Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Big Bra Myth

So this morning I was watching Live With Regis and Kelly, and they did the usual segment on how 8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size.

Someone trots this trope out at least a couple times a year, and I'm sure by now any men seeing these segments must think that women are totally clueless when it comes to bras. Apparently we don't understand complicated things like "numbers" and "letters"! We don't get all the intricacies of concepts like "cup size" and "band size".*

Why, to all appearances, we women must just go into the store and throw on the first bra we see!

Let me tell you the real truth behind the "8 out of 10" figure. You want to know why so many of us are wearing the wrong bra size?

The store doesn't carry our size, that's why.

According to a little Googling, the average woman's breast size in the US (are you ready? Make a guess. I'll bet you'll be surprised) is: well, somewhere between 34DD and 36DD!**

I know, color me amazed as well.

For any men who are reading this (I'm hoping some women forward it along to clue you in), you must be asking why this is such amazing news.

Well, first of all, there's little consensus on that average size. I don't know why an average size should be so controversial, but I had trouble just narrowing an average range down.

I found some sites, like breastoptions.com, for example, still citing the coveted 36C figure, which apparently was the average around 1999-2000 and the size, according to them, most women still WANT to wear.

The change from C to D (or DD) in the last decade is apparently attributed to us US women getting a bit heavier over years. Speaking for myself, I have to acknowledge that I personally, am, ahem, more generously proportioned than I was back then.

But anyway, back to the point, we need to wear the right size, ladies! We're all doing it wrong!

So off to the store we go. And when we get there, what do we find? We should expect to see the racks overflowing with D and DD bras, right? Because that's the average size!

Nope. And men, this is another reason we are all boggling at that "average size." Because, judging from the assortment in the major stores that I see, 34D and 36DD are barely represented at all.

Really, we mostly find A to C cups. Not only that, but we see a narrow range of cup sizes, and it usually ends up that the smaller cup sizes are available in A, starting at about 32, and the largest cup sizes show up the Cs and the (scant) Ds.

Which isn't to say that there aren't any DDs at all, but by the time we come around to them, it's usually only the highest numbers that are represented, the above 40 cup sizes.

So good luck to you if you wear an outlying size! Or even the "average size"!

So I watched with a bit of a cynical eye when, on Live with Regis and Kelly, they measured actual, real women, and supposedly they did them a favor by finding their "true" bra sizes.

All I know is that one of the women ended up in an E cup (Regis, bless him, said, "I didn't even know there was an E cup!").

And Kelly Ripa went *down* from her regular 32A (which I think fits her just fine, judging by the way her clothes look on her) to a 30A. Which puts her firmly in the range of training bras, intended for teens and pre-teens.


Good luck finding your size, ladies!

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering? I've actually, through weight changes and the rest, developed into a 36B cup these days, and a recent measuring by a "bra fitting specialist"*** confirmed this.

Which, as I hope you've learned from reading this, means nothing more than that I am currently luckier than the 8 out of 10 women who can't. find. their. bra. size.

*Which, by the way? CAN be a bit confusing, through no fault of our own. Bra manufacturers in Europe use a completely different sizing method than in the US, and some manufacturers add inches to what they indicate are the actual sizes, in a process known as "vanity sizing".Wikipedia has a whole primer on why bra sizing can become so complicated.

**We think. There's actually a bit of a disparity in the numbers reported as the average. Keep reading.

***Although I found reference to articles (like this one) relating that fitting specialists travel around the country, training other women to become fitting specialists, nowhere could I determine what the training entailed. Your own specialized measuring tape, perhaps.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Katy Perry sings "Hot N Cold" with Elmo. That Tart!

So, I guess you have all heard about the uproar surrounding Katy Perry and what was to be a cute Sesame Street appearance with Elmo, singing a revised version of her song, Hot 'N Cold?

The song is cute and catchy, though overly auto-tuned (like a lot of songs these days), and perfect for explaining opposites to kids, or at least that's what the folks at Sesame Street thought.

So Katy and Elmo sang a duet. And Katy, in keeping with her style, wore a gold corset dress (which, although it looks as if it is strapless, actually has a flesh-colored bodysuit underneath it).

And some Moms got REALLY, really mad. I mean, they were outraged.  Scandalized.

If you can't guess from my tone, my eyes are rolling a bit at this. There was no bumping and grinding or stripper moves in this video. It's just the pop singer wanting to play dress-up with Elmo, who is acting contrarily, thus giving rise to all the opposites in the song.

Here, wait, I'll show you:

So, did you catch the scandalous behavior of this singing strumpet?

Nope, me neither. I just don't get it.

So, what was all the supposed outrage about? Her cleavage. Her dess, folks, shows off too much bosom.

That's it, that's all.

In these days of Miley Cyrus dancing on stripper poles, apparently some Moms were sincerely offended by a low-cut dress.

