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Category Archives: words

Using your common sense and ignoring your heart: a how-to guide

Now that I am an expert on both the movie and the television show Catfish – meaning, I’ve watched the movie and all three of the episodes available to me on my cable’s On-Demand – I think we need to have a chat, people of the internet.

It seems that some of you are being very, very foolish about your hearts.

Now, I know. I KNOW. I’m not really the best one to talk. I’m a walking conundrum. I’m very guarded and very wary of people – all people, not just internet people – but once you win me over, I’m yours. And I’m rabidly loyal and I wear my heart on my sleeve with those few people that I allow myself to trust. Now, usually this works out just fine. Sometimes, as happens to everyone, these relationships implode. Then I am crushed, because, well, your sleeve is not the best place to wear your heart. It makes SUCH a mess on your best blouses, seriously. Blood just NEVER comes out.

I give everything my all. It’s both a curse and a blessing, sometimes. I know no other way.

That’s neither here nor there, though. From watching all the Catfish, I have learned the following about people, and it is horrifying.

THEY ARE FALLING IN LOVE WITH LONG-DISTANCE PEOPLE THEY MEET ONLINE WITHOUT TALKING TO THEM ON THE PHONE OR SKYPING WITH THEM.

OK, listen. I can totally, totally understand the power of words. It is very easy to get swoony feelings over someone who gives good email. It absolutely is. I’m not even making fun of you for that.

I get it. You get something like this, you'd be all twitterpated. Totally understandable.

I get it. You get something like this, you’d be all twitterpated. Totally understandable.

However, if you find yourself falling in mutual crush for someone you only know through email/Facebook/Twitter/some other text-based service, you owe it to yourself to do the following two things:

  • ask to speak to them on the phone;
  • ask to Skype with them.

If they refuse to do these things repeatedly, and give you excuses like “I don’t have a cell phone” or “I don’t own a computer that has Skype capabilities” THERE IS SOMETHING HINKY GOING ON.

You have to be wise about these things. I am completely emotional, and again, I am not the right person, probably, to be giving you this advice. I understand being all, “BUT I LOVE HIM HE DOES NOT HAVE TO PROVE HIMSELF FOR ME!” and I understand when your heart tells you things, it screams louder than your head, sometimes. I get that.

But you have to listen to your head. YOU HAVE TO.

If the person you’re internet-dating and telling all your secrets to and falling in love with and such says they don’t have a cell phone – well, think about this. They’re online a lot, I assume? If someone lives their life online, odds are very good they have a cell phone. And therefore, they are lying to you for some reason. Now, if they tell you they have a cell phone but limited minutes or something, maybe. I had that plan up until recently. But if that’s the case, they probably have a land line, and could talk to you on that. People in this day and age have phones. I’m sorry to break this to you. If they say they don’t, they are lying to you. And if they’re lying to you, they’re hiding something. (My mom, when I mentioned this to her, said, “NO! I don’t have a cell phone!” and I said, “Yes, Mom, but you aren’t exactly catfishing people online, now, are you?” and she said, “Most of the words in your sentence there were gibberish to me”  so she’s not a good example of people who don’t have a cell phone. Dad has a cell phone but it isn’t a smart phone and sometimes people text him on it and he refuses to text them back because, per Dad, “I have old fat fingers and I don’t know how to use that tiny little keyboard.”)

See? Everyone has a cell phone. EVERYONE.

See? Everyone has a cell phone. EVERYONE.

And, piggybacking on this, if you ask them to Skype (and you should, because listen, pretty words are awesome, and yes, you can fall in love with someone’s words, you absolutely can, but you don’t know you’re in love until you see the person; you can say you’re not materialistic until the cows come home, my darling dearests, but it’s not materialistic, it’s common sense. We are attracted to some people and we are not attracted to others. It’s just the way of the world. It doesn’t mean you’re an asshole. It just means you are human) and they say they can’t because they don’t have a computer, or don’t know how, or various other reasons, blah blah – well, again, most likely, that person is a liar. Now, I didn’t have a webcam for the first year or so I was blogging. So I couldn’t have Skyped. I suppose there are SOME valid reasons for not being able to do so. But I GOT a webcam. (I still haven’t really Skyped. I tried once. It was disastrous and I think I broke Skype, seriously. It froze a LOT. Why does it always seem to work so seamlessly on television?)

