The rest of away

It’s taken me a bit to somewhat process this past weekend.
(Side note, I’m watching Teen Mom 2 and this is the second one of these dumbass girls I’ve watched act like an invalid after her boob job. What the actual hell is the matter with me, watching this nonsense?)
Anyway, we spent the weekend at my first comic convention. I was prepared and not prepared – I mean, I’ve watched the documentaries and the sitcoms and read articles, nerds are weird. I know this.
But it was a good opportunity for the podcast, so I went. With Prozac. Prepared to network and schmooze.
While there’s lots to tell you about the weekend in general (like hello awesome food!, and being in the same room as Billy Dee Williams’ pee, and the time I thought I might see a man die and I acted anything but admirably), right now I want to focus on the actual event.
How it was stinky. Crowded. Germy. Confusing. And absolutely spectacular.

We had preordered our tickets (which was my first time ever to use Passbook on my phone, and I totally felt like the Jetsons with my virtual roboticket), so there wasn’t much of a wait to strap on some armbands and stand in line with pretty much every variety of person on the planet.

Seriously, this was as good as people watching gets. Costumes and pajama pants, stilettos and flip flops, and absolutely everything else imaginable. Spandex. Sequins. Feathers. Rubber. Metal. Cardboard. Want to wear some ears and a tail? Awesome. Top hat? Help yourself. Flippers with no other hint of a costume? Have some nachos.

And yeah, they stunk. Some of them did. Some of them smelled fantastic – particularly these two chicks who I’m fairly absolutely concretely certain were prostitutes. But they were all so… connected. It was such a community of all these people who mostly didn’t know each other. There was trust in so many iterations – from the toddler in his Iron Man outfit who won a sword fight with a Stormtrooper to the mom of two in her steampunk corset and bustle who didn’t give a shit what you thought about her cellulite. It was freeing just to be there, to be able to take in the attitude of acceptance.

And also…the talent. It was a grab bag of you-pick-it eeney meanie miney holy balls. I have never been in tossing distance of so much ability in my life. It was amazing and humbling and completely exciting. I still don’t really have the right words.

I am not and never have been what anyone would call a cool person. I’m not with it or hip or anything the kids like these days. And in theory, neither were these people, right?

I mean, according to the movies and high school and anything I ever learned from band camp, these are the punch lines, right? The nerds, the geeks, the people who don’t fit in.

Except these people were amazing. They were real and colorful and…themselves.

That’s it. That’s what it was.

There was no apology in any of this past weekend. No one was sorry for being whoever it was they wanted to be. It was open and obnoxious, and the most authentic experience I’ve ever had.

I met some amazing people. Made some connections I will treasure. Hopefully some of the people I met will take a turn to post here sometime soon, and I’m excited about that.

For now though, I’m still sorting through everything I learned this weekend. About myself, about my world. About comic books and zombies. About how lucky I am to realize that just because there’s no one like me doesn’t mean there’s anything to change about me.

***all photos used with permission, courtesy of Keith Reed, whom I found on the Twitters.

 

My first two-part series. Thanks, Netflix

This has been a weekend full of eating. It’s a good thing I didn’t make any resolutions to eat less or lose weight, because I would pretty much have already sabotaged myself.
We’ve been doing a good bit of Netflix-watching over the past couple of weeks. Saturday night we went to see our friends Marty and Erin in Tennessee, because Josh has this kickass beef that he’s started making and they had yet to eat any. So we went.

Whenever we go to Adamsville for dinner, Josh and Marty wait until we arrive to buy any of the preparations. We get there, we unload into the house, and the boys immediately leave to go get groceries for the meal.

And go to GameStop. And Taco Bell. And buy pies at the nearby gas station.

So Saturday night while the guys were gone, Erin and I decided to watch a movie (much to Lucy’s chagrin – she would be happy to watch the Birthday episode of Yo Gabba Gabba for the rest of her life).

Erin chose a documentary called Dive! which, in a nutshell, is about a bunch of people (and their families) in California who live primarily off the food they retrieve from dumpsters behind grocery stores.

I know, right? I think Erin chose it because she thought they were going to talk about dumpster diving for furniture or clothes or whatever – I know that’s what I thought.

But yea and verily, I was wrong. It was TOTALLY about food.

Initially I was grossed out. But then they showed the food they were retrieving…bread, meat, produce. All tossed out because of a cracked egg or a looming sell-by date. Stuff that was top-of-the-line shit…and perfectly fine. It just happened to have come out of the store by the back door, instead of a reusable shopping bag.

My snobbery started to wane when I realized that these people were eating organic, free-range, antibiotic free meats and veggies and most of the time I don’t even look at that stuff because it’s so expensive.

Then they started talking about the amount of waste the US produces and I felt like a greedy asshole.

Did you know that the US wastes 96 billion pounds of food a year? One year of our waste could feed the entire population of Haiti for like five years.

Yet, because we don’t share, and because everyone is so focused on profit, we still have hungry people in our country. That’s so bizarrely wrong on so many levels.

It’s sobering to be told things like that. Stuff we all know in the back of our mind and don’t really think about.

So while I won’t be scaling the dumpsters behind Kroger anytime soon (I totally would, by the way – but Josh said it was too close to the sheriff’s department and so he refuses to drive the getaway car), I am now actively searching for ways I can help do my part and reduce this terrible deficit between what we have and what we use – and what we need.

You can sign the online petition to Trader Joe’s here. It’s a start.

Tomorrow, I’m talking about catfish…kind of.

To win and to lose

I’m giving up. Whatever this virus is does not plan on leaving anytime soon. 
I could, at this point, regale you with tales of how crap I feel or how abnormally every function of my body is progressing, but I think I’ll spare you. BECAUSE I LOVE YOU.
 
Yesterday was Max’s chess tournament. Like I mentioned, he’s been prepping for it for months. Nonstop. Last year he played and came home with a “participant” ribbon after beating exactly no one. He was rather wounded, and apparently he was having none of that this year.
 
So he went. He competed. He emerged the second most victorious.
 

Second place, baby! We were all so proud.

However, as happy tales often do, this one has a dark side.

 

Ava, who is fresh into the accelerated program and therefore only this year got a chance to play chess, she competed too.

 

Apparently Ava has inherited my utter inability to stratergize and plan, and therefore she shares my absolute suck at the game of kings.

 

She played one game. She lost. It didn’t go well.

 

She was upset upon the homecoming because everyone was so excited for Max. 

 

Which presented a dilemma. Of course we were sad that she didn’t do better, we were sad that she was upset, but MAX WORKED HIS ASS OFF. He wanted to do well and so he did, whereas Ava would “practice” with Max only if he played with no queen and often she’d just quit when her brain started to tire out.

 

I tried to be gentle. I tried to be understanding. But maybe she learned a lesson.

 

And at least she didn’t yell, “SHIT!” when she lost, I was a little worried about that.
 

Thoughts on competition

(looking for the giveaway?)

So we’ve talked about the competition that I’m in for the blogging scholarship. A normal person would link to the voting thing right about now, but I’ve pretty much given up hope of winning. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Which is good, because it frees me up to say what I really think.

I mean, I was never officially hindered, but if I were talking trash and then I accepted ten grand from them that would be a little bit of bad form. Which I try to avoid. Sometimes.

But I won’t be accepting any money from them, so I’ve got some things to say.

Within a few hours of the email announcing the finalists, several of the finalists had hundreds of votes. Within a day or so, the numbers had escalated to tens of thousands.

It was intimidating, especially considering that the top contender at one point had 64,567 votes to my 75.

Then Friday night I got an email saying that the votes had been reset, due to “ballot stuffing” – which is a term I’ve never heard before. But I suppose it makes sense.

The same people are winning now, which is what was expected I guess.

The reset, though, led to a situation I hadn’t anticipated. I soon received an email from a fellow contestant, and this dude is PISSED. He’s angry that the suspected cheaters were not removed from eligibility (basically there was no way to know that it wasn’t done by a third party, the people said), and he’s calling for people to petition the proprietors. Then the website edits his comments calling for the petition, saying they don’t appreciate “hate mail.”

Hence commences a series of “reply-all” conversations, picking and sniping and keeping serene zen all in turn.

Which brings me to my reevaluation of the entire situation.

I think online voting is a shit way to determine something like a scholarship. I purposely haven’t perused the other blogs because I tend to get down on myself, so I don’t know how I stack up against any of them, hence this statement is unbiased: I think merit and need and all around awesome should be factors in the decision. I think it should be decided by committee or whatever. The current system is obviously flawed.

Besides that, we all know that popular doesn’t always equal best. Ashton Kutcher has five zillion followers on Twitter and Ke$ha is a thing.

Proof provided.

Foots and Balls

Max is playing flag football this year.

It’s a big deal.

The last time he was involved in any sort of organized sport, it was soccer. He kind of spent the games wandering around on the field seeing how deeply he could dig into the grass with his cleats.

Since then, we’ve kind of steered clear of athletics. But lately Josh and Max have been spending lots of time outside tossing the football, running and passing and all sorts of technical things I only understand superficially (except for when it comes to fantasy football, cause we all know I’ve got that in the bag).

The form for flag football came home a few weeks ago, and we jumped on it. The practices began on a day Max had a field trip, so he only caught half of the first one.

Then the next week, the coach had said in a text that they had practice “after school til 4:45″ which for some reason I interpreted as “bring the kid for practice at 4:45.”

So Max arrived right on time to miss the entire practice.

The next two practices? Rained out.

So that meant that my son stepped out onto the field for his first game last night with roundabout half an hour of practice under his belt.

So yeah, I’m not exactly living up to the fantastic supportive football mom.

I will go ahead and admit that I was a bit wary for Max’s team last night. We arrived and his team conglomerated on a slope and ran a series of plays. The lineup did not look airtight.

The other team, to begin the game, gathered on the opposite end of the field and burst through a paper banner like they were damned Notre Dame and ripped down the grass.

