Reviews -Chelsea Does, How to Be Single, and Dr. Strange

I haven’t done a review post in quite awhile.  With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up in the U.S., it’s a good time to watch some t.v. and movies.  Here are a few suggestions on what to watch.

Chelsea Does – This is one of Chelsea Handler‘s series on Netflix.  I turned it on while cooking dinner, thinking it would be something funny to listen to in the background.  I ended up having to start the show over once I finished cooking so that I could really pay attention to it.  My favorite episode from season one was about Racism.  She did a brilliant job of exploring America’s complicated and difficult relationship with race.  Chelsea Handler is hilarious, intelligent, and honest.  Expect to hear adult language and maybe see a boob here or there while watching the show.

How to Be Single – When I saw that Rebel Wilson and Leslie Mann were in an ensemble cast movie about being single, I knew that I’d watch it, but I didn’t have high expectations.  I can’t remember the last ensemble cast movie that I’ve liked, much less one about single ladies dating around.  (Oh wait, does Sisters count?)  It was on HBO Now, which meant that I didn’t even have to leave the house or put on pants to watch it.  It was a good movie, though.  It has plenty of cliches, but attacks them in different ways.  It’s not like other rom coms. SPOILER ALERT – At the end of the movie, all the women do not end up with handsome boyfriends/husbands who finally validate the women’s existence.

Dr. Strange – If you’re on the comic book movie bandwagon, then you have to go see this.  If you have no interest in comics, any of the books based on comics, action films, or Benedict Cumberbatch, then do not see this movie.  That’s really all there is to it. If you have the option, you should probably see it in 3-D because the visual effects are basically a character in the movie.  I was worried about this movie because Dr. Strange is, well, strange.  I love his story, but I wasn’t sure how it would translate to the big screen.  The movie is less than two hours even though most of the Marvel movies are over two hours.  How in the world were they going to explain the crazy world of Dr. Strange?  I was pretty impressed with the movie, though.  As soon as it ended, I wanted to watch it again.  I’m hoping to be able to see it again before it leaves the theaters.

Well, that’s it for my reviews for now.  There are plenty of great movies out in the theaters and ready to stream right now.  Use the holidays as a time to relax and catch up on some t.v. as well.  Or, you know, don’t.

 

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Random Saturdays – Plotting Baby

I keep having ideas for posts right before I fall asleep or while I’m driving home from work.  Those are not ideal times to write blog posts.  I did find this gem online today and figured it would be a nice first post of 2016 until I can find time to write something longer.  Happy New Year, everyone!

Plotting Baby

This baby is already plotting which crappy nursing home he’s going to send his mom to in a few decades.

Random Saturdays – Hot Springs, Arkansas

The last weekend in July, I went on vacation with Ben, the kids, his brother, his brother’s kids, and their parents.  We decided on Hot Springs, Arkansas because it was a relatively short drive and the weather would be decent.  I’d only driven through Arkansas before, but had never really visited it.  Ben’s parents took the family on vacation there years ago.  Even though it was a miserable experience, they agreed to give it another try.  Ben said that this was really the first vacation he’d been on with his parents and brother since 1999.  I think the last family vacation I went on was Christmas of 1994.  Though I wasn’t going on a vacation with my family, per se, it was still nice to be going on a family vacation.

Now, if you’re not from The South, then you just assume everyone in The South is stupid and that the food is good (i.e. battered and fried or covered in butter.)  If you are from The South, then you know that we argue about which of us is dumber and which of us has better bad-for-you food.  If you are from Texas, then you know that we live in our own world and don’t understand why any of the other states do any of the stuff that they do at all.  Even when we do think that other states have a better idea about something, we still have plenty of reasons why that would never work in Texas, and those reasons mostly involve statements like, ” Because it’s Texas.”

I say all this because when I make some of the following statements about Arkansas, I don’t want you to think that I’m states-ist or anything.  It’s part of Southern Culture to do this.

