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Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

Dear Dominic and Gideon,

I see my friends posting about prom and honor societies and college visits and whatnot. Though part of me wishes you wanted the traditional high school milestones, most of me loves that you are doing things your own way.

For example, you eschewed the actual prom to have your own prom in a friend’s back yard. (Props to that mom: She did a great job!)

This is a fancy party! (Photo credit: Petra McKinnon)

And no one seemed to care about dates. It was one big friend group.

Girls seem to be an afterthought, which is fine by me. I’m not ready to be a grandma! I do wonder if I’m somehow a gang mom. What are those signs they are throwing? (Photo credit: Petra McKinnon)

I’m surprised there were real suits. You two had threatened to go to Actual Prom in your Spider-Man costumes.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, I guess. It’s really par for the course for you and your pals. After all, this is how you go to school:

And how you go to Target:

I don’t know how you can go shopping. You spent all your money on a Batsuit.

My son, The Batman

It’s movie quality. It should be for the amount of money the two of you spent. (I still can’t believe you chipped in, Gideon.)

But you know what? You AREN’T spending money on drugs.

Your habits are nerdy and wholesome. I’m a fan.

And Dominic, you’ve been a Bat fan for your whole life, so I’m not surprised.

Uh oh. You spotted the Joker!

I love you both very much. And I love that you are individuals.

Stay Gold,
Mama

*Thanks and apologies to Frank.

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Dear Mid-America Apartments:

I hate you with a white-hot rage. The temp of a thousand suns.

I hate you like Bette hated Joan.

I hate you like a high-school boyfriend hated shirts with sleeves (much to my father’s chagrin).

(I hate you so much, but I still don’t hate you as much as I hate Mitch McConnell.)

You installed “smart locks” a few months ago. Ours has never worked properly. Your maintenance folks have been out to fix it more than four times.

Last night, it wouldn’t open. Period.

I called the emergency line. Twice. Eddie called too.

Someone will be right over.

Someone did not come over.

Someone called.

The someone: We don’t do lockouts. We only do emergencies.
Me: This is an emergency. Our lock isn’t working. We need to get into our place. Don’t you have the special key to get into the garage?
Him: No. You’ll have to check with the leasing office.
Me: They don’t open until Monday.
Him: I guess you’ll have to wait until Monday.
Me: How are we supposed to get into our apartment?
Him: I don’t know. We only handle emergencies.
Me: This is an emergency.
Him: We don’t consider this an emergency. Don’t you have the garage door opener?
Me: If we had that, I wouldn’t be calling you, would I?

I hung up on him.

I mean … WHAT the ACTUAL F?!

So we borrowed an extension ladder from a friend. I hummed the “Mission Impossible” theme while Dominic shimmied up and saved the day.

I was TERRIFIED of what bad things could happen here.

We should not have had to do this. Your emergency line people should actually have the capacity to help.

And you should have installed locks that actually work.

I can’t wait until our lease is up. I will NEVER recommend your company/complexes.

Beyond vexed,
Beth

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Dear Friends of My Sons,

I feel lucky. You are all really good kids. I like you, and your parents seem great too.

I spent loads of time with you over the weekend as it was Gideon’s birthday. I laughed so much.

Let’s recap:

Friday night, I took Roscoe and Gideon to meet Trent to see “A Quiet Place 2.”

Gideon: I forgot my debit card.
Roscoe: I have $2.
All: [pause]
Roscoe: I’m ballin’
Me: [howling] Big pimpin’

Saturday, on the way to Six Flags, I discovered Cole is not a fan of roller coasters. He must really like Gideon to agree to go to a theme park with him.

We drive up to the entrance and see a coaster.

Me: That’s the Georgia Scorcher. You stand up on it.
Cole: [blanching]
Me: Are your hands clammy now?
Cole: My whole body is clammy.

Y’all are at that age where you don’t really want parents around, so Eddie and I peeled off.

You found us at Macho Nacho.

Me: Where’s Dominic?
Gideon: He wanted a turkey leg, so we left him.
Me: Dang. That’s cold.

Eddie and I felt sorry for Dominic, so we went to find him.

Me, calling Dominic: Where are you?
Dominic, sounding annoyed: I’m getting a turkey leg.
Me: Where?
Dominic: At the Sky Screamer Drinks and Eats. It’s across from the Sky Screamer.
Me: We’ll be right there.

We get there, and Dominic tells me he has had the exact same conversation with Josh, Gideon twice, me, then Roscoe. I started laughing, because he repeated the conversation each time for my benefit.

An hour in line (no exaggeration), he finally had his leg.

This is my son. (I do this too.)

We had to leave Six Flags. It was just too crowded. Clearly there’s no COVID in Georgia. 🙄

Trent chatted amiably with me on the way back to the car. I learned all about his job search. And other things.

Trent: I just need about a thousand dollars for equipment.
Me: When you get your job, that will happen soon. What kind of music do you do?
Trent: I rap for Jesus.
Me: Oh! Ok. You have a rap name?
Trent: It’s Trent Truth.
Me: That’s great!

We decided to resume Gideon’s birthday at the pool.

