Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Great Outdoors

As a kid, my parents took us camping nearly every summer growing up. We got to sleep in tents, cook over an open fire and pretty much run amok in the woods like the little wild hellions my brother and I were. I loved everything about it, right down to the bugs (except that time in Chincoteague Island with the swarms of black flies. That shit SUCKED.) I was one with nature.

 I'm the smaller boy.

While my love of sleeping in tents and enjoying the beauty of nature has not changed, actually doing it kind of has. It wasn't that I grew out of it, exactly. It was just that as I got older, I started to realize a thing or two.

Well, one, really. Out in the woods, opposable thumbs and a smart mouth did not secure my spot of number #1 in the Top of the Food Chain hierarchy. I suppose my dawning sense of mortality combined with a few frightening bear encounters pretty much made me think that perhaps sleeping in a nylon sack with glorified bendy straws for poles isn't exactly... "safe".

 Quite possibly one of my biggest fears...

Not that this has stopped me from doing it, of course. Every once in awhile stupidity wins out, like that time I thought it was perfectly reasonable to be wandering around Chinatown at two in the morning. Drunk. By myself.

That being said, ML and I are heading up to the Finger Lakes next month to spend a week in the woods with some friends. However, we're not doing the nylon sack and bendy-straw-poles thing this time, because we're grown-ups and there's just not enough room for all the booze we plan on bringing. This time, we're playing it classy and rented a house. On a lake.

On a lake. Oh. Fuck.

Fuck it. I'm not leaving the house.

If there is one type of the place where the human ranking plummets when it comes to Top of the Food Chain, it's bodies of water. For example, oceans may be beautiful but those waves are just a rhythmic Siren's call of death. Who knows what the fuck lurks under that murky water?

I do. My bloated, blue-lipped demise, that's what.

Not only are there all sorts of things that could potentially eat my limbs off, like sharks and the Loch Ness Monster, there are also a shit load of other things that will sting the ever loving fuck out of you or bite you and make your skin fall off in sheets or something.

Aww, look it's so cute-- OMG IT'S EATING MY FACE!!! I'm staying in the house. 

Plus, you can't do basic things in the water that I really, really like to do, like breathing. I don't know about you, but that's fucking important shit to me. I like taking breaths and not having my lungs fill up with water.

Even worse?

Bathing suits. Mother fucking ego-crushing bathing suits. I'm not sure what's worse, wearing a bathing suit or having a lunch date with Jaws.

You brought a snack...

Needless to say, I will still be jumping into that lake with all my fingers and toes crossed that there isn't a giant elusive squid eagerly awaiting to suck out my brain the moment my head goes under.

Because there is absolutely no way can I look like a scared little pussy in my front of my friends. As always, pride is an amazing and powerful motivator for me.

What are your secret (or not-so-secret) fears when it comes to Mother Nature?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Magician Who Makes Clothes Disappear

Let's get it out in the open right now -- I'm going to see Magic Mike this weekend. And I'm ridiculously excited about it. Seriously, I don't even give a shit if there's a story to this movie, I'm going to see some half-naked, mouth-wateringly hot-ass guys.


At first, I felt ashamed that I wanted so badly to see this movie on the big screen. I mean, let's not mince words -- Channing Tatum ain't exactly Oscar material. But his abs, I think his abs are Oscar-Emmy-Tony-CMA-MTV Award worthy and then some. It should just be downright illegal for Channing to ever be allowed to wear a shirt. Ever. Even where the sign says "No Shirt. No Shoes. No Service."

Hey, your collar seems to be missing its shirt.

But it's not even Mr. Tatum (who at one point looks like he's wearing a nice frosty pink lip stick in the trailer) that I'm most excited to see hopefully more than half-naked and grinding it up on stage. Nope. I'm looking forward to Joe Manganiello -- Mr.-True-Blood-Uber-Manly-Wolf-Dude who makes my lady bits do Olympic-worthy tumbling. And I'm never about the Wolf, I always want the vamp so you know this canine is some fucking hot.

