Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We're Good. Not Like People Say...


I wanted to give everyone an update on the fundraiser we did for Violet Booth a couple of months back. Sorry this took me a while, but for once it wasn't entirely due to my procrastinating (only a little bit). So here's the skinny:

After sending out the Twitarded Sparkle-Peen Signal, we got a flurry of responses and offers to help make Violet's 85th birthday one to remember. We raised about $300, and I had two people mail me things to send to her - Holly sent an amazing assortment of absolutely gorgeous hand-made cards, and Kat (who clearly knows a thing or two about extreme couponing and is invited to do a guest tutorial any time) sent a huuuge box of all sorts of things - soap, Chapstick, toothpaste, Advil, tasty treats & snacks, coupons, stamps, razors, cat food, shampoo, lotion...I wish I had thought to take a picture before I boxed everything up because the assortment made me wish I used coupons with similar expertise (I'm open to tips & tricks in the comments, people!).

My original plan was to take the funds we'd raised and use them to purchase an assortment gift cards or other things for Violet. I considered a floral arrangement for her birthday - it seemed like a great idea in theory - but let's face it: flowers are expensive and while they might make you smile for a few days before they start falling apart, they are pretty frivolous. And did I mention expensive??? Anyway, I wasn't sure exactly how so spend the money, so I decided the best thing to do would be to simply ask Violet what she needed or wanted. Simple, right? So I send a letter off to her a couple of weeks before her birthday...and then I waited. And waited. And waited... The day of her actual birthday came and went; I convinced myself it didn't matter. It's possible I may have checked the obituaries...obsessively (hey - she's an 85-year-old woman with a heart condition and I'm a realist).

At some point, I decided that it didn't matter if I heard back from her. That giving presents isn't about being thanked for getting it just right or being thanked at all, really--it's about the thought you put into trying to make someone happy. With that in mind, I decided to share the wealth and send a care-package to another person I'd read about at the same time I read about Violet - another person who we might be able to really help with a small present.

Dotty Morgan [not quite her real name] lives alone in a one-room house, and uses a wheelchair. She is only 64 years old. The aid programs in Maine's Washington County (where Dotty and Violet both live) defines anyone over 60 as elderly. Many residents have held seasonal, manual-labor jobs and are not in good health.

A little bit of what I'd read about Dotty:
The disabled [in Washington County], and there are many, may have it hardest. 

Dotty Morgan has a history of two bad marriages, a bone-crushing auto accident and poor health, and looks and feels older than [her true age]. With osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes and obesity, she spends most of the day in a wheelchair and uses a combination of a gripper, a broom and a cane to make her bed or hang her laundry. 

Come winter, she hangs a blanket over the front door of her little red wooden house, where she has lived alone the last 10 years and which sits on concrete blocks with no foundation. She turns the heat off at night to save fuel. 

Like many, she keeps a police scanner on as a diversion and, unable to afford cable, she watches the same videos over and over — her favorite is “On Golden Pond.” 

“I wish for bedtime to come,” she said. “The days are so long.”

Easing down a ramp to her mailbox is a perilous 15-minute ordeal. Still, she said, “I wait for Fridays.”
“That’s junk-mail day, and I read all the ads. That’s my best day.” 

She added, “There’s always older people out there who have it harder.” 

I divvied up the cards and goodies I'd been sent plus what I'd bought (magazines, stationary, stamps, cat toys, and other assorted tchotchkes), triple-checked to make sure I wasn't sending candy to a diabetic person, wrote out a check for $200 to Violet and one for $100 to Dotty, and wrapped the whole shebang of mixed goodies up like a puzzle into flat-rate Priority Mail boxes (no weight limit - woo hoo!). 

A couple of weeks later, I heard back from Dotty -

Dear Snarkier Than You,

Hi! I wanted to tell you I appreciated all you & your friends did. It was like an early Christmas on a day I needed some cheering up! Please excuse my spelling & the writing, I'm a little worse for wear at times. I guess I get a brain cramp at times. Ha-ha!

The cards your friends makes are very pretty. They're too pretty to send out. The extra money you send was appreciated but times are so tough at times you shouldn't of done it.  Today we're getting rain. So it will be a day to putty around some and to take a nap. I'm good at that Ha! Ha! The circulars [magazines] you sent will come in handy today. To see what others are doing and I'm not.

Yesterday I transplanted a tomato plant in a bigger pot. It was going wild. It had got so it reached the top of my window from the table, now it should do better. In the past I had potatoes but I picked them early. Call them Dotty potatoes - just my size . Hee Hee!

Again I want to tell you and your friends thanks for your kindness. And for being you.

AFA [A Friend Always],


 A week or two later, I opened the mailbox and was thrilled to see a letter from Violet!

