Monday, December 12, 2011

W.I.C.K.E.D. (or nerdy) is good

After three days of puking out my source-of-strength kcals and then some, and many more days of Cary footslogging through the hardest section of flight school thus far, I can actually say facing a shopping mall at Christmastime would seem like a break. This is saying a lot, given that at some strange point in my life, shopping became irrelevant.

The neighbor's winter fantasyland, complete with softly beeping electronic carols, seems nice now.

The seasonal drinks at Starbucks not so stupid.

The Kmart commercial with the wannabe pop song and pseudo people--nope, still don't like it.

In a matter of days, Cary'll be done with Instruments if weather and brain cells deprived of sleep permit. In a matter of days, I'll be splitting from whatever the hell it is I do. And we'll leave flight manuals, Microsoft Office, and social media where they belong: The bookshelves labeled Dreams That Require Work and Overused, Overpaid Trends.

Taking a break from scolding a client for excessive capitalization and exclamation points in Facebook posts, the Code-Dude and I visited the local TBS Comics--where the powers of tightly packed creativity and nerd smell combine to create the quintessential comic book store experience.

Obviously, the real deal is still out there. Those who embraced who they were long before it was cool to. More than simple growing up, I'm sure many learned far before I did that people who hate you or dislike you for whatever reason is moot. Off center in the narrow store was a strip of workbench-like tables, surrounded by patrons propped up on stools. I stole glances at their trading? Playing? Yellow scaffolding for storage hung overhead.

We joined in letting our freak flags fly and began going rack by box, shelf by shelf, unabashed commentary running...
Scott Pilgrim books - 'Cool art' ... 'I feel like I'm six again.'
Japanese graphic novels - 'They go/read backwards!' ... 'Why is backwards so cool?'
Red Wing - 'This looks cool' ... Is he a pilot?' ... 'Why do white covers stand out so much?'
Twilight graphic novel, True Blood Comicon editions, Vampirella - 'Of course.'
The Punisher - 'I can't find The Crow' ... 'It seems like it'd be cool.'
Thor - (whispered) 'What's the difference between Marvel and DC?'
Bat Girl - 'A #1!' ... 'Would be cool to feel like it's a beginning.'
Star Wars graphic novel - 'Ooo' ... 'Ahhh...'
It's official, nerdy has become cool. The thinnest books have become more valuable. Understanding pictures over words means you're just as smart (if not more so). Throw in a malt shop and a Sheldon-esque T-shirt, and you're living a different kind of American Dream. Or is it just nice to talk about something you like with someone who likes it, too?

By the way, anyone a fan of The Maze Runner? (mentioned in last post) I'm tentatively starting book two of three, and... It's just... They always peter out! This is my series theory. (Exception: J.K. Rowling's SEVEN Harry Potters.)

The Hunger Games? Great, right? But the other two? They slowly slid into that chasm of entertainment OCD that makes you finish what you started. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Just too much complexity. Twilight? Too little, especially for an extra movie. Ender's Game? We'll see.

Whatever happened to one-hit-wonders? To Kill a Mockingbird. Black Beauty. Invisible Man. Wuthering Heights. Gone with the Wind. One wonderful hit shouldn't guarantee an author anything but an intern's thoughtful read.

This kind of publishing would be like making the entire basketball team try out each and every year.

But then there's the money. And if I was an author with a contract, I probably might feel differently. hehe

But I'm not. I'm not wondering at what bookstore I'll be doing a reading next week; I'm wondering where I'll be living in three months. And again in a year or so. And again three years after that. But since we don't have a lot of money, this is perfect. Because a sense of adventure is all we have.

I'm realizing it's all any of us have.


*World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department, from The Maze Runner

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Frack

The good holiday is over. When I was little, all I wanted was presents. Now, all I want is good food. (Like stuffing. And cranberry sauce in the shape of a can, right?) Thus, Thanksgiving rocks. But these days all that's left is the concluding wintry month in which I receive metaphorical lumps of coal from Santa, because I'm a pretty selfish girl. Still.

This recent turkey-tofurky-smurfy-whateveryouwannacallit weekend, we travelled the 618 miles to Louisville, Kentucky, to meet up with some other displaced family members due to careers. But I only wanted to do this because these people make me happy and laugh. And I would get to bring Cary's brother home with me. And we could watch The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Battlestar Galactica and start reading The Maze Runner series.

I also wanted to see Louisville. And another '-ville.' Nashville. Where we ate at the corner steak and spaghetti (weird combo to me but Cary doesn't see it) place Demo's and roamed the few short blocks that really are the strip. It was cold, but that didn't keep the doors shut; live music poured onto the sidewalk, and an open air concert with beer tastings was in the middle of it all. We visited a warm Ernest Tubb Record Shop to get Johnny Cash and Elvis compilation albums.

(Getting older isn't so bad for your taste buds...)

In Louisville, we swore we wouldn't even try to imitate the way natives say their town name. Turns out, we didn't ever need to, nor did we hear a soul say "Looavull" once. We hit Churchill Downs. We lost money. (I once again tried to regurgitate to Cary all I had learned from the Seabiscuit book and Secretariat movie.) We hit the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. We got suckered into wanting tiny bats as well as posing in front of the giant one out front. We hit Muhammad Ali's museum. It was cool. But I secretly wished it were Katniss Everdeen's - since Jennifer Lawrence is from there supposedly. Even though this doesn't really make any sense). We ate Cuban. We begged for military discounts everywhere we went. We even got stuffing and jelly cranberry sauce.

The best were the Mammoth Caves. This cave, or series of caves, is the largest in the world if you can believe it. Believe it. This national park encompasses 390 miles of discovered cave. We visited both "ends" and saw Frozen Niagara (not as cool as it sounds) and took a couple mile tour into the main part (way cooler than it sounds). We descended into a gaping black hole the size of a big house that made me so curious about how the original explorers may have reacted to it. Shock? Greed? Not much at all?