I was very close to turning tail and getting the hell out of there, my kid had no place with these steroidal fourth graders.

But I was strong.

We stayed.

And Max’s team won. 12 – 0.

The kids played well, everyone was a good sport except one of the coaches, and even the kids knew to just roll their eyes and ignore him.

So my attitude towards tiny sports has softened. I will go next week prepared to be intimidating. We even talked to Max about his game face.

And Max will go to practice, too.

F@&$ Fantasy Football

Alright, I admit it. Fantasy football takes a shitload of knowledge and intuition that I just do not possess.

Initially I thought that it would be good for me. I thought hey, football will be on in this house all winter anyway, this is a great way to give me incentive to get involved. To learn. Broaden my horizons and have some healthy competition.

Yeah, no, that’s not what has happened at all.

I knew when we did our fantasy draft that I was a little out of my element. Like I said before, I picked Mark Ingram because of those MASSIVE. ARMS. The rest of my team I picked up based on names I knew and what the little Yahoo! drop box said about a player during the draft.

Which explains how I ended up with Terrell Owens, who is I think retired now, and a bunch of other players that I don’t even know enough about to know which to point out as the worst.

This is not my game.

And what’s worse, instead of being driven to care and watch the games and tweak my team for any given week, I think about how much knitting I could be doing.

Pathetic much?

There should be a similar passive point based game for things like American Idol, or The Bachelor. THAT I could get behind and totally know what was up.

Is that contributing to weak women stereotypes? I hope not. That isn’t my intention.

It’s just…I don’t know. I don’t understand the rules of football well enough, much less which player threw to who and who is due to have a comeback this week as opposed to sucking it up and losing me points last week.

So I sit. Emphatically at the bottom of the league pile. Because not only do I not know what to do, I don’t really even care.

Writing Prompt #125

Your writing prompt: something wrapped

My parents went through a phase of not wrapping Christmas presents.

We never had Santa Claus at my house growing up (*gasp* I know, right?) so all the pressure fell squarely on my parents every year.

There was one year I wrote a letter to Santa, convinced that he would somehow find it. I was too old for that shit even then, I think I was in maybe the second or third grade, and even though we never used our stockings for gifts (not until I participated in Steen Christmas did I ever realize how awesome stocking stuffers are), I left that note sticking out of “my” stocking. It was still there the next morning. I remember exactly how it looked, untouched.

Anyway, so several Christmases around the time I was six, we were instructed on Christmas morning to hide in my bedroom under a blanket (I remember that blanket, too. It was green checked and pretty thin and not warm for shit) until Larry gave us the go ahead from the hall.

We’d streak down the hallway and fishhook around to see the Christmas tree, where all our presents had appeared splayed out as only Anita could muster the gumption to do.

It was one of these Christmases that I got SheRa dolls, which now that I think about it doesn’t make any sense. I couldn’t watch the Smurfs because Gargamael and Aesrael were demon names but SheRa and her skimpy clothes and sword for impaling were okay? Parents are weird, man.

So SheRa was there, along with all her buddies. I was amped enough about it that I remember nothing else I got that Christmas.

But here’s the thing – that was it.

Just the one turn, and then boom, the excitement was done.

That’s why (besides the fact that Santa comes to our house thankyouverymuch) I always wrap presents. They may get dollar store hairbrushes, wallets, and an orange, but by DAMN that stuff will be wrapped.

Because there’s just something about it. A package, a mystery. The suspense, even if you have an idea already.

And because Christmas isn’t Christmas without a big pile of trash at the end.

And this concludes my oddly placed post about Christmas. In August.

Turning tables

This is an unfair arrangement we have here.

You know so much about me.
My husband’s name.
My kids’ names.
The damn dog’s name.
My living arrangements.
That I let my children listen to inappropriate music and tv shows.
That I have overshare issues.

But aside from a few of you (hi Mom!), I have no clue about you.

Are you young?
Are you old?
Are you agoraphobic?
Do you like elephants?
Do you have a blog?
Can I read it?
Did you finish college (by the way, did I mention I’m starting school in a few weeks? Exciting.)?
Do you spend lots of time reading blogs written by strange Southern women?
Do you have wall hangings?

Normal bloggers who aren’t me would have some sort of contest. A giveaway to entice comments.
Me? I’d like to do that. However, I have nothing to give. I suppose I could make you something out of yarn. Sound appealing?

Maybe I’ll do that. So leave a comment, tell me about yourself, leave your link…and then if I can think of something to make for you, I’ll draw a name and make it. How about them apples?

Day 25 of 30 day challenge

day 25- Something you would do if no one stopped you or if you knew you wouldn’t fail.

This is a hard question. There are so many things that I’d do if it weren’t for the fear of failure.

I mean THINK about it.

Write a book.
Buy a lottery ticket.
Audition for Broadway.
Go back to school.
Email every online and print magazine known to man and offer my freelance services.
Buy a house.
Go to blogging conferences.

What a great question. What would you do?