 Or, as the case may be, neck-high-but-rather-transparent bodystocking.

Or at least, that's what I'm told all the fuss was about. I'm finding it hard to believe that so much outrage ensued that Sesame Street actually dropped this, in my opinion, inoffensive Katy Perry segment.

But they did. They caved.


Fortunately, Elmo has gone on record as saying he loves Katy and would love to have another playdate with her.

And Katy indicated she would love to go back, too.

So no harm's done, there's some publicity for Sesame Street and Katy, and even comedian Russell Brand, Katy's fiance', got a good laugh out of it, tweeting THIS to Katy. ; )

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ahoy, Mateys! It's Talk Like A Pirate Day!

In honor of the day:

Pirate Comics

Pirate Drinks

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just kicked off.

Tell Tale Games has all 5 chapters of Tales of Monkey Island, for Windows and Mac, selling for less than five dollars today.

You can also change your Facebook language to English(Pirate).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

When the Wind Blows...

Fast-Flying Fairy Vidia delivers something special!

In anticipation of the September 21st release of TINKER BELL AND THE GREAT FAIRY RESCUE, Vidia flew by with these instructions for crafting Vidia’s Wind Wheel. 

Grab the kids and bring the magic of Pixie Hollow into your very own backyard by constructing this fairy inviting wheel to watch the wind blow! It’s easy to do!

iStoryTime Announces New App: A Book for Deaf Children

A little twist on National Literacy Month; this actually happened last month but I wanted to make sure you had all heard about it, because I really think it is cool. 

The Owl's girlfriend is deaf, so I am always pleased when I discover someone going the extra mile to make their work more accessible.

In August, iStoryTime, the iPhone App Developer for DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon,” announced the release of a New App with Sign Language Interpretation for the Award-Winning Children’s Picture Book “Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy.” 

“We are extremely proud to release the first-ever children’s book app for the deaf community,” said iStoryTime co-Founder, Woody Sears.  “Our goal is to use technology to make children’s books accessible and entertaining and we are delighted to be involved in the production of a book that will provide deaf children with the opportunity to read the popular ‘Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy’ story.”

iStoryTime’s book apps, which can be downloaded directly to an iPhone or iPod Touch or iPad, are simple to use and known for their creativity, illustrations, narrations and animation.  Several parents I know have recommended the app for younger kids. One feature they like: the narration can also be turned off so that parents can read to kids, or so you can have a little more peace and quiet on long trips.

iStoryTime books are available globally for $.99-$2.99 in the iPhone App Store in 80 countries.  For a sneak peak of ‘Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy’ visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bijyi6sO20k.

I did not receive any compensation of any kind for this post (I just think it is a cool app!).

Are You a Genius at Writing Children's Books? MeeGenius Wants to Know!

 Want to get published? Or how about just win a free iPad? What could be better than getting kids to read and being rewarded for your efforts?

To commemorate National Literacy Month, Wandy Yeap Hoh and David Park, co-founders of MeeGenius! (www.MeeGenius.com), have announced a contest to find the best new children’s book authors. Winners receive a publishing deal with the innovative application. 

If you haven't heard of MeeGenius!, it's a new reading, bookstore and publishing application for the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Web users.  Kids can choose from a wide selection of books to read, and aspiring authors can publish their books online (MeeGenius! will even match illustrators to authors).

Celebrated novelists Laura Dave (author of The Divorce Party), Jane Green (author of Promises to Keep), and Allison Winn Scotch (author of The One That I Want) will lend their literary expertise as guest judges to assist MeeGenius! in its quest to find new manuscripts for children’s stories.

MeeGenius! invites aspiring authors everywhere to submit manuscripts for review from September 15 until 5 p.m. ET on October 31, 2010. The grand prize of an e-book publishing contract on the MeeGenius proprietary publishing platform and an iPad will be awarded to one talented winner. Four runners-up will receive an e-book publishing contract and an iPod Touch.

MeeGenius! will accept original stories with illustrations via the MeeGenius! author platform at www.MeeGenius.com/contest. The panel of judges, including Dave, Green, and Winn Scotch as well as Yeap Hoh and Park, will read all entries and select the next MeeGenius! publishing stars. Ten finalists will be chosen in November, from which the winners will be selected and awarded. The finalists’ stories will be posted on MeeGenius.com, so all visitors to the site will have a chance to provide feedback, praise and encouragement. Winners will be announced in January 2011. Stories will be judged on:

·      Appropriate story/content for children ages three to eight
·      Emotional connection
·      Writing quality
·      Uniqueness
·      Read-aloud potential

Official rules and regulations can be found at www.MeeGenius.com/contest.

My Artwork, thus far

The Owl, now a senior in high school (I know! Can you believe it?!), is trying to get in all his volunteer hours to be eligible for Bright Futures. So several times a week, we go to the library, and he re-shelves books, or cuts out smiley faces for the children's area.

