Friday, June 12, 2009

Undead By Any Other Name

This week, watching horror flicks with the teen got me thinking. Why are some supernatural creatures (like vampires or werewolves) treated as sexy, seductive, potential boyfriend material, while others, (like zombies, mummies, or dancing skeletons) are treated as vile, hideous monsters?

You have to wonder (I know I have): would Twilight have been such a success if Edward Cullen had been a less desirable undead creature? Would Edward be nearly as desirable if he was, say, a shambling, flesh-eating zombie? Consider the following scene:

Bella Swan: You're impossibly slow, and dumb. Your skin is pale green and squishy. Your eyes fall out, and sometimes you speak like— like you have no vocal chords. You never drink anything. You keep trying to eat my brain. How old are you?

Edward Cullen: Uuuuhhhh.

Bella Swan: I know what you are.

Edward Cullen: Gaaaahhhh uhhh.

Bella Swan: Zombie.

Edward Cullen: Urrrrr.


I was sure of three things. One, Edward was a zombie.
Two, there was a part of him, and I didn't know how strong it was, that hungered for my brains. And third, I was irrevocably in love with him.

Not nearly so sexy, is it? Vampires really do get all the breaks when it comes to being undead.

It's hard to say exactly what is it about vampires that makes them so appealing. Is it the money? Mummies guard vast hoards of treasure, and you don't see the ladies lining up. Yes, they usually are dust-farting old piles of bones wrapped in bandages, but at least they have a steady job, and they often have a pretty swank pyramid to live in.

Is it the sense of lust intermingled with danger? The offer of immortal life? It can't be that. The zombies mentioned above are pretty lusty in their pursuit of eating human flesh, and that - you must admit - is rather dangerous. And when they kill, their prey rise up and become immortal zombies. So what is it then?

The only answer I can think of must be wardrobe. Girls are suckers for a sharp dressed man, even if he lacks a pulse. Be it Dracula, Lestat, Bill Compton, Edward Cullen or the Count from Sesame Street, vampires always dress well. They're really the only undead creatures with panache and style.But for a pair of Pradas and a well-cut suit, I can only presume my wife would be lusting after this:


He may not be perfect, but at least he knows
how to show a girl a good time.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Onward and Upward

Firstly, please accept my apologies for the incredibly tardy post. As you can imagine, since
the photos of Robert Pattinson standing shirtless in Italy were released, it has been very difficult for me to get near the computer.

(I thought I could sneak a post in earlier this week, but then - alas - the New Moon trailer came out. Add to that the particularly fine weather we've been having in Vancouver lately, and you can perhaps forgive me for my lapse.
)

It was, in fact, the release of the infamous "shirtless photos" that finally tipped me off to some peculiar behaviour my wife had been exhibiting for some time now.

Shortly after the "shirtless pictures" went online,
my wife just happened to stop by the local sporting goods store and brought home a set of weights.

"Well, it's summer soon," she said, by way of explanation. "You want to look good for the beach, don't you?" she asked innocently, in between replays of the animated shirtless vid on YouTube.

I became suspicious.

Was I being groomed to look like Edward Cullen?

This wasn't the first time this had happened. Up until a few weeks ago I wouldn’t have guessed how many brands of glitter body paint there are. And I remembered an odd conversation we had a while ago over the dinner table:


"Stare at me."
"What?"
"Stare at me like you want to eat me."
I frowned. She waited patiently.
"No. That just looks constipated."


It's easy to tell if you're being groomed to look like Pretty McSparkle. Pay close attention to your wife's behaviour and you'll soon picked up the pattern:

1. Random gifts of hair gel ("Try putting your hair up for a change, honey.")


2. Signing you up for piano lessons ("You said you wanted a new hobby.")


3. An unusual interest in your skin care routine ("The UV index is too high. here, wear this SPF 50 sunblock. And a hat. And cover your arms up.")


4. Your wardrobe has taken a decidedly… vintage look lately (“It's what all the guys are wearing now, trust me.”)

Honey? Why can't I wear shorts to the beach?

5. You are certain she keeps calling you by a different name (“No, you misheard me… I said “I love you, onward!”)

6. She makes you stand out in the cold for a half-hour before letting you come to bed (“It’ll tighten your pores”)


It may be paranoia on our part, I admit. But just remember, when she pages you at work and you hear “phone call for Mr. Cullen,” odds are it isn’t just a slip on her part…


Monday, May 25, 2009

Twilight Denial

The other night, my wife and I were enjoying dinner with another couple (friends from my wife's university days) when the topic of the Twilight phenomenon came up.

"I can't stand that series," the other wife said. "Such terrible writing! I can't believe this kind of thing passes muster at book publishers these days."

The husband was equally dismissive. "Yes. A really good example of the dumbing down of American culture. Not that it needed any help in that direction," he sniffed.

I can't remember the rest of the conversation, but I do recall phrases like "adolescent wish-fulfillment," "anti-feminist" and "utter trite."

I was about to point out that many of the Twilight blogs and fan sites my wife has been forcing me to read are terribly witty, remarkably self-aware and often delightfully self-deprecating
, when I felt a sharp pain in my shins. I looked at my wife. She was giving me her strongest warning look.

