Slut

This morning I read that several fraternities at Swarthmore College are closing down due to “rape rooms.” College has long been a traditional place for rape culture, slut shaming, sexism, and general bad behavior. Some colleges are worse than others.

My daughter, whom I’m proud to say was just accepted into three of the University of California campuses, is accepting at at a campus which is known for not having a large Greek presence. That particular school is also known for not having a huge “party culture” which is fine for me. My son Garrett DID go to a school with a large party culture and survived and thrived. Like I always say, you have to talk to your children about these things long before they start college or high school – start before puberty.

So in light of all of this, I’m posting a story you might have read before about double standards, college, and general bad behavior. People might behave badly but it does not mean you, or your kids, have to put up with it.

Slut

My children are in college now which is sometimes even more scary than elementary or high school. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change. 

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole and tell him that Beth and Bart say hello.

~ end

 

Remember to always talk to your kids about these things. Also tell them to support, respect, and have compassion for others as well. In other words tell them not to be entitled judgmental assholes.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Just DON’T: To those who discourage, stereotype and otherwise pigeon hole young people.

Pigeon Hole: Definition of put (someone) in a pigeonhole. : to unfairly think of or describe (someone or something) as belonging to a particular group, having only a particular skill, etc.

If you continue to Pigeon Hole young people I will consider you an Ass Hole.

I was out the other night with friends, who do not have children, and the subject came up of how my children are doing.

My daughter is waiting to hear from the four colleges she has applied for as a transfer student from the local community college. I’m doing the happy dance because she was accepted into U.C. Santa Barbara. Woot Woot.

So, for the 357th time my dear friend tells me, “you know that is where my niece got into drugs.”

My standard answer is usually, “kids get into drugs at every school, even schools like BYU.”

This time I said, “My children were not brought up in a hyper controlling, over protective, helicopter parenting home. Their father and I talked to them frankly about drugs, alcohol and what happened to friends of ours who were abusers.”

We (my husband and I) have always talked not just to or at our kids, but WITH our kids. We’ve had two sided discussions about all issues that will come up with our now adult children. Sex, drugs, and Rock N Roll (they know the difference between Led Zeppelin and lead paint.)

If someone tells you their child is going to a school, be it UCLA or Monterey Bay State (big or small) congratulate your friend. They have a child going to college. The same goes for the child who goes into the Navy, goes to a trade school, gets into a apprentice program, or does anything that will help them on that journey of life.

Don’t say how shitty their choice is.

The subject also came up about job choices and training. Family members LOVE to push younger family members into career paths they will HATE. Heaven forbid someone go into something strange like graphic design and illustration (my profession of many many many many years), or anything remotely involved in the arts or creativity. Heaven forbid someone go into a trade like being a mechanic. Hey if you love cars work with them. Any job you love is a good job. If you love cleaning toilets then do it. One day you’ll run your own multimillion dollar janitorial company.

My friends asked what another young person in my life wanted to do. I said he wanted to go into film or TV. Then I was asked what his real job was going to be aka back-up job.

I live in California. There are a lot of jobs in film and TV is you have passion, talent, and a drive. I’m not going to stomp on the dreams of any young people.

If you want to go into art – DO IT. If you want to work in a museum – DO IT. If you want to sing or act – DO IT. Yes a back up plan is ok, but think of all of the middle-aged people you know who have said “I wish I had…”

Don’t hate on the dreams of youth. A lot of young people have a plan for those dreams. Now they have access to the internet and other resources we (parents) could never dream of when we were young.

I’m not saying don’t have a back-up plan. Having a large set of skills is a good thing but…

I know we don’t want to see young people hurt, but killing dreams will do more damage in the long run.

Encourage our youth. Celebrate our hard-working youth. Say “GOOD JOB” to the kids who are studying, planning, researching, discussing, and doing.

My final words are for those of you who are not so young. You have dreams. You can also follow your passions. Nobody is there to stop you. Maybe you can’t do it on a grand scale, but do it small.

