Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Archive for April, 2012

TV networks, cut it out!

If you own a DVR, I’m sure you’ve run into this problem. You schedule out your shows, recording a couple shows in one hour- and you pull up your DVR screen later that night (or the next day) to discover that one of your shows didn’t record because one of the shows wasn’t just an hour long. It was an hour and a few minutes… screwing up anything you recorded after.

Back when I first had my DVR, I used to see it all the time with Grey’s Anatomy. It was one of ABC’s highest rated shows, so they would have it run a teeny bit long.

Last night, because Mad Men was scheduled to run four minutes over, my DVR didn’t record Once Upon a Time.

So why do networks do this? Advertising is the most important part of television. Television ratings aren’t to show how popular a show is, it’s to tell advertising agencies what shows attract the demographics they want- including the prized 18-35 male demo.

So networks try to boost their figures any way that they can. That includes taking a popular show and have it run a little long. Ratings report how many people watched the beginning of the show, which reports at the half hour and hour, not when the show actually starts airing. So if Mad Men is 1 hour and 4 minutes long instead of an hour, those four minutes go a long way to making whatever aired after it look positively stellar.

But it screws up DVR schedules- and I live for my DVR. It’s the only way that I can relatively keep up with my favorite TV shows and write.

Honestly, TV networks, I’m on to you. I expect that shows like American Idol will run over now and then- they’re live. But when I see networks regularly try to inflate their ratings… it makes me less likely to watch the show live and to watch other shows on their networks.

Am I the only one bothered by this? Or are there others with this First World Problem?

Like Sand through the Hourglass

No, I’m not talking about Days of Our Lives. But I am talking about time.

First, this week flew by. I’ve had a lot of my to-do list, and unfortunately blogging fell to the wayside a bit. I’m not complaining about it being the weekend already, but it feels as though we skipped a day.

But the hourglass thing. You know how in movies or TV shows, villains would pull out the giant sandglass to tell the captive hero/heroine how much longer they had to live? Or in Jafar’s case, he’d put the heroine inside the hourglass.

I’m not going to lie. I was looking for a picture of Jasmine in the hourglass, but this one made me laugh enough that I couldn’t resist using it.

Right. I was going on a tangent, wasn’t I? This week has felt a bit like those moments in movies. I’ve been watching the sand run through the glass, knowing that when it ran out- things weren’t going to be the same. I’m referring to the Kickstarter for Imagination Situation, which unfortunately didn’t succeed. While watching it tick down felt horrible- we were already working on our plan B. I won’t lie, it was a tough reality check.

However, I know that we’re going to come through this. Roby (the creator/writer/director) and I believe too much in the show to let it die.

I want to thank everyone for their patience while I plugged away at the IS. Now that this is over, I’m going to work even harder to make sure that I have a regular blogging schedule both here and over at Imagination Situation. One of the other things I’ve realized is that as much as I need to schedule time for my novels, I need to schedule time for this. It’s all a big part of who I am.

It also showed me that I can tackle something big, new and scary. I might fail, but I’m still there. Still hungry, still wanting to learn and grow. That was huge for me.

Turning this around a bit- have you had any hourglass moments? Or a Phoenix from the ashes type moment? Or a Sith Lord coming back from craziness to get some robot legs moment? Sorry about the last one. I was rewatching Darth Maul’s return on The Clone Wars.

Anyways. Tell me about you.

What did I do?

If you’re a regular here, you might notice I changed the title of this blog.

American Whitney was fun (especially if you’re a fan of The Guess Who or Lenny Kravitz), but I figured I’d find something that explained just who I am in three words.

Geek. Pirate. Mom. That’s me.

The look of the blog will be changing over the next week- but I thought I’d share the new name now.

Ah, the innocence of youth.

A couple nights ago, we were watching The Muppets (one of their favorite movies now, I’m pleased to say) and the Little Kidlet ran off to grab a deck of cards from a drawer. The boys don’t play card games yet, but they do like throwing them around.

In this case, the Little Kidlet started to throw them in the air. “It’s snowing!” After a few times, it turned into, “I’m making it snow..”

I’m sure you see where I’m going with this, right?

All of a sudden it turned into “I’m making it rain!”

TheBoy looked at me.

“I swear. I did not teach him that.”

He just smiled and looked back at my son. “You’re making it rain up in here?”

Then he and I started laughing, and my son went back to making a mess, completely oblivious.

New game!

Thanks to a little show called Pocoyo on Nick Jr, that’s what Little Kidlet shouts whenever he’s done with something. New game!

