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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Well, shucks

Oscar Sparrow nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger Award, ain't that sweet? As part of that award, I have to tell you 10 things you probably don't know about me.  I'm also supposed to pick 10 people to give it to, but when I get overwhelmed with work, I get overwhelmed with decisions, which means the thought of picking 10 of the many fantastic blogs I read, follow, and/or stalk to highlight gives me a headache.  AWARDS FOR EVERYONE!

1. I want to visit India. The trick is apparently finding a travel buddy. Everyone wants to go to Paris, no one wants to go to Mumbai.

2. I really hate texting. A subset of that hatred is the "hey" text -- when someone tries to initiate a conversation with the word "hey" and sometimes nothing else.  But even more than that?  I hate the "hey [adjective or sometimes noun]" text.

In the last two weeks, a guy has tried to initiate conversation with me by texting the following:

"Hey cutie!"

"Hey hot stuff!"

"Hey cutie"

"Hey cutie"

"Hey gorgeous!"

And last night when I logged on to Facebook, an IM that said, "Hey sexy."

Just ... gross.

Fortunately for this kid, I do believe there's a lid for every pot out there, so all he has to do is find a girl who is easily flattered and enjoys really tiny conversations.

3. Despite sharing a few horror date stories, I mostly prefer to keep to myself about my various romantic misadventures. While the goal is to find a guy who fits into my group of friends and family, I don't especially want to have to talk to them about him.

4. I am terrible at setting people up, but the one exception is after someone moves to a different state.  Then suddenly I realize that he/she is perfect for her/him, and why can't I ever figure that out while people live in the same area code?

5. I hate mushrooms and barely tolerate tomatoes. My parents predicted my entire life that I would grow out of these hatreds -- nope. But I did grow out of my hatred of hummus, so that's something.

6. I am afflicted with what my family lovingly calls "Lassie Complex," ie SOMEONE-FELL-DOWN-A-WELL???-CAN-I-HELP?-CAN-I-HELP? complex.

So you know, when I say I went to law school because I wanted to "help people," it's true.  I pathologically want to help people.

I'm considering seeing a therapist about it.

7. Despite being Mormon, it really bugs me when Mormons-in-their-Mormon-capacity show up at my door, unannounced. This has nothing to do with being Mormon per se, and everything to do with having a Mormon purpose.

Random Mormon coming for a friendly (previously announced) visit?  Fine.

Mormon coming over (usually unannounced) to get all Mormon up in my grill? Less than appreciated.

And for the record, I do apply the same standard to myself. So when I am assigned to bring someone (usually a stranger) cookies for church because their hair got over-processed at the salon, I drop those cookies with a nice note on the porch and run like a bandit.

8. I would totally go on The Bachelor for the vacations.  And if the producers asked me to cry my eyes out in the reject limo in exchange for a free trip to Costa Rica, I would whip out my Vicks Vapo Rub  and blubber like a champ.

I have no shame when it comes to vacations.

9. I want a pocket pig.  In fact, I would pay an obscene amount of money for a pocket pig, and am considering fencing my backyard for the sole purpose of buying one this summer.

POCKET PIG!
10. I hate lists so bad that this post was delayed three days because I couldn't think of a Number 10.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Well, hello internets

Just popping in to say hi amidst my wacky schedule and share a thought, random though it is.

I was reading through my old, semi-abandoned NaNoWriMo project the other day and I found poem.  (Ahh, fiction inspired by poetry. That NaNo project really was a winner, amiright? At least it wasn't a Blink-182 song.

Confession: wanted to write "Snow Patrol," didn't want to offend fans of Snow Patrol. Concluded that probably no one likes Blink-182 anymore and it was a safe slam. Gee whiz, this blog is edgy.)

My story is set in winter, and I think this is a winter time poem if there ever was one.  Please enjoy.

Canis Major -Robert Frost
The great Overdog
That heavenly beast
With a star in one eye
Gives a leap in the east.

He dances upright
All the way to the west
And never once drops
On his forefeet to rest.

I'm a poor underdog
But to-night I will bark
With that great Overdog
That romps through the dark.

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's the final countdown

So friends, the time has come.