Dear Snarkier Than You,

It was real nice to hear from you again. I think of you a lot and tell everyone how nice you are and the best friend I ever had.

We are all feeling pretty good now. My pacemaker is working good so far, after the operation I had the gout & shingles but those are all gone, thank God.

My two cats are fine - they are 8 years old - Mittens and midget. Mittens still plays like a kitten. The birds are fine. They are seven now. Still perky and healthy. Thanks a million for the nice gifts. I could use everything. And thank your friends also. I'm sorry I haven't answered before but I have been on vacation, and just got home yesterday. My daughter came down [up!] from Portland and took me to her house for two weeks. I had a nice time with her. She is my oldest child - 64 yrs old. She was born on my mother's birthday May 3. So I enjoyed my visit. 

It is raining here today. We have had a lot of rain this month. How is the summer there?

This economy is bad, prices are high on everything here, and low wages. I have a new great grandson, and one on the way. My grandson and his wife are expecting, and my other grandson has a baby boy named Conran. I haven't seen the baby yet - he is 2 months old now. I adopted both [my "grandsons"] - they were 12 and 9. Their mother lives with an abusive husband so the state took them from her. They are 29 and 23 now. Good boys and now men who don't drink or smoke and are good to their wives, so I guess I did a good job with them, ha-ha.

Well dear I guess I'll close now, it's almost mail time.



P.S. Thanks again to you and your friends for the wonderful gifts, stamps, and cards. I really appreciate everything. Hope to hear from you soon.

Love to all,


Some people might read this blog and think we're a vacuous waste of time. Those of us who stick around know that's not true (well, not all the time). We know that sometimes everyone deserves - and needs! - to take a break from their hectic stressful life and read softcore porn-y fanfic or wax poetic about a celebrity crush. But this? Honestly? Everyone who donated, everyone who gave even a dollar or sent gifts - we made these ladies smile. And that's worth tenfold. At least. Honestly, you really can't place a monetary value on that... So, a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated, left comment, or otherwise was encouraging and helped make this happen. Big hugs & sloppy kisses to you! And if you want to get on board in the future, email and we'll be happy to arrange to accept letters and gifts so that we can keep making Viola and Dotty and others smile in the future.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

From Longhorns to Beavers

I was going to write about how I'm sofa king excited for college football season that I can hardly see straight. I was going to write about how I have lately been watching games like Central Middle Earth Sisters of Mercy vs. Old El Paso Taco Shells Tech just to get my fix of university football. (Please tell me if those are real schools; I want to apply.) I live for this time of year. I'm fanatical about all things Longhorn (Hook 'em!) and everything is scheduled around games during this season. Yes, I WAS going to write about all that and post some pictures, videos, etc, but I'd probably get fired for losing 89% of our readership in one day. So, I guess I'll write about something else.

P.S. — The first game starts in roughly 3 days, 21 hours. Not that I'm keeping track.

This will be the shape my hand takes when rigamortis sets in.

Moving along, I can not remember who sent me this story, but I really wish I could remember. It is full of so much awesome that it can't be measured. It's the tale of a woman going to an event at a sex positive club. (Don't be afraid to click that link to the left. It's just the Wikipedia link for the sex positive definition. Promise.) There's even a quick Twilight reference in the story, hidden like a sparkly Easter egg. This story could be called What Not to Wear to a Sex Positive Club. The link to the original article is above, but I'm posting it in its entirety below. Empty your bladders and enjoy.

Justin Beaver by Helen Killer

Last Friday, I was invited to Miss Kitty’s Parlour in Hollywood.

Miss Kitty’s Parlour is a monthly event at a nightclub called The Dragonfly, which bills itself as “sex positive”. I tend to think of it more as Tiny Top Hat positive, or Trying Too Hard positive, but maybe it’s just not my thing.

I’m not someone who spends Friday nights in a latex catsuit, giving simulated blow jobs to clowns. That’s more of a Sunday thing. No, on Friday nights I like to stay home with John and the dogs, and watch as much television as possible before the Excedrin PM kicks in.
But this Friday was different. It was the closing night of Miss Kitty’s, and I wasn’t about to pass that up. It’s not like you see throngs of dumpy girls in bustiers and yellow contacts every day, lining the streets of Hollywood. You want to see that shit, you have to wait for the next Twilight premiere.

So I decided to not only go, but go big. You have to make an impression at a scene like this, and there was no way I was going the burlesque route. I’m just way to old for that shit, and I don’t even have any tattoos. It would be like seeing your realtor with her tits out at a fetish club, and that’s not a good look. So I headed down to the costume shop with my friends, to see if there’s was anything fantastic for rent.

