Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This guy is a moron

I just read an article about a father who bought his seven-year-old son alcoholic lemonade and didn't realize the problem until a security guard at the baseball game spotted the child with the beverage and intervened. The father, a classical archeology professor, said he had never consumed or even heard of Mike's Hard Lemonade. I can believe that he's never drank the stuff, but I have a hard time buying that he's never heard of the stuff. They advertise the hell out of it on television, and I don't believe that he doesn't watch any t.v. whatsoever. Even if I buy that he hasn't heard of it, I would've been wary of giving my child something that has the word "hard" in it without checking the label first. Mike's, like a lot of malt beverages, are in glass bottles; a format that I've not seen with old-fashioned lemonade. These bottles are similar in feel to those of beer bottles, but are clear instead of colored. It's sold in grocery stores in the liquor section and, at least at the stores I frequent, it's often on sale as an end-cap so that they will sell more of it to the college-aged crowd that lives nearby (meaning that he should've seen crap like this at least ONCE in a store).

What gets me angry with this father is that he feels that Child Protective Services owes him an apology for taking his son away from him and, later, forcing him [the father] to move into a hotel so that he was away from his son while doing their investigation. He says that he made a "silly mistake," but that the people who were doing their jobs made "an even bigger error, and [he] would like to be able to say to [his son] that institutions, like people, can learn from their mistakes." They didn't give a child alcohol and let him consume most of the bottle. And while the hospital didn't find any alcohol in the child's system, it is possible that he probably sipped it and, to not upset his father, was pouring it out on the ground when he wasn't looking because the child didn't like it. However, the child even said he felt nauseas after consuming 12 ounces of the stuff [roughly more than half the bottle], so I don't know if he drank it or not & since we don't know how long he had it, I can't determine why his blood alcohol level was at zero. Giving a seven-year-old liquor is not a minor thing; alcohol in a young child can be damaging to his developing system, and to imply that letting him consume the whole bottle without bothering to check it beforehand is not a big deal is very disturbing to me. People make mistakes; this is something that I accept as part of life. It's just that he wants to act as if the steps they took to investigate the situation were far more egregious than his careless act, and that is what is pissing me off. I'd rather put up with a week's worth of inconvenience to let CPS do their jobs than demand that they apologize for trying to make sure that this was an isolated incident and not the act of a malicious (or, at the very least, neglectful) parent.

He ought to be glad he's not being charged with anything.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

So What's It Like To Turn 30?

This was the question my older brother asked me on Saturday. Seeing as he is the older of the two of us, I said "I don't know; you tell me." I had a very nice birthday on the 19th that resulted in being spoiled at a nice restaurant and getting some nice gifts.

My husband had to wait until he got his paycheck to buy me gifts [which I didn't want him doing anyway, but he was determined...] and he ran out that morning to go shopping. I ended up waking up early [Hey! 10a.m. is early for me on a Saturday] and watched t.v. until he brought up breakfast. We went to the mall so that I could use my 20% birthday discount at FYE where I limited my purchases to a couple of CDs and then we went home to hash out where to go for dinner. My usual birthday spot of choice (the Melting Pot) was way too expensive even with my coupon for a free chocolate fondue dessert, so I went looking up the different Cameron Mitchell restaurants in town to pick something. We ended up choosing a place called Martini's, a place we last went to for our anniversary a few years ago, and he called to make reservations. I also got to talk to my mother-in-law to wish her a happy birthday and to thank her for the gifts she sent to me [a necklace and a yarn(?) woven basket]. It's kind of weird to share a birthday with my m-i-l, but it makes it easier to remember when it is, so it's a decent trade-off.

At dinner, we discovered that Prom season starts early in these here parts, as there were a ton, and I mean a ton of prom goers at the restaurant. There were eight couples seated right behind us and another ten couples in other areas of the restaurant [not counting the couple of girls who came an hour later to be horrified at all of the "popular" kids who were already there; I'm not sure if they were dating each other or going as two friends without dates, but they were nice sized girls (read: not skinny) and very cute]. Note to Project Runway judges: That dress that Victorya won with for the prom dress episode isn't the style that prom goers are wearing this season. Sweet P's and Chris' dresses were much closer to what I saw Saturday: Every dress reached the floor and there were a number of ball-gown styled dresses were on display. By ball gown, I mean that they were Cinderella-esque in the skirt (but not too full). Some were taffeta and others were silk in the skirt. The rest of the girls wore dresses that had a split up to the thigh (usually showing the left leg) and they all looked very nice. I haven't seen many people wear short-length dresses to the prom, from high school (where I didn't miss one; dating an upperclassman had one privilege) until now, so I don't know what they were thinking on that show.

