Category Archives: Canada

I may or may not have Hulked out this weekend.

It has been a VERY productive week. And long. But also productive. But LONG. (You can say “that’s what she said” if you want. I won’t even get mad.)

I am currently Walking-Deading and sitting on the couch freezing my butt off. It’s super-cold today. ALL THE WIND. Very chilling. It makes your hands like ice. No fun. NO BUENO.

So, let’s see what has happened.

We cast our next show at the theater. We managed to do it in two nights of auditions and we did it smoothly and quickly and with very little fuss, which is awesome. I ran into someone who was…um…not-so-tightly-wound in the course of the two nights of auditions. I won’t say more than that, because that’s rude. But tonight I totally told the story tonight to someone with MANY facial expressions and MUCH hand-wavery and it was received with much mirth so you can just be sad for a moment that I can’t go into more detail. But you should also respect me for my restraint, because it means I’m CLASSY, yo.

Ha! This is totally me, except maybe not the rawry cat pose.

Ha! This is totally me, except maybe not the rawry cat pose.

Then I did laundry and grocery shopping because life doesn’t just stop because you have all the theater things to do. THEN I had the SECOND weekend of the show. Whew! So busy.

One of the nights, we almost sold out. We had a fundraiser for a local group and therefore 80 people came in, plus our other patrons, so we had a very full house. So when I tried to leave, I could NOT. The lobby was TOO FULL. And no one would move. It was a little like I would imagine hell would be like, and a little like I would imagine a room full of zombies would be like, because my quiet and mostly-polite pleas of “excuse me” were greeted with blank stares and/or being completely ignored. So I totally snuck around the back way and burst through the fire door because I was on the edge of a panic attack. I have trouble in very crowded spaces. I kind of like to know where my exits are? And have a clear path to them? At all times? And if I don’t, I get nervous? I think in a previous life, I was a sniper or something.

But ANYWAY, the fire door had this foam-core stuff on it that we’re using for weatherstripping so I burst through that like the HULK, yo. I told Dad and he was all, “It was like in baseball games when a famous person runs though a wall but really it was paper. That’s what that was like.” I told him I wasn’t sure that happened at baseball games, but he seems to think it did. I don’t know, the last time he watched baseball was when the Expos still existed because they were HIS TEAM, and the interwebs tells me that the Expos stopped existing in 2004. And now baseball is dead to Dad. DEAD TO HIM. (And moved them to Washington? And started calling them the Nationals? What is this hooey? I don’t like that, I remember listening to baseball in the garage with my dad when I was little and he would teach me things about it and I like that memory. I do not like that they moved his team to Merka and changed their name. Are they even the same team anymore, once that happens? I do not think they are.)

I totally had an Expos shirt AND hat as a kid. We were an Expos family. Because we lived near CANADA. Eh?

I totally had an Expos shirt AND hat as a kid. We were an Expos family. Because we lived near CANADA. Eh?

Today I put the foamcore weatherstripping (“weatherstripping” – that needs airquotes, it does nothing to keep the cold air out) back as if I didn’t bust through it like the Hulk. Or I guess She-Hulk, or whatever. No one seemed to notice that I had close to a panic attack and had to escape or start gasping like a fish out of water. Being freaked out because you can’t see or get to an exit and freaking out because of all of the people who won’t move and escaping through a fire door is totally normal, right? OF COURSE IT IS SHUSH YOU.

Hulk SMASH!...right through a fire door because the lobby was too full.

Hulk SMASH!…right through a fire door because the lobby was too full.

The weekend went well; we had good audiences all three days, very few flubs, and everything ran very smoothly. People seemed to really enjoy it, which made me happy. Well, maybe not enjoy – it’s a pretty hard to enjoy piece – but appreciated it. I talked to someone with tears on her cheeks as she left; probably that shouldn’t make me happy, I mean, we made her CRY, but then again, we made someone CRY, you know? That’s success, to me. I’m pleased with that. We evoked an emotion that wasn’t there before. I feel that’s powerful. I feel we did that, and I am proud of that.

THEN, I got to see C. and C.! And we went and had ALL THE MEATS! We went to Dinosaur BBQ and had MANY MEATS! Beef and pork and MORE PORK! And it was fine, it was not the best barbecue, it was not the worst. It was fine. But the company was wonderful and we talked and talked and laughed and talked more and I love them the most. They make me comfortable and so happy.

There were no dinosaurs, but I made C. make a dinosaur noise when I came in, and he totally did. That's love, people.

There were no *actual* dinosaurs, but I asked C. to make a dinosaur noise when I came in, and he totally did. That’s love, people.

And now I am home and it is freezing so I am under many blankets and where the hell is the cat, he is warm.

Here is a story called Skype is an Urban Legend.

So months ago, I attempted to Skype for the first time. (Well, no, I did the chat-part of Skype a while before that, which worked fine.) The first time I attempted Skype, I broke it. FINE, I didn’t break it. It just didn’t work, and froze constantly, and we ended up chatting on the chatty-thing below the picture, which I didn’t even know existed, and I was all, “why the hell does he keep TYPING, how rude is THAT, is he even attempting to make this stupid thing work or NOT” but he was writing and writing to me and probably wondering why the hell I wasn’t responding. My reaction upon discovering there was a chat-function was “ZOMG THERE ARE WORDS HERE!” I’m not proud of that, I’m just relaying facts.

It sure as hell didn't look like this. THIS IS A LIE.

It sure as hell didn’t look like this. THIS IS A LIE.

