Charlie the Unicorn Dating Simulator

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via memecaption.com

We are in the midst of another pop culture fad that is taking the world by storm. I’m talkin’ ’bout Pokemon. As I type this, I’m sure my feed is filling up with friends’ pictures and status updates about the game.

Regular followers know that although I have my fair share of pop culture obsessions, I’m often suspicious of trends that seem “too big.” I subscribe to the Henry David Thoreau’s quotation of being “wary of enterprises involving new clothing.” I recently complained to my husband about how the rich used to have people to dress them, and he ended up having to straighten my collar and inspect my jacket.

It’s part of why I went into the medical field, because scrubs sounded comfortable, easy, and the least hassle in terms of clothing. Frequently when pondering what to pick for the day, I think of Seinfeld’s stand-up about aliens, and how they all wear the same thing. We should just give in, he advises, because it’s where we end up anyway. Anywhere from 40 times a day to a few times a month, I consider pulling a Deb from Empire Records and shaving my head. I haven’t yet, but only because I know how attractive Robin Tunney is, and if a shaved head made her look merely “okay,” I fear I am doomed. Also, bangs shield my forehead from further universal anxiety, and by exposing them, I’m fairly certain my skull will melt into the ground with terror.

I’m also not a huge fan of video games. My close, boisterous friend Til sees this as a challenge to find a game I will enjoy, and he and my father are two of the only people out there who have regularly succeeded at this task. I like games where you crush candy, make your own stories, and used to own different versions of You Don’t Know Jack.   

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via Steam

A couple of years ago, another friend introduced me to Hatoful Boyfriend, a dating simulator game from Japan where you, as a human, date birds. I agreed to go along with this, because I don’t want to be the original version of Jim Carrey in Yes Man when he resists change and growth. Because it sounds lame, and his later version who agrees to everything sounds even more frightening. I wanted to try to be more interested into video games, because deep down I want people to like me. You do too. I learned it’s important not to force it.

Hatoful was a hard game for me to accept. I’m in favor of new and different things, but I couldn’t get comfortable in this game at all. In spite, I picked NO BIRD and was met with dire consequences. Several months later, I high-fived a co-worker over mutual uneasiness and shock at the game’s outcome. Hatoful’s purpose, to me, was to provide bonding through collective awkwardness.

Earlier this week while my friends were out in fields and businesses playing Pokemon, my husband and I were inside our house watching tv. An ad came on for Charlie the Unicorn Dating Simulator

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via Youtube

Most people know what Charlie the Unicorn is, but I brought it up a couple of years ago with a friend who didn’t know what it was. For those who aren’t aware, Charlie the Unicorn is a web series by Jason Steele. Steele has done a number of videos over the years, Marshmallow People, Horsebot, Ferrets, and I look forward to the days a new video comes out. I recently met someone who was also a fan of The Cloak (NOT a starter video, definitely one of the weirder things he’s done), and we immediately became friends. That’s what Jason Steele’s work does – it solidifies. My lexicon is still sprinkled with phrases from it, and I’m tentatively looking forward to some strange parent teacher conferences where a teacher asks me to explain all the random blabber of my future tbd child.

When I saw the ad, I knew I had to play it.

The next day, I came downstairs to the sound of jazz music percolating from the living room. Upon entering, I found my husband playing on the computer.

Me: Hey, what’s up?
Parker: Not much, just playing this Charlie The Unicorn Dating Game
Me: Really? Cool! How is it?
Parker: Oddly complex. I don’t understand dating.

Basically, you are trapped in The Love Temple, against your will. You have the option of dating 5 or 6 different creatures. Through the process of dating, you try to get one of them to love you so you can escape through a magical door where you are trapped. It’s more like actual dating than I anticipated, although fortunately doesn’t take me too far out of the comfort zone.

Parker: How’s it going?
Me: Good. The Starfish’s love makes me entirely uncomfortable, but the Door doesn’t seem to be impressed with ANYTHING I do. Also, I don’t think I can win it over with gifts. I think I’m going to go with the Liopleurodon.
Parker: Not the Capricorn?
Me: The Capricorn is sort of combative, which is off-putting.
Parker: Who would you rather end up with: The Door or the Millipede?
Me: The Door. The Millipede freaks me out, and I kind of think it’s going to eat me.

