Category Archives: reality

Possibly the biggest problem is that I don’t have enough reality in me for reality television.

I’ve been (as you can obviously tell) watching a lot of television lately. That’s what you do when you’re job-searching. You job-search, and also you watch television. Sometimes you get off the couch, but not as often as you’d think. Like, today, I had a whole PLAN to get off the couch, and do laundry, but it is POURING. So now I’m waiting for that to stop. I might still get off the couch. Or I might not. It is up to YOU, weather. UP TO YOU. (I can hear you. AMY! It isn’t RAINING today! Well, I’m writing this in ADVANCE. I can assure you it’s raining as I write this. And has been. Since I woke up this morning. ALL THE RAIN. Not that I’m complaining. We need this rain. It’s been so dry!)

Rain! So pretty! So needed!

So I watch a lot of things, and a lot of those things are reality shows. Not ALL the reality shows. Some of them annoy me so I won’t watch them. And most of the reality shows I’m watching are OLD. Because I’m catching up on old programming in order to be caught up for this season. Mostly, what I have realized from the reality shows that I watch is that I AM VERY UNTALENTED. And: I WOULD BE TERRIBLE ON ALL OF THESE SHOWS. So mostly they just give me a loser inferiority complex.

Soy un perdedor.

Let’s look at some reality shows I watch and see why I’d fail at them, miserably. (ALSO, for those of you who don’t know what these shows are about because you don’t watch television or live in another country, I will let you know what they’re about. I’m a giver. I totally am.)

The Amazing Race

(Synopsis: teams of two travel around the world racing to “finish lines” in different countries. Whatever team gets to the final finish line first wins a million dollars. Whatever team comes in last in each leg gets kicked off. Sometimes people have meltdowns, lose their passports, or have to do wacky tasks like shave their heads.)

I’m totally caught up on this one. Because I love it so. Also, my mom and sj both love it, so I get to discuss it with them on a weekly basis, and I love that.

And also? I love Phil. LOVE PHIL. How can you not? Check out this photo. PHIL IS THE BEST. If you don’t think so, you’re a kook.

I would fail on The Amazing Race for a MILLION reasons. I’m completely unathletic; I can’t drive a stick shift (well, I haven’t driven a stick shift in about ten years, anyway – I suppose I could pick it back up, if I needed to? Maybe? I was never very good at it to begin with – there was a LOT of gear-grinding and rolling-backward-on-hills for this girl); I can’t swim; I don’t like being filthy; I don’t like eating weird foreign foods in large quantities (I like a lot of the things they make you eat, like ALL THE SCHNITZEL! but there’s SO MUCH OF IT. Like a POUND of schnitzel. I couldn’t do that. Gack); I can’t think of anyone I’d want to ruin my friendship with SO COMPLETELY that I’d saddle myself to them for – how long do these things last, like two months or something? I mean, I have a lot of people I’d like to travel with…but no one I’d like to Amazing Race with. Because when we were done, I’d have annoyed them so thoroughly we wouldn’t be friends anymore. I’m quite sure of it. I love to WATCH The Amazing Race. Sure I do. Because I get to see all the foreign locales! I do NOT like when the contestants are RUDE in the foreign locales because that makes me sad. DO NOT BE UGLY AMERICANS, CONTESTANTS! That makes me hide my face behind my hands!

Odds I would win this program: .0001/100 (I suppose every other team might get food poisoning or Phil might start murdering people or something)

Top Chef

(Synopsis: a bunch of chefs compete in cooking-based competitions. The worst chef gets kicked off every week. The best chef wins money, immunity, or random things like cookware or cars every week. In the finale, three chefs compete against each other for a big prize. I think it’s probably $500,000 but it’s really just a guess. I don’t pay that much attention. I just like looking at the food. Nom. Oh, also, the contestants all have to live together in a house, which I would imagine would be a nightmare.)

I’m – I don’t know where I am in this one. I think I’m like a season behind or something. It’s not like it matters all that much, really. If you miss a season, it’s not like you won’t know what’s going on.

I also have a little bit of a lady-crush on Padma. Who wouldn’t? She’s lovely.

Again, I would not win this. Why? Well, it’s not like I CAN’T cook. I can! I’m actually not bad at it at all. I mean, I feed myself on a regular basis, and I don’t think I have scurvy or anything. I can follow a recipe like nobody’s business. The food even looks like it does in the photos when I’m done. And I can cobble together food from the crap in my pantry and it tastes delicious (even when it looks icky – you know, those days when you need to go grocery shopping, but you just don’t wanna? And you kind of put together a bunch of things that just shouldn’t go, and they’re SO GOOD? I’m good at that.) But put me in a competitive atmosphere where I have to come up with foods on the FLY and make the food PRETTY and I’m under the GUN and know things about food like what the flavor profile of a lychee is, or something? Oh, no, I’d fail that. And you know how they always have to do that blind taste test? I could NEVER pass that. I’d be the worst at that. I’d be all “that’s a bamboo shoot!” and it’d be pears or something. Terrible. Just terrible.

(The same goes for any reality cooking show, really – Hell’s Kitchen, Food Network Star, all of those. The time constraints and people yelling at me and other contestant’s mind-games would make me nervous and I’d have some sort of camera-friendly breakdown. It’d be very embarrassing but ratings would shoot through the ROOF.)

Although, listen, I TOTALLY have a crush on Gordon Ramsay. A HUGE crush. I like when he yells at people. Or calls their food “the dog’s dinner.” Ha!

Odds I would win this (or any cooking-related) program: .0002/100 (slightly better than The Amazing Race, because at least athletics aren’t included, but not much better; I mean, I wouldn’t kill you if you came over for dinner, but I’m not winning any Michelin stars, either)

Survivor

(Synopsis: a bunch of people have to “survive” on a desert island and also play mind-games and do stupid tasks like stand on a small piece of wood in the ocean for as long as they can and every week someone gets voted out and whoever “survives” the longest wins a million dollars but it’s less about “surviving” and more about “lying to people and pretending to be their friends so they vote for you at tribal council.” Also Jeff Probst is the host, and my dad thinks he should be Guantanamoed.)

FIRE IS LIFE ON THIS ISLAND. My Dad: “SHUT IT PROBST YOU SMUG BASTARD.”

