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Category Archives: Children

Meeting real people in real life: an adventure in Virginia

Much like Heather yesterday, I have stolen away like a thief in the night to quick like a bunny post something so you know that a., I have arrived safely in the land of Virginia (but, although Heather promises I was supposed to be assigned a lover per the state motto at the border, I was NOT assigned a lover, so what is up with THAT, Virginia? Seriously? WHERE IS MY LOVER. I am not enjoying your state as I should be in this loverless fashion) and that b., we are having a grand adventure, as promised.

The train on the way here was overheated and very crowded (props to the lady who realized if she put the tray-table down in the seat next to her it looked like someone was sitting there so no one bothered her, CRAFTY) but didn’t seem to take that long, surprisingly, and I’m not dreading the trip home so much. (I really do like the train better than driving, overheating issues notwithstanding. Seriously, Amtrak, make your trains cooler than you think people would like; people can always put layers ON, but people cannot strip down on public transportation. Well, they shouldn’t, anyway.)

sj‘s husband picked me up at the train station with a most excellent sign. I told him I wanted him to meet me with a sign. He threatened to have the sign say…well, see below. My dad was all, “HE WOULDN’T DARE! HA HA!”

He dared.

I laughed SO HARD when I saw this. The people around me coming out of the station were all “THIS IS A CRAZY PERSON” and edged away from me. I didn’t even care. It was an excellent start to my vacation.

(Just in case you’re wondering, I got in the car, bitch. Also, I took this photo of him, and texted sj all, “DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN?” and she was like, “NO!” Hee!)

Then I arrived at sj’s house! And GIGANTIC HUGS WERE HAD! And her kids seem to love me, because I am a whiz with children and animals! So far I have learned I’m awesome, and have long hair, and am very good at naming stuffed animals (what, “Sir Poppington the Third” is an excellent stuffed animal name) but also that I am “too loud and kind of boring” so really, you take the good with the bad. The child that said that was VERY APOLOGETIC afterward and I wasn’t even upset because I am, actually, very loud, and somewhat tedious. So I gave him a hug and a kiss on the head and told him I was not angry because how could anyone be angry at him? And all was well. I’m very good at this childrening thing. (I did make the youngest one cry yesterday for a VERY LONG TIME and I felt terrible and I kept saying “I BROKE HER” because I totally think I did but today she told me she loved me again so I think we’re cool, yo. Also, I changed a diaper yesterday, with tag-team assistance from other children. Are you so proud of me? I seriously felt like I’d won an Academy Award. I haven’t changed a diaper since high school. WHEN I WAS BABYSITTING. I was not a teen mom. Stop thinking that right now. I did put it on backwards but luckily the diapering recipient was very compliant and was like, “eh, I’ll lift my legs up again, this weird lady’s WEIRD, but she means well, yo.”)

TOTALLY IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME!!!

TOTALLY IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Then the next day, we thought Heather would arrive around 7-ish, so we were kicking back and doing a little reading and BAM, Heather ARRIVED, and YAY!!!

Now we were THREE! (Plus sj’s family, of course. I am not discounting them.)

Much chatting and laughter and such was had until very late and then we all slept and had many zzzzs.


ALL OF US IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME! If you felt a disturbance in the force around 5-ish last night eastern standard time, it’s because all the awesome was in the same collective place. The rest of the world must have felt unbalanced.

Later today, Laura will arrive, and we will have MORE of a hootenanny. Well, we’ll watch The Amazing Race and chat and eat dinner, but that’s a total hootenanny, right? RIGHT.

Oh, you totally want me to talk smack about the ladies, right? Now that I’ve met them in person?

OK, here’s the lowdown. Pull up a chair.

sj…man. That sj. Get close so I can whisper, because that’s what good gossipers do. Ready?

sj is the same as she has been for the past year and a half-ish that we’ve been talking online.

I KNOW! SHOCK! AWE!

She is awesome and funny and intelligent and snarky and wise and honest.

Oh, now the dirt on Heather.

You’re going to want to tell ALL your friends this one.

Ready?

HEATHER IS ALSO THE SAME AS THE PERSON I’VE GOTTEN TO KNOW ONLINE.

It’s true!

Heather is kind and giving and patient and wacky and intelligent and warm.

Here’s the thing, guys. Heather mentioned this in her post last night, and I can’t do anything but concur most wholeheartedly.

The people you meet online aren’t always the people they are when you meet their faces.

It’s easy to slip into an online persona when you’re someone who lives online, like a lot of us do. Some people even make that their goal; their blog ISN’T them, it’s a persona they’re putting forth. Nothing against that; it works for them. I’m completely down with that.