(Later)
Me: I wonder if I *can* get the Door to love me.
Parker: That reminds me, I looked that up for you. I’ll send you the video later.

See y’all? This is what spouses are for. Looking up tricks for getting inanimate objects to love you in a dating simulator game.

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via Kickstarter

Note: While the ideas and text are my own, I do not own rights to these images, I have just credited their sources.

Fathers and feelings

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Today, I had a belated Father’s Day celebration with my dad. I learned this year that it actually took quite a bit of coaxing for the public to warm up to the idea of Father’s Day. It’s at a time where kids are getting out of school, graduations & vacations are being planned, and post-Mother’s Day. People do less, people spend less.

My parents separated before I formed cohesive memories, so I don’t remember seeing my father every day, although at one point, I’m sure I did. My dad had a difficult relationship with his own father, which created shadows. Even today, I see him struggle with that in his own way.

He developed a love for music and art at an early age. He became a graphic artist, and a true introvert, values his alone time. Once after describing his solution to traffic, he declared, “I have so many ideas to make the world a better place!” I once even got the pleasure of being able to see his art portfolio and hear writing he did for a college class.

When I was growing up, he used to play guitar at church. I always used to love it when he played. I got to hold a hand of a local celebrity, and as we made our way towards the exit, others would come up to thank him for his performance. Each time I’d congratulate him after we were alone, he’d always shrug it off by saying he missed some notes. Sometimes I wonder if the attention made him stop playing.

Our relationship hasn’t always been easy. The women in my family are, as a whole, pretty verbally and physically demonstrative with their love. Hugs and kisses, all around. But my dad isn’t, and it wasn’t until I grew up that I realized that many men, especially of my parents’ generation, have a hard time showing their feelings. I only saw him one day a week, and sometimes I became confused or frustrated. I know now that being apart was hard on him. I look back at the pictures and see how happy he was as a father. Some things are clearer looking back.

Dad and I are dissimilar in some basic ways, but we still have commonalities. We both enjoy art and writing. We’re both homebodies (him more than me). The last few years have brought me a little closer to my roots, and my dad used to collaborate with his cousin on a family newsletter. My mom told me when I was growing up, I would make expressions or do things that were “so my dad” that I couldn’t have possibly known or tried to imitate.

During a retreat I attended in high school friends and family were encouraged to send us supportive letters. My mom’s letter started as an apology for “not having enough time to contact everyone in the family since they would have all loved to send you letters. Not as organized as I would like.” My dad, in typical tech form, emailed the dean of students. The dean printed off the email and included it in my envelope of letters.

His letter reads *a little bit* like a recommendation letter at times. But of all the letters, his made me cry the hardest. The details are simple but sum up his love for me in ways I, as a non-parent, cannot fathom. When I returned, I told him, “I loved your letter,” and my dad blushed and said, “I didn’t know you were going to read it. You weren’t supposed to see that.”

Yeah, Dad. I love you too.

One of the articles I read said that the one things fathers want most is to spend time with their children. The author implied that it should be at any given time as opposed to a holiday obligation. We live on opposite sides of town, but I’m always pleased when I get to learn a little bit more about him. I hope to see more of him this time around.

How to Help Make a Better World

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The last couple of years have brought national tragedies, the most warped politics to date, disaster after disaster news headlines, and more than anything, fear.

About a month ago, I tried to watch Network. It’s a film that was made in the 70’s about how over the years, news became less about world/local knowledge and more about edge-of-your-seat entertainment. Yet, I haven’t been able to sit through it. It came out over 40 years ago, and it’s even more prevalent today than it was then.

I’ve been reading news articles, listening to the radio, and hearing a lot of opinions about how we should tackle the future of what happened in Orlando. But I’m not here to talk about politics, guns, or mental illness.

Let’s talk about fear, isolation, and hate.

The third saddest thing about these tragedies, is that as a people we become divided. My husband said it best several days after Orlando. “Maybe this was his plan. Go into a bar on Pride Month and Latino Night at the club, open fire, kill as many people as he could, and watch us tear each other apart in the aftermath.”

