Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
"I have no interest in the series as works of literature, though that's how I'd like to analyze them. I was inspired by my fan interviews of Twilight fans at Comic-Con 2009 to start this project in earnest, mostly because, like Insane Clown Posse fans, I found the fandom to be completely fascinating. "
Ugh. It just feels like a stupid plot piece in this already-stupid book.
BUT NO, GUYS, SERIOUSLY, I'M GONNA JUMP INTO THE OCEAN FULLY CLOTHED TO HEAR A VAMPIRE'S VOICE IN MY HEAD LOL I AM AWESOME.
Sometimes he includes pictures of other stupid or annoying things to reinforce his point. He also had a clip of Pam from The Office doing a happy dance. Obviously I give points to anyone who can work in a reference to The Office.
Does this, in any way, change how I feel about Twilight? No. But I can't argue that he makes many valid and entertaining points. And, I think if you were a non-Twilight fan, you should definitely stop by. You'll finally see what all the fuss is about but you'll have plenty of ammo (silver bullets, perhaps) to fire back at your friends who won't stop talking about Twilight.
It did make me wonder how, given my low tolerance for stupidity, irresponsibility and teenage drama, could I possibly love the books? Hmm. Good question. I don't know. I just do. Why do I hate peas? Why does Blue Man Group scare the bejeezus out of me? Why does cheese make me so happy? I like the storyline of the books. Sure, at times it was predictable, but at other times I thought it was an interesting twist on the vampire genre. (Incidentally, that is why David doesn't care for Twilight. He prefers old-school vamps.) Do I think Edward is clingy and annoying? Yes. Do I think Jacob is hilarious and wish Bella would have picked him? Absolutely. I am guilty of having read them over and over. (Not as many times as I've read Harry Potter, but close. Don't get me started on Harry Potter.) Is it probably the coolest things I've every done? Doubtful. Will I take the day off work so I can go to a midnight showing of New Moon next month? I'm considering it. Nevertheless, this website brightened up a pretty dull day for me... not a bad day, just dull. But not anymore - I'm still laughing at one point where he called Mike Newton a "douchebag". Is it sad that that is one of my favorite words in the English language?
Then, when you're finished with all of Mark's thoughts on Twilight the book, check out this equally hilarious review of Twilight the movie right here.
I'll try very hard not to have any more Twilight posts until after the New Moon movie is released next month... but no guarantees!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Around April, the CEO called all of us who would be most heavily involved into his office. The objective was to agree on a time line for the various parts of the process, decide who would do what and that sort of thing. At the end of the meeting, however, it was clear the purpose was to assess my mental health. When a CEO tells you "You can't die. If you hand me these projects on your death bed and then keel over, that doesn't help me", you should assume the situation is complex. And, I've never assumed it wasn't. I saw all the peaks and valleys that stood in my way very clearly. I still do. We're well into the process and I'm happy to report that we are on schedule and things are going relatively smoothly. Perfect? Of course not. But manageable.
What's weird is that everyone seems to find this weird. Back in August, we did a round of training that required me to visit most of our offices throughout the state. At that time, Ryan Howard called and asked how I was. I said I was doing fine. The training was going well. I was on my way to the next office. He said "No, really, how are you? You must be exhausted." I said I was tired of being in the car, but fine otherwise.
Then the trip to Dallas with my boss, Ryan Howard, and the attorney. They all kept asking how I was and if I was getting a grasp on the information. They seemed concerned when I said yes. Did I miss something? That seemed like a good thing.
The current phase of the process is converting one of our sister-companies to our software. This will make it much easier for the final and most difficult phase of the process that begins sometime next month. If you've ever had a job where you used one computer system and then were forced to change to another, you can imagine how much fun it is for these employees. Imagine how fun it is to be the one trying to train them. The phrase "Don't shoot the messenger" seems fairly accurate. But still, I feel like it's going pretty well. Yet, when I saw Mr. CEO a couple of weeks ago, he asked the same "How are you" question. Not the casual, passing pleasantry but the kind that actually means "How are your vital signs? Are you drinking heavily?" I assured him I was doing okay.
Then I started getting worried that everyone thinks I should be cracking and I'm not. Did I miss some major step? Is it all about to hit the proverbial fan? Should I be freaking out about something? Why is everyone stressed that I'm not stressed?
I guess everyone deals with stress differently. For some, they have a meltdown, cry, cuss, etc. Other people get headaches or eat when they aren't hungry. Then there are the people who strive on stress. I think I am one of those people. That's a good thing and a bad thing.