However, it’s the people who are the same people online as they are in real life that interest me. The ones that are brave, maybe confident, enough to be themselves both in words and in life; those are the people I’m drawn to. Because when you meet them, you’re not trying to reconcile that person with the persona you’ve gotten to know. You’ve already done the work. You’ve met them through email or their blog or Twitter; they’re that same person. You’re really just in the same airspace, hearing the words come out of their mouths with their tone and inflection, seeing the emotions cross their faces. It’s really kind of awesome, seeing that, being with them for that.

The people I’ve met in person have been the same as they are online; I don’t know if I’m interested in meeting people who aren’t. I like reality and I like honesty and I like people who aren’t afraid to be themselves, warts and all, and who accept that they might be a little broken, and put it out there for all to see, and potentially judge, with a jutted jaw and maybe a little fear in their eyes.

That’s where friendship is. It’s in the “take me as I am, please; here’s me, here’s all of me, and if you can’t take that, I’m sorry, I can’t be someone else for you.”

I don’t have to be someone else for Heather and sj; they don’t have to be someone else for me. This is just as it should be. I love them for that.

Time to go be social. Enough hiding with a laptop. Love your faces. Hope you’re having the best holiday weekend. More soon upon the arrival of the luminous Laura. *smooch*

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The leader of the children of the damned

Through most of my teen years, I was a fairly quiet, bullied kid.

Except for the time I bullied someone myself.

And, because I have always been a go-big-or-go-home person, I didn’t choose a kid to bully. Oh, no, not me.

I chose a TEACHER.

Mr. P was fresh out of teachers’ college when he showed up in our seventh grade classroom. He looked like a J. Crew model. He was all preppy cashmere sweaters and perfectly blowdried blonde hair and way too many very-white teeth. He laughed heartily. He had pink cheeks and sparkly eyes.

Immediately, my class decided they must destroy him.

Why we came to this decision, I’m not sure. We were a small school in a farm town. Did he represent the other, and we feared that? Was he too gung-ho? Was he trying too hard? Was he just TOO DAMN BLONDE?

I’m not sure why the rest of the class didn’t like him, but my dislike of him was twofold.

First, historically, teachers had been my only safe place. Especially English teachers. They praised my writing and they called on me when no one else would answer their questions because they knew I’d done the reading (hell, I’d probably finished the book on the first day) and they were kind when the kids weren’t.

Mr. P. wasn’t. For whatever reason, he had no time to be kind to the quiet, bullied kid. He graded me more harshly than I thought I deserved (whether or not I was right, I’m not sure – I was twelve, what the hell did I know) and snapped at me quite often in class. He also forced me to participate in things that other teachers would let slide – things where I had to talk in front of the class. Which was my biggest fear. And when I asked him, as I always did, if there was a way I could get around such a thing, he SNEERED at me.

This didn’t fly with the shy, but snotty about her intelligence, kid that I was.

The second reason was a lot more selfish.

All of the other kids were doing it. Dammit, I wanted to be cool. I wanted to be cool SO BADLY. Even though I knew, on some level, I never would be, this seemed like a way to be cool.

It was hard to be cool when you were the school's Napoleon Dynamite, yo.

It was hard to be cool when you were the school’s Napoleon Dynamite, yo.

So I led the class in a campaign of terror against Mr. P.

See, I was quiet, and I was shy…but I was smart as hell. And I read. A lot. I had ideas about how to be cruel to people that the other kids hadn’t even THOUGHT of. (Mostly because they’d taught them to me by being cruel to me all those years.)

Things we did to Mr. P. over the two years we tormented him, that I can remember:

  • all brought apples back from lunch and, one at a time, loudly rolled them up the aisles at his desk when his back was turned and pretended we didn’t know where they came from
  • he brought in an “heirloom mug” to teach us the meaning of the word heirloom (I’m pretty sure seventh graders don’t need an object lesson for such a thing) and one of my classmates broke it (this was NOT on me, I’d just like to make that clear, but I did laugh along with everyone else)
  • we refused to answer any questions in class, raise our hands, etc., until he instituted “participation points” and we were FORCED to, but then we’d answer briefly and in snotty tones
  • we had a class spelling bee, and he was SO EXCITED, and I knew I could win, but just didn’t give a shit, so when it was down to me and another kid I refused to continue spelling and he was all “BUT THE PRIZE IS A CANDY BAR!” all sad-eyed and I laughed like he’d offered me a mudpie and said “you can’t do better than that?” and sat down
  • and, our coup de grace, another student and I took the musical thingy out of a musical birthday card and hid it under his desk, so there was this tinny “happy birthday” music playing all day, and he was all “WHAT IS THAT MUSIC” and everyone pretended they couldn’t hear it and we walked past on a free period and saw that he’d torn all the drawers out of his desk and was sitting in his chair and he was CRYING.

After that, it wasn’t as much fun anymore. I mean, seriously, we made this guy CRY. We BROKE an ADULT.

