Anti-Trump bucks

A couple weeks back, a funny thing happened. A good friend of mine who also happens to read this blog sent me a private message on Facebook, and the following exchange ensued:

Friend: Sooo…I have a slightly awkward question for you.

Me: Oh, fun! I love those! Hit me.

Friend: Ok. I feel like we know each other pretty well in a lot of ways, but politics is something we’ve never actually talked about and I’ve just kind of been wondering…do you support Trump?

Me: WHAT? NO. OMG. No, no, no. Uuuugh. (barfing noises)

Friend: O…kayyyy…

Me: What, uhhh…what gave you the impression that I would be a Trump supporter?

Friend: Almost every time I go to your blog, there’s a Trump ad at the bottom of your post. Like, nine times out of ten. It got weird enough that it started to make me really wonder.

Me: Holy shit. Thank you so much for telling me. I must find a way to fix this.

A matter of hours later, another friend who DOES know my political leanings pointed out that he had seen a Trump ad on my latest post. Two days later, several more folks brought it up as well. My guts churned every time someone else piped up about it.

I was livid. I pulled up my WordPress account and clicked all around looking for an ad filter, preferences, ANYTHING that would allow me to stop the Trump ads from appearing on my posts. It turned out that the only option was to upgrade from a free account to a paid one.

It didn’t take me long to decide that that racist, narcissistic, tax-evading dumpster fire is NOT getting the benefit of the eyes of my readership, however small it might be. I’m not saying that you have to agree with my politics in order to read my blog. I’m just saying that I will not knowingly provide his campaign with ANY avenue to further spread his hate-filled rhetoric. If you can even call what he says ‘rhetoric’.

So, long story short: I just coughed up $35 real, actual dollars from my bank account to upgrade my WordPress account so that you guys wouldn’t have to keep seeing Trump ads at the end of my posts.

THAT is how much I love you all. At least $35 worth.

lizard brain

Apparently I slept in a way last night that caused a muscle or nerve in the back of my neck to seize up. Not hugely uncommon for me – I tend to carry all my tension in my neck and shoulders, plus I type eight hours a day and have relatively poor posture while doing so.

The muscle or nerve in my neck that’s unhappy happens to be right near the base of my skull, so every time I move just right, it sends this pain up into my head and my lizard brain is like ‘WAAAAH, MENINGITIS! WAAAAH, STROKE! WAAAAH, TUMOR! WAAAAH, PARASITIC AMOEBAS EATING MY BRAIN!’

Ten years ago I was a pretty much full-blown hypochondriac and wouldn’t have been able to stop thinking that I was sitting here slowly bleeding out into my brain pan or something. I would have eventually worked myself into such a panic that I’d have made myself physically ill. Nowadays I can identify that lizard brain is the culprit when I start thinking a random ache or pain is Something More Serious. I can’t put lizard brain totally on mute, but I’ve gotten a lot better at not letting it control me.

Or maybe that’s just what the parasitic amoebas want me to think…



Amoeba aliens. In my brain.

I’ll take ‘WTF Do We Do Now’ for $1,000, Alex

My family is all pretty close, at least in the geographic sense, if not the emotional sense. We all basically live within about ten minutes’ drive of each other. A strong love of place no doubt factors into why we’ve all stayed so close to the area we grew up in, but stronger still was the near-gravitational pull of my maternal grandmother Mary, aka: Nana.

It’s not that she ever made any of us feel like we couldn’t or shouldn’t move away and do our own things; she just had a way of making people want to be around her. She was funny, kind, welcoming and generous with her time. She liked nothing more than to have people stop by for a visit and tell her all about what they’d been up to. You could sit and talk her ear off for hours, but when you finally sighed and said you guessed it was time to go, she’d always say “well, you don’t have to hurry”, as if she’d be just fine with you going on about your boring-ass day for another hour or two. And she probably would have been, because that’s just how she was.

Nana was the force holding us all together around her, but she was also someone I looked up to and admired greatly. For all her softness, her generosity of spirit and her ability to make people feel comfortable, she also had extraordinary strength of will. She was whip smart, fiercely independent, and when that woman set her mind to do something, you had two choices: get on board or get the hell out of the way. She was born in the middle of the Great Depression to an already dirt-poor family of miners and subsistence farmers. Education and hard work were the only ways out of that situation, and she made a life-long habit of both. Her mantra was that you could do anything you put your mind to, and she was living proof of it. The stories she told affected me from a very early age, both directly from her tellings and indirectly via the way she had brought up my mother and aunts. Nana was a woman I aspired to be like; she was the stick I tried to measure myself against.

