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Category Archives: Unorganized

Dogs, Design, and Depression

I’m a terrible blogger.

It’s been, what, over a year? Like, well over a year? I have a few good excuses. Here’s one:
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After years of begging my husband to ask the landlord if we could get a small dog, Chris finally budged in the first week of January – and the answer was yes! I immediately went online to find somebody to adopt, looking for a Chihuahua/Chihuahua mix (we have a TINY end unit condo, so we really needed a small dog). On PetFinder and another website, this profile for a Chi mix named Wallis Simpson kept popping up. Her pictures weren’t that great, she looked kind of ratty, but something made me keep going back to her profile. Maybe it was the name – I LOVE the story of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VII, and she’s such an obscure historical figure these days so I guess the name just caught my eye and stuck in my head. I called the Dog Tired Ranch in Mena, Arkansas where she had been rescued, and I immediately started the adoption process. The ranch mom(?) Janet – who is an amazing woman, by the way – kept telling me that Wallis was much cuter in person, but I didn’t really take that to mind since I’m a huge dog lover and any dog that is mine is automatically the cutest dog in the world.

Well, a couple weeks later, Chris and I are standing in a freezing cold Mariott parking lot at 4AM waiting for the dog transport trailer to show up with it’s delivery of adoptees. We’re probably the third or fourth in line, and I feel like I’m about to explode with anticipation. What if the dog doesn’t like me? (Impossible – ALL dogs like me. I mean it. They go out of their way to get a scratch from me. It’s really weird.) What if she’s mean? What if she’s not even on the truck?!

Finally, it’s our turn and I ask the transport manager for Wallis from Dog Tired Ranch. He heads back into the trailer while I rock from heel to ball, holding the fleece blanket I brought to my chest to attempt to warm it up. I turn to Chris to say something, probably to complain that the guy is taking too long and that they forgot to stop in Arkansas or something, when I hear everyone on line behind us go “awww!” I look back at the trailer and see the transport manager carrying what looks like a stuffed animal down the steps, big black eyes shining and fold ears forward and alert.

“Is that our dog?” I ask Chris out of the corner of my mouth without taking my eyes off the impossibly adorable creature heading our way.

“I don’t know. But don’t say anything,” he whispers back.

The transport manager passes the tiny tan dog to me, sticking her right into the blanket I’m holding out to him, and the living teddy bear immediately starts licking my face like crazy. Chris gets the manilla envelope of adoption papers (confirming that this is indeed Wallis), and we get back into our Highlander. It’s almost an hour’s drive home, but tiny little Wally won’t stop wagging her curly tail and licking my face. She even licks Chris’ hand with the same fervor when he tries to pet her while driving. She has a sandpapery tongue like a cat, so by the time we get home, my face is chapped from more than the cold weather. We thought Wally would be all over people, but as it turns out, she just took to us immediately. Maybe she just knew she was heading for a permanent home?

Anyway, these days, Wally follows me everywhere. I can’t be out of her sight. Yes, she’s super attached, I know, but it’s so damn endearing. And, as it turns out, she’s sensitive to migraines and alerts me hours before I get one. In her early days in NJ, she was very defensive of me, barked at every dog, was near impossible to walk on the leash, and screamed (yes, SCREAMED) when we went outside. She quickly became known as the psycho dog of the complex, and everyone knew her name. But, with some advice from a dog trainer neighbor and a lot of devotion, I was able to train Wally out of her leash aggression and her defensiveness, and whatever the screaming was about (anxiety?). Now, we walk around the whole complex side-by-side, and she HAS to meet every dog she sees – for social reasons rather than protective ones. She can even play at the dog park, though she gets a little overwhelmed and acts shy, tending to stay close to me rather than playing with the other dogs. But she does love my mom’s dog and my brother’s dog, which makes holidays much easier and more fun.

Pro tips: For leash aggression or pulling, try the Freedom Harness and the double leash. For anxiety, try a ThunderShirt. Also, give your dog treats for every little bit of good behavior, and they’ll progress much faster. I would give Wally a piece of a treat as soon as she set eyes on a dog, before she even had a chance to growl, and I would say “It’s okay” at the same time; now if I don’t have treats on me and she gets anxious, I just have to say “it’s okay” and she settles down a bit and keeps walking. This is how you cut down on defensiveness.

Also, I’ve switched careers completely. Last you heard, I was a desk jockey, working data and managing small projects. Now, I’m taking advantage of my hereditary artistic talent – what little I possess – as well as nepotism, and I’m working as an Interior Fine Artist for my brother’s LLC. Interior Fine Artist is what we call ourselves – it’s a fancy term for faux finish painters/muralists/custom design artists. It’s the first job I not only like but LOVE. Every project is different, I learn something new almost every day at work from the most talented artist I know (that’s not nepotism speaking, my brother actually is disgustingly talented), and I’m actually confident that I’m good at what I do.

