Thursday, March 29, 2018

Zoe vs. Roseanne: A Review

All I can say is: And Zoe thinks I'm sarcastic. Not that I let her watch when TV's most sarcastic mother returned to TV in the Roseanne reboot Tuesday. But I watched it. Partly because of the hype. Partly because I had watched the show when it originally aired in the late eighties/early nineties.
But also because I've never quite made up my mind about Roseanne Barr herself.

Review of the Roseanne reboot

I was a teenager when Roseanne premiered the first time around, and though I found it funny, what mostly got my attention was how much the Conners argued and yelled. The first time I watched, I remember Becky fighting with Roseanne and finally yelling, "I hate you!" before stomping up to her bedroom. I was shocked by this. No one ever would've said that in my house. It was unthinkable.
But then came Roseanne's response, which shocked me in a different, almost revelatory, way. She said, "Good. Then I'm doing my job."
It still resonates with me today as maybe the best response, to remain completely unperturbed when your child or teen hurls some unreasoning emotion at you, to let them know that you're not going to be bothered by their nonsense and won't be swayed. And maybe throw in some sarcasm for good measure.
After all, as I like to say, Mockery is the highest form of love.
This is not to say that my mom style is Roseanne Conner.
For one thing, that would take a lot more commitment. I tease Zoe but I don't want to make her cry. 
Or at least only when she needs it for personal growth, as in: Crying doesn't work on Mommy when your goal is to eat all the candy while playing all the Minecraft and doing none of the homework.
You get the idea.
Back to my ambivalence about Roseanne. I've always felt like I was supposed to like her, just by virtue of her being a strong female comedian. On the other hand, she's, well, she's Roseanne. Crass and reveling in it and somehow---call me crazy---I get the feeling she'd be a little too much Roseanne to be around all the time. Plus, as a mom, I don't want to be an unrelenting sour note.
I've always appreciated her comic style, the cutting through crap to expose a truer if oftentimes uglier side of things. However, I wonder if, as self-aware as she seems to be, is she quite aware of the extent of her own crap?
I've always had this default position where I assume self-deprecating people have built-in wisdom, but that's not necessarily true. In any case, Roseanne Conner is not the kind of mom I really want to be for Zoe. Even if I have a wry to fatalistic view on life and its absurdities, I think it'd probably be good if a seven-year-old has a rosier view. At least until she's in high school.

Zoe: 181; Universe: 0

 If you enjoyed this post, you may like this walk down TV memory lane when Zoe takes on the Fonz.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Zoe vs. Stephen Hawking. Or, A Brief History of a Seven-Year-Old Who Doesn't Understand What Brevity Is

Stephen Hawking died yesterday, and I'd be remiss if my blog with universe in its name didn't offer a tribute to probably the world's most well-known theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who wrote A Brief History of Time.
The only thing that's brief about Zoe is her height. When it comes to telling a story, she doesn't know from brevity. Just the other morning she was telling me about a dream she had. It went like this:
"I had a dream last night, or maybe actually it was ten weeks ago, or something like that, or was it yesterday? I don't know, and I don't remember what I dreamed about, never mind, by the way, did I tell you about the Queen who's the Real Most Powerfulest Thing in the World [trademark pending]? She's in charge of the universes. There are three universes. They are 1) itself, 2) Paradise 3) the core...."
I suppose Hawking might've said Zoe's stories are like black holes in the way they suck in time and energy from all nearby bodies. However, I have to admit, she does emit light in her own inimitable way. Also, mucus. Lots of it.

A Brief History of a Seven-Year-Old Who Doesn't Understand What Brevity Means

Since Zoe has designs on eventually taking over the universe or universes, however many there are, it does seem like she'd be interested in what Hawking had to say about it/them---that is, the properties of her future property. Though she probably thinks a cosmologist is the same as a cosmetologist, and that the latter's work has more to contribute to society, and are we really going to argue with a seven-year-old girl about this? No one's got time for that, unless they're a star or maybe that black hole I mentioned.
I guess.
I don't know since I only just realized that the advance of scientific knowledge didn't come to an abrupt halt when I graduated high school, which is the last time I studied it, and probably the last time I was up to date on cosmetological concerns as well, albeit just as confused regarding them.
Expanding outward---just like the universe has been since the Big Bang (bask in that!)---today, as a tribute to Stephen Hawking, here are some of his most famous quotes, with commentary by Zoe.