See? Look how much fun they're having. That seems unfair.

See? Look how much fun they’re having. That seems unfair.

Also, the Catfish-guy taught me a very smart thing (BAM, Mom, who SAYS the television won’t teach me things?): if you are friends with someone on Facebook and they only have a few friends, that’s a red flag. Also, if you take their photos and put them into Google image search, you can see if they ganked them from someone else’s profile and used them as their own photo. (I might be naive, but had no idea people were doing this shit until I saw the movie Catfish. It just seems like the shadiest thing alive. But it seems a LOT of people are doing this. THIS IS YET ANOTHER REASON TO LOCK YOUR SHIT DOWN, YO. If you put your Facebook profile to public, PEOPLE WILL STEAL YOUR PHOTOS AND USE THEM TO NEFARIOUSLY WOO LADIES AND/OR MENFOLKS!!!)

Listen, I’m going to tell you a secret. Probably it’s something you’ve heard before, but you need to pay more attention this time.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

This cat is lying to you, yo. Also, it has crazy eyes.

This cat is lying to you, yo. Also, it has crazy eyes.

If you meet a super-hot person on the internet who says all the right things and seems super-into you, well, that’s awesome, sometimes things like this happen, I’m not telling you they never ever happen. But if they refuse to talk to you on the phone…and aren’t always where they say they’ll be…and won’t Skype with you because they have plenty of photos online, isn’t that enough for you?…well, listen.

There’s going to be a little voice inside your head telling you “something is wrong here, sunshine.”

And your stupid, stupid heart, which is probably a little lonely and broken like many of our hearts are, is going to shout back, “Shut up, head! He/she is perfect and wonderful! He/she loves me! He/she is perfect for me and the exact person I’ve been waiting for my entire life! Head, you are NOT going to screw this up for me, he/she has a perfectly good reason for not being able to do these perfectly normal things SHUT UP HEAD!!!”

I know. I KNOW. It’s not what you WANT to do? But you need to listen to your head.

Now, listen. If you’re just friends with the person, it doesn’t matter as much, really. I have internet friends I haven’t spoken to on the phone or Skyped with. I trust that they are who they say they are and not lying to me. But I’m also not in love with them. I *love* them, sure, but I’m not making plans to spend the rest of my life with them in a sexual way, you know? If I’m going to invite someone all up in my business I want to know they’re who they say they are. I’m kooky like that. I also have fairly good radar. Or, if not “good” radar, I’m very mistrusting. So since it takes me a super-long time to trust someone, and if they do even the SLIGHTEST thing that makes me think, “NO THIS SEEMS WEIRD” (even if really it probably isn’t) I don’t bother continuing on with the relationship, I’m usually not overly fooled by crazies and/or loonies. Hopefully. Maybe. Who knows, though, I could be getting catfished left and right and probably wouldn’t know it because according to this show THESE PEOPLE ARE VERY GOOD AT THIS. And there are SO MANY OF THEM ZOMG.

(Also, I object to the fact that the Catfish show makes it look like all of us who live on the internet are crazies who lie for a living. I’m only PARTIALLY crazy and I don’t get paid for lying, thank you, TV show, I do it for FREE. Dad said, “Of COURSE you’re all crazy. I love you, but I think you might be crazy.” But this post is already mondo-long so that’s a story for another day, now, isn’t it?)

I know. It all seems very exciting and very romantic to have a long-distance internet boyfriend or girlfriend. (I’m specifying long-distance here, because if they’re local? MEET UP WITH THEM, YO. It’s like Skype but BETTER. There can be HUGGING. And other things. That I will not go into. Ahem.) And I know quite a few people who have met their significant others through the interwebs and guess what? They weren’t even stabbed to death. I KNOW! SHOCKING REVELATIONS!

Just use your head. That’s what it’s there for. It’s amazing to me that you’re not doing this. Don’t sell yourself short just because you think it’s finally your turn to have a super-romantic time. That’s ridiculous and how you get either murdered or your identity stolen, or in the smaller-scale of things, you just feel like a total asshat when the person you fell in love with turns out to be a mentally-unstable teenage boy or a lonely gramma or something.

