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let it die
Dec 13th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

in my copious free time, i’ve started writing abstracts for brijit.com. this way, i get exposed to new things i would like to read anyway, and sometimes, i even get paid for summarizing them.

yesterday, i came upon an article i enjoyed a bit: Let It Die: 23 Songs That Should Never Be Covered Again. and i figured there would be others out there (ATTENTION PHILFREE AS WELL AS MURPHY, IF YOU’RE OUT THERE, THIS MEANS YOU) who would probably have an interesting take on the subject. as i wrote in my incredibly pithy (::insert back pat here::) (::insert sarcasm here::) abstract:

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but does anyone need to hear another American Idol contestant belting out “Respect”? That question, among others, is pondered by the snarky authors, who share 23 abused rock, R&B, and country tracks that should enter retirement, barring seriously novel interpretation. The Smith’s “How Soon Is Now” tops a list of familiars, among them works by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Patsy Cline, and Van Morrison (“Brown-Eyed Girl” is “the only song on this list that’s in President Bush’s iPod”).

there are so many songs i cannot stand to hear covered. seldom do you top the original artist (All Along the Watchtower jumps to mind as one of the few covers that betters the original), and usually, you get something that makes you cry out for mercy. i can think of very few beatles or stones covers that are terribly good (though i am a sucker for siouxie and the banshee’s dear prudence, but only because i love that song so much that i’d probably enjoy it if it were sung by paris hilton. plus i love siouxie’s hair.)

so anyone out there have songs to add to the list?

today, i am somebody :)
Dec 12th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

it’s official. today, i can state that i am a published author (well. i’m published all over the web. travel writing. ERIC Digests. all sorts of stuff. i meant literarily published.) okay, so it’s only a short story. but it’s in a book. a book which can be bought. and someone else published said book. someone not related to me.

buy the book. support independent press. hell, my story sucks, but there’s some great stuff by a lot of other people in it.

(note to self: time to finish altering the first novel and time to complete the second.)

wile e. coyote. supergenius.
Dec 11th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

i suspect i am not the only person out there who wonders whether my brain is completely full of information and incapable of admitting more without letting some of the matter, important or unimportant, go.

i wonder about these things, especially at this time of year, because i simply cannot figure out where things have gone. it is holiday time, and i have officially faked myself out. two of BS’s presents, bought a little while ago, were put away in my usual BS Present Hiding Spot ™. Only, too bad for me, as junie b would say, cos they are now officially M.I.A. the kids often play around my official hiding spot, but BC, who would be on the ball for these sorts of things, has no recollection of seeing said items. and i know i saw them last week when i first wrapped a chanukah present for BS. so i probably put them somewhere else so that they’d be supertopsecretsafe.

boy. i’m so smart. so incredibly, freakishly smart. (grrrr.)

i also noticed that a pair of jeans i bought online are missing. they’ve been languishing in a box in the closet, waiting for me to put them on when i finally admitted that i would be comfy in that size and would be ready to venture forth and get them shortened. they’re missing now, too.

i suspect that jimmy hoffa is out there somewhere, using BS’s presents and wearing my g-ddamned jeans.

my big, fat walt disney world vacation. part 4.
Dec 10th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

ah, the happiest place on earth.

first, a round-up of some of the happy moments, for those of you who think i hate everything. (and, for the record, i don’t.)

1) BC, age 9, discovering her “favorite” rides at disney: rockin’ rollercoaster, space mountain, and expedition everest. i have to say that the imagineers (another great job title, methinks) have an incredible way of making your wait (and yes, friends, sans a fastpass, you will wait. and sometimes with a fastpass, you will wait.) somewhat entertaining. i especially enjoyed expedition everest’s realistic paraphenalia; it made me actually even more interested in the area and the people of the region. and going on said rides with my kid? priceless 🙂

2) jools, age 4.5, discovering his favorite rides: buzz lightyear, star tours (and yes, i went on this 6 times thanks to little man and memorized the corny jokes of the person who got us situated), the haunted mansion (which broke down while he and i were riding it one NIGHT, right in front of some graves — and he wasn’t scared (though i was a little creeped out) and watching the how-to show on becoming a jedi. (be prepared for the crowd to get crazy when the man running the show highlights his first young female jedi-in-training.) i’ll admit: i love going on buzz lightyear a lot, too. i also think everyone in the family loved mickey’s philharmagic. i think it’s the best of disney’s 3-d shows, even better than the old muppets chestnut. also, test track (note that jools is not afraid of roller coasters, so if your child is, he might not enjoy it as much)

