Saturday, March 31, 2012

Accidental movie review: Diary of a Nymphomaniac

Oh come on. We've all been there. You turn on your Roku and queue up your Netflix feed and start looking for something to watch, but because you have a raging migraine, you're not looking too hard. You see the next movie in the Girl with Dragon Tattoo series, and you're like, "Eh. The first one was...odd." It was also in Swedish, and despite your near-fluency in Deutsch, you must acknowledge that you know nothing of the Swedish language, but you think it's sort of musical and nowhere near as gutteral as Deutsch and you sort of debate about it for a minute, because you want something you can tune out pretty well in order to just relax your burning, throbbing eyes and foreign languages with subtitles sort of counteract that plan, but you decide, "What the heck" and queue Girl with Hornet's Nest tattoo or whatever it's called anyway. Then you get up to make yourself a cup of caffeine infused Earl Grey because let's face it: this movie isn't going to make sense no matter how much of it you watch, where you come in on it, or what language it's being spoken in. You also know it's going to be completely horrible, and you wish that the filmmakers had just stuck with the original title of "Men Who Hate Women," but even that does not fully encompass the horror that is Girl With Dragon Tattoo where surprise!buttsex was not even the worst thing that happened. Twice.

Imagine your surprise when you look up from the kitchen and see some gorgeous thing with a great rack pulling off the reverse cowgirl on some guy in what appears to be a completely mutual dalliance. Completely mutual being surprising as you're pretty sure that "completely mutual" is not a phrase in Stieg Larsson's arsenal. I'm pretty sure that Stieg is one of those feminists who is absolutely convinced that there can be no such thing as mutual consent, and that all sex is rape because men have been in charge of the world for so long that it's impossible for them to have equal relations with women. Sorry, wymmyn. Stieg can't even make same-sex relationships equitable. He takes it one step further.

To confuse me even more, this great-racked goddess also speaks no Swedish that I am aware of. I know she doesn't, as she's speaking Spanish and I understand Spanish to a degree (except she speaks SPANISH from SPAIN, which sounds one hundred percent different than Mexican and South American Spanish and just makes me want to go to Spain and take a string of European lovers even more), but as I mentioned before, I don't speak Swedish.

So, I continued to watch the movie even though I was pretty sure it wasn't Girl With Hornets Nest Tattoo due to the fact that the lighting is pretty and flattering, and the female lead actually seemed to enjoy most of her life and sex and all. One of her lovers compared her to the horse of the East (?) Wind, who only Ishmael could tame, and then another lover tells her she has issues, and she tells her grandma that she thinks she's a nymphomaniac, and her grandma says that nymphomania is just a concept that men made up to make women feel badly about themselves for enjoying sex, and I love her grandma. Then she dies and the nymph has to make her own way and she ends up in an abusive relationship and then my Roku for some reason broke down at that point and I figured it was for the best and went back to bed anyway.

It was still better than Stieg Larsson's "Men Who Can't Stop Beating The Will To Live Out Of Women."

Friday, March 30, 2012

It's captured for the queen to use


I keep trying to put into words how I feel about something...and I keep muddling things. One of the goals I want to accomplish with this blog is to communicate better, but in this matter, I don't seem to be able to. I'm going to keep trying, but I think it's best to delete this post.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review: Branded by Taylor Keary

Branded is the first book in a series on angels, and since Ethereal was about Nephilim, I felt this was a good second book to review.

Branded is nothing like Ethereal. Ethereal has its roots firmly in The Big Three religions--Muslims, Christians and Jews will recognize a good deal of the ideology behind Ethereal, but none of us will really embrace Branded as its depictions of angels and the afterlife do not link in with any of the Big three. Branded follows a more karmic ideology. Angels were once people, and now stand in judgement of people. Judgement weighs your good deeds with your bad deeds. In the end, you are either exalted or condemned. In the Torah and Bible (I'm also assuming in the Koran, but I've never read it, so...) it is clear that angels and humans are different species, and that angels do not judge, but YHWH is the only judge. I only bring this up because there are some things that this godless system leaves out that The Big Three all have in common, such as sanctification, forgiveness of sins, and a righteous judge who does not think like a man. I feel that if an author is writing a mythos that goes directly against thousands of years of religious text that spans across at least three religions, the author is obligated to explain their mythos. I mean, Tolkien did it for crying out loud, you'd think anyone else would have no difficulty. One of my favorite authors, Lois McMaster-Bujold always explains her mythos to the reader, the gods involved, the beliefs of the people. It makes for a well-rounded book that is enjoyable and deep.

That being said, I really enjoyed Branded. It was a page-turner, and it was a very unique book, something that you just don't find everywhere. It was a bit predictable, and it had the obligatory heroine who absolutely cannot live without the guy she falls in love with, and they can't have sex for whatever reason (and this continues in the second book to the frustration of all because it's never explained why they're not having sex. Again, an explanation of the mythos we're following here would really help, because I don't really see premarital sex pinging high on the radar where Karma is involved.), but it also has a lot of other stuff that is very good.

Jessica has dreams whenever she sleeps that she is standing in place of someone about to be judged. No one has ever believed Jessica, despite the fact that there is an X branded on her neck, and she has wings etched into her back. Apparently this started when she was five, so I'm kind of curious as to why her parents never believed her. I know you can get body modifications younger than 18, but I've never heard of a tattoo parlor shady enough to do branding on a five-year-old.

Finally, Jessica meets Alex who is wonderful and beautiful and perfect and everything she'd hoped he'd be, and she tells him about the dreams. He doesn't say if he believes her or not, but he tries to be understanding. Alex is also fabulously wealthy because of course he is. He also has a lot of restraint where his sex organs are concerned and never has sex with Jessica no matter how much they love each other because they're trying to be "good." Good how? a Karmic way? Good because the religious texts of the Big Three expect you to abstain (if you're a woman)? It doesn't make sense.

