Monday, July 30, 2012

Savages, savages, barely even human.

I had seen the trailer for "Savages" when Three and I had gone to see "The Dark Knight Rises" and was mildly interested in seeing it. Today, Three and I decided that we wanted to go see "Ice Age: Continental Drift," because hey, John Leguizamo as a dumb-as-rocks sloth? Yes, thank you. But when we got to the theater, we were disappointed to find out that the showing wasn't until 9:40P, and we are old and want to be back home to do our yoga before then. "Savages" was going to be playing in a few minutes, so we thought, "What the hell? Mindless action movie, sure."

After about an hour and twenty minutes in, we walked the fuck out. And even that was too long.

Now, this is a girl who sat through "Battlefield Earth" in its entirety, thinking, "Surely this gets better." That provided my father and me with plenty of snark-filled conversation the whole way home. "Savages" ... well, let's just say that I was a little shell-shocked.

From the trailer, it looked like an explosion-filled, fun action flick, with a willing love triangle and two dudes out to rescue the woman they both love, Ophelia or just O, as she wants to be called. What they don't show you is the guy being whipped so badly that his eyeball pops out. Oh, and then they have the Buddhist, peace-loving pot smoker Ben (who is one of our protagonists) light him on fire with a flare. They also don't show this kid in over his head who is thinking about raping the wife of a man his boss just shot in the kneecaps (and finally killed him, after letting the guy drag himself across the floor), only to have the boss shoot her in cold blood. Because, you know, they don't want witnesses. Fine, whatever.

And from the Wikipedia article, the movie didn't really get better than that. If you don't like spoilers, you probably shouldn't be reading this post, but particularly this part, because it's the ending. Apparently, the first ending is a dream sequence where the main characters all die from a purposeful overdose of ... something. I don't know, nor do I care. And then it's revealed that they don't die. Oh, no. Instead, it's revealed that this is what in O's deranged mind is the better way this story could have ended. They blackmail Dennis, a corrupt DEA agent played by John Travolta, and end up starting their lives over out of the country.

So let me get this straight, Oliver Stone. This woman wanted to die with the two loves of her life, instead of living the remainder of her days with them? Well, I guess it would kind of be the same thing, only with a different time span? Or maybe she was hoping to mix and match Shakespeare plays. Honestly, who fucking knows.

This gets us to my next point. I could not stand O. From the first time her stupid voice-over ambled over the black and white waves of the Pacific Ocean, I rolled my eyes with every syllable that came out of her mouth. And the director did not give me any reason as to why two pot producers/dealers/whatever they were would have given two shits about her. Sure, they're in a polyamorous relationship. That's fine with me. But please do not expect me to believe that either one of these guys would have committed mass murder to save a girl that, for all I know, just gives them orgasms. There are three sex scenes within the first thirty minutes of the movie. In the first, Chon (another protagonist; and Oliver Stone, Chon? Really? Chon??), a veteran of the Afghan and Iraq War, is pretty much balls deep in Blake Lively's O (hahaha, her name is O and she's having an O-rgasm!! hahahah, how clever), and she's narrating it with this lovely bit: "I have orgasms. He has wargasms." Ahhhh, that's right. This guy is getting over his PTSD by ramming a perpetually high girl. Okay. In the second sex scene, Ben has just gotten home from Africa (they don't say where, and hahaha, Africa is a country, right??), where he was doing some type of philanthropy work, and O goes on to hop in the bath with him, fully dressed (well, she was wearing a short yellow dress and I think bikini bottoms), saying that she gets fucked by Chon but she makes love with Ben. Again, okay. Then later on, they all get high and proceed to have a threesome. Granted, we only see the feeling up of O, but we're all adults here. We know what happens after the screen goes to black.

So we know this much of their relationship. O is with both men; both are okay with this and have sex with her separately and together. That's it. We kind of are told that they met her when she started working at their grow-op, but nothing else. Their connection is pretty much sexual, from what I can tell, and quite frankly, that's not enough reason for me to believe that these two guys would try to rescue her at all.

Then there's the fact that, while the Baja Cartel seems to be uber-powerful, they can't seem to figure out who kills seven of their guys. And Elena, the boss lady, apparently is ill-equipped to run a cartel since a blond American makes her feel bad ... or something? I have no idea as to why she would even care if O had proper lodgings, especially since she was going to kill her anyway.

I mean, I get it. Oliver Stone wanted to create an anti-drug war movie. But you also kind of have to have a convincing story, buddy. And also convincing characters. If I want an over the top violent movie, I'll watch a Tarantino movie. Which reminds me: "The Man with the Iron Fists" looks AWESOME.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I need a vacation.

Blech. That is how I feel today. Ever since I wrote that road trip post, I have been aching to just get away. Anywhere. I don't even give two shits - hell, even one shit is more than I would give - where that is. Just ... not here?

I get this way every ... well, fairly often. It amazes me that I stayed put in Nashville for so long. I've made up for it in how many times I have moved across the city, though. Duplexes, houses, apartments, hotels, motels, cars, etc. If there's a place to stay in this city, I've been there. It's partially how I know nearly every nook and cranny. When Three and I first got together, I impressed him with my detailed descriptions of local hangouts, parks, what-have-you; he had lived here for almost two years and knew two places (home and work) and how to get from one to the other. Oh, and also Kroger. He loves shopping for food.

