Monday, June 27, 2011

The Trekkin' Siblings

Yesterday my brother, Mr. Funny, and I totally got our geek on at a Star Trek Convention in Parsippany, New Jersey. We had the honor of hearing the lovely and superawesome Nichelle Nichols speak, and she was so amazing and incredible that it made our entire 2+ hour trek worth it.

Hailing frequencies open!
(Photo from

Because New Jersey is the suck of America.

And we're from Florida, are Mr. Funny and I. We know from states that suck.

The road system in New Jersey appears to have been designed by M.C. Escher. Somehow it took us two hours to get from Brooklyn to Parsippany, with only 40 minutes stuck in traffic, but coming home took 1/3 that time. (And then we got stuck in Staten Island's permatraffic. More on that later.) I half expected David Bowie and his hair (which would have been totally appropriate for New Jersey) to pop up and try to steal my little brother, something Mr. Funny was actually afraid of when we were kids. Believe me, if Mr. Funny never got kidnapped by the Goblin King it wasn't for my lack of trying. Though now he's 31 and less likely to be Goblin King fodder, I guess.

"Do I remind you of the babe? The babe with the power?"
(Photo from

Part of the problem of driving in New Jersey is that every street, highway, and dirt path has at least four names, so that by the time Mr. Funny read the actual direction in its entirety we were pretty much past where we needed to be.

Me: Which way do I go here?
Him: "Take 440 north - slash - 278 west - slash - NCC1701 - slash - Beetlejuice Nebula - slash - Burt Reynolds Highway Northwest South."
Me: Too late. I think we're in Delaware.

Actually, we didn't get lost. But we did end up in some horrendous traffic out in the middle of nowhere that I can only attribute to New Jersey's natural tendency to have flash traffic jams, like sandstorms in the desert.

Two hours and a whole lot of making fun of our spouses later, we arrived in Parsippany (motto: "If You Can Get Here, We'll Show You Nichelle Nichols") for the convention.

Now, Mr. Funny and I are not Star Trek Con virgins, as evidenced by my use of the word "con." We've been to cons. I ONCE GOT TO SHAKE HANDS WITH TASHA YAR. GO AHEAD AND PUKE WITH JEALOUSY.

Another time, when he was but a wee Trekker, my brother got to meet Brent Spiner, who promised him an autographed photo and never sent it.

"Hi, I'm Brent Spiner and I like to make promises
that I don't keep and break the hearts of little boys.
Bwahahahahaha! And also? My pants are stupid."

So we went to hear Nichelle Nichols, aka Uhura, who is so awesome it makes my skin glow. Seriously. Her greatness is so vast it actually exfoliates my skin.

Behold. Your pores are now clear and tiny.
(Photo from

She, of course, told the famous Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. story, which our mother recites like Scripture. And then she patiently sat through about 10 kajillion fan photos and had the good grace to make small talk with each and every one of us.

I am super lame, though. I get starstruck. Once, when I met Spike Lee, I had this whole speech in my head about how important "Do the Right Thing" is in the canon of American film. A whole speech. What I said when I shook his hand was this: "I love you." Another time I stood in line to have Hillary Clinton sign her latest book, and again, I had a whole speech in my head about how she is a feminist icon and a role model, and that I've been a supporter of hers since 1992, and how I think it's great that she's always fought for better health care in America. What I said when my turn finally came around was this: "I'm a feminist." She gave me a thumbs-up and then pressed the hidden Secret Service button to have me forcibly removed from the Columbus Circle Borders Book Shop.

So, I'm not great when it comes to meeting famous people, despite living in New York City for 15 years, where we treat celebs like they are somewhere between a crime scene and a unicorn: we acknowledge them out of the corners of our eyes, confirm with our fellow citizens, and then move on. Once, I got hit on in an elevator by Colin Quinn, only I didn't know it was him, and I got annoyed. Mr. Funny still has not forgiven me for not somehow magically whipping his headshot out of thin air and passing it on.

Long story short, there I am, in the presence of NICHELLE NICHOLS, who is arguably one of the most important women in Sci-Fi, and certainly is a geek feminist icon, and I was all ready to say to her, "You're an inspiration!"

What I said was this: "....."

Nothing. Not a damn thing. I froze up and smiled like the village idiot I am.

Thankfully my brother saved the day with something like, "You are fantastic."

This is why my husband says I should never go into politics. I blank out in front of people I admire. I imagine if Barack Obama ever accepted my invitation to come over for gluten-free pasta and Tasti-D-Lite, I'd probably just drool and pee. God forbid I ever get to meet the Dalai Lama. My skin will probably melt off and my eyeballs will pop out of their sockets.

So, it was a successful con in that I made a total ass of myself in front of Lt. Uhura. Which, really, is all I ask of life. I'm a woman with simple needs.

