Saturday, January 12, 2013

Netflix - the dark side!

We are thoroughly enjoying Netflix.  Seriously.  It's good stuff!  For the cost of renting less than one video per month, we have access to a crazy amount of television shows and movies and documentaries. Definite gems that you can't find on television unless you pay for the whole premium satellite package.  Like "The IT Crowd", "Breaking Bad", "Supersize Me", "Degrassi Junior High" and "Degrassi High" (campy and out-dated but so nostalgic!), "Quantum Leap" and the "X-files".  And anything with Louis CK in it.

Recently Cory changed the Wii settings so that Netflix thinks we're American. I was nervous about that at first, but it doesn't seem to have impacted anything else that our Wii will do.  And no one has come pounding on the door accusing us of stealing programming we're not entitled to.  So I've relaxed and started to enjoy it. Really enjoy it.

Suddenly I find myself confronted with a whole host of television programs that I didn't know existed.  The American programming includes Disney programs that our Canadian one won't (for some copyright reason). It has way more television and way newer movies.  Apparently "The Hunger Games" is already on Netflix.
So, I have greedily devoured such trashy programming like "Sister Wives", and have caught up on missed episodes of "Malcolm in the Middle" and  "Everybody Loves Raymond"... and turns out, I actually enjoy documentaries.

But... with every advance in technology, there is a dark side.  A very, very dark side.

"Toddlers and Tiaras".

I stumbled across that the other day.  A 'reality' show that follows three or four young children and their parents, as they prepare for and participate in a Beauty Pageant.

And my jaw dropped.

These parents (okay, mostly mothers) are spending thousands of dollars on glitzy outfits and professional pageant coaches so their daughters can win crowns and titles and money doing the pageant circuit.

I saw five-year old getting spray-tanned, a four-year old being fed pixie sticks to wake her up because they'd gotten her up so early in the morning to have her hair and make-up done, a cute seven-year old being fitted for false teeth because, god forbid, she'd lost her two front teeth already.  And the one that made me cringe the most... a two-year old who's father was shaving her eyebrows, because she'd been unfortunate enough to inherit his bushy eyebrows.  I kid you not!  He was SHAVING her eyebrows.

And the mother of this two-year old, was talking to the camera and saying that it was important for her to learn about this beauty regimen now, while she was young, because it's very important for her to maintain her looks because her husband needs her to, or something crudworthy like that.

Oh gag!

Then these children go up on stage in crazy sparkly dresses, or bedazzled swimsuits, flashing fake smiles and wiggling their bums at the judges.  And they compete for prizes such as "prettiest smile", "prettiest eyes", "little Miss Glitz", "Supreme Queen" or whatever.  And the moms fake their enthusiasm when their daughters come in less than first place, but then complain to the camera that the pageant was fixed or that their daughter will try harder next time because it is her destiny and she SOOOO loves this lifestyle.

WTF?

Ohhh, and then, of course, the families all have to get together before the pageant and pray together.  "Thank you Jesus, for what you have given our little Betty-Sue, may she shake her booty before that room full of pedophiles and may she always measure her self-worth by her looks, the smoothness of her fake tan, the length of her false eyelashes, and the lack of razor burn on her forehead.  If she doesn't bring home the top award, help us to belittle her and tell her she just didn't try hard enough so that she understands, Jesus, that our love in contingent how beautiful other people think she is.  In Jesus name, we pray..." blah blah blah.

I asked my husband if we had beauty pageants here in Canada (please don't tell my girly girl, if we do) and he said that our equivalent to the Beauty Pagent parent would be the hockey parent. Hmm... interesting comparison.  Some food for thought.  But a topic for another post, because I avoid hockey at all costs, so my experience with hockey parents is at an arm's length, thank god.

And so, that is the dark side of Netflix.  My new-found ability to watch exploitive claptrap and sit, disgusted, gleefully slinging judgement at the idiotic parents that set feminism and healthy childhood self-esteem back generations.

And, like a train wreck, I can't seem to stop.  I've already watched four episodes and can't wait until the kids are in bed so I can watch another...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year

This year, I resolve to bake more.  

No, wait, that's not right... I hate baking!  I resolve to NOT bake more.  Why put the local bakery out of business.  

Or the local Grandmas...  They like baking cakes for my children.  I'm doing them a favour by constantly asking them to do so!  :)

Having said that, here's Connor's birthday cake.  

Step 1: Using a cake mix (hey, I'm not Martha Stewart, give me a break...), bake the cake in a pan that's apparently too small.  Allow it to leak all over the oven so that you are multi-tasking and baking a second cake at the same time.

Step 2:  After shutting off the smoke alarm and allowing the cake to cool until after the children go to bed, using green food colouring, liberally slather a container of icing all over the cake.  Use the flat edge of a table knife to smooth it.  Try smoothing in flat in the opposite direction.  Give up on smoothing it flat.  Disguise it with sprinkles and in your best icing handwriting, draw a number so that there's no question that a 6 year old iced the cake...
 Step 3:  Give up!  Raid your children's board game stash and cover the ugly bits with the board game pieces.  And yes, Eric, I did humiliate this poor board game in such a disrespectful manner.

Step 4: Remember that it's the six-year old that has to like the cake... NOT the adults.  And he did.  Especially the part where we allowed him to shoot the bird at the cake after the candles were blown out!
 Happy Birthday to my crazy little New Year's Baby!


 Connor opening some of his gifts.

 Kirstin and Brooklynn decked out in their coordinating party dresses!
 How we spent the afternoon... playing board games and eating.  What a great way to ring in 2013!

Happy New Year to you, my few faithful readers, and a very Happy Birthday to my six-year old!  My best New Year's Eve gift, ever.