You can do it too. You’re never too old for most things. Don’t ever forget it. And don’t let the assholes pigeon hole you. Don’t.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

phole

SHAME ON YOU. College Admissions Cheating.

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard or read about the dozens of wealthy parents who have been caught in a nationwide cheating/fraud. In order to get their brats into a hard to get into college such as Stanford, Yale, USC, and UCLA, these parents bribed coaches to say their children were star athletes, and they paid a college prep organization to take SAT and other tests on behalf of the students, or correct their answers.

This included famous parents such as actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

In 2012 when I started this blog most of the posts were about Middle School and High School happenings.

Over the past few years it has been about college. That includes college admissions.

I’ve watched about a dozen kids, including my own, work hard to get into Colleges and Universities. They’ve busted their butts to get good grades. They’ve worked hard and smart in their extracurricular activities. They’ve put their hearts and souls, and everything else they have into getting into their chosen school.

I’ve also heard heartbreaking stories of amazing kids, with great grades and impressive achievements get rejection letters from all of their top choices. There is absolutely no logic or reason these kids should not have been accepted. My heart just broke every time I heard about another unreasonable rejection letter.

Maybe now we know at least part of the story. Douchebag parents with a shit load more money than your average middle class family are bribing and cheating to get their little lazy ass darlings into good schools.

Is this jealously of the rich and famous? No, because I could have afforded to cheat to get my child into a fine university, but the price would have been too high. The price of losing my child’s respect and knowing I’d done a bad thing would have been too high.

There is no room for cheating when it comes to parenting. There is no room for cheating when it comes to life.

History is full of people who have cheated to get into the right college and get where they are right now, including some who hold extremely high offices. They threaten to sue those who uncover their dishonesty. They brush it off. Some die with their secrets.

The same kids who cheat to get into a school are the same ones who get money from mommy and daddy to hire someone to write their papers. They’re the same parents who will pad their children’s resumes with fake jobs. The list goes on and on.

Felicity Huffman and her husband William H. Macy are acting as bad, or even worse than the characters on his show Shameless.

Families who are involved from admissions cheating should be banned from any respectable College or University, public or private.

For those of you who say the students should not be punished, only the parent: I say bullshit.

Most kids I know don’t even let their parents help with applications, writing admissions essays, helping with their SAT, or anything else that has to do with the actual admissions process.

As parents we are allowed to go with them on school tours, listen to their concerns, pay for anything we can, and give them moral support. The young people in my life would be absolutely horrified if they knew we’d cheated on their behalf. None of these kids would want to ever talk to their parents again. They’d say NO.

But you know what? I am sure the pampered children of the rich and famous cheaters were fine with this. They never say “NO MOM.” Cheating and paying to get everything they want is normal for them. They don’t know what it means to work hard.

The children I feel sorry for are the ones who did not know what their parents did. They will suffer in the fall out of their parent’s bad actions.

Money can buy a lot. I have no problems with money. I have problems with cheaters and bad parents. I have no problems with parents who help their kids get jobs and educational opportunities HONESTLY and above board. I have problems with cheaters and liars.

I have problems with people who STEAL university spots from hard working deserving kids.

  • Don’t cheat.
  • Don’t be a douche.
  • Support your kids in their dreams without doing it all for them.
  • Talk with your kids.
  • Encourage your kids to be independent.
  • Be a person that your child will look up to, or at least love and respect.

 ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Unknown-2

This looks like how I feel about the subject of you cheating to get your child into the university of your choice.

 

For more information go to slate.com, npr.com, cnn.com or your favorite news source. Read all about it.

 

 

 

 

 

Noir

45189857_2279839595362728_1732779137954742272_nI rarely show photos of my own family but this time I’ll bend my rules.

My daughter and her boyfriend decided to be Bogart and Bacall from The Big Sleep for Halloween. I think they did an extraordinary job of pulling off black and white, and of course the glamour. Yes, their makeup and all of their clothing is black/white/gray. Nice job kids.

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By the way, they’re both nineteen, and in their second year of college. If you want to disparage the youth of today then you must not know any young people. This is a creative and savvy generation.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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I guess we’re all going to Hell.

