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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Recapping One Day at a Time - Episode 11 - Pride & Prejudice

Okay, so I am racing against time to post this entry before any potential power outages.  My area is in line to get a major ice storm - in the middle of April - and I don't know how severe it will be in this area.  And since I worked late last night, I'm posting the Recapping One Day At A Time entry a day late.  I'm thinking that maybe choosing Fridays was a bad move on my part.  I might rectify this the next time I do a television review blog.

Anyway, the big news from Episode 10 was Elena finally coming out to Penelope.  In Episode 11 - Pride & Prejudice, we see how she is coming to terms with it. 



And given that she is knocking on Schneider's door in the middle of the night, I'm guessing that Penelope is having issues with it.  After Schneider lets her in, she talks about how Elena came out to her, and is actually shocked to find that Schneider and Alex knew before she did.  But once she gets over the shock, she explains that she is not entirely okay with knowing that Elena is a lesbian.  She doesn't consider herself homophobic, and she doesn't even know why she is having reservations about it.  I am just going to take a wild guess here and say that because she only found out a short time ago and it's taking her brain time to process it.  I mean, having a loved one come out to you is a fairly life-changing event.  It takes time to understand it for some people.



Of course, maybe Schneider isn't the best person to talk about this stuff because it seems as though Schneider uses the opportunity to try and ask Penelope for some friends with benefits action while he has another woman in his bedroom.  Remind me why Penelope and Schneider are friends again?



After the opening credits, we see that it is now the following morning, and while Lydia is listening to music, Penelope is going a little bit too overboard in her acceptance of Elena coming out.  I mean, I get that she's trying to make an effort, but she comes across as being a little bit cartoonish.  Either way, Elena is very happy that everyone in her family has been accepting of her coming out, and for what it's worth, it IS good to see.

However, Elena still hasn't filled Lydia in on her sexuality yet, and given Lydia's religious background and old way of thinking, I'm guessing that it will be very hard for her.  And since Dr. Berkowitz doesn't appear in this episode, there's no buffer for her to hide behind.  And it appears as though she will have to wait to tell her anyway because Lydia has invited Josh over so that she can teach them how to do the special dance at Elena's upcoming quinces.  For what it's worth, Elena happily informs Penelope that Josh is okay with Elena coming out - causing Penelope even more doubt within herself.



Soon after we're introduced to the B-plot of the episode which focuses on Alex and Schneider.  It seems as though Alex has gotten so good on the baseball team that he has been selected to play at away games.  There is a game coming up this weekend in San Diego, and he really wants to go - but Penelope is booked for that weekend and cannot take him.



Schneider makes a suggestion to be the team chaperone for the game, which includes an overnight stay at a hotel, and it's not hard to understand why Penelope would be so against it given Schneider's background in general.  But to Schneider's credit, he manages to craft a solid argument for Alex, and he promises that he will make sure that Alex will be safe under his care which somehow sways Penelope in the other direction.  On one hand, I'm thinking what the hell just happened...but on the other hand, she's had a lot to process over the last few hours.  She's not quite there yet.



Some time later, Lydia is working with Josh and Elena on their quinces dance and it appears that both of them are having a great time learning all of the steps...until Lydia gets a little bit too giddy and starts making both of them dance closer together.  I take it that Elena still hasn't had the important discussion with Lydia yet.  Of course, Lydia's interference sends Elena and Josh collapsing into each other on the couch, making for a rather entertaining scene when Penelope arrives home from work.  But hey...I'm sure by now Penelope is used to it.

But Penelope's mind is actually on something else - or rather someone else.  She is concerned about Alex and disappears into the kitchen to contact Schneider to find out what is going on and if Alex is okay.  



Of course, Schneider is perfectly fine.  After all, he's currently talking to Penelope from the hotel restaurant while simultaneously flirting with Finn's mother.  For what it's worth, Alex, Finn, and the rest of the team seem to be doing well, and Schneider actually impresses Penelope by sharing with her some of the safety features of the hotel including the date in which the elevators were last inspected!  I seriously hope this isn't foreshadowing and Schneider accidentally sets the hotel on fire trying to attract the attention of Finn's mom.  But let's face it.  Finn's mom has got it going on.



