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Category Archives: Capital Region

This happens. This is something that happens.

I am watching Magnolia. It is my favorite movie. This probably says a lot about me; mostly about the fact that I can relate, all-too-well, to broken people, to people with flaws that run deep and don’t ever let them go, not completely.

I’m watching Magnolia today because Philip Seymour Hoffman died, and I wanted to see him in one of my favorite roles of his, in my favorite movie. I wanted to just have a minute to say my goodbye to someone whose work I respect a great deal, and whose death I’m taking maybe a little too hard because that’s a thing I do. I am talking to someone I love about how much this movie means to both of us, how much it affected us back in the days when we weren’t yet part of each other’s lives, and I am crying over this movie, and I am crying over this particular magic, this thing that brings people together at just the right time, in just the right place.

Magnolia has the recurring theme of coincidence, and connection, and how we’re all intertwined; how the smallest action can turn into the one thing that your entire life hinges on. I like this. This is the magic I hold onto in life. This is what I hang around for; those little moments where you can almost see the greater plan peeking through the velvet curtains at the edge of things.

The movie starts with some stories of coincidence, each one harder to believe than the last: a man killed in Greenberry Hill in London by men named Joseph Green, Stanley Berry and Daniel Hill; a scuba diver killed by a firefighting airplane flown by a man he’d coincidentally run into a few days prior; and a teenager attempting suicide by jumping off the roof of his building, only to have his mother accidentally shoot him as he falls past her window – and land in a net put up to save window-washers, so he wouldn’t have died, after all, had he not been shot.

After each of these stories, the narrator tells us “and I would like to think this was only a matter of chance.” Until the last story.

And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that this is not just “something that happened.” This cannot be “one of those things”… This, please, cannot be that. And for what I would like to say, I can’t. This was not just a matter of chance. Oh, these strange things happen all the time.

I’m going to tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I lived across the country. That iteration of Amy was not one I am proud of. I suppose you need to learn from your past, from your mistakes, to form the person you are today; if that’s the case, the mistakes I made, and troubles I dealt with, while living in the western part of the country, built a big old foundation upon which to position this life, the life I am proud of.

I worked at a theater there, for a while. I was one of the broken people, while there. I drifted. I was lost. I was doing what I could to survive. I was in and out of disastrous relationships and crushes on the least-likely candidates. I cried a lot. I was one of those thousand-yard-stare people you kind of see on the periphery.

I loved my time at the theater, though. It was brief – probably 8 months, all-told – but it seems longer, in my mind. I found family there. For someone as lost and alone as I was, this was huge. I had people, and I had a place to go, and I felt like I belonged. I was still broken, and I was still lost, but I had a tiny corner where things could be alright. (Theater’s saved me many times, and I have no doubt it will again – this is a good example of one of those times.)

But I screwed it up, as I did many things back then. Things got hard, and I got nervous, and I eventually shut myself off from everyone I loved there. I left and didn’t go back. I had reasons, which were varied (and kind of ridiculous, and even as screwed-up as I was, I knew they were ridiculous) but when the going gets tough, a lot of times, I just put up walls and make ’em thick. No one gets in. I don’t go out. And I can pretend I made that choice! I don’t need anyone! But really what made the choice is the fact that I’m depressed and I’m freaking out and it’s easier to not have anyone in your life when that happens. People are just a complication, right?

I think I ended up saying goodbye to maybe two of the theater people when I left the state. I didn’t even think that might be hurtful. I just wanted out, and I wanted to get back to where I thought I could rebuild, and things might start to be ok.

And things were ok. More than ok, actually. I got my fresh start, both due to the change of scenery and a change in me. I didn’t want to be that person anymore. I wanted to be someone else – someone who didn’t hide, someone who had friends, someone who had more blue-sky days than black-cloud days. It’s amazing how far a change in attitude can take you. It wasn’t overnight – the person I was hung around longer than I care to admit – but eventually, I shed most of her off, I kept what worked, and I became the person I am now: flawed, sure, but happy. And happy begets happy. Happy draws IN happy. It’s something I never knew, and something I was so joyful to discover.

I compartmentalized who I used to be; I didn’t shut it off, because you can’t deny things that happened, but I didn’t let it color me, either. I’m friends with a few people from those days in the now; BFF is one of them, and Mer another. They’re my best takeaways from that time, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I’m peripherally friends with a few others on Facebook, but you know how Facebook is. You like a status here and there, but it’s what you put into it, and we’ve grown too far apart to mend those fences. I don’t know that we really care enough to, honestly.

Remember the dating site? Yeah, that’s going about as well as you might imagine, but that’s not the point of this story.

The dating site sends you a list of people it thinks are good matches for you. (Strangely, most of these people are what I would consider exactly the opposite of a “good match,” but that’s neither here nor there.) The other day, I was idly paging through them (an audio track of me doing this would be “no,” “ugh, OMG, no,” “where are your CLOTHES?”, and “Why does this site think I want to date a 62-old-man?”) and I saw a photo of someone that looked very familiar.

Now, I’d assumed at some point I’d run into someone I knew. It was kind of inevitable. It’s a big area, but not THAT big. I’m not going to DATE anyone I kn0w – if I wanted to date people I knew, would I be on the dating site to begin with? – but it wasn’t someone I knew from HERE.

It was someone I knew from the theater from all those years ago. J., who’d run the theater; who’d been the one who took me in to begin with, who gave me the family I was too closed off to accept as fully as I should have. I hadn’t seen J. in twelve years. We weren’t Facebook friends. We’d dropped off each other’s radar. Not out of spite or any sort of hard feelings; I liked J. I just lost touch with J., and then compartmentalizing that part of my life hadn’t led me to look up people from that time. Honestly? I didn’t know if they’d remember me. I’d been a bit of a ghost. At first, didn’t even believe it WAS J. – I did a Google seach first, to see if he really was in the area.

