Friday, December 27, 2013

Bad Neighbors

The area we live in is pretty nice. Low crime rates, quality amenities nearby, decent people. We've lived here for several years and never had a problem, until recently. It all began six months ago when management changed hands. Old management ran a tight ship. New management? Not so much. Upon taking over they basically began scraping the very bottom of the barrel to get new tenants in the few empty apartments they had. I guess they figured anybody was better than nobody. Oh how wrong they were.

Some friends of ours moved in just before management changed hands and lived across the courtyard from us. At the time the worst neighbors in the entire place were those directly across the hall from me. A Russian woman fond of company who had a cackle like a rooster. She would sit out on her balcony at 2:00AM with her guests and laugh so loudly it could penetrate walls and wake you from a sound sleep -- then prevent you from returning to it. Her guests would also step out onto the landing in the stairwell and smoke like chimneys, leaving ashes and occasionally cigarette butts in their wake.

It was obnoxious but not really complaint worthy. Just asking her to clean up after her guests and not be such a loud ass would've been simple enough. Even so she didn't last long. She was evicted in short order though, less than 60 days after having signed into a 6 month lease.

That's when we were introduced to truly horrible. New management had fully taken over and put a man, his wife, and her daughter into the apartment across the hall from me downstairs. He looked like trouble, a shaved head, a neck tattoo, and a motorcycle on his patio (meaning he rode it through his apartment to get it there...) but judging a book by its cover is a shitty thing to do, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He was really nice at first, greeting you with a smile, asking how your day was, etc. But it was an act.

Within a week the hostility began. Neither he nor the women in his life had jobs, so they were always home. And when they were home, they were fighting. I don't mean arguing, I mean full on shouting and screaming at each other. Day or night. None of them could come or go without slamming the door with such rage it would rattle all of the windows in my apartment, even those on the complete other side of the building from them. From time to time, at least once a week, this verbal abuse would erupt into violence and he would beat either his wife or his daughter as they tried to leave him.

This is when my friend, our other neighbors, and I started filing complaints with management, calling security, and occasionally having to call the police.

Management knew exactly who were were filing a complaint about the moment we walked in, because apparently everyone else had also been filing complaints since he moved in, even folk from the other side of the complex. They assured us they were already taking motions to evict him and that it wouldn't be a problem long. But it was. Even though we witnessed just how quickly they could vacate an apartment with the Russian woman, this domestic abuser managed to somehow remain here for a whole long miserable 6 months. Waking my son from naps and night time sleep, interrupting our lives in general, and making us feel unsafe when we had to venture outside because who knew when you'd unexpectedly get caught up in his violence?

We wound up having to file complaints nearly every day the entire six months against this guy. Sometimes more than one complaint per day. Which is noteworthy because we'd lived here for four years without having ever filed even a single complaint before. Security, the police, and management were there all the time telling them to calm the fuck down. None of it worked.

Meanwhile management continued with their poor decision making. There was a vacancy in the apartment beside mine on the upper level that they immediately filled with a drug user whose live-in boyfriend was also a woman beater. Once the violence got so bad that the men in the apartment beneath hers (complete strangers to her) had to respond to her screams for help and break in to fight the guy off because he was literally trying to kill her. She at least had the sense not to welcome the guy back into her life but the corresponding room mates she invited to fill the void were all drug abusers too.

Management did nothing about her or her illegal tenants for five months, until a dozen police converged on the complex with guns drawn and used a battering ram to bust down her door, arresting everyone inside for possession of narcotics.

How we went from complaining amongst ourselves about a woman's glass-shattering cackle to wife beaters and crack smokers I have NO idea. Seems like a rather huge leap.

But the situation in the apartment with the wife beater in it finally came to a head when the woman and her daughter left him. They had left several times before, or I guess the appropriate word is escaped, but always came back. For whatever reason. I assume because they'd leave with only a portion of their stuff and when they came back for the rest the guy who beat them somehow managed to convince them to stay. This last time though, they brought a Uhaul and loaded everything up at once, with a lot of screaming, door slamming, and some violence and were gone for good.

The guy didn't handle it well of course. He put his fist through every window in his apartment in a fury about being left. When management showed up to address the situation and inform him he'd have to pay for the replacement windows, you could suddenly smell (with the guy's door open for more than it took to slam it again) that the inside of his unit reeked of piss and shit. Like, I could smell it upstairs through a single open window and across the parking lot when I'd gone to fetch the mail.

I'm assuming it was then, seeing the actual state of the apartment, that they decided maybe they should've taken all of our complaints more seriously and started to actually evict the guy. Fast forward to today: the guy is gone and management is clearing out the apartment of crap he abandoned (I'm assuming he skipped out before the eviction went through to avoid paying for the windows). And they once again realize it was a lot worse. Nothing in the place hasn't been broken. They've paraded out every door from the unit with multiple holes punched through, the walls have been punched and kicked through several times, and the guy shattered a big screen TV and shredded a sofa.

What. The. Hell.

I can't feel bad for management though. They had ample warning. They could have evicted this guy the week after he moved in for the offenses he was committing and the number of complaints they were receiving about him from other tenants. But they didn't. They chose to keep the unit occupied to continue getting his rent check. Welp, now they pay the price for our misery.

A few friends wonder why we stay. The area is still great in general. Low crime rates, quality amenities, decent people. One or two bad apples don't ruin the entire barrel. Plus it would be a miserable experience trying to find a new place, packing, and moving everything with a toddler and literally no one nearby to help us. Plus, I like to think the new management learned something from all this and will improve to the quality of living we'd grown used to with old management in charge.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fictional Class Rings

As I was laying in bed last night supposed to be asleep, I was instead thinking about Starfleet. Mostly the Starfleet Academy. I started to wonder if they made Starfleet Academy class rings -- I know Starfleet is fictional. I still wondered. Looking around I discovered the answer was no, not really. There is the one available at Thinkgeek that only comes in size 10.5, there are a few actual props from TNG floating around for a million dollars, and I found another made in China which at least comes as small as a size 7... but nothing really customizable. For instance adding Ex Astri, Scientia; a name; a stardate; perhaps even customizing the gem to coordinate with your division, and so on.


So I went to the typical companies one goes to when having a class ring made only to discover most of them (Jostens, Balfour, etc.) only allow for actual schools that exist. Like, you cannot customize them without first inputting your school name, city, and state. If it doesn't recognize the school you entered, such as Starfleet Academy, you can't proceed. I discovered one site that did and wound up spending like 30 minutes customizing a Starfleet Academy class ring. I'd never buy it for myself, because it'd cost like $120, but it was fun to play around with.

Then I got to wondering though, would there be a market for this? Now that being a nerd about something isn't a giant social stigma you'd think companies would capitalize on it, but they've yet to do so. Would it be illegal for me (or anyone unaffiliated really) to profit from this sort of market?

Like, were I to make Starfleet and Hogwarts class rings and sell them, would that be copyright infringement? I'm not considering it seriously, obviously, but it makes me wonder. Were I Urban Outfitters I'd probably be fine, of course, but as just a sole entity would this be acceptable?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Three Years

I asked for requests/suggestions to write about in celebration of Blognari reaching ten thousand unique page views. One of the first requests I received was from a friend of mine. I have to warn you, this blog isn't going to be as carefree as my usual fare. I may try to make light here and there or add a little comedy because honestly comedy makes everything easier to talk or write about, and probably easier to read, but the subject isn't a great one for me. Not because I am afraid of what you guys will think or anything like that, but because it was a negative time in my life (and no one likes reliving those) and it's just not easy to explain and takes a very long time to really hash out properly.

I mean, there's obviously a happy ending, but at the time it was a pretty hopeless situation.

I had a rough go of it in 2001 and not many people, even those closest to me, know what the hell happened when I basically disappeared for three years. I existed by and large on the internet during this period and, despite how things are now, back then very few of my real life friends had the internet and those who did rarely ever used it. Crazy to imagine that, I know. So to them, I essentially ceased to exist at all.

I want to clarify something though, because that's another thing that's changed drastically in recent years: online friends. I say my real life friends didn't see me for three years, as if the online friends I made were somehow less real because they were online and not down the street. Let me just say, no. To me they've always been very real, and appreciated, even back then when things were super segregated between online and 'real' life. The idea of having actual friends who lived perhaps thousands of miles away from you was absurd, in public opinion though, especially if you had never met them face-to-face and knew them solely from the internet. Heaven forbid you plan to actually meet them one day, then you were just considered all sorts of crazy. Funny how much that's changed. Now it's stranger if you never meet.

But on that I digress, times were different. Setting set. Enough said.

I've always been considered this pillar of emotional stability. Very logical and brave and able to overcome a lot of bullshit. This particular year however was comprised almost entirely out of it. To the point that near the end I'd just been completely overwhelmed. Something had to give -- and it didn't.

In a very short period of time I lost one of my oldest friends to suicide and lost my best friend to her own insecurities, and my health was rapidly failing me.

