Pregnant Barbie

Work is eating my brain!!! For the last two weeks I’ve been working 9-12 hour days, commuting home, having a quick snack or fast food and sitting on the couch for one episode of Futurama – which is less about unwinding and more about submitting to my cat’s demand for lap time after not seeing me all day – then sleeping for about 6 hours, waking up and doing it all over again.

In addition to my all-(brain)consuming current work assignment, Mom has been in town since June 19th! Every spare minute not spent at work, on the couch with the cat, or sleeping has been spent adventuring around Minneapolis and the Twin Cities. So far we’ve gone to the Minnesota Science Museum, roof-top dining at Stella’s Fish Cafe, on a makeup shopping spree at Bare Escentuals, to the Vali Hi Drive In in Lake Elmo (Green Lantern and Super 8), the Minnesota Zoo, wine and cheese shopping, the Twin Cities Gay Pride Parade and exploring cool restaurants so we have an excuse not to cook. Seriously, I’ve got so much photo editing to do that my Mac is going to crash before I get to it.

Life is good. Chaotic, crazy busy and good.

So, the blogging has been light here, but I’ve been wanting to post this article for about a week now. May I present:

Pregnant Barbie!?

I was chatting with some friends a couple of weeks ago about women and careers. Barbie was brought up as an example of a toy that has changed over time with women’s evolving career choices. Nowadays you can find Barbie in almost every line of work and lifestyle choice. Someone in the group said that you could even get a “Pregnant Barbie”. My first thought was, “Cool! Pregnant Barbie”, which was followed by my second thought, “Uh-oh…Pregnant Barbie”.

It was mentioned that Pregnant Barbie could even “give birth”. Double uh-oh. Please, I thought, please don’t let it come out of the belly button. The friend who was speaking didn’t remember if the baby did in fact come out of the belly button, but we all agreed that the chances of an anatomically-correct vaginal birth for Baby Barbie was probably not part of Mattel’s plans.

I came home and googled “Pregnant Barbie” and learned a couple of things:

This is old hat. Mattel’s pregnant doll was introduced in the early 2000s. A good many of you may have seen or remember commercials for “Pregnant Barbie”. I had just graduated college around this time and wasn’t watching a lot of television then, so I completely missed the entire preggers Barbie doll.

Second,  Barbie herself has never been pregnant. Mattel’s prize hog doll was spared a potentially image-crippling pregnancy; they decided to let Barbie’s friend Midge take the normal social risks of being a pregnant woman. And the public outcry against Midge’s pregnancy was predictable: How dare a doll address something wicked and dirty like pregnancy? Wouldn’t a happy, healthy pregnant doll promote promiscuity and a desire to get pregnant in young, impressionable girls?  After a few years Midge was discontinued and is now considered a collector’s item.

I found this fabulous and moderately annoying YouTube video about Pregnant Midge. The analysis is decent, but the sound effects are pretty awful. Mike Mozart raises some excellent points that are worthy of a bit of good ol’ feminist outrage:

  • Midge was originally released with a bare hand, but a later version shows Midge wearing a wedding ring. There’s no unwed teen mothers in Mattel’s family-friendly clan!
  • Pregnant Midge’s feet are molded for high heels. Because women in their third trimester always wear heels.
  • The belly is attached by magnents – Barbie can get pregnant and have kids again and again and again!

The thing that annoys me most about Mattel’s pregnant Midge doll is the misinformation that it spreads around to its target audience. If you are going to address pregnancy in a doll, why confuse a kid with a full-grown baby tucked in Mommy’s interstitial space?  Sure, there is a great deal of suspension of disbelief  when dealing with Barbies, but why do this weird kind-of delivery? Why not just create a nice, sterile third-trimester lump above Barbie’s nice sterile genitals?  The “baby bump” is probably about as much as young kids usually get exposed to anyway. I think it was a cool idea for Mattel to introduce a pregnant Barbie. However, I think that they should have treated Barbie’s pregnancy with the same general vagueness as they do Barbie’s life in general – just smooth over the “ucky stuff”.

Go Buy Tim Minchin Tickets!

Hey Twin Cities friends!

Did you know that TIM MINCHIN is going to be doing a rare live performance in Minneapolis on July 16th at the Pantages Theater???


Photo Source

Are you going? Do you already have tickets? I have tickets!

If you haven’t heard of Tim Minchin, hell’s bells, go YouTube him! He writes, plays piano and sings about rationality, sex, common sense, boobs, prejudice, sex, skepticism, boobs and religion…to name a few. Also boobs and sex. Oh, and he wrote the music and songs for a musical stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He’s a hell of a showman and comedian, and according to his website he has an enormous…sense of occasion. Yea, a man of many talents.