Since the date of the first mass shooting, we have only become more divided, angrier, and more fearful. Here’s what we can agree on: we want the ongoing terror to end. How can we, as a society, do our part to mend this broken nation?

Love others, and show them by your actions
My mom often says, “Nobody does anything for anyone else anymore. They’re only in it for themselves.” We may feel like we don’t have enough money, talents, or intelligence to offer anybody anything.

Even if we don’t volunteer at a homeless shelter, we can still find ways to help.

*Contact services dedicated to helping victims/families of victims of shootings
*Browse non-profit organizations to donate money/volunteer time
*Donate blood/plasma

Don’t forget to help your friends and family when they need it. Somebody sick? Offer to take them groceries. Have a friend suffer from grief? Cheer them up by sending them a kind letter or giving them a call. Overloaded at work? Schedule a moment with your family. Know somebody depressed? Go over to their place and try to take a walk outside together.

Hug more or just reach out and touch someone!

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Mackenbrose.tumblr.com

I read in high school that a person needs 8 hugs a day to feel happy. When I was little, my grandma hugged and kissed EVERYBODY. And she was loved by so many people. One of my favorite memories of her is her walking up to the disabled kids (that me and my friends were terrified of) and hugging every single one. It still brings tears to my eyes to think about it to this day.

Lots of people, especially men, do not feel comfortable showing affection by hugging. Let them know it’s okay to hug. However, NEVER force anyone to hug anyone else if they feel uncomfortable. Including you!

If you’re not a hugger, here are some alternatives:

*Handshakes – my hilarious friend, Til, and I just started doing a handshake based on Troy & Abed’s from Community. It makes us laugh so hard every time!
*High fives
*A consoling pat/rub
*Give a massage, if appropriate
*Cuddling, again if appropriate
*Petting/cuddling a pet, but watch for signs you’re making the pet uncomfortable/unhappy (there are articles and videos online from professionals to decode this)

Make people laugh 
Make sure the context and content is appropriate first

Embrace those who are different from you 
Remember the story earlier about my grandma hugging the disabled kids at my school? She also read me a book about a cat called Fanny who only had three legs. Fanny talks to the other animals about it, and they learn not to be afraid of her. That book is so rad, and it still sits on my bookshelf to share with others.

We all have biases and shit we believe that’s been ingrained in us since childhood. It’s time to accept that we’re not right about everything all the time. If you think somebody’s got it better than you or you dislike or fear somebody, ask yourself why.

Try not to shut out friends and family who are different than you. Learn about their interests. Find commonalities. Try to show them kindness and understanding. A lot of internet trolls aren’t nearly the same kind of monsters in real life, and lots of troublemakers back off when confronted in a positive, firm manner. Try to help first, but also ask if you are being difficult or making things worse.

Note: If you have someone who is aggressively attacking you with their beliefs and bringing you only constant toxicity, negativity, and spewing lies after a prolonged period of time, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate and walk away. I have had to do this with a friend, and it was not fun but very necessary for my well-being.

Start tackling aggression in yourself 
Unchecked anger is like driving your car when warning lights are on in your car instead of fixing it. Are you getting pissed off about everything more than you used to?

Recently, I had a conversation with my old roommate, and my friend Frost. Frost and I were venting about how much our city is changing, why it’s so awful, and how angry we are that it’s getting worse. Then my ex-roommate asked, “What makes it so awful? Like, what do you think would make you feel differently about it?” and all of the sudden, I realized that what we were angry about was almost 100% money related. Once I figured that out, it actually made me feel better able to accept this and make changes.

Sometimes you don’t know why you’re angry and locating the source can help bring peace. I started researching ways to do fun free things, better ways to save money or do less expensive activities, and asking people for help and understanding. “I can’t do that activity because it’s too expensive. But I’ll meet up with you after, or we can come over this day and do a different thing.” It made me far less resentful, and I actually enjoy things now I wasn’t able to for a long time.

Asking yourself “What am I really upset about?” and then take steps to make changes in both the way you think and how you act related to that can be extremely helpful.

Make positive changes in your life and learn new lessons 
If you don’t like something about yourself, try to change it. Growing, changing, and becoming better will also impact others positively. If you can’t do it on your own, try to find someone or resources to help you with it.

This year is my year of self-care. I learned that caring for myself first and handling my stress levels is the key to being better and getting sick less. It’s like when you’re on a plane and there’s an oxygen emergency. You have to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help a child or neighbor with their mask. It’s not selfish to sometimes just take your downtime, tv time, or a bath with a cup of tea to take care of YOU. Treat yo’self!

Spend less time online 
When I browse the web too long, it breaks my brain, my spirit, and just makes me less happy.

Exercise
Take Elle Woods’ advice. Exercise is calming and makes you feel good about yourself. Go for a walk or look into community events/your local parks & rec. The one in my old neighborhood would even grant financial assistance to those who couldn’t afford it.

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Aquarianfashion.tumblr.com

Stomp the f*** out of hate, but in a kind, thoughtful, intentionally loving way 
Love. Give hugs. Educate cautiously but with good intention. Try to hear other people’s point of views.  If someone gets pissed off at you for doing good and spreading love? They’re probably just jealous. If someone meets you with anger, realize that they’re probably coming from a painful place of fear and doubt (and maybe ignorance). Everyone’s dealing with their own troubles, ya know? And the world can be downright scary. Try to respond in a calm, caring manner. For me this means walking away, getting out of my head, spending time in the sunshine, and THEN responding.

If you know someone struggling with extreme fear, paranoia, anger, and/or depression, GET THEM HELP 
I recently watched a Scrubs episode where Dr. Cox realizes his anger is negatively impacting his family and makes changes. In the documentary Team Foxcatcher, dozens of families witnessed one of their own becoming more paranoid, falling into drugs, and becoming more and more troubled by his thoughts. And none of them did anything until it was too late. What did they do after? They all looked out for themselves, not each other. Maybe you lose a friend or family member by adamantly insisting they get help. But you know what? You might save their life and the lives of others. Someday, they might thank you.

There are lots of ways to make a positive difference in the world. If I left something out, leave me a comment. Please note that spam will be deleted.

 

 

Words

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I’m in my third decade of life. I have a yard, a spouse, a job, two pets, and a car that (for some reason) I am entrusted to drive. I recently voted, and I have opinions about cooking but still continue to eat to stay alive. When I mentioned I had to go buy coffee, because the kettle I use to boil water died today, she said, “It’s still surprising to me to have to pay for things like that,” and I agreed that I too might never get used to being an adult.

A grown ass woman, I still bawl my eyes out every time I read my retreat letters.

Over 10 years ago, the weekend of my 18th birthday, I went on a retreat. Some people lovingly, and some not-so-lovingly, referred to it as a cult. However, no Kool-aid was consumed, and we didn’t stay in a bunker underground. Those who planned the retreat had obviously been before, but the majority of us were new.

I won’t include all the details, primarily because I don’t remember all of it. But also, because I don’t want to spoil it. I’m nowhere near the same person I was back then that day, but I still feel the magic. That feeling you get when you realize someone you don’t know very well or haven’t seen in a long time, thinks of you or remembers you. When I fondly review these notes, lovingly touch the paper of those who wrote them, I remember the minor or major relationships I had/have with those people. Some of them disappointed me, some of them surprised me, and all of them cared some degree about me.

A couple of the people who wrote the letters have left this earthly world. A few others are from mentors who are retired or retiring soon. Two are from my parents, one from my mom who was annoyed that she didn’t have more time to tell EVERYONE in our family to write me a letter. A couple of my friends from another school went on a similar retreat the same weekend and received letters from me. Maybe they still have them, although I’ve never remembered to ask.

If you read the contents of the envelopes it may not mean much to you, but they mean the world to me. For the last few weeks, I’ve felt a desire to purge my life of all the material possessions that no longer bring me joy (which has begun to feel like everything), and many rooms in my house have piles of junk that used to be treasure. A few things could still become someone else’s treasure, but most of it is chewed up by the passage of time.

I can’t tell you what to do with your life. Whether you should spend or save or take a vacation or quit your job. What I will say is that there are more people than you even know whose memory you pass through from time to time, and a select few that dearly love you. There are those who have been heartbroken by you and those who broke your heart. Certain souls have your imprint on their life. Maybe there are even souls who have lived several lives with you in them. And human beings remember the most random shit that you can’t remember about yourself that would make you guffaw.

Whatever you discard in your world, I urge you to hang on to something like this. I have about 3-4 actual things from my grandmother and a handful of her letters. I can tell you, I’d much rather have her words and pictures that the whole house full of material things she left behind when she stepped out.

Keep the memories. I mean, you should probably still have some clothing, shelter, and food, but keep the stuff that matters. Keep the ones who matter.

What I’m really thinking

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I couldn’t sleep because of what I’ll now just refer to as my Trilogy of Sad (Pain, Anxiety Depression…it just sounds cooler when I refer to it as a trilogy, as if people saw the first one in the theater and were so in awe that they had to catch the second and third editions. Except no one would ever go back for these, because they suck ass), so I decided to go downstairs and search for entertainment.

My cousin re-posted this amazing series of twitter posts that tell a short story, and I’m going to tell it to you now. I love this exotic 140 character language, and normally you can say everything in one succinct tweet. But every once in awhile, a worthy novella rises like a phoenix. This is that novella.

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My cousin laughed so hard she cried. You probably read that and at least chuckled or are mildly horrified and amazed that someone would live this way. And yet…

Here’s my take. I finished this story and immediately said aloud, “THIS IS EVERYTHING.” This is 100% how I live my life. Now, I don’t mean that I’m dying of dysentery and walk around each day with poop in my purse. I mean that my anxiety eats at me every single day about little things. Sure, I chuckled, but it was was more like, “Ohhh man, this is soooo me. This is like the crazy shit I do every day personified by like a thousand (because literal feces).”

I will illustrate to you a day in my life.

  1. I am in a neutral or, let’s be honest, elevated state.
  2. A thing happens. Really, it could be anything that agitates, but something upsets the delicate balance. Like poop not flushing.
  3. I freak out; debate how to resolve said thing.
  4. I freak out some more.
  5. At this juncture, it’s been too long and I need to react in a way that is responsible and wise. I make a decision and hope that it’s the best one.
  6. It’s not, and the second I do it, I’m already regretting. The moment passes, but the decision sticks in a bad way as I replay in my mind a thousand times how I could’ve made a different decision. Or how angry I am that I still can’t come up with anything else and try to push it away.
    or the alternative to this, that I make a decision but then can’t remember if I made it in the first place, and pray I made one. Did I do that thing I was supposed to do? Did I? Am I really sure? Is there a way to check and not look like I’m checking?
  7. Repeat infinity about everything.
  8. Friend or family member says something nice to me. No, I think. No good here. Only poop.
  9. General meltdown ensues.
  10. Try to forget this thing ever happened, and attempt to hide feelings from world. 

And the worst part is, I know I’m not the only one who feels that way on a daily basis. Maybe you read that story and my reaction and are noddingOr perhaps were reminded of someone you know.

I wanted to laugh so hard at this. I want to laugh all the time at everything. But I’m too worried about the metaphorical poop in my purse until all I want to do is leave the purse behind, poop and all. Now that I’m thinking about it, I am a little ill at ease that after all that she kept the purse. Ewww…

Try not to carry every little thing with you and hold onto it emotionally and physically. It gets extremely uncomfortable. Share it with someone. Or distract yourself somehow over and over again. Just know that everybody poops, and you are not alone. And don’t put it in your purse.

Shower Thought or Trash Collection?

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via tvguide.com

Today, I set out to complete some errands, but since some of the things I was going to do got resolved more quickly than anticipated, I decided to treat myself by looking up a ranking of every hat Frank ever wore on 30 RockWhy? Because sometimes I like to follow up success with mediocrity. We cannot have the sweet without the sour, I am told, and I enjoy Sourpatch Kids, so there ya go.

Once again, the internet granted my request. I enjoyed the 90’s as much as anyone who lived through it, but I also remember writing down songs on spiral notebook paper because the stupid cd didn’t come with the lyrics to the song I loved. It still amazes me that tasks you once had to do yourself are now a click of a time-wasting button away.

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via Mandatory.com

I’m always looking for writing prompts, and some of these are quite good. Although if you start at the end, you’re going to become defeated quickly.

I once thought that Frank’s hats in the show 30 Rock were about greatness, but not all of these are good. Some of them are plain garbage. Anyway, ones like “Panic Dream” and “Space Gravy” make me excited and the others I just straight up won’t mention. MTV also made a list of it if you don’t feel like the commentary or ranking is necessary.

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via holybatshitman.com

My plan was to also write a serious post, but I’d rather think about Frank’s hats than the stuff that really annoys me. Maybe at a later date. I do need to go back to errands and chores.

Don’t forget to Daydream for the Job you want

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via HelloGiggles.com

For those who aren’t current on my life events, I am searching for the best g-damn job in the PNW! Or at least, the best for me.

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via Pinterest

When you first start searching again for a job, you’re rusty. I feel like I’ve looked for work more than any other person I’ve ever met, and I’m always surprised at how bad I am at it initially. I get pretty smooth after a couple of months, but then I get hired, and my mode changes to “job security and synergy” and I completely forget how to sleuth.

Today, I got an impromptu phone interview. This is how it’s supposed to go. “Your company does ____, and I do ____, ____, and achieved ____. Here’s what I can do for you!”

My first phone interview is always like the rookie pilot taking the jet out for the first time, or a teenager learning to drive a manual transmission. Clunky, uncomfortable, scary, and a little reckless. But it makes me nostalgic for my Improv days.

It’s sort of a sales job, so they asked me why I was interested in their company. I launched into a tangent about their line of work and how I couldn’t understand how anyone would be opposed to the current project they’re working on. “But some people are stupid.”

I said “stupid” in a job interview. There was a quick recovery after I said it, and I think it *kind* of worked to my advantage (you can teach sales skills but not passion!). A huge red alert that I really need to get my shit together and start rehearsing my one woman monologue song and dance about the greatness of Me. Which wouldn’t be a problem per say, except I hate singing about my work accomplishments.

I’m not the person you hire because they’re going to come in every day for 30 years and do a good job. I’m more of a human hurricane who’s capable of greatness, but not unlike Icarus, flies too close to the sun. Which is why I’m looking for work again. Most work is so rigid and inflexible. And damnit, I need a certain degree of freedom that 9-5, “normal” people jobs don’t allow. A degree of freedom on the wardrobe doesn’t hurt either. If I dress in a suit, I look like a child playing dress up.

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via Pinterest

A career coach once told me that the job you want is basically a baby-sitting for the owner or manager’s baby. They want to know they can trust you with a baby. That was the analogy. Their world is this baby, and they have to know you can keep it alive.

And I suck with babies. I don’t really like them very much. However, I have sort of an awkward and unorthodox charm. Many people hire someone because they can reliably change a ton of diapers daily and know all the steps, but a lucky few hire me because I think of new songs to sing to the baby or new toys for him/her to play with and expand his/her mind. I’m not so good with routine, but I like to dazzle me some babies. And when they cry, I TOTALLY get it. I’m empathetic to babies, because I cry over stupid things constantly.

So bring me your babies, and watch me juggle. I swear, we’ll all have a good time!

lizzy

via theodysseyonline.com

 

Jazz, and other things I suck at

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Something that Jerry Seinfeld and Mike Birbiglia have both brought up in their stand-up routines is how they’re not good at anything besides being funny. I’m paraphrasing not calling them out (they’re funny and make a living at it, so who cares?), but that’s the jist. Birbiglia even at one time really wanted to be a break dancer and was encouraged by his siblings who no doubt liked to watch their little brother fall on the floor. Because making your brothers and sisters look as stupid as possible has got to be one of the best things about sharing one or two parents.

