Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One time, EM and I fought a bear.

I started writing this one post about Halloween costumes yesterday and then 1/3 of the way through it I realized it was remarkably whiny and obnoxious because I basically just listed all of the things that bug me about slutty lady costumes. Also, I realized I didn't want to offend anyone and I don't know if anyone who reads this crappy blog likes slutty lady costumes or likes slutty ladies or maybe is a slutty lady, because hey, I'm not here to judge.

Instead, I'm going to tell you guys the story about the time that EM and I went up against a bear and lived to tell the tale.

Most of my family vacations involved camping. My father, an outdoorsman of Bear Grylls caliber, believed that it was important for EM and I to learn important life skills in the event of some kind of natural disaster, so that we could retreat to the woods where the zombies would be less numerous (all of my natural disaster scenarios involve zombies) and carve out a living by purifying our own water, making adequate shelter, hacking at various shrubberies with a machete, and being prepared for absolutely every single thing that could happen. Rain? Snow? Hunger? Headache? Blister? Loss of appetite? Dirty fingernails? Dehydration? Getting lost? We've got it covered. Survivalism flows through my veins, along with Guinness and whiskey and cholesterol.

One of our favorite places to camp was (and still is, I suppose) Sequoia National Park. It's a wonderful and beautiful place with lots of geriatric trees and streams and meadows with frolicking deers and not that many bugs and is a lot less crowded than Yosemite - crowded, also, with bears.

When you first arrive at the park, you'll see plenty of signs posted about bears breaking into cars and that you should properly store your food in the provided "bear boxes" - huge steel things with chains and locks that black bears cannot break into, unless they took some kind of lock-picking course (which would probably be pretty helpful for any kind of person, not just bears, now that I think about it). Some people don't obey, though, and every year there are numerous break-ins and shattered window glass from the cars of people who think sticking their Snickers under the seat will be good enough. This results in the bears associating cars and people with food, and makes them naturally curious about vehicles.On this particular trip, my parents had set up their tent next to the smaller one that EM and I used, probably 4 or 5 yards away from our car. We had followed the campground (and my father's) rules to the letter - all food and dish washing/scented items stowed safely in the bear box, nothing food-like or scented or potentially delicious-looking anywhere around the car, or in our tents - not even cherry chapstick or toothpaste. We were vigilant, because you do not ef with bears.

EM and I zipped up our tent but for a small opening at the top of the tent flap for ventilation, wriggled into our sleeping bags and listened to the sounds of the forest. Crickets, owls, other gross bug-things, the stream by our campsite, weird sniffing noises...

Wait. Sniffing noises?

"EM," I whispered. "What's that noise? Do you hear that?!"

EM's eyes grew wide. "Look outside and see what it is!"

"You look outside!"

We crept to the zippered door of our tent and peeked out of the ventilation hole. Sure enough, standing on his hind legs and peering in the rear window of our car, was a large black bear. He sniffed around the window, then dropped to all fours to amble around our campsite, all less than 6 yards from the non-safety of our flimsy tent.

"DAD!" EM hissed. "DAD! Mom!"

My father grunted in reply.

"Dad!" I whispered frantically, thinking that death was just lurking around and we would all perish from some bizarre bear rampage any second now. "Dad! There is a bear outside!"

EM and I huddled together.

"What?" we finally heard my father say. He chuckled.

"He doesn't believe us!" EM said to me.

"Dad, seriously, there is a huge bear outside and we are all going to die unless you go scare it away!" I hissed.

My father grunted again, half-asleep. "A bear? Hm. Give it my regards," and he rolled over and went back to sleep. My mother said something about making noise to scare it away, and then the only noises we heard from their tent were the steady snore of my exhausted dad.

EM looked at me, panicked. "'Give it my regards!?' I don't want to make loud noises! What if it comes over here to investigate?!"

She had a point. I imagined that if I were a bear, I would be disconcerted and curious about a mysterious blue triangle tent emitting shouts and shrieks. I would haul my bear-ass over and maul it, just because I was a bear. Just because I could.We peeked out of the tent. It was still lumbering around, this time closer to us. Sniffing around our fire pit.

Quietly, cautiously, hesitantly and tentatively, EM stuck her face up against the ventilation hole and whispered:

"Boogie boogie, bear!"