After Penelope gets off the phone, she is floored to learn that while she was chatting with Schneider, Elena came out to Lydia.  And even more surprisingly, Lydia appears to be completely accepting of it!  Josh remarks that Elena has a great family to support her in her coming out, and Elena is on cloud nine, exclaiming just how much she loves everyone.  It's such a sweet moment...



...which makes Penelope feel even worse about herself for not being on the same page.  It does make her slightly feel better knowing that Lydia only appeared to accept Elena's coming out when in reality she has a huge problem with it.  And when I say it makes her feel better, I mean in the sense that she isn't the only one with doubts.  But hilariously (and I will recap the whole conversation in the best lines portion of this piece), Lydia literally does a complete 180 in the time span of eighty-three seconds, causing Penelope to look even more exasperated!  It's becoming clear that Penelope is still trying to process the information, but doesn't quite know how to get there - a challenge that I am sure a lot of people have gone through.

Let's leave Penelope and Lydia for now and check back in with Schneider, Alex, Finn, and a couple of their friends at the hotel.  Schneider is really becoming incredibly overprotective, insisting that he check the hotel room for hazards before they go inside.



And then Schneider gets all angry when the kids just want to jump on the beds.  And then he proceeds to throw out an entire coffee maker because he deems it a fire hazard.  Wow...is it just me, or has Schneider become a bit more crazier than he usually is in this episode?



Or, maybe it's all of the adults that have gone crazy because Penelope has decided that if she is to be more accepting of Elena's coming out story, she should familiarize herself more with gay culture.  So as a result, she's sitting in the middle of a gay bar with her gay friend from her veteran support group, Ramona.  On one hand, I'm not sure how this plan of hers is supposed to work (and for that matter, I don't even think Ramona understands).  On the other hand, good on Penelope for trying to understand Elena more.

Of course, Ramona proves to be of no help to Penelope.  Mind you, she really tries...but when her gaze focuses upon a sexy woman across the bar, she abandons Penelope in an effort to get to know the woman better while half-heartedly telling Penelope to watch her in action so that she will get a better idea of what it will be like for Elena while dating.  Um...huh?

Someone else who is having a hard time is Schneider, who is obviously not dealing with being the chaperone of an entire baseball team very well.  It actually takes Finn's mom to get him to sit down and relax.  Also seated at the table is a large, burly man who appears to be Cuban - which makes for a really awkward scene when Schneider talks about how ever since he became the chaperone for Alex, he's become more Cuban as a result.  Seriously, Schneider...just be quiet.  Sometimes silence is golden.  But after a while, Schneider is realizing that Finn's mother is correct and that he should just relax.  After all, the kids are upstairs in the hotel room relaxing, chilling...



...getting arrested by hotel security who brings them to Schneider's table causing Schneider to curse in Spanish.  At least that's what I think he's doing as my Spanish vocabulary only consists of words learned from Sesame Street.



Back at the gay bar, Penelope is looking rather glum.  Granted, I don't think she'll be feeling that way for much longer given how she seems to be sucking back cocktails...but still, she's nowhere near getting any sort of resolution for why she feels the way she feels.  She is so in the dumps that she doesn't initially notice that there is a nice looking young man sitting next to her initiating conversation with her.  It takes a while for Penelope to open up to her new drinking buddy, but we learn that his name is Ben, and that he's at the bar with his brother.  But before we learn this information, Penelope tells him about her daughter Elena and how she came out, and how she feels she is a monster because she's not entirely okay with it.  But to her surprise, Ben understands exactly what she's going through.  When Penelope explains that she only found out a day and a half ago that her daughter was gay, he laughs and says that it's perfectly normal for her to be feeling the way she is.  He then says something very profound about how her heart is ready to accept...but her brain just needs to catch up.  It certainly doesn't make Penelope think of Elena any less...it will just take time.  Just as it took time for him to accept that his brother was gay.



Oh, and for the record, Ben asks Penelope out on a date since he's straight.  Only Penelope can go to a gay bar and find a date.  But what a pivotal scene.  I really enjoy this show and its ability to tackle tough subjects with compassion and kindness.  Not too many shows on nowadays are successful in this.