Because what are the odds, right? What are the odds that someone you were close to twelve years ago, all the way across the country, would show up in your list of people on a dating site you just joined?

But it was him. He was here, somehow. And after sending him what was probably the goofiest message ever (but, in my defense, he replied with an equally “ZOMG!” email) we met up for dinner the other night.

Dinner became over three hours of talking and catching up and laughing and utter amazement over the fact that it had been twelve years and here we were, and we both looked pretty much the same (few more gray hairs, maybe, but it wasn’t like we were unrecognizable to one another) and how was he here? And what had happened in the past twelve years? And we caught up over food and the time melted away and I remembered some of the good things from all that time ago; that everything wasn’t terrible, not all the time, and the good things I brought forward with me were the things that made my friendship with J. still work.

(And before you all get excited: no, this is not a love connection. I care about J. a great deal, but it’s never been THAT kind of relationship, and never will be. Solid friendship with nothing more behind it. Sorry to burst your bubble, all of you rooting for me to find love on the interwebz.)

I totally told J. "IT WOULD BE LIKE KISSING MY BROTHER" then I realized I probably had to say that was from a movie or it was just a really rude, or slightly incesty, thing to say.

I totally told J. “IT WOULD BE LIKE KISSING MY BROTHER” then I realized I probably had to say that was from a movie or it was just a really rude, or slightly incesty, thing to say.

J. is here working at one of the local colleges, rebooting their theater program. (Can’t think of anyone better to do it; he’s got this energy that just beams from him.) Things have been going well for him; he’s also had a good twelve years. He also realized he needed a fresh start and took his life in a different direction. And I have to admit, it was nice to tell him what I’d been up to; I didn’t have much to be proud of then, but now I can say things like “writing for the paper” and “traveling to Europe in the spring” and “published a book” and MEAN all of them.

And J. and I made plans to get together again, and soon; if the world hands you a coincidence like this, you don’t waste it. You grab that puppy with both damn hands. I can’t wait to introduce him to the theater scene; the first time we met, he took me in, and made the introductions, and I was just given the chance to return the favor.

And there is the account of the hanging of three men, and a scuba diver, and a suicide. There are stories of coincidence and chance, of intersections and strange things told, and which is which and who only knows? And we generally say, “Well, if that was in a movie, I wouldn’t believe it.” Someone’s so-and-so met someone else’s so-and-so and so on. And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that strange things happen all the time. And so it goes, and so it goes. And the book says, “We may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.”

If the past ain’t through with me, I’m cool with that. I take the magic of the world where it’s given. If the world wants to bring back an old friend when I’m finally at the point in my life when I can appreciate him? I’ll take that magic. With thanks. And tears. And wonder.

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I was almost the star of my own version of Grand Theft Auto, only without the dead hookers.

This is going to be the saddest, least blogpostiest blog post you have ever seen from me. This week has kicked my ass sideways. I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I’m so exhausted that the following thing ACTUALLY REALLY HAPPENED last night:

I went to see Wicked (more on that in a bit) and parked in my usual place, which is NOT the fancy, safe, nice parking garage, because it takes a YEAR to get out of that parking garage after a show and I have no patience at all, but is the parking lot behind the YMCA. Which isn’t UNSAFE, but it’s not protected by a lady in a booth or anything, you know? Plus it’s the parking lot where the man came up to me with a riding crop that time and asked me if I’d been bad and needed to be punished.

This picture (STOLEN FROM THE TIMES UNION CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE DON’T SUE ME TIMES UNION!!!) makes it look all fancy but at night it’s shady-town.

So I parked the car in what I think was the last remaining spot (lots of people came to see Wicked and lots of people know that parking garage is a nightmare to escape from, no, seriously, one time I was in there for over half an hour JUST TRYING TO GET OUT OF MY SPOT, it’s that bad, last night I was already home by the time friend R. texted me she’d gotten out of the garage) and the minivan next to me didn’t even stay in the lines, which I hate (why can’t you park in the lines, people? It’s not like they’re INVISIBLE lines. They’re right THERE) and so I squished in and then ran off the couple blocks to the theater texting friend R. gleefully I was on my way.

Well, it wasn’t THIS bad, but still pretty bad.

Then after intermission my lips, much like Napoleon Dynamite’s, hurt REAL BAD, but without my brother to refuse to bring me a Chapstick, I’d have to find my own, so I went into my purse to find my lip gloss which is HELPFULLY attached to my keys and could not find it.

Well, thought I. This is confusing. My keys are always on top in my purse. What could be happening here?

Then I thought, huh. Remember when you were walking away from the car and you were all, “I don’t remember clicking the lock button, did I click the lock button as I walked away, I must have, I always do?” DID YOU EVEN HAVE YOUR KEYS?

So Act II was spent alternately enjoying the show and imagining the poor Taurus in a chop shop. Are those still things? Chop shops? Or just something I’m remembering from Adventures in Babysitting?

Come on, you remember the chop shop. And the Playboy? With the secrets all written inside that the kids stole because they were pervy?

So after the show and a sad goodbye with friend R., who is moving away soon and I will probably never see again, so that was our first and last adventure together (sorry I was all distractedy, friend R., I’m usually a better time, promise! Blame the lack of sleep, that’s what I’ve been doing all week!) I walked kind of all doom-and-gloomy back to the parking lot, thinking, “ok, so you call AAA if it’s not there and you say, ‘um…someone stole my car, I guess, HA HA, how did this HAPPEN?’ and then you totally have an extra house key stashed in your purse because you are a PLANNER, Amy.”

Car was still there. Sitting there, unlocked, with the keys swinging in the ignition. No one had even touched it.

