Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Grace and Frankie Season 3, Episode 2, an Unofficial Recap

From Frankie Bergstein @SuckItAynRand on Twitter.
I've yet to receive a cease and desist letter from the Grace and Frankie crew, so here's my imaginary recap of the Grace and Frankie product development, okay vibrator development, story arc. You can read Episode 1 here.

When we last saw Grace and Frankie, Grace was working diligently on their business plan to develop a vibrator for old, arthritic women while Frankie was, well, being Frankie.

As Episode 2 opens we see Grace working on a shiny new computer, one she purchased in an effort to erase the "naughty" browsing history she created doing vibrator research. She still has a bottle on hand sanitizer nearby.

Not surprisingly, Grace continues to do the bulk of the work on the business plan, but she's okay with that. Grace is feeling invigorated and more positive than she's been in a while now that she's facing a business challenge, as opposed to a personal one, In fact, she's a big cheerleader when it comes to Frankie's art show.

The show is a success, or at least successful enough that Frankie commits to developing artwork for the vibrator line.

Grace channels Frankie's newfound enthusiasm by asking her to come up with at least three ideas to define and support their developing brand's visual identity.

Frankie develops three concepts:

1) By vaginas for vaginas

Frankie once again tries her hand (um, vagina) at painting and comes up with something very similar (see above) to what was ultimately rejected for the yam lube after her contract with Say Grace ended. The brand message is one of female empowerment as indicated by bold, abstract prints (and, of course, vaginal painting).

2) Not dead yet. 

These visuals represent the perfect marriage of Georgia O'Keefe's larger than life vaginal flowers and the mysterious, starkly phallic corpse flower. The notoriously slow-to-bloom corpse flower's Latin name, Amorphophallus titanum, translates into "misshapen phallic giant."  However, Frankie proudly, if mistakenly, explains the Latin name to Grace as the "giant phallus of sexual desire," a perfect fit for their brand!

This visual identity pushes societal conventions aside.

Frankie explains: Who says women peak sexually at 40? Okay, maybe we did peak a few years back, but we're still here and we still want to have orgasms. They're fun! They feel good! Like the corpse flower, it may take us a while to get going, but we need to let women know they have at least one more glorious burst waiting to be released.

3) Dainty old lady

Hoping to force a choice between concepts 1 and 2, Frankie's third concept is a treacly pastel-laden take-off of the incontinence product, Poise Pads. 

Frankie's plan succeeds to some degree. We see Grace wiping her hands with sanitizer as she give Frankie feedback on the concepts. A savvy businesswoman, Grace, is aware that Frankie is trying to force her hand. Grace coyly asks a lot of questions, feigning interest in the Dainty old lady concept.

Concerned, Frankie gets anxious and more animated as Grace asks more questions about the wrong concept. She eventually reveals her hand and tells Grace to move on to the other ideas.

Although Grace is disgusted by the concept of vagina art, she's somewhat drawn to the brazen look of Frankie's first concept, By vaginas, for vaginas. She likes story of female empowerment. But mostly she can't can past the idea of a paint brush in Frankie's hoo-ha.

This leave both women focusing on the Not dead yet concept.

Grace: I think this really nails it. Remember we told the kids that we were going into business making products for women like us? Not dead yet leaves room for us to create all sorts of things, not just...sex toys.

Frankie: Yes! We can do so much to help women our age blossom..bloom...burst!

Grace (enthused): I think you just found the name for our company!

Frankie: Blossom, Bloom, Burst? It sounds like a law firm/florist.

Grace: We'll pick one of those words. They're all Bs.

Frankie: A tribute to Babe! Where is she, by the way? I think we need to include her in important business meeting like this.


Stay tuned for Season 3, Episode 3 of Grace and Frankie, "The field trip."

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Grace and Frankie Sneak Peek, Season 3, Episode 1

Grace and Frankie Season 3 speculative sneak peak
All right, so I mentioned my plans to post a speculative look at Season 3 of Netflix's Grace and Frankie. Well, here it is. Read on for my take
of Season 3 Episode 1 with special attention paid to the pair's business development plans.

Season 3 starts where Season 2 left off. Former businesswoman Grace (Jane Fonda) dives into research related to their virabtor-for-arthritic-women company. Meanwhile, Frankie (Lily Tomlin) anxiously tries to reclaim her standing as an artist with her exhibit just weeks away. Her tried and try combo of vlogging and weed help her calm down, even if they don't do much to improve her focus.