I am used to stressful environments.
What does stress me out is when other people try to change my plan. It drives me crazy when there is too much time in between the plan and the action. Why? Because then someone with a different personality type has time to "what if" my plan to death. I loathe conference calls to go over tiny details and all the other things that come in the corporate world. I don't like going over and over and over the plan and making sure it is completely politically correct, cost-effective, time-sensitive and all those other buzz words. Nevertheless, as it relates to this current project, the system conversion, my plan is well into action.
Last week, I did the classroom training portion of the training. It went okay. Some people caught on more quickly than others, but that's natural. Some people where scared. Some were visibly stressed. All normal reactions. I understand that change is hard for people. This week, I am "on-site" at the two offices that are being converted. I am just sitting with people as they do their day-to-day work in the new system, answering questions, encouraging them, etc.
Today, I got to witness a complete meltdown. One of the ladies who actually did really well in the training apparently got to the office today and decided she just can't do this. Those were her words... "I just can't do this. I have to get out of here." She walked away from the computer and didn't touch it again the rest of the day. One of her co-workers commented "Well, that's an improvement." Improvement? She just had a breakdown! The co-worker added "She's had to go to the hospital before because of panic attacks over stuff like this." Wow - that is stressed out!!
I've thought about this incident since it happened early this afternoon. I've also thought about my own reactions to stress. I'm sure glad I don't get that physically stressed out, right!? Oh, did I mention that I was thinking that on my way to the medicine basket to get some Tums... and realizing that I've almost made my way through another bottle of Tums? Then I started to worry that I might run out of Tums... after all, I've been having esophageal spasms again lately. Those hurt like a mother... I need my Tums. Then I thought maybe I would just go to bed and rest up to deal with the panicky lady again tomorrow. Of course, I looked at the clock and realized it was 8:30. Man, I've been so tired lately. What's the deal? Oh well... the Tums left a funny taste in my mouth. Where are those cookies David made? No, I will not eat a cookie. None of my freaking pants fit as it is. Geesh. Wow - my mind is all over the place tonight. But thank goodness I'm not all stressed like the panicky lady!
Well, everyone who has been asking how I am can relax now. As of today, I realize am officially stressed. In fact, I think I've been stressed for a while. So, if you'll excuse me, I have to go formulate a point by point plan of how to deal with this stress...
Monday, October 19, 2009
When this movie came out in the theater, I remember thinking "That looks halfway decent... I'll put it on my Netflix list". I don't remember thinking much else about it. I'm guessing the Scrabble tiles on the promo poster probably caught my attention. You might have noticed that I like Scrabble a little bit. Well, by the time it arrived this weekend, I had forgotten about it. I remembered it had Sarah Jessica Parker, but that was all. I am very aware of all movies with SJP because I have to "trick" David into watching them. We'll just say he's not her biggest fan. I debated if I even cared about seeing it or if I should just send it back. But, Sunday afternoon came and I am strictly forbidden from taking naps on Sundays anymore... you might remember why... so I decided to watch it. David had planned to go to the gym, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to watch without his running commentary on SJP. He ended up not going to the gym, but I just told him it had Thomas Hayden Church and some other people. By the time SJP appeared on screen, he was already somewhat interested in the movie and only threw a minor fit.
The movie centers around Dennis Quaid's character. (I rarely remember character names. Have you noticed?) He is a widower and a university professor. He has the typical widower look (a la Dan in Real Life) of messy hair and scruffy beard. He pairs that with the also-typical disheveled professor look. He's raising two teenagers... a kid I don't know and the girl who played Juno. His adopted brother, Thomas Haden Church (aka The Guy from WINGS), shows up unannounced to ask for money and be irresponsible. Dennis and Juno are both very cerebral. I've learned that people use "cerebral" as a way of stating that someone is very smart but can't function in society very well. Thomas Haden Church at one point calls his brother "socially retarded"... which is fairly accurate. Despite his depression and scruffiness, Dennis Quaid begins dating SJP, who plays an emergency room doctor. As with most things in his life, he blows it because he's too cerebral. He also alienates himself from his son and brother because of his outcast behavior. Juno, on the other hand, models him exactly. She has no friends, no fun, no life... she studies incessantly, prides herself on knowing big words and only cares about life post-high school. She has a picture of Ronald Reagan in her room. This is the point at which David and I looked at each other a little frightened. She comes across like someone else we both know. Hint: It's me... right down to the same Reagan picture.