Another one is a little more personal, but I’m sick of people being shamed for having mental, anxiety, etc. disorders. So, on that note, I’m coming out of the closet – last July I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Severe Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia. And here my family just thought I was a major bitch. (To be fair, I did too.) Oddly enough, this was probably the best thing that ever happened to me – being diagnosed, I mean. I was unhappy for a long time, wasn’t querying my novel or working on a new one, and I went from 114 lbs to 170 lbs in a little over a year. It wasn’t until I got help – really good help; I have the best psychiatrist in the world – that I realized I’d never actually been happy in my life. Now, with the right treatment, it’s like I took off sunglasses I didn’t know I’d been wearing my entire life and finally can appreciate things in their right light. On the upside, it’s something I have in common with a few of my favorite people: Edgar Allan Poe, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Vincent van Gogh… And Billy West.

My PSA for the day: Get help! Being ashamed to go to a therapist is so outdated – and not in a cool, vintage way. If you have a hunch that something might be wrong with you physically, you go to an MD, right? There should be no difference getting checked out by a counselor/therapist, even if you go just once. Consider it a mental checkup!

Khan Noonien Smaug, Consulting Detective

I’m warning you guys right now: what follows is a bunch of babble.

So, as previously posted, I’ve completed my final revision is finally done. Finally. How many queries have I done in the two weeks since I finished it? Two. Yeah, I know. Why am I dragging my feet? I don’t know. I’d like to blame it on my new job. So I will.

I don’t know how many of you out there are aspiring writers like yours truly, or how many of you potentially aspiring writers subscribe to Writers Digest, but I have a thing or two to say about this month’s (or whatever it is – WD has, like, 8 issues a year, which is super random) edition. The cover boasts that this issue is Your Guide to Genre Fiction. Being a YA Fantasy writer, I got all skippitty-doo happy and excited. Then I flipped through the magazine only to realize that by “Genre Fiction” WD meant to say “Pretty Much Just Horror Because It’s Not Like Anyone Buys Sci-Fi or Fantasy, Right?” As if I didn’t already feel like Ally Sheedy’s character in the Breakfast Club of authors, a magazine written specifically for writers has to drive that nail flathead deep into the coffin. I’ll just go back to making my dandruff art and hoping someone will give me a makeover so the captain of the wrestling team will notice me.

Am I high? Maybe I’m seriously delusional, but I thought that, within genre fiction (and I don my literary hipster glasses anytime I have to refer to ANYTHING as “genre fiction”), fantasy was kind of a big deal – and not just for larpers. Maybe I’m just being egocentric, but when I hear “genre,” my first thought is “fantasy.” Well, whatever. Up yours, you damn literary jerkwads. FANTASY RULES. SUCK IT.

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Speaking of genre (sure, why not), after seeing Star Trek: Into Darkness and falling in love with Benedict Cumberbatch, I decided to finally watch Sherlock. It took me this long because I effing hate Sherlock Holmes in general. The Hound of the Baskervilles is up there with The Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms, and The Catcher in the Rye (I would literally rather watch paint dry than read any of those books again). But, like so many other fangirls, I was hooked on Johnlock – uh, I mean, Sherlock – after the first ten minutes or so and watched all six episodes this weekend. Twice. I could listen to BC read the phone book and be throwing BAFTAs at him, but this show really is just so clever and the chemistry between Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman is unbeatable. There better be a Sherlock reference in the next Hobbit movie.

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Live from My Couch, it’s Friday Afternoon

My last revision is finally done, guys! Bourbon all around!

As I emotionally prepare myself for this year’s first round of rejections, I begin my next project: taming the chipmunk that leaves next to my patio. I’ve been feeding him almonds regularly, hoping to either gain his trust or fatten him to the point of immobility. Also, I made the Set Phasers to LOL homepage of Cheezburger.com.

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I know. I’m being SO productive in my downtime.

That Much Closer to Dying Happy

I will not blog while drinking bourbon.

I will not blog while drinking bourbon.

I will not bahreiah ashwile haidlnadjf!!1111

Guys! Heather and I made the homepage of Autocowrecks with our silliness! Check it out!

Dear Everybody: I’m Still Alive

No, I didn’t die. Don’t listen to that crazy internet rumor that I just started right now.

There’s been a serious lack of updates on the Kindiverse as of late because I just started a new job, and I’ve been super exhausted. But for those of you who just can’t live without my posts (I know you’re real), don’t worry – I’m working on some stuff to put up real soon. There may even be some actual bonafide writing stuff on here one of these days. Or, y’know, more crappy comics about Elizabethan playwrights. Who knows.