Nothing happened. EM looked at me, pleadingly. I moved closer to our tent flap.

"Hey Yogi!" I said, slightly louder. "I think you should go find Boo Boo and leave us alone!"

EM leaned in close and repeated, "Boogie boogie, bear!"

We both looked out towards where the bear had been. He was gone. EM and I crawled back in our sleeping bags, satisfied that our ferocious caterwauling had frightened away one of nature's apex predators. All until, as we were drifting off to sleep, EM yawned and said, "But what if it comes back when we're sleeping?"

Neither one of us slept a wink that night.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

French Godzilla Vous Tuera!

I have a hard time telling stories sometimes because I get anxiety about "cutting to the chase." You might think that's weird, but I lay a lot of the blame at the feet of minor ADD. My conversations, text messages, email exchanges and the like often take rather bizarre twists and turns and it's hard for me to deliver the punchline without the context of what built up to it. Sort of like...

"I was talking to my Friend With Great Hair the other day and we decided that she should have an Angry Vagina Party. I suggested stapling bread to a shirt and going as a yeast infection," I would say.

"Uh. Angry Vagina Party? TAB, are you on medication?"

So now I have to go back and EXPLAIN that the reason for wanting to throw an Angry Vagina Party is because Friend With Great Hair wrote a short play about a woman whose vagina has a separate personality and divulges all of the protagonist's sexual secrets. It's quite hilarious and will probably win a Tony when they make it into a musical. You see the genesis of wearing a bread-blouse to a party, right? Good. Also, I'm not on medication, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, I had to tell you that story to explain the birth of French Godzilla. Yesterday, I was in the midst of a text conversation with someone, and the conversation turned to the French. I get the feeling he's a bit anti-French, but I tend to love them for their snottiness and artistic flair and for giving me crepes and lingerie and cafe au lait and la tour Eiffel avec toutes les belles lumières! Although, I said to him, I can do without the surrendering and the existentialism. J.P. Sartre, you really chap my ass. He added, "...and the nuclear testing."


Regardless of the fact that France only has like 200-something atmospheric and underground nuclear tests and the US has racked up well over 1,000, I agreed with him. Helloooo, French people, have you BEEN to French Polynesia? What is *wrong* with you that you want to perform underwater tests RIGHT THERE in paradise? Ohh la la, mon dieu. Quel dommage!

But in a jovial sort of manner, I told him it would only be a few years before French Polynesian Godzilla emerged, so it couldn't be all that bad anyway... mainly because I'm going to tame that mofo, saddle him up and ride off into the sunset. Probably to set up on some French Polynesian island where I will then rule as Queen TAB, sci-fi cowgirl and ruler of sea mutants. French Godzilla will enforce the laws of my land and bring me crepes and wine.

I told MEH about my plan and he was on board, too. You guys are totally invited.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Friendly Letter to UPS.

Dear UPS,

Hi. Let me start off by saying that I am a frequent patron (the customer type, not the tequila, which is delicious but not applicable here unless you count drinking out of frustration. Actually, I do that, so maybe this is all related for a reason...) of your services and seldom have customer service problems. Well, that was true until this week when you allegedly "lost" one of my "parcels" and were rather unhelpful on the phone when I called to track it down, leading me to believe that UPS drivers plan their truck routes skirting the precipices of black holes, and occasionally the odd package will leap from the truck and be sucked in and lost forever in a region of deformed spacetime.

It is fortunate for you, then, that my parcel did not contain anything like a kidney, which, though sort of replaceable, is quite hard to come by and rather expensive on the black market. (Or so I hear, ha ha!) And rest assured, I was not shipping any sort of drugs that I would now owe the outrageous sum total of to some unscrupulous mob or mafia or drug dealer who would surely want to break several of my bones probably starting with my thumbs, because opposable thumbs are just so damn useful, aren't they? I'm actually using them this very moment to type all of the spaces between these words!

So, while my package might not have been time sensitive and important enough that the fate of the free world rested upon the sole responsibility of you to deliver said package to the provided address per your end of the transaction, I must now explain the disappearance of this package to some particularly cranky clients, to whom "I don't have any additional information," is not an acceptable response. I have taken it upon myself to offer you a little nudge in this direction and have provided you with some acceptable explanations that I might offer to these clients, if you should so agree. Feel free to pick as many as you like!