I was in the hospital more than I was at home and our attendance officer at school was especially caustic and vindictive about it. To make it worse, no matter how many official medical excuses I delivered from my physicians she always wrote me in as truant and aside from the legal trouble this caused, I ate all of my lunches in detention and spent much of my spare time after school serving after-hours (which is like 4 hours of detention after school where you aren't allowed to talk or do your homework because you're supposed to sit and think about what a bad child you are). Due to my vertigo I wasn't allowed to get a driver's license so I relied on my friends to give me a ride home. My friends all had jobs though so if I wasn't leaving school at 2:45 with them, they couldn't help me out. This meant I had to walk home every day, five miles, by myself. Whether it was 90 degrees or -15. Rain or shine. So when I finally did get home I had no time to do my homework or hang out with friends.

My academic life was struggling, my social life was struggling, and I felt like grade A shit everyday on top of it. When I was 12 I contracted a rare virus from an animal at the zoo. Yeah, I know. That sounds like some sci-fi horror flick material, but it's true. I spent the entire summer after my 6th grade graduation in the hospital. My liver was failing. I got better, eventually, but my liver was left inflamed and putting pressure on it could cause it to rupture and abruptly kill me. It only works at 70% capacity. It was an interesting time in my 12 year old life.

Every now and then it'd flare back up and I'd become desperately sick. Not the virus, really, so much as my liver which was bad at being a liver would fail to filter something out and I'd be poisoned, effectively. This is what we thought was happening in 2001, but it turned out that this time it wasn't just my liver. It was Toxic Shock Syndrome brought on by an acute, yet chronic case of tonsillitis. How you can have both acute and chronic anything is a mystery to everyone, it seems, but there it was. Happening to me. I'd once again won the health-lotto. I had not one but two emergency surgeries to save my life and spent two weeks in the hospital. The amount of tissue they had to remove from my neck meant I not only couldn't swallow but that I also couldn't speak. I had to relearn how to do both. It was messy and embarrassing and painful.

I only had one visitor in the hospital aside from my mother and it was my boyfriend. Who only came to break up with me. My plethora of friends, as you can assume by the 'chronic' part of 'chronic tonsillitis', had all basically given up trying because I was always too sick to go out. They still cared, they were just young and had other shit going on. Which I know now, but it didn't make it less difficult back then when I was alone in the hospital after almost dying.

Once I had finally recovered I would go out every now and again, though I'd been cautioned against it because my immune system had crashed from the medication they had to fill me with to reduce the inflammation enough to operate on me. So if my friends were sick or had recently been sick or anyone they knew was sick and I went out with them, it was basically a guarantee that I too would soon be sick. This put stress on my relationships because people understand being sick pretty well. They do not understand staying sick especially if you don't appear symptomatic. A lot of times they acted like I was just making up excuses because I didn't want to hang out, and would be angry with me. So much so I'd ignore my medical advice and go out with them anyway. And then wind up in the ER again because I'd spike a 103 degree fever several days later. I couldn't just get sick. I had to get sick-sick.

I tried very hard to keep up but I couldn't. My health just wasn't up to it anymore. And no one could comprehend that. It was very humbling and isolating.

Then there was this wealthy boy, my age, who was stalking me and had been for over a year by this point. No one seemed to want to do anything about it. He was a friend of a friend I'd met one time, and then he wouldn't leave me alone. He'd make aggresive advances anytime we were occupying the same building, to the point I'd have to literally fight him off. He would wait outside of my school, despite the fact that he attended school in a totally different city, and then follow me home. Where he would sit on my porch and yell at me to let him in for hours until my parents got home. Every day.

He would call my house at all hours of the day and night. If I didn't answer he'd leave 45 minute long answering machine messages about how I was an emotional vampire, a terrible person, nothing without him, and so on and so forth. If I accidentlaly answered the phone I'd be stuck on it for hours and hours listening to much the same. If I hung up, he'd call right back. Our phone basically existed in two states: ringing or active (either me or the answering machine recording). Which is probably why I find phones so repulsive even now. If I could avoid them entirely, I would. I had no interest in the guy and never claimed to. I actually explicitly told him he had no chance the day we met... and yet, here we were. Every day.

My friends would tease me at first, not realizing the extent of it. He'd sometimes show up in the middle of the school day outside of my classes. His parents were of absolutely no help and were of the belief I must've done something inappropriate. And even though the police had forcibly removed him from my house numerous times, they weren't much help either until he finally tried to force his way inside and they had to arrest him because there were witnesses. Then rather than prosecute the rich boy they just removed all of my contact information from public record, and left it on me and my family to change residence and make sure he didn't get the new information. We didn't move quickly enough, apparently.

Related or not, after returning home from a concert with one of my friends, I was attacked in the safety of my own back yard. Just several feet from my own front door, where both my parents slept just a shout away, by a complete stranger with a knife. At least I think it was a complete stranger. It was dark and he had a hoodie on with the hood up so maybe it wasn't. But to think it was someone I knew would have killed me, so I stuck with stranger. Had my dog not scared the person away, I may not be here to type this right now. It was the last straw. My brain just couldn't deal with anyone anymore. Having to deal with the police, who are supposed to help but didn't -- again, only made me feel worse. I withdrew. Completely.

If I couldn't feel safe in my own backyard and the people who were supposed to protect me either couldn't or wouldn't, what was I supposed to think? In the rare case I could safely leave my house I always got gravely sick days afterward and even when I wasn't sick I felt lousy all the time. And no one understood or seemed to have any sympathy about it. So when we finally moved and no one could find me that I didn't want to... I stopped going out. At first I tried counseling about the phenomenally crap hand I'd been dealt in the last year because I knew the reaction to withdraw wasn't healthy but my psychologist was, in layman's terms, terrible at her fucking job. She only reaffirmed my belief that I should just not bother anymore.

So I didn't.

At first friends who had my address would stop by to hang out, but I would hide from them and pretend I wasn't home, so that I didn't have to deal with them and their incessant desire to 'go out.' I didn't want to leave my safe zone and I knew through experience that they wouldn't take no for an answer. If I let them in they would force me to leave, either by actual force or by guilt tripping me into coming along, thinking it was for my own good to get out of the house. It wasn't helpful though. So I just avoided them. I still loved them dearly and wanted to see them, I just didn't want to go out and they always insisted. So I resigned not to see them either.

The changing times were ideal for becoming a recluse, I found. I did all of my shopping through the internet and it was all delivered to my front door. I never had to go any further than my mailbox. It was a very peaceful time in my life. There were no expectations of me. I could wear whatever I wanted, didn't feel the pressure to wear make-up or do my hair, and my activities were entirely up to me. I had no one else to please. All of my favorite hobbies were perfect for the life of a recluse it turned out: art, reading, writing, crafts, and gaming. Thanks to the internet (once again) I wasn't starved for human interaction, either.

As it continued to go on however leaving the house actually began to frighten me. The change from "I don't want to go out," to, "I cannot go out," was so gradual that I have no idea at which point it actually happened. I had this bubble where safety was paramount and leaving it was terrifying. Walking any further than the end of my driveway would give me such anxiety I would hurry back into the house and lock the doors behind me.

When you're a recluse you have a lot of time to think. To study, to learn. This is both a boon and a curse. Because amongst the many wonderful things you discover, you also discover all of the terrible things and you have nothing but time to sit and think. About what you've learned, about your entire life up until that point, and so on.

In my case I realized my life before I became a hermit was largely bad. I had a lot of friends and was very outgoing and there were fun times, yes, but where were these people when I needed them? Not here, clearly. I grew up in an abusive household where violence from my step father was a daily occurrence. If it wasn't violence against us it was verbal and emotional abuse toward my mother. This went on for years and years and really drove home the point that it wasn't worth it. When she divorced and eventually remarried, lo and behold, it was more of the same. The one marriage she had that was good ended due to alcoholism. I was happy alone. I was better off.

As weeks stretched into months and months to years however, I recognized deep down I wanted and deserved more. That I shouldn't let others dictate my life. While I was happy enough on my own, I knew I was giving up all the dreams I had as a girl. That wasn't fair, I should've been outraged. I wasn't, but I knew I should've been. I had placated myself into accepting this way of life as okay. I was settling because I was comfortable. What was I waiting for? I bought myself a tiny hour glass pendant filled with diamond sand to remind me that my time here was limited and to make the best of it.

I spent a lot of time studying psychology and taking online courses. To the point where I became a better psychologist to myself than the actual accredited psychologist I originally had. Which my next psychologist would profess to me over the phone, because I couldn't make it to in-person meetings. I was agoraphobic and the only way to truly work this out was to go outside. But I had to be ready, and I wasn't. No one understood my physical illness which had glaring obvious signs and symptoms, how could I expect them to understand something as invisible as agoraphobia? I couldn't, I knew. And it felt like another set back.

By this point all of my friends had moved on, and I rarely heard from anyone outside of the internet. Going outside was a horrifying thought to me. I tried to start small, taking walks around the block, but I rarely made it down the street before running back and locking the door behind me. I managed to make it to a movie once, but I puked twice from anxiety before going outside and was woefully uncomfortable the entire time (my stomach was in knots) and only really relaxed on the car ride back, knowing I'd be home soon. I invited the friend who'd taken me in, but they had plans to go out for the evening, so we naturally parted ways. They were oblivious to what a huge undertaking just walking through the door to get in their car had been.

No one knew how bad it was except my mother, and even she likely wasn't sure if it was how lousy I felt from being sick so much or an actual fear of going outside.

