December 11, 2008


I've only seen the Terminator movies once before, and I was excited to see T2 again. But...I had forgotten how frustrating it is. I mean, the premise of these movies is great: an unstoppable killing machine. (Though Lileks is right that "the abuse that was once reserved for the Terminator is now doled out to human beings, and they not only arenÂ’t killed instantly, they are capable of acrobatic fistfights while hanging from one hand in a elevator shaft.") And this movie has the absolute greatest villain of all time. Robert Patrick turns my blood cold. He could play Santa Claus and I would be scared to death of him.

But the movie is just so interminably annoying. We're going to change the future and save three billion people from dying, but we can't kill anyone in the process because that's mean. John Connor might die and the world could end, but heaven forbid we kill a rent-a-cop. Enough with the lectures on morality and how evil technology is. Oh, and that speech that Sarah Connor gives about how all men do is destroy but women create because they have wombs blah blah blah. Give me a break.

I have lower standards than just about anyone when it comes to action movies. I will tolerate a lot of crap. But despite having the coolest bad guy of all time, T2 is really preachy. Stop with the voice-overs and get to the terminating already.

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December 04, 2008


Dear Mare,

Today at work I had to put together the small version of the foam gingerbread house. It is not nearly as maddening, so if you are looking to buy one of these for torture purposes, I suggest splurging on the big one.

Well, the little one isn't as bad...provided it actually comes with all its pieces. Which mine did not.


I did take a photo of the masterpiece I put together the other day. Behold, in all its glory:


I also forgot to mention the other day that all I had to go on was a 2"x2" black and white photo of the thing. Hardly good instructions.

Each heart? Individually applied. I know I mentioned that. It's worth repeating.

Do not attempt this at home, kids.

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December 02, 2008


Dear AWTM,

I would like to apologize for the present I gave you last Christmas. I had no idea.

You see, I loved the story of Pink Ninja wanting an activity set. It's one of my favorite kid stories ever. So when I found the foam nativity kits that you can build yourself, I thought it was perfect: it was both an activity and a nativity set!

I had never put together one of those kits before.

As I mentioned, I received all the Michaels store decorations for Valentine's Day already. Inclosed were several of those foam kits for pink gingerbread-style houses covered in hearts. It's my job to put them together for the store display.

I spent two hours on that house today. I am 31 years old.

The base of the thing was 10"x15". The house was a two-story castle with a turret and a covered porch. Covered in hearts. Which you have to individually attach.

Every time I tried to touch the roof, it fell off. And then the ceiling caved in.

You see in this picture of the little gingerbread house, you see how the seams don't exactly match up? Now try building a second story on top of that. And adding a roof with seams that don't match. I was ready to shoot myself.

And it seems I'm not the only one who's been in foam hell this week.

Two hours and a glue gun later, the Valentine's house is presentable. Provided no one goes near it, breathes on it, or even looks at it too piercingly.

And I still have three more kits to make.

So, AWTM, I am sorry if your activity set turned into an activity that made you want to kill me.


With photo!

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Lie, Cheat and Steal: High School Ethics Surveyed

In the past year, 30 percent of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store and 64 percent have cheated on a test, according to a new, large-scale survey suggesting that Americans are too apathetic about ethical standards.

Let the record show that I have never shoplifted or cheated on a test.

Educators reacting to the findings questioned any suggestion that today's young people are less honest than previous generations, but several agreed that intensified pressures are prompting many students to cut corners.

"The competition is greater, the pressures on kids have increased dramatically," said Mel Riddle of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. "They have opportunities their predecessors didn't have (to cheat). The temptation is greater."

Even back in my day, we had graphing calculators that stored information in them. I don't remember any of my friends using that storage to cheat. But regardless, this person is gonna argue that greater competition and opportunity is an excuse for cheating?

Despite such responses, 93 percent of the students said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77 percent affirmed that "when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know."

Sick. That's the result of parents and their unconditional love and praise. Heaven forbid you hurt little Johnny's self-esteem by telling him he needs to "live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life."

"A lot of people like to blame society's problems on young people, without recognizing that young people aren't making the decisions about what's happening in society," said Dzurinko, 32. "They're very easy to scapegoat."

FAIL. Young people will be making those decisions in ten years, and they have a foundation of cheating and stealing to build on. They're not scapegoats if they admit their immoral behavior. We are totally boned when they become businessmen, educators, and politicians.

"This generation is leading incredibly busy lives -- involved in athletics, clubs, so many with part-time jobs, and -- for seniors -- an incredibly demanding and anxiety-producing college search," he offered as an explanation.

FAIL. Getting into college is stressful, so I'm gonna go out and shoplift, you know, to take the edge off.

I find it incredible that all these principals and administrators are making excuses for these results. Actually, no, I don't find it incredible: I think it's the reason they came up with these results. Adults coddle kids entirely too much these days. They want kids to like them. You know what my philosophy is? Your teenager should hate you...until he's about 25. Then he should start to grok everything you did for him. I am still realizing all the lessons my parents taught me, and I try to inform them when I have finally understood why they did the things they did. And I'm glad they didn't try to "be my friend" when I was in high school. Shoot, my mother doesn't even try to be my friend today; she still lets me know when she thinks I have acted wrong.

"We have to create situations where it's easy for kids to do the right things," he added. "We need to create classrooms where learning takes on more importance than having the right answer."

Weeping Jesus on the cross: FAIL.

There is nothing more important in school than having the right answer. I can't think of any other response to that last quote that doesn't involve cuss words. And you don't create situations for people to do the right thing; you teach young people the right thing to do and then expect them to do it, even when it's hard. That's what morals and values are for!

I don't have any kids yet, much less teenagers. But I have thought about it constantly for the past two years, and I have closely observed the parents around me, looking for what works and what doesn't. And you know how I said I love my husband with my brain instead of my heart? I will love my children the same way. I don't believe in unconditional live; I believe love is earned through thoughts and actions. And I vow that I will never watch my child become a shoplifter and a cheat and then make the kinds of excuses found in this article.

I have a friend who recently said, "Normally when a childless person talks about what she'll do when she has kids, I roll my eyes and think 'just you wait.' But with you, I actually think you will do all these things you say you'll do."

I considered that an enormous compliment.

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December 01, 2008


Just heard on the radio: "The historic move to make Hillary Clinton Secretary of State..."

I don't get it. What's historic about it? We currently have a female Secretary of State. What, it's historic to give a former president's wife such an important job?

Yep, still cynical.

Posted by: Sarah at 06:03 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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