3) we had lovely meals at boma and jiko. the kids were a little perplexed by the food choices in the norwegian restaurant akershus (we’re not from the big scandinavian food choosers), but as that was where the princess lunch was, that’s what we ate. i would recommend people stick to the breakfast if possible, though lunch is ok (just not what i would normally pay that kind of money for 😉

4) as people staying at WDW, we were allowed to send our kids to a childcare center (for extra $ of course). we chose simba’s cub club in the animal kingdom (so that we could have one grownup dinner date.) not a terribly high-tech place, but when we returned to pick the kids up (at 9:30; we’re so lame at staying out late), the kids begged us to let them stay. of course, they were fed a meal they loved of mac and cheese and chicken nuggets, with all the cookies they could stuff; what’s not to like? kids age 4-12 can enjoy this, though they must be potty-trained to do so (we actually saw a couple getting busted — their daughter was in pull-ups. you know it’s not a good sign when you walk into the club and the cast member takes you aside and says: “there’s something we need to talk about.”) $10 an hour per kid. actually comparable to what we pay around here, almost, when you throw in the pizza we always order for the kids and the sitter 😉

5) the parks, especially the magic kingdom, are WILDLY crowded on night when they stay open late. the exception to this for us was when we paid extra for mickey’s christmas party. it was a snap to get on rides that night. little parties and dancing aboundeth that night — my kids danced with goofy, and yes, dear reader, even jaded little me enjoyed that moment. that’s the night when they have the much vaunted holiday parade.

RANT ALERT! (you knew i couldn’t go all the way through in a happy way, didn’t you?)

we used to visit disney when i was little. i’ve sat through a gazillion parades. and even though they’ve always piped in music, the people in the parade used to sing. i’m pretty darn sure of that. so i am wondering why we all sit for hours to watch people lip-synch? i have zero interest in watching people lip-synch. i want actual singing, people. if i want lip-synching, i’ll go watch some MTV awards show.

jools slept through the christmas parade. BC loved it. so i’m just a picky-picky crank.

but you knew that already.

reindeer romp
Dec 8th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

this morning, in the rainy, icy, snowy early hours of the day, BC ran her first 5k as part of her girls on the run program. girlfriend was a bit frightened before the fact; 1) she invited her school principal to be her buddy since BS and i can’t run with her (yet) — and the dear man accepted; 2) there was a little added pressure because girlfriend ended up as a sort-of poster child for the event, courtesy of the Washington Post; and 3) she actually can’t run all the way through (yet).

BS — who is actually fighting some throaty-coughing thing — took her to the run, as he didn’t want me to risk getting sick out there. and he reported that BC’s principal was as good as his word — she ran, he ran. she walked, he walked. and even though the man is actually a serious runner, he stayed with her through to the finish line. (you bet your butt that man is getting a thank you note and some homemade cookies next week.)

i’m so proud of girlfriend. she finished what she started. (i’ve never started, much less finished, a 5k.) and she wants to keep going in the spring.

you go, girl.

my big, fat walt disney world vacation. part 3.
Dec 8th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

through trial and error, we’ve learned that it’s sometimes better to permit our kids to revel in certain media experiences rather than prohibit them and create a forbidden fruit phenomenon. we limit, but don’t prohibit, television in our house, for example. and BC, as i’ve mentioned before, is a HUGE high school musical fan. while it’s not music to my ears, i have no problem allowing BC to enjoy this pretty innocuous, fluffy show in all of it’s glory.

so when we learned that there’s a big HSM pep rally at walt disney world, we knew that BC would be dying to see it. and, as luck would have it, i drew the short cursed lucky straw that entitled me to be the parent who would enjoy the show with her. as happens with every show at WDW, if you’re not there early, you won’t get to participate in — or sometimes just to see — the show. (read: you need to in the front row, if not close to it.) so we arrived, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, at 9:00am for the 9:35 show. a cast member (i just love that euphemism, don’t you?) told us to stand behind a line and we’d have a great seat for the show. we were thrilled. well. one of us was; i’ll leave that puzzle to your imagination.