The worst part, though (I KNOW, there’s a WORSE THING) was that he’d started a junior-high drama club. He actually got me into acting. I should be thanking the poor guy for this, you know? So in seventh grade, we did Heidi. I was Heidi’s bitchy aunt. I sprained my ankle so badly the day before the show I couldn’t perform and my understudy had to go on for me and I was HEARTBROKEN.

In eighth grade, we did The Diary of Anne Frank (I know, this guy was really optimistic about our talent – well, until we got through with him) and I was Anne’s mother. (Yes, I always got cast in the parent roles, or the bitchy roles. I apparently have always looked old and always read bitchy.) In news of ZOMG, my crush was in the play, too (but I didn’t know at the time he was only in the show because HIS crush was playing his wife. Sigh.) At this point, we had bullied Mr. P. to a point of constant nerves. He was no longer cashmere sweaters and perfect hair; he was more often greasy and sweaty, he’d grown a weird, patchy beard, and he had this constant thousand-yard stare.

I’m not sure what, exactly, happened, the night he had the nervous breakdown. We were acting jerky, I’m sure…but keep in mind we were 13- and 14-year-olds. That’s how those kids act, usually. They’re bundles of hormones and jackassery.

I just remember him screaming “THIS PLAY IS CANCELLED!” and it was an hour before the afterschool bus was coming, and he stormed out of the auditorium, and we kind of whispered and then crept out into the lobby to use the pay phone to call our parents to see if they could pick us up early and he was sitting in the lobby, looking furiously through a phone book and rocking.

“What are you doing, Mr. P.?” one of the kids asked him.

“I AM LOOKING FOR BICYCLE STORES,” he said. “I’m going to RIDE a BIKE across the COUNTRY and eat nothing but BEANS for the rest of my LIFE.”

The kids we were thought this was HYSTERICAL. The woman I am now is HORRIFIED. (Seriously, though, we were kids. The word “beans” made us think of “farts” and “farts” was SO FUNNY. Come on, it still kind of is.)

This was near the end of the school year. He did finish out the school year, but the play didn’t happen, and he didn’t come back the following year (his tormentors – us – had moved onto high school at that point, so he’d have probably been safe, but I can’t blame him that he wanted nothing more to do with my school.)

I seriously think back on this time and cringe.

I was TERRIBLE. I wasn’t the only one – we were all little sharks who had scented blood – but a lot of these things wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t said “hey, why don’t we try…” because THOSE KIDS WOULD NOT HAVE THOUGHT OF THEM. I had no empathy for this poor man, who was new in town, new to his job, and probably trying really hard. And who knows why he was (what I perceived to be) dickish to me? Maybe he was trying to get me to work harder; maybe he wanted me to be able to talk in front of people, and thought this was the best way to go about it. Who knows.

I know. I was twelve, and I was a lonely bullied kid. I did a lot of things that were, in retrospect, not good choices. (I also made some brave choices, but the bad ones probably equaled those out.) But this poor guy, sincerely. And he talked me into acting! Which changed the whole course of my life! And my actions (well, mine and others, but I totally egged those other kids on) MADE THE MAN QUIT TEACHING!

I still feel terrible about this. I’ve totally tried to find him on Facebook and on Google and I cannot. I sadly imagine he is still riding solo across the country on his bike, subsisting on nothing but legumes, like a Forrest Gump without a Jenny to come home to. He’s probably about 50 now. Still pedaling. Trying to escape the mean kids and the tinkling “happy birthday” that won’t leave him alone and just…won’t…stop.

Mr. P., it’s too late, and it won’t fix anything now, but I am very, very sorry for the time I decided the best way to deal with an adult was to bully him into a nervous breakdown and to make him quit his job. As an adult now, I know how mean children can be, and I sincerely cringe at that child I used to be. You have no reason to forgive me (and I am quite sure you’re probably never going to read this – what are the odds, right?) but I do hope you’re well, and you found your happiness somewhere, and you were able to forget about those two terrible years in the late 80s when the children of the damned of upstate New York used you as a punching bag.

(I promise I’m doing penance for this on the regular, now. I’m nice to old people AND animals AND children and one time I found a lost kid in the Target and totally brought him up to the customer service desk so he wasn’t stolen by a pervert and his dad tried to give me money and cried. I REALLY AM TRYING TO MAKE UP FOR MY PAST TRANSGRESSIONS.)


When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.

Dad yells at me all the time about this.

“THAT BLOG IS SUCKING UP YOUR LIFE!” he says. “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE WORLD AROUND YOU!”

Mostly he’s yelling because I don’t know what’s happening on Fox News, but he has a point. I don’t usually know what’s up in the world. I mean, if it’s something HUGE, I do. Because it gets posted on Facebook or something. Or someone is talking about it at work. Or Dad yells at me about not knowing about it when I call him. (Listen, though, a lot of what he yells about are things like “DON’T YOU KNOW THAT IF YOU HAVE A LIBRARY CARD THE GOVERNMENT TRACKS YOUR EVERY MOVE?” This explains, in Dad’s mind, why he doesn’t have a library card. I said, “Dad, you don’t read books, I think this explains why you don’t have a library card, not the government thing…” and he was all “NO NO GOVERNMENT TRACKERS!!!” so I dropped it.)

Oh, look at the old-fashioned card! I like this. I would like a hundred of these. I'd make them into wallpaper. Think of the history!

Oh, look at the old-fashioned card! I like this. I would like a hundred of these. I’d make them into wallpaper. Think of the history!

So we get to thank Mom for telling me about the news story I’m talking about today. Thank you, Mom, for understanding I don’t have time to watch the news. Well, I suppose I COULD watch the news. But it’s kind of depressing and if I do watch the news, I watch the local news. I like to know what’s happening around me, I guess. I used to keep up with the news on Twitter. I should probably get back into that someday. I miss you, Twitter, I’m sorry I’ve been ghosty. I’ll come back someday. I’ll put on a pretty dress and everything. Witty repartee. Sarcastic asides. It’ll be great.

Today, Mom said, “Did you hear someone got kicked out of school for poetry?” and NO, I had not heard that. (It was like a week ago. Probably you all know about this. I guess it was on the Today Show or something. Who watches the Today Show? People who work different shifts than I do. People who don’t work. I don’t know, I don’t watch the Today Show.)

So I looked it up on the internet. Which was kind of a difficult task because Mom was all, “It was a student from Vermont and it happened yesterday” and it was actually a student from California and it happened two days after Christmas…but it’s Mom, she has kind of a strange sense of reality at times. I don’t get it from the neighbors, you know.

So for those of you who aren’t in the world, like me, here’s the scoop.

A seventeen-year-old student in San Francisco wrote a poem about the school shooting in Connecticut. It wasn’t for an assignment. According to what I’ve read online, one of her teachers “found” it – I have no idea what that means, did she drop it? Leave it somewhere? Throw it away and the teacher pulled it out of the trash? I find this whole thing suspect – and was SO SHOCKED by the content she brought it to the administration. The student was promptly suspended, and it will be decided when school starts on Monday if she’s expelled or not.

What did she say, in this poem that wasn’t even turned in as part of an assignment?

“I understand the killings in Connecticut. I know why he pulled the trigger.”

The school said they have a “zero tolerance approach to violence, the threat of violence” and a “violation of any one of these rules can result in dismissal from school.”

They are also called the Life Learning Academy, so already I’m sure they’re some sort of crunchy granola hippie school, yo. They are also somewhere called “Treasure Island.” I feel like this is not a real school.

"We are often tossed, but we never sink." I feel like this is a euphemism for something.

“We are often tossed, but we never sink.” I feel like this is a euphemism for something.

OK, now, I’ve rambled a little bit. What thoughts have you got in your mind about this girl’s poem, hmm?

I don’t especially want to talk about the tragedy in Connecticut. I’ve avoided it up until now, for the most part.

Here’s the thing. Do you think everyone that writes not only believes everything they write, they act on everything they write? And do the school administrators believe that?

Even the seventeen-year-old girl was all, "It's like Stephen King. He doesn't act on everything HE writes." EVEN THE KID GETS THIS. COME ON, PEOPLE.

Even the seventeen-year-old girl was all, “It’s like Stephen King. He doesn’t act on everything HE writes.” EVEN THE KID GETS THIS. COME ON, PEOPLE.

The girl’s poem went on to talk about how we live in a society that causes such things to happen. It didn’t lionize a mentally-ill man who walked into a school and murdered people. It was a piece of creative writing. One, I think it is important to note (again), that she wrote for herself, not for a class assignment.

I write a lot of things I don’t publish. Things that aren’t for anyone’s eyes but mine. A lot of this stuff is so I can work out the twisty place that is my head. Some of it’s poetry, some of it’s diary-type stuff, some of it’s rambly shit, but it’s mine. And if anyone read it, I would ALSO probably be suspended. FROM ALL THE PLACES. And possibly LIFE.

Was she trying to work out in her mind how such a thing could have happened? Maybe.

Also, the girl was seventeen. The tortured poetry that came out of me when I was seventeen…well, I don’t know if anyone wants to talk about that. For the love of Pete, you all remember seventeen, right? EVERYTHING is doom and gloom and you push EVERYTHING to the edge and ALL THE THINGS SEEM SO SO SERIOUS AND DIRE. Seventeen! I wouldn’t go back there for all the money in the world. Or a date with Ewan McGregor, even.

