Friday, December 16, 2016

Not The Theme I Was Looking For This Week

This isn't a real post. It's not even a Star Wars post. Mostly because I'm still not really up to writing a lot yet. But I did have a WTF moment, so: 

Yesterday I found a news headline warning Canadians NOT to try to shove the moose licking their cars, because 1000lb moose can be...fussy...about being shoved. 

And, also, it's fairly pointless AND likely to piss off said 1000lb car-licking moose. 

But apparently in Canada (and, not gonna lie, potentially in northern Minnesota) people are bafflingly willing to try to push a giant cranky deer out of the way, and have to have a warning issued to not be so goddamned stupid? 

I'm not kidding. It wasn't even on HuffPo: it was BBC. I discovered a website advertising "bargain moose" in my list of referring pages. 

What exactly constitutes a BARGAIN moose, as opposed to a full price moose? 

Is it the level of car-licking crankiness involved? 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Lo There Do I See My Beloved Thor

I love you, my dearest Furface. Thank you for giving me nearly 12 years of love, protection, companionship, and important lessons. You leave a crater behind, and we will miss you forever. 

May Valhalla be full of bunnies and cheeseburgers and snuggling and fetch, and may the gods watch over you. Don't nip Slepnir, honey - even you can't evade eight hooves.   

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

This post is nothing but random crap and makes no sense.

I think I need a do-over for the past couple of months.
A mulligan.
A reboot.

I haven't written anything real since August. I haven't even really done any decent blog posts; my current journal has gathered more dust than ink lately; the book isn't done.

The book isn't done.

The motherfucking book isn't done. Sigh.

I had every intention of finishing by the end of NaNoWriMo, since I didn't hit my deadline of Halloween. Yeah. I don't see hitting 60k+ words by next week. And instead, my internal helpful Smeagol, happy to encourage and help as long as I feed him regularly, has become all Gollum-y.

Intentions are meaningless. Nasty writerses.

I'm listening to various Disturbed  and Five Finger Death Punch  youtube videos as I write this...seems fitting. For me, and I suppose and the general air of anger permeating pretty much everything right now...which I'm not touching in this post but am thinking about.  

I'd love to blame this on politics, or my recent potential medical scare (all is well, it was just an unpleasant week, and to those who gave me social distractions or direct knowing support, thanks. You helped, even if you didn't know it.), or watching the decline of my elderly dogs. But the truth is less clear, and no-one's feet deserve the credit or blame except mine. I'm muddy inside, all churning and dammed up (that's not quite the same as DAMNED up, although I suppose some doubts and fears can be described as demons...which really just reminds me that The Bloggess recently posted something about demons and tiny merkins. Feel free to look up both the post AND the meaning of "merkin". Have fun.)

I have roughly 17,000 ideas floating around in my brain at this moment. Sitting down and actually getting one out seems to be just infuriatingly complicated when ALL THE CHARACTERS are pounding at my skull at the same time, and I can't focus on a single story long enough to finish.


On a side note, You Tube just switched to Fever Ray's "If I had a heart", the theme song for Vikings. And so I stopped to watch the video.

And my favorite scenes from the entire series are in the 2nd verse, where Ragnar catches a glimpse of Odin wandering the battlefield among all the ravens as he chooses the slain, and Valkyries soar in the stormclouds above.

I'm not giving up. I'm not even complaining...I'm pissed off and frustrated, not sad.  I just need more discipline, or a break in the deluge lately, or the ability to switch off everything else. Or maybe I'm heading for the Hatter's tea party. I don't know. But I'm not done.

Except with this post, because holy shit you bothered to get all the way HERE when I'm angry AND flailing with words? Go you! And I'm sorry.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Groupon Offered "Junk Removal" Today. I'm Disturbed.

Then again, maybe I'm the only one who thinks of this in 12 year old terms. 

Of course, I also received a bunch of offers for viagra/cialis and an inappropriate offer for surprise anal. (Um, can I just say that, at least theoretically, pretty much no sexual act should be a surprise?) 

If I don't think about it too hard, the whole thing is funny as hell. Yahoo still thinks I'm a dude with ED and questionable friends. 

If I start thinking about it more, I start wondering if we'll ever get to a point as a culture that sexually inexperienced young chicks are the be-all-end-all for ishy older men. 

Just once I'd love to see a spam ad for a confident, experienced, hot woman (not a GIRL) looking for fun. Not that I'd answer...but you know, at least it'd be a little variety. 

Or I could just delete my spam inbox without bothering to look. I know, I know. It's probably time for some Bloggess coloring books. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

An Argument for Flowers and Frivolity

So I'm not usually a flowers sort of girl. If I have a yen to have some in the house I'll often just buy some myself, and I tend to befriend (with or without a romantic relationship attached) practical, generally awesome men who insist they do not ever give flowers to anyone. OF COURSE I considered the practical, generally awesome women in my group as well: they're about a 50/50 split for and against, but those who don't do the flower thing usually don't feel a need to give a reason other than "I don't like flowers." See counterpoint #2.

At Renaissance Festival, one of my fabulous friends had a rose sent to me anonymously, just because she knew it would brighten my day, and ever since then I've been rolling the usual arguments against gifting flowers in my head when discussing the custom with friends/lovers/etc.

1) "Flowers die/Why would I buy someone I care about a present that dies/How is that a symbol of my affection?" 

So, let's blow off the obvious argument that physical beauty is temporary, because insisting flowers have no value because their physical beauty only lasts a short time can be extended to other things. You your hot partner who may not be so hot later. I'm sure that's not the intent of the argument.

Everything dies. Pets die: do we NOT have a pet because we'll outlive them? Cars die. Gardens die. For crying out loud, even electronics die. The argument against buying flowers because they die is ridiculous: what's unsaid is "they die too fast."

Ultimately, it is based on a faulty assumption that the person will outlive the flowers. There are no guarantees that any of us will still be here tomorrow. Flowers are an indication that you appreciate the NOW- the current state of your recipient's beauty, the current affectionate thought you had for them, the current state of your relationship.

2) "I'm not spending money on something so frivolous/I don't like flowers."

To be fair, I hear this one less, but I have still heard it, and it's the most annoying reason. The argument is just...sigh. It's a lie. There is value in frivolous things. OH DO LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. How often do you pay for beer/pizza in a bar, or get Chinese takeout/delivery when you could make groceries you already have in your fridge at home?

What you're really saying is YOU don't value the effect a flower has on your partner enough to pay for it, but you're happy to pay for frivolous things YOU value. Hmm. So, that becomes a "when you purchase something expressly to give as a gift, do you buy something YOU like, or do you buy something you know THEY like?" discussion.

I think there IS an argument for buying someone flowers if s/he has expressed a desire to receive them and values them as a gift, simply because it would make them happy regardless of your feelings on the topic. My ex-husband and I had almost this exact discussion over a decade ago about roses, and he did occasionally bring them home or send them to me even though he still thinks they're silly, because he knew it mattered to me. I loved that he made the gestures, because I knew he did it purely to give me something I liked.

Today, Starbucks is the MOST frivolous thing I spend my money on. I mean really...I recognize the terrible silliness and waste. And yet, taking me out for coffee or bringing me my favorite drink when I wake up is one of the kindest things a person can do for me: it makes my whole day, and I'm not lying when I say I feel absolutely LOVED because of it. Because of a stupid $6 glass of caffeine and chocolate that we all know is ridiculous.

3) "Flowers aren't useful, they just sit there." 

Let's be clear that giving flowers isn't really a physical gift. Sure, they're pretty and smell nice, but that's after the recipient has already gotten the real present: the FEELING. The rose I received at Fest didn't last longer than a day or two, but that was weeks ago and I still remember the feelings I had when I got it: surprise, joy, a little bafflement that anyone would bother doing such a gesture for me.

Flowers impart an instant "aww, someone thought of me" feeling. The feeling can be romantic, homey, happy, warm fuzzies of friendship, or any of a bazillion variations. Receiving a flower is an instant of brightness to a day. Flowers in a home conveys a happy, inviting energy right along with their beauty and scent, not unlike burning candles or incense.

4) "Well, why don't women buy ME flowers?"

Ah, the WORST of all arguments, because it's a classic turn-the-topic-back-to-me tactic which pretty much indicates there's no reason to try to rationally discuss it any further. Ultimately, this argument become a moot point. If you repeatedly vocalize your distaste for something as a gift, why on earth would anyone would give that gift to you?