But I digress.

Vacation. Being in Nashville for too long. Where was I going with this? Ahhh, I remember now (I sat here for a good five minutes, just staring at my screen. True story.). Work. I think my desire for a vacation is exacerbated by the fact that I'm seeing this little light-end-tunnel thing, and my general attitude of don't give a fuck is not really helping. It's not like I'm not working. I am, even if I am basically counting down the minutes to my last day (37 days, 20 hours, 9 minutes, as of right now, actually). Without the additional 2000 cases, I feel like I'm actually working harder. I want to leave on a good note, but the department seems to be wanting me to want to quit. And I'm not talking about my superiors at the office. This goes up to state level and leaves me with a confused head tilt almost on a daily basis. And also rage. Thank God I won't have to deal with this much longer.

Which leads me to wanting and needing a vacation. Obviously, we won't be going on anything more extravagant than maybe a drive to Biloxi or something (I miss my gulf coast, shut up), but ugghhhhh. It's harder knowing it's so close. Also, I know, first world problems. Tiniest violin. Would I like lactose-free cheese with my whine.
All of these cheeses have lactose, so no temptation here, but damn, if I'm not craving a Gewurztraminer.
I do think I'm going to take about two weeks to just chill, you know? Get some housework done, make some soap, paint a little, go on long walks, get back into cooking. I hate that our gourmet nights are when we go grab two cantina bowls* from Taco Bell or when we have leftovers from my parents' place. You know, I think that will be my vacation: time to be me, alone, without worrying about whether or not Joe Schmoe got his food stamps or if Jane Whatsherface is going to leave me another nasty email, even though she is the one who just flat-out refuses to cooperate with me. Instead, I'll be sitting out by our complex's pool, reading some trashy romance novel (no, not "50 Shades of Grey," which I refuse to acknowledge as anything other than some Twilight fan-fic) or clipping coupons out on our balcony.

I'm already really looking forward to this.

* Although seriously, try these. They are amazing. They are the only reason I will ever go into a Taco Bell.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Viaje por carretera!

My parents recently went on a cross country drive for a week, traveling through the Dakotas, Indiana, and a couple other states. Honestly, I wasn't paying too much attention after my mom said "the Dakotas," because well, it's the Dakotas? I mean, I'll admit I'm completely ignorant of most states in the Midwest and what they have to offer, but I was still a little flabbergasted. When they returned, they both gushed about the Black Hills, Deadwood, etc., but I was still a little

But it got me waxing Carrie Bradshaw, wondering where I would go in the great American continent if given the chance. And the passport. Because shit, I can go wherever I want in the States. And then I could totally use the camper I dream-own and be kind of like the guy who lives in a camper that's parked a block away from my office (He even has an arm chair sitting underneath a tree with a sign that says, "Keep it clean" and a Bible, a pack of cigarettes, and a really short pencil sealed in a baggie nailed under the sign.).

Anyway, here's my imaginary itinerary.

1) Biloxi, MS - My birth place and home to my soul. I love the Gulf Coast so much, it's almost like I never left.
2) New Orleans, LA - Shut up, it's an awesome city. And no, I would not stay on Bourbon Street. How passe.
3) Houston, TX - Visiting my mother's brother, his wife, and their daughter, my lovely cousin. They're pretty awesome people and would probably let Three and I eat for free.
4) Austin, TX - This city has a pretty awesome music scene and is probably the only place in Texas I would actually consider living.
5) San Antonio, TX - I've never been here, but I've heard stories about how great it is. We'll see about that, friends.
6) Neuvo Laredo, TX - Yep, you can guess where we're headed: MEXICO!!!
7) Monterrey, Mexico - I don't know what's here, but damnit, I wanna know.
8) Durango, Mexico - This city just sounds cool.
9) Mazatlan, Mexico - Three is in love with west coast Mexican food with its seafood and pure awesomeness.
10) Guadalajara, Mexico - Well, this one is just in between Mazatlan and Mexico City. So.
11) MEXICO CITY!! (where else would it be?) - I have always wanted to go there. A Spanish instructor of mine was from Mexico City and couldn't say enough good things about it. Maybe she was biased. I don't know. I mean, I wrote a whole damned post about things I hate about Nashville and I've been here for 20 years. Fuck, twenty damned years.

Honestly, I'd love to go further, but as of right now, that little traverse? Per Google Maps, I'm clocking in at 45 hours of just driving. And according to Google Maps, this route includes tolls. Meh, oh, well.

Damnit, now I really want to go on this trip. We're going to have to make it happen, Three.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In which I join the 21st century.

Three and I have been without TV for ... almost a year now? We've made do with actually talking to each other, watching Netflix, surfing the internet, and basically not knowing that TV shows other than reruns of "Friends" exists. This has kept me out of many conversations with work people that I would otherwise be forced to socialize with based solely on the topic of television. Instead, our interactions go like this:

Coworker: Have you been watching [insert show name here]?
Me: Nope. I don't have TV.
Coworker: Oh.
Me: [walks away]

Then I got the bright idea to subscribe to Hulu+. I had toyed with this a few months ago but then just sort of forgot about it. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything, since most people tell me that I'm not missing out on much anyway. But I wanted to watch Bubblegum Crisis (probably one of my favorite 80s anime shows) and Hulu+ just roped me in after a few episodes of BGC.

