Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I'm back from the Jellyfish Peace Corps, or something.


Here we are.


::tumbleweed rolling by::

::shuffles feet::

Listen, I'm not really great with confrontation (unless it's some kind of food confronting my face) and I don't really have much to say about the last couple--er--few months that I've neglected you, Blog, so  let's just pretend I was away doing some kind of amazing charity work, like picking up plastic grocery bags adrift in the ocean so that jellyfish wouldn't confusedly attempt to mate with them. Assuming jellyfish do not asexually reproduce... and, I mean, even if they do, it's probably good to keep them away from plastic bags so that they don't swim up all tryin' to engage in conversation and then just have to float there awkwardly while they're waiting for the plastic bag to respond, because I've been in stores  without my glasses on and have apologized to mannequins for bumping into them and I'm pretty sure no other silences are as uncomfortable as when you realize you're talking to inanimate objects.

You're welcome, jellyfish.

There are things going on in my life, but that's true for everyone I know, so I don't think I need to bother with the big things.  It's always the small things that matter.  Or, the devil's in the details, they say.  So:  here are some small things.

*This week, I finished reading The Dante Club and The Hound of the Baskervilles.  I have greedily started The Hobbit and The Book Thief simultaneously.  If literary gluttony is a sin, I imagine I'll be in the lowest circle of that particular hell, and my contrapasso will be to only have junk mail and various sports statistics to read.

*I had an opportunity to goad my friends, family and loved ones into recommending one of my short stories for an Edgar nomination.  Unfortunately, any kind of accolade rooted in nepotism would make me feel worse than not getting nominated at all.  This is why I failed in Los Angeles.

*I have learned some Arabic words.  Perhaps I'll try to learn the language.

*I probably have more to say, but EM is making steak fajitas and I'm bringing the booze.  If that's not good enough, just pretend I'm going back out to pull plastic grocery bags from the ocean and soothingly pet the awkward, wayward jellyfish.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I think I need a better book to read.

Hi, blog.  I missed you.  I did... really.  Things get weird in my brain when I don't write.  Well... weirder.

June is already winding down and I haven't been inspired to write in months.  I'm actually faking it right now to try and trick myself back into the habit.  It's not really working.  I'm just too clever.

Today, inexplicably, I really miss California.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I can't be the only one who worries about this.

Me:  Do you ever feel like our world is going to be swallowed by spam and junk mail and automated phone system telemarketers?  I've been worried about that lately.  Like one day, I'm just gonna wake up and call my mom to chat or something, but her voice will be all weird and stilted and all, "Press 1 if you're calling about a recipe.  Press 2 if you're calling to vent.  Press 3 for advice," and I'll end up cracking and going off the grid.

Friend:  Uh?  No.  Can't say that I'm really worried about it.  Are you... are you on meds or something?

Me:  No... it just concerns me.  I mean, I'm not really worried about robot overlords taking over the planet or aliens or even zombies, but I feel like I'm developing an increasingly intense fear that one day, it's all gonna be commercials and junk mail and spam emails with nauseating grammar and spelling errors.

Friend:  Spam emails nauseate you?

Me:  Oh God, yes.  Don't they do that to everyone?  You know what?  That actually might be at the root of my paralyzing anxiety:  the degradation of the English language at the hands of marketers, spammers, and advertisers.

Friend:  Sometimes I worry that you have a type of psychological hypochondria and you just start diagnosing neuroses and it all feeds your anxiety like some kind of catch-22.  I mean, are you really worried about spam taking over the world?!

Me:  Of course I am.  What I can't believe is that you're not worried about it.  You're probably on the right track with "psychological hypochondria," though.  But more importantly, at least I'm on the path to mental preparedness, (should such an event ever happen) because of this psychological hypochondria.

Friend:  It is amazing how far you can go on your paranoia alone.

Me:  Probably a side effect of my disease.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tech Writing Qualifications

With the end of my internship, I've been nervously looking around for someone to hire me.  Unfortunately, most of my writing experience is in the editorial realm, and I live in an area where business and tech writing abounds.  In order to better compete with my competitive competitors in this particular competition for jobs, what follows is a very technical piece that I've been working on.  You guys are under no obligation to read it, since the technicality of the technicalness will probably be over your heads, and I don't want to be responsible for any of you having some kind of brain aneurysm from having to think too hard.  I'm a professional, after all.

Advanced Guide for Using an Internet

1.  First, locate your computer.  Double check to make sure that your computer has at least one cord coming out of it somewhere, otherwise you'll want to make sure you're not trying to log onto a cardboard box.  This is a common mistake.

2.  Is your cardboard box computer plugged in?  That means the cord should be stuck to the wall somewhere.  A good way to check is by tripping over that cord we discussed in Step 1.

3.  There is probably some kind of big button that is used for turning on your computer.  It's usually farther away from the other buttons, sort of like it's in a time out or something.  Go ahead and push it.  This is where the magic begins!

4.  You may have any number of Internet icons on your desktop.  Remember, an "icon" is a little picture that represents a computer "program" and your "desktop" is that background picture of the Cheezburger cat.