Anyway! If you are ever in Columbus and go to Martini's, ask for John Z. He is the nicest waiter you will ever meet and he gives great suggestions for substitutions for the dishes that make them better. And if you are nice to him, he'll be nice to you [We are always polite, but to get it back in spades was quite a surprise]. He was catching hell from another table because he was delayed dealing with one of the large prom tables when my husband decided that he would tell the manager how great a job John was doing even before the meal was finished. The manager, who I thought was a class-act, said that John is his best waiter and that he hears compliments for him a lot, but he appreciates hearing them every time. John gave us a little extra sauce to go with our leftovers and even packed up the little bit of dessert I had left. When he brought out the desserts, he put a pink candle in my husband's dish and a blue one in mine because he didn't know what kind of baby we'll be having, and he apologized for not singing to me because, in his words, "What little appetite you have will be gone" if he had. After dinner, he offered me some tea for the road, helped me gather everything from the table, and even put me in the car once my husband returned with it. We're the kind of people who are usually good with tips (even though people would sometimes assume we weren't going to tip when we were younger), but John went above and beyond to be the best server we have had anywhere. He did so well, we are going to return to Martini's for our anniversary this year (if we're not broke again).

So what did I get for my birthday? The Second Bathroom Reader (I own a ton of these books), a new manga, a little Charlie Brown Book called "Security Is...", and the new Gnarls Barkley CD. Oh yeah, he surprised me at home with the Dave Gahan Hourglass Remixes LP (you read that right; I wanted vinyl) that I had been trying to get for over a month. He (smartly) held onto it when he surprised me with it because he didn't want me to break it in my excitement; something that is, sadly, a possibility with me. I wanted it because it would be my first new record (I have a collection of old albums, but nothing contemporary & you'd be surprised at how many new records are put out in the market today) and it comes with a bonus CD. I just love the idea of the CD being the bonus.

I got to talk to my mom and uncle on my birthday, and my brother sang to me (which was hilarious!). It was a very nice birthday, and here I was ready to sleep through the whole thing.

So what's it like to be 30? It's not bad. I don't feel different. Am I supposed to? I don't know.

Edit: The link for the prom dresses immediately defaults to Sweet P's dress, so the link may seem a little out of place because of it, so my apologies.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dangerous Situation

This is going to be brief. I say that a lot, but I am trying to get some work done since I feel like a failure of a person who needs to really get back on track and do something worthwhile.

Taxes are due today and we owe quite a bit this year. The form will be dropped off after work, assuming I have enough gas to make it to the main post office.

We are broke. My bank decided that the best way to deal with low balance situations is to pay for everything, let you think you have a tiny amount of money left (which leaves you in the positive) and then decide that a charge that wasn't listed on Saturday morning was indeed paid on Friday and slapped on an obscene amount of overdraft fees retroactively, resulting in every charge after that being negative. We had transfered money from the mutual fund when we thought we were still positive (I checked with the bank webpage beforehand) but now they want to pretend the money isn't there so that they can charge us for 10 charges that are (now) overdraft. Our mutual fund is almost completely depleted because of the funeral expenses we paid that haven't been paid back (and I don't know when we'll see that money). We probably won't be able to pay the rent for May, the maternity costume I wanted to order is completely a thing of the past, and I just want to sleep through my birthday Saturday so that my husband doesn't spend any money on me.

And if I weren't pregnant, I probably would be very tempted to rip my veins open with my teeth. The fact that the thought is there in the back of my mind is somewhat disturbing, but I've unfortunately gotten used to that feeling. And I'd like to take out the time to thank God for taking away my grandmother in such a fashion that there was no warning, resulting in us paying for the funeral and now being so broke that I am unsure if I can scrape together enough money to put some gas in the car to make it home.

Funny, even Sinfest is capturing my week. It's humorous, but I do kind of feel like that today.

Edit: On a strangely odd note, I have a childhood friend who was born today, so I hope she's having a happy birthday. What's significant about this is that she and I were born four days apart, and her mother and my mother were born a few days apart as well. What are the odds of two women being born a few days apart (as Aries, no less) having their daughters with a similar span being born at the end of the same astrological cycle? If anyone can do that kind of statistics, let me know. These mood swings are very random, so I apologize if it makes me seem flighty, or like I'm faking the dark phases I go through.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm Getting Too Old For This...

I went to an anime convention this weekend and...let's just say that things like that are not meant for people like me. And by that, I mean I was not cut out to spend three days with a bunch of young people who were loud, uncouth, and convention-runners who have an interesting (if boring) interpretation of "Hentai Olympics."