so BC and i stood for 35 minutes in what was bright, 70+ degree sunlight, and chattered. around us, there were kids as young as 3 who were waiting for the show. (one little boy, who was actually 3, was there, complete with his HSM glitter shirt on. his mother told us that this would be his 4th time at the show. the first three times happened the day before.) in fact, seeing boys dressed in HSM shirts was a sort of new phemonenon for me. (most boys around here would rather be impaled than be seen in such garb. not that there’s anything wrong with it, of course.) there was a little girl from new yawk whose parents had apparently bought out the HSM franchise for her listening, viewing, and wearing pleasure. it was a wee bit frightening. (BC loves it, but beyond a CD, she doesn’t really have a lot of HSM paraphenalia.)

we stood. and we stood. and we watched people sit down on the astroturf they’d laid down on the ground for people to sit upon once the HSM float (which serves as the show’s backdrop) comes through. and we watched cast members move them along. meanwhile, parents around me seethed like stage mothers behind a rope. why do those people continue to sit on the astroturf? why don’t the workers MOVE them? apparently, there was much gnashing of teeth. i was a little frightened we were going to have a reenactment of the 1979 Who show, and i was not about to have my kid underfoot for some gabriella wannabe. i was getting kind of nervous. BC, i said, if people get crazy when they drop the rope, just run and sit down on the turf. i will find you, but just be careful.

when the cast members started to move the rope, they pulled it across, as if to lead us to our appointed spots. but people started to push, and i was afraid that BC would be in harm’s way. sensing this, BC slipped under the rope and plopped down on the astroturf. i walked over to her and slid my legs around her so that she was essentially in my lap. she was able to actually get up and dance with the HSM people at a few points, and i was calm enough to nearly enjoy the show be happy that my daughter was beaming contendedly and had not become a permanent part of the pavement.

a lot of the shows at disney essentially reward pushy parents. knowing that, we waited so that we could get decent seats. but because of that, jools didn’t get selected to be a jedi knight (must be in the front row). my sister in law and my brother in law (mercifully) scouted out a curbside spot so that we all could watch the christmas parade; i think they must have stayed there for at least an hour. you waste so much time saving spots and waiting at disney. it must be part of their economic formula, but it brings out the crazies in everyone.

including me.

my big, fat walt disney world vacation. part 2.
Dec 7th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

you didn’t think i was done yet, did you?

after surviving our trip on amtrak’s autotrain (which was actually a positive experience save for some of our fellow passengers), we made our way to walt disney world. because there were specific places where we wanted to dine while there, like boma (although it wasn’t quite as much fun without my pal jaxx and her daughter beans along like last time), we signed up for the disney meal plan; it just ended up a more cost effective proposition.

the disney meal plan at this time gives you one sit-down meal, one counter service meal, and one snack per day, tip and tax inclusive. considering how expensive walt’s food is, it’s a good deal unless you’re willing to travel off-grounds. (so good a deal, i think, that they will be altering the plan next year and not including tip. at least.) we brought in milk and cereal for breakfast and basically ate lunch, dinner, and the snack (though we ended up losing a few meals in the end.) unfortunately, this results in a boatload of food if you’re not careful. and while i think i walked a thousand miles while there (which is why i didn’t gain weight in the end), i felt like the hindenberg much of the time because the food is so caloric.

despite my attempts to eat plenty of veggies and salad, i started to feel like i had gained a thousand pounds while at the park. i wasn’t feeling my best. i wasn’t happy at the happiest place on earth, and i guess it showed. mama, BC said, don’t worry. you’re not fat. have you seen some of the people here?

while my beloved child was being kind to me (a year on steroids and two babies and i’m not exactly twiggy), she did make me realize something: compared to a lot, and i do mean a lot of my fellow americans, i am not hefty. well, i am hefty, but the people we saw this week were in a class by themselves. we all read about the epidemic of obesity in this country; but this past week, i experienced it up close and personal. realize that i am in no position whatsoever to throw stones. i love people who are shaped small, large, and in-between. further, not only are plenty of people i love on the large side, but i’m not remotely close to being thin. repeat: i am pretty damn huge. but i’m in a different league than a lot of the folks i saw. it’s like a comedian i saw once said: there’s large, extra large, and oh my G-d, it’s coming toward us!

hell, it’s a small world is getting rehabbed because our asses are too big to sit in the damn boats.