I don’t watch this anymore, but I used to. Dad still does. Even though he HATES Jeff Probst. Hates hates HATES. I’ll ask him about Survivor and he’ll be all “PROBST!” in a fist-shakey voice.

I could never win Survivor. Again, not athletic. Can’t play the needed mind-games. Hate camping. Look terrible in beachwear. Can’t swim. My fire would be snuffed almost immediately. It would be embarrassing.

Odds I would win this program: .00001/100 (remember one year that guy fell in the fire? I guess there’s a slight chance ALL the other contestants might fall in the fire, therefore rendering me the winner by default)

Because I’m a psychopath, I laughed when that guy fell in the fire. I know. I KNOW.

Project Runway

(Synopsis: a bunch of beginning designers compete against each other in design challenges like “make clothing out of candy” or “design an outfit for a mother and daughter team” and the worst one goes home every week and the best one gets money or immunity or a car or a photo shoot. The final three – sometimes four – go on to fashion week and then the winner gets money and a car and all kinds of goodies to start their own line. Also there’s lots of drama and Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum and I like her because she is beautiful and has a kicky accent.)

Make it work!

Again, I’m all behind on this show. I’m watching the current season and also watching the All-Stars season even though I know who won it (because I love the winner and want to see him take home the win.) I kind of love this show. Like, a lot. I love to see the creative process. But, as for me COMPETING on this show? Ha. Ha ha HA. I couldn’t design clothing if you paid me a kajillion dollars. I don’t know what looks good and what doesn’t. When they have the runway competition at the end of every episode? I always pick what I think is prettiest, and invariably it’s one of the lowest-ranked designs. I’m just in awe that they made CLOTHING. That people can WEAR. In a DAY. That is just the coolest thing! Clothing! The drama kind of drives me insane, though. I like when someone’s awesome, though. Remember the time Santino used his Tim Gunn voice and was all, “What happened to Andre?” and then made up a whole scenario about how Tim and Andre were dating and having squabbles at the Red Lobster? I laughed so hard I ached and had tears. BEST BEST BEST.

Odds I would win this program: 0. There aren’t even odds. I couldn’t even compete. I can’t sew. I don’t know how to use a sewing machine and my handsewing skills are nonexistent. I can’t even mend things correctly. No, thanks, show, I’ll just be an ardent viewer. What happened to Andre? I’m so embarrassed about how you acted in front of my friends at the Red Lobster, Andre.

Work of Art

(Same as Project Runway, except replace “design challenges” with “fine art challenges.” And they have shows in galleries, not a runway. I think I might be the only person watching this show.)

This was Miles from Season One. I think everyone was supposed to hate him? Because he was kind of a drama queen? I LOVED HIM SO EFFING MUCH, YO.

I really like this show. Is this coming back this season? Watching people create art makes me smile and makes me excited and I love art the most. But YET AGAIN, I couldn’t compete. (However, if there’s anything I’ve learned from this show, it’s that artists are a., batshit crazy, and b., as emotional as all hell. They cry. A LOT. And there’s a lot of yelling and stomping. Sometimes throwing.) I took some art classes in high school and I was beyond mediocre as an artist. I just don’t have that kind of eye. I would get one of these challenges where they’d be like, “here are parts of a couch MAKE SOME ART!” and I’d be like, “um…I don’t…I’m going to the bathroom to weep now, sorry” and I’d never come back.

Odds I would win this program: .00001/100 (again, the other contestants might all die in industrial die-punch accidents or something, what do I know.)

American Idol

(Synopsis: a bunch of people sing a lot and the “best” one wins a recording contract but it’s never really the best one, it’s the one that MERKA votes for, and MERKA always makes the worst mistakes. Screw that, Merka. I’m not watching this anymore. I’m taking my ball and I’m going home.)

I stopped watching before this new judge nonsense happened. I jumped ship a LONG time ago.

I don’t watch this anymore because the wrong person won one season and ever since I’ve been crankity. I also don’t watch any of the other singing shows, like The Voice, or whatever the hell else is on that’s all singy. Don’t care. Could I win? Excuse me while I laugh myself into a hernia. I can’t sing. Not at all. I think I’m tone-deaf. I can’t carry a tune to save my life. I know when one of these people on one of these songs hits a bad note, but not when I do. I can’t hear myself correctly. So probably I’m broken. Also I have one setting – ultra-loud – and those judges would say rude weird things to me like “You pitchy, dawg.”

Odds I would win this program: .000000000001/100 (the other contestants might all die, but I’m fairly sure if they heard me sing once, they’d truck in a whole new set of alternates. I’m that bad.)

Wife Swap

(Synopsis: A wife leaves her family and swaps with ANOTHER wife in ANOTHER city and they live each other’s lives for a week. And it’s all drama-filled. No, they don’t have sex with the other husband, come on, it’s on primetime. It’s not on CINEMAX. Many life-lessons are learned. MANY MANY.)

Things like this happen on Wife Swap. Don’t ask me what’s happening here, I didn’t see this episode either.

I’ve only watched this about 5 times but my old roommate used to laugh at me because this show is like my crack. It’d come on and I could NOT turn it off. It sucked me into a bad-television-show BLACK HOLE when it came on. She’d leave the room and come back and be like, “AMY! You HATE this! WHY IS IT STILL ON?” and I’d be like “I DON’T KNOW! IT HAS SUCKED MY ABILITY TO STOP WATCHING IT!”

I obviously couldn’t compete on Wife Swap. I do not have a wife, nor am I a wife. Nor am I something weird, like a beauty pageant mom, or an inbred redneck, or a gun nut, or a health-food freak. You have to be some breed of fanatic to be a contestant (or participant? Whatever they are) on Wife Swap. There’s never a NORMAL family. Because what kind of swap would that be? Boring. No one would watch that shit. Wife Swap producers like to swap a devil worshiper family with a ultra-Christian family, or something. DRAMA ZOMG!

Odds I would win this program: well, if I was a wife, I would totally win it, because obviously I would be the BEST wife, but as-is, 0, because what would the wife swap WITH? Dumbcat? She’d come here for a week and tend to Dumbcat? Hee, best swap ever.

