Screw you, King George! I’m watching Higgley-Town Heros! (or the overthrow of the crib…)

It is now 7:02am as I write this. I’ve been awake now for about half an hour now. Whenever I sit down to write at this early time, I usually do it of my own volition (and those have been becoming increasingly rare as of late. I’m just not a morning person). But not today.

As of this moment, my son is downstairs. Watching TV.

I can see some of you moms out there rolling your eyes. So what? My kids are up at the crack of dawn, running about the house, yelling. They are my alarm clock. So why are you being so grumpy. Suck it up! It’s our job! Yeah, but you gotta understand–this is not the norm around our house.

I can say that I’m blessed with a little boy who likes to sleep in. His usual waking time is 8:30, but he’s been known to sleep until 9 or 9:30, and sometimes in the rare occasion of the 10:00 realm. This is due to his late bedtime. Yes, yes, I know the stories: have your kids in bed by 8pm. But since Daddy is usually the one to put him to bed, well, there you are. (To give my hubby some credit, his bedtime lately had been also due to the fact that Grandpop and/or Grandma was about, and whenever they stay at our house, it is a Great Thing, because Daniel so rarely sees them, so he wants to spend as much time with them as he can.) So I could usually count on Daniel sleeping in, and if I wanted to get up early to do some work, I could do so without getting up at some ungodly hour. And, I had gone to bed very late last night because I was working on Willow (two major scenes down, one more left to do). So I was looking forward to sleeping in today.

But it didn’t happen. Why? To explain, I need to tell you about our TV.

My hubby has set up our entertainment center so that it has all the glimmerings of the Death Star. He actually set up a computer that is able to run TV programming through its video card, and to this he has hooked up all kinds of amplifiers and gadgets that I’m pretty sure we don’t use all that much–he just has it to make it look complicated. To watch TV, you use a remote to turn on the gizmo that switches on the sound, then you use a mouse to wake up the TV and turn on the TV program(which is actually a large-screen monitor), then you use another remote to flip the channel, and if you really want to, use another remote to turn the sound up and down. You would think that my hubby’s flipped and have gone all geek on me, but the thing is, he’s been that way ever since I’ve known him. In fact, one of the things he joked was that if I was going to marry him, I had to learn how to turn on his TV using three remotes. And what do you know–I actually did.

(It was pretty funny having the inlaws over trying to figure out the whole setup. “How the $@*%! do you turn this *@&_!@ thing on?!”)

I actually like the computer setup, because we could do things that you can’t do with a normal TV, such as surf the web or listen to podcasts. It also made it easy to record programs using the timer. So, in a sense, we have a homemade Tivo of sorts. I record Daniel’s programs for him to watch later in the day, and when he’s done watching it, I just delete it. Granted, since the monitor stays on, the picture still plays, but there’s no sound, so you don’t hear it while it’s being recorded. All very nice and simple.

Unless you leave the amplifier on all night by mistake.

At 6:25am, the TV jolted to life playing the Higgley-Town Heroes theme. And that served as a very effective alarm clock. We were not only startled awake by the They Might Be Giants blasting from downstairs, but also by the sound of a very surprised and angry Daniel, shocked that his favorite program was playing and that he wasn’t downstairs to watch it. To explain this, I must also explain about the crib.

Daniel is still sleeping in a crib. Yes, I know he just turned 3, but until now, Daniel had never really shown much initiative for climbing out. He’s been perfectly content to sleep in his crib, with no thoughts of scaling the sides to freedom, so we’ve pretty much been content to let him do so. I think once, when he was two, he attempted to break out, but the drop I guess traumatized him enough to never try it again.

You see where I”m going with this, right?

As Daniel screamed bloody rage from his bedroom, I was in the process of running downstairs to turn off the bloody sound. The show’s only started, I thought. Maybe there’s still time to convince him to go back to sleep, that it was all in his head. I snatched up the remote and shut off the amplifier, then turned go back upstairs just in time to see my boy standing there, his face lit up in glee.

“Hooray! Higgley-Town heroes!” he said.

I blinked, then went to the stairs and asked my hubby, “Did you let Daniel out of his crib?”

“No….”

Crap.

Well, what could I do? I could either sling the boy over the shoulder and take him back, kicking and screaming to his crib. Or I could let him watch TV.

As I turned on my laptop as my son laughed downstairs, my hubby joked, “Well, it is Independence Day.” Then he supplied the title to this blog. Ha. Ha. Ha.

‘Course, there is an upside to this. Once Higgley-Town finishes, it shuts off. Which means no more TV. My son is now currently cuddling with my hubby in the bed, falling back asleep. I think I’ll go join them. This is way too early for my tastes.

And, oh yeah, Happy Independence Day.