I’ve posted this before; it’s one of my favorite Tim Minchin songs:

I know, right? AWESOME! So get out of here – go buy tickets! They’re only $28 if you buy at the door, $40 to buy online (thanks for that kick in the ass, Ticketmaster).

If you’re in Portland, Seattle, Austin, Anaheim, San Fran, Atlanta, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. or Montreal, Tim Minchin is also coming your way in June or July. Check out his full calendar here.

Squee!

Road Trip: The House on the Rock

It’s time for another adventure!

I’m heading downtown now to catch the MegaBus. *shudder* I’m not a huge fan of riding the MegaBus; they sell incredibly cheap seats (I bought a ticket to Madison for $5), so families with lots of kids tend to ride. Also, the last time I rode they oversold the bus by TEN SEATS, and it took the driver an hour-and-a-half to sort everything out. Also, on my last two experiences people were noisy and rude – they pushed, talked loudly on their cell phones, and wandered the cramped aisles of the bus rather than stay in their seats, jostling anyone who happened to have an aisle seat. But $5 ticket to Madison. So there you go.

My Mom, who is in the middle of an EPIC solo road trip (Southern Illinois –> Washington DC –> Chicago –> Minneapolis –> Seattle and back to Southern Illinois), is going to pick me up in Madison tonight, we’re going to stay overnight in a hotel, and then tomorrow morning we’re going here:

House on the Rock is an odd collection of rooms that contain odd collections of items perched on a literal rock in the middle of a forest south of Spring Green, Wisconsin. It factors into Neil Gaiman’s book American Gods, so in honor of the trip, that’s what I’m rereading on the bus ride down.

After we tour the HOTR, Mom and I will drive together back to Minneapolis. She’s visiting for two weeks and I’m going to take her EVERYWHERE  that she’ll let me take her during that time:

  • Minneapolis Raptor Center
  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Minnesota Opera
  • Beyond Therapy @ Theater in the Round
  • MN Zoo and IMAX
  • Social Science at the Science Museum of Minnesota
  • MN Arboretum
  • Walker Art Center
  • MN Institute of Arts (MIA)
  • Mall of America Aquarium and shopping
  • St. Louis Park outdoor mall off of 394
  • Dinner with The Hubby’s family
  • CONvergence (She already has a ticket!)
  • Gay Pride Parade and Pride in the Park
  • Padelford Riverboat Mississippi River cruise

Did I miss any of the big ones?

So excited. Love me some Mom time.

Sudden Spring Storm

We had a bit of a storm in Chaska yesterday.

It was amazing how quickly the weather changed! I work in an office with a window, and at one glance the sky was a brilliant spring blue and the next it had turned uniformly gray. Then dark, heavy storm clouds started rolling low across the sky. I ran outside to snap some photos.

When I first stepped outside there wasn’t a lot of wind. After a few minutes sirens started going off from somwhere across the lake and seconds after that I was shoved back by a wall of gusting wind. I got back inside just as hard rain began plummeting down. 20 minutes later the sun was shining and the sky was blue again.

You can see the reflection of the clear blue sky in the lake at bottom left of the photo. If you click on the image it will largify.

I Dream of Michelle Bachmann

In which my usually supressed snark emerges via the subconcious circus we call dreaming:

While wearing a wire (for some reason), I found myself in a conversation with Michelle Bachmann. Actually, the fact that I was having a calm discussion with Shelly B. instead of going red from yelling at her smug, righteous, durp-eyed face is what keyed me into the fact that this was a dream rather than reality.

So anyway, while we were chatting like life-long gal pals, Shelly B. admitted that she was in “this whole presidential race thing” (she actually did the air quotes) for the money and the fame, and that she didn’t believe any of the right-wing bullshit abstinence-only education/anti-choice rhetoric/marriage is between one man and one-woman crap, but that it made a HELL of a commercial spot and brought in some sweet campaign donations.

She also told me that she had no idea that she was staring at the wrong camera during her Tea Party response to the last State of the Union address. It was just that she couldn’t understand the directions from the Spanish-speaking Mexican immigrant cameraman who she had illegally shipped into the US to work for her campaign for $2/hr.

And she told me that was having an on-going affair with Amanda Marcotte (that’s what I get for reading Pandagon right before going to bed). Sorry, Amanda.

And that she had a love child with Mark Dayton, but had never told Dayton and had shipped the little shit (her words, not mine…well, technically mine since it was my dream, but Dream Shelly B. totally said it) off to Uganda to live with Mormons (and that would be me watching clips from Broadway’s The Book of Mormon right before bedtime).