I suddenly realized that my wife was ashamed of being a Twilight fan. The same woman who hasn't watched any other movie but Twilight for the last 6 months, and signs off her emails with "xx days until New Moon!" was suddenly unwilling to identify herself as a Twi-hard .

My wife was in Twilight Denial. And I realized this was not the first time. She told the clerk at the video store that she was buying the Twilight DVD for her niece. The only problem is - she has no niece. She bought the books "for our son" when our son hadn't shown the slightest interest in the series at all. And I suspect that she is not the only Twilight Addict to be in denial about the depths of her problem.


Somehow, up until now, I had missed all the classic signs of Twilight Denial:

  • Refusal by your wife to acknowledge any previous interest in Twilight whenever it is brought up in public.

  • Wife claims that she did not enjoy the film when subject is broached, or weakly admit "it wasn't too bad."

  • When guests comes to your house, your wife spends the previous afternoon hiding any Twilight paraphernalia.

  • Wife makes concerted efforts to suppress any emotional response whenever the words "Robert Pattinson" are uttered.

  • You begin to get e-mails from Twilight bloggers asking if she is okay because she hasn't logged on or commented in days.

Once your wife has been exposed to normal society's disdain for Twilight, she is bound to be conflicted, and you may decide to use her confusion and shame to your advantage by suggesting she permanently remove all of the Twilight merchandise from the house, or threatening to "out" her to friends and family not yet in the know.

This is the most dangerous you can do.

As with any crisis of faith, there will come what is called the "Moment of Truth." When this time comes, your wife will be forced to choose between returning to normal society and rushing back to Forks with her arms spread wide.

While I encourage all my fellow Widowers to be optimistic, odds are she will once again choose Edward over you. Since you have become accustomed to the familiar feelings of rejection this will arouse in you, I want to assure you that you will recover (I urge you to look at your motivational posters again if need be).

However, if you tried to take advantage of her momentary crisis by removing her access to all things Twilight, or exposing her to potential ridicule, odds are she will hold this against you for some time.


There are inherent risks in using your wife's Twilight Denial against her.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hang in There

The average Twilight Widower endures a great deal.

Since Edward Cullen has entered our lives, we have had to cope with loneliness, resentment, and an increase in the amount of housework we are expected to do.

Being the pillar of strength all Twilight Widowers are expected to be is never easy. There is no manual, and support groups are few and far between.

But you are not alone in this struggle. With a little help from Automotivator, I have created some motivational posters for you to print and hang in the garage or storage room.

In your most desperate moments, I hope they will bring you strength and solace.
















Sunday, May 17, 2009

Teen Heartthrobs II - The Reckoning

The other day, while trying to talk my wife down from buying a full-size Edward Cullen poster for our bedroom, I had an eerie sense of deja vu.

Hordes of screaming girls. Object of adoration plastered on posters and T-shirts everywhere. Impossibly sexy hair.

And then it hit me. I've been here before.


It was 1988, and teenage boys everywhere were up against a force even their powerful hormones and youthful optimism could not defeat.


The New Kids on the Block (NKTOB) had arrived. This hair-gel based boy band stole the hearts of obsessive teenage fangirls the world over, leaving a trail of jealous, less-perfect boys in their wake. Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jordan and Jonathan lip-synched their way to fame and fortune, producing the kind of mass swoons even Robert Pattinson has yet to achieve.


Uncanny, isn't it?

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would once again, over twenty years later, be forced to compete with an equally formidable adversary: Stephenie Meyers' fictional vampire Edward Cullen, as embodied by British sensation, Robert Pattinson.

At first, I felt uncomfortable reliving my most awkward of years. But the fact that I had lived through this before gave me hope: it didn't last then, and it cannot last now.

Sure, in 1988 they were bigger than Jesus.
But by 1992, NKOTB experienced a wave of backlash they never recovered from. First came the disastrous self-produced album. Then allegations of lip-synching. Finally, persistent rumours that the band members hated each other took hold, and sales slumped.

Then in flash, they were gone.

Fast forward to 2009.

Twilight-mania has reached a fever pitch. After the release of the highly anticipated final chapter in the series, a successful movie and with a much-hyped sequel in the wings, we are experiencing the same high-water mark as NKOTB in 1989, between the release of Hangin' Tough and their number one single Step by Step.

If the parallels continue as they are now, I expect a final waning of the Twilight phenomenon due approximately in Fall 2014.

While this may seem like a long time, it is reassuring to know that this will eventually come to an end. With the continued support of blogs like this one, us Twilight Widowers should be able to weather these dark times, knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Hang in there.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Knowing When To Step In


A few days ago, my wife seemed really depressed. She was downright inconsolable. I was worried; did our cat die? Had our son decided to become a musician?

"It's awful," she said, trying to keep a brave face. "This is the last day Robert Pattinson is filming in Vancouver."

"Oh. Is that all? I thought it was something important."

Even as I said it, I knew that was the wrong thing to say. As she stormed out of the kitchen, grumbling about how I just didn't get it, I began to wonder if maybe she was too deep into her Twilight obsession.

Does your partner have a Twilight addiction?
There is a distinct difference between a harmless past-time and a full-blown addiction. For example, the way you keep baseball cards or can recite the entire script of the Empire Strikes Back is just a hobby and is in no way obsessive or sad. On the other hand, when you Significant Other has a large collection of Edward Cullen memorabilia and can quote line-for-line the movie Twilight is obviously an out-of-control obsession.

