California Schemin’

Just one of the many lovely California beaches wee baby Wesley never played on.

Just one of the many lovely California beaches wee baby Wesley never played on.

Wes and I have a longstanding disagreement between the two of us and it goes a little something like this: When asked, Wes will say he is from California but grew up in Washington. I disagree, and so like two mature adults we’re going to let the interwebs weigh in on this important, meaningful issue. Here’s the origin story of the wee Wesley Mitchell.

Wes was, in fact, born in California, but his family moved up to the Seattle area when he was three weeks old. At the time he was born, his father had already accepted a job up here and they were packing things up and figuring out moving logistics. California was just a way station for the wee baby Wesley.

My contention is that he lived in California for three weeks, as a newborn. Obviously, he remembers nothing of his time there and it was very brief. Therefore, it is misleading to say he’s, “From California” because being “From somewhere” means that is where you grew up and learned the ways of the world. Where you’re from influences your cultural identity, and Wes is definitely not from California.

(I know this because, unlike him, I actually am from California.)

Wes’s argument is that he was born in California, therefore he is from California. He is a California-issued product and, as such, is from there.

So I guess what we’re arguing over is the idiom of being “From somewhere.” Please weigh in on this won’t you? Tell us what you think.

[poll id=”25″]

Honeymoon Red vs. Electric Blue

Not particularly relevant, just nifty.

Not particularly relevant, just nifty.

Four months ago, I was gleefully preparing for my trip to the thriller writers conference in New York City. My bags were packed, my tickets printed, my kids prepared. All that was left was to pass the time before I left, and paint my nails.

Those of you who know me well know I don’t normally paint my fingernails. I find nail polish problematic when it scuffs things like book pages, counter tops, walls, etc. My nails also grow fast, which means a manicure looks ridiculous after a couple days. It’s just not worth all the extra work most days.

On special occasions, however, I’m all for it. I figured a trip to Manhattan definitely qualified as a special occasion and brought my nail polish selection to Wes to help me decide which color should go where.

He picked red for my fingernails and purple for my toes. Honeymoon Red, to be precise.

When I looked aghast, he asked me why Honeymoon Red was not an acceptable color for my fingernails. I explained that if I was a single lady heading to the city to meet people and potentially score a date, then sure. Honeymoon Red would be perfectly acceptable for my fingernails. As a married mother of two, however, wearing Honeymoon Red on my fingers while staying alone in a hotel would send the wrong message altogether.

He was perplexed. “No one pays attention to that kind of thing!” he responded. Still, just to be safe, I painted my fingernails electric blue. Electric blue says, “I’m a creative thriller writer and I’m interested in networking but don’t ask for my number.” Not like Honeymoon Red, which says, “I can tie a cherry stem with my tongue.”

The next day, I was getting in one last work out with my personal trainer before the trip and recounted the whole tale to her, ending with Wes’s color suggestion. She gasped and replied, “He wanted you to wear red nail polish on your fingers at a hotel by yourself?!”

From my survey of two women, it seems a fairly wide understanding that nail polish colors carry connotations. I’m curious, is this knowledge universal to women? Is this something we glean from years of watching TV and reading magazines, or is this an imaginary rule I just happened to corroborate?

The Male of the Species

Wes and I were catching up on the newest season of Castle the other night and…

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen the latest season of Castle, read no further.

…Beckett was all up in knots because she’s talked to Castle’s ex-wife who told her why they divorced. The ex said Castle was fun to be married to but by the end she felt like he knew everything about her but she knew relatively little about him.

Cue Beckett looking into middle distance with an unsettled, pensive look on her face. This is a slightly tangential observation about her, but I kind of get the feeling she’s not very good at being in a relationship.

Anyway, the credits came on and I turned to Wes and said, “That’s a pretty apt description of most of the men I’ve ever known.”

It’s possible I’ve known a disproportionate number of cavemen, but I doubt it. I just think men and women are wired differently and people can run into problems when they start expecting their significant others to behave against their nature.

Take Wes and I, for example. If you get me going, I can make small talk forever. I’ll talk about how I feel about stuff, which will remind me of some salient memory from my childhood, which will probably spur me  into waxing philosophical about the kind of childhood I want for my kids.

All that stuff will make Wes’s eyes glaze over in less than a minute. If I ask Wes to tell me a story from his childhood, he’ll say, “I don’t have any.” It’s not that he doesn’t have any childhood memories, he’s just not thinking of any at the moment. If I ask him how he feels about something, nine times out of ten he’ll say, “I’m fine with it.”

However, if I ask him about economics, or the future of web-based computing, or music, he’ll start talking and only stop to take a breath when absolutely necessary. If you ask me about any of these things, I’ll say, “I’m fine with it.”

So in a way, it’s possible Wes knows me better than I know him, but I don’t think so. I think we just know each other in the way we prefer to be known. Every once in awhile Wes will tell me a childhood story, and every once in awhile I’ll read an article and discuss economics with Wes, but for the most part we stick to our wheelhouses and we’re cool with it.

Not that our relationship is perfect, but I think it’s a pretty good example of taking each other where we’re at. I don’t get all huffy at him for not talking about his emotions (which I trust are fine when he says they’re fine) and he doesn’t get all affronted that I have no idea what’s going on in the world of software development.

All this to say, I think Beckett (who is a fictional character) needs to chill the heck out and accept that her boyfriend is a man and stop expecting him to be someone he’s not.

Also? Can I just rant about a Bones episode I saw recently? It’s from the new season and called The Tiger In The Tale and a tiger gets shot during the course of the episode, prompting Bones to turn away from the sight of it and cry into Booth’s shoulder.

Are we expected to believe that Bones can look dispassionately at a dead child but can’t bear the sight of a dead tiger?

Nonsense. Absolute nonsense.

Ear Worms

Have you ever had an ear worm that niggled and wriggled and embedded itself good and firm in your psyche, playing over and over until you were tempted to lobotomize yourself just to get it to STOP ALREADY?

Being the parent of a young child who watches TV (no matter how little) is basically like that every day, because kids shows have music that is specially designed to never, ever leave your brain. Even if I spend a few minutes listening to my own music every day, I still find myself humming Thomas & Friends songs in the shower every night.

And yet? Little kids never mind. These infectious ear worms bounce right off their tender young minds and come barreling instead straight toward the people most likely to mind. Why is this?

What is it about being a grown up that invites ear worms to make themselves at home between your ears?

All This Green Just Makes Me Green

I’ve never really cared for the whole “green” marketing craze that’s literally inundated every facet of our consumer culture.  You can’t go shopping nowadays without finding something that’s trumpeting it’s green-ness in the biggest, flashiest letters possible from the front of its seemingly innocuous packaging.

It used to be that green was a bad thing.  Green connoted jealousy, avarice, and sickness.  If someone said you looked green, well, it wasn’t because you were wearing organic, fair-trade cotton clothes and vegan shoes.

Now, though, everything purports to be green GREEN GREEN!  I pick up my bottle of Windex, and it assures me that everything’s fine because it’s a certified GREEN product.  Cars, hotels, clothes, and food are all going green and, at least for me personally, it’s having the opposite of the intended effect.

Quite frankly, I’m sick of the term green.  It has over freaking saturated the marketplace and I’ve reached the point where if something says it’s green I’ll only buy it if there are no alternatives.

Because really, what does green even mean other than that the manufacturer and marketing team behind the product knows you probably have a vague awareness of the environment and they hope to capitalize on it?  Otherwise, what would be the point in my Windex being a green product?  I have serious doubts that my once-a-week mirror cleaning was having an adverse effect on the environment to the extent that something needed to be done to make the product more environmentally friendly.

Of course, there are times when the term green actually means something, sort of.  Like, for example, with buildings.  Except, there are different standards for the different green accrediting agencies, so once again green means very little.  If a hotel merely washes sheets only when asked as opposed to washing them every day, they can say they’re green even if they’re out back burning tires and using rare rainforest trees to make kebab skewers.

I guess what I’m asking for here is a moratorium on the term green.  Green is a color.  Yes, I get it, trees are green!  We like trees!  Therefore green is good!  But green as a marketing term has reached the obnoxious stage, and I think the marketing geniuses can do better.  Don Draper would do better.

Here, I have some suggestions:

  • This product has a conscience.
  • An environmentally responsible product.
  • Buying this product will make you feel better about yourself.
  • Trees appreciate this product.
  • We only deforested one acre of rainforest to make this, so that’s really not so bad, is it?

Who knows, maybe I’m over-reacting.  What do you think?  Take my poll and chime in on this issue!

[poll id=”18″]