The minute we walked in, my eyes landed on a giant beaver head on a high shelf, and I knew immediately that I wanted to wear a mascot outfit. It was perfect. Anonymous and funny and weird, and completely adorable. Who doesn’t love a beaver?

The costume consisted of a large head with no fan in it (“It’s light! You don’t need a fan!”), a pair of fur mittens and snap on shoe covers that were sort of like beaver spats. I took it home and lovingly brushed it out, more sure than ever that I was doing the right thing.

The first sign of trouble came before we even left the house. By the time I got to the front door, the temperature inside the beaver had reached the thousands. I was sweating profusely, and my make-up was running into my eyes, causing black, Courtney-Love-style rivulets to run down my chin. I took the head off and rode in the car with my own head out the window, trying to cool off.

Our first stop was the Lucky Strike Bowling Alley in the same complex where they shoot American Idol (at one point I spotted a poster of Stephen Tyler, and realized that his head was actually much larger than the one I was wearing). The security guard checking IDs seemed completely unfazed by the beaver suit, and let me in without comment. But there was a lot of discussion about whether to let John in, because he was wearing an Elvis jumpsuit, and they thought that might be violating the dress code. Beavers yes, Elvis no. Check. Eventually the manager relented when he realized we had reserved a lane and were drinking heavily. Either that, or arguing with a woman in a beaver suit was making him question every choice he had ever made.

I started to realize how limited my vision was in the beaver head. I could only look out of one eye at a time, and only if I pushed the head to one side. It didn’t seem to be a problem in the bowling alley, so I simply continued with my evening, After a few drinks the head started making the rounds, and many interesting photos were taken.

Once we got to the bar, things took a turn for the worse. It was dark and smoky and very, very crowded. Even pushing the head to one side and peering out of the eye was giving me little to work with. I clung to John for dear life as he escorted me through the narrowing walkways, as people began to touch me and ask us to stop for photos.

At first, the photo ops were fun. People were excited to see me, and wanted to pet me and hug me. But as the evening progressed and people got drunker, things started to change.
The first altercation happened on the dance floor. I was trying to do the Robot and the Cabbage Patch, and whatever moves I could think of that I thought would look good on a beaver. It was very crowded and a lot of people were dancing with me and petting me, and it was getting really, really hot inside that suit.

Suddenly a woman turned around and saw me, and let out a blood curdling scream.
“That’s not cool!”, she shouted. “I’m scared of beavers!” And she proceeded to kick me and punch me repeatedly.

Fortunately the suit had a good bit of padding, but the whole thing was terrifying. I managed to get away from her and we tried to get out onto the patio, but it was so crowded that I actually got stuck. I was wedged between so many people that I couldn’t see or make myself heard at all. I still had John’s hand, but the people between us started groping me. And that’s when I realized that someone in a fur suit in a sex positive club was asking for trouble.

This went on all night. People alternated between grabbing my tits and beating the shit out of me. I got humped and punched, licked and kicked, people were grinding on me and one very drunk girl gave me a lap dance. It wasn’t as much fun as it sounds.

It took us a very, very long time to get out of the club, as we were squeezed in like sardines toward the end of the night. We spent minutes at a time completely immobile, pressed together so tightly that I couldn’t lift my arms to remove my head.

I thought I might pass out. I started thinking about the Stones at Altamont, or those T-shirts people used to wear that said, I’D STOMP ALL OVER YOU TO SEE THE WHO. I was trying to remember if that Who concert was in Cincinnati when someone reached under the head from behind, grabbed a handful of my wet hair and started pulling as hard as they could.
Eventually we got out of the club, and we collapsed on a bus bench on Santa Monica Boulevard. We sat there for a long time, trying to catch our breath, and people continued to take pictures of us, jumping out of their cars at stop lights and yelling, “Hey Elvis, is that your beaver?” I just nodded and waved.

The next day, we all went out for breakfast and talked about the night’s events. No one had any idea that I was getting accosted, because it was just so dark and loud in there. We all laughed about it, and somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought there was a valuable lesson to be learned in all of this.

And there was.
Never leave your beaver feet where your dog can find them. The costume shop will charge you $350.

I wish I knew Helen Killer because I would be her best friend. If you are not familiar with Regretsy, do yourself a favor and spend an hour or twelve over there. The Whimsicle Fuckery category is a particularly fun time suck. I really think I need a beaver suit. This begs the question, if you had a beaver costume, where would you wear it? The question I'm asking myself is — if I had a beaver costume, where WOULDN'T I wear it?