And since the Rhino is also trying out for the school's soccer team this year, we have to go right back to the school afterward.  So, for that hour and a half or so, I am held captive.

Stranded at the library, for an hour and a half, surrounded by all the lovely, lovely books. There are definitely worse ways to spend an afternoon. By the way, speaking of books, you know that September is National Literacy Month, right?

I spend my time at the library working on my artwork. This year, I finally took the plunge, and, as the kids have been urging me for years, enrolled in art classes at the local museum school.

We have had two nude models, which I thought would be a lot more distracting than it actually is--when you're sketching, you are so concerned with getting the lines and the contours and the motion of the bodies that you don't really get hung up on specific body parts. I did find that, at the very first model session with an extremely toned male model, I kinda sketched around certain parts of his anatomy, if you get what I mean, but I quickly realized this, laughed at myself and just got over it and went with the flow.

I don't want to shock any of your delicate sensibilities (I can hear some of you snorting over the internet at that), so first I'm going to show you this very tame, very safe work in progress.

As you can see (I hope), it's a sketch I'm working on of just simple cups, a sugar bowl, coffee maker and then there is a plate with a pear and berries I have yet to get to.

I say "simple," but I've been working on this piece for house to get the shading right in those cups. As you can see, I've only just plotted out the right of the sketch, and I'll fill in the details and shading as I go.  This work is part of my Foundations in Drawing class, which is run by Mason, who is very, very precise. Mason is concerned with realistic, accurate portrayals, which is something I really struggle over. I tend to go for people and want to get the expressions in their faces, the emotional connection, though I find that my work has been flat and cartoony to my own eyes, so this work with Mason is, I think, really helping me with that. We also worked on, the very first day of class, another tableau, but it was so full of different objects, including an inky black camera that I struggled to detail, that none of us in the class elected to to continue. Mason said he knew it would be difficult and was trying to gauge our strengths and weaknesses, and he has really helped me to be more precise with my lines.

Now, my next work is (prepare yourself. Gird your loins or something!) a male nude, and it's full-length, so I'm just putting a small version in case, you know, it bothers you. So, nothing is actual size. heh. Okay, this is from Georgi's class.

Georgi is very much about movement and expression. She has us do warm-ups, where we sketch the model in several different poses for only 30 seconds at a time, then a minute, then five minutes, and finally we get to the real work, where we spend maybe twenty minutes at a time on a single pose. It is amazing to me that, because of the warm-ups, twenty minutes seems really long, and I can actually get a lot done and sketch out a full figure in twenty minutes with, I feel, good quality! For me, at least.This is one of the twenty-minute poses (the other has the model reclining on his back).

So, what do you think? Remember, I am a rank amateur, and this is just my first two week's worth of work.

Be kind, please!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Recognizing Teen Depression

Dr. Richard Besser talks to five teens who have dealt with depression:
Good Morning America, helping teens with depression

Teen Depression: Know the Warning Signs
Recognizing the Symptoms Is One Way to Treat Depression


Jordan was 19 when he jumped out of his ninth-story bedroom window.
"I didn't wake up that day knowing I was going to try and take my own life," Jordan said, who, like the other teens in this story, asked that his last name not be used.

While recovering in the hospital, he shared his story with a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Although Jordan suffered for years before deciding to jump, he said, the newspaper interview was the first time he had ever discussed his feelings with anyone.
"He [the reporter] gave me a voice," he said.
But for many others, the chance to talk about their depression never came.
Maggie was only 12 years old in 2003 when her brother, Phil, a high school senior at the time, killed himself.
"He was smart, played three sports," she said. "He was the last person anyone would've thought would take his life."
Teenage years are emotionally impulsive and awkward for many. But for 20 percent of those teetering between adolescence and independence, life on the edge is more than just a phase.
About 2 million teenagers suffer from clinical depression and about 1 in 5 young people will experience depression before they become adults, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Teens experience depression more intensely than adults, said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and president of the Child Mind Institute in New York.
"The signs of teen depression is that it lasts for more than two weeks, and there's a change in appetite, a change in sleep, a change in concentration, a change in mood and, most importantly, a change in the ability to really enjoy things," Koplewicz said.
Teens are also more likely to pick up self-injuring habits, such as cutting their skin with sharp objects.
In seventh-grade, Casey, now 19, became obsessed with cutting herself.
"My sister started noticing that I was wearing long sleeves and ... there were cuts on my arms," she said. "I ended up cutting to the point that I needed stitches."