Just like this, only I have a lot more crap on my keychain, which my brother CONSTANTLY yells at me about. “YOU WILL BREAK YOUR IGNITION!” he says. “Look at the pretty baubles, though!” I reply.

I have never done something that boneheaded in all my life. Well, no, that’s not even true. I’ve done a LOT of boneheaded things. But nothing that could cause me to be the victim of automobile theft. To be the WILLING VICTIM of automobile theft. Good grief.

(Also, I have probably used up my good karma for the year. And THANK YOU, thieves of Schenectady, for not being on the ball the other night. Much appreciated. I’m a delicate flower and not at all cut out for public transportation.)

Then I got home, and I wrote the review (it was good, of course it was, it was Wicked, I mean, unless no one could sing and they did some sort of weird creative casting or something, how could it not be good?) and then I tried to fall asleep but I was way too keyed up and I’m overtired so I’m having a lot of trouble sleeping and I have a lot of things in my head that are all “HA HA NO SLEEP FOR YOU” and it’s been a shitty week. Did I mention it’s been a shitty week? It totally has.

Oh, the show? The show was great. We had excellent seats – about, oh, I don’t know, say 14 rows back or something? Right on the aisle. I’ve only seen a couple of shows there with those kind of seats and I can assure you they weren’t BROADWAY shows, they were teeny-tiny things like the time a Shakespeare play came to town and no one wanted to see it so I got front-row seats. I got to see everything from the front for once, because usually I buy the cheap side seats so I don’t see what’s happening on half of the stage. I loved the show, I loved the performances, I was super-happy (although I cried a lot for someone super-happy; the songs in Wicked make me weepy, it’s a thing that happens, and then some songs that NORMALLY DON’T make me weepy were hitting me the wrong way that night so I was all a weepy mess, but I was quiet about it so hopefully I didn’t bother friend R. too much) and it was so nice to see it with friend R. because I will miss her so much when she’s gone.

Here is a HAPPIER song from Wicked, and it’s the one (strangely) I can’t get out of my head today – not even my favorite one, just the one I’ve been singing all day long:

The people in front of us stood up a lot and also arrived late from intermission so kept blocking our view. The person in back of us came back from intermission with what sounded like a jumbo bag of chips or something, and then proceeded to eat it with his or her face (perhaps a slight exaggeration, but that’s what it sounded like) like a wolverine until I turned around and gave the polite theater-person glare and they sighed and stopped. PEOPLE. This isn’t a picnic or a concert. IT’S LIVE THEATER. The seats we were in cost like $165, had we paid for them. SHUT UP and SIT DOWN and STOP EATING LIKE A HOG IN A TROUGH.

At intermission, someone walked by our row and said, “someone in this row has the BEST LAUGH” and apparently that was me. I don’t know if she was being sarcastic or not. I apologized for being loud but she said it was “great” so I guess she was genuinely being nice. Thanks, lady! It’s just my mouth, it does what it wants, much like a honey badger.

At one point, one of the actors played a goat and his horn fell off and flew across the stage all clattery and the first thing I thought was, whoa, THAT’S embarrassing, and the second thing I thought was, well, I’ll have to tell Ken, because as you know:

(Even goat-related musical theater news.)

I had a crush on Fiyero. As I do. I loved Elphaba. As I do. I actually really liked Glinda this time; I usually don’t. I still want to stab the wizard in the stupid face.

Also, as we were walking in, the OTHER local paper asked me and R. if they could take our photos, and they took a billion photos of us and got our names, so I think it’s ironic that we’re going to be in the “Were you SEEN at Wicked?” section in the competing paper when I was there as a paid guest of the OTHER local paper. Ha! (It’s not there yet. I’ll let you know when it is. Or, maybe I won’t. Maybe I look like a crazy, I don’t know.)

OK. This isn’t the SHORTEST or SADDEST blog post you’ve ever gotten. Maybe tomorrrow’s will be, who knows. I have to get to work, then run straight to the theater so I can watch The Shape of Things, then I have to go to bed for work and get up and work all day and then run home and try to write another one of these and then get up at 5:30am on Sunday to work for 7.5 hours and then I get like a little over a day off so that will be nice.

I had the best spam earlier but WordPress keeps eating my posts so now it’s missing and I’m total sadface. It was like, Greetings, men! You are luckiest if you like ladies. Italian ladies are best mates companions. Come and have some! And I giggled for like a month. It was funnier when THEY said it. FUCK YOU WORDPRESS STOP CRASHING MY BLOG. Also, there’s a store near work that says “Bears Weddings” in the window (they sell bears and cater weddings, I assume? I don’t know) and it made me think they have bear weddings in there and then I snort-laughed so hard I almost hit the guy in the lane next to me thinking of bear weddings.

Remind me to tell you about the cat who needed a sex change operation. And the cane-sword-guy. And the strip club. And The Shape of Things. Those are all important things.

Love your faces, yo. Send me sleepy vibes, I’m so effing tired.


I think I need to get one of those helmets with a canary in it.

Random crap Saturday? Sure thing, buckaroos, saddle up. 

Winning Aunting with ADD Trains 

So it’s almost The Nephew’s third birthday. His mom’s having a party for him in the rec park near his house, happily on a Sunday so that means I can attend. Yippee! I like seeing The Nephew. He’s very excited about his birthday. He tells anyone who asks “I’m turning THREE YEARS OLD!” I think he’s also reached the age where he realizes that with birthdays, come presents. I think that’s a very auspicious age, when you can connect the two. 

I am going to show you a picture of The Nephew. I know, this is probably pretty unprecedented. If any pervs show up searching like they did on my friend Mer’s blog once, I’ll come to your house and make you eat your own testicles as an hors d’oeuvre, I swear on all that’s holy.

This is a picture of The Nephew fishing with his dad recently. It is possibly one of my favorite things in existence, because LOOK AT THAT SKEPTICAL FACE. He is NOT SURE OF SOMETHING. I love this child. To pieces.