Monday, August 29, 2011

How a Hurricane Totally Ruined My Hurricane Party

Like quite a few other people, I prepared for the hurricane by doing pretty much absolutely nothing until the wind picked up and it started to rain. It was only then that ML and I rushed to the market so we could buy some booze and snack-y foods. Or, whatever was left at that point.

The thing is, I'm not exactly a panicky person when it comes to stuff like this. I usually assume that the news media is attempting to scare the fuck out of us with all their "HURRICANE IRENE: WORST STORM OF THE CENTURY ON THIS PLANET AND POSSIBLY OTHERS" or "YOU'RE ALL GOING TO FUCKING DIE IN HURRICANE IRENE."

 Oooh, pink! I love the color pink!

I wasn't buying it, which was why I bought more wine than water. Okay, okay, I bought it a little and moved all the twi-gear to a higher location and unplugged the washer and dryer in the basement.

The rest of our preparation mainly consisted of me reading books and ML furiously refreshing and spouting off little survival tidbits here and there because I'm pretty sure he's secretly waiting for something catastrophic to happen so he can a) show me his mad survival skills or b) kill me and blame it on the zombies.

In the end, we did what we usually do on Saturdays, impending hurricane or no - we had people over.   Doesn't everyone throw a party when there is a potentially dangerous storm heading their way?

For awhile, we all hung around and munched on pizza bites and sipped some wine, commenting on the horizontal tilt of the rain and remarking casually about the 30 mph winds from the safety of my covered porch.

Maybe Irene thought we were making fun of her. Maybe she thought we thought she was a pussy. Or maybe I should have read the forecast. Whatever it was, Irene decided to show us all that she was, in fact, NOT a pussy.

That's when the distress calls started coming in. Snarkier Than You and I are very lucky to have an amazing group of friends who are always willing to help out when they can. So when the first call came in from the OPattz's, we were on it. The OPattz's, in particular, seem to have some rotten luck when it comes to storms. Either that or their house was built on an indian burial ground and holyshit are those spirits pissed. By the time we all showed up with buckets, a tree was resting against their house and their basement was rapidly turning into an indoor pool. We stayed and worked on their basement for a couple of hours until ML went home to check ours and realized ours was flooding as well.

There is something very unnerving about walking into your basement with nothing but flashlights and seeing shit float around. It also makes you feel pretty damn helpless. It's literally a sobering sight.

I won't bore you with the details of those six or so hours because it involved repeatedly filling up buckets with water to remove it from basements, and bailing out a basement is about as much fun as having someone kick you in the vagina over and over and over again. Unless you're into that sort of thing. I'm not.

 It was like this but I was the broom, there was no wizardy mouse, and the background sound was my perpetual garbled cursing and wheezing.

I should point out that the power was out during this whole thing and I was holding a small flashlight between my teeth for the majority of this exercise. My jaw feels like I just gave a 24-hour blowjob. Without stopping once.

In the end, we managed to grab a few hours sleep and everything turned out more or less okay, albeit soggy. We lost a few non-major things in our mini-flood and our house currently has a very unappealing wet dog scent to it but all in all - we did just fine.

Once the wind calmed down to a manageable level, ML and I decided to go and check out the neighborhood. I can honestly say I will never, EVER poo-poo a category one hurricane AGAIN. EVER.

Our park is now a lake...

The bridge going over the Raritan River

The towpath is now a lake

ML standing in the middle of a highway because he could without dying. 

Our highway is now a lake

Some nutjob riding his bike through our new highway lake.

Our other highway is now a pond. (Not included in this picture was some dude who was walking through that mess. It came up to his armpits)

Some house/wire/tree damage across the street from our friends' house.

We'll be back to our regular program soon enough. I know many of you also weathered this storm and didn't come out as luckily as we did. I am truly sorry for any loss you've suffered.

If there is one thing I've learned from this weekend it's "Mother Nature will fuck you up. And there ain't much you can do about it but brace yourself."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Virtual Hurricane After Party

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past week, you know the eastern half of the United States was just serviced by Mother Nature. There was a lot of build up for the storm. It wasn't strong, but it was huge and slow. Everyone divided into the usual two camps: ZOMG, WE ARE GOING TO DIIIIIIE!!!!! and Meh. When I first heard a hurricane was brewing in the east, I thought "Sucks to be you Florida. Again." Strangely enough, Irene didn't have a score to settle with The Sunshine State. It had its sights set on the colonies. (I suspect MI6 had a hand in this, but I have no proof.)

I seriously think an Ark was needed this weekend.

Here in TX, we could hardly identify a basement, much less a sump pump. Flooding underground rooms are not something I would have considered a few years ago. Suzspetals and I were talking about how much our lives have changed since we found online friends. (ADULT online friends, Chris Hansen.) Now we have all of these new people to worry about and fret over. I wouldn't trade it for the world though. Be safe, everyone.