I don't talk about my real lawyerin job on here much -- hopefully ever, really.  But here's a tidbit of truth for you all: my busy season starts next week. 

Normally, I'd consider the possibility that I should probably spend less time engaging in my other projects -- writing, reading, attempting to train for that long-delayed half marathon, teaching my dog to play dead, engaging in some seriously whimsical baking -- but I actually kind of feel like 2012 is my year.

So instead of gently tapping the breaks over the coming months, we're going to be going full steam ahead. 

By the end of my busy season (circa April 1st), I will have:

- Written 20,000 words in my New Project.
- Taught Spence to play dead.  Or to come when called.  Whichever is easier and/or more useful.
- Posted three pictures of ADORABLE baked goods on this here site.
- Gone running twice a week, every week.  (Indoors counts, because my sojourn in Fake Austin  seriously impacted my born-and-bred Utah internal thermostat.  I am currently freezing whenever I step foot outdoors and there's the slightest nip in the air.)

So that's it, friends.  My new quarterly goals. 

To celebrate with me, go download the new Fictionist CD on iTunes while it's a measly $4.99. I know I'm seriously late to this party (literally dozens of people have recommended them to me over the last year or so), but I finally jumped on the bandwagon this week.

And guess what? They are as awesome as I was led to believe. So go forth and enjoy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

roommate quote of the day

"I think we should pool our money and buy that $600 vacuum.  Not only would it be a great vacuum, but it would really cement our friendship."

- Hannah


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

the triumph of mediocrity

Oh Pinterest, what will you enrage me over next?

 
Do you know why people are (really) putting off marriage, not getting married at all, putting off having kids, forgoing kids, etc., etc., etc.?  Some people would blame feminism. (Boo, equal rights! You're the worst!) Or gay marriage. (Ruining marriage for the rest of us!

But I actually blame all these idiots who can't stop yap-yap-yapping about how haaaaaard it is to be a grown up, and specifically a grown-up with a vagina.  Laundry is hard! Taking care of kids is hard! Working is hard! It is too much to expect a woman who already SHOWERS AND DOES HER HAIR and HAS SEX to also HAVE A JOB!

No, dummies.

Crossing the plains is hard. Fighting Nazis is hard.

Cleaning your house, going to the gym, and working full-time?  NOT HARD.

And when you never SHUT UP about how very hard it is to accomplish the bare minimum of tasks required in adulthood, you discourage people from embracing adulthood. 

So stop blaming the feminists for the ills of modern society, because according to feminists:

Cleaning your house: 3 hours on a Saturday and not being a total slob the rest of the week = 3 hours

Healthy dinner on the table at dinnertime: 30 minutes every night plus 1 hour at the grocery store every week = 4.5 hours a week (less if you occasionally spend 10 minutes to go to a healthy restaurant and get takeout)

Fit, trim, and well-groomed: 30 minutes working out, three times a week + 45 minutes to get ready every morning = 6.7 hours a week (less if you relax on Saturdays)

Works full-time: Let's even go overboard on a normal full-time schedule and say 60 hours a week.

Laundry done and put away: 2 hours a week.  Feel free to watch Revenge or Grey's Anatomy while you do it, because let's be honest, the machine is doing almost all of the work.

Great sex life: assuming this means having sex 4-5 times a week for one hour each time, you will spend 5 hours every week engaging in sexual activity.

Total: 81.2 hours

How many hours are in a week?  168.  So assuming you get a full 8 hours of sleep every night (56 hours total), you still have 30.8 hours left every week to read, hang out with your friends, go shopping, detail your car, plan a vacation, learn Italian, volunteer at soup kitchens, and waste more time on Pinterest.

Suck it, lady-self-haters.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Who says reality TV doesn't give us valuable life lessons?

Friends, let's chat.

I know we're all supposed to pretend that things like The Bachelor are pure trash, but I honestly believe there are nuggets of wisdom to be found here and there. True, most of those nuggets are found amidst the humiliation of others, but I say a nugget's a nugget.