WELL. The other night, Andreas and I decided since we are meeting in New York City in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS, we should probably really talk with our faces before that happened, because I’m totally an awkward panda and I am not only excited to meet him, I am nervous I will be a spastic weirdo and scare him until he hides behind a hot-dog vendor cart.

AWKWARD PANDA!!!!

AWKWARD PANDA!!!!

So we made a whole Skypey plan and at like 11:30 we both signed onto Skype and he called me and THERE WAS ANDREAS! And listen, Andreas is CLASSY, you guys. He looks like a very classy gentleman. He had a nice sweater and everything. I was totally wearing my backstage clothes which were also my Saturday work clothes and I looked shlumpy and tired. HE, however, looked like a fancy GENTLEMAN, not like he just woke up.

Guess what happened?

I totally broke Skype again.

It didn’t let us talk at ALL.

We tried, and it did that same freezing shit it did to me the first time. We’d say one word, freeze. One word, freeze.

We realized after about two minutes of that that the only solution was to use the chat function but we could still SEE each other, only not TALK. It froze up less, seemingly, when we didn’t SAY anything.

So we typed. While seeing each other’s faces. Well, it was something, but I still think you people that use Skype on the regular are punking me.

I'm onto you, Skype. You are BROKEN.

I’m onto you, Skype. You are BROKEN.

BUT! Andreas got to see Dumbcat in real time, who let me pick him up and show him off, and then sat on the table and sometimes walked around and let me show Andreas his little stub-tail. And I got to see Andreas’ dog! Who made little happy grunty noises of glee! Aw, hi, pup!

AND I TOTALLY GOT TO SEE ANDREAS’ BEAUTIFUL SLEEPING BABY!!!! OMG, don’t even tell anyone, I had tears. Shh. He is BEAUTIFUL. Are there many better things than a sleeping baby? I think not.

Also, even though Skype was an urban legend, I got to type things, and see Andreas laugh at them. That made ME laugh. I like that I totally make Andreas laugh out loud. He ALSO made me laugh out loud. Which he got to see. The difference, however, was that Andreas’ laugh is like this lovely cultured laugh and mine is like this cackle. But I’m cool with that. My cackle is very Amy. When I laugh in the audience of a play, my friends know I’m there when they’re backstage all nervous, and it makes them happy knowing I’m in the audience and I’m enjoying myself. I’ll stick with my cackle.

(Also, remember when I first heard Andreas’ voice and I said he sounded like a movie star? HE TOTALLY DOES. Andreas totally has a movie-star voice, you guys. It’s all rumbly and low and has kind of a British accent, but also kind of something else which I assume is Swedish or Finnish and it is LOVELY. I can’t wait to meet him in person and listen to it in really real life when he’s not freezing up every few seconds.)

Then we made plans for our trip. I don’t know if I should tell you where we’re going or if we should surprise you with our arrival at one of my favorite places in New York. BFF! It is one of the places you and I went. That’s the only clue I will give you right now. FINE, I will give you one more. If anyone knows me (whether in real life or through the blog) you know that whenever I go to a new place, there’s one type of place I always look for, and if it exists, I go to it if I can, and it makes me SO HAPPY. Well, New York has TWO of these places (possibly more, but two that are major and that I’m aware of) and Andreas and I are going to the smaller one because we don’t have time for the bigger one as we have twelve hours, but ONLY twelve hours, and if you only have twelve real-life hours with one of your favorite people on this whole planet, you don’t want to waste even a minute of it.

THAT IS ALL YOU GET RIGHT NOW. sj, you cannot guess, I already told you. Also friends C. and C. already know. Shh.

(NO IT IS NOT A STRIP CLUB. I’m fairly sure New York City has more than two strip clubs.)

Also, Andreas tried to trick me into going to McDonalds or Burger King but I said WE ARE NOT HAVING FAST FOOD IN THE COOLEST CITY IN THE WORLD, ANDREAS! (Fine, he was kidding. He doesn’t want fast food, either.)

Fine, shush, you, I love Big Macs SOMETIMES, but not when I'm in New York City and I could LITERALLY have anything I want. I could have Big Macs HERE.

Fine, shush, you, I love Big Macs SOMETIMES, but not when I’m in New York City and I could LITERALLY have anything I want. I could have Big Macs HERE.

So we have a place we are going to, and we’re going to wait and see what we want to eat when we want to eat it, and then we will EAT ALL THE THINGS, and we are going to walk and walk and walk. And talk. Oh, are we going to talk. I told Andreas just TRY to shut me up. That made him laugh. I think he’s aware I’ll be chatty.

Then we made MORE plans and schemes and then it was 1:30am. And at one point, his little girl woke up and with the freezing and skipping ahead that evil, evil Skype was doing, it made him seem to be there one moment, gone the next, like he’d been abducted by aliens, probably FINNISH aliens, which made me laugh and laugh.

So we’re trying it AGAIN soon and I am crossing my fingers but I’m thinking it won’t work. For some reason, Skype has its hate on for me. WHY DO YOU HATE ME, SKYPE? I just want to live in Jetsons world with videophones. IT IS NOT TOO MUCH TO ASK.

WANT!

WANT!

I told Dad I wanted a Jetsons videophone and he said “THAT IS NOT A THING” and I assured him it WAS a thing and he sighed and said, “I should have made you play outside more as a child.” DAD. NO. Then I wouldn’t be as AWESOME as I am.

