Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Report: Being Emelle

When I was in elementary school, we were assigned book reports to write, and frankly, I had no idea how to write a book report.  I was already aware of spoilers from my Star Wars debacle, and I didn’t want to give away any important details and so they all sounded like blurbs selling the book:



And so, I always got really bad grades on my book reports.

It is not like I wasn’t reading the books, or that I didn’t understand what I was reading.  I love reading. I love books.  I just don’t particularly trust myself to tell people things about books without giving away the plot.  I’m the same way with movies.  My reviews usually go:  “It was entertaining.  I didn’t want to punch myself in the face for having spent 3 hours watching it.”

And so, when my friend, who is a kick-ass author, asked me, at a dinner we were at together, if I would want an advanced copy of her book to read on my Kindle and maybe review here, I said, “Yes! Totally! Sure! That would be awesome…” I’m actually hoping to review some other books in the future, so it will be good practice, and then I realized she probably would not be very pleased with me reviewing her book in my normal manner, which would be:

“I read Being Emelle by E.M. Stoops. This book totally kicked ass.  I stayed up way too late reading it, and then I woke up early and read it some more even though I was totally tired and treated everyone like crap the rest of the day because I had to interact with them when what I really wanted to do was go back and read about Emelle, and OMG, are they gonna kiss?! They’d better kiss! 
I liked this book. You should read it to find out what happens next!” 

 But while all of that is true, it is not entirely helpful. So here goes.  In Being Emelle, you get to follow an awkward and intelligent Emelle from early childhood through adulthood, learning about his philosophies,  how he deals with the strained relationship with his father, his wonderful supportive mom, and the great dynamics with his best friend, Annalyn, and his other classmates. I, quite honestly, dug the hell out of her book.  It was sweet, and funny, and a little sad, and it was incredibly sexy, and a little kinky, and it flowed really nicely.  It is an advanced copy though, so it needs a tad bit more editing, but not so much that it affected my desire to keep reading. So if you have a kindle and you’d like to read it to, you can find it over on Amazon.com. At least check out the sample!






It is also available on Nook, I am being told- find it here!

This is not a paid review.  It is my honest opinion of a book written by a friend.  She didn't even buy me a cup of bacon to get me to write this.  I just received a PDF of the book to read.  If I am ever paid for a review, I will certainly let EVERYONE know. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do you want to party? It's party time!

It's been suggested, in the comments of the last post, that I have an "It's not a tumor" party.  Thankfully I was given the suggestion of having a make-believe one, because my friends only exist on the internet (that is, spread across the country and the world, and a portion of them don't even have internet access at the moment... I have friends, damn it! *sobs*). So, make-believe party it is.  You are all invited; it is a pot-luck.

I DON'T HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR!

Don't disappoint.






And don't forget, just a few more days left to get your Narwhal stickers

Monday, June 27, 2011

Use our MRI or DIE!

I went today for an MRI on my brain to prove, once and for all, that I do not have either tumors, or a woodsman in my brain causing my headaches.

When I met my technician I didn't catch his name, but let's call him Chip, he looked like a Chip. I told him, as we walked to the MRI room, "I'm gonna try not to freak out, but I cannot promise anything." Chip assured me that he would do his best to hurry and was super nice about explaining to me what would happen, though I knew because I can't go into a situation without researching it thoroughly, especially when it might tell me I have a woodsman in my head. Plus, I watch a lot of House. I was then told I could listen to music while they did the procedure. I, of course, chose the 80s music channel and Chip offered to turn the music way up so it would drown out the sound of the machine. Thanks for the thought Chip; it totally didn't work.

And then, and I had considered this, it played a song by Van Halen that my stupid idiot jerk boyfriend from high school used to cry through because "It was SO meaningful and deep." No, idiot, "When It's Love" is not deep, you're just a tool. Plus, seriously, Sammy Hagar sucks, I mean compared to David Lee Roth... He was alright on his own, but Van Halen totally fell apart when they replaced David Lee Roth. I wish they had played Panama, or Ice Cream Man, or anything that didn't remind me that I dated a stupid jerk for way too long, but it was amusing, being stuck in a tube with sub-par Van Halen and my memories.
Then they played "Centerfold" by the J. Geils Band which I loved, clearly, because if you don't love that song, you suck*, or haven't heard it. And then "Tenderness" by... who the heck sings that song... General Public? Who knew... probably people who really like General Public.