My number one nugget from The Bachelor is this: When a guy makes out with you, and immediately makes out with another girl, and deems the second girl to be "better" in some indefinable way (as evidenced by giving her an immunity rose), YOU SHOULD STAND UP AND LEAVE.  Or stay for the free trip to San Francisco.  Entirely up to you -- but whatever you do, don't get a case of the mascara'd sobbies on national television.

What have you learned from reality TV?

Monday, January 16, 2012

What, there was some kind of scandal on Goodreads this weekend?

OK, I'm late to the party, but I have a thing or two to say about a thing or two.

For all of you who don't know, Goodreads is a website where readers can review books. There is apparently a lot of debate about how "free market" this online marketplace of ideas should be, because some of the reviews can be pretty nasty.  (And usually ... hilarious.  Let's be honest, mean is always funnier.) 

This puts a lot of panties in a twist, from readers who object to giving anything less than 3 stars out of 5 (then what is the point of the other two stars?) and writers who object to the scathing tone the Internet enables.  And some nasty business went down over there last week. 

Here's the thing.

If people can't be honest about what they don't like as well as what they do, then the purpose of a "review" is defeated.  I don't want to log on to Rottentomatoes and find out that every film critic gave a movie a minimum of 3 out of 5 stars, and all those who thought it deserved none, 1, or 2 just remained silent.

I don't think people should just be nice for no reason, whether you're doing it because you have a vague but incorrect understanding of karma, an inability to stick by your true opinions, or just don't want to be viewed as a "mean" person (by strangers on the internet).

If you think a book is boring, tell me.

If you think it had a flawed premise, I want to know. 

If you think it promotes rape culture, for the love of pancakes, don't let me buy it.

And if you think it was legitimately the cat's pajamas, tell me that, too.

Because really, and I am seriously asking, what is the point of self-censoring? To protect the feelings of strangers? To earn yourself a credit with the universe in hopes that you, too, will be published someday? Or is it just some socially ingrained resistance to honesty--YOUR HAIR LOOKS SO CUTE!*

Frankly, I think a lot of authors are just too damn sensitive. You know what is a baby? A baby. You know what is not a baby? Something you wrote. If you're still confused about this distinction, print out your manuscript, put it in a onesie, pop it in a stroller and see what kind of looks you get from people on the street.

I love writing, I love reading, but I'm fairly sure the social hierarchy goes

baby > pet > book

We don't run into burning buildings for books, folks. We just hope the guys at the Apple Store can restore a fried harddrive and move on with life.

I'm not saying that it's uncomfortable to put yourself out there for public criticism -- it is. I am also not saying that people don't have a right to be defensive about their passions -- they do. But I think it's time to put on our big girl and big boy panties and gain some perspective.

Do you know what people said about Charles Dickens?

"Not much of Dickens will live, because it has so little correspondence to life. He was the incarnation of cockneydom, a caricaturist who aped the moralist; he should have kept to short stories. If his novels are read at all in the future, people will wonder what we saw in them."

And JK Rowling?

"How to read Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone? Why, very quickly, to begin with, and perhaps also to make an end. Why read it? Presumably, if you cannot be persuaded to read anything better, Rowling will have to do."

And Nathaniel Hawthorne:

"I believe I dislike The House of Seven Gables because in the first chapters the prose is so fatuously intense: the striving for effect that makes it the ancestor of all horror-novel writing. But maybe it got better."

And it's not limited to critics taking on writers.  Sometimes writers take on other writers.  What did George Bernard Shaw have to say about Shakespeare, for example?

"With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare."

Mark Twain on Jane Austen:

"Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone."

But don't worry, Mr. Clemens will get his comeuppance thanks to William Faulkner:

"A hack writer who would not have been considered fourth-rate in Europe, who tricked out a few of the old proven surefire literary skeletons with sufficient local color to intrigue the superficial and the lazy."

Literary criticism is first and foremost subjective. Not everyone will love what you write, and not everyone will love the writing of someone who is far better than you.

But if you had the right to write it, I don't see how you can argue that someone else doesn't have the right to post a criticism of it on the Internet.






* Never trust a girl who says your hair looks cute after a trip to the salon.  WE ALL SAY THAT. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

On my high-horse again

If there's one thing that really, really bugs me, it's false self-righteousness when it comes to entertainment.

