The shit and the stylus, a tale of woe

As some of you know, last year Max got an ereader for his birthday.

Which he promptly dropped into the toilet. It never recovered.

Following the swimming ereader incident, Max pretty much didn’t have a great deal of contact with electronics. Then, with his Christmas money, he bought himself a Nintendo 3DS, and in the time he hasn’t been grounded from it (which hasn’t been just a WHOLE ton), he’s done pretty well. He’s kept it from falling, he’s taken pretty good care of it.

So much so, as a matter of fact, that recently I’d begun trying to persuade Josh that maybe he needed a shot at another ereader. The thing is, I have all these books – classics and not so – that he should, could, and probably would read…but I have them in ebook format. I do have actual books, but most of them are in storage. If they haven’t been sold to Storage Wars or something.

Friday, totally randomly, my kids were out of school. Like, school didn’t meet. Apropos of nothing. Max said it was in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday….somehow I doubt.

We passed the day pretty low key, playing dance-in-a-circle with Lucy, watching Family Guy reruns, and waiting for storms. Max and Ava whipped out their gaming gadgets and played various games against each other. I hadn’t really been paying attention to the gaming unfoldery, and Max had gone to the back of the house – I figured to go to his room.

I was wrong. He was in the bathroom. I thought nothing of it.

Soon, though, Ava stood up and streaked back to the back of the house. I heard the two of them whispering (like seriously, they whisper louder than they talk), and I went back to investigate.

It was like I had caught them canoodling each other, except…not at all, because Ava was standing in the bathroom door with her hands on her hips while Max was digging in the rank and disgusting toilet with some sort of grabber….thing.

It looked like this:

Kind of. You get the idea.

Max, my son, who by the way is in the gifted program and has had people ooh and aah about his brains since he was born….was prospecting in a cloudy pile of shit for what turned out to be the stylus to his 3DS. Now, in case you don’t know, the stylus for the 3DS is somewhat unique in that it is collapsible and metal. It’s not the plastic things like I used to use to write on those grey cellophane things that stuck to a cardboard plaque of wax.


Without getting (further) into disgusting detail, the stylus was retrieved, the grabber thing was tossed, and Max spent almost 45 minutes out in the yard with rubbing alcohol and scrubbing implements. And I made him swear not to allow anyone else to touch that stylus.

I probably should have just bought a new one.

Also, Dan bought him a Kindle. Stay tuned for its eventual fate.

I refuse to use the term ‘no poo’

So I haven’t shampooed my hair in over a week.

For several reasons. One being that I am a lazy ass. I openly admit that.

The other reasons are a bit more grown up and noble.

A while back I was doing some Twittercreeping. You do that, right? Someone responds to someone and you have no clue what they’re talking about, but it sounds like it might be good times so you go try and see the conversation? Then you end up, thirty minutes later, on some random person’s Twitter reading things they said 457 days ago, with no idea how you got there?

No? Just me? Ok.

Anyway, that happened, and I ended up following a link to a blog called Crunchy Betty. I read through some of the posts and found this one.

I was intrigued.

Now, I have always liked the idea of being all peace love recycle dirty hippie earth mother. But the fact is it’s a lot of work, and as we have established, I am a lazy ass. So while I like the idea of cooking organic and home grown and recycling and compost, let’s just say I’ve picked up some litter and called it a day. Except one time, in sixth grade I was inspired by an episode of Saved By the Bell and I circulated a petition to get recycling bins for soda cans. I did not realize that petitions are only necessary if you’ve asked and been denied, so it was kind of pointless, but I GOT THOSE BINS BY DAMN.

I did order some herb seeds recently, though. I genuinely hope I can get them in the ground. And I even looked at Diva cups on Amazon. PROGRESS.

This, though. For some reason this appealed to me. Fewer chemicals and less plastic, and if it doesn’t work my hair has never been that great anyway.

It was a no lose situation, people.

So, I stopped. I have “washed” my hair twice with baking soda, and the second time I put/spilled some tea tree oil into the powder.

At this point I’m kind of ambivalent. My hair is not nasty like I’d expected, but it’s nothing special. HOWEVER, the fact that it’s not terribly nasty after a whole week gives me hope that it will soon be Pantene commercial glamorous.

A girl can dream.

UPDATE: I just showered/baking sodaed and this time put some lavender oil in.

I. Smell. Delicious.


I’d like to say that I’ve been relatively quiet lately because I’ve been bustling busy, being scholarly and cleaning house and such. 




I think the fairest way to say it is that I just ran out of words. Like I’ve said before, I have this calendar of post ideas and the idea is to jog creativity and such. And everything I’ve ever read about serious writing says that to be a writer, you write. You write on days when you’re sick and days when you’re tired and days when you have nothing to say. 