The pair have yet to commit to a name for their company because "Why Bother?" doesn't send the right message. Indeed, they want older arthritic women to bother! They continue to toss around potential names, including a favorite that is an homage to their friend Babe: Sexy Older Babe, or SOB. It's a current front-runner.

In a small effort to make amends to their ex-wives, Robert and Sol promise to file the legal paperwork for free once the women pin down the details of their company.

Grace throws herself into online research. At various points in the episode, she is found washing her hands or using hand sanitizer that she placed next to her laptop.

Frankie is in her studio trying to paint, but mostly smoking pot. Frankie leaves her studio and heads to the kitchen in search of munchies. Grace then showers her with facts.

Grace: Can you believe there's a $3,000 golden dildo?

It's unclear whether Frankie mishears or simply takes joy in making Grace repeat herself.

Frankie (dismissively): Grace, you are not a dog person. Why would you spend $3,000 on a goldendoodle?

Grace (annoyed): A golden vibrator that sells for $3,000! (lighthearted) Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Frankie, being familiar with the topic of vibrators, responds with a barrage of interesting factoids

Grace (smug): Well, aren't you the ghost of vibrators past? But do you know where they are headed?

Frankie (shrieks with laughter): Of course, I know where they are headed: into the vaginas of arthritic older women!

Frankie heads back to the studio.

Grace (shouts): I mean do you know anything about teledildonics?!

Frankie does an about face.

Frankie (sobers up): What now?

Grace: It means you use an app on your phone to control the (stammers, motions with hands). Here, let me show you.

The women huddle over the laptop screen uttering hmms, oohs, aahs and looks of astonishment.

End scene.

Later in the episode Grace's daughter Mallory (Brooklyn Decker) goes into labor. The grandpas were supposed to watch the older grandkids, but the men are stuck in negotiations for their new home, so the kids get dropped off at the beach house.

Unwilling to do something as frivolous as play in the sand, Grace sits the kids down at her computer, sets them up on a favorite website, and fixes herself a drink. She settles down across from them. They click and smile until their eyes glaze over. Grace's eyes begin to glaze a bit as well.

Frankie enters the kitchen in search of another nosh.

Grandkids (giggling) to Frankie: Do you have horns?

Grace (aghast): Kids!

Frankie's artistic confidence ignites as she describes Michaelangelo's Moses sculpture. She starts to explain how it led to the rumor that Jews have horns.

Meanwhile, Grace walks over to the kids and sees a "horny grandmas" pop-up ad on their screen, a result of her earlier research.

Grace (demanding with forced cheer): Kids, go find the sunscreen; we're heading out to the beach!

They excitedly scramble out of the kitchen. Frankie returns to her studio refreshed still talking to herself about art.

Grace unconsciously squirts hand sanitizer onto her palm, rubs hers hands, downs her drink, and follows the kids outside.

End scene.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

An Unofficial Sneak Peek at Season 3 of Netflix's Grace and Frankie

Season 3 sneak peak of Grace and Frankie
This is your warning, when I say I'm going to publish an unofficial sneak peek at next year's season of Grace and Frankie, what I mean is I'm making sh*t up about what's ahead on the show. No behind-the-scenes tours or special blogger privileges here.

You see, I nearly lost it during the final moments of the season finale when Grace (Jane Fonda) put her arm around Frankie (Lily Tomlin) and boldly declared they were going into business together:

We're making vibrators for women with arthritis!

The whole scene is destined to be a classic.

Grace and Frankie aspire to make a vibrator with an ergonomic grip that does its job with out too much pressure or stress on delicate body parts. And the device will be accompanied by instructions large type print.

The bottom line is that the two of them are starting a company that will make a physical product. And I work in a business incubator for people who aspire to make physical products (as opposed to software).

A few weeks ago I read Disrupted (affiliate link) by Dan Lyons. Dan was a lifelong journalist who'd worked his way up to be the technology editor at Newsweek. Then, like so many of his peers, he received the boot. At age 50, he had to start over. After all, it's not easy to find well-paying jobs in journalism these days. 

Dan landed at a software start-up, where he was nearly twice the age of his co-workers. Hijinks ensued and he wrote a book about. And now he writes for my favorite show, HBO's Silicon Valley.