Monday, October 12, 2009
As I have mentioned before, I live in a very small town. It's about 15 minutes to a big town... and that big town is about 30 minutes from a city. Sometimes, people say "You live there?" We both know what they mean is "Why do you live there?" Small town life isn't that enticing for a lot of folks. I don't blame them. Last night at 9:30 when David realized he needed cold medicine and I realized I needed
What a fitting cartoon
When I meet someone from outside of my town and I tell them where I live, they automatically assume I was raised here. In fact, I was raised 650 miles from here... in a medium-sized town, not too far from a really huge town. People are usually surprised that I chose to live in a small town. I guess if I grew up here, that would make sense, but the fact that I voluntarily live here boggles the mind. I give the same answer over and over... I like that there is less traffic here. I like my church here. I like that my house cost less than your house and my taxes are lower than yours. I like that I walk in Joe's Pizza and they already know what I want to drink. (Well, that last one might just be that I eat out too much...) Sure, there are some trade offs but I chose to live here because I like it here.
Lately, however, I've been feeling somewhat exiled out here in the boondocks. I've grown weary of the same 4 restaurants in rotation. I'm tired of having to drive to all the "good stuff". Sometimes (like now) it's a little too quiet out here and I'm convinced my neighbor's dog just howled my name. I'm feeling a little closed-in.
Then there is the kid factor. This topic has come up a lot lately for myself and a few of my friends... you know, the voluntarily childless. Most of my friends have had kids in the last few years. I'm happy for them and I can see how much they love their kids. But, I don't have kids. I will probably have kids someday but that's a whole different blog. Right now, I don't. They do. They go home at 7:30 to get the kids ready for bed. I want to go to a movie at 7:30. They want to eat at a place the kids can run around and not break anything. I want to eat at Red Lobster. That's in no way a condemnation on those with little ones. I just say it to point out that I am no longer in the same place in life as a lot of my friends. So, I'm stuck in a small town with nothing to do and no one to do it with. (Not "do it"...I mean, do stuff... like activities.)
And, the people I know who are around my age and who are also childless would never drive out here anyway. First of all, they'd get lost. Secondly, they will swear it takes two hours. It doesn't. I promise. So, on the rare occasion we have something to do, we have to drive to Little Rock to do it. I don't mind... Little Rock is where the fun stuff is and I have to go there anyway if I want to go to Sam's or the mall or a movie theater with stadium seating... but it's just that no one ever says "Hey, we'll drive out to you and play Apples to Apples". People say "We'll meet you at (wherever in Little Rock)". Again, I don't mind most of the time...
Recently though, I've kind of been in a rut. I keep thinking "Why do I live all the way out here in the land where fun goes to die? I'm only 30. I should live in a vibrant place and do fun young people stuff." By big city standards, 30 is just barely an adult. By small town standards, I should have 3 kids by now and go to bed at 9:00. So, that's where my mind has been lately... having a big, ol' pity party because of my self-inflicted small town exile.
If we moved, we would have so many more opportunities. David could have a higher paying job. I work for my company's corporate office in Little Rock. I work remotely from a branch office here but it's no secret that they would prefer I work at Corporate. We could make lots of friends and do lots of "fun" stuff. I could go to Walmart whenever I wanted. Yet, even in light of all of those things... when I take off the "Woe Is Me" glasses... I don't see myself moving.
For the next few weeks, I am commuting to Little Rock. I loathe driving. Me commuting is like having bamboo skewers shoved under my nails. However, there is no way around it right now. Tonight, as I was sitting on I-40, I was taking stock of my small town existence and I remembered very clearly why I choose to exile myself to the outskirts of Faulkner County... it's because of I-40. It's because, while more convenient, all the things about "big city living" stress me out. I don't miss the traffic. I don't miss the noise. I don't. If it means the closest Olive Garden is 45 minutes away, so be it. If it means no one ever comes to my house, that's fine... I didn't want to clean anyway. If it means (aside from a few work occasions) I only have to drive in this bloody traffic by my own choice, then good deal! It also means that when someone says "Hey, why don't you come here we can do ___", I can say "Sure, I'd love to!" because I know I get a brief respite from Boringville... but I get to come straight back before the tax assessor can catch up with me and raise my millage!
So, you can call me "small town" if you want, but you know, being exiled has it's advantages.
How did this happen? A few weeks ago, Kelli had mentioned that she might want to go see it with us. I touched base with her mid-week and she was still into it... if she could convince her husband. Apparently, he thought it looked chick-flickish and dumb. We exchanged a few tweets about how it was Vince Vaughn and a bunch of chicks in bikinis. How could a dude not want to see that? Vince Vaughn... come on! When is he not funny?! Then, Friday afternoon, tragedy struck...
