WARNING: If taken in large doses, nightshade can be deadly.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just so everyone knows

14 year old Bangladeshi girl raped, then charged with Adultery and lashed to death.

11 year old girl viciously and repeatedly gang-raped by as many as 18 men.  The men videotaped the attack and sent it around.  Much victim-blaming ensues, lots of worry about how this will affect the guys' lives. 

Another 11 year old gang-raped, this time in a California park bathroom.


Next time someone gives me shit about being a feminist, I'm gonna punch them in the fucking throat.

Too cute.

Personally, I think they are discussing the viability of Michele Bachmann as a Presidential candidate in 2012.  And I agree with the one on the right....it's an utterly ridiculous prospect. 

(Sidenote:  This is disturbingly similar to what me and my father look like when we're arguing.  Right down to me only having one sock on and laughing at him every few minutes.  Creepy....and enlightening.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Am I unAmerican?

Recently, I read a book that I had been told repeatedly for years was an amazing book.  Seriously, everyone that I came in contact with that had read it sang its praises.  This book:  Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire

I borrowed the first four or five books of the series from my BFF, absolutely sure that I was going to enjoy it enough to read the entire series.  I got home, finished the quick fluff book that I also borrowed from her (Sh*t My Dad Says.  It's cute.  I recommend it) and then eagerly dived into Interview with a Vampire

It bored me to tears.

Holy Crap!  What's wrong with me??  I am undoubtedly the odd man out.  Did I just build it up too much in my head that it could never live up to my expectations?  Did the combination of Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Kirsten Dunst, and a pre-crazy Tom Cruise really overshadow the novel they were acting from? 

I can count the number of books that I've preferred the movie adaptation to the actual book itself on one hand.  Generally, I am able to compartmentalize and like both the book and the movie.  But I still almost always like the books best.  But Interview with a Vampire has definitely added itself to the "I prefer the movie" list.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I loathed these books.  But I liked the movies pretty well.

And really, Armand was the only tolerable character in this story.  Lestat was dreadful, Louis was obnoxiously whiny, and Claudia was exactly as you would expect an eternally five year old girl to be like.  But I liked Armand. 

So.  I don't know what's wrong with me.  But either way, I am extremely disappointed.  I was really looking forward to enjoying this series.  Instead, I've moved on to Lyon by Elizabeth Amber, which I stole from my mother's bookcase. 

Momma....I'm shocked.  And impressed.  And my husband thanks you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Red Riding Hood

Today I snuck out for a while to see Red Riding Hood.

I thought it might be good, with some slightly cheesy lines and I had my doubts about getting my hopes up for another Catherine Hardwicke film after she screwed up Twilight so horribly.  But it had Gary Oldman....who I don't think I've ever seen do a bad movie.....and Amanda Seyfried and Billy Burke, who've both take part in some questionable movies but generally shined in their roles regardless.

Seriously, Amanda Seyfried was the only redeeming quality in this crapfest.

So I gave it a shot.  I'm so glad I did.

It was very good!  It was a good story, with a decent amount of suspense, and a nice twist at the end.   And aesthetically is was probably the most beautiful film I've watched since House of Flying Daggers or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. 

So, I guess what I should take away from this is:  one horrible, blue tinted adaptation of a beloved book into film should not blacklist a director forever (especially since she probably had Stephanie Meyers breathing down her neck through the whole thing). 

I could get behind giving this up for Lent

Pearls Before Swine


Pearls Before Swine, 3/27/11

Friday, March 25, 2011

Holy shit!

Right now, I am sitting on my couch, diddling on my laptop.....and NOT procrastinating about doing any of my housework.  Because it's all done. 

Even the laundry!

That's never happened in this house.  Ever.  I've occasionally had times when I broke even.  Where I was caught up enough that the flow was sustainable and not some ever-growing mountain hiding in my bedroom....but those times are inevitably ended by some circumstance that caused me to be unable to do a couple loads of laundry for a day or two and the mountain would reappear and taunt me while the husband and children grumbled about not having their favorite shirts or underwear. 