Later that night, Schneider and Alex arrive home way before they were supposed to which causes Penelope and Lydia to wonder what happened.  Come to think of it, we never did find out why Alex and Finn were busted by hotel security.  It seems as though when Schneider was downstairs at the hotel lobby, Alex and Finn thought it great fun to take a couple of the chambermaid's carts and have races with them through the hallways.  I mean, come on...the first time I stayed in a hotel, I was fourteen and I totally considered doing that too.  But the difference was that when I was fourteen, I didn't have a chaperone like Schneider.



Schneider is being a real drama queen about how much he failed Alex, and how much he failed the Alvarez family, and how he feels like a failure.  I almost wish we had Yo-Yo Ma in the background playing music over this scene because this is over the top even for Schneider.  So imagine Schneider's surprise when Penelope hugs him and actually celebrates the fact that her overprotective nature left an indelible impression on Schneider and that she trusts him to look after Alex again because of it.  This cheers Schneider up, but leaves me feeling way confused.  I almost kind of wish that Schneider took this episode off and Dr. Berkowitz was in it because this episode kind of makes Schneider look like an inept fool that was rewarded for being an inept fool.  More inept than usual.



The end scene takes place in Elena's room where she's Skyping with Carmen with her laptop.  It's nice to see her again, even though she's still very strange.  But she seems to be adjusting to her new life in Texas and has amusingly started adding the word "y'all" in random conversation.  And it's also cool to see that when Penelope comes into the room to chat she's friendly with her.  I get the feeling that no matter how far away they are, Carmen will always be an honorary member of the Alvarez family.



And in the last few moments of the show, Elena and Penelope share a real bonding moment and I think Penelope has finally come to terms with the fact that Elena is gay - a very positive end to an otherwise strange show.  Penelope even mentions that she met a man and they are going on a date, which may signify a brand new story arc for her.  I'm kind of excited to see where this is going...though looking at the preview for Episode #12, it may pose a challenge when Penelope's ex re-enters the picture. 

And now we shall laugh at the most humourous lines from the eleventh episode.  Enjoy!

ALEX:  No one wants their mom around when they're dating models.  Just being real with you.
PENELOPE:  You still have Spider-Man sheets.  Just being real with you.

PENELOPE:  All right.  You think you got what it takes?  Bedtime?
SCHNEIDER:  9:00 p.m. weekdays. 10:00 p.m. weekends.
PENELOPE:  Blood type?
SCHNEIDER:  O positive.
LYDIA:  Wrong.  Red.

PENELOPE:  Thank God that you're so honest with your feelings.
LYDIA:  Yeah, I know you don't agree with them because you are so liberal...and I'm just a narrow-minded homofallopian.
PENELOPE:  You mean you're homophobic?
LYDIA:  Ha!  There is the judgment.  Look...I know you are cool with this, but you have to understand.  I am a religious woman.
PENELOPE:  I know, Mami.
LYDIA:  And, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry, but I have a problem with Elena being gay.  It goes against God!  Although, God did make us in his image.  And God doesn't make mistakes.  Clearly.  And when it comes to the gays, the pope did say, "Who am I to judge?"  And the pope represents God.  So what, am I going to go against the pope and God?  Who the hell do I think I am?  Okay.  Okay, I'm good.
PENELOPE:  What?  You just worked that out in ten seconds?
LYDIA:  Si.  Because she is my granddaughter and I love her no matter what.  Ya.  So, tell me, when is the parade?

PENELOPE:  I want her to have the most perfect coming-out story.  You know, where I'm cool and supportive and we high-five and ride unicorns down a rainbow together.
BEN:  Okay, so, gay people aren't magic.  But it's a common misconception, so...

CARMEN:  I'm going to the rodeo tomorrow.  Hopefully one of the clowns will get gored.
PENELOPE:  I love that little weirdo.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Unnatural Athleticism

I know it has been a while since I've written in this space, and since my last entry, a lot has happened.  Perhaps one of the most tragic events to have taken place was the deadly bus crash in Saskatchewan which killed sixteen players and affiliates of the junior hockey team The Humboldt Broncos.  To pay tribute to the team, as well as sending support to the survivors of the crash, I will be writing this blog entry in the colours of the team - green and gold. 