His party is construction-themed, because right now The Nephew is into construction vehicles like dump trucks. He should come to Albany! All we HAVE is construction right now, Nephew! Come on down! I think you’d be a little less enamored with it if you were stuck behind one of these big trucks and it was driving super-slow and you JUST WANTED TO GO HOME AND RELAX IN FRONT OF THE FAN DAMMIT, but maybe that’s just me. 

My mom checked with The Nephew’s mom to see what gifts he wants for this very important birthday, and apparently, the answer is Chuggington. Which sounds like a euphemism to me, honestly. “Hey, honey, what time are you getting home tonight? Because I think it’s time for us to try out the Chuggington, right? Wink wink nudge nudge!” 

What is Chuggington, you ask? Some train shit, I don’t know. He likes trains. He used to like Thomas the Tank Engine, but there’s a scary train on it so he stopped watching that one. Listen, I just checked the website to show you which train scares my beloved little buddy and there are a LOT of scary-faced trains. Why is this a children’s show? 

I don’t trust the smile on this one, he looks like a child molester.

The hell? This might give me nightmares and I’m a grown up old person. WHY SO MAD, DOUGLAS?

Hector looks like he just walked in on his mom doing it with the pool guy on a pile of his Christmas presents. HIS LIFE AS HE KNOWS IT IS SHATTERED.

I asked my mom which one scared The Nephew and she said this one. He is scared of it because of “The Claw.” GOOD GRIEF. This show is NOT FOR CHILDREN. When I told her that, she said, “Eh, it’s British, what can you do.”

Anyway, Chuggington. I’d never heard of this so I did some research. Here is what the internet tells me about Chuggington: 

Now, come on. “Let’s ride the rails” has to be a euphemism, right? RIGHT?

It is British
It is about talking trains
One of the talking trains seems to have ADD
One of the talking trains is colorblind
Two of the talking trains are mischievous
There is a “movie star chugger” who flies (…I don’t know either)
One of the trains is a douchebag and tricks the other trains
One of the trains is named Hodge and “it takes a lot to get Hodge excited” (I think I dated Hodge in college)
There is a zoo with animals in it (I’m down the zoo situation)
The show seems to exist to teach us all about FRIENDSHIP 

OK, FINE, The Nephew, I’ll get you some Chuggington birthday presents. I’ll research this shit at Toys R Us.

Good GRACIOUS there are a lot of Chuggington toys at Toys R Us. 102! I had no idea. Toys R Us! Never one to not jump on a trend when it’s hot! JUMP ON IT LIKE IT’S HOT TOYS R US! 

“Bridge and Tunnel Starter Set.” EUPHEMISM!!!!

The problem is, if I get him Chuggington toys, everyone ELSE is ALSO getting him Chuggington toys and there’s a chance he’ll get repeat toys and I hate that. I like to stand out in the gift-giving department like the shining star that I am. I really, REALLY like to win aunting. I only have one other person to compete with, but I like to WIN, baby. 

Last year I got him a scooter, which was a total win and he did all the scooting. What should I get him this year that is better than all the other gifts, but costs like $50 or so? People that have three-year-olds or know some three-year-olds, help me out here. Remember: this is not about anything but WINNING AUNTING. Oh, what’s that? Also making The Nephew happy? Oh, yeah, that too. THAT TOO. (No, but seriously, seeing his little face light up when I’ve gotten him a good present makes my Grinch heart break the measuring device every damn time. I’m an easy mark when it comes to The Nephew. This is going to be a problem when he’s older and the gifts he wants are like computers and things.) 

I think I’m dying of black lung 

So we’re in rehearsal for our Director’s Showcase which opens Thursday (well, and closes Thursday, it’s a one-night thingamabobber) and since our building is owned by the City and our ceiling is falling in, they decided to come and fix it right now. So we’ve been coming into rehearsal and the theater is in various stages of disrepair. You’d think it would get better, but it just keeps getting worse. One day we showed up and we couldn’t get down the aisles without squeezing through ladders (BAD LUCK BAD LUCK!) then we showed up a couple days later and there are no seats to sit in so we have to sit on the stage to watch the actors, because the seats are covered in plywood. (I don’t have to sit on the stage. I get my own ROOM to sit in. I’m in the light booth. I’m running the lights and sound for this one. I’m FANCY.) 

I had to move old disgusting ductwork in the lobby in order to close the theater door (you need the doors closed when you’re doing lights, otherwise you get spill from the lobby and you don’t know how your lights will look in a dark theater – there’s some theater inside info for you! Listen, before we’re done here, you’re going to be able to run your own theater, I swear) and my hands were so covered with nastiness when I was done that would NOT come off no matter WHAT I did that I’m pretty sure I’m dying of asbestos poisoning right now. Also, there are electrical cords everywhere, and I don’t know if any of them are live, so it’s like a game of chicken to walk anywhere. Will I live? Will I die? WHAT WILL HAPPEN? 

I know what will happen. I’ll get mesothelioma and have to call one of those TV lawyers to sue my own theater, is what will happen. Cough. Cough cough. 

Oh, what, you think I didn’t take photos? THINK AGAIN BUSTER.

This is the ductwork I had to move with my own hands. That left black shit all over my hands and pants. BLACK LUNGGGGG!

This is the inside of the theater right now. In front of you: the wood on the seats. Under that wood: the seats. To your far left, almost inaccessible: the stage. Directly in front of you, to the top: a ladder, precariously balanced. Directly in front of you near the bottom – a…snow shovel? I don’t know.

This looks like a haunted house but it’s the theater. Oh, hey, there’s my light booth near the top right, hi, my light booth! This is more seats, covered in plastic. And an abandoned bucket, all lonely-like. Some hard hats. And some wood. Heh. Wood. Also, to your left? ORBS. The theater’s totally haunted, yo. Call the Ghost Douche.

