Tag Archives: blogging

Contest Results, Blogs You Should Read and My Favorite 90s Workout Video

Well, after surviving a customer service gauntlet the last two days I live to share my story and of course, the winner of my extremely serious and highly anticipated Prince Tengo Caption Contest. First of all, thanks to all who commented with a caption for proving people actually read my blog endorsing my absurdity.

These people rock and I’ll tell you why:

Thank you all for your seriously funny, clever captions and also for making me realize I am not meant to be a contest judge because it’s too hard. So basically you’re all winners. Okay, but I did think one was a little more clever than the others and this is mostly due to my extreme and unfounded love for creating fake sequel titles to movies. Lucky you, Lies I Wrote in My Diary, you are now the winner of some extremely cool pieces of paper  an awesome ninja star and one of a kind roll of US postmaster general stickers!

As for everyone else, I have free hugs for you! Just come to South Lamar Boulevard in Austin Texas to claim them — I’m such a good hugger.

P.S.- Just to give you a good parting visual, I’m going to share the video I’ve been sweating it out to lately. It stars Fabio’s beefier brother along with a buffer Saved By The Bell lookalike cast. Imagine me crunching it out to this while Tengo sits next to me licking my elbow each time I come down:

Happy crunching!

Waking Up Late to Poetry

I was up last night till 4:00 a.m. watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix and fully intended on writing ya’ll a mini review on Jenji Kohan’s (the creator of Weeds) colorful take on the prison system. Instead, I woke up at 11:45 — just in time to still call it the morning — with way too much to do, by which I mean way too many places to go wearing my new engagement ring. Instead, I’m gonna take some advice from fellow blogger, Jennie and share a poem I recently revised:

When I Was Six:

When I was six

me and my brother

spilt our sea monkeys out

of their glass home.

My brother grappled and thought

“what bad luck”

sea monkeysI cried and got a spoon.

There on childish knees

scraped from rocky driveways

and swinging too high

I scooped up my best friends

like I was building a house

with the wrong side of a hammer.

I didn’t watch television

that night, survivor guilt

absorbed me and nights were

dreamless for a while

just haunted by tiny dancing

friends. Until one day

I got a dog, named her Casey,

and fighting boredom,

I washed her sandy coat

with dishwashing detergent.

 

Did You Get My Email? (and other virtual concerns)

Dramatic reenactment of me writing an email if I were a member of the Brady Bunch.
Source: michaelmccurry.net

When I begin to write an email, I am openly engaging in a never-ending struggle to get the greeting right — my face transforms into that of an important person, about to solve world mysteries through the click of some buttons by well manicured fingertips. In reality, my fingernails are half painted blue, half bitten off and the email I am writing is solely an attempt at modest employment, returning a hello, or sharing an embarrassing youtube clip — So, not in any way an effort at saving the world.

But I can’t just write the email because it’s too hard — because most of the charm of being myself is how I am in person. That’s a total cop-out as a writer but seriously, I’m super captivating and dynamic in person. My old boss told me I get the engagement award at meetings (which didn’t exist) for emphatically bobbing my head, smiling and just really connecting with everything she said. I’m a head bobber. I look interested and engaged in what you’re saying and that makes you feel good. And then you make me feel good for making you feel good. Do you see what I’m saying? It’s hard for you to see how good I’d make you feel over email without me being that person who overly uses emoticons.

What’s worse is that I was born in the age where virtual communication is supposed to be super natural. Sure, I grew up on AIM, so I know a bit about flirting my way into a virtual relationship virtually communicating my personality — but this had nothing to do with being professional.