Many people say something inspiring here like, "my friends came to the rescue!" or "my family had my back!" But ultimately what actually helped me was a daytime television show called Starting Over. Which seems so ridiculous to confess, but there you have it. I didn't watch much TV as a recluse. I only had basic cable. I kept it on for background noise while I slept usually (long before the days I was deaf) and one time I woke up and this show was on. I don't know what made me start watching it, but I kept watching it.

This show was basically The Real World if you replaced all of the contestants with psych patients. One woman in particular stuck with me. She was going through something similar after the death of her fiance and watching her go through it helped me in some strangely fundamental way internalizing it, or talking it out with a professional couldn't. Which probably makes sense. Many times there will be support groups for people with your affliction, whether it be cancer or depression, but there's not really a realistic way to have an agoraphobia support group.

Instead I watched this woman struggle on the television with the very same feelings I was struggling with when you stepped through the threshold into the world that had wronged you. She would do great and then have major set backs and at one point was even almost asked to leave because she was just refusing to give and on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

So when she was 'cured' (a term I use very loosely) and graduated from the show I decided, alright, let's fucking do this. And I went outside.

Yeah, I just got up, went out and stood at the end of my drive way. Then I ebbed into the road and stood at the edge of traffic as it drove by. Like a boss. My heart was beating like an angry drum. I then hurried back inside and locked the doors, but I felt like Wonder Woman.

The next day I went into the backyard and walked to the end of the fence. The day after that I went exploring in the woods behind my house. Sure just a dozen feet or so, where I found a calm little stream, but still. A week later I braved a walk around the block. Then I invited my mom out to dinner. On the way home, I said we should swing by the store so I could grab something. She looked at me like I suggested we ride a hot air balloon to Mars. But she didn't question me, she just pulled into the parking lot of the store and went along.

When I got home I felt awesome, like I could change the world single handedly. It was amazing. Don't get me wrong. It wasn't like I was miraculously better. Every time I left the house I felt like I was going to die some awful death, but once I actually got out into the world and saw I was actually going to be okay, I felt fantastic. Even for just short stretches of time to do something as mundane as buying a pint of ice cream. There were days I would try and couldn't, sure, but the days I could. Oh, the adventures.

The more I got out the less anxiety I felt about leaving the house. My safe zone was growing outward. Whereas before it only included my driveway, it now included the block, the grocery store, a local diner, and the movie theater. I was steadily making it out more than I was staying in. Eventually my safe zone included much of the city I lived in. Then I went on a road trip to Michigan, something I hadn't done in years, first due to my health then due to the agoraphobia. After that things continued improving. Eventually I met a boy (who turned out to be a huge douchebag but hey, it happens) and I moved away from my safe zone. I didn't go out much but I could go out when I wanted. Without hesitation.

While my health still wasn't great (I would soon be diagnosed with several chronic illnesses of which there's no cure), preventing a normal job, I volunteered my time with mental help hotlines and suicide prevention programs. Using my personal experiences and what I'd learn as a recluse to help other people overcome their turmoils. Eventually I started my own business, so I didn't have to deal with a boss who would fire me due to attendance issues because of my health. PC sales and repair. I was successful.

Now, many many years later, I live 3000 miles away from my safe zone. I met a man (who isn't a douchebag) and got we a place together. I started school. We got engaged and started a family. I have a son! Back in those 3 years I never would have thought any of this possible. I convinced myself that I was okay with being alone. I had given up on what I wanted in life. I'm living proof though that even if you've given up -- you can change your mind. You can do whatever the hell you want. You just have to really, really want it and be ready to make the commitment.

Will you still think me a paragon of emotional stability after reading this? Maybe. Maybe not. It's really none of my business. But I do hope if you're struggling with anything, be it physical or mental, this strikes a chord and you realize that even though most people won't admit they've ever struggled let alone talk about it, and you feel really isolated -- you are not alone. And you can overcome it, when you're ready.

Friday, November 15, 2013

10k Views Blog 2: Challenge!

One of you requested I make up some sort of challenge for everyone to partake in. Off the top of my head... portions!

I'm actually strangely adept at measuring out a proper portion of most food items. Aaron was amazed I actually applied less peanut butter to my pb&j's than was the serving size back when I was counting calories during breastfeeding in a futile effort to broach 2500 per day, and I kind of slather a piece of bread thoroughly. Rice, fruits, veggies? All pretty good! But things like candy, crackers, chips, and cereal? Hilariously bad. I may accurately judge how much of those things I should eat, I just ignore it and eat two sometimes three or even four servings of said foods. Portion control can be difficult when all the food available to you is actually delicious. It's also hard when so little attention is ever paid to labels, really. Most people don't even know that a serving size from a can of soup is just half the can.

First world problems. amirite?

So whether you're watching your weight or not, this challenge is difficult and offers a lot of perspective. I challenge you to for at least 24 hours to eat only the appointed serving size of the foods you eat. In example, that means only 1/4 a cup of cereal in your bowl with 1/2 a cup of skim milk (substitute skim with lesser amounts of other milks based on fat % -- enjoy your dry-ass cereal). Only 12 potato chips on your plate. Only 2 Oreo cookies for dessert. Only 1 Poptart from the pouch. Just 1 cup of milk. 1 slice of bread for your sandwich, with 2 slices of thin lunch meat, 1 slice of cheese, and less than 1 tbsp of any condiment.

You can't cheat by just breaking up what you'd normally have into several meals over the day. After you've had 1 food, you can't return to it for the entire day. To clarify, I mean specific foods not food groups. So only 1 apple, but you can have a banana later or some mango. Only 1 servings of salad but you can later have peas or carrots. Only 1 sandwich but you can also have toast or meat with other meals. And so on an so forth. If you normally eat three meals and two snacks, you must stick to this regimen. If you normally have 6 meals and no snacks, you must stick to this regimen. No extra meals or snacks to make up for what you didn't eat!

You're probably going to be kind of hungry, but that's half the challenge.

Let me know how it goes. Did you succeed or fail? What was that like for you? Was it harder or easier than you thought it would be? Did you surprise yourself? Did you learn something about food? Could you imagine doing this every day? Inquiring minds would apparently like to know!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Things You May Not Know About Me

(But probably do because I'm extremely candid.)

12 True Facts About How an Inari Do:

1. I missed the entire first half of my 7th grade school year because my liver was failing and I was in and out of the hospital too much. When I could finally return to school I wasn't allowed to wear denim because waistbands were high back then and the pressure on my still swollen liver could rupture it. I had to wear skirts, dresses, and overalls. They were profoundly out of fashion in 1997.

2. When I was a kid my favorite place to hang out was an occult shop. I would visit two or three times per week.

3. Unbeknownst at the time, a friend of mine stole something one-of-a-kind from me. When I saw the object at their house /ten years later/ I stole it back. I don't know if they know and I don't care.

4. I've been in one fist fight in my entire life and it wasn't even in defense of myself.

5. I have a remarkable ability to correctly predict the outcome of things such as fights and horse races with little to no information other than the names of those involved. Just ask Aaron or my grandfather!

6. I ended a friendship over how to correctly write a capital cursive M. Other than this, I am still friends with everyone I've ever been friends with.

7. I once found a tree filled with colorful parakeets. This is cool when you consider I lived in Michigan and parakeets are not a native species whatsoever. Deciding I wanted one, I climbed the tree and managed to catch one using nothing but my bare hands. I rode with it on my bike to a nearby store where the clerk, an old man named Tony, gave me a paper bag to keep it in. When the tornado sirens went off, he sheltered me in his store until it was safe and my mother could come pick me up. I named my parakeet Tony. I still think about him. The man, not the parakeet.

8. When I was little all of my baby dolls had J names. I have no idea why. Seems relevant now though!

9. I was an actual recluse for three years of my life. This is why I do not find people saying, "I'm such a hermit lol" as endearing as people intend it to be.

10. Despite the fact that my brother and I have never gotten along (regardless of my diligent trying), he has saved my life three times. When I say "don't get along" I mean "he tried to smother me as a baby" and that opinion hasn't seemed to change much.

11. I've never known my biological father. As a baby, he tried to kidnap me. I sometimes wonder how differently life would've been had he succeeded, but I am very glad he didn't. I love my life and those in it.

12. When I went deaf it wasn't a gradual process. There was no noticeable event that triggered it. I literally went to bed one night and woke up unable to hear the following morning. I had been sick, but was essentially over it by then. Your life can change that fast. Cherish what you have every day.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

10k Views Blog 1: Surveys

Someone pointed out that I haven't completed a "survey" in a while and requested I do so. It's a little funny because my really old blogs had a number of them, but the internet was also a totally different beast back then. But here you are, I will complete the first survey I ever posted and you can compare my answers from then to now!

Edit: Oh my god it's hundreds of questions long. Jesus. I'm sorry.

1. PICK OUT A SCAR YOU HAVE, AND EXPLAIN HOW YOU GOT IT?
I have a couple of scars on my face, one intersecting my eyebrow and another higher up on my forehead, from when I was walking home from school as a child living in Detroit and another kid standing on a roof threw a brick -- yes a whole brick -- at me and it hit me in the face. I suffered a concussion and wasn't allowed to go to sleep for 12 hours.


2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM?
A Dalek poster.

3. WHAT DOES YOUR PHONE LOOK LIKE?

It's a first generation Samsung Galaxy Note in its original case with no protective cover because I live on the edge.

4. WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO?
Anything that appeals to me at the moment. Except country. Country music is annoying.

5. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT DESKTOP PICTURE?
An extremely creepy piece of artwork I found on Deviant Art of a anthromorphic rabbit laying on its tummy painting Easter eggs. Alongside it are two regular rabbits also painting Easter eggs and a chick that's been doused in egg dye. Technically it is a very well executed piece of art, it is exceptionally unnerving however.

6. WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW?

To have friends and family closer. 3000 miles is really hard sometimes.

7. DO YOU BELIEVE IN GAY MARRIAGE?
I believe in love.

8. WHAT TIME WERE YOU BORN?
Somewhere around 10am.

9. ARE YOUR PARENTS STILL TOGETHER?

No.

10. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
Woodkid.

11. DO YOU GET SCARED OF THE DARK?
No, I am the night!

12. THE LAST PERSON TO MAKE YOU CRY?
Due to weaning hormones I cry a lot, which is fucking weird considering how infrequently I've ever cried before. I can't honestly keep track.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOGNE / PERFUME?

Auric Blends, Honey Almond

14. WHAT KIND OF HAIR/EYE COLOR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX?
Dark and dark.

15. DO YOU LIKE PAINKILLERS?
No, but sometimes they're a necessity.

16. COFFEE OR ENERGY DRINKS?
Coffee.

17. FAVE PIZZA TOPPING?
Artichoke.

18. IF YOU COULD EAT ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
My mom's banana bread.

19. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU MADE MAD?
No idea.

20. DO YOU SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE?
American Sign Language.

21. WHAT WAS THE LAST GIFT SOMEONE GAVE YOU?
Tomb Raider, for my birthday.

22. DO YOU LIKE SOMEONE?
I like lots of people. Do you mean like-like?

23. ARE YOU DOUBLE JOINTED?
In a couple of places.

24. FAVORITE CLOTHING BRAND?

Anything comfortable.

25. WHAT'S YOUR DREAM CAR?
A horse.

26. DO YOU BELIEVE IN AFTER-LIFE?

Absolutely.

27. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MARRIAGE?
It's something that should be taken more seriously by people. You're devoting your life to another person, that's nothing to take lightly.

28. WOULD YOU FALL IN LOVE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS LEAVING?
Love isn't a choice.

29. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TELL SOMEONE HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU?

Let them know, especially if you think highly of them. You should remind them often how important they are to you, you never know when it may be too late.

30. SAY A NUMBER FROM ONE TO A HUNDRED?
9!

31. BLONDE OR BRUNETTE?
Red.

32. WHAT IS THE ONE PHONE NUMBER THAT SHOWS UP ON YOUR PHONE THE MOST?

Aaron, because I usually miss his call the first several times.

33. WHAT ANNOYS YOU MOST?
Inconsiderate people.

34. HAVE YOU BEEN OUT OF THE U.S.?

I've been to Canada.

35. YOUR WEAKNESSES?
Chocolate.

36. WHAT WAS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE?
I sent my mother a care package when she was going through chemo. It included a teddy bear for hugs, cookies, and crystallized ginger for tea.

37. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY?
Thanksgiving because the family usually comes together.

38. EVER DONE A PRANK CALL?
Is your refrigerator running?
It's a dying art!

39. WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS?
Watching Sesame Street.

40. IF YOU COULD GET PLASTIC SURGERY WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I'd have them fix my Hello Kitty pencil, the little pocket clip broke off a few years ago. Oh, you meant something else didn't you?

^I still like this answer.

41. WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Aaron and Lena.

42. WHAT DO YOU GET COMPLIMENTED ABOUT MOST?
My art and my writing. You guys seem to really enjoy my blogs!

43. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF ALCOHOL BECAME ILLEGAL?
Probably drink less alcohol.

44. WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY?
Usually something thoughtful. I keep a wishlist!

45. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?

Jean was my grandmother's name.

46. DO YOU WISH ON STARS?
Only shooting stars, sometimes airplanes if I'm drunk.

47. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?
Orange.

48. WHICH FINGER[S] IS YOUR FAVORITE?
My thumbs, do those count?

49. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY?
When did I last not cry? GD hormones.

50. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?

Yes.

51. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VEGETABLE?
Potatoes.

52. ANY BAD HABITS?
Eating candy instead of actual food.

53. WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING CD ON THE SHELF?
LOL, CDs.

54. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Yes. .

55. HAVE YOU EVER TOLD A SECRET YOU SWORE NOT TO TELL?
Yes, but only to my significant other, whom didn't even know the person or anyone the person socializes with. You can expect me to share pretty much everything with my significant other though. There's no secrets between us.

56. DO LOOKS MATTER?
No. What if you went blind tomorrow? The fact that you have a hot girlfriend wouldn't mean squat anymore if her attitude was sour.

57. HOW DO YOU RELEASE YOUR ANGER?
I release a lot of emotion through my art, happiness, sadness, anger, pen and paper do them well.

58. WHERE IS YOUR SECOND HOME?
Eileen's house.

59. DO YOU TRUST OTHERS EASILY?
Not really, I'm very objective about people. As such, they need to earn my trust.

60. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE?
I had this little imported glow in the dark Hello Kitty toy when I was really young. I used to take it with me EVERYWHERE. Tragic story really. You know how things that glow in the dark glow brightest if you hold them up to the light before turning it off? Well, I stuck Hello Kitty in a lamp cover to charge her up real nice and good. Being the 4 year old I was didn't know that light bulbs got hot, so I left her there while I went and watched TV, I think I was watching David The Gnome... Anyway, when I came back she had melted. I was devastated.

Runner up goes to my Velveteen Rabbit.

61. ARE YOU AFRAID OF GROWING UP?
Growing up doesn't mean you can't still be a child at heart.

62. DO YOU USE SARCASM?
Sarcasm, what's that?

63. ARE YOU RELIGIOUS?
Yes. But you would never know it.

64. DOES 11:11 MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU?
It means I win! 11:11, 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44, 5:55!

66. DO YOU GET ALONG WITH YOUR PARENTS?

Yep.

67. WHAT IS THE MOST PAIN YOU HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED?
Giving birth. Holy shit guys, seriously.

68. DO YOU UN-TIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Not if I can help it.

69. LAST THING YOU SPILLED?
Milk.

70. DO YOU HAVE ANY PETS?
Yes. I have 1 cat, a Mau/Maine Coon still living with my mother named Odin, and at home a giant Scottish Fold named Neelix, a tiny American longhair named Intruder, and a landsnail named Pumpkin Caddash.

71. WHAT IS THE LAST FURRY THING YOU TOUCHED?
Other than my keyboard? The 360 controller to make Netflix go.

72. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COLORS?
Didn't we already address this? Oh, this is plural. Then: orange, red, pink, blue, yellow.

73. WHAT'S THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
Neverwhere.

74. HOW MANY WISDOM TEETH DO YOU HAVE?
All of them, but they haven't come in yet, they're still well below the gum.

75. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?
Yes. Let's revive Internet Surveys!

76. WHAT'S YOUR DREAM VACATION?
I've always wanted to go to southern Ireland.

77. LAST THING YOU ATE/DRANK?
Booberry cereal and instant coffee.

78. LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
My grandpa.

79. WHATS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX?
Their mannerisms.

80. DO YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT?
Yes.

81. FAVORITE THING TO HATE?
SOE. Always.

82. FAVORITE DRINK?
Pineapple juice.

83. FAVORITE ZODIAC SIGN?
I'm an Aries so that goes without saying.

84. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT?
Video games.

85. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HAIR COLOR?
This is a weird question. I think it depends on the person, whatever matches their skintone.

86. FAVORITE EYE COLOR?
I like unique eyes. Green, black, and all the mixtures in between.

87. DO YOU PREFER TALL OR SHORT?
Tall.

88. SIBLINGS?
1 biologically, 3 otherwise and I'm closer to those that aren't blood related than I am to the 1 that is.

89. FAVORITE MONTH?
October.

90. DO YOU LIKE SUSHI?
YES.

91. LAST THING YOU WATCHED?
Sesame Street.

92. FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR?
Hm, I don't know. Beginning of April is when all the tulips start popping up, so a day around there will do. Any day around there.

93. ARE YOU TOO SHY TO ASK SOMEONE OUT?

Nope.

94. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Winter.

95. Are you going to have fun this summer?
Jude should be a master of walking, I wager it's going to be an entertaining time for everyone.

96. RELATIONSHIPS OR ONE NIGHT STANDS?
Relationship. Singular.

97. WHO IS THE MOST LIKELY TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?
Me apparently.

98. WHO IS LEAST LIKELY TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?
Aaron. The internet enigma.

99. IS ANYONE IN LOVE WITH YOU?
Yes.

100. WHO WERE YOU WITH LAST NIGHT?
Aaron.

102. WHAT WOKE YOU UP THIS MORNING?
Jude.

103. WHERE ARE YOU?
In the living room, at the coffee table.

104. DID YOU HUG OR KISS ANYONE TODAY?
Yes.

105. LEARN ANYTHING NEW LATELY?
Everyday.

106. WHATS ON YOUR MIND?
Lunch.

107. WOULD YOU TAKE A BULLET FOR ANYONE?
I think I would without thinking about it for a few people... family mostly.

108. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO LIVE?
In a comfy house. Doesn't have to be flashy, just cozy.

109. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
A kid.

110. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS?
With a six year old, whaaaaat. Crazy! I wager we'll possibly be in a house by then and Aaron will be a professional saver of lives.

111. WHO IS YOUR #1 ON MYSPACE?
LOL, Myspace.

112. HAVE YOU EVER KISSED YOUR #1?
Oh, how outdated you are, friend Survey.

113. HOW OFTEN DO YOU LOG IN TO MYSPACE?
Never.

114. DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC DAILY?

Sometimes.

115. ARE YOU A FAST TYPER?
Yes.

116. WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS WEEKEND?
Probably the same thing I do everyday only I may stay up a little later.

117. HAVE YOU EVER MOVED?
About once a year every year up until I was 15.

118. HAVE YOU EVER WON AN AWARD?
Indeed.

119. DO YOU PLAY ANY SPORTS OR HAVE ANY OTHER HOBBIES THAT ARE UNUSUAL?
I spend all of my spare time playing video games. It's not really weird anymore though.

120. WHATS 1 PHRASE OR WORD YOU LOVE?
"Ridiculous."

121. WHEN IS YOUR BIRTHDAY?
April 15!

122. WHEN WERE YOU THE SADDEST IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE?
When one of my best friends committed suicide.
When I was forcibly relocated to Ohio in 8th grade.
When my mom told me she had cancer.

123. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A SONG WRITTEN ABOUT YOU?
Yes.

124. WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO BEFORE BED?
Usually Aaron typing.

125. DO YOU HAVE A JOB?
I'm a mom.

126.WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Other than family? Almonds in chocolate, crunchy Autumn leaves, tulips...

127. HOW TALL ARE YOU?
 5'8"

I shrunk. wtf?

128. WHAT COLOR ARE YOUR EYES?
 Green-brown-gray, in rings around the pupil.

129. DO YOU HAVE ANY PIERCINGS?
 My ears only.

130. WHAT'RE YOU WEARING?
Yoga pants and a tank top.

131. DO YOU GET MOTION SICKNESS?
Yes. Horribly.

132. IN 1 WORD DESCRIBE 2012: Magical.

133. FIRST KISS IN 2013:
Aaron.

134. DO YOU KNOW ANYONE IN PRISON?
I had an uncle there.

135. HAVE YOU EVER BROKEN A RIB?
A couple actually.

136. WOULD YOU RATHER BE A GUY OR A GIRL?

I enjoy being a woman.

137. HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN EATING DISORDER?
No. I love food to much to neglect or waste it.

138. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN AN INTER-RACIAL RELATIONSHIP?
Yes.

139. DO YOU HAVE ANY FRIENDS OR FAMILY IN THE WAR RIGHT NOW?
Yes.

140. ARE YOU STRAIGHT EDGE?

No. Drug Free? Yes. Caffeine free? No. Alcohol free? No.

141. WHAT KIND OF BIRTH CONTROL DO YOU USE?

Mirena IUD.

142. ARE YOU A COUNTRY GUY/GIRL OR A CITY GUY/GIRL?
Combination of both.

143. RIGHTY OR LEFTY?
Ambidextrous.

144. YOUR HERITAGE?
Irish and Native American.

145. YOUR MOST MISSED MEMORY?
Catching frogs as a kid was always fun.

146. WHAT WERE YOU DOING...
1 MINUTE AGO: This survey...
1 HOUR AGO: Playing with Jude.
1 DAY AGO: Playing FFXIV.
1 WEEK AGO: Playing Sim 3.
1 YEAR AGO: Having a baby.

147. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOST ABOUT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?
Beating up Lori Cauldwell for attacking my little sister.
Janice moving. :(
Tiger pride!
W.A.Y.C. and the ensemble.
The weird boy who would put Tea Animals in my desk before I got there...
The time all the little cartons of milk went bad and the lunch ladies tried to pass off lumpy milk as "milk shakes".
Science camp at the end of the year.
Getting sick and almost dying...

148. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOST ABOUT MIDDLE SCHOOL?
Moving from Michigan to Ohio.
Ms. Moran's Language Arts class.
Meeting Tali.
Nights Into Dreams.
Making costumes.
Lawn ornament thievery.
Teen Nights.
Tao's puppies.
The Renaissance Fair.
Going to Geauga Lake just to chill.

149. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL?
Skipping school when Tali got suspended.
Living at Tali's house (usually hidden under her bed).
Hiding kittens.
Detention, after hours, and Mr. Peterson.
Spending weeks in the hospital.
Our attendance officer being THE most rude inconsiderate bitch ever.
Hanging out with the girls (Tali, Ashly, Lena, Angela, Melinda, Lindsey, Gina, Dona) in Choir first period.
Thanksgiving at Lindsey's Dad's house.
Baking cakes with Gina in Home Etc.
Going to TPT shows especially at the fair when some redneck told me I had "purty hair."
"Lemon or Grape?" the great Jolly Rancher conspiracy in Algebra with Kim.
Raves with school the following day.
Driving around aimlessly.
Spring break in Florida with Ashly, and getting really sick.
Spring Break camping in the woods with the girls.
Mike Hunt getting a boner on our field trip to the Cleveland Courthouse.
Having to practically sneak out of the hospital in order to make it to Graduation.

150. There is no 150!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dreaming of My Own 3DS

Last night I had a pretty interesting dream. Lately I've been playing Pokemon X, however I lack my own 3DS so I've been using Aaron's. This means we must divide our time playing, he gets the 3DS at night and I get it during the day. Sometimes however, I'd like to continue playing even though it's his turn and vice versa. It's not a problem or anything, just a thing but it is an important footnote in this dream.

In my dream Aaron surprises me by taking me to Game Stop when I thought we were on our way to the grocery store. He explains that his punchole card has all the holes punched out so we'll get a discount and then we can both have our very own 3DS! Apparently in my dream Game Stop operates much like Subway in the 90's where every time you buy a sub they punch your card, and you earn a free meal at the end. Only video games.

So we walk into Game Stop which is easily the largest video game store I've ever been into in my dream. It has a large show room, plentiful shelves, a balcony, the counter is more like a kiosk, and one entire wall is a movie screen playing films like old Block Busters. And they don't just sell games, oh no. One whole corner of the store is filled with home decor like a Pier 1. It gets stranger.

We approach the kiosk where a worker circles around holding what appears to be a perch and a bird swing. Somehow I failed to notice they have a store pet behind the counter -- it's a macaw. How I didn't notice a giant brightly colored parrot, I've no idea, but there it is in all its majesty. Aaron explains why we're there and the guy is pumped to sell us a 3DS. He opens a large glass display case and pulls out at least a dozen sleek black boxes. Aaron sits on the floor, despite the fully furnished area nearby, and begins opening each and every box, turning on the 3DS, and testing it out.

There are 3DS's of every color and size. There are also a number of special editions such as a golden Zelda 3DS, a white and red Pokemon 3DS, and a super high sheen silver Shining Force 3DS. When I see this I'm like, "Whoa, Shining Force is on the 3DS?!"

But the clerk says, "No." Which is just confusing because why would there be a special edition console for a game that's not on that system? That's just rude.

As Aaron continues testing out all of the 3DS's I wander off. For some reason I gravitate towards the home decor section and am browsing aimlessly when I encounter a young woman. She has dark hair and looks rather mousy. She's wearing a frumpy skirt and at least two sweaters over a plain tee shirt. She remarks how she always buys things she doesn't need here and I admit to the same thing, jokingly relaying a story about how I once bought a basket because I was sure I needed it for something. I then explain how once I got the basket home I realized I had absolutely no use for yet another basket so I gave it away to a friend only to come to the conclusion that it would've been the perfect size for my art pencils once it was gone. Silly me. She laughs, I laugh, and then I return to see how Aaron is progressing.

He has made a decision! He has purchased for me the special edition Shining Force 3DS because he figures I will appreciate it, even for its oddity. He hands it to me to 'test drive' and I discover that it's come with a free copy of Shin Megami Tensei. This has me psyched because I'd always heard good things about the Shin Megami Tensei series but had yet the pleasure of playing it. I meander about while loading it up and Aaron returns to the kiosk to haggle over the price. Because that's a valid tactic in my dream.

I encounter the woman from earlier and she tells me that I must see something. She leads me up a flight of stairs to the balcony which overlooks the store's showroom. It's actually kind of a cool sight. As I'm looking over the floor I hear her say behind me, "Pupils." I turn, confused, and she's just sort of staring at me until... her pupils slide together into one big pupil in the middle of her face and then divide back into two and pour out of her eyes like tears onto her skin. Before long she is covered in pupils and then they collapse into a pile on the floor.

I'm like, "Holy shit, what?!" And the pupils begin to float and propel themselves at me. I begin dodging them and run back down the stairs. At the bottom they converge into a single form and in the next instant she's just a girl again. I stare wide eyed and cautious, she is utterly oblivious. I turn to make my way back to Aaron and no sooner than I do, do I hear it again, "Pupils."

I cast a glance over my shoulder and sure enough it's happening again. This time they don't fall into a pile and come at me individually though, they collect into a single huge pupil and come at me. It's really, really bizarre. I'm running through the store when... I'm awoken by Aaron who needs me to help him administer medicine to the cat.