The hotel was nice. The people working there were great. The landscape was beautiful. Everyone smoked (thankfully, outside), but it was still bothersome to have to hold my breath going in the building. Most of the locals were rude. Most of the places we visited were a disappointment. Downtown was strange because it was very hipster-ish while also being run down while also having the cleanest hobos I ever did see. The clean hobos were due to the numerous hot springs fountains in the downtown area. Hobos and tourists alike gathered free water from the fountains in plastic milk jugs. At one point, while driving through the mountains, we passed a group of men by the side of the road who waved to us. Minecraft commented that he would like to live there someday. Ben told him that it’d be difficult for him to find a job to support himself. Minecraft said, “I’ll work in construction or something like those men back there.” We had to explain to Austin that those men were not construction workers, but homeless people who lived in the mountains and that they were not dark from tanning, but from dirt. They were not as clean as the homeless people in downtown. It was funny, but sad.

I think the kids had the most fun mining for rocks. We came home with four bags of various quartz crystals and geodes, most of them from Ben’s efforts. I was most looking forward to the Mountain Tower, but didn’t make it (that’s a whole other story of miscommunication + hurt feelings = unnecessary stress). Ben brought a mug back for me, though, and it’s a pretty good one. By that point, we hadn’t really been anywhere with very good gift shops. I kept thinking that the National Park Aquarium would be a good place for souvenirs for people, but it ended up being more like a run down pet store. The tiny gift shop had shirts with sharks on them, but should have had shirts with anxious fish and dirty fish tanks.

Arkansas is a beautiful state, though. Hot Springs, in particular, has some impressive man made lakes, plenty of greenery, and places to eat while enjoying the view. I’m glad we went when the weather was okay because I would have hated to be trapped indoors with a migraine rather than enjoying ice cream on the lake.  It was a really great way to end the summer.

Random Saturdays – Proud Parents

I don’t remember how the topic came up, but I ended up playing the “Pregnant Women Are Smug” video for Ben recently.  That means that I spent the next few days with that song in my head, but I’ve had worse songs in my head.  It got me thinking about all of the “good” parent memes on the internet, though.  While there are numerous quotes with whimsical backgrounds that are annoying, today, I just want to focus on the ones that talk about being a good parent, all the sacrifices you make when you’re a good parent, and how you’re better than everyone else because of it.

It’s not that I don’t think parents shouldn’t make sacrifices for the benefit of their children.  It’s not that I don’t know any parents who make sacrifices.  It’s not that I think you shouldn’t be proud of yourself for being a good parent.

I just don’t understand why people have to advertise it in such a condescending way.

This is the social media trend, though.  People post memes, or even just status updates, stating that they are better than you for some reason or other.  Why?  If you are really great or really bad at something, then people will know, especially when it comes to parenting.  Everyone has an opinion on your parenting, regardless of how little you care.

Another thing that bothers me about those posts is that they’re usually obvious.  They’re always phrased as if they are grand statements of great truths that have been previously unknown to humankind.  Usually, they’re just condescending statements of the obvious.  When you combine parenting, condescension, and the obvious on the internet, you get a meme.  Sometimes it’s funny.  Usually not.

I remember Amanda and me having a conversation awhile back about a meme that a member of her family posted on her Facebook page.  It said something along the lines of, “Children are not supposed to sacrifice to make their parents happy.  Parents are supposed to sacrifice to make their children happy.”  Below it was roughly a billion likes and twice as many comments in the vein of “I hear that!” and “Let me list all of the ways I begrudgingly sacrifice for my children”.  It’s annoying because when people say, “I believe parents should put their children’s wants and needs before their own,” what they mean is, “I think I’m better than you because I do things for my children that make me resent them.”