5.  Ha ha ha, yeah, that cat is pretty effing hilarious.  

6.  Okay, so back to the icons.  If your Internet icon is a little blue 'e,' that means you're using Internet Explorer, and your Internet will not actually work.  If you are in this category of computer users, you may go back to looking at the Cheezburger cat picture on your desktop and wait.

7.  If you are using Safari or perhaps Firefox, you are most likely some kind of computer wizard who understands things like string theory and how to make toast.  Well done!  Let's not get ahead of ourselves yet, though.

8.  You may now click twice on your Internet icon.  This step is called "double clicking" and it is an important skill to master. 

9.  When your Internet opens, you may start looking at websites or "surfing."  To find a particular website, find the long, blank bar near the top of the screen and type in

10.  Using Google is as important to web surfing as marijuana is to couch surfing.  With Google, you can search for everything in the universe, like "nearest Taco Bell" and "what is a tapeworm" and "cyborg pornography" and "show me more Cheezburger cats!" and "how much do new livers cost and can I remove my own?"

Thank you for taking this journey with me.  By now you should be well-versed in what computers are, how to "double click" on an "icon," and how to accurately and effectively use an Internet.  Congratulations on this accomplishment, savvy technology user!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Battle of the Sexy Sexes! (In which we all just look like chumps.)

I've been reading "Bossypants" by Tina Fey (I love her more than chili cheese fries) and there are a few sections in her book about what women go through to "be pretty" and the cycle of insecurity that it perpetuates.  I nearly peed in my pants when I read the first part because it's so funny, and so I went down to EM and EM's fiance's apartment to share in the hilarity, and what ensued was a rather unexpectedly heated discussion about who had it worse, men or women.  Since then, I've done a lot of thinking about the subject, and the conclusion that I came to is that we all lose.  Join me on this journey to discovery, won't you?

At first, I was pretty sure women had it worse than men.  As a female, I consider myself to be mostly low maintenance (don't all girls, though?) but there was a period of my life when I liked to spend my time getting dolled up.  Cleverly, much of this time was in college, so I figure when I die and get to the Pearly Gates, St. Peter is gonna be flipping through the book of my life and get to my college years and hopefully not see all of the shady, unpleasant things that I did while intoxicated because it's one big montage of hair curling and lip lining, and he'll just be all, "Yeah, you spent a LOT of time just getting ready to go out, so I guess I'll just skip forward here..." Because I did.  Hours.  Added up, probably at least 3 times more than the time that I was actually out.  But damn, I looked good doing it!  (For the time that I was sober, so after that first 15 minutes it was all drool and drunk eyes.)  Even now, as a low maintenance gal (that is my story and I'm sticking to it), I still have entire days devoted to grooming.  Seriously.  I'm going to give you a look behind the veil of what the average woman goes through.

We have days that we have to pre-groom.  These are days we need to:  dye our roots and/or hair, pluck or wax eyebrows, shave the entirety of our bodies, exfoliate, moisturize, deep condition, anti-age, buff, polish, trim, etc.  Hell, there are several steps to just WASHING your face if you're a girl.  It's never just soap. It's a cleanser, then a gentle exfoliation, then a facial mask, then toner and moisturizer.  Oh, the moisturizer.  It is most likely something freakishly expensive, like ground up baby fetuses that we slather over our skin to hide wrinkles and blemishes and everything else that shows we are human and we are imperfect and might have wrinkles or oily T-zones.  And that's just pre-grooming, you guys.  That does not include what we still have to go through on a daily basis to style hair, apply makeup, and accessorize our outfits with squish-suppressing underwear usually made of the torture devices known as Lycra and Spandex.

I'm made of Photoshop!
My point is, it is exhausting.  And even then, after everything that we go through, after all of the money that we spend, absolutely none of us thinks we look good naked.  There are industries upon industries that market to our insecurities.  I'm not even getting into plastic surgery here.  If you ask the average girl what she likes about herself, she might not know how to respond.  But, if you ask her what she dislikes about herself, she's got a list a mile long.

Now, I can hear you men yelling at me.  "But I like a natural looking woman!  I hate a woman who takes forever to get ready and wears tons of makeup!  I think that's awful!"  First of all, shut up, you dirty, dirty liar.  You cannot honestly expect us women to believe you like women to look "natural," when "natural" to you is Megan Fox rolling around all dewy and fresh-faced in sheets in some Maxim spread.  If you really believe that's what women look like in the morning, you are probably wearing a helmet and eating paste.  Trust me.  EM is a professional makeup artist, and it takes more makeup to look "natural" than if some stripper came in asking for a smokey eyeshadow application and body glitter all over.  Natural, to women, means greasy hair in a ponytail, no makeup (but somehow always smudges of yesterday's eyeliner), weird pimple cream on our zits, baggy tee-shirts, and some kind of soft, flannel, pajama pants.  We love natural, too, you see.  We just don't want you to see it.  I even know girls who, if staying with their boyfriend overnight, will get up early, run into the bathroom to brush their teeth and put a "natural" face on (powder, mascara, lip balm) and rush back into bed so that they can pretend that they're waking up looking that good when their man wakes up.