Undercover Boss

(Synopsis: the boss of a big company, like Hooters or NASCAR or something, dresses up in DISGUISE and pretends to be a new hire to the company. Then he or she asks a billion questions and the employees for some reason tell the new employee all these personal sob-stories and then the boss REVEALS who he is and then gives the good employees money and vacations and raises and cars and the naughty ones get beheaded. Sorry. Fired. They get fired.)

This just made me laugh so hard I choked a little.

Again, I’ve only seen this about 4 times. My dad LURVES this show. He watches it every time. Except for some reason not when it was the NASCAR episode because he’s having some sort of feud with the NASCAR people? Not the DRIVERS, he wants to make it VERY CLEAR that it is NOT THE DRIVERS, but the owners did…um…something? One time? That he took offense to? So he didn’t watch that one. Anyway, he loves that show so much.

I obviously am not a boss, so couldn’t go undercover. And from watching the show, I think they wouldn’t use my footage. The footage they use is employees who tell their ENTIRE LIFE STORY to a new employee. It AMAZES me. Who does that? To a stranger? Tells them, “Yeah, my husband’s an alcoholic and my mother committed suicide in 2002 and my cat is diabetic” and then the boss gives you $20,000 and a vacation? Do they know the employee is really a SUPER SECRET BOSS? Because the undercover boss often acts really weird. I’d be suspicious if a new employee showed up and started asking a lot of personal questions about my life and cameras were following him or her around. Also, in one episode I watched, the boss was a lady wearing a wig and that wig was SO CROOKED. It was driving me LOONEY.

Odds I would win this show: .00000000001/100. I’d never tell a new employee personal things about my life. It’s none of their damn business.

So, as you can see, I could not win ANY reality show. Not any! However will I make my millions? This is very disheartening. Is there a petting-Dumbcat-reality show? Dumbcat says to tell you I’d win that. Aw, buddy. Thanks.


I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!

I worked more billable hours today than I actually was in the office. No, no, I guarantee you it’s not only true, it’s possible; no matter how few minutes we spend on a project, the minimum we can bill is fifteen minutes, and I had so many individual projects, some of which took only 7-10 minutes, that I had to bill the full fifteen for, that, at the end of the day (in which I worked eight and a half hours, with only a very unsatisfying half-hour lunch break in which everything I brought for lunch completely turned my stomach, thank you very much, I know, right? I totally deserve a medal or at least a nap or how about for this effing stomach flu to STOP IT ALREADY) I ended up with more billable hours than worked hours. So I kind of broke the space-time continuum today. Like a total spaceman. Or maybe Leo Spaceman.

Also, just a thing to know: so, I was out for a day and a half? And aw, my office SAVED ALL MY WORK FOR ME. I mean, they didn’t even give it to anyone else to do? Isn’t that SO SO NICE. I mean, seriously! I couldn’t even feel more loved right now if you bludgeoned me over the head with a whiffle bat.

Anyway, this is going to blow your minds with how brief it is, because I want to get it done and posted so I don’t have to think about it when I get home tonight and collapse on the couch like a comatose kitten.

Oh, first, I totally went to the theater last night, we picked our next season, and it is rockin’, I can’t wait to tell you all about it, but I can’t until February because until then it’s top-secret. BUT NEXT MONTH ZOMG. I will tell you ALL ABOUT IT. Very exciting! Something for everyone! Bring your whole family! Two of my favorite playwrights! THAT IS ALL I’M IN A CONE OF SILENCE MMPPH.

ANYWAY! 

So The Crucible is happening in New York! It’s totally witchhunting times, you guys!

OK, well, it’s The Crucible without the witchhunting. So, it’s really just the teens being insane. OR IS IT DUN DUN DUNNNN.

OK, first, you totally know about The Crucible, right? Well, if you don’t, you know about the Salem Witch Trials? The Crucible is an Arthur Miller play (married to Marilyn Monroe? no? HEATHENS) based on the Salem Witch Trials. Which was written during, and tied into, McCarthyism. Also, it’s awesome, and if you ever get a chance to see it, you should, because if done well, it’s extremely affecting. I’d advise against the movie version with Winona Ryder. She didn’t bring the correct gravitas to the table. Although Daniel Day-Lewis is always delectable. Sorry, Winona.

Anyway, in a nutshell – these teens all suffer from a crazy mass-hysteria, led by one teen who’s suffering from being a woman scorned, and they start Tourettesing all over the place, which is annoying enough, but then they start saying the devil made ‘em do it, and the devil was called down by their friends and neighbors, and oh, no one was savvy enough to notice that the friends and neighbors they were accusing were people that had done the lead teen or the people she cared about most wrong, hmmm, suspect at all? Nope nope nope.

And then people were put to death, because, you know, Salem Witch Trials. Anyway, you all know this. I don’t need to recap something from American history that’s actually interesting, right? I mean, you could totally Wikipedia it today, it’s no longer down for SOPA or anything.

So, SO! There are twelve girls in LeRoy, New York who are suffering “facial tics and verbal outbursts” that some are saying are a type of mass hysteria and some are saying are a group Tourettes and some are saying is something called “conversion disorder” and I totally find this FASCINATING because I love shit like this like you can’t even IMAGINE.

LeRoy, New York is on the other side of the state from me. Near Rochester. Interesting fact? BIRTHPLACE OF JELLO. More interesting fact? A friend posted on Facebook her mom was stuck in a Jello-related celebratory parade in LeRoy once. How pissy would that make you if you were in a hurry? “What the hell is this effing…JELLO? I’m stuck in a JELLO parade? I have SHIT to DO and you’re CELEBRATING frigging CHILLED FRUIT DESSERT?”

Also, they make rat poison there. Which I think would make a good local murder mystery, if you combine the two, right? SOMEONE GET ON THAT. I nominate Jim, he’s got these amazing ideas for fiction even if he refuses to write them.

So, “conversion disorder,” or “mass psychogenic illness.” Seriously, I’m reading up on this, it’s totally mass hysteria. It’s stress-related, it happens when people are in close quarters and affected by the people around them, and all the girls have been tested for environmental and medical factors. MASS HYSTERIA SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS. In 2012. THIS IS TOTALLY EXCITING.

Also, this article says these girls have been exhibiting the symptoms since LAST FALL. That’s like FOUR MONTHS or something. Holy HELL.