There’s also no such thing as a sarcasm font and that is tragic. ‘Dear Sir/Madam who is hopefully going to fund my addiction to Starbucks iced coffees in the future’ wouldn’t be an appropriate way to start off an email. I have learned this. Professional seems to always trump quirky. There is also a problem I seem to have with being appropriate. I have a theory about this called the Michael Scott model which predicates that a lovable inappropriate asshole is still lovable — that’s basically the whole theory. The point of this theory is that it allows me to feel okay about being an inappropriate asshole. The problem with this is that the lovable part doesn’t usually transfer over email which leads to a stripping away of the whole entire character, producing an email tone similar to George Feeney’s (William Daniels) way of speaking.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

Emailing immediately relegates me to a perpetual state of insecure teenage outsider — like that time when a Senior boy in my high school came to my table at lunch just to pop my birthday balloon. I don’t know the person I am emailing as well as I want to and basically, I want to be a part of their team. I want him or her to pick me first for dodgeball, or basketball, or swim races ( I’m really good at all those things). So you try the standard greetings: Dear Hiring Manager, To Whom It May Concern, Hello Madam/Sir, Hello Mr. or Mrs. Has More Power than Me, etc etc. And the worst possible response? You get an email reply with absolutely NO greeting because they are super aloof and hip and totally past all those formal greeting procedures, and also they are, of course, “going to pass” on you working with them.

At this exact moment I am in the middle of writing an email to a woman from a temp agency who could potentially get me a job. This sentence alone should tell you how prepared I am to send this email. “A woman from a temp agency.” Wow, Aly, you’ve really done your research. I am president of the emailers against researching club which meets daily on my couch. This might have contributed to my current, extended state of unemployment.

“You’ll literally have a job the next day after you email her” says Anna, my red-headed counterpart who I imagine goes to work in 80s power suits even though I know what her wardrobe looks like. But what if she senses my rebellious attitude towards email communication? What if she never gets the chance to see how endearing I am while bobbing my head? It’s tragic.

And then there is the reality of knowing I myself never answer emails…or text messages…or smoke signals. Usually to get in touch with me you must let yourself into my apartment and clap a few times in front of my face while offering me a dark chocolate sea salt infused candy bar, or use the pretense of wanting to compliment me on my awesomeness. I’m always available for flattery. But knowing my own attitude on email decorum negates me from taking email communication seriously — too much of a chance to be rebuffed — and it is not my preferred way of ignoring massive amounts of people (that’s usually voicemail and text messaging). And also when you see me in person and ask, “Hey, did you get my email?” I want to punch you square in your eye because why the hell would you send me an email if you were going to see me some time in the near future? Of all the possible ways to get in contact with me you’ve chosen the one in which Groupon and the Mary-Kay-lady-I-was-too-nice-to-say-no-to are among the most frequent attendees. At least put a god damned important flag on that thing.

Is this what you people want?

Is this what you people want?
Pic Source: Eharmony

I’m also convinced that emoticons are taking over and I’m desperately scared of plunging into a world of fake, creepy, emoji faces as substitutes for displaying personality through well thought out discourse. Emoji icons for Facebook statuses are deviously genius — further perpetuating people’s likeliness to adequately depict their emotions through pre-made pictures without having to physically be around anyone. Where this is headed, as I see it, is a massive population of overweight recluses representing themselves through yellow or blue smiley faces. And this is coming from someone who counts brushing her teeth as leaving the house.

There’s just too many ways to give a wrong impression. Whether it’s over email, Facebook messaging, twitter, texting, tumbling, whatever. We have all opened up communication so much that our main concern is worrying about how we sound in all these mediums. So far, my solution is perfecting communication between myself and my dog, Tengo. This is going very well. He has assured me that he would hire me for any job as long as I keep mixing wet food into his dinner — a very clear,well-received message.

Related Posts:

Gen Y and Technology

Email “Netiquette”

Response to DP Challenge

Okay Pinterest, You Win, Let’s Plan a Wedding

When I was first invited to Pinterest a while back I thought, ‘sweet I’m part of the in crowd!’ and then immediately after looking at dozens of pictures of cute shoes was like, ‘now what the hell do I do?’ Well ya’ll, I’ve finally come to see why Pinterest and Facebook would be so integral to my female life: I’m engaged bitches! He liked it, so he put a ring on it. (I’ve been waiting so long to say that to you.)