Oh gawd... the fireman's uniform. *dies*

Yeah, yeah... there's a few other pretties gracing the screen that I'm sure will be to your liking. Alex Pettyfer looks purty yummy but he makes me feel a wee bit like a dirty ol' woman since he's so young. I can actually say I'm old enough to be his mother. Gross.

Grrrrr... why you so young, pretty one?

Then there's Matthew McConaughey looking, well, like he always does, just a little older and very shiny. Not that this has anything to do with this post, but can Matthew do any other accent besides that southern drawl? Whatevs. I'll still stare at his nicely formed pectoral muscles.

Cowboy hat. Original. Oh hello, pectorals.

So without further ado... and more babbling from me about all the pretty men, take a gander at the trailer for Magic Mike. I dare you not to smile or drool on yourself. Or both. Like I did.


Are you planning to make a trip to the movies this weekend with your bestest girlfriends for a little man candy? I'm going to hard pressed to not start chucking wads of cash at the screen. I really wanna know what a $20 will get me. Just sayin'...

Almost all photos jacked from Just Jared.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Disturbance in the Forks: v. 2012

Back when we first started this crazy Twilighty ride, I said I would never go to Forks. And then I did. And I said it would just be that one time, and I would never go back again. Until we did... This year? Yours truly and the rest of the Twitarded lllllaaaaaiiidies will not be in attendance (unless we win the lottery or score a Sugar Mama), but you can still go and hang out with a bunch of like-minded Twitards this October!



That's right - it's the 2012 Twitarded-y excursion to the Pacific Northwest! The lovely Double Dippin' is heading up the charge this year. Count your blessings - if JJ and I were in charge, we would double-bill it as the "Twitarded Master Cleanse Trip" and instead of figuring out how many pizzas and nachos and pieces of corn and barbeque chicken a hundred or so people can eat, we would just be serving up pitchers of cayenne/maple sugar lemonade and call it a day. Some of us might keel over from lack of calories, but think of all the fun we could have wreaking havoc on the plumbing at the Forks Motel and discussing our epic bowel movements!

 This + some booze = The Twitarded Spa Diet at Forks.

Er, anyway - if you have never been to this area and are looking for an excuse to go, do it! The PNW is a definite "don't miss"/bucket-list destination in my book, and as soon as I figure out how to coax Mr. Snarky on to a plane (or how to afford a tricked-out Airstream), I am absolutely going back there again. It is THAT awesome.

You never know who you might encounter in the woods...
 image from here.

If I didn't adore my home town to pieces, I would seriously consider moving to Seattle in the hopes that Vitamin R70 would invite me over on the weekends for bacon and brunch cocktails...

Here's the low-down on the trip so far, compliments of Double Dippin' -

So Foorks so far is a small group of about 30 give or take. Some are meeting in Seattle early in the week to sight see. Myself and a few others are staying the night in LaPush on Thursday and Forks Fri-Sun. We are looking into meeting up at the Mill Creek Tavern one night and the Forks Bowling Alley the other, as well as hiking and the beaches. We are gathering 2nd weekend of October so for me Oct 9-14th. We do have a Public Forum here and anyone that wants to join us is more than welcome!

You can go to the forums with questions or to find out about sharing rides/rooms/Edward Cullen standees for the trip... And if you stay in "our room" at the Forks Motel, make sure to pour a lil' bit of your cocktail out for your Twi-homies who couldn't make it! {{{sniff}}}

May the Forks be with you...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lost & Found: A Sippy Cup's Story

Remember when you were a kid and someone in your family would go away on vacation or a business trip and bring you back something amazingly awesome? I used to love that shit. My dad was an office supply salesman and used to spend a lot of time traveling. He never disappointed with the gifts he returned with.

 Presents, presents, presents! Gimme, gimme, gimme!!

As a kid, I tended to cherish those trinkets and t-shirts more than any others I owned. So when one goes missing, it's like the end of the fucking world. Seriously.