There's another guy who wants Jessica, and he has dark hair and dark eyes and looks a whole heck of a lot like the angels who judge Jessica every time she sleeps, only she never puts two-and-two together, and I just have to stop here and remind everyone how much I really dislike the fact that the "good" boyfriend in YA fiction is always the one who is closer to exhibiting all of the proper traits that Hitler expected from his Jungen, whereas the "bad" boyfriend is always dark. What does this say about our society? In the wake of the horrible tweets about Rue and Cinna in The Hunger Games being portrayed by African-American actors even though Rue is supposed to be dark-skinned and all Cinna is ever described as is having hazel eyes (Lenny Kravitz) and close-cropped brown hair (Lenny Kravitz), this is really worrying to me. If anything, in this day and age, YA fiction should be more inclusive to GLBT, and all races, and I feel that they have an obligation to portray these things in a positive light. I'm not saying I think this author is a bad person or that she did a bad job, I'm just saying that like a lot of other people, she is equating good Aryan looks with goodness and dark, un-WASPish looks with violence and negativity. She has a chance as an author to make a difference with these prejudices and preconceived notions, and I do applaud that in the second book, a dark-skinned man falls for a light-skinned woman, but she's been in an abusive relationship that she just skips out of without any last effects, so that's another rant.

Anyway, the other guy is clearly a "condemned" angel (they all get dark eyes, whereas the exalted angels get blue eyes...I mean, it's getting ridiculous here.)

Left: What you think Jesus looked like. Right: What Jesus more than likely actually looked like. Also, Hello Oded Fehr. Where have you been all my blog?

So, you know how it will end, with Alex and Jessica together and Evil!Angel Cole vanquished back to "hell", but the best part of this book is really that it's not what you think it is. You will never guess where it's going...I mean it when I say it was a page-turner.

The second book, Forsaken, was not nearly as good, but it was still riveting. Overall, I give this book a B+.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Book Review: Ethereal by Addison Moore

One of the biggest arguments against YA fiction is that the characters are so very stupid. While reading Ethereal, I realized that they aren't stupid. No. They're teenagers. Case in point, Skyla, the main character in this book, is told by a ghost to stay away from a certain boy that Skyla, at the age of sixteen, has already fallen madly in love with. Skyla decides that the ghost is just jealous because when the ghost was a person, she and this perfect paragon of teenagerhood used to date and the fact that this former girlfriend (Chloe) is dead now is in no way a warning for Skyla. I should also mention that Chloe was murdered. Just so you know.

All right, so the story. Skyla is a Nephilim, or angel-human hybrid. These things exist in the Bible. They are the main reason why Noah's Ark happened. They are not a good thing, except in this story they are. Well, they are except for the fact that they tend to die young. In the Bible, Nephilim were fearsome giants with great capacity to commit evil deeds. Their fathers were fallen angels, mothers willing participants in hubris. In some areas of Jewish mythos (not main-stream Judaism, think more Gnostic), even after the flood, Nephilim continued to populate the earth and do great and terrible deeds. Goliath is purportedly (in some areas) a Nephilim. The lore concludes that the Nephilim were incited to war against each other by Gabriel (God instructed him to start the fire) and were eventually killed off by each other. None of this is mentioned in the book. There is mention of factionalism and that there are certain sorts who are more friendly, and one sort that's like a New Jersey crime syndicate (they may actually be a New Jersey crime syndicate) and they exact revenge, kidnappings, executions, etc. in the name of their faction.

Skyla is naturally of the most rare order, Celestra, and she is somehow pure-blood even though that would mean that both her mother and father were Celestrae, and her mother doesn't appear to be anything other than human. Skyla also has a younger sister who is perfectly normal. I have only read the first book, but I'm wondering if Skyla was maybe the product of her father and someone else? Her mom really does love her, though.

Skyla has a creepy stepfather, a horrid stepbrother (who is actually kind of cool, though I don't know if the author meant for anyone to like him) and a stepsister. She is the same age as her stepbrother, and her younger sister is the same age as the stepsister. The mom thinks it's great, but I think it's odd. Skyla does, too. They all move to a small island in Washington State (how close is it to Forks?) and move into the late-great Chloe's house. Skyla gets her room, her next-door bestie, her boyfriend, her boyfriend's cousin, and pretty much everything else Chloe had. It's at this time that Chloe reaches out to Skyla and tries to warn her to steer clear of Logan, but Skyla's all, "u jus jellus hor." Chloe's all, "Pearls, swine, no thanks." and leaves Skyla alone.

Of course there's a hugely unequal relationship between Skyla and her boyfriend Logan, who is also a Celestra (quelle coincidence). He knows everything there is to know about being an angel-on-earth, but he won't tell everything to Skyla for her own good. I'm sorry, but I've spent a little too long reading YA paranormal fiction, and I know that any time a boy does something for the good of his girlfriend/stalker obsession, it always ends badly. The worst part is that Logan's aunt and uncle (his parents were killed after he was born. For being Celestras.) are both angels, and even though a normal adult would be like, "This girl knows nothing of our ways, let us teach her!" the adults in YA fiction have a curse that forces them to be as completely ineffectual as possible in any given situation.

Skyla's stepfather is also typecast as The Worst Sort Of Stepfather Short Of Being A Pedophile Rapist. He thinks that Skyla is using drugs and having sex even though it's his son who does those things. He thinks Skyla is unhinged and dangerous, and when she thinks she's being attacked by someone and stabs them in the stomach with a pair of scissors while her best friend cowers under the covers during a sleepover, Tad The Stepdad has Skyla put into a mental health facility because stabbing a guy who doesn't answer when you repeatedly ask, "Who's there? Who are you?" isn't a normal reaction to him. To Skyla's credit, she never answers his accusations with cross-accusations about his son, but she does scream and yell at him. In her defense, he's an idiot.