No ending for you guys.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

3000 Diapers Later

One year ago yesterday we welcomed Jude into the world. It seems crazy that it has been a year already. Though the first four months (what I lovingly refer to as The Gauntlet) dragged on relentlessly, the months after that seemed to go by faster and faster. There were a lot of firsts, for all of us!

The hospital I delivered at sent me this email, "Congratulations! You've made it through your first twelve months together. In the past year, you've changed at least 3,000 diapers and lost about 350 hours of sleep!" Holy cow.

I would like to extend a very heartfelt thanks to those of you who have helped us during these first twelve months. Whether you sent gifts, donated clothing/toys/funds, offered advise, babysat for a couple of hours, comforted me when I hadn't slept for a week straight, or just sent well wises. Your contributions, no matter how small you may've thought they were, mean the world to me and words cannot do my thankfulness justice.

Hopefully I won't forget anyone, but if I do, know that it's probably sleep deprivation and the fact that I've had to wrestle Jude away from the laptop at least six times while type this and I only started four minutes ago. If you don't see your name, I apologize sincerely.

In no particular order:

Emerylde B., Eileen U., Papa, Jim U. & Marilyn, Kristen B., Donna P., Milena P., Josh A., Ryan D., Will D., Helene S., Rose T., Morgan P., Heidi S. & Christian Z., Holly G., Eric S., Bob W., Jeri B., Mandy M., Amanda P., Sarah B., Tiffani R., KJ P., Arlene H. & Kurt H., Melina B., Sierra D.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Dream of Milk

I had an interesting dream last night, somewhat based on fact, I guess? In breast milk exists a hormone that helps to pacify babies. This is why many nursing babies will pass out after nursing for a time whereas many formula fed babies may not fall asleep at all unless they're actually tired. This is the same for all animals, including cows.

In my dream this fact was being exploited through a strong pro dairy campaign to pacify the citizens of the world. Not to make them completely docile (Serenity, anyone?), as that's not much use, but to control them to a lesser degree by making them more slothful and apathetic to what takes place around them. In my dream hippies who drank soy milk weren't drinking soy milk because they were hippies but were hippies because they weren't drinking cow's milk. Mind = blown. I know. Of course by 'hippie' I mean nonconformist/anti-establishment, not that guy you know who sits in his boxers all day, doesn't wash his hair, and smokes more pot than he breathes oxygen. That guy isn't a hippie, he's just dirty and lazy.

It was a cool 1984 kind of dream but it actually made me wonder, not if humans are being controlled by dairy consumption -- as that's fucking crazy, but if that really has something to do with why some people are so gung ho about cow's milk despite research indicating it actually isn't all that good for you and tastes like gross. Despite popular belief, you can get calcium and vitamin D from a variety of other sources.

Cow's milk, for the record, tastes absolutely nothing like human breast milk. By comparison it's very sour. Which makes sense since we're, you know, two completely unrelated mammals. Personally, I can't stand the taste of milk on its own, yet other people seem to LOVE it. No, not just enjoy it but LOVE it. Which makes me wonder if perhaps humans do only enjoy cow's milk for the calming affect of this hormone and not the taste at all? Kind of like how people enjoy smoking cigarettes despite the fact that they taste like ass. When you first try it, you hate it just like everyone else, but the more you drink it the more you like it. Only most people started drinking milk so young they never remember hating it.

Food for thought!
No pun intended.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sacagawea Dollars

Original dollar.
Back in 2000 my grandfather, an avid coin collector, gave me a freshly minted Sacagawea dollar. I carried it with me everywhere like a lucky penny. Not so much for luck, really, but because it made me think of my grandfather who I love dearly.

Later that year they released a collector's edition of the coin featuring a hand painted Sacagawea. My grandfather of course ordered one. Upon seeing it, he knew it was too funny not to get me one also. And thus he presented to me the whitest Sacagawea ever.

Painted dollar.
True Fact: Lewis and Clark's journals mention Sacagawea by name seventeen times, spelled eight different ways. Clark used Sahkahgarwea, Sahcahgagwea, Sarcargahwea and Sahcahgahweah, while Lewis used Sahcahgahwea, Sahcahgarweah, Sahcargarweah and Sahcahgar Wea. Because that is how a Lewis and Clark do.

Friday, September 27, 2013

10000!

Blognari has reached over 10,000 unique views, friends! In celebration I'd like to make a special post, but to do that I feel it only proper to write about something you guys want me to. So if you have any requests, feel free to let me know. I may even try to tackle all of them provided I don't get an overwhelming amount of suggestions.

In the meanwhile, I'd just like to thank you all for your continued interest in my writing. It means a lot to me. I never thought anyone but family would read regularly when I started this blog just a few years ago (old entries are actually from another site that I transferred over one-by-one), yet here we are.

Just a few more stats to reflect on:

The most viewed entry is Golf Drinking Games.
Most of my viewers are from the United States with Sweden coming in second. Hi Sweden.
The majority of my readers use Firefox.
The most used operating system of my viewers is Windows.
The majority of my traffic comes from Google.
The most commonly used search term that leads users to my blog is Blognari.

The least viewed entry is No Sleep For The Sleepy.
The country that has viewed the least of my writing is South Korea.
The least used browser for my blogs is Opera.
The least used operating system of my viewers is Samsung.
The least amount of my traffic comes from Deviant Art.
The least commonly used search term that leads users to my blog is circumcision. lol, what?

I've got a cold and just sneezed not once but nine times, so I think I'll wrap this up. Do you know what happens when you sneeze that many times individually? Your eyes water so badly it looks like you're crying. Huh.

Thanks again for reading!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PC Sales & Repair

I used to run my own business: PC sales and repair. I was making overhead, which translates to being successful when you're a little company competing with the likes of Best Buy, Dell, Alienware, and EMC. There is this weird thing that happens with people who have technological problems and those who can solve them: the person who cannot fix the problem on their own because they know little if anything at all about technology refuses to acquiesce to the professional in the field.

Here I'll share some of my finest customer relations moments, letting you find amusement in my past suffering.

The Browser
The first person I ever helped was an old man who wanted help accessing websites on the internet. Nothing needed to be fixed and he didn't need a new computer built, he just wanted to know how to use the computer he had. It was a really simple problem I thought I could fix over the phone (I wasn't deaf yet) so I try to guide him through it.

"Which browser are you trying to use?" I ask, not that it particularly matters.

He sounds confused, "Which what?"

"Browser," I repeat.

"I'm the browser."

He had no idea what I was even talking about. He wasn't wrong, really, he was the person who would be browsing the internet, thus the browser, however... just... oh boy. I explain browsers to him and where he might find his. All computers default to Internet Explorer and for this particular case I wasn't even going to get into the fact that others exist and he should download and install one of them instead. Not over the phone. I tell him, "Look at your desktop for a blue lowercase E."

"Where's the desktop?"

At this point I regret not charging him. Not because it was getting old really fast but because I was literally having to put other work aside to continue helping him. I suck it up and explain to him what his desktop is and he finds the 'e' after some looking. He clicks on it. Once.

"Nothing happened."

He clicked with such force, the once, that I heard it over the phone, "Click it twice." He proceeds to click it once, then a second later click it one more time, "No, no, you need to click it twice really fast. No pause in between." I couldn't believe those words came out of my mouth. He finally gets it then freaks out a little when it takes him to like, his homepage.

"I didn't type anything in and it took me to a place!"

I explain it's just his homepage and tell him to click on the address bar at the top. This takes some searching and coaching but he gets it eventually. I inform him to clear it out, which he does. I then ask, "Alright, which website would you like to go to?"

"I don't know."

Uhm... alright, we'll start with something basic and useful, I guess. "Alright, well we'll start you off with a search engine, you can find all sorts of other websites using one of those."He sounds excited to finally be underway and so I tell him to type, "w-w-w-.-g-o-o-g-l-e-.-c-o-m"

"That doesn't make any sense."

"Why doesn't it make any sense, sir?"

"It's not a sentence."

"...It isn't supposed to be a sentence."

"But that doesn't make sense."

I take a deep cleansing breath and offer in explaination, "Neither are street addresses but the mail still goes to where you send it to, right?"

"I guess so."

No, no, you don't guess so. That's how the mail works, guy. "This is kind of the same thing."

He sounds really hesitant, like maybe I'm just a crazy person, "Okay..."

"Did it work?"

"I'm someplace else now." he sounds really concerned again and describes Google to me in vivid detail.

"Yes, that's where you're supposed to be. Now see the empty box in the middle? Type anything you want into that and it'll bring up a bunch of websites related to what you typed in."

It's quiet for a few minutes other than his typing, which was really more like hammering his keyboard, then he makes a sound like a child who just ate their very first marshmallow. He's so very stoked that he can barely contain his joy. He thanks me so much I half expect a shrine to be erected in my honor, which makes up for the hours I spent explaining the very very basics of the internet to him.

The Biblical Librarian
Another time I was building a new computer for an old retired pastor. He wasn't comfortable setting it all up by himself, and I made house calls, so when his PC was done being built I drove it over to set it up for him. Entering a stranger's house is always a little strange, but especially so in this case. His house was a library. Every room was lined with shelves from floor to ceiling. It was the coolest house I'd ever been to. Then I realized what was on the shelves and it became a little obsessive and weird. Bibles. Thousands and thousands of bibles. Each and every one different than the one beside it in some way. Either different color, material, or version.