Look, I'm not saying anyone should change their mind if they really hate giving flowers over something else - I'm just offering counterpoints to the reasons I hear most often. Life is often dark and difficult and just plain exhaustingly hard. Flowers might be frivolous, but life NEEDS a little bit of that sometimes. My particular circle of friends and loved ones, men and women, are generally excellent: thoughtful, considerate, kind, and both frivolous and practical. I'm lucky that way, or maybe I'm particularly choosy that way in the people with whom I surround myself. And because of it, I still expect if I want a dozen roses on my table I'll need to pick them up myself. Ultimately, I'm good with that. And speaking of, it's a gloomy day today. I think my counter vase needs some colorful residents - Cub flower section, here I come.

After Starbucks. Priorities, people. Priorities.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dear Universe: Point to You.

So, this* showed up in my mail yesterday. I am, indeed, amazed.

And not un-coincidentally, I laughed the sort of cathartic, belly-wrenching, tear-streaming, choking snort-laugh that only happens when ALL THE THINGS stifled inside are suddenly and shockingly jarred loose. Those of you who reached, offering kindness and chocolate and sandbar (or alcohol bar) support, I love you. Thank you for helping me until I found a way to shore.

Which I have, Universe, you colossal weirdo. Because, who the fuck expects THIS in the mailbox? Clearly, the photographer surprised her: of all the candid camera  shots...

Pretty sure SHE'S just how far she can get her own tongue up her nose.

*For the record, I did look up the organization. It's a non-profit dedicated to helping people not only get fed, but start their own livestock farms for continued prosperity. So while I can make fun of the catalog itself, (from what little research I did) it seems like a cool concept. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Adventures in Depression Pissed Off-Ed-Ness

Ah depressive angry insomnia, hello. It's been a long time. You're unwelcome, but since you're here...I'd like to take this midnight opportunity to rant, if I may.

 In the past couple of weeks I've NOT punched at least three people delivering the same flippant message under various guises: the perky cheerleader type, the concerned counselor type, the self-help blunt type. Do you know I've gotten to the point in these episodes that I don't bother explaining why that's not helpful? I actually just nod or say ok and change the subject, because I suppose I presume it's both a discomfort and a lack of experiential reference on their part.

Have you ever gone swimming in the deep end of the pool? Out in the middle of a lake? A couple miles off shore in the ocean? Ever find yourself suddenly exhausted and floundering, over your head?

Imagine that sensation in the pit of your stomach, your arms aching, legs so tired you can barely keep your chin out of the water, head tipped back to get as much air as possible in case a wave shoots water up your nose.

Now, imagine doing that in the dark.
In the sea.
In a raging storm.

The wind is blowing water into your eyes, howling around you. Waves tower over you, and you can't get your bearings between the crushing rounds shoving your head under. You've swallowed so much icy saltwater you gag every time the water smashes your face, and you feel nauseated even as you try to keep your head tilted to the sky for as much air as you can gulp between hits. You have NO IDEA which direction shore might be, and you're too tired to actually swim there anyway. Something huge just bumped into your legs under the surface. Is it flotsam in the storm, or a shark? Do you try to swim in some direction and hope you find anything to hold onto, or do you tread water and wait for the storm to pass? Or do you let yourself sink into the seductively quiet underside of the waves and whatever's circling beneath?

Now, imagine someone floats by on a raft and says "come on dude, just change your attitude and you'll be fine" or "you just have to put energy in" or "can't you just feel better?"...

Yeah. I want to punch them.

I mean, obviously I want to be this way, right? I already KNOW it's inconvenient and worrisome to those who love me, unfun in pretty much every way for however long it lasts, and uncomfortable for those who don't know what to say. Of course I choose to do this on occasion. It must be for the know, the same attention I refuse to accept and generally push away to protect those I really don't want to infect with a pirate's Black Spot of being a troublesome burden.

The truth is, it's a cycle I have to just ride out, and the severity isn't usually so bad (a good night's sleep and I'm often fine). Exhaustion and stress make it exponentially worse, and when it's really awful it's very similar to the panic of being too far from shore and too tired to swim back in (uh, yes, that happened to me once, and let me tell you the panic that hits when you suddenly realize the clear water is actually about 60 feet deep and there are fucking SHARKS in the ocean is goddamned terrifying).

Annoyingly (mostly for those who love me), my own hang-ups prevent my acceptance of a lot of help (which I absolutely recognize is a douchey thing of me to do to people, but there you go).

Hell, the single thing I really need when at the lowest, the most terrible and dark drowning stage, is the one thing I can't and won't accept from anyone because holy shit that's a level of vulnerable I now avoid like the plague. Yes, I'm my own catch-22.

Recognizing it isn't the same as just changing my fucking mind about being IN it. Sometimes, the storm just has to be endured. If you're lucky, someone offers to be a sandbar or driftwood or even a rock: a place to rest for a little while.

If not, you tread water and hope the thing in there with you is a whale, not a shark.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Fortune Favors the Weird

So, I collect "interesting" fortune cookie fortunes. I don't put "in bed" on the end when I read them out loud...mostly because I've gotten some impressively awful ones over the years.

If you're feeling down, try throwing yourself into your work. Or anywhere other than work, because what the fuck will make you feel LESS happy when you're depressed than drowning in work?? Why not throw yourself into a hot bath with wine and chocolate, or in bed with your significant other, or on the floor with a cuddly dog?

Avert misunderstanding by calm, poise, and balance. And good aim when you lose calm, poise, and balance and start throwing things. Not that I throw things. I'm more likely to go to the range or the heavy-bag for an which case I reiterate: good aim.

Deep faith eliminates fear. So does a deep bottle of wine. Just sayin.

If you love something, set it free...if it returns, keep it and love it forever. Unless it's cake. If it's cake, eat it all and enjoy every delicious bite, because who knows when you'll get cake again?

BLANK I've gotten no less than three blank fortunes. It's the universe warning me about the zombie apocalypse, I'm sure. See? WHO KNOWS when you'll get cake again?

Cookies go stale. Fortunes are forever. WELL. That's not ominous at all.

All things have an end. As if the blank fortunes needed to be clearer in their DOOM DOOM DOOM messaging...

Fortune Not Found: Abort, Retry, Ignore? FUCKING REALLY?? REALLY??

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

3 Days in the Debauchery Den

Yesterday, I went on a tour of the Hoover Dam. The tour guide on the bus gave us all sorts of nifty Vegas facts, including the following: Las Vegas Boulevard (aka the Strip) is the lowest point of the valley. 

No. Doubt. 

So, my first time in the Sodom and Gomorrah of the United States involved only mild debauchery, because I"m cheap and don't drink I spent my money on important things (like...massage, and entertainment of the not-hooker variety).

1) I'm pretty sure after landing we taxied back from NV to LAX.

2) The cab driver warned me that EVERYONE gets lost walking up and down the strip, and here's helpful map websites, and everyone gets lost in the casinos so don't panic here's helpful map websites of the interiors. Honestly, she was pretty awesome for that 15 minutes I was in the car.

3) It's probably helpful that I spend occasional time in the local big casinos at home, because while it's just as noisy and people-ful, the place I stayed was not overwhelmingly more than any other casino.

4) Starbucks is 2x the price at home. Sigh.

5) I discovered Vegas is JUST LIKE Renaissance Festival after hours, only more hygienic. I was walking the resort complex at 9:15 in the morning on my first day and not 10 minutes after leaving my room was propositioned by a Brit who wanted one last American fling before he flew home.  He was pretty cute, and way too young for me, and bolder than I'd be used to had I not seen his type before. He amusingly went from charming to crude to absently wandering away. Turns out training with drunk dirty festies is excellent for deflecting "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" attitudes with humor.

6) Tour guide lady, Jeannie (who really was fucking AWESOME: hilarious and snarky) said the correct answer to "what did you do in Vegas" is "WALK." So true. I wandered and people watched for a good chunk of Monday before the temp hit 100, and found the following tourist categories (locals and workers are easily spotted by their total lack of concern for anything on the strip):

  • Dazed, overwhelmed, and terrified to be robbed. They shamble along the strip, tired and dehydrated, clutching their purses with a death grip and staring wide eyed at the spectacle that is the Vegas resort lineup. Often seen desperately trying to figure out just how far it REALLY is from the MGM to the Bellagio (and can we really walk there) on their phones. 
  • Drunk at 10am. Death grip is on the beer/wine/mixed drink in their hand, and they stumble more than shamble. 
  • The attentive. People watchers, comfortable taking in sights without looking constantly at maps. Not gripping purses or bags, but watching carefully and entertained by the variety. 
7) Met a charming couple from Pennsylvania on the strip. They were in their late 60's and thought I looked like their granddaughter a little, who is 10 years younger than me, so bonus. We were sharing a resting bench for a few minutes. They told me all about their bum son in law and teenagers in their neighborhood being too lazy to mow/shovel. It was thoroughly fun, and they did not steal my wallet. 

