Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Sorry I've been gone so long. I missed you all. I've found a couple of minutes here and there to pop in on a few of you, but mostly I've been MIA. AWOL. Whatever alphabet-soup acronym you wish to use to say, "She's been gone an awfully long time."

I hope you all had a great Christmas, Hannukah, Festivus, or whatever other holiday or non-holiday you choose to celebrate.

There is one holiday that all of us in America will celebrate, or at least survive, this week: New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

I, for one, am looking forward to 2010 on the theory that it just *has to* be better than 2009. Not that 2009 was all bad. In many ways it was better than 2008, for me. It had its low points, though, so I'm hoping for a better year in 2010. And I believe it will be better!

I think, and believe, that the stimulus plan and other policies of the new administration are helping, and that the economy will improve - slowly, perhaps, but still, it will improve - so that will be better.

I hope, and believe, that my clients will have better employment prospects and be able to pay their bills, so that will be better.

I hope, and believe, that I will not have any more dying relatives (or pets!), so that will be better.

I hope my family and I will stay healthy, so that will be good, too.

And I wish the very best for all of you, too. Here's to health, happiness, and lots of fun!

To try to make sure it happens, let's all remember to eat our black-eyed peas this year!! (Click the link for an explanation).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nip/Tuck Update

Warning: The content of this post is not for the faint of heart, nor anyone who is going to judge me for watching complete garbage on television, nor anyone who is worried their boss might look over their shoulder and wonder what the heck they are reading!

I watched my favorite craptacular show again last night - yes, that's right, it's Nip/Tuck! - and I thought I'd give you a little update, in case you missed it. Ok, it's a long update. So shoot me.

Spoiler alert: They repeat the prior week's episode on Tuesday nights, before the current week's episode on Wednesdays. So if you'd prefer to watch this craptastic crap-fest for yourself and not have all the good parts spoiled, you should stop reading now and tune in to FX next Tuesday instead.

But if you just want to know exactly how bad television can be, then by all means, read on.

The robber-mime went to prison for all those creepy silent robberies he committed. Last week's episode was all about how he was getting raped by one of his fellow prisoners; and about how his plastic-surgeon Dad, Dr. Christian Troy, sold his beloved yacht to pay a $10,000 bribe to the warden to have his son moved "somewhere safe"; and then the warden had him moved to a private cell with the completely creepy and sadistic and abusive rapist; and he begged his plastic surgeon dad to give him breast implants (!) to keep his cellmate happy so he could quit getting beaten to a pulp; and instead his plastic-surgeon dad gives him depo-provera to feed to the cellmate in ho-ho's, which keeps the cellmate from getting erections; and the cellmate finds out and violently attacks our former mime; and at the end the former mime apparently strangles the cellmate in self-defense. (I say apparently because you never know with this show, whether the guy is actually dead.... )

It was a redemption of sorts for our anti-hero. After all, he's no longer a mime, right? (Hahaha, I'm still laughing about the episode when he told his dads he had decided to follow his life's dream to become a mime). And plus, now he's all victim-y, right? And so now we should feel sorry for him instead of hating him, right? Uh, yeah....

Meanwhile, last week's episode also detailed the efforts of Sean and Julia to get custody of their kids back from Julia's mother, who took them after the whole fiasco (a few weeks ago) where Sean's new and creepy, sneaky, scheming, killed-all-her-former-husbands-for-the-insurance-money wife tried to kill him and both of the kids. The new wife tried to kill the kids, too, this time, because Sean was smart -- or stupid? -- enough to make them the insurance beneficiaries instead of the psycho wife... but then she gets.... oh, nevermind, I'll save that juicy tidbit for you to watch during re-run season...

(That was, however, the same episode in which Sean and Julia's daughter was pulling out her hair and eating it (eeeewwww), and then she had horrible stomach cramps and Sean had to remove a hairball the size of Texas from her stomach; and also the episode in which Sean tried to kill himself by swimming naked out into the ocean, apparently hoping to drown or get eaten by sharks....)

... and also last week Julia's mother's boyfriend / husband who is young enough to be her son was suspected of molesting Sean & Julia's daughter (the one who used to eat her hair, yes) and so the mom gives custody back to Julia & Sean and then Julia plants the cocaine in her mom's bag so her mom will be arrested at the airport because Julia wants her mom out of her life forever... and dang, I'm running out of breath here....

(Did I mention that this show is completely and unbelievably awful? And that I simply can't resist it anyway?)

So this week, as usual, I thought it could not possibly get any worse. There can't be anything more depraved, right?

Uh, right, yeah, uh-huh... let me remind, you, "self," that you always think that just before the show reaches a new "low"...

On this week's episode, Barbie and Ken come in for a consultation. I forgot her "real" name. His "real" name was "Skip."