My grandparents went on vacation to the Alamo one time and brought me back the coolest t-shirt. I'm sure it was a cheap-o they picked up at a $5 stand the day before they left, but to me, it was if it was made of gold. I was nine. Bite me. And then I lost it during a sleep over at my cousins' house. I was crushed. I thought about that t-shirt often over the next several months and each time was hit with a pang of regret over not taking better care of it.

 Yeah, my Alamo t-shirt looked nothing like this. Way cooler.

No one brings me vacation tchotchkes anymore so I'm relegated to buying them for myself. I have a hard time leaving a place without at least a t-shirt, or a sticker, or something. It seemed to be worse when we went to Forks. I can't believe all the stuff I crammed into my suitcase to make the trip back east.

One particular souvenir was what I adoringly refer to as my Lake Crescent sippy cup. You know, those plastic tumblers that have their own twist on cover and straw? I fucking love this thing. All summer long it gets filled with various cold beverages -- both alcoholic *gasp* and non.

 MY TREASURED SIPPY CUP!!

I filled said sippy cup with some Arnold Palmer* for a golf tournament last Friday (fitting, right?) and promptly left it in my golf cart. I didn't realize it was missing until I was home. Oh, the horror! I was crushed. I was certain that the boy who cleans out the carts either (1) mistook it for trash and threw it away, or (2) stole it for himself since it is so amazing.

Ask anyone who had the displeasure of emailing me Friday afternoon, I was distraught. Suicidal even. I couldn't stop lamenting on what might have happened to my poor, awesome sippy cup. I was seriously searching for prices on airfare to Seattle (even though I know deep down that if I called the Lake Crescent Lodge, they'd probably ship me a new one.) Maybe it's just that my trip to that particular place and the people I was with hold such a dear place in my heart. I didn't want to lose part of that memory.

I heart my Twitarded family sofuckingmuch! (Missing TK *sobs*)

So Sunday afternoon, I found myself back at the same golf course and happened to pop into the Pro Shop to ask about their Lost and Found. I described my "lost" to the kind, golfer-y gentleman and it didn't seem to ring a bell as he started searching the area obviously dedicated to such items.

And then I spotted it. Sitting on the counter directly behind where the man had been standing -- MY SIPPY CUP!! I nearly squealed as I pointed it out to him. This find completely made my weekend and turned my frown upside down.

 I was totally THIS excited!! Maybe even more.

I happily skipped out to my car and took my sippy home for a nice warm bath as it didn't appear that anyone took the time to properly wash out the dried up Arnold Palmer. I shall treat this tumbler with much more respect and maybe leave it at home from now on. I can't go through this shit again.

Do you have a favorite souvenir? Maybe it's something you got on a recent trip to Forks with Twitarded? Or something you've saved from your childhood?

*If you don't know what Arnold Palmer is, it's half lemonade and half ice tea. I did NOT chop up Arnold Palmer and put him in a blender to make an old man smoothy. Although I'm sure my preceding reputation might make you think that.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cancer Still Sucks.

I'm going to apologize at the outset for not having a better title. My brain is not even functioning on the lower levels. I'm not sure I even blink anymore. And if you really want full disclosure (pretend you do), I've showered three times in the last thirty-eight days. Four, if you count that time with the baby wipe. The usual TK dramz have kicked it up to a whole new level. Baby TK went back in the hospital last month and now she is on a feeding tube. It's been about as much fun as you can have without having any. She's going to be ok, but I have to hook her up to a machine that we've nicknamed The Matrix five to six times a day, and do math (because fuck you, America, for not getting with the metric system), and wield a stethoscope, and order medical supply deliveries like I used to order shoes, and pin a baby down on the regular to shove a new tube down her face and ohmahgawd what happened to my life? But I digress...

 This is me right now. Except with unwashed hair.

If there's anything that will flip your life upside down and put everything in perspective, it's having a sick kid. Right before Baby TK went into the hospital, a friend of mine told me her best friend's four year-old was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma. I'm not even sure how a parent processes those words. It makes me physically ill. I would have a lot more words for it if my brain weren't mush.

 Also me right now.