And this article says one girl fell asleep one day, then woke up all tic-y and shouty. There’s totally a video that might show me the tics but I can’t watch videos at work. Dammit. I’d like to see tics.

But the kids and the moms and dads are all NO NO NO the doctors are totally LETTING US DOWN it CAN’T be mass hysteria NOT OUR BABIES. What the hell?

LISTEN SIDE NOTE. I totally went to college with someone who had Tourettes? And maybe it was Tourettes but then it went away so I always wondered if he was making it up, it seemed totally suspect that once no one was paying attention to him shouting inane noises in the crowded dining hall because we were all “eh, whatever, THAT’S JUST TOURETTE’S BOB” anymore it just stopped.

The only thing that bugs me is that everything I read is saying this only seems to happen to WOMEN in close quarters, so way to make us all feel like crazy incipient psychopaths, DOCTORS. I’ll mass-hysteria YOU. With a CARVING KNIFE. Oh, sorry. Sorry. OR AM I. I’m pretty sure that men could experience mass hysteria, given the right circumstances. Right?

SIDE NOTE AGAIN. You know how I’m trying to get out of Dr. Lady-Business’s practice? It’s like getting out of the MOB over there. I found a new doctor? And today I called to get my records faxed over? And Dr. Lady-Business’s office was all “NO NO NO you need to send us…um…a SIGNED request! Yeah, that’s it! In…triplicate! And it costs…A GAJILLION DOLLARS! Plus a COUNSELOR will contact you to TALK about your DECISION to leave us! And it takes up to three WEEKS!” What the hell. I don’t want Dr. Handlebar Moustache all up in my bits anymore, because he LAUGHED at my TUMOR. Why is this so hard to understand? I made up the triplicate. The rest of that? Totally true. Well, I might have exaggerated the gajillion part.

OK, here’s the thing, to get back on track. I’m not a doctor. I have no idea what’s going on here. But it does seem to me that if they’ve ruled everything else out, and they are, after all, dealing with teenagers, probably something psychological’s at work. I did some wack-ass shit when I was a teenager. I bet ALL of you did. Those hormones are a bitch, right? I mean, weeping and manic and “I love you!” “I hate you!” WITHIN SECONDS and HEAVENS FORFEND if someone tried to tell you that you were acting like a crazy. Once my mom got so mad at me she kicked a hole in my DOOR. No, I’m totally not kidding. It was a hollow-core door, but it’s still there, I have the proof and everything. She’s not even embarrassed about it. “You were AWFUL,” she says. And I totally was. I was Hormone McGee for like, ever.

I know you don’t want to think your kids are being assholes. And maybe it didn’t start out as them being assholes. Here’s just a theory – maybe they started it as a joke and now can’t get out of it because you know how you get stuck in a huge lie and it would make a bigger mess to come clean than to keep lying? I mean, I don’t know, I don’t live their lives. The only experience I have with the Rochester area is that one time I spent New Year’s Eve there with my then-BFF and forgot my driver’s license so they wouldn’t let me into the club so I had to go ALONE back to the hotel room and get it and by the time I got back to the club everyone was totally drunk and I missed all the good times so screw you, ROCHESTER.

Anyway, I’m just waiting for these kids to start monster-shouting and being all “It’s Goody Proctor! She stuck pins in a poppet in the copse behind the barn!” and then BAM BABY we’re totally in for Crucible-times. Can’t you see that happening? I can. I think our political climate is ripe for another witch hunt right now, with the hatred between the liberals and conservatives. Eek.

ANYWAY. Mass hysteria! There’s totally MASS HYSTERIA happening! Like from GHOSTBUSTERS, you guys! Can dogs and cats living together be far behind? I THINK NOT MY FRIENDS. This is a banner day, a totally banner day!

OK, back to work. I know, are you so disappointed at the sad length of this? I put in a photo, what more do you want. I WARNED YOU TAX SEASON WAS GOING TO SUCK.


Getting Out of One Car and Into Another

“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” –John Lennon

I blame the Great Escape.

Every year, starting from when I was about 8 or so, my family would make a road trip down to the Great Escape, which was an amusement park in the southern part of New York. On the way, we’d stop and visit my great-aunt (who had all the coolest knickknacks and awesome kids who were older than I was and I thought just the epitome of cool – and guess what, I still think they are, even now, in their forties) and then we’d hit the Great Escape.

Now, the Great Escape has been bought out by Six Flags, but back then, it was kind of rinky-dink. It had originally been Storytown, which was just a bunch of fairytale scenarios like Old Mother Hubbard’s shoe sized just right for children to enter, and that stuff was all still there, falling apart, in the ghetto area of the park.  The Three Little Pigs were there, the paint all flaking off their faces making them look maniacal. Little Red Riding Hood looked like she had leprosy. It was horrible and fantastic all at once.

(Side note: ironically, I now live closer to the Great Escape than I ever did then, but haven’t been back since my senior year of college. I don’t want to see it, now that it’s Six Flags. I want it fully-formed in my mind with the scabrous Jack and Jill and the Big Bad Wolf kind of falling over, as if huffing and puffing was just too much for him and he had to take a recuperative breather.)

The Great Escape end was shinier. Rides and games and fair food and a circus (with scary clowns who would pull children from the audience and force them to participate on stage. I know. Talk about horrifying.) We looked forward to it every year. We still talk about how my poor father, who gets very dizzy on anything that spins, was begged, pleaded, and cajoled every year to go on the teacups with us because he could get those cups whipping around, and then he’d spend the rest of the day headachey and nauseous but he loved us enough that the simple joy we got out of just flying in that teacup because our father was the best at it was worth it.

One of the rides my brother and I enjoyed most was the Magical Mystery Ride. It was enclosed in a creepy, flaking, yellow-painted dome, so you couldn’t see what was inside, and for years, we were too scared to go inside. I was petrified of upside-down rides, and was sure that’s what was in there. Finally, one year, we got our courage together and entered.

It was The Octopus – does anyone remember The Octopus? Still one of my favorite rides to this day – and the ride took place in pitch darkness. You sat in the dark, which smelled of metal and whatever oil was used to keep the ride running and, frighteningly, of electricity, and then the ride started. Strobe lights started going crazy. And the music started.

Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour,
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour

And it was LOUD. So loud it took the breath out of your lungs. You were being flung around in the darkness, with strobe lights your only light, which made it look like the people in other cars were going to hit you, and the music was so loud it made your chest ache, but that good ache, that happy, good ache that you wanted to last forever.

The magical mystery tour is dying to take you away
Dying to take you away, take you away

Once my brother and I exited the ride (which seemed to last a very long time, but I don’t think the song played more than once or twice, so it was obviously only long in kid-time, which is very different than grown-up time, because in grown-up time, one day you’re 22 and the next day you’re 35 and you’re like, what the FUCK? where did these gray HAIRS come from?) and ran to our anxious parents, bubbling over about our adventures, my mother said, “Oh, they played The Beatles in there? That’s why the ride’s named what it is, I guess.”

I’d never heard of The Beatles. I was a pre-teen in the 80s. I was listening to Top 40 radio, Casey Kasem spinning the hits and stupid sappy stories in his unctuous used-car-salesman voice every Sunday. I was a musical heathen. I grew up in a small town where we barely got a decent radio station at all (only decent station came out of Canada, so we heard a lot of “abooot” and “soh-ry” for “about” and “sorry”), and we didn’t get cable. Music was whatever we caught when we caught it.

My mother was a big Beatles fan in her youth – she could remember crying, watching them on the Ed Sullivan show when she was a pre-teen herself – and had some of their singles on 45 that she let me borrow. I remember giggling because on the record jacket of one of them, in my mother’s careful, young script, was written “I love Paul!!!”

But I didn’t “love Paul!!!”, although I liked him well enough. I liked Ringo well enough, too, and George. No, no. I was a John girl, through and through. Does this surprise any of you who read me regularly? That I’d fall for the rebel of the group, who couldn’t keep his mouth shut? The poet? The dreamer? With the groovy little round glasses? No, didn’t think so.

I listened to their music and listened to their music and I fell madly, passionately in love with it, and with the 60s, in general, and when I started bubbling to my mother how much I loved it, and talking to her about the music she’d grown up with (this must have been something special for her, since we had very little in common, and it was something we could discuss) she asked, “Well, here’s the question everyone has to answer – who’s your favorite Beatle? It’s Paul, right? I always loved Paul. He was so cute.” And I said, “No! Mom! JOHN. It’s JOHN. He’s the BEST. Is he still singing? I know Paul is – Wings, right? But I don’t remember John having anything on the radio recently. Did he stop performing?”

Remember, musical heathen. Really out of the loop, musically. Grew up in a small town. Only 6 years old in 1980.

“Oh,” my mother said. “Oh, no, Amy. No. Honey, no. He was murdered. In New York City. A while ago. A crazy man shot him. He died.”

As the years passed, I read everything I could get my hands on about The Beatles, John Lennon, Mark David Chapman, Yoko Ono, the careers of the remaining members of the band, the music of the era, the culture. I watched movies, documentaries, listened to recordings of interviews, read articles, books, searched photo shoots for clues. I’m a sucker for research. I love research like some people love watching football or meeting friends for drinks or breathing. It’s this need I have to impose order on things, read into that what you will, OCD, control issues, whatever it is, I like to research things, I like to write it down into lists and categorize it and try to sort it out and make it fall into line. I like a project. I like to fix things. I dislike messiness and chaos.

I couldn’t remove the chaos from this. I couldn’t make this less messy. I couldn’t make it hurt less that someone who I loved this much, someone who made me so happy, someone so absolutely filled with talent and joy for life, with a wife and a child and so much love, just so much goddamned love for everything and everyone, had been murdered, for no reason my research could ascertain, when I was learning simple addition and how to write basic sentences in my winter-quiet first grade classroom.

I could listen, though, over and over and over, to the music. And I did. And I still do.

“How does it feel to be/one of the beautiful people” when the popular kids were being total assholes.

“Ob-la-di, ob-la-da” on a happy day when it perfectly fit my mood and the music needed to be as bubbly as I was.

“Nothing’s gonna change my world” when I was lonely and homesick freshman year of college.

“You know I’d give you everything I’ve got/for a little peace of mind” during a disastrous relationship.

And, over and over and over, “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” Still. Still, all these years later. One of the most perfect lyrics ever written; a jewel of a line, set sparkling in a love song written to a son he would never get to see grow up.

A few years ago, I got to see Sean Lennon perform, and when he came out, and started singing, I quietly started crying. Not like a crazy person; I wasn’t going to boil talented, adorable Sean Lennon’s bunny. I was crying for the fact that his father never got to see the wonderful man his son grew into; a perfect blend of both his mother and his father, who, every once and a while, hit a note that sounded so much like his father that my heart surged in my chest.

And also, a few years ago, my best friend came to visit, and we went to New York City for a long weekend. Because he loves me, he allowed me to add two stops into our very packed itinerary: The Dakota and Strawberry Fields.

I didn’t go too close to The Dakota. It’s a gated building. People live there. It’s also haunted. No, not really. But in my eyes, it is. I’ve watched the news footage from that day, this day, thirty-one years ago, over and over. If any entrance to any building is haunted for me, it’s that one. It feels wrong. It feels dangerous. I stood across the street with tears in my eyes and I repeated, over and over in my mind, “I’m here. And I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry.”

Strawberry Fields was the palate cleanser. There are ghosts there, too, but they are happier. They are more well-fed. There was a guitar made of flowers on the memorial mosaic. A group of teenagers were singing “Imagine” softly, reverently, like they were praying. If the ghosts across the street are still screaming, the ghosts here are quiet, and happy, and cared-for, and loved. Because they are remembered here, not for how they ended, but for what they gave us while they lived.

Thirty-one years ago today. Let’s go back to the regularly scheduled humor and chaos and messiness and snark tomorrow; today I’m going to go home and listen to John sing for me, a little. I let the sadness in today, but it’s not all sadness. There’s the music. There’s always the music. We’ll always have that.

“I’m not afraid of death because I don’t believe in it. It’s just getting out of one car, and into another.” –John Lennon


Run, Joey run, Joey run, Joey run, Joey run, Joey run, Joey ruuuuuunn!

