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15th-Aug-2014 04:50 pm - The Giver
Family Guy--Accusing Monkey
It's super cliche to see a movie trailer and whine about how it's nothing like the book and you hateitalready because BOOK.

I'm always torn between thinking this is valid criticism and thinking that it's pointless and whiny. On one hand, if a book is something you love it is disappointing to see major changes that screw with that thing you love. Especially disappointing if those changes aren't BETTER or equally as good. On the other hand, a movie is not a book--there are things that you just can't accomplish in a movie that you can in a book. You don't have that languid reading time for movie-viewers to relax into your narrative. It's lazy to say something is bad just because the book was better.

I thought that, while they had subtle changes and direction shifts, the Lord of the Rings movies and the Harry Potter movies were pretty good examples of books-to-movies. A lot of the Jane Austin book-based movies are quite good and faithful to the spirit of the books. I liked Atonement and The English Patient much better as movies than as books (in a rare twist from the usual convention). I didn't even mind Ender's Game, frankly, because I'm not quite sure how they were supposed to stuff in OSC's long-winded political diatribes that are basically sibling conversations. And I thought how they did the giant-videogame-test was very cool.

The Hobbit, on the other hand, irritated me because the direction to have them being CHASED the entire time to get them to "go" is completely moot when they were on a quest to "go" anyway. That, and Peter Jackson seemed hell-bent on connecting it to his LOTR opus...and it doesn't enrich the experience in the way you'd expect it to.

That all being said, from everything I've heard and seen--The Giver looks like it absolutely obliterates the original point of the book. Which was that society is its own nefariousness--it bends to the arc of conformity. The rebellion is quiet and personal--and even encouraged as the main character's role of the new memory keeper. The Giver movie, however, is all Teen Dystopian SuperAction Movie with a clear villainous presence, an open rebellion, and even a love triangle thrown in for funzies.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I will STILL see it. Because even if it's a disappointment overall (or it leaves me whining "The book was SOOOOO much better than the movie!"), it's still a treat to see all the characters you know and like from the book coming to life in a movie. So even though book readers whine about their favorite books being masticated beyond recognition into movies, they STILL don't want them to stop making said movies. Because there's always that chance that there will be a wholly satisfying experience that makes you go back and read the book...then watch the movie again...then go back and read the book in this weird book-to-film-to-book masturbatory reading and watching cycle.
Monkey kisses
Once upon a time I got some crafty little bug and made these fabric covered pots:Step 15
Pretty! And easy. (Though sort of messy and kind of time-consuming.) I always thought I would do a little tutorial--and where else am I going to write it up--so here it is:
Behind the cut!Collapse )
11th-Aug-2014 08:26 pm - Rules, rules, rules
Hands up
I understand WHY they are in effect, but the following girl scout camp rules seem very stupid and inefficient to me:

  • Adults cannot help kids put on sunscreen or bug spray or anything. Kids aren't technically supposed to help other kids either, but that is largely overlooked. The kids ask for help ALL the time and I feel totally stupid going: "Sorry, [camper] I can't help you even out the sunscreen on the part in your hair on your head, because I'm not allowed to touch you." (Again, I understand WHY they do this, but it's also very silly.)

  • Kids cannot share sunscreen at all. If a kid forgets sunscreen they have to go without. They cannot use someone else's sunscreen.

So kids forget stuff. They get burned. They realize they forgot the sunscreen early and we can't do anything about it. It's frustrating.

The biggest "event" today was sending a diabetic girl home. She has type 1, and has an insulin pump. We had been warned to watch for low blood sugar events--her getting pale or dizzy or acting weird. My mom is pretty experienced at recognizing this so I wasn't worried. Plus, this girl is 10. She's been dealing with this her whole life. She knows what it feels like. We had snacks on hand.

What we didn't know until the MOMENT she remembered to test herself during the day is that she forgot her insulin. Her blood sugar was over 600. (Normal range is below 100-140.) Holy shit. I felt awful and irresponsible, but she hadn't exhibited any signs of, well, anything whatsoever. Nothing outside of normal-girl-energetic-at-camp-behavior, anyway.

