Date Archives December 2012

“Well, if we’re looking for a shark we’re not gonna find him on the land. “

My most aggravating gift by far this year was an AirSwimmer Remote Control Shark. In concept, it’s awesome, and once you get it assembled, it’s fun to play with, but getting it to that point is an exercise in frustration. Special shark tape that didn’t want to remove from the sheet, poorly written instructions, and an infuriating counterbalance system that has you putting tiny pieces of putty into a receptacle on the shark and then digging it out again when you find it’s now too heavy except your finger is too big for the hole and then putting some back in when you find it’s now too light and then digging it out again and putting another tiny piece back in until you’re overwhelmed with the urge to punch a shark in the face…and then you discover it’s finally balanced at perfect punching height.

It was fun to fly around, though.

It’s scared the hell out of me twice now. Jason thought it was an awesome idea to store it in the bedroom unbeknownst to me, and air currents made it pop out of the bedroom right as I was walking down the hallway, eliciting a primo scream and an Olympic quality high-jump. For some reason (laziness, probably), we kept it in the bedroom in the corner, and at one point during the night I woke up and it was floating low directly over our heads on the bed. I smirked and decided that a good morning scare would be fine retribution for Jason…except the heat clicked on and it began swimming by itself through the room. Apparently the sight of a million year old predator gliding by itself in the dark overhead while I’m glassesless and vulnerable triggers some sort of primal fear mechanic and I clawed at the light on the table next to the bed, waking Jason up and shrieking “THIS FUCKING THING HAS GOT TO GO”…so that happened. Probably the day will come when I end up stabbing the shark in the middle of the night because I can’t take it anymore.

The most aggravating gift I gave Jason was the touchable bubbles…which are totally fun until you realize they stain absolutely freaking everything in the house. I threw a shirt that was a bubble casualty into the wash (after a vigorous pre-washing) with some sheets and now the sheets are stained, too. Christmas is definitely more fun when you don’t have to clean up the messes you make.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for me.

In addition to all of the things we bought for Napoleon for Cthulhumas this year because he’s spoiled rotten, we bought him one thing that was solely for our entertainment: dog booties.

After the video, we gave him a treat and took him for a walk so he doesn’t just associate the booties with mocking laughter.

A Christmas Carol Recap

At some point in your life you’ve been exposed to A Christmas Carol, Dickens’ story of a Libertarian man who believes in self-sufficiency and desperately tries to keep his uneducated entitled workers from sucking him dry, but has a series of nightmares one night and goes completely insane, flinging money away like the free market wouldn’t take care of the poor already if they were deserving and completely forgetting that helping people won’t teach them the importance of bootstrapping. It’s been made and remade approximately half a million times, and you’re sure to find someone’s version playing on TV in the month of December–one year, I recall falling asleep in front of the television with the Lifetime channel on (shut up) and woke up to no fewer than three different versions, my own version of three mediocre made-for-TV spirits which immediately made me regret the mistake I’d made: paying for cable.

For all of the existing versions, Disney realized there was a hole in the market: no version existed that was so definitively creepy that it would haunt your very soul…especially not one made for children, and they’re not one to leave a cash cow unmilked. Today, I’m recapping this version for you. Merry Christmas.

A Christmas Carol: Disney Makes You Fear For Your Soul

The movie opens on what’s probably the cheeriest of all Christmas scenes: a dead scowling body being held together with a tube sock and change to keep you from seeing the maggots swirling around in the eye sockets. Even Mr. Stiff Crotchett doesn’t want to see that, which is why his glasses are perched up on his forehead instead of, I don’t know, in the garbage, because it’s not like he’s ever going to use them again. It makes me wonder if Guy Fieri will be buried with sunglasses perched on the back of his head.

A crusty Scrooge leans over him, decrepit and scraggly in a way that you just know that his breath is putrid. You can see it escaping him in a little cloud of limburger, garlic, and seventy one years of refusing to pay a visit to the dentist.