I am not the type of person who puts a lot of stock into reviewers... especially when less than 100 people have reviewed something. And, typically, the lower the reviews, the more I like it. If it wins the Academy Award for Best Picture, I will probably be bored by it. However, I went to Rotten Tomatoes and started reading and nearly every review said the same thing. It was full of lame jokes, trying to hard to be funny, etc. In the past, I would have said "Screw it" and went to see it anyway.
That was before Year One.
Early this summer, I was ridiculously excited for Year One. I love Jack Black. I love Michael Cera. The previews were hilarious. When all the reviews said the only funny parts were in the previews, I said "Screw it" and went anyway. MISTAKE! I mean, it wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen, but it was most definitely a waste of money. Let's face it, you pay $8+ each for the ticket... then the smell of the popcorn is too much for me to resist... and with popcorn comes something to wash it down... so it adds up to a decent amount of money. For a good movie, I have no problem with that. For Year One, I was sorely disappointed. At that point, I promised myself that I wouldn't see every movie in the theater. There are some movies that are okay on DVD but not worthy of the theater experience... even for someone like myself who absolutely loves going to the movies.
So, with Kelli out... and with me recalling the tragedy that was Year One, I decided to wait for Couples Retreat
When it comes out on video, will I see it? Absolutely. If it's hilarious and grossly underrated, will I apologize profusely for doubting Vince Vaughn's comedic wisdom? Sure thing. But, all in all, I think I'm okay not having spent $30+ on a night at the movies for what might turn out to be a bomb.
So, I have no movies to review this week. I will say that the highlight of my TV / movie life in the past 7 days was Jim and Pam's wedding on The Office. What a fantastic episode. Of course, it came with several expected wedding cliches, but it also had a uniquely Office spin on things. This went a long way toward healing the hole in my heart left by the fact that I never got a Ross and Rachel wedding on Friends. Best wishes for a long and happy fictional life together, Jim and Pam!
Also, as David got a PlayStation 3 this weekend (even though I still don't have a bird pillow - where is the justice?) I am sure I will up my movie watching for a while... at least until the fresh magic of Blu-ray wears off.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
If you ask me, C.S. Lewis was dead on. The harder you try to sleep, the less likely it is to happen. This was the story for me Sunday night... and I fear I will spend the rest of the week paying for it.
Monday, October 5, 2009
The Rocker has been out for quite a while, but I just got around to watching it this weekend. It's a good thing Netflix doesn't charge late fees because it's been sitting on our entertainment center for weeks as I went back and forth on if I was still interested in seeing it. But, I've got to say, not half bad.
Plus, as Christina Applegate was in it, David watched it with me. Christina Applegate is possibly number one on David's "list". You know...
Okay, back to the subject at hand... The Rocker. Dwight Schrute plays a formerly almost-famous drummer. Just when his band was about to make it big, he was replaced. (PS - Bradley Cooper was one of the band members. He is an alternate on my list.) For 20 years following, he is depressed about being ousted, refuses to play the drums and works in Customer Service or something. He ends up having to live in his sister's attic. While there, his nephew's garage band is short a drummer and won't get to play their Prom gig. They finally convince him to play. Some things go awry and they end up having to practice via web cam. Not fully understanding this technology, Uncle Dwight practices naked. Someone posts it to YouTube. It gets millions of hits. The Naked Drummer is born. And then they go on tour (he does wear clothes, thankfully)... and even more things go awry.
The movie was better than I expected. Don't get me wrong, it's not going to win any Academy Awards... but it was a decent way to spend a couple hours on an otherwise boring Friday night. It sort of had a slightly cheesier Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist vibe to it. (I love that movie, by the way). The best part was that Dwight Schrute acted exactly like Dwight Schrute. With most actors, this annoys me... but given my love of all things Schrute, I liked it. There were parts of the movie that were a bit teeny-bopper, but not too bad. There was nothing overly complex about the storyline. It was just a good, funny-in-a-corny-way movie. For delivering exactly what it should have and not trying to be more than it was, I give the movie a B.