Also, people who are catfishing others, just stop it. I think you’re probably insane, so you don’t understand what you’re doing is wrong, but IT IS NOT FUNNY IT IS HORRIBLE. You don’t earn someone’s trust and piss all over it. You just don’t do this. Ever. If you do, you know what they say about karma, right? YOU ARE GOING TO BE EATEN BY KARMA’S SHARP SHARP TEETH YOU ASSHOLE.

Just be careful, ok, internettians? It’s wonderful to fall in love. It’s the best thing in the whole entire world, followed closely by really, really good chocolate. And also maybe delicious pudding. Shit, now I want some pudding. But if it seems weird…IT PROBABLY IS.

This is common sense. You all have it. Please use it. Thank you. I worry, you see.

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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!


Is that a blank in your pocket or are you…oh, it IS a blank. Huh.

Well, here we are. What day is this? Let me count on my fingers like a toddler. Thursday! It is Thursday. Huh. Look at this week fly by all willy-nilly. Lots going on this week. Three job interviews (which, by the time you are reading this, I am probably done – or at least finishing up.) One more lined up for next week. One of these people is going to hire me. THEY ARE. Even if I have to get that stupid The Secret book and get all mystical on the Universe’s ass.

I don’t like secrets. ONLY ASSHOLES KEEP SECRETS, BOOK.

(What IS the secret, anyway? Isn’t it just that you believe in it really, really hard and it comes true? Well, sigh. Just, sigh. THAT DOESN’T WORK. If it did, I’d be married to the boy I had a crush on in high school, a multi-million dollar writer, and have a whole menagerie of animals living in my backyard. Luckily, the things you wish don’t always come true, because the boy I had a crush on in high school, although still a handsome, handsome man, was NOT the correct choice for me, romantically. So sayeth his profile pictures on Facebook, where he is posing with things such as a tractor, a toilet, and a stand-up cut-out of Dubya. No, I’m not at all kidding. As you can see, we would have made it about three months before we’d have killed one another.)

But, yes. Interviews are happening. Slowly but surely. Most of them say it’ll be a couple of weeks before I hear anything more from them (and two of them have said that, and I’ve never heard from them at all – kind of rude, no? You never WRITE, you never CALL, I won’t be IGNORED, Dan) so I wait and wait and waiiiiit and time she keeps a’rollin’ on. In news of the unemployed, I am watching a LOT of television and reading a lot of books. I am a well-informed gadabout, if nothing else. Well, if by well-informed, you mean I know a lot about television shows that happened last season, which I’m catching up on, and also whatever books catch my fancy.

Important news stories I read today! Filled with chicanery!

Are you aware that there are totally National Scrabble Championships? There are! It’s true! I had no idea. Did you all know this already? I mean, I knew there were big championships for things like chess and I think I read about a Monopoly one, once, and I think there’s one for Magic: The Gathering. But Scrabble! No idea. That seems like fun. That would be a whole bunch of word nerds in one place. I’d enjoy that a great deal, I think.

I couldn’t win that. I like Scrabble, and I’m decent at it, but I don’t know all the words and I don’t have a strategy and I never can seem to get my words on those secret triple-word-score spots. I think to be good at Scrabble you have to have memorized arcane two- and three-letter words and you have to also see where they’d fit on the board and how you can beat the pants off the other person. Mostly I’m just jazzed I can find a place to put my letters and that there’s a game that celebrates vocabulary. I think I like to play Scrabble-type games online where you don’t have to compete with anyone more than I like to play against someone. I don’t like competition. I’m really a hippie, aren’t I? Seriously. I like that stupid Book Worm game you can play for free online because you don’t have to compete with anyone and if you win or lose, you have no one but yourself to blame (or cheer on, I suppose.) Also, the worm is cheerful. I like that a lot. I do NOT like that sometimes your tiles catch on fire because it makes me NERVOUS like a CAT. What, I have too much free time? You’re just noticing this now?

Oh, I’d win this Scrabble. I’d win this Scrabble SO HARD.