This is the ceiling right now. The ceiling that I’m sure is covered in asbestos. NO, I don’t know that for sure, but since when do I not exaggerate? Also, dangerous electrical cords, you know, like you want hanging out of a ceiling.

Also, Thursday, the workmen dropped a deuce in the toilet and didn’t flush, and left us a filthy tanktop on the table we serve refreshments from. You know. Like the classy people they are. THANKS WORKMEN.

(Listen, the show looks great, though. I like working on the director’s showcase because it’s a new director, and it’s fun to see what they can do and how they bring it all together. Well, I guess it’s fun if you like the director and they do a good job. In this case, she’s doing a great job, the show looks excellent, she’s got a wonderful point of view and I think the audience is really going to enjoy it. Also, she hasn’t even complained about the mess in the theater, which, hey, kudos. Don’t worry. I’ll complain enough for the both of us. That shit is CRAZY messy and gross.) 

Righto, guv’nuh. 

So tomorrow, I am going on an ADVENTURE. I know, right? I’m actually leaving my house and purposely going on an adventure. Are we all the most excited? Sure we are. 

Cute, right? So cute.

A new tea house/restaurant opened up very close to where I work, and when they were in the process of opening it, I saw the sign and mentioned to Ken, hey, there’s a tea place opening near me, when it opens, I should check that out. Then it opened, and I kind of forgot about it. SHUT UP, I have a lot going on. But then I remembered when I saw a review of it on one of our local blogs, so I checked out the tea selection and sent the link to Ken because he has to tell me if I’m allowed to go to places like this (I don’t know if tea is any good or not, what do I look like, fancy? No), and he said not ONLY am I allowed, I NEEDED to go. So, Sunday, I’m going to visit the tea place, and then I’m writing you all up the tale of my tea adventures on Ken’s tea blog. So you have to go THERE to read it. Yeah, it’s all a nefarious plot to get you to read Ken’s blog(s) as much as I think you all should, I’m not even denying it. Plus, Ken has promised to be my on-call tea expert should I run into any tea-related emergencies while I’m there. I’m sure I will. I can’t imagine I won’t. I’m also trying tea WITH CAFFEINE IN IT. I know, this could totally be the end of me. And by “the end” I mean it could cause a migraine to happen. But it probably won’t. It’s been a long time since the doctor told me that maybe caffeine was my migraine trigger. Who knows what will happen? It’s not going to hurt to try. And I really really REALLY want to see what Oolong tastes like. Ken makes it sound delicious. And since they don’t offer it as decaf, well, you can see my conundrum. 

Also, there’s totally a tea-related gift shop, and someone I know who was mentioned a billion times in the preceding paragraph has a prize package coming to him and tea relates to his interests, so that’ll be fun to investigate, now won’t it? Sure it will. What? What’s that? NO I haven’t finished shopping for the Bloggiversary Gift Package yet. Shush, you, I only got paid Thursday and we’re teching a show, I’m a little busy. 

So be ready for tea adventures! Oh, also there’s food. There’s totally food. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty excited about the food, too. It looks delicious. 

OK, there’s three things. THREE RANDOM THINGS! Plus lots of pictures. I’m exhausted and I think I’m dying of maybe TB like Doc Holliday so now I should go around saying lines from Tombstone like “you’re a daisy if you do” and “I got two guns, one for each of ya.” HAPPY SATURDAY! Enjoy your day, it’s supposed to be lovely!

Nonsense. I have not yet begun to defile myself.



Just the bare necessities. Bear necessities? Both. Either. Whatever.

Happy Friday! It’s going to be local news day today. Sometimes it needs to be local news day, because the weird shit starts piling up, and I need to tell someone about it. I HAVE HUNDREDS OF SOMEONES.

Here’s a funny thing and not at all on topic ARE YOU AT ALL SURPRISED. Even though I’ve mentioned this blog on Facebook a number of times, most of the people I know in real life apparently don’t pay any attention to what I say on Facebook (which is actually really telling, don’t you think? My Twitter people know if I’m in a bad mood based on the nothing but the tone of a 140-character tweet while my Facebook people, who know me in really real life, don’t even know what I’m up to even if I SPELL IT OUT FOR THEM? Just an observation) so when I mention something about my blog to them, they look at me like I’m insane or maybe making it up.

Typical conversation (please note, I don’t often bring UP the blog, unless the conversation has organically steered itself to it; it’s a huge part of my life, but I don’t want to be THAT GIRL, who’s all I HAVE A BLOG MOMMA LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME, you know?):

Friend: Your what?
Me: Blog. I have a blog. That people read. And comment on.
Friend: YOU DO?
Me: Yes.
Friend: Strangers read it?
Me: Yes.
Friend: Like, more than five?
Me: Yes.
Friend: How many. How many strangers.
Me: I don’t know. A few hundred?
Friend: Total? Like, ever?
Me: Daily.
Friend: WHAT? Why do you have a double life?
Me: Because I’m Maxwell Smart, or maybe Superman? I don’t know. I’ve mentioned this on Facebook a number of times.
Friend: YOU HAVE?
Me: Yep.
Friend: WHAT?

This sometimes goes on for a very long time and makes me a little squirmy. I’m not sure if the squirminess is because they don’t believe someone like ME would have that many people reading my blog, or because I’m not comfortable bragging. I have a very old-timey “we don’t brag about ourselves” ethic going on. Like, it’s ok to be PROUD of oneself, especially if you did a lot of work for something. But BRAGGING about it is in bad taste. If someone compliments you, it’s ok to take the compliment, but then you change the subject because that’s skating into bragging territory. I know. I’m a throwback, especially in this day and age. It’s just uncomfortable. And it smacks of needing attention. If you DON’T beg for it, and you get applause for something, it means a lot more. Think about it. What compliments mean more, the ones you get organically, or the ones you had to pry out of someone? Well, obviously the former, right? The unsolicited ones? This is a tangent within a tangent. Are you so so frustrated right now?