The call came early Monday morning that she had quite unexpectedly died. She had been fine the day before – she had gone out for her regular Sunday morning breakfast at the diner, she had done her grocery shopping and washed some windows, and she had spent the evening visiting and watching the Patriots game on TV with some family members. It had been pretty much her perfect day. At some point very early Monday morning she had woken up with chest pains, called my aunt (who lives next door), called the ambulance…and she was gone before they even got her halfway to the hospital. The whole ordeal probably lasted less than a couple hours, depending on how long she waffled before she decided to call my aunt for help. She had high blood pressure but she hadn’t had any serious heart problems above and beyond what would be expected of an 81 year old woman. She had suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis for more than a decade though, and while she didn’t generally speak of it much, she was in a lot of pain on a daily basis – sometimes to the point of being quite debilitated. In the past few weeks she had apparently expressed to several family members her desire to ‘just go to sleep’, and her worries about trying to make it through another tough winter. I don’t think that she would have decided to take something in order to end her own suffering, but I do very much believe in the power of will and the ability to talk one’s self into dying if that’s what they truly want…and I believe that’s what she did.

Nana wouldn’t have wanted a fuss to be made over her. She would have liked for us to take what we wanted of her stuff, give the rest away to people that it might help, and then get on with our lives.

So, that’s what I’ll try to do. It won’t be easy. But, like Nana taught me, I can do anything that I put my mind to.


Mary Godfrey – 3/31/1935 – 9/12/2016 Photo credit: R. Williams

My new favorite podcast, plus feels, plus a random giraffe. The end.

Most of what I do for work is pretty fucking boring. I look for numbers, I add or subtract some numbers from other numbers, I type numbers into various computer programs. Once in a great while it’ll get crazy up in here and I’ll have to do some very basic algebra (I don’t like those days, by the way – I failed algebra twice and I’m pretty sure the only reason I didn’t fail it a third time was because the teacher was really fucking sick of seeing my face at that point (and the feeling was mutual)). Sometimes I have to send emails to people about numbers. Occasionally there are meetings where I am asked questions about numbers.

If you’ve been around my blog long enough, you know that I also share an office with someone whose musical taste (and I use that phrase loosely) differs significantly from my own. That wouldn’t be a problem in the least, except that said person has also decided that, for whatever reason, he is entitled to listen to his music over speakers connected to his computer rather than listening via headphones like a civilized person. Historically, my way of dealing with this has been headphones of my own (TAKE A HINT, BRO) and a somewhat unhealthy obsession with about three dozen songs on Spotify. Several friends had suggested that I try podcasts or even audiobooks for times when I get sick of my Spotify playlists, but I never really gave either idea a chance. I’m an asshole like that sometimes. Probably not a newsflash to anyone.


During a probably-undeserved Twitter break one afternoon not long after we got back from GenCon, I noticed a link posted by one of my favorite authors, Pat Rothfuss. It was a link to a podcast called Unattended Consequences that he was doing with some guy named Max Temkin. There had been some amusing back-and-forth tweeting between the two during GenCon that I was really curious about the context of, and this podcast episode Pat was linking to was apparently explaining that whole thing. Intrigued, I decided to give it a go.

I knew via Twitter and Pat’s blog that he was interesting and amusing guy, but I had no idea who Max Temkin was. Turns out he’s one of the co-creators of Cards Against Humanity, and not surprisingly, also very funny. Add into the mix that I was still coming down from a great GenCon myself and therefore kind of pining for anything to keep the con glow alive just a little bit longer, and I was sold. I snickered and giggle-snorted my way through the rest of the afternoon feeling like I was hanging out with two nerdy friends and it was good.

The next day, like any mild obsessive worth their salt, I decided to go back to the beginning and work my way through all the episodes in order.  The podcast is often very funny, but it’s also interesting and insightful. They don’t just talk about gaming – they drop nuggets of writing advice (which, let’s face it, I need all the help I can get), they talk about books, philosophy, pop culture, and they’re both pretty upfront about their respective mental issues. I feel I can especially relate to Max, who routinely mentions his struggles with anxiety and the manifestations there-of (the unholy trinity of stress, procrastination and self-loathing with which I am so deeply familiar). Hearing talented, successful folks acknowledge mental struggles similar to my own is really helpful to me. I mean, it’s helpful when ANYONE is honest with their struggles because it helps to break down the stigma of mental illness, but for me personally, hearing someone like Max Temkin, Pat Rothfuss, Felicia Day or Jenny Lawson explain how their brains fuck them over on the regular makes me realize that success and mental illness are not mutually exclusive. You can have brain weasels and still make good art, do good things, and live a fulfilling life.

I’m almost caught up on Unattended Consequences now and I have to admit, the prospect of virtually hanging out with Pat and Max only once a week rather than almost every day is kind of a bummer. I’ll muddle through with other podcasts so that I don’t strangle my coworkers, but I don’t have to be happy about it.