Part way through "When It's Love," Chip called into me to make sure I was okay and then told me there were only 6 minutes left. He didn't, however, tell me that those were the six loudest, most terrifying minutes of the procedure. Towards the end, the machine started shaking and beeping like there was a nuclear melt down happening. It crossed my mind that the Yellowstone Caldera had finally blown and that Chip had fled for his life and I was going to die wedged in a tiny tube.

But, I have already gotten the results back and my brain is, apparently, completely normal. I think that their definition of "normal" may be a bit skewed but my headaches are just headaches and I can finally say for sure:



IT'S NOT A TUMOR!



*sorry for telling you you suck if you hate this song. I've just been through something traumatic, you'll have to forgive me.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mr. Pink is Blue.

Dear Steve Buscemi,

I love you, a lot. Please be mine. Here, I have painted you in a somber blue hue to express my sadness that you don't yet know that I exist and that you love me.  If you wanted, I could paint you in all sorts of other attractive colors.  I could even paint you as a zombie and/or a llama. I'll be here waiting...you know where to find me.





PS. My husband may or may not be fine with our pending love affair, but don't let that give you pause.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

When it rains, it pours!

I love thunderstorms. We rarely get them here in Montana, especially where I live which is surrounded on all sides by mountains, so really “bad” weather often passes us by. But we are having them today and it makes me happy.

Where I went to college (Gainesville, Fl-- Go Gators!) it rained EVERY SINGLE DAY in the summer at precisely 3pm.  I didn’t realize this my first semester, which was a summer semester, and so every day I would walk to class at 1 pm in the sun and I would get out at 3 pm, utterly dumbfounded to find that  the skies had ripped open and every ounce of water on the ENTIRE EARTH was falling from the sky.
I had been through hurricanes in Miami and I had no idea that THAT MUCH water could fall from the sky, all at once.

And of course, I never brought an umbrella, both because it never occurred to me that it was going to rain, even though it did, everyday, but also because I consider umbrellas to be way too mature.
Staying out of the rain is the sort of behavior that you expect from adults, and people who take the time to style their hair, and those who have the good sense not to walk across campus in a thunderstorm because they realize they are most likely going to get sick, or at the least, all of their clothes will be perpetually soggy, and I am just not the kind of person that considers those things. To me, umbrellas are a symbol of a broken spirit.

Of course, if someone offers to share their umbrella with me, and it is big enough, I will squeeze under it with them, because that totally feels fun and free-spirited, but otherwise, I quite enjoy walking through a rain storm and getting soggy, because it reminds me that I don’t have anyone who expects me to be dry.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Double Dare Ya!

As a kid, I was obsessed with Double Dare, and when I say “as a kid,” I mean,  I was in high school and was WAY too old  to be interested in the show. In particular, it was Family Double Dare that caught my interest, because I figured, if I were able to get on the show, somehow, my family would  be sure to be the biggest winners of all time.



Well, no, not actually.  As long as we never had to do a physical challenge where my mom and I were involved, we would have been the biggest winners of all time.

If you are unaware of the format of the game show “Double Dare” it worked thusly:

You were asked general trivia questions and you could either answer if you knew it, OR if you thought the other family were a bunch of morons, you could DARE them to answer the question, and then of course, they wouldn’t know because they were knuckle-dragging idiots, and they would DOUBLE DARE you back and then you would get four times as much money for knowing the correct answer.

If for some reason, someone in your family didn’t know the answer, which pretty much wouldn’t have happened in my family because, between the four of us, we would have known EVERYTHING because we are all trivia GENIUSES, you could take a “physical challenge.”  And that is where it would have totally screwed us.