So that is the story of Skype. But even though it did not work as intended, it was kind of awesome because I learned the following things:

  • Andreas totally doesn’t think I’m a spastic weirdo and still wants to meet me in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS YAY!
  • I can make people laugh IN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT COUNTRIES and they’re not even just SAYING they’re laughing, they really ARE laughing, I SAW IT WITH MY EYEBALLS
  • Andreas and I totally are comfortable enough with each other to meet in really real life and I won’t be a stammering jackass
  • Well, fine, maybe I will some, but that’s just me, I can’t help it
  • You can’t embarass yourself by spilling fruit punch on your top if you don’t bring fruit punch to the table. A very wise man named Andreas taught me that and he was RIGHT.
  • We have a PLAN for the CITY and it will be AWESOME and we are going to have SO MUCH FUN I CAN’T EVEN and also we are going to take SO MANY PHOTOS AT THE PLACE WHERE WE ARE GOING!
  • Andreas is really one of the best people I know in the whole world (I did not learn that on Skype, I knew that going INTO the Skyping, and also AFTER the Skyping, but it bears mention, because I can’t say it enough.)

This is really long. It’s almost like the old Amy is back. But not really, because now I have to go to bed.

HAPPY HOLIDAY MONDAY TO MERKANS! Today we celebrate presidents. I will be celebrating sleeping in and attempting to do nothing tomorrow. Oh, well, I have some things to do tomorrow. Computer things and writing things and I have to go to the store to meet a friend and buy some things for this top secret thing I am doing and then also relax a little because this is my only real holiday before Memorial Day. That’s a long stretch, seriously, who planned that? POORLY PLANNED SIR OR MADAM!


Putting the cart before the Helper Mule

Here we are at Saturday. That’s exciting, right? It’s the weekend and all is well in the world. Well, it will be at 6pm when work is done, I suppose. Right now, it’s still kind of blergh, because I’m toiling away. Toil toil toil. But Saturday night and Sunday will be ALL MINE! I mean, it’s not like I’m going to do anything with them but write, but they’re MINE to write WITH and that’s all that matters, really. I also have many books to read and write about and PLANS and SCHEMES and maybe a little chicanery, who knows. I don’t even know the depths my chicanery might plumb. DEPTHLESS CHICANERY. 

I’m currently at work being all multi-tasky and writing this DAYS IN ADVANCE, yo. Work has been nuts this week because my cohort who does the same job as I do has decided to take a plethora of days off. You thought I was going to say piñatas, didn’t you? I wish there was a plethora of piñatas here. Every day could be made better by a plethora of piñatas. (If you are confused or not getting the reference, you OBVIOUSLY are not as obsessed with the movie The Three Amigos as you should be; please go rectify that immediately. I’d say we’d wait for you to catch up, but I’m sure we’ll have moved on by then. Time waits for no man, especially not one who hasn’t seen The Three Amigos by now.)

Anyway, so my coworker and partner in crime is gone on average 3/5 days a week lately, so it’s just me, doing my little me-thing back here. Which is fine, it’s quiet, but also it’s a lot of work for just me. Don’t they know I have blogging to do, dammit? BE MORE CONSIDERATE, OFFICE. 

I have some Dad news for you all today, and I KNOW, I just had some Dad news, but this is ADDITIONAL Dad news. He’s all full of news lately.  

Dad: I talked to Rooster today.
Me: Ooh, did you get a Helper Mule update?
Dad: Yes. It’s not good.
Me: It never is. What’s up with my friend the mule?
Dad: He’s just not working out.
Me: Is Rooster going to send him to the glue factory?
Dad: Oh, no. He’ll keep the mule. But the mule’s not helping, plus he’s very expensive.
Me: How’s the horse? Did she have that baby yet?
Dad: Rooster still doesn’t know if she’s pregnant.
Me: What? I thought the vet was going to come over and punch her in the stomach to test for pregnancy.
Dad: He tried, but the mule was in a bad mood that day so the vet had to leave in a hurry.
Me: Ooh, did the mule think the vet was trying to sneak in on his territory?
Dad: No, the mule was all hopped up on grain. Rooster’s wife fed him grain. You’re NEVER supposed to do that.
Me: What? I thought horses and mules and those types of animals ate grain.
Dad: No. It makes them all hyper. It’s like giving a kid chocolate. It’s like concentrated energy.
Me: So it’s like Red Bull for mules?

Dad: I guess. You’re only supposed to feed him hay and water.
Me: It sounds like he’s in prison with that diet. “Helper Mule, for starting that riot in the cafeteria, HAY AND WATER DIET FOR YOU!”
Dad: So Helper Mule apparently was about to attack the vet so he didn’t get to punch the horse in the stomach, so the horse still may or may not be pregnant. No one knows. And the vet is too scared to come back.
Me: That’s a totally unprofessional vet. You’d think that was a job hazard, you know? Suck it up, vet.
Dad: Also Rooster underestimated how expensive it would be to have a mule, and a possibly pregnant horse. Those things cost money.
Me: Yeah, you can’t imagine that horses and mules would be free. Even Dumbcat costs money.
Dad: That stupid cat. You should get rid of him.
Me: You stop it. That’s your grandcat.
Dad: Don’t say that out loud. People will think you’re insane.
Me: They already do.
Dad: Yes, probably. Also, Rooster bought a cart for the mule and the horse.

Check out THIS helpful mule.

Me: What? Why?
Dad: I assume so they can pull things around? I don’t know.
Me: I hope he knows how to hook up that cart.
Dad: What do you mean?
Me: You don’t put the cart before the horse. There’s a saying about that and everything.

GIGANTIC NO NO.

