Monday, September 15, 2014

and their empire crumbled 'til all that was left were the stones the workmen found

Brothers and sisters, I am of the opinion that "rinse and repeat" instructions are part of a plot to sell more shampoo, making more profits for Big Soap, sending more chemicals into our water, turning more and more of our fish into hermaphrodites.  Sad.  Since I am growing my hair out I've stopped washing my hair so often--also Ken Jennings said we wash our hair too much in his very fun and useful book--and I can go three days between washes, as in wash Monday, not Tuesday, not Wednesday, wash Thursday.  And I used to feel like I had to rinse and repeat, but then one day I decided to try just one wash, and my hair behaved just fine.  Maybe even better.  So I have thrown off the shackles of rinse and repeat, and I HAVE NEVER FELT SO FREE! 

So last week in Utah a young black man was shot multiple times in the back by the police, and maybe he was being weird and dangerous with his not-real samurai sword, but maybe he wasn't.  Who knows?  The police say he lunged at them with the sword, and witnesses say he was running away, so once again we have incompatible stories and it sure is weird how many people are getting shot in the back while they're supposedly attacking.

Hazel got hurt last week--we're not sure what happened, but her right front knee is swollen and she is limping terribly.  I think it was probably the horrid bucks, crashing around like idiots as they do.  But they have gone to auction and good riddance.  They made us a sweet $349 smackers too, so good job us for raising them and good job them for being good-looking I guess. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

and he told us of his life in the land of submarines

A couple of Mormon things to beef/exult about right quick: 

Beef:  I don't know if it's churchwide or just in my building because of router problems or something, but the church's website is ALWAYS down on Sunday, so when I want to access the online curriculum for my lessons it's all DOESNOTCOMPUTE and it makes me incredibly frustrated.  Come on, guys.  Don't act like you're going to embrace the technology revolution and then not support it.  It makes you look incompetent.  

Exult:  There was an announcement yesterday that some of the talks in the upcoming General Conference may be not in English, but in the speaker's native language.  This is exciting to me.  I will miss the accents, because English always sounds so much cooler and smarter to me when spoken by non-native speakers, but I think it will be good for people to be able to give their talk in the language they're more comfortable in, and good for the Anglos to have our ideas of English's supremacy challenged for a minute. 

Because I listen to the news, not because I am interested in football, the sport of violent, drooling meatheads, I heard about the Baltimore Ravens terminating Ray Rice's contract, which is some of what he deserves, but I hope there are people around to protect his wife just in case he goes home and takes it out on her, which seems very likely.  Gross. 

Saw some lovely comments on a news article today, telling some girls who'd been sexually abused by their father for eight years that they needed to forgive and forget.  Awesome.  Love to see the compassion for predators that is so uncommon in our society.  Everyone is gross. 

You know, I started out this morning in a pretty good mood, but now I'm mad. 

John and I finally got around to watching Scott Pilgrim vs. the World this weekend, and it was a fun, quirky show, but I was not seeing what was so awesome about the Ramona person.  She was like the alt-Bella Swan, a paste wax person who somehow captivated the attention of everyone around her, despite colorful hair being her only sign of being edgy or interesting.  Almost every other character, main and supporting, was much more fleshed out,  and I wonder if it's because they want us to realize that Scott is projecting his fantasies onto a girl without knowing anything about her.  Maybe they want her to be a blank slate.  Hard to say. 

I started reading Rebecca  to Emmett and Grant last night.  I hope they will be patient. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I'm bleedin' out, I'm bleedin' out for you

Some days I feel like the world is too broken to ever be fixed.  Shall we assemble a brain trust of good folks like you and me to fix some problems?  Let's get started: 
1.  Education reform and its effect on socioeconomic inequality.  For preliminary reading, consult this heartbreaking post over at BCC and/or "The Teacher Wars" by Dana Goldstein
2.  Ebola
3.  ISIS
4.  Predation and exploitation of children

Education reform?  Bleh, what a mess.  I don't have any answers here, other than I try to be involved in my kids' education, because involved parents make for better schools.  Beyond that problem that's easily affected by the fact that I'm in a good district and have the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom who has time to be in the schools, I'm lost. 

Ebola, well, for one thing you're going to need worldwide access to clean water.  And seeing as how in Utah we're still pooping in our pristine drinking water, I suspect that not everyone understands that water is a finite resource many don't have access to.  

I think that (3) and (4) could both be solved by some kind of death ray controlled by a telepathic drone, which deploys in the moment the perpetrator begins his/her act of violence--I'm not advocating for Minority Report-style pre-crime stuff here, just for the act of violence to not be pursued to the criminal's desired endpoint. How far away are we from this kind of technology? 

Thoughts?  Suggestions? 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

you don't even know

I'm sick of people saying that "Fancy" is the Song of the Summer.  "Fancy" is a fine song, but there is a certain sound, or mix of sounds, that make a song Song of the Summer-worthy, and "Fancy" is missing some of those elements.  Just like last year, even though a lot of people liked the bland, repetitive "Get Lucky," it still wasn't the Song of the Summer, the catchy, retrograde "Blurred Lines" was.  On this all reasonable minds agree.   But in the cases where they admit that not everybody is grooving on "Fancy" they are all like, "But the only other choice is 'Rude' and nobody wants that," which is true because it is a steaming pile.  But those are not the only two choices!  It makes me ever so cross that nobody is talking about what the actual Song of the Summer is, or should be--the only real choice:  "Classic," by MKTO.  It is the best of all the offerings; punchy, bouncy, fun.  Summer in a box.  I can't vouch for the awesomeness or lack thereof of the video--upon first glance it seems that there are some twelve-year-olds playing poker and drinking?  And hitting on their friends' sexy moms and older sisters?  The white one makes weird growly faces while he sings which is off-putting.  When he's not making stupid faces he looks like my cousin Max's secret younger brother (compliment--Max is handsome). 

It's too late now anyway, because we're closing in on September.  Too bad for all the people who've listened to the wrong song all summer.

Remember "Starry-eyed Surprise?"  That was a summer song that merited its title.  I just wish more people would consult me before they just hand out "Song of the Summer" cards all willy-nilly.  There needs to be order and reason to this process, folks. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

and they all have pretty children and the children go to school

OKAY OKAY OKAY.  I have so much to tell you.  First:  for our Start of Term Feast last night I made some frozen butterbeer and it was amazing (said in David Allen Grier's voice from that episode of Bones, or Dave Kroll's voice from his PubLIZity sketches).  Do you want the recipe?  I'll put it at the bottom.

Second:  the county? state? not sure, but whoever it is came and widened the road in front of our house to make a turning lane, and I'm interested to see if it actually makes the road safer, because it looks a little bit like it might exacerbate the limited-vision dog-leg problem, but I am not a road person and am therefore not a trustworthy source.  Anyway, they ripped a big chunk out of our driveway for some reason, even though the road didn't even come any further into our driveway than before, and yesterday they came and poured cement, so one part of our driveway is super nice and smooth, and the rest of it is still like an old lady lives here and doesn't have money to pay for a new driveway.  This actually describes what is really happening, only replace "old lady" with "my family." 

Oh man, I just fell down the internet rabbit hole on Dave Kroll, and I am weeping about his Cats are the Worst bit.  I don't know why, maybe I'm just in a good mood--TRICK QUESTION I AM IN A GOOD MOOD because I had the best day at the D.I. today while I was waiting for my car to get serviced.  I found a skirt and a dress and a shirt and they are all HAWT and also I found two of the Pyrex mixing bowls that came so highly recommended in the recent Cook's Illustrated

Third:  The children started school today and they all got up on time and looked handsome/lovely and were ready for the bus with time to spare, and ever since then it has been so blissfully quiet, and I have done two loads of dishes, plus the car servicing and D.I. successes I mentioned earlier, and a guitar lesson, and I ate proper portions for my lunch and I LOVE THIS DAY.  The end. 

But before you go, here's the butterbeer recipe:

Frozen Butterbeer
serves 4

1 C brown sugar
1/2 C water
1/2 t butterscotch flavoring
1/2 t vanilla
pinch of salt

Make a simple syrup by heating the sugar in the water until it has completely dissolved, then let it cool completely.  Add the butterscotch and vanilla and the salt.  Once the syrup is chilled, fill a blender with ice and pour the syrup over it.  Blend until smooth, then pour into glasses.

1 pint heavy cream
1 7 oz. container marshmallow creme

Pour the cream and marshmallow creme into a bowl and whip to desired stiffness, adding vanilla and sugar to taste.  When the topping is ready, spoon it onto the top of each glass of butterbeer.  Serve and enjoy. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

come and knock on our door, we'll be waiting for you

My cookies got a red ribbon at the fair.  Frowny face.  The kids all got blue ribbons on their pickles, the chickens had a mix of blue, red and white ribbons, and Karl the rabbit got "4th" written on her tag.  Willa really wants to show a goat next year, so I suppose I should support her in her farmerly pursuits.  But that means walking and training and whatnot, which requires consistency and patient continuance in well-doing.  That's a drag, but it's hard to overlook the fact that our goats would SMOKE the competition.  There are some sad critters bumping around in that barn, most of them obvious mixes and it's like, what kind of rinky-dink popsicle stand are we running here?  Sally would clean house if we took her, if only we could get her to walk on a leash.  We might have to start with a baby because Sally is just too cuckoopants to perform. 

We ate some very good brisket from one of the food huts for lunch--do you find that it's almost impossible to find good brisket?  Everybody says they make great brisket, but so far I've only found two people who aren't lying.  Why do they have to lie?  Why don't they just stop making brisket?  There's no shame in admitting that you don't know how to do something.

I like the idea of yoga very much, but every time I try it I feel simultaneously bored and hopelessly inept.  I think that shows that my body desperately needs the flexibility and stamina that yoga would give me, but boy is that ever a steep learning curve.  But even more than the physical aspect I think my mental state would benefit greatly from regular doses of yoga.  I feel somewhat frenetic and unbalanced.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin

What's happening in Ferguson is so bizarre and horrifying I don't even know how to talk about it.  Then why bring it up, Layne? you might ask.  I guess just to show that I read the news and I don't like tragedy and I don't trust authority.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine (a friend who, knowing my affection for the poop emoji, gave me a blob of glowing fake poo for my birthday, so you know she's cool).  We were talking about her brother-in-law, who is currently on a trip to meet his girlfriend's father and ask for her hand in marriage.  I guess the girl is very traditional, so this is important to her, but man.  I am uncomfortable with this tradition.  I recently read a great excoriation of the dumb, terrible song "Rude" in which the author describes asking-for-her-hand as "the retrograde plight of a young man requesting a title transfer." BOOM.  Exactly.  You knock that right off.  Something I am okay with:  both parties approaching both sets of parents and saying, "We have decided to get married, and we would love to have your blessing."  Something I am not okay with:  the boy approaching the girl's dad and saying, "Your daughter is a thing you own, and I would like to own her now." 

There was a great piece on The Takeaway yesterday about "The Black Album," the fictional/real album Ethan Hawke created for his movie son/actual daughter, and I wish so much that this album really existed.  In the letter the dad writes to the son he says this wise, necessary thing:  "I listen to this music and for some reason (maybe the ongoing, metamorphosing pain of my divorce from your mother) I am filled with sadness that John & Paul’s friendship turned so bitter. I know, I know, I know, it has nothing to do with me, but damn it, tell me again why love can’t last. Why do we give in to pettiness? Why did they? Why do we so often see gifts as threats? Differences as shortcomings? Why can we not see that our friction could be used to polish one another?"  Testify, fake movie dad.  

But on the bright side, the people on Youtube who have uploaded the songs that appear on the Black Album are going to be laughing all the way to the bank.  Monetize the crap out of that, ladies and gentlemen!  Ooh, suddenly I feel very patriotic.

John and I took Emmett to the recent Paul McCartney concert, and it was all we could have hoped for.  None of my children are as passionate about the Beatles as I am, which makes me sad.  They like them okay, but they'd usually rather listen to something else.  I've found that sometimes telling them the background to the song helps.  Anyway, Paul McCartney is such a fabulous performer that Emmett was finally able to see the light.  He has watched his shaky, hand-held video of the fire jets in "Live and Let Die" about fifty times.  You can hear me in the background going "WOO!  FIRE!"  This man is 72 and he jumped around and played a bunch of different instruments and performed for nearly three straight hours and it was my favorite thing.  I LOVE PAUL MCCARTNEY SO MUCH.

One of the things we were talking about while waiting to get into the concert was how which Beatle is your favorite is a personality test and says something about what kind of a person you are, much like what Hogwarts house you belong to.  And I think that the Beatles can be loosely correlated with Hogwarts houses--Paul is Gryffindor, John is Slytherin, George is Ravenclaw, and Ringo is Hufflepuff.  Would you agree?  Or would Paul be Hufflepuff?  I think we should have a cross-test that determines which Beatles correspond with which Hogwarts houses to test my theory.  Someone computery:  go do that.