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An Open Letter to the Movie Industry

Dear Movie Industry,

I am writing this letter after what started to be a promising day.

I am the mother of teenagers.  It is rare for all of our schedules to mesh in such a way as we can actually spend time together as one unit.  Today was one such day.

We decided to go to the movies, in celebration of Mr. AuburnChick’s birthday.  The latest, most anticipated summer movie was Transformers.  We had seen the first one, loved it, and couldn’t wait to see the sequel.

We decided to see the matinee.  I am unemployed, and money is tight.  Chicky’s Guy Friend tagged along, making for a whopping total of $35+tax spent.

We didn’t mind.  As I stated previously, it would be a rare day spent together.

The movie started innocently enough…good transformers fighting bad ones.  We settled into our seats for even more action.  We had heard wonderful things about the movie.

It didn’t take long for my excitement to turn to disappointment.  The first clue that things were going south was when one of the female characters was shown from the rear wearing shorts that left nothing to the imagination.  Did the camera really have to linger there?

Next, the audience heard an earful of curse words and sexual innuendo…all coming from the mouths of the “parents.”  Animal sexual antics, followed by a “You’ll see more of this in college, Son,” caused me to grit my teeth in anger.

As the Transformers began to play a bigger role in the action, so did their mouths.  I was shocked to hear curse words spewing forth from them.  Not only curse words, but very crude phrases that were directed at females.

I crossed my arms and grew increasingly tense as each scene passed.  You see, my son used to play with Transformers.  As you know, kids imitate what they see.  Can you picture your son or daughter using some of the colorful language they’d just heard at the movie that Mommy and Daddy just took them to see?

Oh sure, the action scenes were fantastic.  I’ll give you that.  The special affects were superbly done.

But why, oh why, did you find it necessary to throw in so much sex?  Some of it was overt, and some it was behind the scenes.  An observant mom like me won’t miss those posters on the college dorm wall.  I know I may not be a famous Hollywood writer, but I fail to see how a girl sitting on a boy’s lap added substance to the storyline.

I debated.  Do I stay, or do I get up and walk out.

I fought my thoughts as the scenes continued.

At one point, we were treated to the sight of a man ripping off his pants to reveal that he was wearing thongs with something written on them.  I have no idea what they said because I turned my eyes away.  I heard shouts of surprise and a few of shock from some of the patrons.  Did you really have to leave that man’s butt on the huge screen for more than five seconds?

Point taken.  Crude.

The thing that pushed me over the edge was when a transformer saw fit to do a sexual number on the main female character, and she laughed.  I sat two seats away from my daughter and was mortified.  Sure, she’s 17, but do I really want her to think it’s okay to laugh off such sexual banter?  The way women were portrayed in this movie was appalling.  They are not sex objects or brainless.

My heart was beating hard as I grabbed my stuff and walked out.  I barely made it to the restroom…that’s how badly my body was shaking from anger.  At first, I felt guilty leaving the theater.  This was the first time I have ever walked out before a movie was over.  With each step, I grew more confident and proud.  And angry.

Folks…you knew very well that kids and adults would be seeing this movie.  Regardless of who the target audience was, why did you have to dirty it up this way?

I’m angry because I seem to be the only person who cared.  I did not see one other person walk out today, and I know I’m not the only person who holds my morals close to my heart.

I feel cheated.  I want my money back.  But giving me back my measly $7 won’t hurt you one little bit, will it?  This movie will make millions as crowds continue to pour in and sell out showings.

Oh sure, some might be surprised at the filth that the human and non-human characters shout out, but they’ll be distracted minutes later by action scenes.

You may have those people fooled, but not me.

Shame on you for allowing your industry to go to such lengths just to make a dollar.

Shame on me for continuing to waste money on this form of “entertainment.”

Maybe you haven’t heard, but money isn’t everything.  In fact, it’s worth nothing if it means giving up your integrity.  When is the last time you heard someone say, “I won’t go see that movie.  It doesn’t have any cussing in it?”

I’ll venture to guess you never have.  Neither have I.

You can be sure of this.  I may only be one voice, but it is one that will be vocal from here on out.

I implore you…please…make cleaner movies…movies that families can see together without being embarrassed.