Though I lack a traditional career path, I have a Master's degree and I'm good at pivoting, as they say in the start-up world. I've been a dolphin trainer, social worker, team development leader, marketing consultant, freelancer writer, and social media darling. And let's not forget I'm also mom to two teenage boys.

Aside from parenting and marriage, this blog, which I started in 2005, represents one of my life's most sustained commitments. But even when it comes to blogging, I've reinvented myself over the years leaving a sprinkling of websites in my wake. I'm currently most active on The Maker Mom and STEM Kids Chicago, but even those have slowed down since I started my gig at the incubator. However much I slowed down on this site, I could just never bring myself to cut the chord and hit delete.

Past careers aside, I felt a certain kinship as I read Dan's book. I began to think of myself as his female counterpart: a career-changing mom who's worked out of her home (and pajamas) for most of the last 20 years takes a part-time job in a scrappy start-up incubator in the Chicago. Hijinks ensue.

They have, believe me.

Unlike Dan, however, I'm loving the job and have no plans to write a tell-all book. That said, when Grace announced that she and Frankie had an idea for a product that they want to bring to market...BINGO! 

I know that story. I live that story every day. Or at least twice a week when I'm at the incubator. 

I am the female version of Dan Lyons! I can write the story of Grace and Frankie as they develop their product.

Bonus: I'm also a bit like Grace. I have arthritis, wear a brace on my right wrist (due to typing, not masturbation), and have trouble deciphering tiny print.

In short, I felt called to write a storyline for Season 3.

To be clear, actual, paid Hollywood types are already writing the Season 3 scripts. Or perhaps they've already done so. "TV producers love it when you send them scripts on spec. Why don't you do that?" my husband advised me the other day (but only because he was annoyed with me).

I don't plan to write actual scripts and send them to Marta Kaufman, Jane, or Lily. This blog space will do fine. I'm just going to outline Grace and Frankie's story arc as they develop their product. I was compelled to jot out my thoughts the other day. Compelled! 

Admittedly, writing fan fiction for a show about two elderly women whose ex-husbands ran off and got married to each other sounds, well, lame. But, hey, someone has forged this path already. And anyway, the show's main theme is something that has been key in my life: reinvention.

So stay tuned for a completely fictional sneak peak at Season 3 of Grace and Frankie!

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

A New Milestone

I remember walking into my New Mom's Group a bit frazzled, but triumphant, that my tiny infant and I had arrived on time! My celebration was short-lived. No one makes it to New Mom's Group on time. I'd misdirected my energy into meeting a false deadline. That might have been the last time I arrived anywhere on time.

Because we were, by default, early, I watched as the facilitator wrote out name tags for the group members.

Maddie's mom
Jason's mom
Max's mom

Ummm. "Don't we go by our first names?" I naively queried.

"No, you're Isaac's mom now," she replied.

"No, I'm still Kim," I thought, "but I do have an beautiful baby named Isaac. Do not strip me of my identity."

Ultimately I only remembered who was who in relation to their babies, so the name tags did make sense. And now that I'm a dog owner, it's the same thing at the dog park or in training classes. Yes, hi, I'm Tesla's mommy.

And let's me honest, kids do mess with your identity. How can living beings who reside in your house, eat your food, and make you drive them everywhere without paying a cent toward of rent or expenses not mess with your sense of self? Thank goodness they are cute and love you, and think you are the best person ever, at least for a few years.

During the preschool and early elementary years, I was tickled when kids who didn't know my last name would approach me as I volunteered in their classrooms, "Isaac's mom? Can you help me with this?" My heart would swell.

I thought those years were behind me. But just last week at work, I met a college-age intern that my son had worked on a project with. As the young man introduced himself to me, I realized who he was and then said, no doubt in an embarrassingly loud voice, "Oh my gosh! Hi! I'm Isaac's mom!"

He's developed a good reputation* for himself. If I stick around the Chicago tech scene, I feel like this is bound to happen again.

And again.

I'll try to keep my voice down in the future.

*He once so impressed his colleagues, that they mistakenly thought he must have amazing parents. There was some joking that maybe they should have me in to talk about parenting as part of their otherwise tech-focused speaker series. Maybe I had some tips to share? I nearly cried tears of joy, touched by the wonderful impression he was clearly making on his coworkers and that it was my doing, but mostly my husband and I had a good laugh over it.