Well, I wasn't too sure what to watch after I signed up. I'd heard about Sarah Michelle Gellar's new show, The Ringer, so I added that to my favorites, which gave me some other suggestions from the Hulu+ gods or whatever, and that led me to my new obsession: Revenge.

Seriously, I could talk forever about this show and how much I love the main character for being this calculatingly cold vengeful force of retribution, but I won't. That would be boring, and plus, you should watch it for yourself. Over about a four or five day period, I watched the entire first season and was kind of pissed that I had to wait for fall to continue the story. (That's good writing, folks. And I'm a picky bitch about that kind of thing.) Then I was like, "Wait, we don't have TV! GASP!! What will I do??" I think this is partially because I don't really know how Hulu+ works (How long before the new episodes will be up? Is it like waiting for the DVDs?? etc.), but I was hell-bent on making sure that I didn't pay Comcast for cable. It's bad enough I have to pay them over $60/mo for internet service. So I called up my mom.

Me: Hi, Mommy!
Mom: Hello. What's up?
Me: My TV can get free digital channels, right?
Mom: Probably?
Me: Well, you bought it for me. Don't you remember?
Mom: Your dad bought it, and no, I don't. Where's your manual?
Me: ... Probably at the bottom of some recycling bin, actually. By the way, are you guys still recycling, even though I don't live with you anymore?*

My mom wasn't really helpful on this front, so I decided to go to Best Buy, where at least I could find someone who might be electronics-educated. I tried to sound as intelligent as I could but used the word "thingy" a few times too many. Luckily, the girl seemed to know what she was talking about, and even though Best Buy doesn't sell the brand of TV I own, she was able to show me a few universal digital antennas. At first I was like, "Are you fucking kidding me? $69 for a digital antenna?? I'll stay TV-less and hope that Hulu+ or the ABC website has the new Revenge episodes up lickety-split," but the girl was quick to recognize that she was going to lose a sale and handed me one for $15. Smart lady.

I got home and attached the antenna to my TV (Roberta, for those of you wondering what her name is), turned on the contraption, and waited patiently. After a few seconds, the "NO SIGNAL" message popped up and I was all, "That's what I get for buying the $15 one. And for also not reading the directions with the antenna. And for also throwing the directions in the dumpster outside." But then I thought, hm, maybe I should check the settings? I don't know how I figured this out, because Roberta isn't exactly user-friendly or intuitive, but I found the channel scanner function and voila! 28 channels!! Well, it's more like six that actually work, but that's more than the zero I had before. And it includes the local Spanish one with all of my favorite bad Spanish soap operas. Whee!!

So now I will be able to watch Emily Thorne fuck up rich white people's lives for her (and my) own amusement. And also see what's happened with Charlotte. Sigh, I'm already roped in.

This girl will ruin you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I severely want a camper trailer. It goes back to that Disney cartoon, where Donald, Mickey, & Goofy are on another wacky adventure in one:

That thing is deceptively small, at least in cartoon world.

Anyway, I think the only thing - other than money, which yeah, is kind of a big deal - that is keeping me from going to Craigslist and buying the hell outta one is that the only car we have is even smaller than the camper trailer will probably be. Don't let Goofy's tiny car fool you - he lives in a cartoon, where it also appears you can use quilting supplies to patch up crap tires. And his car probably has more power than Chiquita, the poor Aveo with a dimpled bottom (courtesy of Three running over two retreads).

And I think I've come across one that I really, really want:

Courtesy of
I don't know if I'd call her "Constance," though. Maybe ... Ondine? Or Viola. Something old-timey. Either way, the camper is very much obviously at least 1.5 times (if not more) than Chiquita.

Sigh. Who wants to buy me a bigger car??

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hush that puss, everybody move to the back of the bus.

Public transportation is like real-life People at Wal-Mart. You see and hear the craziest shit every day, and it's always different. The randomness pleases my love of chaos and I rarely, if ever, have to put on my headphones or bury my face in front of my Kindle.

A few months ago, this guy, wearing a business suit with dirt on the cuffs of his pants, was ass-up drunk and yelling racial slurs at the bus driver who had about had enough of this guy's shit. Finally, another gentleman too decided that this asshat needed to be elsewhere, so he pulled the little wire thing and pushed the guy out in front of the Kroger in Belle Meade. Now, for anyone unfamiliar with Nashville, Belle Meade? Well, it's the old money section of town. The fact that I live five minutes away from the heart of Belle Meade has some people thinking I'm rich.
So rich that I can afford this gif.
Anyway, so guy is shoved off the bus, and of course, everyone is asking aloud, "Should we call the cops? I mean, it is public intoxication." Being a woman of unthinking action, I went ahead, pulled out my phone, and found the Kroger's number on Google search. I asked to speak to the manager, who thanked me for my assistance. As we pulled away, we saw the guy, trying to get around a very large, not very welcoming manager dude. Seriously, the manager looked like the owner of that pawn shop in Pawn Stars. I didn't get to see the ultimate show down between Drunky and the Hulkinator, but I'm fairly sure the latter won. It kind of saddens me that the only people who were to witness this epicness were snobby blue-haired ladies and senile old men. Alas.

