Monday, October 27, 2008

Total Drama DVR

Seriously, sometimes something has to go. And last week that something was Grey's Anatomy.

I was up to my eyeballs in the show. At least two, if not three episodes leftover from last season, plus everything from this season, and the pressure was killing me. I know, it's just TV. Not actual brain surgery like McDreamy would perform.

One day last week I took a seat on my couch (sadly, one of my favorite places to be - I think my end of the couch is actually visibly lower than the other end, which is very, very sad), check out my DVR, and find it's about 97% full. I had a little baby panic attack.

Here it is, fall season in full swing, and I'm just not keeping up. One of the problems is that there is just not much Kayla-free TV time. So you don't want to watch a show like Grey's Anatomy, what with them cutting people up and all the blood and guts and stuff with your almost-three-year-old running around and telling you to get off the couch because she wants to jump in that spot, and ordering you to hold Dolly Deigo so that he can watch her jump. Frankly, when my TV is on, it's usually playing Charlie and Lola, Go Diego, Go, Wow, Wow, Wubbzy, Caillou, or Max and Ruby. All delightful shows in their own right, but sometimes when you're pushing forty you need something a little meatier.

But why Grey's, Jen? I'll bet you're asking, especially if you're one of those with whom I've talked about how good this episode was and how much that episode made me cry. I will always have affection for the show. I actually broke up with it before and started watching it again, so perhaps, down the line, when the DVR gets somewhat cleaned up, I'll let it back into my life. Right now, I just can't commit to it. Kind of the way that Meredith can never seem to quite commit to Derek (and please, can someone explain that to me, because while I know that she is even more neurotic than I am, and that is really saying something, I don't care how nutty I am, when Patrick Dempsey is all, "Marry me, this will be our house, I love you, love you, love you," sorry, but you wouldn't find me hesitating for a single second about whether or not I could commit to him), although the commercials I've seen make me think that maybe they are finally back together, but I suppose someone will clue me in on that at some point.

There were other shows that I could not even consider giving the old heave-ho: Chuck, 30 Rock, The Office, Ugly Betty, Kitchen Nightmares, Burn Notice, Pushing Daisies... these are some of my non-negotiables. And then there is a show like Life on Mars, which literally, I've only seen the first 10 minutes of the first episode, but now Don is watching it so that one has to stay. And then there's Life, about a cop who was framed for a murder he did not commit and was wrongly imprisoned. While this is certainly not the best cop show out there, I am into the storyline about who framed him which started with the very first episode of its premiere season last year, so I have to hang with that one to see what happens. I'm sure there are other shows I'm forgetting, and I could get up and go take a look at the DVR right now, but frankly, I'm feeling too lazy to do so.

Then there is Total Drama Island. This is a show on Cartoon Network, and yes, it is a cartoon. I accidentally started a relationship with this show. One night, in a zombie-fied state because I'd only slept a few hours within a span of nearly 30, I was looking for something to watch while I packed for a trip, and when I saw the title, I was intrigued so I checked it out. I think I came in part of the way into the first episode, and they showed a few more episodes that night. My mom was at my house, and she comes in my bedroom and is like, "What the hell are you doing, you zombie, you are supposed to be packing." Well, maybe it wasn't that bad but it was close. Then we leave for our trip to Reno with the kid the next day, and in the hotel room there are only a couple of "kid" channels, and Cartoon Network was one of them, and both nights we were there they played several episodes, so this is how I got hooked. It was as if it was meant to be. AND Kayla likes it, or at least does not tell me to change the channel when it is on, so it doesn't get much better than that.

I know what you're thinking: "Jen, I'm a grown-up person. Why on earth would I watch your silly cartoon with a silly name like Total Drama Island?" First of all, watching cartoons will make you feel young, and who doesn't want to feel young? Secondly, it is an extremely entertaining, amusing, and clever show. A satire of reality shows, especially Survivor, it is about 22 teenagers who show up at Camp Wawanakwa and engage in a series of totally absurd challenges (one was a "trust" challenge where a teammate was charged with preparing potentially lethal blowfish for a fellow teammate) and try to avoid being voted off by their teammates. During the elimination ceremony, marshmallows are passed out to team members who get to stay, and whoever doesn't get one has to walk the Dock of Shame to the Boat of Losers and "never, never, never, ever come back," as Jeff Probst-like host Chris Maclean takes an inappropriate amount of glee in telling the campers.