Dad: That’s not that funny. Sort of funny, but not really.
Me: I’ll try harder next time.
Dad: See that you do. Oh, and also, he is training the mule and the horse, so he hooks them up behind his four wheeler and then takes them running.
Me: Well, that must be a sight.
Dad: He told me he took them for a twenty-mile run the other day, but I told him to stop lying.
Me: Maybe he did, you don’t know. You don’t even go visit him anymore.
Dad: No, because he always wants me to shovel shit. I don’t want to shovel shit. I’m not a hired man.
Me: Did you tell him I’m coming to helper-mule-whisper Helper Mule this summer?
Dad: No. I’m sure he’ll be so excited, though.
Me: I think Rooster’s lonely. Poor Rooster. His mule’s not helpful and he doesn’t even know if his horse is pregnant.
Dad: And he bought an extra mule-saddle for his wife but she was like, “I’m not getting on that mule, even if he does eat carrots out of my hand.”
Me: Rooster is just the saddest. I feel terrible about this whole thing. I’ll tell him he’s internet-famous, I think that’ll help.
Dad: I don’t know if it will, but you’re welcome to try. 

Oh, also, then Dad solved an international mystery, which was nice. Remember how he thinks Ken is an assassin? So this happened the other night:

Dad: They caught him. THEY CAUGHT HIM. I told you they would, one of these days.
Me: What? Who? You’re being weird.
Dad: Your friend. I told you he couldn’t get away with all that crime with no repercussions.
Me: Dad. Whoa. What friend. What’s going on.
Dad: Your ASSASSIN friend. Don’t you even watch the news?
Me: OK, I assume we’re discussing Ken? He’s not caught. He tweeted me like five minutes ago.
Dad: Well, then they let him have his phone in lockup.
Me: I don’t think they did. It’s like midnight there. I think he’s probably in bed now. Not JAIL bed. KEN bed.
Dad: Of course he wouldn’t tell you if he’d been caught. He must be so embarrassed.
Me: OK, so what was Ken supposedly caught for?
Dad: Chopping someone up in Canada and then escaping to Germany. You SAID he was in Canada and then went to Germany. HE IS A KILLER.
Me: He had a layover in Canada on his way home to Germany. Like a WEEK ago. I heard about the guy who chopped someone up. I didn’t hear he’d been caught. He got caught in Germany? Where?
Dad: Berlin. JUST LIKE THAT ASSASSIN.
Me:…who lives in Munich.
Dad: Or so he wants you to believe.
Me: No, I’m pretty sure he does. Those two cities are pretty far apart, Dad.

Not even SORT OF near each other.

Dad: Listen, I don’t think you should talk to that guy anymore because that murder was really creepy. Plus there can’t be more than one assassin who was just in Canada and then Germany.
Me: I just looked it up on my phone. This psychokiller doesn’t even LOOK like Ken.

SO doesn’t look like Ken. Ken isn’t even a tiny bit shifty. This guy’s so shifty he might as well be a manual transmission.

Dad: People lie on the internet ALL THE TIME. I keep telling you that.
Me: So whose photo does he keep putting on his blog?
Dad: I don’t know. Someone he keeps in his basement?
Me: Good grief this is a tangled web he’s woven. And I don’t even know that he HAS a basement.
Dad: It’s a good thing they caught him. If a man will lie to the internet about having a basement, what else could he be capable of?

Then I read the story online (um…kitten murder? Mailing body parts to politicians? Eep) and let Ken know my dad thought he was some sort of horrible murderer. Ken replied with:

Well, that seems a good answer to me, so then I had to let Dad know the next night his theory didn’t hold water.

Me: Dad, Ken totally wasn’t the psychokiller. He’d never murder kittens.

I am totally not friends with any kitten-murderers.

Dad: You don’t know.
Me: Seriously, he would not murder kittens. I’d never be friends with a kitten-murderer. He likes animals a lot. He totally went to the Berlin zoo when I was annoying about it once and took all the photos without even complaining one time. Not even ONE TIME!
Dad: Maybe that was all to make up for the ONE TIME he kitten-murdered. Like penance.
Me: No. Also, this guy was a porn star. Ken’s totally not a porn star. I wouldn’t even be able to take any of my friends seriously if they were porn stars. Wouldn’t watching someone you knew in porn just be so awkward? You could never talk to them again without giggling and thinking, “I saw your schlong and also you saying things like ‘harder faster oh baby uh.'”
Dad: I don’t want to talk to you about porn. Also, you don’t know. I bet at least 35% of your internet people are porn stars.
Me: I don’t…OK. He wears BIRKENSTOCKS. He listens to NPR. He is not a KILLER. And a
lso, I talked to him TODAY. He’s not in JAIL.
Dad: Maybe in Germany they can have their phones in jail. Also, he wears man-sandals and listens to fake news on the radio? This guy’s a commie. You didn’t even tell me this guy was a commie. Were you hiding the fact he was not only an assassin, but a commie, from me?
Me: I don’t think they can have their phones in jail. You know someone would turn their phone into a shiv and ruin it for everyone. And, no. He’s not a commie. You think everyone’s a commie.
Dad: Because everyone probably is a commie. ANYWAY. Did he see that guy on the plane? You should ask him if he saw that killer on the plane. They probably did a secret handshake or something. A KILLER handshake.
Me: I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I would assume they were on different planes, since they were flying into different cities. I mean, if you were flying from Germany to San Francisco, would you see someone who was on a plane from Germany to New York? Probably not, unless you had high-powered binoculars and the timing was just right.
Dad: You think a lot.
Me: Constantly. It’s a curse.
Dad: So the assassin escapes to murder another day.
Me: Yes, that would seem to be the case.
Dad: He’s tricky, that friend of yours.
Me: Yep. That’s how I like ‘em. Tricky. Also, commies. Tricky damn commies. In man-sandals.
Dad: You would. You would have internet friends who are assassins and spies who wear suspicious footwear.
Me: Yes, I would. It’s how I advertise for internet friends, actually. “All assassins, spies, and international persons of mystery welcome here. Feel free to wear your most communist shoes.”
Dad: Don’t even joke about that, I think one in ten people is an assassin and you probably know like a million internet people so that’s a lot of assassin friends.
Me: That is QUITE a statistic. You’re all full of numbers today.
Dad: I think it was on the news.
Me: I don’t think it was. I think you made it up just now in your head.
Dad: Perhaps.
Me: You’ll be glad I have assassin friends someday, because they can protect me from killers. With their sharpshooting prowess. You just wait and see.
Dad: Just don’t piss them off.
Me: I’ll do my best not to.