Once in the main cavern - this time the size of a Hollywood mansion - Cary said it seemed like a place every Native American tribe leader would meet to make the big decisions.

Uh huh. Uh huh. I could totally see that.

But every time we had a good observation like this, it was dashed by the tour guides' wisdom.

It got short and narrow in one place, just enough to make your panic meter rise a notch. Hmm, perfect. The crickets were kinda like giant spiders. It felt cool and sometimes damp. You could hear water in places, or see it. There were deep crevices. There was a bathroom a mile in.

It felt warmer outside when we resurfaced after a lot of stairs. We walked gingerly across the soapy, spongy mat again to rid our shoes of certain things picked up. A fungus or something is killing the bats somewhere in the nation. (I listen well.) And it could wipe out the thumb size bats that apparently inhabit the cave but don't like to make an appearance for my blog. "Would you want to make your bedroom where people are turning on lights all the time and being noisy?" One of our tour guides kept asking us rhetorical questions like this.

But with the lights out, and the kids in the group as quiet as they could be (which is louder than at any other point on the journey), we got to experience cave darkness and wannabe silence. This was cool.

So... I went the whole day wearing my Mammoth Mountain sweatshirt without getting a single comment on it. What the frack?

Well, that brings me to (as hoped) the fact that I've spent the week breaking from work for mini Battlestar Galactica marathons. This might just be the best show ever. They say 'frack' instead of 'fuck.' Most everything square has the corners chopped off: dog tags, books, papers, computer screens, pictures. It was on the SyFy channel from 2004 to 2009, but it's now available on Netflix streaming, thank the gods (they use the plural).

I crack up, I tear up, I hold my breath. I learn how to say the eff word without really offending anyone and sounding like some kind of muppet. What else do you need?

*     *     *     *

The best of the road trip music in case you need to add a few songs to sugar and spice up your playlists:





WordGirl for Grown-ups

Editors usually get this right, but civilians rarely do.

Incorrect: I honed in on the cute girl.

Correct: I homed in on the cute girl.

Also correct: I honed my flirting skills.

Word of the day: Frack. Yep. Use it. Maybe it'll peak the interest of people who weren't (and still aren't) early sci-fi adopters and didn't do things like read Ender's Game and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when they were 11. This is okay.

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chapter five: SF


dear self, leaving the down jacket in the car does not keep you warm.

yours (literally),

Monday, November 14, 2011

What Would Salander Do?

Courtesy of The Telegraph
Lisbeth wouldn't be caught dead running a race.

Since discovering the Swedish films last year (finally), and the books (again finally) this year, the character Vogue said people say is today's Scarlet O'Hara role has become more than the entertaining protagonist of the Millenium trilogy for me.

She's become someone who makes the activities I do seem kinda pointless.

The girl with the dragon tattoo, who also played with fire and kicked the hornet's nest, makes choices solely based on consequences. Due to her quintessentially fucked up childhood. If it won't get her hurt, institutionalized, or require any pointless socialization or activity, Lisbeth Salander will, well might, do it.

Coffee, Coke, cigarettes, sandwiches. Black. Boots. Mac electronics. These are necessities. Fighting violence against women. Also a necessity. Sex? Any gender will do. Revenge? Serve it frigid. If she's going to splurge, it'll be on a motorcycle, a room with a view, IKEA furniture, or by taking down a serial killer, billion-dollar thief, or sex trade ring leader - also her dad - without anything but a keyboard. Or a nail gun.

So maybe she would consider running the Pensacola half-marathon if she knew it would help her run away from bad people, or chase them down.

Nope, she'll never be a Salander.
However, as I jogged along with some buds on Sunday, I started to feel less and less like a bad-ass and more and more like a sack of pulp with gravel in my joints and ugly black-and-blue toenails. Aw well. At least I can prepare and hope for an ethical foot chase in my future.

Tip: Read each book and chase it with each Swedish movie available via Netflix streaming.

Note: The American version due out this Christmas will not be as good. But go see it anyway despite the slight, but expensive, slap in the face to the Swedes. Director David Fincher made me feel a little better about wanting to see it when he told Vogue this:
"We are walking in other people's footsteps, and we have to be careful." 
That's right you do. Rooney is no Noomi. Daniel no Michael. Despite the looks. But we all still want to see the American interpretation ... Damn it.

PS
Harriet's hair is still not right in the U.S. version. How hard is it to find a black-haired Harriet?!

PPS
Per entertainment, if your'e not watching Homeland, you should be. Showtime On Demand that shit.

WordGirl for Grown-ups

In a world of electronic communication, spelling is easy with spell check but grammar, and thus meaning, sometimes suffers. This doesn't mean that shortened words in text messages and incomplete sentences in e-mails are not okay. They are.

(Especially in blogs, where all rules are your own.)

But a quick read through for clarity, or professionalism, or whatever the intention of the medium is, is even cooler. Your reader will like you more for it. Lisbeth would never turn in a Milton security report in less than perfect form. But I also don't see her spelling out every 'u2' or '&' and adding superfluous commas in a message to a fellow hacker. She would, however, make her point clear - the ark of communication.

Word of the day: Quintessential. Adjective. Representing the most perfect or typical example.

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WHATEVER DOESN'T FIT.

You stub your toe, think I deserve this.
You step lightly for two days, doing ledger work behind those wide, round eyes.
A leaf caught in the fence. Rain against the windowpanes.
You see the sunlight, think it’s a gift. 
You deserve it, after all.
You see your mistakes, think they’re reversible. Think you can do better next time.
You gain some ground, think it’s an accomplishment and not a reprieve.
You’re a pattern maker.
Double stitching disparate elements into something pretty to wear to the funeral.
The event is just the event.
The moment only counts when you’re still living in it.
Don’t connect the dots.

