Part 2 of 2…about the catfish

So another movie I watched this past weekend…Catfish.

When I initially watched this movie last year sometime, that title was stupid and made no sense. Eventually it got explained in the movie but I can’t help but think the film would have maybe escaped obscurity if it had a different title.

Consultation services available upon request.

So the movie is about a photographer in NYC who becomes acquainted with a young painting prodigy named Abby, and through her he “meets” her family on Facebook.

Nev, the NYC photographer, who is totally adorable and down to earth, is drawn to the family because they are hip and with it and very…cool, for lack of a better term. He chats with all of them and gets into a pseudo relationship with Abby’s big sister, Meg. Texts and google chats are flying like monkey feces.

SPOILER ALERT:

Abby’s whole family is pretty much complete bullshit, all fabricated by her mom Angela. While Abby does exist, she doesn’t paint. Everyone else is pretty much fictional and the people who are real are not accurately portrayed at all.

This is interesting to me because I’m pretty sure a girl I went to college with is doing the same thing. She has made this entire life for herself, away from everyone who knew her in reality. She has, according to her photos – lost nigh unto 100 pounds and gained not only fashion sense but a completely new bone structure.

The thing is, THIS IS AN ASSTON OF WORK. Profiles. Pictures. Stories to go with the profiles and pictures. The movie chick even had phones for different characters and all sorts of crap.

My thought is…you know, write a book. Put that effort to some use. Creating new lives on Facebook is not exactly lucrative.

Vince Pierce: They used to tank cod from Alaska all the way to China. They’d keep them in vats in the ship. By the time the codfish reached China, the flesh was mush and tasteless. So this guy came up with the idea that if you put these cods in these big vats, put some catfish in with them and the catfish will keep the cod agile. And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn’t have somebody nipping at our fin. — IMDb Quotes: Catfish (2010 Documentary)


This concludes my series on movies that are interesting.

Forward Ho

 
I hereby greet the new year.
 
There are lots of superstitions about bringing in a new year. 
 
I stayed in one spot for a full extra thirty seconds after Lucy hurled on my shoulder and hair just so I could get my midnight kiss on Saturday night. 
 
You’re welcome, surrounding partygoers. You’re welcome.
 
My point is that there are lots of things that tradition dictates one must do or not do to usher in a new year.
 
Eat certain foods. 
Be loud at midnight to scare away evil spirits.
Refrain from paying bills.
Postpone laundry (something I only found out AFTER I put the puke clothes in to wash).
Along with lots of others…some that make sense and some that simply sound stupid.
 
But it can’t hurt, right? Like avoiding black cats or throwing salt or not stepping on cracks…why tempt fate?
 
Except I think sometimes I get so focused on the why-not-it-can’t-hurt-just-do-it mindset of a new calendar that I overlook some things that might actually be useful.
 
Like starting new. Forgetting things past and having a clean slate, letting go of baggage which serves no purpose besides gall.
 
So instead of remembering why QR Nobody  annoyed the shit out of me in 1999, or what Sal Asshole did to give him his Asshole name, I’m clearing accounts. 
 
Starting over.
 
Cleaning out.
 
Second (third, fourth) chances all around.
 
I feel it will help my soul.
 
Happy new year. Look ahead, not behind.

Dedesensitizing

As a rule, in this house of mixed insanity, we don’t go big on most things. 
 
We make cakes for birthdays but there’s usually not a big hubbub.
We usually have a pumpkin somewhere around Halloween. Most years.
 
But for the most part, we don’t make big deals out of holidays or occasions. Last year for Christmas we decorated the corner ficus tree with paper ornaments.
 
It works for us. I like to think that we are teaching our children that every day can be special, every day can be fun and great. There’s no need to wait for the calendar to tell you when to celebrate.
 
It’s my hope that they will believe that for at least a few years before they figure out we’re mostly just gape-jawed, knuckledragging lazy.
 

Dan takes a somewhat pious stand on the whole situation…”Christmas makes everyone feel like they have to spend money on someone or they don’t love them.”
 