Anyway, yes. There is an annual Scrabble Championship. That’s fun! That’s totally fun. The winner gets some undetermined amount of money, depending on how many people enter, and there are random other prizes like board games and dictionaries. This all sounds like fun, right? Well, except for the competition part. That wouldn’t be all the fun. That would be nervous-making. You know everyone would be taking it all seriously and getting all shouty and maybe smacking tiles down all angrily and I can’t think straight when someone’s getting all crotchety like that. No, thanks. You can have your win, I concede.

Hee! Booyah, losers!

This year’s tournament was in Orlando. Guess what happened there? ALL THE CHEATING!

An adolescent boy was ejected from the the tournament for palming blanks. PALMING BLANKS! ZOMG THE HORRORZZZZ!

Nah, this isn’t shady at all. Happens all the time.

The article doesn’t say how old the kid was. I’m going to assume between – oh, shit, I don’t know, probably 15 and 19, right? He can’t be a KID. He wouldn’t have made it all the way to a tournament if he was a CHILD. Those words are HARD, yo.

Everyone was kind of suspicious-faced about this kid, because he came out of nowhere and he was doing VERY WELL. I think maybe they’re kind of Scrabble-snobs over there. If you haven’t paid your SCRABBLE DUES then they don’t trust you. Also I assume they looked askance because he was a kiddo. How can kiddos know all the awesome words? I don’t know all the awesome words and I’m a grownup lady. I mean, sure, I haven’t STUDIED them, but I’m still old and I don’t know them. I’ve had more exposure to them.

SCRABBLE SNOB!

Anyway, apparently when they were picking letters out of Heidi Klum’s magic button bag (FINE, that’s a whole different thing) the person this kid got matched against thought, SOMETHING IS HINKY HERE YO. So he started watching all seriously. And he noticed the kid was holding his hand all weird, and there were tiles tucked in his hand. HOLDING BACK TILES! FROM HIS LAST ROUND!

So then Suspicious Sam was all, “Judge! JUDGE! I CALL FOUL SIR!” and a judge came over all officiously and he said, “This young man is PALMING TILES.” The kid was all “Uh uh NO I AM NOT!” and a guy at another table was all, “Dude, that kid just threw two tiles on the floor.” Yep. The two blanks he’d palmed, apparently. WHOA! WHAT A SCANDAL!

He DID pick. All nefariously. Damn dirty trickster.

So the kid was escorted out and his opponents he’d beaten were given the wins and it was all probably super-embarrassing for the kid who was caught blank-handed. Guess he got what he deserved, though.

Why are you cheating at a Scrabble tournament? That seems all kinds of shady. It’s not like it’s the Superbowl or something high-stakes.  (Not that I’m denigrating these people – they probably work really hard. I’m not mocking you, Scrabble tournamenters!) But if you’re playing in something mental-based, you’re going to cheat? Really? That seems asshatty. And you’re not even cheating for anything but bragging rights, really. A pittance of money and maybe a donated board game. That’s like, nothing. And now you can never play again, and you’ve embarrassed yourself in front of everyone. Sad! You are sad. Also, is having two blanks sure to make you win? I don’t think it is. I mean, it gives you an advantage, but it doesn’t GUARANTEE you a win.

This is why I don’t like to compete in things! Competition makes me itchy, and then you have people who get way too competitive and shouty and then I shut down mentally, and then you have CHEATERS! Listen, I’m weird about cheating. I don’t care for it one little bit. Not one little bit! I think if you have to cheat you are sad, and also small. If you know you can’t win without cheating, then either deal with losing, or don’t play. There you go. Why does everyone always have to win? You should lose sometimes. It teaches you humility. It’s an important lesson to learn. If you go through life winning all the time, you aren’t prepared for the times you’ll lose. And you’re going to lose! No one wins every time. No one at all.

Maybe he thought he was a CHEETAH? No? Listen, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.

So there you go! Cheating. HIGH PROFILE CHEATING. Scrabble cheating! It is quite shocking and head-shakey, and we here at Lucy’s Football do NOT give it our stamp of approval. No stamp stamp stamp for you, Cheaty McGurk!