Just eat the berries.

You deserve it.



















I like to do things the same way over and over again. Like how I will always wash my face last in the shower, or take six gulps from the water fountain, or leave before I am left. And maybe it’s because I’m scared, or maybe it’s because I know I will be too reckless. I’ve scraped my knees more times than I can count, but don’t you know that’s how I tell when it’s time to stand back up? My heart hasn’t started beating any slower, and I haven’t gotten any farther than I already am. I’ve cut my hair once or twice and that was change enough for me, and god damn my knees won’t stop bleeding. I read, you know. Vonnegut and Nietzsche and all those other great authors. I couldn’t tell you shit about them or what they said, but I wanted to sound worldly and you wouldn’t guess it but I haven’t read a new book in a year, rather I’ve been reading summaries to make pleasant conversation when silence falls awkwardly at our feet just like my dress on the floor. For christsakes, my knees are dug into the gravel in the same way my nails dig into your skin. I always stick my feet out from under the covers, you know. They just get so god damn hot, and maybe there’s a chance that the stories our parents told were true and the boogeyman exists and he’ll steal you away in the night if you’ve been a bad person. I still have nightmares, and I still can’t visit cemeteries because I don’t belong, and I’m still afraid of getting lost, and I’m so fucking tired of scraping my knees.

Courtesy of BPRMedia
Learn more about the man behind Salander, Stieg Larsson, the author who's best-selling books were published posthumously.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hallows' Eve

29. Bam.

I promised myself I would never be a person who hated telling their age, or never rode amusement park rides. Who wanted birthday celebrations to cease and a magic eraser for the marks of aging. But it's harder than I'd thought. Being perpetually 25 would be nice as rental car companies and In Time suggest. And after spending almost my entire 29th birthday at the Pensacola fair, there are some things I realize I won't be able to fend off becoming.

Like getting motion sick from rides like The Stinger.

But as we near 30, the hus (who's five months younger, damn him) and I can still knock back mystery meat corn dogs, a tower of cheese fries, and two helpings of funnel cake - as well as take to several spinning rides set to pop music - without actually getting sick. But my mind did still wander mom-like to the germs in the fun houses and tempting waste of money that was the giant, 100-and-some-pound rat.

The hus and I can still hear the carny's gravelly, repetitive voice.
"The rat ... The giant rat ... Real and alive." (Heard about 36 times while we waited in line at the bumper cars.)
What was it?! A pig dressed to look like a rat? Was it stuffed? But he said it was alive. Arghhh!!! We mature only so much, I suppose. But against the backdrop of gothic teenagers holding hands and making out - and despite my 15-year-old look tendencies and gift to myself of pink and purple streaked hair - I still felt...29.

Courtesy of Gossip Lover
At midnight tonight, the final day of good ol' birthday month begins. So while I need to save some candy for the bite-sized trick-or-treaters tomorrow night, it'll be a final 24 hours of sugar and scary movies. I'm thinking leftover birthday cake, Sour Punch Straws, and some American Horror Story. There's just something literally positively  thrilling about thinking every mosquito, light flicker, or bump in the night, is something sinister.

Or maybe it's because I never wanted to be a person scared of scary movies.

WordGirl for Grown-ups

I don't know how many times I've proofed something that has as much capitalization in it as sharks off the coast of South Africa. Below are the rules. Pretty short. Fairly easy.
  1. The beginning of a sentence, or line item  =)
  2. A proper noun, or a word derived from a proper noun (e.g. English class)
  3. A person's title - but only when it precedes their name!!
  4. The points on a compass only when referring to a specific region (e.g. We're from the South.)
  5. With everything else, just be consistent, and you'll look grand.

Word of the day: Acquiesce. Verb. To accept something reluctantly but without protest. She acquiesced to receiving a 29th birthday gift from her parents.

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daphnemarie

"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." - Henry Ellis

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Witch Days of Fall

via Tumblr
It's the most wonderful time of the year. Bewitching really. A rebirth. For some of us anyway. For you maybe, think of it as with the leaves falling away, so are the dog days of summer and any bad juju from the year so far.

The onset of autumn means my birthday month does a mashup with Halloween costumes and candy, and zero expectations for cooking meals or mailing holiday gifts or hanging out with anyone who doesn't embrace Oktoberfest, dressing up (or down), and nil responsibility. It's when fall TV comes back with so much gusto I can't take it all in. When the weather isn't all that bad no matter where you are.

To celebrate properly, let's commence with the 2nd Annual ALY (Always Laughably You-Said-It ... I don't know) Fall Entertainment Review, which includes some outliers in the movie category as usual.

Suburgatory
I missed the pilot, since fall premier week for me is like trying to guide a seven-year-old through Disneyland in a logical way. (But anything you missed you can almost always catch online, or on iTunes, thanks to the networks being smart - like maybe you haven't discovered Happy Endings, or how stupid but addicting Revenge is.)

Wulp, Suburgatory follows former Manhattanites Tessa and her dad (surprisingly fine Jeremy Sisto) as they adjust to an extreme (of course) suburban lifestyle. But as long as every other 'extreme' punchline or situation is a funny one, I'm in. Plus, Tessa's embrace of today's smart girl is the new"it" girl adds points.

Her cute ginger-ness also helps.

New Girl
Dark hair, banged (there's really no better way to say that), blue-eyed beauty Zooey Deschanel very nearly pulls off today's second place "it" girl: the awkward/quirky/nerdy one. Most of the time, I believe she's the painful yet humorous nerd chick. But, and I'm not sure it's a bad thing, at least once each ep, she looks like a guy's dream wife...with an Emma Stone voice and Kristin Stewart commentary on life.

Unfortunately, points were taken away from New Girl when Daman Wayans, Jr. left after the pilot.

