Saturday, November 8, 2014

Helping with Harvest

We are wrapping up harvest on the farm.

Morgan and her cousin were excited to help gather up some of the corn left in the field.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Valley Recap: You Owe Me Big Time (S1:E8)

Welcome back to the FINALE! If you missed my previous recaps of The Valley, be sure to check them out.

The Valley is a Dayton-produced reality show: Everyone has something to prove. So what’s your story?

The cast includes:
Ally –  Sings on stage
Chris – Surprisingly bad at Wipe-Out
Stephanie – Makes up with Ally
Donald –  Spits some
Alexys –  Exchanges gifts with Ally
Nathan – Underestimates

Last episode, Stephanie and Donald flirted at The Beach Waterpark, the cool white kids went to the Dayton Mall, Alexys talked about being bullied in high school.

Theme song :  “Do you have what it takes?” To sit through the finale? To kiss an alpaca?

First adventure: JD Legends
Ally sings two original songs for the crowd.

Nathan: “I really underestimated her singing skills. Like always, I underestimate.”

Alexys: “I imagined her songs as Alpaca, Happy, Love. And Ding, ding, ding.”


Second adventure: Milano’s (again)
Cool white kids, Chris, Ally and Alexys hang out.

Chris talks about his mud run.

They talk about Ally’s on and off relationship with Cory, the boyfriend. Like we were supposed to know. We didn’t know.


Third adventure: Razdabar Recording Studio
Don B meets his mentor, Moe Beats. I did not make that up, but I kinda wish I did.

Donald wants to get into the rap game.

Moe: You can “spit some” if you want to.

Don B: Spits some





Fourth Adventure: Ohio State Fair
Really, they go to COLUMBUS.  Of course, none of them have ever been to the Ohio State Fair before.

They hit the petting zoo. Ally fed an alpaca with her mouth. This is oddly cathartic--like we wrapped up a story line from the very first episode.


Nathan: “Ally was kinda kissing the alpaca. It was kinda gross but who am I to judge.” Because I live in a house that smells like dog.

Thanks, producers, for the banjo music accompaniment to their visit to the fair. They didn't even visit the farm part. We were there so much; we could have been in the background if they had just visited the hog barn!

They play a Wipe-Out game on the midway. Surprisingly, Alexys and Nathan are the finalists.


Fifth Adventure: Ally’s house
Cool white kids gather to say goodbye

Ally and Alexys exchange gifts. They gave each other the same framed picture and some other things, which they don’t show the camera.

Nathan, Stephanie and Donald don't get to say goodbye. It's cool. Don B and Stephanie have each other. And Nathan will soon be welcomed into the warm, non-judgmental embrace of Cincinnati.

Alexys: I met some people I will stay in touch with for the rest of my life and some that I won’t.

Sniff.

Unresolved items: Don B and Stephanie hooking up? Nathan coming out to DeGraff? Airing of Chris’s PSA? Alexys’s Mom hooking up with Johnny?

Don’t worry. The genius producers of this show are already recruiting for Season 2! So many more things to do in Cincinnati, right?


Thanks to everyone who stuck with me each week. And thanks to Daytons CW for producing a fun and highly mock-able show. See ya next season!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Valley Recap: “This is Never Going to Matter” (S1:E7)


Welcome back! If you missed my previous recaps of The Valley, be sure to check them out.

The Valley is a Dayton-produced reality show: Everyone has something to prove. So what’s your story?

The cast includes:
Ally –  Wears a hat
Chris – Shops for a baby
Stephanie – Flirts with Donald
Donald – Flirts with Stephanie
Alexys –  Was bullied in high school
Nathan – Lies to his parents

Last episode, Stephanie gagged at mud volleyball, Alexys continued her drama and Chris met a drag queen.

Theme song :  “Do you have what it takes?” To give up on this show before you even finish the promised eight episodes? To care about any of these people ever again? To tune in for future seasons?

First adventure: Dayton Mall
Ally, Chris and Alexys – the cool suburban white kids – hang out at the mall.


More boring talk about the Stephanie drama.
Chris:  “This is never going to matter.”

Nathan calls--from the back woods of DeGraff? His parents have asked him if he is gay and he lies, because he hasn't moved out yet.

Does he not have any other friends? Why does he have to call them at the mall?

Ally, Chris and Alexys are doing a charity event. Guy from the mall does some sort of speech. They are going to shop at JC Penney’s for Hannah’s Treasure Chest.

Chris has to shop for a baby. Literal money shots of the mall.

Producer: Next-to-last episode, so we better use up all that b-roll of Dayton we took before we decided to shoot mostly in Cincinnati.

Alexys and Ally sit down in the mall and chat. Alexys says she was bullied in high school by girls who stalked her.


Second adventure: Milano’s
Alexys talks about her Xavier cheerleading practice.

Nathan has a new place. It smells like dog. He is only going to live there a month but he had to get away from his parents because of the gay.