In all seriousness, Matti and I have pretty much been engaged since I was stumbling around Picadilly Circus in London wondering how I got separated from my roommates. These roommates were quick to point this out to me yesterday (we group text because that’s hip):

“I still count the first time with us in London though.”

“Yay totally right before she got lost in Picadilly Circus.”

Thanks for the memories, guys. But after that “engagement” I wore a 2 dollar metal ring on my ring finger until the blue stain on my skin was thicker than the ring itself. Now I got myself a real life adult diamond ring. I cannot help the feeling that I should be dancing in a Beyoncé video — B, holla at a girl. I at least now understand why everyone’s always writing songs about diamonds.

photoring

I’ve seen a lot of people that put out these elaborate engagement announcement cards which I think is fine if you’re really into making cards but I am not. Writing a thank you card, in my eyes, is equitable to running on a treadmill for an hour straight. (Don’t get me wrong I’m super athletic I just don’t like to ever prove it to myself or anyone else.) This is why Facebook is the best. All I had to do was snap a photo of my hand looking elegantly slender in my new diamond and blue sapphire engagement ring, post it on the FB and blamo, everyone knows I’m engaged! (Not to mention over a hundred people liked it which, let’s face it, I never knew I had that many friends). So thank you Facebook and thank you “Like” button for validating my life choices and making me look like I have a ton of friends! Weddings already rock!

pinterest weddingOn to you, Pinterest. I won’t lie, when I was invited to Pinterest I used it for like, a day and then forgot about it. I had like three pins. I’m not too embarrassed of my neglectful “board” making skills but now I understand the charm of the site. Er meh Gerrd. I just want to have a virtual Pinterest wedding. Can I do that, Pinterest gods?

It’s so unfair because there’s no way I can recreate this scene. Look at all the mismatched chairs — it’s so ironically beautiful, or something. And what is that, moss as the centerpiece place mats? Who thinks of this shit. It’s amazing and I want it all. I’ve never wanted to have a party in an old rustic barn as much as I do now. Just like Footloose. Thanks a lot, Pinterest.

This social media craziness is perfect for me too because I live in Austin but everyone I know and love is basically somewhere else with the exception of like five people. Massachusetts, New York, LA, Austin; all my peoples are spread out. How does one deal with this? Someone give me advice. Okay, I have to go now guys, I’m super busy, I have a wedding to plan. More self-indulgent wedding related posts to come, I’m sure.

How do you use Pinterest? Are you a fan? Do you know a cheap wedding photographer? What about good wedding venues? Do they have wedding groupons? Help me.

Dpchallenge

What’s in My Purse: Part 1

What does your stuff say about you? Well, I don’t know what type of stuff you have. But if you’re like me at all, you have a purse and it is filled with crap. I’m known for this, for having a purse filled with crap. If Matti wants to borrow my Ray Bans and he knows they are in my purse, he does not borrow my Ray Bans.

"I see what you mean about your purse" -You and everyone, right now.

“I see what you mean about your purse” -You and everyone, right now.

Whenever I go through security lines, the security guards, as they pick up my purse, are like “geeeesh, what do you have in here?”

And I’m all like “well, you’re about to see on that x-ray machine and also, aren’t you supposed to be strong?”

I just like the feeling of knowing I have something incase I need it (because it’s super important to carry a sole Crest Whitestrip with you in case one row of teeth really needs the clean). Don’t tell me you don’t have a junk drawer. Or a stuffed box of notes a friend you don’t speak to anymore wrote you in high school. Maybe one of those fake, plastic lockers filled with Playboys? Anything? It’s not hoarding if you can remember where you got the item, right? Or is that how you know it’s starting? Well, this is the beginning of a lovely series I have creatively titled, “What’s in my purse?” where I will answer one of life’s most well-kept mysteries: what the fuck does she keep in that thing?

Either way, before I begin to tell you about what is in my purse, I’d first like to ask you to please judge me for all of the things that are in my purse.

