Friday, November 21, 2008's only just begun

I was watching the ABC Evening News tonight when they did a story about all this Twilight fandemonium. Teenage girls were screaming and clawing and squealing and crying and just acting...well, like teenage girls! They were camped outside of movie theaters and wearing Twilight t-shirts and shrieking at the very thought of Edward Cullen (I'll get to him later).

It reminded me nothing of the night Interview With A Vampire was released. I remember that night, standing in a very quiet line at a movie theater in Alexandria, Virginia, with the Creepy Dude behind me all dressed in black and wearing those batshit crazy contact lenses. He would sometimes smile at me and flash his pearly whites, filed down to a point to maximize his freakishness.

Creepy Dude, I wanted to tell him, it's just a story, a book series, a movie, for God's sake! But I was afraid he'd bite me and I would never be able to explain that one to my parents. Especially since they already thought I had an unhealthy attachment to the Anne Rice novels because I talked about the vampire Armando like we were high school buddies. But I went to therapy for other reasons and I'm fine now.

Anyway, these girls at the Twilight opening looked so young, so innocent, so...happy. I don't remember seeing girls like that at the Interview premiere. I know I wasn't like that only because I was afraid of bumping into Creepy Dude or accidentally inviting him somehow into my personal space. I didn't see any Creepy Dudes on ABC News tonight. Or Creepy Girls, for that matter. And then it dawned on me...

Twilight gives its audience a double-dose of puppy love by promoting the obvious Edward/Bella love story, but also by promoting the Robert Pattinson/teenage-girls-all-across-America love story. It's a sure hit. And it's not fair! Interview didn't give us any of that! Instead, we got the Louis/Lestat love story and had to read about a little girl named Claudia whine her way through the entire book by constantly pitting her two caretakers against each other and smashing her porcelain dolls. At least Edward didn't run off and start a stupid rock band.

The point is, there was no innocence in Interview With A Vampire. And now I'm so missing out on this Twilight deal!

Here's the problem: I stopped reading the series after book 3. I just got tired of Bella throwing herself into obvious deathtraps. I got tired of Edward bossing Bella around all the time and treating her like a retard. I got tired of Bella using Jacob to make Edward jealous. I got tired of Jacob putting Bella in a corner. I got tired of Edward and Jacob competing with each other for Bella's affection when Bella isn't all that bright to begin with. I mean, she is absolutely sure she wants to commit to immortality but isn't quite sure who she's in love with. She's barely 18 and can't remember to close her windows at night to keep that crazy-as-all-get-out Victoria away!

Figure your shit out, girl!

So...with all this Twilight craziness afoot, I'm 78.3% sure I will get my hands on book 4 (apparently, millions of people have a copy and I'm sure I know one of them who will lend it to me) because I hate being left out.

P.S. Bella ~ please die one way or another. Your shenanigans exhaust me and I don't think I can take it if there is to be a book 5. Besides, too many nights were spent reading about you instead of going to sleep at a decent hour. I'm still convinced, however, that my lack of sleep has less to do with my Twilight exhaustion than your inability to use common sense. At least I still have The Lost Boys.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


One word. Change. I did.

Two months ago, I accepted Barack Obama to be one of the most impressive men in the world. It had nothing to do with his race, his exotic island connections, or his youth. It had everything to do with his charisma, his energy, and his sincere belief that he could lead us to change ourselves, which would lead the American people to change the nation, which would lead the nation to get back on the rest of the world's good side. I sincerely believed in his sincere belief in me.

So yesterday, I voted for John McCain knowing that Barack Obama would win.

As I watched the electoral map light up the New England states in blue, I already knew I was witnessing a historic moment. Obama took the electoral votes from states that long ago had accepted the national concept of moving forward. McCain held strong in the center of the country, an area that has a death grip on traditional values and, sometimes, old-fashioned crock-o'-shit ideals. Which probably explains why McCain won Florida, too.

By the way, Floridians - congratulations on passing Amendment 2. This is quite possibly one of the most ridiculously ignorant moves ever. WAY TO GO! Morons.

So, back to my point (yes, there is a point!).

I admit I voted for John McCain. I voted for a military leader, a former POW who's had his ass kicked (I'm sure very literally) for years by a war-weary enemy, a man who publicly said, "Hell yeah, Bush f**ked it up but give me the chance to fix it!". (Okay, so he didn't say it that way, necessarily. But he wanted to say it that way. I'm pretty sure. Yeah, pretty sure.). I voted for a Vice President who had more political experience than Barack Obama. Limited, yes. But still, more. I voted for a woman who talks like some of my best friends' mothers from my childhood days in Michigan. I love that accent, you betcha!

I voted for McCain/Palin and I almost wish I hadn't. It's not that I wanted my vote to be counted towards Obama. I really, truly wish (and don't laugh) that I would have voted for Obama so that I could have really experienced the excitement of last night's election results (the same kooky way I experienced real fear from "Blair Witch Project" because I was dumb enough to believe it was real!). Despite his inexperience and his obvious desire to quickly end the war with seemingly no regard for the tragic consequences, (believe it or not) I was really excited that Obama won!

But I feel like I cheated John McCain. Or worse, I feel like I cheated on John McCain. I told the world, albeit via an anonymously cast ballot, that I wanted him to be the next President. Then I went home and turned into some kind of Republicrat and had butterflies in my stomach as I watched the blue states light up all over the map....bling (Wisconsin!), bling (Ohio!), bling (Florida!). My excitement wasn't valid, though. At least that's how I felt last night. And now. So I'm voting for Barack Obama today! Well...kinda.

I hope this country will continue to give Barack Obama the opportunity to show us what he can do. I do have faith that great things will happen. But I also worry that there are too many non-Obama-believers. Obama is such an influential figure in the country, in the world, right now, that I feel Americans owe it to this man to let him turn his speaking abilities into actual progress. Let him show us what he can do. Please don't end his chance before it's over.

I hope Obama doesn't foolishly begin bringing back our troops too early. I hope he doesn't tax the hell out of what very little I own. I hope he does well. And I can't wait to see how this ends.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Foxy Duckie

I just heard.

Maybe I'm the last to know, but Michael J. Fox was originally offered the role of Duckie in Pretty In Pink. Scenes from that movie (one of my FAVES, by the way!) are still running through my mind with the Alex P. Keaton cut-out head placed on top of Jon Cryer's body - I mean, c'mon! Can you seriously picture Michael J. Fox doing anything during the 80's besides Back To The Future and Family Ties? Okay, okay. I didn't forget Teen Wolf. Unfortunately.

What would have happened to Jon Cryer had Michael J. Fox actually played Duckie? Well, I looked up Jon Cryer's resume on IMDB and found that he has been in lots of movies I've never heard of! But he probably wouldn't have even had those roles if he didn't get the Duckie role. And Two and a Half Men would be...what? It wouldn't be.

And Jon Cryer was also given the opportunity to audition as Chandler Bing in Friends. Thank goodness Matthew Perry took the role instead. I could never stand Chandler.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Family Reunion

I drove south on I-75 knowing that my grandmother had looked at this stretch of interstate dozens of times. She and my grandfather drove to Upper Michigan to visit us, they came to my high school graduation in Maryland, and Grandma was one of the first people to hold my daughter after she was born in Gainesville, Florida.

Grandma had 20-something grandchildren and my brothers and I were the only ones not growing up in Florida. That never stopped her and my grandfather from including us in everything the family did. Despite the hard times, Grandma sent us birthday cards and Christmas presents. I remember I even received a postcard in the mail from "Santa Claus" the summer she and Grandpa drove to Alaska and visited the town of North Pole. The cookies she made during the holidays were divided up amongst all her kids and their families. Even her pastor got cookies at Christmas. Grandma made sure our family received the same cookies - even if she had to mail them to us. They drove from South Florida to be at my high school graduation in Maryland only to turn around the very next day to attend another grandchild's school event back home in Fort Myers.

Grandma made us a special kids room in her house in Suring, Wisconsin. She washed out lots of Mason jars and sent me into the field across the country dirt road, certain that I would come back with an armload of wildflowers and jars filled with butterflies I'd caught. Grandma even canned pickles especially for me - Grandpa and I would sit out on the front porch and go through a jar or two every night. She always made sure that her freezer was full of ice cream sandwiches and popsicles and that our first Christmas back in the United States was more than we could ever ask for.

I introduced all of my friends to my grandparents when I had the chance. Nikki from Milwaukee even had her first taste of potato soup at my grandparent's house in Old Town, Florida. Years after meeting her, Grandma would still ask me how my friend Jessie was doing with her two boys. Grandma never forgot a friend and managed to keep up with everyone, whether they were born into the family or "adopted" in.

She is the only one I ever allowed to call my daughter Bella. She is also the only one I could ever sit at the table with at 4 o'clock in the morning and play Boggle. Grandma was a night owl like me. She always beat me at Scrabble. And she was awesome at crossword puzzles.

My grandmother, Alta Beaber, died on October 26th, 2008. I drove down to Fort Myers on October 28th. I hadn't yet cried, at least not too hard. A few stifled wails in the shower was about all I had let out of me, but I had to keep it together for my daughter and for my mother. Looking around on I-75, I couldn't help but think about all the times my grandmother saw the same cluster of trees in Port Charlotte, or the same billboard in Venice, or stopped at the same convenience store off the North Port exit.

And yet, this was my first time.

All those years, Grandma suffered through Grandpa's driving (it's terrifying!) just to get to us. To get to her grandkids. To see us and hug us and shower us with the attention that only grandmas know how to give! All those hours on the road, all those miles just to get to us.

I had visited my grandparents many times before, when I was a kid. But as an adult, I hadn't once taken the time out of my schedule to go to them. Six hours were all the separated us. Six hours. But it doesn't take that long to lose someone. Grandma was gone after one last breath, in her sleep, next to my grandfather.

I said goodbye to my grandmother this week. I finally lost control of my emotions during the funeral services after seeing my grandfather fighting so hard to keep control of his. He wasn't successful, either. My future sister-in-law held my one hand while my seven year-old daughter held the other. And I cried. I hugged aunts and uncles I hadn't seen in twelve years. My daughter shook hands with her great-grandmother's two brothers, Stony and Rocky, who drove all the way from Texas. My mother cried with her cousins from Wisconsin.

And my grandmother looked down on us from above and smiled at sight of us all together again.