But do not jump to conclusions. There are some signs that your lady's "passing interest" in the blood-sucking glitter-boy may have passed into the realm of addiction:

  • Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness, particularly involving 23-year old English actors.
  • Change in overall attitude / personality. ("Did she just squeal like a 13-year-old girl?")
  • Changes in friends: new hang-outs (Twilight Blogs), avoidance of old crowd (non-Twilight fans), new friends (Twilight bloggers).
  • Change in activities; loss of interest in things that were important before (i.e., You).
  • Difficulty in paying attention; forgetfulness (Remember: Adding the words "Robert Pattinson" into your conversation randomly will help keep her focused).
  • Defensiveness, temper tantrums, resentful behavior ("I cooked for the first 14 years of this marriage! It's your turn!").
  • Unexplained silliness or giddiness.
  • Excessive need for privacy; keeps door locked or closed, won't let people in.
  • Possession of Twilight paraphernalia.



Is it time for an intervention?
If you have come to the realization that your SO is exhibiting some or all of these signs, it is important to know the steps toward staging a successful intervention.

Plan it out.
Go to the people around her or and speak to them privately about the idea of an intervention. You want the people closest to her, who care about her, and who she cares about as well. If it helps, tell them you are planning a surprise party and there will be cake.

If your SO doesn’t care about the people confronting her, it won’t work. She has to respect these people, and value their opinions. (It might not be a good idea to invite your mother.) It is also important to ascertain these people are not also closet Twilight Addicts. Inviting them to the intervention may undermine you efforts.

Try to keep the number in single digits, if you can. A more intimate group will be more effective. It also has to be clear that this intervention is a surprise, to keep the addict from avoiding the situation (please keep in mind, however, that it is inappropriate to ask intervention members to hide and then yell "surprise" when the addict arrives).

Prepare in advance.
The group should meet beforehand to lay out how they will approach the addict and what they will say to her. Taunting songs such as “Edward isn't real, nah nah nah nah nah” are not recommended.

Treatment options should be researched in advance, so that help can be suggested and offered immediately. This may be difficult, since established Twilight addiction services are not available at present.

Be careful during the intervention.
Keep the atmosphere positive. You want the addict to know you are here to help, not to blame. Yes, you may have gone to bed alone for the past eight months, and you're doubtless upset that the children now call Robert Pattinson “our new Daddy,” but a confrontational attitude will only make her more defensive. DO NOT insult or berate Edward Cullen. Any headway you may have made up to this point will be lost.

Take immediate action.
Following the intervention, the addict will either admit that her obsession with Twilight is beyond her control, or deny it. If she admits it, escort her to her stash of Stephenie Meyers books, help her pack it all into a trash bag, and dispose of it promptly. If she denies it, unfortunately, your intervention has failed. Cook her a nice batch of mushroom ravioli instead (see last post).

This is an ideal time to strike.
If ever there was a time to stage an intervention, it is now. Filming for the New Moon movie is coming to a close, which will make the Robert Pattinson updates less frequent. As well, there are no new Twilight books on the horizon, and she has read all four books (and the accompanying unpublished manuscript) at least eight times. Just as she has grown tired of your ability to belch the alphabet, she is bound to grow sick of these books

Be patient
Perseverance is the watchword of all Twi-Widowers. Addiction cannot be beaten overnight. She must be ready to stop. Guilt, ultimatums or bargaining will not work. Just remember: while Edward Cullen may be immortal and will always look good, Robert Pattinson will not.


Robert Pattinson - 2009


Robert Pattinson - 2013



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mushroom Ravioli



Filling Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced portabello mushroom
  • 1/2 cup sliced oyster mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 cup low-sodium beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

Pasta Ingredients
  • 3 cups semolina flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup water

How to Make It:

Filling
  1. Melt butter in pan.
  2. Add olive oil to melted butter.
  3. Add mushrooms. Saute until soft.
  4. Add shallots, saute until translucent.
  5. Add pepper, salt, and coriander.
  6. Add 1/8 cup beef stock and let mixture reduce.
  7. Remove from heat and let cool.
  8. Add cheeses to blender/food processor.
  9. Add cooled mushroom mixture to cheese.
  10. Blend together until smooth.
  11. Set aside.
Pasta Dough
  1. Sift flour and salt together.
  2. Place flour mixture on a board, making a well in the center of the flour.
  3. Drop eggs into the flour well, using your hand or a fork, break the yolks and beat eggs slightly.
  4. Combine the eggs and flour together, gradually adding enough warm water to make a stiff dough.
  5. Knead dough well, until smooth; cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Cut dough in half and roll each half of the dough out on a floured board, into a very thin sheet (about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick).
Filling the Ravioli
  1. Drop about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls of filling about 1 1/2 inches apart all along the dough.
  2. When the sheet of dough is fully dotted with dabs of filling mixture, cover filling with other sheet of dough.
  3. Press dough down between each portion of filling to seal it.
  4. Cut ravioli into squares or medallions.
  5. Refrigerate ravioli. Allow it to dry for at least one hour before cooking.
Cooking Instructions
  1. Carefully drop ravioli into a pot of boiling water. Cook for about 8-12 minutes.
  2. Remove cooked ravioli from pot carefully with a slotted spoon, and drain well.
  3. Serve immediately. Recommended with a creamy sauce, or a blend of olive oil and herbs.
Serves 4.