It smells so disgusting that it’s making the funeral apprentice woozy, even causing a few of his pimples to burst and ooze. After he blacks out, we cut to a scene of swooping over London rooftops and through the city streets to show you just how awful it was to live in the Victorian period regardless of what a steampunk enthusiast might tell you.

For example, child jails had yet to be invented, so wretched little orphans used to heckle hard working citizens through their window grates, after breaking out all of the glass (the better to heckle and let all of the heat out–were they born in a barn?)

Poisoned giblets are flung out in the street in the hopes of clearing out some of the child riff-raff, but the mystery meat is scooped up by Zuul, the gatekeeper of Gozer the Gozerian, for some reason that’s never explained but probably involves summoning some ghosts for later in the movie.

This child is expressing what we all feel at the moment, but hold onto your butts, people, we’re only six and a half minutes in, so you may as well grab a drink and settle in.

Seven Christmas eves later, and we can clearly see that Scrooge has not washed his hair once in this entire time period, making him officially even more frugal than the stockpiling moms in Extreme Couponing. What they don’t show is him scraping off his natural foot oils to use as chapstick, as he considers himself quite the lady-killer and wants to keep his lips moist and dewy for heavy makeouts at any time.

In another brilliantly frugal move, Scrooge has hired an illegal immigrant from the Planet of the Apes to do his books, thus saving him a significant amount in labor costs and payroll taxes. Its fascination with fire, however, does cost him some man-hours.

Mr. Darcy drops in to brood by the fire and to let all of the pining ladies know that not only has he aged terribly, he now also dresses poorly as well, layering coats like a hobo.

The monkey man, however, is still quite turned on by the presence of the Mr. Darcy and leers at him from across the room, basically eye-jungle-trysting him. Mr. Darcy knows it and doesn’t exactly discourage the behavior, enjoying playing the temptress.

Scrooge is immediately jealous as he feels his position as the Alpha Sex Male is threatened, and he in turn threatens his monkey man with a savage beating with a ruler. Love triangle!

“I loved you first” Scrooge whispers to Mr. Darcy, leaning in ever closer, pursing his foot chapstick lubricated lips and fluttering his lashes. I should probably tell you that Jim Carrey was my first ever crush and aside from all of the questionable stuff he’s done lately, this movie is doing an excellent job of killing whatever attraction I’ve ever had. Seriously. I used to have a scrapbook of photos that I’d swoon over, and when I was about fifteen and my family was traveling to California to visit my grandparents, I wrote him a letter and invited him to have Easter dinner with the family, like he’d drive down from Los Angeles, pass the potatoes and fall deeply in love with me in a non-pedophilic fashion and vow to wait until I was 18 so we could get married and say our vows by talking out of our butts at one another, Ace Ventura style. My mistake was not in sending the letter, but in telling my family that they shouldn’t be surprised if we had an extra guest at dinner, and on April first, my grandfather called me over to the phone, excitedly saying “Oh Melissa, it’s Jimmy Carrey on the phone for you!” when in reality it was my aunt holding her nose, pretending to be his secretary and turning down the dinner invitation. My family is nothing if not cruelly hilarious; I may find it in my heart to forgive them sometime in the coming decade.

Getting back to the film in progress, the monkey man is also impressed by the next visitors, the founders of the Extreme Facial Hair Men’s Society, one of whom’s eyebrows are attempting to escape from his face in shame. They’re soliciting donations for facial hairplugs for men who can only grow sad little sex-offender mustaches; little do they know that they’re barking up the wrong tree as Scrooge has been saving his pennies for decades in the hopes of implanting his own facial jungle, so they’re flung out on the street without so much as a “no thank you”.

The workday complete, Scrooge heads home for a night of getting hammered and digging through couch cushions for change, only to have his doorknob turn into the Ghost of SuperCuts past. “HUMBUG!” Scrooge cries. “You might as well have grown it out for free rather than wasting tuppence on that hack job!”

