Thursday, July 25, 2013

Proscandalating

Proscandalating (prəskændəletɪŋ). Verb.  To procrastinate by binge-watching Scandal.


For the past four days, I have been neglecting household chores, staying up until all hours and existing on minimal sleep.

Am I busy at work?  Not really.

Am I going out partying?  No. That was last week. 

I've stayed home for the last four nights. I've rejected all manner of invitations and rushed home, ignoring the dishes in the sink and pile of laundry that's becoming a mountain in my bathroom, all in the name of getting my Scandal fix.

It's quite disturbing. I haven't been this obsessive over a TV show since someone bought me the box set of The West Wing for my birthday and I spent a happy Sunday watching eleven episodes back-to-back.

(As an aside, one of the key characters in Scandal, is a WW alum.  Joshua Malina. Follow him on Twitter. He's hilarious. And sarcastic. Two of my favourite attributes in a person. He's also very, very good in this show.)

Anyway, I'm up to S02E12. Which leaves me 10 episodes to watch before Season 3 starts later this year. Of course, I'm going to watch them in the next two or three days. You can bet on that.

Anyway.  My point. Was there a point? I think there was.

Oh! Yes!  I remember.

There was a scene in S02E11, when... no wait. Context. You need context.

Basically this show is about a former White House Communications Director who leaves to start her own crisis management firm, but still has close ties to the White House. It was created by Shonda Rhimes, who is a very smart cookie. (We'll forgive her the disaster that was Crossroads. I'm sure it was a "fuck-I-need-to-pay-the-rent-somehow" job and we've all got one of those on our CV).

Anyway, the Chief of Staff (Cyrus) is played by the most excellent Jeff Perry. He's a Republican. He's gay. And he's married. To a journalist (James) played by the also excellent Dan Bucatinsky. To keep his husband happy (and for various other reasons you'd find out if you watch the show), Cyrus has arranged for them to adopt a newborn baby girl.

So that's the context.  (As another aside, can I just say I love that they write this marriage like a marriage. There's no big hoo-ha over them being gay. They're just married. That's how it is. I love it.)

Anyway.

S02E11. James goes to the hospital to meet his baby for the first time. He's pretty anxious and excited and is rambling. But when the baby is put in his arms for the first time, his exclamation is not one of how beautiful she is, but a response to something the nurse says.  He says:

"She's so intelligent!"

He then goes on to gush about how gorgeous she is, but his first words about her were not to do with her looks, but her brain.  I loved that. It was a tiny thing, but powerful.

More parents need to respond to their babies that way.  We'd have an even smarter and more equal generation of women PDQ, I reckon.



I also saw this today:




I love it.  I've always been really careful about playing into stereotypes with my nieces and god daughters.  I don't want them obsessing so much with their looks or their weight or their popularity that they neglect their intelligence or compassion or creativity.  God knows, I spent the majority of my childhood/teen years striving for the former and I'm STILL trying to tip the balance in favour of the latter.

Reminders like the image above are important.

That one little line written into that script has impact.


And they both make me feel just a little bit better about proscandalating.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Run One-Eleven

I was channel surfing as I sat down to eat dinner the other night and happened upon an old episode of The Big Bang Theory. I've watched this show for years (truth be told, I download it because I hate commercials) and one thing I always pause on is the vanity cards at the end of closing credits.  

I love Chuck Lorre's vanity cards.  I first discovered them back in the Dharma & Greg days and always found myself taping the credits just so I could pause it and read them properly (yes, that was back in the days of VCR).

Anyway, the one I glanced upon the other night was this one.  It struck a nerve, because a number of times over the last couple of weeks I've sat down to write a blog post, only to realise that I really had nothing to say.  

You see, recently, a friend and fellow writer expressed a desire to start her own blog and asked for my assistance, as she didn't think she had the technical skills she thought she needed to set one up.  Of course, she did, she was just lacking a little bit in confidence. I wasn't necessarily that much of a help with the technical side of things, but I like to think I gave her a bit of push in the right direction and boosted her confidence to see that she was able to do it. 