Listen, I have nada today. It has been the LAZIEST DAY ON RECORD. Oh, I’m not saying I didn’t DO anything. No! Not at all. Here is a list of things I did today. Bulleted! A bulleted list! Seriously, if I got any fancier with the design aspect you would probably just DIE.

  • Woke up, realized I hadn’t set back the clocks, and it was actually 8am, which was awesome and I’d had a full eight hours of sleep
  • Read the entire newspaper* (*let’s be frank, that means the sections that appeal, and threw away the garbage, no one likes the sports section, and by no one, I of course mean me)
  • Read a play a friend wrote, first, trepidaciously, because sometimes that goes very, very, wrong (once, a friend asked me to read something he’d written and wanted feedback and listen, I totally wanted to bone him, and it was AWFUL, but I REALLY wanted to bone him, so WHAT DO YOU DO. Do you lie, hoping that will be the straw that makes the camel have dirty, dirty sex with you? Are you honest because you can’t look yourself in the mirror if you’re not? Do you pretend you moved to another state and never return his calls and hope you don’t see him at the grocery store? WHAT DO YOU DOOOOO) but listen! IT WAS FANTASTIC. So apparently I’ve had a friend who’s like the next Terrence McNally and didn’t even know. How exciting is that? And even better, I got to write him an email gushing over how amazing it was and MEAN EVERY WORD OF IT. I mean, sincerely, you guys. That’s a check in the win column, right there.
  • Watched this week’s The Office, Revenge, and Grimm, all of which I missed due to either being out, general malaise with life, watching other programs, or a combination of the above. Also, and spoiler alert beep beep beeeeep for Revenge watchers, but again with the super-dark scenes, but did we find out my adorable Revenge boyfriend Nolan is bi this week and hooking up with that waste of space con-man character? REVENGE! I AM DISAPPOINT. Nolan can do better. Also, Grimm was even better this week. Loving Grimm. Very dark and eerie. Stamp of approval.
  • Started setup on my newest venture, which isn’t off the ground yet, but will be soon. I’ll talk more about it when it’s up and running, but any day now, you’re going to start seeing me shamelessly self-promoting something three of the coolest chicks on the world wide interwebs and I have concocted. It is AWESOME, you guys. AWESOME. Oh, ok, FINE. Here’s a teaser. More to come when it’s baked to ooey-gooey perfection.

  • Dealt with a very unsavory task I’ve been putting off for almost 24 hours in probably not the best way, but in the only way I could and still get to sleep at night. Sorry. That was a very Facebook-status-worthy bullet, right? Like those people that put up “Some people! I just want to CRY!” As their status and wait for the “Aw, honey, I’m so sorry, anything I can dooooo” in response. Stop it, you passive-aggressive twit. I know. Sorry. Just in case I’m totally the most popular girl in the wooorrllldd, that’s all I can say. Unsavory. Annoyance. Furious. Flames. On the side of my face. Heaving. Heaving breasts.

Things I have NOT done today: clean the bathroom (listen, I always put that shit off, because it is the ick) and anything mega-productive. So first, we blog. Then we daaaaaaance. Oh, wait, no, no we don’t. We don’t dance. We don’t do that, not at all.

The week ahead: auditions! Seeing a play! House managing for another play! Totally filled with excitement!

But listen, so this isn’t a total washout and you’re all, UGH, I do not CARE what the hell was done chez Lucy’s Football today, where’s the super-intelligent CONTENT, well, first I say to you, are you sure you’re reading the right blog? Because I don’t know about super-intelligent content. But, more on topic, let’s talk about something near and dear to my heart, hmm?

Cheaters.

No, no, not REAL cheaters. Although there were! There totally were lots! But the SHOW Cheaters. I was thinking about this the other day, because I’ve been watching this season of The Amazing Race, and it’s just about the most boring thing you can ever imagine in the history of the world this season. And I don’t know if it’s just run its course, or I don’t have the attention span, or what the hell, but I don’t care about it. And I was thinking, what could make this better? What could liven this up? And I thought, hey, I KNOW. If Phil was stabbed like the Cheaters host, that would make this SO EXCITING. (Sorry, Phil. Love you, Phil.)

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

What, the classy among you ask, is Cheaters? (The non-classy among you, and we know you by the Cheetos stains on your fingertips, are nodding and smiling, because YOU KNOW. You know ALL ABOUT CHEATERS.)

Cheaters is a show that’s been on since 2000. The setup is thus: a “client” comes on for an interview. The client is usually…um…not from the higher echelon of society. Like, there are a lot of weaves, and sparkles, and tops that look flammable and aren’t leaving much to the imagination, and what look like homemade prison tattoos, and clothes with inexplicable stains on them. And the “client” tells a story like “My boyfriend! He don’t come home at night no more! He always be lying about where he be! And I found lipstick on his penis! Help me Cheaters! Do you think he be cheating?” OK, this isn’t really what’s said but it’s kind of what’s said if you look deeper into what’s said.

Then the host and some of his cameramen skulk in the bushes around the Ruby Tuesday’s and videotape the cheater cheating, and then when he brings his new skankho home, and they’re having all the sex, the host busts into the room and is all YOU ARE SO BUSTED HERE IS YOUR GIRLFRIEND. And the girlfriend comes in and there are a lot of things thrown like cellphones and shoes and the skankho and the girlfriend pull each other’s wigs off and the host stands to one side grinning like a moronic Cheshire Cat. It is SO AWESOME AND TRASHY.

When I first moved to town, my roommate and I used to make sure that, no matter where we were or what we were doing, we’d be home by 1am on Sunday morning so we could watch Cheaters. It was our weekend ritual. Because it made us laugh like nothing else in the world. You’d go out, do some drinking or whatever, then come home and watch the host pop out of a dumpster or from under a car all BUSTED YOU DIRTY CHEATER and your life seemed ok for a while.

Usually, things go like this (caution, lots of barely-bleeped cussing):

PAINTBALL GUUUUNNNNNN!

The first host was Tommy Grand. He looked like a down-on-his luck gangsta:

He was replaced a couple of years into it. I don’t know why. I assume it’s because his real name was Tommy Habeeb and it was post-9/11.