Several of those "circumstances" were me just not wanting to do another damn load of laundry.

So....I'm sitting here...blissfully guilt-free....diddling on the computer and watching a movie without worrying about how I need to get up and do this, that, or the other thing.  It's pretty nice.  I love my new washer and dryer.

I love that it's Friday.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dealing with ADD

Yesterday, I took my oldest son in to start the ADD screening process. 

I've tried for three years to find some way to avoid this.  To find something else that worked; vitamins, supplements, structured schedules and discipline.  And nothing has worked.  His grades continue to drop with each new layer of education, and his emotional well-being is faltering with them. 

His teacher this year has been great....this has been the hardest school year he's had so far.  I'm sure next year will be even worse if we don't get him the help he needs.  In the letter that his teacher wrote for the doctor yesterday, he said that while he was not a medical professional qualified to diagnose Billy, having dealt with his own ADD and that of several students since, he fully believes that Billy has the most severe case of ADD that he's ever witnessed. 

My brother had ADD growing up.  I used to get very upset at the fact that my mom allowed my brother to get away with so much more than she did me.  And now, while I still don't think it did him any favors to be allowed his way so often, I can understand her motivation for it far more now that I would have otherwise. 

There's not much that comes easily to Billy.  He struggles for every single grade he gets.  Homework and tests and the mental struggle that comes with those things causes him to become frustrated, angry, and ultimately depressed.  I can't count the number of times he's cried and sobbed that he's just too stupid to learn because we've gone over the same math problem ten or twelve times and he still can't get it. Seeing that day after day makes you want to make something....anything....easier for them. 

I also grew up seeing my brother ostracized and bullied because of his difficulties.  And while I'm sure that there were also mean children who gave him shit for the fact that he had to take medication, it was the adults in his life that were by far the cruelest and most ignorant.  Most of these adults were family members, which means that my son will also have to deal with them (although not on a daily basis like my brother did, thank god).  I'm preparing myself for the battles that I know will be coming.  I've already had a couple family members tell me that "all he needs is a belt across his bottom". 

What these family members are too ignorant to understand is that by all accounts, Billy is a well behaved child.  His teachers love him and say that his issues definitely aren't behavioral.  He's sweet, listens well, and behaves as he should.....he just lacks the ability to focus and is extremely easy to distract.  And I refuse to spank a child that is trying his hardest and is just unable to do it.  To do so would be cruel.

When his frustration and anger leak out and cause behavioral problems at home, I do correct him and he is disciplined because I do not want him to think he can use his problems as an excuse for bad behavior.  Generally, some time in his room to cool down and regroup does the trick.  I'm not saying he's perfect....he's mouthy (gets that from me) and stubborn (gets that from his dad) and he pushes his boundaries often.  He's a normal 8 year old kid. 

*sigh*  So I'm terribly conflicted about this whole thing.  On one hand, I'm glad that this process has started so that I can get my baby the help he needs.  Make his life a little easier.  Give him some confidence and a chance to truly enjoy his education.  On the other, I wish I could delay this or hide it so that he doesn't have to deal with the close-minded, ignorant shit that comes with it.  I'm lucky that I had my mother and brother's experiences to draw on for this.  Billy deserves all the help, love, and support that we can give him. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gaelic Storm

Last night, I took my oldest son to see his first concert.  He's really really into Irish/Scottish music, and he LOVES the bagpipes, so I thought going to see Gaelic Storm at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia would be a good first concert for him. 

Turns out, I was right!

I was a little hesitant to spend that kind of money at first.  The tickets plus dinner ended up coming to $130.  But honestly, the look on my little man's face when that dude pulled out his bagpipes and started playing was totally worth it. 

We really enjoyed ourselves.  Billy's pretty shy, so at first he wouldn't do much but sit there with a huge grin on his face, but as the night wore on he came out of his shell and started clapping and dancing and participating in all the little dances and sing-a-longs that the band had the audience do with them. 