I can't say I didn't have a good time. I got to buy some nice items in the dealers room before finding out that we were completely broke [Overdraft fees killed us and ate up half of my paycheck], and I got to go to some good panels where I made a manga translator's day by telling her how much I enjoy her work. I ended up on tape talking to some guy who knew the founders of OSU's anime club, and I even got a sketch done of me chibi-style that I want to display because it's actually cute. I played Super Puzzle Fighter and Rock Band, both of which are fun games; fun enough to ignore the pissant punks who can't help but be young and obnoxious.

I didn't like the way the convention-eers handled the Hentai Olympics. First off, it was supposed to start at midnight, but the previous panel didn't end until 12:30 [They never explained why it was running late; an explanation would've abated some of my anger, but it never came and my head was hurting too much to try to get answers]. We then had to wait another 20 minutes before we could be seated. The event was billed as one that required being at least 18 to gain entry (checking I.D. and everything), but it ended up being a very lame event that was akin to a lame bachelor party. What surprised me about this was that this convention was billed as one not for young children and, as such, the youngest person was in Junior High, so I was surprised that there really wasn't anything risque about the H.O. at all. I could've just stayed in the anime room and watched real hentai and saved myself the swollen feet and aggrivation. Considering that Dragon*con is a convention for all ages and they managed to show real hentai (as well as some sacriligous stuff that was more hilarious than anything else) in their big event (and they checked I.D. as well), why couldn't an event that is billed as a college-aged event show anything remotely hentai?

The funnies thing I ran into at the con was that one of my co-workers was there to take pictures of the cosplayers. This was I guy I would've never expected to see at something like this, but he told me that he's a fan of costumes. I think that's kind of cool. ;-)

I'm probably never going to go back to this thing (not by myself, anyway), and I've learned that I should avoid conventions that are solely focused on one concept due to lacking the ability to tolerate annoying people for more than an hour at a time. If I go to another anime convention (i.e. Ohayo-con), I'm only going for a day to buy stuff and check out the serious panels which seem to take place on Saturday. That's enough for me.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Riddled With Guilt

Instead of posting on hearing Marjane Satrapi speak on Friday (I really hope to post about it; she was really good & I took notes and pictures), I need to get some things out about how I'm feeling. I'm not experiencing mood swings; I feel as if I'm falling down a spiral staircase towards madness with no end in sight.

I feel horribly selfish for wanting to pursue a PhD while my family struggles to cope with my grandmother's passing. My brother had stepped up and was driving my mom and uncle to church and the grocery store, but his car broke down and a person who said he would help looks like he has bailed. This leaves him having to take the bus to work, but it also means that my non-driving family members have to rely on others and the bus to get to their destinations. I don't worry so much for my uncle because he's really good at just getting on a bus heading in the right direction and getting to where he needs to be, but my mom is another story. Some of the things she needs to travel to would require her to catch the bus at night, and I'm not comfortable with her doing that. My aunt (the only member of this trio who can drive) has given rides to help out, but it's turning out that she's going back to a level of unreliability that unnerves and bothers me. My mom has a book club that she was attending with my grandmother and she still goes to it. My aunt has taken her to this club meeting in the past but, for whatever reason, decided to come to the house earlier today and made herself scarce for the rest of the day. Now my mom has to ask someone else to give her a ride at the last minute.

I feel like because I'm not there, that I'm letting the family down. And that feeling makes me feel like shit.

When I went up to Cleveland on Friday, I took my uncle to the grocery stores to get his shopping done and he bought a lot so that he wouldn't have to worry about going out to get anything for awhile. Ignoring the part where some lazy employee decided to accuse me of shoplifting because I kept looking at him [He looked like a dead-ringer for my brother-in-law, if he were black], I was more than glad to take him to do his errands, but I can't help but feel as if I am doing a very bad thing by staying in Columbus to pursue what will be my last degree. If it were feasible, I would be up there every weekend to help out; alas, that would put too many miles on the car and I'm not sure that I could physically handle that kind of schedule as the months progress. My brother is frustrated that a shoe-shine man he met on the job promised to help him fix his car but is now MIA; he wants to be able to help them out (and they've missed church for the past two weeks because of this) but is stuck without a working car (not to mention still not having a place to live yet).

Meanwhile, I'm getting increasingly depressed and upset for putting myself first. I tend to place my desires aside to do for others, and college was always the one thing I insisted upon for myself. Now my family is in shambles, I'm torn about not being there for them, and I still have no idea why my grandmother had to go when she did. All this, and a baby, too.

I don't know what I'm going to do, so I'm just going to concentrate on keeping my blood pressure down and maybe go out walking today. I can use the exercise and I think I need to clear my head.