We have a special kind of hate for all things cancer on this blog, and this little boy's story just really hit home with me. My friend Ali has sent up an account to help pay for his medical bills. Trust me when I say you can have the best insurance and the bills are still crushing and never ending. The person who brings you a pillow is different from the person who brings you meds, and a whole different person takes your blood pressure right before a different person takes an x-ray, etc, etc, etc and they all bill separately. Not to mention all the other things insurance doesn't cover, like parking, and meals for the parents (when you have time to eat), and gas for when you want to visit your house, and new books and toys to keep your sick kid occupied, and your stupid mobile phone bill because having damn near unlimited minutes seemed like enough before you spent 24/7 on the phone with doctors' offices, insurance, family, and friends.Again, I digress.

Ali is selling shirts and bracelets too. All the info will be at the bottom of this post. I know times are tough, but please consider donating. No pressure. (Just know God will kill a kitten AND a puppy if you don't. He'll take out the cute ones too.) Either way, be sure to hug your kid today, or a friend's kid. But not a stranger's kid because that leads nowhere good.



The PayPal account for direct donations is nathanscause@gmail.com.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Saturday! Time Warner Cable's Twilight-Inspired Commercial

Time Warner Cable has hopped on the Twilight train. I guess their trying to get a piece of the action before the Saga comes to its *sniff* conclusion *sniff* in November. I saw this commercial for the first time this morning and laughed right out loud. I will admit, it does make me hate them just a leeeeettle less and will probably decrease the amount of times I want to hurl a brick at my television. Maybe. Well played, TWC.



Happy Saturday!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All The Pretty Things...

I love pretty things. Dresses, shoes, jewelry… whatever. If it’s pretty or unusual, I want it.

I totally blame my parents because they used to dress me up in my brother’s hand me downs when I was a kid and everyone would gush what adorable boys my parents had.

Anyway, I am always on the prowl for new and lovely things to wear and I usually try to share the wealth when I find something awesome. Because that's what blogging is about, right? Want to know what else blogging is about? Shamelessly promoting your amazing friends! So I was very excited when a good friend of mine announced her new online store, B Mila!


Not only does she have beautiful dresses, snappy blazers and stylish pants, the site is full of eclectic and unusual jewelry.

 It's reversible!!


 Also, it's reversible!

If I wore pants, I'd wear these.


 Must... have... this...

Even better, B Mila is a clothing store with a conscience:

(from here)
Our Philosophy
In line with being nice, we like to be nice to our environment. Most of our packaging and shipping materials are eco-friendly and made with between 28% - 50% post-consumer waste.


Also nice - we guarantee all items on this site are manufactured in a socially responsible environment. This means no child labor, fair wages, and support to the local communities where these unique items are crafted.


Some of our suppliers even save material scraps and outsource them to women in rural communities - a modern-day domestic system that allows women in need to earn extra income from home! These scraps, instead of being thrown out, are recycled and re-made into unique accessories that B Mila will be offering periodically in special collections. 

That means that it's your duty to buy something that will make you feel good and squishy inside, because you're helping. And you order now, you get an extra 20% off!

Even though it'll probably hurt my chances of winning, in celebration of their grand opening, B Mila is offering $100.00 gift certificate giveaway! See? Sometimes I'm not a total greedy little bird.

So go check it out! Shipping is free and if you have any questions at all they would be more than happy to help you.

And tell them Jenny Jerkface sent ya.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SQUEEE ALERT! The First Breaking Dawn II Trailer is HERE!!

Here it is, people! The first Breaking Dawn II trailer! There was a 10-second sneak-peek yesterday but this is a minute+ of BDII goodness! Or thirty minutes if you watch it repeatedly twenty-something times in a row. Just sayin'.



As I said when I watched this after Lorabell at TwiCrack Addict posted it earlier, JMFHFSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Someone hold me.