Up All Night
If you like Will Arnett (Amy Pohler's husband, aww), you should tune in and support. It may not make it otherwise, as neither did Running Wilde despite the DVR love I gave it. But the new show has made me crack up several times - and I'm not ever up all night with a little one. At the start of the last ep, I laughed almost as much as when Howard and Raj from The Big Bang Theory were virtually kissing each other with Howard's long-distance relationship invention.

Dexter
It makes the cut again in 2011, but only as long as it skims the issue of faith and doesn't go too deep. That may sound bad, but faith is just too niche, and they'll alienate people from their fairly wide audience base. Come on, Dex writers, just keep killing people Batman-style and with the usual dose of depth afforded Bruce Wayne.

Courtesy of The Realm Toys
Fright Night
Though this horror flick was released toward summer's end, the 1985 remake found it's way into my heart as cult horror classics sometimes do. For me, Colin Farrell plays the best old school vamp yet. Anton Yelchin, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots (yep), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (even with his small role), and more, make a tight cast. And the cinematography, writing and effects combine to spit out a funny, jumpy blast.


Popcorn and a Coke recommended.


Straw Dogs
This 1971 remake also launched its way to the top of my fave scary movies list. There's nothing supernatural about it, just tension, the appropriate amount of blood and flesh and cursing, legit fighting, and a commentary on southern sociology. Personally, new director Rod Lurie made Sam Peckinpah's original a slam dunk instead of a script that was rape-focused for shock value while the rest droned on. From the opening shots to the lead villain's (ASkars') end, every string links back to the rope, leaving a neatly woven, tightly edited, undeserving-of-its-low-box-office-sales hit.


Food, Inc.
Courtesy of The Amateur Gourmet
This was a Netflix discovery in September. As with most food documentaries, it was an eye opener that made me think or say wow several times.

The air and light tight quarters of chickens; the bullied, crippled cows; and the fact that most of our food is just some form of corn is pretty weird and sad. I could never look at a chicken McNugget or slices of Oscar Meyer sandwich meat the same. I should learn what's grown locally and what each season brings by way of fruit and veggies.

To distract myself from our depressing food situation that everyone should know about, I watched this next movie.


Courtesy of MGD Film Reviews
La Femme Nikita
The original. French. 1990. Directed by Luc Besson (Taken). Not the American remake or two television series that followed. This was the real triple threat. Streetwise, provocative, emotional Nikita. When Nikita nervously but relentlessly completes her first job and escapes by plunging down a trash chute, falling head first into a trash bin, lacking grace and making me giggle, Anne Parillaud won me over more than any other Nikita I've seen.

Plus, I found out Tcheky Karyo (who plays Bob, yep, her mentor at the underground agency of assassins) has the longest IMDB list ever! Seriously, see how long it is! You'll recognize him from so many movies, it's crazy.

To celebrate the evolutionary year prior to *the citizen triple threat that is 30*, let's explore a self-realization of late, shall we...

Given that I spend much of my time indulging, er, researching, the entertainment industry - and even though I consider myself a confident enough person - I'm always amazed when people go (what seems like) out of their way to hang out with me, or us. Huh. Hm. I guess I don't always bore my running buddies to death. I guess we don't always send other couples running for the door and never looking back. Think about this. Who's always asking you to hang out? Who keeps asking you questions about your life? Even after they've maybe seen you trip, puke, or make a fool of yourself politically and/or religiously. No matter who you are, there are people who will like you and want to hang out with you.

For instance, I've heard all kinds of things about Steve Jobs (this Onion article is good). Tough to get along with. Bit of an ego. But besides him being rich and famous, I would still be interested in just talking to him, picking his brain, enjoying his genius. Even someone that rubs you the wrong way in one way, can be so right in another. I was more sad than I had realized I would be when I heard of his passing. Because this is what Steve gave me, someone he never knew or would probably care to know:

Courtesy of Mac Rumors
The first generation iPod - This was something on which my future husband and I listened to Jerry Seinfeld and Bob Marley over and over between classes and on weekends while overseas, twirling that physically spinning dial as we clicked through the vomit green screen. Marvelous. Inventive. On its way.

The all-powerful PowerBook - Again, the future husband (who also owned a white MacBook) and avid Mac follower made me that way by osmosis, (plus, my dad was happy to explore the Apple of his youth); thus the purchase of a silvery, trusty, 12" PowerBook for the rest of my higher education. It served me so well I could cry.

My very own iPod - This one showed me you really can go for a run without listening to your pathetic breathing, or tiring out your arm while carrying a Discman that skips. An invention still on its way.

The Shuffle - This itsy-bitsy breakthrough was pure bliss. I no longer had to sag my shorts some with the weight of an iPod, or wedge the latter into my sports bra and risk water contamination. Easy, discrete tunes. Purposeful, simple and lasting. Mac to the core. It has gotten me through hundreds of snail-paced (but nonetheless) miles.

The MacBook - As a family unit now, we own a MacBook. (And a Boot Camp running Mac Mini - which is great if you like small, pretty, multi-tasking stuff, as Mac users often do.) We remain thrilled consumers. These computers are reliable and mobile enough to see me through pages and pages. My own helicopter.

iPhones - The latest Mac purchases for our family are what users worldwide have found to be their necessary electronic. A phone, GPS, iPod, notepad, learner's and gamer's dream. A big resource in compact form. Legendary. Like Steve.

Steve Jobs
1955-2011
The last American who knew what the fuck he was doing -The Onion
Now go eat an apple and appreciate good electronics and good friends.

The other day, I hooked my precious iPhone up to my car stereo to enjoy some Foster the People and Band of Horses while I also enjoyed settling a chicken McNuggets craving. Oh. Umm... But it made the two shots I got feel better. One flu. One tetanus. One in each arm. Ridiculously sore. Ridiculous idea. Each chicken McNugget I lift, I feel it. But no one is around to hear me complain. Unlike now.

