Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Warp Speed Wednesday: My Son Is a Trekkie.

[This post is a parody of a infamous blog post from 2010, which I discuss here.]

My son is a Trekkie.

Or he’s not. I don’t care. He is still my son. And he is only a proto-adult from an overly emotional humanoid race. And I am his mother, a Trekkie. If you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don’t want to know you.

Here are the facts that lead up to my rant:
 1. My son has loved Star Trek since developing the ability and attention span to sit still long enough to watch it in exchange for receiving maternal affection.
2. Halloween is a holiday and its main focus is wearing a costume.
3. An excuse to wear a costume in public is a temptation no Trekkie can refuse.
4. I'm a Trekkie.
5. For me Star Trek isn't just a tv show. It's a way of life.
6. I want my son to be a Trekkie when he grows up.



A few weeks before Halloween, my son decided to be Odo from Star Trek Deep Space 9.  I was hesitant to make the purchase. Not because Odo is an obscure character from the most-under appreciated Star Trek series, but because children have a tendency to change their minds. They're so illogical.

After requesting a couple of more times, I said sure and placed his costume order. He flipped out when it arrived. It was perfect. As Halloween approached, he hemmed and hawed. After some discussion he admitted to being afraid people would laugh at him. I pointed out that some people would because it is a cute and clever costume. He insisted their laughter would be of the ‘making fun’ kind. I blew it off. Seriously, part of being a Trekkie is learning to tune out society's derision. Plus he'd worn a Borg costume last year. He'd scored quite a haul, candy-wise and he looked adorable:


The big day arrived. We got dressed up and drove to the school. My son didn't want to get out of the car. This is understandable since he's homeschooled, but I insisted he accompany me for a procession through the halls. A procession of two. Two AWESOME members of the Trek Nation.

I was wearing this, by the way:



That’s where things went wrong. Upon entering the building two mothers went wide-eyed and made faces as if they were Vulcans getting a whiff of Archer's beagle Porthos.

I realized that my son was seeing the same thing. So I said, “Doesn’t he look great?”

Mom A said in disgust, “Did he ask to be that?! He looks like one of those Big Banger guys from TV."


Mom B just stood there -- it was like the Eymorgs had stolen her brain to power their planet's super computer.

Mom C approached and said "Ohmigod, your little...erm...gu...buh -- child is very cute. That costume is so original. It threw me for a minute, but then I caught the reference. What do you think of the newest Doctor? I still miss David Tennant."

To which I calmly replied that I couldn’t imagine what she was talking about.

"David Tennant. The tenth Doctor. From Doctor Who." she said obviously puzzled. "Your son is dressed like a Sontaran, right?"

At this point Mom A spoke up, "That's not a Sontaran costume. He's Sheldon. No. Wait. Now I get it: he's one of those Spock fellows. From the show with Denny Crane's actor."


"Yes. Star...ummm…not Wars that's the one with Ewan MacGregor. It's the other one Star...TREK! Star Trek -- that's the name!" said Mom B. "My husband and I are considering getting our daughters interested in Star Trek. What with all the talk about early sexualization of young girls, it seems like a great way to ensure they keep their virginity until they go to university. If not longer."

Mom A nodded in agreement and was about to speak up when Mom C interrupted. "Star Trek, seriously? I guess it's okay, but I prefer Doctor Who. David Tennant is so dreamy. Look he's the wallpaper on my iphone." She held it up for our appraisal.

"Rawr!" said Mom B, "I'd totally let him touch my boob. Seriously. And I don't even let my husband touch them anymore. Stupid on-demand breastfeeding has ruined them FOREVER."

Mom A spoke up, "Oh, please. David Tennant is fine and even Matt Smith has his charms. But you know what's a total sausage-fest? Battlestar Galactica. Damn. I wish that show was still being produced. I'd sell my first born for five minutes alone with Tahmoh Penikett."


"I can't decide if Starbuck is a good role model for young feminists, or not? What do you think?" pondered Mom B.

And on they went.

I added nothing to the conversation. How dare they not recognize that:
a. my son looked AMAZING as Odo, and
b. my fandom is way better than their fandoms.