Both my sister and my dad are sporty types.  My dad grew up in a family full of boys, the smallest of whom was 6 foot tall, and they were all athletes.  Two of my uncles were professional athletes, in fact.  As I have mentioned before, we lived with our grandparents, the makers of this hoard of hulking jocks,  for a year, and my sister was taught to play football by my uncle Mike, the college all-star professional NFL quarterback.  I, on the other hand, had a penchant for crying when injured, or frustrated, or looked at, so I did a lot of jump roping while everyone else practiced valuable physical skills.  The one skill I did manage to foster was catching, probably to avoid being hit in the face with footballs, but that’s about it.
My mom, apparently, was kept in a cage like veal while growing up because while she is smart and funny and a creative cook, she is about as uncoordinated as they come.

So, we could have answered any question, but when it came to “physical challenges,” which included things like flipping rubber pancakes across a stage onto a tray your parent was holding, using a giant spatula,  while blindfolded and then dowsing them in “maple syrup” or filling a bowl with green slime to a certain fullness using only your head that has a bucket strapped to it, before 25 seconds is up,  it mostly likely would have ended with death and destruction.



And then there was the Obstacle Course at the end.  The winning family (read: MINE, obv.) would go through a course of 8 different stations, alternating family members, where you had to collect (and in many cases, find) an orange flag from each in a total of  60 seconds.  And again, my sister and dad would have done great, though at 6’4” my dad might have had some trouble getting through some of the obstacles.  And I might have done okay (I had serious fantasies about the sundae slide, in which I would conquer it with my mouth… though I was sure it was most likely not edible, it LOOKED like a big sundae.  Hell, I would still like to dig through a giant pool-sized sundae in pursuit of an orange flag) but I had my doubts that my mom would have gotten through her share of the obstacles and we never would have won a 13 inch TV or a Panasonic VCR or a Conair Hair Dryer.



My family doing the obstacle course would have been NOTHING like this, at all






And there was also the fact that I was about 5 years too old to be on the show. But otherwise, biggest winners EVER!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Papa Llama Day!

One of my favorite memories with my dad is also one of my favorite nerd memories- the moment I realized that advanced math has real life applications.
My dad was big on doing home remodeling projects.  As a family, we turned the duplex we owned into a single family house when I was in elementary school, knocking down walls and redecorating everything.
My senior year of high school, my dad had me help him tear out part of our porch to create a storage closet off the dining room. Since there was already a door leading out to the space (that used to be the front door of that unit) I guess he figured it might as well lead to something useful, plus it would cut down on the amount of times we would have to answer the door to solicitors by a third.

 As a teenager who is part of a government experiment, getting to take a sledgehammer to wooden uprights is downright cathartic, but then I got to help frame out the room, building everything from the studs up.  And then, since there was already a roof on the porch, I got to actually use the trigonometry I had learned the year before to figure out what angle my dad needed to miter the wood at to make the roof section fit.
I'm quite certain my dad didn't need me to do the math, he achieved a near perfect score on his SAT, he is brilliant, but I was excited to get to do the math, I even remember it as being my idea to use my trig knowledge to figure it out, and I was excited that he trusted my calculations and didn't (at least in front of me) insist on doing them himself to make sure he wasn't wasting a cut (because you always measure twice, and cut once).

I don't even recall crying once during the whole remodel, which was quite remarkable.
And the roof piece fit perfectly, for the record.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Why broken windows are bad.

Today, I would like to talk about another of my great hatreds.

When I first moved in with my husband, who was then my boyfriend, we lived in a house that belonged to one of his coworkers, who also lived there with his cat named Nigel.  Nigel liked to go outside and hunt in the overgrown jungle that surrounded the house, and so, whether by happy accident, or on purpose, I never asked, one of the panes of the French doors at the entrance of the house was busted out which made a makeshift cat door.

But of course, as the case always is, nature doesn't follow the rules of a house and the cat was not the only thing that was able to enter through that door, no, not just the cat.

There was the night that I walked out towards the bathroom and saw a large raccoon happily eating the cat food in the front room, but that is not what this is about.



This is about the flying creatures that trespassed into the house.

