Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sweatin' it out.

I'm stressing out, dudes.

A couple of weeks ago, I entered two songs into a contest that Edward Burns is having to get your song placed in his newest film, Newlyweds.  He was supposed to announce the winner on Friday, then he said he needed a couple more days, then he said today he'd announce the winner, and now he said he needs another day.

Look, I realize that I have a very very very slim chance of winning.  There are a ton of talented people out there, and lots of them entered this contest.  I just wish that he would put me out of my misery already, because waiting is THE WORST.  As long as I don't know that I've lost, I'm completely preoccupied with daydreams about what it would be like to hear my song played over a scene in a movie.  Or (dream of dreams!) over the end credits.

With a little Googling, you can find the contest, and find my songs in the contest.  I am not going to tell you which ones are mine, but if you guess it, please don't write my name in the comments.  Send me an email and I'll confirm or deny, if you're that interested.

This is TORTURE.  I've been grinding my teeth all day.  I'm thinking wine may be the only answer to my problem.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sexism must be taught early!

I just got a really annoying e-mail from Fisher-Price.

Let me back up.  The Kid LOVES Imaginext toys.  They're little action figures that range from pirates to knights to Batman.  He saves up his quarters that he earns from cleaning up and taking naps so that he can buy these little guys, and he's got a boat load of them.

It wasn't really a fair fight.  The Imaginext guys didn't stand a chance.

For a while now, The Kid's been saying that he wishes he had a girl action figure to play with all the boys.  I've been searching for a Wonder Woman or Cat Woman or SOMETHING, but to no avail.  I went to the company's website today, and realized that they do not make ANY female figures for this line of toys.  What's that all about??

The new BOYS in town.

Our latest purchase, which included The Flash, Hawkman, and The Green Lantern with his airplane, came with a DC Super Friends DVD to watch, and I was over-joyed when I saw the cover:

Sure, she looks kind of slutty, but Wonder Woman is decidedly female.
We got home and excitedly popped it in, hoping to see a little Wonder Woman action.  We watched.  And watched.  And watched.  No Wonder Woman.  Oh, wait--she was in the credits at the beginning.  After that, every other Super Friend other than Wonder Woman showed up in the cartoon.  The other four or five cartoons on the disc didn't have a single female in them either.  The Kid even caught on, asking, "Why aren't there any GIRLS in this?"

You know, I have NO IDEA why there are no girls!  On our last toy shopping trip, I looked high and low for a female action figure in the "boy" aisle, and all I came across was one measly little Super Girl toy, sold with two male figures, but not packaged on her own.  What kind of crazy, sexist phenomenon is this?!?!?  It doesn't really go both ways, because Barbie has always had Ken, and various versions of him.  Girls have all sorts of Barbie-esque toys, most of which have male figures included in their collections.  I have noticed, however, that it's next-to-impossible to find a blue/boy baby doll, so there's that.

So, this clearly pisses me off.  Is it too much to ask for a female boy's toy?  This is what I was thinking when, earlier today, I sent this e-mail message to Fisher-Price:

Dear Customer Service,

I am writing to you with a suggestion for your Batman line of Imaginext toys:  PLEASE make female action figures!  Where is Batgirl?  And Poison Ivy?  And Cat Woman?  My 3-year old son is dying to buy these toys with his own money, but you don’t make them!  Why not?  He would love to have them to interact with all the other characters.

There seems to be a shortage of female action figures in the boy aisle, in general.  It’s very difficult to find action figures that are not men, or if they are women, that are not overly sexed-up.  Please consider adding a modest female batman character to your line of Imaginext toys.  I’ve spoken to other mothers about this problem, and I’m definitely not alone in my frustration.

Thank you.


Kansas City, KS

Maybe they just don't KNOW that people want these toys, I thought.  Maybe I can convince them to make them!  Maybe we'll be playing with Cat Woman by The Kid's July birthday!