Which leads me to another reason I dislike these memes – don’t cover up your bragging with your bitching, and vice versa.  Yes, as someone who chose to bring a person into the world, you should be making sacrifices here and there (some big and some small) for the well-being of your child.  Fine.  Don’t act like you’re put upon by the world for it, though.  I wonder how popular memes for other responsibilities would be.  What if I started bragging every day about how I get up Monday – Friday, go to work, and actually work while I’m there?  What if I added on the enviable fact that if I’m too sick to come to work, I actually go the extra mile and let my boss know that I need to use vacation time for that day.  After reading that, aren’t you wondering why I’m not the CEO of the company for going above and beyond?  I doubt anyone in the world works as hard as I do, except for those who like that comment, in which case, we are now best friends in suffering.

I don’t mean to poo poo on all the people who are glad that they’re good parents or who support good parenting habits or whatever the heck it is they’re trying to accomplish by SPAMming us with good parenting memes.  It’s just one of the many aspects of American culture that I don’t understand, like casual dating and mayonnaise.  If you find that you just can’t let go of the parenting memes, then maybe try a little less of this:
https://i1.wp.com/media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/4f/46/74/4f4674ade06ae3b8111dddcea38bb54d.jpg
…and a little more of this…

http://mylovelyquotes.com/do-not-handicap-your-children-school-quotes-for-kids/

The final reason that I do not like those memes is that if you constantly tell your children about all the ways you sacrifice and make yourself miserable for them, then you are teaching them some very bad lessons:

  1. They are more important than anyone else in the world, and should always expect to be treated as such by everyone for the rest of their lives.
  2. Making yourself a priority is bad.

Neither of the above are true and either one will make for a miserable life for your children and the people around them.  Do yourself a favor and teach them that being kind to others is just as important as being kind to yourself.  If you don’t want to do this for your own sake, please consider doing it for the good of the children.

Random Saturdays – Work Jerks

(I just realized that I never published this post last week, which works out well because I’m not sure what to write about this week.)

I recently went to the dentist for a cleaning.  I told Ben that I was a bit nervous about this appointment because it hasn’t been long enough since my traumatic root canal.  I told him that if the dentist told me that I need more work done, I’d just let my teeth fall out and give up on it all.  He consoled me by reminding me that I could always get implants.  He meant dental implants, but I just told everyone at work that he wanted me to get implants, knowing they would assume I meant breast implants.  I laughed alot and he turned beet red alot.  As my BFF, Erica jumped on board and told people she wished that she could have my implants.  Good times for all!

As it turns out, I don’t need implants (dental or otherwise), but I do need more dental work.  I have sealants that need to be replaced with fillings because I clench my teeth too much when I sleep.  This is why I need crowns (and possibly root canals) too.  I tried using night guards, but they bother my teeth and gums and don’t last long.  I can’t afford to pay $30 every 2 months on dental guards.  Once I get all of my dental work done, the dentist will fit me with a dental guard specifically molded to my teeth, but in the meantime, I’m stuck with clenching, but no pain or dental guards and lots of pain.  First world problems, right?

So, why is it that I’m clenching so much that my entire jaw is falling apart?  I don’t really know, but I like to blame it on jerks at work.  That’s right.  I’m blaming my dental problems on jerks.  I’m blaming my painful root canal on the guy that wanted me to assign work to a big boss guy who may or may not have been out of the country at the time.  This same jerk wanted me to assign the big boss guy’s secretary to something else.  I asked if he could please double check and let me know who would be able to actually do all of this work and he told me that I was “waisting” his time.  Unless he was in the middle of an English Language and Usage class, I seriously doubt that I was “waisting” his time.

I’m blaming my jacked up sealants on another jerk.  I was trying to assign work to someone, but I needed to make sure that person would have all of the info needed to do the work.  This included a way to check to make sure that the work went through properly.  When I asked the guy who wrote the instructions for this work to give me the QA steps, he turned all jerkface on me.  Apparently, this night’s jerk had 45 minutes to argue with me, but didn’t have time to answer my questions because his project was due in “TWO WEEKS”.  Eventually, his boss spent 30 minutes writing instructions for that and a few other things that Jerk Face told me were impossible to do.  Also of note, this project due in “TWO WEEKS” was actually due last September.  It was extended into spring of this year.  Then, he forgot about the project until someone’s boss’s boss apparently asked about the status of the project.  You can’t even imagine what little sympathy I have for this jerk.