I’m not really going anywhere with this, other than every time this happens, it never fails to be awkward. I feel like I’ve been hiding this secret identity from people when I really haven’t. I promise I’m not hiding my top-secret blogging identity from you, people. And if I didn’t think you all would get totally bored and annoyed, I’d post my posts to my personal page. I don’t know, it just seems weird to mix my real life and my blog life that much. Does that make me a total weirdo? It’s ok if it does. It wouldn’t be the first time.

NOW BACK ON TRACK.

OK, there’s a lot of craziness happening here in the ol’ Capital District lately. Let’s talk about two things. What do you want first, naked ladies or bears falling from the sky?

Probably you want naked ladies but you have to wait for those. Bears come first.

The Albany bear! Or, at least, one of them. (All photos totally ganked from the Albany Times Union. I AM NOT A THIEF. Don’t arrest me, Times Union.)

OK, so! Starting on May 1, we started seeing all the black bears here. We live in a nice area that’s got both city and country, so sometimes we see wildlife. It’s not uncommon. I see deer in the parking lot at work sometimes because the parking lot abuts some trees. I always smile when I see those deer. Wildlife make me happy. I also see a lot of squished wildlife. Raccoons. Things that I think are woodchucks but after they’re squished just look like brown piles of ick. Skunks.

But we don’t see a lot of bears.

Since May 1, there have been four black bear sightings in the areas surrounding my town. No one’s quite sure if these are four separate bears, or if these are the same bear and he just travels, or what’s up with the bears. Bears have been in Albany, Schenectady, North Greenbush, and Guilderland. None of these are my town, specifically, but they’re all within 15-20 minutes away.

THIS IS VERY EXCITING. I’ve never seen a wild bear! Only ZOO bears. I want to see a bear!

According to the news, bears are on the move because these are adolescent bears and their moms have kicked them out of their basement and told them to get a job, slacker. So they’re looking to stake a claim of their own and maybe find a lady-bear of their very own to do their laundry and let them come home drunk at 2am and get some nooky. (When I told my dad this story, he said “that’s typical liberal behavior. Of COURSE those bears are heading for Albany. THOSE ARE LIBERAL BEARS.”)

So the most recent bear was in a tree in someone’s back yard, and at first, the DEC was all, leave him ALONE, he’ll come down when he’s READY, only he was as lazy as Dumbcat and he wasn’t going ANYWHERE. He was all napping and shit. He was stretching out all long and yawning and being adorable and he was totally the dirty hippie of bears. So the DEC decided, once all the people showed up to rubberneck and take photos, that it was time to tranquilizer dart that bear and move him along to somewhere less peopled.

He’s saying, “Where’s Amy? I want to hang with Amy. I WAS PROMISED AMY.”

So they shot him and once he fell out of the tree there were many mid-air photos of that bear falling like a sack of wet hair. FLOP. Sleeping bears fall HARD, you guys. But don’t worry! That bear was FINE. He fell in the leaves. The DEC was all, “DON’T WORRY WE DID NOT HURT THE LAZY BEAR.”

Look at him flop out of that tree! He’s like a sack of laundry, that bear. FLOP.

Here, if you want to see all the photos, you can click. Also, you can follow the Capital Region Bear on Twitter.

Now, after I had written the majority of this post, a NEW article went up on the Times Union site. It was the SADDEST. So, this one bear (not THIS bear, another bear) was captured and released far away. Then, like the cat, it came back. Then, captured. Sent farther away. IT CAME BACK AGAIN. Guess where it showed up? The campus at the University at Albany. THAT BEAR WANTED AN EDUCATION, YOU GUYS. But the DEC was all, NO, BEAR, you DON’T NEED NO EDUCATION! YOU DON’T NEED NO THOUGHT CONTROL! And the DEC killed it because it was not able to be rehabilitated. They said was one naughty bad-news bear. Aw! Bear! I’m going to drink a 40 tonight and pour a little out on the ground for you. All you wanted was an education. And maybe to join a fraternity, and drink too much out of red Solo cups, and eat Denny’s at 3am. It’s ok, bear. We all wanted that, at that age. Well, not the fraternity part, I can’t help you with that, bear. That’s just bad decision-making skills. But you didn’t need to DIE for it, bear. I’m sad about this. That poor bear, yearning for book-learning.

Listen, bears! I am not far from where you’ve been hanging out, and I have MANY TREES in my back parking area. They are TOTALLY BEAR FRIENDLY TREES. Please come and visit! I will give you bear-things! Like…um…honey? And I have some berries in my freezer I will thaw for you. And…shit, what else do bears like. Fish? I WILL BUY SOME FISH FOR YOU, BEARS. I think we will be the best of friends. Also, I won’t tell anyone you’re here, because otherwise, the DEC will either relocate or kill you. I’ll hide you, bears. This will be like a Disney movie only with more cussing and there won’t be a princess or a love interest because those things are stupid. Just me and my bear, yo, hanging out and having some berries.

OK, bear time is over. Now it’s time for BARE time. Bare NAKED time, that is. Like that? That’s how you know I’m a really truly serious writer, with the segues like that. You can’t buy THOSE in a store. (Like that? That’d be my new catchphrase if I had a kicky single-gal comedy.)

Yesterday, a woman in Ballston Spa (that’s up by Saratoga, where the pretty ponies race in the summer) walked into the Curtis Lumber (which is exactly what it sounds like, a hardware store/lumberyard) and she was bucky-ass naked, yo.

This is security footage from the Curtis Lumber with her jiggly bits blurred out. I told my dad about this and he was SO MAD her jiggly bits were blurred out. He thought it was a government conspiracy.