Friday, May 20, 2016

This Made Me Sad

You know what cool businesses have in their restrooms? Tampons. Free tampons. And maybe pads, too.

I had a discussion on this very topic yesterday. I mentioned that at Cards Against Humanity HQ (yes, that Cards Against Humanity), they have a boxes of tampons in their gender-neutral bathrooms.

In fact, on a recent visit to CAH, before I left my meeting, I told my hosts I wanted to pop into one of the bathrooms to take a picture of the tampons. Because, you know, I'm cool like that. And so are they.

{Wait, I hear a certain teen's voice echoing in my head, "Mom, you're not using the term cool properly." I heard him say something similar a few months ago when we were hanging with the cousins and I suggested we all "Netflix and chill."}

Anyway, upon closer inspection there appear to be other feminine hygiene supplies instead of, or maybe in addition to, tampons. Either way it's a win for women.

Although let's be clear, it's a win in the same way that one might walk into any restroom and be like, "Yeah! This one has free toilet paper!"

If feminine hygiene supplies are unused there's no need to be squeamish about them, guys. And by guys, I do mean men. Boys, too. Male humans.

So anyway, related to my conversation yesterday, I was trying to find a personal essay I'd read on the topic. In my attempt find it, I'd guessed at a few keyword combos to Google. You know how Google serves up related keyword searches? Well, look at the list of related searches that came up when I Googled "Essay about not hiding tampons."

Eight alternate suggestions that are all about hiding tampons. Like it was opposite day for Google's* algorithms.


This made me sad. Not that I've ever whipped a tampon out of my purse and showed it off to everyone around me before heading to the restroom. But the fact that these are apparently oft-searched terms was a reminder of how shameful our society makes a natural, recurring biological act that affects roughly half of the human population.

And so I leave you with this decades-old essay from Gloria Steinem, If Men Could Menstruate.

*Despite what their algorithm might indicate, Google's Chicago office does provide free tampons in the women's restrooms.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

We hosted a Mother's Day brunch with my parents, in-laws, and 4/5 of my SIL's family today. We're horrible about taking pictures at such events. I wish we had snapped a few shots of our group. I gave the grandmas photos, but that's not the same.

I don't take it for granted how fortunate I am to have a wonderful mom and a great mother-in-law, to boot. It's nice that we can get both families together without any drama.

DH did most of the heavy lifting and one of my boys was especially helpful, so I just assisted with some of the food prep, which was nice. My Big Gift, was to head off to a coffee shop in the afternoon to develop a project I'm working on. I wasn't going to do client work or blog posts. I planned to make progress on a side project that's trying to develop.

I arrived at my preferred coffee shop at around 3:45. I saw that they'd only be open until 5:00, but figured that would get me to put my nose to the grindstone and work toward my goal without haste. After I walked in the door the barista told me they were closing early and would only be open another 15 minutes.

Sigh. I can't work that fast.

So I shuffled back to my car and headed to the more reliable neighborhood Starbucks. There was a long line (it's the Frappucino Happy Hour time of year), so I sat down with my computer, figuring I'd order after settling in. Only my computer started acting all wonky and I couldn't pick up the wifi. And all my work was in Google Docs.

This reminded me of the time a few weeks ago when I headed out for a quick dinner with Hubs and then planned to get myself a new pair of hiking shoes. I don't do hardcore hiking, but durable shoes with ankle support can come in handy when Tesla and I walk in the woods on the bridle trail instead of the paved bike path. At any rate, my current pair is three years old. They were purchased for our dream trip to Utah's National Parks back in 2013. (Thank you Google for making my memory look better than it is.) That dream trip was marred by the fact it happened to time out perfectly with Ted Cruz's government shut-down.

Anyhoodle, the Universe laughed at my plans to buy expensive shoes for myself so that I could walk my dog though mud and horse sh*t. (Yeah, this is the kind of shoe I "indulge" in.) Just as we'd finished dinner, we got a call that my younger teen might have broken his arm and my plans flew out the window.

(BTW, he indeed broke his wrist. He tripped over a tennis net. A surprisingly common cause for broken bones, the orthopaed assured me.)