My favorite jerk of late was the one that called me at 2 am to have me extend two maintenance windows for two different things, “just for starters” because he might actually need more time than that and he’d call me back later if he did.  Thirty minutes later, I got a call from someone telling me that the work was complete and I could shorten the windows (something that doesn’t happen).  The same jerk that had me extend these windows, wanted me to schedule two things the next day.  When he didn’t answer the questions I asked so that I could do something to make his job easier, I scheduled the work without his answer.  He later asked someone else to answer my question, so I fixed my work.  Then, he told me that this would all need to be rescheduled for the next night (which is not as easy as it sounds).  After I finished that an hour later, the jerk told me that this stuff would probably need to be rescheduled for the following night, and requested that I “stand by”.  He never said how long I was supposed to stand by, but I didn’t stand by at all.  The next morning, I got an email from this jerk finally answering a question of mine that had since become completely irrelevant.  This guy is supposed to be one of our better employees and is in charge of one of our most important customers.  If you only knew, believe me, you’d be a clenchin’ yer teeths, too!  He also contacted my team a week later to have all of that rescheduled again, even though it might need to be rescheduled again after that.  Yup.

I’m not sure which of my teeth problems to blame on the last jerk.  Maybe I’ll blame him for the headaches that I sometimes get from teeth clenching.  No, nevermind.  Scratch that.  I’m going to reassign blame to him for my allergic reaction to antibiotics that I had for my root canal.  No, wait!  He can have the blame for something that may or may not happen tonight or tomorrow or the next day.  Or maybe not.  Maybe he can’t have any of the blame.  Or he can have all of it.  Or some of it.  Or none of it.

Ugh.  Work jerks!  Bah!  Boo!  Flibberty gibbert!  At least stupid jerks provide me with the job security needed to pay for all these teeth problems.

Random Saturdays — A Coming of Race Story (pt 2)

This is a continuation of a previous post.

The final blow came about a year later, in the first grade. I lived across the street from some crappy kids whose mom married a younger man and relied on the housekeeper to raise her kids. Her youngest daughter, Tricia, was a bitch. Flat out. No better word for it. (Shut up. You didn’t know her.) I was standing on the curb in front of my house and she was standing on the curb in front of her house. I don’t remember what happened beforehand, but I remember her yelling, “Go back to where you came from, Chink!” I yelled back, “I’m not a Chink! Go back to your house where you came from and learn about different races, stupid!” She kept trying to convince me that I was a Chink and I kept yelling all of the reasons why she was mistaken.

I went inside before my dad even turned the porch light on that night. I told my dad what happened and he assured me that Tricia was a racist little bitch just like her trashy mother. Then, he told me that while I was not a Chink, I was Chinese.

Me — I thought I was Filipina and German.
Dad — You are, but your mom’s mom was Chinese and her dad was Spanish . Your Granddad (my dad’s dad) is German and Cherokee Indian and your Grandma (my dad’s mom) is Italian, Irish, and Scottish.

I remember thinking, “Oh, so I guess this means that I’m not Black.” it was a sobering thought. Black people do so much cool stuff! They dance and sing and tell good jokes and run and play basketball and use hair picks. I couldn’t think of a single thing that an Italian-Irish-Cherokee-German-Filipina-Chinese-Spanish girl was supposed to do. Plus, where the heck was I supposed to go when people told me, “Go back to where you came from!”

Years later I found out that my mom’s dad was Malaysian, but did speak Spanish. The Christmas before she passed away, Grandma told me that she was Italian and Irish and that Granddad had a great-uncle somwhere along the lines who married a Cherokee woman. This meant that I was Chinese, Filipina, Malaysian, German, Italian, and Irish. My dad’s newest thing is trying to convince me that we’re also part Welsh. Ain’t nobody got time for that! I am no longer accepting additional ethnicities into my definition of self without DNA evidence. Although, when my dad married my step-mom, I did start telling everyone that I was finally Black.