I liked the book all right, though I'm not sure if I want to buy any other books. It really sort of drove me crazy, especially the stuff with the parents. I can kind of see that she's displaying somewhat erratic behavior and that it's worrying to her parents, but there's a huge jump between "erratic" and "we must incarcerate her." At the same time, I am curious to know more. I just don't know if I can slog through another book. I may give it a try, though. All over, I'd give it a C+/B-

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Forget quitting, I may get fired

A guy just walked into my office, and I was talking with him. I told him that he needed to find a new word other than "rush" to prove to me that a project is important because they all say "rush" right now. His response? "Hey, I like Rush Limbaugh." I said, "Well, he thinks I'm a whore, so I don't really care for him." the guy was amazed. "What?" I said, "Birth control" and his response was, "Well, I gotta go." Yes. Go. Really. He said, "Are you voting Obama then?" I said "No." and he said "Good." I didn't have the heart to tell him that the person I will be voting for won't suit his ideas either.

The worst part is that only one woman in my office knew what I was talking about. Hello, Ladies! This is how our rights will be stripped away! Ignorance is not bliss.

Anyway, your daily rant

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Two Women, One Bathroom

The hardest part about moving to my new apartment is the fact that it has exactly one (1) bathroom with one(1) sink in it, and my mom and I have to share it.

Now, I know that there are married people out there who probably enjoy their mornings in the bathroom together (having resolved to move to Spain and take a string of European lovers, however, this will never happen to me). I would like to remind you that my mom and I are not married, and there is very little to enjoy about being awoken by an obsessive-compulsive cat who must eat NOW NOW OMG NOW! and then while you're taking care of him, your mom sneaks into the bathroom and occupies it for the next thirty minutes. And you have to get ready too.

My mom is nekkit on the other side of the door, people. She's not a sexy Alpine god (Spanish, Italian or Swiss, I'm good) whose back I can't wait to wash. So, while she's in Nakedland doing Naked Things, I have to manage to get everything else together when a good deal of what I need to do has to happen after I dress. I'm seriously considering just going to work and showering there. And we start work at just about the same time and are just about equidistant from our respective places of employment, so it's not like one of us is just an early riser or running late.

I'm starting to think about setting up a little vanity in my bedroom, but there are a few things I can't add to it. For instance, this is the year 2012, not 1812, so I'm pretty sure I can't put in a "water closet" for those times when I just really have to go OMG.

But other than that, I love my new place.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Breaking Dawn Review Part Three: Bella Gains Immortality, Loses Intelligence

In part one, Bella and Edward finally sparkle in the bedroom and make a baby. In part two, Jacob and Edward conspire to force Bella into an abortion and fail which ends up being good for Jacob because he "imprints" on Bella's baby (it's totally platonic!). Now, part three, in which stuff actually happens. Like, vampire stuff.

So, when Edward injected Bella in the heart with his venom (saliva), it hurt. In the Twiverse, changing to a vampire is painful. In the first book, Bella was bit in the hand, and she was screaming because it felt like her hand was on fire. Now in Breaking Dawn, Bella is all, "I'm in pain, but I won't cry out. I won't even say a word and they'll think, 'oh, she's such a good girl. She won't even cry.'" The reality is that Bella is in a lot of pain and it's freaking the Cullenses out because they're expecting her to cry and scream and otherwise feel horrible, but Bella just had to jump up and nail herself to a cross so she won't be a bother to anyone. What a freakin' martyr. Jeez.

When the pain finally leaves, Bella wakes up and gets all freaky at the Cullenses, who have never been anything other than nice to her. Her fear instinct kicks in, and she does Shaolin acrobatics above everyone's heads, flipping away from them all Crouching Tiger Hidden Dumbass. As with the rest of the books, it takes Bella a long time to locate the various parts of her body such as legs, feet, hands, lungs, etc. She remembers being pregnant and is all, "Bring me my baby, yo!" and for some reason, the idiots around her are like, "We don't know if that's a good idea." Bella is understandably pissed by this because she's gone to such lengths to protect her little Renesmee (despite giving her the stupidest name since Mitt), she sort of deserves her baby.

Finally, everyone decides that she can see her kid, and I don't have kids, so I'm probably not qualified to say this, but if anyone dared get between me and my sprog, I'd kill them. Dead. Bella instead passively makes her case until they lead her to the living room where Jacob is holding Renesmee (ew! If he changes her diaper ever, I will have to send his name to Chris Hanson) and feeling unwilling to let Bella have her. Bella is now the enemy to Jacob. Not because she's a vampire, but because she's a potential threat to his Precious. Bella tries to take her baby from the pedophile, and he won't let go of her. Bella is like, "What the heck, Jake?" and he's like, "I can't let you hurt her." and Bella's all, "She's my baby, you just move on your way. I said good day, sir!"

Now, when Bella was faced with Stalker!Edward before she knew he liked her (blood), she was passive. When Charlie unhooked the battery of her truck, she was passive. When Edward decided to leave her, she had a little fight in her, but in the end she fell asleep in the woods and turned into a zombie, which I'm pretty sure is passive. Edward removed parts from her car, passive. Alice decided to plan Bella's wedding without any input from Bella, passive. The only time Bella has fought was for her child, so I totally wasn't surprised when she tried to rip Jacob's throat out. What surprised me was that no one let her.

He's an eighteen-year-old man. Renesmee is a baby. He does not get to ever touch her ever. He is a pervert. I don't care how hard Smyers tried to convince us that he feels only platonically for her until she comes of age. This is not how you make people like a character. It's disgusting and vile and foul and gross and wrong. And he's living with vampires who have lived for hundreds of years, and none of them are like, "Dude, you need to leave." NO! Plus, Jacob makes this case about how he'll get depressed if he's away from the baby for too long. Dude! It's not a baby's job to make you feel good about yourself! You're an adult, go act like one and get the heck away, where you should have been since Bella said "yes" to Edward's proposal. Grow a pair and walk away. But noooo...

Anyway, the Cullenses stop Bella from killing Jacob, and Renesmee lets Bella know that the whole scene scared her and that she likes Jacob and she does this by putting her hand on Bella's cheek. I hope Bella has nice skin, because that's how you get pimples. Seriously, don't ever touch your face.