I have honestly never done any of the things in the left column. The right column, however...

I know many of you had damage — some serious — and a lot of you are without power, but I think everyone in our extended Twitarded family here is safe. I am currently without internet services because, you know, a hurricane hit THREE THOUSAND MILES AWAY. I hope I can post this before Hurricane Jethro hits.

Your tax dollars paid for this.

I thought we could use a little bit of levity, so I made a list of activities for all of you with a death grip on your smart phones because they are your only link to the outside world right now. We've all been there, sitting in our car, charging the phone and hanging onto sanity by a thread. It sucks.

Things to do without power:
1. Wonder how much longer until the power comes back on.
2. Calculate how much money you spent on the food rotting in the fridge.
3. Start calling everyone in your contact list to see if any of them have power.
4. Braid your own hair.
5. Wish you bought more candles.
6. Wish you hadn't bought such a random assortment of scented candles.
7. Wonder how long it will take before you can get the vanilla bean-pumpkin spice-freesia-sugar cookie-lemon scent combination out of your house.
8. Hope the power is restored immediately to every area except your office.
9. Wonder how much longer until the power comes back on.

This is me after 2.4 seconds without electricity.

10. Start collecting items you can barter with just in case the power never comes back on and a propane hotplate is the new currency.
11. Try to remember how to play solitaire with actual cards.
12. Wonder how much longer until the power comes back on.
13. Finish reading that really boring book you started two years ago.
14. Play Pictionary and yell at your family for not knowing the difference between a horse and spaceship.
15. Wonder how much longer until the power comes back on.

Grab your flashlights with dying batteries and join me in the comments. Were you affected by the storm? Most importantly, are you all right? If you don't have power, what have you been doing to pass the time?

Friday, August 26, 2011

FORKS UPDATE: Tees + Wednesday Night in Seattle: Be There or Be...Someplace Else.

So I was going to post something tonight about how I'm not ready for a hurricane and how I had to cancel my trip to Maine for my grandfather's funeral/memorial service because apparently the entire Northeast is going to be on lockdown for the next 48 hours and I can't get stuck at the South Portland Airport Hampton Inn for five days (no offense, fam). But I won't go there.

Probably. Hopefully. But "Jersey Shore" is pretty damaging.

Instead, I am pleased to be providing an update on the happenings on the FOOORRRKKS 2011 front - the trip is approaching so fast that I am fighting back motion sickness, but good things are falling into place. Ok not falling, exactly - there is a certain amount of work involved in all this stuff. Anyway...

An update on the t-shirt front: as we should have expected, Zazzle fucked us hard up the ass with no lube approximately twenty seconds after we posted the Forks 2011 merch. Apparently they have a real hard-on for us, since the (literally) 13,000+ other things that come up if you actually search for "Star Wars" (and you wouldn't find our merch in this search) must be completely legit and have been given the blessing of George Lucas himself. But our items were flagged and removed immediately, and orders that had been placed were cancelled.

 Use the Forks, Twatwaffles. Zazzle, you are the Death Star.

I'm not gonna lie: I wish Zazzle wasn't such a flaming douche-nugget. Cafe Press is less user-friendly. Plus they take a greater cut of revenue for themselves [note: any profit on shirts or gear goes into the Forks kitty - it won't be much , but we'll use it to defray the costs of the tickets]. BUT they have better selection AND they apparently don't employ an ahhhmie of unpaid-intern legal wonks to police their pages and take down anything that might even have the slightest reference to someone else's intellectual property, with no recourse for the seller. Plus I think that Zazzle may have had it in for us since the first time they fucked us over Mr. Snarky's drawings and we called them every vile name in the book (and then some) on Twitter.

The take-away from all this angry rambling: get your FORKS 2011 gear HERE.

On a different note - a REALLY positive, no-Zazzle-fuckery note: VitaminR70 has pulled some strings and come up with an uhmazaballs place for those of us who will be in Seattle on Wednesday night (9/28) to chill, mingle, and throw back a few [dozen] cocktails. We'll have a private room (yay!) at The Rendezvous Tavern - it's called "The Red Room of Pain Velvet Room" and I want to go to there RIGHT NOW.

See you there, Fifty...

It is stumbling walking distance from the Mayflower Hotel (where we are staying and where Double_Dippin has arranged a sweeeet Twitarded discount) and other local establishments. If you'll be attending, please say so in the comments and let us know how many people you'll be bringing... This isn't a huge space, and if a lot of us are in Seattle that night and plan on getting together, we might need to get a larger room.

Please give me a moment to digest that while breathing into a brown paper bag to compose myself...