And now…because tomorrow will be all about drawing the prize winner and geeking out about my actual Bloggiversary and such, here is my top most popular post of the entire year. By a landslide, actually. Which is funny, because I wasn’t going to write it and I wasn’t going to publish it. I stayed up for hours past my bedtime writing and re-writing this one, so worried that it wasn’t right, that it wasn’t saying what I wanted to say how I wanted to say it, that it was going to make me sound like an idiot, that people were going to judge, that you don’t air your dirty laundry in public. And then the comments and tweets and messages and emails started pouring in. I’ve never loved you all more than I did over those days, seriously. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. I underestimated your awesomeness. I won’t do that again.

Sometimes, I guess there aren’t enough rocks.

And I am SO EXCITED about the drawing and the winner, I can’t even. Tonight after work I’m going to get all pretty and make you all a video. Won’t that be exciting? Sure it will. Well, you can’t look like a gross schlump on a Youtube video, that’d be embarrassing.

Happy Saturday! Enjoy the sun, if there is sun! I hope there’s sun. If you like such things. If you don’t, I hope it’s as gray as a stone. ALL FOR YOU DAMIEN.


My family tree is full of – no, not nuts, that’s a stupid saying. INTRIGUE AND MURDER.

So, remember Rough on Rats? OF COURSE YOU DO. If you don’t, here. Read the saga. There you go, don’t you feel totally enlightened on all things arsenic-poisoning-related? (Crap, now that I’m talking about this again, the FBI is adding more and MORE pages to my file, aren’t they? Dammit. Well, I guess someone’s got to keep the FBI in business and today it’s me.)

So if you remember, my mother dropped the bomb that I had a relative who was poisoned by arsenic and that I’d never been told about when I told her about my very intensive research into Rough on Rats.

This is not surprising. I have long suspected my family is in some sort of witness-protection program. BOTH SIDES of my family. Because not only do they not talk about our history or our ancestors, they have NO INTEREST in it. NONE. Who doesn’t have any interest in where they came from or even what nationality they are? I remember coming home once when I was a kid and asking my mom what nationality we were and her saying, “American,” and me saying, “Yes, I KNOW American, but BEFORE that, we aren’t Native American, so we must have come from SOMEWHERE” and her saying, “I don’t know, maybe Canada?” WHAT THE HELL. Who doesn’t know, and doesn’t care, what nationality you are at all?

This is why I am totally obsessed with that show Who Do You Think You Are. I want to be famous enough to be on Who Do You Think You Are. This is one of my dreams. I don’t want to be famous enough to have all the money or a hot actor husband or twenty adopted children from Zimbabwe or a gold-plated bidet; I want to be famous enough to be on a low-rated NBC show where someone does research into your family and finds out you were related to royalty, or you came over on the Mayflower, or your ancestors were dentists, or something. THIS IS MY DREAM. Shut up, I don’t judge YOUR dreams.

I attempted to do some genealogical research years ago but I didn’t get very far because I am poor and I think to really get very far you need to have money for spreadsheets and websites and research and travel and also you need a lot of free time, and I don’t have any of those things.

I have found out, however, the following things, from random conversations with and observations of family members:

Both sides of my family were originally from Canada (this is not surprising, considering we all have French last names)

We have some ancestry from Ireland, going way back (I can TOTALLY officially celebrate St. Patrick’s Day now, I mean, I WON’T, I think it’s just an excuse to get totally drunk on cheap green beer, but I COULD)

Even though my dad attempts to hide it, his mother’s side of the family were all staunch Democrats, going way back, and all his years of telling me he had no idea where I came from or what’s wrong with me was a total ruse, it’s HEREDITARY, Dad (and also? His cousin J. MET BILL CLINTON and has a PHOTO OF HIM SHAKING HIS HAND and this is SO EXCITING TO ME but when I bring that up to my father he just shakes his head and mutters grumblingly under his breath, something about “damn liberals”)

Both of my grandfathers were in the military; one actually fought in World War II and I’ve seen photos of him in Japan, and the other was something top-secret and I didn’t even know about it until I went home recently and saw a military thingamabobber on his grave and asked about it and my mom said “we don’t talk about that” and THAT IS MYSTERIOUS so probably he was a spy