The next day, we took Dominic and HIS friends whitewater rafting. I’m eternally shocked at Dominic and Gideon’s choice of music for car rides.

Dominic: Green Day to Bee Gees to Taylor Swift
Gideon: Neil Diamond to Doom

And then there’s Adem’s choice of footwear. I was surprised to learn Crocs are hella trendy again.

Adem: I’ve got my Crocs in support mode.

That meant he used the back straps. Dylan could have taken a page out of Adem’s book.

If you are on the Ocoee River and find a shoe, it’s Dylan’s.

I feel fortunate. I do. My children have chosen wisely.

See you for plenty of adventures this summer.

Love,
Dominic and Gideon’s mom

*Dionne FTW.

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Dear Zack Snyder:

Herds of people are celebrating your version of “Justice League.” That’s great for you. (I still don’t understand why it had to be four hours, but good for you and your “vision.”)

I did not watch the Joss Whedon version. My family invited me, but I declined.

Considering the fact that I fell asleep during “Batman v. Superman” and the last installment of the Bale Batman series, I thought it would be a pricey nap.

I’m just a Marvel kind of gal.

Why?

  1. The characters are more interesting.
  2. The story arcs make more sense.
  3. There’s humor.
  4. I’m never bored.

Before your fans come after me with torches, let me just say that these are all just my opinions. I realize that there are DC diehards. To each his own.

But I had planned to give your version a go because people I like and respect liked it.

I had not planned to be forced to watch it after a long day of driving and this adult Capri Sun.

But Dominic insisted.

After the first five minutes featured yelling only, I knew this was not the movie for me.

Me: How long does this screaming last?
Dominic: [lengthy plot explanation]
Me: I don’t want to know the plot. I’m watching it. I should be able just to watch this movie without back story.

How have I seen loads of DC movies and never seen/heard of Steppenwolf (the hammerhead supervillain made of what looks like razor blades)? Was I napping?

Why is Wonder Woman wearing a club dress to work?

Why does Aquaman even bother with shirts if he’s just going to leave them littering beaches?

I made it 38 minutes before I settled in for my DC nap.

You know it’s bad when Jason Momoa doesn’t hold my interest.

Even Eddie, who likes DC movies, was forced to watch it alone after three other people fell asleep on him twice.

This morning, Dominic made me watch the Flash scene where he saves Iris. Yes, it was cute. This is a good version of Flash. Also the comic relief. And I like Batfleck. (But he’s no Keaton.)

Still.

Four hours? Six chapters plus an epilogue? Lord.

But you know what? My opinion doesn’t matter. You have three fans IN MY OWN HOUSE to counteract me.

So good for you, and I wish you all the best. You seem like a really nice guy.

And maybe I’ll try again some other time.

Sincerely,
Beth

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Dear People Who Visited Chattanooga Last Weekend:

I will not be surprised AT ALL when you get the ‘Rona. You took no precautions. I was, quite frankly, horrified.

Yes, we visited too, but we took ample precautions:

  1. We stayed in our four-person bubble.
  2. We stayed at a reputable hotel.
  3. We wore masks everywhere but the hotel room and the car.
  4. We washed our hands and sanitized ourselves regularly.

You, however, did NOT do all of those things.

Example 1: Dinner Friday night

After we went to see a movie (yes, in a theater for the first time since February*), we went to Big River Grille for our reservation. We ran a gauntlet featuring about 15 unmasked people around the door.

I felt like a celebrity on a perp walk trying to avoid paparazzi.

Then the hostess tried to sit us in a booth next to another group. My back would have been six inches from some stranger’s back.

NO, THANK YOU.

See Rock City’s sanitizing stations.

Example 2: Ruby Falls on Sunday

There were about a thousand signs saying Ruby Falls is a TOUCH-FREE CAVE. Not only is it bad for the stalagmites and stalactites (oils from human hands keep the formations from growing) but CORONAVIRUS, HELLO!

Our very-loud guide must have said “no touching” 437 times. Every single time, a guy in the group in front of us could not help himself. He touched EVERYTHING.

Sigh.

So I will not be surprised at all when you start coughing or lose your sense of taste or smell, etc.

We, however, will remain COVID free.

See? Masks. No touching.

Hoping I’m wrong about your chances,
Beth

*Matinee, no one there, wearing masks, sanitizing everything we touched

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There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.
Edward Tufte

Dear Jeff Orlowski,

Thanks for directing “The Social Dilemma” for Netflix. A number of friends told me to watch, so I did.

It’s a fascinating and thought-provoking look at how tech companies manipulate people for profit. Also, we are conditioned by society (i.e., watching others) to want to be part of these platforms (hey, Social Learning Theory!).

DUH.

We live in a capitalist society. We are all potential consumers. Social media algorithms are no different (to me) than companies choosing which radio, television and newspaper ads to place based on user data gleaned from Nielsen/Arbitron ratings and subscriber information.

One of the underpinning theories for my journalism and mass communications dissertation was Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model (1988). Media manipulation is a peaceful way for those in power to maintain the status quo.

Their recommendation for scooting out from under control? Get your information from many sources.

DUH. AGAIN.

It’s personal responsibility. Critical thinking.