The music was awesome and the lead singer had a great story and song about how he and Russell Crowe got in a fist fight one night when he was bartending in Los Angeles.  Check them out on YouTube.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Case 39 and The Other Guys

So Ian McShane made me watch a scary movie called Case 39.  Well, he didn't "make" me, per se, but he co-starred in the movie and thus my attention was required.  Turns out, the movie wasn't all that scary...but it was what my husband called, "a decent thriller" right before he started lamenting the lack of really scary horror.

Apparently, this rather grotesque fella was the apex of the horror genre, and it's been an ever-declining crapfest since. 

Either way.  I liked the movie.  And not just because it featured Ian McShane and Ian McShane's amazing voice.  It also had Bradley Cooper (who dies a truly horrific death, btw) and a really adorably creepy Jodelle Ferland

It's the eyes....the adorably creepy eyes.

Renee Zellweger plays the social worker turned foster mother who gets terrorized and tormented and, (although they don't show it) I'm sure, ultimately imprisoned.  (Because she really has a lot of explaining to do at the end of this movie).

 I'm glad I sucked up my chickenshittedness (haha!  New word of the day!) and watched it.  It was much better than the craptastic comedy "The Other Guys".

I am seriously disappointed in Mark Wahlberg.  What the fuck was he thinking???  I expect half (ok, most) of Will Ferrell's movies to suck...but when I saw that it had Mark Walhberg in it, I held a lot of hope that this would be one of the few good ones.  


The only good part about this movie was when Samuel L. Jackson's character told Will Ferrell's character that if he wanted to hear him talk, he would shove his arm up (Will Ferrell's) ass and work his mouth like a puppet.  I plan on working that awesomeness into a word fight as soon as I possibly can.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Car

Very recently, my husband and children were in a pretty bad fender-bender in our van.  They were sitting still in DC rush-hour traffic, when this teenage guy in a tiny little Toyota truck slammed into them and pushed them into the person in front of them.  He said that he "didn't see them".

Even if he didn't specifically see my BIG ASS NISSAN MINIVAN...how did he miss the other 500,000 people in front of him?

I'm not sure, but I think he might have been clinically blind.

Luckily, my children and husband made it out unscathed.  My van, not so much.  The insurance called today and they are totaling the van.  Less than six months after we finished paying it off.  Blah. 

But, this means that I get to go car shopping!

Well.  Not really.  Because I've already done my research and I know what I want. 

I don't really like shopping anyway.

I am hoping to get a new Kia Sorento. 

I've already bought two bumper stickers for it.

I wasn't really wanting or planning on having another car payment right now.  But, if I just have to, at least I won't be drooling after smaller, sportier vehicles for a while. 

Except the Camaro.  I will still drool after the Camaro.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Big Road Trip: Day Fourteen and Fifteen


We have come to the end of our road trip series.  These last two days will be spent moving steadily East and South. 

When we roll back into Bainbridge, we will have driven approximately 7500 miles, seen 21 states, and had an experience that we'll always remember.......hopefully fondly. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Big Road Trip: Day Twelve and Thirteen

Blah.  Sorry, I had a crazy busy weekend and yesterday I felt mainly like all the energy had been sucked out of me....so no blogging got done. And I hate this time change. 

So where were we?  Oh yes, Yellowstone National Park.

When we leave there, we hit the edge of Salt Lake City, Utah, and then head East through Colorado. 

Salt Lake City, home to supposedly awesome skiing and Mormons.  I am neither a skier nor a Mormon.  But I'm much more likely to throw myself down a snowy mountain strapped to a thin piece of plastic than I am to join the Mormon church...so I'll probably just take pictures of the mountains while we're there.

I have only been through a small little corner of Colorado, and I've been told that it's a beautiful place so I thought it might be a little more interesting than the other route options. 

Grand Junction, Colorado

Somewhere near Denver, Colorado

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Big Road Trip: Day Eleven

We will be leaving the Seattle and heading East toward Yellowstone National Park. 