Wrong.  Here's what I got back, just hours after I sent the above message:

Dear Ms. B,

Thank you for writing to share your disappointment with the lack of female figures in the Imaginext. DC Super Friends? sets. 

We appreciate your thoughtful suggestion; however, we do not accept specific ideas or designs submitted by anyone outside of our company. 
All of our products are conceived and designed by an in-house design and development team.  We hope you understand.

Thank you again for writing.  Your comments and insights help us determine if we are meeting the needs and interests of the children we serve. 


Fisher-Price Shop-at-Home Catalog Customer Service Mattel Direct, Inc.
Phone: 1-800-747-8697
Fax: 608-836-0761
Available Monday - Sunday 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Central Time

Thanks a lot, Fisher-Price.  That was really helpful, as far as crushing my hopes and dreams goes.

Listen, I get it:  they don't want to get sued because they started producing something that a customer suggested.  However, I don't want to design the dang thing, I just want to buy it!  I guess I could just pick him up a Polly Pocket or a Barbie, but neither of those toys are the right size to play with all the ones he already has.  

Another problem is that, when you do find a female action figure in the "boy" aisle, she's often dressed incredibly inappropriately.  I read an article on Jezebel last week that addressed this problem beautifully.  Check it out here if you aren't tired of this subject yet.

Maybe I'll just start my own line of superhero toys that are non-gender specific.  This is driving me insane.  If anyone can point me in the direction of an awesome line of action figures with male and female characters, I would be very appreciative. 

ETA:  I know that Playmobil would be a good option, but there are just entirely too many little pieces for a three-year old.  Also, they don't sell licensed characters, at least the ones I've seen.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This post is not Chicago!

I was all ready to write a post about how I went to Chicago and it sucked for various reasons, but then I thought--hey, what did Chicago ever do to me (other than rain and blow very cold wind)?  It was still a nice little break, even if I did hobble around like an 80-year old woman most of the time (bad hip).  I got lots of cute clothes, we had a spectacular view of the SNOW from our 14th floor room, and we ate lots of good food. 
Trying to avoid the paparazzi.  I can't go anywhere these days!

Let's move on, shall we?

I really need to be cleaning my house in anticipation of a house guest who will be arriving tomorrow and staying for an undetermined amount of time, but, meh, it can wait.  House cleaning can always wait, right?  Besides, I live in about 900 square feet, so it never takes very long anyway.  I'll do it in the morning.

Anyone doing anything fun for Easter?  We usually go to my grandma's house, but for various reasons, including The Hubby's work schedule, we'll be staying here and hosting an egg hunt in our own yard this year.  I'm a little bit sad that The Kid won't get to play with all his cousins, but my sister is coming over with her kids, so he'll get to play with some of them.  The plan is to BBQ, but we'll have to see if the weather will cooperate with our plans.  Is it inhumane to make small children hunt for Easter eggs in the rain?  I mean, I'd call them in if it started to thunder and lightning.  Isn't that what rain boots are for?

Did you guys know that Fruit Stripes gum has tattoos on the wrappers?  I'm gonna have to call shenanigans on the "now longer lasting flavor!" lie they've got on the package, though.  After about ten seconds, it tastes like silly putty.  However, the tattoos are worth it.  Check out the menagerie of zebra athletes I've got going on here on my wrist:

Nothing says "thug life" like a hang-gliding zebra.

I wonder if I'll ever be capable of anything other than a random, rambling post ever again.  Maybe I should lay off the coffee.  Oh well.  If you're still with me, thanks for that.  I like to think that this type of writing panders to my ADD readers, which, let's face it, is most of us now-a-days.   Headed out to get some Thai food.  Think I'll skip on the Thai iced tea tonight--I'd like to sleep eventually.

Monday, April 11, 2011


So, allergies suck.   I don't know what the deal is, but this spring has been the worst-ever for my poor nose.  I've been trying all kinds of different allergy medicine, but I just went back to the doctor today and got a prescription for flo-nase, the old standby, so hopefully it helps this year.  If not, I am seriously considering a move to Antarctica.  The alternative is to stay on a steady diet of Sudafed, and that's not really practical because a) I'm thirsty and dizzy all the time, and b) The pharmacist is going to think I'm making meth if I keep this up much longer. 

It even looks fancy sideways.  Jealous?
 I got a fancy new BlackBerry.  All the buttons work, that's what makes it fancier than my old one.  Oh, and it flips open, which is pretty fancy in and of itself.  All those buttons and features are a little overwhelming when you're used to such limited accessibility due to an unfortunate toilet incident.  Speaking of which, I now know at least two other women who have dropped their phones in the toilet by forgetting to take them out of their back pocket before sitting down.  Consider this a warning.

OMG, I just saw a commercial for Froot Loops with sprinkles.  You know, because original Froot Loops didn't have enough sugar in them.

Old picture, but still an accurate depiction of my breakfast.
Sometimes I think that caffeine is one of those substances that will be banned someday because of adverse side effects.  In fifty years, we'll look back and say, "Can you believe that we used to put caffeine in SODA and give it to kids??  Crazy!"  Kind of like cocaine in Coca-cola back in the day.  Then I realize that at least 50% of the nation is addicted to it, so that would probably never happen, and therefore you will continue to enjoy my Dunkin Donuts coffee-fueled rambling blog posts, such as this one.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Self-tanner tutorial

Spring is here!  Time for skirts and tank tops!  If you are pasty like me, you may be a fan of spray tans or self-tanner.  Or maybe you've never been able to do it yourself without ending up all streaky and weird-looking, which defeated the whole purpose.  Lucky for you, I am a self-tanning expert!

I've never been able to afford (the time or the money) to go get professional spray-tans, and of course I'm terrified of tanning beds (melanoma!!), so over the years I've perfected my method of self-tanning at home that I will share with you now.  Here's what you'll need:

1.  Self Tanner.  Duh.  Personally, I think that L'Oreal Sublime Bronze is the most natural-looking drug store brand on the market, at least for my fair skin tone.  For this method, you will need two types:  a lotion (or gel) and a spray:

2.  A quick-absorbing lotion.

3.  A large, old towel that you don't mind messing up.

4.  An old, soft hand towel that you don't mind messing up:

This is what a towel looks like.

5.  A robe that you don't mind the inside getting dirty.

Ready?  Let's get tan!

Step I.
Take a shower.  Make sure that you scrub your elbows, knees, feet, and ankles especially well with your washcloth or body pouf.  You just want to make sure you're well-exfoliated.  This goes for your face, too.

Step II.
Dry off thoroughly.  If you have extremely dry skin, I would recommend using a fast-absorbing lotion all over your body now, especially on your knees, elbows, and feet.  Don't use a really thick lotion, though, because then you'll have to wait a long time before you can apply the self-tanner, and nobody wants to sit around in a robe (or naked) for that long!

Step III.
If your hair is still wet, put a towel on your head or pin it up so that it's not touching your back.  Nothing ruins a tan like dripping hair.

Step IV.
Lay the old towel out on the floor under where you plan on using your tanner.  You don't want to mess up the floor or rugs.  Spray tanner can be very slippery, and can also cause the bottoms of your feet to turn orange, so this step is important.

Step V. 
Let's Tan!  Take your tanning lotion or gel and start with your legs.  Apply it in large circles, careful to cover every square inch.  Make sure to rub it in as much as possible.  If you're using the gel, it will leave you feeling a little greasy, but I like it because it seems easier to spread evenly than the lotion, and it's not sticky.

When you get close to your ankles, use sparingly.  You're going to just use what's left over from the tops of your legs, and spread it down to your ankles, all the way to the floor, and a little on the top of your feet.  They shouldn't feel greasy at all, because you'll use so very little.