Anyway, all sorts of boring stuff happens after that. Edward takes Bella hunting for endangered species before retiring to their little cabin for the night. Alice and Esmee built a little cabin for them and decorated it for them and put clothes in the closet for them because God only knows that Bella just would never want to have a cabin that suited her own tastes with her own decorating style and her own clothes in the closet. I really get annoyed by Alice. She's so high-handed. Carlisle told Jacob at one point that Alice doesn't like them wearing the same outfit more than once, like that's her job in the family or something. If you want to know why Edward wears nothing other than beige, look no further than Alice. She stocks his wardrobe.

At first, Bella is unimpressed with the clothes and shoes Alice has supplied her, but by the middle of the third part, she's just putting on whatever is there. Angora suits. Cashmere shifts. Oyster-colored satin cocktail dresses. Everything is ecru and eggshell and off-white. In the first book, Edward loved how Bella looked in her blue sweater. I guess he'll never get to see her in a color again.

So, the stuff that happens. Basically, the Volturi hear about Renesmee and decide it's the perfect opportunity to kidnap Bella so they can figure out her gift, which they reason must be really interesting since no one could touch her with their ability in the second book. They're right. The Cullens summon as many allies to their house as they can try to keep their family intact and everyone thinks that Renesmee is a turned child at first, until the Cullens explain what she is. Alice disappears (yay!) on some crazy mission, leaving Bella a rabbit trail to follow which leads her to a guy who can forge papers. It takes Bella a long time to parse out why Alice would send her to this guy, and then she realizes that if everything goes pear-shaped, she's going to have to send Renesmee and Jacob away together, so she has papers made for them.

The cool part is that the forger gets sort of funny at the end and asks Bella if she's planning on kidnapping the little girl. Bella finally says that Renesmee is her daughter, and the guy is relieved, showing that he has some sort of conscience.

The part of this that made me feel a little funny was how Bella got the money to do it all. She snuck through the house and took the money from the drawers and closets where the Cullenses hide their money. I mean, they apparently have thousands just laying around the house and Bella had to "steal" it. I'm assuming that Alice left money here and there for Bella to find because if she had just given Bella money, it would have been suspicious. But Bella feels bad about taking the money. Like it isn't hers. But isn't it? She may not be able to buy her own clothes or cars or anything, but surely even a vampire needs pocket change? Everything in this family is considered communal, and I'm sort of surprised that Carlisle never showed Bella the drawers where the money is kept and is like, "So, if you ever need some cash, here you go. You never know if Ralph Lauren put out a camel-colored sport coat that Alice doesn't know about." Why hasn't Edward given Bella her own money drawer? I know this is an odd thing to wonder about, but if they're fabulously wealthy and own everything outright and only really have to pay for utilities and gas and sundries like that, then why doesn't Bella have her own allowance? Anyway, that's all.

There are other preparations that include the whole family and their allies, and Bella starts figuring out her gift. Apparently, she's a shield who can cast out a "net" of protectiveness away from herself, so when the Volturi come, Bella is able to keep them from using their super-powers on the people around her. there's a huge anti-climactic "war" where Bella puts a backpack containing the forged papers and a bunch of extra money on Renesmee's back, and puts Renesmee on Wolf!Jacob just in case he needs to run off with her. Edward's all, "I knew you were keeping something from me!" and Bella feels guilty about it, but the bottom line is that if something happens to Edward, Bella doesn't want to continue living. In that case, it would be best if Jacob just ran off with Renesmee because she wouldn't have any parents left, anyway. I mean, why would someone want to continue living if the love of their life died? Right? These people are so selfish.

After a whole lot of talking, Alice and Jasper return with some interesting people. People who are just like Renesmee. It turns out that there's a vampire in South America who's going around impregnating women, and Alice has one of the offspring of this guy. Vampire/Human hybrids apparently grow at an alarming rate (which is why Renesmee looks like she's six when she's only one), but then stop growing and remain that way forever. This is great news for Bella, who has been afraid that Renesmee would be dead in twenty years after having lived to old age in that timespan. Edward's all happy because he thinks the new humpire will be competition for Jacob, but Bella's not worried because she's sure Renesmee will always be with Jacob, which is a really terrible thought to have about your one-year-old. Since they're all going to be immortal forever, I don't see why Renesmee can't have both, but again that doesn't exist in the Twiverse.

The Volturi decide to leave the Cullenses alone for whatever reason, which doesn't really sound right to me, but apparently that really is the end. I mean, here are tons of people with really awesome gifts, and The Volturi are basically the royalty of the vampire world. There is no reason that they should leave, and no reason that they should be refused if they want some of the vampires with extraordinary gifts. I sort of wish there was a League of Extraordinary Vampires going on somewhere. They'd be morally ambiguous, doling out punishment and stealing famous artifacts, maybe searching for the Holy Grail or something. Sorry, it's hard not to think of ways to improve this really dull book.

Anyway, that's the end. Everyone lives happily ever after because of course they do.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Mexican standoff, now with cats

My cat is a Russian Blue. In the scheme of things, this shouldn't be a huge deal, but Russian Blues have an odd personality quirk. Some of them can be OCD. My cat, Chekhov, is just one of those cats.

Russian Blues like routine. They get fed at the same time every morning, they lick themselves in a pattern that never changes, they hate moving or change in routine and fight it (sometimes literally). My cat tends to go to extremes with these things, though.

Lately, Chekhov has been drinking from the faucet in the bathroom. No big deal. It was sort of cute at first. However, in the last few weeks, he's become obsessed with it (remember: this is not unusual) to the point that he actually sits on the sink in the bathroom, waiting for someone to come by and give him a drink. He sheds all over the place, and the sink is starting to clog with his hair. Also, I just don't like having him in the bathroom. Plus, we will be trying to figure out where he is, and he's on the sink, just sitting there.

Cats are social creatures, and this obsession is isolating him. He's spending less time with us as a family (yes, I do that with my pets), he's not playing as much, and he's really getting odd. So, this weekend, I got him a new water dish, one that has a fountain that filters the water and drips it down just like a sink, and I started closing the bathroom door.

Y'all, I'm the worst pet owner in the world according to this cat. And my mom is indulging him! "I gave him water from the sink," she said this morning. "He slept with me last night, and I kept hearing him licking his lips. I figured he was thirsty, and I didn't want him to get sick, so I gave him some."

