nesting * geeking * critiquing

Posts tagged “snark

Fired Up About Fireworks

I am tremendously grateful to live in the greatest country in the world. Multitudes of brave men and women have died over the course of our history to ensure that we have unrivaled freedoms, comforts unmatched and little powdered sugar donuts. And I hope that I never take that for granted.fireworks

But no country’s perfect—ours has an irrational love affair with amateur-use fireworks. “Fireworks,” patooie! I don’t like them, I never have and I never will.

“Friends…countrymen, lend me your ears…”

[cue the Battle Hymn of the Republic] Fireworks should be big, awe-inspiring demonstrations! They should seem to stretch across the entirety of the night sky! They should boom so as to make you feel them in the pit of your stomach but not hurt your ears! They should be free to watch! They should not be purchased in big tents or warehouses! And they should be detonated only by trained professionals!

Fireworks should not be explosive powder stuffed in goofy, colored packaging that is made to resemble things like tanks, turtles, snakes or parachuting maniacs. They should not be suitable for lighting by John Q. Public as he prances around his driveway with a punk or other fire-starting device. Nor should they shoot out of little cardboard tubes that can be knocked over far too easily.

Am I the only person who thinks it’s ridiculous that flaming balls of explosives are shooting out of cardboard tubes?? It’s fire and cardboard, people! 

Above all else, fireworks should never, ever make squealing sounds that are certainly part of an evil plot to destroy all Americans’ eardrums. Think about it: one extra scoop of whatever makes that awful sound and it would surely push the frequency beyond what only dogs could hear. But do the manufacturers (mostly located outside of the U.S.) do that? Nope. It’s a conspiracy, I assure you.

Every year, I take one for the team and witness the holiday tradition that is amateur firework-shooting. “Fireworks,” patooie! Not only that, but I get to welcome the family into my home for said celebration.

In addition to the usual hostess woes of cleaning and food prep, I will entertain a plethora of other concerns. I will worry about burning down the house, about people getting hurt, about remnants falling in the yard and being eaten by my dogs before I realize what’s happening. I will complain about going another year without watching a real fireworks display. I will vow that we are never having the ‘party’ at our house again. Ever. I will threaten to move across the country to avoid it.

I will have to shower before going to bed to curtail my elevated blood pressure and rid myself of the smokey, chemical smell and ash in my hair. I will grumble about the people who are still out burning their money on noisy explosions that are, at best, mildly entertaining.

Ultimately, though, I will thank God that I live in the United States of America. We are still a young country that struggles with growing pains; too easily and too often, we lose sight of the big picture and become mired in discord over politics, values and even race. And yet, we also pull together in times of triumph and tragedy. We find ways to work around our differences and celebrate the qualities that make us uniquely American. You guys, we live in a country where people can literally watch their money go up in colored smoke if that’s what they choose to do!

And once the neighbors finally run out of “fireworks” (patooie!), I sleep soundly in a country that is safe and free and mine… and I’m darn proud of it!

Note: an earlier version of this piece was posted on my now-defunct blog, The Road to Kilmarnock.
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Thanks, Twilight!

I’ve battled a chemical imbalance for years, and I consider myself an “informed patient.” What I mean by that is I tend to be aware of instances when I’m being illogically moody. I typically don’t know what triggered it or precisely how to deal with/overcome it in that moment, but I’m increasingly cognizant. On the one hand, I’m glad I have progressed enough in treatment to realize when the grouchiness manifests; on the other hand, I think it would be easier sometimes to be oblivious to it. Don’t know where I’m headed with this? Well, read on, friends.

I consider myself an “informed patient” with regards to my enjoyment of Twilight as well. I realize it’s dumb and, with few exceptions, I can appreciate the arguments for how horrible the franchise is. Because let’s be honest, it is pretty horrible.

Stephenie Meyer and Muse make a good case for vampires liking baseball, so let’s go with that terminology for a minute while describing some of the worst aspects. Edward, eternally age 17, is a vampire who’s been around the block for nearly a century longer than Bella (strike 1). Movie Bella can hardly make it through a scene without her mouth agape (strike 2). They have a hybrid vampire-human baby that they *choose* to name Renesmee (strike 3)…who is essentially betrothed to a shapeshifter/werewolf who used to be in love with Bella (yer out!).

So, yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous; I won’t deny it. I will, however, continue enjoying it in spite of itself. The initial love and danger and angst and whatnot all make my inner 15-year-old giddy. Plus, there are an awful lot of great things that have resulted from my exposure to Twilight.

(image from stepheniemeyer.com)

(image from stepheniemeyer.com)

My first encounter with Twilight was as a major skeptic library clerk in 2007. I was relatively certain it was a skeevy premise for YA fiction, and I couldn’t fathom why so many people were checking it out. First teen girls (even a few boys) kept it in constant circulation, then their moms started getting in on the act, too. Seeing it cross my desk over and over and over again piqued my curiosity, but I had my pride.

I had my pride until I started seeing tv spots for the movie, that is—Edward’s “I feel very protective of you” got to me and I was forced to admit that I wanted to see it in spite of my shame. So I did what any other self-respecting person would do:
I rationalized.
As a distinguished member of the library community it was my job civic responsibility to actually read this book. And I needed to do it before darkening the doors of the local cineplex. After all, I’m nothing if not a model employee.

Within two days, I was done reading the first novel, irrationally ravenous to get my hands on the second in the series. With a little hacking on the library’s system, I put myself next in line for the title. Such shame I feel in admitting this unethical behavior to you fine people. Remember what I said before about being a model employee? It was true except for this isolated instance. Rest assured I’m a different person now. Or maybe I’m not, but I no longer have access to the circulation computer, so you’re all free of my ordering manipulation. 🙂

The librarian and I went to see the film adaptation of Twilight in November 2008. It was then that a stupid vampire story began to change my life.

From the books I discovered the movie. From the movie I discovered the soundtrack. From it and subsequent soundtracks, I discovered a love of Paramore, Muse, Florence + the Machine, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, St. Vincent and many other artists I might not have heard otherwise. The Twilight station on Pandora is fantastic, by the way.

My style owes a teeny bit to Twilight as well. All of those cool kids motivated me to up my game (ever so slightly) in the fashion department. I still dress more like early Bella than any of the couture Cullens, but it’s something of an improvement over the frumpiness rut I’d fallen into during the mid 2000s. Moreover, Ashley Greene and Nikki Reed provide real-life fashion and hair inspiration. Call it lame if you want, but my hair has never looked better.

Additionally, each new Twilight film provided a fun social opportunity. One of my dearest library friends and I took off time to go see each release on opening day. We had little movie marathons at home in preparation, we brimmed with excitement while waiting in line and we gushed with feedback over lunch. Those were fantastic days!

Perhaps most importantly, though, the franchise helped introduce me to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Most of the first movie was shot in Oregon, and it looked divine. At one point, Bella and Edward are standing in the top boughs of a towering evergreen when Bella says awestruck, “This isn’t real. This kind of stuff just doesn’t exist.” Edward replies, “It does in my world.”
He’s right, that kind of stuff absolutely does exist in the Pac NW. Apart from actual vampires and standing in the treetops, anyway; I can’t personally vouch for those.

I’d wanted to visit the Seattle area since high school but had never done it. When the opportunity arose for cheap airfare a couple of years ago, we decided to venture toward the coast to check out Forks and La Push. Even in the dank gray of February, it was some of the most beautiful scenery nature has to offer. I committed then to visit the filming locations in Oregon. It may have been dumb initial motivation to travel somewhere, but I will be forever grateful that we did. I feel energized and in my element when I’m out there, especially along the Oregon coast. I intend one day to call it my home.

So while my intellect affirms its awfulness, I have to admit that Stephenie Meyer’s vampire love story has enriched my life beyond just a series of mediocre books and movies. And it can enrich your life, too, even if it’s nothing more to you than an annoyance. For you, I offer its virtue as fodder for snarky videos. After all, you can never have too many snarky videos.


Love in the Zombie Apocalypse

Severus and I had lunch yesterday, during which time we discussed The Walking Dead.

zombie me

zombie me, which will not happen because i will push people & survive

Well, technically, I talked at length about it and he listened.
Severus is not a fan of said program due to the gore.

Our conversation ended with this…

Severus: I really just don’t like watching them kill the zombies.
Me: so I guess you’ll be one of the first to go in the event of an actual zombie apocalypse.
Severus: yeah, I’ll sacrifice myself so you can run away.
Me: don’t worry, I would’ve pushed you anyway.

