Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ettykett and Protacoal Blog

Why are people so rude these days?

In one weekend, I was subjected to the following:

A woman at the bead show who, even though I was clearly perusing and picking through two trays of cabochons, shoved her way behind me to come up on my other sided and began snatching cabs as fast as she could out of one of my trays. I mean, it was amazing. There I am carefully looking at each cab – color, shape, design possibilities and trying to make decisions and she literally had half that tray gone and into her bag in about 30 seconds. Now, to my knowledge, there’s no book of “bead show booth etiquette” out there (maybe I should write one?), so I suppose there’s no hard and fast rule, but it sure seemed incredibly rude (and greedy!) to me and not at all the correct way to behave.

Same booth, different side, two women are standing in front of a set of trays, completely blocking all access to them, but not doing any shopping. They’re just chit-chatting away and are completely oblivious to the fact that I and a couple of other shoppers are quite obviously trying to make our way to that section to shop. Do they move? Heck, no. It’s sort of like those people who meander down the middle of the aisles in parking lots even though they KNOW there are cars behind them trying to get through, but they just keep on walking as sloooooowly as possible while trying to pretend they don’t know you’re there and then when you finally lose all patience and honk at them, they either glare at you or flip you off. It was like that.

Only without the honking.

Although, if I’da had a horn to honk, you can bet I would’ve.

I finally had to tap one of the women on the shoulder and say “excuse me, but if you’re not looking at that tray, would you mind moving down a bit or switching places with me?” She glared at me, chided me for interrupting her conversation and finally moved about, oh, maybe 2 inches away. Yeah, that was a BIG help. I exchanged perplexed/horrified looks with the other two ladies who wanted to get to that side of the booth as well. Finally, the booth owner had to take pity on us and ask these women to clear the booth if they were not shopping.

How can you not realize you’re being rude when the VENDOR asks you to VACATE HER BOOTH????

Then, that night, I took my son to the movies. My parents went with us to dinner beforehand and then we met for ice cream afterwards because they saw “The Bourne Ultimatum” and the kid and I saw “Underdog.”

Yes, this is what my life has become.

The “Underdog” movie.

Fortunately, for a kids’ movie, it wasn’t too bad. The kid and I sang the “Underdog” theme song all the way home:

“Speed of lightning, Roar of thunder
Fighting all who rob or plunder

“Not bird, nor plane nor even frog. It’s just little old me, Underdog.”


But back to my story.

While we’re standing in the massive (and by massive, I mean it was out the door and around the corner) line at Coldstone Creamery, these two guys come running through the line and actually SHOVE my 70+-year-old dad out of the way. They basically all but knocked him off his feet. Now, if they’d been some rowdy teenagers, I still would’ve been appalled by the behavior, but it would’ve made more sense. However, these guys had to be in the 22-25 year old range.

And my oh-so-brilliant response to this totally outrageous behavior? I fixed them both with a steely glare and said “that was incredibly rude.”

Yeah, I know. It’s why I’m feared worldwide. Vicious, that’s me.

I did get a mumbled and totally insincere apology out of them, though. For whatever that’s worth.

On the other hand, the old me wouldn’t’ve said anything at all so I’ve made some progress in the “not willing to tolerate crap from others” department.

All of this behavior contrasts really strongly with other things I observed over the weekend. Y’see, with the exception of “Underdog”, I had kind of a “period” weekend in the arts and entertainment department. I watched the movie, “Miss Potter”, about the life of author/artist Beatrix Potter. I also re-read a couple of old favorite books, “Mairelon the Magician” and “Magician’s Ward” by Patricia C. Wrede. They are urban fantasy set in a Jane Austen-era London society. Whenever I delve into that period of history, one of the things that really stands out to me is the incredibly strict set of social rules of the time.

It seems we’ve evolved from one extreme to another. From a time of overly burdensome, complicated and strict codes of behavior to a time of no standards at all. Anything goes. Treat people as crappily as you want to.