Why weren't they talking about my son's Odo costume? The only thing worse than people mocking or bullying my kid for being a Trekkie, is people ignoring my fandom. And my kid. My son was Odo, DAMNIT. FROM STAR TREK! Who cares about those other shows? Not me. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations my ass.

My response to this: Star Trek is the best sci-fi franchise EVER. And I want my son to feel free to embrace the themes and fashions of Gene Roddenberry's creation. I understand that someday my son will grow up and could turn his back on Trek fandom. He may favour Battlestar Galactica. He may call himself a Browncoat. He may even fancy Matt Smith. My job as his mother is not to stifle the man that he will be, but to help him along his way. Mine is not to dictate what is ‘normal’ for our species and what is not, but to help him become a good person who respects the Prime Directive. A good person who loves his mother more than any other woman and who participates in cosplay whenever possible.

And my little man worked that costume like no other. He rocked that polyester one piece jumpsuit, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Lasso of Truth and the Sears Product Review of Awesomeness.

I received a devastating blow to my ego yesterday. Sears.ca rejected a product review I submitted. If my writing isn't good enough for Sears I don't think I can muster the strength to continue living. Well, unless netflix.ca starts streaming the Doctor Who reboot -- in which case, I will be too happy to entertain such dark thoughts.

Here's the email Sears sent:
Subject: Your Review has been Rejected 
Hi NanAmazonianPrincess, 
Thank you for submitting your review to Sears.ca. We unfortunately could not publish your review on our site because it did not meet our posted submission guidelines. Please review the reasons below:




There are no reasons listed below. I take no small bit of pride that whoever rejected my review sucks at formatting and proofreading their own emails. HAHAHA!  I did click on the link to the submission guidelines, which are:
Your review should take into consideration: 
• What you find remarkable or unremarkable about the product and, more importantly, the reasons for your opinions.
• How the product functions, the experience you had with the product, the relevant advantages and disadvantages of the product.
Your review should not include:
• Cursing, vulgarity, or any foul language.
• Comments on or criticism of other customer reviews.
• Explicit mention of a competitor or that competitor's prices.
• Email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers, or URLs.
• Single-word reviews (once again, we would like to see your reasons why).


I think the real reason Sears cruelly rejected my review for iHip™ Wonder Woman Earbuds is because Sears hates whimsy. Because this is a solid review:
Title: Looks Aren't Everything. 
I'm a Wonder Woman fan and bought these strictly for the chance to have something branded with the face of my favourite Amazon Princess. Alas they're uncomfortable to wear as the silicon ear piece is very thin. The sound quality is fair. I'm still using them, but when they die (earbuds seldom last longer than 6 months for me) I'll be buying a less awesome looking, more comfortable pair.
What's wrong with that, Sears?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Warp Speed Wednesday: The Engineer Edition.


I have a thing for engineers. In fact, I married one.

So naturally I'm thrilled that one of my sons plans to be an engineer when he grows up. The inspiration for Klaxon's aspirations comes in equal measure from Mr Wrath and from the boy's exposure to Star Trek starting at an early age. Like me, he has strong opinions about all the Chief Engineers on Star Trek television series:



Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, The Original Series
 "Aye, the haggis is in the fire for sure" -- A Taste of Armageddon

Last year when I wrote about the doctors on each of the series, I said I'd love to go on shore leave with  Doctor McCoy and Scotty. I stand by this opinion.  Scotty's known as a fun-loving guy and a loyal friend, plus he's a solid engineer whose quick thinking saved the ship many times. Plus he's the only guy in a red shirt on a landing party who always came back alive.

Geordi La Forge, The Next Generation
 "Captain Picard to the Bridge! Captain, we've got a problem with the warp core, or the phase inducers, or some other damn thing." -- All Good Things...

If you're going to work in the engineering section of a Starship, Geordi would be the boss you'd want.  He's compassionate, smart and a real team player. But his personal life is a disaster. He's often insecure or needy, has bad taste in women, and wears a banana clip on his face.

Miles O'Brien, Deep Space 9
 "I can't believe you've forgotten! It's 'I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the galaxy' Day. I marked it in your calendar!" -- The House of Quark

Bar none O'Brien's my favourite engineer. He works with Cardassian, Bajoran and Federation technology and is equal parts engineer, mechanic, and computer technician. Of all the five engineers his personal life was the most fleshed out and this added layer of humanity makes his appearances all the more compelling. Plus he's Irish -- I've got a thing for engineers AND a thing for Irish men. It's the accent. And my genetic destiny.