This is like Survivor meets Big Brother meets The Real World meets a Saturday Night Live spoof of those shows (well, back when SNL was funny). While it parodies these reality competition shows filled with people willing to do just about anything for their 15 minutes of fame (the fast-paced, very catchy theme song lyrics proclaim, "I wanna be, I wanna be, I wanna be famous!), it's way more entertaining than any of those shows could ever be (although that is not really fair of me to say because I only watched Big Brother the first season, one half of one episode of Survivor, and I've never watched The Real World).

Take my advice and check this show out. I've been watching previous episodes on Comcast's On Demand. If you are looking for some silly entertainment which will sometimes having you laugh off your you-know-what, you should give it a shot.

But if you get hooked on it and wind up getting a full DVR, don't come complaining to me. I've got enough DVR drama of my own.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Guess They're Famous Because...

Every time I see a picture of Paris Hilton, I think, "Why?" I know you're an heiress and your family has truckloads of money. So do other rich people, and I don't have to see them every time I open up a People or Us Weekly (if I'm at the nail salon without a book). Why must you take up any portion of any entertainment reports on Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood, or TMZ (how much do I love Harvey Levin, the guy who does the legal commentary for People's Court, when he is wearing a t-shirt and jeans and being all snarkily funny about celebrities? I am actually disturbed by how much I love him on this show).

Now, I know, this is all subjective. That is why this is my blog, so I can write whatever the heck I want about whatever the heck I want. This post is meant to be completely silly and frivolous, and you are not meant to remember it for one single second after you read it. It is meant to be like... well, like reading an Us Weekly while you get your nails done!

I mentioned this before, but I still don't understand why Ryan Seacrest is famous. I know he's the host of American Idol, and he's the E! News guy, but I told you before that if he becomes the permanent host of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve I might have to boycott the holiday. But seriously, can someone tell me if they've heard him as a disc jockey and he was really, really, like totally awesomely super good? Because maybe that is why he deserves to be famous. Otherwise, the fact that they had him host the Emmy's last year, then co-host them (sort of, if you can call it that) this year makes absolutely no sense to me. On Idol (which in his defense, I do not watch very often), he just seems kind of weird and weaselly. Every once in a while he has some funny remark for Simon, but I guess what I'm questioning is why he is as famous as he is. Isn't there someone out there more talented than he is who should be where he is? Don't tell me - he was in the right place at the right time. Wow, lucky us.

I suppose I have a cornucopia of reality show "stars" whose fame I could question, but I would like to focus on one bunch of them - the cast of The Hills. Okay, here is where I really show my age. I don't understand what this show is. Is it a scripted show? Is it a reality show? I have never seen the show, just clips on The Soup. Is it on VH-1, MTV? The only reason I know it exists is because again, when I open up a the best magazine in the whole world, People (the subscription to which I cancelled because I decided it was too much of a luxury, so now my wonderful co-worker, Sarah, lets me read her hand-me-down copy), who do I see as soon as I start in with the "Star Tracks" (the first section of the magazine filled with pictures of celebrities, either posed at events or candid, like coming out of a Starbucks in West Hollywood cafe)? Lauren Conrad, and Heidi something and Spencer Pratt. Oh my gosh, I can't STAND these people. It annoys me to no end that I even know their names! I am so sorry if I am offending anyone, because if this is one of your guilty pleasure shows, more power to you, I have all kinds of stuff like that. I guess I just resent these people - the ones I just mentioned, for example, who seem to have zero talent - taking up space in these pictures instead of like, actual movie or TV stars or something. Oh, and Audrina Partridge - is she the other from The Hills? Yes, I don't want her in my magazine either.