By making a world-class series of kissy faces at it, he convinces the spectre to go away, working better than any “excorcism” the bros from Ghost Adventures could ever attempt.

Scrooge then settles in for his Christmas eve activity: mixing and eating a bowl of cement to coat his intestines to prevent him from absorbing any holiday calories so he can stay trim and still fit into the designer clothes he thifted from Ye Olde Victorian Goodwille when he was twelve.

“I can’t believe it’s not butter!” he exclaims.

Suddenly, there’s a surprise delivery from UPS! Who knew they were working this late on Christmas eve?

“WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?!”

“Why yes, I’d be happy to do my Liza Minelli impersonation!”

“I’m not saying it’s not good, just that I’ve seen better.” Enraged, the UPS man goes on his way.

At one in the morning, Scrooge wakes up with heartburn and realizes that the cement mix must have gone off as he hallucinates his face onto a candle. He can’t help but note with a smirk that even his hallucinations are turned on by his animal magnetism…he sees the little sprig of mistletoe the candle just happens to be holding.

Sure enough, Waxy Buildup Scrooge swoops in for some heavy petting action. “Too soon! Too soon!” Scrooge The Person cries. “You haven’t even bought me dinner yet!”

Still, his touch is magical, and Scrooge The Person is suddenly so filled with infatuation with Waxy Buildup Scrooge that he feels that he could jump from the rooftops and fly. “He’s got the touch! He’s got the power!” Scrooge The Person swoons.

Sky rockets in flight! Afternoon delight!

Look, kid, I know you’re still emoting what we’re all feeling at the moment, but there’s still 2/3rds of the movie left to go, you may as well grab another drink.

After tiring of spying on children, the lovers find themselves late and underdressed for a performance of Riverdance.

Michael Flatley boots them out and they decide to spend the rest of their evening together skydiving.

“That was a hell of a dream,” Scrooge muses. “The skydiving bit must be when I fell on the floor. This will be a fun nugget to share at the office tomor–oh blast, the office is closed. I HATE CHRISTMAS!”

Suddenly, the sitting room fills with light and Scrooge enters to find Scrooge Jesus perched atop a tree in Hugh Hefner’s robe.

Scrooge Jesus is full of the holiday spirit of Christmas mockery, supposedly laughing at Scrooge but mainly laughing at the audience for being fools so easily parted from their money. “You’re only half done, assholes!” he cries. “There’s still plenty more of Uncanney Valley Jim Carrey to shudder at; since we’re paying him a fortune, we’re going to use him as much as possible!”

Scrooge Jesus turns Regular Scrooge’s mansion into a glass bottom boat and gives him a tour of the city, known as the “Point and Laugh at Everyone” tour. Scrooge Jesus also points out all of the places he’s given positive reviews on Yelp. “Their bread? HO HO HO! Five stars! But a child was screaming at the baker through the window so I knocked it down to four.”

We learn that not only has the Monkey Man taken a human bride, but he’s also fathered a freakshow’s worth a children. Here is is with his gargantuan daughter. They breathlessly exclaim that they hope one day that they might be able to taste a turkey, which is how you know they are poor indeed, to be lusting after the Saharan sand of meat.

The human bride, regretting being outcast from her parents’ home for her choice of husband, gets drunk and starts railing about politics at the table, embarrassing everyone.

Their most pathetic child, Little Timmy, has made himself sick with trying to heal his parent’s marriage and stop his mom’s drinking problem, and in one moment he decides he cannot take it anymore, but attempts to cover up his despair with a treacle-y toast. “By god, I hope this glass is full of poison,” he prays. Scrooge Jesus says that if nothing is done to alter this timeline, Little Timmy will get his death wish and kill his parents with guilt.

Regular Scrooge ponders and realizes what he must do–climb the clocktower and take out Little Timmy himself.