While neither extreme is desirable, I can’t help but wish sometimes for that earlier era. I certainly had several occasions this weekend where I would have liked to exclaim, as Mairelon’s stuffy old aunt does when faced with a low-life criminal, “I do NOT wish to be presented to this person. See to it that we do not become acquainted!”


P.S. For those anxiously awaiting the end of the transformer story, I did go ahead and give the kid the small transformer for staying in bed all night. I did not replace the larger one that went to school and got destroyed. He continued to get a small transformer from the set for each night that he stayed in bed without getting up. However, he continued to ask for another big transformer, but he was doing so well with his sleeping rules that I came up with a way for him to earn one. He had to stay in bed every night for seven nights (1 trip to the potty being the only allowable exception). I made a sign with the numbers 1-7 and he got to cover one number with a sticker each morning if he’d followed the rules the night before. He made it all seven nights and got his big transformer.

The kid is now staying in bed without any rewards and he is the one who reminds ME every morning that he cannot take his toys to school.

He is also trying to come up with something else he can do to “help Mommy” so he can earn another big transformer. I proposed seven mornings of him putting his clothes on all by himself without help (which he’s perfectly capable of doing – just doesn’t like to).

He’s thinking over the proposal ;-)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Picture Day

I'm trying to post more regularly, but life does not seem to be cooperating in the "let's give Kelly amusing anecdotal experiences that she can blog about" department.

Sooo...here are some pictures:

Picked these babies up on eBay a few weeks ago. I thought they were an interesting departure from my normal blue/green choices.

Of course, I never like to stray too far from my palette of choice:

Isn't he cute?

Oh, and I made some more cab earrings over the weekend using my two new books:

If I had it to do over again, I'd've used a darker pink seed bead for the outside ruffles, but I didn't have that color in size 15. Also, I think I would have made the dangles shorter. But, anyway, they came out pretty well for a new technique AND a new color scheme.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

"The Dark Is Rising..."

"When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;
Three from the circle, three from the track.
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;
Five will return, and one go alone.

Iron for the birthday, bronze carried long;
Wood from the burning, stone out of song;
Fire in the candle-ring, water from the thaw;
Six Signs the circle, and the grail gone before.

Fire on the mountain, shall find the harp of gold;
Played to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old;
Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea;
All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree."

So, they’re making a movie out of one of my favorite books of all time: Susan Cooper’s “The Dark is Rising.” While I’m thrilled that the success of the “Harry Potter” films is getting Hollywood to look at producing some of the other great YA fantasy out there, I’m terrified that they’ll rip the guts out of this fantastic story and turn it into so much celluloid schlock just like they did with “Eragon.”

Which I watched this weekend.

And which sucked mightily.

“Stardust” and “The Golden Compass” are other examples, but they haven’t been released yet so can’t say whether or not they’ll fall into the same abyss of suckage.

I don’t know that much about the movie yet, but what I do know thus far does not give me a good feeling. First of all, they changed the title to “The Seeker.” I guess calling a movie marketed to kids “The Dark is Rising” was deemed too scary? I dunno, but how’re you going to tie in to the book’s fan base without the title? Also, Susan Cooper didn’t have anything to do with the screenplay.

Worst of all, now that I’ve looked at the imdb.com page and seen the actor they’ve picked to play Merriman…uh, no. Just…no. And they’ve got a handsome young guy playing The Walker? I can see it for the big flashback scene, but for the rest of it? They’ll need to rely heavily on good makeup effects, I guess.

Anyway, as another fantasy hero of mine once said “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

All of which brings me to my list of fantasy/sci fi books that I wish would get made into GOOD movies. The following are in no particular order:

1. Zelazny’s “Amber” books. The casting call for Corwin alone would become legend, I think.

2. Any of the Sime/Gen books – such great potential for intense drama

3. Norton’s “WitchWorld” series – although you’d have to be careful with this one so that it didn’t come off like a bad “Conan” re-make. I mean, look at what Hollywood did to her “Beastmaster” novel. {{{Shudder}}}

4. The “Darkover” books – can’t decide which book to start with, though. I’m partial to “The Bloody Sun” but there would have to be quite a bit of exposition/intro leading up to it.