Seriously, they think they are Ken and Barbie. They met at a doll convention 5 years ago and they have a perfect, plastic, sexless life, just like Ken and Barbie, whose marriage has lasted, after all, for 59 years, and it's all because they don't have sex. (No, silly, it's not because they are dolls and the manufacturer can invent any premise it wants. Oh, no, it's because they don't have sex and so there are no weird issues about "ownership" or "jealousy"... uh, yeah ... ok....)

And these two freaks want to be just like those plastic models of the 1950's ideal of human perfection (as Ken says, or something like that anyway) - with a sexless, "perfect" relationship. But, "we're not crazy. Oh, no! We're a great real estate selling team and we've sold more houses in this economy than anyone else in town!" (Wonder how many real estate agents will sue FX over that one?)

They both look plastic and perfect already - just like Barbie and Ken. The doctors look at each other and then at the pair: So what is it they want to change? What could they possibly not like about themselves!?

I sure didn't see it coming...

You'll never guess...

Our Barbie look-alike wants to have her nipples removed, so she won't be constantly aroused. "They're like gumdrops. They're constantly hard!" she complains. Ken has already had his removed. She wants to match. They want to be more perfect, like those dolls. Plus, she wants to get rid of that whole sexual desire thing. She wants the perfect, sexless marriage to the Ken doll.

(Holy Moly am I really watching this crud?)

Then just before the surgery, Dr. Sean is explaining the risks and asking her, essentially, "are you sure about this?" and she is going on about how awful sex is, all that groping and grabbing, maybe a spank on the butt cheek or two, and then it's all about the in and out, the up and down and...

.... cut to a short but forever-seared-into-my-brain truly-craptacular scene of Dr. Christian with another patient in the other room, getting it on in the canine way, slapping a butt cheek or two .... ay yi yi.....

(Holy Moly am I still watching this crud?!? But I just know it will be worth it by the end!)

So Sean removes Barbie's nipples, as asked.

And a couple of weeks later, when she comes in to have the stitches removed, he convinces her she's all wrong about the sex thing and passion is good, and they do it right there in the office. (Too bad he didn't convince her of that before he did the surgery!)

(Have any of you guys ever had sex in your office? No? I thought not. Yet the offices of Doctors Sean and Christian see an awful lot of truly awful action....)

And then later Skip, the Ken-doll look-alike, finds out that Barbie "did the nasty" with Dr. Sean, and comes in to talk to him...

And Sean is concerned; he thinks "Ken" will be angry.

But, no, Ken is not angry. He is thrilled because the revelation about Barbie has "set him free" to be with the one he really loves..... and he wants Dr. McNamara (Sean) to meet his new "friend," whom he met at the doll convention this past year.... a perfect human replica of ....

Wait for it....

Can you guess?....


I didn't see it coming, either....

OK, then, scroll on down...

"This is Joe."

. . .

Yes, that would be "G.I. Joe" for those of you (like me) who are a little slow on the uptake.* (see footnote)

It took me a minute or two, but then I could not stop laughing. The whole show was like some freaky version of the goofy crap I'd have invented with all my dumb Barbies and Kens and my friend's brother's G.I. Joe action figures at age 9!! (Barbie dates Ken. They change outfits a lot and always look fabulous! Barbie dumps Ken doll for better looking model Ken doll. Snubbed Ken doll hangs with G.I. Joe and goes on "adventures"! ... )

(In case you were wondering, the answers are "yes, Joe was dressed and coiffed to look just like the doll" and "no, Joe did not want his nipples removed, too.")

This show is truly awful, but yet I can't stop laughing. Once again, it was totally worth watching, because I'll laugh all week about it, even though I am embarassed to admit it. And well-acted! I can't even imagine playing these roles without bursting out laughing or cringing every time I had to say or do anything at all and yet, these guys play it as if it's just their real lives. Even when the script is over-the-top ridiculous, you find yourself believing it could really happen. At least until you try to write about it on your blog and realize exactly how spectacularly and ridiculously and crappily awful it all is.

(I'm still laughing, though!)

* * *

*footnote: It does occur to me that this might seem like a mockery of the military and could potentially offend those who are serving in the military. But in the context of the show (which often and in general has an underlying theme of mocking those who seek shallow surface perfection rather than seeking inner peace and goodness), it seemed to me to be mocking the shallow freaks who want to look like dolls, and our culture's general obsession with shallow things like looks instead of substance. It did not come across as a mockery of our enlisted men at all. I will also say my ex-Navy husband caught the joke and was laughing well before I realized "Joe" was "G.I. Joe," so at least one former military person was not offended.

So, if you're offended, sorry.... but it is what it is, and I thought it was hilarious!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Hate Motorcycle Cops (aka, I Am An Idiot)

I hate motorcycle cops.

All last week and yesterday, the motorcycle cops have been sitting at a particular place on a particular street, and I've been oh-so-careful to drive the speed limit there. There's a big hill going down, then you come up the hill & there's the cop.