So in two recent instances the Universe kind of sh*t on me and my selfish pursuits. I packed up my computer and headed back to my car only to find a fresh splotch of bird poop on my car. So there you have it.

I headed home and restarted the computer on our attached porch. It worked fine and didn't have any problems accessing our home network. I'm not sure what they deal was at Starbucks.

Because I hadn't entered the house proper, the dog was the only one who realized I was home. The dog asked to be let out on the porch (he's got a set of bells he rings to make his request). The porch has a doggie door that gives Tesla free access to the yard. But instead of going outside, he greeted me. He got up on his hind legs to give me Mother's Day kisses. He's usually not much of a licker.

His actions gave me an atypical look at the inner part of his front leg. His coat is dotted with black spots. But one of them looked odd. Maybe it stuck out like a sore or the color was off. Something about it caught my eye.

When I got a close look, I realized it was a tick. Tesla has never had a tick. We dutifully dispense a monthly dose of flea and tick medication (now in edible form after this happened). We walk in the woods often, but he's never attracted more than a couple of burrs.

A photo posted by Kim Moldofsky (@kimmoldofsky) on

After quickly calling all members of my family to report for duty, we assembled a rescue team. Younger son dispensed treats while Hubs held Tesla still and I used tweezers to pull that sucker off (while the older son was upstairs playing a computer game with headphones on).

The tick came right off. I'm not even sure if it had bitten Tesla. It was still alive and wriggling after we placed it in a plastic bag. (Is this normal?) It did not appear engorged. I'll call the vet this week to see if he wants me to bring it in.

In hindsight, my coffeehouse frustrations served a greater good. Who knows when we would have noticed the tick otherwise? But, gah, I feel like our wonderful walks in the woods just got a little less fun.

I hope you had a nice Mother's Day!

(Don't do a Google image search for "dog with ticks in ear." It's horrifying and you can't unsee it. We stumbled on this a year or two ago and it still haunts me. This seemed like a good time to warn you.)

(Let me know if you search it.)

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Chicago Culture Update

Now that my older son has finally chosen a school {choir of angels sings}, I can get back to my life. His decision, or indecision, really, had occupied a pretty large chunk of my mental space. Most people who asked me about future get-togethers were told to wait until May 1 for my response.

Now it's May 5 and I'm ready to roll. Here are a few events on my horizon. Note that I often receive media passes from the organizations below.

The Lyric Presents The King and I

The Kind and I is playing at the Lyric Opera House now through May 22. As you'll see below it looks like a grand feast for the eyes. I'm pleased to offer readers a discount on weekday performances from now through the end of its run.

“Whistle a Happy Tune” with HALF OFF tickets to Lyric Opera’s critically acclaimed production of The King and I! Use code “SIAMBLOG” for 50% off Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday performances. Offer is subject to availability and not valid on previously purchased tickets or in combination with any other offer. Please see lyricopera.org/promo for full offer details. Code expires 5/19/2016. For more information on The King and I visit www.lyricopera.org/kingandi.

The Joffrey Ballet Presents Cinderella

The Joffrey Ballet concludes it's 60th season with Sir Frederick Ashton's Cinderella accompanied by live music from the Chicago Philharmonic. Performances will be held at the Auditorium Theatre May 11-22 with select Saturday and Sunday matinees.

Chicago Sinfonietta Present Chromatic

Last year DH and I had our first exposure to The Chicago Sinfonietta. It's not your typical symphony experience. They push artistic boundaries by doing unexpected things and taking risks, like bringing tap dancers and flamenco dancers to perform alongside the musicians. Their talented musicians make lovely music, and the atmosphere is still formal, but a less stuffy than one might find at a typical performance. They also play out their commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as racial and cultural equity in the arts.

You'll get a feel for what I'm taking about when you see the line-up for their 2016-17 season, Chromatic. Concertgoers can look forward to a unique Día de los Muertos concert featuring silent films provided by Chicago Film Archives, and the Sinfonietta will hold a first-ever program dedicated to LGBTQ composers and musicians as part of their new series.

Look for Chicago Sinfonietta at Ravina on Thursday, June 16 at 8 PM where they will perform in conjunction with a dance troupe, the Highland Park High School Marching Band and the Waubonsie Valley High School Mosaic Choir.

They will play at Cantigny Park on Thursday, August 4 at 7:30 PM.

See full details of their upcoming season here.