There is really a lot of interesting things in Yellowstone.  Like this:

The Grand Prismatic Spring

And this:

Old Faithful Geyser
And really beautiful waterfalls:

Lower Falls

And tons and tons of wild animals.  Bison, different types of deer, elk, bears, you name it.  It's really cool.  Plus we get to drive through a little of Montana and a lot of Wyoming.  Can you say "cowboys"??

Word of caution:  Don't ever google image "sexy cowboys" with your three year old sitting nearby.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Big Road Trip: Day Ten

Now that "the Twilight Tour" has been taken....we will proceed with our second day in Washington with "The Practical Magic Tour". 


I remember making it to Cairo and back in ten minutes (just in time to be home for curfew) to buy this soundtrack the night it came out.  Good times.

We will be exploring the area in and around the Puget Sound. 

I recently found out that the Aunts' house in Practical Magic was built for the movie and torn down immediately afterward....so that shot my (admittedly delusional) dreams of one day buying it.

I'm seriously devastated.  And scouring the internet for pictures so that I can recreate it when we build.

But we can at least visit the town in the movie....which was Coupeville on Whidbey Island. 

And of course, we will be visiting Seattle.  I don't know what we'll do there yet, but I'm hoping to find out some things to get in to before we get there. 

That big needle building looks interesting....

From here, it's a steady pace back Eastward.  (bah!)  But there is still a few things to see on the way home, so it won't be too depressing. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Big Road Trip: Day Nine

On Day Nine, we leave Oregon and proceed with what I'm calling "The Twilight Tour" of Washington.  We will be going up the Western coast on Hwy 101, and see a lot of places that are mentioned in the Twilight series...like the La Push.

One of the La Push beaches with James Island in the distance.  James Island was a burial site for the Quileute Chiefs.


I will be getting Twilight memorabilia....after which I will be mercilessly mocked by Krystle.

And Port Angeles.

Honestly, Port Angeles is going to be more of a 'roll through'.  
I would like to add that I have wanted to take this route through Washington since my very first visit to the state on the way to our new house in Alaska...which was almost eight years ago...long before I had even heard of the Twilight series, much less read and loved it.  And we will not just be hitting up these specific stops, but doing an over all tour of the entire area.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Big Road Trip: Day Eight

On Day Eight, we will continue on Hwy 101 up the Oregon coast.  There are a lot of neat little places to stop and see things...

Paul Bunyan and his ginormous blue bull.

....along with even more beautiful views of the coast. 

 If we have enough time, we will hopefully make a trip inland for a bit to see the Multnomah Falls in the Columbia Gorge.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Big Road Trip: Day Seven

When we leave San Francisco, we will be driving up one of the most beautiful highways in the US.  Hwy 101.

It's beautiful.  Really, really beautiful.  And it's going to to take us up to the Redwood forest. 

The Redwood forest is magical.  It's hard to wrap your head around just how huge and old those trees are. 

I'm a big fan of fantasy books based on Celtic mythology.  I can totally see how some of those beliefs came about in a place like this.  There's not a whole lot I can say about the Redwoods but that they're beautiful, and majestic, and magical.  It's the kind of place you just walk through quietly with your mouth hanging open in astonishment.  (Or at least, I do.  I might be the only dumbass walking around catching flies and drooling over trees....but we all have our little quirks.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Big Road Trip: Day Six

I'm a country girl at heart.  I love nature.  The quiet, the animals (except snakes...them bastards should all die), trees, water, the ability to walk around buck ass nekkid in my yard if I so choose.  I would never willing choose to live in a city.  That being said, if I was ever to HAVE to live in a city, San Francisco would be it.  

I spent two weeks there when I was seventeen at a medical forum for high school students who had aspirations of becoming doctors.  Even though I had decided against becoming a doctor before my time in San Francisco, it was probably one of the best experiences I've had.  And besides all the life lessons it taught me about doing things on my own and experiencing new things...I fell in love with that city. 

So, of course, when we leave Vegas, San Francisco will be our next stop!

(I wanted to trek through Yosemite National Park, but I don't think we're going to have enough time to do that.  Maybe next time.)