Jacob Black - Honourary Widower


The other day, my wife confronted me for not meeting one of my Man Duties.


"You still haven't fixed my bike," she scolded. (I had promised to do so some months ago.) "Edward would have fixed Bella's bike by now," she huffed.


"No he wouldn't," I said. "Jacob Black would have fixed Bella's bike. If Edward wanted something fixed, he’d make Rosalie do it."


"Or Edward would have bought her a new bike," she retorted.


“That’s a waste. Why spend money on a new bike when the old bike just needs a tune-up?”


“Edward would make sure the old bike went to someone who needed it.”


I stared at her, flabbergasted. I had forgotten the first rule of Twilight-Widowhood – never pick a fight with Edward. You won’t win.


As I slunk off, I suddenly felt a strong surge of kinship with Jacob Black.


Like Jacob, deep in our bones, we know better than to try to compete with Edward, but still, we can’t help trying. And the similarities don’t end there.


Jacob Black. We know just how it feels, brother.



Jacob, like us Twilight-Widowers, is just a regular guy. Both Jacob and Twilight-Widowers have problems with excessive hair growth and odours. (Hair and scent are the true measure of a man. You should always be suspicious of a man who smells good and doesn't have to shave his face.) When you need something fixed, like Bella with her motorcycles, you come to us.


We never claim to be able to read minds, but we know you better than Edward does regardless. Once we've imprinted on you, there is no getting rid of us. We don't buy into such noble nonsense as "It's safer if I'm not around you," or "I bring nothing but danger into your life." Maybe we're bad for you, but we don't care, 'cuz you're pretty.


And like Jacob Black, we'll violate our promises, oaths, and sacred traditions at the drop of a hat if we think it will impress you. Sure, Jacob might have broken an ancient pact with a coven of vampires that has kept the peace with his people for generations, but a pretty girl asked him to. Can you blame him?


But, at the end of the day, how can a guy who rebuilds engines and eats hot dogs compete with someone who can buy an island? He can’t. That’s why I think Jacob deserves some special recognition from Twilight-Widowers. After all, Jacob was the first guy to lose his love to Edward Cullen, which, in a sense, makes him the very first Twilight Widower.


Poor Jacob Black.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Reaping the Benefits

My mother was always fond of saying, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

This post from Mr. brightredink, a fellow Twi-Widower, got me thinking about the upside my wife's new relationship with Edward Cullen.

You may be wondering exactly what benefits there are to sharing your wife with a rich, impossibly handsome work of fiction who never has to leave his runners on the doorstep to "air out." Surprisingly, Mr. brightredink has some very good points to make on the subject, to which I have added my own observations and experiences.


1. Edward takes the mystery out of gift shopping


As the teenager and I were doing our Mother's Day shopping at the mall last week, we remarked how much easier it had become to buy the wife presents lately.

Before Twilight, I would have to subtly draw hints from her for weeks to determine what sort of gift she wanted for special occasions and then would get it wrong anyway, despite all my careful detective work.
(She told me she wanted a food processor; how was I supposed to know it wasn't a good Valentine's Day gift?) But now that she has given herself over to Edward Cullen, knowing what she wants is ridiculously easy.


Now the only question is - birthday or anniversary gift?


2. More time to pursue your own lame obsessions

Now that your formerly mature, articulate S.O. has turned into a squealing fangirl, she can never again criticize you for standing in line for the midnight premiere of Transformers. And she can't say a damn thing about game night with the boys, your weekly poker game, or the Star Trek convention either.


Edward will also happily occupy your wife during the hockey playoffs.


3. Now you set the standard of cleanliness

Before Edward, my wife always managed to find fault with my housekeeping skills. Without fail, she would find the speck of food I'd overlooked on a fork or the patch of carpet I'd missed with the vacuum. Since Edward has entered our lives, however, she has let her standards slide considerably. This is great. The floor in front of the dresser was where I kept my socks before we moved in together, and she doesn't seem to mind anymore.


4. More enthusiasm.

One of the first things I noticed about the wife's Twilight obsession was how...frisky she seemed to be after spending time with Edward. One night, after she'd finished Eclipse for the first time, she rolled me over, pinned me down and rowed me like a boat. And it wasn't even Saturday.

Maybe the Cullen kid's not all bad...

So the next time you feel like the 3rd wheel on a bicycle built for your wife and Edward, remember that there are at least some small compensations for the repeated blows to your masculinity, your pride, and your self-esteem.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to look for the Twilight soundtrack. Fingers crossed...

It's All Right Now. In Fact, It's a Gas.


Turns out, not everything about Edward draws you in.

As a Twilight Widower, you may sometimes find yourself wondering how you stack up next to Edward Cullen. This is natural - after all, your wife does it all the time.

Inevitably, once you get started down this road, you will feel inadequate in comparison. Edward seems to have it all: he's stronger than you, richer than you, and, quite likely, better looking too.

But there's one area at least where we share a common frailty. Flatulence.

Hear me out.

After some extensive research (i.e. googling 'Edward+Cullen+Fart') I unearthed a compelling argument that proves, conclusively, that Edward Cullen does indeed fart.