8) The tour bus driver's son had heart surgery at the Mayo clinic this year. Because I'm a listener. 

9) There is a gun range here where I can shoot sniper rifles, machine guns, and a GRENADE LAUNCHER. I'm coming back, just for that. 

10) A very slim and stacked goth Elvira look alike wandered through the casino last night. I wondered how much double stick tape she had keeping that dress on her boobs. Honestly, Elvira did it better, but it was a really decent attempt. 

11) GAME OF THRONES slot machine. 

12) Emeril's. YUM. 

13) NOT the Colicchio stakehouse. $250 for a fucking 8oz steak is just way the hell outside even a powerball budget for me, on principle alone. Ugh. 

14) Spa. It's the single really girly thing I do, particularly if on vacation and can justify the expense. I justified the expense. I'm sore, and it was an excellent afternoon. 

15) Hoover Dam. I looked over the edge. It's a great place to feel very small in the world, and while I admire the feat itself a little part of me is sad at the taming of a river so wild everyone said it was untameable. Then again, I enjoy that my parents in LA have water and that irrigation from the Colorado via the Dam's help provides a huge amount of food in this country. Also, because I'm a total nerd I DID walk from Nevada to Arizona and back again on the bridge. OF COURSE I took pictures. 

16) POOL. Because I'm a pasty scandahoovian, and after 2.5 days I'm peopled out, so sun and water and reading is the thing this afternoon. 

17) Tonight I'll dress up and see a show (there's a Cirque show in the hotel), and tomorrow I'm going home. 

I seriously cannot imagine how anyone could spend a whole week here - in three days I spent way more than normal. But, if the deal is right I'd also totally come back and take another tour with Jeannie, walk out on that terrifying Grand Canyon glass bottomed bridge, lose some money, fire a grenade launcher, hit up the Shelby experience, and walk until my feet cry. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Saving People From The Wrong Dangers: Epic Fail, CDC.

Apparently, the CDC had to issue YET ANOTHER warning to stupid humans who have a penchant for making out with chickens. Oh no, this isn't the first time people have been warned about the dangers of kissing chickens, and that makes me a little sad for the human race. Except, maybe they'll eventually take themselves out of the gene pool.

Because said idiots are catching salmonella by kissing and cuddling chickens and, per the warning, allowing chickens to wander about the house, including in the bedroom.

So...salmonella can now be considered an STD as well as a food-safety illness?

I'd really like to ask what the hell is wrong with people, but I suspect it's the same sort of freaks who try to make out with geese at the Renaissance Festival petting zoo, get bitten, and ask security if they'll get rabies.

Because goose rabies is a thing? Um, no. Also, people who are dumb enough to ask about goose rabies CLEARLY don't know how awful rabies actually is, if they're daring to make out with any creature they think MIGHT carry it. What the actual fuck.

I think we have bigger things to worry about than Darwin candidates who do inappropriate things with fowl.

Like clowns.

Random terrifying clowns who stand on the roadside or TRY TO LURE CHILDREN INTO THE WOODS.

This is actually happening in the Carolinas right now. Even Stephen King is scared of the idea. Now, I'm all for a good terrifying Halloween prank, but I'm a little baffled that the local police are blowing it off when there's the whole luring people-spawn into dark foresty places aspect. Obviously, some supernatural or alien terror is masquerading as clowns...and is really a giant spider in the sewer...wait, um...never mind.

Seriously, instead of going after the creepy creepers dressed as horrifying clown things, the local police appear to be more concerned about the ONE smart guy who went after the clown lurking in his yard with a machete.

I say GO YOU, machete dude. I'd be pretty pissed off to find one of those infernally cheerful creatures of hell in my yard, too...

Where's my machete?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Be Careful What You Ask For?

Every once in a while, people who aren't COMPLETELY horrified at the stuff I think up wonder where the hell I get some of my story ideas. I had a nifty example today...

While sitting in the girl-doctor's office waiting room, no less (before being mildly annoyed that my appointment was being cancelled via phone while I was in line to check in at the reception desk...sigh), the following thoughts strung themselves together in my brainpan and swirled around awhile.

1) Salt was a much sought-after item in ancient times, and could be quite expensive (it was a serious moneymaker for empires to own salt mines).

2) MANY ancient religious practices and beliefs included acceptance and regular interaction with the supernatural. Ghosts, demons, djinn, fairies, sirens/mermaids, etc.

2) Salt, in ritual, is used for protection against malevolent supernatural/spiritual activity. This is not limited to neo-pagan practices: superstitious people still fling salt over their left shoulder if it's been spilled, to ward off bad luck.

  • If salt was relatively scarce outside of coastal areas or next to salt deposits AND used specifically for warding off demonic possessions, evil ghostly attacks, etc., did stuff like the Exorcist happen more often because every household didn't have salt available for protections?
  • Does that mean wealthy societies now who have salt on the table every day are protected from said attacks?
  • If they ARE...would an apocalypse (zombie or otherwise) result in an increase in possessions/activity as well?

And so, my brain decided that post-apocalyptic survivors would have to deal with demons and the like even within their protections unless they happen to have someone in their new society who can banish and protect them all. And what would THAT look like?

Yeah. That's the shit my head comes up with when I'm bored. Be glad you don't live in here people: it's a weird crowded space...

I write to make room.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

I'm Not Even That Caffeinated Today.

I'm taking a break from the book to blog, because what's better for a writing break than...more writing? I don't know how to explain that it IS different. So, while my bloodthirsty eagle soars over the steppe and considers human snacks (in my head, people, in my head), here are some random items of note, none of which are enough for a real post:

  • Someone found my blog by googling "pithy snake" which I find both disturbing and intriguing. 
  • I put out mouse traps because fall = the critters in the crawlspace attempting to invade. Baited with peanut butter. 
  • Fucking ants ate ALL the goddamned peanut butter off both traps in such an efficient and interesting manner (seriously, it's like they had their own tiny highway or fire brigade bucket line) I just let them have it all. 
  • So...Dear Lowes: I need rodent poison for the crawlspace, peanut butter for the traps in my house, and ant killer.
  • The AC guy told me all about his divorce last week while he was waiting for his counterpart to come help him fix the compressor. AC guy is a new one - taxi drivers, plane passengers, library patrons, and all manner of random acquaintances are all on the list of "strangers who tell me all their personal stuff". I am amused. 
  • AC guy totally paid for his listening session by going into the crawlspace to turn the outside water back on, despite having an expressed fear of spiders. He couldn't find the spigot, but did confirm creatures of the furry AND arachnid variety in abundance in the fucking crawlspace. 
  • Dear Lowes: please add a shop vac (for mouse poop and spiderwebs), some sort of Shelob killer, and perhaps a person braver than I am to venture down there. 
  • A couple people have asked in the past why I don't just go get a counseling degree and open a practice. I actually have an answer because I've considered it. Were I to get a degree it would be in trauma counseling, not relationship/marriage counseling. And in general, while I'll give advice if asked I try really hard to ONLY be an ear and let people figure out their shit on their own. I seem to be found when I'm needed by those who need an ear (let's be clear that in the cases to which I'm referring, it's not ME they're looking for, it's a sympathetic and/or non-judgmental human willing to listen), and fuck making a living off that - I'd be exhausted all the time. 
  • In Spam mail I read the subject line too fast and could've sworn the email said "Dental Breast Implants", which I found to be a heartily disturbing mental image, and a seriously funny ad. Sadly, it was really for normal dental implants, no boobs involved. 
  • In all honesty, I took a break from both the book AND the blog to watch this week's episode of Killjoys on SyFy. If you aren't watching this show, what the fuck is WRONG with you? You're missing absolute gold. And OH LOOKY THERE, the whole first season is streaming on Syfy's website. 
I have another couple thousand words to go today, so this is the end of my not-post. There is another goddamned cellar spider in the corner of the ceiling at the top of my stairs. Last time one of those dudes hung out there, a wolf spider the size of my palm came to eat him. No, thank you, 8 legged wonders of horror. I appreciate your function OUTSIDE the house. 

Vacuum, then write. 

PS: It's 5:30pm in August, and it's 66 degrees out. YES YES YES!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book Review: The Babylon Rite (Tom Knox)

One of the dangers of spending so much time writing in the B&N coffee shop is the lurid attraction of all those unread pages.