I am SO... excited?...relieved??...to see some action here! Because really, the "fight scene" in the book - if they filmed it as it was written - would be as boring as watching paint dry. It would be like watching a slow-motion game of chess. OK maybe not slow motion chess; I only ever watched someone else play chess in high school because I was in luuuurv (and everyone was high). Anyway, I don't need to tell you guys, but in the book, everyone just stands there for a while exchanging insincere pleasantries and giving each other the stink-eye (and Irina bites it). Bella would maintain a look on her face that would make it appear she's super-vampire-constipated. They may or may not somehow show her protective bubble that I forget what to call but I am having a rough day so cut me some slack. So I have no idea how they are suddenly sprinting across the clearing towards one another like they mean srs bsns, but it made me really happy regardless. (This is possibly the only time you will ever hear me sort of praise Melissa Rosenberg. Don't get used to it.)

HOW EXCITED ARE YOU?! Discuss.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

50 Shades of Freaked Out

I get asked about 50 Shades of Grey. A lot. So much that I wonder if someone scribbled "I Love Porn" in Sharpie on my forehead while I was sleeping. Even people who have no idea of its connection to Twilight. And most folks know I'm a bit of a Twilight fan...


People I barely know. Business acquaintances. Friends. Relatives. I'm starting to get a complex. Not that it's a bad thing, but when relatives start wanting to talk about a story focused on a BDSM relationship, that's where I draw a big fat line in the sand.

I recently say a Facebook exchange between a second cousin of mine and my aunt where the cousin told my aunt she should read it and that my uncle would thank her. T. M. I. Just fucking TMI. I'm lucky I wasn't scarred for life by this. Seriously.


But then the unspeakable happened. The stage: Father's Day dinner. The players: my mother and my grandmother. MY 85 YEAR OLD GRANDMOTHER! The subject: 50 Shades of Grey. My mom asked me if I read it. I told her that I did but not in its current form. My grandmother asked if it was good. My mom said a woman next to her at the nail salon was finishing up the first book. My grandmother said she thought she might like to read it. My head was spinning.

The next day there was an email exchange between Snarkier Than You, Jenny Jerkface and I that went a little something like this:
From: STY
To: JJ, LKW
Not really sfw website.
http://www.holisticwisdom.com/fifty-shades.htm
From: JJ
To: STY, LKW
And who needs a book for that? Just Google that shit!
From: LKW
To: JJ, STY
Even my fucking grandmother and mother were talking about it last night. Serenity NOW!!
From: JJ
To:  LKW, STY
I would be traumatized if my mother and grandmother were addressing that book. Just saying.
From: LKW
To: JJ, STY
I am.
From: JJ
To: LKW, STY
I mean, does that mean your grandma read the tampon scene??
From: LKW
To: JJ, STY
MY GRANDMOTHER HASN'T READ IT! She just heard about it. Do you honestly think if my g-ma had read this book, I would be functioning as a human being today??
From: JJ
To: LKW, STY
Maybe your mom and grandma should read it and then you guys can discuss it!! It'll be like family bondage, er, bonding time...
From: LKW
To: JJ, STY
I hate you.
From: JJ
To: LKW, STY
I'm totally doing that maniacal crazy laugh right now. I also think I squicked myself out a little but it was totally worth it. LMFAO!!
From: LKW
To: JJ, STY
I think after my g-ma is done reading it, I'll have her loan it to your mom. 
From: STY
To: JJ, LKW
Turpentine.
Exactly.

My mom and I always share books. But I'm having a hard time with the thought of her reading about flogging and spanking and shackling and safe wording. How has 50 Shades infiltrated your family?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Babies, Treadmills, Exercise and oooh!! Gummy Bears!!

On Thursday, Brother Jerkface and his lovely wife gave birth (well, she did, anyway. It would have been super freaky and alien-ish if my brother did) to a beautiful, delicate little girl. OMFG, she’s so cute.

Anyway, ML and I headed over the maternity ward to visit the newest addition to my family and when the nurse let us in, our eyes met and we kind of had a silent conversation that, if it wasn’t silent, would have gone something like this:

Nurse – What are you doing here? You're definitely coming along but you're not due for, like, at least three more months.
Me – ERMAGAHD, I’m not pregnant!! I SWEAR! You’ve just ruined my self-esteem in a blink of an eye, super evil nurse lady.