Dan obviously doesn’t know how many people are getting homemade gifts this year. Ahem.
 
My point is that we do minimalist holidays around here. I mean, there are six people in this house…it does get a little cozy for comfort when you throw in decor and laundry and whatever board game my kids are yelling over this week (whoever thought to make Angry Birds into a board game….well, that’s just stupid. Yeah, I said it).

 
But this year we decided to holiday it up, and by we I mean Josh and I. We bought some lights, borrowed a bunch of ornaments from the inlaws, and picked up an honest-to-Moses real live tree. For real. The last time I remember having a real tree, my parents had gold shag carpet (which, by the way, I would totally dig. The vacuum lines were always trippy).
 
We came home and put up the tree, and my children were in. Heaven. 
 
Lucy ran her hands through the branches, “Tree, tree!”
Max wondered how many lights we’d need to make the whole thing catch on fire, and he told Dan it made sense for him not to care about Christmas since “you don’t believe in God and that means it’s just a regular old day.” (Note to self: try and convince Max that the Grinch was an atheist and he turned out to be the heart-biggenest of all.)
Ava alternated between moving ornaments around and telling me how glad she was to have a mom like me “who knows how to do stuff.”
 
I’d say it went over pretty well. If nothing else, I get to sit in the dark with only the tree lights…and for some reason that always calms me. I think that may be worth the whole ordeal.

This is why I think church kind of sucks

This past Sunday, we the Steens decided to go on a small road trip. We needed to go to Five Guys, Target, etc.

 

So we went, after convincing my Mom to loan us her car (we take her car on trips like that because it gets good gas mileage and is always clean).

 

In my mom’s car, I found a copy of a recent bulletin from her church. While I was somewhat afraid that my blaspheming fingers might cause it to burst into flame, I looked over it. 

 

Josh noticed the blurb pictured below, and he observed that the Brittany Settle mentioned would have been in school with our friend Marty.

 

So I did some research. Because I’m a trouble stirrer.

 

In 1991, Brittany Settle was indeed given an assignment for a term paper. The teacher was clear in her terms: pick whatever you want to write about, get it approved, and then write about it.

 

So Brittany chose her topic. She chose the topic of “drama,” which I can only assume meant things like traveling troupes and Globe Theatre and the like.

 

Then, for whatever reason, she changed her mind. She decided to write about Jesus instead. I can only imagine the reasoning. Maybe she thought it would be easier, maybe she knew she had a good paper in her brain, bred from years of Bible verses and Sunday School.

 

She decided to change topics and she wrote what I’m sure was an excellent paper. 

 

However, she never got the change approved. She didn’t give her teacher any heads up at all, and so when she turned in what was supposed to be a paper about actors and dramatics and it was instead about Jesus, she failed.

 

It’s a lesson I learned in about the fifth grade – you don’t follow directions, you fail your shit.

 

The fact that the situation then escalated to court dates and appearances on church bulletins two decades later is just a little ridiculous.

Snowed

So, here I am again. 
Let me tell you, whatever this germ is that has assaulted my insides over the past two days, IT WINS. I have never been so miserable. Well, wait. The last time I was this miserable I was eight months pregnant and had the flu. That was bad.
 
But this, this has been awful. I took finals last night in a cold sweat and just prayed I wouldn’t hurl on the table. Or poop myself. Or both. And while I think I may be over it and Lucy didn’t seem to have it quite as bad, Josh has it now. Everyone knows that when the man gets sick the world is ending.
 
It snowed last night. There was a big uproar because we were under a WINTER STORM WARNING. The pink and blue on the radar was very promising indeed.
 

 And then this happened, and it was lovely and exciting. 

I even started to maybe believe the warnings, and i got a little excited. I live in Mississippi, people. We get real snow maybe a couple of times a year.

 

Then this morning I woke up and looked outside with huge anticipation….

 

Nothing. The pavement was wet. The end. I wanted to go find the inventor of the Weather Channel and punch him.