WordGirl for Grown-ups

Do not end a sentence in a preposition.

WRONG:

Where's the party at?

RIGHT:

Where's the party at, bitch?

Just kidding, but you get the idea, (like I did from a greeting card).

WRONG:

Where are you at?

RIGHT:

Where are you? (Don't be repetitive!)

Word of the day: Quixotic. Adjective. Exceedingly idealist. Use it. You'll start hearing it everywhere and realize how you've just been shutting out words you don't know.

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She had realized that it was foolish of her to ever have expected him to love her as she loved him, simply because he was incapable of loving anyone like she loved him. As a matter of fact, most people were incapable of loving someone like she could love, and by now she has lived enough to realize that. But it has only dawned on her today. (Original source)

"that kid's been workin hard."

FOOTNOTE

*The citizen triple threat that is 30*

  1. No more excuses for not actually doing what you want to do in life
  2. No more feeling physically less than awesome - that body is uniquely yours and your greatest tool no matter what the hell you do, or don't do, with it
  3. No more feeling like you have to settle or grow up - you can stay Peter Pan forever as long as you remember to take a multivitamin and walks, feed your pets and/or children, and pay your bills; that's it

Friday, September 23, 2011

M5 Alive

[whisper] Vroom, vroom.

I usually pick up the Kindle when the hus turns on Top Gear. But every now and then, I get pulled in by a joke made funnier by a British accent, or an especially creative battle of American cars. Let's just say I've tuned in enough, and respect the hus enough - as well as the other men in my family - to appreciate a good car when I see one. Or get the chance to drive one.

[whisper] Vroom, vroom.

Nope, that's not a Mazda from its cute commercial, interrupting my self-deprecating blogging - that's my big brother's M5 beckoning me back to Washington state. Though he's had the BMW since grad school, the stars aligned only recently for me to slip behind the wheel and into the leathery smelling dome of the silver, 2001 model.

Courtesy of an MBWorld discussion forum
Besides a jittery couple stints in second gear (which my dad reassured me he's had as well), the five-speed (or stick shift - fact for dummies like me: these terms are interchangeable), treated me like a cowboy's well-trained horse, responding to my every movement. I left my brother's neighborhood, driving gingerly, getting the feel of the "poppy" clutch, gears that click in to place like fun-to-push buttons, and brakes definitely in better condition than my own car's. As I boarded (yep) the freeway, the onramp was short, reinforcing my #1 reason for why fast cars are safer. I accelerated, realizing how 70 feels like 90 in our used Toyotas, and how that same MPH feels like 40 with the longtime manufacturer of German engine bad-ass-ness.

I was on my way to meet up with someone but started pondering, what after?

I'll have a few hours before the next family/friends activity. I should just drive. I should just drive the way to Mount St. Helen's. One of my favorite places in one of my now fave cars. I never knew driving could be this much fun! Weee... I should find something else besides Your Story Hour to listen to? Hm, it is relaxing. But I need ... Okay, this'll do. U2. Man, I could get used to this. No more brake-chattering 4Runner, or stiff-sticked (that's what she said) Tacoma pick-up. Life would probably just unfold more easily for me. People would want to turn my blog into a book. Then a movie. Featuring ZooeyD and ASkars, and directed by Sophia Coppola. Then I could trick some house into publishing a mediocre book of mine. Then I could afford to buy the hus his own dream car to keep him entertained while I'm on a book tour. That only tours Paris.

Before I exit the freeway and my daydream, I accelerate one more time and feel the car hold me in my black, slippery seat, seatbelt tight, hands easily gripping the wheel and stick shift that will beckon me once I leave the land of pine trees and country roads and return to Pensacola. SIGH

It feels good to feel alive like that. If only more commercials for female consumers played on that. Women seem a careful kind of pathetic. Wanting both good car engines and good makeup. Romance, not sap. (Like I've said), just-not-cardboard tampons and sweet-smelling shampoo - not white pants in a mosh pit and vaseline-smeared tresses. Chick flicks and lit with plot. Inventions that will remove the fast food smell from your car, blow our your hair like the stylist does, and trim your own bangs. Cures for cystic acne, breast cancer, and why not, testicular cancer. We want, at least I want, the reality of good engines and good makeup alike.

Don't give me this:



Give me this:



Let these women write more of our entertainment. Let me. JUST KIDDING
Courtesy of The New York Times
{Great article - yep, that's Juno's Oscar-winning Diablo Cody and
New Girl writer and real life new girl Liz Meriwether}
























In honor of my wish to be like the above ladies, I'm introducing a new Side of Honeydew feature called WordGirl for Grown-ups, even though the cartoon can be enjoyed by anyone over age 11, too. The concluding blurb will hopefully sometimes teach you something you didn't know regarding definitions or grammar. And thus help you not seem like an idiot. Because I often do until my co-freelancers or weirdly grammar-smart hus correct me. If you don't want to learn anything new today, that's okay - scroll to the end, and your treat for reading this post will be something cool via my friend's Tumblr.

Oh, and feel free to submit your own tips or tumbles, especially call out my mistakes. =)

And yes, it's Friday night, and I'm blogging. Because until I become rich and famous (so, never), I'll stay home and blog while my husband hovers over the earth on fun and exciting helicopter trips to everywhere but here.

[whisper] Vroom, vroom.

WordGirl for Grown-ups

How to speak, or write, correctly about your plural possession of something (read on; it'll make more sense)

Please commit this to memory and take the time in conversation to practice it, because it's messed up all the time on reality TV shows, and it makes me wanna throw the remote at my beautiful television. Tsk, tsk.

WRONG:

Cary and I's beamer. (AKA BMW)

RIGHT:

Cary's and my beamer.