The current host (I honestly had no idea this was still on, I haven’t seen it in years, but need to track it down and watch it again) is Joey Greco. He’s totally a sleazeball who is trying to be serious but is failing. Here’s a photo:

In this photo, he is, I assume, popping in on a CHEATER. BAM.

In 2003, there was an episode where Joey Greco confronted a cheater on a boat. And…well, ok, just watch. (Caution – there’s cussing. Some bleeped, some not. And a LOT of bad acting. And a boat.) Because this is what more reality shows need to liven up their programming so I don’t zone out and start throwing things at the cats to make them entertain me.

The best things about this video:

  • The skankho kind of looks like a receptionist, and she just stands there, kind of confused
  • Joey Greco’s pained face of pain as he’s taken away and his life blood was ebbing…ebbing…
  • The girlfriend shouting “you’re not coming HOME now! You’re not coming HOME now!”
  • How’d that guy get a boat? I can’t afford a boat.
  • Someone fell off the boat into the water. HA. That’s never not going to be funny.
  • “He’s bleeding. HE’S BLEEEEEEDING!”

I know you’re worried. JOEY GRECO PULLED THROUGH. Nothing to see here. He’s OK, people.

Now, listen. Apparently, there are a lot of allegations this was staged and never happened at all. And that a lot of the episodes were staged. And that makes me sad. If we can’t believe Cheaters, WHO CAN WE TRUST, AMERICA. I mean, COME ON. If this isn’t true THE TERRORISTS WIN.

So, if you’re ever not able to sleep and you can’t find an old episode of To Catch a Predator and your DVR is empty? Look for Cheaters. It is AWESOME and FULL OF SKANKINESS. Highly recommended when you’re in the mood for feeling superior to others.


Fight between GooD n eViLc

As mentioned in the past, I’m a horror buff. This started early. One of the first books I remember picking out of the library myself was an absolutely terrifying children’s book (supposedly based on a true story – words to strike fear into any child’s heart, because that meant IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU) about a boy who somehow became possessed (is that the word? Bedeviled? Followed? Stalked?) by a poltergeist. I was probably seven or eight, and became convinced that whenever anything fell/moved/made a noise, it was my own poltergeist, who would start hounding me until I would have to be put in the mental institution (which was the final outcome for the poor boy in the book.) (Yes, this begs the question, “why at this age were you reading things like this?” I can’t answer that, really.) I can’t find this book online to research if it really was this scary, or just scary for my age group, because I have apparently blocked its name out of my mind.

I also read a book called The Red Room Riddle. I can’t remember much about it, other than it scared the everloving hell out of me. I think there were some kids trapped in a red room in a haunted house? And there was some tie-in to the Biblical massacre of the innocents? Is that even possible? I can’t imagine a children’s book had a tie-in to children being murdered in the Bible. But I remember there being a tapestry of the murder, and someone explaining the massacre to the children. Just horrifying. There was also an ABC Weekend Special based on it, but it wasn’t as scary. Nothing based on the book is, usually. 

Then there was Unsolved Mysteries. “OK, Unsolved Mysteries?” you’re thinking. Among the killers on the loose and bank robbers and things of that nature, sometimes they would have an “unexplained” segment. And those were scary. One of them was about a ghost that was haunting a bunk bed (shut up, I know it sounds stupid, it wasn’t,) and the family ended up having to burn that bed because the ghost wouldn’t leave their son alone. And he was on the top of his haunted bunk bed, and his clock radio started changing channels on its own and flipping around through the music and turning on and off and it was the very clock radio I owned. Super, super creepy. Obviously, those clock radios were more prone to possession by bunk bed ghost. (Matt at X-Entertainment did a great piece on Unsolved Mysteries a while back – read his take on that very segment here – #3 on the list. I’m not alone in this!) 

As you can see, my mind was warped at a very early age. 

Someday I’ll tell you about the handful of times I’ve encountered something I can’t explain – not “my pencil just fell to the floor I think it was a poltergeist,” but things that were a little more real, and why I feel like Shakespeare’s “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio/Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” quote is right on – but this is about something much less serious than that, I promise. Much less serious; much more reeking of hair gel. 

Not too long ago, I became aware of these paranormal investigator-type shows on television. I thought they would be entertaining. I watched a few and became aware of the following: 

1.   “EVP” is static. You can say the ghost is saying whatever you want, but really, it’s static. You’re not convincing me otherwise. The hiss between radio stations does not sound like “get out of my house” to me. It sounds like static.
2.   Cold spots are usually just cold spots. Every house has them. My office has them, but I’m pretty sure it’s not haunted. It’s just air-conditioned poorly and inconsistently.
3.   “Orbs.” Dear paranormal investigators: the “orbs” you see on photographs or on film are dust, lit up by your flash. I have them in a lot of photos I’ve taken, because I refuse to dust (it’s a waste of time – things just get dusty again almost immediately. Why would I dust when I could be using my time more productively watching television, or researching how Pop-Rocks are made?)
4.   Paranormal investigators are melodramatic.

Now, there are some shows that are more serious than others. Ghost Hunters is not as bad as some of the others. The guys don’t seem like total tools. I still don’t hear anything in the EVP, and I have trouble taking what they’re doing very seriously, but they don’t seem like asshats out to make a buck, so they’re better at acting, I guess. Because they’re obviously out to make a buck. Sure, they’d like to see a real ghost, I’m sure. After years of doing this, they’re probably desperate to see one. But they can at least pretend well, and kudos to them.  

In one of their episodes, they were investigating a haunted jail, and I swear I really saw something on the video. I’m sure it was staged, but it was really, really creepy. It turned me off to ghost hunter shows for a while, because when I see something like that, I’m pretty sure it’s in my closet once I turn off the lights, waiting to steal my breath. So they get a tentative stamp of approval. 