She walked around like it was fine, and asked people what time it was, and told people to have a nice day as she left.

“’No one wanted to say much to her,’ (Curtis Lumber manager Bob Eakin) said. ‘It’s not a situation you want to be involved in.’”

Aw, poor Bob Eakin. You come to work at your job, which is probably not great, let’s face it, you manage a lumberyard/hardware store where the logo is a weird anthropomorphic house, and then a lady walks in and she’s all naked. What do you DO? Well, Bob Eakin decided, NOT TODAY, LADY. And ignored the situation. He didn’t even kick her out. He just let the naked lady wander around all naked until she was done shopping.

Anthromorphic things like this are a little creepy, yeah? Yeah.

Here’s my question. If you’re going shopping naked, is a lumberyard/hardware store really your best choice? I guess you thought either more men would be there to see you, or you’d stand less of a chance of being kicked out? Or maybe she just really, really needed a hammer, like one of my my Facebook friends said today? I don’t know what is happening with this decision process.

Then she went across the street to Stewart’s. Stewart’s is a local gas station/convenience store chain. I like Stewart’s. They are friendly and have good ice cream and iced coffee.

See? Cute, right? IT DOESN’T NEED NAKED LADIES IN IT.

While at the Stewart’s, one of the employees chose to engage the naked lady in conversation.

“’The manager said, Ma’am, are you aware you have no clothes on? She was kosher and cool about it, and the manager told her she needed to leave,’ said a Stewart’s employee, who only identified himself as Terry.”

This conversation is one that I would pay COLD CASH MONEY to have been privy to.

“Ma’am? Are you aware you have no clothes on?”
“WHAT? ZOMG! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?”

“Ma’am? Are you aware you have no clothes on?”
“*I* have no clothes on? *You* have no clothes on. This whole *Stewart’s* has no clothes on!”

“Ma’am? Are you aware you have no clothes on?”
“Yes. And are YOU aware you have TOO MANY clothes on?”

Also, “she was kosher?” People still say that? I wasn’t aware. It sounds so silly. Stop saying that, people who still think this is a thing. STOP TRYING TO MAKE FETCH HAPPEN. FETCH IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

So then she left the Stewart’s (two things: a., I like to call it “THE Stewart’s,” much as I like to call Kmart “THE Kmart” or Walmart “THE Walmart” because it makes me sound like a hillbilly, and b., I hope she got one of their iced coffees, they really are stellar) and the cops picked her up (I don’t know, were they following her car? How’d they know where to find her?) and questioned her to see if she’d lost her mind or was off her meds or whatever. Here. I’ll let the Times Union tell you the rest, it’s the best.

“By the time the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office picked her up, she had her clothes back on, Eakin said.

“Murphy said she is charged with public lewdness, a misdemeanor.

“‘While the defendant claimed she was merely expressing her freedom to be fully liberated by walking nude into Stewart’s and Curtis Lumber, this alleged conduct is actually a crime under the penal law,’ said Murphy in a statement. ‘Surprisingly, mental health found no psychiatric issues whatsoever.’

“Lafleur was released pending a future court appearance in Ballston Spa and could face a maximum of 90 days in jail if convicted, Murphy said.”

OK. Let’s take this one step at a time.

I like the word “lewd” because it sounds like what it’s describing. You have to draw it out for maximum effect, though. Lewwwwwwwd.

I know someone with the last name Lafleur. He’s like the least crazy person ever. I certainly hope he’s not related to this person. Or, if he is, I hope he talks to her and gets more info on this situation, because I AM SO EFFING CURIOUS WHAT IS UP. No, that is NOT a euphemism.

“…expressing her freedom to be fully liberated by walking nude into Stewart’s and Curtis Lumber” makes me laugh so hard I snorted a little. THAT’S how you celebrate your freedom? Don’t you listen to country music? Freedom isn’t FREE, lady. Also, it’s not even the fourth of July yet. Yes, it was hot as balls Tuesday and sticky and disgusting, but wear a damn tank top and some shorts or something, come on.

“Surprisingly, mental health found no psychiatric issues whatsoever.” You know when that statement was made, the words “surprisingly” and “whatsoever” were emphasized to the maximum. Possibly with ALL CAPS. She wasn’t looney. Just naked. SHOCKING.

Also, Jim makes me laugh like a moron.

I was going to mention the irony of “penal code” being in this article, but Jim did it for me. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting today, Jim. Much appreciated.

So we’re all about bares and bears here in the Capital Region! We like both animals and nudity, apparently. Oh, and homophones.

(Oh, psst, Ken made it to Merka all in one piece. I don’t know about you all, but I’m pretty jazzed about this development. It’s like you could feel the awesome quotient of the country go up about 90 kabillion percent late yesterday afternoon. Welcome back to Merka, Ken. I’m so excited you’re here. Have so much fun bon vivanting.)

Happy Friday, beautiful people! Have a fantastic weekend. Oh, and keep your clothes on if you need lumber or iced coffees. You can take them off for other reasons. Gallivanting. Tomfoolery. Flimflammery. We’ve discussed this on Twitter and decided it was alright. And hey, watch out for falling bears? Great. Love your faces. Bye bye bye.


The Nephew’s in town. All bets are off.

OK, seriously. I have NO TIME TO WRITE THIS. None none none. I’m totally on a deadline here.

In approximately 11 hours, I WILL BE HANGING OUT WITH THE NEPHEW. That means I have about three hours TOTAL to finish this, get this posted and ready for tomorrow, and go to sleep. I know. I KNOW. How will I do it?

As you are reading this – RIGHT NOW – I am with the nephew. Hi, future-me! Are you having the best time? You totally are, right? How’s your hair look, pretty askew? Great, great, all things as usual, then.