- "We lost your package because the driver who picked it up does not actually work for us. In fact, he's not even alive. He is a ghost who absconded your items and has carried them to Purgatory - the same place that your unmatched socks disappear to from within your dryer. You should have paid more attention to his uniform patch because it reads GhostPS, not UPS, and we're not affiliated with them."

- "We lost your package because we lost the whole truck and driver. Authorities have been called out to examine if there is some sort of Bermuda Triangle phenomenon going on in the Los Angeles area. We suspect the truck is now in a parallel universe, along with Courteous Driving and Culture, which have also been missing from Los Angeles for some time."

- "We lost your package because our driver encountered a shitstorm of raptors on his way to your destination. We believe the raptors took your parcel, as well."

- "UPS actually stands for Unemployed Pregnant Strippers - a temp agency aimed at finding ex-stripping, soon-to-be mothers gainful employment. We have nothing to do with the United Parcel Service."

- "We lost your package because we were playing hide and seek with it but had to go inside when Mom called us for dinner and then forgot where it was hiding."

You see that any of these explanations would be acceptable, so long as your customer service representative does not keep repeating to me that she does not know what happened and that she cannot help me. If you can't assist me further in this matter, I'm afraid I'll have to take my business to DHL, because someone told me that their acronym stands for Damn Helpful Lads and is a far cry from your Unhelpful Package Stealing nonsense. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Shitstorm of Velociraptors.

Me: (referring to one of EM's more difficult clients) My raptor herd will take her out. Is it a 'herd' of raptors?

EM: Yeah, don't make me get my shitstorm!

Me: Is that the proper name?

EM: What?

Me: You know, a pod of whales, a herd of chupacabras, a pack of wolves, a murder of crows... a shitstorm of velociraptors? Man... can you imagine that script rewrite on Jurassic Park? Dr. Grant is talking to that little kid in the beginning and is like, "...and that's when the attack happens. Not from the front, but from the sides - whoosh! From the shitstorm of raptors you didn't even know were there!" ::KID'S EXPRESSION IS LIKE OMG NO EFFING WAY:: The point is you are alive when they start to eat you. The shitstorm, that is."

EM: Ha ha, I like that.

Me: Me too. I should probably be a screenwriter.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let's think about Halloween costumes.

First of all, Halloween at my beloved college was absolutely insane. It was a week long celebration of hedonism unlike anything I had ever experienced before. My friends and roommates would go all out - dressing to the nines in at least three different costumes every year. That's a LOT of Halloween costumes to accumulate.

Yes, that is Halloween in Santa Barbara. I found that picture here. Can you imagine a week of that? Jeez.

So now you understand partly why I feel this need to have over-the-top costumes every year. It's totally habitual, mostly. Ha ha, what do you mean 'that's ridiculous'?! IT'S EFFING HALLOWEEN, YOU ASSHOLE. (Sorry. I'm switching to decaf soon to prevent those kinds of outbursts. [I'm not really switching to decaf, do you think I'm freaking crazy or something?!])

Anyway, I tend to have a problem with female costumes, because almost everything is "sexy" something. My group of guy friends would joke whenever us ladies would talk about costumes, like:

Me: I'm going to be a decapitated Marie Antoinette for Halloween this year!

Da Boys: But like, a "sexy" decapitated Marie Antoinette?

Billie: I'm going to be Betty Rubble for Halloween this year!

Da Boys: But like, a "sexy" Betty Rubble?

You get the idea. This year, Billie and I were talking about costumes again. We both were adamant in our refusal to go out and buy all kinds of new pieces and decided to reuse things from our costume drawers, putting together some kind of Frankensteined new costume from old costume bits. Brilliant, I know.

"I have another costume idea," Billie said to me. "But it's kind of scandalous."

"What is it?" I asked.

"I have this turquoise corset and ruffled panties, and then a bunch of accessories!" she said.

"So... what would you be, besides almost naked?"

"That'd be it! But with no pretense of being a "sexy" anything else!" Billie exclaimed.

"Oh, so you'd be GOING as a stripper. That would actually be pretty hilarious. Then, when people asked you what you were supposed to be, you could say 'every girl on Halloween!' Or you could carry a garden hoe and just go as a Skank Hoe," I said, marveling at Billie's genius.