Did I just get old? Is that the problem? I'm out of touch, I know this. I realize that since I tend to listen to talk radio or audio books when I'm driving, I next to never know about new songs or artists, unless one of my stepkids tells me about them, or maybe even a co-worker. Sometimes my husband, who while only four years older than me is mentally much, much, much older even turns me onto something new. And I know that the celebs who were all fresh and new when I was a teenager are now either all washed up, or in rehab, or they're busy raising kids or living a normal life. I mean, I do not expect to see a picture of C. Thomas Howell in the "Star Tracks" anytime soon. So I don't think it's that I don't want young people, I just don't want people who aren't famous for a good reason. Like, you know, they can act or they entertain us or something. So many times I think to myself, "What if that chick were a size 14? Would her picture be in the front of my (well, Sarah's) People every week?" And what is really funny about that is that I would KILL to be a size 14 again, while the people you see in these pictures or on Entertainment Tonight could fit into one side of a size-14 pair of pants with room to spare. So for me, that's not a good enough reason for me to consider you as famous, just because you look good.

And sure, models might fall into this category of "famous because they look good," but that is different. And there would be people who would be considered "personalities," maybe. Not really actors or musicians... and I can't think of anyone right now who falls into this category, but I can tell you right now that Heidi Spencer Lauren Audrina does not fall into this category, at least not for me. Did you know that if you Google Spencer Pratt you will get approximately 42,900,000 results? I hope you didn't know that because I hope you have not Googled him recently or ever. This is the kind of research I do for you, my dear readers. That number is so big I don't even know how to say it. If you Google me you will get 53 results. A few from this blog, a few from other things, but no where close to 42,900,000 results. So what does this Spencer character have that I don't? What is his "talent?" Seriously, someone tell me if they know! I am all ears.

I think I should clarify that in the great scheme of things, it doesn't matter what any celebrities are doing, or that the paparazzi caught a glimpse of George Clooney laying in the sun, all mustachioed for a role in his new movie, or that Ben took Violet to the pumpkin patch, or that Salma Hayek had her daughter, Valentina, with her on the set of 30 Rock while filming her guest appearance. But I'm sorry, I LOVE this kind of stuff. I like to see the stars glitzed and glammed up, or caught in some candid moment, or whatever, I really do. And I know other people could care less about that stuff (I can just imagine the look on my dad's face if I ran this last paragraph by him). But still, show me actual celebrities, not these youngsters whose only claim to fame is that they party at nightclubs and have perfect hair and complexions and bodies.

It occurs to me that this post makes me sound like a crotchety old lady, you know the one who yells at the kids who accidentally kick the ball into her yard. I hope I'm not that lady. I do have good news, though - the other night I finished two of Sarah's hand-me-down Peoples in one sitting and guess what? Not a single Heidi Spencer Lauren Audrina photo in "Star Tracks!" But I can't remember if they showed up in the rest of the magazine - I'm getting older and my memory's not what it used to be.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Compulsive Eaters Unanonymous

So I looked up compulsive eaters on Wikipedia (every lazy websearcher's favorite place to go), and it looks like that's what I am. I've suspected it for years, but here, on the World Wide Web, in front of my huge readership of about five or six (and two of them are related to me), I'm owning it. I'm claiming it, I'm saying, hello, my name is Jen, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

You start to suspect that you are way past the "Let's go on a diet" or "Let's join Weight Watchers" (a program, which, by the way, is the best if you are a normal person) point when you are stopping at Adelberto's at 3:30 a.m. after work to grab a light snack of nachos covered with cheese and guacamole. Who needs to eat that at 3:30 in the morning? Pretty much no one. And, you are making that stop after spending several miles beforehand chanting to yourself, "I don't need it. Keep driving, just go to bed." Or you are never, ever, ever done with your meal just because you're full. There always seems to be room for one more bite. Or helping. Or meal. Hey, Taco Bell, thanks for that whole 4th Meal thing, you really have given me some good rationalization help with that one.

I'm not sure when my problem started, but let's just say I don't think that it helped that I fell madly in love with mayonnaise at age 7. Seriously, if mayonnaise were a guy, I'd marry it and have little mayo kids with it. I remember like it was yesterday the day my babysitter took us to Burger King. This in itself was a big deal, because in my house, we didn't eat a lot of fast food, and if we were having burgers they were going to be from McDonald's. So I got some kind of burger and and it had this beautiful, wonderful mayonnaise on it. My parents, being from the Midwest, were Miracle Whip people. They have since come to their senses and switched to mayo, but back then mayo was never in our house, just the Whip (and though I clearly prefer mayo to Miracle Whip, I must admit that its tangy zip is sometimes welcome on certain types of sandwiches or burgers). Anyway, one bite of that burger and the love affair began.