On the way home, the 2+ hour drive suddenly morphed into 35 minutes to get from Parsippany to the Goethels Bridge, which attaches New Jersey to Staten Island like a dirty cop handcuffing two criminals together. Staten Island has a giant highway running down its middle like someone's trying to cut it open, and that highway has permatraffic. There's no other way to describe it. Day or night, weekend or weekday, there's traffic. It kind of reminds me of that episode from Season 3 of Doctor Who.

Thankfully, Bon Jovi came on the radio while we were still in New Jersey, because by law you cannot leave New Jersey without hearing either the Jovi or Bruce Springsteen. The rest of the radio was devoted to Michael Jackson's yartzheit, which got annoying after a while because when you're on the tail end of something like that you are just plain not going to hear the good songs like "Billy Jean" or "Black and White" - you're going to hear the lesser known crap that is lesser known for a reason.

But, again, all worth it for Nichelle Nichols.

Mr. Funny: Maybe you can write her a letter with all the things you didn't say when we had our photo with her.
Me: Yeah, that's not going to happen.

Instead I did what any good 21st century chick would do. I "liked" her Facebook page and posted it on her wall.

You're next, Hillary.

"Get this crazy chick away from me."
(Photo from

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Heart Marriage Equality NY!

History was made in New York State last night!

This is my parents' song, but I think they'd be happy if I borrowed it to dedicate to all the NY couples who finally have the same basic civil rights as their straight allies.

Juban Princeling Photo of the Week: 6/25/11

Running Towards Summer:

Summer Solstice 20011
(And yes, those ARE pirate monkey shorts)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Vitamin RC (Reality-Check)

This morning my husband and I discussed whether it's time to start giving our son, the Juban Princeling, a regular multi-vitamin. And just in time, too, as the Princeling went ahead and had a fit when I wouldn't give him one of my enormous, horse-sized vitamins that I can barely choke down every morning.

So I did what I usually do when I have a question about raising my child in a healthy way that will help him be the best little Princeling he can be: I consulted the internet.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that healthy children receiving a normal, well-balanced diet do not need vitamin supplementation over and above the recommended dietary allowances, which includes 400 IU (International Units) of vitamin D a day. Megadoses of vitamins—for example, large amounts of vitamins A, C, or D—can produce toxic symptoms, ranging from nausea to rashes to headaches and sometimes to even more severe adverse effects. Talk with your pediatrician before giving vitamin supplements to your child.

I think it's adorably optimistic of the AAP to assume that we all live in a TV commercial where the children sit quietly and happily at the kitchen table to consume a "normal, well-balanced" breakfast every single day. Probably one cooked by their parents and consisting of things like egg-white omlettes with spinach and tomatoes, organic turkey sausage, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. And the children are all fresh-faced and wholesome, and they do their homework without being nagged, and the siblings never fight, and no one ever has a tantrum, and at night the whole family holds hands and sings "Kumbaya."


Yeah, right.
(Photo from

Here in the Lopez household we are full of good intentions and lazy follow-through. Husband and I would love it if the Princeling one day had a breakfast that could conceivably qualify as "food," but every morning we're slapped in the face by real life. Yesterday he had a cookie for breakfast. Today's breakfast consisted of:

1 1/2 saltines,
Three bites of an apple
Four Skittles

And we were happy, because he ate those saltines and had those bites of apple!

To be fair, when Husband and I took the personality quiz in "Stress-Free Potty Training," the Princeling scored astronomically high in the "Strong-Willed" category. (Oh, yay.) But I imagine most households are like ours: good intentions, harsh reality.

Part of this complete breakfast!
(Photo from Wikipedia.)

Nice try, AAP, but have any of you ever MET a child? Do any of you truly believe in your heart of hearts that the overwhelming majority of American children are receving healthy, balanced nutrion via their meals and snacks?

Since the Princeling likes fruit so much we have not worried much until now. Fruit is healthy, right? The USDA says we should make "half our plates" full of fruit. The USDA wouldn't lie to us. Would they?

Then I thought back to the past few weeks and noticed about 90% of what the Princeling regularly consumes falls into one of these three categories:

Hot dogs/chicken nuggets

Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure Skittles don't pack a lot of vitamin B and hot dogs aren't high in fiber.

The thing is, the Princeling does like vegetables. But he only eats them under certain circumstances, like when they are heated up in a bowl and he's watching his train movie, and Saturn is in retrograde, and it's a Leap Year, and the Speaker of the House has a last name ending in the letter Q.

So, thank you for the vote of confidence, American Academy of Pediatrics, but our kid is now a Flintstones Kid. It's the only way I can sleep at night.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Return of Juban Princeling Photo of the Week!

Better late than never.

This one is titled, "This is What a Feminist Looks Like!"*

And that sippy cup next to him? Is a Tinker Bell sippy cup. I'll just take that Liberal Mother of the Year Award now, thanks.