"Not even for ME, Amy?" "No, not even you, my beloved Ewan. Not even you."

“Not even for ME, Amy?” “No, not even you, my beloved Ewan. Not even you.”

I don’t think she was saying she understood how someone could walk into a school and start shooting children. I think she was saying she understood how things could get to that point.

And I don’t think that’s any different from how hard it is for me, all these years later, to think or talk about what happened at Columbine, because as bad as I feel for everyone who died (and I do, oh, how I do, please don’t think I don’t) I feel bad for the two boys who were pushed far enough that one day they decided that the only way to make that stop was to take guns to school.

Because I’ve been pushed that far. I spend eight years of my life being pushed that far. I never brought a gun to school, but I’m not going to tell you I didn’t have some severely violent fantasies. You get pushed, you know? You just get pushed and pushed and pushed and you can’t do anything about it and you can’t get out of the situation and you start thinking thoughts that aren’t even your own. Crazy thoughts. Thoughts about self-harm and thoughts about harming others. And some people do that, and some don’t, and I’m not passing judgement on those of us who made it through that and those of us who didn’t. And the people that find it so easy to vilify bullied students who handle it in a violent way – well, I have to assume they’ve never been in that situation.

So could I have written a similar poem about Columbine? Yes. Absolutely.

Should this kid be kicked out of school for this? No. She should not. She didn’t walk around inciting violence. She had no history of violence. She wrote a poem. For (from what I can tell from these articles, although it’s strange and vague) herself. And now she’s facing expulsion.

Where do we draw the line? What are we teaching our kids with things like this? That censorship is ok? That they should keep things all bottled up inside? That certain things are ok and certain things are art and certain things aren’t? Not to create? Not to have feelings? That some feelings are valid and some are wrong?

Let's let her decide big questions like this for herself in college, ok? That's where big questions belong.

Let’s let her decide big questions like this for herself in college, ok? That’s where big questions belong.

I don’t know. I don’t know what to even say about this. She didn’t say people deserved to die; she didn’t celebrate death. She simply empathized. She said she understood how such things could happen in our society.

And in certain situations, I understand it as well. I think anyone who was bullied can’t help but put themselves in this situation.

She seems to be handling it well. She’s a self-possessed kiddo. Good for her. At seventeen, I would have been curled up in a little ball of weepery on the floor. (Or shouting at someone in charge. I randomly had rabble-rouser moments in my teens. Once I staged a huge sit-in because I thought something was unfair. Looking back, it was a ridiculous thing – they cancelled our class trip because of the misbehavior of the class before us, and I thought that was unfair to us, because WE weren’t the ones that misbehaved – but I was very good at leading people, apparently. Or people just wanted to not go to class. Or when I’m on a tear, I’m all kinds of charismatic. Because almost the entire class participated in that. And I was totally the one who got in trouble for organizing it. I’m still kind of proud of that.)

There was a lot of grown-up Amy hiding out in wee-Amy, waiting to get out and play. I like to think back on that and smile.

There was a lot of grown-up Amy hiding out in wee-Amy, waiting to get out and play. I like to think back on that and smile.

There are a lot of things wrong here in this country. We’re broken in a lot of ways. Let’s not compound that by stifling our artists, ok? Let’s not kill the dreamers and the thinkers and the creators. Let’s not do that. Because if we do that, if we take that step, we’re lost. If we  stifle all that is beautiful in the world, what’s left? A world I don’t want to live in. A world with nothing left to look forward to. A world with no hope left in it, like Pandora’s box if she didn’t close it quickly enough.

Let’s close the box before the hope gets out. We don’t have much left, we need to hang onto something.

(Title is a quote by Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Thought we should have a poet for the title today.)


Brains, rumps, and MYSTERIES in SPACE: must be science day!

Yet again, it is late and I spent a lot of the night doing THINGS. I really need a course in time management or something. Or someone to sit in my living room and say, “STOP EFFING AROUND ON THE INTERNET AND DO YOUR STUFF, YO!” Like a little gym trainer, only for internet usage. Or a little drill sergeant. “DROP AND GIMME TWENTY SOLDIER!!!”

GET OFFA THAT INTERNET NOW, PRIVATE! GO TO BED!

GET OFFA THAT INTERNET NOW, PRIVATE! GO TO BED!

Some of what I had to do was blog-related. Some was not. I had to play with the phone a little. It needed some apps on it. Like Pandora. Why didn’t you people tell me about how amazing Pandora is? I had it for like 4 seconds on The Phone With No Memory (which is how I will now refer to the Droid, may it rest in peace, it has since been donated to the battered women’s shelter) and then it sucked up all the memory so I couldn’t keep it. I now have all the stations and it already played a song that made me weep and weep and have a stomachache of memories, so PROBABLY that should make me hate it, but I don’t. I love it for being psychic. THANK YOU PANDORA!