  • Whale toothbrush holder: this says I’m a supportive person because I’m always ready to hold close what’s important to me (and also that I’m really good at unpacking in a timely fashion). Are whales fish or mammals? Definitely, mammals. Right?

photo (99)

  • Owl Date Stamp: This says that I’m whimsical and fun. Whimsical people always have owl trinkets, that’s just a known fact. Also, if you ever need something  to be dated, well I don’t have an ink pad in my purse so you’re out of luck.
  • photo (94)

    This was 8 dollars at Whole Earth Provisions. I have never used it.

  • Postmaster Junior Sticker Roll: I’m the first person who is going to get a kid to stop crying at a grocery store. Who could cry while wearing a Junior Postmaster sticker? Come on. How cool did you think mail people were growing up?

    I may even give you one without a coffee stain on it...

    I may even give you one without a coffee stain on it…

  • Two bent Laffy Taffys: I bought Laffy Taffy for a little girl I worked with on her birthday. Upon further thinking, I realized giving three extra long pieces of hard, chewy candy to a five year old wouldn’t be the best idea. On a different note, I have some extra Laffy Taffy if anyone wants some.

    photo (95)

    Rock hard candy, no one?

  • A travel-sized flashlight: This should just tell you I’m prepared. Comes in handy when you can’t find your dogs’ poop in the dark.
  • A Baggy full of Bunion support gear: Only really attractive people have bunions. I like to break out this gear when I really wanna let someone know I’m serious about living. Living it up, bunion style. Actually, these things all look vaguely like sex toys, the beige numbers look and feel like toe bikinis.

    photo (98)

    Play your cards right and I may post a picture of my feet in these babies sometime.

  • A froggy thermometer: 90 percent of the time I think I have a fever. 89 percent of the time I don’t have a fever. I also like frogs.

    "I don't like to take myself too seriously."

    “I don’t like to take myself too seriously.”

  • Coolest pin ever: This pin fell off the kickass purse Matti’s Stepmom made for me a while back. The purse is made out of jeans and Matti’s ties for the handles. It’s actually the coolest bag I own. This pin is to remind everyone that I appreciate inspirational text but only in a hip, vintage way (so everyone knows I’m trendy and unique).

photo (100)

  • A Ninja Star: The quickest way to be the coolest person in any room is to have a ninja star on you. Just don’t ask me how I made it. Seriously, I completely forget. OKAY FINE — a seven-year-old boy made it for me.

ninjastar

If I were to judge myself based on these things I would probably say I need more attention and I need to relax. Also, maybe, get your shit together and get some adult items. Mostly, however, I’d be like, dayuummm girrl you know how to have a good time and then I’d reply to myself, you really need to get out of the house more.

What weirdo stuff do you have in your purse/wallet/coffee table/kitchen junk drawer/shoebox in the closet and can I see pictures of it all?

This post was written in response to the DP Challenge

More to Do While Unemployed

I had totally planned to write a post about the fight going on at the Texas State Capitol and about similarly difficult, political challenges facing young people and specifically young women today (and it was all going to be really witty in the right places with emotional emphasis where need be, etc). But instead, I’m getting off my lazy ass and going down to the Capitol so I don’t miss a minute of history. If you don’t know what I’m talking about with this whole abortion thing then follow these steps: 1. Open a newspaper 2. Turn on the news 3. Read more. Or, just go here or here. So tomorrow is a time for serious posting (seriously funny!).

This post then, will serve as a way for me to present to you some hilarious videos that keep me sane while unemployed. The first is brought to you by Reggie Watts, a crazy funny, brilliant man. Give him a chance to blow your mind and he won’t disappoint you.

Next, because I so effortlessly describe it’s amazingness here I figured you should see a wee snippet of Comedy Bang Bang. I’ve chosen to share the entire Ed Helms episode although watching a few minutes is acceptable as well. Okay, I dare you to not watch the whole thing:

You’re all very welcome. I’ll see ya’ll tomorrow, hopefully with an autographed portrait of Wendy Davis signed with Rick Perry’s tears.