And I will also post the link to the official GoFundMe page for the team.  As of this writing, it has already raised over nine million dollars!  Just click on the link below to donate.

https://www.gofundme.com/funds-for-humboldt-broncos

Another thing that people have been doing to show support to the Broncos is placing hockey sticks outside of their front porches, and wearing hockey jerseys of their favourite teams.  And while I think this is a lovely gesture of showing support, the most that I can even do is wear the team colours to work later on tonight.

The truth is...I don't own any hockey sticks, and I don't have any hockey jerseys.  In fact, I don't really own any sports equipment at all - well, except for a basketball that I won back in 1989 after collecting all of the hockey cards for a contest our local hockey team hosted.



Truth be told...I wasn't a natural athlete.  I'm still not a natural athlete.  The thing about it is that these days, I'm perfectly okay with it and have made peace with it.  And I'll explain why that is the case at the end of this entry.

But I wasn't always okay with not being athletically gifted.  Truth be told, I absolutely hated it once upon a time.

I think from an early age, I realized just how much of a lack of co-ordination I had.  My balance skills were always off, I had a lack of motor skills.  I didn't learn to swim until I was 21 years old, and I never really learned how to operate anything with wheels.  Well, except maybe a skateboard...which I used to pull my stuffed animals around. 

It wasn't until I got into school that I realized just how poor an athlete I was (and how cruel kids could really be, but that was a different issue altogether).  I was always the kid that was picked last for sports teams, but was always the first kid to be knocked out during a rousing match of Super Swedish Dodge Ball.  Yeah, just add insult to injury there. 

It also didn't help matters much when we were playing games like baseball or volleyball and the kids we were playing against would purposely move up towards the net or towards the diamond - silently antagonizing you and making you feel as though you were going to choke - when 99% of the time, that's what happened.  Okay, I get it.  I sucked at sports.  Did you really find it necessary to rub it in my face?



The worst was when we had the special sports days in school where we all had to take part in various track and field events, and the top three finishers would win various awards and medals for their effort.  In almost every single event, I came in dead last.  The only event that I placed in was the bowling event - and the school I attended didn't even have a prize for it because it was a last minute addition and they didn't see it as a sport worth rewarding! 

(I often wonder if they created that bowling event just to appease terrible athletes like myself...)



The most I could hope for was a participation ribbon.  And I am the type of person who absolutely HATES participation ribbons because they serve as nothing but devices to reward mediocrity.  It's like an award that says "you have zero talent, but here's a prize anyway because we feel sorry for you".  At this point, it would have made me feel less awkward getting nothing out of it.

And, of course, the ultimate insult.  My grade for gym was a C-minus.  Completely destroying my grade point average for eighth grade graduation in which it was the only grade on my report card that wasn't an A.  I still recall getting my final report card in eighth grade and cursing the school for putting so much importance on physical education, and I think the 14-year-old me deemed it an injustice that I even had to take gym class in the first place because there was no way that I would ever get an A in the subject no matter how hard I tried.

Mind you, now that I'm an adult, I understand just how important physical education is, and I get why I didn't do so well.  Partly it was my fault.  I knew I couldn't compete with all of the jocks in the class, so after a while I just stopped trying. 

But I think that there were other things that prevented me from being a great athlete.  I was chunky as a kid (and let's face it, I'm a chunky adult now).  That slowed me down a lot.  I also had asthma, which caused me to lose my breath a lot quicker than other kids my age.  And let's face it...having poor hand/eye co-ordination was more of a curse than a blessing.

But you know what?  It's all good now.

So I'll never win an Olympic gold medal, or wear a Super Bowl Champion ring, or even win the Boston Marathon.  But there are other things that I know that I am good at, and part of navigating through life is figuring out what makes you great and going towards that dream with every breath inside of you.