The funny part is that the water was actually down in the new bowl this morning. He's drinking, just not when we're around. (Little booger.)

The best thing I've found with Chekhov when I have to break him of a habit, is to give him a lot of love. I am also trying to figure out what I can have him obsessed with that's healthy. Not that drinking water isn't healthy, but when you're waiting for a sip in the dark in a bathroom on a sink when everyone else in the family is enjoying Pajama Time in front of the TV, there's a problem. I also know that a lot of this stems from the fact that we moved, and he needs some kind of routine to make him feel comfortable again. I need to work on this. I'll figure it out. Mostly because I'm not the worst cat mom in the world.

Friday, March 16, 2012

When will you be done?

I hate this question. It is because I don't know. I've been going to college for the past four years, taking one or two classes at a time, and if I don't quit my job and go full time, I'll still be doing the same thing for the next six years.

I'm not a teenager. I don't live scott-free at my parent's house. I wasn't given a BMW when I graduated from highschool. I am an adult, so I can't say, "I'm getting a four-year degree" despite the fact that I am getting a four-year degree.

It also makes me feel like I'm not doing enough. "How many classes are you taking this semester?" Well, technically I'm taking one, although it's a class with a lab. Then I feel like I'm not taking enough classes.

And then the looks I get when I say that I'm taking biology. "Oh, biology! Oh, I hate that class! What's your major?" Um...biology? "Oh. Oh, then I guess you like it."

Yes, I like it. I feel like using an expletive for how much I like it. I effing like it. My lab partner makes fun of how excited I get when we do our experiments. yes, I quite enjoy biology. I can't wait to take chemistry. I imagine that this idea is the same as when someone tells me they're a maths major, only I never think, "Why in the world would you want to do that?" Instead, I'm jealous becuase they are clearly good at maths and I'm clearly not.

I think that this is the point where most veterinary medicine students roll their eyes and say, "I really hate humans."

I don't hate humans, though. I mean, there are many that I do not like and only a small select group that I do like, but my cat doesn't like any of his own species so I don't think this is unique to humans.

On Monday, I was talking to a lady in this new bible study I'm going to, and she listened to me. She wanted to know my major and what my plans were. She didn't ask the dreaded question, she just let me talk. Then she turned to this guy in the group and said, "Did you know Heidi is going to college?" and he said yes. "Do you know what her major is? Heidi, tell him your major." I said it. "Isn't that interesting?" she asked. "I've never known anyone who has wanted to be a zookeeper and work at a zoo. Do you?" she asked the guy. He said his daughter wants to be an ornithologist. I confessed that I considered birds as my major focus of study.

I don't know how these two managed to talk to me without making me feel defensive, but they did. I think it was because they listened, and they were more interested in what I was doing rather than how long it would take. I wished I had a Pensieve from Harry Potter so I could analyze the conversation and see what they did to make me feel so good. I mean, that's how I want to make people feel.

I think, and I could be wrong because I'm a terrible conversationalist, but I think what they did was just listen to me and be interested in me. This is my goal: to treat other people like that.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Break Means Nothing When You Work Full Time

I work a really odd schedule this semester. On the days that I have school, I work six hours, and then the rest of the week I work nine and a half, except for on Fridays when I work only nine. This week is "spring break," though, so instead of going to school Monday and Wednesday, I've gone straight home.

There are many things I should have done this week. My taxes, having a filling repaired. Baking a pie for Pi day. I opted to nap instead.

I'm tired.

I've also sort of cautiously "met someone" and I'm trying to keep it on the DL because I'm sure I'll find a way to jinx it if I bring it up. I mean, he's way too hot for me, but that's never stopped me from dating someone before. He's also not European, and I distinctly remember wanting to take a string of European lovers at some point in the very near future.

Oh well, life doesn't always go the way you plan it.

One of the main reasons I've been so tired this week is that there have been two office parties, both consisting of going to restaurants and eating lots of heavy food, which I tend to not do anymore. Yesterday I had enough pollo con mole to keep a small child-army going for a week. The day before that I had a chicken pot pie that was seriously glorious in its carb-filled wonder. No, I did not get a salad with it. I also did not go to my work-out class that night because I had to work extra time to make up for the lunch party that I had to go to. I think if you have to go to a lunch party, it ought to be covered by your work, but oh well. See above statement.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Breaking Dawn Review: Equality does not mean you are better than me

When we last left our intrepid trio of vampire, werewolf and frail, fragile, sickly, demon-baking human, Edward enlisted Jacob to try to talk Bella into having an abortion, after which she could make sweet werewolf love to Jacob (presumably while Edward watches) so she can fulfill her womanly duty by having children that won't potentially kill her during their gestation.

Bella is not amused.

Jacob settles in at Casa Cullen with his two werewolf besties: a scorned woman who still bears the scars from her ex-fiance's first change to wolfdom before he dropped her ass for a toddler (remember: Twilight means never having to say you're kidding), and an overenthusiastic pup who is probably one of the most interesting characters in the book. The thing is, Jacob is technically alpha thanks to his father's position in the Queleute tribe, but the afforementioned toddler-raper has taken over because he's older. So, when Jacob decides that he has to take care of his twuu wuuv Bella (who, you know, is sort of married to a vampire, and whose ultimate goal in life is to become a vampire himself) and the rest of the pack is like, "Get over her," Jacob breaks free on his own and now he has a pack of his own consisting of three members. Yay.

So, their job is to keep Bella safe during her gestation period, and to make sure that the other wolves don't take the Cullens to task for finally turning Bella on reservation territory, which would be a clear violation of the treaty between the two groups. Jacob reasons that if the vampire clan changes Bella in order to save her life, then they're actually upholding the "sanctity of life" part of everything.

Now, are you ready to jump in? Because it gets worse from here.

So, Bella is all sick and yucky and Jacob is concerned because the VampSpawn is killing her by breaking her bones and bruising her internal organs, but Bella is so obstinate in the face of the life of her baby. Women can be so irrational and selfish.

