Sunday, September 30, 2012

In which I watch "Night of the Living Dead"

NOTE: I really shouldn't have to say this, as this movie has been out for nearly 50 years, but yes, this post will contain spoilers. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Also, before anyone rushes to yell at me, I am aware that I misspelled Barbra's name in my tweets. I didn't realize her name was spelled Barbra until the end credits. So there. 

As Halloween has been getting closer, I have been oddly drawn to the horror genre. This is not normally my cuppa, but I figured, why the hell shouldn't I watch zombie movies? And for once, I'm thankful I have the DVD delivery service of Netflix, which dutifully delivered "Night of the Living Dead" within a day. I kind of held off watching it at first, saying, "Oh, I'll just wait for Three to come home so he can watch it with me!" Also, in other news, I may be a giant pansy. I wasn't sure what to expect, and because I don't like surprises, I got on the internet to do some sleuthing. Muchas gracias, Wikipedia!

Still, it didn't really prepare me to watch it. It's one thing to read a synopsis of a plot; to experience "Night of the Living Dead" is something completely different. I have the benefit over 1968's audiences of understanding how movies treat zombies, thanks to Hollywood's apparent obsession with them (see also: vampires), but there are some scenes in NotLD that cause automatic reactions which cannot be eased by that kind of education. Take the dead body that Barbra first encounters in the stairwell of the house? Yeah, I shrieked. And I'm not normally messed up by that sort of thing.

But I tried to keep myself amused, almost like I just knew that I would be disturbed by NotLD, so I went to Twitter to live-tweet the whole thing. It was also like I was leaving myself little notes in the margins, which has actually been pretty helpful writing this post. I was just going to post screen caps of my tweets, but honestly, a lot of them sound weird without context. So, without further adieu, Juju's "Night of the Living Dead" (with commentary):

Seriously, it was really nice not having to watch any of the extra shit to get to the movie. You just put the DVD in and voila! Title screen that has the following options: play movie, trivia, scene index, movie art, biography, and film credits. No fancy, schmancy graphics or annoying looping music. Just ... simple. I preferred when DVDs were like this. Aaaaaand push PLAY:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Two years ago seems like such a long time ago.

So when my Mac, Pfiona, died a few months back, I was aghast at how much of my writing I'd lost. We're talking at least 10 fully-written short stories (some in dire need of serious editing, of course, but DONE) and God knows how many outlines and character sketches, and ugh. Disheartening, to say the least. I remember some of what I wrote, but there were some lines that I remembered absolutely loving, but I can't seem to recreate them.
This gif needs to be used as often as possible. 
Then I got this brilliant idea: Ye Olde Blogge!! I still have access to the old gmail I formerly used, so after much gnashing of teeth (seriously, Google, sometimes you piss me off), I was able to pull up the blog where a lot of my old previews of The Legion were posted. I nearly started crying, I was so happy. But then it got me interested in my old personal blog, because hey, nostalgia, and I was actually kind of amazed.

My last post was from May 2010, and dear GOD that was two years ago. TWO. YEARS. It seems like such a long time ago, even though in the grand scheme of things, it might as well be yesterday. It's not just the how different the world is politically, economically, etc., either. I am nearly an entirely different person: I'm no longer at DHS (YUSSS), I am working full-time as a writer instead of unemployed bored person, I've gone through bankruptcy, and I use way more gifs. And I'm a better writer than I was, which is encouraging.
Proof that I use more gifs. 
This is not to say that I cringe when I read what I wrote back then. It's not like it's my junior high diary, which, in case you are wondering, is hilarious. It's still well thought out and most posts come full circle (usually), and several of them are pretty amusing. Or at least, I think they are. Some are heart wrenching, knowing that I'll come to hate my job even more than I did back in 2010. But it still reads as if it's a different person, someone not quite as self-aware or not quite as jaded or creative. I remember those feelings, yes, but it's almost like it was vicarious, like I read about it on some teenager's Tumblr.

Is this what it feels like to get older? Where you don't even really recognize your past self, even after only a few years? I'm no Ancient, by any means, but I do remember a time when 30 was, like, forever away. Now, it's less than two years in my future. And how will this post look in two years? Five? Ten? Ha, I have a hard enough time mapping out the very next day, so this concept is kind of alien to me.