That’s the sign of integrity.



AuburnChick Repairs the Oven

No, I’m not breaking things on purpose just to give me a reason to pull out my tools.  I promise.

Several days ago, while warming up the oven, I noticed a glow inside.  Upon opening the door, I saw that part of the heating element had gotten bright red and looked like it was burning.

I quickly turned off the oven, afraid that it was going to explode.

It’s electric, though.  I don’t think it could explode like a gas oven.

I had a batch of muffin mix all ready to be baked up, and I was determined to cook them, so I hesitantly turned the oven back on and watched it carefully.  This time, it heated properly without incident.  I figured the red I had seen was a splash of drippings from a previous cooking session.

My muffins baked up fine, and all was well…or so I thought.

The next night I baked another batch of muffins.  Later, I decided to wipe out the oven…making an interesting discovery in the process.  The heating element at the bottom was broken…in the spot where the “incident” had occurred the night before:

Oh boy.  This was just what I needed…a hefty repair bill.

I pulled out my oven manual but couldn’t find a list of parts.  I think I remember throwing it out when we moved into the house…never figuring I’d actually have to order a new piece.

So, I got on the internet and tried to find the part.  However, this was easier said than done.  I had no idea of the “official” name for the part.

Fortunately, it’s a Sears product, so I called the 800 number on the manual.

The representative was helpful, although she did give me some misinformation at the beginning of our conversation.  She tried to tell me it was the broiling element.  I scratched my head in confusion.

I realize that I’m not exactly an expert in kitchen know-how; however, I was always under the assumption that when you broiled something, you were cooking from the top of the oven.

Had I been wrong all those years?  Maybe that’s why my cooking stinks.

I asked her several times if she was sure, and she told me to hold while she pulled up a schematic of my oven.

When she returned, she had news for me.  Sure enough…it was the baking element, not the broiling element, that had broken.

Ok, so I can’t blame my mom for incorrectly teaching me about cooking.  My skills are lacking just because I’m me.  No problem.

I was given a delivery date of June 30th.

Wow.  It would be a while before I could bake muffins again.  Bummer.

To my surprise, my part arrived yesterday (the 26th), a mere three days after I ordered it!  Two thumbs up for Sears’ customer service!

This was where the fun began.  But first, I turned off the breaker at the circuit box.  Safety first!

I quickly figured out that I would need to remove the oven door.  Trying to squat, remove screws, and change out parts just wasn’t going to happen.  Thankfully, my owner’s manual had pictures to explain the process…

Using a screwdriver, pull down the hinge

Using a screwdriver, pull down the hinge

After repeating the process on the other side, I was able to lift the door off (it was heavy, so if you do this, be careful!).  That’s when I noticed how dirty my oven was…

The cleaning would have to wait until I got the broken element out.  First were the screws which were a little difficult to remove.  Having done that, I thought I was in the clear, but as you know, this is AuburnChick, and things are never easy for me.

As I pulled out the element, I realized that part of it was still connected.  Closer inspection revealed this:

Oh man.  Thankfully, I have an electric oven, but still.  I studied this thing…turned the element upside down to try to figure out how to undo the clamps.  I had no clue.

And then, a stroke of genius…

I grabbed a screwdriver that has a pointy end (it actually looks a bit like one of my knitting needles), inserted the tip into a hole I saw on the clamp thing, and, pulled the other end out.  It slid right off!  No unclamping necessary!  I did the same for the other connection.

With that done, I was free to clean the oven.  When the kids were at camp, I had attempted to clean it.  This time, I did it properly.  It’s a lot easier to do with the door off and everything out of there!

While my head was inside the oven, I noticed the light fixture was n-a-s-t-y, so I removed it for cleaning…

People, it’s nearly impossible to scrub six years’ worth of grease from an object.  I did the best I could, going through two SOS pads in the process.  It’s not perfect, but it will do…

Now I was ready install the new element.  The ends slid right on, and I screwed it to the back of the oven.  Look how shiny it is!

It was time to put the door back on, turn on the circuit, and test it out.

It worked!  Can you see how the heating element is pink?  Success!

Total spent:  $60.  Time allotted:  1 hour, 15 minutes.

Confidence:  1,000+

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