Third adventure: The Beach Waterpark
Which appears to be abandoned.

Lots of head cameras used while they go down water slides. Ooh, they have an underwater camera.

Ally: “Why don’t Stephanie and Don B hook up already.”

They hold hands.




Good grief. Last week they teased the finale and made me think that there were only going to be seven episodes. But I guess I get to do this ONE MORE TIME.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Valley Recap: The Hot Mom and the Drag Queen (S1:E6)

Welcome back! If you missed my previous recaps of The Valley, be sure to check them out.

The Valley is a Dayton-produced reality show: Everyone has something to prove. So what’s your story?

The cast includes:
Ally –  Volleyball ace
Chris – Shirtless with a drag queen
Stephanie – “No one is talking to me.”
Donald – Throws down a beat
Alexys –  Her mom has got it goin’ on
Nathan – “I just don’t like getting muddy”

Last episode, Stephanie learned about the TV news business during her largely off-camera visit to a TV station, everyone went back to Camp Kern and we found out Chris is a virgin.

Theme song :  “Do you have what it takes?” To watch this show two more times? To understand anything in Don B’s rap? To play volleyball in the mud?

First adventure: El Toro (still)
Good God. They are still doing this drama. Stephanie and Alexys are recapping their argument in interviews. And they are playing the whole thing again. This is so boring. 


Second adventure: Epilepsy Foundation Mud Volleyball
They all play volleyball in the mud for charity. Stephanie and Alexys look like jocks, everyone else just looks muddy.

In one of the opening shots of the mud, Stephanie appears to be gagging. She later looks happier when she is writing her name on Donald with mud.

Oh, God. Muddy Donald and Chris are talking about the drama.
Chris: “It’s high school bullshit.”


Click here to watch the episode.

Third adventure: Alexys’s Mom’s house
Alexys has a hot Mom and all the troubles that come with it. This exchange is so surreal that I have to quote it a bunch below:

Mom: “I love Alexys’s boyfriend Johnny. I would date Johnny. He brought me sushi. He is so cute.”

Alexys: My other boyfriends have tried to date my Mom. “They got her number off the emergency contact list on our fridge.”

Mom: “They used to sing songs about me on the bus.”

Chris: All the guys love Alexys’s Mom. Laughing.

Alexys has a cute little brother, who knew. 


Fourth adventure: Poleking Lanes South
Everyone goes bowling and brings their friends.

Stephanie has WEIRD friends. Asked to describe her in one word, her friend says “ignorant.” Because “she is the craziest friend I know.” What the hell does that even mean?

Other random friends struggle and fail to use one word.

Chris has a twin sister.  Sub-adventure interview at their house.


Fifth adventure: Club Masque downtown Dayton
They bring friends for a Wednesday night par-tay! Because it’s college night and straight night, says Chris.

The emcee is a drag queen who invites them all to do a twerking competition. Much like with the tent last week, we do not find out who grinds the best. 

Chris: “Nathan twerking was a like a wooden board breaking.”

Chris takes off his shirt on stage—he says the drag queen made him do it.
Drag queen: “Are you gay or straight? I love a challenge.”

Donald does an impromptu rap. His rap name is Don B. 

Nathan: “I underestimated his rapping skills. They are pretty good. They exist.”

We end with more of the freaking drama. What were the producers planning to use as 75 percent of their material if there hadn’t been girl drama? It’s a reality show, duh, stupid question.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Valley Recap: What Happens in the Tent? (S1:E5)

Welcome back! If you missed my previous recaps of The Valley, be sure to check them out. 

The Valley is a Dayton-produced reality show that occasionally actually films in Dayton Cincinnati and airs Sunday nights on Dayton's CW. According to the station's website,The Valley follows the journey of six high school graduates from the Miami Valley as they prepare for the next big step in their lives." 

The cast includes: 
Ally – “My initial thought was: this sucks.” 
Chris – Virgin! 
Stephanie – Drama with Alexys. 
Donald – Never been camping. 
Alexys – Drama with Stephanie. 
Nathan – “In high school, I ate a lot of cheesy bread.” 

Last episode, there was drama. Stephanie read a text. Chris recorded a lame public service announcement honoring his DUI coach, or something. 

Theme song :“Do you have what it takes?” To even care that none of this actually seems to take place in Dayton? To listen to two teen girls argue? To watch Chris’s dumb PSA? 

First adventure: WDTN Studio 
Stephanie is under a tree tearfully talking about how she is unsure of her future. And she is concerned,like many young people, that her family’s sacrifices to send her to Wright State University for free might be wasted. 

Her dream is to help the Hispanic community. She will help them by being on the TV news. 

She spends a day talking to people at WDTN, who, oddly enough, don’t seem to be interested in talking on camera. Or maybe they were too boring and got edited. 