Lo they do call to me... *ahem*

And so in the middle of writing the Prometheus book I was sidetracked by The Babylon Rite, a fascinating mash-up of Templar mystery and disturbing ancient Peruvian archaeology. Yes, I was also intrigued at the idea, and therefore got sucked into Knox's fast paced story of an unemployed journalist, a young archaeological grad student, and a couple of dead professors.

Adam Blackwood is writing a puff piece on a famous historian and his connection to Rosslyn Chapel. THE Rosslyn Chapel of The Davinci Code fame: a subject of both scorn and deprecation by the main character, as he makes a snarky comment or two regarding the influx of tourism in the area since Dan Brown's story became popular.

The professor in question, famous for debunking Templar myths, whispers only that it's all real and it's all here before running off and, surprisingly, driving his car into a stone wall in a mad suicide. And thus Blackwood is sucked into an odd mystery by the professor's daughter, a woman convinced her father had been involved in something bigger and scarier and was most decidedly NOT suicidal. Worse, his "suicide" seems to be similar to a string of truly horrific deaths popping up around London.

Did I mention seriously disturbing archaeology? That too. While all the drama is occurring in the UK, Jessica Silverton is in Peru with her (rather stereotypical) lover and boss, the head of an archaeological excavation of the Moche. Her story, seemingly separate from Blackwood's, follows what happens to a person who discovers the "mythological significance" of ancient paintings depicting people severing their own limbs or having sex with sacrifices (that would be during said sacrifice and immediately after) and/or animals was not mythologically significant at all. They weren't allegorical images: they were accurate recordings of real events.

The way their plots eventually intertwine with each other is really well done: the idea that Moche civilization is in any way connected to the secret Templar initiation rite is pretty inventive and not at all implausible when the mystery is revealed. However, I personally found the big twist that actually tied them together fairly disappointing. To be completely fair, that's likely because I rather enjoy the whole ancient conspiracy theme, and so I had an expectation I perhaps should not have entertained.

Also, while Knox has an excellent knack for writing really creepy violence, he doesn't do a lot to develop the characters themselves. I think the torturous villains would've been more effective if I gave a hoot about any of the main characters, but really none of them were much more than cardboard cutouts. I actually got the impression that there was development behind them, but that it had been edited out of the story to try to make it more fast-paced, because Knox's writing is truly evocative. I was disappointed to find myself ambivalent in places I wouldn't have been if I'd been vested in the character's worlds. Interestingly the back cover blurbs include something about this being a tale "peppered with sex" which is horrendously incorrect. There is a truly awful rape scene (yes, dear author, rape is still rape even if the victim's body responds...a comment which made me want to hit something), and there's a myriad of inventive violence. Decidedly not a story for weak stomachs.

All in all it wasn't a book that left me thinking hard about the world, the characters, or even the awful things that happened after I put it down. But I'd read another of his works for an afternoon escape anytime I'm feeling like an alternative to an action movie.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Review: The Bourbon Thief (Tiffany Reisz)

I'll admit it. I wasn't sure about this one.

Despite having read all of the Original Sinners series and most of the short stories/novellas set in that universe, The Bourbon Thief back cover copy didn't catch me. And so, foolishly, I started it at 10pm the night I got it.

DUMB DUMB DUMB. You'd think, after reading and rereading eight prior books, I'd learn that Ms. Reisz keeps me up until the damn thing is finished and I'd think about it for days afterward.

The Bourbon Thief is a richly written sordid labyrinth of secrets revealed in slow, savored sips. Ridiculously wealthy Cooper McQueen takes a hot, mysterious woman home for the night and, of course, she steals his million dollar bottle of bourbon. Except, Paris says the bottle is rightfully hers, and promises by the end of her sad story he'll not only let her keep the bottle, he'll apologize for having it in the first place.

The book jumps between today and the late 1970's as Paris doles out the details of the Maddox family legacy to Cooper. She takes her time telling him the story of Tamara Maddox, teenage heiress to the Maddox fortune, built on a post Civil War slave's sale which funded the beginning of Red Thread bourbon distillery in Kentucky. Cooper is fascinated by both the woman and her attempt to keep him from pressing charges for theft.

In 1978, sixteen year old Tamara loses her spoiled attitude along with her innocence while navigating the family's terrible secrets. Every scheming plot, every horrid fight between her and her mother, every action taken in revenge twists and turns her life in unexpected directions. The love story that threads its way through the book is just as unconventional and intense as her other works, just in different ways. Plots I can predict bore the crap out of me, and The Bourbon Thief is a maze that takes the reader down completely different (and often disturbing) paths as Paris weaves her tale to convince Cooper the bottle of 150 year old bourbon belongs to her.

I found both Cooper and Paris to be less developed characters than the rest, cutouts there purely to move the story along with narration. Cooper never develops beyond the horny rich dude who doesn't really have much on the line here (after all, what is a $1m bottle of booze to a billionaire in the grand scheme of things?), but Paris's background becomes clearer as the book progresses, giving her a measure of humanity that makes her less of a narrator and more of human character with complex motivations. Those in Tamara's story, however, are the fully developed people spanning human strengths and frailties I've come to expect from Ms. Reisz. They have measures of both good and evil: not one person in Tamara's world is without their own motivations for their actions, however vile or excellent.

As with Ms. Reisz's other works, this is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for kids. Period. If you're looking for an intense read that will keep you up 'til 2am because you can't possibly put it down until it's over, pick up The Bourbon Thief immediately.

Friday, July 29, 2016

I Heart Internet News

Blame Jay Leno for my never ending amusement at awfulsome headlines. 

Religious People Say They Don't Watch Porn. Internet Data Says Otherwise. Um, I feel like "duh"should be somewhere in this headline. Maybe even "fucking duh?". 

Catholic Bishop's Advice For Divorced, Remarried Catholics: Stop Having Sex. Clearly, he thinks they should just watch more porn. In true creepy fashion, said Bishop actually suggests remarried divorcees should live like 'brother and sister'.  I think he reads too much VC Andrews and needs to be sent back to Seminary.  

Here's how long you can look someone in the eye without creeping them out. OOH! A new skill to learn for commuting and long, uncomfortable meetings. 

How can people with narcolepsy drive safely? Um...

Stop judging ugly fruits and vegetables. You're hurting their feelings, you insensitive jerkfaces. Right before you slice them into tasty tasty salad toppings. 

Just a reminder that alligators show up in trees. What the fuck. Now they can climb goddamned trees, so in Florida you not only have to worry about SNAKES dropping out of a tree on your head (oh yeah, it happens people), but fucking ALLIGATORS can ambush you from above? Who allowed this shit? Darwin, I'm looking at you. 

Live out your dreams of frolicking with farm animals through virtual reality.  Seems like a legit alternative to Pokemon. Or internet porn? Remember the post about billy goats? Yeah. I'm stopping now. 

Starbucks is giving all US workers a raise. And, by the way, raising drink prices by 30 cents. Once, long long ago, I convinced my ex to quit smoking by saying "do you REALLY want to spend $10 a day on cigarettes?" I suppose I'm going to have to break the iced mocha addiction soon for the same reason. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Don't ALL Families Talk About This Stuff?

This isn't a real post: it's a collection of random snippets I captured in my phone during conversations with family recently, so I apologize in advance for the lack of cohesive ending.

Things my awesome relatives have said to me recently:

"Oh yeah, didn't you know billy goats attract females by pissing on their own whiskers?" This is important to know if you own a billy goat and no female goats, because apparently they will just piss on ANYTHING that walks by their pen*. Because presumably they're irritated at the lack of female goat attentions, and have an abundance of piss.

*No. I did not get pissed on by a cranky horny goat in retribution or because I look like a female goat or for any other reason. The story involved was a good 30 years ago, and will likely end up in some collection of weird family tales someday.

Also, pygmy goats are fucking adorable and leave tiny hoofprints all over the roof of a car if they can. Which is disconcerting when you're a tired high school student who goes to open your Chevy Caprice wagon (because who drove to high school in a super-cool maroon grocery-getting-tank she could barely park? THIS GIRL.) in the morning only to find devil prints the size of a quarter all over the hood and roof.

Teeny tiny demons held dance parties to bad 90's pop music on my car. I'm certain of it.

"Um, no, actually, I'm pretty sure pigs always look at people as edible." Yeah. Not kidding there: I really did always think that pigs would eat people if trained to do so (you know, like starving dogs eating Ramsey Bolton, or like the pigs in the Hannibal Lecter sequel, or that creepy serial killing farmer in Canada...yes, Canada has serial killers ABOOT).