She's fine. Her mom was fine (with us...she was very annoyed with her daughter). It gave my mom and I an opportunity to explain how diabetes works to totally riveted 4th graders.
11th-Aug-2014 12:16 am - Dear god why.
Woman Screaming

I have to get up very early tomorrow to drive an hour and a half to Girl Scout camp where I will herd a dozen fourth grade girls for a day. It's just me and my mom leading that group Monday. Luckily she's a nurse, so if anyone needs an epipen I'm delegating.

Why did I agree to do this? Oh yeah, because my niece (going into 6th grade and co-supervising the younger kids) told me I had to and promised me it was her last year. I asked her if she knew how to change diapers yet. Favors for favors, kid.

The fourth graders aren't so bad, though. They are independent enough to not need too much help, and still compliant enough to be easy to herd. I had Derrick help me fold up, I don't know what they're called...the internet says "cootie catchers"...for swaps. (Everyone has little craft things that they make and bring to trade and pin on.)

Hopefully I won't puke. Today was good, but Saturday I threw up every single thing I ate. I'm chalking that up as a fluke since that hasn't happened before with that intensity (and I'm supposed to be done with that now, yes?). Maybe I ate something weird or had a touch of Ebola*. Otherwise I'm giving the fourth graders a cautionary tale: see not get pregnant ever, it is not fun. Someone hold my hair back. I'll make you a special vomit helper merit badge.

I'm also winding down from cleaning at grandmas after watching my dad pull rusted metal cake decorating pastry tips out of the recycling to save. We had already saved dozens of good metal tips with no scary rust and corrosion, but that didn't seem to matter. That kind of shit is so frustrating. I'm seriously considering loading my car up with crap from that house and sneaking stuff into other peoples' garage sales.

* probably was not Ebola.

8th-Aug-2014 11:28 am - Baby-brain
Monkey kisses
I would say that pregnancy brain is a Real Thing except that this isn't the first time I've taken frozen meals out of the freezer with the intent to take them to work and, instead, left them on the kitchen counter/stove/table. (I get distracted by Other Things--in this case, watering the windowsill herbs.)


I did accidentally try to condition my hair with facewash the other week...but that isn't the first time I've done that either. (When I'm very tired my brain kind of goes splat on the order of operations in the shower...things are conditioned twice...faces are shampooed...etc.)
7th-Aug-2014 02:04 pm - Drowning Moses
Shirley Temple--whoa
I didn't remember this until a friend and I were talking about baby names today. He asked what I thought of "Miles".
I had a baby doll named Miles when I was a kid. I don't know why all my baby dolls were boys, but they were.
Then I also remembered that my other baby doll was named Moses.
Moses was a small doll with a yellow fleece outfit my mom sewed for him. He was like the Grumpy Cat of baby dolls; his face had this perpetually irritated expression and his little plastic hands were molded into fists.

I used to pretend that Moses was BibleMoses as a baby, and float/drown him in various bodies of water (shower, sink, pond...). Drowned because a basket of bullrushes is hard to construct, yo, and I was no Miriam. Heck, most of the time I didn't even try for a basket and Moses was BAD at floating. Baby doll Moses drowned A LOT. I didn't even pretend it was otherwise. Kid-me was all: Whelp, baby Moses drowned AGAIN. Poor baby Moses. I guess that didn't work out.

Maybe my parents shouldn't have let me watch The Ten Commandments when I was like 4 or 5.
4th-Aug-2014 07:55 am - Disconcerting
Monkey kisses

Sorry, folks, but your desaturated sleeping newborn photos look like dead babies.

They're cute and all...but dead babies.

1st-Aug-2014 12:17 pm - Blah-blah-blah
Family Guy--Accusing Monkey
"Deeply held religious beliefs."

This is totally media code for being a dick now, yes? I only see this phrase as a defense of some discriminatory assholerly. It instinctively makes me cringe. I feel bad for people with deeply held religious beliefs who DON'T want to be assholes. They have to haaaate that phrase.
30th-Jul-2014 07:17 pm - Urgh.
Hands up
I couldn't resist. Because, you know, when in Montana.. .

Yeah, yeah. I feel silly buying stuff. Clothing especially. I just got a 12m size, because I have no idea how big a baby I'm going to have, and a 6m size that fit up to 16 lbs seemed like it would be too small before summer, maybe. (And that was what they had--6m, 12m, 16m.)

I don't know very much about this stuff. Do children need to wear clothes or...? ;)
23rd-Jul-2014 03:44 pm - Feminot
Attack Bunny-Me
Things that drive me nuts?

When someone says something like this:

"Well, of course I think women should get equal pay for equal work...but I wouldn't call myself a FEMINIST."

Anti-feminists (is that the right term? I don't even know.) have done a very good job of demonizing feminism as an extreme and untenable thing (i.e. "Man haters!" "Bra-burners" "Feminazis!") which has a lot of women (and others) who do--at the heart of it--believe in feminist principles deny their status as a feminist.

I've even heard this from someone I would consider very "feminist" in their views:

"I'm not a feminist because I don't like to be labeled."


"I'm not a feminist. I believe that women should be able to be stay at home moms if they want to and not be forced to go back to work." [The key component here is the phrasing "if they want to" and "forced" is the idea of career/parenting choice NOT feminist?]

Congrats, anti-feminists. When someone says things like this, you've won.

It's not just on-the-fence or traditional-values people who say things like this. I would label D a feminist (he acts--in every single way--in accordance with feminist values) but I doubt that he would voluntarily declare that he's a feminist. When asked he would accept the label without argument, but it's not how he self-identifies.
21st-Jul-2014 12:15 pm - Plot synopsis: Oklahoma
Monkey kisses
You really forget how much everyone is just a raging dick throughout Oklahoma.

Lead female, Laurey: Likes lead male, Curly, but likes to pretend that she doesn't because Reasons. Nothing could go wrong here.

Lead male, Curly: Likes lead female, Laurey, but likes to pretend that he doesn't because Reasons. Or something. Mostly because she acts like she doesn't like him and he's all butthurt.

In response to their dicking around and not just screwing each other already, Laurey agrees to go to the dance with the farmhand, Jud. She is terrified of Jud. He gives her the creeps. He has naked ladies pinned up in his shed and YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. But she's all: I'm going to go out with the person I've clearly stated I think will rape me at night unless I don't lock my doors because REASONS OF SPITE.

Curly gets all mad and, like any good dude we're supposed to like, decides to deal with this by trying to convince Jud he should KILL HIMSELF. That's right. Because trying to talk a guy into suicide is not considered a total dick move in this musical. It is a TOTAL dick move, just in case we're not clear.

Laurey can't decide between men, even though she's pretty sure one would rape her if given the chance and she clearly loves the other one and he loves her. Indecision! (Gee, I don't know which one *I'd* pick--Rapey McStalkerEyes or "good-guy"-who-wants-people-to-kill-themselves.) So she takes drugs and has a trippy dream.

1st half of the dream: Happy life with Curly.
2nd half of the dream: Horror and whores! Jud's whores. Gasp! Because whores are THE WORST, you know. They go about dancing and Jud forces Laurey to look at them. She doesn't want to because WHORES. But he's like, "No, no, you'll look at my dancing whores and you'll like it." Then he goes down the line and hits the whores--like some choreographed whack-a-whore game.

At the end of the dream there's a sequence where Jud hangs Curly with a rope. Normally an innocuous gesture, but the fact that in this community theater version Curly was the only black person on stage surrounded by white townfolk while being hung.... Man, you'd think they would have just made the decision in the dream sequence to have Jud get stabby or something.

But Laurey still goes to the dance with Jud after she wakes up. Because, you know. I, for one, think Jud is getting the short end of the stick here. He's a lonely farmhand who really likes porn and everyone thinks is creepy--but they don't really have any reason to think he's creepy. And some dude just tried to convince him that the whole world would be better if he killed himself. I think Laurey is kind of stupid and her fears are pretty much based on drug-dreams. Seriously. The only "bad" thing that Jud has like Laurey.

But anyway.

People dance. Jud and Curly get into a bidding war for Laurey's basket of food at the auction. Because it's a euphemism for her virginity or something. People are kind of dicks about Jud again.

Curly and Laurey get married. Jud shows up all drunk and mad and tries to kill Curly. He stabs himself with his own knife. They hold a sham trial in which the acquit Curly because he's such a good guy and everyone likes him. Curly and Laurey ride off into the sunset. Jud is dead, just like everyone wanted. WHORES!

Oh, and there's this side-story about Ado Annie--the "girl who can't say no". It's kind of fabulous. Her song contains the line, "Whenever I lose a wrestling match, I get the funny feeling that I've won." She owns her desire and wants to have sex with all the boys. Naturally this is not okay with anyone else and many shotguns are waved in response. Laurey, in particular, is critical (of course she would be--eyeroll)...but I love her.