You don’t want to be addicted or manipulated? Then employ your critical-thinking skills. Put your phone away one in a while. And beware the filter bubble.

Maybe I’m just super cynical. Critical. Suspicious. Typical Gen X.

I’m also someone who has been trained to look at all sides of an issue, thanks to my reporter background.

In the documentary, Sandy Parakilas, senior product marketing manager at (formerly with Uber and Facebook), said:

“(There are) biases toward false information … the truth is boring.“

One more time: DUH.

In news, we have a phrase for that: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

That’s because — by its very nature — news is an anomaly. You don’t cover the planes that land.

And the more unbelievable, horrible and salacious something is, the more interesting it is. It’s human nature to swivel your head when you pass a car crash.

 

So, to me, there’s nothing new here.

Plus, your documentary is as manipulative as the social media it criticizes.

The irony is not lost on me that it was created for a streaming service that tracks user engagement and supplies content based on history.

The doom-and-gloom soundtrack helps instill that sense of dread.

And I love how the tech folks interviewed have all made their money and now suddenly have developed a conscience.

One of the main interviewees, Tristan Harris, might be worth up to $5 million.

Huh.

Interesting.

That doesn’t make your documentary any less compelling. It just means I had a chance to practice what I preach.

Keep up the good work!
Beth

 

 

 

 

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Dear Dominic,

Sometimes I forget how great you are and how well we get along. (Having to bark at remind you to take out the trash and recycling takes its toll on both of us.)

But as we were leaving our place this morning to head to Savannah, I saw you at your best.

Wee morning hours are not great for me. It’s my own fault: We needed to get to the McKinnons’ house before all my Zoom meetings began.

As I was trying to get my watch charger in the dark, I whacked my forehead on the nightstand.

I was still rubbing my head when I told you it was time to go.

You saw the lump that had formed immediately.

You: What happened to you?
Me: I banged my head on the nightstand.
You: Come here. (Gave me a hug and a kiss on the forehead.)
Me: Did you just kiss my boo-boo?
You: That’s the treatment!

That was very sweet.

But then later when I took the ice pack off, you went back to normal.

Me: How do I look?
You: Like Voorhees.

Thanks so much.

Sigh.

Love you anyway,
Mama

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Dear People in the Condo Building:

I’m truly fascinated by your lives. Every time I go to our place to clean for a new guest or just hang out, there’s something going on.

It’s very “Rear Window.”

I’m here today because I have so much work to do, and I needed peace (read: time away from Dominic complaining about the Wi-Fi).

It’s a nice day, so I’m on the balcony. I’m worried about getting a contact high from the clouds of chronic. (New building name: Chronic Condo. Or THC Towers. Or High House.)

The last time I was here to get work done, I got to party with Cardi B, along with everyone else on their balconies.

One time, I was having a girls’ night with my friend Becky (with the good hair).

Some guys two floors down and two balconies over saw us.

Dude 1: Hey Ladies!
Dude 2: You with the hair!
Dude 3: We’ve got weed. Come on down!

Becky and I are middle-aged women. We are not going to party with random guys — in a pandemic, no less.

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t weirdly flattered.

Anyway, thanks for providing plenty of entertainment.

Love,
Beth

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Dear Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:

I’d like to nominate my son Gideon for Best Actor in a Leading Role. As Prisoner No. 4 in “Quarantine 2020,” he was as good, if not better, than last year’s winner Joaquin Phoenix.

The humanity — the pathos — he brought to his role really is unparalleled.

Just look at his commitment to character in this scene with his father:

And his performance during last night’s climax when all our test results came back negative?

It featured effusive kissing, hugging, brother-wrestling: All you would expect from an Oscar-winning performance. The display featured the emotional depth of Sally Field in “Norma Rae.” (And watching it was akin to watching her acceptance speech for “Places in the Heart.”)

So I present Gideon for your consideration.

I’ve blocked my calendar for the nominations announcement March 15, 2021.

Warm regards,
Beth

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America is a dumpster fire at the moment.

(Oh wait: Sorry, I’m wrong. Trump promised to “make America great again,” so this must be great. Silly me.)

As a palate cleanser, here are 10 things I learned about my kids over the past two weeks, told in photos with captions.

1. Dominic is more responsible and interested in hanging out with the family now that he is “on a break” from his latest high-maintenance girlfriend.

2. He can be very charming, personable and helpful — even going as far as rowing me around a lake.

3. A boat in a lake is a good place to have serious conversations about life.

4. He won’t go hungry. He can at least make restaurant-quality breakfast sandwiches.

5. He can’t help himself: He is compelled to harass his brother.

6. His brother is a big fat ham.

7. Gideon doesn’t really like cake. He wanted a flan for his birthday. I’d never made a flan before, but it turned out so well (Behold the Birthday Flan!) that I think it’s going to be my signature dessert.

8. Gideon likes to help me make anything in the kitchen. He enjoys cooking as much as I do.

9. He and I feel the same way about hiking unmarked trails in the rain to get to an anticlimactic lookout.

10. We like the same shows.

There’s my dose of positivity today. I’ll reread as necessary to keep my spirits up.
What are your bright spots? Please share!

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