Scrooge Jesus pulls apart his robes to reveal that he’s been breeding an army of scrawny Gollums to do his bidding, and Scrooge is so impressed that he forgets all about the clocktower business and Little Timmy. These two are named Ignorance and Want– Pestilence, Complaining, Itchy, and Honey Boo Boo are all off on a field trip somewhere.

Suddenly, all of the meat lover’s deep dish pizza Scrooge Jesus has been eating rushes straight into his heart and he collapses and dies, and god dammit, he’s left the caretaking of all of his monstrous mouths to feed to Regular Scrooge.

“La la la, there must have been some mistake in the will and if I don’t heeeeear you I certainly won’t have to spend the rest of my summer vacations and discretionary income at EuroDisney.”

In a stroke of genius, solving his own personal problem and a major problem of the city’s, Regular Scrooge invents child prisons and wipes his hands of the whole matter. “I’ll be back. You can’t keep the Liberals out of the House of Parliament forever. And when they get in, I’m back on the streets, with all my criminal buddies!”

On what is to be forever remembered as the Night of Too Many Drop-In Guests And Seriously Have They Never Heard of Calling Ahead, Skeletor pops by to loom ominously and chat about the fate of He-Man.

I’m beginning to think that this movie should have a subtitle. “A Christmas Carol: Scrooge’s Upskirt Shots”, perhaps, as they seriously never miss an opportunity to show you up his nightgown. I get it, I get it, scrawny old man legs.

Or maybe “A Christmas Carol: One Hell of a Bad Acid Trip”.

After what feels like twenty more minutes of Scrooge upskirt shots, Skeletor finally shows Scrooge something of import: his grave. Scrooge is appalled at the poor kerning and mourns not developing a better relationship with his typesetter. “Can this future not be changed? Can we not find a better font than Comic Sans?” Skeletor laughs and shoves him in the grave.

Scrooge awakens in yet another strange position and thinks “Hot DAMN this will be a great story to tell at the office toda–DAMN IT, I keep forgetting the office is closed today! I guess I’ll have to go bore people at their homes with stories of my dream interpretations. You see, the flying is representative of my hopes and aspirations, and the grave is clearly my insecurities about my knobby knees and…”

After yelling at a child to go buy the biggest turkey in town, Scrooge smiles with joy. It’s so easy, winning the love of the poor! Once he stuffs them full of Tryptophan, knocks them out, and drinks their love and admiration filled blood, he’ll live forever! Foolproof plan!

Someone other than the audience gets an upskirt shot for once, and from the looks of her face, she got an eyeful of the twig and berries and will be filing a sexual harassment claim as soon as Human Resources is open again.

However, Scrooge sees the lawsuit in her eyes and threatens to pull out her remaining front tooth, Chompy, if she dares to tell a soul.

Scrooge takes his newfound madness out into the street and tells the founder of the Extreme Facial Hair Men’s Society that as soon as he gets an opportunity, he’s going to slice off his skin and wear it as a mask so as to relieve his facial hair shame. But not today, because he’s got to go force his company upon his long-suffering relatives.

Suddenly, the monkey man steps out of time and becomes a narrator of things yet to come. “No moral, no message, no prophetic tract: Just a simple statement of fact. For civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized. The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own; for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to The Twilight Zone. Also: It was Earth all along.”

Merry Christmas to us all, every one!

Someone else gets added to the naughty list, last minute.

Last year at Christmas I spent a week with my fiance’s family. It was, to put it lightly, a trying time. Not because his family is horrible, but because they were anxious to get to know me and spend time with me, and I come with my own cocktail of neuroses and personal space issues which makes that difficult for everyone involved. Today I discovered that someone at another blog copied my writing about that week and changed a few details to make it sound like they’d spent a week with Johnny Depp’s family. Not an excerpt, no credit given to me, just blatantly lifted and claimed as their own.