Now, on the flip side of the coin – Ghost Adventures. This show is the worst thing ever. It’s as bad as that Nickelodeon show Goosebumps that the kids I used to babysit were obsessed with. The lead of this show is a douche named Zak (isn’t there supposed to be a “c” in that name? Are you too cool for the “c”, Zak?), whose hair – ok, here:

There. See? But that isn’t really doing justice to the hair. Do an image search for Zak Bagans. Seriously. Or, just imagine the most Ed-Hardified guy you can think of, tight t-shirts to show off his muscles which he is constantly flexing, hair gelled in weird architectural configurations which sometimes start to melt off one way or the other like a fall cornfield once he’s been ghost-hunting for a while – and he says “Dude” and “Bra” every other sentence. It is horrifying. It is like seeing the end of the world on your television. Yet you can’t look away! You can’t imagine that anyone like this would be allowed a program, and apparently is SOME SORT OF SEX SYMBOL! Seriously, in doing research for this blog post, I found blogs of people who seem to be SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO THIS PERSON! But he would make you so greasy, what with the gel, and the attitude, and he’d call you “bra” while you were doing it, ew, ew, EW – so you keep watching it. And cringing.

The best episode of this show in the history of the world was set in a place called Preston Castle, which used to be a reform school. The way the show is set up is that the investigators (Zak – who, from here on out, I will call The Douche, because he is) and his two sidekicks, one of which – Aaron – I am vaguely attracted to, and slightly embarrassed about) meet with people who are familiar with the history of the place they are going to investigate for the first twenty minutes, working themselves into a frenzy about the ghosts they will encounter and such; then they investigate for approximately twenty minutes; then they recap for approximately ten minutes (the rest is commercials for old-people things like erectile dysfunction pills and Wilford Brimley berating you about dia-beee-tus because this is the Travel Channel.) Oh, also they taunt the ghosts a lot. There’s a lot of “show yourselves! You baby! You’re too scared to show yourself to me!” (“You baby?” Really? To a ghost? Way to use the insults, bud. Love the command of the language.) Anyone who’s ever watched anything scary, ever, knows this is not a good idea.

The investigators learned about what they might encounter in this very, very scary reform school. One of the things they might encounter, they learned, was a female ghost who was very flirtatious. I can’t seem to find a recap of this online, so I’m going from memory, here – and take it under advisement that my memories go through a filter to make them a more heightened, and therefore more entertaining, version of reality. The Douche enters the room where the ghost was, and brings her a flower, as she likes those, according to the history person who knows these things, and sits in her chair (for some reason, the original furniture is always in these ancient haunted places, as if the hauntings have caused people to run out without their belongings, or the set dressers got there first.) The camera goes to the other two guys, who are being “scratched” by ghosts elsewhere in the castle (this is also lame, they’re all “Oh! I feel like something’s scratching my leg!” Then the camera goes away from the person being scratched, and you hear scratching, then it goes back to the leg, and there are scratch marks that you’re fairly sure the cameraman put there himself. Sad.)

All of a sudden, the sidekicks realize, “We have not seen The Douche in a while!” so they go looking for him. I am not sure why they separated in the first place. It’s been a while since I saw this episode. Wouldn’t you stick together? Strength in numbers, and such, in this very, very haunted place? No? Ok, then. You’re the “experts.”  They enter the room where The Douche is still sitting in the haunted chair, and they call out his name, and he turns around, and in his best Mae West, he responds to them thusly (this is not verbatim – I’m sure if you wanted to see the actual show – and why would you do that? – you could find it on YouTube, or the Travel Channel says they’re repeating it this week, so watch it, if you want the truth of the matter. This is nowhere near close, yet encapsulates what happened perfectly):

Sidekick 1: Zak? Dude?

The Douche: Well, hellllooooo, boys. Come up to seeeee me, have you? (Flips imaginary hair)
Sidekick 2: Zak? Duuuude.
The Douche: Aren’t you two just the cutest little love monkeys to ever climb my banana tree.
Sidekick 1: Bra. What’s going on?
The Douche: I’ve been so looooonely, here all alone. (bats eyelashes)

Sidekick 2: I’m beginning to think he is possessed by a spirit.
Sidekick 1: You must be right. It is a female spirit. (These things are said as if read off a cuecard.)
The Douche: Do you see my flooooweeeerrr? (Flirtatiously feints at them with the flower)
Sidekick 1: What should we do? Zak. Bra. Dude. Bra?
Sidekick 2: Bra! Dude! Bra!
The Douche: There’s no Zak here…
 

The sidekicks go out in the hallway to discuss their options. The Douche starts singing to himself in a high voice and doing a little dance with his flower. Because he is a lady.

The sidekicks decide to tough love the ghost and return.

Sidekick 1: We want our friend back. (Me: Oh, God, why? He’s so much better like this!)

Sidekick 2: Release him, spirit!

The Douche then gives this totally stagey full-body shudder, straight from every single possession movie ever, and then blinks his eyes like he’s just waking up.

The Douche: Wh..where am I? What happened?

Sidekick 1: Bra. You were possessed. That was weird.
Sidekick 2: And a ghost totally scratched my leg a while back, dude.
Sidekick 1: This place is wack, yo.
The Douche: I don’t remember anything. Wh-why do I have this flower? WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?

At this point, I was laughing so hard I was in tears. My father and I watched this together and he still brings up “the time that stupid ghost guy thought he had a girl ghost in him.”

Now, you’re probably curious, and you’re going to watch the show, and it isn’t going to be anything like this, but in my head, this is exactly how it went down. Because it’s funnier that way.

Things to take away from this:

1.   The Douche apparently took flirting lessons from when Bugs Bunny dressed as a girl flirting with Elmer Fudd to get out of a jam. NO ONE FLIRTS LIKE THIS.
2.   There are people online who comment on message boards about how this is the scariest episode of anything they have ever seen, ever. Sample: “Zak this was awsome bro. When the gost was insied you did you want to make out with yerslf. Cuz I wuld. Also super skary. I want to be a gost hunter when I grew up or a scuba divre.”

What I want to happen is for these three to come up against something like was in the Stephen King story 1408 – no, NOT the movie, don’t even TALK to me about the movie, Cusack couldn’t even save that movie. I want all of the ghosts they’ve taunted over the years to stand up, all “Oh, hell no” and make them hang themselves with their own camera cords. Now that would make for some compelling television, dude. Bra? Dude.

(Note – the title is from the man, the dude, the bra himself, from one of his “best tweets,” according to the Travel Channel, describing his tattoo. Um. Random capitalization? Check. Mispelling? Check. Abbreviation when it’s not needed? Check. Do you need further proof of doucheitude? I rest my case.) 

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