Edward and Jacob have lots of silent conversations where Jacob thinks snarky stuff about the various people around them, such as how Rosalie is probably hoping that Bella will die so that she can raise the baby as her own (Edward agrees). The two men are actually starting to get along okay for once, and why not? Edward can't be really close friends with only the people in his family for the rest of his life, can he? Wouldn't it be great if there was someone who was fun and interesting in his life, like Jacob, who makes him laugh with his snarky commentary? But no, this can't last because the first law of Romance Novelia is that if there are two people of the same sex and only one of the opposite, then the two of the same sex must needs be rivals. To that end, Edward starts understanding his demon spawn as it plays kickball with Bella's bladder, and he starts seeing it as more than just The Entity That Is Killing The Woman I Love Most In The World and starts seeing it as its own person with thoughts and feelings. The strongest feeling is that it loves Bella, and it actually starts understanding how to be gentler to its mother.

This sends Jacob into a tail spin because again, parents should have absolutely no control over their own reproduction, and if someone, even just one person, thinks that them having a baby is a bad idea, then they should abort the kid no matter what. I mean, someone is emitting disapproval rays over here. Let's get with the program, parents.

Jacob takes the most expensive, beautiful car in the Cullen Garage and speeds to a park where he looks every woman there in the eye, hoping he'll imprint on her so as to end his torturous love of Bella. This is because he has no control over his own emotions and is a pathetic juvenile wuss.

People are always getting on Myers about how she treats Bella in her books, making her suicidal without a man, incomplete without a man, so focused on Edward to the point that she forgets everything else, including her own bodily functions, but no one mentions how she writes men. Jacob and Edward are whiny, needy, unable to put other people's feelings above their own, unable to see a big picture, and unable to just not love Bella if she's hurting them. This last one is more for Jacob than Edward. Jacob is so pissed that every time he sees Bella, she smiles at him and is so happy to see him. This is a problem for Jacob because he, like many of the men who walk into my office, can't seem to fathom a woman smiling at them without wanting to shag them also. It can't just be a nice smile, or in Bella's case, a friendly smile. Also, Bella can't seem to do the right thing and just tell Jacob to stay away. She also can't seem to follow through on this. You can argue that Jacob is only hurting himself by continuing to love Bella even after reason tells him to stop, but eventually he will start hurting Bella too. His love is not pure, not for the benefit of another. It is selfish and obsessive and he can't get over the fact that Bella didn't choose him. This is how stalkers are formed. The kind of stalkers who eventually end up wearing a skin suit.

There is just not one healthy relationship in this entire convoluted mess.

So, Jacob's part is mostly him moping around the CullenDen with Bella and Rosalie (who, remember, is staying as close to Bella as possible just in case she needs to step in and be a surrogate mother) and thinking about how much his life sucks because the woman he loves doesn't love him back, and he can't seem to imprint on anyone. Imprinting is what makes werewolves fall in love with toddlers. This is something Jacob wants.

Bella finally gives birth to demon spawn Renesmee in a gory bloodbath and Edward uses a cardiac needle to inject Bella with his venom, and it's at this point in the story that I start wondering about the venom and how Bella didn't turn the moment they kissed for the first time. I mean, the venom is his saliva, right? So when they kissed, there would have been an exchange of fluid, and she should have turned the first time.

This book is so boring that it made me start wondering about this stuff.

And then Jacob imprints on Renesmee and I, not for the first time, try and figure out how this author is free to roam around America rather than being locked in a padded cell because she is clearly psychotic and has a borderline personality disorder of some kind. This book is not healthy. It does not paint women or men in a positive light. It does not depict relationships in a positive light. There are no negative consequences for unseemly behavior. It makes pedophilia seem like a positive option. It indicates that you as a person has no control over your life and that you are and should be completely ruled by your emotions.

Part three to come.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

From the child army liberation front

I'm not very political on this blog. Well, I'm not very political elsewhere. I'm part of the Green Party, and we don't get much love from anyone, not even liberals, so I tend to just not talk about it.

So, why start now? Well, this stupid KONY2012 thing. I mean, if the "cheezburger network" addresses it, I sort of feel honor-bound to. And I agree with everything the Cheezburger Network has to say, too, so there's something else (now I want a cheeseburger).

The thing about causes is that you have to really feel drawn to them. I feel very strongly about conservation, ending animal cruelty, addressing the sex-slave trade here in America (in the "massage" parlors), and the child prostitution in Thailand. I feel very strongly about these things. It does not mean that I don't feel one way or another about other issues, but my soul is in the causes I have mentioned above. I have researched, donated, volunteered, supported organizations, and talked to people passionately about these issues. I am both emotionally and intellectually involved in these issues.

Have you ever seen the "feed the children" commercials? They are only emotional. The ASPCA "in the arms of the angels" commercials? Emotional. (A friend told me about a poster with Sara McLachlan on it and the caption, "I'm about to ruin your f*cking day!" and I laughed because it's so true!) KONY 2012 is a play on emotions. It does not engage your intellect. It will more than likely be forgotten in a few weeks, the same way you forget about Feed the Children and the ASPCA once the commercials are over.

Remember when everyone was all worked up over the Rwandan genocides? Or how about the blood diamonds of the Sudan? Remember when the only thing you knew about Afghanastan was about how the women and little girls were being denied health care, education, and basic human rights? (No, you probably don't. It got swallowed up by the war.)

Those things don't last. You can't move an entire nation to rise up and do something because you can't hold their attention for that long. If they are not completely engaged in the crisis, then the whole of humanity can only pay lip-service, and that's what this kind of emotional tugging is all about. "Send money! Buy this kit! It has posters in it!" How much money actually goes to the people it's supposed to support? Do you know? I sure don't.

I think it's human nature to not want to turn away from these things. If all you have to do is give $5.00 a day, why wouldn't you, you heartless bastard. Why not? Because these groups can't prove what my money is going to. They are so busy showing mutilations, abuse, crying children, etc. to show me that what they're doing makes a damn in anyone's life. It's not that I think the organization doesn't do good work. I'm sure it does at some point. But just like I think GEICO could save me a lot more money if they'd stop playing commercials every five minutes, I think that these causes would go a lot farther if they'd figure out a way to make me care for more than just a minute. No, they may not reach as many people at once, but the people they do reach will be more effective and better able to work with the organization to further the goal.