Fast forward to 1987, and I've got my own wheels and a job that pays me money that I can use on food. How many times did I get off at 11 p.m. and cruise over to Burger King for a Whopper with cheese, EXTRA mayonnaise? Way too many to count. Even though I still love mayonnaise way more than I should, I just don't have it in me to order anything with extra mayo. I don't want to be that fat girl that pulls around to the drive-thru window to pay and gets the look from the cashier that says, "Hmph. No wonder she wants extra mayo." I just always hope I'll get lucky and have Bob, the extra mayo slatherer back there making my Whopper with cheese (only now I order them hold the meat since I gave up red meat 13 years ago, which had next to nothing to do with health or cutting calories and more to do with the fact that after watching "Babe" I did not want to eat cute animals that I feared might have personalities, which is why is I still eat chicken, turkey, and fish [and yes, I do think baby chicks are cute but that is something with which I have to deal]).

It's not just mayo. I'll eat a whole bunch of anything, believe me. Salty, sweet, I don't discriminate, just depends on my mood. I will say the starchier the better, and if there is cheese and sauce involved, even better. Pizza? Could I ever have just one slice? Especially if it's from Round Table, with creamy garlic sauce and olives only? No, pretty much I eat as many slices as it takes for me to feel the fullness in the eyeballs. And that's the problem. Going past belly fullness into eyeball fullness. This I don't like.

So why do I do it? There's no time to lay all that out in this post. The reasons are various and sundry and have all been discussed with a couple of different therapists. Just the stuff that's gone down in my life in the past year alone has been enough for me to do more than my part in keeping Adelberto's in business. I will say that two of the big issues in my life that have contributed to my problem would be 9/11 and pregnancy.

If you were born in 1970 or thereabouts like I was, then you grew up in a world where, quite simply, really bad stuff didn't happen to us here. So for a whole generation of folks, watching those Twin Towers get hit, over and over again, shattered this completely idyllic world and false sense of safety we'd managed to keep for 30 years or so. So this horrific event made me less likely to make good choices when it came to food. Let's see... the world could end tomorrow, shall I order a veggie burger hold the mayo with a side salad, low fat dressing on the side? Umm, I DON'T THINK SO, PAL! How about a super burrito mojado with the works, please? Don't forget the guacamole and sour cream!

Then there was pregnancy, during which I vomited every single day, except for a wonderful 10 days early in the third trimester. Otherwise, it was get up, puke, go about my business, puke, go to bed, etc. So once pregnancy was over and there was no more of that, I pretty much decided to go on a food free-for-all. Well, the kid will be 3 at the end of December and my free-for-all is still happening.

I think the number 100 is also one more reason I feel so stalled and stymied. I would like to lose 100 pounds, and in all of my years of battling my food issues and my weight, I have never had a desire to lose a 3-digit number of pounds. I'd actually be happy with 90, so maybe I should just think of it that way and it wouldn't be such a mental stumbling block for me? I think I see that 100 and think to myself, "Dang, that's never gonna happen. (Munch munch munch noises) Would ya give me another cookie?"

And before you tell me I should exercise, I know this already. Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when I had to exercise every day or I'd feel weird. Seriously, it was as much a part of my routine as getting up and taking a shower and brushing my teeth. I loved to go to Jazzercise or do a workout tape at home (pretty much anything that let me shake my butt made me happy). I was into strength training, the whole thing. What happened to the girl? I think maybe I ate her. Now I try to walk 30 minutes at a time, and manage that 3-4 times a week, if it's a good week. Every once in a great while I'm able to find some kid distraction-free time at home to throw on a yoga video or something, but once in a great while only.

So why, as my brother would say, throw all of this out on front street for all five or six of you to see? Well, because maybe I'll actually dive into this book I've started reading, called It's Not About Food, which talks about how to (as the front cover claims) "Change your mind, change your life, and end your obsession with food and weight." Because it has been almost all about food for me (man, I didn't even get into planning my vacation activites around where I was going to eat!). And maybe the next time I want to stop at Adelberto's I'll think about how much better I felt just by getting all of this out. And maybe I'll think of something else to do rather than eat a burrito the next time I'm sad. Or mad. Or happy. Or awake. Maybe I will, you never know.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Proposition 8 Interview

Hello, and welcome to a very special edition of Work In Progress. For the first time ever, I will be conducting a completely fictionalized interview with a completely fictionalized person, Mr. John Q. Heterosexual, about the very controversial proposition appearing on ballots in California in November, Proposition 8.

