Monday, July 26, 2010

The Bald Psycho aka Evil Dr. Porkchop aka Dad

My dad loves nicknames.

It really started with my second cousin, Brooke.  My dad used to call her Brook Trout, then just Trout.  She would get upset and start loudly insisting, "MY NAME IS NOT TROUT.  MY NAME IS BROOKE, AND I AM NOT A FISH."

Of course, my dad would just look at her and respond, "Whatever you say, Brook Trout."

All the other little kids in our big extended family soon got nicknames.  There's Mouse, Monkeyboy (who actually is rather proud of his nickname), and Cowbell or Bananaslug.

For a time, my dad was known as The Bald Psycho.  This was more of an accidental nickname rather than one purposely chosen.  We were vacationing in Florida with our extended family.  One of my aunts has a boat, and we were discussing bringing the boat up to shore near a bald cypress tree.  A little cousin was listening to us discuss this and wondered out loud why were talking about his uncle that way.  Turns out when he was listening to us talk about the "bald cypress", he was hearing "bald psycho".

And of course he assumed we were talking about my father.

A bunch of my family came to visit us this weekend and the kids decided to plan a nickname counter-strike against my father.  Trout, Mouse, Monkeyboy, and Bananaslug would not take the abuse anymore!  They put their twelve hour car trip to good use to make a difficult decision:  what to call their uncle.

The moniker "Chicken Nugget" was discussed and discarded.  The next idea was "Porkchop" but that wasn't quite right.  All of the kids had recently seen Toy Story 3, so Porkchop naturally turned into....


Okay, so he doesn't look particularly evil.  Nor is he a doctor unless you count the juris doctorate.

But fits.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The only things I have ever stolen are books.

I never went through the teenage stage of shoplifting and petty theft.  I never stole cosmetics, clothes, or alcohol.  Unlike my younger brother, I have never stole a shark's head or a variety of flags from different countries (but that is a story for another time.)

In college, I studied abroad in Western Australia for six months.  One of the first things I did when I got there was locate the closest libraries.  I have to have a constant supply of novels and fiction to remain sane and happy.

Besides the nearby public library, my dorm had a tiny little library room.  These books were cast-offs, uncatalogued and unattended.  You checked them out on the honors system by removing the index card from the back and leaving it in a box by the door.

Before I left Australia, I stole about seven novels.  I barely felt a twinge of guilt.  In their place, I left behind the books I had accumulated in the six months.  It was more than a fair trade.  I gave some best sellers in wonderful condition and took away books that had been last checked out over twelve years ago (according to the index card tucked in the cover.)

One of the problems was that books are heavy.  And I carried them all with me in my backpack.  So in order to made room for the souvenirs and knick-knacks of three weeks of traveling, I decided to turn the books into gifts for strangers.

It wasn't difficult.  Every time I finished a book, I found a clever hiding spot where someone might spot the book.  I hoped that each one would be picked up, brought home, read, and loved.  

I left one at a train station in Adelaide, nearby the PacMan machine that I played for an hour while I waited for my train to leave.  Another I placed on a park bench near the Sydney Opera House.  I left them in Fiji hostels, where I imagined tourists picking them up and bringing them to along to a new home, on the other side of Australia, in New Zealand, in Great Britain.  The last novel I left in the LAX airport, wondering if someone would marvel at the "PROPERTY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA" stamp and realize how far the book had traveled.

I judged my reading habits well.  I had only one book left over at the end of my journey, the one I chose just in case I needed something that would take me awhile to get through.  I actually still have it and I still haven't read it.  It's Shogun by James Clavell.

I have never stolen anything since then, books or anything else.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

List of Five Things Going on in My Life

1)  Batman is taking the Missouri Bar Exam in nine days.  This means that I don't really have a husband for a week and a half.  I have a grouchy, Red-bull drinking, permanently-attached-to-a-study-guide person who sometimes is in bed when I wake up.

He's been studying at Borders to cut down on the distractions.  Apparently interrupting him to show him a video of kittens being cute, I mean really cute, like baby-panda-bear-sneezing level of cute, is an unnecessary distraction.  He and I must have completely different definitions of "necessary".

2)  I'm creating a Lorax-themed toybox.  I bought an old wooden toybox from a garage sale about ten years ago and I found in the garage recently.

I've primed it, drawn the pictures on, and now I just have to paint it.  It's awesome.  One of my hidden talents is that I can reproduce cartoons perfectly.  This made me very cool for about three days in sixth grade when everyone wanted me to draw them a picture of the Simba from the Lion King.

ONLY YOU CAN SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT.  No pressure or anything.  Except if you don't all the bears and fish and birds will die horrible drawn-out deaths.

3)  My family is going to Cozumel in two weeks.  I can't wait.  Batman will have just taken the bar exam and so it'll be lovely to be able to kick back and relax.

One thing we're going to do is go SCUBA diving.  Everyone in my family except my sister-in-law is SCUBA certified.  This sounds like fun, right?  Well, kind of.

My step-mom is certified but she only did it because she said she would if everyone else does.  Peer pressure is nothing compared to family pressure.  I get the feeling that she doesn't really like diving and now that she knows everything that could possibly go wrong, she doesn't want any of her children anywhere near the water.

She wants us to watch a refresher DVD before we go.  And practice in the pool before we leave.  And practice in the pool when we get there.  And never get farther away than five feet from the dive master when we go down.  And she'd prefer if we never actually SCUBA dived. 

She's taken to randomly quizzing us about potential SCUBA-related disasters.  We'll be eating dinner and suddenly she'll ask "Quick, what do you do if your regulator comes out of your mouth?  What if your secondary regulator isn't working?  WHAT IF YOUR DIVE BUDDY ISN'T PAYING ATTENTION?"

She's a bit of a worrier.

4)  I have two interviews coming up in the next two weeks.   Yes, I'm that awesome.  Now if only I could convince the interviewers of that fact...

5)  My friend Crystal just moved back to the St. Louis area.  We've known each other since high school and we were roommates for a year in college.  It's awesome to be back in the same city with her.

She just got engaged and I've nominated myself to be her unofficial wedding planner.  I like making lists, I have plenty of free time, I enjoy shopping, and I have tons of opinions---I'm perfect for the job.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I'm kind of dumb when it comes to fashion trends. 

It took me several years to embrace the pointed-toe on heels.  I made fun of them (they look like witch shoes!) until they became so prevalent that I broke down and bought a few pairs, a couple of years after they went out of style.  Same with the skinny jean which I looked decent in until I had Mo-mo and failed to lose those cough cough 20 cough cough extra pounds.

My sense of style used to run towards flip-flops, jeans, and graphic tees.  Right before I started graduate school, I had a serious epiphany.  I realized that I needed to grow up and quit dressing like a teenager.  So now I wear solid colored shirts, jeans, and flip-flops!  I HAVE MATURED! (hahahahaha no.  Now I just look boring.)

I like to think that I have good fashion sense but everyone thinks that.  Even the poor people on What Not To Wear think they have fashion sense.  But it's a fringed jean-jacket with puffy paint!  It can never go out of style!  That's totally untrue unless the puffy paint is black because black never goes out of style.  It's classic.

If I have to be perfectly honest with myself, I don't have great fashion sense.  I love tacky.  I'm immediately drawn to things like brightly-colored cowboy boots (I have a pair in red and lavender), paisley in turquoise and orange combination, and shiny things.  I choose my clothing with the same forethought and planning as a raccoon with ADD.

 I'm prettyyyyyyyyyy!

One of the goofier reasons that I am looking forward to going back to work is for the clothes.  I can rock a suit.  I look awesome in suits.  They make me feel powerful, as if I'm going to make a lackey fetch me a latte and then I'll fire some people.  I've tried to recapture those feelings recently but it hasn't turned out to well.

(Note to self:  Batman does not like being referred to as a lackey.  Nor do the cats respond when I tell them that they are fired.)

Most recent fashion purchase I've been pondering is Spanx.  It's not a girdle, it's a slimmer!  (i.e. it's a spandex girdle).  I'm kind of afraid that I'd wear one and everyone would tell me how good I looked and then I'd have to wear one at all times or everyone would think that I just was gaining weight.

I was looking at them at Dillard's and apparently now one set of Spanx isn't enough, you need to layer them for maximum fat-suckage.  So you double or even triple layer your Spanx.  I fear that this trend will continue until everyone is wearing 15 or so layers of Spanx under their clothes and their belly flab has migrated up to their neck and it'll look like they have a grotesque turkey gizzard.  Don't laugh, it's going to happen.  After all, they even have Spanx for men now (aka a "mirdle"). 

So how about it, ladies?  Do you love your Spanx?  (ew, that sounds dirty.)  Feel free to weigh in with a comment.  Men, would you ever wear man-Spanx? 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

10 Books I read in June. Or maybe May.

I didn't write one of these entries last month because I read only about four books in May. I know, I'm such a slacker. Between moving and graduating I didn't have as much free time as I normally do.

My stepmother even told me she was worried about me because I wasn't reading as much as I usually do.

Enough about my nerdy the books!

1.  The Devil in the Junior League, A Novel by Linda Francis Lee

The Devil in the Junior League, A Novel

This book reminded me of a grown-up version of the movie Clueless-- I almost hope that they turn it into a movie.  It's about perfect, fantastic, rich Frede, a woman trying to hire the best lawyer in town for her messy divorce.  He refuses to accept her case unless she agrees to try to get his loud and gaudy wife into the Junior League.  It's fast paced, a bit silly, very southern, but overall tons of fun.

2. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: A Novel (Hardcover)

I can't quite decide if I liked this book.

It's a very fast read.  The tone is conversational, told from the point of view of a Pakistani man talking to a nervous American visitor.  You learn this Pakistani man's life story, you come to like him for the most part, and in the end you find out he may be a terrorist.  I think what bothered me is the superficial treatment of some of the more important aspects of terrorism.  The main character never talks about God or religion and some of his antagonistic feelings towards the U.S. are mentioned but not really fully explained.  The writing style is beautifully poetic at times.       

The Bad Mother's Handbook: A Novel

Another chick-lit book.  This one was also fun and well-written.  Set in Britain, it's about three generations of women living under one roof together.  There's the grandmother who is having issues remembering things, the middle-aged mother doing her best with a crappy job and getting frustrated with having to take care of everyone, and the angsty teenager who finds herself pregnant.  One of the best parts is that a man doesn't sweep into their lives and make everything better--the three learn to get along by themselves.

Curse of the Spellmans: A Novel

This is the sequel to "The Spellman Files" that I read a couple of months ago.  This one is equally as good as the first one (something that is pretty rare!).  It's also told in flashblack style as the main character describes the last few months to her defense lawyer.  She's an interesting character, a private detective from a family of private detectives and her insatiable curiosity and paranoia tend to get her in trouble in life. 

Terrier (The Legend of Beka Cooper, Book 1) 

I like Tamora Pierce books.  She writes teen fantasy fiction and I'm a bit surprised her stuff isn't more popular or well known.  All of her books are centered around the kingdom of Tortall--the subject matter and style remind me a bit of Mercedes Lackey but without the cloying self-righteousness.  She's written two series about different lady knights, one about a half-god girl who can talk to animals, and one about a spymaster's daughter.  

This particular series is set several hundred years before the others and deals with a young "Dog" (policeman/woman) who is training in the worst section of town.  It's written as her diary.  Something that may bother some people is that it has a lot of created slang, but it's done quite well so it didn't bother me.   

6. Bullet (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Bullet (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)  
Not as bad as "Flirt".  This really was one of her better recent novels except for the fact that Richard decides to drop every single sexual preference (or hang-up, if you want to call it that) that ever defined him as a character.

Laurell K. Hamilton is starting on the Dragonball Z effect.  Bear with me:  This is where authors/creators can't think of anything new for their characters to fight so every conflict starts to get larger and larger and larger until the character is just ridiculously powerful.  My bet is that Anita is going to cause a mass orgasm of every single person on the planet at some point with her "magic". 

Uggggggh.  I get so annoyed thinking about this series.  Anita Blake was a strong, independent woman who could kick butt and take names.  Now she's clingy, needy, and only powerful because of her sex magic.  I know I should just stop reading them but this used to be one of my favorite series, and old habits are hard to break.

7. Horizon (The Sharing Knife, Book 4)  by Lois McMaster Bujold

Horizon (The Sharing Knife, Book 4) 

This is the only re-read I included on the list.  I like this series by Bujold (one of my favorite authors).  My dad does not, he thinks it's too girly.  It's a fantasy series set in an pioneer type place, where two types of people, farmers and "Lakewalkers" (a bit Native Americanish) reside.  Lakewalkers have different magics that allow them to kill the harmful creatures called malices, while farmers mostly are unaware.  Of course, a farmer girl and a Lakewalker fall in love and try and create a new path for the two types of people, going against convention, et cetera et cetera.  While not my favorite series by this author, it's still pretty enjoyable.  The plot usually revolves around a journey with a large fight towards the end, rather than the political intrigues of her other series. 

The Double Comfort Safari Club (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) 

This is the most recent of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books.  Good series, good TV show if you have the chance to watch it.  It's about a lady private detective from Botswana.  The characters are interesting (although predictable), the setting is fantastic, and even the bad guys don't seem terribly bad.  This series won't challenge you but it will be a pleasurable read.  I didn't think this one was quite as great as the others but it was still pretty nice.

9.  Trick of the Light (Trickster, Book 1) by Rob Thurman

Trick of the Light (Trickster, Book 1)

I had to start this book twice before I liked it enough to finish it.  Really, only the last few chapters made it worthwhile (twist!  twist!).  There was a lot of stuff going on that didn't make very much sense until the end but it wasn't clear that it was foreshadowing.  It just seemed like sloppy writing and poor character development.

This is a new series by Thurman, about a bar owner named Trixa Iktomi who is searching for something called the Light of Life.  Both demons and angels are also after it, but she's doesn't care about Heaven or Hell--she just wants to use it to buy revenge for her brother's death.