For the record, the story that went along with this quote was rather horrifying, about a woman my grandma knew of who fell in the pen when feeding the pigs one day. A huge sow she'd raised (read - spoiled like a pet) from a piglet ATE HER CHEST AND SHOULDER.

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

Honestly, I have no further guilt at all about bacon or cute little piglet faces, because they look at us as people-bacon. Bring on the barbecue.

"Well, if the elephant is Kiki's 'sex toy' then let me know and I'll bring it home." The elephant in question - a purple stuffed animal. Kiki - a rather adorable four pound female chihuahua with a penchant for sexually abusing stuffed animals SO vigorously she humps them from one end of the room to the other. Yup, she's fixed. She doesn't care: she WILL DOMINATE ALL THE STUFFED ANIMALS. Even elephants, apparently.

And really, what better way to end a post than giving you a mental image of a tiny dog humping her way across a floor with a poor purple elephant taking it like a...well, like an elephant, I suppose.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Amazon Thinks I'm a Man-Witch

So a friend of mine forwarded me a link to a "reclaim your masculinity" dude's blog the other day, which I read and enjoyed as another facet to views gender roles and equality (a subject which I give a lot of thought, actually). I didn't agree with everything he wrote, but I can see some of his points. I was interested at least reading the back-cover copy of his books.

So I looked him up on Amazon. Yeah, not so much for me. But still, all perspectives fill out an argument, and it's interesting to know. (For the record, I stopped bothering when I saw a bunch of "more like this" books supposedly related to his title which ALL varied on the same theme: keeping the little lady under control and making sure she provides enough sex to keep your marriage happy. Because only marriages where women know their place, under their man, are happy.)

And that's when Amazon decided I'm a man-witch. A married man-witch, with a terrible sex life, apparently. I have a mix of pagan books, "man-workout" books, "fix your sex life in your marriage" books, and "male" philosophy books on my recommended list all of the sudden.

I'm not going to lie, I'm interested in reading Cicero's On Duties and I sort of want to peruse How To Become a Modern Viking regardless of the books' intended penis-people audience (A Man's Guide to Unleashing the Warrior Within is a pretty clear subtitle).

But, dear Amazon, looking at something about dudes finding their tribe probably doesn't mean I'm interested in The Married Man Sex Life Primer or The Purposeful Primitive (which is apparently a workout book for dudes).

There are others that make me gag a little, and so now I need to do searches on Amazon for other stuff JUST to clear out the poor marketing results. The pagan suggestions are helpful...the "understand devious female behavior" and "be a real man so your wife obeys" ones are just...sigh.


Unicorn masturbation?
Viking Weapons for Chicks?

Other suggestions?

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Why I Can't Ever Attend the Kentucky Derby

I watch the Triple Crown every year...from the no-hat-required, jeans-friendly couch in my house. My family texts off and on all day before the Kentucky Derby: after all, for those of us in Minnesota the Derby is the last sign that winter is truly over, because horse racing season has begun. It's similar to Winter/Construction being the two seasons up here, except Race season is far less annoying traffic-wise.

Anyway, we make fun of the horrendous outfits (OH MY GOD Rutledge, really? How far the mighty Top Gear host hath fallen), the hats that could apply for their own zip code and MUST require a gallon of mint juleps just to step out the door (assuming a head that huge could get through a doorway), and the host (who apparently stole life-size My Little Pony hair to create that cotton candy pink thing on his head).

I know it sounds mean, but if you're going to go to a multi-million dollar event wearing a hat that literally looks like you stole it from Strawberry Shortcake and be on camera, I have no sympathy.

This year, we discovered it's possible I need a new prescription for my glasses.
ACTUAL horse's name: DESTIN.
What I saw: DESITIN (for those of you without spawn or diaper-changing duties EVER in your life, Desitin is a baby butt cream).

I'm not kidding, the following texts flew from LA to Duluth, MN, to Minneapolis yesterday:

Me: That horse Destin? I keep seeing "Desitin instead and I think his name is BUTT CREAM.
Mom: Run your butt off!!
Aunt: What # was Butt Cream??


Aunt: Poor Butt Cream came up from the rear...butt lost.*
Aunt: Butt Creme will get it in the end.

And that's why I can't ever go the Kentucky Derby in real life. 

*For the record, Destin kicked himself into serious high gear on the final stretch and came from the back of the pack to 6th.
Go Butt Cream!

Dear porn surfers: I bet THIS wasn't what you were looking for when you googled "butt cream" and, again, NO SYMPATHY. Mwahahahaha.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Vacation Conversations That Probably Shouldn't Be Repeated

I took an extra day off this weekend to be all social-like and prove I'm not a zombie hermit. My most excellent family member (who hates being called an aunt because we're more like sisters, and so I'm accommodating her whining request by calling her "family member") came down to drink and be stupid go to the MN Horse Expo yesterday.

FYI, I can't look at the expo link without seeing "hor-seex-po" (obviously there's a Latin-based language's accent attached - feel free to take your pick there), which is really indicative of my own mental failings and should probably be ignored.

Anyway, Thursday night presented Animal Planet on TV and smartasses on the couch. And thus, the following.

  • What the FUCK is with man-buns anyway? WHY? For the record, I completely agree. 
    • Later compared ManBuns to EntitledYogaHipsterMomBuns (those would be the Teletubby-esque top-of-the-head "messy" buns) sported expertly by a woman at the expo, who daintily pushed her fashionable stroller through a pile of horseshit while wearing a VERY disconcerted look. 
  • SHITSTICKS! poop-on-a-stick, twatwaffle, and various versions of "whoore" also made appearances over the weekend.
  • That's not a River Monster. That's a teeny crocodile, you puss. As it turns out, she's not a fan of Jeremy Wade or River Monsters. 
  • OMG that guy just finger-fucked a crocodile! And thus Jeremy Wade's humiliation is complete. 
  • When Chewy humps the air he's getting more than I do... I really see no need to reveal which of us made that comment. 
  • If only for a pair of scissors with really long...scissorparts. For the manbuns, of course. After a couple of Guinnei (I still maintain that should be the plural of Guinness), the individual parts of scissors escaped us both. 

And then, there was Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. I LOVE her, and I am not sorry. Pat Benatar was the go-to lip-sync game when I was a kid: my babysitting aunts and I used to sing along with a tape deck and an upright vacuum (because who needs a karaoke machine when you have a vacuum handle?).

And Pat Benatar didn't know she was still in Minnesota...I'm certain she thought they'd crossed the border into Canada. Close enough, really.

I have no smartass commentary about Pat, except I was really amused at how pissed off the sour old woman next to me really was (NOT any aunt or sister at the concert with me. I should go on record saying that...I was on the end and had the stranger danger). I'm not sure I can really blame her: the drunk jackass in front of her was one of six people who stood the entire concert...directly in front of us. And I'm 90% sure he kept farting in her general direction.

Pat and Neil did a bit of When Doves Cry to honor Prince. And all my favorites. My ears are still ringing with the pure awesome.

And there were many idiots with Teletubby topknots in the crowd.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cheaper Than A New Body Part?

A year ago my husband and I separated. Contrary to everyone's expectations, we've managed to do so not only amicably, but actually remain close friends interested in each other's welfare and happiness as we've each ridden the emotional (and practical) waves that come with the end of a marriage.

We still hang out often on weekends so he can spend time with all of us (and to give me a break from the dogs, who regularly look for him in the house). Most of his stuff is still stored in my house/garage, since he's living with a buddy on the other side of town and doesn't have room yet to take more than essentials. His fun car and tools are here. I was thrilled for him when he started dating someone, and listened as a friend when they eventually broke up.

This is possible, this friendly divorce idea in which both parties remember that it's not about stuff, or money, or what hurts have been caused, but about the well being of a person you loved enough to marry. So the marriage itself didn't work - so what? We were friends before we were spouses: there's no good reason to let the friendship go, too. I know it's weird: I've talked about it a little on this blog. We're both warned all the time by well-meaning people that it's not going to work, and one of us will screw the other over. I don't know how he handles it, but I generally say something noncommittal like "thanks but you don't know us", and change the subject before I get irritated.

Over the last six months I've gone to consultations with three different lawyers about doing the legal papers for divorce. This is not a surprise to my ex: we have already talked about everything we own jointly and how we'll handle splitting things up. In fact, that's all been settled for nearly a year, and he reminded me after 1/1 that we should get the filing done so it's not hanging out there like poor forgotten Johnny Tyler in Tombstone.