I couldn’t initially think of the word “break dancing,” so I Googled “dance where you fall on the floor.” It didn’t help, because Break dancing wasn’t one of the results. I ended up having to remember it organically, which means the internet is still on its way to being sentient. What I did get were a lot of Youtube videos of people falling, some of them while drunk. The spirit of America’s Funniest Home Videos will apparently outlive us all, and, I’m sure, follow us into a post-apocalyptic world. My friend was playing Fall Out 4 and asked, “Why do people like this? I keep having to build shelves and run errands for people.” You wouldn’t think you’d have to do shit other than celebrate being alive, but maybe I don’t watch or read enough sci-fi to verify this. When my husband reads this post, he’ll probably just turn to me and shake his head. But then again, he’ll probably be the one in the post-apocalyptic world building shelves, because he does read sci-fi. And likes feeling productive.

I’m sorry if I’m not telling it very well, but I gave my mom Mike Birbliglia’s Sleepwalk with Me book as a present, and she was like, “Okay, I’ll read it!” But she lied, and it’s been 5 years, and she still hasn’t read it. Now it’s lost in her messy house, and I don’t want to go out and buy it again in case she finds it. I should probably just go buy it again.

What I’m trying to say is that Jon Benjamin, the voice of Archer and who also stars in Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, made a jazz cd. Parker sent it to me earlier today. I almost busted my gut laughing, because Parker suggested I work out while I listen to it which means he either loves me a lot to send me something to make me laugh or is actually trying to kill me. It’s probably the former, because I almost never exercise.

Parker: I thought it would be perfect for you, because I heard Soft Jazzercise, and thought, “Hey! That’s how my wife does it. Barely at all.”

So, not only is Jon Benjamin funny, but his jazz cd is great because he can’t play the piano at all. I’m also drawn to it, because it also reminds me of whenever music teachers found out I knew how to play piano at school.

As a child, I developed joy in trying to learn how to play simple songs on the electric piano. All I needed to do was show my mom I’d graduated to the point of wanting to learn to play music for her to mention it to my grandma. My grandma pounced on this immediately and went out and bought me a piano that required my mom to remodel the living room.

I was then introduced to the weekly torture of practicing for piano class. I hated being MADE to play and often cried. I would sob while Mom, who hated to make me and maybe hated to listen to me play the song incorrectly over and over even more, screamed that I needed to play, and my grandma bought me such a NICE piano, and didn’t she love me? So I’d cry and sniffle, and try to play it from memory, since I was worse at reading music than I was at playing music. I could never remember which note was which, so I’d memorize the piece and then my teacher would chuckle as I paused midway up the piano and would say, “I see you memorizing the piece again.”

All I wanted to do was play what I wanted to play WHEN I wanted to play it! Now I knew how to play “Yes, we have no Bananas,” but did NOT want to learn how to play “Spring Morning.” I certainly didn’t want to practice it semi-weekly to have to practice it even more in order to play it at my piano recital. To make it less awful, I made up my own terrible lyrics to “Spring Morning,” which I still have memorized because that’s never leaving unless I get full-on Alzheimers or a brain tumor. There’s something about making up lyrics to songs that runs on both sides of my family and makes me happy whenever I think about it.

By the time I was in 6th grade, I was trying out new things like the clarinet, but the lessons remained the same, and now it was harder, because I had to learn to try to find the notes all over again and blow “just so.” When my 6th grade music teacher insisted we were all going to play different instruments and memorize a song, he added, “If you have musical experience with an instrument, tell me, and we’ll assign it to you. Otherwise, you’ll get something random.”

“I’ve had piano lessons,” I said after another girl had raised her hand to admit she knew how to play.

“Excellent! Let’s hear what you’ve both got,” my music teacher proclaimed.

I then watched this girl play and realized we weren’t even close to the same skill level.

“Oh, I’m not THAT good,” I said once she had finished.

“I’m sure you’re great. You’re just being modest!”

“I’m really not.”

One of the things I have gathered about teachers now that I am older is that where we see failure and lack of skill, teachers see the flickering of potential. I survived the performance of “Wannabe” and managed to disentangle myself from taking lessons.

Now, I pretty much leave piano playing up to my husband. He’s much better. But the point is that comedians have given me unrealistic job expectations, and so now I think I may have a future in the jazz biz. More details to follow.

A yard of what? Beer?

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I’ll try to make this post quick as I have a lot of boring but necessary errands to attend to a city or two away.