A Few Reasons Why I Might Stop Leaving my Apartment

You know those people that are really, really loud at pools. They have every relative over that is still alive and let each kid bring five friends to swim. Well, I’m about to complain about those people, and about people equally as oblivious to their surroundings.

To be fair, I am that person you see in public looking around, counting all of the potentially imminent social or physical disasters (which is my own shade of crazy). I get worried when there’s only one empty lounge chair left and I see two people entering the pool. When I see someone wandering around the pool, looking for an empty chair,  I might say, “actually I’m about to leave, anyway” even if I just got there because the sheer awkwardness of watching a young lady walk around, visibly uncomfortable with her bikini body is way too much for me to handle. I’m in a perpetual state of waiting to troubleshoot. Which is sometimes understandable, because I’m awful at dealing with conflict. I’m really good at confrontation, though, like in the way that my older cousin had to tear me away from two out-of-town girls that came to my high school party, uninvited, when I was sixteen. (I call this, the unprovoked rage of a once privileged middle-class white girl.)

My attempt at capturing my "holding it all in" face

My attempt at capturing my “holding it all in” face by the pool. No, I’m not a professional.

But in the adult way, I’m not good at all. Matti’s response to most of my rants about someone around us: “It’s not worth it, Al.” Because he’s an adult. My attempt at being an adult is posting a passive aggressive note (“Try harder next time”) on the car that just can’t seem to park within the lines instead of just following my gut and keying it.

If you happen to see a behavior of your own in my rants, please feel free to completely change the person you are/have become for my benefit.

Let me start with you, chronic texter, hater of all expected social courtesies, such as watching where you walk. What would happen if you put your phone down until you’ve reached, say, your destination? I promise, the guy you are texting will not like you any less if you leave him hanging for a few minutes.

The lone texting-walker in natural habitat, unable to break stride

The lone texting-walker, unable to break her stride

You know, you’re making us all look like stupid, phone-obsessed teenagers. Wait, are you a teenager? I forgot people were still teenagers after I turned twenty, four years ago. Do you live in this apartment complex, too? Did your parents buy  you that cell phone? What would happen if I was also looking at my phone? We would crash into each other. Like idiots. We would be two young women, obsessed with technology, unable to navigate their way through a wide open  sidewalk. Do you know how that would look to someone watching? It would be hilariously pathetic and I want no part of it, or you.

The only pleasure I can get from you, chronic texter, is the thought of pretending to look at my phone too, as I walk toward you, so we can bump into each other and you will drop yours. The phone won’t break though, because I’m not evil and let’s all hate Verizon together. It will just crack and then I’ll act super apologetic as I recommend for you to go the cheapest iphone repair place that has awful customer service and that’ll be your punishment.

On to you, unofficial representative of the church of St. Ignatius. Although you are free to send your religious aspirations into the sticky HEB air, hoping someone will get stuck, I will not succumb to your trap! I have nothing wrong with you being religious but I don’t often like being made to feel uncomfortable. I spend most days perfecting my apathetic front whereas anything that could be embarrassing or awkward I prepare for and create the proper response. For example: breaking my foot while walking in London was a purposeful way to expose the disparities between the US and UK healthcare systems, but in a funny way.

So when, in the middle of the HEB express checkout line, you begin to question why my parents didn’t take me to church every sunday I am a bit taken aback. Mostly because I can’t really say “well, they don’t serve Bacardi, Tanqueray, or shrimp cocktails there, right?” Also because I entered the quick checkout for a reason, meaning, minimal opportunities for small talk. But I guess I took too long to answer because before I opened my mouth, you were on to saving the cashier! I guess my soul wasn’t worth saving after all. The only lesson I can take from this is that you see your time as extremely valuable, and have already ascertained that my soul was not worth the effort of trying to bring into the light, which is now yielding, inside of me, a level of offended I didn’t know existed. So first off, good for you sir! And secondly, how dare you? How dare you begin to shower me with conditional open arms only to take it away and give it to the next, closest, lost soul before I could even say no!