This weekend, Couples Retreat opens. I am bizarrely excited. Have I mentioned that I ♥ Vince Vaughn? David and I spent part of the day quoting Wedding Crashers lines. I suggested that we watch one Vince Vaughn movie a night leading up to the weekend. He reminded me that that would interfere with my ridiculous TV-watching schedule. Good point. It's the thought that counts, right? I hope I'm not expecting too much and setting myself up for disappointment. But, that's the beauty of Vince Vaughn. You sort of know what to expect going in. As long as he has at least one scene where he talks chaotically and says about 50 words without a pause in between, I'll be happy! For example: Janice, I apologize to you if I don't seem real eager to jump into a forced awkward intimate situation that people like to call dating. I don't like the feeling. You're sitting there, you're wondering do I have food on my face, am I eating, am I talking too much, are they talking enough, am I interested I'm not really interested, should I play like I'm interested but I'm not that interested but I think she might be interested but do I want to be interested but now she's not interested? So all of the sudden I'm getting, I'm starting to get interested... And when am I supposed to kiss her?... and so on. So, bring on Couples Retreat!
Friday, October 2, 2009
In high school, Fridays meant a football game and doing something with friends. In college, Fridays usually meant skipping the last class of the day and leaving early to head out on some weekend adventure (aka Dena's apartment). In my early 20's, I don't remember a set pattern of doing anything in particular on Fridays, but I don't remember not doing anything. David and I used to reserve Fridays as "date night" even after we were married. And now, at 30, here I sit on a Friday night. So far, I've mopped the kitchen floor! Whoo hooo! I'm still reeling from the adrenaline rush! (Or maybe I'm just a little woozy from the Pine-Sol fumes!)
Then, after I come down from my Pine-Sol contact high, I have to decide what to do about dinner. David made a vat of deer chili last night. Yes, a vat. A normal amount of chili goes in a pot. Enough chili to feed the country of Chile goes in a vat. I can't eat it. First of all, he thinks all manly food requires Cavendar's and Rotel. I am a fan of neither. Second, it's made with meat from a deer he killed last hunting season and has been in the freezer ever since. And now it's hunting season again, so we have to use up last year's meat. In fact, David is out in the woods at this very moment trying to conjure up another deer so he can fill the freezer with fresh meat. Meat that I can't eat. Well, somewhere between "won't" and "can't". If I were starving, like actual impoverished starving, I could eat it. However, I am blessed not to be in that condition. I just have this weird thing where I can only eat anonymous animals. I told you it was weird. I can eat the nameless, faceless lump of red, squishy meat from the supermarket. I cannot eat the meat from an animal that David made eye contact with and then killed. No, I'm not a member of PETA or anything like that. Yes, I think God made animals partly for us to eat. That's all fine and dandy. I just can't think too much about the fact that the animal used to be all alive and stuff or I gag. If I eat an animal David hunted, I think about it too much. And I gag. (Sorry if I'm making you gag too.) In fact, I would give vegetarianism a go if I liked more than 4 vegetables. So, now I have to find something for myself to eat for dinner. And since I don't want to cook anything that might splatter on my freshly-mopped floor, it's probably a cereal night. Aw, crap... I just remembered that we're out of milk.
Oh, and as long as I'm exposing the boredom of my old-lady evening, I suppose I could add "color hair" to my list of fun Friday night antics. I've definitely got a few grays shining through at me right now. Ugh.
When did this happen? When did I get old? When did I start spending Friday nights mopping floors and moping around about deer chili? When did the only reason I looked forward to Friday become the fact that it meant two days off work? I mean, that's always be a reason... but not the only reason. What is a 30 year old (with no kids) supposed to do on a Friday night?
Well, there you have it... my rant about my Friday. Now, if you'll excuse me, my shoulder is hurting from the mopping and I need to go find some Icy Hot.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Lesson One: Yankees
Imagine my surprise when I moved to the Bible Belt to attend a conservative Christian university only to find a full spread of Yellow Pages listings for escort services. I gasped. This wasn't Las Vegas, people! How can you possibly have so many escort services? Is that even legal? I had heard that the wet counties had strip clubs... but come on!? How hypocritical! It's not okay to buy alcohol but order all the promiscuous ladies you want. What in the world!!! There must be some explanation. And there was. While there might be a few of the less-reputable types, the majority of escort services in Arkansas exists for the purpose of safely guiding... escorting... large items down the roadways. You know, those trucks with the flashing lights the go before and after mobile homes and large equipment. Escort services. Ooops.
I went on to marry someone with an even thicker Southern accent. David grew up in the southern part of Arkansas, near the Louisiana border. His accent his hard to describe. It's also hard to understand. However, after the "lion" incident, I became much more comfortable just telling people "I don't know what you're saying." Of course, that also leads to a lot of mumbles of "Yankee" under their breath.
None of these things are at all like the other