seems to me that people could learn a lot from the Price family.  They dared to be silly and goofy and a lot of people appreciate them for it.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Oddest search strings used to find my blog...

I know I've already posted today, but I feel the need to get this off my substantial chest...  Sometimes people use the strangest search strings when they Google.  Here are a few gems that have led people to my blog... These are unedited.

"donnie was an asshole on joy behar"

"patti labelle is fucked"

"patti labelle helle"

"boring bad blogs" (I won't take that one personally)

"what the hell happened to victoria jackson"

"extreme home makeover have people died"

"how much do donny and marie earn"

"it's funny that there trying to ban the word retarded"

"donnie and marie weird"

"what the hell is wrong with victoria jackson"

"nothing wrong with the word retarded"

"joy behar mean to marie osmond"

By far, the most popular post to date is the one I wrote about Donny and Marie on Joy Behar.  I'm not going to bother linking to it, since it already seems to be the one that leads the most people to my blog these days.  Why are people so fascinated with Donny and Marie, anyway?  Could it be because of this gem from the past?  I bet this was a hell of a party...

Patti LaBelle's bodyguards beat the hell out of a West Point cadet...

This morning I read a couple of articles about an incident involving R&B diva Patti LaBelle and former West Point cadet Richard King.  King, a football player at the Academy, was on the glide path to graduating from West Point and accepting a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army.  Unfortunately, as a result of the beating he sustained at the hands of Patti LaBelle's bodyguards, he has been kicked out of West Point, been busted down to private, and will likely never play football again.

Apparently, Richard King was at the Houston airport, talking on his cell phone when he got a little too close to Patti LaBelle's luggage.  LaBelle was sitting in a limo and signaled her bodyguards who then allegedly attacked King.  They beat him up pretty well and he was carried away on a stretcher.  The Houston cops who responded to the incident were later captured on film, posing for pictures with Patti LaBelle. Then, when King went back to West Point after his spring break, he got the news that he was going to be punished. As a result of being kicked out of the Academy, King is now on active duty and will likely be deployed within the next few months.

Actually... given the supposed extent of his injuries, I almost wonder if King will be medically cleared to deploy.  It sounds like a combination of injuries he's sustained playing football and injuries inflicted by Patti LaBelle's goons might have really fucked him up.

Anyway, King has decided to sue Patti LaBelle, since she ordered the attack and did nothing to stop it.  If his version of events are true, I don't blame him for suing and I hope he wins.  On the other hand, it seems to me that the United States Army might also have a case for a lawsuit.  They invested years into making Richard King into an officer.  Now he's been demoted and may be too injured to be of as much use to the Army.

I'm sure there's more to the story than what's in the article I read.  It did say that King had been drinking alcohol on his flight to Houston and that perhaps he was drunk.  He claims he wasn't drunk, but plenty of people under the influence claim they're not drunk when they really are.  And maybe he did become violent at some point, although I think if some strange guy attacked me while I was talking on the phone, minding my own business, I'd probably get violent, too.

It'll be interesting to see how this situation pans out.