At any rate, the Oldest Kidlet has a new game that he likes to play. He’ll walks around with a shoebox and a notebook. “Excuse me. Do I have a [insert name here] here? I have a package for them.” Then he makes you sign for your package and verify that there’s something inside (it’s so he can take the box).

Then he fills the box again. “Off to make my next delivery!”

How serious is he about this? He stared at my signature once and said, “I don’t think that says Whitney.”

Rainy day…

No, this wasn't taken today. But it looks just like this outside.

It’s raining! There’s something about rain that brings out the little kid in me. TheBoy was kind enough to stay up long enough for me to drop the Oldest Kidlet at school in the pouring rain, while he watched the Little Kidlet at home. There was just something about dealing with the rain, the cast and two kids that just seemed like it wasn’t worth the hassle.

It took a total of fifteen minutes to drive around the block, walk my son to his class and get home. It probably would have taken less time, but we walked very slowly to the class to make sure that the cast didn’t get wet.

My mother-in-law asked me what I thought of my peek at the future. It’s true. Next year, the Little Kidlet will still be in preschool. But the year after that? Both my boys will be going to the school right around the block. On days where I don’t have errands, I will be back home only 20 minutes at most after leaving to drop off kids at school.

This has been a rough month for me. Between OK breaking his arm, and LK’s trip to the ER last night…

…what’s that? I didn’t mention that particular ER trip?

Last night, just as I was getting ready to make dinner, the Little Kidlet started coughing and started crying. When I got him to calm down, he coughed some more and said “swallowed… coin.” (No, he doesn’t say much) He kept pointing to his throat, was genuinely freaking out… so we did what you’re supposed to do and went to the ER.

In what was quite possibly the speediest ER trip ever, we were whisked back after waiting for 15 minutes and put in a bed. They took us back for xrays, and then we sat and waited. There was no sign of the coins, and the Doctor believed our story (LK did chime in enough to support the story). Her theory was that he had swallowed it, but coughed it up and was so freaked out by the whole thing he didn’t realize he’d coughed it up. We were discharged about 2 hours after we got there.

So it was a non-event. On the other hand, after my trip to the hospital in December, and the broken arm… I’m over hospitals.

At least I had this to amuse me.

Little Kidlet: Knock, knock.
Me: Who’s there.
Little Kidlet: Dinosaur.
Me: Dinosaur who?
Little Kidlet: ROOOOOOOAAAAARRRRRRRR (He does a great T-Rex).

Yep. That’s what he considers a knock knock joke. He also did them for dragons, elephants and the silliest was a goldfish.

I did it!

I made a holiday meal that actually was served on time. Okay, I was 15 minutes late. But that has been the closest I’ve ever been to my announced meal time. So my time management skills are getting better.

Easter is the only holiday that wasn’t spoken for when I married into this family. My mother-in-law makes Thanksgiving, a grandmother-in-law prepares Christmas Eve dinner, and Christmas is handled by my mother-in-law. While I help out on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I don’t get to set the menus. This is a family steeped in tradition.

A couple years back I started making dinner.

This year’s menu was simple. An herb roasted pork loin, roasted asparagus, homemade macaroni & cheese, a potato cake aka Pommes Anna, and a storebought cheesecake. (I made marshmallows with my boys the day before. I wasn’t about to make a cheesecake, too)

The pork loin is dead easy. 4 lb pork loin on a rack in a roasting pan. Cover w/ a mixture of 3 Tbl olive oil, 6 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp each of chopped fresh basil, thyme and rosemary, 1 T salt. Cook at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce temp to 400 and cook for 40 minutes or until cooked through. Then remove from oven and let the meat rest another 20 minutes before slicing. (I had a jar of crushed garlic and just put in a giant spoonful. I think that’s more than 6 cloves, but we love garlic) It was delicious and considering how little fuss was involved, I think that’s earned a spot in rotation when I do cook for the family.

The potato cake didn’t quite hold together. I admit, I was lazy and didn’t use clarified butter (next time I might just buy ghee if I feel lazy). I was also lazy and used my food processor to slice the potatoes, but that was a plus, not a minus. Anyways, the potatoes were still cooked through and had a lovely flavor.

It was a great dinner. If you’ll notice, out of the whole meal, the only thing LK couldn’t have was the macaroni & cheese (yes, the potatoes were made with butter, but that doesn’t seem to bother him).

If I’d practiced making the potatoes ahead of time (since the recipe calls for flipping the pan partway through), it probably would have been ready just a little before 5! Ah well, next year.