Unsurprisingly, lawyers are also unprepared for our amicable split. Actual conversation with the first one I tried (after telling him very clearly we ONLY need someone to check the paperwork and do the court filings in the county):
  • Have you considered x,y,z items?
    • Legit question, and yup we had considered all of them.
  • Are you SURE you want to let him have a,b,c items?
    • Um, yes, I already said so.
  • You know, you could get everything--
    • I stopped him cold right there - I don't WANT everything: I want a split we consider fair between us (you know, the two people who actually own the stuff in question), which we've ALREADY DETERMINED.
  • Why are you taking x,y,z debts?
  • Well, dear (large sigh with obvious "poor you, dumbass" body language), you could do better here for yourself by fighting for x,y,z.
    • At this point, I've already decided you'll not be my lawyer, since you're not listening and the items in question are REALLY not worth any further argument. We don't own huge amounts of stock/planes/mansions/etc. We don't have kids to fight over. We have a house, a couple cars, and some minor stuff to split up. It's DONE.
  • I suppose if you're really going to do it this way and not fight for his truck as well, filing the paperwork all together would be $X.
    • Ok, that's not so bad.  
  • I require a $X,XXX retainer, paid in full before I do anything. Here's a worksheet and the agreement, you have 30 days to decide to retain me or not.
    • Um, why is the retainer 4 times your anticipated cost of filing paperwork?
  • Oh the retainer is standard regardless of the work. I return any unused funds 30 days after everything is final.
    • Ah, so you take as much of my money as possible and make interest off of it, hoping to talk me into fighting and delaying this process so you make MORE, then hold my refunded balance hostage for another month?
Sadly, other than the condescending attitude (for the record, the other two people I spoke with neither condescended nor argued about our decisions) the super-high retainer seems common so far. Sigh.

And let me be clear: I think lawyers are absolutely entitled to make money at their jobs. Good money. I have no problem with that. I don't even have a problem with providing a retainer - I'm sure it's easier than invoicing every time fees are required.

But, potential lawyer, if you specifically tell me the paperwork itself and expected filing fees plus your hourly rate to be a total of thousand dollars, asking me for five thousand (of which you get to make extra money for however long the process takes plus your standard return-funds check process) is really just taking additional interest income from MY bank account. Which makes me wonder if you'll come up with reasons to delay, and thus we'd be starting our relationship on a distrustful foot.

Nope. I get that you're not going to make a bazillion off my divorce, and I'm not sorry for it, but come on. There has to be a better way.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thor, Chewy, Beelzebub

There are no puppies in my house anymore. Thor is now 11, which is in his early 80's in German Shepherd years. Chewy is nearly 10, which is mid-80's in Great Pyrenees years.

You'd think in their dotage they'd be less prone to random acts of asshattery, right?

Oh no, definitely not. And so, things I've yelled at the dogs this week:

  • What the actual fuck, get your head out of the toilet. You look hungover. Chewy. SLEEPING in the bathroom with his head propped on the open toilet. He drooled on the seat. Not amused.
  • Get back here! You're too old to chase bunnies, dumbass.
  • Ok, who crapped a fucking brontosaurus? Yes, I mean a REAL toy brontosaurus, which I found next to a fresh pile in my yard while cleaning up after the boys. I'm 80% certain one of the neighborhood kids left it there. I'm not positive though.
  • STOP HUMPING YOUR BROTHER! So, Chewy's back legs don't work so well anymore. Have you ever seen a 150 pound dog try to hump when his legs give out and he's essentially a really large, furry seal?
  • I don't WANT to throw the ball again - sigh - ok. It's really hard to say no to an old dog who just wants to trot after a toy down the hallway.
  • Please stop trying to eat the children. No, they weren't REALLY eating babies. I have newish neighbors with 5 and 7 year old girls who've decided they LOVE my dogs. I sort of adore that - Chewy is totally willing to lie in the grass and be a Barbiemobile. But, the drool gets excessive.
  • STOP EATING POOP. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, JACKASS? At some point I bumped my watch and activated Siri, who only captured "ass" out of that entire yelled sentence. She responded "Did you accidentally summon me?"
And that's the story of how I inadvertently summoned a demon this week. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Eyesockets and Pee-Batteries (alternatively titled: WTF Headlines)

Today's most fabulous headlines from various news sources:

Scientists Have Created A Fuel Cell That Runs On Pee - I suppose I should be glad it doesn't run on farts. Does it have to be human pee? 

Yes, You Can Rent Out Your Eye Socket For Money - Well...hmm. Amusingly, this headline was immediately beneath the pee-cell article. I really can't think of a number high enough to rent out my eye socket for pee. More importantly, if you're renting out the eye socket space WHERE DOES THE CURRENT OCCUPANT GO? Since it's a socket, would item requiring the space plug in? Are we headed toward a line of people with removable eyeballs sitting at a charging bar in the airport before their plane takes off, plugging a cord into their faces? What if you unplug and put the WRONG EYE back in? "Oh, I'm so sorry, I grabbed your eye by mistake!"

Can't you just SEE the possible romantic-comedy-esque engagement stories that start "well, we met when I accidentally plugged her eye in my socket..."

Oh yeah people, I TOTALLY WENT THERE. You're welcome. For the images AND the pun.

Secret Lives Of Monkey Midwives - Dear Animal Planet: I have a proposition for a new reality show...

Billions of Cicadas Will Soon Rise From The Earth, Have Sex, And Die - Isn't that all any of us do, just on a longer time scale? Watch out for Cicada Killers - they'll totally ruin the plan for either bugs OR people's sex lives. If they ruin people's sex life with bugs, I don't want to know anything about it, and it's time now to imagine less horrifying images. Like rentable eye sockets.

EMA #GreenMySchool Program Is Starting Something Big - So...the headline author doesn't know what "EMA" means in either inappropriate slang OR text language. Obviously, my friends are of the unsavory variety who do NOT mean "email" with EMA. Maybe that just means the author has a less-guttery mind than me...I'm not sure if I should feel sorry for him or be really impressed.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Return and Demise of Samael

Two years ago, the Starbucks nearest to my house hosted a demon on their drive-through shelf.

As most bad pennies do, he turned up again on Wednesday last week after a snowstorm. I mean, sheesh...evil soul-swallowing snow monsters and their regeneration, right? How exhausting.

The Desolate One, Thwarted
Sadly, Samael (The Desolate One) was no match for the mighty powers of uneven melting and physics. Thus he's likely joined his first incarnation's demise. Until next year...

The poor Barista (is a male barista a baristo?) tried three times to stand the little dude back up on his melty not-feet, but alas Samael was just too tired. 

Nope, there really is no point to this post. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

But, What Kind of Person Deflowers COCONUTS?

You know, people REALLY overuse the term virgin.

Today, I got spam advertising 100% Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.


Let's ignore the fact that I can't really imagine how someone grows inorganic coconuts, since coconuts are plant life and therefore BY DEFINITION they are organic. Ok, so you want to argue "organic" in this case means grown without pesticides or whateverthefuck person-type interference? Fine, but have you ever actually opened a coconut? Yeah...hard to contaminate coconut water (and in fact, the difference between "organic" and "non-organic" is nil, per the NCBI). The term "organic" when it comes to this is purely a marketing ploy...falling for it is stupid.

But really...Virgin needs to STOP being used for food.

Because all I can think is...what sort of sick douche-nozzle fucks coconuts?

Hopefully not this guy.

That's right. I went there. You're welcome.

*Dear YouTube - thank Google for letting me find this clip of my personal favorite version.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Moral of the Story: Never Enter A Battle Of Wits with a Welsh Grandma?

Not all myths are heroic journeys or great love stories. Sometimes, a simple scene houses a battle of wits. And sometimes, the small battles have long consequences. I found this while looking up a town in Wales because of a Netflix show. I do adore wise woman tales.

A thousand years ago, the Devil decided to visit Wales, because in all his time on Earth and in Hell he'd never visited that corner of the world. Rumor had it, the country was beautiful, and the Devil was intrigued. 

So he wandered the green countryside and found he agreed with all he'd heard about the gorgeous land, and thought he might stay a while. He came upon an old woman standing on the edge of a river, hunched and dejected. 

"Why, madam, what vexes you so," the Devil asked. 

"My cow," she said, pointing at the animal calmly grazing on the other side of the water. "She got away and managed to get across the river, and I have no idea how to get her back." The Devil, never one to allow such an opportunity pass by, presented his most charming and polite smile. 

"Why, I can help you get her back," he said. "I'll make you a deal. I'll build a bridge tonight so you can get her back in the barn before milking time in the morning. You go home and rest." He held out his hands in offering. 