Moths have always bothered me (especially since I share their desire to hurt myself with bright lights) but one evening, it was kicked in to full blown phobia realms.  I went into the kitchen and opened the cabinet to get ingredients for dinner.



 I had cut up some chicken and grabbed a box of seasoned rice to make a quick fry up, and so I melted butter in the pan and poured the rice into the pan to brown it before I added the water.



 Only, some of the rice was moving.




And then I looked in the box and found a moth, obviously a mommy moth, and then I screamed, and cried in a  totally hysterical manner, before throwing the rice away and all of the boxes of rice that were in the pantry.  And then I went out to buy the biggest container of mothballs that I could possibly find.

I've gotten to the point where I no longer need to make my house smell like that of a grandma (it only took a few years), but I still am prone to screaming and flapping when a moth finds its way into my environment, and I call (read: screech)  for its immediate removal and/or murder.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gingivitis was the true reason for extinction!

More dinosaur facts from my Nephypoo (who turns 5 this Sunday! Whee!):



"Dinosaurs can't brush their teeth because their arms are too short!"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Life in a Vacuum.

My husband is vacuuming in our bedroom, where I am, and while I appreciate that there will be less debris on the floor from my favorite blanket that likes to unravel itself, leaving strings everywhere, I really hate the vacuum cleaner.  See, our room is not all that big and there are times that he has to pick up the vacuum, to get to other parts of the room, which he does while it is still on, and it makes one of the worst sounds I have ever heard, like a garbage truck falling off the empire state building.

The vacuum itself is from the 1960s and I don't think a single part of it has ever been oiled since it was made, by the amount of squeaking coming from it. It also has its own transmission, since it weighs a ton, and you have to be careful not to get pulled under it... which is part of the reason that I refuse to vacuum.  As well as the fact that loud sounds startle me and it is very hard to vacuum whilst curled up in the fetal position with your hands over your ears.

And I must admit, my cat like reaction to the vacuum cleaner might have possibly been influenced by the movie "Mr. Mom", which is about an evil vacuum cleaner that likes to eat woobies.  That is what it's about, right? Well, that's what I took away from it. Vacuums are bad and have evil intentions, always.




 ____________________________________________________________

I entered this contest to redesign a Guylian candy box. There is a substantial cash prize I'd like to win to remedy that "no income" thing.  Half the score is likes from friends, family, whoever you can sucker into clicking, so, if you would click like to vote for mine, it would go towards possibly winning me a buttload of money that I can then use to take myself to the Grand Canyon, and I would be greatly appreciative. =D  



P.S. Thanks to those who have bought stickers and donated! You helped get my husband's medicines this month so he doesn't have any more strokes!  <3

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Stalker

My family has a stalker.  I didn't realize that my internet fame would cause me problems this quickly.  I figured maybe, at some point, like when people actually knew who I was or gave a damn, I probably should invest in a post office box, but it seems I didn't do it quickly enough. And now... every time we leave the house, he is out there, staring at us menacingly. Or maybe she, I can't really tell.

Pictured here covertly hiding behind flowers while still staring at me.


I learned long ago that bunnies were not to be trusted.
In college, my friends Laura and Heather got me a bunny, an adorable ginger buck, or possibly a doe... I don't know. I really have a deficit in telling the sex of rabbits, but I named it Futurix, and I loved it... okay, I loved the idea of it... I didn't really love that it had free reign of my room as I had no cage and it escaped the makeshift corral I had set up for it in my spare closet and it decided the best thing to do when escaping a cozy closet hutch is to get up on its owner's bed and pee and poop all over it.



I also didn't love that I had to learn the hard way that bunnies can growl as I tried to gingerly get it out from under the bed where it was also pooping and peeing and I was met with fierce glowing eyes and satanic snarling.



 Or that bunnies could star in their own disgusting bunny internet shock videos (if only I had had another bun and a cup) because they eat their own poop, although I guess it was just helping with the removal of the tons of bunny poo it had deposited all over my room. Recycling, right?