Hint - You should be able to remove either subject, and the sentence will still make sense. Also, just like in another aspect of good grammar, the person who's not you should be referenced first. How polite, right?

Tumblr Treat

Quotes of the Day

“It’s never too early for pub mix… or to be at a pub.”

In response to me [Erin] asking if someone was ok, “Yes, it was just a strange dream-to-reality transition this morning.”

“Careful with that - it’s a man tool.”  (It was a new razor blade)

“When I saw your sweatshirt on the ground, I thought someone had poured water on you.”

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thank You

Words are not enough.


Anja Niedringhaus, The Associated Press

August 5, 2011 and June 28, 2005, and moment after moment after moment of deserving silence since September 11, 2001. We are war-weary, yet our soldiers keep volunteering and our civilians keep building taller buildings 10 years over.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Little Piggy with the Low IQ Goes to Market

Courtesy of The Movie Database
The other night, I lied (laid? eff!) awake, thoughts reeling and body edges restless. I was trying to save the final chapter of the book I was reading for the beach (the female protagonist had just died anyway), and when I went out to watch TV, nothing was on. 'Cept The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Which is great, but it wasn't in HD, so I pouted while watching.

I was still restless with a lack of writing inspiration, and I longed to just jump into the story with Arthur, Trillian, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Marvin the depressed but oh-so-cute robot. Adventure...with a British accent ... This is what I needed.
"Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with."
Courtesy of Sharp Pen/Dull Sword
I'd settle for a summer in Paris in a crap flat instead of a spaceship and alien worlds. Heck, I'd settle for weekly shopping trips to the higher-scale Florida grocery store Publix instead of Walmart. But since it was nearing 2 a.m., I instead started pondering if I was anywhere near smart or creative enough to come up with a plot like in 'Hitchhiker's.'

So, I leaned from the couch to precariously grab the laptop off the coffee table with one hand and its T-rex-weak arm and did a complimentary, online IQ test. Yup. 38 questions, distracted just barely once or twice by a comment like this:
"On the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins, because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons."
Or this:

"I refuse to answer that question, on the grounds that I don't know the answer," says Zaphod.

Or this:
Marvin: "I am at a rough estimate 30 billion times more intelligent than you. Let me give you an example. Think of a number, any number." Zem: "Er, five." Marvin: "Wrong. You see?"
Courtesy of Wikipedia
[Wait, maybe being smart isn't that big of a deal, I think. Cleverness seems to be. Aren't those related though? Why don't I know that?!]

I eventually clicked SUBMIT.

I checked my e-mail for my results. Things start to jump out at me from the screen. Credit card information? $9.99? That'll tell you my IQ right there. What was I thinking...Hadn't I done this before? Found a Web site, answered quizzy questions, opened my e-mail, checked, sighed, deleted. Oh just settle for the toothpick test, Al. (However, I don't think I can do that either.) Maybe just using toothpicks after meals means you have a decent IQ. Maybe just knowing that as you get older, you need to make sure your teeth are food free, lipstick isn't smeared on them, and that you don't clear your throat a zillion times after a meal if you're around people. Maybe just operating like a decent human being means your brain is decent enough. Just not for novel writing. Shiat.

Courtesy of Smart Couponing
So, I went on a Publix adventure the next day.

Justification: It was on our way home more than Walmart. And we thought it would be fun. We climb out of the car and see slender, stylish people moving through the parking lot as we grab a cart and make our way, too. I pull on my sweatshirt, because while it's hot though stormy here lately, insides are pumped full of AC.

"Warm enough there, girl?" a man asks me as we enter.

"No."

We meander through the bakery, deli and produce as well as each and every soothingly-lit aisle. I use the excuse that I don't know where anything is, but really, I just wanna see what yummy foods, fun packaging, and organics await my careful plucking.

Courtesy of the blog True Wild Life
Eventually, our basket is full of prettier generic boxes and bags, and new (to us) kinds of fresh fruit (despite our fridge being broken and living out of ice chests for 6 days - I must say, my hands begged to fall off after digging around for 15 seconds at a time for a single stick of string cheese or cup o' yogurt - how do penguins and the like do it? But the new fridge is here. The ice chests gone. The trips to super-cheap Twice-the-Ice dispensers over. Sniff? Nah.)

We now manually motor up to one of the several minimally-lined check-outs. We're rung up, bagged, and rolling out to the car in such a short amount of time, and by seemingly truly happy people - healthier and almost overly helpful - that we don't know what to do with all the extra time in our evening.

Courtesy of the blog hitchhikers guide to jms
The receipt is substantially larger ($160 for a volume that usually costs us around $120). But I just wanna be more like the couple that had been leaving the store as we entered. The grown up skater boy and girl with the hipster outfit and salon hair, packing groceries into a Subaru. Hm. Enough saving for these things it is. I'll save Publix for when I need to avoid thinking about my IQ.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wanted: User-Friendly Best Friend

On a good day, I'm a glass half full girl.

So, I'll begin with what I have.

I have childhood best friends. The people who know your 11-year-old self as much as your 28-year-old one. They sat by you at lunch and slept over on weekends. They made you laugh so hard you peed. They stuck up for you. You fought, you made up, you leaned on each other when you got dumped, or were worried about something especially big. You stay in touch in any way you can, because you can't imagine not.

I have college roommates. Friends from a year abroad, or who was just as excited as you about going from dorm to off-campus living. You may not stay in touch as much, but if you do, or see each other, you don't miss a beat.

I have siblings. Sweet, brilliant ones. Ones who give sincere hugs and ask sincere questions. Who are doing amazing, impressive things across the country.
Sigh, (Can you see what I'm getting at?).

I have a good mom. And dad. And like good moms and dads, they are my parents before my friends.