Ready or not - it's almost time! FOOOOOOORRRRRKKKKSSS!!! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Great Outdoors...Jersey Style

For the most part, when people think of New Jersey, they tend to think of something like this:

 Or maybe this:

Trust me, we know what the rest of the country thinks of us - we're the toxic swampland, the armpit of America, we're just one gigantic industrial sprawl along the turnpike and we talk funny.

Well, that last part is kind of true. [Note from STY: Speak for yourself.]

My point is, we all pretty much know what is said about us but the fact of the matter is, it's not all entirely true. If you don't believe me, look up our motto.

Oops, wrong one. I meant this one:

The fact that this is the only decent picture I could find that combined "New Jersey" and "Garden state" speaks volumes...

Sure, we might be a small state and we may or may not be packed in here (we are the most densely populated state in the US) like a bunch of disgruntled, highly-opinionated, douchy McDoucherson rats but this state is very beautiful. We still have a few farms left, not mention beaches and mountains and lakes and all that jazz. We also have more horses per capita than Kentucky - or any other state - and are the largest blueberry and cranberry producers in the world... um but that's boring...

Every once in awhile I have a conversation with someone about some kind of wildlife/outdoorsy experience I had (like the time I hid in a car while a mother black bear and her two cubs defiled my campsite ten feet away) and that person will be all, "Oh! I didn't know New Jersey wasn't just some steaming pile of blacktop-covered shit!"

So, yes. We have wildlife. Because we are a tiny state, the wildlife and the good citizens of NJ often find themselves running into each other. Sometimes it's okay, sometimes it's totally terrifying.


Most of you have been reading this blog long enough to know that I've had my fair share of random animal...interactions these past few years, whether it be the deer who wait patiently for ML to leave so they can raid our garden or a bat who decided he wanted to take a wee nap inside our house.

And for the most part, I'm pretty okay with that. As long as it's not trying eat my face for a snack, I'm cool.

Until Shelob and Goliath took up residence.

For some reason, the town STY and I live in has a shitload of spiders (read her own story HERE). We also seem to have some kind of weird gelatinous pink film that grows in everyone's showers but that's for another post.

It's really stubborn and hard to get rid of!

NOTE - For those of you who thanked STY for NOT putting up pictures of, yeah. Spiders.

Shelob was the first to take up residence. She decided to weave her web between our garden posts and a tree, which is fine as long as you remember that it's there and don't walk into it and end up shrieking and flailing around the backyard like a fucking hippie on a bad acid trip.

 Shelob. If you want a size reference, she's the size of a silver dollar.

Goliath, on the other hand, was apparently a more urban kind of spider and took up residence on our porch. He hung around the corner for about week and then, when we weren't home, he must have decided to expand his domicile... across the entrance of our porch.

 Goliath. He's piss-in-your-pants-and-weep big.

Naturally, we didn't know about this until I went trucking up the porch steps after dark and found myself covered in a thick web from head to kneecaps. My neighbors looked on in horror as I screamed obscenities at the top of my lungs, flung myself around the porch and started removing my clothes as I was screaming at ML, "GET THE MOTHERFUCKING SPIDER OFF ME BEFORE IT EATS MY BRAIN!!! GODDAMN IT GET IT THE MOTHER FUCKING DOG SHITTING ASS FUCKING OFF OF ME!!!!"

By the way, these are our new neighbors. ML just stood there and tried to pretend he had no idea why some woman was having a violent, profanity-laced seizure on his porch.

Needless to say, there is a reason why there will only be one picture of Goliath. Let's just say he's been relocated.

ML totally dumped him in our neighbors backyard after they ran inside.

Welcome to the neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

FORKS UPDATE: The T-Shirts Are Here! The T-Shirts Are Here!

UPDATE: We've been experiencing some technical difficulties today -- some website that rhymes with dazzle -- pulled all our merch. Assholes. But have no fear... Cafe Press has a bunch of stuff too - not just for babies!

The day you've all been waiting for is finally here! The Forks 2011 T-Shirts are available to order. We would like to give HUMONGOUS props and sloppy wet kisses to 17ForeverLisa (@17foreverlisa) and Mama Cougar (@Mama_Cougar) for their amazing work in coming up with both the concept and design for this year's t-shirt. It's fucking a-MAZ-ing if you ask me! Plus, I'm carrying a gun so what's better than that??

We have two pages of merchandise set up on Zazzle for your shopping enjoyment. T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, baby gear, stickers, mugs -- click HERE to peruse it all! I've also added some other baby stuff over at Cafe Press -- click HERE for that!

So without further ado... I present... The FORKS 2011 T-SHIRT!! Be sure to tweet these ladies and let them know how much you absolutely fucking LOVE LOVE LOVE this design!