Remember, Mr. Heterosexual only exists within my imagination, therefore any similarities to any persons living or dead is not only highly unlikely, it would just be pretty darn weird as well.

Jennifer Michelle Moore-Skallerud: Mr. Heterosexual, thank you for agreeing to meet with me today.

John Quite Heterosexual: Hey, sure, no problem. I'm still getting paid for this, right?

JMM: That must be some other interview you're doing, since it's not like I get paid for this so I don't really have the budget to pay interviewees.

JQH: (Sighs with annoyance) Okay, whatever.

JMM: So, Mr. Heterosexual - or may I call you John?

JQH: Sure, yeah, why not.

JMM: Fabulous. So John, I have invited you here today so that I can talk to you about Proposition 8. Are you familiar with this proposition?

JQH: Proposition 8... Proposition 8... Let me think about this...

JMM: You know, it's the one about same-sex marriage?

JQH: (Nodding knowingly) Oh, sure. Yeah, I saw the commercial. That's the one where the girl comes home with that book with the two guys on the front called "King and King" or something, and she tells her mom, (in a "little girl" singsong) "Mommy, today I found out I can marry a princess!" All I know is, I don't want my kid learning that in school.

JMM: Okay, so you are familiar with it, that's good, and you bring up a good point. John, do you ever remember learning about or talking about marriage in school?

JQH: I know that I've heard people saying that if we say it's okay for gay people to get married, then they'll start teaching kids in school that this is okay, and we know it's gonna happen because that's what happened in some other state, too.

JMM: Hmm, well, as followers of my blog know, I'm not really known for having too much knowledge about, well, anything, so I don't know about that. But I'm asking you, John - do you remember how you learned about marriage? Do you even remember talking about it in school, because I don't, so I'm just wondering if you do.

JQH: Well, no, not exactly...

JMM: So, I'm just trying to... let's call a spade a spade, John. I'm just trying to shoot down this argument because it seems to be the one that the supporters of Prop 8 are putting all their money on - that people will get scared and pass this proposition because they are afraid that their kids are going to learn that gay marriage is okay, and, I suppose, that once they know it's okay, they will turn gay. What do you think about that, John? About this idea that learning that gay marriage is legal will make kids decide to be gay?

JQH: I don't think it's a good idea. Kids don't need to be hearing about that kind of stuff.

JMM: Seriously, John. Think about. Do you remember the first girl you ever liked? I'm sorry -I'm just assuming you like girls, what with your name and all.

JQH: Hell yes I like girls! I love girls!

JMM: Wonderful. So do you remember the first girl you liked?

JQH: Sure I do. I was in Kindergarten, and her name was... what was her name? Kirsten? Kristen? Christine? Something like that. Yeah, I used to try to kiss her at recess. Good times.

JMM: Okay, so I remember the first boy I liked. His name was Kevin, and it, too was in Kindergarten, and the thing is, I just liked him because I liked him. Like, no one taught me to like boys.

JQH: (a bit befuddled) Okay...

JMM: So I'm just thinking regardless of how you think that people become gay - I just can't imagine that if marriage had come up in school, and the teacher said that sometimes men and women marry each other and sometimes men and men, and sometimes women and women - that I would have decided to have a crush on a girl instead of Kevin. I liked Kevin because I did, because that is what I felt... does that make sense?

JQH: (suspiciously) Hmph. I suppose.

JMM: I'm just trying to be logical about it. Another one of the arguments for Prop 8, and for this I want to just get out my book, you know the one with the propositions in it, and all the other stuff we're supposed to vote for? (I start digging around in my pile of very important papers to locate the book.) Right here it says, in the argument for Prop 8, "... while gays have the right to their private lives, they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else."

JQH: (thinking for a moment) Yeah, that's right! They don't have that right!

JMM: And I guess I don't get that.

JQH: What do you mean, I mean, what's not to get? Marriage means a man and a woman getting up in front of their family and friends and saying 'til death do us part and that. A man and a woman, period. That's marriage.