Last week, I was sitting on the bus, waiting for it to leave the depot, and I saw this flicker of yellow moving frantically out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look to see this guy with bloodshot eyes staring at me like he wanted to gnaw on my jaw bone or something, so like a sane person, I smiled and waved. Of course he started screaming at me, violently flailing his arms about, ever so often pointing at the seat directly in front of him. I walked calmly to the front of the bus where the door was open and poked my little head out.

Me: Yes?
Guy: You didn't say hi to me when you passed!! BITCH!!
Me: Oh, okay. Hi!
Guy: WAIT! I need a bus pass.
Me: Good for you!

Luckily for my snarky ass, the bus driver had already called the cops who are stationed at the depot

Other times, it's more tame. Like listening to the dude who apparently won the lottery and got enough money to buy a used F150 because it was his dream car. And you know what, no, I'm not going to shit on that dream. I still want a Gremlin, even though I'm fairly sure they rate just above a damned Edsel on the quality side of things.
But the lack of enthusiasm this guy had about winning the lottery was odd. It wasn't like he wasn't calling everyone he knew to let them know the good news. But it was like listening to fucking Eeyore, only more depressing. I wanted to go up to him and shake his hand and throw confetti, but I figured he might think I was crazy so I pretended to watch my fingers move. And what was even more disconcerting was that the other people he called? Yeah, they seemed about as fazed as he was, if not less so. And of course, he put them on speakerphone, so I got to hear the droning, obligatory-sounding, "Oh, that's great. What are you going to do with it?" responses. It's like they were all on downers or something. Hell, maybe they were. Maybe it was like that Family Guy episode with Mr. Fargus who was so crazy happy all the time that he was dangerous and nearly killed a kid? I don't know, but I had more questions than I had answers. And now, so do you.

You are welcome.

There was also a time when an entire group of women dressed as fairies boarded. With wings and glitter and wands and everything. Nashville doesn't have any cool conventions (unless you count the Southern Women's Show, where they have firemen who strip to their undies which is nice ... and they also have other stuff that's for sale; I got a really good deal on a Lancome bundle a few years back) and it wasn't Halloween, so I couldn't figure out if it was a dare or a political statement or a bachelorette party. No one really talked to them, either, but they chittered to themselves softly while the rest of the passengers just stared at them. I was too far away to engage, which I'm still kind of sad about to this day. See? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Then it can get downright grotesque. It hasn't quite gotten as bad as the guy who ate the face of the man in Florida, but then again, I'm not in Florida, for which I am thankful. Not only am I not surrounded by Disney-high children and grey-hairs, I'm not under the rule of Rick Scott and Three's parents are at least eight hours away. But I digress. Last year, a guy vomited everywhere. There's not much more to that story except that a little girl had an existential crisis of sorts at age four. And another time, a guy sat next to me and he smelled like he had just waded around in a vat of Axe body spray.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT BREAK: people that have penises, I am here to tell you that Axe is terrible. It reeks. The scent is akin to bug spray mixed with frat boy pretentiousness. Or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, stop it. Hell, I'd take CK One or Curve over this shit. At least they were trying to be classy. And don't even get me started on the stupid, sexist commercials. And also, people that have vaginas: stop trying to make them feel better about smelling like they are prepared to stay pest free at camp. Be that bitch. See below:

Ahem. The Axe offender. So he sat next to me and I visibly gagged when his smell assaulted me.

"I get that a lot," he laughed casually.
"And you don't think you should change that? You like offending people with your stench?" I scoffed, getting more and more ill the longer he lingers there.
"I like the fragrance," he said defensively, a pout peeking through his otherwise straight face.
"Well, then, you'll like that smell as you wank on your own. Can you get up please? I need to move."

I think I may have killed that guy's soul a bit that day. But it was for the good of everyone around him, most importantly me because seriously, that was some of the rankest shit I have ever smelled. And that's in comparison to burning hair. Shudder.

And then today. Oh, today. It's hot, right? Like, the damned ice sheets in the Arctic are melting? So one can understand people going to extremes staying cool. I'm sitting there, minding my own sweltering business when this guy across from me unzips his pants to display his nethers and starts fanning his balls. Like you do. At first, I can't really believe that I am witnessing what is actually going on and I'm fairly sure my face contorted in ways that can only be described as macabre confused puppy.
Honeslty, I just want an excuse to use this gif. His expressions are just priceless.
It's not a pretty sight. Not enough brain bleach exists in this world to unsee what has been seen this day. I tried avoiding looking directly at it, although it's like a train wreck or Showgirls. You just keep watching.

Three has the car tomorrow to get new tires and brakes* so this means I have to ride the bus both ways tomorrow. This isn't an abnormality, and honestly, I kind of like riding the bus. I don't have to deal with idiot drivers, which means I arrive to work a lot less twitchy, and I can read/write/listen to music/ignore public displays of balls/etc. to my heart's content until we arrive at the downtown depot. But now I'm all worried that I'll see this guy again. And I'll have to keep myself from asking him, "So are your balls hot today, too?"

