Chinese Lizard Zombies

(Scene: Mark holding the laptop toward me, dramatic music fading from the speakers as a trailer for The Great Wall ends on the screen)

Me: Sooo, instead of the Mongol hoards, they’re trying to say that the Great Wall was built to keep out…lizard monsters?

Mark: Kind of, yeah. Oooh, it was written by Max Brooks!

Me, not knowing who that is, but trying to be supportive: Oooh…?

Mark: He wrote World War Z.

Me: UGH. You know, I was thinking that the trailer had a lot of the same look as World War Z, but I didn’t say anything because I figured you’d pooh-pooh me.

Mark: I wouldn’t have pooh-pooh’ed you…

Me: I don’t think I need to watch a movie about Chinese lizard zombies, honestly.


Me, talking to the dog:  Junie, maybe we could get a lizard zombie and tie your leash to it and it could take you for shamble walks! YAY, SHAMBLE WALKS! Grrr! Aaaarrrrgggg!


Me: But that probably wouldn’t end well because we’d have no control over which way the lizard zombie shambled so you’d eventually have to call us from your little doggie cell phone, like ‘beep bop boop boop…hey guys, I’m in Thetford and I don’t know the way home. Can you come pick me up?’  Except, you’re a dog so I don’t think you’d even really know where Thetford was, so you’d be lost and we wouldn’t know where to come pick you up. Stupid lizard zombies!

Mark: Not only would he not know what town he was in, but how would he dial a cell phone with no thumbs?

Me: Well clearly it would be voice-activated. We’d pre-program the numbers for him.

Mark: So he could just dial by saying ‘beep bop boop’ like that?

Me, exasperated: I DON’T KNOW. Maybe it’s like, that simulated tone thing that hackers used to use to get on the Internet from pay phones.

Mark: Was that ever a thing? I don’t think that was a thing.

Me: IT WAS, I saw it in a movie once!

Mark: What movie?


Mark: Oooh, ok, you meant the movie Hackers and not real, actual computer hackers.

Me, going upstairs to bed: Eh, six of one, half dozen the other, really.

Mark: Riiiiight…


So the moral of that story is that you probably don’t want to try tying your dog to a Chinese lizard zombie for shuffle-walks because it will get lost and you won’t know where to go pick it up because APPARENTLY you can’t set cell phones up for dogs to voice-dial from, according to my husband.

Also, Hackers wasn’t a documentary, I guess?  I’m still pretty iffy on that one, honestly.


Very clearly using payphones to get on the Internet. I AM VINDICATED! Also, remember when Rollerblades were the amazing thing that all the L33T badasses wore? Me neither…

When in doubt, apply otters.

There are big blocks of time that it feels like I don’t remember.

I say “feels like” because I know that in reality, you can’t ever remember everything that’s happened to you because that’s not how the brain works. Long-term memory kind of acts like a card catalog in a library. You go to the catalog with a subject in mind – ie: “summer camp”, and that’s like giving your brain-meats the Dewey Decimal Number for what you’re trying to remember. Your brain-meat then acts as librarian, taking that card and running up and down its stacks at lightening speed (or slightly slower for some of us…heh), pulling memories of that thing from the shelves for you to inspect.

In other words, long-term memory isn’t a constant loop of all the moments of your life being played over and over again, just waiting for you to hit “pause” on the one you want to access at that particular moment.

Think what life would be like if that WAS how it worked, by the way. I imagine it would be like the worst possible case of ADHD ever. You’d never be able to get anything done because your brain would constantly be like “Hey remember that one time, at band camp? And Aunt Mildred’s dog? And Easter morning, 1978? And the day you were born, and the 47th time you skinned your knee falling off your bike, and the drive to the cemetery when Grandpa died, and the smell of the lake at night and how your first kiss felt and smoking weed behind the gym between classes and the words to that song from 3rd grade music class and and and…”, but multiplied by literally all the moments of your entire life.

That sounds kind of horrible. I’m pretty glad it doesn’t work that way, now that I think about it.

I should probably take this opportunity to point out that I’m an accountant, by the way, NOT a neurologist. This may actually not be AT ALL how memory works. I didn’t even finish college and I’m also prone to making shit up, so…probably don’t use me as an academic citation on your fancy brain science term paper or whatever. Show-off.


So, it feels like there are these chunks of time that I can’t remember, and sometimes it bothers me. When it bothers me, I start actively trying to recall things from my childhood in order to prove to myself that no, I was NOT in fact just beamed down from the Mothership. Except, then I start worrying about how maybe aliens have the technology to basically pre-populate our brains with just enough memories to make us think that yes, we DID in fact have childhoods and that the idea of being beamed down from the Mothership is preposterous, now be a good drone, keep incubating those trillions of bacteria and stop questioning reality. And really, THAT’S a can of worms I can’t even really handle on a GOOD day, so that’s when I usually start just looking up pictures of baby otters online instead. Two or three good baby otter video clips will put me right back on track.


I would literally pay for this experience.