I find it challenging to convey how disgusted I am. I’m absolutely sick over this. I make no money whatsoever from this blog. I accept no ads, I run no sponsored posts, I take no free products in exchange for glowing reviews, I have no affiliate links, and I don’t have a wishlist or a donate button. My good friend Greg is kind enough to host the site for me, so my only costs are the domain name and the time and effort I choose to invest…but I make nothing from it. Why do I invest my time, effort, and money? For several reasons: to improve my writing skills, to entertain, and, most importantly, to remember the things I’ve done.

I love to entertain through stories, silly pictures, and videos. I’ve been doing so online since 2004. I love it when someone takes the time to comment and tell me that I’ve made them laugh, or smile, or retch a little. I won’t cure cancer or put a rocket on the moon, but I do have my voice. In its own way, it’s a compliment that someone enjoyed my work so much that they wished they had written it…but it’s another thing entirely to take it and put their name on it, to steal my voice.

What makes this theft particularly vulgar to me is that it’s not just a joke they took, but my lived experience. It’s not just a funny story to me; it’s a difficult experience that I turned into a funny story and is thus a much deeper part of me than just a simple joke. To have someone else claim credit for the story without having lived through it makes me feel deeply ill.

In the past, I’ve thought it was a little ridiculous and self-involved to post a copyright notice on my blog, as if there was anything here that was worthy of being copied…but I included one nonetheless in the footer. I’m obviously not writing here for money, but I do want the credit for the things I’ve said, and I will not stand for someone else taking it. Not when I lived it. Not when I wrote it. My work, though published online for free, is not a free-for-all, and is not free of copyright. Before today, I wouldn’t have thought it would ever be necessary to state that outright.

*Update: Since this was published, the referenced post has been removed.

“This tree was cut down and tarted up like a dime-a-dance floozy!”

Since we’re not traveling anywhere for Christmas, this year we can put up decorations and not have it seem like a waste of time because we won’t be around to enjoy them.

We also bought a full size tree, so the mini tree has been relegated to the Lovecraftian Horror Dining Room. It was initially called the Eldritch Tree, but I’ve taken to calling it the “My Intellectual Property” tree.

In the living room, we’ve got more twinkle lights than a college dorm room and a barn wedding combined. Instead of topping our tree with a traditional (boring) angel, we went for a dinosaur.

Hark! A bright star in the east! …or a meteor come to destroy life as you know it, dino. One or the other.

There are a few schools of thought when it comes to tree decoration. One is to build ornament collections slowly over the years, amassing ones that are particularly cool or meaningful. Another is to have a tree that fits a strict theme. Still another is to buy as much crap as you can, as quickly as possible. My family always had two trees–one in the family room where the crappy children’s ornaments were hung, and a Victorian themed one in the living room that no one other than my mother was allowed to touch. (The whole room was pretty hands-off in general: white couch, stiff furniture, delicate antiques, a piano that I was supposed to play but never felt like playing until late night when no one else wanted me to play…the only time anyone ever really spent any time in that room at all was at Christmas when we exchanged family gifts and were cautioned to stay as far away from the tree as possible. Gifts from Santa arrived under the children’s tree so my mom wouldn’t have to worry about my brother shattering any glass angels in his present-induced frenzy.) I’ve got my Cthulhu themed tree, and I was hoping with the large tree to build up ornaments over time, but Jason’s mom clearly subscribes to the third method as a huge bag of ornaments I never would’ve chosen showed up on our doorstep last week. In an act of passive aggression (I’m a true Pacific Northwesterner now!), I altered one to be more us:

True story!

For the season, our T-Rex is known as “Santa Jaws”. We’ve got kind of a festive dino thing going on this year.