I may just bring my headphones and sunglasses with me tomorrow.

* And shit, do we need it. Chiquita sounds like a Tin Lizzie.

Mutiny on the Uterus

I have epic periods. Just figured I'd come out and say it as bluntly as possible, so as not to leave any of you wondering if I was referring to actual shark week or to an aunt that has unfortunately been named Flo.

Anyway, back to the mutiny in my uterus. Every month, I am forced to wonder not whether or not I'll be in bed, writhing in pain, but for how long. I've found a combination of extra strength Midol and Advil eases the cramps just enough for me to lie there, motionless. This usually lasts around two days or so, and I'm lucky if this happens on the weekend so I don't have to miss work. Or unlucky, depending on your interpretation; but for my job, if I miss one day, I'm a week behind.*

Thursday was one of my more painful days. Not the worst I've had before. I could walk today. About three months ago, I could not stand up and move around. Three had to carry me to the bathroom and I spent the majority of the day in tears. So yeah, didn't have to deal with that, but it was still pretty horrible. And I was driving in the middle of that lovely succession of waves of cramps, which Three managed to somewhat to distract me from by talking about absolute nonsense.

And before you say, "Oh, Juju, haven't you tried birth control," the answer is yes. I've tried multiple brands with multiple strengths or concentrations of estrogen or whatever -gen is out there, and apparently, nothing really works. All it does is make me crazy or it does nothing at all. Yaz turned me into the worst type of needy girlfriend and added a dash of insanity. I got irrationally angry at a popcorn bag. I stayed on birth control mainly out of responsibility, not so much for any other added benefit. I stuck with the one that made me less of a nutcase. And now, since we're trying to get pregnant, birth control isn't an option. So I just do what I've always done since I was 11. Stay in bed, take Advil and Midol, and hope for the best.

I've said before that I think it's my biology punishing me for not getting knocked up. I'm not sure it's far from the truth.

You're a bitch, Juju's uterus.

* Or at least, it will be until 8/31/2012. BWAHAHA.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Unfucking of Habitats

Like the entire internet, I am a pretty avid follower of Unfuck Your Habitat on Tumblr, mainly because I am the person that they are aiming for. I like having a clean household, but a lot of times, I'm just ... not lazy, but ... I could easily find something else more important to do. However, since our recent Attack of the Tiny Flies, I have decided that, yes, I am going to actually do some deep cleaning. I can't guarantee that this will last much further than my next obsession, but hell. I'm going to try.

And being the overly ambitious crazy person that I am, I'm going to tackle the room that is currently the worst: our extra room. It was supposed to be my writing and yoga area, but instead it's become Our Special Storage Unit. We've been in this apartment since April 1, and it looks like we just got here.

Sure, I could make excuses. We're not sure how long we'll be here or if it's even worth it, which was essentially how our last apartment became the clutterfest that it was. And both Three and I work really hard and then we have other shit to do on the weekends and then when we come back we're just exhausted or it's late or Zola has thrown up again. But I don't want to wait until I leave DHS to begin the transformation into a livable and, dare I say it, people-invitey-overy space. It's not like I want to become the next Martha Stewart or anything, with linens and perfectly iced cakes and terrified underlings of a specific size, weight, and ethnicity. But I would like to not be ashamed to have a little dinner thing with friends or family. Ha, I don't even let my mother in the front door, by which she is equal parts offended and relieved.

God, I just started looking around at the rest of the apartment, and it really does look like an episode of Hoarders (which by the way, is almost as bad as Intervention. I can't watch those shows). There's no way in hell that I'm showing you the disaster area that is our living room/bedroom.* Our kitchen is pretty clean, due to the previously mentioned flies from hell, as is our bathroom. Oddly enough, our closet is organized. The rest of the house? Not so much. I have a lot of work to do.

* We've basically made our one-bedroom apartment into a studio with an extra room on the side, because, hey, we pay rent here and we can. Sue me. Plus, it gives me an excuse to play video games in bed.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Why I will forever use Google Docs ... or at least something similar.

I think I told you all about Pfiona's recent demise due to some type of [insert computer jargon about hardware and software and nanobits or whatever] and God, it's been frustrating. I had thought I'd backed up all my stories on Google Docs, but apparently, I hadn't. Because I secretly love to rewrite things that I'm not sure I can recreate. Yay! I was using Scrivener, which is an awesome program once you figure out how to use it. And when Pfiona bit the dust, I was hoping that, since it was a pretty distinctive ... what are the .doc & .jpg called? Shut up, I can run a computer; I just don't know the names of things.* Either way, they seemed like easily identifiable files, so when we took it to Mouse Calls, one of the local computer repair places my parents have used for years, I was hopeful.

I'm thinking something was lost in translation between Three and the computer dude. And I also think they don't like each other. It's a vibe I get. Either way, they ended up saying that we abandoned our computer, even though we'd call nearly once or twice a week, but their Mac specialist (really, you only have one of those? Please.) was always out offsite for some other, more important client. Three called them up, furious, and was all, "Okay, dickbags, let's get this resolved." He's not one for subtlety, but he is usually much more diplomatic about things. So we got back on track for, like, a week, and now I get this email, saying that they didn't get a response from us.