The end.
18th-Jul-2014 12:04 pm - Scanner Glass Scratches
Bourdain Monster

After years of scanning old, dusty glass scanner bed has started to develop micro-scratches. In light-background pictures these are not apparent. But in b&w or dark-background pictures...they tend to be more visible. (Plus there's some light dust speckling that I can't seem to get rid of.)

So: How does one go about removing scratches from glass on a surface that needs to remain scan-quality good?

Does anyone have any experience with jeweler's rouge or brasso (what the internets seems to recommend)?

I mean, really...a new scanner would cost me under $200...but it seems like a total waste since my old one works just fine save for this issue.

17th-Jul-2014 02:15 pm - Much Ado
Attack Bunny-Me
In my perpetually fucked sleep schedule I've been watching quite a few things. I'm almost done with Queer as Folk (boy, is that EVER dated and kinda-preachy now), Julia Child is a fallback.

I just watched Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. Now I've seen a TON of variations on Much Ado (seriously, I've seen a lot of this play...there are parts I could probably recite by memory), but I was all excited for this. Because: Joss Whedon doing movies in his house with friends.

It was decent. The parts that lag are always the parts that lag (Dear Shakespeare, no one cares about your comic relief guardsmen). I can never quite buy Alexis Denisof as a lead; as much as I like him he'll always be a bumbling sort of Wesley (Buffy). Nathan Fillion has gotten sort of puffy-looking since Firefly. Sean Maher, it must be said, is a MUCH better Don John than Keanu Reeves was in Kenneth Branagh's version of Much Ado. Not that that's hard to do.

Don John is a weird character anyway. He's an agent of chaos, but truly he has about zero motivation to be a dick. And yet. The whole story is dependent on his dickishness, ergo he is a dick. It's a frustrating thing: Why is Don John such a dick to everyone? REASONS!
16th-Jul-2014 11:48 am - Down's and Trisomy 18
Attack Bunny-Me
I got my results back for the risk screening for Down's Syndrome and Trisomy 18 (neural tube defect). Both were negative. I wasn't worried anyway. I don't know why--it just didn't occur to me to be worried since the chances were so small anyway. I mostly did the test because: 1. Knowledge is power--I would want to know if something was wrong, whether I decided to terminate or not. 2. It was a good chance to see the baby/heartbeat at a later stage and put my mind at ease.

I'm 1:4,100 for Down's (cutoff is 1:220, so I'm good there).
I'm 1:10,000 for Trisomy 18 (cutoff is 1:100, so I'm VERY good there).

Go baby, go! Way to have the correct number of chromosomes.
12th-Jul-2014 04:34 pm - Fargoesque
Monkey kisses

Today I:

Went to the farmer's market

Because the previous two tasks were enough to wear me out, I guess.
For some reason I'm exhausted and sicker than usual. I'm going to a concert tonight and I wish I felt better.

D is usually already gone in the morning when I'm sick, so hearing me was alarming to him:
"Punkin, are you okay?"
"Oh yeah, I'm fine. Just pukin'"

Because I think pregnant women all have a little Marge Gunderson in them: "Yup, I'm okay. Just gonna puke!"

10th-Jul-2014 05:26 pm - Photoedits
Me Coffee
Adobe Photoshop is only available through monthly subscription now (ever since my major system update made my paid-for-in-full copy totally obsolete...seriously, updated the Mac OS and it won't even open now).

So I have a barebones subscription for $9.97 (or somesuch) a month. I'd rather pay the big license fee, because the monthly subscription makes me evaluate, on a monthly basis, whether I'm using it ENOUGH.

This is primarily what I use it for:

Removing specks and scratches on old family photos. (This is a photo of my dad. And he's totally adorable.) You can most see the difference on his nose--where one piece of damage (speck on the original photo) has been removed (there's also a small scratch in the upper corner and more specks on his forehead and throughout the background).

It's nothing drastic, but it's important to me. And kind of fun to do. And easy with Photoshop. There are probably similar programs that can give me similar results, but I'm extremely familiar with this one.