Anyway, TODAY, we are talking about SCIENCE. Because often we don’t talk about it enough. And I feel this means we are underutilizing our Science Fellow. I mean, how often does a blog have a Science Fellow? And then not to use him enough? It’s a shame, really. (Not to mention, we have the BEST Science Fellow, who is also one of my absolute favorite human beings in this entire world. And there are a lot of people in the world. I just Googled it. About 7 billion people. I only have about, oh, let’s say, ten-ish favorite people? Maybe twelve, if I’m being totally gracious. I mean, I haven’t met ALL the people – and I don’t want to, honestly, people make me itchy – but to be one of 10 or 12 out of seven billion people is pretty damn good, yo. That’s just how awesome our Andreas is.)

So today we’re talking about the following:

  • Brains and the relative size thereof;
  • Sexy bird rump-shakery; and
  • Intergalactic flora.

All of these things, I’m sure, our Science Fellow will like to talk to us about. I feel like he should live closer. He could sit here and correct me as I write these things. Also maybe fix my heater, it’s being weird. Andreas, can you fix my heater? It’s being weird.

First! BRAINSSSSS! (Calm down, zombies, not for you.)

According to this article, big brains cost us a LOT. So really, it’s all about either being a dummy and having all the things or being a smartie and having to settle, I suppose. Grumble.

BRAIN!!!!

BRAIN!!!!

See, the bigger the brain, relatively, the more energy it needs. This takes energy away from other things, like reproduction. So, by experimenting on guppies (which are VERY much like humans, what with the gills and the swimming and the scales and all) they saw that the brainier guppies had fewer babies. I guess this is a problem if you’re a guppy, because they want to have all the babies. But isn’t there an overpopulation problem with humans? I don’t think we need to be having all the babies, even if we are the smartest. Maybe us smarties don’t WANT to have all the babies. Maybe we’re SELECTIVE about our baby-making. I feel like this is an indictment about smart people.

Then this article went on to say that the small family size may LEAD to large brains. Which I don’t know about. Do they mean that children from smaller families tend to have larger brains? Because they get more one-on-one time? I’m not really sure. I guess if that’s what they’re saying, I’m behind that. What do you think, Andreas, is that what they’re saying? This is not the best-written article, and I almost feel like it was translated from another language at times.

So I guess you can be dumb and have all the kids (and I’d like to say that maybe you’d be happier; I don’t know too many intelligent happy people, to be honest, because we tend to overthink) and be smart and have…less kids? I don’t know about this article at all. I know some smart people with large families. I know some not-so-smart people with small families. This is all very odd to me. Andreas, your turn, what the hell?

For example,if you have one of these...well, I'd wonder about your brain-size. (I like the zombie version of this, though.)

For example,if you have one of these…well, I’d wonder about your brain-size. (I like the zombie version of this, though.)

Next! SEXY BIRD RUMP-SHAKERY!

So apparently some birds woo each other with sexy rump-shakery. I like that. I like that some birds totally shake a tailfeather. And then that’s how they get the ladies.

Apparently, even DINOSAUR BIRDS used to rump-shake. You GUYS! Dinosaur birds!

Here is an oviraptor. Who knows if this is what they really looked like but dude, this tailfeather-thingy makes me laugh SO HARD. It looks like a dragonfly is attached to his tail-area. This dino-bird has all the bling.

So apparently oviraptors (which reminds me of those evil velociraptors from Jurassic Park that stalked those kids in the kitchen and that freaked my shit OUT, yo) used to dance for their lady-friends. To show their interest and such. How do scientists know this? I have no idea. I just think it’s kind of awesome.

Now, I am sad that men TODAY don’t dance to try to woo us. Just birds. What’s comparable to sexy bird rump-shakery in our menfolks today? Taking us out to dinner, I guess? SIGH NOT THE SAME. My version of sexy rump-shakery would be to…um…woo me with well-written emails. Write me something spectacular. Use grammar and puctuation well. Make me effing LAUGH. That’s my sexy rump-shakery right there. Someone else’s might be, oh, I don’t know, wherefore art thou Romeoing from the balcony or taking her to play skee-ball or one of those Bull Durham kisses that last three days, I can’t tell what your rump-shakery might be. I just know what mine is. And it’s words. Woo me with words and you’ve got me, fellas. You can bring me words instead of flowers. Flowers just die and drop all those messy petals on the rug and make me and Dumbcat sneeze, anyway.

*sigh* This'll do just fine.

*sigh* This’ll do just fine.

Finally: MARTIAN FLOWERS!

Look, the Mars Curiosity (which I will never think of without thinking of my beloved NASA mohawk dude, sigh…)

Also, his name is Bobak. SIGH SIGH.