I wasn't sure if I was about to be converted or turned into a skin-suit. He was really kindly though, and never once brought up religion while I crawled around his study (not sure how it differed from any other room in the house) and hooked up his computer. None of this is why he was a bad customer experience though.

My computers came with discounted service 24 hours a day, house calls, and lifetime replacement. So when he called the following week because his computer wouldn't work, I got in the car and drove the ten miles through blizzard conditions to his house to find out what was wrong. It took 45 minutes to get there because of the ice and snow and utter lack of salt trucks or shoveling trucks. Once I got in I realized right away what the problem was: the computer was off.

I explain turning the computer on to him, along with showing him which button to press and then depart. The next week I get the same call. I ask him before heading over if the computer is on or off and he says on, so I drive back to his house only to discover yet again that the computer is off. This goes on for months. Driving 45 minutes through ice and snow only to discover there's no problem at all. Eventually it just randomly stopped one day. I'm not sure if he just finally remembered that to use the computer it had to be on or if maybe he died, because he was pretty old.

The Cheapskate
I also offered refurbished computers using either parts in the store on-hand or parts customers already owned. I fully disclosed that refurbished and patchwork computers would not be as fast or 'good' as a computer filled with brand new higher end parts and people would always nod, sign the appropriate form concerning their expectations and we'd get underway. Usually there wasn't a problem with my work, because people had realistic expectations. Sometimes though, even after hearing the speech and signing the forms, they expected top-of-the-line.

Refurbished work was done really cheaply, especially if the customer had all the parts on hand themselves. Anywhere from 50 to 200 dollars, the higher end being if I had to buy something myself. Typically this work was done for people who literally could not afford otherwise, so I always tried to work with them on the pricing. Sometimes accepting the payment in halves rather than all up front. My mistake.

One such customer came to me for a refurbished computer using parts from two very old, crappy even-for-their-time computers. I notified them that I could use parts on-hand for just a little extra and it'd run faster and be more reliable but they insisted I use their really really old, bottom-of-the-line parts. Upon inspection I discovered not only were the parts from both original computers very old and poor quality to begin with but also that several of the parts had never been compatible in the first place.

I told them as much, laid it all out, and suggested strongly that I just use things I had in the shop for some of the stuff. They insisted "it always at least turned on and that's all they really need it to do anyhow" and that'd be good enough. Alright, I don't know what good a basically useless computer would do anyone who needed it for anything other than maybe doing wordpad and possibly instant messaging but my job wasn't to argue so I agree to use exactly all of the parts they wanted me to. They paid me half upfront and were going to pay me the second half once they got their paycheck.

They took it home and were totally dissatisfied. They called to complain, "It's so slow! I can't use it to play my games on! I can't use it to make music with! I can't run multiple programs at once! It's nothing like a new computer!"

No shit Sherlock. We had discussed all of that. It's a patchwork computer that was rigged specifically to your exact specifications without spending any extra money whatsoever. It had less than a gig of RAM, to give you an idea. And bear in mind this person was not poor. They easily could have afforded to spend even 50 more dollars for a PC that would have run rather well. They probably even could have afforded for me to build them a brand new PC entirely but they chose this instead. Because they were cheap. I'm not sure what sort of fantasy land they live in or what kind of wizard they mistook me for, but I can't work magic.

Not only did this guy never finish paying for his computer and the work rendered but he went on to complain about my shop and his service experience to everyone he knew. It didn't help that he was lying to people. He went around claiming to have paid for a new computer only to recieve the hot mess I built him. Thank goodness I had all of the paperwork to prove otherwise. Also lucky enough for me I had such a positive reputation by then that people knew what he was saying couldn't be right. Had this happened a year earlier it may have unjustly killed my business outright though as word of mouth is everything for small companies.

The Slow Lady
Another time I had a lady come in complaining that she must have a virus, that her computer was slow -- especially on the internet, and it was driving her crazy. I go in to take a look to realize that on her husband's account he had filled over 60% of their harddrive space with porn. I wasn't really sure how to broach that topic, so I just suggested an external harddrive complete with data transfer. Namely because I don't think the absurdly Christian wife would have been pleased with her husband's clearly taboo porn collection. To compound the issue the wife had not 1 anti-virus program installed but 4. and they all recognized the other as a threat. Then, on top of it all, they had a dial-up modem and were still using dial-up internet. Not because they were living in the sticks like a lot of my customers but because they simply didn't know better. It must have taken her husband years to download all of that porn.

So I tell her that to absolve all of her problems she'll need a larger harddrive or an external one and I'd throw in a complementary data transfer (something most companies charge and arm and a leg for but it's kind of the easiest thing in the world to do). She was cool with this. I then tell her she only needs 1 anti-virus program, if any. This she seems hesitant about, isn't more always better?! No, no it's not. After some explaining she gets why it's bad and agrees to let me uninstall all but 1 of them (which inevitably saved her hundreds of dollars as none of the programs she had installed were free). Then I tell her the reason her internet is slow is because she has a dial-up modem and she's using dial-up internet. She assures me that's not the problem and the other two fixes will surely speed things up enough.

I reluctantly let it slide and do everything else and send her on her way. A couple of days later she comes back, slams the computer on my desk in a furious rage and says I did not do what she paid me to do. I'm taken quite aback as I had done exactly what she paid me to do, and then some, and ask her what the problem is. That if there is one, I'll gladly fix it free of charge.

"The internet is still slow!!!!!!!!!"

I don't think I used enough exclamation points to accurately depict how loud and in my face she was about it. I calmly explain to her, yet again, why dial-up internet is slow. Her response?

"My friend's internet isn't anywhere near this slow!"

I explain dial-up internet, again, andthen inform her that her friend undoubtedly has a cable modem. Something I'd be happy to install for her, as I had previously advised, if she wished. Not free of charge of course. She refuses to believe this is true. She goes off on a tirade about how she knew she should have gone to Best Buy and how small companies just can't be trusted and so on and so forth. I suck it all up and calmly offer her my phone. I tell her to call her friend and ask them what kind of internet they have. I tell her if it is dial-up that I'd refund all of her money and install a cable modem free of charge. She leaps at the chance to show me how wrong I am.

I stand quietly, smiling, as she dials the number and carries on a conversation with her friend about how incompetent I am. I stand quietly, smiling, as she asks her friend what sort of internet they use. I stand quietly, smiling, as she makes her friend go ask her husband to double check. I continue to stand there quietly, smiling, as she just stands there for a minute not saying anything and then ends the conversation with her friend with a snippy "I've gotta go."

I offer her my most charming, understanding expression, "Well?"

"They use Time Warner Cable."

I resist the undeniable urge to I TOLD YOU SO YOU RAGING HOSEBEAST, and just nod and say instead, "I'll still do the work for you if you'd like." She agrees with as few words as possible and leaves. While she's gone I call Best Buy and get a quote for the work I'd already done plus the work I was doing and staple it to her receipt when she comes back. She saved over 150 dollars. She was too embarrassed to say anything about it.

The Case of Who Dun It
I saved the best for last. This was an older gentleman who came in after his son fixed his computer for him and it stopped working. He had needed more RAM, he tells me, and his son does this sort of thing sometimes so he just got the RAM and his son did it for him no problem.

Now let me just take a second there to pause and say: no problem except that now his computer didn't work.

I agree to take a look at it for free since he's an older man on a fixed income, normally a 5 dollar fee for cracking a case, and take it into the back. No sooner had I gotten the screws out and looked down I knew exactly what the problem was. The man's son had inserted the RAM not only backwards but upside-down. I actually kind of wanted to meet this guy as getting RAM in the right way is always kind of a challenge, managing to force it in that wrongly must have been near impossible. Yet here it was, staring me in the face. I was gone for all of a minute, maybe a few seconds longer.

I come out, computer in hand, to show the man his problem. I direct his attention to the RAM, explain how wrong this all is, and that putting it in this way and then hitting the power probably also shorted out the motherboard. I say I probably have a few compatible boards in the back and could probably fix it to where it was working as before for a modest price if he'd like, or I could build him something brand new as what he brought in was on the older end of the spectrum for electronics. I'm not at all expecting the response I get.

"YOU DID THAT!"

I'm pretty sure my mouth was agape with the shock," Excuse me, sir?"

"YOU DID THAT! YOU TOOK IT BACK THERE AND BROKE IT!"

I do my best to remain calm even though I'm certain my face betrays how completely surprised and disgusted I am, "No, sir. I don't even think I have the strength to do this if I had wanted to. This is exactly how it was when I opened it. I was only back there for a minute."

"YOU DID THAT WHEN YOU TOOK IT BACK THERE SO I'D HAVE TO PAY TO HAVE IT FIXED!"

I gently remind him that he brought it in in the first place because it wasn't working and needed to be fixed but he'll hear none of it. He storms out, without his computer and just leaves. I'm left standing there, holding the guy's computer trying to figure out what the fuck just happened. I close it back up and set it in the back should the man return for it.

He comes back the following day and asks if it's ready.

What.

What?

Just... what?

He actually expected me to just fix it, without actually being told to, or taking any of his personal information let alone you know, payment. I blink and explain that I hadn't worked on it in his absence because he hadn't asked me to, or paid for it, and that it's illegal for me to just assume and render services without expressed consent from the owner. He's angry now because I've apparently wasted his time. He tells me as much and storms out again.