I cite, in my defense, a blog called Normal Mormon Husbands. NMH did his own extensive research (i.e. Wikipedia) into the science of flatulence. Then, by rigorously testing some well thought out hypotheses (i.e. wild-assed guessing), he surmised, conclusively, that a vampire can indeed pass wind.

Here is NMH's reasoning:

According to Wikipedia, Nitrogen makes up 20%-90% of the gas that is released during flatulence. Edward's diet consists of blood, which contains Nitrogen. Therefore, every time that Edward drinks blood he is ingesting Nitrogen, which will continue to build up in his body until it is somehow released. Edward, therefore, would most likely pass gas in order to release the excess Nitrogen building up within him.


Now, while I know this news will be of great comfort to my Twi-Widower brothers - at last, an Achilles Heel! - I must caution you against gleefully bringing this to the wife's attention.

Your wife will defend Edward regardless of the scientific evidence. Even if you can convince her that Edward is capable of farting, she will insist that, being the consummate gentleman, he would refrain from doing so in a woman's presence, using his superhuman control to suppress his gastric discomfort.

It's an argument you can't win. Better to keep this to ourselves, as a small nugget of solace we can hold on to during our darkest, loneliest hours. This blog's purpose isn't to bash Edward; it's to provide support for my fellow Tw'idowers as we cope with the loss of our SO's. Brothers, take heart. The next time you feel like you can't compete with a figment of Stephanie Meyer's imagination, remember that even he can't pass up a chance to pass gas.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why Must We Drive Downtown to Buy Milk?


Twilight Fangirl World Headquarters
(alternately known as downtown Vancouver).


It was an unusual evening at our house tonight. Claiming that my blog has "shamed her," the Missus cooked dinner and did the dishes afterwards, before withdrawing behind her laptop. This may seem like a small thing, but it's the most attention she's paid me since she's discovered Edward Cullen.

I felt she deserved a reward. (Positive reinforcement is the key to winning your woman back from the cold, grasping arms of that undead home wrecker).

I decided to give her my full attention as she chatted about her blogs instead of sulking in the corner with my arms crossed, and snorting whenever she mentions Robert Pattinson, as is my usual custom. I even helped her scrutinize the background of the Michael Sheen pics from Twi'Crack Addict to determine exactly where in Vancouver they were taken. (Living in Vancouver, this is a ritual for her whenever new New Moon cast pics are posted.)

Despite living so close to the set of New Moon, my wife has never yet asked me to go set-stalking with her, some small thing I suppose I should feel grateful for.

"I don't think I could ever actually go set-stalking anyway," she told me recently. "I just couldn't bring myself to hunt people down like that."

I bit my tongue. Obviously, her definition of 'hunting people down' doesn't include driving up and down Robson Street exclaiming "Is that Robert Pattinson?" every time she sees someone in a hoodie. (It really is amazing how many times we have had to go downtown lately.)

"I wouldn't want people coming up and gawking at me when I'm at work," she continued.

"But when they're out shopping or having a drink, they're fair game?"

"Shut up."

In truth, there are three reasons why my wife hasn't gone set-stalking, despite being at the epi-centre of New Moon Madness:

  1. We are too lazy. Frankly after working all day, it's just too much work to go out and try to find celebrities.

  2. My wife is actually quite reluctant to meet the actors in real life. She is convinced that, invariably, she would find them disappointingly ordinary and subsequently wouldn't enjoy the films as much.

  3. We are too old and un-hip (just ask our teenager) to even know where trendy young people hang out anymore. And if we did, the young people would laugh at us when we got there.
Nevertheless, it has become part of our daily routine to look at pap shots of the cast while my wife says "OMG I've been there. We were there just last week!" Uncannily, she will find a legitimate reason to be there again on some small personal errand or supposedly work-related reason. I don't know how she does this, but it is incredible to watch.

Sadly, she has yet to "accidentally" bump into any cast members yet, but it's only a matter of time. We're down to a quarter jug of milk.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Every Movement Needs an Anthem

Sometimes, only another man's words can express how you truly feel, like in the timeless love story of Cyrano de Bergerac, or like those G 'n' R / Bon Jovi mix tapes you made for that girl back in Grade 8, before she started avoiding you and snickering at you with her friends in the cafeteria.

Sadly, I can't compose symphonies at the drop of the hat, unlike certain well-coiffed vampires, but thanks to Hank Green, I don't need to. This song will instantly strike a chord with any man who is desperately competing with a fictional vampire for his woman's affections, and I hereby adopt it as the official Twilight Widower's anthem.



While I do not have cold, rock-hard flesh, and I am sometimes guilty of needing "a minute to be human," I do have other redeeming qualities. For example, I make a wicked Indian butter chicken. And, I never once heard of Edward Cullen doing the dishes.

I ask you, which is better?

Tricks of the Trade

(Edit: I forgot to link to the inspiration blog. Sorry, fixed.)

After exhaustive study of the habits of Twilight Widowers, I came across a blog that identified the Five stages of Twilight-Widower-Grief (Suspicion, Denial, Anger, More Anger, Complacency).


I myself have gone through these stages.


Suspicion ("Honey? Are you watching Twilight again?" and "Did you just call me ‘Edward’?")


Denial ("I'm sure it's just a phase. I don't mind ironing her work clothes.")


Anger ("No, I am not making mushroom ravioli again!")