We all have it in ourselves to be great - regardless of whether you can catch a ball or not.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Recapping One Day at a Time - Episode 10 - Sex Talk


I am so excited to be doing the tenth episode recap for Recapping One Day at a Time because in my opinion, it is probably one of the best episodes of the whole season!  It's extremely funny with lots of laugh out loud moments and touches on a subject that some shows would find too taboo to talk about.  But since it airs on Netflix where broadcast codes are more lax, they can and will get away with it!



This is Episode 10:  Sex Talk.  I'm thinking this episode must be about sex in some form.  The fact that the show opens with Penelope and Schneider almost has me worried that they will be the ones engaging in coitus, but thankfully I'm wrong!  Penelope's cutting coupons while her mother is out at the opera with Dr. Berkowitz, and Schneider announces that he's given up his cell phone, social media, and laptop to live the unplugged, simple kind of life.

Which lasts for all of thirty seconds as he asks to borrow Penelope's laptop to look up some business that threads eyebrows.  Yeah, because that's what EVERYONE Googles.



So imagine everyone's shock when Schneider opens up the laptop on the table and there in plain view is a pornographic film!  Whoops!

Penelope is outraged that Schneider would watch porn in her apartment, but Schneider reminds her that he was using her laptop - and creepily praises her for her taste in snuff films!  Yeah, not really helping me see you as any less of a creep there, Schneider.  Was Pat Harrington ever like this in the original series?

But Penelope comes to a rather shocking realization.  The laptop with the porno film on it belongs to Alex!  Oh, I think I see where the title comes from now.  It's time for Alex to have "the talk".



Problem is that Penelope is dreading the idea of sitting down with Alex to talk about it.  Creepy Schneider tries to soften the blow by saying that at least Alex was watching normal porn, but given that the movie featured a threesome, I have to wonder what the heck Schneider classifies as "abnormal".  Penelope is stressed because she recalls the talk that she had with Elena being a disaster.  She tells Schneider the story of how Elena asked her what a period was, and Penelope was honest and explained how periods work - only for Elena to then ask what an exclamation mark was!  Schneider once again tries to soften the blow by telling Penelope that at least Elena didn't ask what a colon was.  Oh, seriously, Schneider.  Not helping.



By this time, Lydia and Dr. B. arrive home from the opera and initially start by telling them about what a wonderful performance it was, but Dr. B. wants to find out who the actors were in the opera so he marches towards the computer to Google it.  Penelope and Schneider try to stop him from using it, but it's too late...



...and oh my stars, has Dr. B. ever gotten an eyeful!  He'll be scarred for life.

In fact, he makes such a big deal about it that Lydia asks what Dr. B. was watching and somehow it gets twisted around that Alex was watching a Disney film!  I'll translate it in the funny lines section, but take it from me, it's hilarious!

This opens up a conversation that is filled with some creepy moments about how Schneider gives us too much information about what he did when watching Jane Fonda workout videos - seriously, why is Schneider such a perv in this episode?  But it also involves some candid conversation between Penelope, Dr. B., and Schneider about how the Internet has made pornography easier to access by teenagers - which is a fair point.



Of course, the conversation also sparks curiosity in Lydia who wants to see the video.  The above screenshot kind of illustrates just what she thinks of it.  The additional "burn this" comment after she watches it adds to the hilarity of it all.  Leave it to "One Day at a Time" to infuse lots of humour in the mix.



I suppose that now would be as good a time as any for Alex to come home.  And when he sees Penelope, Lydia, Schneider, and Dr. B. staring at him, he freaks out thinking that a bug is crawling all over him!  But after Penelope sends the two men and her mother away from the living room, she drops the bomb.  She wants to talk to Alex about sex.



Cue the obviously embarrassed and mortified Alex grabbing a blanket to put over his head.  I think that at first Alex is being a little overdramatic but after hearing Penelope try to explain sex to Alex I can see why she is really BAD at giving these talks!  I could probably do a better job explaining the birds and the bees and I don't even have kids!

After the painfully awkward conversation, Penelope talks to Alex about the threesome video on his computer, and it becomes clear that Alex didn't download the video.  For one, Alex doesn't even know what a threesome is!  And for another, he claims that his mother installed software that lets her see what content Alex and Elena are downloading.  Which proves to be a complete fabrication, but Penelope goes with it because she wants Alex to think that she is a responsible parent.  Of course, this leads to a quandary.  If Alex didn't download the porno...and if Penelope and Lydia didn't, who did?