JMM: Okay, I mean, that's fine, but even if I think your definition is valid, if two guys get married, how does that affect you and your marriage?

JQH: Because then they're trying to make me accept a different definition of marriage!

JMM: But say you go to Home Depot.... is that a good example, do you go to Home Depot?

JQH: Of course I go to Home Depot!

JMM: Okay, so say you go to Home Depot. And you see two guys walking down the aisle buying... I don't know, hammers.

JQH: Okay...

JMM: So what does it matter to you - or, how does it affect your day if they are married or shacked up or just pals from the bowling league? How does that impact your day or your marriage or your life or anything?

JQH: Because... because uh...

JMM: I mean think about it - it's okay for gay people to be together and have, well you know, relations - all the advocates of Proposition 8 are saying they don't care if gay people are gay and do gay things and all. But the fact that these people want to make a legally binding commitment? You would think that people who are traditionalists and don't even like the idea of sex outside of marriage and everything would be all for this!

JQH: Well come on, now, that's not the same thing.

JMM: Okay, true enough. I know that they are talking about not having sex out of wedlock because it should only be for procreation, or whatever. But you know what? You know what this reminds me of? It reminds me of how in the not too distant past, a black person was not allowed to marry a white person!

JQH: Well, that's totally different. That's just racist.

JMM: Well, of course, we think that now. But do you know that some states had laws against interracial marriage until the late 60's? I mean, it's just crazy to think about now, but it's true, and maybe that is why I get all fired up, because I wouldn't be here if interracial marriage were against the law, and neither would my daughter.

JQH: Hmph, I don't know. I still say that's different. It's not like you can choose what race you are after all.

JMM: Okay, so even though I don't really think we can choose our sexual orientation, if you believe that is not true - that some people wake up and say, "Hey! It's a beautiful day out today, no wind, and I think I will be gay from now on!" - even if that's the case, I still don't see why it would be an issue for you if they made their union legal and all.

JQH: Why do they even want to get married anyway? They have all those domestic partnership laws and everything, why can't they just be okay with that? The can visit each other in the hospital and everything!

JMM: Well, John, why did you want to get married?

JQH: My wife said I had to marry her or she was going to find someone who would, who didn't have "commitment issues."

JMM: Okay, but that aside. Didn't you want to show the world how much this person meant to you? And pledge your love in front of everyone you knew (or at least everyone you could afford to invite)? You know, to make it official and solid and all of that good stuff.

JQH: Well, sure, yeah, of course.

JMM: So why should we deny that to anyone? No one, even the Prop 8 supporters, want to outlaw homosexuality, so why shouldn't homosexuals get to pledge their love in public and have certain health benefits, and have the kick-ass party to celebrate if they want to? I mean, I just want to know why. I just don't get it. That is why I brought you here today, John. I was hoping maybe you could explain this to me.

JQH: You know what? I don't need to explain it. We already voted on this and some crazy judges go and overturn what we wanted, so we shouldn't even have to defend this proposition at all!

JMM: You know, I do get that, I understand that people would be miffed if they voted for something and then all of a sudden they have to vote again. But I'll bet at sometime people were like, "We already decided black people can't vote! We shouldn't have to vote on this again!" Or they were thinking, "We already decided that black people can't marry white people, why should we have to even consider this!" Or, "We already decided that black people should be slaves, what's all the fuss about?" John, sometimes the people need to rethink stuff. Or they're just wrong.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wake Me Up on Election Day

So last night I watched the debate. Or as much of it as I could with interruptions from Kayla, who was "having a mood," as she likes to say. And all I can say is zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh my goodness, how BORING! Maybe since Saturday Night Live has been doing such a good job with their send-ups of Sarah Palin interviews and the Biden/Palin debate ("You just got schooled BIDEN-STYLE!"), it made watching Barack Obama and John McCain go at it seem as exciting as that time you were in a hardware store watching two guys discuss the merits of one wrench over another. Well, just pick your favorite boring subject and then picture two guys talking about it in a really, really boring way.

Now of course, I'm interested in the world. I live in it, after all. But maybe it's just that the debate sounded to me like this: "Blah, blah, blah pork barrel." "Blah blah blah earmarks." "Blah blah blah this country." "Blah blah blah that country." "Blah blah blah economy." And I guess all I kept thinking is that who in the heck is going to be able to fix any of this stuff?