And normally I do. But for the past week or so, it just hasn’t been there. Nothing at all. I’m not depressed or anything, I think I just needed a bit of a break. So I took one. I didn’t Facebook like I usually do. I didn’t respond to emails. I didn’t really tweet. 


This past weekend was pretty lovely, and Josh and I spent most of it geocaching, which is perhaps the greatest thing ever. If you’ve never heard of it, concisely it’s like a worldwide scavenger hunt, and you participate using GPSs. You drive around wherever it takes you (there’s a handy iPhone app), and you usually end up going some pretty cool places. 


Josh and I started geocaching last year, took a break over the summer because damn it’s hot, and then we remembered a few weeks ago…”oh yeah, that’s super fun, let’s do it again.”


So we did. This weekend we went all over North Mississippi/Tennessee/Alabama, following blinking GPS dots, digging in the brush, climbing hills, and – in one instance – trying not to get sucked into the muck of a sulphur spring.


I don’t really know why I like it so much. I have a habit of scanning out the window while we drive, to see if I see any dead bodies in the woods. 


I never said I wasn’t, you know, weird. 

Part 2 of 2…about the catfish

So another movie I watched this past weekend…Catfish.

When I initially watched this movie last year sometime, that title was stupid and made no sense. Eventually it got explained in the movie but I can’t help but think the film would have maybe escaped obscurity if it had a different title.

Consultation services available upon request.

So the movie is about a photographer in NYC who becomes acquainted with a young painting prodigy named Abby, and through her he “meets” her family on Facebook.

Nev, the NYC photographer, who is totally adorable and down to earth, is drawn to the family because they are hip and with it and very…cool, for lack of a better term. He chats with all of them and gets into a pseudo relationship with Abby’s big sister, Meg. Texts and google chats are flying like monkey feces.


Abby’s whole family is pretty much complete bullshit, all fabricated by her mom Angela. While Abby does exist, she doesn’t paint. Everyone else is pretty much fictional and the people who are real are not accurately portrayed at all.

This is interesting to me because I’m pretty sure a girl I went to college with is doing the same thing. She has made this entire life for herself, away from everyone who knew her in reality. She has, according to her photos – lost nigh unto 100 pounds and gained not only fashion sense but a completely new bone structure.

The thing is, THIS IS AN ASSTON OF WORK. Profiles. Pictures. Stories to go with the profiles and pictures. The movie chick even had phones for different characters and all sorts of crap.

My thought is…you know, write a book. Put that effort to some use. Creating new lives on Facebook is not exactly lucrative.

Vince Pierce: They used to tank cod from Alaska all the way to China. They’d keep them in vats in the ship. By the time the codfish reached China, the flesh was mush and tasteless. So this guy came up with the idea that if you put these cods in these big vats, put some catfish in with them and the catfish will keep the cod agile. And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn’t have somebody nipping at our fin. — IMDb Quotes: Catfish (2010 Documentary)

This concludes my series on movies that are interesting.

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.

The day before the upheaval

This weekend Dan is having a New Year’s Eve party.

Which, in a roundabout way, means we’re all having a New Year’s Eve party.

Dan has always been better at having company than I am. When we were married, there was a regular stream of visitors to our house on Farmington Road. Chess and Risk games lasting until the wee hours.

When we divorced, Dan got custody of most of the friends so I haven’t really had a problem with visitors.

We live all together now, though. It happens here in our shared household as well. Where I tend to shy away from company and worry about what the sticky spots on the floor might say about me or what the piles of laundry convey, Dan has, apparently, infinite huge amounts of self confidence and doesn’t bat an eye to have guests whenever.

It’s generally agreed upon, though, that an organized event requires a bit of upkeep. Especially after Christmas and 2+ weeks of people being home a LOT. We are currently serving as host to an over abundance of wrappers, dust, mismatched socks, and unbatteried Wiimotes. Not to mention the deceased tree occupying the open spot of wall and spitting crispy tendrils in every direction.

Is it just me, or does Conway Twitty look like he would smell like a truck stop?

Tomorrow has been designated cleaning day for the indoors. Normally I hate it, but after looking over the guest list on Facebook I have been seized with cleaning juju.

I don’t really expect it to last. I hope it holds on until tomorrow.

Why is cleaning so hard? Why can’t it be fun, like riding a roller coaster or masturbation?

That needs to be looked into.

This is why I think church kind of sucks

This past Sunday, we the Steens decided to go on a small road trip. We needed to go to Five Guys, Target, etc.


So we went, after convincing my Mom to loan us her car (we take her car on trips like that because it gets good gas mileage and is always clean).


In my mom’s car, I found a copy of a recent bulletin from her church. While I was somewhat afraid that my blaspheming fingers might cause it to burst into flame, I looked over it. 


Josh noticed the blurb pictured below, and he observed that the Brittany Settle mentioned would have been in school with our friend Marty.