Enter Elena who has just arrived home and said that she's going to bed, and I think we have the bandit in plain sight.



Judging by this screenshot, I think Lydia has discovered the truth too. 



By this time, Penelope is at work discussing the situation with Dr. B., and as it so happens Scott and Lori are there as well.  Though let's face it - Penelope is clearly the one with the common sense in the room.  Penelope mentions very briefly that she knows that Elena is seeing a boy named Josh, but that they've only kissed a couple of times and thinks that this is all that is going on.  To which Scott replies sarcastically that Elena is lucky that she happens to be seeing the one teenage boy in America that likes just kissing.  Yeah, I'm reminded of why Penelope doesn't like Scott very much.  But it does get her thinking about what might happen if Elena decides that she wants more, given that she seems to have developed an interest in watching pornography on Alex's computer.

Oh, and Lori talks about how she was a "virgin" when she got married, and often uses quotation marks to emphasize bullet points in her rather unusual conversation leading to a brilliant face from Penelope.



Yeah.  That's the one!

After that rather weird portion of the episode, Penelope arrives home desperate to talk to Elena.  However, Lydia informs her that Elena is not home.  She has gone over to Josh's place to have a movie night with him and his family.  Seems fairly innocent to me.



Well, at least that is until Alex lets it slip that Josh's parents aren't home and Penelope freaks out and rushes out to the Flores residence to try and stop Josh and Elena even though she literally has zero idea what is going on.



Naturally, the Flores front door is locked, which makes sense given that as of this moment Josh's parents seem to have more common sense than Penelope does! 

Of course, when you consider Penelope's viewpoint, it's easy to see why she might jump to those conclusions.  After all, when you're looking through the front window and you see Josh, Elena, and an unknown girl sitting on the sofa and you realize that Elena watched a racy movie featuring three people...well...yeah, let's just say that Penelope isn't in her right frame of mind.



Which she proves by crawling through the doggy door of the front door and screeching Elena's name at the top of her lungs, scaring the three people on the couch nearly to death!  



Of course, when one's mind plays tricks on them, they sometimes fail to see the obvious.  Because the three people on the couch were Elena, Josh...and Josh's little sister!  They were sharing a bowl of popcorn, and actually watching a movie!  Shocker, I know.  And to add insult to injury, Josh's parents and the family dog turn on the lights and see Penelope stuck inside the doggy door in front of a clearly embarrassed Elena!  Oh, if I were Elena, I would just want to wish that a bus ran over me at that moment.



Penelope tries to explain herself by claiming that she just came over to give Elena her jacket in case she got cold...which might have worked if Elena wasn't already wearing a jacket.  And on her way out, we learn that Penelope accidentally took out the Flores mailbox with her car!  I'm thinking Penelope must have been a real badass in the service.



When Elena returns home, she is undoubtedly furious at her mother for humiliating her in front of Josh - and to be honest, I can't blame her.  Penelope messed up.  Though part of that is Alex's fault as he realized that he confused Josh B. for Josh F.  Anyway, Penelope realizes that now is the time to sit down with Elena and confront her with what she knows.



Naturally when Penelope tells Elena that she knows that she was watching porn on Alex's computer, Elena's reaction is basically enough to confirm that yes, she was the guilty one.  She even admits to using Alex's laptop because she was worried about her own computer contracting a virus.  Wow, the writers of this episode really did their research with this one - and part of me wonders HOW they conducted this research!  But by this point, Penelope seems to be okay with it and is calmly talking with her about sex when Elena admits that she has had zero interest in having sex whatsoever.

Which causes Penelope to rejoice in relief and grab Elena in a huge hug...which is hilarious for the audience to watch, and creepy for Elena to experience. 

But it's not long after this that we hear the real bombshell of the conversation.  As Penelope prods Elena to open up, Elena reveals that she likes Josh as a friend, but she's not into him that way.  In fact, she reveals that she's not sure if she'll ever fall in love with a man.  Furthermore, she tells Penelope that when she envisions herself in love with someone...she sees the other person as another woman!