Do you have any favorite podcasts? Do you do one of your own? Leave me a comment and we’ll chat podcasts. Or, find me on Twitter and we can talk about them there.

PS: This was a completely unsolicited and unpaid post. Pat Rothfuss and Max Temkin don’t know me from a hole in the ground. I just really enjoy their show and wanted to share it with others.

PPS: But if Pat Rothfuss and/or Max Temkin DID end up reading this and liking it, I’d probably shit my pants with excitement. Like, actual load in my actual pants. Actually.

PPPS: This post needs a picture. In honor of the discovery of possible new species of giraffes this week, here is a sassy giraffe. We should name him Gene. It’s a tongue joke.


Did you think it was a fish hanging out of his mouth for half a second when you first saw it? I did, and it was VERY confusing.

PPPPS: What do you mean, ‘it’s obvious where the Adderall wore off during the writing of this post’?!  Ok, fair enough.


Order of the Perfect Avocado

A week or so ago, I had an avocado so perfect that I was compelled to take a picture of it for posterity.


Mythic-level perfect avocado.

If you’re an avocado person, you get it. A regular person shopping for avocados will be satisfied to test a couple to make sure they’re not rock-hard or mushy before making their selection, but an avocado person will stand in front of the display and feel up so many avocados that it starts to get awkward. Other shoppers will openly look askance at us. Some of us may in fact be on the produce section staff watch-list because of the ardent attention we pay to the perpetual pile of olive green wonderment that is the avocado display.

A perfectly ripe avocado is rare enough, but finding a truly flawless one is a rarer beast indeed. Feeling up an avocado for ripeness is an art, but there’s plenty you CAN’T tell just from feeling and looking at an avocado:

  • has it been bashed around in transport?
  • have pinholes in the skin caused the dreaded grey-green oxidation in the flesh?
  • does it have those weird still-unripe spots where the flesh will continue to cling to the skin or the seed even though the rest of the flesh seems perfectly ripe?

You simply cannot know until you cut into it and see. That’s why it’s so exciting when you DO end up with a perfect one. They’re so few and far between that the perfect ones feel…miraculous. It’s what I imagine someone finding the image of Jesus charred onto their morning toast, or the face of the Virgin Mary outlined by the speckles on the skin of their banana might feel. Except, you know…somewhat less inclined to religious dogma.


I shared this picture of my miraculous avocado on Facebook and Twitter because I know I have a lot of similarly avocado-loving friends. In terms of “like” clicks, this picture outpaced basically EVERY OTHER picture I’ve EVER posted on Facebook, memes included.  On Twitter, someone actually downloaded the picture and set it as the background image on their phone.

This avocado has clearly spoken to people. LIKE A MIRACLE.

So, after speaking with several other avocado disciples this morning, I would like to announce the formation of the Order of the Perfect Avocado, dedicated to sharing miracles of avocado perfection for everyone to enjoy. If you have a shining example of avocado perfection that you’d like to share with the world, you can tag it as #APerfectAvocado on Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr. We’ll find it and feature it so that everyone can bask in the green glow.

pterodactyls stormed the field

My husband is super into sports. Not just “dudes keeping a ball away from other dudes” sports, but like…pretty much any sports. He’s not that big of a basketball fan and I’ve never seen him purposefully skim through the channels to find, like, gymnastics or figure skating competitions…but just about anything else, he’ll watch for at least a few minutes if he finds it on TV. Even golf. That right there should tell you something about his level of commitment to watching sports.

When he first moved in with me, he had this thing about how he didn’t want to record games (matches? Sporting…events? Whatever…) on the DVR and watch them later. He only wanted to watch them live. If he couldn’t watch a game live from the start, he would just skip the whole thing because…well, I’m not really sure why. But he had his reasons. Man reasons.

Anyway, after several months of disagreements about what we were going to watch on our one TV, and instances of him missing a game he wanted to watch because we had to be somewhere else, he finally started to warm to the idea of recording sports on the DVR.  Nowadays, there are things he still prefers to watch live, but for the most part if real life interferes with sports-ball TV time, he’ll just record the event and watch it later. The one side-effect of this, however, is that when he’s waiting to watch a game he’s recorded, he will be SUPER ULTRA OBSESSIVELY careful about trying to avoid seeing the score of the game he’s currently not watching. He’ll stay off social media, he’ll avoid news websites that he knows might be running a ticker of the scores, etc. It’s serious business.