Step VI.
Apply the gel or lotion to your torso, all the way up to your neck.  If you can't reach the middle of your back, that's ok, just rub it in as much as possible where you have put it, and try not to miss any spots.  Work as quickly as possible.

Step VII.
Apply the gel or lotion to your arms.  This is tricky.  I've found that the best way to do this is to rub it in all around, circling my arm with my opposite hand.  You may want to do under your arms as well, to avoid a line.  Use sparingly there, though--you don't want super-tan armpits.  That would look weird.

Step VII.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.  It's really important to do this well--use a nail brush if you have to, to get all the tanner out from under your nails.  Also, keep your hands pointed towards the floor during this process.  You only want to wash up to your wrists.  DO NOT let any water splash anywhere else, or let it drip down your arms, or you're likely to get streaks*.  Dry your hands while keeping them pointed down.   

*Note:  If you do happen to get any water on a part of your body you've already tanned, just dry it off and then rub it together with your forearm, spreading the tanner from your arm over the spot.

Step IX.
Blot.  THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP FOR A NATURAL-LOOKING TAN.  Don't skip it.  Take your old hand towel and blot it on your feet, ankles, behind and on top of your knees, on your elbows, under your arms, and on your neck.  Do NOT rub with the towel, just blot.

Step X.
Now, take your can of spray tanner, hold it an arm's length away, and lightly spray your face.  I know that the bottle says not to do this, but just make sure and hold your breath and close your eyes.  It's the only way to make your face match your body.  As soon as you do this, take your blotter towel and blot on top of your closed eyes, around your hair line, on your eyebrows, around your nose, and on top of your lips.  In fact, just blot everything except for your forehead and cheeks.  That's easier.
Sadly, this is me photoshopped.  I wasn't cut out for the natural look.

Step XI.

Spray your upper back.  Unless you are a contortionist, you probably missed a spot or two on your back, so spray it all over, and liberally. 

Step XII.
Spray your feet and ankles.  Stay pretty far away, because you just want to cover them with a fine mist.  Spray your hands in the same manner; I find that the easiest way to spray my hands is to reach out into the shower and spray in there.  That way, you're less likely to get the residue where you don't want it.

These are my *actual* feet.

Step XIII.
Rub your wrists together, then do the same with the backs of your hands.  Then take your blotting towel and blot your hands and feet.

Step XIV.
Throw on your old robe for a bit.  It will absorb excess tanner in places it doesn't belong (like your elbows and underarms), and you can allow it to dry a little bit.  If you don't have a robe, or if you're in a hurry, you can use a hair dryer all over so you don't stick to your clothes and mess up your tan.  Definitely, though, you should AVOID WEARING WHITE or putting on any tight-fitting clothes (like skinny jeans) until much later.  I just recently ruined a white camisole by putting it on right after I applied my self-tanner.  It sucked.

So, that's it!  It will take a few hours for your tan to show up, and you'll keep getting tanner until that evening or the next morning.   Here is the finished product, after only a few hours:

Yes, this is tan for me.

(Sorry there weren't more pictures in this tutorial.  It's really hard to tan yourself and take G-rated pictures at the same time.)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I bought a prom dress!

Did you think I wasn't serious?

Today, I strapped on the ankle weights and brought my 17-year old niece prom dress shopping.  My 11-year old niece tagged along, and the girls' day out was on like Donkey Kong. 

Have any of you gone prom dress shopping lately?  It's exhausting.  What is the deal with EVERY dress being strapless?  There was nary a strap nor halter in sight.  What's that all about?  Weird.  Also, how do these girls sit down in these dresses?  They're SO short!  I must be getting old.

Luckily, we managed to find a (not-too-short) dress at the fourth store we tried.  Shoes and bracelets were a breeze, and here's the finished look:

Could she BE any cuter?

The Hubby and I paid for her outfit since we only see her about once a year.  Yeah, we're the kind of aunt and uncle who shamelessly buy the affection of our young loved ones.  And you know what?  It's fun.

Tired but happy!
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