5. Melanie Rawn’s “Dragon Prince” and “Dragon Star” books – the undercurrents of political intrigue and the ability of power to corrupt have such great parallels to much that is going on in our world today.

6. For YA markets, Mercedes Lackey’s “Valdemar” books, but the whole pretty, white, talking horses thing would have to be carefully handled or it would come off pretty campy.

7. “Sorcery & Cecilia” by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermeyer – it ties in quite nicely with the popularity of Jane Austen’s works in recent years as well as the new movie “Becoming Jane” and last year’s “Miss Potter.”

8. The first three Anita Blake novels. Yes, I know. But maybe all the money could be diverted to charity? Or at least character rehabilitation classes for Ms. Hamilton? And the first three books ARE good. Oh, and I’d vote either Jessica Alba or Eva Longoria to play Anita…provided they could pull off the sarcastic humor AND the toughness part.

9. Sharon Shinn’s “Angel” novels. They’d be an interesting poke in the eye to the current religious climate. Oh, and cute guys w/ wings…always a plus.

10. Honorable mention goes to Butcher’s “Dresden” books. They would probably have been my first choice except they’re already a TV series (which, please, oh please, let Sci-Fi decide to make a second season of). His Alera books would be great, too. They’d kind of play off that whole recent “Troy,” “300,” etc. genre.

What, you didn't think I was going to give away the end of my "Transformers" story already did you?

HAHAHAHAHA! I'm evil that way...


Monday, August 06, 2007

L'enfer, c'est les Transformers.

I am in “Transformer*” hell.

I had hoped that Ryan was too young to get swept up in the craze as he’s DEFINITELY too you to see the movie so I didn’t take him to it, but no such luck. Last Friday, he found a small orange and purple Transformer on the playground at school. Being four, and fascinated with cars and things with moving parts, he brought it home

Whereupon we had a number of lengthy discussions about taking things that don’t belong to us and making good choices vs. bad choices and damn but being a parent is exhausting and not very much fun sometimes. I made him aware that come Monday, we would be taking the Transformer back to school and returning it to its rightful owner.

He actually seemed okay with that plan in the abstract, but I was already envisioning major disaster on Monday when he had to give up the car. Because, let me tell you, that child was in LOVE with that toy. For 48 hours I don’t think it left his hand for more than a few seconds. He slept with it. It went to the beach with us where he showed it to pretty much every stranger he came across and proudly announced “I have a Transformer.” I’m sure it would have been at the dinner table if I didn’t have a strict “no toys at the table” policy. Anyway, by the time Sunday night rolled around, I was starting to feel really badly about taking the toy away from him that he obviously loved so much.

So, I decided that if he voluntarily gave up the toy on Monday without making a fuss, I’d take him to buy his own Transformer that evening. I didn’t tell him the plan because I wanted him to make the right choice on his own and not because of a “reward.” And I have to say, I was SO proud of him when he marched into class on Monday morning and held the car up and asked if it belonged to anyone. When another little boy claimed it, Ryan turned it right over to him without a fuss (although I did see his bottom lip quiver just a teeny bit.)

I couldn’t wait to pick him up on Monday night and tell him that we were heading to Target to buy him his very own Transformer. And when I got to his class on Monday evening, that’s just what I did. He was SO excited. He jumped up and gave me a huge hug and then ran around the room telling everyone that he was getting a Transformer of his very own.

Off we went to Target where he told everyone we passed in the parking that we were going to get him his own Transformer. Then he told everyone in the store. Then he stopped a Target employee (all on his own without any prompting from me) to ask him “Where are the Transformers because my Mommy is getting one for me.”