While we're there, we're gonna go see the Golden Gate Bridge.

I'm going to be honest here and say for the record....the Golden Gate Bridge is not that impressive.  It's a bridge.  Across a beautiful bay, I'll grant you.  But there's a ton of bridges across this bay.  The only thing it has going for it that the other bridges don't is the historical and engineering significance.  But it's one of those things that you just can't go to San Francisco without experiencing.  I'm pretty sure it's an obscure law somewhere:  If you go to San Francisco, you must take at least one picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. 

So we'll go, take a goofy picture in front of it.  And then move on....to Pier 39!! 

Pier 39 is a total tourist trap...but it's still awesome.  And in one of those little restaurants on the ground level, they make The Best Clam Chowder EVER....and it comes in a sourdough bread bowl....and it is the embodiment of a perfect fall evening on the coast.  (Yes, I realize that it will be summer when we go....but I'm going to be pretending that it's fall while I'm eating.  Mmkay?Krystle is allergic to shell fish.....which makes her eating The Best Clam Chowder Ever problematic.....but I'm hoping we can plan ahead with some allergy meds, otherwise she might miss out.  And that would just be fucking tragic.  

Another awesome thing about Pier 39....sea lions.  Tons and tons of sea lions.  

That's a lot of fucking sea lions people. 

They're cute.  And there's hundreds of them.  And it's amazing to watch their transformation from awkward slow lugs on the piers to the swift and graceful creatures they are in the water.  They're like two different animals.  

After our tourist-y time in San Francisco, I'm really really hoping that we can go down to the UC-Berkeley part of town.  That's where I thoroughly explored when I was staying there.  And I would love to go back through there.  I ate the best pizza of my life down there.  And there were so many awesome little stores there that I would love to go through again.  

There was a street artist that hung out right outside this gate when I was there.  He was amazing.  It was great to just stand there and watch him.  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Big Road Trip: Day Five

After checking out the Grand Canyon, we will be popping over to Las Vegas.  Yay! 

I'm planning on having us spend the 4th and 5th night in Vegas to give us enough time to really see the Vegas sights and so we can give our asses a little break from the car. 

There's tons to do in Vegas obviously....much more than I could post pictures of here.  There are several free shows, like the water show at the Bellagio:

Add caption
And the Pirate show at Treasure Island:

And other things like the Masquerade Village, various roller coasters, oohhh, and gondola rides at the Venetian:

Just riding down the main drag looking at all the casinos is spectacular.  One of my favorites is the Luxor:

And of course, there's always gambling!  (honestly, I'm far too much of a cheap ass to gamble hardcore.....but I'll happily loan good vibes and wishes of luck to others.)

We'll have plenty of time to do stuff in Vegas, and there's a website that gives a list and small description of things to do and see there.  I'm am quite certain that a blast will be had by all of us.  :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Big Road Trip: Day Three and Four

Day 3, as I explained before, will be spent driving.  It will be the longest driving day in the trip.  It is the big push to get us out of "The South" and into "The West".  We will drive from San Antonio to Tucson, AZ.

Now, I am not a hot weather person.  Anyone who knows me at all can tell you that.  But I love Arizona.

It is hot.  Very, very hot.  But it's completely different from the heat we have over here in the Southeast.  You don't feel as....stifled? I guess is the term I'm looking for.  Even at temperatures over 100 degrees in Arizona, I can still breathe and I don't feel as claustrophobic as I do when the temperatures hit anywhere above 80 degrees here. 

And Arizona is beautiful.  In this strange and barren way, it is one of the prettiest places in the US.

So I'm looking forward even to the driving part of this day's trip up through Arizona.

We will be ending this day at the Grand Canyon.  I honestly can't even describe the Grand Canyon to you.  It's one of those things that you kinda know is going to be really cool.....and then you actually see it and it completely takes your breath away. 

This is Havasu Falls....I'm hoping to get over to this if time allows. (I think it will)
So.  That's Day Three and Four.  I really really really can't freaking wait for this trip.