Actually, scratch that: we’ve got a festive reptile thing going on this year. Introducing Gibralter:

I saw him at an awesome Seattle shop, The Belfry, and when I saw his joyful smile, I knew I couldn’t leave him behind. So many taxidermied animals look blank or sad…but not Gibralter! His constant upbeat attitude is an inspiration to us all. “Did you just fart? GREAT!” “Oh boy, I can’t wait to handle raw chicken!” “Thank you so much for coming to my door and waking me up to share your faith with me!” “When you won’t swallow your pill and I have to wrestle you like an alligator, force open your jaws, and shove it down your throat….that’s my FAVORITE!” and my personal favorite “This meal is wonderful and I have no complaints about it whatsoever!” when in reality it could probably be used to spackle a fist-size hole and tastes that way, too.

In the spirit of Gibralter, Merry Cthulhumas, and in his path of destruction, may you be eaten first.

Oh, yeah–a dog like this, you’d have to feed every day.

I recently had to have a second root canal in the same tooth because I’m just a lucky, lucky person, and after the numbness wore off, the pain settled in and I took the opportunity to lay in bed and moan about it. It didn’t take long before I realized how different Napoleon is from other dogs, though…

I don’t understand why I’ve never gotten a second dog.

“Oh, great. I specifically asked not to be seated next to a baby.”

It all started with a baby.

Well, actually, it started a little earlier. My grandparents’ health has been in decline, and it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to travel here for the wedding next year, and as Jason has never met them, we planned a trip to Wisconsin in September. Within twenty minutes of our arrival, grandma pointed to her refrigerator and said “Did you notice my baby? I just love him.”

On the fridge was a photo cut out from the back of Parade magazine of a chubby despondent baby figurine seated on a Green Bay Packers towel with the words “Is it Sunday yet?” written on it. “Oh, he’s just the cutest. I was going to send away for him, but it was just too much money.”

In the mornings, I would wake up (You can’t wake up if you never managed to fall aleep, and, side note, I don’t know where you can buy a bed that’s made of concrete and steel wool but my grandparents evidently either bought or constructed one (Pillows, too! (When grandma finally inquired as to why we both looked so haggard and we told her we haven’t been able to sleep on that bed, she said she had read that a hard bed was good for your back. Up to a point, grandma! Somewhere before the point where it causes back spasms.))). Let’s start over. I would know it was morning when through my desperately tired haze, I would hear grandma in the kitchen talking to the refrigerator baby. “Awww, it’s not Sunday yet, little guy!” Sometime around the 72 hour mark, I broke down, grabbed Jason’s phone, and ordered the baby.

I shortly received an email stating that it would be shipped soon, and in four to six weeks, they’d be sending another baby in the series. OH HELL NO. I didn’t agree to that! What followed was a forty minute hold time waiting to speak to someone in customer service to cancel future emo sports babies. After finally speaking to a human being, I was assured that grandma would only ever receive the one baby. What I wasn’t assured of was what else they would do with my information. As soon as the credit card charge went through, I was signed up for every email list of every company ever associated with The Bradford Exchange. The Ashton-Drake Galleries. The Danbury Mint. Multiple times a day, every day, I was informed of some deal that was too good to miss–lifelike babies, NFL merchandise, beaded crosses, gumpaste jewelry…all of it offically licensed, exclusive to them, and available in easy installments. I tried unsubscribing; the unsubscribe button just seemed to encourage them. I told them they were in violation of the CAN SPAM act and that they must remove me from their lists. They told me it would take 2-3 weeks for the messages to cease. After five weeks, I was still receiving email and it finally stopped when I told them they were still in violation and would begin the process of escalation (reporting and suing if necessary) if they did not cease immediately.

Around this same time, our mailbox began to be flooded with the strangest variety of catalogs, many also offering similar payment plans and credit card offers. At first I figured that my credit had bumped up a spot from “danger, danger” to “bad with money in a way that’s profitable for predators”, but then I noticed all of the catalogs were in Jason’s name. Jason, who never orders diddly squat on the internet unless it’s available via Amazon Prime…except for that damn baby. This flood of catalogs was at least funny for a while (Who would buy a puzzle of cartoon animals in holiday scarves gathered around a bear pooping in an outhouse? Who would buy drawstring pants printed to look like jeans along with “hole” details that make it look like there’s a black hole where your knee should be? Or that have awful printed “patches” and are made to look like your boxers are hanging out?) but we received one this week that was the last straw and the impetus for me to spend another forty minutes on the phone demanding that my address be removed from their records. Far be it for me to suffer alone:

Or, more accurately, there’s still time to make someone weep in terror on Christmas.