Um, we have tried to call you. But you guys are open during the times that we are at work, you know, working? And you're not open on Saturdays. Which makes this even more fun. I'm no business guru, but you'd think a computer repair place would at least have someone on staff on the day that most people have off.

And now I'm sounding white-whiny. I'm only slightly ashamed. I just want my files found, if they can be, so I can put them on Google Docs and also write them on notebook paper AND print out hard copies and put them in a fireproof box. I also want to yell at Apple for making such a crappy computer. From what I've been told, Macs are akin to crocodiles: very little changes about them and they last forever. I may have made that up.

Anyway, I got that notification email, which looked kind of like a ledger of some sort, and I figured, well, maybe we'll try this brand spanking new form of communication called electronic mail. I responded to their email, and hopefully, I'll hear back from them that way. It'll be easier than trying to get a hold of an actual person.

Now I'm all grumpy.

Oh. And by the way, Google? I expect some pay out of this free advertising you're getting from me. Not that Google Docs doesn't automatically sell itself. But still.

* This brings me back to Anatomy and Physiology I, where I would make up names for body parts and fissures and ... other terminology. I do remember phalange! Fingers and toes!! But if you're in the operating room, and your nurse looks at you and says, "The thingy is on the bluish black blob on the, I don't know, what side of the body is that? Interior? Post-rear? I have no idea. Either way, it looks like it's going to pop. Here's your doodad." you probably won't have much faith in that nurse, right?

Friday, July 6, 2012

"The Forever Girl" by Rebecca Hamilton

I've done reviews of books and movies and whatever before, but most of that was back in college and just after, when I still thought I might be able to do something with my stupid journalism degree. Ahhh, good times. I occasionally read books that I enjoy - Gail Carriger's "Soulless" being one of the more recent ones - but very rarely am I inclined to write a review. I'm a picky girl, what can I say?

On Twitter, I follow Rebecca Hamilton, who kept tweeting about her new book, The Forever Girl, which was released on 1/26/2012 on, and it was apparently getting awesome reviews. Being the curious thing that I am, I went ahead and bought it on my Kindle and began reading.

NOTE: I'm going to avoid spoilers as best as I can, but if I have to go into detail, I'll let you know.

First off, The Forever Girl is what I think is called New Adult fiction. It's a fairly recent genre, from what I'm to understand, and honestly? It's a very, very unexplored market. You go from young adult novels, then you don't see these characters until they're in their late twenties, and you wonder, "Hm, how did they get to be the way they are?" I think so many people avoid dealing with new adults is because, well, they're basically glorified teenagers, especially today with so many young people returning to live with their parents for various reasons.* They're still somewhat trying to find themselves and can be annoyingly cocksure about their intelligence and worldliness. With teenagers, you can excuse that kind of behavior with, "Oh, they just have no experience." Not so much with recent college grads.

Anyway, Hamilton does an excellent job portraying a young, insecure character who is ostracized by her hometown for daring to be different. Sophia, the main character, does have a tendency to be a little whiny about things, but I can overlook that. I was a whiny brat until ... well, I still can be. Regardless, there's sincerity in Sophia that I found refreshing, especially considering the parallels to Twilight that I (and plenty of other people) have noticed. But we'll get back to that.

While some have made no secret of their dislike for Sophia, I respect Hamilton for making her real - other than the voices and her magical skills, of course. [SPOILER] Sure, she has a lot of doubts when she begins a relationship with Charles, and even after moving in with him, she is hesitant to commit fully. Um, I don't know what person hasn't done this. You're drawn to someone but you see that there's a possibility it couldn't work, so you vacillate between desperately wanting to be with them to inwardly pulling yourself away. I don't see this as inconsistent; just a young girl not one hundred percent ready to commit to a relationship. Oh, and also? I wouldn't want to be immortal. That is just not appealing to me. I cannot wait to get old with my husband, goosing him in the grocery store when we're in our 80s. A few other reviewers have seen Sophia's desire to have Charles develop the ability to age as strange. Five words: she is not Bella Swan.[END SPOILER]

Which brings us to Twilight. It's not a secret that I despise the Twilight series. I hate Stephenie Meyer's writing, her infatuation with oppressive men, her fetishization (I don't know if that's how you'd spell it or if it's even a word, but I don't care. This is my fucking blog.) of Native American culture, etc. And yes, I do believe that Twilight served as an inspiration for The Forever Girl. Charles has similar attributes to Edward, even stalking protecting Sophia and trying to convince her to stay away from his big, scary world. I do like that Hamilton pokes a little fun at Twilight, though, with Sophia angrily asking Charles if he's following her and his response? "You're not so interesting that I came to watch you sleep, darlin'." That aside, though, there are some striking similarities between Sophia and Bella, but I can't go into it too much without giving away a lot of the plot. One major difference is that Sophia has agency. She doesn't dissolve into paralyzed goo when she is forced to protect herself, and she takes a very active role in the latter part of the book. But I can't deny that Sophia may just be a re-imagining of how cool Bella could have been.

