Category Archives: true life 2013

Solstice + the Bechdel Test Post

Happy Solstice, everyone!

Are you here because of one of the kind tweets about my recent post, Thinking about the Bechdel Test? Thank you to to everyone who has commented or (re)tweeted or dropped me an email.

The response has been amazing and overwhelming and I appreciate all (well, most) of the feedback. I forgot that the comments were closing today, so I’ve re-opened them for a few more days if you’re so inclined.

Skylights in the Shower

photo: meanlouise

photo: meanlouise

Florida builders have been making epically bad home design decisions since the first Spaniards hauled their sorry hides onto these shores 500 years ago.

Somewhere along the way, some builder said, “Hey, let’s put skylights over the showers in these ‘villas’ to distract from the fact that the bathrooms are in the dead center of the houses and therefore dark as caves.”

For the last 10 years, every time I’ve stayed at my mom’s house I’ve looked up at some point while showering and thought, “Hey, those skylights are some pervert’s dream.”

Not today. Today I looked up and thought, “Hey, Roofers!”

Gift Chicken Confessions

I think the Bloggess is great. I wish her only the best.

Even if I have spent the last few years fending off the occasional plagiarism or copy-cat allegation from her fans for things I wrote years before she started blogging.

I want to be very clear: I think she’s hilarious and I don’t hold the fervor of a few fans against her. Even though they believe she’s the first to blog about squirrels, oppossums, or anxiety-provoking encounters with strangers. You know, the shit I’ve been blogging about since 1997. (see also: this comment on the previous post).

Even though I was accused of claiming to have the same type of arthritis the Bloggess has “just to be cool.” Swear to god – it happened at my local yarn shop at a stitch and bitch right after her book was published. At least it reminded me to buy her book, which is hilarious and reveals we do have the same form of arthritis. you should also buy it (the book, not the arthritis, don’t buy that – it sucks).

Even though it’s recently come to my attention that a few of her fans – people I do not even know – had an argument in a bar over whether I plagiarized her by naming a post “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,” I still think she’s great.

(The post in question is from 2001 – At that point I hadn’t even built my time machine yet so that I could travel to the future and see what her book would be named!)

None of this is Jenny Lawson’s fault, unless she secretly controls all of the Crazy in the universe.

Then it is totally and completely her fault and she owes me a fucking apology.

What is her fault, at least indirectly, is the confession I need to make about what a terrible person I am.

Heather O’Keeffe Gardner sent me a card a few months ago. It was one of the Bloggess’s “knock knock motherfucker” cards with Beyonce the Metal Chicken on it.

I pinned it to my “inspiration board,” which is apparently the bullshit name we’re supposed to call bulletin boards now.

Inspiration boards. That’s a post for another day. Not now, we’ve got a confession to get to!

In 1998, we bought a house. We got a lot of lovely housewarming gifts. Since we’d never owned a house before and had no well-known “house style,” the gifts ran the gamut of late 1990s decorating trends and household items that would make the Addams Family jealous.

photo: meanlouise via flickr

Amazing Grim Reaper Baby Clock and even more amazing Monkey Lamp notwithstanding, a style I’ll call “French Country Kitsch Chic” was well-represented.

We’re not really country kitsch people, but these gifts were all so well-intentioned I found a place for every one of them. Serving platters, dishtowels, and other assorted housewares are useful, no matter what the style. It’s the large decorative items that posed a problem.

One of the country kitsch items was a 2 foot tall metal chicken.

15 years ago, metal chickens weren’t ubiquitous, at least not in our neighborhood.

I put the metal chicken in the front yard, where it held court over the English Ivy that was consuming everything in it’s path. In retrospect, I don’t know why I didn’t just put it in the backyard, which no sane human being would venture into because it was a wasteland of invasive plants and fat aggressive squirrels.

In those days, I left for work early in the morning and returned home well after dark. I have no idea when the chicken disappeared.

I think for a while I pretended the ivy had eaten it.

When I realized it was actually gone, I felt terrible.

I felt terrible because of the relief I felt that the damn thing was no longer in my yard.

For real, I mostly felt terrible because I didn’t want to tell my sweet, wonderful co-workers that their gift had been stolen. The gift they drove all the way to Frederick, Maryland to buy and have custom painted for our new home. Not because I was afraid they’d go get me another one, but because I genuinely felt bad that their thoughtful gift was gone.

Yes, okay, I was also a little afraid they’d be tempted to get me another one, so I swore to them the police were looking for my gift chicken and I was sure we’d be reunited in no time.

I realize I’m a bit of a species-ist, because I was relieved that whoever stole the chicken left the crow. I like the crow.

photo: meanlouise via flickr

One day, I was out for a walk when I spotted the chicken. Our gift chicken. In someone else’s yard.

Unbeknownst to me, the police had caught neighborhood teenagers playing a game wherein they would transplant yard decor from one yard to another.

Years later, I learned that the gift chicken recipients had no idea where the chicken came from. I never told them.

If I was going to re-claim my gift chicken, I should have done it a long time ago. That’s what I told myself.

I didn’t sell it or regift it or give it to Goodwill. I was not the metal gift chicken liberationist. I was an innocent bystander. These were all my rationalizations for why I shouldn’t feel guilty about the fact that I was no longer in possession of the gift chicken.

I never told my co-workers that I’d found my gift chicken. For that, I felt guilty.

Who was I to take back a metal gift chicken from people who truly loved it? That would be the real sin, wouldn’t it>?

Yes. These are the things I’ve been telling myself for years.

But here’s the truth: The real reason I never spoke up and reclaimed the gift chicken my co-workers so kindly and generously gave me is because I hate French Country Kitsch and I was deeply relieved that the thing was no longer hanging around, attracting ever more French Country Kitsch into our lives.

Pocket Chewbacca

On Saturday night, things were wild here. Husband had a gig and I read about Godzilla until my brain was full.

Then, it was time for the television.

At MAPACA, one of the my co-panelists presented an interesting paper on the Paranormal Activity movies, so they were on my mind.

I really enjoyed the first 2 movies. (I didn’t hate the 3rd and 4th, I just didn’t like them as much as the first ones). Still, I like the way each film in the franchise plays with narrative tropes and comments on the social and technical aspects of image production. manipulation of the gaze, spaces of resistance, power, and other popular culture studies stuff.

Movies 3 & 4 are available on Netflix and thus were easily and immediately available to me.

Most importantly, movies 3 and 4 are spooky but not super-scary.

Unless you’re home alone.

And by “you,” I mean “me.”

One time I scared myself witless after watching an episode of Supernatural that I’d seen at least half a dozen times.

To be fair, I also scared myself witless once watching the Dick Van Dyke Show.

True story.

But back to Saturday…

I chose Paranormal Activity 4, which was more entertaining than I remembered but, as I also remembered, not particularly scary.

Later that night, just as we were falling asleep, there was a loud, strange sound that seemed to emanate from the living room.

It only happened once, so we’ve decided to believe it was some air in the pipes.

(We aren’t concerned about the sounds on the roof. They aren’t in the attic, and even if they were, we know those are just squirrels. Or demons. Or demon squirrels).

We’d never set up video surveillance a la Paranormal Activity. Not because of the potential for disappearing and leaving behind mysterious footage, but because of the potential for disappearing and leaving behind evidence of early morning conversations like the one that happened this morning when my alarm went off.

Instead of hitting snooze, I yelled at it like a petulant teenager. “Shut UP, Godzilla!”

Disdain dripping from his voice, Husband replied, “It’s NOT Godzilla. It’s CHEWBACCA!”

Then I hit the snooze and we both went back to sleep.

He’s right, of course. It’s Chewbacca. It’s always Chewbacca.

I don’t even have a Godzilla alarm. That would be ridiculous.

While I was finishing this post, Husband and I watched that Dick Van Dyke Show episode, “A Ghost of A. Chantz,” on Netflix.

It’s still creepy and fun.

You know, it’s probably technically the first found-footage type horror movie/tv show. Huh.

Here, I found it for you on YouTube!

The Dick Van Dyke Show: “A Ghost of A. Chantz”