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I am using this title because I don’t know what to call this post. The original title choices were:

Called a Psycho Mom on Mother’s Day and am proud of it

but that would leave nothing of substance for me to write because the title is basically the story.

or

Possibly One of the Best Mother’s Day Cards

and that would most likely make my youngest child sad because he’s been planning his awesome mother’s day gifts for me for days

Mothers Day 2013 I love my youngest for remembering how to fold the crane after I showed him only once, and what my favorite candy is after I mentioned it in passing…

 

while his oldest brother admitted, with pride mind you, “Hey, mom. I made this card more than two hours before. Aren’t you proud of me?”

 

Mothers Day Card 2013

 

 

We all got a good chuckle again because we watched Psycho together last night and found it ironic and hilarious and maybe even fitting that Psycho was our family movie night choice on the eve of Mother’s Day. A discussion over “What is the best Mother’s Day movie?” continued over Mother’s Day brunch (yes, yes, how typically suburban…) and the Alien movie franchise was agreed upon as the best cinematic tribute to mothers. You want proof?

The fundamental myth in mothers (even surrogate ones) genetically coded to do anything to protect their young is obvious in this image chosen to promote Aliens.

Aliens poster

 

Just look at Ellen Ripley, so deliciously played by Sigourney Weaver. (Most of us cheered when she uttered that famous line, “Get away from her you bitch!”) From the other side, didn’t the Queen Mother (the matriarch alien) fiercely protect the survival of her offspring? Not to mention all those scenes of forced cesarean births…

Instead of leaving you to ponder the above, I thought I’d leave you with something more lighthearted: Mother’s Day Cards That Should Exist” (Thanks to Mary Lee for a great chuckle!)

 

[Disclaimer] I am fortunate enough to have a great mother-in-law. In fact, sometimes I think I like her more than her son… Those cards though funny do make me a bit anxious from imaging my future daughter-in-law wanting to send me one of those…

[Sidebar Convo]: Being an overtly protective 21-century mother who feels guilty if not doing some helicopter-parenting and also if not providing my kids with sufficient independence that I am, I have not allowed my kids to watch any scary movie such as Fridays the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. They can decide to watch crazy horror films from Asia such as Ringu when they are adults, but never ever when they are still under my watch in my house. I’ve seen similar horror films when I was little and I regretted ever since. Till this day, the memories of horrifying images and scenarios stay with me, and they always resurface to the top of my consciousness when I am alone in a hotel room while on business trips. It’s very tough to be on intensive business trips if you can only fall asleep after 3 or 4 am from watching all the  reruns of Law & Order you could find on cable. It’s ridiculous.

[One more thing] After the kids presented their mother’s day presents, we all looked at my husband. “Hey, I made you a mother!” I guess we should thank all the dads on Mother’s Day.

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Not that Twinkie is on its death bed. If anything, the Twinkie brand is probably the winner in this sad story of labor struggle, failed business and the eventual undoing of the 18,500 underpaid, overworked factory workers.

In the past week Twinkies have been the center of the public reminiscence because Hostess was said to file bankruptcy. I held my breath as the good news that Hostess and its workers were to start earnest negotiations came and then went. Sadly, it was announced an hour ago that Hostess has won the court approval to start selling its assets and more importantly, to start laying off its 18,500 workers.

We have all joked about how “Twinkies are forever”. Well, in this case, because of the sudden surge of attentions being paid to Twinkies, esp. in the social media sphere – now the arbitrator of brand marketability,  I do believe that some VC will quickly swoop in and pick up the venerable Twinkie Brand. In contrast, the workers will be left jobless and most likely fall into the life style of sustaining on cheap, unhealthy food such as Twinkies. The irony is alarming.

I was not going to jump on the wagon and eulogizing Twinkies exactly because I do not believe in its imminent demise. It will live. However, I came across this video posted by my good friend Ry

 

And it reminded me that I have written about the cultural obsession with Twinkies before. The following is from my 2009 post “Twinkies got a bad rep ’cause we find the name irresistible”.

 

In the American Pop culture conscious, there is this curious obsession with Twinkies.  One of the new exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is about Twinkies.  Putting our obsession with this oddity on view.

CIMG7562

A Twinkie was born

For once, let’s scientifically study the myth that Twinkies will never die.  Observe and report.  (I will visit MSI later again to check on the Twinkie that is on view there).

Of course, Twinkies are not the only food that are believed to be evil-incarnate.  Why such revilement?

My theory is that half of that ill-begotten fame came from the name, Twinkie.  What’s in a name? If it were called “Hostess Cream-filled Yellow Cake”, or, let’s say, Snow Puff, it would not have become such a legend, warts and all. Kudos to the marketing team that came up with this name that is now a major part of American pop culture.

Upon further investigation, I learned that the name Twinkie came from a chance encounter with a billboard:

In 1933, James Dewar, a baker at Continental Baking Company in Indiana, was inspired and came up with this name when driving by a billboard advertising shoes from the “Twinkle Toe Shoe Company”.

This is serendipity!  In our collective consciousness for food, Twinkies share a significant space with the shoe in Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush…  Ok. Maybe it is proven once again that I am easily amused. TOO easily.