And that’s about it. I KNOW. That’s like nothing! So I think it will be no surprise to anyone that, from an early age, I started randomly making up stories about my ancestors. Because if no one was going to tell me anything, dammit, I was going to make shit up. This has carried over into today. I was having this conversation with @lgalaviz this weekend. There is nothing more boring than telling a story the way it actually happened, in my opinion. Embellishing the story for effect makes it so much better and makes people want to listen to your story more, right? I mean, think of the best storytellers you know. Do they say, “I went to the store today and bought eggs and milk” or do they say “I went to the store today and some douchecanoe cut me off in the parking lot while they were talking on their cell phone, and then when I was in the store I’m pretty sure the guy at the deli counter was hitting on me, or maybe he had something in his eye, IT IS HARD TO TELL WITH THESE THINGS, then I bought some eggs and milk and the checkout guy was all, ‘You didn’t buy chocolate this time’ which makes me think that probably I’m buying chocolate way too often if they remember me for my totally over-the-top chocolate-buying-binges, then when I was in the parking lot I thought about egging the car of the cutter-offer person, since I totally had the eggs in my bag and all, but I restrained, because I wanted to make an omelet when I got home and didn’t want to waste all those good eggs.” WHICH STORY IS BETTER. The second one, right? Right. I mean, unless you’re on your way to something and time’s an issue, in which case, you might want the first one just because you’re in a hurry. ANYWAY. So I learned from a very young age to make up stories, because I didn’t have any info so why the hell NOT make up stories, and also that made them a lot more interesting.

Oh, on a related note, so not really SIDE NOTE, here is an example.

So my parents met and got married and shit, whatever, as people do. Over the years, bits and pieces of that story came out because, like I mentioned, it’s like state secrets around the Amy household. And I kind of stitched them together into a story of my own about how they got together. This was my story of how my parents met and got married.

My mom was dating to a guy and the guy was drafted and went off to Vietnam. He said, “will you wait for me?” and she said, “Yes, I will.” While he was over there, my dad came back from the military. My mom was in a bar and my dad was there and got in a big bar fight and she fixed his bleeding face and he was totally charming and she was pretty and so they fell in love. When the military guy came back, he heard my mom and dad were engaged so he came after my dad and found him in a bar and was all, “you stole my lady!” and he and my dad got in a huge fight and my dad totally won. And now that guy is weird and short and chubby and a doctor.

When I told my mother this story one day, she laughed until she cried. When she finally stopped laughing enough for me to ask WHY she was laughing, she said, “Um…you know none of that happened, right?” and I said, “What? No, I’m pretty sure it did,” and she said, “Well, I was there, and you weren’t, SINCE YOU WEREN’T BORN,” and she said what really happened was she was dating short doctor guy, and he was drafted, but they weren’t even serious, and she did meet my dad at a bar, but there was never any brawling at all, and when short doctor came back, he did accidentally see my mom and dad out one night and jokingly say to my dad “you stole my lady” or something similar but he wasn’t even serious because he and my mom weren’t even an item. Oh, and yes, he is short and chubby and a doctor now. And, TRUE FACT!, my dad scowls whenever he sees him because he used to date my mom. That makes me laugh, my parents have been married for like forty years. (Also, before I found out about the bar, my mom used to tell us they met at a church picnic. When the bar story came out, I said, “What? What about the picnic?” and she said, “I didn’t want you to think when you were little that your father and I were lushes.” Hee!)

THAT STORY SUCKS A BAG OF DICKS.

MY STORY IS SO MUCH BETTER. My story has INTRIGUE and FIGHTING and BLEEDING and ROMANCE and POSSIBLE ALCOHOLISM. The real story has BORING PEOPLE meeting at BORING BARS and BORINGLY DATING.

(Oh, also, and unrelated, once my mom dated someone named “Bouncy McGee.” His real first name wasn’t “Bouncy” – and his last name wasn’t McGee but I don’t want to put his real name here, that’s so mean – but apparently he bounced when he walked and it made his hair pop up and down so that was his nickname. MOM. What kind of people were you dating before you met Dad? Short dudes and people with walking issues? That is sad.)

And before you say, “But that’s LYING!” it’s not, not really. It’s EMBELLISHING. For EFFECT. No one is HURT in the telling of a better story. I’d argue that people are HELPED, actually. Helped because they are entertained! They leave nourished! They leave with the satisfied, full-belly feeling of a good, fun story, told well, with many details to make it seem more real!

ANYWAY. This isn’t what I’m here to talk about today at all.

So my mom promised to investigate the ancestor who was murdered by Rough on Rats for me the next time she talked to my grandmother. I’m not going home again probably until the summer, so I wouldn’t be able to talk to her about it. I mean, I guess I could call her. But I hate the phone. I’m totally the worst on the phone. And my grandmother is yelly on the phone and doesn’t often hear you when you are asking her things.

So she went to visit my grandmother and told me she couldn’t send me a PDF of the newspaper article about the relative who was a Rough on Rats murderer because it was super-glued into an album my grandmother had so it wasn’t removable for scanning and PDFing. Dammit. I said, “Mom, did you read it?” and she said she SKIMMED IT. Why doesn’t anyone in my family care that we totally have a murderess in our family? I asked, “did it mention Rough on Rats?” and she actually said, “I don’t REMEMBER.” GET WITH THE PROGRAM MOM.

She did remember the name of the murderess, however, and with the help of @cmtomaso, who is the hero of the hour, I was pointed in the direction of this website. All the newspapers of upstate New York! PDFed! Going back to the 1800s! SO EXCITING! Well, except the Malone Evening Telegram, which is the suckiest newspaper in the history of print journalism. They don’t even have a website. WHAT NEWSPAPER IN 2012 DOESN’T HAVE A WEBSITE. Seriously, Malone Evening Telegram, you call me and hire me and I will get you into the 21st century for only about $40,000 a year salary and full benefits. CALL ME.

And LOOKIE LOOKIE!!! 

If you can’t read this, I think you can click to enlarge? I don’t know how the world works, maybe not.