(I know my biggest pet peeve should be sexism or racism or systemic poverty, but I am shallow.  I also don't like bad drivers.)

Do you see that little rating there on the corner of the DVD box?  It either says G, PG, PG-13, or R?  If it says R, don't watch it and then complain about its content. 

If you decide to watch The Hangover and then get offended, you're an idiot.  Worse, I suspect you were secretly looking forward to the opportunity to talk about how you don't really find crude humor that funny the entire time.

It's The Hangover.  It's one of the highest-grossing movies of the last few years.  It has a sequel.  It's set in Las Vegas and it's about a bachelor party gone horribly wrong.  Everyone was talking about it constantly two summers ago. Also, just in case you missed allllll that, there's this thing called THE INTERNET that you can use to find out information about a movie.

So how did you not know there were going be swear words and dirty jokes and nudity in The Hangover before you watched it?

Did you, perhaps, deliberately ignore all the signs that suggested this movie was not for you?

Good people of the Internet, if you have certain requirements of your entertainment -- if you don't like cursing, or violence, or nudity, or lists*, or unnecessary makeovers, or shopping montages -- just GOOGLE first. And if a movie has those things, don't watch it and then complain.

Thank you. 





* Mostly unrelated to movies, Diego's pet peeve in songs is when singers make lists.  I know it's random, but since he mentioned it, I can stop noticing it.  Prime example is Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling": Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Saturday to Sunday.  Closely related is "International Love," which is basically a travelogue.  "Wait, women in Greece are sweet, Pitbull?  And women in Lebanon are, pardon the pun, 'the bomb'? Tell me more!"

It's going to drive you bonkers now, too. Don't worry, I'll tell Diego thanks for you.





PS - having an additional clarifying thought, post-hitting-publish-button:

I enjoy some films and TV that can be violent or vulgar, depending on the film or TV show.  I don't judge people who share this opinion, or people who choose to stay away from that kind of entertainment altogether. Whatever floats your boat, man.

My issue is with people who either want to have it both ways (the fun of watching something naughty combined with feeling high-minded because you later condemned it ... after watching, of course), or the people who couldn't be bothered to investigate beforehand. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

setbacks

I think the worst part of starting any new project--whether it's something concrete like writing a story or something amorphous like setting a goal--is the moment when you realize you've been going about it all wrong.

Like lasts night, when I took a closer look at the nutrition facts on my beloved Greek Gods honey-flavored yogurt, instead of just relying on a general Greek yogurt is good for you! theory.

Internet, you've fooled me again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Welcome to my hovel

Don't ever let anyone tell you home ownership isn't hard. 

Recently I decided to rewire the Casa so it wouldn't burn down on top of us.  You would think this would be a fairly simple, though time-intensive, process.

Or maybe you, unlike me, already know better.

So far the electrician has been out to my house six times.  Once to evaluate the house.  Twice to rewire the basement.  Once to rewire the attic.  Again, to continue rewiring the attic.  One more time to do some more stuff (I'm not sure what).

And he's coming back today.

The best part of having your house rewired (aside from the giant mess the electricians leave behind for you to clean up) is when the new wiring overpowers the old wiring and the ceiling electricity goes out all weekend.  Notice I said "ceiling electricity." So lamps and TVs work, but you better get used to showering and cooking in the dark, because my bathroom and kitchen are death traps without light. 

Last night I made spicy Thai noodles for myself, Diego, Hannah and Echo before The Bachelor came on.  We had to pull a shadeless lamp into the kitchen so I could cook by the light of one bulb. 

It looked like we were Romanian refugees.

I want to go to there.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dear

 Have you heard of this "I'm going to ask a celebrity out on YouTube" thing that's going around?

It made me ponder who I would ask out via the world-wide-web, should I choose to abandon all dignity (or in the alternative, spend at least a week creating the most ridiculous video I could -- because as we all know, beyond abandoned dignity lies glory).

But I couldn't think of a soul.

And then it occurred to me what I really wanted to say on YouTube -- shout outs to fake people.