I guess the moral of this story is keep records of yourself, if only for yourself.* Not only will it help you rewrite things you deemed lost, it may send you on a strange journey into your near past and may actually realize how happy you really are or aren't. All I can say is that the last few hours have not been wasted; I was just getting reacquainted with myself. And I must say: not too shabby, Juj.
I don't even know. I just wanted to use this today.
* Unless you're Angelina Jolie from a few years ago, who said she doesn't even keep pictures of herself in her house. She may have changed her tune since then; I don't know.  We don't really keep up with each other's lives.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On Becoming a Homebody

I've kind of always been a homebody. I prefer time to myself over time spent around others. It's not like I dislike people, really. My parents, at one time, thought that maybe I was suffering from something more than regular teenage angst, but I don't have a mental disease, either, no matter what my joke self-diagnosis of mild dissociative identity disorder may say. I'm just an introvert who likes to go back home after work and always disliked going to parties, even when my adolescent self wanted to be a part of the popular crowd. I absolutely loathed being forced into group projects at school, and I usually chose activities that required me to be solo. In order to graduate from high school, I had to have one P.E. credit, and the dance classes were all booked, so I chose the following sports: 1) golf (hahahaha, I held a club once and hit the ball even less times) and 2) track and field, in which I did long distance running. Sure, there were "teams," but I was pretty much by myself.

This is not to say that I don't get antsy. I totally do. I don't like being cooped up for too long, but my way of treating that problem is to go for a nice walk in the park, alone or with a friend or the husband. I'd take Zola with me, but the poor thing can't walk for more than 10 minutes at a brisk pace without looking forlornly at me, like, "We can go home now?" I also lovelovelove traveling. Experiencing new places is like a drug to me. But if you make me do it with more than, like, four people? You're asking for me to be a bitch the whole time. What I'm getting at here is, I don't just sit around my apartment, eating potato chips and playing campaigns on Mass Effect 3 all day.

What was nice about having a job outside of my house was just that: I got to leave and then I got to come home. It was a nice balance. My apartment was my refuge, a place I could recharge and vent and generally escape, and now? It's my office and living space. So, needless to say, it's a little weird. I don't even have the luxury of a car to get out, although to be fair, Three needs the car more than I do. And I'm not complaining. I'm right on a bus line, and I'm not working at DHS. Win/win.

But it is an adjustment. I'm used to relaxing here. My computer was my vegging out time, and now, it's my work station. I'm trying to develop some sort of schedule so I'm not doing what my mom thinks I do: play around on my computer, looking at video game demos and Etsy. It's HARD, you guys. I'm not used to putting goals in place for myself for something that is not for a IRL job. So I've enlisted Three to be my producer/manager/get the fuck off your ass and accomplish shit person. And yes, I fully intend my marriage to continue, even with this arrangement.

And now, to continue my day of productivity, I need to go clean the litter box and then finish editing part one of "A Million More to Go."

Monday, September 24, 2012

You know what, universe? Up yours, too.

It's almost like the Fates read my blog and then go BWAHAHAHA, because merely a few hours after publishing my last post about things that terrify me, this happened:

I'm lying in bed, like you do at 4:30A, when I feel this strange sensation in my butt cleavage: you know, the little spot just underneath your butt where it connects with your leg. So I'm all, "What is that?"I start feeling down there in a decidedly not sexy way and bring up what looks like a piece of structured mucus, if you'll pardon the term. I can't really think of another way of describing it. It's about a half inch long, flat, and slightly squishy. I wake Three up, who starts poking at it.

And THEN. The damned thing moves. The top part raises up and kind of sways, looking around without eyes or whatever, and I squeal.

"What the fuck is that?"

Three flicks it across the room, and I'm all, "The shit? Why did you do that??" Now, mind you, Three has just been woken out of a dead sleep, and he's not quite sure why he did it, either.

Then I find another one, on the bed, and I swear, it is pandemonium.

"What the absolute hell are those? Where are they coming from??"

So we start trying to figure out what the hell is going on and what these creatures are and why do we feel like we're about to star in a real-life Alien movie. Then Three exclaims as he's holding one, "Ohhhhh, it's a tapeworm!"


I take it upon myself to research the fuckers, and apparently (and thankfully), they do not travel anus to anus, and that this particular species was particular to dog colons.

We both look accusingly at this little bundle of love, who just happens to be on our bed:
You have butt worms. That is gross. You are no longer allowed on our bed. EVER.*
Awesome. Our dog has tapeworms, that she farted out earlier that night. At least that is what I assume, because I really can't handle the thought that these tapeworms may be the parasite equivalent of Ariel from Disney's "A Little Mermaid."
I wanna be where the people's asses are.
I spend the rest of the morning, feeling itchy and weird and jumping around with each slight twitch of my own body, wondering if I have another tapeworm on me. This prompted Three to come up with a name for an emo band: Captain Twitchy and the Undead Buttworms. I was not amused. 

Zola has been treated for the tapeworms and she for fuck's sure is not going to be sleeping in our bed. She's going to be sleeping in her crate, where she and her butt worms can commiserate about how they've been banished from our presence. And serves them right. They should have at least announced that they were going to be getting close to my ass. 