"Exactly," she agreed.

While her idea definitely has merit, I think I'll stick to my gory, horrifying corpse costumes. Any excuse to run amok covered in blood, really.

Oh, but don't worry, it'll probably be like, a "sexy" corpse costume.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some things I found out.

This weekend I was talking to my mom and found out that she birthed both EM and myself without an epidural. I did not know this until now, but it doesn't surprise me. I learn things about my mother all the time that shock and impress me. She's probably climbed Everest and just hasn't brought it up in conversation. Reason #943 why she is the toughest woman alive.

This week I was talking to a coworker who told me when he was roughly my age, he had a sugar daddy who bought him a Ferrari. I told him the most expensive gift a man has ever given me was a sweatshirt. I don't know if he still has the Ferrari, but I still have my sweatshirt. It's still my favorite.

Irish Breakfast tea is better with milk in it. Just go with me on this one.

My short story that was supposed to be done forever ago has officially reached novella length. This means I have to write another short story for my writing group, because this one is too long to discuss. Being a writer is hard when you have too many stories to tell.

I actually like sending mail more than receiving it.

I really, really like Willie Nelson.

I also really like hidden pockets, chapstick, and cloudy days.

I have no patience for reality television and tabloids. I probably shouldn't care, but they frustrate me really easily... definitely more than they should.

I don't travel enough.

I talk too much, and don't write enough.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Autumn in California

I hate summer. It's hot, I don't get a vacation like I used to in school, everyone wants to do things outside which means my deathly pale skin will inevitably suffer from one or multiple sunburns and so I have to keep a stock of calamine lotion and aloe vera goo in my fridge which limits the shelf space of things that are more important to me, such as mayonnaise and ranch dressing. Also, you all may be thinking something like, "Shut up, you spoiled brat, you live in California - the land of perpetual sunshine and fish tacos and you've never had to shovel snow in your life or buy any kind of 'winter coat' beyond that huge puffy down thing that your dad keeps in storage for when you go camping Yosemite and Sequoia."

This is true, but let me just say that for a California girl, it is not at all like the Katy Perry song.

I don't wear bikini tops with cut off shorts, and why would you want to hang around someone who would melt your popsicle? That would just bother me. Get away from me, leave me and my popsicle in peace. Rather, when it gets up to 113 degrees here (I live in the hot part of L.A., just above the Gateway to Hell) you will find me lying supine on my floor in front of my mediocre wall-unit air conditioner in my Batman underwear, trying to imbibe my Slurpee as fast as humanly possible before it melts into that weird, flat soda-like liquid.

So, I complain a lot. But then something happens - it becomes less hot. It's technically called "fall" or "autumn" here, but it pretty much just means that mixed in with the 80 and 90 degree days, there will be some lovely 70 (60 if you're lucky) degree days with maybe some clouds and the occasional heavy mist (we'll call it "rain" here, but the rest of you will probably call it "fog") and I can go to Starbucks and get abnormal amounts of pumpkin spice lattes and I'll spend my afternoons texting my fellow Halloween-obsessed friends about costume ideas and trips to pumpkin patches. It's Fall-O-Ween on steroids out here, because with no beautiful leaves turning and no crisp, cool, autumn breezes that would allow us to wear those cute pea coats we bought specifically for that trip to New York and have started collecting dust in our closets, we Californians have to grasp at the wisps of fall and force it to descend upon us. Many of us will draw our curtains against the still-too-warm 85 and sunny weather, put "Nightmare Before Christmas" on loop and continuously stare at our desktop backgrounds of beautiful red and orange leaves - a photo that was taken somewhere else in the world that has more than "hot" and "less hot" seasons.

When I lived in Northern California, we had fall. We also had trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. I usually wanted to be some variation of a ballerinafairyprincess, because as long as there was a lot of pink tulle and sparkly fairy wings and a tiara, I could be really, truly happy. This year, EM and I have to keep our Halloween Candy Bowl in the fridge because it's still hot enough to melt our Kit Kats and Twix. It doesn't matter, though. I have declared it Fall-O-Ween in The Average Broad Household, and I will celebrate it in some way absolutely every day, until Christmastime.