She's a go-getter, this friend and she goes after whatever she wants full-throttle, never (seemingly) letting anything get in her way. It's very inspiring and a little intimidating.  I wish I could be more like her.  Sometimes I feel like I'm in a boat with only one oar, going a little bit forward, but then just round and round in circles achieving nothing.  Anyway, this lovely friend has decided blogging is her future so she's posting stuff left right and centre and raising her profile and attracting readers from all over the world and she's only on something like her fourth or fifth ever post.  And although I am pleased for her and proud of her, because she's my friend; I can't help but feel (as the long-time blogger in our friendship) I should be blogging more than I do. (Oooh, there's that old chestnut. SHOULD.  I try not to use that word, but every so often it just sneaks up on me. I SHOULD do something I really don't have the inspiration/desire/will to do.)

I have a post-it note stuck to my computer screen. It reads:

2013
52 blog posts is the goal
(Dec 2012)

Well, I'm not doing that well so far... it's July, I'm not even halfway there and I've been beating myself up about it, which is ridiculous. My lovely Scottish mate Kris (who posts some of the most hilarious status updates I've ever read on Facebook) ended today's post with a quote from his mother... “If ye've nowt sensible tae say, just shut the fuck up.”

I think I might take that advice and combine it with Chuck's one-eleven vanity card.  Whenever I think I should be posting something because I haven't for a while, but I'm struggling to come up with anything even remotely decent, I'm just going to "run one-eleven".

Because I know that sometimes I'll have nothing to say.  And that's ok.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Down with Daphne

I'm not ashamed to admit I read the Daily Mail.  Well, at least not on this blog.  Ask me if you see me out in public and I may deny it.  But here, in the relative anonymity of the blogosphere, I'll 'fess all.  

In amongst all the conjecture over when Kate & Will's bub is actually due, what sex it will be and what they'll name it (my picks are July 16, girl and Charlotte because it's the female form of Charles - just in case you were wondering); today I spotted this little gem from the (un-enhanced) mouth of Jane Leeves.

Yes, she-who-is-best-known-for-playing-the-love-of-Niles-life, has spoken out about the obsession with surgery which so many actresses have. The before and after photos of some of them are really quite disturbing. My birthday twin, Nicole Kidman, I am looking firmly in your direction. 

Now I'm not saying there's no place in the world for plastic surgery.  If your face is mauled by a chimpanzee or you've been the victim of an acid attack, then plastic surgery is a wonderful thing.  But if you're freaked out by growing old - especially if you're a Hollywood actress or actor who thinks that the only way to remain employable is to try and slow (or reverse) the natural ageing process, then you're an idiot.  And if you undergo surgery and blatantly lie about it (again, looking at you NiKi), then you're double the idiot.

Apart from anything else (and this is where I heartily agree with Ms Leeves), what kind of message is this sending to young women?  Firstly, you're endorsing the notion that ageing is something to be avoided at any cost and the only way to succeed in this world is to remain young and beautiful looking. Secondly, you're placing an emphasis on looks, rather than intelligence, or eduction, or talent.  And finally, by lying about it, you're duping these same young women into thinking that you're actually ageing naturally without lines or wrinkles. 

Of course, it could be argued that it's nobody's business but your own, but you know what? You chose a life of publicity and like it or not, that comes at a price - the price being that you are a role model for millions of people, including young women.  Many of you have daughters yourselves.  Is this really the message you want to send them?

Thank goodness for women like Helen Mirren, Meryl Street, Cate Blanchett, Diane Keaton, Judi Dench and Toni Collette (amongst others) who are choosing to age gracefully and rely on their hard work and talent to keep them employed.

They're certainly the women I'd prefer my nieces and goddaughters to have amongst their role models.

Along with Jane Leeves of course.