The Song that Shuts Down Idiots Every Time

So in the last 24 hours, we’ve learned that actress Renee Zellweger doesn’t look the way she did back when Bridget Jones’ Diary or Jerry Maguire came out. Many people have been making it their mission to say exactly what they think about the plastic surgery she’s “obviously” had on her face. In some photos, she doesn’t look radically different, at least not to me. In other photos, especially ones taken from the side or with her head angled slightly, she doesn’t quite look like the Renee of years gone by.

All the fuss and snark lead Renee Zellweger to respond to reporters, and her response focused on how she has changed her life and its impact on her appearance.

“My friends say that I look peaceful. I am healthy,” she says. “For a long time I wasn’t doing such a good job with that. I took on a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn’t allow for taking care of myself. Rather than stopping to recalibrate, I kept running until I was depleted and made bad choices about how to conceal the exhaustion. I was aware of the chaos and finally chose different things.”

I don’t doubt the truth of this. Being an actor – an Oscar winner at that – has got to be exhausting. While getting big awards must be very cool, there’s a lot of work that goes into getting nominated for one, not to mention actually winning.

But that’s neither here nor there. The reality is she is a grown-ass woman and she can do whatever she wants. She can shun Hollywood and go live in a hut on a tiny island in southeast Asia. She can dress like a lumberjack and walk around pretending to be Paul Bunyan. She can adopt a couple kids and raise them as ninja warriors. Whatever she wants to do, it’s her life, and if she decides that driving a 18 wheeler, moving to Latvia, or – brace yourself – getting plastic surgery is going to make her happy, then more power to her.

So this song is for Renee & anyone else out there who’s living their life on their terms. If there’s a point in your life when you’re contemplating a major change, but you’re nervous about what others may think or say, listen to the song. If you feel so inclined, sing it to your critics and detractors at the top of your lungs, and include several hip thrusts to emphasize the most applicable lyrics.

The Middle Name Meme

I got up this morning to discover I’ve been tagged by the infamous Beth at Cup of Coffey to participate in a meme. What makes this one a little challenging is that the meme requires me to use a middle name, and not only do I not have a middle name anymore in the real world, I also want to keep my name, as well as the names of my loved ones, anonymous (or at least the semblance thereof). That being said, I do want to participate, so I figure there are a few ways I could go about doing this:

  1. Use the maiden name of a woman in my family tree.
  2. Use “With”, since that’s my middle name on this blog.
  3. Use the middle name I was given at birth.

I think I’ll go with #1, since #3 is too short to offer any sort of interesting response (my former middle name was Rae), and #2 is just too corny and I’m leaning more toward zany practicality than wacky humor this morning.

Here be the Rules:

1. Post the rules before you give your answers.

2. List one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use your maiden name or your mother’s maiden name.

3. At the end of your blog post, tag one person (or blogger of another species) for each letter of your middle name. Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged.

I never got the chance to know my maternal grandmother, as she died of breast cancer when Momcat was a teenager. In her honor, I’ll use her maiden name, which was Trask.

T: When I am upset or stressed out, I have a tendency to render technology ineffective. Long-time readers of my blog are familiar with my score-keeping. I’ve had challenges with computer monitors (I’ve had about 3 or 4 monitors die on me, which T-Wizzle finds baffling), printers, my DVD player/recorder, Palm TX, and MP3 player; cell phones; software programs; Internet access; and a host of other products. Someday, this superpower will enable me to take over the world, or at least bring global e-commerce to a grinding halt. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

R: While rebellious wouldn’t be the first word that comes to mind when describing myself, I definitely do act the rebel at times. I have been known to do things just because someone said I couldn’t or shouldn’t. Some positive examples of this are:

  • My high school world history teacher told me that it was hard to get an A in the American history teacher’s class. I said, “Watch me,” and for 3 out of 4 grading periods, I got As in American history. (One quarter I was distracted by a part-time job. Once I quit, I had more time to study and got As again.)
  • My former editor said I’d never get tickets to see Spamalot while in New York for a trade show. Again I said, “Watch me.” I sat in line for nearly 6 hours and got 8th row orchestra seats. I grinned the whole way through and brought my editor back a t-shirt.

I’m waiting for the day when the right person challenges me to lose weight or publish my novel. King Kong ain’t got shit on me! Bring it on!

A: Ever since I was little, I’ve been interested in acting. Back east, I was in my high school’s drama club and performed in a couple readers’ theatre productions with Pops. I’ll admit that part of my motivation for moving to LA was that I wanted to become a famous actress. The thing is, you actually have to work at doing that, and I was always too insecure about my looks & weight to make it happen. I wanted to just show up and become famous. I admire comedians who are super-talented at improvisation, so I’d like to take improv classes at some point. Then who knows? I could finally bite the bullet and really give acting a shot.

S: I have never been one to fear for my personal safety. I have been in some dicey neighborhoods and suspicious places, but I have never felt threatened or scared. I’ve been cautious, sure, and I’ll use my intuition to avoid putting myself in uncomfortable situations. But I feel it’s all about attitude, and I am so freakin’ arrogant that I cannot imagine why anyone would ever want to do harm to me. I’ve said several times that I would walk naked through Watts just to make a point – which goes back to that rebellious thing again. Because of my attitude I have a hard time empathizing with people, especially women, about safety issues. My belief is that fear is the biggest bully you can ever encounter, yet all it takes is one hearty yell to make fear run for the hills.

K: I love singing karaoke. I’ve been doing it since I moved to CA over 7 years ago, starting with a piano bar where the average age of the clientele was 68. Those old folks were so supportive and excited to hear a thirty-something singing old standards, so it gave me the courage to branch out and go to more karaoke joints. The place where I went regularly has gotten more ghetto-tastic, so I’m going to new spots that have a wide variety of songs. I even have a spreadsheet on my Palm TX for tracking songs by venue, but I have yet to buy my own karaoke CDs and bring them with me when I go sing. My favorite artists to cover at karaoke include Journey, Amy Winehouse, Garbage, Heart, Maroon 5, Olivia Newton-John, Britney Spears, Sarah McLachlan…and the hits just keep on comin’.

And now for the tagging of others (links to completed memes are in green):

Staci at Laughing Mommy (because she is my cousin and she loves me, plus it’s payback for the taser Superpoke on Facebook last week)
Arianne at Daily Llama (because she likes memes)
Gifted Typist at Gifted Typist (because she’s cool and I like her writing)
Splotchy at I, Splotchy (because no-meme month is over)
Beckeye at The Pop Eye (because she loves ONJ as much as me, if not more)