Oh creepy. CREEPY. Heartbeat? Breathing? Fancy dildo skin? What kind of nightmare factory are they running here?

Here to fill your desperate need to be needed, a baby who will never stop crying and will never ever leave you unless the dog grabs it and buries it in the backyard (good boy!).

But what happens when you shake it? And why don’t they offer the slightly older, with a firm grasp of language “I hate you” toddler? I thought they were going for accuracy!

If a baby human just won’t do it for you, they also offer horrifying little baby monkeys, also with creepy realistic skin.

A golden idol? I’m pretty sure this was exactly the thing God was pissed about before he passed down his ten commandments. But the more important question is: are there any left?!

Any of these would be hilarious to purchase as a gag gift to sneak into an unsuspecting friend’s home…if only I didn’t have to deal with 80 more minutes of phone calls and a deluge of mail and email afterward. Rest easy, friends. For now.

That’s one way to keep me from eating a chicken fried steak for a while.

Recently, Napoleon hasn’t been quite himself; fussing and crying and licking at his rear end (more than normal, and fussing, crying, and slurping at his nether regions are his favorite things on Earth, so it may have taken me a while to notice the increase in volume). A week ago, I came home after being out for just a few short hours to find that he’d licked/torn out a patch of fur on his rear end near his tail, and I hauled him immediately to the vet, where I learned something so awful that had I known about it beforehand, it may have put me off dog ownership entirely:

Anal gland squeezing.

Apparently when dogs poo, it squeezes out some fluid from stink glands on either side of their anus…at least, that’s what happens in large dogs. Some small dogs have difficulty squeezing out said fluid, and (lucky me), Napoleon is one of them. I never would have guessed this, because he’s a total professional at all other kinds of fluid and solid excretion, but I suppose no one can be good at everything. So now I have to take him to have his booty squeezed with regularity to prevent the sort of build-up that caused this issue, but in the meanwhile, he had five years of backup in there. In the aftermath of his first squeezing, both the vet and the tech couldn’t use enough descriptive words to convey just how awful it had been. “You see, it’s normally like a clear brownish fluid. This was like…thick, creamy, and chunky, like gravy. Like, you know…chunky.”

I think I could have slept better without ever hearing that description, but thank you for being a veritable anal juice wordsmith.

Jason wouldn’t let me show gravy fountaining out of a dog’s butt into the bowl, so just be thankful for that.

I’m considering renaming him, but I’m not sure that Campbell’s Chunky Gravy GooBooty will fit on a nametag.

“Oh look what you did! Now I’ll have to go get my cold cream gun.”

In July, Jason and I took a trip to Vancouver for IMATS (the international Makeup Artist Trade Show). We had plans to attend the previous month’s event in Los Angeles as LA is by far the bigger show, but it unfortunately fell on the same weekend that Jason was committed to being in a wedding so it didn’t work out. However, the next LA IMATS is in January, which is right around the time that I start losing my mind in the cold, dark Seattle winter, so it will be an ideal time for a trip to a place where the sun peeks through the smog.

Vancouver is essentially a cleaner, friendlier Seattle, with better candy AND Plants vs Zombies scratch off tickets!

I wasn’t interested in the push and shove aspect of the trade show floor–I love makeup, and I love discounts, but it has to be a hell of a discount or a product I cannot purchase otherwise to make me want to deal with crowds of people elbowing one another to get the last item–I’d rather pay full price AND shipping and never have to deal with a human being. What I was interested in was the student creature competition, the makeup talks, and the makeup museum.