You know what, sir, you are beginning to seem like those vindictive people on twitter that unfollow someone who won’t follow them. Were you trying to slow play me, spreader of the holy word? If your plan was to get me to think about religion for the rest of the weekend it worked. Although I don’t think it’s the way you wanted me to think about.

Finally, to the family of fifty that has taken over the pool, could you keep your crazy down a bit? I’m afraid it might spread. Although I’m wholly thankful I have not yet overheard any of your children narrate how it feels to be peeing in the pool right at the moment, I’m not exactly pleased with your behavior. One of your sons is literally going to die if you don’t watch him jump in and I’m literally going to die if I have to hear him ask you this again. The retired lifeguard in me is about to have a heart attack. Your children are playing a modified form of dodgeball where they run around the pool, peg each other with a beach ball, and then jump into the pool wherever is convenient. Which, thankfully, has not yet been near someone’s head. It is 106 degrees out right now which translates to: It is way too motherfuckin’ hot for me to be sweating this. Please get your shit together.

Your children, without your advisement, have started playing catch in the shallow end where you have all posted up. Some would almost call it peaceful. But not for you, because the wind has caught the ball twice and carried it into your inner circle. Apparently, this is where the line is drawn. Not twenty minutes ago when your child was deliberately splashing water on me to get my phone wet, but now that you have been touched by a weightless ball that could literally float away with the wind, you’ve had enough. The main thing I don’t understand about this is that your kids are five and they were mostly innocent in their ball-overthrowing crimes. These kids are clearly just learning how to throw and catch.

Half of said party is pictured here, you can see the active parental participation

Half of said party is pictured here, you can see the active parental participation

What’s worse is that you are all in the pool but you’ve claimed three tables and eighteen chairs as your own, leaving me to visibly cringe every time a new person comes to the pool and has to stair at the empty seats that could be theirs if the world was fair. I know you are trying to have a good time but I promise if you let your kids surf on your back for just fifteen minutes, maybe throw them into the air while splashing around for a bit, they will feel better about leaving you alone when you ask. It always works with my dogs.

And this, readers, is why I don’t feel as guilty for not leaving my house some days. Even when walking to the local market next door I am inundated with text walkers that have no regard for the safety of those around them. It’s a dangerous world out there.

Note: After doing brief research, I have found that texting and walking is actually dangerous, not just from a comic standpoint. People have actually walked into manholes. To me, this is perfect.

Also: I am not a parent and do not pretend to be. Although I have spent most of my adult life working with children I do not claim to know how to parent better than you. I will, however, comment on things that annoy me. One of the things that annoys me is when you are a lazy parent.

The Plight of the Sign Spinner

Dear Mr. Sign spinner,

I’m sorry you keep dropping your sign. It makes me sad because I feel like I know you, which may be because you wink at me when I drive by, as if you can see how good-looking I am from that far away. Do you want me to run away with you, sign spinner? I know you wink at all the girls but am I different? Are you looking for a way out, sign spinner?

I wonder what your day is like. It’s fucking hot outside — like, over a hundred degrees hot. Do you have a personal fan? Do you wear a bathing suit all day? Maybe tear-a-way shorts? Has anyone ever stopped to come to your food truck because of your sign spinning abilities? Do they have sign spinning competitions? When people are walking by, do they ever ask you to sign something? Do your sign spinning moves have names? Like a double axel spin or a sideways spin? Did you have to try out to be a sign spinner at such a prime location? Is sign spinning a sport? For your sake, I hope it is.

I recently learned that sign spinning was invented by a contestant on The Bachelorette. I bet that makes you mad. Hey, I understand, I didn’t think the contestants on that show had real jobs either.

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You’re smile is not fooling me, sign spinner. I see those beads of sweat oozing down your face, dampening the sideburns you just trimmed that morning. Your hands are sweaty, aren’t they sign spinner? That’s why you keep dropping your sign. I don’t doubt your sign spinning abilities, for there has been many a time where I was impressed by your taco/shaved ice display. But not today, sign spinner, not today. You look lost. Would you rather be doing acrobats? Maybe martial arts? You seem like you’d be good at that sort of thing.

Do you have a degree, sign spinner? I’m sure this isn’t how you imagined ending up. At least you don’t have to wear that statue of liberty costume like some spinners. You’d probably do really well teaching yoga, you seem limber. I just think maybe it’s time to give up the sign spinning. Your sign is falling everywhere. Clearly, your heart is not in it anymore. You’ve literally almost gotten run over by a smart car three times after your sign has sprung out of your hands and into the street. I have been at this stop light for long enough to see your plight. And I, myself, have now almost gotten into an accident making sure you’re not actually Weird Al Yankovich.

So just give it up, sign spinner. There are better ways. Take some of  your advice, go get some shaved ice and maybe a breakfast taco, call it a day.

What’s that, you say, sign spinner?

You make $60 an hour?

How the hell do I become a sign spinner?

The Real Reason I’m Here: A Man Who Continues to Inspire

Rick

I’ve been putting this off for a while but I think it’s time to get personal. Right now you’re totally rocking an exaggerated Tina Fey eye roll (a rather impressive one I might say) in anticipation of a sob story, but I promise this will be painless.

About 90 days again is when my fiancé, (NO I don’t have a ring yet and stop bugging me about it), Matti’s dad died. I had never known loss in such an emotional, epic capacity before his passing. Even as I write this now I can see his face, can see him sitting in his fold-out chair on the porch smoking a stogie, being brilliant.

It has taken me a while to begin to write about him because of fear that I won’t do him justice. That I cannot write elegantly enough to portray the work of art that was his life (as if this would be possible for anyone to do). But I know now that this is just one of many posts that will have his words, his legacy, his personality, his humor, and everything else he left with us.

I wish I could say that when we found out he died I had that moment, you know, when you say to yourself, “This is it.” When you stop being a lazy college grad and get to doing all that stuff that you set out to do six years ago when you were barely an adult and definitely not the person you are today. Unfortunately, that all-encompassing moment never came. Instead, it happened in slow strides over time, very slow, indeed. It came in moments where I thought: How is this possible? How do I get to where I’m going? Can I get there faster? And, are there going to be any toll roads?

And Rick would tell me to just sit down and start writing for fuck’s sake.

Let me tell you a little of what I know of Rick. Rick Hautala was a writer, a bestselling author, a horror writing, stogie smoking, liberal, but more than anything he was an amazing father. I know this because I have a father myself. When I met this man over four years ago he got on me for not writing when Matti and I stayed with him over winter break. At that point, he already cared.

rick2

“You’re young! I’ve already written 20 pages today!” He said, sitting in his “cone of silence”–his space on the couch with a tiny light above him that literally made a cone of light–he often looked like he’d be beamed up by some literary god as thousands of books lined the living room walls. I like to think of that happening now.

Rick was everything. He was hilarious. He was seriously smart. He was a smart ass.

One of the best memories I have of him is sitting on the couch watching George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Television” and thinking to myself, well he’s saying them on T.V now isn’t he? I’m annoying like that. But Rick just laughed because that’s what he did and it was infectious and impossible to ignore. And also how jealous are you that I could see with my future father-in-law and watch that special without it being awkward? Yeah, that’s how cool being around Rick was.

Rick was prolific. The amount of books he wrote and published still astounds me. But it wasn’t about being rich and famous (though he definitely wouldn’t have minded the rich part and at one point, he definitely made it big). Writing was his passion. Not giving up on this blog is for Rick. I started it because I knew I had to build a platform for my writing but I put my heart into it, let my honest voice come through and put myself out there because of Rick. I was always so intimidated to let him read my writing because I was afraid he wouldn’t think I was good enough. I could  and someday will punch myself in the face for that.

Matti and I were sitting on the couch the other day and he turned to me like he does in those hard moments when it all comes flooding back, when it’s impossible to imagine Rick not living in this world.

He said, “I wish he could see your blog and all the writing you’ve been doing,” and we both teared up because the hardest part is the journey ahead. I wish I could thank him now.

After every trip with Matti to see Rick, walking towards the door to leave, I’d turn around to say, “Thanks for having me,”

As if on auto pilot, the most comforting exchange I’d ever known from a father figure, Rick would say, “Thanks for being had,” assuring me I was loved and appreciated and that humor was such a gift to be thankful for. And also to say, being a smart ass was funny and absolutely expected.

So I’m going to keep my humor and use it. I want him to continue to live on in my posts. It feels like one way I can honor him and finally take the advice he used to give me. (And also if I keep writing about him now I’m going to do some serious water damage to my keyboard and that shit was just replaced.)

Rick’s work still lives on, click here to see what is coming out and also to see how much of a badass he was. Man he is so missed.

The NSA is Spying on Me through my Thermostat

As we speak, I’m pretty sure some bald guy with a headset is standing in front of a wall of monitors that show hundreds of people getting out of the shower. I understand voyeurism–it’s why so many people choose being invisible when asked hypothetically which superpower they would want. But now, it’s personal.

Last week on The Colbert Report, Stephen mentioned the use of microwave ovens and dishwashers as possible new spying mechanisms: “I am way more excited about the new surveillance devices they are cooking up…We need to know what people are nuking. Is it a microwavable burrito? A). they are foreign B). I know for a fact they have explosive potential.” Because the most important thing your government should know about is what goes on in your kitchen. Fox News took this very seriously.

Your microwavable burrito is being watched.

Your microwavable burrito is being watched.

Well, I have discovered a new way that the NSA is out to get me: My thermostat. It was around four p.m. when the room suddenly got clammy, my palms began to sweat like they never before sweat in 78 degree heat. But wait, it wasn’t 78 degrees–it was 84! That’s when I knew someone was out to get me. Sure, I’ve been known to forget to hit the ‘hold’ button, only to start talking out loud to myself like my mother, cursing my forgetfulness. But that’s neither here nor there. The hold button was on but somehow, a mysterious ‘save’ button was simultaneously illuminated.

Of course, after hearing about the inception of the new kitchen surveillance line it was clear these devices could be anywhere: blenders (because only hippy liberals make smoothies), electronic toothbrushes (only lazy people can’t brush their own teeth and lazy people are often criminals), the list goes on. I tried everything to get the temperature under 80 degrees but it was no use. It was as if it were all part of a plan. A plan to disallow me the comforts of my own laziness.

When Matti called the electric company there was no human interaction to be had, only a machine on a loop claiming that an energy saving mode was to be imposed due to high energy demand and then a dial tone. High demand you say, for air conditioning in a Texas summer? No way. I don’t buy it.

So why would they care about how I use my thermostat you ask?

Image source: EFF Graphics

Image source: EFF Graphics

1. To target the unemployed: Who else is home during the weekday, puttering about in their jammies, enjoying average temperatures while the rest of Texas sweats it out like they’re in one collective session of Bikram yoga. Get up, you lazy sons of Bs is what they’re are saying, very loudly and secretly.

2. Start their own climate change movement: These creeps are sneaky. Why start randomly imposing periods of time where people are not allowed to use their air conditioner during the day? Obviously to control climate change. Because if these snoops can get tons of people to cut down on the electricity for a few hours a day, imagine how that would benefit our climate! GUYS, it’d be like a secret miracle that the NSA could pull out of their spy hats one day and be like “Told ya’ll we were the good guys.”

This can only be the start of some horrible, horrible conspiracy of home appliance spyware. I’ve seen Scandal, I know how this all works. Either way, from now on, I’m DEFINITELY not standing naked in front of the air conditioning vent to dry off after a shower. You’d do well to take this advice yourself.

Check out the whole Colbert segment here

Note: None of this is to be taken seriously. However, if you’d like to take it seriously, well, good for you.