"Oh, you'll just build a whole bridge overnight, then? Are you a wizard, sir?" 

The Devil laughed and bowed. 

"And what boon will you ask in payment for such an amazing feat," the old woman asked, for she was no fool. 

"I'll take the first living thing to cross the bridge in payment," the Devil replied with a smile. The old woman was convinced now that the man was full of bluster and lies, so she agreed and walked slowly home for the evening, still thinking of ways to get her cow back. 

The next morning, she dressed for the cool Welsh bluster and considered what might happen if the magician HAD built a bridge. So, for caution's sake, she took bread from the table and called her dog to walk with her to the river. 

And there the Devil stood, shiny and bright next to a brand new sturdy bridge spanning the water. On the other side stood her cow, quietly eating as though bridges just appeared overnight regularly in her world. The Devil didn't say anything, just gestured to the river with an open hand, inviting the old woman to cross. Instead, she threw the loaf of bread with all her strength. 

And her faithful dog ran after it, becoming the first living creature to cross the bridge. The Devil gnashed his teeth and screamed, "NOOOOO! I don't want your smelly, hairy farm dog's soul!" and disappeared. 

The old woman gathered her cow and dog, and went home. 

The Devil never appeared in Wales again, too embarrassed to show his face after being outwitted by an old lady. 

But high in the mountains near Aberystwyth, a bridge with three levels crosses the gorge over the river. The bottom bridge is said to have been built by the Devil himself, over Devil's Falls

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Must-Read-Review of "The Confessions: An Original Sinners Collection" (No spoilers here, promise)

So if you've stopped here in my little corner of crazy more than once, you already know I'm a huge fan of Tiffany Reisz's work. I reviewed her Original Sinners series last fall after finishing The Queen, and it's possible I crossed fingers, toes, eyes, and legs (which seems a little wrong considering the subject matter) when I requested an early copy of The Confessions to review.

Undoubtedly it was the legs that did it.

The Confessions: An Original Sinners Collection isn't available until Tuesdayso this review will contain no spoilers (because spoilers are equivalent dipping your balls in the chocolate fountain: it sullies the experience for everyone else). However, I will say up front that this book is not for newcomers to the Original Sinners. It's worth the journey to get here, so go forth and read all eight, starting with The Siren, BEFORE reading this.

The Confessions is a collection of two novellas which provide more detailed insight into the psyches and souls of both Nora and Søren (hence the requirement that you read the series first). Unlike the other short peripheral tales in the Original Sinners world, neither "The Confession of Marcus Stearns" nor "The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber" is sexual, however both are intensely intimate. Both are intricately woven scenes that expertly reveal secrets on both sides of the confessional (although in neither case do the conversations take place IN the confessional).

To me real star of this collection is Father Ballard. I'd love to have a drink and chat with the confessor to both of the most notorious characters in the series, even knowing he couldn't divulge anything. True to form, Reisz's Father Ballard is a fabulously complex character. Instead of a cardboard cutout for Nora and Marcus to use as a mirror, Father Ballard is a man with his own past and present concerns which color his reactions and give him incredible depth. He's funny and compassionate, insightful and perhaps most importantly, HUMAN. He is exactly the sort of Priest I'd want to talk to if I were Catholic, which appears to have worked for both Nora and Father Stearns as well. Good lord, imagine the kind of man who could hear  all of THEIR secrets and stay sane.

The fourth character in both novellas is, of course, the Church. As with all the Original Sinners episodes, Reisz combines humor, violence, shock, and compassion in new and interesting ways while exploring the "right" and "wrong" of love. The mix of obvious deep respect and blatant irreverence, often exhibited in the same person, is a wonderfully complex portrayal of the difference between the shallow, socially accepted "correct" love and the messy, inconvenient, difficult struggle contained in actual love.

Reisz packs a lot into two short novellas about the internal lives of her characters, and she does it so smoothly the reader is left wanting more, as any good Mistress is wont to do. My first thought after reading "The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber" was "oh man, I wonder what Father Ballard would do with Kingsley." Someday, I sincerely hope that question will cross the author's mind as well, because that would be a show requiring a comfortable seat and a large bucket of popcorn.

Luckily, we are given some insight into the author's take on the characters and their worlds in the final piece in the collection: "The Confession of Tiffany Reisz". I'll admit I normally don't dig interview pieces with authors, for the same reason I often don't watch the "behind the scenes" DVD extras in a movie I love. I don't usually want to think deeply about the secrets of the woman behind the curtain while immersing myself in the work itself. But in this case, the interview is well worth it: funny and interesting, Tiffany's responses only add to the story.

The Confessions: An Original Sinners Collection is available on March 15th, 2016 in eBook and Paperback. If you're a fan of The Original Sinners, I highly recommend picking this one up as soon as it's out, since I read it three times in the first two days and stayed up until the unholy "there is not enough espresso in the world tomorrow morning" hours to finish it the first night. I love to sleep: any book that keeps me awake at 2am to finish it is well worth the read.

The Confessions: An Original Sinners Collection
by Tiffany Reisz
ISBN 978-0-69-264377-8
8th Circle Press
Available on eBook and Paperback 3/15/16

Thursday, February 25, 2016

It's Getting Crowded in Here

So 2016 is my "finish a goddamned book" year. It's not a stupid resolution I won't follow after a month because cake inevitably kicks the gym's ass: it's a self-imposed deadline to get ON my proverbial writing buns, sit my ass in front of the keyboard, and finish something.

At some point, I might learn not to announce intentions in any format other than a Jameson-induced drunken whisper, because apparently the Universe subscribes to the following axiom: if you want something done, give it to a busy person.

Except, unlike type A personalities or Virgo-ish busy people, MY prioritization and organization skills are often sub-par. And so, I have the following deadlines in February/March because I'm a fool who doesn't spread out my work better.

  • book review for Ancient History Encyclopedia
  • 1500 word article on sex in ancient Rome for the same site (it's getting the subject down to 1500 words that'll be a challenge)
  • 1400 word article for a magazine (a paying market! YAY!)
  • book review for a guy who found me through this blog and sent me his serial killer novel, which I'm actually DYING to get to but must finish reviews in order. 
  • book review for Ancient History Encyclopedia (yes, another one, but I haven't received it yet so it's lower on the list). 
  • book review for one of my favorite authors...I'm waiting for confirmation on that one, but I'm hoping I qualify as a review blogger for her because I love her work. 
  • article I started for a magazine query earlier this month but never heard back on my letter (deadline is 3/1) so I'm changing it to a non-fiction book synopsis for later. I don't want to lose the idea, but I can't put it first in priority right now. 
  • I have three short stories currently waiting for rejection out to markets. I'm not thinking about them much, except that it's best to have another marked queued up so I can submit again right away. This means I have to spreadsheet-track every piece, where it is, how long it's been there, and where it's going next. 
  • I have a writing group twice a month and I owe them a finished piece (a short story that's totally unrelated to either book series). 
  • Two different fiction series - one has been in the works since 200fucking8. I want to finish the first book in each series this year. 
Seriously, if you don't hear from me in a month or so, send a damn flare or something. I might be buried under a mountain of books. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Huffington Post: Reminding Me There's ALWAYS Something Worse

In today's science section:

Octopus Valentine's Day Sex Session Scrapped Over Cannibalism Fears

So this was my first Valentine's Day as a not-married person in a loooong time. And I'll admit, while I consider Vday to be mostly an indicator that chocolate is about to go on sale I did have a moment or five of sad. I mean, our first date was over Vday all those years ago, and who doesn't enjoy a little extra attention here and there, right? I have some baggage about romance anyway, so I indulged in a couple minutes of nostalgia and sad. 

Yeah. I didn't have to worry about cannibalism...pretty sure it's all good in my world. 

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

"Duran Duran DOES NOT Sing The Song Of My People" (This post is Not Safe For Anyone*)

I seriously considered leaving this entire post blank**, because in this case the title really does say it all. Honestly, I laughed so hard at that one (which was dropped during what I thought was a totally normal conversation) I wheezed and cried a little.

Also? Since I generally anonymize my friends/family on this blog unless they say otherwise, you, sir, MIGHT need to be Duran Duran (DD?) here until I come up with something worse. If there is anything worse.

Then I remembered other ridiculous things said/heard lately, and realized it's been a while since I put into the interwebverse the oddities I get myself into.***

1) A friend (not DD...I'll need a code for him) sent me a picture of a statue of Jesus with the following caption: "Medusa 1, Jesus 0" I approve.