The Naughtiness of Avocados

Today I was thinking about words. Specifically, how much I love them, and how much I love etymology. You’re all brilliant beyond compare and know exactly what that means, but I know (through my insane obsession with my stats) that I get a lot of high school kids who want me to do my homework for them round these here parts, so for you, you cheaty high school kids, etymology is the study of the history and origin of words and how their use and meaning has changed over time. I find etymology fascinating. I love words; the words we currently use, the words we used to use that have dropped out of favor, either because they’re no longer of use because technology has advanced (you don’t drop “zeppelin” in conversation too often nowadays, now do you? I mean, I suppose unless you’re talking about the band) or just because life moved on and the word became forgotten (for a kickass list of these, check this site out; so many gorgeous words we no longer use! Bonifate! Celeripedean! Diffibulate!)

A zeppelin! You may never say this word in conversation again, unless you’re discussing the band. Doesn’t that make you sad?

I love that sometimes I’ll mention that I found a lovely German word or French word or word in another language that just looks beautiful and Andreas will tell me what he knows about that word in Swedish and sometimes it’s funny that it’s so similar and sometimes there are awesome diacritical marks that make me grin like a looney.

Oh, these just make me drool.

Words just utterly amaze me. In another life, I’m pretty sure I should have been an etymologist. Is that a thing? Is that a job someone does and gets paid for? Why the hell didn’t I go in for that? I would have RULED at that.

What’s that? Did another shooting happen today which caused me to have a half-hour crying jag? Maybe so. Maybe just so. STOP SHOOTING PEOPLE FOR THE LOVE OF PETE. I have people I CARE about in Texas. What if one of my people had been walking by randomly and you shot them? And even if you didn’t shoot any of my people, you shot SOMEONE’S people! Ugh, stop it stop it STOP IT. I’m going to seriously hide under my bed until this all stops. What’s that? It never stops? Well, I guess someone’s going to have to bring me my meals under there, then.

Bring me a popsicle, would you?

Anyway, I was looking up happy etymology and found the following four things which made me smile. Also, were you aware that like 97% of our words have German origin? I totally made that up, but it’s a lot, yo. This is another reason it’s very important I have a German assassin friend. He can help with things like etymology. And, well, assassining, I suppose.

Assassin

Sample sentence: My dad is quite sure Ken’s an assassin.

According to this fun website, assassin has QUITE the history as a word. Apparently, assassins started out as Muslims, who were hired to attack Christian enemies. (If my dad knew this, he would nod knowingly and say “THAT’S WHAT THEY DO” because he thinks everyone’s a terrorist that’s not a Christian. Believe me, it’s not worth arguing about, you’re not changing his mind.) So in order to get all fired up to perform their assassiny assassinings, the assassins (who, at that time, were not yet KNOWN as assassins!) would toke up on large quantities of hashish, like the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.

I will KEEL you.

The killers therefore were called “hashshashin” (or on another site I found, “hashshashim”) which meant “people who ate or smoked hashish.” See how that sounds like assassin? Is that not the most interesting? The answer to that question is YES IT IS. Also, I think old-timey assassins must have been equal parts more scary and easier to escape. More scary, because they’d be all unpredictable and drugged-up, but also easier to escape because from what I remember from old movies about the people in hash dens, they were all moving in slow-motion and their eyes were half-closed, so you could probably hide under a table and the hashshashin would never find you and then wander off somewhere else and eat some brownies or something. Also, hashish is BAD NEWS. Didn’t you all see that sad movie Return to Paradise with Joaquin Phoenix? ZOMG it made me cry all the tears.

Yes, yes, it looks terrible and I might be the only person in the world who loved this but it makes me SO SAD.

Avocado

Sample sentence: One of my favorite foods ever is an avocado, but now that I know where the name came from, I feel kind of filthy.

YUM. Does that make me a perv? Eh, I probably was already anyway.