...Does he wants me to work on the computer or not? I'm SO confused. Is his departure consent to fix it... or? I have no idea.

He comes back about an hour later with his son. His son asks if I've begun working on the computer yet. I'm standing face-to-face with the gorilla-man who crammed RAM into a motherboard backwards and upside-down. He has soft, girly hands. He's wearing clear nail polish. It's literally all I can focus on. I don't even have it in me to be confused or shocked this time. I explain the situation and that, no, I have not begun working on it yet. He says that's great because his dad wants to just build a new PC.

What the hell is even going on in my life?

I coolly accept the work order and the payment and get to work. The guy is thrilled with the price and performance of his computer and does nothing but sing my praise when I call a week later for my follow-up. As if none of the shit that had happened between up previously had ever transpired.

When my health failed and I had to close up shop, I decided I was pretty much done working with the general public. Because, I mean, really. Really.

On a related note though, you should always, always go to a small local company over the big brand guys. Not only because you, the customer, are literally the lifeblood of small business and will therefor receive better treatment and service but because you will save a shit-ton of money. You'll save even more money if you just buy whatever parts you need and do it yourself, but I understand not everyone has the know-how or desire to build their own computer. If you're going to go with someone else, make it someone local and dependent on your business.

At the time my shop operated a top-of-the-ine PC from Alienware ran $2500. A lot of people will just assume that because it's a big name that the parts must somehow be superior. They're not. I could build the exact same computer for under $900. That's including a mark-up so that I'm making more than just the money the parts themselves cost me. Why do the chain stores mark up so high? For no reason whatsoever. The same exact items put into your computer by Alienware, HP, Dell, or EMC can be put into your computer by anyone. There is no difference whatsoever.

Next time your computer fails you, check the Yellow Pages or ask Google to find you a local shop. Be treated like a person, save a lot of money, be happy with your purchase, and please -- please defer to the advice of professionals. You went to them for a reason.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Welcome to Surpriseville, Population: Just You

If you behave like a d-bag, you should not be shocked when no one wants anything to do with you. Just throwing that out there.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Movie Going: Pacific Rim

Took a stroll through Old Town yesterday, ate crab legs, bought saltwater taffy, saw Pacific Rim, then ate gazpacho.

Pacific Rim was pretty good. The supporting actors were better at acting than the main characters, which was kind of awkward but not totally distracting. The plot reminded me of Forever Bound by Joe Haldeman (included in the book of short stories entitled Warriors I edited by Martin and Dozois) with a bit of Attack on Titan thrown into the mix.

I found it fairly predictable but enjoyable regardless. It had the guy who played Thomas from The Event, the guy who replaced Michael in The Office (also Heimdall), the dude who portrays Warlow from True Blood, the man who played Owen Harper from Torchwood, and Ron Perlman in it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Laughter is A Coping Mechanism: Stop Being A Dick

I'm going to start by saying this is a topic that I feel exceedingly strong about. Whether because it's something that happened to me or something that happened to someone I love isn't relevant, just know that I've got a pony in this race so it's not as though I'm just a totally unaffected third party. Let's be clear: there is nothing funny whatsoever about one person forcing themselves upon another, under any circumstance. That said, I do not find rape jokes offensive. Now, you may be saying to yourself, "Inari, you rarely find anything offensive," and that's a fair enough point, however my point is that there is (as with all things) a right way and a wrong way to react to something.

While I don't find them funny, I don't find them offensive either because I totally understand that some things are just so horrendous to think about that it's only natural we, as humans, look for some way to make it not so bad. Laughter is a coping mechanism. If you look at the amount of things people laugh at on a daily basis, you'll quickly realize that more than half of those things are terrible to laugh at too. Cancer, murder, robbery, abuse, bestiality, religion, minorities, sexual orientation, addiction, death, poverty, the Holocaust, natural disasters... I could go on and on forever. We laugh to make ourselves feel better.

You can go ahead and sit there right now claiming that you don't find jokes about any of the above funny, and I'll call you out on being full of shit because you are. If you've ever laughed at George Carlin, you've laughed at these topics. If you've ever laughed at Louie C.K., you've laughed at these topics. If you've ever laughed at Bill Cosby, Betty White, or Bob Saget, you've fucking laughed at these topics. If you've ever talked to anyone on the internet ever, chances are you've laughed at these topics.

You're not a monster. You're just a human being trying to feel better. Guess what? That's okay.

Is it okay to find one sort of awful joke funny and another not? Sure. Is it okay to be offended by rape jokes but not cancer jokes? Sure. The key is how you react to what you find offensive. If you're reaction is to condemn, shame, and guilt those around you, you're being an asshole. Plain and simple. I don't care if it's because you've lived through whatever (cancer, rape, addiction, whatever) -- that is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT. It does not matter why you're offended at all. Period. End of sentence. You are either offended or you are not. Including why you are offended is a manipulative tactic to try and guilt and/or shame others to see your point of view. Say you don't find the topic funny, remove yourself from the conversation if it continues regardless of your tasteful disapproval, and move on with your damned life. Don't hold a grudge, don't go talking shit about people being their back, don't try to get everyone to take sides. Just don't. Just because you are offended and they are not does not make them a bad person.

Despite popular belief it is entirely possible to be offended and remain civil. You can politely disapprove. It is totally unnecessary to fly off the handle and act like a major cunt. There is no reason you cannot behave like a rational person. What you've been through doesn't matter. Losing your shit at the mere mention of a subject is not something a healthy person does. If the mere mention of a topic sends you into a frothing rage or makes you cry yourself to sleep at night -- you need to seek professional help. Immediately. That is not the normal response to "trigger" situations for anyone who has actually dealt with their problems. If you are a survivor of rape, or anything else really, and are still reduced to an emotional mess at even the thought of it you're letting that person or thing that hurt you rule your life. I mean that in the most helpful way possible. You need help and I hope, truly hope, you go and seek it.

I'm not saying hurricane survivors should laugh hysterically at Katrina jokes. Don't misunderstand. I'm saying that if you find a certain subject taboo and offensive, that's a-ok, just don't go out of your way to make someone who doesn't find the subject offensive's life a living hell. It's uncalled for. It's not the world's job to pussy foot around afraid of your reaction. You're an adult, if you don't like something, don't participate in it. It's really that simple.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Boobnari

Gratuitous tit shot.
I am not the least bit ashamed to say that I have a modest bust. I'm happy with it, it's actually one of the physical characteristics I like best about myself. In fact, the only people who've ever seemed to take issue with the size of my breasts are other heterosexual females. Weird, right?

I've never received any complaints from men. I mean, really, what's there to complain about? Small breasts are perky and will never sag. They don't suffer from being overly veiny or have stretch marks. They are still enjoyable to play with, meanwhile they don't cause me any physical discomfort. Best of all? I don't have to wear a bra.

There are literally no benefits that a large bust has over a small one unless that's simply your "thing." Even in breastfeeding it matters not. Size has nothing to do with glands or milk ducts. Size is solely due to fat deposits. You will produce the same amount of breast milk regardless of your cup size. In actuality small breasts may very well be a boon to breastfeeding as there are more positions and holds available to you.

Yet a lot of women seem to think that since I don't have a C cup, my life must be somehow lacking. That my other physical attributes have to compensate for the fact that the sacks of fat on my chest do not weigh two or more pounds each. A few have even said as much to my face. Like they were trying to boost my fragile small-boob ego. This I will never understand.

Ladies, I don't need an ego boost. I'm sexy and I know it. I do not want  tig 'ol bitties. I do not need them. What I have is plenty. Why are you so concerned? Go do twenty jumping jacks, run a mile, and then report back to me how happy you are with your chest-butt.

Back in the day things weren't like they are now, where girls get boobs at nine years old and have their period at ten. In seventh grade I was one of the very first girls to get boobs at all. I was sent home from school for not wearing a bra and told not to come back until I had bought one. I was mortified.

I'm a very active individual. I danced ballet, I ran upwards of six miles per day, I took my bike anywhere I had to go even if it meant riding it to other cities. All of this undoubtedly had an impact on my development, but when I found out in health class that being extremely active could delay menstruation for several years and impede the development of breasts I wasn't upset. I was ecstatic! By doing what I did already, I could not only avoid the inconvenience of bleeding for several days every single god damned month but not get a giant back-pain inducing rack? It was like Christmas.

So before you think that my long legs, nice ass, pretty face, great skin, or lean figure exist to compensate for my small boobs, ask yourself why the hell you think I need to compensate for anything. Are you relying so heavily on your breasts that you can't imagine a life without them? Why? You're putting more emphasis on boobs than guys do. That is a little sad, ladies. What you're doing isn't about helping the other woman, it's about making yourself feel better by trying to make others insecure about themselves. It should not matter to you whether or not you could lose a teacup poodle in my cleavage.

Stop boob-shaming. You are more than your cup size.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Thank You, Miranda!

Thank you, Miranda of MJ Says So for the fantastic surprise gift! The only thing better than a soothing cup of tea is finding an octopus at the bottom.

Mid-morning snack, now with 100% more octopus!
Why haven't all of you  set up your Amazon Wishlists yet? I'd like to buy you random things too, or you know, take the guess work out of birthdays and holidays.

(Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" is courtesy of Lauren of Wymsical Shenanigans, who also found my wishlist.)


Seriously, guys, make a wishlist!