Unfortunately, as you can see, the newspapers in the 40s in upstate New York weren’t into tabloid-style journalism, because if I’d been a reporter back then, I’d totally have written something more than these two very factual pieces. There would have been a lot more “THE BLACK WIDOW” and shit, if I’d written them, I can tell you right now.

Things that bear note:

I like how it says that most crimes in Franklin County are “run-of-the-mill.” Probably not to the people that are being criminalized, Fort Covington Sun.

My mother told me she thought my murderess great-great-aunt killed both my great-granduncle and then her next husband, but this article seems to imply that she killed my great-granduncle, her own son, and then attempted to poison her employer, which is when she got caught. I couldn’t find any followup articles on whether or not my great-granduncle and third cousin (is that right? he’d have been my grandmother’s first cousin, so my mom’s second cousin, and my third cousin? or am I totally off?) were found with arsenic in their systems or not. The Fort Covington Sun really wasn’t the best with reporting, I think.

So her story is that she was driven to it because her employer mistreated her. I need more info, Fort Covington Sun. What work did she do for him, exactly? Housework? Farm work? Something more…naughty? Worrisome.

SEVEN CHILDREN. Good gravy.

She was 11 years younger than my great-granduncle and then ten years older than her second husband. I’m thinking pickins were slim back then in my hometown. Oh, wait, they still are now. Nothing’s changed in that department.

SEVEN CHILDREN. Gulp. She had her first one when she was 19. So she married my great-granduncle when she was, say, 18? And he was 29. That seems like probably it was ill-advised.

The judge’s name was “Cornelius J. Carey.” Hee! That is a VERY OFFICIOUS NAME.

My two little third cousins were county charges! I wonder whatever happened to them!

Then she was sent to the mental institution for being a looney poisoner. Sigh. “Female mental defectives.” Maybe she was just tired. SEVEN CHILDREN SERIOUSLY.

Also, Rough on Rats was never mentioned. SIGH.

So since there is a LOT of info missing, I am OBVIOUSLY forced to make up a story about her, in which she is a beleaguered, exhausted wife, with an old husband (sorry, Great Grand-Uncle John) and SEVEN DAMN CHILDREN and something pushed her over the edge (I’m thinking something to do with the SEVEN CHILDREN) and then she did some murderin’. I don’t really have an excuse for her murdering her fifteen-year-old son, though. That one’s pretty heinous, I have to admit. Then we have the attempted murder of her employer, who seemed to be imprisoning her in his house (what the hell?) so probably that was justified. I feel like maybe this might be a the-night-the-lights-went-out-in-Georgia situation or something. THERE IS MORE TO THIS STORY.

I’ll get more information about this when I go home and talk to my grandmother. My grandmother’s stories are salty and full of cusses and my mom says she still calls my murderous great-great-aunt “that bitch” so I’m totally looking forward to this.

Also, producers of Who Do You Think You Are, I know I’m not a famous person, but LOOK AT WHO’S IN MY FAMILY TREE. Would I NOT make the best hour of television ever? CALL ME RIGHT NOW. I would be SO EFFING ENTERTAINING. I mean, no one’s watching that show but me, anyway, what have you got to lose? NOTHING. It is my DREAM. Sigh.


Just grab your hat, we’ll travel light – that’s hobo style.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I grew up near the Canadian border, where we had very little in the way of television channels. We didn’t have cable, so were limited to what channels we could get clearly on the television using our antenna on the roof. (Sorry if this is confusing to you young’uns. Before cable boxes, you had this tuner thingamabob that was wired to an antenna on the roof. You’d turn it to the channel you wanted to watch, and the antenna on the roof would very slowly grind toward the direction it needed to point in order for you to see that channel. It was like a large-scale version of rabbit ears.)

We were limited to a few of American stations – I think NBC, CBS and PBS – and the rest were Canadian channels. Canadian channels showed a strange mixture of programming. They’d show popular American shows (which was great, especially when they showed programs from channels we didn’t get) and then they’d show Canadian programs as well.

A few years ago, my old roommate and I were watching a Canadian show called Durham County. We were marveling over the weird plot twists and the things that just didn’t make sense in it (a child who randomly popped up wearing a creepy anime mask, a man who had visions of bludgeoning people to death in the bathroom, a teenager who wandered aimlessly at all hours under power lines for no reason), until we realized – it was a Canadian show, and from our childhood recollection, Canadian shows were weird.

Now, I am not saying all Canadian shows were weird. Canada brought me The Kids in the Hall – still, years later, one of my favorite shows of all time – and Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, which, in my teen years, were much more compelling than Beverly Hills 90210 (I don’t know anything about the most recent iterations of Degrassi, other than I tried to watch once and the teens I remembered were all grown up and parents now and that made me feel old so I turned it off.) However, Canada also brought into my household some truly strange things.

I mentioned Mr. Dressup in an earlier post, which I consider to be the touchstone for odd Canadian programming. That show ran for twenty-nine years. Twenty-nine YEARS! That is insane! There are generations and generations of children who watched that show! Generations of children who know what a Tickle Trunk is! 

Another gem was The Littlest Hobo. This show was kind of like the Canadian version of Lassie, only Lassie was a homeless dog who wandered from town to town, helping people who needed it, then moving on to help others. So kind of like Quantum Leap, too. And a little like Highway to Heaven, I guess. Only with a homeless itinerant dog. Who never looked like a real homeless dog would, by the way. He was always pretty clean and groomed. I suppose the people he helped fed him and bathed him and such, I don’t know.