the connection i made was with the amount of strollers i saw. there were 20 year old kids being pushed in supersized, double-wide rented strollers. okay, okay, maybe i’m going a little over the top here. they weren’t 20. but kids BC’s age in strollers? damn, we don’t even let jools sit in a stroller. if you’re old enough to go to disney, you’re old enough to walk (unless, of course, you’re infirm. i get that. i really do.) now i agree, that’s a lot of walking for little legs. and there are times when we’ve had to pick jools up and give him a shoulder ride because either he simply wasn’t keeping up OR because the crowd was so tremendous, we were afraid he’d get trampled. OR we altered our plans a little for a rest period. but still. people were pushing old kids around. my parents didn’t keep us in strollers; we don’t keep our kids in strollers. i’m surprised and curious to find out why elementary school aged children needed to be pushed around.

while i’m ranting on the subject, i especially love when people try to put those strollers in the craziest situations. you’re supposed to fold them up before getting on the tram to the parking lot. there are rides where you simply must park the stroller because there’s simply not enough room for the thing on the queue. and G-d knows you’re not supposed to put a stroller on an escalator. yet those stupid people whom G-d must dearly love, yes, yeah verily, they are alive, well, and visiting orlando. in droves. with children who are old enough to not need those contraptions. someone needs to photograph each kid in the stroller (just like they do for people running red lights in DC) and then threaten to show said photo to all of junior’s friends back in podunk, USA.

that’ll get junior’s ass walking.

how do you spell chanukah?
Dec 7th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

apparently, the leeVees (Adam Gardner (Guster) and Dave Schneider (the Zambonis) are pondering this, too. and in a way that absolutely rocks.

big shout out to testosterone zone for bringing this to my attention.

and to everyone out there who celebrates it, have a groovy one with plenty of latkes and jelly doughnuts.

my big, fat walt disney world vacation. part 1.
Dec 6th, 2007 by wrekehavoc

and you may ask yourself, why the hell isn’t that boring chick writing much? she usually spews about anything. we’ve had radio silence for days, and that’s simply just not like her to be that considerate by shutting her trap.

well, fear not. i’m not being considerate. my blathering self is back. we just spent a few days in the barmy balmy place known as westworld walt disney world. you know, the happiest place in the world? (dammit, at the rates i paid, you will be happy, and nothing will go wrong, or else!) sorry i didn’t let you know in advance, but i didn’t feel like announcing to potential doers-of-evil that i was vacating my premises for a bit. but we’re back. i suspect that there are several points to rant over, so this may take a few days to get out of my system.

(don’t say you weren’t warned.)

for a stunning twist, we decided to take the autotrain this year. you load your car onto the train, then you sleep through the carolinas and all of their kitschy roadside south of the border signage until VOILA! you’re in scenic sanford. (and when i say scenic, i mean scenic like being on the wrong side of scrub pines and railroad tracks.) this time of year, the autotrain is packed, and i mean packed, TO THE GILLS, with senior citizens on their way to flaaa-rida. dahling. i would say that this trip predominantly included most of the citizenry from the greater new york metropolitan area. our family probably lowered the median age a bit.

you know it’s going to be a fabulous ride when the dining attendants hide the hot cocoa packets because the seniors rip them off. (my kids, in a moment of sweetness i wish i had captured on film, smiled so nicely at the attendant that she gave them two additional packets for later. i guess she figured we weren’t a threat to the stash.) but we were off, and everyone was nice to us once we got past the whole boarding thing. (there were a few alta cockers who i feared might run over us with luggage carts should we have the temerity to attempt to walk before them.) but the older folks who were in our little slice of AMTRAK heaven were mostly nice and didn’t monopolize the bathrooms. one even gave BC a dollar in honor of her birthday, which was sweet (even after BC said no thank you and the lady insisted.) now i just have to train these people to not speak REALLY INCREDIBLY LOUDLY WHEN IT’S 10:00 AT NIGHT AND THEY ARE RIGHT OUTSIDE MY DOOR. myrtle, your hearing aid may blow up if you keep that shit up.

where am i going with this? to disney world, of course, silly.

anyway, once we arrived in sanford, the old folks rallied to the very front of the station, as if their personal sheer will would make their car come out before everyone else’s. all, apparently, except for one family, whose car actually came out first. 45 minutes later, the announcer on the PA was getting really snippy: Eber Family, Car # 405, EBER Family, You really need to get your big asses over here right now and take your car away before we sell it on Ebay for $1! okay, so that’s more what was going on in my little bear brain, but the PA Announcer was not far from me on that, you know.