 For some reason this "piggy" bank reminds me of you...

Then I sucked in my belly as best I could and went to meet my niece, leaving a piece of my self-esteem in a puddle by the nurse’s station.

Afterward, as I shoveling Pringles into my face, I asked ML to stop off at the liquor store so I could grab some wine and then mentioned that it was about time I started getting serious about working out. Again.

You know, like I’ve been saying for the past year or fifteen… I NEED to exercise. And it’s not just because more than one person has mistaken me for someone with a bun in the oven, or that my ass has somehow migrated down my thighs.

I guess it's time to pull out my good ol' trusty workout outfit and leg warmers... They look just like this...

It’s because I’m starting to feel old. My back hurts and my knees crack when I run up the subway stairs. I had a hard time opening a bottle of wine the other day. I’m massively out of shape.

I considered joining Snarkier Than You as she embarks on her “going-to-the-gym” experience but the last time I went to a gym, I remember spending more time dry heaving and cleaning hairy-dude-sweat off the equipment than I did using it.

Plus, there was that literal last time I went to the gym and was running on the treadmill and tripped and was thrown off the treadmill like a sack of fucking bricks, pieces of my Discman flying everywhere and everybody just stared at me like I was the biggest asshole ever.  I just remember trying to untangle my legs from the elliptical behind me as the girl using it glared at me like I kicked her puppy.

This is a terrible picture but more or less how I imagined I looked when I shot off the treadmill like a lumpy, sweaty rocket.

I don’t need to pay a monthly membership fee to feel like a socially awkward douchenozzle. I do that just fine on my own.

So, that really only leaves two choices. I can do videos at home, which is fine because I make ML leave the room so he can’t see my spasmodic movements, or I can start jogging. Outside. In public.

Home workouts it is then!

 I'm not sure what bothers me more - how happy she looks to be working out or how clean her house is.

I have a ton of workout videos but most of them a) suck or b) are way too fucking hard and assume that I can actually touch my toes without breaking something.

I do have a few I like, however. 10 Minute Solutions isn't all that bad and it breaks the entire 40-50 minute workout into (duh) 10 minute sets. This is nice if I really don't have a lot of time and can only devote myself to a 20 minute workout, even though it's pretty obvious that if you want results you need to do ALL the 10-minute segments AT ONE TIME. Most of them seem geared toward folks who aren't exactly planning on running up a flight a stairs, much less a marathon. Beginner, I believe it's called.

ML walked in when I was trying out this one and he laughed and laughed and laughed.

Also, Netflix streaming, despite sucking majorly, actually does have a few decent exercise videos that you can stream right on your computer (until they read this post and take them away, because fuck you, Netflix).

By and far, most of the Crunch videos are the best. They aren’t so impossible that you can’t keep up but they definitely make you break a sweat and give you a run for your exercise money, so to speak. I actually used to do this one religiously, and I can tell you that it honestly worked, especially this one.

For all you non-gym-goers, what is your exercise routine? What would you recommend? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

I’m just going to sit here and wait, because fuck it, I don’t feel like working out today.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

O. EM. GEE! Breaking Dawn Part 2 Photos!!!

In typical Twitarded fashion, we're a day (or two) late and a dollar short. Surprise, surprise! Will we ever get our shit together enough to post actual breaking news? Meh, probably not. Good thing you guys don't rely on us for timely updates. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be late for my own funeral if that tells you anything.

But OMFGJMFHF, the new Entertainment Weekly has a spread of photos from Breaking Dawn Part 2 that makes my heart swell. Oh, and an article too. Part of me hates Scummit with the passion of a thousand burning suns for making us wait so long between movies. But the other part, the part that doesn't want this Saga to end, wants to tongue kiss every fat, hairy dude that works there for stretching it out.