In the meantime, I’m working on my final (for realsies this time) revision of my novel, trying not to be deterred by Steam, which automatically starts up every time I power on my computer. How’s a Dovahkiin supposed to get any work done these days?

That reminds me. If you haven’t seen Dovahbear yet, YouTube that shizzle. There’s a mod out now that lets you have the Dovahbear as a follower, but I’m hoping for one that lets me play as the bear itself.

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WTFilm: BMX Bandits

If you’ve been searching for the best crappy 80s movie ever produced, your quest is at an end.

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This weekend the Ginger and I were flipping through Netflix when we stumbled upon the multiple award-nominated gem that is BMX Bandits. It stars a 16-year old Nicole Kidman in her first feature film (who could forget her earlier role in the made-for-Australian-television movie Bush Christmas?), Angelo D’Angelo (the less successful Australian forerunner to Mario Lopez), and what I’m convinced was the actual police department of Manly, New South Wales.

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Oh my God, you guys. Once you’ve accepted that you won’t be able to understand half of what’s being said – due to the accents, mumbling, and either Aussie slang or 80s slang or both – this movie is pure cinematic gold. But don’t give up and watch it on mute because the original score and the two featured songs are slathered in such a thick coating of 80s cheese, Oprah would spiral back into the fat phase of her endless yo-yo cycle just by listening.

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What’s the plot? you might ask. Something to do with maybe stolen walkie-talkies that were maybe¬†illegally shipped from the U.S. (apparently, nothing is legal in Australia, even though there are bigger problems than radio interference Down Under, like the fact that 98% of the fauna wants to kill you), and for some reason there’s kids riding bikes being pursued by two mentally deficient criminals who drive their getaway car as if they’re steering with their ass cheeks. BMX Bandits features what may be the greatest high-speed car/bicycle chase ever choreographed, and Nicole Kidman’s 18-year old wigged male stunt double does some rad tricks while the other two teen protagonists look on in what must be well-disguised discomfort or blatant bi-curiosity.

So get on Netflix (or, if you don’t have Netflix, hunt down the bargain DVD) and watch this treasure trove of a film. Be sure to email and tweet the guys of Rifftrax about it too because the only thing BMX Bandits is missing is a healthy dose of ridicule.

Ralph the Pwner

I’ve been a bad blogger. No updates in over a week. Barely any tweets. I blame my new computer and the endless sales on Steam.

On that note, it’s taken me, like, three weeks, but I’ve just finished The Well at the World’s End by William Morris. This book is the grandaddy of all modern fantasy and was highly influential on Tolkien when he was writing The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, but it’s nowhere near as heavy – Morris doesn’t describe the exact shade of green contained in every blade of grass whenever the scene changes. There are even a couple times when Tolkien should probably have been sued for lifting right from The Well, but whatevs.

I’m going to have a few more points to make about this book in the near future, but for starters here’s a rage comic of one of my favorite moments early in the story.

 

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Wishing the Undead Would Die

I hate zombies. I really do. And not just because they’ve over-saturated EVERYTHING in pop culture these days. I mean, vampires did that too, but it didn’t tarnish my love for Louis and Lestat.

According to Eliza Skinner’s article “The Real World Fears Behind 8 Popular Movie Monsters” on Cracked.com back in 2008, the real fear behind zombies is simply the sheer number of people. Now, I don’t normally believe anything everything on Cracked, but as a claustrophobe, I’m willing to buy this one. The Ginger has seen me become a completely different – or at least angrier than usual – person on the Comic Con show floor, windmilling my T-Rex arms in an attempt to make a safe zone of personal space.

But, aside from my crazy person phobia, I’m also admittedly just downright sick of all these damn zombies. I don’t understand the appeal. Warm Bodies looks kind of funny but mostly awful – this time, because of the crappy they-can-cure-themselves-with-LURVE plot rather than the fact that there are zombies involved. Could this poop fest of a movie be the harbinger of the end of the zombie craze? God, I hope so.

Anyway, before this trend completely dies, check out the Sugar Shack’s latest update: Undead Easter Bunny.

Poor Ben Jonson

The thrilling conclusion of Yon Monologues of Vengeance is up under Poorly Drawn Comics! Happy Friday!

Like Garfield on a Monday except it’s Tuesday

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While everyone else in our complex was digging out their cars and being generally pissy, the Ginger and I made a snowman. Sort of. I hate the cold, but Gingey loves it so we spent two hours on our sad little patio, trying to build a snowman big enough to wrap his branch arms over the rails of our upstairs neighbor’s balcony. We gave up after building the bottom, and instead the Ginger came up with what you see above – a snow mountain climber claiming the mountain for all snowman kind, his trusty snow sheep at his side. For a failed plan, it turned out pretty well… Until it started to melt yesterday.

In other news, check out the Sugar Shack page for a little food porn.