BC asked an interesting question: mama, why do all of these grandparents drive big SUVs? i couldn’t imagine any of them stepping up so high without requiring surgical intervention, but apparently, they can and they do. i scratched my head. i really don’t know, sweetheart was all i could muster. BC decided that maybe they all have to drive their grandchildren around in carpools. yeah right, darling. in their dreams they are all driving that carpool. then, after two days of kids screaming and dropping cheerios in their formerly-clean interiors, they are begging for mercy.

we went on our honeymoon to disney nearly 18 years ago. we did not decide to have children until 8 years after that, probably because a trip to disney is the finest form of birth control around. that being said, i was now wondering whether i would find seniors scarier than children.

madame turns 9
Dec 2nd, 2007 by wrekehavoc

it’s hard for me to believe, but 9 years ago today, i was waddling into a hospital and giving birth to two whole new lives: that of my darling bunnygirl and a novel existence for me as a mom.

BC, today you’re 9, and i relish seeing the person you’re turning into.

dear one, you believe in fairness to the enth degree. especially when it concerns yourself and jools, and particularly especially when you feel you’re getting the wrong end of the stick.  but you can, and do, rise to the occasion, especially when it’s the role of big sister. like a few weeks ago, when some older boys were making fun of jools at a party. he was playing with your friend’s polly pockets, and the boys were calling him stupid and dumb. it stings me that i wasn’t in the room when this happened; i had stepped out only for a minute. but you, dear girl. you stepped in and announced that he wasn’t stupid (after jools himself announced that and kept on playing, ignoring the sexist boys.) you told me that then, you had the unfortunate coincidence of swinging your leg around and hitting the particularly offensive boy “in the nut.” it was an accident, you claim.

girlfriend, you cannot kick boys “in the nut,” and i’m not encouraging you to do so in the future. as a mom, i’m supposed to teach you to abhor violence and to come and find a grownup when you cannot handle the situation. but know that deep inside me, i am cheering ecstatically for my girl, who is learning to defend all that she holds dear.

you are empathetic, and you are especially beloved by little babies and toddlers. we still call you the baby whisperer because babies and toddlers seem to seek you out.  they instinctively know you are a good person to know, and you are. you treat little ones gently and lovingly, each and every one (except for jools, who doesn’t necessarily fall under the little ones category anymore, i suppose.) the only other person i know who has that same ability is my BTD . little kids literally swarmed him when he was a camp counselor, and you guys do the same to him now. so perhaps it’s genetic.

you’ve been dropped into a new school knowing absolutely no one; and you’ve made friends, and you’re enjoying school, running, and generally having playdates, something you seldom had in your old school. there is something to be said about sending your kid to a neighborhood school over busing her to a school across town. so much for my parental hopes to give you something even better than what i had.

you’ve also said how glad you are to learn math and science in english now. i guess that helps a bit. also, having a teacher who genuinely loves teaching and children has helped you immensely. (you had one of those last year — your english teacher — but you had another, your spanish/math/science teacher, who i suspect may not.) i’m so grateful that you’ve landed in a school where the teachers behave like teachers and not crazed disciplinarians, and where religion has no place in your classroom. (i am still incredulous that your spanish teacher placed a picture of the creche scene beneath the american flag last year.) at your new school, they celebrate winter — the SEASON — and not christmas. they don’t decide to throw jews a bone and include chanukah, either.  and i am sooooo glad for it. i get so bent when people think that if they include a jewish song or a jewish story into the curriculum, then all’s well and balanced.  no, no, NO. religious holidays have no place in public school. my religion or anyone else’s. period.

but enough about me.  this should be about you.

and you are fantastic, with one leg still in young childhood and one leg firmly in the world of tweens. you still love playing with dolls, but you also love your mp3 player, Hanna Montana, and chasing boys. yep, i’m living in fear over the latter (as are the boys of the world.) but i’ll cross that bridge another day.

know that i love you. you often think i love your brother more, but i have a heart that has learned to expand to accommodate new people ever since that fateful day in 1998 when i wound up with a beautiful little girl. you taught me that, and for that, i’ll always be grateful.

happy birthday 🙂


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