 

Max was excited, though. He had been upset that school might be closed because today is the chess tournament that he’s been prepping for for months. Which is why he woke up, looked out the window, and yelled, “SWEET!”

 

Yup. It’s my kid’s fault the snow didn’t stick. Maybe I should punch him.

 

I have the pottymouth kid. Fine by me.

(Just so you know, the pictures don’t have anything to do with my content today. Our town held its yearly Grand Illumination this weekend, so I took some pictures. It was fun times.)

I don’t know about you, but when I was little, cussing was this huge taboo thing. I remember, even watching sitcoms with mom, every time someone said dammit I’d whip my head around to see how offended she was. I did it so much that eventually she told me that people were going to talk like that so I just needed to quit looking at her.

Well, my kids don’t have those issues.

From the time Max was three and got a note sent home from preschool for talking about his nuts, I have done my best to be honest with my kids about the language that exists. No one in my house has a pristine vocabulary, so it’s kind of inevitable that the kids repeat what they hear.

We told them years ago that words were just that – words. That they only hold the power we give them. That some words were best kept at home, where we all understand each other….or, well, where we all know cusswords.

I grew up with a big fear of swear words. Probably from the Baptists. Somewhere around seventh grade, though, I found the delicious thrill of four-letter-words. My language was pretty bad when I let it be, but only away from home.

As I grew older and became a parent, I realized that I wanted my kids to feel exactly the opposite. I wanted their family to be a safe haven, somewhere they can express themselves freely. If they’re angry, I want them to feel they can say so. Colorfully, if they need to. Also, I secretly think that if they’re free to talk the way they want at home, they won’t be tripping over themselves to overuse every swear word in existence when they’re away from me.

Language is an art, you know. That includes the cusses.

Should

Is the autumn a reflective time for anyone but me?

No? That’s stupid? That’s okay. I’m used to that.

So anyway, I have this blogging calendar and it suggests topics for most days, days like the ones when I just sit and stare at empty because I know of nothing to say. Days that I wonder why I do this at all.

THOSE DAYS PASS, OBVIOUSLY.

This calendar – which is meant to have you schedule all your posts and be very on top of things – one of the suggestions was “throw away your shoulds,” which is abstract but not so much that I’m going to ignore it.

I find myself thinking lots of shoulds. Lots of times.

I should be more patient with my kids.
I should run miles.
I should write 1,600 words a day instead of the less than 1,000 I have thus far.
I should floss and shave my legs. Not that I don’t ever – I do. I just should probably do it more.
I should study more.
I should eat broccoli and rice and I should like sushi.

I do have some rice. It’s in a big bowl and Max’s ereader (which he dropped in the toilet) stayed in there for about a month so I’m thinking I should probably throw that out before someone eats it.

I should have a job.
I should be a better wife. Clean house and all that shit. Make the bed.
I should remember birthdays and anniversaries and send sweet heartfelt cards.

There are so many things that I should be doing that I don’t and that I shouldn’t be doing that I do.
Like go back to bed after the kids leave for school or send peanut butter sandwiches every day.

Seriously, I could go on. For days.

But why? I waste so much energy thinking about things I should and shouldn’t do and then suddenly I realize I haven’t done anything except sit and think about how I should be doing things differently.

So, screw all that. I’m not great at living, but DAMMIT I’m really good at being me.

Throwing away my shoulds sounds a lot easier than it is, and I’m really not sure what good this is doing.

Maybe a little.

I’m just glad it’s Friday.

Ferocious Flag Footballs Furiously Fly

So I’ve mentioned before that Max is doing the flag football thing this year. Well, he was. Last night was the final game.

And what. A. Game.

Not so much the actual back and forth, but…well, everything else.

The team they were playing was one they hadn’t yet faced, and as we walked up to the scattered throngs, Josh took note of the fact that the head coach was missing.

The game started, and let me tell you – the opposite shirted team? They were there for blood. They tackled. They pushed. They tripped and I’m pretty sure I saw some biting.