And then the alarm went off.

I was never so sad as when I sat up and realized that I hadn’t just had this conversation with Michelle Bachmann in real life while wearing a wire.

And then I shipped that little shit off to Uganda!

Photo via The Examiner

Interwebs – you waited for me!

I wasn’t sure you’d still be here when I got back!

So, yeah. Hey.

How ya doing, Internet? My name’s Brianne, and I’ve been out of you for about a week and a half now, but I’m super excited about getting back into you.

Work has been crazy, but in a good way. I like being busy, having challenging goals and deadlines to meet. The frustrations are frustrating, but the wins are AWESOME. But there have been some long hours…about 120 of them in the past two weeks.

So I’ve been struggling to stay abreast of the latest online news, and holy crap has there been some. Sadly, I haven’t had a lot of time to process – let alone blog – some of the best stuff. And the Tonys…I missed the Tonys! I was going to bring chicken pot pie, chocolate salty balls and cheesy poofs to a friend’s house to watch the Tonys and show my support for The Book of Mormon, but turns out they didn’t need my contribution – they took home NINE  freaking Tonys! Woo-hoo!

Oooo…oh yeah, and I have a netbook now, and I’ve been doing my Rosetta Stone for Spanish. If there is ever a young male underneath a table, or if a boy and girl are in a boat, I can totally tell you so in two languages. Awwww yeah!

In between running assays and writing reports, I have managed to sneak in a few chapters of Pyramids, by Terry Pratchett. I’m a grudging fan of the Discworld series; I grew up on Piers Anthony’s Xanth - back then there were no other fantasy worlds as far as I was concerned. So, I missed out on Ankh-Morpork until just recently when some good friends re-introduced me to the books. And actually, these friends are involved with putting on the North American Discworld Convention that is taking place in Madison in a few weeks – there are still tickets available, you guys. If you’re a fan, you should go; Sir Terry is going to be present and there are all types of art, theater, role-play, storytelling, costuming and other Discworld merriments to be had. Did I mention that it’s in Madison, Wisconsin – a mere four hours away from the Twin Cities?

So, no news or rants today, but to wrap it up I want to share a couple of my favorite quotes so far from the Harper paperback 2008 edition of Pyramids: 

On gods physically walking among men:

And Dil was realizing that there are few things that so shake belief as seeing, clearly and precisely, the object of that belief. Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn’t believing. It’s where belief stops, because it isn’t needed anymore. -page 178

On camels, the greatest mathematicians in the history of Discworld:

Human mathematical development had always been held back by everyone’s instinctive tendency, when faced with something really complex in the way of triform polynomials or parametric differentials, to count fingers. Camels started from the word go by counting numbers.

Deserts were a great help, too. There weren’t many distractions. As far as camels were concerned, the way to mighty intellectual development was to have nothing much to do and nothing to do it with. -page 193

Absolutely awesome, odd, engaging fantasy storytelling.

See you tomorrow!

Signs of Spring: Robins and Goslings

I found these two over at the Lake Wood Nature Center in Richfield, MN. If you haven’t been, you must go! It’s hard to believe that you’re in the middle of the woods and also so close to 35W on that section between Bloomington and Minneapolis.

American Robin

This soon-to-be Mom or Dad was on the nest, but spooked when we walked by. The nest is about five feet to the right of the photo, and as soon as we were farther away, the robin flew back up and sat down like nothing had happened.

Gosling, Canada Goose

Siblings and Mom and Dad were a few feet away. Dad was very pissed that I was taking photos of his kids.

Books – How They Work

I’m out of town traipsing around the woods this weekend, so I’ll most likely be unable to respond to comments and the like (we’ll see how good the 3G is in the state park this year). But I do have a few posts queued up until I return to regular blogging on Monday (or so). Have a great weekend.

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The is one of the most motivational Demotivation posters I’ve ever come across:

Seen on Facebook via J.Blaze Ward. Original source is demotivation.us

The Challenges of Being a Skeptic

I have a new blog post up over at the Minnesota Skeptics blog!

The Challenges of Being a Skeptic

In 2009 I discovered The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. Shortly thereafter I started reading skeptical blogs and books and listening to other skeptical podcasts. In 2010 I found local meetups and attended my first skeptics’ conferences. Along the way there have been ah-ha! moments, but there have also been challenges.  More on the challenges in a minute.

Skepticism provides for me a way of looking at the world, at evaluating the massive amounts of information that come to us every day. Skeptics have a wide range of interests – politics, medicine, economy, science, the gamut of human rights and social issues, paranormal investigation, and religion, to name a few. But what we all share is…

To read the rest of my article, please go here to the Minnesota Skeptics blog.