Here are just a few samples of what awaits you on Zazzle.

Short sleeve t-shirt -- available in many colors.

Long sleeve t-shirt -- available in many colors too!
A couple of things to keep in mind while shopping:
  • The ladies t-shirts tend to run really small.
  • If you would like to order a dark colored t-shirt, please click on the black version and pick from there so you get the white image.
  • Same goes for light colored t-shirts, please click on the white version so you get the black image.
  • I've added men's merchandise too since there are some guys making the trip. Or if you like a baggier t-shirt. The women's stuff is fairly fitted.

See you all in FORKS!! I can't believe it's just 5 weeks away!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Game of Thrones...Diet?

I've more or less been completely consumed by the Game of Thrones series these past few weeks. Any free moment I have is spent with my face buried in one of the books (I'm up to book three at this point). Much to ML's dismay, not only am I essentially ignoring him this entire time, I've also taken to peppering my conversations with old-timey sayings that I've picked up from the series.

I bow down to you, Your Grace Game of Thrones. You can have my maidenhead. Well, no, not really...

ML: Don't forget we have a baseball game to go to this weekend.
Me: I mislike those sorts of tourneys, ser. They make me wroth.
ML: {shakes head, sighs loudly and walks away}

Since I am not coordinated enough to do "Ab-kicking Boot Camp That Will Makes Your Calves Cramp and Your Back Hurt" exercise DVD and read at the same time, the exercising has been pushed to the back burner. Honestly, exercising is pushed to the back burner if I have gas or feel even remotely "not-exercise-y" (which is pretty much 24/7) so there's that.

I'm soooo sad my clothes don't fit... so I left them draped over my exercise bike...

That being said, I got this great idea the other day that, since I'm not working out, I should diet. And since the author of GoT seemed to enjoy detailing every mother fucking feast and forage in the book, I've decided I'm going to do a Game of Thrones Diet.

I'm going to only eat food that feasibly would have been available during the medieval era (yes, I know the books are fantasy, work with me here.) - and I'm pretty sure there was no McDonald's, or Green Goddess dressing mentioned in the book. I'll eat only simple meals with meat and vegetables and minimal extras, like stuff that would actually make the food taste good.

 This, essentially. With a little salt, mayhaps.

Even I can see the gaping holes in the plan. In fact, there are so many arguments to my awesome logic that it would probably take another post to list them all. It's folly I say! Pure, folly, ser!


There will be some deviations from the book, of course - no fucking way am I eating horsemeat, rotten food or my fellow soldiers. Also, there is a lot of mention of "oats" and "gruel", which suspiciously sounds like oatmeal to me so fuck that, not eating it.

 Oh look! A bowl of warm vomit. It looks just like what I puked on the floor searching for this picture.

For my first meal, I decided I was going to grill a turkey leg and boil some corn. Since ML freaked the fuck out when I asked if I could dig a fire pit in the backyard (apparently it's not neighborly and possibly illegal), I made do with grilling the leg on the grill.

 Meeeeeeat. Also, this doesn't do the size of this fucking leg justice. That mother was huge.

I only sprinkled a little salt and pepper on the turkey (okay, and some garlic. I'm assuming if they had sorcery in GoT, they had to have garlic) and then dry-heaved repeatedly as I rubbed the spices into the turkey leg because touching raw meat is a traumatizing experience for me.

Clearly, I make an awful peasant.

Next, I shucked a couple ears of corn and cut out any pieces that looked funky - no rotten food, remember? Then I chucked them in a pot of boiling water.

 Tofu and veggie burgers were also repeatedly mentioned in the Game of Thrones...

Forty five minutes later, my first Game of Thrones Diet meal was ready to go!!

ML and I sat down at our dining room table (which actually looks medieval-y, in my opinion...bonus!) and began to eat - him his vegetarian sandwich with yummy cheeses and sauces and tomatoes and jalepenos and me with my... leg.

Not bad, right?

 That corn may have already been devoured by Wildlings. Either that or I suck at timing when I cook.


There was one small issue that I hadn't taken into consideration when I decided to go on my own Game of Thrones diet (besides the glaringly obvious). I'm a really picky eater. As I strategically attacked my food--much like a knight fighting to hold his castle against invading forces--my vegetarian boyfriend watched in disgusted horror as I viciously picked apart the turkey leg like the goddamn peasant I was pretending to be and intently studied every little morsel before putting it into my mouth. And occasionally spitting it back out. Because at the end of the day, I'm not a peasant living in the GoT-land. I'm a thirty-three year old chick with some really bizarre eating hang-ups.