At this point in the game, what I have to go on is my party affiliation, for starters. Like I've said before, I have always been a Democrat, and I turned 18 right before the primary in '88 in which I got to vote for Dukakis. Then sadly watch him get defeated. Then in '92 I voted for Clinton and turned cartwheels when he got elected not once but twice (and I kind of wish I could vote for him again because in spite of everything, he's still my favorite). I can still remember calling Spook (or Spook calling me) on election night and I think we just screamed at each other because we were so excited.

The other thing is personalities. I don't like McCain. I don't like Palin. These are people I would not invite over to my house to play Scattergories or Trivial Pursuit. Barack, this guy I'd invite over, though I'd ask him to loosen up a little bit and not be such a smarty pants with the Trivial Pursuit. He's a smart guy, that's obvious. So when someone says, "What about the fact that he hasn't had experience doing x, y, and z?" I think to myself, this is one smart cat and he will hire people who know about these things.

On a purely selfish and vain level, it is cool to have someone running for president who is, like me, a mixed-race American. That is cool. So I know that I like Obama better than McCain (because for one thing, like Gene Burns said on KGO last night, I think McCain's demeanor in the debate was "snarky"), and I liked him better than Hillary, but considering I voted for him in the primary and will vote for him in November, I wish I knew more about him. That is my fault - I'm by no means saying that he is not telling us about himself, I have just not paid much attention, but anyone who read my first blog knows I'm just that way - oblivious. I'll keep being honest about that, in spite of the fact it makes me look like an idiot. At least I have his books on my list of stuff I want to read, and as soon as I read this really entertaining stuff I'm reading right now I'll move on to that. Before the election even, I promise.

I have to say, cheers to these guys for wanting this job. Seriously, I think it sucks. Never in a million bajillion years would I want to be president. Think about it. It would be like... I can't even think of a job to compare it to! But then I'm the kind of person who, while a control freak, doesn't want to be in charge at work. I like being invisible-ish and being able to pass the buck up if I need to do so. Don't get me wrong, I want to do a great job at whatever I do, I just don't want to be the boss. So to be president and be boss of like, the whole country... the thought of the paperwork alone makes my head hurt.

But back to why I think this whole campaign is so... blah blah blah to me. Really, who can fix us? Who can fix the economy? Who can make all these countries who hate us and want to obliterate us from the face of the earth not want to do that? Who can change the fact that we have been at war for so many years spinning our wheels as countless lives are lost? Who can give me hope that one day we will again have that innocence I feel so lucky to have experienced as a kid... back when we didn't seem to think Russia was going to nuke us anymore and reports of terrorists were few and far between? Any of you born in 1970 or thereabouts know what I'm talking about. Heck, that was back when we could walk all over town without grown-ups and not think anyone would kidnap us, either! How do we get back to that? What human on this planet can make it good like that again?

The answer is no one. Do I trust one or the other of them to get us closer? Sure, that's why I'm going to vote for Barack. But do I wish I could write in a name like "Superman," or "Batman," or... I can't even think of any other good superheroes. This is way out of the league of say, an Aquaman or Green Hornet. We need someone who can fly and deflect bullets and turn back time, if needed. Or we need someone who can make a movie and project it into the sky so that everyone can see it, and it would say something like, "KNOCK IT OFF!" Just those words, so that everyone on the planet could see them and say, "Why yes, we are being rather silly about everything, aren't we, and it would sure be a lot better if we could just all make friends with one another since we all have to live on this planet together."

Does anyone else have any other ideas? I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Saturday Night Lives

At least it is a pretty drive. Over the bridge, I look out and see the greenish-blue gentle waves of the Carquinez Strait as the sun sets on the horizon. If only I were going, say, out on a date, maybe to a nice restaurant with a lovely bay view where we could watch the sunset while we eat something really tasty. I'll bet those people in the car next to me are on their way to do something just like that. That car over there has got five youngsters in it, and by youngsters I mean they are under thirty. I'll bet they are off to the City to paaaarrrrtttaaaaay. I wish I'd done a lot of partying when I had the chance.