Also, his name is Bobak. SIGH SIGH.

found a FLOWER on MARS.

I don’t think this looks like a flower. But they’re calling it a flower. I think it looks like a squished shiny frog, to be honest. Is this like a Rorshach test?

Apparently they found something else a few days ago they were all jazzed about and it was just space garbage because we’re tired of dirtying up our own planet so we’re leaving space-litter on OTHER planets now.

But THIS one, they don’t know what it is but it might be a mineral outcropping on Mars or it might be a MARTIAN SPACE FLOWER or it might just be a trick of the camera, who knows.

People make me smile. I don’t think it’s a mystery. It’s a rock. A shiny pretty rock. We have those on Earth, too. I pick ’em up a lot, bring ’em home. I like rocks a lot. Especially shiny ones.

But I also like a sense of magic and mystery. So, think it’s a space flower, my darlings. I will never be the one that tells you it’s not. If you want to think there are mysteries and magic on Mars, you can think that. I’ll let you.

I still think it looks like a squished shiny frog, though. And wouldn’t a squished shiny Martian space-frog be even COOLER than a space-flower?

I found this on a conspiracy site. These people think they already FOUND a space-frog! Huzzah!

I found this on a conspiracy site. These people think they already FOUND a space-frog! Huzzah!

There, Andreas, we have brains (not the zombie-kind) and sexy rump-shakery and suspicious Martian flora. ALL FOR YOU! VERY SCIENCY!

Also, Andreas, do you have the number for the NASA mohawk guy? Because I kind of want to…um…do PG-13 to R-rated things with him. And I’m sure all you sciency types have each other’s numbers. Thanks, Andreas, you’ve got my back.

Happy weekend, everyone!


“Robert did it.” …and then I didn’t sleep again for a week.

I find dolls terrifying.

I don’t think they’re cute or funny or a good toy for children at all. Stuffed animals are fine. I like stuffed animals. I might own a few more than a grown woman should. They are puffy and harmless and soft and most likely won’t kill you when you sleep. Notice the “most likely” there. I don’t rule anything out in the world.

But dolls are terrible. Dolls have dead, dead eyes and are not at all soft or puffy. They have hard faces and they could come to life when you are sleeping and strangle you with their scary hands and they could talk with their scary plastic mouths. Whenever I mention dolls, my beloved Elaine sends me this link. THIS DOES NOT MAKE MY DOLL PHOBIA ANY BETTER, ELAINE.

Then you think about all the horrible dolls on television and in the movies that want to eat your face like:

Chucky, who was a lot scarier before the movies got weird and campy, and…

Talky Tina, who was going to kill you (ugh, this doll terrifies me) and…

The effing clown-doll in Poltergeist. WHY DID THESE CHILDREN EVEN HAVE THIS TOY? What kind of parents would give their children a toy like this? AND THEN KEEP IT IN THEIR BEDROOM WHERE IT CAN EAT THEIR FACES AND SOULS AS THEY SLEEP?

Anyway, a couple days ago I found out a very terrifying doll-story. WORSE than the dolls above, you guys. SO MUCH WORSE. And I didn’t know it even EXISTED until recently and I kind of wish I didn’t know it, to be honest, because it is utterly horrifying, and possibly worse than that clip above of Jane Fonda getting eaten by dolls with chompy teeth.

Why is it worse? BECAUSE APPARENTLY IT IS REAL LIFE TRUE TALES. *gulp*

This is Robert “Gene” Otto. He was born in 1900 in Key West to a rich and artsy family. Their house was like an artists’ colony so I assume everyone was all high-strung and there was a lot of sex and people were talking about things like “this room has the best light” and “I NEED MORE CERULEAN! STOP STEALING MY CERULEAN!” all the time. I guess that’d be ok in small doses.

When Robert was 4, his nanny made him a doll. Some people say it was because she liked him; some people say it’s because she was putting a curse on the kid because his mother had fired her for performing black magic. She apparently wanted it to be VERY LIFELIKE: she put ROBERT’S OWN HAIR on the doll. Well, that’s not at all creepy and terrifying and voodoo-like. Are you ready to see the doll? Sure you are. (No, you’re not, actually.)

BRUH. This is AWFUL. Look at those DEAD EYES. Who wants to guess what this doll’s name is?

Robert. This doll’s name is also Robert.

But that didn’t sit well with young HUMAN Robert, so he said, “Yo, henceforth you need to be callin’ me Gene, yo, because my DOLL’S name is Robert, and that confuses us, because WE ARE ONE.”