More Anger ("No, we are not buying tickets for the Twilight cruise!")


Complacency ("Here, honey, I printed up Midnight Sun and bound it for you. Now you won't get eyestrain.")


Now that I have resigned myself to the role of complacent Twilight Widower, I have discovered that despite the seemingly endless neglect us Twi-Widowers often endure, there are some surefire ways to get the wife to pay attention to you (albeit for a few sweet, brief minutes until the latest New Moon news is posted).


Here is my advice to you, fellow long-suffering spouse:


1. Whenever talking to her, try to sneak the words "Robert Pattinson" into your sentences. She will immediately perk up and give you her undivided attention.

(I have found this method to be particularly effective when discussing responsibility for household chores.)


2. Use pillow hair to your advantage. Tell her you are going for an "Edward Look."


3. Piggyback her around your local park and tell that she's your own personal brand of heroin. Never mind the stares – it will all be worth it when you get home.


4. Buy body glitter. The next time you are in the mood to "reap the benefits," apply liberally. (Note: It is useful to have a Handivac for the sheets afterwards.)


5. Read the Wikipedia summary of the Twilight Series, so you can pretend that you have read the books yourself. When "discussing" them, just nod sagely when she describes parts omitted in the summary.


6. When in bed, place your cold feet on the small of her back. Tell her "I bet this is how he felt on their wedding night." (Results may vary.)


Edward's whole body feels like cold feet.


7. Secretly disconnect your modem. When she begins to panic about the loss of up-to-date Twilight news, heroically restart the modem (after several false starts and mock exasperation on your part; you have to make her believe this is hard work for you). Reap benefits.


8. Start a Twilight blog yourself. Ask her for "input" regularly.


And just remember: Barring another book getting published, this whole obsession is bound to peter out in about three year’s time. I’m counting the days.


Go Team Widower.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Lame Obsession Could Totally Beat Up Your Lame Obsession

This morning, feigning interest in my wife's Twilight blog fixation just so she would talk to me, we ran across a hilarious story involving an Edward Cullen action figure and a Soundwave Transformer. This got me thinking.

I've long maintained that Edward Cullen, aka Pretty Sparkle Boy, is simply not manly enough to inspire the kind of undying awe and devotion women like my wife have bestowed on him. Aren't there, after all, other fictional men who are more deserving of women's admiration? Manly, menly-type men who could kick the snot out of Pretty Sparkle Boy. Sure, he's got a mean smoulder, but, boiling it down, he's really not much of a man's man, is he?

I mentioned this to my wife, but naturally she took Edward's side.

So, I present to you 10 men that could totally kick Edward Cullen's ass.

First, the contender:

Edward "the 108 Year-Old Virgin" Cullen

Perfect predator? I think not.

I'm the worlds most dangerous predator. Everything about me invites you in --- my voice, my face, even my smell. As if I would need any of that! As if you could outrun me!! --- As if you could fight me off!
All right Edward, let's put you to the test.

Powers:
  • Can run really fast.
  • Is sparkly.
  • Superhuman strength.
  • Can read other peoples' thoughts.
  • Drives recklessly.
  • Smells good.
  • Sister can predict the future, so long as the future doesn't change.
  • Brother can make people feel more relaxed.
  • Well-nigh invulnerable, except for other vampires, fire, werewolves, angst, psychic attacks and Dakota Fanning.
  • Adept at stalking teenagers.
  • Plays the piano.
The skinny:

While Edward has proven his combat prowess against other vampires (if the rest of his family is there to help), as well as uprooting trees and stopping vans with his bare hands, his ability to fight a more diverse range of opponents is questionable.

That said, let's meet my challengers:


10. He-Man
He has the power.

Also known as Prince Adam of Eternia, this heroic gentleman taught a generation of men that having a really big sword will help you overcome any of life's problems.

Powers:
  • Strong and Pure.
  • Possesses the Power of Greyskull.
  • Rides a giant green house-cat that can talk.
  • Magical sword. As we all know, magic swords can cut through anything, even vampires.
  • Makes a pageboy haircut look cool.
The skinny:

While it may seem Edward's ability to read thoughts would give him an advantage, in fact, he would be stymied by the pure and righteous thoughts that flow through the mind of He-Man. In fact, such thoughts would likely cause Cullen to spiral into a bout of self-loathing as he compares his own wicked, soulless undead existence to the heroic perfection of He-Man.

The Verdict:

He-Man would take pity on the wretched, murderous, self-hating, stalker and chop Cullen into a million little pieces. Winner: He-Man.


9. Wolverine

Hmm, a cigar. I wonder what Freud would say....

Arguably the most powerful of the X-Men (that discussion for another blog), this mutant hero has at least 70 years on Cullen. Advantages: Wolverine (Logan to his friends), to my recollection, has never stalked a woman 90 years his junior, and the only thing sparkly about him is his razor-sharp claws.

Powers
  • Can regenerate any damage, up to and including being disintegrated.
  • Superhuman senses and agility.
  • Skeleton is coated with a nigh-indestructible layer of Adamantium.
  • Claws of same Adamantium, which can cut through everything.
  • Can move on after a personal tragedy instead of dwelling on it for nearly a century.