I have former co-workers. Who do a fairly spiffy job of keeping the conversations alive. Random text messages about good books and movies. Now and then birthday presents of jelly beans and funny cards. Even willing to meet up for sushi when I pass through their sunny parts of California.

I have two consistent e-mail buddies, another introvert and another writer. Some days, this is perfect. Being content to be a freelance writer means I usually adore being left alone all day. But not all the time. And when I'm somewhere in-between, rehashing the best quips from the previous night's 30 Rock, or encouraging words about zany novel-ing, is just what I need.

I'm a military wife. And just a wife. So, there's always a nice, little conduit to female companionship there. Be it Cary's best friend's wife. Be it the wives, girlfriends, or fiances of aviators. Be it a kick-ass aviatrix herself. And of course, there's always the mass e-mail about "lunch bunches" and "game nights," invitations to baby showers and teas. And while everyone understands we're all in need of local pals, we're all just passing through. Especially during training.

I have a husband who is my best friend. This zaps all feelings of isolation 99.9% of the time. But even a gay guy ... There are some things male buddies just don't get. Never mind, I would gladly accept applications for a GBF TODAY.

And I have a dog who's my best friend when my husband is in the dog house.
(The cat doesn't count since she bites.)

Courtesy of eMovingStorage
What I don't have is what I've come to title as a
'user-friendly best friend, will travel, clone-like.'
Sadly, I realized advertising for one on Craigslist might lead to my grissly murder by an Apple computer/Vanilla Sky lover. Best friends only come in the form of friendship bracelets and other jewelry via Ebay. And 222 Facebook acquaintances, and Twitter followers who un-follow me as quickly as they follow me, don't count.

Maybe it's all the friendship-themed books I've read lately. I want Ron, Hermione and Harry always nearby and ready to make me laugh or help me with something. I want Minny, Skeeter and Aibileen. I want a bond like Princess Lissa and Rose Hathaway have. (Well, maybe without the ghosts and insanity.) But I'll be moving every few years of most of my life now. So, in every place, I'm holding open auditions internally for a BF. Because my childhood friends, family, and even latest and greatest buds, no matter how tiny or flexible, won't fit in my suitcase. (And they have lives in case you were like, hey, just throw them in the moving truck; they're not bigger than a couch.) Thus, I have to resort to this:

The Internal Examiner
Classifieds section
Naval aviator wife seeks user-friendly best friend 
Courtesy of Sony Pictures
Military knowledge not necessary, just super easy-going personality. In fact, zero aircraft talk a plus. No babies yet. Likes animals. Would love to travel to places like Japan, Guam, Hawaii, San Diego, Virginia, Florida, Washington D.C., Europe, and other places including the Eastern seaboard. Always writes and calls back or explains why not. Book and movie buff to no end. Chocolate and wine fan. Comic book fan. A nice blend of agreeable and opinionated. Can talk sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. Or pop. Someone I don't have to pretend around that I don't know the names of almost every movie or TV star you'll ever try to think of, and that I haven't actually finished a show's entire season in one workday. Knows laughter is the best medicine.
Thinking more long-term? Consider baby back-packing. Where we stuff our little ones into Baby Bjorns and do things like walk on the Great Wall of China and tour volcanos.
It's a tall order, I know. But I'll make it worth your while. 
Note: Will give rides to airport but complain about it, so I don't feel guilty when I do. 

*     *     *     *     *

"So," Cary says, "You basically want an Aly clone."

"Yeah. Basically ... But better. The 2.0 version."

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why Fear is My Wish

I have a friend who has a Tumblr. And while this micro-blogging site still first brings to mind patio cups, it's the only place I go regularly to get inspired by its cryptic text, true beauty images and soulful Shuffle ideas. She strikes me as private, so I won't share the link directly. But maybe she'll read this sometime and share it with you melon ball lovers in a comment. If you're lucky, you'll get a link to her Frisco-dedicated tumble as well. If I'm lucky, she won't loathe me for plagiarizing the most beautiful of them all. To me. Of late. Because people who read windy blogs deserve to be cryptically inspired, too.

Sometimes we discuss posts over e-mail, but usually I admire and feel better in silence. She did explain to me one time how Freud had a theory about fear being our wish. Hm. [ponder]

Our thoughts and feelings intertwine here.



Courtesy of Elizabeth Miervaldis
all men should strive
to learn before they die
what they are running from and to and why

--James Thurber



Fuck what they think. ~Cheynesaw




{paraphrased} Especially while naked, appreciate flaws, struggles, substances, athletics and overall strength. Scars, weird teeth, mistakes, pills. Every curve, every scream of protest. Thank these things. Maybe above all else for women.


RIP Jasper

you are the first and only cat i’ve met since moving to this city.  when i couldn’t tell if these new people liked me, i knew that you did and it made things better in a small but significant way.  those boys loved you so much, even if they were annoyed with your cries for attention in the early morning hours.  you just wanted to be with them.  you just wanted to be loved.  it’s all anyone really wants.  jasper, you will be missed.  i hope you get all the cat food and head scratches you want in heaven.


"And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened." --Douglas Coupland, source


How do we engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion and connection we need to embrace our imperfections and recognize we are enough - we are worthy of love, belonging and joy? ... Love with your whole heart, even though there’s no guarantee. --Questions posed by Dr. BrenĂ© Brown, Wholeheartedness researcher and professor at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work


Courtesy via snafubar
"We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and - in spite of True Romance magazines - we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely - at least, not all the time - but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness." --Hunter S. Thompson, source


'It was a girl’s face, but she’d stopped being a girl when he wasn’t watching.'