After a few hours talking off-camera to WTDN staff, all of Stephanie’s problems and concerns are solved.Whew. 


Second adventure: Camp Kern 
They are back at Camp Kern. Staff guy with the weird accent has a small surprise. They will all dress up as video game characters and help camp kids with some outdoor game. 

Stephanie paints herself black and then rolls around in the underbrush. Alexys is some sort of princess. Even though this is a surprise, Nathan is already wearing a Pac-Man shirt. 

Apparently, no one told them they had to go rustic camping that night. There are only two tents. And no bathroom. 





Nathan: "Ally, Alexys and Stephanie are all too preppy for this camping." 

Nathan and Stephanie get a craving for Little Caesars. Everyone eats hot dogs and s‘mores instead. Only the white people know how to make a s‘more. 

Ally: "Let’s play truth or dare!" 

Nathan: Dares Chris to do 50 push-ups 

Chris: "The game was super boring."

Stephanie and Alexys are still feuding. Drama ensues because Alexys and Stephanie can’t sleep in the same tent, duh. Ally and Alexys seem to propose that Stephanie sleep with Nathan (gay!) and Donald. Does this mean that those two sleep with Chris?? This is never resolved on camera. What happens in the tent… No, really, what DOES happen in the tent? 


Third adventure: El Toro 
Alexys, Stephanie and Nathan eat Mexican again. They discuss how Chris told them he was a virgin.

Cut to Donald’s interview about the virgin in their midst. “Personally, I have to get my [bleep] on, so I really admire him.” Just a reminder, Donald is only months out of high school and he did not say “bleep” to the camera. 

Back at the restaurant, Nathan, in a TOTALLY not staged action, bails and leaves Stephanie and Alexys together. 

Alexys: "I have literally cried several nights about things you have said. You called me a rich white girl." 

Stephanie: "You have been rude."

They awkwardly argue. Alexys storms off. 

OK. I guess that’s the end and we’ll never know what happened in the tent, although it seems Chris's virginity is still intact. 

I have now watched this five weeks in a row for you. You're welcome.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

How do we Keep our Daughters Safe? Start with our Sons

Every mother with a precious daughter has read the articles--they stream through our Facebook feeds. The articles about how to keep your daughter safe in a world of sexual predators. There are apps you can download that will send out alerts if you don't return from a date on time, nail polish to check for knock-out drugs, and lots of advice in the area of raising empowered women who don't need men to validate them.

But I have decided not to read those anymore. Because I have two sons and one daughter and it seems like I should spend twice as much effort ensuring that my boys don't become rapists.

Now, I'm not talking about leap-out-from-the-bushes and attack a woman rapists. Those boys, unfortunately, are being raised in depraved, abusive environments, most likely, and I doubt very much that their caregivers read any sort of articles about how to raise them.

I mean, mothers, that we all have a duty to spend just as much time ensuring we aren't raising a date rapist as we are ensuring that our daughters have mace.

This is an uncomfortable subject for us as mothers. There is so much talk lately about victim-blaming, but if we look inside, I think it is easier for us to see our precious child as a victim of some else's violence than to even contemplate the idea that for every young lady who gets raped after drinking at a party, there is a young man who should have known better--and he has a mother.

I Googled "how to keep your son from becoming a rapist" and I wasn't sure what I would find. There wasn't much but what I did find was in line with my thinking so much that I want to quote from a few articles.

Writing at The Hathor Legacy, a blog about women in TV and the movies, Jennifer Kesler hits upon the key way that many parents are "abusing" their children and raising future rapists:
Teaching your son that he’s your Golden Boy and can do no wrong and anyone who says otherwise is just a nasty pile of envy,to the extent that he does not develop empathy or conscience,

Over at PhD in Parenting, the author says about rape culture:
Somehow most of us seem to be able to teach our children that opening a cupboard at someone's house and helping yourself to whatever is in there without asking first is inappropriate. How is it that we manage to do that, but the message that sexual consent is important just doesn't sink in?

Referencing the Steubenville rape case,Avital Norman Nathman wrote on The Frisky:
Nobody wants to think of their son as a potential sexual assaulter. I know I don’t. I look at my sweet, sweet son and I know in my heart that he would never hurt a fellow human being, let alone violate and disrespect them... But I’m also not living in a fantasy bubble. I’m sure the mothers and fathers of the boys involved thought their sons weren’t capable of such horrific, violating actions either. In fact, most of the town is still in denial...

I have been writing this blog post for a long time in my head but I feel that these other bloggers said what I wanted to say even better than I could have said it, so I'll just end with Nathman from The Frisky:
So here I am, days away from my son’s sixth birthday, thinking about how we need to teach our boys not to rape, instead of cautioning our daughters on how not to get raped...I also challenge all parents, even ones deeply immersed in communities where this sort of behavior has been ingrained forever, to talk to your sons and teach them that this is not acceptable behavior for anyone.

 Amen.