The Skinny:

Probably the most even match of this exercise. While Cullen may have an advantage in speed, Wolverine has an edge in combat experience. Also, when Wolverine enters his "battle rage" he relies purely on instinct to control his actions. Edward mind-reading advantage would therefore be nullified.

The Verdict:

By virtue of this being a near-even match, I am tempted to call it a draw, but since Wolverine's Adamantium claws are made of the strongest substance in the known universe, I'm assuming Cullen won't be able to deliver the decapitation required for a killing blow. On the other hand, said Adamantium can cut through simply anything, which therefore must include vampire flesh. Winner: Wolverine.


8. Lt. Cmdr. Data

Spock is a pussy.

He's incredibly strong and fast. His skin sparkles in the sunlight, he is impeccably polite and well-educated. He composes his own symphonies. Wait a minute... someone get Paramount on the phone! I smell a lawsuit!

Powers
  • He's Mr. Data. So essentially he can do everything Edward can, only without the inconvenience of emotion.

The Skinny:

Data is everything Edward Cullen purports to be, only he, unlike Cullen, has transcended such weaknesses as hunger and sex. (Also, Data has, to date, scored with more chicks than Cullen). Finally, Edward could no more read Data's thoughts he could the thoughts of his Volvo.

The Verdict:

Unless Data's evil older brother Lore is on Team Edward (we can't assume these things), I expect an easy victory from the original Mr. Sparkle.


7. Snake Eyes

"..."

Silent but deadly (not unlike certain bodily functions best not mentioned in polite company), G.I. Joe's resident ninja badass can outrun bullets, fake his own death and, despite having had his vocal chords severed, can even speak when dramatic tension necessitates. And being a member of the G.I. Joe crack killing squad, who knows what sort of GitMo black ops stuff he can do to Mr. Sparklypants. Plus he has a pet wolf. So there's potential Team Jacob crossover appeal.

Powers
  • General badassery.
  • Ninja badassery.
  • Silent dude in black badassery.
  • The list just goes on and on.

The Skinny:

Words alone cannot describe how Snake Eyes would kick Edward's ass. In fact, to honor the Silent Master, I won't say anything.

The Verdict:

I said I wouldn't say anything. He'd just win. Okay?


6. Batman

The Dark Knight: a better dancer than Edward.

Over the last 80-plus years, Bruce Wayne has donned leotards and jumped from rooftop to rooftop accompanied only by a kid wearing spandex and green pixie boots. Also, he fights evil clowns, chicks with cat issues and various people who slipped through the social safety net when their various mental disorders went undiagnosed. Also, he regularly beats up Superman.

Powers
  • Obsessive planning. If there is a contingency for whatever is happening, odds are Bats already has initiated it.
  • Bottomless resources. Which in comicspeak means that he just happens to have two versions of the one single thing he needs to be able to beat the villain. With bat motifs painted on them.
  • Has killed vampires before. Seriously. It's in the comics.
  • Emotionally dead with ambiguous morality. Batman wouldn't be afraid to fight dirty, unlike Mr. Pretty McDazzle.
The Skinny:

Once Batman chooses to fight Edward Cullen, he has already mapped out his strategy, afforded six different contingencies, and even has a fail safe that will kill both of them if Edward should get the advantage. In short, Edward lost before the fight began.

The Verdict:

First Batman would kill then Cullens, then he would contrive a reason to have Rome nuked to get rid of the Volturi as well. Then without their self-policing influence, all the other vamps would quickly degenerate into chaos, only to be picked off one-by-one by Batman as well. This would not conflict with Batman's "no killing" policy, since vampires are dead already anyway.



5. Optimus Prime


Father figure for millions of latchkey 80s boys.

Picture Atticus Finch. Then make him 30 feet tall and give him the ability to turn into a semi truck. The result: history's greatest alpha male.

Powers
  • Giant robot.
  • So charismatic, even his most bitter enemies respect him.
  • Willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good.
  • Willing to sacrifice others for the greater good.

The Skinny:

He's a giant robot with 4 million years of fighting experience. Need I say more?

The Verdict:

Squish. Whoops. My Bad.


4. Spider-Man

Spiders are nature's perfect killer.

He's an angst-filled, sexually frustrated teen with the awesome power of spiders. No word as to whether the spider that bit him developed the powers of human reasoning; sadly, history is silent on that point.


Powers
  • Whatever a spider can.

The Skinny:

While Edward can read minds, Spider-Man has the uncanny arachnid ability to know when to duck. (Ever squished a spider on the first try?) Edward may be super strong, but so are spider webs. Plus, unlike Edward, webs are sticky.

The Verdict:

Edward would lose simply because Spidey wants it more. Also, unlike me and millions of my sad suburban brethren, he would NOT stand for the idea of Mary Jane sniffing around those pretty Cullen boys.


3. R2-D2


I've fought in Wars, son.

While originally just comic relief, R2-D2 has pulled the other Star Wars characters' collective ass out of the fire so many times they owe him a pension. All the little guy had to do was stick his metal thingy into a wall socket, and BAM, suddenly an escape hatch opened, or the garbage crusher shut down, or the hyperdrive on the Millenium Falcon started up again.

Powers
  • Able to make things work when he slid his robot schlong into a wall socket.
  • Can fly like a little metal bird.
  • Has more gadgets than a Swiss army knife.