B'elanna Torres, Voyager
 "It may be the warriors who get the glory, but it's the engineers who build society." -- Flesh and Blood

B'elanna is the only female Chief Engineer featured on the five series. As a feminist it pains me to admit she is my least favourite of the five characters. It's not because of her gender, but because of her race. I don't find Klingon characters (or in this case half-Klingon) or story lines very interesting because they are based on the self-limiting premise of Klingons being angry, violent and obsessed with honour. B'elanna was more nuanced that most Klingon characters, but her perpetual grumpiness and aggression got old fast. She deserves credit for repairing and maintaining a ship without Starfleet infrastructure and supply dumps to back her up. I wouldn't mind serving with B'elanna, but I wouldn't want her to be my supervising officer and I certainly wouldn't be friends with her.

 Charles "Trip" Tucker, Enterprise
 "Then go ahead and shoot me! But you better hope we don't make it because if we survive the first thing I'm going to do is bust your ass back to crewman second class for insubordination." -- Shuttlepod One

Trip can prime my warp nacelles and explore my jefferies tubes any old time. Cause he is pretty. He's one of my favourite characters from this particular (dreary) series.

Friday, October 19, 2012

On second thought, Indiana isn't such a bad name.



Things were very tense yesterday here at the Institute for the Mockery of Celebrity Spawn Monikers as we plugged "Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson" into our Zuma-Mowgli-Inspektor-Apple-Moxie-Crimefighter Algorithim. Here's the break down of Luna's names:

Hyphenated surname: +5 points

Superfluous middle names: +30 points
10 points each for Arkadine, Altalune, Florence

Vowel saturation of all given names: +17 points
Rosalind,Vowels: 3
Arusha, Vowels: 3
Arkadine, Vowels: 4
Altalune, Vowels: 4
Florence, Vowels: 3

Place names:  +20 points
Florence, Italy 
Arusha, Tanzania

Name commonly associated with well-known literary character: +20 points
Rosalind, As You Like It
Luna, Harry Potter series

Name associated with obscure, unsavoury literary character: +25 points
Arkadina, The Seagull

Misappropriating name from another culture: +20 points
Arusha

Using name commonly associated with the opposite gender: +10 points
Arusha

Name sounds like it could be a product found in a health food store to combat side effects of my womanly moon cycle: +10 points
Altalune

Choosing shortly after birth to call the child by a nickname instead of one of her legal names: +15 points
Luna

Using nickname with only the faintest connection to the child's many, many given names: +50 points
Luna is derived from Altalune

Justifying use of names with a version of the self-serving "The names mean something to us" song and dance: +10 points

Inventing a faintly ethnic or exotic name that is really meaningless: +10 points
Altalune

Saying the child's name out loud makes my lips go tingly: +10 points

Final score: 252 reasons for me to roll my eyes.  Rosalind, by the way, is a lovely, lovely name. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I Hate CostumeSupercenter.com (And Will Never Deal With Them AGAIN).


We're throwing a party the Saturday before Halloween. As so often happens when we host a get-together, the guest list keeps expanding and the plans keeping getting grander. There's one small hitch: my kids don't have their costumes yet.

Not by design.

By gross incompetency.

And for once it's not MY gross incompetency that's making my children stressed and tearful.

The blame for this one lies with Costume Supercenter.com. I placed an order with Costume Supercenter.com on September 20, 2012 because I wanted the costumes to arrive well in advance of the party. HAHAHA! The joke's on me!

Since October 2, 2012 the boys' costumes have been sitting in a UPS warehouse in Richmond, British Columbia. When I first contacted Costume Supercenter.com, they refused to help me because once a package leaves their warehouse they are done with it and it's all on UPS. Fortunately the people manning the UPS live chat application are much more useful than Danielle W., Amber C., or Jennifer H. who work at  Costume Supercenter.com's live chat and who have been spectacularly unhelpful.