That, friends, is love in the zombie apocalypse.


Lessons in Love & Undies

After nearly 9.5 years of marriage, my husband is still finding little ways to surprise me.

Did you just read that in a lovey-dovey, sweet way? If so, back up and start over. You’re reading the wrong blog for that.

Before bedtime last night, I asked Severus* to fetch me a different pair underpants from the laundry basket. Disclaimer: ‘laundry basket’ is strictly a figure of speech, as our freshly washed clothes are gathered in an insurmountable pile on the spare bed.

panties not parties

(this says ‘panties’ not ‘parties’)

“What kind?” he asked.

“Something comfy-ish,” I replied.

“Oh, you mean the granny panties.”

If you are a man who is in a relationship with a woman (or one who hopes to one day be in a relationship with a woman), I feel it is my duty to advise you to never utter those two words.
Lest ye find yourself sleeping on the sofa or picking up body parts after falling prey to the “You. Said. What?!” laser-stare of death from your estrogen-driven better half.

I’m 30 years old. I’ve been married almost a decade. I’ve learned a thing or two about the virtues of comfort. Maybe I don’t want the entirety of my cheeks hanging out all the time anymore. Maybe I don’t enjoy feeling violated by my undergarments. And maybe, just maybe, lace can be irritating.

The presence of nice soft cotton or smooth nylon/spandex blend with a little coverage does not mean I’ve fallen hiney-first into the land of the postmenopausal…does it?
I still have my pride, dang it!

Pride that I’m questioning at this very moment. Publicly discussing my underwear is personal and embarrassing—my dad reads this stuff!

But being accused of wearing “granny panties” is pretty darn embarrassing, too. Especially when the undies in question are most definitely not “granny panties,” and the aforementioned husband should know better.

Let this mutual shaming be a lesson to us all.

 

*y’all do know his name isn’t really Severus, right? I gave him the option of being called Sirius or Severus and he chose the latter. He’s a special guy, and I love him dearly in spite of it.


King of the Jungle

I have a brand-new indoor wading pool, and it’s a magical one! A mere 24 hours ago, it was an average basement. Oy.
Since I’m tending to the flood today, you’re stuck with a “This Day in History” entry that I journaled back on 5.31.11. Lest ye think working for a greeting card manufacturer is all glitz and glamor—you do think that, right?!—I offer the following from my time as a senior proofreader.

✻ ✻ ✻

Image from Amazon.com (you can buy them!)

Buy on Amazon.com

Imagine reviewing a Lion King thank-you card. First you look at the cover design and are immediately struck by the thought that you might have owned this exact same card some 17 years ago. Aww, little Simba’s still cute!

Then you flip to the inside and read the sentiment, carefully studying spelling and punctuation:

…a jungle-sized thank you!

Wait a second! you think. Lions don’t live in jungles, do they? Tigers live in jungles. Probably. But I know my Disney movies, and that was not set in a jungle…Tarzan and The Jungle Book, yes. The Lion King, no. I’m pretty sure they were in the Sahara. Hmmm, no,
that’s not right either. It was on the savanna.
Or was it the Serengeti? Are they the same thing?

Enter Google.

Lessons Learned
  1. It is possible to put entirely too much thought into proofreading a thank-you card. This sku has run before, it’s all spelled right, you don’t really want to argue this point with the other editors—just approve the card!
  2. Google is not especially helpful when you’ve entered the phrase, “Why is the lion the king of the jungle?”  It’s not helpful, but it is somewhat interesting. You’ll find people who think it’s a misnomer, people who think it’s referring to a figurative jungle, even some conspiracy theorists who think it’s all a ploy to steal attention away from the majestic tiger. {I agree with the misnomer notion, think the ‘figurative jungle’ people have too much time on their hands, and chant a rousing Rock Chalk Jayhawk in the face of the ‘tigers rule’ folks}
  3. I might want to become one of the trolling people who do nothing but opine on WikiAnswers and Yahoo!Answers all day. Providing amateur input for random people (like those searching for jungle-vs-savanna evidence) to read as fact? Yes, please! As long as you’re not afraid of taking some minimal “you idiot!” feedback, you’ve got nothing to lose. Heck of a deal.