Where's the chocolate cake, mother fuckers?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Snarky vs. The Spider

I don't sleep well. Or fall asleep well. Usually. I'm tired a lot, but when it's actually time to go to bed (which for me is usually some time around midnight), it's like my brain gets a second wind and decides my body should pull an all-nighter. I try my best to relax and not do anything to get myself all amped up late at night. The success rate of this strategy is about as consistent as Edward's moods.

Clowns...evil people at work...spiders...

Sunday nights are the worst. It's like I get the Pre-Mondays. I realize it's ridiculous to start getting wonky about the workweek while it's still technically weekend-time, but I can't help myself. Last Sunday night was no exception... I'm generally anxious by Sunday night, especially when I know that the week ahead is going to treat me like the Volturi with a score to settle - there will be lots of gnashy-metal noises, pain, fire, and general unpleasantness.

So late last this past Sunday night, I'm trying my damnedest to be all zen-like and not let things get to me. I was in the bathroom and I'd already washed my face and brushed my teeth and was ready to get into bed and do battle with my brain and its nasty of going into overdrive the second my head hits the pillow. Favorite can't-sleep subjects: really disturbing news stories; financial woes; shit I forgot to do; what am I doing with my life?; the fact that I can't sleep...

Almost as an afterthought, I decide to move the scale out a little bit from the clothes I'd just tossed on it. Because I needed to remind myself to step on that thing in the morning; it was long overdue. Anyway, I reach down and push the scale forward a couple of inches and HOLYFUCKINGSHIT THAT IS THE BIGGEST SPIDER I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIIIIIIIFE!!! Which is clearly about to be over. I mean my life. Because this spider it THAT huge. Also, it looks hungry. So I do what most people do when they find themselves locked in the bathroom - naked - with a ginormous, hungry-looking spider: I screamed my bloody head off.

 Ladies (and random gents), I don't normally get worked up over spiders. I am the slayer of insects, spiders, and the like in my house. Well, "catcher" would be a more accurate title, since we try to practice "catch & release" on anything not posing an  imminent threat to our well-being (mosquitoes, stingy-things that aren't willing to be caught on the first try). But regardless, I usually don't lose my shit at the sight of creepy crawlies. Sure, I check my bed for critters every night before I shut off the lights, but only because I'm already sharing enough of the bed with Mr. Snarky.

So were was I? Oh yeah - naked, not sleepy at ALL, shrieking in the bathroom. I grab a clear plastic cup, consider just smushing the spider, remember I am barefoot, and slam the cup down over the behemoth. I grab a card and start sliding it under the cup. The spider isn't moving. Is it dead? Dying? Did I scare it do death? I keep slowly nudging the card under the cup, and it starts to curl into that "I'm dying" spider fetal ball. Nudge. Nudge. Nud...OHMYGOD IT'S SO NOT DEAD!!! I swear that halfway through my nudging, the spider realizes I'm not falling for the playing dead thing, unfurls itself, LEAPS up and launches itself across the cup and in the general direction of my head. I'm pretty sure it made an audible "thump" as it hit the plastic. I'm also pretty sure it was trying to eat my face off. It's possible I yelped a little.

I reinforced the card under the cup with another card. And then a piece of cardboard. Because if that thing escaped, we'd have to pack up our things and go spend the night in a hotel before returning with flame-throwers the next day. I left it in the bathroom while I went and unlocked doors and windows to give myself an obstacle-free path to an open spider-ejecting portal. After rescuing one card (there was one in the mix from Dangrdafne!), I picked up the rest of the pile, and the cardboard, ran to the window (carefully! no tripping!), and hurled the whole shebang out into the night. If it hasn't been past midnight, I would have done what I usually do with the REALLY creepy, scary things that I catch: walked it to the edge of my property and tossed it into the neighbor's lawn in the hopes that when it looks for the next home to invade, it won't be mine.

 Ooooor under my bathroom scale. I think it's a sign I should throw that thing out.

It took every bit of willpower I have (and Myg's brain-calming eye trick) to settle down enough to nod off an hour later. Damn you, spider! I think I need a go-to-sleep mantra... Or some extra-strength chamomile tea... I'd head straight for the RX stuff but I'm afraid I'd wake up twelve hours later to find out that I spent the night driving around eating peanut butter and anchovy sandwiches and doing donuts in some random parking lot (seriously, if you ever want to be entertained and scared shitless at the same time, go read a forum where people talk about the weird things they've done - unknowingly - while in an Ambien haze).

I need some help! Well, I need help on a lot of fronts, but in this particular instance, I'll settle for some tips on how to decompress after a hard fought, midnight battle with a very hungry arachnid. Barring that, feel free to entertain me with your own war stories in the comments! If I'm going to be up, I might as well be snorteling at the laptop...