*My BIL's boyfriend, The Professor, pointed out that any ol' misogynist might see this photo and make the case that feminists are illiterate, since the magazine is upside-down. To which I would respond to those misogynists: HE'S TWO AND A HALF GO HAVE A GREAT BIG GLASS OF SHUT THE F**K UP.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pinot for the Masses!

This month's Budget Wine Review over at Moms Who Need Wine: The Pinot Project. You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Legality of Legalness

I know a lot of lawyers. I mean, a lot of lawyers. Probably more than is healthy for most people. It's good to know a lawyer, for those times when you want to know if you can sue the a-hole doctors who misdiagnosed your abdominal pain so that a month later you wind up in the hospital getting your gall bladder out, and your gall bladder by now is so infected it's twice the normal size and your routine surgery takes twice as long all because the emergency room doctor sent you home yesterday when she should have had you admitted instead. Not that that's ever happened to me. (But if it had, the answer is yes, I can sue the initial emergency room doctor but I will have a pretty lousy case. And I'm lazy. So no lawsuit.)

So, it's good to know a lawyer for things like that.

I keep telling my husband he should get a scales of justice
tattoo because not only is he a lawyer,
but he's a Libra! How awesome would that be! But he
refuses because he is a (sexy) stick in the mud.

But I know a lot of lawyers, which is my burden to bear through life. How did this happen? I have no idea. My father makes his living as an expert witness for personal injury lawsuits, so he knows a lot of lawyers. Then, my roommate here in New York went to law school while we were living together. Then, my husband decided to go to law school and now he's a lawyer.

Lawyers are like ants: where there's one, there's bound to be more. So for each of the lawyers I know, they, in turn, know a whole colony of others. My life is a swarm of lawyers.

I wish I knew this many doctors. I could actually use free drug samples, easy access to prescription pads, and advice on this random dry patch I've had on my left knee for as long as I can remember. How do I need all these lawyers in my life? How does that help me, ever?

(For the record, I know one doctor. One. And while she was extremely helpful last summer when my son cracked my head open and I had to get staples IN MY HEAD, she has yet to give me free drugs even though last month I went to her baby son's surprise bris as a witness to the little man joining The Tribe. So, basically, she's useless.) (And yes, that was a surprise bris.)

So, yesterday I got a pre-summons questionnaire for jury duty, which means my nerd lawyer of a husband is all a-twitter with excitement. The law is, to him, what pop culture is to normal people. He gets excited about Supreme Court decisions the way other people get excited about American Idol. He talks about landmark cases the way I talk about Quentin Tarantino movies. He brought this book with him on our honeymoon. Our honeymoon! Blue skies, bright sunshine, pink Bermudian sand, and my groom with his nerd book. He might as well have worn a fishing hat, black socks pulled up to his knees, and loafers. He wouldn't let me have a Star Wars-themed wedding, but he brought an almost textbook on the honeymoon. Know what I brought? This book. This is a book that says, "I'm on my honeymoon and can't be bothered to think real deep thoughts for real long chunks of time, kthxbye."

(Photo from

Of course my nerd husband gets excited when I get called for jury duty. It means I have to come home and talk with him about his favorite subject (the law) rather than just doing what I usually do when he comes home from work, which is to smile and nod and occasionally repeat the last two words he just said so it sounds like I'm paying attention, while in my mind I'm riding behind Gael Garcia Bernal on a motorcycle across South America. No, with jury duty I'll have to pay attention to things so I can come home and regurgitate them to the nerd I married. When my questionnaire arrived he actually studied it then pop-quizzed me on it.

"Is it federal or state court?"
"How the f**k should I know?"
"What does it say?"
"Here, look and see for yourself."
"It says U.S. District Court. What do you think that means?"
"I think that means if you don't drop it you're sleeping in the bathtub for the rest of the week. I don't care what it means. It means I'm going to jury duty soon. Now STFU and let's watch some reruns of last season's True Blood before the new season starts."

LinkBlah blah opposing counsel blah.

I know people generally hate jury duty, but I kind of like it. It's hours and hours to catch up on my reading, and lord knows I have enough of that to do. Thanks to Barnes & Noble's Free Fridays on the nook, I have dozens of e-books to read. DOZENS. Even ones I don't particularly want to read. They are free, and I'm a Jew, and I will take pretty much anything if it's free. So I have a nook full of books I might never otherwise give a second thought to, but because they were free I now have to read them all. HAVE TO.

And anyway, in my mind all court is like TV court, a point that gives my husband no small amount of agita, which he totally deserves for making me help him study for the Bar while I was pregnant with our child. To me, jury duty is like getting to be an extra on "Ally McBeal" or in the movie Chicago, both of which ARE TOTALLY HOW OUR AMERICAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM REALLY WORKS. Trust me, I have any number of attorneys to back me up on that.