So imagine my surprise, my elation, when I caught a glimpse of the new photos EW just released. I did a total Charlie-Brown-tippy-toe-happy-dance (well, at least in my head since physically doing that would've required me to get off the couch) when I saw this first one on the Tweeter a few days ago. My love and excitement for this upcoming movie has been reignited big time -- like mixing gasoline and gun powder together in a gallon milk jug and lighting it on fire -- reignited!

The return of the pea coat! Squeeeeee!! The pea coat is to Edward like the burlap hoodie cape-y thing is to Yoda.

Bad ass vampy Bella being an over protective mommy. I guess I would too if wolf boy was trying to put his furry mitts all over her.

 She does look pretty freaking awesome as a vampire.

 Daddy Edward... is that a Members Only jacket? So. Freaking. Cute!

This one... I just... can't... {{shudders}} Creepy. This will be the hardest part of the movie for me to get through.

 Well hello Emmett's bicep. Nice to meet you.

So what do you think? Is this going to be a grand finale or what? What part are you looking forward to the most in this concluding installment? Personally, I'm looking forward to some cottage-shaking vamp sex!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Music Recommendation - Frank Turner

It’s been quite some time since I last updated my iPod, so the other day I asked ML if he wouldn’t mind adding some of his recently purchased albums to my library.

He added over 620 songs. That’s what I get for asking a musician to update my library.

Needless to say, I have a lot of music to slog through. Undoubtedly, some of those albums will be removed from my iPod while others will move to my “I must play this all the goddamn time because it’s awesome” list.



One of those albums is England Keep My Bones by Frank Turner.

Think of his music as folk music with a streak of punk rock. Folk-punk? Punk-folk? Either way,  it’s poetic and political and not-so subtle, with straight-forward chords and a nice mesh of musical genres.



I’m always a fan of music with a political slant but Turner brings the personal to the forefront as well and the album is just another beautiful and impressive collection of thoughts and feelings. There's such a... genuine feel to his songs that makes his music that much better. Sometimes heartfelt and poignant, sometimes defiant, Frank Turner creates a very even-keeled and engaging album.



As an aside, I have heard from good authority (namely, ML, who saw him not too long ago) that Frank Turner’s live shows are a must-see. He’s apparently a master of engaging his fans and making even a larger venue seem like a small, intimate setting. Even my small amount of research on the wonderful interwebs really stressed that Mr. Turner puts on one hell of a show.

To see if he's playing at a venue near you go here.

Please let us know what’s currently owning your iPod and your ears these days in the comments!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snarkier Than You Joins a Gym

I joined a gym a few weeks ago. It's been a long time coming, and while the place is still being built and not open yet, it's going to be awesome, and it's only about a mile my house, which is key. In addition to the usual gym-y stuff, here will be a pool, a sauna, a whirlpool, every class imaginable under the sun (pilates, spinning, yoga, some other things I haven't even heard of since the last time I was a member of a gym, step aerobics was still new). There's also going to be a green grocer and some other assorted healthy-type businesses in the facility. I can't wait! It's not slated to open until November, but I figure another five months probably won't kill me if the last twenty years of chronic inertia haven't done the trick already.

I went into their sales center or welcome plaza or indoctrination chamber or whatever they are calling it ready to sign up. It's located in a space that used to hold a McDonalds - no shit! I didn't need any convincing, but was obligated to sit through an hour-long pitch delivered by some well-meaning dude brimming with faux enthusiasm outlining the pricing structure - 

 It was expensive and confusing and I think I may have bought a bonus llama. 

He spent a lot of time emphasizing how much the fitness center cares about my well-being and overall  wellness - they're not like all the other fitness centers! - blah-blah-blah, and then after forking over the rights to my firstborn and/or soul (I didn't even know you could charge that to your AmEx but apparently you can), I was in! When I went home, I was a little poorer but feeling hopeful - and had a packet of information and welcome b.s. in my little mitts.

The next day, I sat down and flipped through it. Aside from the papers directly related to the gym, there was a bunch of stuff from local businesses. What could be wrong with that?

Nice. I think...

There was a Muscle Maker Grill menu (there will be one of these on-site) -

Yes please!