A couple of minutes into the game, someone’s grandpa behind us started yelling about too many players on the field. He was right – the other team was playing with at least 14 players, though maybe it was 50. It sure looked like it. Grandpa ended up standing out in the middle of the field for the rest of the game.

A couple of MORE minutes into the game, the lady in charge of the cheerleaders for our team suddenly ran out onto the field and came back carrying a squirmy, wailing flag footballer. Apparently the NFL players on the other team had downed him pretty harshly. He was saying his back hurt, and so after she frantically arranged for someone else to lead the peewee cheers, she stretched him out on the sideline and straight up LAID DOWN ON TOP OF HIM. I’m not sure what all of that was about, but the kid stayed sprawled out on the grass for a few minutes, drew a crowd (one large woman stood in front of me with a shirt that proudly proclaimed something about her “big girl panties”), and then happily hopped up and ran into the game.

Max’s team ended their undefeated streak on the last game of the season. 13 to 14.

It was tragic.

Now, though, thankfully, it’s over. Until next year, when Josh says he wants to be the coach.

That’ll be interesting.

Picture Heavy Hallow’s Eve

I’m not big on Halloween.
It’s not that I don’t like it, I do. I like the mischief and the scaryish moments. It’s that the planning drives me bonkers. And then there’s always this big letdown – months of planning and costumes and tweaking…..and then it’s over. Bags of candy and streaky makeup.

My kids were all about it, though. Understandable.

The other thing is that we’ve actually never lived in a neighborhood, so we don’t have the picturesque doortodoor smiley waving neighbor situation, and so trick or treating entails getting in and out of the car multiple times and rearranging costumes and making sure no friends or relatives miss out on cute costumed kids.

It’s a lot of damn work, and the only candy I get out of it is candy I steal from my kids.

SO NOT WORTH IT.

So we decided to take matters and deal with them creatively.

It was decided that we would buy our own inappropriate amounts of candy, build a bonfire, roast hotdogs, make s’mores, and generally party it up in our own backyard instead of bothering other people for candy we might not even like (there’s always those people who hand out those black and orange wax wrapped…things).

Ava even decided she still wanted to dress up. She was Katy Perry.

At the outset I was a little worried – worried I was stealing memories or some such. I mean, I know I cherish my fall festival memories of sitting on a table at church, manning a game.

But it was awesome. Seriously. Max and Josh were very manly and coordinated the bonfire, and Ava, Lucy and I supervised.

We did some pumpkin bashin’.

Lucy ran and ran and ran.

And as much as I was afraid of warping their childhood memories, I think these are going to be good ones.

This may become a yearly occurrence.

I also ate four s’mores.

Weekend Recap News

Ok so the book chapter didn’t go over as well as I had hoped.

Anyway.

Dan left this weekend for China. Three weeks in China because he’s important and robotly or something like that. I like to think that he got off the plane in Shanghai and all the short people stopped and stared, like “HOLY SHIT, WHO IS THIS RED GIANT?”

I’m sure it happened just like that.

We spoke with him last night via FaceTime, and the lobby of his hotel looked like every Chinese restaurant I’ve ever eaten in.

As for us, we’ve been branching out. Dan left us his truck and dude, we like it. I’m resetting the miles before he gets back so he doesn’t know how much we’ve driven it.

Friday night we waited until Dan left, and we took the sniffly and sad big kids up to Tennessee to eat some gas station pizza. It tasted a lot better than it sounds, and on this trip it came to my attention that my son squats on the toilet to poo.

Seriously. He puts his feet on the seat and squats down like he’s in some far country without indoor plumbing. Who taught him that?

Why?

The next day we went to Alabama to both escape the branching wake of Sarah Palin (she was speaking about 45 minutes away and I could feel the ridickery all the way at home) and to eat at Five Guys.

And because we believe in keeping ourselves healthy, we had frozen yogurt. With candy bar pieces.

It’s the most time I’ve spent out and about with my oldest kids in a long, long time. Which is sad for a lot of reasons. I suppose it took the “nice” parent leaving the country to make me realize that I can have fun with them, too.