- A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan


“I think the point is that 'skinny' girls are 'allowed' to feel beautiful 100% of the time, no questions asked, no justification needed ... However, if someone who wears a size 8 or 6 or 4 were to say “I look alright,” it would be met with “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN, YOU LOOK FANTASTIC!” in almost any circle. 'Skinny' women are given permission to feel beautiful every day of their lives, while anyone outside the socially defined realm of 'skinny' has to fucking fight for it (both 'way too skinny' and 'too fat' alike). After a couple decades of hating myself, I’ve realized just how fucked that actually is." --Emily and Paper Tiger


"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea." --Isak Dinesen, source


Even source text or the like can be inspiring. Like forest milk. Or, Je suis perdu. Unhappy hipsters. Internerd. Boy wonder. Even Instagram.


Courtesy via Ronocklats-


E: not even coffee is making me happy today.

R: did you forget to put the whiskey in it?



(Taste of Frisco tumble:)

me: i still don't know about the summers here. i don't know if i can handle the lack of sun and heat.

him: there have been a couple nice days.

me: yeah, like four.

him: hope you enjoyed them! that's your summer!


It's people like Her who make me realize the best artists aren't super-human but perfectly human. Who drink bourbon because they like it. Who don't lie about how many cupcakes they ate. Who thinks of pairing things like the best (researched) peanut butter and Costco tortilla chips - and then shares that information. Who can smoke one cigarette. Who can take leaps of faith. Who can run fast or slow. Who can dislike marriage and babies but love yours. Who texts back. Who texts first. Who sees the beauty in small, random gifts. Who sees that work isn't everything. Who knows the perfect place for a tattoo. Who sees one man many ways. That a career can be a hobby. That family is worth it in the end. That you can disagree agreeably. That nothing is so serious.


Her latest music worth finding:

Nada Surf, Inside of Love; and Blankest Year
Tears for Fears, Break It Down Again
Handsome Furs, Repatriated
Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues; and Montezuma
The National, Terrible Love
Frightened Rabbit, Swim Until You Can't See Land
Bon Iver, Your Love
Death Cab for Cutie, Tiny Vessels
The Ravonettes, I Wanna Be Adored
Intro, The XX
Kate Nash, Kiss that Grrrl
Old Crow Medicine Show, Wagon Wheel
The Cars, Since You're Gone
Phantogram, When I'm Small
Neko Case, Middle Cyclone


P.S.
The brothers Followill will be missed from the limelight.


Courtesy via litmusound

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Always On, Slightly Off

The Independent Film Channel (IFC) mantra is cool. That's it. Just wanted to share that. Other things worth sharing are below. Well, I'll let you be the judge of that.

Courtesy of Zimbio
(Read on to see why the Kings
wanted to pose for Side of Honeydew.)
While watching IFC, I spotted that the movie Apocolypto would be airing soon. Hadn't seen it. Hit record. We watched it on and off over the next few days, flipping back and forth between it and a streaming Gone With the Wind (1939!). Those evenings, we were held by the action of the Mayans, and remembrance of how miserable Scarlet et al's lives really were. The movies were very different in their suspense (ah suspense; can I get an amen?). But both packed a survival punch. Whether racing through the forest Dangerous Game style, or getting the preggers Miss Melanie to safety. The subtitles and old-ness disappeared. (Well, a movie intermission was weird. And Mel was always in the back of my mind.) But watch both if you haven't already. And if you like Apocolypto, you'll love the book Rescue of Broken Arrow. Well, I did in 5th grade, and the flick reminded me of it.

A visit to the Gulf Breeze Zoo here in Florida also made for some good movie-making. Come on, give a watch or two - you have to admit those goats are adorable. Sadly, we emptied our sizable cup of animal jelly beans while walking the paths of this surprisingly large and interesting zoo for being set on a small strip of land extending into the Gulf of Mexico.







There were peacocks roaming around - about which the hus called out, "Um, these guys are out" - a seriously roaring lion, a tiger that really wanted to be a house cat (rolling around all kitty style), tiny monkeys with even tinier, almost indiscernible baby monkeys on their backs, crazy-eyed ostriches, the biggest, bumpiest turtle I've ever seen, a huge alligator (finally, yay, but doesn't count, 'cause it wasn't in the wild, boo), an enormous gorilla park, which was really quite beautiful and Jurassic-Park-like (we mainly saw regular looking monkeys but did get a 20-second glimpse of a flippin' miniature King Kong strolling through his lush, very green, moat-surrounded kingdom, touting his silvery butt before disappearing into the mist - ha!), and camels - which were the absolute best part. Because this ginormous animal from Bethlehem just came right over to Cary and finished off his feed cup. Tip: Go see them first. Start toward the right! The right!

Okay, one more animal movie. Or two. Dolphins!!! You have to be careful though - because did you know dolphins kill more humans than sharks? Just kidding. (Shout-out to Cody) FYI, Shark Week is this week.





(And some playful, only slightly boring zoo bear cubs are at www.youtube.com/alylawson.)

Courtesy of Good Lawd!
If home movies aren't your thing, maybe you need some solid television to sate your entertainment appetite. Right now, I'm promoting Showtime's United States of Tara. A) It was created and is sometimes written by Diablo Cody, who I have to restrain myself from being sickeningly jealous of for winning an Oscar for writing Juno and being young, successful, and having a kick-ass name. B) Toni Collette usually rocks in acting. C) It rocks - all the personalities (Buck and Gimme especially), the kids (Marsh and Kate), the sister Charmaine, her funny, rolly polly guy and baby daughter Wheels, and of course the super cute and wonderful husband and super perfect script.

But between Tara, the recent Ironman competition, the one-legged wrestler who took the national championship this year (we salute you, Anthony Robles), and our sad but brave loss to underdog? Japan in the U.S. women's World Cup, I need to dry my eyes. So, I snagged tickets to a Kings of Leon concert. It was everything I hoped it would be, pot smell and all.

The hus does his first helo flight tomorrow, so wish him luck on his hovering. It will be bigger than this. But maybe not bigger than this toad. Unfortunately, hopping down the road, he was slightly off.