Today, I was chatting with my kid while driving, and must have got going too fast down the hill.

I saw the cop, but it was too late.

I got a speeding ticket.

I hate motorcycle cops.

They have only one purpose: to make money for the city by giving out speeding tickets. If they really just wanted to stop people from speeding, they'd give warnings instead, at least for the first time they catch you. But have you ever been given just a warning from a motorcycle cop? No, you have not. Don't lie to me about the time you talked your way out of a motorcycle cop ticket. It might have worked on a regular police officer, sure. But not a motorcycle cop. All they give are actual tickets. I don't think they even have warning slips on those tiny little motorbikes. Just a ticket book.

I get really annoyed because I think of all the crime going on in our city. Just last week, one block over from my house, someone broke into a home and stole lots of jewelry, a flat-screen television, blu-ray disc player, and lots of other items. Any motorcycle cops around to prevent that crime? Heck no, they were all too busy writing speeding tickets. When I first got my car last January, someone stole it in the middle of the night, from right in front of my house! Any motorcycle cops around to prevent that crime? Heck no, they were all too busy writing speeding tickets! A few months back, some kids went through the neighborhood and "tagged" lots of recycle bins, fences, etc. Any motorcycle cops around to prevent that crime? Heck no, they were all too busy writing speeding tickets!!

Stopping the horrible crime of speeding. Oh, I feel so much safer already. (That was sarcasm, in case it didn't come through.)

They always want to give me the song and dance about how speeding is so dangerous. Well, speeding in and of itself is not dangerous. Sure, if you're going horribly fast through a residential neighborhood, that's bad. But on a non-residential street, there aren't any kids or bicycles or pets wandering around in the street. Just a bunch of cars, most of which are exceeding the speed limit. It's more dangerous not to speed - you'll end up getting hit from behind!

The thing that is dangerous is when cars are traveling at vastly different speeds from each other. That is what makes collisions more likely, not the fact of speed itself. If all the cars are traveling at exactly 65 miles per hour on a freeway with a 55 mph speed limit, for example, they are all technically speeding, but the likelihood of any of them hitting the others is between slim and none because they are all moving at the same speed (assuming no one makes a stupid lane change and hits the guy next to him). No one will catch up to another car to hit it.

But if you have one idiot car going 45 miles per hour on the mistaken assumption that it's the speed itself that is bad, and a bunch of normal people driving 60 to 65 mph, then you have a 15-20 mile per hour speed differential - and lot of folks who are not expecting the idiot to be going that slow - and you have traffic flow issues as people come up behind the idiot and hit their brakes and then swerve to go around him and so forth, and then it is ripe for an accident.

Same analysis if you have everyone going the speed limit, 55, and an idiot or three going 75 or 80. The speed differential makes it hard for the idiots to avoid hitting the other cars, as they constantly swerve around them.

The other thing that can make speed unsafe is when you have a head-on collision - two folks hitting each other head on at 55 mph each is definitely a worse crash than two cars colliding when each is traveling at 25 mph.

But this particular road has a median, so a head-on collision is unlikely. And the sidewalk is separated from the road by a concrete barrier. And there is a sign saying "no bikes allowed" on this stretch of road (there's a bike path on the other side) And there are no roads coming in from the side in the particular stretch where I was speeding.

All of which means the chances of a collision there are between slim and none. And in fact, there is hardly ever an accident in that particular spot. The only time I've ever seen an accident there is during rush hour, when it is bumper-to-bumper stop and go traffic moving at between 0 and 10 mph, and some idiot talking on a cell phone bumps the car in front of him. But that's not a speeding problem, now is it? There was no need for a motorcycle cop to even sit at that stretch of the road looking for speeders. Unless you are the city government and you want to make money.

And in my particular case, there weren't even any other cars nearby - just a couple of cars behind me, so there was no chance I was going to hit them! (Which is probably part of the reason I was going so fast - no other cars around, just open road. Why not go a little faster? Really!)

The motorcycle cop's purpose had to have been to make money, not to prevent unsafe driving, or even to stop speeding. There was no chance of a collision. And he accomplished his purpose of stopping me from speeding the minute he pulled me over. I'll be a lot more careful now. The ticket was totally unnecessary, and all it does is make money for the city.

I know government budgets are tight, but my budget is tight right now, too. This economy sucks, and clients aren't paying their bills as promptly as they used to. Some of them aren't paying at all. And now I'll have to scramble to come up with the money to pay for the "defensive driving" class (I'll save that rant for another day!) so I won't get points on my license and have my insurance rates go up, too. Aarrgghh.

I hate motorcycle cops.

* * *

I'm also a big idiot.

I've seen the motorcycle cops out there for over a week, and I still went speeding past without a care in the world.

Really, how stupid is that?!?

Perhaps it proves I wasn't paying enough attention to the road and was a potential driving hazard.

Maybe I deserved the ticket after all....