So, last night the New England Patriots were playing. Normally Patriots games are firmly at the top of Mark’s “must watch live” list, but last night’s was only a preseason game (I can totally hear him scoffing at the word ‘only’ in my head right now, by the way), so it was acceptable that it be recorded and caught up on a little later. We finished dinner, we went into the living room, he turned on the TV…and there was the Patriots game, because the DVR had been set to record it so the TV had been auto-tuned to that channel. Mark squawked and threw a hand up to shield his eyes, not wanting to see the score. He had the remote and was trying to change the channel but couldn’t make the remote work…possibly because he had his hand over his eyes. He started pleading with the TV as he struggled with the remote.

“No, no, no, don’t tell me the score, don’t tell me the scooooore, noooo!”

To which I, exceedingly helpful wife that I am, cheerfully replied…

“Oh don’t worry, there’s no score yet. It looks like there’s only five minutes left in the quarter.”

There was a beat of stunned silence, then we embarked on a detailed refresher course of Mark’s feelings with regard to having sports scores spoiled for him.

But…IN MY DEFENSE…my reasoning was that there was literally no score, so I wasn’t really ruining anything. Right? I mean, there are things you can GUESS might have happened in a game that has a 0-0 score with five minutes left in the first quarter, ie:

  • one or both of the teams are having a bad night on offense (PLAUSIBLE)
  • one or both of the teams are having a GOOD night on defense (ALSO PLAUSIBLE)
  • somebody might have gotten really CLOSE to scoring but then it didn’t happen (+3 PANTS OF PLAUSIBILITY)
  • maybe nobody had gotten close to scoring at all because…I don’t fucking know…pterodactyls stormed the field (MAYBE NOT PLAUSIBLE, but entertaining to consider)

By their very nature, zeros have no value. Logic* therefore dictates that my revealing that the score was zero all revealed ACTUAL NOTHING. I don’t see how that’s problematic in any way. IN FACT, quite the opposite, I feel like I did him a FAVOR by increasing his anticipation for watching the game. If I hadn’t said that there was no score, he wouldn’t have been NEARLY as interested in eventually watching the first quarter of the game to see just what shenanigans had led up to said fest of equal nothingness.

So there.

*Disclaimer: I use the term ‘logic’ in the loosest sense here. Not that anyone reading this really needed to be reminded of that, I suppose…but still. Better safe than embroiled in Internet debates with people way better at logic-ing than I am (see also: everyone, ever). 


These are giant azhdarchids. They were pterosaurs that stood as tall as giraffes. FUCKING GIRAFFES. AND THEY FLEW. Can you imagine how horrific it would be to round a corner in the late Cretaceous and see a group of these motherfuckers wandering around? HOLY SHIT. I didn’t even know these existed. This is why I love the Internet. So many dinosaurs.   PS: I took this image from Wikipedia, who say it’s by Mark Witton and Darren Naish. Hopefully they won’t sue me. They know a lot about dinosaurs so maybe we could be friends.

deeply un-fleek

Last night I had a full-blown stress dream about my eyebrows.

In said dream, I was on some video conference thing (for a non-eyebrow-related reason, presumably…it felt worky in nature). The lady I was conferencing with just stopped mid-stream and was like, “your eyebrows are really distracting”. I asked what she meant and she pointed out that my brows were uneven and patchy. She asked me if I even look in a mirror while I’m doing my eyebrows. I grabbed a hand mirror (that was inexplicably sitting on my kitchen table where I was doing the video conference) and saw, to my horror, that she was right. They were BAD. There were spots where the makeup I had put on them was all gross and flaking off, even. I got super mad, said something along the lines of “YOU DON’T KNOW MY EYEBROW LIFE, BITCH”, and slammed the laptop closed. I woke up right after that so I don’t know if I would have ended up going on a violent rampage, or shaved my eyebrows completely off, or what…which is probably just as well, really.

My eyebrows ARE uneven in real life, though. The two sides grow in very different shapes. Both individual shapes are totally fine and I’d be happy with either one…but they don’t MATCH. The left one is long, it has a good arch and it tapers nicely after the arch. The right one also arches, but the arch is much closer to the temple side than my left one. Also, instead of tapering to a nice pointed tail, it just kind of grows a little further at the same width and then…stops.

It’s not like I spend hours agonizing over my eyebrows. I can kind of carve a little bit of a taper into the right one with tweezing, and I can kind of use filler makeup to draw the arch of the left one back a little bit and bring it closer to the shape of the right, but I’m no fucking Johannes Vermeer here, people. They’re always going to be slightly uneven and I’m at peace with that.

Or at least, I thought I was, until I had that dream. Apparently my subconscious is not fully convinced.


As long as I don’t reach The People’s Eyebrow levels of unevenness, I think I’ll be ok. Also, The Rock is not convinced that I am at peace with my eyebrow issues either. Maybe my subconscious IS The Rock? That would actually explain some things…