When Emotional Pain Becomes Physical
Casey said she thought she was somehow responsible for her emotions. Cutting helped her escape her own thoughts, she said.
"I didn't want to die but I wanted to feel something other than what I was feeling, even if it was pain," she said.
Self-mutilation is used to turn emotional pain into a temporary and controllable physical pain, Koplewicz said.
"Many times, people do it because they feel the desire to feel alive," he said.
As with many teens, Casey suffered in silence. She was too ashamed to admit that she needed help, she said.
"I was totally different in how I dressed," she added. "Like, my hair was different colors. But I didn't want people to think I was different, like, in my head."
Part of the stigma stems from the belief that people can control their symptoms of depression on their own, according to ABC News' senior health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser.
Many teens resist medication because, for some, taking an antidepressant can be seen as cheating.
"You're not depending on it just to make you happy," Jordan said. "Your brain works differently. And, for me, it's difficult for me to do the everyday things that people take for granted like wake up on time, brush my teeth, get in the shower.
"So, that pill is making sure that I am, I can do the things that jump-start my day so I can do the things that make me happy."
Many studies show that early treatment using medication or talk therapy may prevent depressive episodes.
"Remember, depression isn't an attitude a teen is choosing," Besser said. "It's a serious and real brain disorder."
But for many teens, the symptoms of depression remain unrecognized. And unrecognized depression in some teens, including Maggie's brother, can lead to suicide.
Indeed, suicide is the third leading cause of death for people 14 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And more than 600,000 teens make an attempt every year.

Recognizing the Warning Signs
Maggie said she believes her brother would be alive today if someone, including himself, had recognized the warning signs.
"Every single day I have to wake up and I don't have my brother," Maggie said. "And maybe things could have been different."

For more information on teen depression and how to recognize the warning signs, visit: http://www.familyaware.org and http://www.aevidum.com/aevidum/Welcome.html
Copyright © 2010 ABC News Internet Ventures

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vampire Saga: Pandora's Box

I'd like you all to think that when I am not posting here on the blog, I'm being incredibly productive.

But that's just not the case. All you Moms out there know how much of our time is caught up with nagging the kids to get ready for school or some other activity, driving kids to school/activity, picking kids up from activity, etc. And even more time is spent waiting around for school/activity to end. So wouldn't it be great if I used that downtime to get things done? And hey, I could use my iPhone or iPad apps, right?


In fact, most of the apps on my iPhone and iPad? Games. I have word games (Words with Friends and Wits), retro arcade games (Pacman, Sonic the Hedgehog) classic games (Battleship and Monopoly), and my latest interest: hidden object puzzle games.

If you haven't tried these, I can highly recommend them for keeping your mind sharp and your interest peaked and, of course, growing quietly frustrated when you can't find an object or figure out what it is you are supposed to do with it!

My newest favorite, which I have played through two times already and going on a third since I downloaded it, because it is so spooky and fun, is Vampire's Saga: Pandora's Box. Here's the game trailer to give you an idea what it's like.

The game is set in Victorian times, with most of the action taking place in an old house and a cargo ship named Pandora (aha! I hear you saying, I see where the name comes from! Points for you).

Here's the synopsis of the storyline:
Join Matthew Ward as he steals aboard a cargo ship to escape the violence of the Spanish-American War, passes out and then wakes up to find himself alone with several sinister-looking coffins. Where did the crew go? Why is Matthew having strange visions? And why does he feel like he's being watched?

There's a mystery that goes along with the game that I don't want to spoil (though I have to say the title gives a lot away right there), and various challenges that require you to find hidden objects and then use some of them in resourceful ways to meet challenges like locked doors for which you do not have a key, mechanical contraptions that need to be repaired, etc.

As you can see from the images in this post (actually taken from the iPad version, which I have), the graphics are quite good, which is a MUST in a hidden objects game!

As I say, I've played it through more than once already, because the hidden objects are tough enough to find each time that you can't possibly remember where they all are, even when you go back and start over from the beginning.

You can find Vampire Saga: Pandora's Box, available for both iPhone and iPad, in the apps store (6.99 for the iPad version, while the iPhone version retails for 2.99, free lite version to give you a taste of the game). I feel it is a good value for the price as I've gotten a lot of play out of mine. It's put out by Alawar Entertainment, who are also the developers of titles like Tank-o-Box (hey, I have that one, too!), Hotel Mogul and Vacation Mogul and Farm Frenzy 2.

I received a voucher for a complementary download of Vampire Sage: Pandora's Box for the purposes of this review.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fifty Funky Manicures

I never seem to get my nails 'done'. It makes me feel like I'm being self-indulgent to spend money on manicures, and then of course there's budget concerns, as well as trying to find the time to have them done, and the difficulty of typing with long nails (without messing them up). I can't blog and look pretty at the same time, people! I'm only human.

But The Inner Geek in me loves some of these manicures. Especially the pencil ones! So cool.

Found, as so many cool links are, via my Metafilter obsession.
Cool Moms Rule! is in full compliance of the new FTC rules concerning Bloggers. I disclose on all posts where a product was received for free and/or if there was any kind of financial compensation involved.