I still have the theme song to this stupid show in my head, years later. I know the entire thing. I feel like it played constantly throughout my childhood on repeats – it must have, because the last episode seems to have aired in 1985 and I remember watching an episode as late at 1992. I guess it was really popular in Canada, watching this dog save the day.

It would have been fine, if the scenarios were believable that Hobo (that was his name – which is kind of politically incorrect now, right? We can’t call people hobos now, can we? That’s a shame. I like that word. It makes me think of people with bindles over their shoulders, riding the rails. It sounds nobler than “the homeless,” somehow) was saving people from. But the show ran for six years, and there are only so many versions of “dog comes to town and saves someone and leaves amidst their pleas for him to stay forever” that they can do. So they started getting a little weirder. For example, we have:

  • Hobo finds an undetonated World War II bomb. (This seems…unlikely.)
  • A family is trapped on a deserted island. (Then how did a DOG get there?)
  • A mime and a deaf boy help Hobo prevent a robbery. (This sounds horrifying. And kind of like the setup for a dirty joke.)
  • Hobo is declared a new species of dog and flees people trying to capture him. (What? A new species of dog? Like a genetically engineered dog, or…what?)
  • A gambler plans to sabotage a lumberjack contest. (Yes, because that’s where the big money’s riding. Lumberjack competitions. Everyone knows that.)
  • A criminal steals and tries to sell a secret laser. (For one…meeeelion….dollars! Mike Myers is Canadian. I think The Littlest Hobo people might have grounds for a lawsuit, here.)
  • Hobo is sought in a fraternity scavenger hunt. (Also known as “the year the fraternity was kicked out of the college for lameness”)
  • Hobo meets a “very special friend” who believes he can understand what animals are thinking. The pair matches wits with a warehouse full of gold thieves. (Yeah. I…don’t know what to say about this. It sounds like it was full of hijiinks, though. Also, why is the “friend” so “special?” Were there “bad touches?”)
  • Hobo befriends a lonely clown. (WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS)
  • A farmer and his mail-order bride seem incompatible. (Um…well, yeah, I can see how that could happen. Because you ordered her? Through the mail?)
  • A rival tries to have a harmonica player fired. (Ah, yes. The cut-throat world of harmonica playing. This probably was a two-part special, followed the seamy underbelly of lumberjack competitions.)
  • A young mute girl and her father are being blackmailed into conducting fake seances. Hobo is able to break the blackmailers’ hold by cleverly investigating and manipulating the mechanics of the ruse. (He is a dog. How was he able to manipulate anything? He doesn’t have opposable thumbs. Also, seances! Scary!)
  • Hobo turns health inspector when botulism is discovered at a campground. (Because in Canada, affirmative action means the best “creature” for the job? I don’t know.)
  • Hobo stalks an ominous carnival patron. (You know who you should stalk, Hobo? That SAD CLOWN FROM EARLIER.)
  • Hobo mans a disco control panel and helps the victim of an underworld frame-up. (“A disco control panel?” Like, Hobo was a DJ? Awesome.)
  • Hobo encourages a paraplegic boy to enter a Frisbee-throwing contest. (Um. Yeah. This just…seems mean?)

Other interesting things to note are that there are multiple episodes where Hobo is mistaken for a wolf (apparently this was a success, ratings-wise, or they were running out of ideas. Also, Hobo doesn’t look a lot like a wolf. See below), multiple episodes where Hobo plays matchmaker (because THAT’S not at all disturbing, a dog playing matchmaker), and multiple episodes where he hangs out with other indigent people (who are listed as “bums” or “runaways” or “hitchhikers” but never “hobos” because we already HAVE a hobo and two would be way too confusing.)


Now, I know, you are curious! This can’t be as bad as I’m saying, you’re thinking! Well, I didn’t think so, either, so I went to YouTube. And you’re right. It’s actually worse.

Here is a commercial for the program. In this, please note the production values, which I think you could mimic by filming this in your backyard with the camera in your phone, hiring your least-attractive friends, and using free Internet graphics.

And one more – in this clip, Hobo helps the stupidest people alive escape from a car. (I know. You wanted to see Hobo be a DJ. SO DID I. YouTube does not seem to have that available to me. I’m so sorry for getting your hopes up.) I’m inclined to say he should have let them die there, because natural selection was taking them out for a reason. “It – it’s a DOG! It’s STANDING! On the CAR!” Wow, Mistress of Observation! (Also, I’m confused about what happens right after the men run out of the house to save the women in the car. What’s going on behind that curtain? A ghost? The cameraman forgot to follow them? This is perplexing.) Oh, and apparently, one of the girls is Megan Follows from Anne of Green Gables? That makes me sad. I’m going to pretend to un-know that.

Now, before I get hate mail from people who loooooved this show growing up – so did I. I mean, I watched it, anyway. Mainly because I didn’t have much of a choice. But seriously, please think about this. A strange dog shows up and starts tugging you around or picking crap up in its mouth or solving “mysteries” or whatever, and this is just normal? Even in the late 70’s, early 80’s, I think this would be a red flag, and animal control would have been called. I worked for the Humane Society for two years and I never met a stray dog who was this intelligent. I mean, yes, I guess some were crafty and got out of holes in fences or something, but I don’t see a single episode where “Hobo escapes from the shelter” is listed as the show description. I guess he’s just too crafty to even get picked up by an Animal Control Officer? I mean, he was a DJ and a health inspector, so I suppose he can evade an Animal Control Officer easily enough.

If anyone ever wonders why exactly I am as weird as I am, you can add “grew up on a steady diet of Canadian programming” to the list of possible causes, seriously. Tickle Trunks and dog DJ’s. And Gavin.


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