But how could I have known that my standard Saturday night destination was going to be work? I have, for about the last 2 years, been a weekend night shift worker. Much of that time was spent working 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., and now it is usually 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

So when I am on my way to work, you are going out to visit friends. Or going to San Francisco for a night on the town. Or you might be coming home from Lake Tahoe or your grandma's house. And I am doing my best not to hate you. Or wish that I were you.

I knew what I was getting into when I took the job. Well, sort of. At the time I decided to get into the police dispatching biz, the dispatchers at my agency seemed to eschew the weekday day shift, instead opting for weekend and graveyard shifts. After all, who wanted to be in the building when Administration was there breathing down your neck? Well to me, this sounded grand! You mean to tell me I could have a cool job like police dispatcher and work normal hours like I'd been doing since 1990? Amazing. While I did get to spend about six months on just such a shift, after that the tides turned and all of a sudden weekday day shift was the place to be! Being one of the lower people on the totem pole, that meant that I got what was leftover, and that meant weekend nights. (Though I did enjoy an all too brief interlude working 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Let me just take a moment to remember how cool it was to wake up with no alarm and have a Sunday off and feel like a normal person... okay, I'm done now.)

But for all my kvetching about my hours, I have found that after spending all this time being a weekend night owl, I kinda like it. Do I like that everyone else I know is off weekends and that in order to see them they have to go out on "school" nights? No, I don't like that part. Do I like that I have no days off with my husband? Well, sometimes that is not such a bad thing, but it would be nice to have one day off together without one or the other of us having to take time off. And it would be great not to have to take time off to go to weekend parties and get-togethers and see friends that live too far away for school-night hanging-out.

I'm also not thrilled about the fact that on Mondays when I get off, I don't necessarily have the option of sleeping. It just depends on my husband's schedule and the kid's sleeping/nap (in her opinion naps get a great big "BOO!") schedule, and don't even ask me why she doesn't go to the sitter's that day, because the sitter is 30 miles away, and it's a long story.

But I have to say, I definitely dig commuting against traffic. That is super swell. I feel so grateful as I zip through American Canyon and come out on the other side and see all those poor souls stuck in that messy area where 680 merges with 80 and people are trying to get off to get onto Highway 12 (for the love of God and all that's good and holy, please, put another lane in there, that area is ridiculous!).

I love what the sky looks like at 7 a.m. Sad to say, I'm never up that early unless I am just getting off work, because I get up when Kayla does on our days off, and she has been liking to sleep in, which is fine by me!

I love being able to go to Target on the weekdays. At my Target in Fairfield, if I go before noon, I have the nicest lady whose line we always get into, and she has been my checker of choice since back when I was pregnant with Kayla. One of these days I'll devote a whole post to the friendly people of Fairfield. Anyway, it is wonderful to take care of any kind of business on a weekday. Granted, the stores and businesses aren't deserted by any means, but it is better than dealing with weekend crowds.

I don't like that since my body clock does not know if it's daytime or nighttime, sometimes on my days off I wake up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep for an hour or more because I feel like I should be up. But I do like when I'm at work and it's a certain time of the morning and the sun is just starting to come up, and I can go to the window and take a look and take in the stillness of the street below.

I don't like that on my days off I sometimes feel so tired, that I think if a group of travelling carnival people came by looking for a cute kid to put in their show, I might just offer up Kayla if the price was right and it would mean getting a nap. And I mean a real nap, not a nap that consists of 10 minute intervals of sleep followed by someone opening up my eyes with their little fingers and saying, "MOMMY, WAKE UP, OPEN YOUR EYES!"

I do like that just like the song says, the freaks come out at night. It's true. You get some nutty stuff going on at night that you just wouldn't see in the daytime. At the same time, it's mellower at night, because all the people who want to call up and yell at you about something in the same way they'd complain about a meal they didn't like in a restaurant and think that somehow you should be able to schedule crime so they could be guaranteed a particular time time at which they could speak to an officer - those folks are sleeping, which is nice.

So, if I ever get the choice in the near future of working this shift or working a weekday day shift, which one am I going to choose? Commute traffic. Getting up early. (Let me tell you, no matter how much sleep I've had, it's always easier to get up at 4 or 5 in the afternoon than it is to get up at 5 in the morning. Always.) Getting the kid up early and out the door. Arrrgghh.

I guess I'll need to think about that one.