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.

 

Global warming

If one more person asks me if it’s “hot enough for me,” I think I may dig out my own eyeballs with a spoon.

It’s true. In case you’ve ever wondered, people really do say shit like that. Stupid, silly clich├ęs that mean absolutely nothing. I never used to believe it, but it’s true.

And to be fair, I think that being from Mississippi means that I have more tolerance for heat than you. Why? Because humidity. You can be hailing from 6,000 degree pottery kiln sand covered Sahara, but have you ever been able to SEE the air move as you breathe because it’s so thick? Our heat is thermal gluey paste, and no matter what your issues are….humidity.

I ran the other day in just such heat. I have never been so close to dying. It got to this one stretch of road where corn rises up on either side, blocking breezes and emanating heat of life and hiding Malachi, and I was pretty much ready to hang things up. The only thing that kept me from just collapsing onto the blacktop was how much hotter it was than everything else. I even considered running as a method to make air blow into my face. Somehow that didn’t quite work out.

Speaking of running, I think I want to find a late-2013 marathon to do.

Also, here are some pretty pictures of waterfalls. These are just from my phone – josh has good ones from the camera that we may see…someday.

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Muckbrain

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. 

 

Alas.

 

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. 

Random Ramble

Today is Friday the 13th. 

 

That’s bad luck, right? I’ve never really had much experience with good or bad luck on Friday the 13th, although I do remember that when I was young my dad signed his final hiring papers for a job on such a day –  a job that would end up being pretty much the worst thing ever.

But I think that was just the result of general universal shittiness, not really bad luck or anything.

I used to hear stories about people who stayed in their houses or beds all day on Friday the 13th. My opinion is that it would be a good excuse. Maybe I’ll use it someday.

The Steens are embarking on a journey this weekend. We’re heading over to Tuscaloosa, since I’ve never been there and as a student at the University of Alabama I feel I should at least know what it looks like. Then we’ll either geocache our hearts out or head down to Jackson, to laugh at everyone we escaped.

I hope everyone’s year is starting out well. Mine is – I think this could qualify as the best beginning of a year I’ve had in recent memory.

Oh and guess what, my therapist reads my blog (hi, Angela!). While initially I thought that might squick me out a bit, I’ve found it really doesn’t make a difference.

I suppose it’s true that misery breeds creativity – because honestly, I haven’t had much to write about lately. I’ve just been too damned happy. That sounds contrived – but I swear it’s true.

I vow to take lots of pictures this weekend. I have a kickass camera on my phone and I need to use it more often.

So, I leave you with this:

We MAY have convinced Max that butter was a delicious treat. It didn’t last long. 

 

We entertain ourselves the best we know how.

Happy weekend. I’ll be back in full rambley force next week. 

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.

SPOILER ALERT:

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.

We clean up nice

So I told you that my friend Addie took our pictures.  

I expected them to be good, I mean I’ve seen Addie’s work.  
 

What I did NOT expect was for them to be so breathtaking that I actually cried.  
 

 
 

 

 
 

Never has a photo more completely summed up my life.  

Worth more than 1,000 words

I made a great many friends when I was in college the first time. Friends I’ve kept throughout the years – one who I married and unmarried, and many others who I will never ever be without. 
Not many of them live nearby, though. It makes for long gobetweens in visits, calls, talks. I end up keeping tabs on people through Facebook and email.
 
It’s a type of friendship that I don’t really think has been pioneered exactly. It’s a far cry from the world of Beaches, all Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey waiting weeks for responses…I can have indepth conversations, exchange pictures, and gossip just like we were in the dorms again, all with a little bit of wireless internet. 
 
One of those friends is named Addie.
 
You guys, Addie is straight up one of the most wonderful people in the world. From the time I spent with her in 1999, to exchanging emails and watching from afar as each of her children has been born or found, she has always been a constant. Someone who I know won’t judge or sugarcoat. She is a treasure.

 
Addie has a photography business. Like many photographers starting out, she works a full time job and she only really has time for her work on the weekends. We’ve talked for years about getting together and making some pictures, but it’s just never happened. Conflicts and time and whatnot.
 
Until last weekend. We all packed up and squashed into Dan’s truck, drove 45 minutes to an abandoned motel, and prepared to grin and pose.
 
I hate having my picture taken. I hate it because I always feel self-conscious and fat, my chin is too pointy and my teeth are too big.
 
But we did it. Addie was sweet and gracious and put up with our weirdness. She had fantastic ideas and she made us feel so…normal. Which is difficult with a family like ours.
 
When my pictures are tweaked and awesome, I’ll show you. A whole post of pictures.
 
But until then, I just wanted you to know about my friend Addie, because I seriously love her and I don’t feel like I convey it enough. Also, go and like her on Facebook. It’s worth it just to see all the pictures she posts.

Dedesensitizing

As a rule, in this house of mixed insanity, we don’t go big on most things. 
 
We make cakes for birthdays but there’s usually not a big hubbub.
We usually have a pumpkin somewhere around Halloween. Most years.
 
But for the most part, we don’t make big deals out of holidays or occasions. Last year for Christmas we decorated the corner ficus tree with paper ornaments.
 
It works for us. I like to think that we are teaching our children that every day can be special, every day can be fun and great. There’s no need to wait for the calendar to tell you when to celebrate.
 
It’s my hope that they will believe that for at least a few years before they figure out we’re mostly just gape-jawed, knuckledragging lazy.
 

Dan takes a somewhat pious stand on the whole situation…”Christmas makes everyone feel like they have to spend money on someone or they don’t love them.”
 
Dan obviously doesn’t know how many people are getting homemade gifts this year. Ahem.
 
My point is that we do minimalist holidays around here. I mean, there are six people in this house…it does get a little cozy for comfort when you throw in decor and laundry and whatever board game my kids are yelling over this week (whoever thought to make Angry Birds into a board game….well, that’s just stupid. Yeah, I said it).

 
But this year we decided to holiday it up, and by we I mean Josh and I. We bought some lights, borrowed a bunch of ornaments from the inlaws, and picked up an honest-to-Moses real live tree. For real. The last time I remember having a real tree, my parents had gold shag carpet (which, by the way, I would totally dig. The vacuum lines were always trippy).
 
We came home and put up the tree, and my children were in. Heaven. 
 
Lucy ran her hands through the branches, “Tree, tree!”
Max wondered how many lights we’d need to make the whole thing catch on fire, and he told Dan it made sense for him not to care about Christmas since “you don’t believe in God and that means it’s just a regular old day.” (Note to self: try and convince Max that the Grinch was an atheist and he turned out to be the heart-biggenest of all.)
Ava alternated between moving ornaments around and telling me how glad she was to have a mom like me “who knows how to do stuff.”
 
I’d say it went over pretty well. If nothing else, I get to sit in the dark with only the tree lights…and for some reason that always calms me. I think that may be worth the whole ordeal.