The UPS operator told me the package is hanging out in Richmond because Costume Supercenter.com hasn't supplied the correct information for it to be cleared through customs. She was not sure why 10 days passed without the retailer (did I mention they are called Costume Supercenter.com of 45 Fernwood Avenue, Edison, New Jersey, USA, 08837?) following up with me. I know the answer to this quandary: Costume Supercenter.com doesn't give a flying fuck that I don't have my sons' costumes because "when an international order is placed we cannot guarantee it will clear customs in any number of days as that is out of our hands."1 Yeah -- because it's not like the delivery of a Halloween costume is time-sensitive. Does Costume Supercenter.com really believe this?  Are their customers suppose to resolve issues getting their purchases through customs? Even when the company  fails to submit the correct paperwork? I don't think so.

Next weekend I will probably have to drive 300 kilometers round trip to the nearest city to purchase costumes to ensure that my children are NOT in tears when they host their friends for a Halloween party the FOLLOWING weekend. Those costumes won't be my sons' first choices. Those costumes will be an expense I didn't anticipate because while Costume Supercenter.com can't be bothered to actually deliver the goods, they're pretty fucking speedy processing my credit card for $100, and pretty adamant that I can't get a refund.

Yet.

But I am going to try.

If the costumes are not here in my hands by October 20, 2012, I will file a fraud complaint against Costume Supercenter.com with my credit card company. Do you think that's going to be a trick on me or a treat for me?





• • • • • • • • • •
This quote was taken from today's chat transcript. Compare it with the current banner on Costume Supercenter.com:



"We Ship to Canada Fast & Cheap" -- ?? Does "fast" have a different meaning in Edison, New Jersey? Maybe -- after all Costume Supercenter.com's definition of "customer service" differs from my own.

• • • • • •

Update!

On Monday morning a Costume Supercenter.com employee called me, apologized and promised my delivery would arrive by Wednesday. 

Five minutes later a UPS employee called me, apologized and promised my delivery would arrive by Friday.

The second caller explained there was nothing wrong with my particular parcel, but instead my box was one of 58 -- YES, FIFTY EIGHT!!! -- packages all coming from Costume Supercenter.com on a palette that was stuck in shipping purgatory. Does this mean that there are 57 really laid back, easy going people in British Columbia who weren't at all concerned that their costumes were delayed? WHO ARE THESE WEIRDOES?! Don't they know the power of social media?!

But here's the good news: the package did arrive on WEDNESDAY. HURRAH!





Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Warp Speed Wednesdays: KLINGON STYLE!


Know what's even more fun than dancing Gangnam Style? This:


Thanks, Hannah, for the heads up.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It Means Chuck. (Coming up with titles for my blog posts is the HARDEST part of blogging. Which isn't saying much since blogging isn't exactly rocket science.)

Uma Thurman is driving me crazy. She had a baby back in July, and still hasn't announced the girl's name. There isn't even a RUMOURED name. How is it possible that no one in her extended family or who works in her doctor's office or whose child goes to school with Thurman's older children has leaked this name? C'mon, people! Start gossiping!



I'm particularly interested to know because I suspect that Uma got custody of The Good Tastes In Baby Names upon divorcing Ethan Hawke. The children from their marriage are Maya Ray and Levon Roan. I give these names a thumbs-up. Subsequently Hawke's had two daughters named Clementine and Indiana. Clementine is okay, Indiana is horrible. The father of Thurman's new baby has sons named Arpad Flynn Alexander and Aurelius Cy Andrea. These names are not my style, but they're solid, legitimate names that will not limit the boys' career options. Unlike Indiana.

I find it interesting when a person or couple's taste in baby names changes radically. As Kelly Ripa became famous, her taste in names got weirder. She went from Michael to Lola to Joaquin.

Another example is the former couple Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe. Together they have Ava and Deacon. Phillippe has another daughter named Kailani Merizalde Phillippe Knapp.

[Short interlude while I think about Paul Rudd's character Kunu/Chuck in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and laugh at the name Kailani.]

Last month Witherspoon and her new husband welcomed a son. Tennessee Toth. I assume that he came out the birth canal looking a villain from a silent movie. There is no other excuse.







Monday, October 8, 2012

Gobble gobble.