Now, I'm not saying that you can't be influenced by other authors, movie makers, etc. Hell, Quentin Tarantino wouldn't have a career, otherwise. And my own stories have sprouted from watching an episode of "Buffy" or reading Terry Moore's "Strangers in Paradise." ** But I do think that The Forever Girl may be in 50 Shades of Grey*** territory: fanfic turned original story. And again, that is not a bad thing. But the best of that genre really does evolve into its own species of story. The Forever Girl shows promise that it may, in fact, blossom into something very definitely separate from Twilight, hopefully in the next installment.

And, moving on. Mainly because I hate that Twilight has been mentioned more times in this post than it has been ever since I started writing.

Color seems to be a major theme in this book, since the author seems to focus heavily on the distinct hues of someone's dress, the flowers, various herbs, etc. Visualization has never been a weak point for me, but Hamilton's descriptions make is even easier to see exactly what she wants you to see. Maybe kind of like the Cruor (this world's version of vampires, although they seem to have a touch of werewolf, as well) and their ability to completely take over the mind of someone to do what they will. A-HA! I'm onto you, Ms. Hamilton. But it also has to do with Sophia's faith, Wicca - color and smell are very important parts of daily life, each with its own purpose and meaning. And this segues into my next point.

One part that I really appreciated was the honest approach Hamilton took to Wiccan rituals. I'm not the first to note this, either, but as someone who studied Wiccan practices for several years, it's wonderful to see someone who really wants to portray this particular religion correctly instead of going on hearsay and cultural prejudices. I wish it had been explored a little more, maybe leaving the action in her Colorado hometown, a la Sookie Stackhouse in Charlaine Harris' wonderful Southern Vampire Mystery series, instead of traipsing off to other parts of the world. But perhaps we'll return to Belle Meadow? Who knows?****

Now, the criticism the book has gotten is not unwarranted. The pacing is sometimes a little off, and I had to read the final couple of chapters a couple of times to understand exactly what was going on. The entire ending seemed a little rushed; the majority of the book moved slowly, which at times was nice and others left me thinking, "God, someone DO something." And then suddenly, ACTION FIGHTING FIRE MATCHES ZOMG! Then ... Japan? With some kids in tow? Well, okay then.

Some of the characters are fleshed out well, but others are very vague, despite the fact that they may or may not be main characters. Sophia, being the POV character, of course has the most characterization, as we're privy to her thoughts and emotions. Charles is a little hard to read, however, even though he's present almost as much as Sophia is. Ivory, who I think is the most interesting character by far, is explored in depth during her memory sequence, and while I understand that her past was kept secret for as long as it was, I wish that Hamilton had planted seeds. Or perhaps, if she did, bigger ones. For the lion's share of the novel, she is sadly absent, and no one really seems to care that much, even the ones who know who she really is. Paloma is also an underused character who kind of seems like a deus ex machina more than anything else. Then we get to Ophelia, who was only briefly kinda-mentioned and then [SPOILER]she saves everyone and is apparently Irish[END SPOILER].

I will most definitely read the next book and I hope to see Hamilton really stretch her writing legs. I want to see further and deeper characterization of outlying characters, more fluid transitions between plot points, and more of her beautifully descriptive writing. For a debut novel, Hamilton shows a great deal of potential to create a thrilling series, and I can't say that about a lot of new writers. All in all, I give the book three out of five stars and look forward to the rest of the series.

* And I'm not knocking that at all; I left college in 2006 and couldn't get a job doing anything. I lived with my parents for several years, even returning a few years later after getting out on my own. Stupid economy and influx of people with degrees.

** Which by the way, if you haven't ever read this comic series, you absolutely must. Terry Moore is a genius when it comes to the natural feminine form and understanding relationship dynamics. Plus, Katchoo is a fucking badass.

*** I LOATHE 50 Shades of Grey. LOOOOAAAAATTTHHHHHHE. There is much better porn out there for ladies; it's known as the 80s Harlequin romance novel collection. And they're cheaper.

**** I really hope we do. There were a lot of unresolved issues (we never met her dad, the crazy fundie-Christian lady isn't punished for setting her house on fire, Sophia and her mom never really connect, Sophia just kind of abandons her job, etc.) and like I said above, I think there's a ton of territory that could make for a great character study.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Crusade against the Flies

Over the past two weeks, Three and I have been battling teeny fruit flies. And they have been fighting back with a vengeance. We've fogged the shit out of them, thrown away anything that looks like it may even think about getting spoiled or old, etc. You wouldn't think that a bug the size of an overgrown fleck of dust would be that bad, but you'd be wrong. It's made us a little crazy.

I've been taking pictures of my victories:

It's like they said, "Ooooooh, hey! POOL!! How decent of our hosts!!!" And then they all drowned.
Most of our conversations eventually turn to the topic of flies, more because they'll dart in front of our eyes while we're talking about something else. Although I think Three may have been affected more severely than me.

Three: I've figured out their gestation phase is four days long, so if we ...
Me: ...
Three: What?
Me: Really?
Three: I'm in a war and I'm getting to know my enemy.
Me: Fair enough.