 

Ode to Twinkies

‘Tis but thy name that makes thou irresistible;

Thou art thyself, though not a Twinkie.

What’s Twinkie? it is nor Monoglycerides nor diglycerides

Nor Polysorbate 60, nor Hydrogenated shortening, nor any other part

Belonging to proper CAKE. O, be some other name!

What’s in a name? that which we call a Twinkie

By any other name would induce as much grimace??

So Twinkie would, were it not Twinkie call’d,

Retain that dear longevity which it owes

Without that title. Twinkie, doff thy name,

And for that name which is no part of thee

Take all the cream.

This March (March 2012), I did go back to check on the Twinkie at MSI, and surprise surprise, it has not aged one bit. Sigh. Perhaps we should start putting Twinkie on our faces?

Twinkie on display (since October 2009) at MSI Chicago as of March 2012

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My oldest is graduating from Junior High tomorrow. Having grown up outside of the U.S., I was blissfully unaware of the tradition of throwing “graduation parties” for kids graduating from junior high and senior high schools. It was a puzzling concept to say the least. Where I grew up, it is kind of expected that you would graduate from high school. Junior high at the very least. Not even a question. [Disclaimer: My second oldest brother and his second son never graduated from junior high. But that’s another post I will never write] That being said, I am happy that Number One Son has several graduation parties lined up where he could go hang out with his school friends IN REAL LIFE and hopefully in the sun instead of spending all his waking hours indoors basking in the glow of the computer monitor on Minecraft.

IMO. The best parties are the ones not thrown by me.

I am going to sound like the old lady that I am by telling everybody, “When I was your age, I did not get squat for graduating from high school.” Well, I would be lying. When I passed the entrance exam and got into the best high school, my parents asked me, for the first time, what I would like as a prize. Without hesitation, I said, “Legos.” Legos were luxury goods back then. My parents kept their words and took me to the “American” toy store (Toys R Us) to pick out a Lego set for myself. It was one of those “dreams come true but then what?” stories – I think I enjoyed the fact of owning a set of Legos more than the Legos itself.

The day when the results of the college entrance exam were published, my dad came home with the newspaper and started looking for my name. When he found it, he asked what he could get me as a reward for bringing honor to the family. Ok. Kidding about the honor part. You didn’t really think we talk that way, did you? I told him, “I would like some cha siu bao [BBQ pork buns].” He immediately went out on his motorcycle and brought home ten piping hot pork buns. I ate them all in one sitting, much to my mother’s chagrin. To this day I know what I would say without hesitation if asked what my favorite food is in the world.

I never begrudge my children for “having it better” than I did. And really, are they really having it better? I never felt any want even though we were poor which I did not realize until much later in life, and only in retrospect. Life was easier for me to navigate because there was only one goal: study hard and get into a good school. (Of course, once you got into that good school, you kind of were lost. What now? …)

I am getting restless in anticipation of his graduation, but probably not for the right reason: I am dying to give him his graduation present.

 

 

 

Confession: I also wrote this post not for the right reason: I simply wanted to show you this awesome engraving.

 

 

 

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Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t.

May 15, 2011 no manual for parenting

Because of my racial/ethnic/cultural/educational make-up, I do not watch what I tell my children: I tend to over-explain everything and over-analyze everything for them. I also like to point out instances of racial/cultural prejudices and stereotypes disregarding whether they may be too young for such identity politics theory talks. Sometimes I feel sorry for them ’cause […]

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Tis almost Halloween. Do you know where your costume is? Let Zoltar inspire you…

October 13, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Remember Zoltar? From the movie Big?  Well, here is to help you remember… How many of us have thought about seeking the exact Zoltar out, not to make a wish, but just to say, “I have seen it. THE Zoltar in the movie with Tom Hanks!” Well, this post is not about that Zoltar.  But […]

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Do you know who started the famous Bobbed haircut?

August 30, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Louise Brooks, aka Frank Wedekind’s “Lulu”, 1929. Nobody, I mean, nobody, does it better… I have had the same postcard on my bookshelf since college.  I included it as one of the images for a self-portrait collage that I put together…  Now come to think of it, I started having identity crisis since that age […]

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Marlene Dietrich & Anna May Wong in “Shanghai Express”

August 30, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

So now I am completely obsessed with Anna May Wong. I wanted to find and read everything about her… then I found this: Shanghai Express This is fucking Marlene Dietrich we are talking about here…  Marlene Dietrich looks like this: (Ignore the cigarettes. They didn’t know better back then…) Yeah.  I get the irony about […]

Anna May Wong in “Daughter of the Dragon”

August 29, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Anna May Wong in “Daughter of the Dragon”, originally uploaded by The Absence of Alternatives. There is so much theorizing and critique one can do based on this one image, I don’t even know where to start… Or, if you don’t mind, I find it hilarious.  Is it a sign that we have come a […]

“Red Dawn! Red Dawn!”

August 28, 2009 random

“Red Dawn! Red Dawn!”, originally uploaded by The Absence of Alternatives. What I was thinking when I saw the military helicopters flying through the quiet suburb in the middle of the day… p.s. They are remaking Red Dawn…  I have one thing to say: “Don’t fuck it up!”