Not that I am maligning the beauty industry, because I play along just as much as everyone else.  I don't want to leave my house without makeup on.  I don't want to be seen with my hair or my clothes other than put-together, but I accept that much of it is about illusion.  Do I really believe that some dreamboat is going to look at me and think, "Yeah, I bet she rolls out of bed looking like that every day!  I BETTER PUT A RING ON IT!"?  No, because that's unrealistic.  It will not, however, stop me from wanting to at least have a face on if I have to run errands somewhere.

So yes, being a girl is tough.  But EM's fiance reminded me that there are industries that market to men's insecurities, too, and while they may not be the same things as women, it's still based on being "good enough."  Men are supposed to have abdominal muscles and pectoral muscles and biceps that people only get by drinking raw eggs and doing sit ups until you herniate something in your spine, and while you're at it, fight genetics with pills like Enzyte to make your junk bigger and longer lasting with Viagra and Cialis, and then smear some Rogaine on your head (because women hate balding men, didn't you know?) and hop into a car that you can't actually afford to make payments on, and then, ONLY THEN, will we with vaginas give you the time of day.  If we aren't PMSing, and if we want you to buy us something, that is.  All in all, I feel bad for guys.  I do.  Women might have more things to worry about in terms of body image, but I can at least pass for attractive without having to convince myself that I need a Mercedes to attract a mate.  (Which, if you think that, I would assume are the same helmet-wearing, paste-eating person that believes porn and romcoms dictate romance.  NO!  NO!  ::spray bottle:: NO!)

My conclusion is that it's all a fucking shitshow.  A circus.  "Enhancing" your appearance to look more attractive isn't a new idea, and it's not one that will go away.  It isn't even exclusively human.  The important thing is knowing where to draw the line, I guess.  To that end, no gender really comes out on top.  No one really has it harder than the other (haha, 'harder') because it's difficult in different ways.  So, don't judge a book by its cover, don't think you're any worse off than anyone else, and if you meet anyone who thinks they'll find the love of their life just as soon as they get that boob job or that fancypants car, bitch slap them once for me.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm practicing the Twitter.

One of my friends is trying to convince me to start a Twitter because she keeps taking my conversational gold nuggets and passing them off as her tweets and she's getting a lot of attention for being clever and witty and I'm only okay with this because she hasn't made any money off of me yet.  So, I've been thinking about starting a Twitter where I will obviously become famous and get lots of monies, and in preparation, I spent my evening practice-tweeting in my head.  Here's what I came up with:

I was in the elevator on my way home today and there were exactly three people and two dogs when I stepped in.  I spent the whole ride playing with the dogs and talking to them about what good dogs they were.  Did not actually say anything to the people.  #thatsnormalright

Watched the entire Sarah Mclaughlin (not Googling how to spell her name) ASPCA commercial and my heart broke with a squish and all this cholesterol leaked out everywhere.  #maybehavesomeoatmeal

I'm considering being a sexy web chat girl because they get paid to sit around in their underwear and just *do* stuff in front of their webcams. That's like a Wednesday night around here, but with a lot more nachos and only a few stains on my wifebeater.

I can't go to my high school reunion until I learn something worthwhile.  You know, other than "booze is great" and "having boobs is awesome."

Everywhere I live, it's like I'm being haunted by landscaping noise at 7 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

Did anyone else freak the fuck out the first time they figured out how to chat online?  Oh, AOL.

I want lickable wall paper in my house and I want it to taste like lasagna.

Dead people I would have loved to party with:  Lux Interior, Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson, Oscar Wilde, Vonnegut, maybe Jesus. (If there's room in the car.)

Sometimes I drink by myself because I feel like with everything I'm doing wrong as a writer, I can at least do one thing right.  And then I feel accomplished drunk! #drinkyourwaytosuccess

One time, I heard this girl say that the sweetest words a man could say were "I'll buy it for you." I'm pretty sure the sweetest words are actually "Let's watch Army of Darkness and make out."

True story:  I silenced an entire room for making a poorly-timed joke about stapling bread to my shirt and going to a costume party as a yeast infection.  #ladylikedefined

Pets I still want that I'm not allowed to have:  a velociraptor, a great white shark, an octopus, a killer whale, a baby pygmy hippo (but just as a baby), a wolf, Predator, and a ghost.

Everyone contributes something to the world.  I think my gift to the world is to give advice that no one asks for.  You're welcome.

(I feel like I would be rejected from Twitter.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I need to find my panic button so I can turn it off.

Me:  The end of my internship is coming up.  I'm filled with an unbelievable anxiety about the exit interview, so I started making a list of good things and bad things about my internship.

Friend:  That's not a bad idea.  Let's hear 'em.

Me:  Bad thing #1:  I got paid $100 for 6 months of work, which is less than children stitching soccer balls in some sweaty Nike hangout.

Friend:  Might not want to lead with that.  What else?

Me:  Bad thing #2:  This office has awful porn shui.  Our computers are RIGHT THERE FOR ALL TO SEE!  And I'm not talking about like sex porn, but, you know, if I want to be looking at food blogs or something, I'm afraid they're gonna catch me when I should be fact checking.

Friend:  Maybe you shouldn't be so honest during your exit interview...

Me:  Good thing #1:  I like the work, most of the time.  Unless I have to fact check with politicians, or rich people.  Good thing #2:  There is usually free food somewhere in the office every couple weeks.  Hence, I am not starving.

Friend:  You can't starve, you eat more than anyone I know.  I don't know where you put it.

Me:  Thank you.  Unlike Shakira, my hips DO lie.  They are secretly hollow, and that is where I keep my food stores.

Friend: ...

Me:  I feel like I should do something great at the end.  Like, make cookies for everyone.  Or bring in fireworks or something.  OR... I could come in to work in a beard!

Friend: Um...?

Me:  When I left my last job, EM was trying to convince me to wear this beard she had left over from a production that she worked on.  I didn't end up doing it because when I tried it on, it was really uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable how GOOD I looked!  OHH!!!  No, but seriously, it itched a lot.  That's how I rate men with beards, too, you know.  Based on whether or not I would let the beard in question touch me.  Homeless man beard?  No.  Santa beard?  Only if I am getting presents.  Hot guy scruffy beard?  Yes.

Friend:  Honestly, I am not even listening to you anymore.  You stopped making sense like, five minutes ago.  But don't talk about beards during your exit interview.  Maybe talk about what you're going to do with your life, now that you're no longer an intern.

Me:  I'm... I'm supposed to know that?!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

But other than these things, men are still a mysterious conundrum of enigmas to me.

Okay, so the other day I was talking about this particular blog with all of my super-excellent dating suggestions and my friend threw it back in my face like, "What the heck do you know about dating, perpetually single girl?"

And I was all, "Hey man, I know at least 3 things for sure about dating," and that led me to generate this spectacular list that I'm pretty much giving you guys for FREE because I want you all to learn from my mistakes, which I make on a routinely regular basis (so obviously I'm not learning from them myself, which is why you guys have to, you feel me?)!

Things I Know About Dating (Alternatively: Lessons I've *Almost* Learned)

1. It sucks. Maybe it doesn't for everyone, but dude? I am so tired of having the same conversations over and over. "Grew up in California. Love cheeseburgers, burritos and beer. Have seen almost every zombie movie ever made and yes, they are an art form. Hate Kristen Stewart and romcoms. Love Vonnegut, Moore, and comic books. UGH I AM ALREADY BORED. But! I have also learned that if you try to mix things up like, "If James Bond had Jedi powers and existed as a foil to Indiana Jones, would Indiana Jones still save the world?" people look at you weird because they think you're on drugs or don't really appreciate the intricacies of the places that ADD will take your imagination. So, you have to stick with the boring stuff, which always feels like a job interview, and you know what? I don't want to go to job interviews when I could be eating boxes of Girl Scout cookies in pajamas with EM or sitting pantsless in my apartment playing video games.

2. The job of dating is to judge the other person, which means you should tell half-truths, or keep your weirdness to yourself.  Okay, hear me out on this one:  recently, I went out with a nice-ish fella who was somewhat interested in the fact that I was a writer, so I enthusiastically told him that I'm having a short story published in a horror anthology. "Oh," he says, interest waning. "Horror? What's it about?" and I said, "It's about a girl who kills and eats her boyfriend." I do see how that could be a red flag, but I explained that it wasn't to be taken literally and that it was more of a metaphor for some of the types of people that I met when I lived in LA and how our culture seems to condone disposable relationships with flippant consequences... but the damage was done. In his eyes, I was already a cannibal. So! Perhaps I should have stopped while I was ahead and changed the subject, but I only really have the miraculous gift of hindsight. The point here is that every single person is weird in some way, but you're not supposed to talk about it until after you get in the other person's pants. Or until the other person understands your sense of humor. Whichever comes first, right? It's just that personally, my goal here is to find someone whose oddities are on par with my own because I'm really bad at half-truths, but I'm sure if I was more coy or mysterious, I would just be covered up with dreamboats.

3. Just try to take care of yourself. I still have no idea how women are supposed to behave. I just cannot keep up with the news, you guys. Am I supposed to let a guy pay for me? Am I supposed to offer? Does that offend his sense of masculinity? Should I be offended if he asks to go dutch? If he doesn't offer to pay and I'm left with the check, should I hate him immediately for not being a gentleman? Am I supposed to demand the check because I am a strong, independent woman and I don't need no man to pay mah bills? If he pays, does that mean I have to laugh at his jokes that aren't really funny and entitle him to sexy Business Time? DOES ANYONE EVEN KNOW THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS?! Because I don't. Seriously. When the bill comes, I usually get really sweaty and twitchy and just try to pay for myself. My rationale lies in my upbringing, because my parents always taught EM and me to take care of ourselves and not expect anyone else to, because it isn't anyone else's job. This is why I've never been able to understand the "gold digger" philosophy. What happens if your ugly rich husband dies and changes his will on his deathbed and leaves all of his money to Save the Sea Otters or something? You can't rely on someone else to pay your bills, ladies. Those sea otters are fucking cute.
That's what it boils down to for me, you guys. Always hang out with your friends and family over dates (unless your date is Bruce Campbell). Try to find someone who matches your level of weirdness, or be good at keeping your quirks secret. Don't rely on anyone else to take care of you. Also, I guess if you're gonna be a gold digger, make sure your husband hates sea otters.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I never got into drugs because this is how my mind operates sober.

I was watching the History Channel the other day because when Discovery started doing all those gold rush, hillbilly-exploiting reality shows, I turned up my nose at their programming (with the exception of Shark Week, which is a TAB-family high holiday and is celebrated every year with appropriate sharkgod religious fanfare) and there was this show on about the Pacific Northwest and how it used to be a capitol of shanghai-ing people (kidnapping them and selling them to boats bound for Shanghai) and I thought that was really, really tragic. 
"Can you imagine how horrible it would be to wake up and not know where you are and then have to go be a slave on top of it?"  I asked Merrick, because no one else was in my apartment at the time and I talk to my pets like a crazy person.  Merrick didn't say anything (so obvs I'm not THAT crazy) but he did swim around at the front of his tank because he likes it when the TV is on and I gave him some fish-kibbles.

Now, I have actually woken up and not known where I was on a few occasions, but that was mostly in college and the worst place I remember waking up in was a gutter (true story) and even waking up in unsavory places or with various sprained or broken bones (also true, and on separate occasions), it's usually a hilarious, Ke$ha-like experience covered in glitter and somehow a mysterious Santa hat in July and what you hope is your own vomit.  You march home in last night's clothes (psh, Runway Walk of Shame, mofos), order something hangover-curing and fried, and pass out on the couch, no worse for the wear.

But the thought of waking up hungover and then having someone tell you that:  "Oh hey, you're a slave now, push around this wheelbarrow full of rocks," (because in my imagination that's what slaves do?  I don't know.) and just having to deal with it would not sit well with me.  So overall, I'm really glad I don't live in old-timey times when people in the Pacific Northwest had to worry about that every time they left their huts for pizza, or whatever people in history did when they left their huts.

Although, if I did wake up and forgot whether I was in LA or in Seattle, I figure I could just find someone on the street and be like, "Do you like Boba?" and if they were like, "Fett?  Oh yeah, Star Wars for the win!" I would know I was in Seattle.  If they were like, "Boba?  Ugh, bubble tea was so three years ago!"  I would know I was in LA, and then I'd have to find some old-timey kidnapper and tell him to drop me off in Seattle on his way to Shanghai.

The moral of this story is "don't take my effing idea because I'm actually gonna write that into a bad sci-fi episode."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Free Dating Advice for EVERYONE!

A friend came to me a few days ago to ask me for help.  He was about to embark upon a magical journey known as "Second Date" and wanted the advice of a lady.  (Played here by me!)  I did used to have a dating advice column, after all, despite the fact that it was very short-lived because I advised several women that their boyfriends were probably secretly gay, and all of my letters involved some form of, "You know what?  Just have a beer and let love happen."  Plus, I've been known on occasion to let my probable ADD run away with me, which makes my advice more colorful than, say, "Dear Abby," because I have never known her to recommend tried-and-true relationship bonding activities, like lighting things on fire and taking your loved one to a shooting range.  (There's just something romantical about the smell of gunpowder!)  Sometimes, I think the ADD actually works in my favor... sort of like my advice-giving-superpower.

Me:  You honestly cannot go wrong with hot wings and The Trinity of Bruces.

Him:  The what?

Me:  The Trinity of Bruces!  Campbell, Willis, and Lee, duh.  Ladies love Bruce Campbell!

He's so sweaty!  Plus, chainsaw hand!  ::swoon::
Him:  Uh, I don't know that she'd be into B-horror and action movies... Maybe a drama or a romcom or something.

Me:  Romcom?  I don't know so many of those.  Ugh, what the hell kind of a woman are you dating?!  Okay, what about... a museum, or the aquarium?!  OR!  You could take her to a bookstore and buy her a book, and then she'll fall in love with you.  Women like it when you buy them things, and books are the greatest presents ever.  Fact.

Him:  Um...

Me:  It's true.  Plus bookstores are awesome.  Unless you buy her like, "Idiot's Guide to Fixing Scooters" because I'm sorry, but scooters are the bisexual of the bike world.  Not a motorcycle, not a bicycle, just hanging out in the middle and you're like, "DUDE, JUST PICK A SIDE!" and everyone would be cool with it, you know?  We just want you to be happy and secure with yourself, Vespa.

Him:  I don't know why I ask you for help.  You suck at dating.  You hardly make it to second dates, anyway.

Me:  Hey, it's called truthiness if you just nip things in the bud because your date doesn't like "Jaws," dude.  Or doesn't read.  Or has a criminal record.  Or looks at you all judgmentally when you're talking about how you went to Taco Bell last weekend and ordered so much food that the guy asked if you wanted a second drink.  Speaking of which, you could get some Taco Bell and a six-pack and go have a picnic somewhere out of your truck!  That's romantic.  So is showing up with a bottle of whiskey and all the Jurassic Park DVDs and making out on the couch.

Him:  Dating you must be like dating a pubescent teenage boy.  I'm just going to take her out for sushi and a movie, I guess.  Like regular adults do.

Me:  You know what would make that date better?  Fireworks.  Or you could surprise her and show up in a Stormtrooper costume--you could borrow my helmet.  OR... lasers.  Like, a laser light show!  But set to the music of Indiana Jones!  Also, ice cream.  Ladies love ice cream.

Him:  Ice cream is not a bad idea!  I'm surprised; I didn't think you'd be helpful in the slightest, but you've managed to give me a good suggestion after all.

Me:  You know what else ladies love?

Him:  Don't say it--

Me:  Bruce Campbell.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mayhap I am drawn to defective things...

I have a literal fuckton of things to cross off of my "to do" list, so naturally, in my overwhelmed state, I am not doing any of it.  Rather, I am blogging.  That's how I roll.  I make huge lists of all of the things that I need to accomplish to the point that there's no possible way I can do it all, resign myself to failure on a grand scale and either take a nap or drink more coffee.

What's more... last night, I began to wonder if I was similarly attracted to failure in others.  Not necessarily romantically, which, let's face it, is a whole different bucket of failure, but just in general.  Maybe I identify with it, who knows?  These realizations came to me while I was playing "Explorers!" with Finnegan and he seemed to have resigned himself to failure whilst exploring a cardboard tube, and took a nap.

In case more explanation is necessary, I have a pet hedgehog.  Finny is almost 7 months old, and he is probably the cutest thing that has ever existed.  He is, however, a rotten bastard.  He has a terrible temperament.  He huffs and growls, he's anti-social and the only things that he likes are food and sleep.  (I think he was like this before I got him, for all of you who think I go around breaking hedgehogs willy-nilly.)

When I moved to Seattle from California, I knew I had to get one.  I've wanted a hedgehog since I was very little, but they're illegal in California, so immediately upon my arrival, I did my research and spoke with a very lovely woman whose hedgehog was about to have hoglets and promptly reserved myself a little pincushion of joy.  The day that I went to pick him up, she had told me that one other owner had backed out at the last minute and I could choose between two males.  She handed me one, a teeny little thing no bigger than my palm, and immediately, he tried to eat my sweatshirt and crawl in my sleeve for a nap.  It was love.  I didn't need to see the other one--this was my Finny.  I've done plenty of research into hedgehog behavior and ownership, but it was clear to me very early on that Finny was not the typical hedgie pet.  He doesn't like the treats that most hedgehogs do.  He doesn't like the toys or activities that most hedgehogs do.  He just seems content to sit in my lap, wander around the carpet and cause trouble by chewing on things, and eat his kibble.

I've strived for hedgehog excellence.  I set up obstacle courses for playtime.  I've tried to give him every delicious hedgehog treat imaginable--even pulled the legs off of a cricket for him so that it didn't jump out of his cage.  No dice.  He likes what he likes and is not won over by fancy toys or delicious bits.  So, last night, while playing "Explorer!" where I create tunnels of blankets for him to crawl through, I tried one...last...time... to get him interested in some kind of toy.  It was a cardboard tube that used to house a candle and was just big enough for him to fit in.  He sniffed around, crawled in halfway (YES!  I've succeeded!  He wants to play!) and fell asleep, ass-up.  Sigh.  Failure achieved.

When he woke up, he crawled around the carpet and found some stray corn flakes, chewed them up and wiped them all over his spines.  Now he smells like breakfast cereal and I'm beginning to wonder if he isn't "special."  Not that I would love him any less, in fact, probably more, but it might make sense that he's missing a cute, little chromosome and perhaps I was drawn to him because when all is said and done, I just want to accept my failures gracelessly, eat something, and take a nap, too.

With my semi-deformed, oddly colored Beta (bought specifically because he wasn't as pretty as the other Betas and I felt a swell of love for the not-so-pretty fish that might get left behind) that I named Merrick, after the Elephant Man, the three of us make a pretty strange household.  Maybe it's weird, but I'm a very devoted pet owner, once almost reduced to tears in Petco because when Merrick had tail rot and I came in looking for fish antibiotics, the fish guy looked at me strangely and suggested that I just buy another fish.  "They're like, $5.  Betas don't last long, anyway."  "That doesn't mean Merrick doesn't deserve a fighting (ha, pun) chance!  He is my responsibility, and as long as he is, he will have a safe, happy home."  Even if he is the ugly duckling of fish.  Even if Finny is... odd.  In the end, no one is perfect, but that doesn't mean any one of us deserves any less love.

So, I guess I fail at a LOT of things, but I think when it comes to the important stuff, I'm pretty solid.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I don't get into political debates because I use bizarre analogies.

Very Political Friend:  I can't believe how Rush Limbaugh is acting!  First to call some poor student a slut and then to offer up some half-assed apology.  It's shameful.

Me:  I don't understand why you can't believe that.

VPF:  Because he totally crossed a line!  Don't you think so?

Me:  Well, he's a figurehead who makes his living with sensational pseudo-journalistic political commentary.  It would be more appropriate for you to be shocked if he were to come out and say, "Politics are silly!  I'm going to live with the penguins in Antarctica before it all melts away due to global warming."

VPF:  What the hell are you talking about?

Me:  I'm saying that I am not shocked by his behavior.  To expect a turd to be anything more than a turd is naive on your part, actually.

VPF:  Are you a Republican?

Me:  No.  Maybe I'm not explaining myself well enough... Okay, think of it like this:  Rush Limbaugh is like a dominatrix.

VPF:  This is supposed to explain things?

Me:  Shh, yes, okay.  Limbaugh is a dominatrix.  You, as a member of his audience, are the submissive.  You're the one with the power in this relationship.  You're the one who can control how much attention he will get for his shameful behavior.  The surest way to disappoint him would be for everyone to think, "Oh, Limbaugh is being a twit again!" and turn off the radio, or stop reading his blog, or whatever.  You can walk away from the situation.  As long as everyone is talking about what a twit he is, he'll get more press and publicity, which is how he pays his bills.  Don't want to support him?  Don't listen to him.  Just like the submissive in the relationship, you are the one with the safety word.  You can say "stop" or "banana" or whatever your safety word is.  And then move on to more important things, like buying me tacos and beer.

VPF:  Sometimes, I worry that you are a voter.

Me:  That's weird, because I usually worry about everyone else being a voter.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Somehow, I've become the creepy neighbor.

Sometimes when my brain is behaving like a social mercenary, I say things that I might not have meant to say or that come out all wrong because my veil of discretion has been lit on fire or napalmed or destroyed in a way that requires 24-48 hours of monk-like silence from me during its repairs--lest I say things that will inevitably drive me further from the opposite sex unintentionally or frighten children and weak-minded individuals within earshot.  Today is one of those days.  Here's how I know.

In the elevator this morning, I ran into two neighbors that I've never seen before, despite the fact that they live on my floor.  As elevator conversation makes me awkward and uncomfortable and I don't particularly care for anyone on my floor (what?!  I know I'm misanthropic!), I was resigned to staring at my shoes and remaining silent, until one of the men spoke up.

"Are you all moved in?" he asked.

"Um.  What?" Please stop talking.  Let's just have this elevator ride in silence, okay?

"I haven't seen you here before, are you new to the building?"  This emanation came from the second neighbor.

"No, I've been here a while."  I just don't like to leave my apartment if I don't have to, is all.

"Oh," said his friend.

"I wonder why we haven't run into each other," said my apparent neighbor.  He looked perplexed and/or stoned.

And before I even realized what I was saying, this happened:  "Because I'm sneaky," I said.

They looked at me with a mixture of what I would say was confusion and uncertainty.

"Sneaky?"  Neighbor #1 asked.

"Yes.  Stealthy, too."  The elevator reached the first floor and I stepped out.  They exited behind me, somewhat cautiously.

"So, I guess we'll see you around," said Neighbor #2.

"Or... you won't see me.  But I'll see you."  I eyed them suspiciously and rounded the corner to pick up my mail.  In retrospect, I have no idea what possessed me to respond in such a way, but admittedly at the time, it felt like the right thing to do.  I don't think there's a whole lot of harm done, especially because I am now more comfortable knowing that there are two less neighbors who would potentially knock on my door to ask to borrow something and judge me for being drunk and pantsless at 7 p.m. on a weekday or wandering around my kitchen with a hedgehog on my shoulder.


Then again, perhaps I've always been the creepy neighbor.

Friday, February 3, 2012

These things weigh on my mind.

On my way into work today, I witnessed a portly, hairy fellow in a kilt walking into the strip club next door.  Here's how my brain processed this:

"That guy is NO JOKE in a kilt going into a strip club.  I bet the strippers all know him as Kilt Guy and I would put money on the fact that they are sufficiently creeped out by the fact that there is only a manskirt between them and Kilt Guy's junk.  I hope he is at least hygienic, though I'll allow myself the luxury of judging that due to the fact that he is entering a strip club solo and kilted up at one in the afternoon, he is not hygienic.  I wonder why they don't make that a requirement to get into strip clubs.  You should have to show your ID and that you have washed your hands before coming in.  They could even have a special hand sanitizer pump when you walk in, like, "Please disinfect your hands before touching the strippers."  AND, you could put glitter in the hand sanitizer so the strippers wouldn't mind even more, because not only do you have clean hands, but you have clean and sparkly hands!  So then the strippers would know who had clean hands and who didn't, because if push came to shove and I had to be a stripper, I would at least insist on widespread usage of disinfectant.  But, I would also not allow any creepy Kilt Guy near me.  In fact, I probably wouldn't want any creepy guy near me, which I think would make me a rather poor, useless and ineffective stripper.  Although... I bet they get discounts on hot wings."

And just like that, I want hot wings for dinner and a market for strip club disinfectant.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sometimes it feels good to be angry at things you can't control.

Attn:  Cancer.

I am fucking sick of you and your shit.  Leave my mother alone.  Leave my family alone.  Stop hiding in places and then popping out all, "GUESS WHERE I AM NOW?!" No one wants to play with you.  No one likes you.  You have no friends, fans or supporters.  You're such a selfish dickwad that if you were a person, I would already be in jail for doing the most unspeakable, unimaginable things to you that resulted in the most extreme kind of pain.  Go away.  Get on your stupid cancer horse and don't come back.  You may have thought that 10+ years of dangerous chemotherapy and radiation was a polite request that you vacate, so in order to make things absolutely crystal clear, I'm giving you the boot.  Make no mistake about it--you are not welcome and no one will be sorry to see you go.  In fact, we'll throw parties.  There will be cake and YOU CAN'T HAVE ANY.  I hate you so much, I won't even forward your mail.  I'm going to open all of it and cash your birthday checks and then HAVE ANOTHER PARTY WITH CAKE THAT YOU CAN'T HAVE.  Your days of doing bad things to good people are over, you worthless sonofabitch. 

Now, leave before I figure out a way to shrink down and drag your sorry ass out because I guarantee that if I ever find a way to face you, remission will be the least of your worries.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dating and Valentine's Day: Or, single lady judgment at age 27.

Sometimes, it's hard for single people to suffer through Valentine's Day without a special someone or a date or a random, drunken booty call to fall back on.  Or sexting.  Does that count nowadays?  Other times, if you're lucky and you're in a good place in your life, Valentine's Day can come and go and your only awareness of it stems from the chalky antacid hearts that someone inevitably brings to the office.  Frankly, I've been anti-VDay for a long time, but I've at least reached a point that allows me to turn a blind eye to those that enjoy the celebration.  Go forth and eat that too-rich food and then get busy, because that's why the original pagan Lupercalia was all about.  Fertility, bitches.  (But wear condoms, because surprise fetuses are the worst kind of surprise.)

The other day, I was complaining (cuz it's my MO!) to EM and EM's-now-fiance about the usual single lady complaints, and EM's fiance kind of looked at me weird because he is a man and therefore does not understand wedding bell blues and in a few words, shut me up about my singleness complaining.

"Okay, so you might not be engaged or married or popping out babies, but you have accomplished some other things in your life," he said.  I was still grumpy.  It's not like I have a novel published, here.

He continued:  "Those accomplishments are for other people.  You're not a person who would operate well saddled with a husband and children at this age."  He's right.  I like comic books and video games and walking around my single lady apartment ass naked.  Also drinking wine from a bottle, watching documentary reruns and knitting without being judged like I'm some old lady.  I'm not ready to be married.  Actually, I don't even *really* want any kind of a relationship right now, because I don't have all of MY shit together just yet.

"Besides, I'm really glad you're not dating most of the guys that you've dated that I've met, because I didn't really like any of them," he said, quite candidly.  EM nodded.  I nodded.  EM's fiance nodded again.  Don't get me wrong, I don't regret any of my past relationships, gray area things, flings, makeouts, whatever... I have always cared and will always care for the fellas that have come into my life, but I've learned that change inspires growth, and at the very least, I think I've done quite a bit of growing.  You know, more than just like, my hair or my waistline.

So, here I am.  Single again on Valentine's Day, but maybe a little less bitter (just go with me here, people) because I won't begrudge any of you romancers your chocolate candy and time to enjoy each other and roll in the hay.  You will not find me watching romantic comedies and eating a huge box of chocolates that I bought for myself.  You will also not find me getting piss drunk and watching people in Texas get eviscerated with a chainsaw out of spite.  You'll probably find me at home, pantsless, surrounded by new comic books and hunched over my laptop, working on the next Great American Novel.

It's about zombie sharks.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Avoiding grief is stupid because it comes back and bitch slaps you right in the face later on.

I've been sitting on this post for a while.  Not literally, because that would for sure break my laptop.  It's not 'winter weight,' it's insulation, dammit!  I've started it a hundred times, but only last night while I was half-drunk and laying in bed wide awake did things finally materialize for me, leading to an all out emotional breakdown at the behest of hormones and feelings that I usually bottle up and drink away.

Shortly before Thanksgiving this past year, my grandpa passed away.

To be clear, this post will probably be less than humorous and entertaining, but my way of dealing with emotions is to write them because otherwise I can't figure out what the shit is going on inside my head.  That's why I call myself a writer, y'all.  So read it or don't--this one really isn't for you.

When we received news that my grandpa had died, I didn't cry.  Actually, typically when I receive really bad news, I don't cry.  I "sort it out" in my head, break it down into smaller pieces and file them away.  It's only later when something ridiculously trivial happens that my emotional dam breaks and brings forth the flood waters of every little thing that I've been sober and strong about.  That spiral usually leads to drinking in solitude, which you may think is unhealthy, but it's therapeutic for me.  As someone who doesn't handle emotions well, the alcohol in my system gives me remarkable clarity and insight into what I've tamped down inside me.  It allows me to "feel" my "feelings," as it were.  It is always a narcissistic mixture of self-pity, stubborn sadness and despair and it is utterly indulgent for me.  And sometimes?  I think people need that.  I know that I do.

So last night, the proverbial dam cracked and I drowned myself in memories of my darling Grandpa, a man I will always adore and never see again.  He wasn't a saint, in fact, he could be a hard man--a product of the tough-as-nails generation that survived the Great Depression and World War II.  He was smart and ambitious and he traveled the world but always remembered to send postcards to his grandchildren...postcards that I've kept and treasured and that helped light the fire of adventure within myself.  I think the biggest, truest thing that anyone could say about my grandpa is that he was generous.  Truly, when that word has been polluted and lost meaning, he really was generous.  He helped put all of his grandchildren through college.  Not that he was rich financially, but the little that he had, he spread around.  How many people do you know would do that these days?  That's why he is so remarkable to me, I think, because he sacrificed what would have been a very cushy retirement in order to live plainly and provide for his children, and his children's children.

I would not be who I am, I would not have what I have and I would not know what I know without him.  And while the world is a bit more selfish and scary without him, I'll always feel his guidance and inspiration within me.  I love you, Grandpa.  Thank you for everything.