The expense on a monthly basis is just so irritating. I'd have an easier time being reimbursed for it via work if it were one big license (I do use it for work occasionally, as well) vs. "Well, we don't have a project right now, so we don't want to pay for it THIS month."
7th-Jul-2014 06:20 pm - Superpowers
Monkey kisses

Me (looking out at thunderstorm): Well, I guess I'll be running inside tonight.
Officemate: Yeah, with the lightning and all...
Me: Yeah. Unsure of the effects of a lightning strike on an unborn fetus. ...although...
Officemate and me together: Superpowers!
Officemate: That's how it happens!
Me: Totally.

1st-Jul-2014 11:13 am - Bees
Monkey kisses
Six new laws came into effect in MN today. One is for bee research that gives money to the U of M to study the ailing bee population. Because without bees we're pretty much fucked. Well, maybe not fucked, but it definitely wouldn't be GOOD. One of the comments (I know. I know. COMMENTS: DO NOT READ THEM.) was:

I have a vegetable garden and I do not need bees to pollinate any of the vegetables or potatoes, herbs. I really do not believe we would be in a crisis. I think the research is fine but spending 8 million to do so?

Wow. Just. Wow. "Well, MY garden is fine, so therefore there isn't a problem!"

Other laws enacted today are an e-cig law (meh), higher education funding (yay?), tanning bed restrictions for minors (yay?), cell phone kill switches to prevent/thwart theft (yay?), and a heroin overdose law (YAY!). I think the heroin OD law (which stipulates that you--as a bystander--don't get charged for possession or drug use when you call 911 to report a friend ODing) will probably save lives.

But the bees, man. We need bees. I should persuade my parents to repair and restart their hives.
30th-Jun-2014 01:01 am - Memory
Monkey kisses

Derrick's grandma is losing her memory.
We've known this for a while, and she's very self-aware, but it's hard to watch it progress.
I've been through it with my grandfather. I know how frustrating and sad it is.
Right now, grandma Bev remembers who I am and everything, but the memory loss is apparent in conversation. For instance, we stopped over to say hi and tell her about the pregnancy before going to the wedding this weekend. She asked us a dozen times who was getting married. We answered patiently, as though we were just being asked for the first time each time, but d's grandfather is not so patient, and he snaps at her out of frustration a lot. He yelled at her for going on a walk and not being able to find her--she was out weeding in the garden.

As a result, she's stopped wanting to do anything or go anywhere. The best thing d's parents did was get a new puppy. They named her the same name as the old dog so grandma wouldn't have to remember. Grandma Bev spends hours outside with that dog, playing and walking and talking. The dog has no expectations. Doesn't care if she remembers or repeats. It's amazing to watch them.

She'll probably forget me before her other grand kids. I'm newer, after all. But some things she does remember. Important things. She asked me about losing the baby in January. She asked how I was, and she's been asking others how I'm doing. She was thrilled when we told her about the pregnancy. She started to cry. She held the thread through the whole conversation and remembered the next day.

It makes me sad to see her decline. She was so, so sweet to me after my grandma June died that I tear up just thinking about it. It's clear that, Derrick being her favorite grandchild*, she made a special place for me, too.

*derrick is everyone's favorite in his family. No joke. He's just so affable and kind and calm that it's hard not to be a favorite grandson amidst all the general chaos of the huge family.

26th-Jun-2014 12:44 pm - Idiotic
Cheryl/Carol...on Saturday
Taking away the Massachusetts buffer-zone law for abortion clinics is idiotic.

I was speaking with a friend who, while his wife was doing Big Career Things, took a year off from his job and volunteered full-time exclusively for Planned Parenthood in Boston (I think this was in the late 80s/early 90s). While he was there a security guard was shot by a protester. A security guard.

Way to protect the fetuses, pro-"lifers"?

He also saw numerous women being approached and assaulted while on their way to get routine healthcare. Entering PP'd after the incident was like entering a prison. Calling the police was pretty much a moot point; by the time they could do anything, the protester in question had usually left or the victim didn't want to get involved (appointments do not wait forever when there's a HUGE waiting list and they've taken economic risk to get the day off work, usually).

And yet anti-abortion activists have managed to craft this image of protesters and little pro-life Catholic grannies. For some reason. Out to Save The World.

It's just so, so gross.

Free speech? Yeah. We're all allowed free speech. But you're not allowed to protest inside the President's office. It's a security risk. Too many people have been assaulted at clinics for the "free speech" argument here. It's a security risk, and a 35-foot buffer zone was NOTHING.
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