Well, as on-track as I ever get, anyway.

I may need a Poké-vention

Last weekend we were at a gaming event with some friends. Almost all of them had downloaded the Pokémon Go app and were happily spending their down-time between actual card games walking around hunting Pokémon. One friend especially, Geoff, was pretty obsessed. He clocked something like three miles of walking over the course of the day, all in the name of catching electronic critters. I had a couple conversations with people about how the game worked just out of general interest, and I MIGHT at one point have said “if my phone wasn’t such a piece of crap I’d download the game and try it”, but aside from that I didn’t think too much of it and had pretty much forgotten about it by the time we got home on Saturday evening.

Wednesday morning, Mark walked into the kitchen and held his phone out for me to look at. It showed a little picture of a guy on a bright green map with roads traced in grey and a cheerful blue sky full of puffy white clouds on the horizon.

“REALLY?” I asked, rolling my eyes. The map he was showing me was the main Pokémon Go screen. He had downloaded the game and installed it onto his phone.

“YES! Where’s your phone? I’ll download it on yours too!”

“It won’t work, I don’t have enough memory,” I hedged, and busied myself with making breakfast.

“Sure you do, I’ll clear your cache. See? TONS of memory freed up!” He held the phone out to show me, beaming. As I stuttered out protests about how I didn’t know what Pokémon even WAS or what the point of the game was aside from walking around picking things up, he was tapping away happily and downloading the app. Clearly this was going to happen no matter what I said. Knowing that my phone is a temperamental little shitbox, I figured that the app wouldn’t even open once it was downloaded or would crash catastrophically, thus giving me an out for deleting it and retaining what minuscule shreds of adult-ness I could desperately grasp at.

Not so much, it turns out.

The phone DID run the app, so after breakfast I set up my little character. Mark took off down the driveway to see if he could find any Pokémon but I stayed inside, drinking my tea and generally not paying that much attention to my phone at all.

Then the phone buzzed. I looked down and it said something about a wild Charmander appearing. After a few botched attempts, I managed to catch the Charmander, to much fanfare from my phone.


Cute, right?

“Well, that’s nice,” I thought, and then shut the app off so that I could go get ready for work. Mark came back just about then, looking forlorn.

“I walked all the way to the corner and back and I didn’t find ANYTHING,” he said.

At that point I felt the beginnings of something start to unfurl in the dark recesses of my lizard brain.

“Oh, really? That’s funny because I didn’t even move from my chair but a Charmander popped up and I caught it,” I said smugly. He looked slightly affronted, but then HIS phone buzzed and he was distracted by catching some kind of critter of his own.

Since Wednesday morning I’ve developed a bit of an addiction problem. I can’t stop playing this stupid game.

On the drive to work yesterday and today, I pulled over at almost every single rest stop / turn-out / lay-by on the side of the road to see if there were any Pokémon hanging around.

I read something about certain types of Pokémon only showing up in their specific environments in the real world, so I went out of my way to drive to the beach this morning and sit there for five minutes hoping some kind of water Pokémon would appear.

Last night it was 85 degrees and about 90% humidity but Mark and I walked the dog over a mile out to the end of our road (where there is a conveniently located Poké Stop, it turns out) and back, just in the name of finding more Pokémon.

I have already caught myself several times today pre-planning my errand-running route tomorrow in order to maximize time that I can explore known Pokémon-laden territory.

I don’t even know what the fuck any of these animals are, what they do, which ones are rare, how to battle with them or ANYTHING, seriously…but it doesn’t matter because they’re out there and I WANT THEM. And not only do I want them, but I want more, bigger and better ones than my Husband has. I’m generally not that competitive of a person, but apparently when it comes to building menageries of imaginary animals, I MUST BE QUEEN.

It’s totally weird.

(And it’s basically all Geoff’s fault.)

turns out I may be part raccoon

Sometimes, on the way back to my office from having gone to get my lunch out of the staff fridge, I’ll realize that I need to make a pit-stop in the bathroom. I blame this largely on the fact that the bathroom is directly in front of me for the entire route from the conference room fridge back to my office. I can’t NOT see it, and my bladder is nothing if not strongly subject to suggestion.


So, sometimes…in fact, we’ll say often…I find myself in the bathroom with my lunch in hand. Our bathrooms are individual ones, like half-baths in a home, and the one upstairs by my office even has a little sideboard type thing with drawers and small cabinets in it. So it’s not like I’m bringing my lunch into a bathroom stall and setting it on the toilet tank or the toilet paper dispenser while I take a leak, you know? But, every time I exit the bathroom with lunch in hand, I can’t help thinking that people must kind of wonder.

Like, ‘is there a fridge in that bathroom?’

And ‘is she so antisocial that she actually eats lunch in there?’

And ‘is she part raccoon and dousing her lunch under running water right before she eats it?’

Being part raccoon would actually explain a lot about my life though, truth be told. My poor eyesight, my body shape, my eyeliner preferences, my propensity for eating garbage…it’s all so obvious now that I think about it…