The goal is an end to the violence, right?

Well, wait...if the violence is are we going to make money?

There are good organizations out there who allow public auditing of their finances, who are accountable to their patrons, and who are looking to end the violence because that means that they have more chances to help other people once that is over. And trust me, human nature dictates that there will always be atrocities out there for people to get involved in.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Breaking Dawn Book Review: Abortion is not a Democracy

If you don't know that Breaking Dawn is the last book of the Twilight saga, then congratulations. You sort of win at life.

Like all of the Twilight books, BD centers around Bella, her perfect, super-human, absolutely wonderful, god-like boyfriend Edward and his incredible, amazing, perfect, beautiful family. In BD, however, Bella and Edward finally get married and get to have sparkley sex. Yay! Or...ew?

The book opens with Alice, Edward's pixie-like fashionista sister planning Bella's wedding. To the last minim. Because it's not like Bella has a mom who'd probably like to be involved with the wedding planning. No, everyone is kept in the dark, and Bella even has to undergo her dress fittings while her eyes are closed so she can be completely surprised on her wedding day. You know, as brides are wont to do. What bride wants to be bogged down with all that planning, anyway? It's so much work.

We learn that Charlie, Bella's human, fallible, somewhat stupid (in her opinion) father who can't possibly measure up to the Cullens, is still unhappy about the marriage but determined to see it through because he loves Bella. I grew up with a father who looked at my life as the exact same as his life with no distinctions between the two, and who would not hesitate to make the world's most gigantic stink if I ever married in a way that he disaproved of, so I sort of hate Bella for the way she treats her dad. She never looks at her relationship with Edward through her father's eyes. I mean, she ended up in the hospital for days after Edward lied about her "falling down the stairs." Charlie is a police chief. There have to be some domestic abuse situations going on in his town. He has to have heard the "fell down the stairs" excuse a hundred times. And let's not even get into New Moon when Bella's break-up caused her to go practically catatonic with depression. Bella has a dad who cares, and she doesn't care, and I could just scratch her eyes out for it.

Bella also complains about the car Edward bought for her. Because teenaged girls just hate when their boyfriends buy cars for them. It's too flashy, too visible. It's a testament to Bella's human fallibility, a monument to her weakness, her smallness, her mortality. Bella finds the car annoying for these reasons, and yet she overlooks her boyfriend's controlling ways because she's in lurve with him and they're perfect for each other and she can't live without him. These are not reasons to get married. They are reasons to seek counselling.

After the wedding, which is huge and lavish and fablablablah...

Look, I'm going to be honest: if I decide to get married (rather than moving to Spain and taking a string of international lovers, that is), I will admit that I won't care much about the ceremony and that I am like Bella in that regard (please, God, let me find a guy who wants a TARDIS chuppah!). I would probably either have a very small ceremony with just the necessary friends and family, or elope at the Star Trek Adventure. But that doesn't mean, if I had to have a huge wedding because of other reasons (maybe I'm going to marry a Public Figure? LOL) ,that I wouldn't have opinions about it, or want to see my own tastes implemented. Bella has no opinion. This is because Bella has no interests outside of Edward. Her wedding ends up being photogenic and perfect with everyone and everything in the exact right place at the exact right time. The wedding is every bit as boring as Bella and Edward, and they were in exactly zero control of any of it.

Anyway, then they move onto their honeymoon in South America, and that's where things get interesting. I mean, Alice packed tampons for Bella (Alice packed the honeymoon clothes, too. Because there's no reason in Helheim that Bella would want a comfy pair of jeans and a baggy sweater or T-shirt. No, just lingerie.), but apparently forgot to pack condoms for Edward because Bells gets knocked up.

Now, the entire series, Bella has been in mortal danger of the universe imploding on her at any second, and the only person who is qualified to save her is Edward. We are told throughout the entire series that Bella is ineffectual, stupid, weak, clumsy, unattractive, and just all-around not a good human being. But Bella figures out that she's preggy and she is the one who steps up to the plate while Edward has some crazy existential crisis. He moans about how he's a monster and he's sullied his sweet Bella and he's ruined their lives and oh, oh, is just going to end! It's just going to be horrid! Help!

Bella in the meantime, is bonding with her baby. Her "nudger" as she calls it (come on, that's adorkable). It nudges her because it's growing at an alarming rate and she can already feel it. She is also calling the Cullens in order to make arrangements for going home, packing, and basically keeping her shit together. Looking back on the series, this is how Bella has always been. All of the stuff that Edward has done to keep Bella "safe" ends up backfiring on him (like going to Phoenix in T, or breaking up in NM, or the huge fight in E...), but Bella always manages to be strong and pull herself through. But Edward is always lauded as the saviour...

I don't know, all I can say is that SMeyers' is messed up and it comes out in her writing.

Anyway, they go home and the POV switches from Bella to Jacob because Bella is gestating CullenSpawn, and said spawn is killing her from the inside out.

So, here is the worst part for me. The absolute worst part. Jacob and Edward communally decide that Bella needs an abortion. Because abortion is a democracy. If you get pregnant, there will be a panel to decide if you can keep the baby.

I know there are pro-aborters who would totally try to talk Bella into having an abortion no matter what, and that there are anti-aborters who would talk Bella into having the baby no matter what, but neither group would be right. This is Bella's choice. She's not some unwed mother in the 1950's whose parents have the state-sanctioned right to 'send her away' for a year. She's a married woman. It is her life at stake and no one else's, therefore it is her decision to make. She knows that she can die, but her baby's life is more important than her own to her. I can't tell her she's wrong. But Edward will try. And he gets Jacob on his side.

"I would even let her have puppies," Edward says to Jacob, indicating that he'd 'share' Bella with Jacob because IVF does not exist in the Cullenverse. Jacob imagines a world where he 'gets' Bella on the weekends and Edward 'gets' her the rest of the week. Because women don't care who they have sex with apparently. Also, women are property to be lent out at the will of the owner.