***
Dear Lady Edith Crawley from Downton Abbey,

Sweetie, I know your older sister is a raging biatch, but that's no reason to become a bitter shrew.  Let's stop with the passive-aggressiveness, shall we?  Inform your parents that it's time they take an interest in your future and stop with the Mary-Mary-Mary show.  Spend more time with your sister Sybil, she is awesome.

And if you can't stop drinking the haterade, perhaps a change of scenery is in order.  Consider volunteering at a hospital during season 2's WWI or going to New York to visit your Yankee grandparents.

Your outfits are completely adorable,

- Ru

***

Dear Shane from The Walking Dead,

I know a lot of people don't like you, but I think you're the bomb. I'm so glad they didn't kill you off in season 1. Here's hoping you continue making rational decisions and a little more time with your shirt off come February.

PS - If you kill Dale, you will be dead to me.

PSS - Not really.  I'll just be annoyed for a little while.  And if you then killed Andrea, it would go a long way toward me forgiving you.

***

Dear Don Draper,

For some reason, thinking about you makes me tired. Really tired. And wont to speak in clipped.  Deliberate. Sentences.

Maybe it's the slow, languorous pace at which you live your life. Maybe it's knowing that you make horrible decisions, and most likely will continue making horrible decisions. Maybe I'm just kind of worn out after the season of moping-and-very-little-creative-genius, especially now that the one bright spot amidst your malaise is no longer with us. (Rest in peace, Miss Blankenship.)

I don't know, man. It's been over a year since we've seen each other, and maybe the absence has not made my heart grow fonder.

If it makes you feel any better, I loved Dr. House a lot more than I loved you, and I came to a similar conclusion about him ages ago. 

***

Dear women of the The Bachelor franchise,

If all of you don't get up and leave en masse after Ben skinny dips in the ocean with another girl on national television right in front of you, I will have lost a lot of hope for feminism in general.

Let me repeat: A guy you are dating is going to go SKINNY DIPPING RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU WITH ANOTHER GIRL. Would you put up with this in real life? No, you would not. So why are you putting up with it on TV?

Unless it's for the vacations. I could put up with that for a free trip to Thailand, too.

So ... never mind, ladies. Carry on. 





What do you have to say to some people on TV?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

You should probably ...

... watch season 1 of Downton Abbey before season 2 premiers next week.

You can thank me later.  And then hopefully we can all meet back here to chat about how awful Mary is.

In the meantime, enjoy this picture of Kemal Pamuk.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This is why I hate the internet: Part 1

I was recently persuaded to sign up for a particular internet dating service.  Part of this service involved answering personal questions about yourself, deciding what answers to that same question you would accept from someone else, and then ranking the overall importance of that topic.

Example:

(Check one) At the end of a long, frustrating day, I would prefer to:
(a) read in front of a roaring fire until it's time for bed
(b) cook gnocchi seasoned lightly with my tears
(c) snuggle a kitten and plan my future wedding while murmuring, "You'll never leave/fire me, will you, Lord Charles Whiskerton III?"
(e) snort a line of cocaine and then pop Scarface in my DVD player

(Check as many as apply) I would accept the following answers from another person:
Repeat previous options

The importance of this question to my future happiness is:
(a) Irrelevant
(b) Somewhat important
(c) Important
(d) Very important
(e) Mandatory.  Especially in the event of choosing C.

When you have done all of this, said service will email you a PDF flowchart of the things that are really most important to you in dating.  This will allow you to make better decisions (which you obviously need help with -- you're turning to the internet to solve your dating woes).

Apparently what I've been doing wrong all this time is failing to follow this simple three step process that a series of inane questions revealed about me:

(1) Can you engage in intellectual conversation?  If yes, proceed to step 2.
(2) Are you an animal person? If yes, proceed to step 3.
(3) Do you want an "open relationship"? If no ...
LET'S GET MARRIED!

Thanks, internet dating service.

(What I really want to know is this: Who checked that they only brush their teeth once or twice A WEEK, or worse -- would accept that from someone else?  Because if there were people who checked that box, I would like to go back to when I skipped "Do you think the world would be a better place if people with a low IQ were not allowed to procreate?" because my real answer seemed too mean and instead write, "Hells to the hell-yes!" instead.)