Fuck tapeworms. They are now officially on my list.

* Honestly, I will probably let Zola in the bed in a few weeks. AFTER her ass worms have been treated. If not, it will be the balcony for her.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Things that Terrify Me, Part Deux

I've written about things I'm scared of, and I don't take any of it back. Reborn dolls, basements, and palmetto bugs freak me the fuck out, and I will avoid them at all costs. And, thanks to Three, I can add a new phobia: sharks.

Now, Three is terrified of sharks, but he thinks that the best time to reveal this is when we are chest-deep in the Gulf of Mexico right in the middle of an area that he believes has a good chance of having sharks nearby. Because this is also the guy who sees the end of "Falling Down" with Michael Douglas (where he commits suicide after going apeshit on downtown L.A.) and actually says to me, "See? It's a happy movie! He didn't kill his family like he was trying to."
Actual response. Add a few expletives, for authenticity's sake.
So honestly, the fact that I didn't expect this kind of thing to happen just makes me wonder if my brain is working properly.

Anyway, he also proceeds to tell me all about how great white sharks can be punched in the nose as a way to deter its attack, as long as you're able to sock it before it distends its jaws like a fucking snake. I am actually a little amazed that he knows so much about every type of shark in the known ocean.

"You have to know your enemy, Juj," Three replies.

I then get a crash course in how to avoid shark attacks (while, mind you, in the ocean; no, the irony is not lost on me): don't thrash about, stay in groups (hahaha, we're two people, hahaha, that is NOT A GROUP), don't swim at dawn or dusk (feeding times), etc. Oh, and of course, don't bleed.
May have actually said this.
Now, Three has never actually been attacked by a shark. He did have a close call when he was younger and was being toyed with by a bull shark in Florida. Bull sharks are assholes. Just go read up on them. They can travel in fresh water and saltwater, because God is preparing them to become real land sharks.

When we got back from vacation, I went about studying these creatures that are only out-assholed by dolphins* in the sea. Sharks are damned killing machines and are "apex predators," the top of the food chain. I introduced myself to the deadliest of the species: great whites (duh), bull sharks, tiger sharks, and oceanic whitetip sharks. Whitetips seem to be the biggest jerks, really, as they kind of troll for shipwrecks, but the others just seem to be like, "Huh, these land creatures are slow and not very scary. I will eat them on occasion." Shark attacks aren't very common, and most of the time, it's because the human was an idiot and was all, "Ooooh, I want to touch the dangerous toothy animal that hasn't evolved much since prehistoric times!" Or they just happen to fall overboard and a hungry shark has had a hard day at work, chasing after fishies. Who wouldn't go after a slow-moving nummy treat? I would.
Why not? I mean, easy money.
But then this got me wondering about some of my other fears. I mean, Three is still scared of sharks, but he was able to go into the ocean, knowing full-well that they were out there. He didn't even freak out** when he saw evidence of shark activity: nearly an entire school of fish leaping out of the water away from a central location. So I looked back at my old post and tried to figure out which one I could research and therefore be unafraid of. I picked one that seemed the lesser of the evils: spiders.

And you know what? Spiders can fucking jump by using what scientists are calling tiny little propulsion something or others; tarantulas shoot sticky webbing out of their feet so they can walk on pretty much any surface at whatever angle; they look like demons under a microscope; they are everywhere; they can fucking kill you with one tiny bite. I don't think I have to go any further. Now that I know more about them, they terrify me even more. Fuck spiders.

And with that, I leave you one of my favorite Hyperbole and a Half posts: Spiders are scary. It's okay to be afraid of them.

* Dolphins are douches. They will mutilate newborn porpoises for the fuck of it. Scientists cannot explain their asshole behavior. They just are. Don't let their happy little smiling faces fool you; when they open their mouths? Yeah, they're saying, "You are about to be a meal."

** This was me, on the other hand. With less kicking. Mostly.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Camping 101

Yeah, this isn't going to be an instructional post, but shit, apparently Three and I, two experienced wilderness campers, needed to take a course or something. It's actually a little embarrassing. But what is the internet for if not for sharing the most eye rolling mistakes you've made?

For the first full week of September, we decided we'd go camping somewhere. We didn't really know where we were going until about, ha, four or five days prior to leaving, when I suggested the Gulf Coast.

Both Three and I lived on the coast when we were younger. He was on the eastern side of Florida, an island a bit north from Jacksonville until the late 90s, and I was on the southern Gulf Coast, where my parents were stationed (both were in the USAF) until 1992. We both miss the ocean like whoa, so it just seemed like a natural choice.

Well, Three hates his hometown with a fiery passion, and based on what he's told me about it, I really had no interest to go there. So we went with my: Biloxi, MS.