So, after much perusing of the (incredibly picked over) selection at Target, Ryan finally selected a blue motorcycle Transformer named “Arcee.” It was a tough decision because he was determined to have an Autobot and most of what was on the shelves were Decepticons (yes, I know my Transformer lingo). Oh, I also picked a set of smaller Transformers to use as future rewards for good behavior.

And here is where the descent into hell begins.

First of all, “Arcee” was MUCH more complicated to transform than the orange car had been. I used the directions to do it the first time and it took me nearly 20 minutes to turn the motorcycle into the robot and then there’s a whole missile launcher accessory that took another 10 minutes to figure out (not to mention the whole “we don’t shoot missiles at Mommy, or the glass vase, or the windows or other people” lecture that had to be developed on the spot).

Now, Ryan’s favorite thing about these toys is the transformation process. Which means that, for him, playing with them is really nothing more than constantly transforming from vehicle to robot to vehicle to robot and on and on. This was fine with the orange car, but didn’t work so well with the much more complicated Arcee. This led to me being presented with Arcee about every 60 seconds for me to transform her from whichever form she was currently in to the other form. Then Ryan’d play for about 10 seconds for handing it back to me to be transformed again.

So that took up the rest of Monday night.

Then, on Monday morning, I had to have the “you can’t take your Transformer to school” conversation with him (this is a different school than where he found the orange car and they don’t allow the kids to bring toys from home not to mention I knew if he took it there would be fights and lost robot parts, etc.). Unfortunately, I had to leave for work and relied on Grandpa to make sure the toy got left at home.

Grandpa’s not so much for the enforcing of the rules it turns out.

So Arcee went to school.

So Grandpa, Grandma and Mommy got an earful from the school about the policy violation (we are, sadly, repeat offenders on this). Mommy even got a note sent home to her.

And, as predicted, some of Arcee’s parts disappeared at school. By the time we got home to go to bed on Tuesday night, Arcee had a torso, one arm and half a wheel left. Oh, and I have half the missile launcher, too.

It’s pretty sad when a toy doesn’t even last 24 hours.

So, then I got hit with the very sad and pathetic (but extraordinarily cute) 4 year old BEGGING me for a replacement toy. Let me tell you, sad, 4 year old cuteness is HARD to resist. But, I knew he needed to learn the lesson about why we don’t take toys to school and that Mommy can’t replace toys that we don’t take care of.

So I said “no.”

And then proceeded to feel major guilt even though I know it was the right thing to do. Just as a point of order – doing the right thing ought to feel better than that!

At which point, the 4 year old (whose memory is WAAAYYYY better than mine), innocently reminds me that I had promised him one of the smaller Transformers the next morning provided that he stayed in bed all night and didn’t get up.

Of course, I made that promise before Arcee got scattered all over the Saddleback Valley from Foothill Ranch to Aliso Viejo.


Then I went to bed last night thinking “well, he’s gotten up every night for the last two weeks so he’ll never make it and then you won’t have to provide the replacement toy and everything will work out.” That’s a first for me – hoping the kid DOES break the rules and get out of bed.

But darned if the kid didn’t stay in bed all night.

And when he did get up, he marched straight into my room to ask if he could have another Transformer because he had stayed in bed all night.

Rats. It sucks when the kid has a better memory for things than his Mommy does.

So, the dilemma: Do I keep my promise and give the kid the toy thereby proving that while Mommy DOES keep her promises, she will also immediately replace any toys that you have broken or taken to school against the rules?


Stay tuned to find out what I did.


*If you missed the massive media blitz for the hit movie that’s currently in theaters (and is well worth seeing, by the way) or have been unconscious for the last 20 some years that these things have been around, Transformers are robots that “transform” (get it?) from robot shape to vehicle (truck, car, plane, etc.) shape and back again. There are two kinds of Transformers: Autobots (the good guys) and Decepticons (the bad guys). Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots and Megatron is the leader of the Decepticons. They are mortal enemies and fight each other and blah, blah, blah. You get the picture. And yeah, I know, I’m a total dork for knowing these things.