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My daughter just sent me this photo with the message “I guess we’re all going to hell.”

This guy was out in front of the Student Union building at the college.

Happy Halloween Sports Nuts!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Allegory of Art and Life and Whatever (and College Students and Vampires)

I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about art.

Yesterday I stopped by my brother Val’s office/house downtown. I’ve always loved this large stick style home. He purchased it around 1910 and has done a remarkable job of keeping it up over the years when so many Victorian and Craftsman style homes went into disrepair.

Val’s office is on the bottom floor. The second floor is a comfortable space where Val keeps his official home address. On the third floor is an apartment occupied by a couple of college students.

Neither one of the young men, now in their third year of college, would have been able to go to school away from home without the horrible nightmare of college loans had it not been for Val’s Home Away From Home (so they call it.)

I’m not completely sure where he found Colton and Luke. I think Val met Colton studying in the old cemetery or something along those lines and the other kid came along. Colton was worried he’d have to move home and transfer schools and majors, or maybe just drop out. In exchange for rent they watch the place when Val is gone, do yard work and house cleaning, and keep their grades up.

The boys aren’t Vampires either, and they have no idea about Val. All they know is that Val is exceptionally cool and a little different.

Anyway, I was at Val’s thinking about art. Luke showed me some sketches he’d done of some friends of his on his way out to classes at UC Davis (a short trip across the causeway.) The kid is good. I’m ready to beat the crap out of anyone who discourages him.

Val was at his big desk with his computer checking all kinds of financial stuff I know nothing about. I looked up on the wall at his Maynard Dixon painting. It was of a woman wrapped in a shawl looking in profile towards a gold and orange landscape.

“You should donate that to the museum,” I said. “It is a hidden uncatalogued gem.

“Maybe. I haven’t had it that long.”

“You bought it from the artist. How old can it be?”

“Sometime in the 30’s. A mere matter of days for the typical Vampire.” He smiled and gave me that amused look that makes the girls all melt. Well except me because I’m his sister and I know his tricks.

“Why don’t you donate some of your art Juliette? God knows you’ve got it coming out of your ears.”

“I can’t. Not yet. I’m too attached. And I need more. I always need more art.”

Val laughed. I continued. “I bid on something for the art auction, you know the one for public television. I’m spending at least one day a week at the museum. Clara is taking an art history class so we’re talking about a lot of art. That isn’t a bad thing mind you. I’m also working on my art again. I’m also reading a book about art. My house is full of art. I’m going to go into an art coma.”

“Is that a bad thing?” My brother looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.

“No Val, it isn’t a bad thing. It is a good thing. I’m just kind of overwhelmed. And I don’t have a Burning Question for Saturday.”

He told me to make it about art. We thought about it and threw around a lot of really stupid ideas, which is par for my Burning Questions feature.

I’ll think of something, or use one of our ideas.

Around that time Luke came rambling downstairs to say hello to Val. He was a typical twenty year old male with that sort of cute and, always together, always smart, and always on the verge of some sort of disaster look. It was charming.

“The outside lightbulbs are out, on the front and back porches.” said Luke. “Do you have any extras?”

“Sure. In the second story hall closet, next to the laundry room.”

“Thanks. Hey, can I ask you something?”

“Go ahead,” said my brother.

“You kind of like the dark don’t you. I know you aren’t cheap so it isn’t the electricity bill you’re worried about,” said Luke.

“Good observation,” said Val. “Glad you asked. My eyes are sensitive to the light and I just need to rest them.”

“Makes sense. OK I’ll change those bulbs, then I have to study.”

“On a Friday?” I asked.

“For a bit. I’m going out later. There’s a movie at the Tower, Sisters Brothers or something like that. I’m going with Madeline.” Then he gave a shy smile.

Val slipped him a couple of twenties. We talked for a little bit longer.

Val and I are very old. It is always good to be around the very young.

But now my old brain must think up a Burning Question for October 6. It will be something about art – that thing which has twisted up my heart and soul for as long as I can remember.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Allegory of Painting

Allegory of Painting, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA