Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's Like an After-Christmas Clearance Sale...

...A little late, but pretty damn awesome.

You guys, I woke up this morning feeling well. 

Yeah, I'm one of those boring people with one of those boring chronic disorders, and you can't even tell I'm sick by looking at me, which is just plain rude.  But after six or so weeks of feeling ever more awful, peaking on Christmas Eve (because bursting out in tears and then cancelling a vocal performance at the Christmas Eve service as I walked into the Christmas Eve service is how I roll, yo), I feel awake, alert, focused, and hungry.

It's like my own little after-Christmas miracle.

This is too:

The Frogman's Night Before Christmas.  Read it.  Because if you didn't already know, Frogman is the funniest dude on the Internet.

(True:  Calendars are being mailed tomorrow.  I'm sorry; George is an asshole--see above.)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Reason I Love My Job #848

My manager gave me beer for Christmas.

(True:  I'm headed up to AbominableSnowmanLand tonight--no promises that I'll post on Monday.  Have a safe and happy holiday, folks!)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Home for More Than Just the Holidays

You know what makes a great gift?  A Tamagotchi.  Not the little keychain bit, because I'm pretty sure all of those are stuck in a time loop in the 90's.  But apparently there's an app for that.

You know what doesn't make a great gift?  A puppy. 

A dog is a joy to be sure, but it is also a responsibility, a creature that will depend on you for everything for the rest of its life.  And you owe it to the dog to be certain its owner is going to be able to provide for it.  If you've already come to the conclusion that your family is ready for a dog, and now is a great time to get one, that's fantastic.  Adopt a dog.  Give that dog the gift of life.

But I have serious issues with a dog being a gift, particularly for children.  It's not a commodity; it's a life.  And tying a bow around its neck and bringing it out Christmas morning doesn't help children learn the importance and fragility of that life.  But taking a child to a shelter, explaining how and why the pets end up there, and what can happen to them if they don't find homes--that might not be as fun as a wriggling puppy Christmas morning, but it will have more resonance.


(True:  You still have time to request your Possum Pinups calendar!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Easy DIY Gift Bag Upgrade

I use gift bags very rarely.  In general, I like wrapping gifts.  (Yeah, I'm weird.  Tell me something I don't know.)  This year, though, I'm just so tired.  So I'm taking some shortcuts--some gifts are getting the "shove it in a gift bag and forget about it" treatment.

Aaand since I like things to be pretty and inexpensive, I upgraded some inexpensive, plain bags.  And they actually don't look dumb!

Just remember, I am the world's worst photographer.
 You can stop here.  No really.  You can look at the photo and see how it's done.  See?  You can shortcut your wrapping and your blog-reading.

What you'll need:

Gift bags
Craft/wrapping paper in coordinating colors
Glue dots/tape
Bells/ornaments/something pretty (optional)

For the bag on the left, I cut strips of wrapping paper about two inches wide, cut fringe, and curled it up around my finger.  I taped the fringe strips on the bag, because I'm classy like that.  (And also because I couldn't find my glue dots.  Seriously.  What did I do before glue dots?)  And then I used a strip of paper to cover the tape on the top layer of fringe.  The bag I already had.  The paper I already had.  The raffia I already had.  Total cost:  $0.  Total time:  5 minutes.

For the bag on the right, I cut two triangles, the star shape, and the rectangle for the trunk out of wrapping paper.  (The paper I have is a heavier, paper-grocery bag texture, FYI.)  I made it purposely imperfect, since that seemed to fit the "down home" feel of the color combo with the checks.  As I said, I misplaced my glue dots, so I used the old tape loop trick--one in the middle of the smaller triangle, and one in each corner of the larger triangle.  The fact that the edges of the trees are not tight against the bag makes for an interesting texture, though it didn't translate well to photo.  (Blame it on the photographer.  Frankly, I'm surprised she managed to get the entirety of both bags in one shot.)  The bells are a cheapy ornament I got at Target to dress it up a bit more, since I don't have the energy to do fancy bows this year.  Five bags:  $3.  Bell ornaments from Target:  $1.  Total cost per bag:  $1.60.  And it actually looks cute enough to be reused next year.  (What, doesn't your family do that, too?)  Total time:  2 minutes.

(Bravo if you read this far.  Don't give me that look--I told you you didn't need to.)

(True:  Last chance to email me at danathebiped at gmx dot com about what nice thing you've done for homeless pets and even have the smallest hope of getting your Possum Pinups calendar by Christmas!)

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's Really a Gift--For You and From You. So You Won't Even Have to Regift.

You know what I love even more than ice cream?  Watching TV and eating ice cream.  Of course, since I don't currently have a functioning television, all my watching happens online.  Between Netflix and the various networks' streaming video, I'm pretty well covered, and not in much danger of running out of things to watch.

A lot of my favorite shows are already discontinued or are already several seasons in--I generally prefer that, because then I can get obsessed and watch three consecutive seasons of a show in a week. 

But I might make an exception, and watch a currently-airing online show when Chic premieres.

Yes, that is a widget.  (Lookit ma, I managed a widget!)

Yes, that is a widget to a Kickstarter.

But I wouldn't recommend it if it weren't going to be AWESOME.  Seriously.  I know the producers, Sarah Hesch and Chris Snapp, and they are funny and clever as hell, and they make good art.  Do you really think I would recommend a show about pr0n on a blog my mother reads, otherwise?

Check it out.  Donate if it interests you.  Even if it doesn't, donate anyway--you can consider it a protest against the Kardashians.  And next year, you'll have something funny and clever as hell to watch instead of doing your laundry.

See?  Gift to yourself.

(True:  You know what else would make a great gift to youself?  A PossumFace Pinup calendar.)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: I've done nothing all week, so here is some stuff other, more productive people have done.

Yeah, I've been MIA again.  What can I say?  I've been focused on not dying.  I even took a sick day from work, so you know it's serious.

Anyway, while I've been snoring/snotting/sniffling on everything, the Internet has been hard at work, coming up with things for me to post.

There is no reason for me to post that image other than it cracks me up.

I'm sorry.  This is going to be an odd post.  I'm all hopped up on cold medicine.

As long as I'm posting funny shtuff, lookit this!

What can I say?  It cracked me up.

And this one is seasonally appropriate!


But  here is a photo/link that is more seriously awesome:

We all know that dogs with altered mobility are the best.  And we know that therapy dogs are also the best.  (Shut up.  I know that doesn't make sense.  Roll with me here, yeah?  <--That's a joke.  You'll get it in a minute.)  Well, therapy dogs with altered mobility are the bestest.


I think I had something else to say, but I forgot.

(True:  Don't forget your Possum Pinups calendar!)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Paying It Forward--With a Giveaway!

Remember that time that my mom accidentally pet a 'possum instead of a cat?  And I implied 'possums are ugly monsters?  And then that led to this post, where I talked about marsupial fetishists collecting images for their pinup calendar?  And I unleashed this horror upon the world:

I'm sorry, you probably had repressed that.

Well, that calendar is now a thing, and you can get one FOR FREE.

Yes, that's right, a full, proper, 12 month, full-color calendar in all its perverted glory* can be yours.  FOR FREE.  All the images are brand new and created by my very very cool friend/cousin/faithful reader/marsupial fetishist Dianawesome.  Because she is awesome.

All I ask is that, in lieu of payment, you donate some time/money/old towels or other supplies to whatever animal shelter you like.  Then, email me at with your address and details of how you helped a homeless pet.  That's it.  You could even lie about the help part if you really wanted, because I'm going on the honor system here.  In January, I'll post what we've all accomplished, and we can all be amazed and self-congratulatory over how fabulous we are.

Fabulous, right?

Because even though we're sick and twisted people, we've got squishy soft hearts.  And just in case you need a reminder of where to find your squishy soft heart, let me tell you a story.

In the spring of 2011, I adopted a three-legged Pomeranian with a slew of anxiety issues and a rapidly approaching "adopt by or else" date.  She was kind of raggedy:

But she had a great smile.  And she was terrified of being alone and also of slippery floors.  My friends and family gave me whatever rugs they could spare to help me accomodate her on my hardwood floors.

Fast forward through lots of obedience and relaxation classes for her, massage lessons for me, a ton of research about tripods and their bodies, and countless hours of training.  Fast forward to this Thanksgiving at my folks' house. 

Prada was in the living room on her rug.  Mom, Dad, and I were in the kitchen chatting.  And then this happened (which you might not be able to see very well, because it was taken on my old really dumb phone):

That's my dog on a hardwood floor, if you can't tell.  And this is why you should do something good.  Because every shelter pet that finds a home has a thousand little miracles in their lives, the most important being a family.  And also because 'possum faces on pinup girls are funny.  (And free!)

*(True:  I feel obligated to point out that a couple of the calendar possumgirls turned out a little grainy.  They'll all be perfect next year, though.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

This is a Public Service Announcement (Poor Babies)

I went to a friend's baby shower this weekend, which was awesome since it was not a women-only event and the mama-to-be opened her gifts right next to the TV where the Packers game was on because PRIORITIES.

Things I learned: 

  1. My friend Huge Sam speaks fluent toddler.
  2. When it comes to baby shower games, it may not be the correct answer (ever), but "Motherfucking SPAGHETTIOS" it will earn you an extra credit point.
Also, baby food smells really gross.

(True:  This is not the announcement you are looking for.  I'd say I'm sorry, but I didn't specify when this week now, did I?)

Friday, November 30, 2012


I have a charlie horse between my shoulder blades, and have for the last twelve millenia hour.  The only way I can sit at my desk without being a bit distracted by the blinding pain is to contort myself like so: 


Ironically, this is also the exact facial expression I have in all my middle school photos.

(True:  I was an ugly kid.  My school photos were all so awful and traumatizing that after the obligation of showing them to my parents, I would hide the packets under the washing machine.  When my parents moved my freshman year of college, they discovered all the waterlogged photos.  It was an improvment.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Imagine Some Really Hot Chick with Her Mouth Open. That Might Help.

The disappointment, that is, because confession:  I am a huge tease.  And this is not a real post, so that's double the disappointment.

I hear "vodka" is Russian for "survival,"* though, so take a double shot and you're welcome.

But here's the tease part--are you ready for it?

Next week, I have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT to make.  And it involves cool stuff and you're not going to want to miss out...

(True:  *I have a source for this--beer.  Although beer has lied to me in the past...)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mr. Sampson would be so ashamed.

I am eating pizza/listening to the GodPod.  Because the two are mutually inclusive.  I have an electic mix of music left over from an ex-boyfriend whose iTunes playlist I raided.  It's got everything from classic rock to classical, and some that are a mix of the two.

Cue the opening bars of a recording. 

Internal Me:  Oooh, this is from Aladdin!  I loved that movie!

Me Me:  I don't trust you.  I'm checking what this piece is.

(Pause while I check out the GodPod screen.)

Me Me:  Wrong.  It's Tchaikovsky. 

Internal Me:  Oh.  Well, you know.  That's good, too.



(True:  The above dudes ARE NOT THE SAME, Mental Me.  Aladdin has more hair, and Tchaikovsky has more clothing.  Geez.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Circle of Life Can Suck It

As you may know, Prada had been coming to work with me there for a while during some work on my building.  Since it was reasonably warm, I could leave her out in the car without feeling too guilty.  (She's got a bed and a blanket out there, and she sleeps all day anyway, so don't feel too bad for her.)  And several times a day, I'd take her out to stretch her legs and go potty on the patch of grass in front of the building.

Near this patch of grass is a telephone pole.  After a couple days of regular potty outings, Prada had gained an observer:  a hawk that curiously enough only perched on that telephone pole around the times I took Prada out.

One more reason to keep your dog on a leash--your dog is less likely to be eaten.

Obviously, this story doesn't have a tragic ending--Prada is currently at home (yay, no more early morning hammering!), probably sleeping.  (I'm so jealous.)  Well, not tragic for Prada, that is.  Judging by the amount of feathers scattered on the lawn, either there was an epic pillow fight while I was gone or a small bird met a violent end.


On a side note, if I hold Prada like Rafiki holds Simba, she dances.  I find it very amusing.  (She doesn't.)

(True:  My dad once hit a wild turkey with his car.  Do you know what happens when you hit a wild turkey going sixty miles an hour?  A blinding explosion of feathers.  Seriously.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

This is My Obligatory Thanksgiving Post.

I really hate Thanksgiving sap.  And Christmas sap.  And Valentine's Day sap.  And rom-com sap.  And that Folger's commercial with the young man coming home for the holidays.  And tree sap.

Maybe I'm just an ungrateful bitch.  Or maybe contrived sentiment just makes me want to puke.

There are, however, some things I am very happy to have:

  • Caffeine, which gets me through most days murder-charge-free.
  • My microwave, which is my second favorite enabler.
  • My mother's pity for me and my lack of cooking skills. (I.e., leftovers.)
  • Netflix, my first favorite enabler.
  • My Sister the Lawyer not killing me when my phone's evil alter ego answered her calls seven consecutive times while simultaneously scrolling through every option and screen the phone has to offer--all while on key lock in my purse.
  • This:

  • And the fact that you read this blog even though I'm mental.

(True:  In the above poem, there really should be a semicolon, not a comma.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Living to Tell the Tale

You guys, I'm sorry.  I have been MIA, and a very bad blogger.  (I'm so ashamed.)

BUT, I have a good reason:  I was in Cleveland.  Not for fun, because if I had enough money to go on vacation, I would go to a beach and drink rummy things with umbrellas, or New York and see a show, or DC and move into the Smithsonian.

I went for work. 

I have to say, Cleveland was pretty all right, all things considered.  We had some amazing food, saw some pretty incredible art, stayed in a very nice hotel, and did some work-related stuff, too.  Of course, the place where the workshop was held was in the worst slum I have ever seen.  We didn't get shot, though, so it's all good.

Though I'm pretty sure someone threw a rock at our car.

(True:  Seriously, though, if you ever go to Cleveland, eat at Felice.  Your tastebuds will thank you.  And the sassy lady who owns the place, Margaret, is definitely Prada Approved.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tips for Talking to the Person Who Is Not a Doormat

Because I've worked part-time in a bar, I've had my share of opportunities to talk to new and interesting people.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, it's awesome.  As Bill Nye the Science Guy said, "Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't."  But every once in a while, there's that outlier that doesn't make the experience awesome...

(There is a disclaimer at the end of this post.  Some of the below experiences are borrowed from other people.  If that much bullshit were directed at me, I'd explode.)

** Personal space.  This is particularly important in a bar environment, because you probably have beer breath.

** There is a limit to how many times you can call/text/email her after one conversation.  Disproportionate attempts at communication will make her wonder if you are a stalker.

** Don't get upset if she doesn't call/text back immediately.  She probably has a life.  That's a good thing.

** Don't tell her who she can/can't talk to.  Talking is a particularly useful form of communication, and often means nothing more than a pleasant (or sometimes unpleasant) conversation.  Holster the jealousy or be prepared to be punched in the throat.

** Grabbing her ass will not be taken as an invitation to come home with you.  It will be taken as an invitation to punch you in the throat.  Same goes for the old slide-your-hand-around-her-back-and-under-her-arm-for-a-bit-of-side-boob squeeze.  You are not being subtle.  You are being a dick.

** Buying her a drink doesn't obligate her.  In any way whatsoever.  A long conversation doesn't obligate her.  In any way whatsoever.  Trading phone numbers doesn't obligate her.  In any way whatsoever, if you were still wondering. 

** If she says she has plans, you can probably assume that she has plans.  Accusing her of lying to blow you off will earn you a punch in the throat.

** And if she says she's not interested in going on that date you suggested, you can probably take that to mean she's not interested in going on that date you suggested.  Just a suggestion.  There is not always romantic subtext.  Sometimes, a conversation is just a conversation.  Try to force more, and you'll deserve more than just a punch in the throat.

** If she says, "No," or "Enough," or "Stop:"  No, you aren't going to change her mind.  She's had enough.  Stop.

Or, in other words, (Wil Wheaton's, to be exact), don't be a dick.

(True:  These are all experiences I've had, or friends have had, or friends of friends have had.  I've used the pronoun "she" because I'm a she.  And most of the friends/friends of friends whose experiences I've borrowed for this post are also shes (but not all).  Substitute pronouns as needed.  And you might notice that I'm giving these tips to a "you"--not a "he" or "she."  That's because dickitude is not exclusive to any one gender.  Neither are these tips specific to romantically-inclined conversations or situations.  Friends don't treat each other that way, either.  Get it?  Don't be a dick--whoever you are--to whomever you're speaking to.  End disclaimer.)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ads, Schmads.

I do not click on the ads on my blog.  That would be click fraud, and anyone with hands as soft as mine really shouldn't be spending any time in the Big House.

But, I do like to check out what my adbot thinks makes sense.  Sometimes, it doesn't:

I'm sure it's a very nice family.  But I sort of resent the ad's attempt to look like a personal photo of mine.  I dress way better than that.  And my hair is better, too.  Sometimes.

After my recent (panicked) musings (pleas for help) regarding soda, it's only natural that I'd get some ads targeting other caffeine fiends.

But really, adbot?  This?

Ad reads:  "Discover how soda in moderation can be a part of your diet."
I have a few issues with this.  First--who said I was on a diet?  Are you calling me fat, adbot?  You are a jerk adbot, and I don't like you anymore.  You are not invited to my birthday party.  Second, I object to the word "moderation."  That word and my love affair with Mt. Dew do not belong together.  And not in a star-crossed lovers way, either.  In a full-on, everybody-hates-the-Heathers kind of way.  (I'm referring to the movie, not any Heather-named readers.  We're non-nomenist--I just made that word up--here at Five Legs Between Us.)  Third, soda and diets probably don't work too well together, either.  I declare this a "pipe dream" ad.

What weird ads have you seen--here or as you peruse the Internets?  I have the feeling everybody has a story...

(True:  Odd ads aren't limited to my blog.  I changed my Facebook status to "single" some months ago, and ever since, Google has been bombarding me with Russian singles ads.  And lighting ads, because that's what I do for a living.  It's a strange coupling, though, "Hot European Singles Want To Meet You" right next to "30% Off 35W MR16 GU10 Lamps!")

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Taking Advantage of the Circumstances (And Dealing with the Them)

While my new landlord has been rebuilding our fire escape/porches, Prada has been coming to work with me.  I am really ambivalent about this for a lot of reasons.

The Cons:
  • Prada is already starting to expect to come with me everywhere, and throws a hissyfit if I try to leave her behind.  My neighbors are not amused.
  • It's starting to get cold, and while my boss is very cool about Prada coming into the building every once in a while for a bit, she cannot be inside with me all day.  She spends most of the day sleeping in the car, bundled in her warm bed, with a blanket and in her sweater or fleece coat.  But I worry.
  • She's starting to get a little tubby from all the treats my coworkers are sneaking her.

The Pros:
  • She is getting a lot of great socialization with a lot of different people.
  • We've been able to practice walking on "slippery" surfaces out in the warehouse--and we're starting to make a bit of progress.  (Woohoo!  She'll go a few feet at a time toward me!)
  • I can cuddle her anytime I like, making the work days seem a lot shorter.

So.  I'm on the fence about whether I'm happy with the circumstances or not.  Regardless, there's nothing I can do about it, unless I win a million dollars and can afford to take her to doggy day care every day until the construction is done.  So I deal.  Because that's what you do.

I'm going to be out of town for most of next week, and my folks will be pet-sitting for me.  Hopefully, the week will act as a "reset" for the bad habits Prada has picked up, and if I'm very lucky, the construction will be done by the time I return.  Then I can start retraining Prada to remain behind calmly.

We'll figure it out, and we'll make it work.

That's what family does.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Don't Care If You Call It Soda or Pop--This Is Still War.

They say that insanity is repeating an action and expecting different results.  I don't know who "they" are--probably the people carrying the fashionably long-sleeved white coat.  I think they're following me.

But, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a woman in possession of a full-time job must be in want of a caffeinated beverage.  Which is to say, don't even bother talking to me before I've started my first can on Mt. Dew--any appearances of consciousness are false.

Scene:  this morning, first thing, at work.  The soda machine informed me that the Mt. Dew was sold out.  This was bad, but not a catastrophe, because I can settle for a Coke in a pinch.  BUT, the machine spat out my dollar, same way it did for the Mt. Dew.

This was a problem.  If there is no Mt. Dew, and there is no Coke, my only caffeinated option is Dr. Pepper, and twenty-one flavors is just too many for me. 

It would have been better than nothing--but there was nothing.  So, what was I supposed to drink?  Orange juice?  Get out of here.  This was a catastrophe!  Had my life really come to this?  In desperation, I tried each of the caffeinated options a bunch more times, and kicked the machine for good measure.  (There may have been some chest beating and hair-pulling as well.)

Finally, the light came on--a literal light.  The indicator light for "exact change only," to be exact. 

Proof positive that acting crazy is not always the same as being crazy.

Update:  I wrote this on Monday.  As of 12:08 pm today, we really are out of Mt. Dew, Coke, and Dr. Pepper.  I'm trying unsuccessfully to drown my tears in a caffeine-free root beer.


Monday, November 5, 2012

A Word on Words

You know what's weird?  The English language.  It's a bit of a soapbox of mine, but I'll try to keep it pauciloquent.

Our idioms are strange.  I understand them, and I'm a word nerd, so I actually know the etymology of them, but there are still some very odd ducks. 

"Horse of a different color:"  I think of purple ponies.  Always purple.  I don't know why. 

"Mind your Ps and Qs:"  And Ds and Bs, because the lower cases all look pretty damn much the same.  (The whole beer thing is much happier.)

"Square meal:"  For some reason, our lesson on the food pyramid in grade school always included this phrase, prompting me to believe that diet and geometry were closely linked.

We've also got strange words like "blurb" and "oaf" and "quire" (i.e., two dozen sheets of paper). And what does "i.e." mean, anyway?  In other words (wink), what the hell are we saying every day?

I'm not the only one.  Check out these cool Internet thingers for more...

(True:  Don't even get me started on ten dollar words.  None of us have time for that.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween! (And Many Morgue...)

Ba-dum chick.

I'm sorry, I just can't help myself.

I was up an hour and a half early to get ready yesterday morning--my office does Halloween in a BIG way.  (As in, participate or else.) 

Your humble narrator and a coworker with a secret identity

After a full, twelve hour day in this ridiculous getup, I had a few thoughts...

1.  No one got it, and that's okay.  Not everyone is familiar is familiar with Roy Lichtenstein, 1960's pop artist.

2.  Better be confident anyway, if you're going to wear this type of costume--I can't even tell you how many chicken pox/acne/herpes comments I got.

3.  Wigs are itchy and best worn to bars.  Alcohol dulls the crazy urge to scratch.

4.  The expensive facepaint was worth it--it actually dried.  When I finally washed it off, the only issues were that the paint had melted away under the nosepiece of my glasses, and I had smile cracks on either side of my mouth.

5.  Go easy on the painted eyebrows.  Overdo it and you'll look a little like a drag queen.

6.  I would make a damn fine-looking drag queen.

(True:  I'm already plotting for next Halloween.  Is that sad?)

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Only a Matter of Time

Last week, I opened my back door to three stories of absolutely nothing.  As it turns out, building management is replacing the back porch/fire escape. 

On the one hand, this will be very nice, as the fire escape had been quite rickety and the steps irregular--which is a real hazard for people like me who have a hard enough time on flat surfaces. 

On the other hand, I'll have several weeks chock full of opportunities to forget that there is nothing outside my back door but certain death.

Also, as I was clipping my nails, I accidentally cut half my toe off.

Bets are now open for whether the fall or the gangrene will get me first.

(Prada has been accompanying me to work while the construction is going on.  In the car this morning, we discovered she passionately hates the song "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something--she howled during the entire thing.  But she does like classical.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

My face, the day after an evening test-run for my Halloween makeup.  As my costume is pretty makeup-intensive, I wanted a run-through to figure out exactly how early I need to get up on Wednesday.  (Answer:  Very.)  And because I can never do costumes by halves, I went out and purchased higher-end makeup that actually dries (in case my nose itches, or something). 

Gotta say, the makeup does stay in place.  I washed my face four times to get it all off.

But, it's me, so I forgot to clean it off my glasses.  Which I put on the next morning in a pre-Mt. Dew stupor.  Aaaand I didn't realize I had facepaint smeared all over the bridge of my nose until about 10:30 that morning, at work.  Which means my coworkers are either equally unobservant or total assholes.  Jury's out.

(True:  A third option is that my coworkers did notice, and just decided it wasn't the weirdest I've looked...)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: It Goes Both Ways

I've written in previous weeks how it's important to me to advocate for adoptable dogs, and I've seen so many examples of people doing so much to help dogs in need.

Sometimes, though, it's the dogs helping the adoptable people.  Last Sunday, Linka (with my parents, of course) and lots of other dogs participated in the Canine2IronDog Event near Oak Forest, Illinois, and they were raising money for FOSCIK, a group dedicated to providing for the basic needs of orphaned and abandoned children in Kenya.

If you're a dog-lover, then you know first-hand how a dog can be so good for you, and everyone has heard stories of dogs saving their owners from fires, warning them prior to a seizure, or cheering a child in hospice, whatever.  This is the first time, though, that I've heard of a group of dogs doing good for a group people in this way, and it makes me so damn proud on so many levels.


(And guess who took second in their division?)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I don't have any experience with revenge, but pizza is best served cold for breakfast.

Today, as I shoveled pizza into my gob, a friend turned to me and said something very profound:

"You know, you've got to take advantage of your time being single.  In five years, you could be married, have kids, and be less happy."

Makes sense.  My biggest complaint today is that my new tights are not, in fact, truly opaque.

(True:  I have yet to understand how we can send a craft to Mars but no one can figure out how to make a comfortable pair of tights.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Advice To Live or Die By. Whichever.

I've written before about how I'm a bit clumsy.  Last week I fell off the toilet and nearly brained myself on the sink.  And then the cast iron radiator.  (To be fair, I was standing on the toilet, because...  You know what?  I'm going to just let you wonder.)

Anyway, I know it's really bugging you, not knowing how I actually survive the day-to-day dangers I face.  Well, I've got rules.

1.  When the going gets tough, watch Supernatural for six hours.  Most trouble doesn't last six hours, and if it does, well, at least it's not a brain-eating monster or Apocolypse 6.0.  Probably.

2.  Never wear pants.  Unless you're in public or otherwise likely to be arrested.  If I am going to die young, I don't want to have missed any pantsless opportunities.

3.  If you're going with a group, let someone else drive.  For obvious reasons, most noteably that you're a god-awful terrible driver.

4.  Read every book in one sitting.  When you're reading, you're immobile, and when you're immobile, you're less likely to accidentally throw yourself down the stairs.  So at least you won't die wondering how the book ends.

5.  Try to avoid your neighbors as much as possible.  No one needs to know you were the one who accidentally drop-kicked a heavy houseplant off the third floor fire escape.  (Learned:  Dirt explodes.  Who knew?)

6.  Statistically, more objects likely to fell you are on the ground than in the air.  So stare at the ground whereever you walk.  Just know that once in a while, you are going to bean your head on stop sign/tree/a stretching tall person. 

7.  When purchasing shoes:  Do the hokey pokey.  If the shoes fall off, they will at some point try to kill you.  Probably in some horrifying, public, and grotesque way.  You've got sexy brains, but no one wants to see them splattered in the food court.

8.  If it requires balance, take a deep breath and don't.  This includes riding a bike.  You'd be better off swimming in pirhanna-infested waters with a raw steak strapped to your face than riding a bike.

9.  Keep in stock:  bandaids, triple antibiotic, ace bandages, gauze pads and gauze wraps, moleskin, burn ointment, Visine, aspirin, and vodka.  Keep all these things in the freezer, since that's where you'll head first anyway.

(True:  My next apartment is going to be on the ground floor.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cheap and Easy, and You Can Still Show Your Mother! (DIY Lego Costume for Dogs)

Pardon my terrible photography skills.  Also, the top looks spotty because it was raining.

Last Sunday, I went to a fundraising event for some local animal shelters, and on the agenda was a pet costume contest.  I decided go go Friday night, when I was in a hurry and broke.  As I strolled the aisles of the local craft store, praying for inspiration, I remembered this image from Pinterest:

Via  (This might not be the original source.  If you know, let me know.)
Cardboard box and Solo cups?  Easy and cheap.  But not flexible for wigglesome dogs like Prada.

But have no fear, for I came up with a solution:  sheets of craft foam, the top of a shoe box, and foam can holders.  Everything but the shoe box (which I had because I have a shoe problem) was in the same aisle--the sheets were $.79 each (I bought two) and the can holders were a buck a piece (I bought two).

  I did not take photos as I went along, because I was in a hurry.  (And because my place is a mess.)

Step 1:  Cut a U-shape into one end of the shoe box (or whatever box is roughly as long as your dog, shoulder-to-tail.)  This gives room for their neck.  You will end up cutting off the head end side of the box lid entirely, but that's okay.  You just need something to give a little bit of firmness to the top and sides of the Lego to hold the craft foam in shape.

Step 2:  Cover the top of the box with craft foam.  I used glue dots because I was in a hurry, but I plan on going over it again with proper glue.  Aleene's (maker of the famous craft-glue-in-a-gold-bottle) makes an adhesive to use specifically on craft foam, though I understand hot glue and white glue also work.

Step 3:  Cut a small slit in both sides of the box lid, right about where your dog's "armpit" is.

Step 4:  Cut craft foam to cover the sides and back of the shoe box, extending down to cover your dog's side.  Don't glue around the slit you cut, though...  (I realized later I should have duct-taped the insides together, connecting the back panel the the side panels, fyi.)

Step 5:  Cut a U-shape into the back end to leave room for the butt/tail.

Step 6:  Trim the can holders down to Lego-peg-appropriate height.  I cut them basically in half to be in proportion with a Prada-sized Lego.

Step 7:  Cut circles in the craft foam sheet to cover the top of the Lego-pegs/bottom of the can holders.  There was a little hole.  And I'm finicky.

Step 8:  Glue the pegs onto the Lego box.

Step 9:  Pass a ribbon/string/whatever through the slits on either side of the box.  They shouldn't be visible under the craft foam.  I used velcro straps, which worked really well.  I just looped them around Prada's harness.

And that's it!  It's easier than it sounds, I promise--it took me around fifteen minutes, and turned out well enough that Prada won the contest.  Not bad for less than five bucks!

Best of all, Prada wore it for about three hours with no problems--the craft foam kept it lightweight and flexible.

(True:  Has anyone else seen that chia pet costume on Pinterest?  If I'd had more time...)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Buy Gifts, Do Good

Getting involved in pet adoption advocacy has been rewarding in so many ways...  The events I've attended have all been interesting, informative, fun for both Prada and me, and have introduced me to so many amazing people and organizations and companies.

Lainey's Pawtique and Bakery is one of these companies.  Their pet treats are homemade from fresh ingredients (Prada has tried them and approves mightily), and their other products are one-of-a-kind and completely adorable. 

That all makes Lainey's cool, but here's the best part:  they donate 5% of every sale to various pet charities and shelters.  For October, proceeds are going to's "Blanketed with Love" campaign.  (The campaign collects and distributes blankets for pets receiving treatment for cancer or other life-threatening illnesses, to keep them warm during transport after uncomfortable treatments.)

Starting November first and continuing through December 23rd, the donations will go toward making two huge treat baskets for animals in local Illinois shelters.  You can make purchases at Lainey's website or their Etsy store, where you will also have the option to add a $5 donation for the treat baskets to your order (coming soon).

Pretty sweet, huh?

(So, to my dog-loving friends and family--guess where your gifts are coming from this Christmas?)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Totally Going to Be in Trouble with the Man Upstairs...

. . . But it's got to be said:  Angels are jerks.  I have a lot of evidence for this theory.  Pretty much everywhere I turn, I see a Jerk Angel.
Doctor Who:

The charges:  Angels that eat your life and send you into the past to die in obscurity without Facebook in bad history clothes.

Verdict?  Toothy Jerks That Needs a Manicure.


The charges:  Angels that call you "maggot," beat you up a lot, only need you for your "meat suit," and are pro-apocolypse.

Verdict?  Cataclysmic Jerks.


The charges:  Congregating (pun absolutely intended) in groups of seemingly-benign-but-actually-super-creepy flocks/hosts/flights.  Generally found in a "TV room."  Very judgmental.  Sometimes look stoned, or like they eat children.


Verdict?  Creepy Stare-y Jerks.

Look, I don't really have a problem with angels--in the same way I don't have a problem with most people.  By all means, go about you business, oh winged one.  Just stay away from me.  And don't go all "watching over me," either.  Because I mostly don't wear pants.  And I definitely don't want to talk to one.  I want niether the "awe and terror" they they always seem to inspire, nor the explanations that will inevitably follow and land me in a nuthouse.  You know Mary didn't have an easy time saying, "Hey, Joe, I've got the Big Guy's bun in the oven.  No, not that biker from the bar last month, the Big Guy Upstairs.  It's a, you know, miracle?"

(True:  Seriously, angel tree-toppers give me the heebies.  Something about the blank eyes...  Worse even than porcelain dolls.)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Not Just for Tripods

Wow, I just realized it's really been a while since I've posted anything for this series.  These posts are never my most popular, and they almost never get comments, but I do believe they are the most important ones.  Not that it's difficult to top "How Pinterest Pisses Me Off" and "Look at This Absurd Thing That Happened to Me."

In this series, I try to advocate for dogs with altered mobility, but outside this blog, I advocate for most any underdog.  (Ba-dum-chick.)  Lots of dogs fall under the classification of being "less-adoptable." 

The term "special needs," as applied to dogs, is a very large umbrella term.  It includes those like Prada, who have altered mobility, as well as dogs that are blind or deaf, have social or behavioural challenges to overcome, have chronic health issues, are heartworm positive, or have dietary restrictions.  This means that because a dog with food allergies needs to be on a lamb and rice diet (which most decent dog food manufacturers carry), it's labeled "special needs" and therefore less adoptable.  Same goes for a dog that is skittish around men in hats.  Or a dog that is blind in one eye.  Most people interested in adopting will skip right over any dog whose profile shows the special needs icon.

"Special needs" isn't an "is" or "is not" thing; rather it's a spectrum.  Plenty of dogs with the label will lead normal, healthy lives that require no significant extra care.  And plenty of them have serious issues that may take a lot of time or money to deal with, which doens't mean they aren't deserving of a loving home.
Elderly dogs are also less-adoptable.  My first dog, Hans, came into my life when he was nine or so.  For a dachshund, which can live well into their teens, that's not really old.  But dogs in the shelter system are often dubbed "elderly" as early as age five for larger breeds and seven for smaller breeds.  Many of these dogs have years and years of life left, if they can avoid euthanization.  And those that are truly elderly are often calmer and lower-maintenance, energy-wise, than their younger counter-parts, which may in fact make them a better fit for some people.

Also on the "less-adoptable" list are the bully breeds.  If you know anything about breed specific legislation, you know the term "pit bull" is frequently applied to many more dog breeds than just the American Pit Bull Terrier:  Staffordshire Terriers, bull dogs, and even boxers have been inacurately labelled.  And pit bulls (of whatever breed) are the most-euthanized dogs in shelters.

Cesar Milan can give much more articulate reasons why this is such a tragedy than I can.  But I do know that I have met my fair share of dogs I've actually been afraid of--and they ranged from big dogs to little, all sorts of breeds.  What they all did have in common was owners who wouldn't take responibility for their dog's behavior.  On the other hand, my good friends who have adopted three adult American Pit Bull mixes have the sweetest girls you've ever met.  It's not luck that those three dogs are well-adjusted and happy.  (Although they are lucky dogs.)

Look, the point of advocating for these dogs is not to make people feel guilty about the kind of dog they have or want--it's about educating, and hopefully making someone consider--often for the first time--whether they might be willing to take on a dog that needs some accomodation, and what level of accomodation they are able or willing to make.

And, ooh, hey, look what my awesome cousin found:

Seriously, how cool is that?  I wish I had known about it sooner.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

And the Award Goes To...

If you are reading this, it probably means that it's finally happened.  I've finally achieved my (literally) life-long dream of getting a Darwin Award.  I've taken the liberty of writing a speech--obviously one of you dear readers will need to read it for me at the ceremony.  (I've included some notes on delivery.)

First of all, I'd like to thank my mom and my maternal grandmother, who showed me how to bear clumsiness with dignity if not grace.  Pause for laughter.

Thanks also to my dad and My Sister the Lawyer for teaching me that gracelessness is best when the amusement is shared.  And to my friend Seven, because sometimes, that amusement needs to be shared with a sharp jab to someone's kidney.  Pause for laughter.

To the members of the swing dancing club (If you put air quotes around the word "swing," I will personally come back from hell to haunt your ass.) I was part of in college:  I owe you so much.  Not only did your lessons help me learn to at least not embarrass myself (so much) dancing, they also taught me to walk without running into walls.  Mostly.  And that's probably what kept me alive for so long.  And to all the leads who partnered me:  Despite all the times I stepped on your feet, elbowed you in the gut, and once head-butted you during an aerial in a place that could constitute sexual harassment, you never once gave up on me.  Or filed charges.  Thank you.  And I'm really glad your insurance company ended up covering that procedure after all.

Finally, I know I didn't likely die in a dignified manner.  I quite possibly didn't have pants on.  But please, if you could, remember me just like I was that one time in that photo taken in 2006, where I don't look like a complete derp with stupid hair.  Yes, I know that memory will be false, but it's my last wish.  Not my dying wish, obviously, because I'm already dead, but my last, post-mortem wish.  Or I guess it could be my first post-mortem wish, if one of you develops an affinity for ouija boards. 

If you try to contact me by ouija board, I will totally just make "your mom" jokes.  So, yeah.  (Please stop reading now.  I've clearly derailed.)


(True:  This is not an attempt to fake my own death.  Just to be clear.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Consummation" is not the act of consuming. Sadly.

In the last sixty hours or so, I have eaten:

  • Two cartons of Bob Evans mashed potatoes topped with about half a pound of butter
  • An entire bag of pita chips topped with roasted red pepper hummus
  • A whole order of cheesy sticks from the local pizza place  (Theoretically, they are cheese-topped breadsticks, but that's not quite right.  They're really about two pounds of buttered cheese with just enough crust underneath to hold them together--if you eat fast.)
  • Three big-as-your-head tacos
  • A package of Godiva truffles
  • A pomegranate
  • A water buffalo
(One of the above is a lie.)

This is what happens when I'm over-tired, over-stressed, and too busy marathoning "Supernatural" to bother cooking.  I feel like a cow.  On the plus side, I'm mostly sort of don't feel homicidal.  And that's an improvement.

(True:  I actually lost a pound.  You hate me now, don't you?)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Shakespeare's Got Nothing On Me.

I know you missed my poetry.  I have such talent, after all...

Bad Day Poem

1.  Ten O'Clock in the Morning

I'm running on no sleep.
My eyes are dry and bleary.
All the caffeine in the vending machine
Can't help this day that's so dreary.

2.  Head Case

It's a bad hair day--
I know you can't tell.
As far as you know,
I always look like hell.

3.  Eye Know

These bags under my peepers
Hang down to my chin.
I could put on some makeup
If I knew where to begin.

4.  Free Lunch

At some point today,
I really need to work.
My pen's at the ready,
But it's easier to shirk.

5.  Or Eleven

Damn pen just exploded;
I'm dripping with ink.
I can't wait to get home
And settle in with a drink.

6.  Silver Lining

It's not my best day.
There are plenty of clues
That I don't want to be here--
But I've got fabulous shoes.

7.  Greetings

Pretty please just go away--
Not that I don't like your face.
But it's one of those days that's full of malaise,
And I do hate the whole human race.

8.  Epilogue

The weekend isn't quite the same
As happily ever after.
But those two days don't wreak
Tragedies quite as bleak
For this poor pipsqueak
(Wow, am I on a streak.)
'Cause I can stew in my B-movie laughter.

(True:  Bonus points if you find the Doctor Who reference.)

(Blah, blah legalese:  This is an original work, and I reserve all rights.  Steal it and I'll sic My Sister the Lawyer on you.)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

And That's How I Died.

Luck favors the bold.  And also the uncaffeinated.

As proven this morning when I blythely walked right behind a car going in reverse.  I'm not entirely certain how I managed to not see it--SUVs aren't exactly small.  Or sneaky.

Funny thing about almost being hit by a car:  the drivers always apologize, even when you're the half-asleep moron that just stepped in front of (or behind, in this case) a moving vehicle.  Of course, the fact that the driver is (I almost said "was," but fortunately that's not accurate) a good friend of mine, might have had something to do with it.


(True:  Aaaaand now I just dribbled ketchup down my shirt.  I'm such a catch.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's Official. I'm a Grown-Up.

Hehehehehe.  Snort.

Sorry, I really hope you didn't take that title seriously.  But it is my birthday, and I am officially old, so I've decided to go incognito now, before I start getting (more) wrinkles.

And because I've been in a go big or go home kind of mood, I decided to go incognito as the coolest thing I could think of:

Batman.  Obviously.
Also, I am intrigued by the concept that for the first time in my life, I haven't got stupid hair, and I am still physically incapable of taking a photo without looking like I have a mental disability or the worst facial tic in the history of seizures.

Anyway, happy birthday to me!  And thank you to my parents for having a second child, even though your first one was (and sometimes, still is) called "The Terror."  Let me know sometime how that turned out for you, okay?

(True:  The printables can be found for free here.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Unforgettable... That's What You Are. (And Also a Bit Weird.)

(Update:  I should tell you, the the compliment I'm about to tell you about is sincere, was meant kindly, and was, frankly, taken in the same vein.  Any assholishness here is all mine.)

I have one of those faces.  Often, when people first meet me, they tell me I look just like their sister/cousin/teacher/sex therapist.  Sometimes, this is uncomfortable.

I've been told I'm almost as hot as my sister.  (Flattered, I'm sure.)
I look like a librarian.  (With the big black glasses, that's not too surprising.)
I look like a math teacher.  (Do math teachers look different than other teachers?)
I remind a friend of Maggie Gyllenhaal.

One of these comparisons is not like the other ones.

Obviously, I was beyond flattered to be compared to an actress I admire, and then...

And then.

And then, my friend continued, "Yeah, you're both manic."

(True:  The best part was when he frantically tried to backtrack:  "And you're both fit!  And brunette!")

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Um, You've Gone Too Far

I have discovered something that is equally amazing and apalling:

It's a tail.  That wags when you're happy.

Because I definitely need to give people an excuse to stare at my butt.

(True:  When I went to a bridal show with My then-bride-to-be Sister the Lawyer, one of the men with a "Groom" sticker--who was holding hands with a woman wearing a "Bride" sticker, mind you--"accidentally" copped a feel of my butt.  Dude, here's a hint:  If you want to make it seem like an accident, DON'T FOLLOW THE CURVE.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Handy Guide to Halloween Costumes and Life

(Humming...)  It's the most wonderful time of the year...

No, I don't mean Christmas, although presents are pretty damn wonderful.  I'm talking about Halloween, the one day of the year that responsible adults are still allowed to play dress-up.  By this point of the year, I usually have a detailed plan for what I'm going to dress up as and how to make that happen.  (I never buy pre-fab costumes.)  This fall, however, I'm running behind.  As I consider my options, there are several questions I keep in mind to keep myself on track.

And you should, too.

Question 1:  Could this costume be called "Naughty (Blank)" or "Sexy (Blank)?"
Because when it comes to costumes, both of these words are interchangeable with "whore."  One part of the costume can be of the come-hither variety without overdoing it.  (I flatter myself that I managed to pull off a Puss in Boots costume with red thigh-high boots.  But then, I paired them with a full cape and a modest top.  And, of course, pants.  Which leads me to Question 2...)


There is a happy medium...

Question 2:  Are there pants?
A banded top does not count.  Nor does any skirt short enough that you might get herpes from sitting on a bar stool.  Leggings might be okay with a tunic-length top, as long as they are opaque.  If they aren't, they are tights.  And tights are not pants.  Basically, keep your butt out of sight, please.

Question 3:  Will there be visible belly button?
This is not the 90s.  Start over.

Question 4:  Is this costume seasonally appropriate?
Seriously.  If you're running around in a tube top/mini skirt/high heeled sandals and it's snowing, you're not doing it right.

Question 5:  Is it lazy?
 Look, if you want to grab a pair of cat ears to wear with your everyday clothes, more power to you.  But don't blame me if people think you're more boring than watching other people watch paint dry.

Question 6:  Is it recognizable?
Don't get me wrong, I totally do obscure characters from literature all the time.  (That didn't come out quite right, but whatever.)  Even semi-sort-of-not-obscure characters, like the March Hare from Alice in Wonderland is probably going to get some questions.  But if you're going to dress up as a Jessie Drummond from Super What?, don't go crying into your beer when nobody gets it.  This is especially important with gender-bending costumes.

Question 7:  Can you sit/move in the costume?
If your costume is a pimento olive made out of chicken wire, consider this:  you may not fit into a car.  And you definitely won't fit through a bus door.  Your ass is walking.

A summary:
  • Be creative.
  • Wear clothes.
  • Use your noggin, just a little.
All points that will serve you well in life--I promise.

(True:  Less than six weeks to the big day, and I'm still undecided?!  Seriously starting to panic...  Also, I have to say I do actually really like the crazy cat lady costume above.)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: The Next Direction

If you've been reading my "Hops in the Right Direction" column for any length of time, you know Prada has come so far in the time I've had her.  She has become so much more confident in her body and in her environment, and her socialization is coming along very nicely, though of course we'll always be working toward something new.

There is one area, however, where she could still use a lot of improvement.  She still gets overexcited when someone is about to touch her.  Don't get me wrong--I love the fact that getting loved on sends her into throes of exultation.  It's the fact that she dances around like an ADD-ridden kindergartner on a caffeine high and suffering a seizure that's the problem.  For me, it means minor inconveniences, like giving her time to slightly settle before getting her into her harness and clipping her leash on before going on walks, and holding her in her "safe position" (i.e., like a football) when people ask to pet her.  And those inconveniences are mostly offset by the fact that her dancing almost invariably makes me laugh.

There is one place, however, where this becomes a more serious issue:  at the vet.  We've already experienced one example of this--the vet wanted to aspirate when she had folliculitis on her cheek, but was unable to because Prada is just too wigglesome. 

Prada will very likely end up with arthritis at some point.  I'm trying to stave it off as long as possible by keeping her at a healthy weight and giving her plenty of massages, but arthritis looms before us, and that means more vet visits.

So, the way I see it, I've got a couple of years, at least (hopefully), to teach Prada to calmly accept touches.  Here's the plan:

  1. Sitting is her go-to "see what a good girl I am" pose, and it immediately puts her into "work" mode.  I'm going to try to use this to my advantage and start touching her here.  The challenge I'll need to work through is how to reward her for doing it right without getting her too excited.  Maybe a long-lasting treat like a rawhide would keep some of her focus off what my hands are doing until she can build up a tolerance to it. 
  2. I haven't had too much success using the "stay" command during touching, so perhaps I can come up with a different vocal/hand cue to prepare her.
  3. Practice when she is already calm and relaxed, usually when she is laying next to me.  This is usually when I rub her muscles loose, since straight-up petting overstimulates her.  I'm going to need to practice other kind of touches--handling her ears, muzzle, toes, and tail, especially.  Hopefully if she is already calm, she won't be as quick to overreact.
  4. Use her fatigue to my advantage.  Practice after long walks when she's ready to settle in and rest for a while.
That's pretty much as far as I've gotten.  What do you think?  Anything you would try?

(True:  Dog people will totally relate to both this, the touching side and this, the disgusting/funny side of dog ownership.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Read This! Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

If you ask me, there aren't nearly enough books about sea monsters.  And if you know me at all, you know I soak up fairy-tale retellings like a sponge.  Fathomless fulfills on both counts.

If you want a lovely little Disney-esque Little Mermaid, stop here.  Go watch some animated fish sing.  This is a lovely tale, true enough, but the darkness in it goes deep.

Quick synopsis:  Celia is the triplet who can see the past, which isn't nearly as useful as the talents of her sisters Anne and Jane, who can see the future and present, respectively.  That is, until she meets Lo, an ocean girl who doesn't remember her past as  the human girl Naida.  (Brief note:  love the play on the word "naiad," a type of water nymph.)

Sounds like a sweet tale of friendship, right?  Well, sort of.  But add a love triangle, familial discord, two characters fighting to live in the same body, missing souls, monsters, and murder, and--well, there's that darkness I was talking about.

Flipping through the book at the bookstore, I saw the narrative is in first person, from two/three characters' points of view.  (It's a little complicated.)  This always makes me pause, since I frequently have a difficult time either telling the characters apart or caring for both (or all) of them, but Pearce uses subtle differences between how the characters view the world to make the POV switches clear, but not jolting.  The well-crafted adventure kept me turning pages, but this clarity kept me from having to turn back.

Celia's voice is matter-of-fact.  As a narrator, she offers enough description to get the point across, focusing on the facts she knows and the actions she and those around her take.  In her relationship with her sisters, she feels a level of disconnect, but the hurt that causes her is something to be inferred.

Lo, meanwhile, is highly descriptive.  Her life under the water is expounded upon in a manner that is very lyrical--without sludging into purple prose.  It seemed totally natural for her to live within the ocean, and her home there is definitely the setting I felt the most connection to--after a couple of Lo's chapters, I recognized her home, as well as the unity she feels with her sister-monsters.

Finally, there's Naida.  Naida lived in the past, and can only resurface briefly, when Celia helps Lo remember.  She was a happy girl.  She had a family she loved, a sister she loved, but can't quite remember.  Her narration is somewhat stilted for the mere fact that she is only the pieces of herself she can remember--just half a girl now, and one who has lost her soul to the ocean and the "angel" that made Lo what she is today.

All three are desperate for a sense of self, for independence, and for love--a desperation made all the more poignant since only two of them can survive.

My only itty-bitty issue was the physical description of the "angels" that created Lo and the other ocean girls--there is a clear social concept of the creatures they are described as (sorry, no spoilers here) that has no connection I could see to the role they play in the book.  However, that was balanced by the fact that I really liked the portrayal of the love interest.  I could see what the girls saw in him, and felt a pull to him myself--but the whole love-triangle bit doesn't consume the the entire plot.  Thank you, Ms. Pearce, for creating characters to whom a boy can be important without becoming an unhealthy obsession!  (Okay, with one possible glaring exception at the end...)

All in all, I'd highly recommend this one, especially if you like your heroines strong and believable.  I'll definitely be checking out the companion books soon.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The End of Days is Nigh. And Someone Needs to Come Over and Kill a Bug for Me.

(Note:  This was partly written Saturday afternoon, so please excuse some no-longer correct verb tenses.)

There have been some seriously cool bugs.

Jiminy Cricket is a pretty neat fellow, if perhaps a bit preachy.

Chester, the very talented headliner in A Cricket in Times Square.

Charlotte and her fantastic web.

The cockroach in WALL-E.

Buzz, the Cheerios mascot, if you're stretching.

This is not one of those bugs.

A truly enormous beetle has taken up residence on the suspension chain of my ceiling light.  It looks a bit like an elongated beetle that flies.  Or the First Horseman of the Apocalypse, Pestilence.  I haven't made up my mind yet.  Whatever.

It is taunting my dog.  No, seriously.  It's been here a few hours now, and I definitely see its pattern.

It reposes on the chain, standing upright on its hindmost legs, for long stretches of time while Prada growls at it.  (Prada is very brave, you know.)  Then just when her growls die out, the bug thrusts its thorax at us like an enthusiastic Elvis impersonator.  When the thorax wagging is no longer driving Prada quite mad enough, the bug flies down to the glass shade--always on the side facing us.  Bastard.  Eventually, it crawls back up onto the chain to start the process over again.

For about twenty minutes, Prada, Stink, and I all watched the bastard bug, transfixed.  I finally started a movie.  Between the bug and Prada's strong reaction to it, I was starting to (ear)wig.  Unfortunately, I chose a movie with dinosaurs.  When they started roaring, Prada almost fell off the bed, convinced the vile beast was on the attack.  Poor girl couldn't decide if she was cowering on my lap or valiantly defending me.

When the movie finished, I turned off the overhead light, foolishly thinking my bedside lamp wasn't bright enough to attract the monster's attention.  I was wrong.  It dive-bombed my face, at which point Prada and I both squealed like the little girls we are.

So I turned on the bathroom light, turned off the lights everywhere else, and hid under the covers till morning.

I am so badass.

(True:  The bug turned up the next morning in my bathtub.  And then I killed it, because I totally am badass.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five Things About Me You're Gonna Wish You Didn't Know, Or, A Bipedian English Dictionary Is in the Works

I wasn't going to post today, but Noa over at Oh Noa thinks I leave mildly amusing comments on occasion so I might actually get some traffic* and ohgodthepressure.

*(Besides that from my 22 loyal followers.  I love you 22 people so much that if you were to ask, I'd clean the baked on goop from that window of your ovens.*) 

*(That is a conditional sentence.*  I will not be cleaning anyone's oven.  I'd rather just stick my head it it.)

*(It's the same reason you really need to stop saying, "If I was you.")

So, I had to think of a topic off-hand, and this is what you're getting.  If you don't like it, too damn bad.

1.  When I was very small, My Sister the Lawyer once locked my imaginary friend in the house when the family was going on a trip.  I made my parents turn around to get her.

2.  My imaginary friend's name was Ulie.  Which is actually the name of one of William Tell's cohorts back in the fifteenth century.  This probably goes beyond simple precocity.

3.  The word "precocity" is in my lexicon.

4.  I can't help but point out when people use words incorrectly or in the wrong context.  This prompts them to call me a Grammar Nazi.  Thus I am forced to elucidate them on the difference between grammar and syntax.

5.  It would probably be more accurate, to call me not a Grammar Nazi, but enlightened or perhaps perspicacious.  Of course, "brilliant" would work in a pinch.


(True:  Bonus!  I identify deeply with Amelia Peabody.)