Book Review: Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell

I never watched ‘Sex in the City’, not even in its tame TBS format. My thought was, why would I want to watch a bunch of white women gab and do sex? I got better things to do with my time.

lipstick jungleWell, after the heavy readings this past winter, I wanted something light. Real light. Brain dead light. So I picked up Lipstick Jungle. And I gotta say, it was pretty much what I expected it to be, except it happened to be rich white women gabbing and doing sex.
If I had read this at any other time, I would dropped it so fast, but like I said, after Kindred, this was actually a welcome read. I could turn off my mind, sort of, and read the candy gloss that was this novel. And I have to say, it’s not…all…bad…

There are three women this book follows: Victory Ford, a fashion designer out to find a new look; Wendy Healy, president of a movie studio trying to finish the ‘perfect’ picture, and Nico O’Neilly, editor of a chic magazine and looking to move up in the ranks. Their various love woes are as ambitious as their jobs: Victory finds herself dating a multi-billionaire, Wendy’s marriage to her boytoy husband is on the rocks, and Nico is having an affair with a male model during a satisfying but sexless marriage. Drama! Ambition! Tension! Sex!

Out of the three, I found Victory’s story to be the most interesting and fun to read. She’s the most down-to-earth woman in the book–although she’s a successful designer, she still uses cabs and subways to get around and wants to be successful on her own terms, not because of a billionaire boyfriend. To her, success isn’t money so much as creating clothes that people will like and wear. There’s a wonderful scene where Bushnell points a camera into Victory’s head (the whole book reads kind of like a screenplay of sorts–it’s third person, but it feels somewhat removed from the characters, as if the story is an outside narrator). Anyway, we see Victory as she strains to find a new look for the fall line, which consists of staring at the same swatches of fabric over and over until her assistant comes in to see her lying on the floor, hands pressed over her eyes. But the assistant is used to such behavior. Nice.

Wendy’s problems would come second, but only because, again, the reader is removed enough to see that Wendy does have a problem. Bushnell portrays her as a woman who wants to be successful both in her job and as a mother. Unfortunately, the two don’t mesh well together. She has to spend long periods away from her family to oversee a movie project, and when she’s home, she tries to please her non-ambitious, soft-living husband by letting him do as pretty much as he pleases. When he tells he wants a divorce, she scoffs, thinking that it’s him being his usual whiny self. But when she has to fly overseas and comes back to the locks on their apartment changed, the husband and children gone, and a summons to appear in court, she realizes just how serious he is. Her attempt to control the situation the only way she knows how: by giving out money or offering herself for sex, makes things even worse.

Now, I think Bushnell is trying to make a point here about successful women and successful mothering. In fact, it’s a thread throughout the whole book: that women can be just as successful as men, that they can have it all. But in the case of Wendy, you can see it just doesn’t compute. Maybe her husband is a lazy, money-sucking nobody, but still, you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy sometimes. The children are spoiled out of their gourd, nannies march in and out, and when Wendy attempts to take the children away on her own, it’s obvious that the kids prefer their dad, because, well, he knows them. The solution Wendy finally comes up with is so laughingly false, it’s almost sad. Bushnell tries to make it so that it’s a wonderful solution, a feminist finger to the men who solve their problems this way, but I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “Man, those kids are gonna be so screwed up when they get older.”

Nico’s story really didn’t have much tension in it dramawise. Sure, she has an affair, which she tells herself that she needs because she doesn’t get sex in her otherwise happy marriage, and she agonizes over backstabbing someone who deserves it so she could get his job, but really, I found Nico to be the most boring of the three. Perhaps her husband should have found out. Perhaps there really should have been a threat to her job. But no–her ambitions, goals, and desires are neatly wrapped up in a nice, little boring package. Nico, of course, has the only sex scenes in the book (understandably), but eventually, the affair peters out into routine before being contrivedly broken off–much like Nico’s storyline, in fact. There are a couple of funny moments when the boytoy proves he’s not much in the brains department.

It is interesting how men are portrayed in this book as either power-hungry, overly ambitious men used to having their own way or soft, dumb, spoiled boytoys. We don’t see much of Nico’s husband, so we don’t know why he’s married to her or why he’s so oblivious (or maybe he’s not. Who knows?) Nor do we know what Nico’s driver thinks in taking her to her lover’s apartment. Or maybe I’m just reading into characters that shouldn’t be read into anyway. This is, after all, a chick’s book.

Actually, I can’t say that. With all the women’s strong ambitions for success and money, this book actually feels more like an anti-chick flick. Aside from Victory, there’s nothing really soft or feminine about Wendy or Nico. And oddly, it’s Victory who makes a conscious effort to change her harsh opinion about men after a disastrous night in Paris. The other two women simply form their solutions based on how their male peers would handle the situation. There’s no sense of them triumphing over their problems using their female wiles. Instead, they become strangely male in their decisions. Therefore, at the end of the book, when the three women stand together and Nico responds to Wendy’s statement that it’s a jungle out there, “No girls…it’s a Lipstick Jungle.”, it feels so incredibly false.

But you know what? It’s July. I shouldn’t be thinking so hard about this book. I wanted lite reading, and by golly, I should treat it as such. This book gets two 1/2 lipsticks out of five, and I have a feeling that if I read this book at any other time, the lipstick rating would be worn down to a nubbish smear in its tube.