I just...I can't with this woman.

The thing is, if Edward had just done as Bella had asked at the beginning (you know, taken her feelings and desires into account rather than just his own) and turned her into a vampire before all of this, Bella never would have gotten pregnant and they could have shagged happliy ever after. Edward's refusal to listen to Bella's wants and needs caused this issue in the first place. This relationship is so destructive and selfish that it's layered like a really stinky, rotten onion.

I like Jacob's reactions to stuff, and I even sort of like that Edward can read his thoughts. These two really have a much better, more equal relationship (at this point, but that will all change) and are totally better suited to each other than Bella and Edward. Jacob would never put up with Edward's navel-gazing, and Edward would never feel superior to Jacob for being bigger and stronger, and therefore his ego would be tempered. But alas! When you are a Mormon writer banging out a Mormon allegory, there can be no Ho!Yay! in Mormon territory. Not even Bromance. Edward and Jacob must be rivals or that would just be too gay.

Anyway, end of the second part, and I'll save the rest for later.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The End

Yesterday, I completely ended my friendship with A. I've had some conflicting emotions, but it's really clear to me that I did the right thing.

If you asked me a month or two ago if this was a good friendship, I would have said yes, but right now, looking back, I can see that it wasn't. A stopped communicating with me sometime around August, a few months after she got married. I felt her pulling away, and I started chasing after her. I would invite her someplace, a week or two in advance. "hey, wanna hang out? Wanna...?" She wouldn't respond, not a word, and then on the day that I had invited her out, I would see that she and her husband had gone somewhere on that day because she would post it on Facebook. I tried not to take it personally. I excused her saying that she had just got married, life was hard for her.

But the biggest problem was the fact that she was just not there. No communication, nothing.

We had a misunderstanding. She had a party on a Sunday night (which is convenient for absolutely no one), and shocker, no one really responded that they would come. She sent me a text that was for someone else, and it looked like she was saying that no one was coming and did this person maybe want to do something else?

I reacted badly, but I think my reaction was justified. This didn't just happen, it had been happening for months. I invited her out only to have no response and to find out that she did soemething else that very night about four times by then. It felt like she was just pushing me out, so I bowed out.

For whatever reason, she decided to try and get me back. So, I talked to her. I let her know how she hurt me. Her response was that it sounded like her life made me sad.

Um...In the sense that her life no longer included me, yes it made me sad. But did her life, her newfound happiness and new family and all that fun stuff make me sad? No.

I asked for communication. I asked for just something every now and then.

I never got it. I mean literally never got it.

She sent me a few emails about whether I was getting help for my issues and all, but I didn't get anything else. No friendly hello's, nothing.

I was away for Christmas, and then I had my move and all. After all that, I started going back to church with A, and it was obvious that things had changed for her. I know now that she was going through something difficult, but she never told me that. All I knew was that this person who was supposed to be my friend was pushing me away. We used to go out to lunch afterwards, and now A wasn't available for that.

But...well, when I would walk away after she wasn't available for lunch, I could hear her making plans with her husband for going out to lunch. It was so hurtful, and so directly hurtful. She was trying to hurt me, there can be no other explanation for it. This was no misunderstanding. There was no excuse for this behaviour. And it all comes back to communication. If she had just been honest and told me that she needed space or that it was too hard because of this thing that was going on to see me, I would have understood.

I know now that she had something bad happen to her. I don't know what, but I know it was bad. I'm sorry for her, but that doesn't excuse her behaviour.

So this is where I am now. I am forced to be the bad guy and put an end to it all. She wouldn't just say, "I can't see you or hear from you for a while, please understand." No, she got passive-aggressive and pushed me away. The thing is, I wouldn't mind so much, but my side is apparently not important to her. I can see things from her side. I get her side. I don't know if I could put on her shoes and walk around, but I can at least empathise.

I'm angry right now, but I'm mostly angry at myself. I let her use me. I never confronted her when I heard her lying. I can accept my part in this, but I can't be a part of it any longer.

Was it a good friendship? It doesn't look like it. Now the only thing I can do is learn from my mistakes.

I have to add this, because it's something I've been musing over for a while. In her final e-mail to me (where she got upset because she said I wasn't treating her like a person with feelings...keep this in mind...), she said she hoped I got help for my "emotional problems." I don't have "emotional problems." I have a depressive disorder. It's a chemical imbalance. I have no control over it. I'm starting to think that she has no idea who I am, and that she is not treating me like a person with feelings. I'm a human being. I have emotions. I don't have problems with those emotions. I had a problem a while back because I wasn't taking my medicine, and then a few months ago, I had some issues because I had to stop taking one medication and start taking another and it screwed with me (that warning about medicine making you suicidal actually happens), but none of this was in my control. Especially not a few months ago when I started cutting again because of this medicine. Now I'm doing better...much better...but oh my gosh. If there is one person out there who I should be able to talk to this stuff about, shouldn't it be my friend? And then she just dismisses everything else about me except this one idea that she has that I have "emotional problems." I am so much more than a diagnosis. I'm actually a pretty awesome human being, and I'm very loyal to my friends. Letting go of this relationship was hard, but it was unhealthy, for both of us, I guess.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The dreaded midterm

So, my best friend asked me a few weeks ago if I'd be available to go to Vegas with her this week, all expenses except air travel paid. I was like, "Hells yeah!" and then I checked my class schedule. This is midterm week, and even though I only have one midterm (biology), it's a huge week (actually, two for lecture [tonight] and one for lab [Wednesday]), and I can't miss it. I'm like, "Can't your work reschedule this convention that they've been planning for nine months so I can go next week during Spring Break?"

Apparently that's asking too much. Hmph.

So, now she's in Vegas with her gay best friend, going to Hooters and hanging out at a gay bar called "The Gypsy Den" which has nothing in common with the whole food vegetarian restaurant chain that we have here in So Cal. (Oh please, God, let it be a reference to Gypsy Rose Lee!)

So...I'm stuck here taking a test. Whatever. I know all about cellular respiration.