She’s So Vain, She Wrote a Post About It

From DailyMail.co.uk

Samantha Brick wrote a piece for the Daily Mail about how much women hate her because she’s beautiful. She wrote a previous piece for them about how she’s used sex appeal to get ahead.

She writes very plainly about how baffled she is by how mean women are to her. She’s nice, she exercises and only eats chocolate on special occassions, should she be punished for taking care of herself? Is it her fault that men offer to buy her drinks, that she gets free flowers? As the old ad went, don’t hate her because she’s beautiful.

The internet collectively told her she was wrong. She’s since whined about how unfair and cruel the internet is, and that it proves her right.

Here’s my take on this. She’s wrong. She’s wrong about the whole thing. Can the internet be cruel? Yes. But a lot of the criticism I’ve seen were people upset because she was wrong about why women dislike her.

Women don’t dislike beautiful women because they’re beautiful. They dislike beautiful women who think that beauty is the only thing that should define them. Women who rely on their looks to get what they want, flirting with men (single or attached) and not caring what anyone else thinks. Women who think they should get all that attention simply because they’re pretty.

There are probably some women who hate Angelina Jolie for being pretty, but I’m sure that the bulk of women who dislike her do so because of who they perceive her to be. They dislike her for “stealing” Brad Pitt, for seeming cold, for adopting a million children from abroad and none from the US, or for a billion other things. It isn’t because they’re jealous of her looks.

Think back to the popular girls that you knew that everyone loved to hate. Odds are it wasn’t because they were popular- it was because they were jerks about being popular and loved to taunt people who weren’t. That’s why Mean Girls wasn’t called Pretty Girls.

She probably has no idea how she comes across. If it’s anything like this piece, it’s probably quite arrogant to anyone who isn’t a man. She boasts that she gives anyone who’s made the effort with their looks a compliment. While it’s nice to be complimented on your looks, there is nothing in any of the pieces she wrote that indicates she holds anything other than appearance to be important.

Who cares if the shallow woman compliments you on your looks? Frankly, we’d all rather hear that someone liked the joke we told or the movie we recommended. Something personal. Not just that we look lovely now that we’ve made the effort.

You know who women also don’t like? Women that accept drinks and gifts from men when they’re romantically involved with someone. Women also don’t like women who use their sexuality to get ahead faster, because it undermines the women who try to prove that they’re more than just a face and a pair of breasts.

Interestingly, there was one point she brought up that I do think was a legitimate thing to discuss. It was about her wearing a similar dress as other women and being told it was inappropriate by her boss. I’ve known plenty of busty women who’ve shown only a slight bit of cleavage and been told it was scandalous, when I was showing more and was told nothing. We do sensationalize breasts and come down harder on women who are comfortable wearing a snug sweater and a tight skirt. Just look at how Christina Hendricks is criticized if she wears a dress that shows of any cleavage, but pick a smaller breasted celebrity and they can practically bare anything any nobody will mention it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the point she was making.

No, she decided that it was because her boss was jealous of her that she was told it was inappropriate. In fact, there was nothing in her piece where anyone admitted that they were jealous of her until they got to know her (which would have proved her point). Instead, every anecdote (like the one with her boss) seemed to indicate that it was the longer they knew her the more they disliked her.

My favorite comment of hers was that out here in LA she doubts that anyone would react the same way as the Brits have. I don’t think she realizes that everyone on the internet is talking about how self-centered she is. Pretty faces are a dime a dozen in Southern California. While being one of the beautiful people helps, it doesn’t guarantee that they’re happy or have real friends. People are unbelievably fake out here. They’ll smile and call you darling, then cut you down to size the moment you’ve turned away. There were celebrities I met at Disneyland that were gorgeous, but I loathed them. Why? They were the rudest, most self-absorbed people I’ve met. On the other hand, I met loads of celebrities who were warm, polite, and ranged from being not so attractive to gorgeous. I didn’t gush over their looks. Okay, if I did it was because they were gorgeous and nice. But them being nice was more important.

I’m sure Ms. Brick will think that this post is bullying because of the anonymity of the internet. But no. It’s because she would believe that even this reaction is out of jealousy. It’s easier to chalk someone’s dislike up to being jealous- it is after all what parents tell their children when other kids dislike them. When really, we just say that to make children feel better- jealousy usually has nothing to do with it.

Yes, the internet can be cruel. There will always be misogynistic responses to anything posted by a woman, as well as out and out violent reactions. But for the most part, if people are upset, there should be a grain of truth in their quickly written comments. From what I’ve found, it wasn’t her looks that people were upset about- it’s that she comes off as being an ugly person inside. If everyone has a problem with you, the problem probably isn’t them. It’s you.

So what do you think- did I get it wrong? Do you think that Ms. Brick is right that women are just petty and jealous when it comes to beauty? Let me hear it in the comments below.

Spring Break is a lie.

I’ve come to realize that Spring Break is a lie.

Oh sure, I had Spring Break as a kid. I even went on Spring Break vacations in college.

But now, I can say that as a mother… there is no such thing as Spring Break. At least the break part of it.

The preschool and kindergarten have different weeks for Spring Break. So this week, I’ve been driving the Little Kidlet to preschool and catering to nearly every whim of the boy with the broken arm. Then, I have both the boys trying to get each other to play different games.

The Oldest Kidlet just wants to draw. Mostly, that’s all he can do- at least outside. Our driveway gets filled with more and more chalk drawings each day (tomorrow I’m going to wash the driveway so he can start fresh). But the Little Kidlet doesn’t care much for drawing. He’s a boy of action who likes to dig in the dirt- which normally his brother would do, but he’s under strict orders to keep the cast clean. (A knee high sock of mine covers the cast so that he can use the sidewalk chalk)

Then inside, I get to referee the battle for the television. A battle, which only stops for snacks and potty breaks.

And don’t get me started on the potty training. We’ve had a number of good days, and today just wasn’t one of them. LK had no intention of going beyond the one time he had- and indeed, peed on the floor literally five seconds after I asked him if he had to go and he said “No, thanks.”

Tomorrow I was excited about LK not having any school, but then I realized I’d still need to take the boys with me to go grocery shopping so that I have the food for Easter dinner. Fun times.

The only reason I even got to sit down today (and to finish up Easter basket shopping) was because my mother-in-law was home this afternoon.

Spring Break is a lie.

Winning a Different Sort of Lottery.

Well, we didn’t win the MegaMillions. Nobody in my family did- but I think it’s because a certain someone in our family was hogging all the luck.

I should backtrack a tiny bit.

Friday afternoon began the same way it always does. I picked up the Oldest Kidlet from school, and he proudly showed me all the loot he got from the Easter Egg Hunt. Including a golden egg – he hasn’t seen Willy Wonka yet, so he didn’t know how special those were. Or why I found it funny when he was throwing a fit about it saying “I want it now!”

He and his brother took the eggs out in the backyard and spent a little while hiding them and finding them. But as one might expect, a fight broke out over the Golden Egg. So I put it aside. In the span of this argument, the Oldest Kidlet got water all over him and went upstairs to change.

I was downstairs with the Little Kidlet and heard a loud thud from upstairs. Then crying, off in the distance. It sounded like our neighbors daughter, and after a moment, I knew it was the Oldest Kidlet. I sprinted up the stairs and saw that the blind was pushed aside and the window was open.

I shouted to my husband that OK went out the window (he was asleep), and ran outside to find him laying in the sideyard. In his underwear. He was screaming that he’d fallen out the window and that his arm hurt. There was no blood, and he was moving his fingers and toes as he tried to roll around.

I held him down, my brother in law called 911, and he started howling for his brother who had followed me out to see why we were all freaking out. (I should note that I went into crisis mode the second I saw there wasn’t any blood, that he was conscious and moving) “I fell out the window,” he told his brother. “Stay away from windows. Now my arm hurts me!” I sent the Little Kidlet back inside.

TheBoy brought out a blanket (the one you’ll see in the pictures below) and my purse, and I kept OK from moving as much as I could. We could hear the sirens get closer, and I kept telling him not to move.

The firemen got there first, and each looked up at the open window, then to the twisted screen and then to my son. “Holy shit,” they each said. They were stunned that he was awake and could tell them everything that happened. They put his arm in a cardboard sling, put him in a papoose (I admit I”m a little hazy on the order that happened), and carried him to the gurney. They wheeled him out to the ambulance and I hopped in with him.

They were stunned at how calm he was. He didn’t flinch when they put the IV line in, and he worried that they were going to drive too fast on his account. (This was when I realized everything would be fine. It had to be. Even though he was in pain, that is my son through and through.)

We were taken to USC Medical Center, the nearest trauma center, due to the height he fell from (the police later measured it as 17″). They did an ultrasound to check and see if he had any internal injuries, but he maintained the only thing that hurt was his arm. People came in and out and introduced themselves to me. I did my best to keep track of them.

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