The student competition was broken up over the course of two days, with beauty on Saturday and creature on Sunday; I only attended on Sunday, and I was impressed by the quality of the work I was seeing. I wish self-taught people like myself could compete, but unfortunately it’s only open to makeup school students.

The makeup museum, though small, was also very cool, featuring mostly work by Toby Lindala (keynote speaker, creator of SFX for X-files, Supernatural, and V, among others) and Todd Masters (featured speaker, creator of MastersFX, SFX on Big Trouble In Little China, Predator, Underworld, True Blood, and more). Questionably, however, they also included submissions from various local schools, some of which were so bad that I was embarrassed for the artist and the school. Everyone has to learn somewhere and everyone works to the best of their personal abilities, and hating on someone for trying is the height of uncool…but showcasing pieces that aren’t ready to be shown do a disservice to both the student and the school. It’s why you don’t see macaroni necklaces in the Louvre.

Taking a photograph of a video camera videotaping a video feed. The only thing that could make this better is if someone behind me took a photograph of me taking a photograph of a video camera videotaping a video feed.

Both Todd Masters’ group and Toby Lindala struck me as likeable, humble artists with a genuine love for their craft and fascinating stories to tell, and their speaking time went by far too quickly. If MastersFX still had a Seattle studio, I would beat down their door for an opportunity to work there, to observe, to help, to sweep their floors…but sadly, it is no more. The only thing that stuck in my craw about the event in general was that the floor was full of tons of women (and some men, but predominately women), but nearly all of the speakers were men. Where are the women, and why don’t they rise to the top of this craft? More women learn to use makeup than men, so how is it that the most notable figures in the business are men? Is it the glass escalator effect? Surely there are women who are just as talented…so where are they?

Halfway through the day, we decided to take a break and head to a nearby pub for lunch rather than suffer through convention food, and there I learned two important things. One, there are vampires actively prowling Vancouver:

and two, I learned an important lesson about Canadian light and how it interacts with steak fibers. At the time, I was on a restrictive diet and could only eat carbohydrates one day a week, so I’d been eating/preparing/ordering a lot of proteins and veggies. I ordered a medium-rare steak with veggies while Jason ordered some carbtacular dish that I remember being insanely jealous of at the time. What I received was a completely well done steak, and even though I’m the sort of person who haaaaates sending anything back to the kitchen, I flagged down the waiter and told him that it was far too well done while apologizing profusely for bothering him. He disappeared with my plate and came back twenty minutes later with….another well-done steak! He disappeared before I could cut into it, and when he came back around again to ask if this one was better and I responded negatively, he said “Oh, I know what your problem is” and grabbed the fork off my plate and poked at the steak. “Yeah, that’s medium rare, I can tell. It’s just that you’re sitting by the window and the light is what makes it look brown. It’s why steakhouses are so dark inside, so you can’t see that the meat is actually brown when you expect it to be red.” HUH. It’s fascinating to learn that the Canadian visible light spectrum is missing the color red! You’d think that I would have heard about that before, read it somewhere, seen it in a documentary…SOMETHING. I didn’t think to look while I was still in Canada, but does this mean that their national flag is actually a brown leaf and they’ve been too (typically Canadian) polite to inform the rest of the full light-spectrumed world that we have it wrong? Because, and I don’t mean to boast, I have cooked and eaten many a steak within the borders of the United States in both darkness and in light, and they’ve always been a varying shade of red inside. So it must be Canadian light, right? I refuse to believe that an actual Canadian could have lied to me just to get me to shut up and eat an overcooked, shoe-leathery piece of meat.

The next time I burn the hell out of dinner, I’m going to tell Jason that we must have had a Canadian air front sweep through the kitchen, but not to worry…even though it looks and tastes burned, that’s just a factor of the air, and it’s actually the most succulent thing he’s ever had in his mouth. Thank you, Canada!