According to Wikipedia (dear Wikipedia, before you existed, how did we? Exist, I mean?), avocado comes from the Spanish word aguacate (which I had to research ALL BY MYSELF, thanks, Wikipedia, but because I love you, I did it, and it means, well, avocado) and, in turn, the Spanish word came from the Nahuatl word ahuácatl. And guess what THAT means? Guess. No, seriously, guess. Testicles. AVOCADOS WERE NAMED AFTER TESTICLES YOU GUYS! Is that not the most fun factoid ever? And apparently, since they look SO MUCH LIKE TESTICLES (now, seriously, I’m not saying I have ALL the experience, but I’ve seen some danglies, and…um…they weren’t this big? Or shaped like this? Or, well, hell, green? Was I doing it wrong? Were the guys I was with genetic aberrations?) avocados were worshiped as “the fertility fruit” by the Aztecs. Well, I don’t know about them being “the fertility fruit” but I think they’re sexy as hell. They have a very sexy silky texture in your mouth. So, yeah, I’d totally want to make out if some guy fed me some avocados. I’m not saying I’d turn that down.

Astronaut

Sample sentence: I never wanted to be an astronaut when I was little, because aliens made me nervous, yo.

There’s totally a killer alien behind him you can’t see, how much do you want to bet.

This isn’t a long one (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID); it just made me smile. Astronaut is two Greek words combined. “Astron” means “star” and “nautes” means “sailor.” Aw, you GUYS! Star sailor! How awesome is THAT?

Cole Slaw

Sample sentence: sj hates cole slaw the most. (She really does.)

Before I start with this, I just have to say: I am very torn on cole slaw. VERY TORN. I like some cole slaw so, so much – like, I could eat GALLONS of it – and some of it I hate so much I want to throw it out the window. The worst part is: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT MAKES ME LIKE OR DISLIKE CERTAIN VARIETIES OF COLE SLAW. I don’t think it’s the veggies. I’m pretty sure it’s the dressing, but I don’t know what’s IN the dressing I’m so offended by. Like, I used to love (shut up, I never said I grew up classy) Dairy Queen cole slaw. I could have eaten that for breakfast, lunch and dinner and never gotten tired of that.

When I was a kid, this was my favorite thing to eat in all the world. Dairy Queen fried shrimp, fries, and cole slaw. Guess what? Still kind of is in the top 10.

However! My mom’s cole slaw? I hate that so much it makes my head ache. I can’t even take a bite. And my mom’s cooking is fantastic. I don’t know, either. ANYWAY. Apparently, we stole Dutch words to make our cole slaw: “cole slaw” is just Dutch for “cabbage salad.” But in Dutch, the words are actually “kool sla.” Hee! We should have stuck with that, because I like the idea that the word “kool” would have been in regular rotation as something other than a weird cigarette advertised on the back of the TV Guide.

I wanted to research fun things for Ken like mustard and cheese and euphemism but their history was totally the most blah. That made me sad. I suppose I could make up a fun history for them, like “mustard” was from the Spanish “mus” which means “zesty mouth food” and “tard” which means “yellow condiment” or something but it would be a flat-out lie. I even tried to find the etymology of the word goat for Ken because you’d THINK that would have some sort of fun etymology because goats are the BEST but the most interesting fact I could find is maybe the word has roots in the Slavic or Sanskrit word for “jump” and that’s kind of fun, but mostly the root of the word goat is just various versions of the word “goat” in other languages and that’s not whimsical at ALL. I also wanted to find fun Swedish etymology for Andreas but the internet is so not being helpful. I did find this page of “commonly used German words in English” and it made me laugh and laugh because yes, yes I often drop “Rollmops” or “Flatterzunge” in my day-to-day conversations with people, Wikipedia. (ZOMG Flatterzunge. That’s like my new favorite word.) It’s like you KNOW me! Are you spying on my conversations? You tricky website! (Are you guys using these in your conversations with people? Should I be? Now I feel like I’m left out of some sort of super-fancy conversations.)

I did learn that “fruit” came from the Latin “frui” meaning “to enjoy” which is just rude to those of us who hate fruit. YES. All TWO of us who hate fruit. There are two of us, because I know someone else who doesn’t like it, too. SO THERE.

Thank you, words! You are my favorite and have taken my mind off ickiness for like two whole hours. Well, the avocado thing was a little icky, but also kind of whimsical, so I forgive you, words. I forgive you.


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