The Skinny:

First off, Edward would arrogantly underestimate the little robot, probably thinking he was an amicable trash can or something. The second his guard was down, R2 would spritz Edward with some oil and set if off with a *foosh* of his jetpacks.

The Verdict:

R2-D2 is a ruthless robotic monster. He fought with Yoda. When they wiped his BFF C-3PO's memory, he laughed. He has survived being shot at least twice. R2-D2=better than you.


2. Superman

Superman as Christ figure. Discuss.

Summary

Powers
  • Faster than speeding bullet.
  • Able to leap tall buildings, usually in a single bound.
  • More powerful than a locomotive.
  • Laser eyes, frosty breath, killer abs.

The Skinny:

Superman has been maligned as of late, what with the recent less-than-stellar cinematic outing and the de-powering he's endured on television. However despite these setbacks, the Man of Steel still has an aura of, well, superiority. Granted, picking Superman for your side is a bit like cheating, but he does have his weaknesses. They are well-documented, and if Edward Cullen can rustle up some Kryptonite or turn the Sun red, then all is fair. If he can't, it's not Superman's fault.

The Verdict:

When Superman steps into the sunlight, he has the power of a god. When Edward Cullen steps out in the sunlight, he looks like a dancer at a rave circa 1994. Which do you think is more useful?



1.Darth Vader

You think you've got angst, Cullen? Whatevs.

What can be said about the fallen Jedi once known as Anakin Skywalker that hasn't been said a million times before? Slayer of worlds, the Chosen One, the reason why black will always be in.

Powers
  • The Force.
  • Bad-ass red light sabre.
  • Not afraid to get his hands dirty (though technically they aren't really his hands).
  • Unchartable awesomness.
  • The voice of James Earl Jones.

The Skinny:

Edward Cullen has never faced a foe that can hold a candle to Darth Vader. Vader's use of the Force gives him the ultimate advantage over Sparklypants. Neither Edward's speed nor his mind-reading could help him here; by the time Edward figures out where to run, Vader would already have immobilized him and taken his head off his shoulders.


The Verdict:

Nothing can beat Darth Vader. (Except his own offspring.) It is inarguable, so much so that even my wife, who disagreed with every other entry on this list, conceded that Darth Vader would hand Pretty Boy Cullen his ass, several times over.

Repeat after me: "I find your lack of faith disturbing, Cullen."



Friday, May 1, 2009

Typical day in the life of of Twilight Widower

My partner this morning was quite miffed. It seems that in between the time that she logged off the internet last night at 11:30 pm until when she went online this morning at 9 a.m. none of the thirteen-some Twilight fan blogs had made any updates whatsoever. I therefore hope any bloggers who may be reading this will redouble their efforts stalking the streets of Vancouver so my wife can wake up to fresh Twilight saga news.

Anyway, I thought it would be best to fill you in on a typical day in the life of a Twilight Widower so that you can feel less alone.

7 a.m.- Wake up. Am asked to analyze my wife's dream, in which I got ran over by Robert Pattinson driving a Volvo.

8 a.m.- After making coffee and failing at trying to make breakfast conversation over the laptop, which my wife is using to check her Twilight blogs, I resign myself to agreeing that yes, Robert Pattinson does look something like a young Salvador Dali. Also, I am reminded (again) that he will be doing a nude scene.

8:15 a.m. - Silently start to compile a list of conversation topics that have nothing to do with Twilight or Robert Pattinson in any way whatsoever. Must remember to try to sneak these into our conversation at some point today.

8:50 a.m.- Wife rushes off to work, telling me that I should have been keeping an eye on the time for her. And why didn't I get her lunch ready?

10:30- I receive yet another e-mail from the wife with more links to the "hilarious" adventures of the Edward Cullen action figures, which other over-30 married women apparently seem to be occupying themselves with instead of taking care of their loved ones.
I am happy that the wife has not yet demanded I buy one for her. (Although, I suspect, it is only a matter of time.)

12 Noon- I begin to wonder if I am starting to resent Robert Pattinson, but I decide no. I return to vandalizing "R-Pattz" pictures on Photoshop.


1:30 p.m.- I get another e-mail from my wife, asking whether I can get a copy of the The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide on my way home.

5:30 p.m. Arrive home. As usual, no dinner. Wife is re-reading entire Twilight saga, and has isolated herself in our bedroom, saying she has "work to do."

7 p.m.- After finishing the dinner and dishes, I poke my head into the bedroom to look in on the wife. She waves me away and makes hissing sounds until I leave.

8 p.m.- It's that time of day, the final check of the blogs. I am accordingly given updates. I treasure these rare moments together.
  • K-Stew was seen using a restaurant washroom and was totally not stuck-up when a fan talked to her in the stall next to her.
  • AshGreene has a dog.
  • PFratt talks to EW magazine, saying "Robert Pattinson is easy to work with." Wow, he is so down to earth.
9 p.m.- Am lonely. Consider asking wife to watch Twilight DVD for 7th time. But then, what will we do on date night? Hmmm...maybe I will play Xbox with the teen.

9:15 p.m.- Kid kicks me off Xbox. Apparently, I "suck" at Halo. Damned complicated controllers.
In my day we had two buttons and we were happy to have them, dammit.

10:30 p.m.- Wife suddenly wants my attention. She wants me to watch a British TV movie starring Robert Pattinson on Youtube. I pour some wine and swallow my pride.