Aaaaand then thing took a curious turn for the worse -

This is a menu for a place called "4 Musketeers" - oh sure, they have salads, but they also have cheesesteaks, fries, pizza and garlic knots AND they deliver 'til midnight.

aaaaand then things got MUCH worse -

 ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???
Why do you think I need to join a gym in the first place?!

The next day, I fired off an email to the sales guy -
  
After looking over the contents of the packet you are handing out to new members, I was really surprised at some of the business included/being promoted. 4 Musketeers? Five Guys??? Granted all things are ok in moderation, but...Five Guys? REALLY?! The only thing on their menu that is not outright bad for you is bottled water. I won't argue that they make delicious burgers & fries, but... This seems like a really odd choice for an organization/business that is dedicated to promoting good health and wellness. 

A couple of days later, I got this somewhat indecipherable response: 

Everyone comes into contact with all different kinds of bad choices everyday. Wellness is definitely a symbol for overall health and fitness, but it definitely is not condoned to avoid it at all costs. A part of wellness is 100% the healthy decisions made everyday.  

WTF does that even mean??? It's like Yoda-speak or something - "Wellness is symbol but not condone at all costs it is." I am still baffled. I resisted the urge to send an email back and inform him that I understand about making healthy choices, but handing out a Five Guys menu to people joining a gym (which is affiliated with a hospital, btw) is like handing out a flyer for a liquor store at an AA meeting.

Regardless, all I can say is that November can't come soon enough,  because the yoga pants that I don't do yoga in but am wearing at the moment anyway because they're stretchy and black are feeling a little snug-ish. It's possible I should get off my ass before November. Dammit! Time to dust off my free weights and sneakers! And possibly put some duct tape over my pie-hole so I'll stop putting Five Guys in it. Er, maybe I should rephrase that...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Satan's Wee Soldier: The Black Fly

In Maine there's a joke about the state bird. In reality it's the chickadee which is quite possibly the cutest little bird ever. But this time of year, folks like to say the mosquito is the state bird. I like to say it's another biting pest -- the black fly. If you're not familiar with the evilness that is the black fly, well you haven't witnessed Satan's handy work in the insect world.

The REAL Maine state bird. I want to put him in my pocket, he's so damn cute.

Like any pest, they're worse in some parts of the state (like up north where they literally drive the moose out of the woods and into oncoming traffic) and pretty much non-existent in others. I know I risk jinxing my black fly-free yard by saying this, but we don't have many issues with them 'round my property. And for that reason, I often forget they exist. And then I pay dearly. With my blood.

We headed off yesterday afternoon to visit some friends a couple towns away. Sans bug spray. Big mistake. As we sat on our friends' back porch enjoying what was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, I slowly became the main course in a black fly smorgesbord. And those fuckers where some hungry.

And yes, sometimes you get both up he-yah!

The black fly is about half the size of a whole peppercorn but packs a wicked wallop. They literally gnaw a chunk out of your skin. (You can thank me later for not posting pictures of that!) I looked down at one point to see my arm actually bleeding. What start out as harmless looking bites, slowly morph into quarter-sized welts that itch like a mother fucker. The sucky thing about these pests is that they're so fucking small that you never realize they've landed on you until they start feasting. And by that time, it's too fucking late. One time, years ago, I was bitten around my eyes and the next day I looked like I had gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. Wicked attractive.

Seriously, almost exactly like this poor kid. Ridiculous!

I'm not sure what purpose the black fly serves so if anyone knows, help a sistah out, will ya? My feeling is they were put on this earth to do evil only, which proves they're Satan's spawn. Just like the ticks. But don't get me started on those little blood sucking fuckers. I'm fairly certain if I found a lamp, rubbed it, and produced a genie granting me three wishes, two of those wishes would be used to eradicate ticks and black flies. And the other would be for meeeeellions of dollars! {insert evil laugh here}

Yep, we even named a beer after them.

Do you have motherfucking black flies where you live? No? Lucky... So what type of blood thirsty bugs to you battle in your neck of the woods? Honestly, people think I'm crazy because I love winter. Guess what? No bugs.