Yes.  This is the episode in which Elena comes out.  And at first, Penelope just stares in silence.  Then she curses herself for giving Elena the wrong sex talk again!

But then she does something that makes me applaud her.  She takes Elena by the hand and tells her that she will be there for her no matter what and that she will be by her side through this.  And while Elena happily breathes a sigh of relief at having come out of the closet, I get the feeling that Penelope might have some reservations about it - which I hear is common for parents whose children have come out to them.  



And of course revealing the truth to Lydia could be an even LARGER challenge.  And here's something to look forward to.  In Episode 11, you'll see more of this developing story come to light.  But wow...what a fantastic episode.  As I said before, this one is definitely my favourite episode of the season so far because it allows massive plot development for Elena, and a ton of laugh out loud moments.  So many that I've actually included SEVEN funny dialogues instead of five.  Enjoy!

PENELOPE:  My sweet boy is becoming a gross man!
SCHNEIDER:  But hey, silver lining, it's normal porn.
PENELOPE:  A threesome is not normal.
SCHNEIDER:  Okay, fine.  It's aspirational.

DR. B.:  (After watching the movie on the laptop)  I feel compelled to tell you that this is not my computer.
SCHNEIDER:  No, it's Alex's.  That's what we've been talking about.
LYDIA:  What?  What about Alex?
PENELOPE:  Mami, don't worry.  It's not really a big deal.  Alex was watching a racy movie.
LYDIA:  Cars 2?
SCHNEIDER:  More like Cars 3.

LYDIA:  Okay, show me.
PENELOPE:  Yeah, that's not happening.
DR. B.:  Lydia, you asked me to turn away when you buckled your shoe.  This is not for you.
LYDIA:  Por favor.
PENELOPE:  No, mami.
LYDIA:  Mira, I was married for over 40 years.  If anything, it is a shame that Berto and I went unrecorded.

PENELOPE:  Where's Elena?  I really need to talk to her.
LYDIA:  You should.  She is a porno.
PENELOPE:  I think I know what you're saying, and it's not fair 'cause when you thought it was Alex, you said it was healthy.
LYDIA:  Well, boys are supposed to want the sex.  Girls are supposed to pretend that they don't want the sex.  Read your Bible, for God's sake!

PENELOPE:  Oh, just so you know, some maniac drove over your mailbox.  But they left 50 bucks, so that seems fair, right?

ELENA:  Mom, I'm not having sex.
PENELOPE:  Oh, thank God!  You're way too young.  And guys are really bad at it in the beginning anyway, not that I want you to be with an older guy. 
ELENA:  MOM, STOP TALKING!!!

ELENA:  It was just, I realized that if I was going to be into a boy, it would be Josh.  I mean, he's cute, and he's sweet, and he's such a gentleman, but I feel more when I look at a picture of Kristen Stewart than I do when I kiss him.
PENELOPE:  No wonder you saw those Twilight movies so many times.
ELENA:  Definitely wasn't for the quality storytelling.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Cyberspace for Generation X

Sometimes, I think it was better that I experienced my teenage years in a world where the Internet was fairly new. 

When I was a teenager, there was no such thing as Google.  We used Yahoo and Alta Vista as search engines.  We didn't have high speed unlimited Internet either - we had to use dial up modems and pay by the hour!  Shocking, I know!

There was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or even MySpace back in those days.  Heck, back when I was a teenager, having a private e-mail account was considered ritzy!

And we certainly didn't have teenagers trying to make a meal out of Tide Pods or snorting condoms up their noses.  And if there were teens in my generation doing this, I'm thankful that we had no way of showing the world.  I mean, I grew up with teenagers using condoms as water bombs - and I thought THAT was strange.  But then, I suppose that every generation had stupid things that they did when they were that age. 

But still.  There was something about the early Internet that was endearing - even though looking at it now, you'd think it was totally ancient.  And that's what this post is about.  The internet of my teen years - which took place largely in the 1990s.