Three thinks he may have discovered how they keep coming back. He hasn't really revealed how he's come to this conclusion or even what that conclusion may be, but I came home to him cleaning dishes. If you know anything about Three, it's that he isn't exactly the domestic type. He's more of a water demon who manages to cause a mess wherever he goes. So there he was with little rubber gloves on, scrubbing one of our pots.

My expression was more

when it should have been

but I think he took it fairly well. Usually his attempts at cleaning end in disaster*, but I haven't found any casualties yet. Except more dead flies.

Maybe it's a sign of the apocalypse?

* I came home one day to find the entire kitchen completely drenched, Three standing with a towel in his hand, two wide-eyed kitties trying to avoid the water on the floor, and Zola hiding in her crate because she thinks all water equals bath. I nearly just left the apartment.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Today is the reason that I love that I recently put in my notice at work. I had about 986234868927450 clients to see (more like 26, but STILL), a bazillion other things I had to do for my cases that weren't due to renew their benefits, and I had to deal with the front desk, IMing me and calling me about things that had nothing to do with me.

This is pretty much the best representation of my mood that I can find:

This isn't even the angriest gif I could find. This is tame, by head exploding standards.
It got me really, really looking forward to when I can turn in that fucking badge, go home, and never think about SNAP/food stamps again.

I think one of the most frustrating things about my job is how incredibly cavalier a lot of my clients are about their interviews. They'll just not turn in applications and then frantically call me like it's my damned fault they didn't get their benefits the following month. Or - and this is my favorite - they'll leave me this scathing voicemail, demanding that I call them back this fucking instant because their benefits have been cut off.

Me: Well, let's see. We have your address as 1234 1st Street, Apt. 1. Is that right?
Me: Did you let us know this?
Client: NO.
Me: *blink blink* Why not?
Me: Nope, no, we don't.*

On my last day, I really want to print up a flier and give it to all the clients out in the lobby.


1) Understand that your caseworker probably has over 1500 cases in his/her caseload. That's cases; not people.
2) We give you the service center number for a reason. Remember Number 1 up there? Your caseworker, yes, is responsible for these, but if you want something accomplished, it's easier to wait 30 - 45 minutes to speak to a service center caseworker who DOESN'T have a caseload than it is to wait two weeks and maybe hear from us.
3) Leaving us threatening or angry voicemails does not put you on the top of our priority lists. Be civil; be nice. We'll probably, if we have the time, make sure that we get your stuff done as quickly as possible.
4) Come prepared. No, a handwritten letter by yourself, saying that you have a job at a place that pays you in pay stubs, is not verification of your income. Also, bringing your ID with you is probably a smart thing, anyway. Cops ask for that shit.
5) Do not come into the office for your interview drunk and/or high. You won't remember half of the shit we say to you. And honestly, it's just rude. Do it after, for all we care; just be coherent and bring a notepad with you.
6) Yes, you may have to wait an hour to see a caseworker. Remember Number 1? Also, the client before you may have needed an interpreter or there were other things in their cases that would warrant a longer interview.
7) Do not ask us about your neighbors case, who you think doesn't deserve help when you need it. You don't know their situation, and more likely than not, we don't, either.
8) Understand that we make mistakes. Hell, I make them every day. If it's our fuckup, we are willing to admit it and will try to fix it as soon as possible. But remember, we have a ton of clients, so if we don't get to it right away doesn't mean we've forgotten about you.
9) Email is SO. MUCH. FASTER. than listening to voicemails. Go to the library and set up a yahoo or gmail account. Something. Or, refer to Number 2.
10) We have time frames. Just because you got me your income verification today does not mean I'm going to work on it today.
11) Do NOT call me to see if I got a fax. You'll be notified if we never got your fax because, hey, you'll get denied. And if you can provide that cover sheet that shows the day and time (and to what number) you sent the fax, we'll honor that. But GAWD, we do not have time to answer the 50 calls per day about fucking faxes.**
12) Anything the front desk tells you may or may not be true. They are not caseworkers. They were not trained in policy. If you ask them a policy question, they are supposed to tell you to ask a worker or are supposed to actually ask a worker prior to responding to you. So when you come back to our desks, saying, "Well, the lady at window 22 said ..." I'm probably going to shake my head and say, "Nope, that isn't true."
13) We do not hate you. We really don't. We are just overwhelmed. You see the economy right now. You're feeling how the economy is deflated. But after being bitched at, complained to and/or about, answering emails from the state office, upper management, and the governor (haha, because he knows what he's talking about), being paid shittily for what we do on a daily basis, etc., yes. We are probably not going to be super excited when you come in to talk to us. We also don't deny you because we don't like you. If you don't qualify under policy, you don't qualify. It's not personal. But when you start calling us names and then acting like a whiny brat? Now you've made it personal.

This is not an exhaustive list, by any means. I'd like to make it into a neon-colored pamphlet, circa Saved by the Bell, to hand out with all the other pieces of paper that people throw away and conveniently forget.

Sigh. August 31st is so far away.

* You wouldn't believe the number of people who assume I can look at their bank accounts, know the day they got married or if they're registered to vote or not, get copies of their tax returns, etc. If that were true, I'd expect to be paid a lot more than I am.
** Although seriously? Faxing? This is nearly ancient technology now. You might as well try to send a telegram. EMAIL, guys. E.MAIL.
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