He-Who-Will-From-Now-On-Be-Called-Gene was obsessed with his doll. He brought it with him everywhere. He dressed in a sailor suit all the time so he and his doll were wearing the same clothes. He insisted that a chair be put at the table for Robert the Doll at every meal. And – AND – check these terrifying tidbits of information out from the interwebs:

“In time, both parents and servents observed, when Gene and Robert were alone, TWO distinct voices could be heard coming from their playroom. When the silverware was found in disarray and Gene was blamed, he was quick to volunteer that ‘Robert did it.'”

“By all accounts the attachment to this toy was a strange one. It has been rumoured that the doll was imbued with powers through the use of voodoo by four servants, including the creator of the doll.”

Oh, well, this isn’t going to end well. THE DOLL TALKS. And it is a VOODOO DOLL. And it MESSES UP THE SILVERWARE.

After the family got freaked out by his behavior, they put the doll in an attic room.

“After numerous occurrences like these, Robert was banished to the turret room in the Victorian-style mansion. Children passing by on their way to school would notice Robert in one window in the morning and having moved to another window in the afternoon— yet he hadn’t been moved by any human who’d claim it.”

Oh, well, that’s not at all nightmare-inducing for those poor children. “What’s wrong, pookie, can’t sleep?” “I FEEL HIS EYES WATCHING ME MOMMY HIS EVIL DEAD BLACK EYESSSSSS!”

So then Gene got married. He became an artist like his parents, and supposedly was pretty good at it, which is nice. However, he wasn’t the best husband. He and his wife fought a lot. And apparently, it wasn’t his fault: it was Robert’s.

“Theirs was an average marriage, oddly punctuated by suddenly volatile behavior from Gene. As always, after each outburst was over, Gene would say, ‘Robert did it.'”

…Robert did what. Robert fought with your wife? No. YOU fought with your wife, and I think you’ve lost your everloving mind.

Unsurprisingly, Mrs. Gene hated that doll. Haaaaaated. Can’t say as I blame her. That’s creepy as hell, yo. So when old Gene kicked the bucket in 1972, Ann locked that doll in a trunk in the attic AND THEN LEFT THE HOUSE. Not even kidding. She took the hell off. She made a new plan, Stan. She hopped on the bus, Gus. She didn’t even look back. See ya, you creepy dead-eyed thing.

“She left Robert in his turret room and rented out the house. A strict provision in the rental agreement stated that Robert must stay in his room and it was strictly adhered to until Anne passed away in 1976, even though the residents actually put Robert in a trunk, then left the trunk in the turret room.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not renting ANY home where there’s a proviso “you must keep the demonically-possessed doll in ‘his room’ at all times – what do you mean, ‘what demonically-possessed doll,” EVERY HOUSE HAS ONE, I assure you of that!” in the rental agreement.

Eventually, Ann died and the house was sold. That damn trunk of evil was still in it. The child of the owners found Robert the Doll and was all, “YAY NEW DOLL” (nothing I’ve read says she was blind, but I can’t imagine she had SIGHT and was STILL all “yay new doll” because THIS THING IS TERRIFYING WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU) and brought it down to hang with her other dolls.

“Robert waited patiently up in the attic to be discovered once again. The Ten year old daughter of the new owners was quick to find Robert in the attic, and added him to her other toy’s in her bedroom. It was not long before Robert unleashed his displeasure on the child… The little girl began screaming out in the night,claiming that the doll moved about the room, and would climb on her bed and attack her as she tried to sleep. Even after more than thirty years later, she steadfastly claims that ‘the doll was alive and wanted to kill her.'”

(Please ignore those typos and grammatical issues. I assure you they are not mine.)

Then all the websites don’t say what happened between the 70s and the 90s, which worries me. I can only assume that means Robert the Doll killed a billion children and ate their souls.

Now Robert the Doll is in the Fort East Martello Museum. According to one of the websites, you’d damn well better not mock him if you see him OR YOU WILL BE CURSED as will your progeny.

“If you choose to visit Robert in the museum and want to take a picture you need to ask politely and do NOT make fun of the doll! If he allows you to take a picture he will tilt his head to the side, if he does not tilt his head and you take a picture anyway bad things happen to not only you but to anyone you were with or family members. The walls in that room of the museum are covered in letters from people asking Robert to please take the curse off, and apologizing for making fun of him.”

TILT HIS HEAD? What the hell is happening here? I’m not visiting anything that is inanimate, yet moves, and has the potential to possibly curse me or family members. TERRIFYING AND TERRIBLE. You couldn’t pay me enough money to visit this museum. NO NO NO.

So if you have kids that are SUPER-ATTACHED to something creepy, it’s probably best you just burn it; burn it with fire. Then bury it. And salt the earth. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned from all the horror stories I’ve read, it’s that these damn things come BACK. And they’re PISSED at you. AND THEY WILL EAT YOUR FACE AND ALSO YOUR SOUL.

Let’s talk about something nice tomorrow, ok? Kittens and rainbows and such? Because seriously. UGH.


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