2) An ongoing discussion with DD about whether Aliens might've turned out differently had Newt been a teenage boy with a BDSM fetish. The logistics alone of breaking an alien to a collar is astounding, really, particularly since the only defense (as per the AVP movies) against corrosive alien blood is alien skin.

Yeah. THINK ABOUT THAT for a while. Facehugger condoms. A scarred up young man meeting the Marines and Ripley with a couple aliens on leashes.

Recently in one of my news feeds about writing I found a couple of magazines looking for horror/monster porn...seems apropos. (No, I'm not writing it. The discussion is enough).

And finally, 3)  While in a discussion with fellow degenerates (no codes yet: I'm working on it) about dietary choices that quickly devolved into something far worse, the question came up whether vegans are allowed to swallow during oral sex, or if that's a violation of the code.

Stop chortling, asshole, it's a real question!

I am extremely lucky to have a lovely lady in Oly (guess what YOUR new code name is?) who did NOT call me an asshole for asking and to my eternal gratitude and delight answered, "No, it's totally ok since people are consenting adults. But I bet some use that as an excuse not to."

I relayed the message, and immediately we three degenerates wondered about the sort of people who WOULD use veganism as an excuse to cop out of oral sex. And we came up with an alternative for those people to use instead: SPOY.

Vegan Soy Untextured Gluten Free Ejaculate Substitute

Comes in a tube...

*I am not sorry for anything in this post. Except maybe facehugger condoms.

**Yes, the labels I assigned are totally on purpose. Maybe I should be a little sorry for the people who search anything like alien porn and get this post.


***No, I don't know what's wrong with me or my friends, but no one can say I don't have interesting conversations with people, and that's something.

PS: Google's spellcheck doesn't recognize the word "veganism" as real. For once, I can't help but agree. Also dear Google, I suppose THIS post lives up to your assumption that I am way too rude for you.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

So, Googling THAT was probably stupid.

Yet another psycho's path to my blog.

So, someone (hopefully human, but really I'm a little up in the air on that assumption right now) found this blog by googling "cerberus eating baby".

First, what the actual fuck?

Second, due to poor punctuation placement I'm unclear whether this particular weirdo was looking for a baby who eats hellhounds, or a hellhound who eats babies.

Honestly, I think the baby eating hellhounds is more disturbing.

So, I googled it.


I'd like to point out that WebMD's link to Baby's Eating Milestones has NO reference to adding three headed hellhounds to the standard diet. I didn't look closely enough to see if there's a separate section on WebMD for demons...I suppose I could've missed something.

Also, immediately above the link to my blog (I did a Mythic Monday once on Hades and Cerberus here) is the following:

Should You Eat Your Baby's Placenta?

Dear Science News, babies don't HAVE a placenta. Babies ARRIVE in a placenta (or, perhaps more accurately, they exit the placenta?). Therefore, unless you plan on harvesting nonexistent baby innards (presumably male babies never grow a placenta for any reason, but hey...I'm no doctor OR alien DNA experimenter from XFiles) I THINK you mean "should you eat your placenta after your spawn no longer uses it."

Or some pithier version, I suppose.

I'd like to say what the actual fuck here as well, but I give up. Ugh.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Book Review: Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer

Amazon Prime recommended this one to me (how Amazon manages to recommend anything to me given the weird and random things I buy is really beyond my algorithmic abilities), and for once the interwebs read me correctly.

Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer was completely worth the time. I loved this book enough to read it in a night, losing sleep to find out what happened. 

If you know anything about me at all, that's just about the highest praise I can give a story: I am excessively protective of my sleep. The premise alone was enough to hook my interest: FBI agent recruited somewhat against her will into a secret black project government branch that investigates and eliminates paranormal threats, because she's a Witch.

I like paranormal fiction. I like well written, fast paced, fleshed-out paranormal fiction that has a surprise or two...and oh, the characterization of Harmony's personal demons, along with the rest of her team's quirks, kept me entertained for the whole story. Since this is the beginning of a new spinoff series by Schaefer, the story surrounds the initial case bringing Harmony's new Scooby team together. The timeline skips from her recruitment, in which she specifies she works alone, thanks, to her long-needed vacation after bagging some major case monster in Vegas. But we've all watched enough cop shows to know vacation is NEVER uninterrupted, and she's ordered to break her "lone-wolf" rule by joining some elite super-secret monster hunting squad: to catch and kill the Boogeyman. 

I appreciate that this book is truly a monster-hunting story. The ethical conflicts between expediency of removing a (literally) monstrous threat to the public versus following procedure seems boring when written in a sentence, but as a conflict for the main characters it's what brings a measure of reality into a universe where demonic bounty hunters from Hell are competing with the FBI to catch a creature stealing babies. 

Yup, I just wrote that sentence. 

And, because I not only wrote that sentence but thoroughly enjoyed the book that drove me to write it, I'll be reading the sequel(s) as they come out. 

Friday, January 08, 2016

"Happy" Isn't My Goal

There's this absolutely fantastic video going around on social media in which Jada Pinkett-Smith tells her daughter, eloquently and with the sort of power only she has, that the messaging in this country to women about being wives and mothers needs to change. Her point is that women are made to feel guilty or "less" if they DARE to take care of themselves first, so they are happy. And that happiness is our own responsibility; no one, no matter how awesome, can make you happy. YOU make you happy, then it's shared.

I love this. I think it's completely applicable to both sexes (particularly regarding spousehood and parenthood).

But the messaging is still just a little off, and I've been thinking a lot in the past month or so about why the "find/make your happiness" phrases are out of tune in my head.

Much like the word LOVE, I think the word HAPPY is often misused to represent something else, and it's that something else we're responsible for creating in our personal universe.

Well being

What's the difference? 

Happiness is an emotion. An emotion is a fleeting feeling, just like Minnesota weather: wait five minutes (ok, maybe sometimes an hour or a day or a week) and it will change. Happy (or sad, or bored, or elated, or lustful, or joyous, or disdaining) isn't a state of BEING: it's a state of FEELING.

Seriously, our culture is all about being happy all the time, like we should all be giggling and thrilled with our lives every fucking second of every fucking day. And if you aren't happy all the time there's clearly something wrong with you: ads are all about telling you what do you need to buy, eat, fuck, or take (alcohol/drugs) to feel happy.

Except you can't BE happy all the time. No one can: happiness by definition as an emotion is not permanent. If you were happy all the time, where's the room for everything else: sadness for lost friends/family/pets, falling in love, anger, rage, jealousy. We are here in these meat suits to bumble around for a couple decades, and we've been given this astounding capacity to feel: maybe we're SUPPOSED to feel it all. Maybe focusing on any single feeling and trying to force it to be constant is unhealthy: it can't be constant. It is fleeting, and it happens more than once.

The Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear* might focus specifically on fear (yes, it's not about finding your happy, but bear with me here), but the concept that no emotion controls you unless you allow it can be applied to any emotion. Observing doesn't lessen the feeling: it allows a moment of space between experiencing the emotion and acting in, I can observe that I'm pissed off without actually punching someone (which would make me happy for a moment...and probably less happy when I end up in jail...therefore, useful to the whole adulting thing). I know, if you're not a Dune fan it seems like a weird non-sequitor, but I always liked the Litany as an example of the underlying state of well-being.

A state of BE-ing is the ocean over which emotions sail. Or, if you prefer construction terms, maybe it's the foundation over which emotions pass... 

In any case, if that foundation is strong (if you are in a state of positive well-being in general) I think it could be called contentment. Contentment isn't happiness. Happiness is a MOMENT. Contentment is a state which can weather emotional storms, whether they are exciting in a positive way (joy, elation, lust, passion) OR a negative way (sadness, fear, anger, jealousy), because underneath all the emotions is a core person who is stable, strong, and good with both their place in life and where they're going. 

Make no mistake, contentment doesn't mean complacent: I firmly believe a person with deep rooted foundation is most open to growth and NEEDS to grow and change. In nature and the universe, that which stops growing stagnates. Stagnation leads to decay. 

And nobody wants a goddamn horde of mosquito larve infesting their foundation. Ok I mixed metaphors about: nobody wants cracks and rot in the foundation. Nobody wants the icky, smelly pond full of bugs and dead leaves instead of clear, clean water. Better? 

Discontent works the same way in the reverse: if your well-being is damaged and you are not content or well, does ANYTHING really make you truly happy? Can you feel even a moment of actual joy if your underlying wellness is murky?

So. What about the love thing? Well, that's something I'm still working it'll be in a different rambly and nonsensical post.

*The Litany Against Fear, Frank Herbert, Dune, 1965

I must not fear.Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain