Twilight Thursday: Twilight Chapter 3 or If you say “I’m Fine” one more time, you won’t be

I apologize for the late hour of posting this chapter. These commentaries are actually a beast to write because I go through each chapter 2-3 times taking various notes. I also want to make sure I don’t miss anything that might make excellent cannon fodder. All that said…


 

Welcome to Chapter 3, also known as the Chapter Where Bella Begins To Suspect Something Ain’t Right With Edward.

Once again, we open with a commentary on the weather. But wait! This time it’s not raining. It’s snowed! Whoopie! Except for the wild contradiction:

That wasn’t the worst part. All the rain from yesterday had frozen solid – coating the needles on the trees in fantastic, glorious patterns…I had enough trouble not falling down when the ground was dry…

So you’re giving the ice compliments, but you still call it the worst. That’s like saying “You’re really pretty…” on a date and then the awkward silence hits. She also has to remind us that she’s a klutz. Oh if only you would fall down, suffer a traumatic brain injury, and wake up as a completely different and vastly less annoying character. But that would be too easy.

I threw down a quick bowl of cereal and orange juice from the carton.

I have this mental image of Bella standing the kitchen, throwing the food on the floor, then yelling “BAM!” Emeril Lagasse style. Alternately, she could be staring down the cereal and orange juice sumo style. If Ms. Meyer is looking to convey speed while consuming morning nourishment, might I suggest “grabbed” or “downed” as the verb? If there’s a throw down involved, there better be spandex & folding chairs involved.

Here’s the part that really got my goat. She managed to hit 3, count ’em, 3 tropes in 2 pages.

Exhibit A: The Mousey Girl Can’t Possibly Get The Totally Hot Dude:

I was well aware that his league and my league were spheres that did not touch. So I shouldn’t be at all anxious to see him today.

Of the three, this is the trope I hate the least. It’s just so overdone. I’m so ugly! There’s no way he’ll like me! Because men are disgustingly shallow and my only worth is my looks! Riiight. Good thing this isn’t a zombie book because the poor zombie would starve to death.

Exhibit B: The Damsel In Distress:

Perhaps my crippling clumsiness was seen as endearing rather than pathetic, casting me as a damsel in distress

Only this time someone needs to leave your ass in the tower while you wave your white hanky out the window. If only it were literally crippling. Of course, then we’d be right back to the traumatic brain injury improvement. I’m okay with that.

Exhibit C: The Child Raising The Parent(s)

I wasn’t used to being taken care of, and Charlie’s unspoken concern caught me by surprise

I’ve railed on this one before and unlike Ms. Meyer, I won’t beat the dead horse. He put snow chains on your car because he knows it snows and you can’t walk across a room without killing yourself, much less drive on ice.

P.S. Even snow chains won’t help ice.

While she’s waxing nostalgic over metal on tires, we get the chance to end it all. Then Edward’s ass has to go and stop a car from crushing her. Why, Edward? Why? Oh right, because you know nothing! Shit, sorry, wrong series.

For anyone who has seen Mean Girls, I had to giggle at the gym teacher’s name. Coach Clapp. Moving on…

Only then does she start to realize, wait a sec, there’s more to this guy than weird eyes and an inability to speak in a normal tone. But what could it possibly be? His unfathomably poor life choices, obvs. Meyer dangles us around for a bit hoping there *might* be some kind of head injury involved, but we leave disappointed. Like one leaves disappointed from the grocery store when they’re out of your favorite kind of cream cheese and you have to get the generic.

More inane exposition about the hospital and how fine she is. Once Bella’s whining finally gets her what she wants, she pokes and prods Edward for an explanation. Sorry, love muffin, that comes in a later chapter. The real shock of the chapter was I *agreed* with Edward:

“Can’t you just thank me and get over it?”

Yes! My inner goddess is prostrated on the floor begging for assent! Nice try. Bitch doesn’t know when to just drop it. A successful relationship in the making. This book could have easily been 100 pages shorter if she cut out all the mind numbing arguing. Though if all the mind numbing parts had been cut out, it would be a short story.

Final semicolon count for Chapter 3: 6

Final “I’m Fine” count for Chapter 3: 7 (16 if iterations are included)

Final “Emily Resists Throwing the Book Across the Room” count for Chapter 3: A 1 with a lot of zeroes after it.

Until next week!

XOXO!

Motivational Monday: Money Honey

Piggy backing off last week’s post about knowing your price, this week is about relationships with money.

I don’t know about y’all, but I have a very, very abusive relationship with money. I’ve been evaluating my budget recently, especially after dropping $1000 on my car and $550 on a plane ticket. Both were paid out of my savings account. That’s exactly what the savings account is for. It’s for unexpected expenses like twiddling my thumbs on getting a ticket to Virginia for my niece’s birthday or replacing my brakes so I don’t, you know, end up in a car accident. Yet I’m still beating myself up over it.

I should have planned better.

I should have been able to pay it out of my checking account. 

I need to stop buying frivolous things like nail polish and clothes or eating out all the time.

And the list goes on. Like most beliefs and tenets, they’re formed when you’re very young. My mom in particular complains about the cost of things or comments frequently how the family has “no money”. Mind you, I grew up in the suburbs, went to private school my entire life (that includes college), and my sister and I never wanted for anything. That does make one raise an eyebrow. I only really got a concept of what things cost when I started working. By that point, the beliefs were ingrained in me. I’m certainly not inches away from poverty. Even if I didn’t live with Boy, I could very easily pay rent and all my other bills. However, I also don’t know anyone who would turn down more money.

Just like abstinence only sex education doesn’t work, neither does abstinence only budgeting. I may beat myself up over “frivolous” spending, but I’d be a hell of a lot more miserable if I stuck to paying the bills, putting most of what’s left in savings, and not allowing for many fun purchases at all. Boy, on the other hand, is a stereotypical Jew. We may not understand the other one’s financial philosophy, but it doesn’t make one better than the other. It just means he pays for dinner more than I do. 😛

Just like with any other negative self talk, I have to remind myself it’s a bunch of bullshit. I’m a perfectionist to a fault (just read the personality test). I have to have a perfect body, walk out of the house impeccably dressed and coiffed, drink green smoothies twice a day, and manage my money so it’s perfectly balanced. No one is ever going to be that perfect. It’s not possible. Sometimes, a girl just needs a new purse, though not at the expense of the rent. N’est pas?

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Money may make the world go ’round, but you get to decide which direction it spins.

Of hilariously accurate personality tests and fake hips

I didn’t get a second interview.

I’m totally okay with that. I’ve tested the market, seen what’s out there, and discovered more than a few things. In this case, I didn’t have enough experience to justify the salary I requested. The market just won’t support it. I didn’t even get a first interview with the initial head hunter. I kept my boss in the loop the entire time and made it clear I had no ulterior motives (read: 25% raise). It’s budgeting time, so he went and talked to his boss. They agreed they’ll see what they can do, but I’m not holding my breath. It never hurts to ask. The worst they’ll say is no.

The company in question also had me take a personality test ostensibly to see if my personality fit the position. That was a big fat no. The results themselves hit the nail on the head. In fact, it hit the nail so hard, it was driven halfway into the table. I tested as highly dominant and doesn’t play well with others. I know, I know, be still your beating hearts. I eschew structure and jump head first into things. Again, you should be sitting down. I was literally laughing out loud as I read it. Everyone I’ve sent it to has had the same reaction. In the message the head hunter left me, she said I could call back on Monday for more details. I think I’m going to just to get a more detailed explanation. And probably a good laugh.

In other work related news, one of my staff got the job he wanted in another department. Again, I’m okay with it. He was rapidly turning into dead weight. We’ve had to go through 4 internal audit tests in 6 months. The normal number is 2. Each time, there’s been one person who has been the problem child. Right as we cleaned up one mess, another one popped up. It’s insanely frustrating. I found it funny that he was offered and accepted the job, but didn’t say a word about it all day. Finally, my boss called him in and told him that we knew (duh). By the end of the day, I had 3 people saying they were interested in his position. There’s certainly no shortage of candidates.

If I’ve learned nothing by having to hire 3 people in 6 months, I definitely learned to be more forgiving. I hold others to the same high standards I hold myself (another solid hit on the personality test). The fact is, there are very few people in an office of 1500 who would meet, much less exceed, my standards. Everyone I interviewed for the last position didn’t have a college degree. I have to rein in the judgey part of myself and respect that these people are solid workers who, for one reason or another, didn’t have the same opportunities I had. He felt that some tasks were beneath him and they got ignored. He can’t pull that same shit in that department. They recently fired someone because of consistent mistakes and I’m sure they would have no hesitation in firing him if he presents the same issues. His replacement needs to understand that even if they think a task is beneath them, it still needs to get done. Put on your headphones, put your head down, and stop whining. It was very therapeutic to put that in writing.

Boy is off doing some kind of wilderness survival camp all day. I’m doing the good little housewife bit and catching up on laundry. Tonight is our standing weekend date with my dad. He talked to his orthopedist this week and he should have the right hip replaced sometime in the next few weeks. He’ll know for sure on Monday. They, wisely, won’t put antibiotics in this one. Hope everyone enjoys their weekend. 😀

XOXO!

Of previews for movies not due out for another 7 months and dry heaving

Two posts in one day! Gasp!

I was unaware the 50 Shades of Grey preview was released today. Thank you, Facebook, for that one. In keeping with my running commentary of the loins from whence it sprung, I couldn’t resist putting in my own 2 cents. Mind you, this has been billed “racy” more than once.

This article is worth a read. I appreciate a straight guy’s opinion on the gag worthy cultural phenomenon. All that said, here’s my own play by play.

:26 – Anne Hathaway, err, Ana Steele is escorted into Miranda Priestly, err, Christian Grey’s office. Just like E.L, James plucked Ana wholesale from Twilight, the producers have plucked Anne (Andi) from The Devil Wears Prada. Clothes that don’t fit and a bad wig DO NOT hide the fact that a woman is still good looking. It just looks like she got dressed in the dark. There are some “atmospheric” shots of a dude in a suit from the neck down while a VO plays. “Polite” “Intense” “Smart” “Really Intimidating”. I’m always intimidated by men who tap tables and adjust their suit jackets in front of me.

:50  -“I mean, look at me,” she says. “I am,” he replies.

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

:57 – Oh my God, would you stop stealing shots from The Devil Wears Prada? I’m waiting for Meryl Streep to come out and demand Christian get the fuck out of her office and bring her the Starbucks she asked for 5 minutes ago.

1:06 – Dude is a butterface. If he’s supposed to be worth swooning over, the casting is an epic fail. Let’s try Christian Bale circa American Psycho, shall we? Not only is he worth looking at, especially in a well tailored suit, but it would make so. much. more. sense. if Mr. Grey were actually a serial killer.

1:27 – The “Rocky” theme all of a sudden replaces the remix of Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love”.

1:34 – A little under the table knee action. Racy? Naughty, perhaps, but nothing I would imagine most couples haven’t tried at least once.

1:55 – Definitely a butterface. Thanks for the confirmation, abs of Steele! (See what I did there?)

2:03 – Blindfold. Red pleather seating of some iteration. Some gasping to indicate pleasure. In Kat’s intonation from 10 Things I Hate About You: “I want you. I need you. Oh baby, oh baby” *rolls eyes and walks off*

And now back to your regularly scheduled snark.

XOXO!

Twilight Thursday: Twilight Chapter 2 or Vampires Do Not Go Up to 11

I have to admit, this chapter was less painful than the first one. Kind of like how the second strip of a bikini wax hurts less than the first one because your brain has already shut down. My brain has probably gone into survival mode already. Positive signs. Anyway…


When we last left our heroes, Bella was driving and crying over how much she hates her life, the rain, and whatever else might make the poor life choice of coming within 10 feet of her. She opens Chapter 2 with this:

The next day was better…and worse.

Do tell, Ms. Swan, do tell. She regales sitting with a large group at lunch, some of whom, she’s deigned to remember their names. Okay, that’s a positive. Then that positive came to a screeching halt. She got called on in class, whacked some kid with a volleyball, and worst of all? Edward cuts school.

But when I walked into the cafeteria with Jessica – trying to keep my eyes from sweeping the place for him, and failing entirely – I saw that his four siblings of sorts were sitting together at the same table, and he was not with them.

Hold on, hold on, let’s back up a minute. She started out sitting with a big group at lunch. Now she’s back in the cafeteria? Or do they have two lunches? If that’s the case, hobbits must run the joint. Ms. Meyer’s prose is as clumsy as her heroine’s extremities. Flashbacks only work if they’re obvious. It wouldn’t have been a huge challenge to start at the beginning of the day. I’m not sure what she was trying to accomplish by establishing Edward and the hair were out gallivanting around town before Bella actually realizes it. And that’s just the content of the sentence.

The sentence construction makes me want to start a utensil fight. Or just stab Bella in the eye. It’s one thing to know the rules and then break them for the sake of character building or narration. This does not qualify. At least it wasn’t in passive voice. Then I really would have to get out the cutlery. Now that we have returned from our unnecessary flashback, it’s time for Biology!

I held my breath at the door, but Edward Cullen wasn’t there, either.

He wasn’t at the door? What is he, the Biology class butler? Though having him hide behind the door and scare the shit out of her would have been hysterical. Oh, wait, she meant he wasn’t in class. Maybe he did get that schedule change after all. The hair was pissed.

After more whining about how a boy may, gasp!, like her, she offers this nugget of exposition:

I had never been enormously tactful; I had no practice dealing with overly friendly boys.

Yeah, duh. You can put the stick down, Stephanie. We get it. She only has eyes for tall, dark, and dead over there. I can’t argue with the lack of tact. Girlfriend has all kinds of issues up in there. We *finally* make it to the end of the school day and Ms. Swan is off to the grocery store because her father can only cook “fried bacon and eggs”. It looks like we’ll make it out of the parking lot safely, right? Oh, no, no my children. Safety is merely an illusion.

I saw the two Cullens and the Hale twins getting into their car. It was the shiny new Volvo. Of course. I hadn’t noticed their clothes before – I’d been too mesmerized by their faces. Now that I looked, it was obvious that they dressed exceptionally well; simply, but in clothes that subtly hinted at designer origins…It seemed excessive for them to have both looks and money. But as far as I could tell, life worked that way most of the time.

Apparently, money buys you a shiny Volvo. Really? Couldn’t it at least be a Lexus? Maybe we could even spring for a Mercedes? Also, it’s implied that it’s a sedan. There are 5 of them. Who cares what they’re wearing. I want to know how they determine who gets shotgun and who gets the bitch (middle in the back) seat. That would be so much more entertaining.

The last sentence is where she really gets me. They’re so pretty! And rich! It’s all too much! I’m going to make wild assumptions about pretty people who dress simply and drive a shiny, moderately priced car! [insert eyeroll here]

When I got home, I unloaded all the groceries, stuffing them wherever I could find open space.

So, if there really isn’t any food in the house other than bacon & eggs, what’s taking up all the space? Dare I ask what’s in the cabinets? No, no, it’s all better if I don’t know. She gets dinner started, goes upstairs to check her email, and has no fewer than 3 messages from her mother. Of course, Mom is freaking out about everything from forgetting a top to Bella not replying to aforementioned emails.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the whole “child raising the parents” trope drives me insane. Mom makes scatterbrained look like a compliment. Dad can’t cook. Bella is responsible for remembering when to pick up dry cleaning from 3 states away and also whipping up a good steak & potatoes. It’s a cheap way to give the teenage protagonist some kind of autonomy. How about this instead? The parents function like actual adults who have raised their child in a where s/he has developed the agency on his/her own. Family dynamics are difficult to navigate when the main character is a child or teenager. Hell, family dynamics are difficult to navigate in real life. I’m much more willing to accept the parent(s) as minor characters. If you *have* to cut the parent(s) out of the picture, kill them in a car accident. If it ain’t broke…

Then, for funsies, she whips out Wuthering Heights as a little light reading. Again, the child makes so much more sense now. Nice to see you again, AnaBella. Over her perfectly cooked meal, her dad makes his positive thoughts known about the band of sexy vampire children. Her response? “They’re all very attractive”. Because that somehow will make the situation better? It’s not like he was ranting at you. Oy. She makes the point that she has to wash the dishes by hand. Perhaps scrubbing the floors or polishing the silver is on the docket for tomorrow night. I think a mouse or two might be looking for some work, too. At least we get a break from every inane detail for the rest of the school week. For the moment, I can put the fork down.

CinderBella spends her weekend cleaning, homework-ing, and talking shit about the local library. The first practical thing she concerns herself with is the gas mileage on the truck. I suppose practically had to butt in sooner or later. And then…

He’s baaaaaack!

I kept my head down and glanced up under my lashes.

As opposed to where? Your spleen?

Finally, he speaks:

“Hello,” said a quiet, musical voice…”My name is Edward Cullen”.

I imagine Edward sounding something like this:

With that in mind, he laughs soft enchanting laughs and we FINALLY get a reason why Bella’s whiny ass (and the rest of her) moved to Forks in the first place. Her mom got remarried. Really? That’s it? I was really hoping my mental institution theory was going to pan out. Bummer. However, the mental institution has an excellent curriculum because she’s “already done this lab” and her teacher infers she was in “advanced placement”. Only if it’s the kind that involves padded walls. A girl can dream.

Through the entire conversation, Edward never simply speaks. He murmurs and mutters through most of it. Of course, fangs can make enunciation a bit of a challenge. They’re also, apparently, a hindrance to speaking at a normal volume. There is also, clearly, no other way to communicate dark and sexy but by mumbling. If I can’t understand you, maybe I missed the fact you just used a really terrible pick up line.

Instead of drinking every time Bella flushes, blushes, or turns some other shade of red, we drink when a semi-colon appears. If you’re reading the source material along with me, I apologize to your liver in advance.


 

Hope everyone enjoyed this week’s commentary and maybe even had a good laugh. I live to serve, faithful readers. Have to start prepping myself for next week. Breathe in, breathe out…

XOXO!

 

Of shameless plugs and duct tape

For those who enjoy bloggers who are keeping it real, allow me to refer you to my friend Elizabeth’s blog. She’s an old friend, a fantastic writer, and all around Awesome Chick®. Head on over and show her some love. God knows she’s talked me off the ledge a time or two. Her most recent post got me thinking…

I’ve written plenty about blogs that are all about self love, improving yourself, life coaching, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s a market for it. I frequent several blogs with that overarching theme. I’ve written plenty of posts along those lines right here. What rubs me the wrong way is the tacit understanding that it’s all about “fixing” something. I’m not a flat tire or a broken hinge. I don’t need to be fixed, please and thank you. It’s all too easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole and before you realize it, you’re headed off to Home Depot for some WD-40 and duct tape.

Carrie and Elizabeth both make excellent points that the ugly, the dark, the smelly, the not so pretty parts of ourselves is where the real beauty (oddly enough) can find a place to grow. Sitting in the dirt mourning whatever you’ve lost, be it physical or emotional, is fertile ground. It doesn’t need to be fixed. We don’t need to be fixed. After all, shit makes excellent fertilizer. It takes a lot of balls to show off the scars, bruises, lumps, and broken pieces. To get anywhere worth getting, shit is inevitable. You may fall face first in it. You may just step in it. It’s a hell of a lot easier to get up when there’s someone there with you to offer a hand.

Take my hand, if we be friends, and put down the WD-40 and duct tape. You’re not broken. No need to be fixed.

XOXO!

Motivational Monday: The Trade Off

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I was recruited for a position with another firm. I didn’t end up getting an interview because the person I would be replacing had almost as much experience as I’ve been had time on this Earth. Nonetheless, it was flattering to know that someone was willing to pay more for my skills. I got another call from a recruiter and went in for a pre-interview on Friday. We went through the usual vetting process. I made it clear that I was happy where I am and if the company still wanted to speak to me, I’m up for it. These 2 experiences have helped me see more clearly what I’m (financially) worth.

It gives me a bargaining chip when the time comes. Not only are other companies willing to pay 25% or higher for my skills, I’m one of 36 people in the entire company with a Series 65 or 66. That’s out of 1500 employees. They’re getting me for bargain basement prices and they know it. However, I would need more than a 25% raise to take that leap of faith. Yes, yes, I know some of you are shaking your heads right now like I’m crazy. I probably am. Why would I turn down a 25% raise? It’s simple. I know my priorities.

I’ve had some really, really shitty bosses. Who hasn’t? I’ve been lucky enough to have one of the best bosses I’ve had in a “big girl” job for almost 2 years now. I know that my salary terms are hilariously out of sync with what I would be offered. While the recruiter said salary was negotiable for this position, I doubt they’d come back with another 25%. That’s what it would take for me to risk having another boss who makes my life absolutely miserable. The recruiter was very up front about the company. They’re a start up back office type clearing house. They’ve only got about 40 people, but the positions they’re looking to fill are all brand spanking new. I doubt they have the budget to give me a 50% raise.

I promise this isn’t a post strictly about my salary or me tooting my own horn *giggle*. It’s about knowing what trade offs you’re willing to make.

A wise person once said every decision is a trade off. What you gain on one side, you lose on the other. You may gain more money, but you lose security of knowing what you’re getting every day when you go to work. What you may gain in more personal success, you can lose in personal privacy. What you may gain in strength, you lose in flexibility (literally). What you gain in toughness, physical or emotional, you might lose in perspective. Hell, it could be as small as choosing ice cream over gummy bears because only one fits in the grocery budget. It could be as large as moving to another state and leaving the in person connections behind. It will take an unacceptable trade off  or two before you figure out what’s worth it. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of knowing what you *don’t* want. Some people think that’s overly negative. I think allows more room for possibilities that never even crossed your mind.

As always, take everything with a grain of salt (a lime, and a shot of tequila). Consult your doctor before taking my advice. 😉

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Know what it’s worth.

XOXO!