I drew this my junior year in HS from a photo of myself at about age two. Look how Black I was as a child.  The jacked up facial features were due to my subconscious mind's continuous attempt to process my non-Black-multi-racial heritage and had nothing to do with my lack of skill with chalk pastels.

I drew this my junior year in HS from a photo of myself at about age two. Look how Black I was as a child. The jacked up facial features were due to my subconscious mind’s continuous attempt to process my non-Black-multi-racial heritage and had nothing to do with my lack of skill with chalk pastels.

Even though I’m not Black, I don’t want anybody to pity me. I’ve still managed to have an okay life. I’ve never been able to do any of the cool things that Black people can do, but I can’t do any of the cool things that any people can do. So I’m non-discriminatorily untalented, which I think is PC of me. By “PC”, I do mean “pretty cool”. Even though I look Hispanic, talk White, am Asian, and wish I were Black, I’m not enough of any of those things to be readily accepted by any group of people on a purely superficial basis. However, it gives me the opportunity to say things that often cause race riots. You know how when most people say something, it’s just wrong, but when other people say it, it’s alright? Well, I’m Other People. I am mostly alright with that, honeychil’.

“The TSA is allowing travelers to bring knives on planes again. Here are all the fun things you can do with them.”

“The TSA is allowing travelers to bring knives on planes again. Here are all the fun things you can do with them.”

I can’t believe that I didn’t already think of using a knife to flush toilets in public bathrooms.  Genius!

First Half-Birthday Post

This isn’t my first half-birthday.  Believe it or not, I’ve had more half-birthdays than I’ve had full birthdays.  It’s hard to tell ’cause Asian don’t raisin, but it’s true.  I decided that my half-birthday this year would be the perfect time for my first blog post.  I should first say that this is not actually the first blog that I’ve ever had.  I should secondly say that those other blogs meant nothing to me, I was young, I needed the money, and I was in blog with the idea of blogging.

Thirdly, before starting this blog, I thought alot about why I shouldn’t start one:

1.  I have nothing to say. – This, however, is completely false because I talk to myself all the time.

2.  Nobody cares. – Over Thanksgiving vacation, my pal, Teresa mentioned that she hates that all my social media accounts are on lock down and that I require DNA samples and sentimental moment recall before I allow people to friend follow me.  She said that it’s frustrating because I’m so funny (or was it cool or amazing?) that if my accounts were public, I’d get a million followers in 24 hours.  While her comments may have been slight exaggerations, I do make a better impression online than in person, so tens of people could potentially find me/my blog interesting in less than 24 decades. In fact, I met half of my current real life friends online (including Teresa!)  So if it weren’t for public socializing online, I wouldn’t have all six of my friends that I have today.

3.  Another Teresa point – I have a marketing degree.  I’m increasingly pimping my and my friends’ projects online…to my mom a very limited audience.  I don’t currently work in marketing, but would like to in the near future (although touring the world and playing three chords on the piano while singing off-key is also a realistic possibility).  So I need to start marketing myself (and my good pals) publicly and openly.  At the very least, it’s cheaper than having all that DNA tested, right?

At the end of that conversation, I realized that I didn’t have enough crappy excuses to keep me from opening up my social media and blogging parameters in order to help myself and all those buddies I have made on the line and in the real life. Then, I just had to figure out a theme for my blog ’cause all good blogs go to heaven have a theme.  Instead of deciding on a theme, I decided to not do that.  Crazy, right?!  I’m wild!  Woo!  Woo!  So many wild woos!  So I’ll mostly talk about the progress of various projects here, but I’ll also write posts like, “Hey, did you see this article about stuff that made me think about other stuff?  So much stuff!”  Sometimes, I might also do those puppy-kitten-rainbow photo posts just so I can get more hits because the one thing I’ve learned from YouTube is that puppy-kitten-rainbows sell.  For now, please accept Christmas Angela as my humble offering.

Angela Dec202012