The Nephew is in town until tomorrow at lunchtime. His mom called me and we’re getting together and possibly going to a toddler playland. I don’t know what that means. I think chaos. Right? Total and complete chaos? Wait, I’ll look the place up, let’s see what happens.

ZOMG the slogan of this place is “your child can either bounce off YOUR walls or OURS” (the ALL-CAPS are THEIRS not MINE like you probably thought they would be.) Although I appreciate the use of a good all-caps, this is a worry. Also, the name of the place is spelled strangely, and not in a “this is kooky! FOR THE CHILDREN!” kind of way. In a “I added extra letters by accident and we already printed a million business cards let’s just go with it” way. It’s like Chuck E. Cheese. There had better not be those scary-ass animatronic mice in there. Don’t EVEN think I won’t take photos of me mocking them and put them online if there are.

There are waterless waterslides (DANGEROUS!), a three-story ball pit (how is that even POSSIBLE? Also, DANGEROUS) and an indoor bounce house. I don’t think I’m allowed to bounce, am I? Shit, I’d be the best at bounce-housing. Oh, also, DANGEROUS. There are trampolines (DANGEROUS!) There is something where kids can climb like a spider (DANGEROUS!)

Oh, shit, wait, I just checked, those are for OLDER kids. There’s a whole zone for toddlers. The Nephew is definitely a toddler still. WHEW. I was so worried this would kill him dead. I wouldn’t enjoy that at all.

So anyway, I went to Target and thought, “I’ll get The Nephew some Matchbox cars.” He loves them, and I am not above buying his love. I’m not proud. Kiddo sees me three, four times a year tops. I want him to leave thinking, “DAMN but that insanely loud, frazzly-haired woman gives good door prizes.” There was a whole AISLE of Matchbox cars. Suddenly I realized The Nephew needed them all. No, not a couple. ALL OF THEM. I turned into a caricature of a person doing last-minute Christmas shopping. If anyone had come between me and those cars, I’m pretty sure I would have bitten them with my teeth and growled like a rabid puppy.

After stuffing my cart, I realized that at some point I probably would like a laptop since last night my computer stopped working completely, just dead dead dead. So I put most of them back. No, not all. MOST. I’m not a complete asshole, the kid needs gifts, sheesh. So he got like a huge multipack of cars, and an 18-wheeler with a car that goes into the back, and – BEST AUNT EVER – this car ramp thingamabobber that you suction-cup up in the bathtub, then put water in it and it SHOOTS THE CAR INTO THE TUB. Through a RING OF FLAME. Yeah, I’m serious. Oh, wait, no, it’s not real flame. It’ s a plastic ring. That looks like flame. He’s a toddler, he’ll still be impressed. Bathtub toys are FUN, you guys.

I totally wish I had an aunt like me when I was a kid. I would have appreciated the following: the insanity, the gift-giving prowess, the crazy-eyes of love.

Then I talked to The Nephew’s mom, and she told me the following story. The Nephew was eating some cookies with his grandmother and she asked, “Will you share those with me?” and he looked at her very seriously and said, “No. I will only share them with Aunt Amy.” WHAAAAAAAT?

See, have I not been telling you this is the best nephew in the history of nephews? I haven’t seen this kid since CHRISTMAS. Yet he will ONLY SHARE HIS DELICIOUS DESSERT ITEMS WITH ME. And I wasn’t even THERE! I’m like this awesome person that only lives in his head, waiting to share delicious cookies. I mean, I don’t even eat cookies, but whatever, he’s little, he doesn’t know my various food issues.

I’m not even ashamed to tell you that this a., brought tears to my eyes, and b., made me SO GLAD I bought all those cars. That kid deserves gifts for saying something that awesome. Or for just being the best thing to ever exist in the history of ever. And listen, I hate almost everyone so that’s really saying something.

OH, and his mom also told me that on the drive here, he got very frustrated he couldn’t read his book to himself so said, “Mom, you need to teach me to read right now.” (That made me tear up almost as much as the cookie situation. I would have taught him to read RIGHT THEN. He loves reading and books! He is SO MY NEPHEW!) So she said, “I’m driving right now, The Son, but we can say the alphabet!” So they did. Then he went back to his book. And a few seconds later he said, very disgusted, “MOM. I still can’t read this.” HA. I LOVE HIM MORE THAN DAIRY PRODUCTS.

So yeah, that’s tomorrow. I KNOW RIGHT? THEN, right after The Nephew time, it is scramble over to the movie theater to meet my friend C. time, to watch a movie and maybe have dinner. Then it’s get home in time to watch my programs time. SO MANY TIMES. Sunday is going to be hopping. This is like a year’s worth of social interaction for me, all rolled into one day. I might keel over and die. I can’t guarantee I won’t.

I have a million things to do in the meantime. Nails to paint. Dishes to wash. Cars to take out of their little cellophane coffins so The Nephew doesn’t asphyxiate and die trying to have fun. I know. THIS IS SO SHORT AMY WHAT THE HELL. Well, my little butterscotch buttons, I have my priorities. You’re pretty high up there. I’m not going to lie. But here’s a list of priorities. You’ll see how you fall:

THE NEPHEW
Work (only because it pays my bills, not because I like doing it)
Blogging
Theater
Online things like Twitter and Facebook and shit
Talking to my dad on the phone because he makes me laugh like a mor0n
Dumbcat
Television
Reading
Eating cheese products
Watching the penguin cam
Sleeping
Social interaction

So, as you can see, other than work (and that’s only because it pays for my internet and cell phone so I CAN blog), the only thing that trumps you all in my heart is The Nephew. Yep. You’ve all been beaten by a toddler. In his defense, he’s pretty tough. He headbutts like a mountain goat.

Happy Sunday! Enjoy your days! I’m going to be in Nephew-land, hooray!


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