So I did some research. Because I’m a trouble stirrer.


In 1991, Brittany Settle was indeed given an assignment for a term paper. The teacher was clear in her terms: pick whatever you want to write about, get it approved, and then write about it.


So Brittany chose her topic. She chose the topic of “drama,” which I can only assume meant things like traveling troupes and Globe Theatre and the like.


Then, for whatever reason, she changed her mind. She decided to write about Jesus instead. I can only imagine the reasoning. Maybe she thought it would be easier, maybe she knew she had a good paper in her brain, bred from years of Bible verses and Sunday School.


She decided to change topics and she wrote what I’m sure was an excellent paper. 


However, she never got the change approved. She didn’t give her teacher any heads up at all, and so when she turned in what was supposed to be a paper about actors and dramatics and it was instead about Jesus, she failed.


It’s a lesson I learned in about the fifth grade – you don’t follow directions, you fail your shit.


The fact that the situation then escalated to court dates and appearances on church bulletins two decades later is just a little ridiculous.


Today is Election Day.

People all over will go and vote yea or nay or red or blue.

And I live in Mississippi, where the only time we make national news is because we gave birth to Elvis/Oprah/Britney/a million fantastic southern writers or because we’re the fattest state.

Well, now we have a new claim to fame – today we vote on Initiative 26, and if it passes, it’s a big deal. It’s a precedent for the whole country.

Now, I have opinions about this. Of course I do.

For just a minute, though, let’s not talk about what I think. Let’s talk about what this will mean.

Less birth control, in a state with the highest number of counties (17) featuring 40+% infant poverty. Not to mention the infant mortality rate (10.5 infant deaths out of every 1,000 live births), or the scads of children waiting in foster homes or institutions so they can be placed.

Fertility treatments….sure, as long as they don’t involve selective implantation or frozen embryos.

Raped? Pregnant? You carry that asshole’s baby because the law says so.

There are far reaching consequences regarding ectopic and molar pregnancies that I don’t even have the stomach to research (this is not hard hitting reporting, people).

Under this law, the miscarriage I suffered in January of 2008 may well have been the death of me, because only an abortion stopped the bleeding and saved my life.

The thing that bothers me about this is not that people disagree with my sentiment that this is one of the most offensive pieces of legislation I’ve ever heard. People disagree with me all the time.

No, what bothers me is that there are fifty bintillion churches who – over and over and over – have pounded into the hearts and minds of their faithful followers that this initiative is penned directly from the heavens. That by voting yes, they are personally winging their way into each Mississippi womb and cuddling thousands of fertilized eggs that may or may not become people.

It bothers me that if my preteen niece gets assaulted and molested, there won’t be a morning-after pill just in case. Her life could change and it wouldn’t have been her choice at all.

I respect the right of everyone to believe what they want. I do not respect anyone telling me how I have to believe and behave. Especially when they do it simply because a pulpit told them that was the right thing.

So go vote. If you live in Mississippi, please know what you’re voting for.

On a lighter note, tomorrow we’ll have a guest post from Lindsey at Campfire Song. This will be totally fun, you’ll see. She even mentions maxipads.

Robot Farts

Seriously, someone stop me.

I’ve been talking to this damn phone all day.

I have no idea why. And talk about laziness. I’ve asked this freaking program to find my husband (searching for Josh Stain), to average my grades, to translate phrases (I don’t know what you mean, Emily), and Josh asked for some boobs and got directions to five different strip clubs.

Not to mention, a full half hour before we went to sleep last night, my husband narrated a list of reminders for the next day. I’m not sure what he did a couple of days ago, before he had a program to buzz his phone and remind him to sneeze.

Overly dependent on technology? Meet the Steens.

In other news, Lucy (who now skips across the room yelling, “Siri, Siri!”) was peacefully lounging in the bed yesterday morning. Josh was getting dressed and talking to her, and he blew her a raspberry as he walked past.

Without a second thought, she lifted her leg and cut the juiciest, hootiest, diaper-muted fart I’ve ever heard, grinning the whole time.

I don’t think Siri can do that.

The one thing I’ll never tell you

I realized something about myself this weekend.

I am a horrible, horrible person.

Seriously, I am. I make no apologies, because generally I’m excellent at keeping a lid on just how awful the thoughts in my head can get.

It’s hard to really articulate a cause or a pattern to the way that I think.

And there are days that I go along and think nothing strange or odd or embarrassingly awful.

But then, out of the blue, I’ll see someone who belongs on the People of WalMart site or just a train wreck of a hot mess, and I’ll amuse myself to no end with snarky inappropriateness that if it were ever uttered aloud I would be even more shunned than I am now. Shunned-er.

I pride myself on being pretty open about how I feel about things. But I will never ever fully admit the extent of the lines that I sometimes cross in my head.

Suffice it to say that Daniel Tosh would be so, so proud.