After a day or two of the bunny and I tolerating each other's existences, I realized that it was possibly more my fault than the bunny's and I gave him/her back to Laura, who promptly litter trained it and gave it a happy life where no one judged it for eating it's own waste.

But that doesn't preclude the fact that I am now being stalked by a bunny... because it is out there...staring at us... with its fur, and its twitchy nose, and the nibbling... the nibbling!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Barbies Vs Monsters

When I was a kid, I thought of everything in terms of Barbies.  That is, I would look at a baked potato container from Wendy's and think OMG, BARBIE HOT TUB! Every piece of plastic junk I came across was re-imagined as some sort of functional piece for my non-existent Barbie Dream House, which I suppose would have been more like a Barbie Squatter Pad, with furniture made out of food containers and product packaging and walls made of record album covers that opened out, or were precariously leaned against each other (no, no, those aren't record covers, those are full-sized wall murals of Prince and Cyndi Lauper!).



Now, I see my nephew doing similar things, but he re-imagines everything as monsters.
At the bank the other day, he warned me that the pneumatic tube carrier that you send your deposits by in those see-through canisters, was actually a monster that likes to eat your money, and it does so by pretending to be the bank tube sucky thing.



Which, I suppose is a pretty ingenious way of getting food, if your preference was money. 

And all the while, I thought it was a Barbie Transporter.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Brilliant Idea #2 - Night Light Channel

I have another brilliant idea.

As I have discussed previously, reading makes me tired.  And as I have also discussed previously, I sometimes suffer from insomnia.  So when watching a movie while insomniacked doesn't produce the desired result of putting me to sleep, I turn to reading an actual book.
The problem is, my husband DOESN'T suffer from insomnia, and while I can get away with watching TV while he is asleep, I cannot turn on a light to read as that has the effect of waking him up and making him look at me meanly which makes me sad, which makes me less likely to get to sleep.

As it is, I often end up reading by the combined light of my laptop screen and the ambient light of the television on mute, but I am regularly thwarted by darkening scenes and rapidly flickering light levels (For the record, Saturday Night Fever, terrible to read by, as is any horror movie, ever.  Cooking shows seem best as they don't have much reason to dim the lights). But here is wherein my idea blossoms.

I think that there should be a cable channel called "The Night Light Channel" and it should just be steady bright white light.  It could support itself by having ads for books or magazines on the bottom, but they would need meet a standard that would not change the luminance much.

And of course, it does not only have to be used as a reading light, but it could be used to look for your bra while trying to quietly escape a stranger's house after a one night stand, or to light a child's room so that they can be sure there are no zombies sneaking up on them, or to check your alarm clock when you wake up at 4 am and can't be sure if you set it to 7 am or 7 pm.

Perhaps this is something that Amazon.com should look into, to go along with their Kindle, since it isn't backlit.  That way, people can use their  awesome product with ease while giving them an extra place to advertise their OTHER products.

BOOYAH!  Why have I not been hired as a supreme idea-haver extraordinaire yet?

(Because you give away all your ideas on your blarg, my husband says...)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More Than Meets the Eye

My nephew is currently obsessed with Transformers so while planning the invitations for his 5th birthday party, I became inspired. Enjoy my random Optimus Prime art.




Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Sticker Sale - Narwhal!

These stickers are only available during June. It is a limited edition sticker with only 40 available for sale. With shipping, each sticker is $1.75 USD. You can choose to send me more if you like, in case you are feeling generous, but of course, you don't have to.

 Each hand cut sticker is around 3.75 inches high by about 2.5 inches wide and has a matte finish. Will be sent first class mail by USPS.  For those outside the US, please choose the outside US option for the first sticker, and regular $1.75 for any additional sticker in the same order.







Sorry, this sticker is no longer for sale!

(for those viewing by RSS, there is a button to purchase the sticker on the actual post)












Why am I selling stickers?

My husband lost his job in May. I'd like to pick up some slack until he is able to find a new job. Plus, stickers are awesome, are within my skill set, and I like being able to not be stressed constantly about money. There will be more limited edition and one of a kind items for sale each month, as well.


More?