Meh.  Not great, fun ending, but who wants to wait until the last chapter for a book to redeem itself?

10.  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book

I don't think I've mentioned my obsessive love of Neil Gaiman yet.  I am a fan-girl.  Completely adore him.  I would scratch "I <3 N.G." into my locker if I had a locker.  Or sigh over his poster.  Or write him love sonnets...

Anyway, I liked this book.  It's juvenile fiction (middle school level) with a gory enough first chapter to catch the attention of any kid.  A toddler narrowly escapes being killed by an assassin and wanders into a graveyard, where ghosts decide to raise him.  They name him "Nobody Owens" or Bod for short.  The book details some of his adventures as he grows and as he confronts the man who killed his family.

I will admit that this book is a bit choppy in places.  I would have liked to know more about the Honor Guard and Bod needs a bit more personality--but still a great read. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

I totally forgot about humpbacks.

Batman and I are driving to his mom's house.  The song "White Liar" by Miranda Lambert comes on.  

Batman:  "The truth comes out a little at a time?"  That's kind of lame.

We drive in silence for a few minutes.

Batman:  Blue.

Me:  What?

Batman:  Is.

Me:  Yes?

Batman:  My.

Me:  Blue is your favorite color?  Yeah, I know that.

Batman:  You can't rush truth.  It has to come out a little at a time.

We drive in silence for a little longer.

Batman:  Whale.

Me:  What?

Batman:  Blue is my favorite whale.

Me:  That's grammatically incorrect.  And I don't even think that's true.

Batman:  Are you questioning my whale preference?

Me:  What about killer whales?

Batman:  They're not really whales so they don't count*.

Me:  Belugas?  They look kind of cool, all white with a big head.

Batman:  They look like moron whales.  They are the morons of the sea.

Me:  How about baleen whales?

Batman: They just suck stuff up.  (makes a sucking sound like a vacuum)  That's not cool.

Me:  Sperm whales?  Those should be good for at least a couple of jokes about their name.

Batman:   They creep me out because I imagine them swimming around the ocean like tadpoles searching for a giant egg.  What would happen if they find that egg?  What would it turn into?

Me:  What about whale sharks?

Batman:  Aren't those sharks?

Me:  Nah, they're whales**.

Batman:  Then they should be called shark whales.  Their name is backwards.  I don't like them. 

Me:  So blue whales.

Batman:  Yeah.  Totally my favorite.  Aren't you glad that the truth finally came out?***

*Not true.

**Also not true.  We seem to like excluding whales from the whale family.

***Not particularly.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Knit wit.

Last night I went a knitting club meeting at the library.  My cake decorating class just finished and I figured it would be a good way to learn, as learning to knit is one of the things on my 101 list

I was the first person there besides the little old lady who ran the group.  She was incredibly nice and showed me how to begin.  She was a little deaf, so we had the awkward overly-loud always-repeat conversation thing going on.


Me:  "I'm twenty-seven."

N.O.L.:  "EH?"



This was flattering at the time but it fed my insecurities later.

I was enjoying myself until the next two people showed up:  two 12 year old girls.

At this point, an awful lightbulb went off in my head.  What if I had misread the flier?  What if this was not a general knitting club but one for teenagers and kids?  What if I was the creepy upper-20-something that just crashed in on the kid's knitting club and the nice old lady was too sweet to tell me to get the heck out?

Here's something you should know about me:  I'm a strange mix of confidence and insecurity.  I can fake confidence really well.  I do stupid stuff all the time.  I'm the sort of person who routinely loses her shoe in a mud puddle, drops an ice-cream sandwich on a white blouse, and walks into the wrong meeting room (always full) an hour early.  And I'm good at making it look as if I just brush it off all the while I'm swearing at myself in my head. 

So I'm sitting in a library conference room, knitting furiously, and trying to remember what exactly the flier said.  I search my memory for clues:  was that why the lady thought I was in high school?  Did the librarian who showed me the room give me an odd look?

I tried to search my purse for the flier.  Of course, everyone stops what they're doing and looks and me while I rummage around in it.  After an incredibly long and loud (how in the heck is the stuff in my purse that loud?) minute of searching to no avail, I pull out my chapstick and pretend that I was looking for that the entire time. 

As I knit, I thought furiously.  Finally I came up with a plan.  I excused myself as if I had to go to the restroom, went to the front of the library, and reread the flier that advertised it.  If it was a knitting club for youth, I would politely apologize, leave, and NEVER EVER EVER go to that library again in case someone recognized me.  I would wait until I was home to die from mortification.

As it turns out, the flier said nothing about age range.  When I went back to the room, there were two more women there, both in their thirties.

So I now know how to knit.  And I'm able to go back to that library without fear of humiliation.  I think I'll go again next week--I need to learn how to cast on and cast off.