I still remember the first time I ever used the Internet.  It was...ahem...twenty-one years ago.  My god, I said that with a straight face without breaking into a panic attack about how quickly time is passing us by.

Anyway, it was September 1997.  I had just turned sixteen a few months ago, and I was enrolled in a "Computer Communications" course in high school - which is essentially a fancy way of saying "Learning How To Use The Internet".  The first time we learned about how e-mail worked, and how search engines worked, and what websites were was absolutely fascinating to me.  I absolutely loved every minute of that class.

Now, the Internet at that time was still in its infancy, so there were only a few basics that we could be taught.  There was hardly any online shopping available, music streaming was still a couple of years away, and forget about YouTube.  It didn't exist back then.

What did exist was the various HTML links and Shockwave Flash technology that everybody used to make beautiful websites, and as our final project in that class, we had to make our own website!  A daunting task for the sixteen year old, but certainly one that I found exciting.

As it turned out, my website was quite the job well done, and I scored an easy A+ on it.  Unfortunately I do not have visual proof of this website as back in 1997, none of us knew how to take a screenshot!  But trust me, my website was brilliant.

And to be fair, a lot of websites that existed back in the 1990s were well done for their time.  And then there were some that you look at and you wonder what sort of drugs the designer was on.



I've looked through Google (ironic since Google wasn't around when I started using the Internet) to find screenshots of actual websites that existed between 1996 and 2000 to showcase what websites looked like back then, and whether they would fly in a 2018 world.  (Short answer, no.)

Okay, let's take a look at some of the treasures I've found from the cyberspace of the past.



Ah, Yesterdayland.  This is a site I know all too well, as I was a member of it back in the day.  Made some of the greatest friends ever from that site.  As you can see, the early design of that site was pleasant to look at, and for people who loved pop culture of the past, it was the foundation for endless discussions about anything you wanted.  Sadly, the site doesn't exist anymore.  It closed up shop for good in 2003.  But at least screenshots can show you its former glory.

(I suppose posting this entry on April 4 would have some irony to it, given that many of the websites like Yesterdayland would come up with a 404 message.)



Coca-Cola also gets a passing grade from me.  I have no clue when this website was up and running, but I think the company did a fantastic job with it.  The logo is bold and bright, the fonts are easy to read.  Someone clearly had a lot of web design background at corporate headquarters!



Wow...remember when Bob Dole tried to run for President in 1996?  And how he lost to Bill Clinton that year?  I'm not saying that the design of his official website was what pushed voters to vote Democrat instead of Republican that year, but this website design is sort of bland.  I mean, yes, it's designed well and it's easy to read...but it's format is typical for that of a politician's website.



Oh my goodness, I don't even think my eyes can stand looking at this screenshot for much longer than a second and a half.  The bright orange text in a font that is more or less unreadable combined with bright green font on a patterned background?  Yikes!  Not good at all.



And can we just say that I'm so glad that Domino's Pizza has greatly improved their web design over the last twenty years?  I mean, seriously.  This website looks like it was designed by a six year old boy!  I'm trying to justify this design and yet when I see Coca-Cola's website from that same time period, I just can't do it!  Horrible even for 1990s standards!



Motion pictures often used the Internet to promote their films - even back in the 1990s.  Here's a website for the SpaceJam movie - which believe it or not is STILL available to use. 

The website is below.

https://www.warnerbros.com/archive/spacejam/movie/jam.htm



Oh, dear...who knew that Walmart had a website back in the days in which Walmart was still hyphenated with a star?  And who knew that the website would look so incredibly dull.  This would be the equivalent to watching paint dry.



And finally...remember Amazon?  Of course you do.  It's only the biggest online retailer in the world with millions of orders being placed and shipped per day.  But back in 1996, the website for Amazon was not exactly the most eye-catching page to exist.  I mean, if we were going to judge a company based on their website design alone, I'd be unconvinced that this company would last any longer than a couple of years.  What a difference two decades make, huh?

So, as you can clearly see, the world on online searching has evolved and the Internet of 1996 is a prehistoric archive of cyberspace gone by.  The kids of today probably think that we were primitive cavemen back in the day, but this was the Internet as we knew it back then.  And honestly, it wasn't all that bad.