Husband and I just got a yard which is the first yard we’ve had in several years. I’ll also note that this is the first yard that is ours, because the last yard was a shared one with the 4-plex and our landlords used to leave random trash in it, and there were even rats. I’m still trying to forget about them, because the situation made me angry. *Hums and pretends to meditate.*

This is the one that REALLY counts.

What it’s made me realize is that I want a yard, and even though my mother is a master gardener with a certificate to prove it, I don’t know the first thing about gardening or yards. I know you’re supposed to use water on them, but apparently it’s a balancing act. Right now, we moved in our plants, but because it was winter, and they’re outside plants, they’ve all basically died in their pots.

The yard has no grass as of right now, and my husband and I are trying to figure out what to do with it.

psych

Is this what you do with a yard? I don’t have a tree! I’m so confused. (via hulu.tumblr.com)

Me: I almost picked up soil on the way home today!
Parker: Yeah, but you have to get a specific kind, and you have to mix it with the dirt already there. And if we’re going to put in grass, you have to do it just so.
Me: …Oh. Well, I’m glad I didn’t buy anything then!
Parker: We also have to figure out how much grass we’re going to put in and what to do with the rest of the yard.
Me: Right.

A call made to my mom 
Me: Can I compost with dog poop?
Mom: NO.
Me: Oh man, that’s the main thing I was going to compost.
Mom: You can’t use it. You can use coffee grounds, but you also have to use a little bit of dirt. You can dig some up in your backyard. Actually, it’d probably be better to get some from the store. You can also put in old lettuce. Start in some kind of small bucket.
Me: Okaaay.

The dog doesn’t really know what to do with it either, but her purpose in the backyard is more straight forward. She’s really small, and the ground is uneven so lots of puddles accumulate, and then she doesn’t want to go outside. Instead, she runs to the front door, like, “Walk??” and I’m like, “You do know it’s also wet and raining out front, right? You don’t always get walks. Sometimes you just need to pee in the yard. That’s part of why we have it.” And then I usually take her for a walk anyway, because I’m a sucker, and I want our carpet to smell like NOTHING.

Right now, the main thing that’s out there are these flamingos in Christmas hats we got from Fred Meyer. They’re pretty cool and are on one of my previous posts. The cat likes the backyard better than the dog, probably because she’s more used to having one, and she really likes to go out and check out the flamingos. I’m not sure if she thinks she’s their leader, but that’s my best guess so far. The dog likes them too, but not as much as the cat.

Dog: Are you guys okay? Nope, still not edible. Still probably not alive. All right, bye.

Cat: Ah yes…exactly where I left you. Stay there and worship me. Good…goooood. I will use you in my plot to takeover. Be ready at my word.

Last night, I took down almost all of our Christmas decorations (finally) and moved some of the boxes out of our living room. The dog was asleep for this, but when she woke up, she looked around with an expression that said, “Woah, this place looks better! How long was I asleep?” It was fast, and I was too busy laughing to document it, but trust me, it was great.

Anyway, I’ll edit this later and post a pic so you guys can help me. I clearly need help.

Ghosted

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My childhood friend, Victoria Elizabeth Reed, wrote a book. It’s called Ghosted, about a woman who finds herself without one of her closest friends or explanations. Please check it out, and let me know what you think. I think it’s a subject that many of us can relate to. She also has a Facebook page under the title. Like it for updates!

I’ve known people who have written books before, but this is the closest person I’ve ever had to me to self-publish. I’m so proud of her!

I will say this…ending a friendship isn’t easy. It’s hard to tell people you’ve grown apart or hate something they’re doing or haven’t done. Resentment builds up like residue in a drain. It’s even worse when you’re the one who finds yourself on the receiving end of this. I could go into details, but suffice to say, it would be best to start Reed’s experience. I’m glad she and I are friends, and I’m happier that I’m not the Ghoster friend (I like that, reminds me of one of the ghosts in the haunted levels of Super Mario!) she wrote the book about.

This isn’t about her book, it’s just where my mind went from here. I listened to this song a lot in October. It’s pretty rad–the opposite kind of ghost, I would say.

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