 The "more" is just an option to pay a little bit extra, if one feels like it. One of my favorite musicians offers her albums for "60 cents or more," online and I wanted to do something similar, but I couldn't do it the way I wanted to because I needed to keep track of how many items sell, since the stickers are limited edition.

On average, I spend 2-3 hours a day working on stuff for the blarg. Sometimes up to 6 hours a day. It's unpaid. I don't get ad revenue until I reach a GIANT amount, which will take time, doing it the legal way (still).  I try to post 5 days a week... so if someone wanted to pay me more, out of the kindness of their heart, I wanted to give them the option! 

The Grand Canyon Incident

I've become convinced, over the years, that my parents were enrolled in some sort of incentive program with the US Government or possibly a secret military experiment* in which they were paid to do crappy things and then send in detailed information on how I reacted to said government agency. Perhaps some sort of psychological warfare deal.

 My parents are generally good people, did lots of volunteer work, were supportive of our extracurricular activities, helped us with our  homework, threw some of the best birthday parties ever, but every once in a while, they did things that were so crappily out of character, I just cannot explain it any other way than to say someone was encouraging them to fuck with me.

One of these times is now referred to as "The Grand Canyon Incident."  I've never been to the Grand Canyon. I spent a year living in Arizona with my grandparents when I was in first grade; we lived in the suburbs of Phoenix while my mom and dad were stationed in Okinawa, Japan.  I am fairly certain that I wasn't aware of its existence then, because if I had been, I probably would have pestered people to take me, immediately.

However, by the time I had finished 10th grade, I had totally seen the episode of the Brady Bunch where they visited, one time when I was home sick from school, and I had also seen National Lampoon's Vacation, and at some point I had gotten my hands on 1950s postcards of the Grand Canyon and goddammit, I wanted to go. So, when it was announced that we would be visiting my grandparents in Arizona and I was told that we would be driving a rental car across the state to sightsee, I immediately put in my bid to go visit that amazing giant hole... (I don't want to say Grand Canyon over and over again but all of the descriptive stand-ins I can think of sound like dirty dirty euphemisms) and my request was met with whole-hearted consent. "No problem! Sounds great! We'll go!"

Now, I must divulge that, in my family, nagging is the main cause of plans being canceled, and I know this, and I have a problem with getting excited and talking about something ad nauseum and so, after having been met with "You had to go and say something and ruin it for everyone!" many times prior in my life,  I was VERY careful to keep my big mouth shut after I was told that my vacation request would be fulfilled.  I, of course, wanted to sing songs of joy at the top of my lungs at getting to go, as we drove through the desert, which would have sounded a lot like:


( Come on, sing along! "OMG THE GRAND CANYON! HOW I LOVE YOUR RUSTY HUES! YOU ARE THE BEST HOLE THAT I'VE NEVER SEEN, BUT I WILL SEE YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOON!")

 But again, I knew I could only chance about 1.75 mentions before I pissed off my parents enough that they would snap and cancel the plan, so I sat in the back of the rented white Ford Taurus and swelled with very quiet excitement inside, while listening to Skid Row tapes on my off-brand Walkman, as signs began to appear announcing the distance to my vacation Valhalla.

And finally, I knew it was safe! I was in the clear, and so I pointed to the right and said "DAD! IT'S THE NEXT TURN OFF! THE GRAND CANYON! 2.2 MILES! OMG YAY!" and my dad looked over at my mom as I bounced in the back seat and squealed silently, and then, studying the look between them, I said "Aren't we gonna go?" and I was met with, "Eh... I don't really feel like going," and then we drove past the turn off, and then I died inside.

And it didn't occur to me at the time, but surely it was an experiment.  They probably got the crappy rental car comped from the government, and it was most likely wired with cameras so they could study the reactions of the 15 year old female subject experiencing the effects of complete and total devastation and confusion, because the government are the kind of assholes that would do something like that. Right?



And I've yet to see the friggen thing. I want to.  I need to. I will... or else.


(* since I did grow up on a military base and spent a lot of time in Naval Hospitals early on- they say it was because of Agent Orange, but I know better...)
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