Technically, I was born in Biloxi but mainly lived in Ocean Springs, which is about ten - fifteen minutes away and is an amazing little town. Biloxi is definitely more touristy, what with the casinos and shit, and it has the AF base within city limits. Ocean Springs has a more small town feel to it, with an awesome little downtown area with specialty shops, only it's right next to the beach and the bayou.

Anyway, we just kind of headed down to the Gulf Coast with a knowledge that there were state parks and hoped that we'd be able to find some place we could set up our tent. Now, we hadn't really thought to add Hurricane Isaac (ha, hurricane? Try hurrican't. I mean, a Cat 1?? Betch, please.), but we figured it would be out of our hair by the time we got there. Which, sure. Yeah, the hurricane was gone, but so was access to most of the beaches due to clean-up efforts. And the sky was a little cloudy, so Three and I were doubting our decision.

Luckily, we stopped in a Shell station, run by this awesome guy, Alonzo, who pointed us to the Gulf Islands National Seashore state park, where we got to set up our tent and camp for $8 per day. It was more on the bayou side of things, but the beach was only a few minutes away from us and it wasn't too humid, thank God. It was still hot as shit, though, which is why we were happy when we saw some non-threatening storm clouds headed our way.

Ha. Hahahah. Hahahahahahahaha.

Maniacal laughter is the best kind. 
Tropical storms, while not as terror-inducing as hurricanes or their quick cousins tornadoes are, are no pansy asses. When the storm hit the park, I was a little wary. Lightening was blasting all around us at a frequent, nearly every-ten-seconds basis, along with immediately accompanying thunder, and the walls of our tent were bending inwards with the rain and the wind. But they were holding. 

Everything seemed normal until, oh, about 4:30A. I'd felt a couple of drops of water on me but then suddenly, it was like it was raining inside our tent. I nudged Three, who was a little slow to respond (he calls it his lizard brain), but eventually, he was standing up, staring at the ceiling of the tent with this confused expression on his face. 

Water??? Where you come from??
He was flabbergasted. He kept saying how this very same tent went through other storms and how he was able to survive a snowstorm in it when he was living in Colorado.

And it just kept getting worse. It was like Hurricane Isaac was back from the dead, like Jesus or something. We eventually got all that we needed to be dry and crammed it hurriedly into the car (which, may I remind you, is Chiquita, the teeny tiny car). Then we piled in.

That's right. We slept in our car because our tent couldn't even do its one job. Poor Three had a crick in his neck the next day, and my back injury from earlier this year figured it would be a good time to be a pain. Literally. But we were dry, and the tent dried up pretty quickly when we took off the rain slick. It didn't rain the rest of our vacation, which is probably a good thing, because I'm not sure our tent could have handled another monsoon.

But hey, you live, you learn. Plus, we spent $8 to stay there that night. That's just money well-spent.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm baaaaaaaack!

After spending five days in my hometown of Biloxi, MS, and its neighbor, Ocean Springs, I learned a few things.

One, tents are most likely not suited for any type of tropical storm, no matter what the label might say.

Two, fire ants will always find a way into your tent for whatever reason and then spend the night, biting your husband's ass.

Three, cats are just as needy as dogs, if not more so.

Four, Biloxi and Ocean Springs are my favorite places in the world.

Five, Southern culture is baffling, even if you hail from it.

Six, not all state parks are shitty. Some have surprisingly nice bathroom facilities, complete with air conditioning and never-ending hot showers.

Seven, Three is terrified of sharks. We're talking full-grown phobia.

That essentially covers my entire vacation. Sigh. And now the REAL work begins.

Three told me that he wanted me to take a whole two weeks off after my last day at DHS. I had fully intended to stay in the Lazy Zone for the full fourteen days, but I really should have known better. I got antsy and have been playing far too many video games*. I am just about to complete the Lego Harry Potter, Years 5 - 7, and that shit takes a lot of time. I mean, going through the whole fucking castle, looking for little red and gold blocks that are hidden?? Lego knows me too well.

So I decided that I should probably try and get actual work done. I've cleaned (using the UFYH method, mostly) and have a little work space set up for myself.

As you can see, Kitkat has already decided that this is her spot. Asshole cat.
I've got a little corkboard on the wall with a calendar, like I'm some sort of responsible self-employed person. It's weird. I'm getting a bunch of posts here ready to go - obviously not now, since I'm sitting here, talking to you people - which include the list above. Also, did you know that setting up a webpage is hard??

Ha, like I said, the real work begins.

* If anybody wants to look me up on Xbox, my name on there is jujujuniper. Three plays matchmaking on Reach a lot under jujujuniper, though, so don't think that I'm the asshole who jumps up out of nowhere to assassinate you.
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