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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Why My Dog Deserves a Goddamned Medal

Everyone loves their dog.  But mine is awesome and he deserves a mother fucking medal.

Let me explain.

My Tuesday began with a bit of anxiety.  I had been planning for weeks to go see Jenny Lawson read from her awesome new book Furiously Happy but there were a few complications.  The hubs was away at a conference in Las Vegas which meant that I would have to A. race out of work to make it in time B. take my 1.5 y/o with me to said reading and C. pray to whatever gods were listening that he could sit still and not scream or knock over a book display at the bookstore.

We made it to the event.  The kiddo made it through with so few whiny squawks that it was a bonafide miracle.  Jenny Lawson was awesome and funny and brave and I am so glad that I took the leap and did something outside of my comfort zone.  Since I had the kid with me, we got boosted to the front of the book signing line where I embarrassedly asked her to write her often uttered phrase "What the shit?" on my bookmark in order to glance at the phrase on days when people were being a-holes.

Jenny Lawson is delightful!
Unfortunately, my new favorite phrase came in handy less than a half hour after the event.

We were less than five minutes from home when my cell phone rang.  I don't usually answer my cell while driving, but saw that it was our home security company calling and picked up.  The convo went something like this:

"Yes, Ma'am we have an alert that your alarm is..."
*rain, wind and traffic* "What? I can't hear you?  I shouldn't even be on the phone right now..."
"'am the back door alarm is going off..."
"What alarm?"
"Ma'am, what is your security word?"
"My security word?  It's ______."
"Correct.  The back door alarm is going off, would you like us to send the police?"
"I, uh, I'm not even at home right now.  I'm like, 5 minutes away.  I don't think you need to send the cops.  Just turn the alarm off."
"Alright.  Let us know if you need us to contact the police at a later time."

I pull into the driveway and everything at the house looks normal.  Our door sometimes doesn't stay shut properly when you lock it and changes in air pressure can force it slightly open causing the alarm to go off.  I assumed this is all that happened.  I pulled very vigorously on the handle and while it was locked, it gave about an inch or so as I expected. There was a broken off metal mop/brook handle laying on the pavement outside the backdoor.  I shrugged, turned off the security, unlocked the door and brought the kid inside.  Everything seemed normal inside so I went about the traditional bedtime routine and called the hubs and put him on speaker so I could tell him what happened.

After assuring him that everything seemed normal, he told me that it might not be a bad idea to call the non-emergency police.  During the entire call, my adorable (but sometimes annoying) corgi was barking his head off.  While he does bark on occasion, this was constant, super agitated barking.  I assured DJ again that everything was fine and ended the call. I checked all of the rooms in our upstairs; nothing was disturbed. Albus continued to bark.

I texted my neighbor and asked if she'd seen anything strange outside a bit after 8.  She responded immediately saying: "I did.  I was just getting home and saw 4(?) guys by our houses.  It was weird.  It looked like they had sticks or something in their hands."


Guess that explained the broken off broom handle.  With that information plus the continued barking from Albus, I started to feel a chill run up my back.  Could someone have gotten in, seen me coming home and hid somewhere in the house? I dialed non-emergency and went downstairs to look a little closer on the first floor.  DJ had suggested that maybe someone had managed to break in through a window in the back of the house and then exited through the back door (it is possible to engage our deadbolt and then slam it shut behind you, leaving the door locked).  All of the windows were fine, again nothing out place.  As I was talking with the dispatcher, I flipped on the light to go down to our basement and froze.  There was a huge dent on the wall behind the backdoor matching the door handle.  I was sure that dent hadn't been there before and I started to panic.  I immediately went back upstairs and asked them to please send an officer over.  She said to be safe and call 911 immediately if anything happened.

After about 30 minutes, two detectives arrived.  I explained the situation, they took some photos and helped me search the house.  They said that 3 teens were caught a few blocks away trying to break into another house.  The detectives thought that the kids had tried to get into the house but were scared off by the alarm.

I then proceeded to not sleep again ever.

The next day, one of the detectives called me.  Turns out, there were four teens and they caught the fourth one around 1 AM early that morning.  Only one of the four admitted to anything but he did give details about the break-ins.  Apparently they were bored and just started breaking into houses in our neighborhood.  They managed to KICK IN OUR BACK DOOR (mystery of the doorknob dent= solved) but only got as far as the landing before running back out because of the dog.  So the deadbolt was still out, they slammed the door behind them and it locked again.  They broke into four other houses (including one where the owner was home!) before being caught.  And this was all between 8 and 9 PM on a Tuesday night.  Damn.

lt;dr Some dumb ass kids broke into our house, Albus chased them off and is a mother fucking hero.


Alright.  It's only day four and I've decided that I'm jumping off of the NANOWRIMO wagon.  You're probably saying "You quit after only FOUR DAYS."  But I've discovered several things:

1. Apparently, since it's been so long since I've written any fiction, I can no longer just sit down and write without a plan. I had a general idea going in but that was about it.  Not working.

B. Having a toddler + mommy brain= CANNOT CONCENTRATE.

So, since I only got several thousand words in, I'm thinking I'll save what I have, come up with some plans and keep it for next year.

Not to mention, this frees me up to write more of the other things I've been working on lately. Like the next post...

Friday, October 30, 2015

My Year of Living Dangerously

I've never been a fan of New Year's resolutions. It always seemed that no matter how gung-ho I was about losing weight or eating healthy or not making dead baby jokes I usually fell off the wagon after a few weeks.  Well not this year, dammit!

A few days after 2015 rang in, I decided to give myself a challenge instead of a resolution: I would treat 2015 as my year of living dangerously.  I would branch outside of my comfort zone and do things that were challenging; things that maybe even scared me.

I started by vowing to take part in the entirety of the Photo A Day challenge from one of my favorite websites, Forever Young Adult. I managed to take a photo and submit it via Instagram for all 31 days of January.  That might not sound like a big deal, but I'm the type of person who can't be relied upon to remember to take any sort of daily medication if it isn't sitting on my kitchen table.  So this was already a pretty big step for me.

Anyone who knows me should be insanely impressed by this drawing I managed.

I had several helpers while working on HP shrink-dinks.

Then there were my reading habits.  There are TONS of awesome New Year's reading challenges out there.  But I was afraid that I wouldn't have the time to commit fully to a vigorous reading list.  So I made my own challenge for the year.  I have a tendency to read books by dead American/British white guys.  So I vowed to read more books by female authors, authors of other races and non-American/British authors.  I am surprised to say that I kicked ass at this personal challenge.  Without thinking about it too hard, over 75% of my reading this year has fit those parameters and I don't think I'll go back next year :)

Another challenge I set for myself and DJ was to watch more movies.  Now, before we had a kid, going to the movies was pretty much our main hobby.  But since it is far harder to get out these days, I thought it would be cool to try to watch all 100 movies on the AFI Top 100 List.  Thus, my Drinking at the Movies blog posts were born.  Though now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever posted any of the AFI films yet.  But we've drank and watched other movies!

With my 30th birthday looming, I wanted to do something awesome.  DJ told me to pick our vacation destination this year and I chose to return to Maine.  I wanted to climb a goddamned mountain!  And to drive into Canada and see the Anne of Green Gables house...  But before I could attempt to do either of those things, I spent 6 months battling a host of weird and painful symptoms before starting infusion treatments for Ankylosing Spondylitis.  What's that?  You've never heard of Ankylosing Spondylitis? Well, it's an inflammatory disease, arthritis actually, but not Rheumatoid Arthritis and not Osteoarthritis either.  It can cause the vertebrae in your spine to fuse together and you get all kinds of painful joints and swelling issues.  Needless to say, this was going to complicate my goal of climbing a mountain.  So... I took more steroids than usual and while I didn't make it to the top of the mountain, that was more due to the fact that we needed at least 8 hours to make it up and down Mount Katahdin  and we didn't get to Baxter State Park until 2 PM than the fact that my right knee sucks.  But we did what I set out to do:  I climbed a goddamned mountain!  Or at least, stumbled around over her feet like a drunken toddler.

Water from a cool mountain stream.

Hey look, a rock!

So tired.

It was straight up the entire hike...

I had known for a few months that Jenny Lawson (author of two awesome books) was coming to Milwaukee to publicize her new book.  Having recently listened to the audio book version of her first book, I was in LOVE with Jenny's honesty and her wonderful reading voice.  I had to go.  Two problems: A. hubs was going to be out of town at a conference and I would have to take the kiddo with me and B. I'd never been to Boswell Books before.  See, I don't really talk about the fact that I have what I have self-diagnosed as a mild social anxiety disorder.  I am scared about driving/going to places I have never been before and I have a hard time talking to people I don't know (if they break the ice first, my acting skills kick in and I can fake like I'm normal but inside... it's full-blown panic up in my brain).  Anywhoski, I took several hours out of my day off a week before the book signing and went to Boswell's.  I didn't get lost.  I picked up my pre-ordered book and everything was fine.  When the signing night arrived, we got there in time, the toddler stayed in his stroller for an hour and a half, didn't cry and we didn't knock over any book displays.  SUCCESS!

This November, I've decided to try to do NANOWRIMO.  Why would someone who hasn't written any fiction since graduating college suddenly decide to try and write a novel?  Because this is MY YEAR AND I AM OWNING IT!  I may not finish, but I'm going to try.  Like so many of the other things I've done this year, writing is scary for me but I'm going to push through and try.

Here's to living dangerously!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Book Review: Between the World and Me

Ta-Hehisi Coates, a journalist who works for The Atlantic Magazine, is a writer who is constantly being mentioned in the realm of African American intelligentsia.  The great Toni Morrison has even gone so far as to consider him the next James Baldwin.  Coates' new book Between the World and Me proves this to be a grandiose but true statement in many ways.

The immediate comparison comes from the mirror between writing conventions.  Coates' work is written as a letter to his son explaining the experience of the damage done to black bodies in America.  This is very similar to Baldwin's "A Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation," a section of his book The Fire Next Time.  A section of "Letter" states:
I know what the world has done to my brother and how narrowly he has survived it and I know, which is much worse, and this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it.
It is this concept of "the Dream" that Coates often refers to- the idea that the country as a whole is complicit in the crimes against African Americans and does not care to admit it- that shadows his words.

Coates follows the themes of exploitation, segregation and violence. What is it like to live in a black male body in the United States today?  What is it like to have a constant threat of violence enveloping your person?  What is it like to live in fear but with a hope that your child will be safe?  Coates explains "I tell you now that the question of how one should live within a black body, within a country lost in the Dream, is the question of my life, and the pursuit of this question, I have found, ultimately answers itself."

He goes on to explain his childhood in Baltimore.  That black children were told to be "twice as good" and yet ended up with half as much. That there was a delicate dance if one wanted to survive the streets but that the schools were no protection nor were they a pass into the Dream.  He says that:
The streets were not my only problem.  If the streets shackled my right leg, the schools shackled my left.  Fail to comprehend the streets and you give up your body now.  But fail to comprehend the schools and you gave up your body later.
 Coates compares the personal discoveries of injustice between himself and his son.  He discusses at length the day when he discovered that one of his college friends had been murdered by an undercover police officer just steps away from his fiance's home.  The author then says this about his son's experience:
That was the week you learned that the killers of Michael Brown would go free.  The men who had left his body in the street like some awesome declaration of their inviolable power would never be punished.  It was not my expectation that anyone would ever be punished.  But you were young and still believed.  You stayed up til 11 P.M. that night, waiting for the announcement of an indictment, and when instead it was announced that there was none you said, "I've got to go," and you went into your room, and I hear you crying.
Coates' views are only those of one black man living in America today.  He doesn't claim to speak for everyone and he doesn't want absolution.  He writes to wake up his white readers and remind his black readers that their bodies do  matter.  That silence and obedience will not save you from the wrath of the Dream. 

This book has made me want to ask many questions; chief among them being "I don't want to be an ignorant white person who is complicit in perpetuating this terrible system!  What do I *do* next?"  It is a fascinating and heart-breaking read.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Live Blog Post: Tommy Wiseau's The Room- Interview with Tommy Wiseau

OH MY GOD THE INTERVIEW WITH TOMMY WISEAU IS ANSWERING ALL OF MY BURNING QUESTIONS! Why were the actors playing football while wearing tuxedos only standing 3 feet apart??? WHY?????

So... because it was fun to play football in a big field.  Got it.

Q: What did you accomplish?
A: I finished what I started.  

"I am planning on releasing a DVD documentary about HD and 35mm comparison... andalsowriteabookaboutit."


And after this is all over, I am wondering if any of these people EVER acted again.  God I hope not.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Live Post: Tommy Wiseau's The Room- Finale

During yet another sex scene, Hubs: Do you think there is a soundtrack for this?  I'm looking that up on Spotify right now...


Hubs: Nope. Doesn't look like it.  At least, not on Spotify.  Bastards.


Another football-throwing scene.  I'm not sure which Tommy likes more, awkward sex scenes or awkward football-throwing scenes.

"XYZ, Mark."
"Examine Your Zipper!  You guys are too much!"

"You think you can get it all from Mark?"
"If he can't give it to me, someone will."


God Lisa, you are such a bitch.

Grandma, why did you come over again?

Hubs: The breast cancer.  That's why.


Watching Johnny walk through downtown San Francisco, Hubs: Has this guy every watched a movie before?

Me: I think I've heard cats sing 'Happy Birthday' better than this...

Well THAT was a short party!

Oh, nope.  Still happening.


Ugh.  This Buzzball drink is disgusting.

The Hubs laughs.

Why did you let me drink this?!?!

Wait, now Lisa is making out with Mark at Johnny's party?  Who is this asshole who just came in the front door to discover them?  WHAT IS HAPPENING???



LISA, YOU BITCH!!!!  So she really is a complete sociopath... huh.

"What's it to you?"
"You're going to shake up our group of friends!"

Oh.  So THAT'S why I shouldn't lie to Johnny and cheat on him with his best friend?  Oh, OK.


Ok.  So that awkward fight didn't happen and now Lisa and Mark are dancing all sexy-like?  Sure.  Cool.


"Everybody betrayed me!  I'm fed up with this world."

"I cleaned up the kitchen, honey, so you don't have to worry about that."

Right.  Thanks, mom!  Because I am totally thinking about housekeeping when my fiancĂ© who I cheated on has locked himself in the bathroom all night.  But the kitchen is clean


"you can come out now, Johnny, she's gone."

"In a few minutes, bitch."

"Who are you calling a bitch?"

"You and your mother."


The tape!  The tape magically lasted for like, 18 hours.

"I gave you 7 years of my life!"

Also, said tape recorded BOTH sides of the phone conversation...

"I'm leaving you, Johnny."


Hubs: I feel like a sex scene is about to happen but it'll just be him.  Alone in his bed.

OMG Johnny, you're drunk.  Go home.  Or at least stop half-heartedly knocking shit over.

Lisa's gone, who do you think is gonna clean it up???


I don't think I've ever been so glad to see a character commit suicide.

Mark the doctor says he's dead.


Twist!  Mark doesn't love her and everything is ALL HER FAULT!


Then Denny chapped his hands and shouted "I do believe in fairies!  I do believe in fairies!"  And Johnny got up off of the floor and walked away completely unharmed.


Nope.  Johnny's still dead.


Live Blog: Tommy' Wiseau's The Room Part 7

Me: Wait.  What's happening.  Why is Johnny cheeping like a chicken?  Oh,  Mark's not a chicken.  He just doesn't like weirdos.  Got it.

This story about Johnny moving to San Francisco is soooo awkward.

And everyone leaves except for awkward Denny.  Any why is he asking about Lisa's wedding dress? What supposedly straight 18 year old boy asks about the wedding dress of the chick he's in love with?

Is that a joint Mark????  WHAT THE HELL IS THAT, MARK????  I've got this sick feeling in my stomach, man.  And only weed can cure it.

Mark!  You fucking high bastard!  Don't throw the random psychologist friend off the roof!  FUCK!

Ok.  So how did the psychologist guess it was Lisa?  What clues were there?  What did I miss?  I was tying furiously...

Hubs: Poor Mark.

Mark: She's such a manipulative bitch!  (and the reason I tried to throw you off the roof.)

Fucking psychologist:  How'd you let this happen?

Mark: Fuck!

Random psychologist: You want my advice? Sometimes, life get's complicated.  And you've got to be responsible. So you don't see Lisa again. And you definitely don't sleep with her again."


Psychologist: She's a sociopath.  She can't love anyone.

That succubus, sociopathic BITCH!



What the what is with that tuxedo?

"Oh Hi Denny."


Holy shit!  Mark shaved!

"You look great.  You look like a babyface, y'know?"  Yes Johnny, we know.

Denny (Whining in an annoying little bitch): Come on!  Play football with meeeeee!!!!!


Who are these random assholes ordering coffee?  Why do we care about this?  Lemme guess: Johnny is their favorite customer?

Also, WHY were they all wearing tuxedos in the last scene.

Hubs (after pausing the movie and taking 30 seconds to think):  I have no fucking idea.  There must have been some reference we missed.  But even so, what is the point????  Just a bunch of guys throwing a football around in an alley.  While wearing tuxedos.

People are really fucking concerned about cheesecake at this coffeeshop.  Related: what coffeeshops carry cheesecake because I'm pretty sure that's not a thing...

"How was work today?"
"Oh pretty good.  We got a new client at the bank.  We make a lot of money."

So... just the one client today, huh?

And why does Mark care about this client?

"I can't tell you.  It's confidential. So how's your sex life?"



And another goddamned sex scene.  Ugh.  I thought Mr. Psychologist told Mark NOT to sleep with Lisa.  Goddamn it, Mark.

Hubs: Is this Monica singing?