When it comes to holiday dining, Mr Wrath is a bit of traditionalist. He wasn't even tempted by this ad:





Instead we bought a 10-pound turkey for $5. That is $545 dollars less than the Lab[r]adoodle [sic] puppies, plus the bird was already plucked and gutted.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

In the five years we've homeschooled, I have only managed a Thanksgiving craft once. This week when I suggested a craft, Klaxon said "If you force me to make a hand print turkey, I will definitely not be giving thanks." I couldn't argue with him. I'm not much of a Thanksgiving fan either. Canadian Thanksgiving is a pale imitation of the original, superior American Thanksgiving.

STOP! Do not immediately page to the bottom of this post and write "Canadian Thanksgiving is the original Thanksgiving because  in the summer of 1578 Martin Frobisher said a prayer giving thanks while on Baffin Island!!11!!"  Yes, this is the story taught to Canadians in elementary school that legitimizes our tradition as separate from the American version. It's also a passive aggressive dig that the Americans are copying us, as their Thanksgiving is traced to 1621. But I don't believe a transient British explorer reciting a single prayer in the summertime should be considered the inspiration for our current, turkey-centric, harvest festival. Historians trace our Thanksgiving to Upper Canada in the 1800s, and merchants deliberately patterned the day after the American version.

In order for me to like Thanksgiving one or both of the following changes will need to occur:

1. we roll back the date to match the American holiday. TWO DAYS OFF! CHRISTMAS BARGAIN SHOPPING! THEMATIC TELEVISION SPECIALS! NOT HAVING TO DO YARD WORK,

or

2. instead of imitating the American holiday's themes and foods, we create uniquely Canadian traditions. We use it as an opportunity to teach young people about Canada's history, ie there were no Pilgrims here. Let's forgo turkey in favour of locally popular or regionally sourced foods, ie Alberta beef, Kraft Dinner, caribou, maple syrup, moose, salmon, Timbits, perogies, LAB[R]ADOODLE [sic] PIE!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Giving Thanks (for bargains).

On Wednesday I stopped by the hospital auxiliary thrift store and bought this:


It was a real steal at $1. And I would know since the first time I bought it, I paid $5.

That was 6 years ago at the community garage sale. When I brought it home, I discovered the silver plating was so badly tarnished that it couldn't be salvaged. My husband spray painted it black and it became the centerpiece for many a holiday dinner. But the novelty wore off. Last spring it wound up in a charity box that we dropped off at the aforementioned thrift store.

Then on Tuesday Klaxon asked if we could buy some ornamental corn for our Thanksgiving dinner table. I agreed not realizing he'd planned to utilize the now-donated pedestal tray until we got home and he asked where the tray was stored.

Oops.

When I spotted the tray at the thrift store the next day, I was pretty happy. I told the tale to the volunteer at the counter and she said it was unlikely it had been on site the entire time. Thank you, person who purchased and then redonated my pedestal tray, I've now declared it a family heirloom.

True to his word, Klaxon featured it in the centerpiece for our (Canadian) Thanksgiving meal:


 The theme was Orange Stuff We Gathered Up Around the House.

Please note that in the end Klaxon didn't have room for his ornamental corn, so he tucked it underneath the tray.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I *Heart* My Public Library.

Dear Church of Scientology,

I thought you'd be interested to see the book sale shelf at my local public library:


These books have been sitting untouched for 8 weeks. Your attempts to legitimize the Church of Scientology by inundating public library collections with your founder's poorly written science fiction oeuvre, has failed. People are increasingly aware that Scientology is an evil, mind-control cult.

Here's what you didn't take into account:

- librarians are generally savvy about trends in pop culture which heavily influence their patrons' tastes and interests. Translation: librarians are well-educated and know about L. Ron, Tom Cruise, and David Miscavige and aren't going to be pawns in your silly PR game, and
- public libraries don't have an infinite amount of room. They're not going to give up a chunk of shelf space to books that are never going to be checked out. The only people who read buy L. Ron's books are Scientologists who have been directed by their "church" to purchase the books so that they don't go out of print.

 Our librarian did enter one single L. Ron tome into the collection. It's proving much less popular than Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion. Oooh. That's gotta sting, huh?

xoxo

Nan