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." 
I know what that means. I'm not going to explain it to you though.

"People won't have time for you if you are always angry or complaining." 
Define always.

"Not only does God play dice, but... he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen." 
That's cheating. And I know because I sometimes do that when the dice fall on the floor and I tell Mommy I rolled doubles and she says, "Did you really?" And I say nothing because I'm thinking what to say and then even though I haven't said anything she seems to know I'm pretty much thinking about lying and she says, "Lying is also cheating," but if even God cheats, then I now have a comeback for her next time.

"Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking." 
In other words, Mommies should listen to their children when they tell them about Minecraft.

"Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet."
That's how you trip so I'm not going to do that.

"The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired."
Aka, why my room is not "a mess" that I "need to clean up, especially the Legos" like Mommy says. It's Art. I'm an artist.

"It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love."
And Legos.

Zoe: 180; Universe: 0

 If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one.

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"Life would be tragic if it weren't funny." --Stephen Hawking, so:
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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Zoe vs. the Oscars 2018

The Academy Awards are this weekend, so that means it's time for my fifth annual roundup of all the movies nominated for Best Picture. This go-round I've actually seen TWO of the nine movies nominated.
And I've seen FOUR of the nine nominated in 2017. Where's my Oscar?
So now it's time to sum up each movie, having only actually seen Dunkirk and Get Out, and show how each reflects my life with Zoe.

Oscars 2018

Darkest Hour: Sometimes as a parent you just don't know if you should negotiate or go to war. Sometimes things seem bleakest just before the dawn because you haven't slept any of the actual dark hours and now there's no point since you have to get ready to go to work. And then sometimes, after a night without sleep, you don't even look like yourself but not in a way that'll give anyone an award for Best Makeup or Costume.

Dunkirk: Parenthood as a story of survival including struggles with evacuating. Enough said.

The Shape of Water: I read that the lead female character is a voiceless, isolated woman who spends a lot of time cleaning a place where there's a strange mysteriously wet creature who's like something out of science fiction, and I gotta say I relate.

How high the bath water has to get before a child will turn it off.

The Post: Did you say blog post? Sometimes it's hard to bring you, dear reader, the truth as an agent of inestimable power works against me in overt as well as covert ways.

Call Me By Your Name: Ok, so it's a coming-of-age story but otherwise it's a stretch to connect with Zoe's and my life since a gay male romance set in Italy is a far cry from our day-to-day. However, I do relate to the seeming confusion expressed by the title, since some days I forget my own name and Zoe's and end up whisper-yelling some other kid's name in a church.

Phantom Thread: Daniel Day-Lewis plays a person whose carefully tailored life is disrupted by love. (Aw!)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: A dark comedy with refusals to back down and unsolved crimes is a fair description of my life; only the cursing is internal because I keep it PG.

Get Out: What a useful phrase! Applied to so many scenarios since I've become Zoe's mom. Get out of my bed! My room! My jewelry box! Get out of that mound of dirt and go play on an actual park apparatus like all the norms! Or how about, we're leaving, get your shoes on and get out the door! It's a warning, a directive. And a reminder to be paranoid as I wonder why does she keep gesturing that way with her spoon is she trying to hypnotize me?

My expression when Zoe says something that mortifies me
except, unlike the character in the movie, sinking into the floor would've been blessed relief.

Lady Bird: A strong-willed daughter versus her strong-willed mother. An outspoken young person asserting her individuality. Lady Bird can be critical of what she loves but deep down her critique is a mask for her loving attention to her subject.

Zoe: 179; Universe: 0

 If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one.

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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