In which our heroine’s spirit animal is Louise Belcher.

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I am a grown up who never grew up. A lot of the things I loved as a child are things I still love now. Drawing, toys, superheroes…I’m just as crazy about all of these things today as I was when I was little. But, the biggest obsession that has carried over from my childhood has been my love of cartoons. From Looney Tunes to Nicktoons, anime to Adult Swim, I have always loved animated television in particular. One of my favorite animated shows out right now is Bob’s Burgers.

If you are unfamiliar with Bob’s Burgers, you should be tremendously sad right now because you are missing out on something wonderful. To sum up the premise, Bob is a 3rd generation restauranteur who runs a burger joint on the Jersey shore with his wife Linda & 3 children Tina, Gene, & Louise. The restaurant is Murphy’s Law incarnate; the title sequence shows their grand opening, re-opening, & re-re-opening after a fire & mouse infestation shut them down twice. Bob (voiced by Archer’s H. Jon Benjamin) loves the restaurant & puts his all into it. This leads him to fits of frustration, melancholia, & desperation whenever the restaurant is struggling. Linda has a cheerful, enthusiastic disposition & she is unfailingly supportive of Bob & the kids. She’s also a bit of a pushover when it comes to the children & prone to taking pretty much every situation just a few steps left of too far. Tina is a painfully awkward, adorkable preteen girl who loves boys, horses, & zombies. Gene is a classic middle child who channels his need for attention into playing the keyboard, playing the triangle, playing the tambourine, & dressing up in a burger-suit outside the restaurant to drum up customers.

Which brings us to the namesake of this little post, the youngest Belcher, Louise.  Voiced by the always delightful Kristen Schall, Louise is the chaotic neutral 9 year old in a cutesy kawaii wrapper you never knew you needed in your life. A pigtailed amalgam of maniacal evil genius, adorable little girl, devoted sister & daughter, total con artist, funniest kid in school, & full blown crazy person, Louise is the Belcher that I identify with most. So much so that I have taken up Louise as my television spirit animal.  To make my case for this, here are some commonalities between Louise & myself:

  • We both love a good bargain.

dollar whiskey           dollar bourbon

  • We both know to appreciate the mystical, feminine gifts God bestowed upon all women.

mudflaps boobs           now i want them

  • We’re both pretty darn business savvy, if we do say so ourselves.

sex sells 1           sex sells 2

  • BOUNDARIES.  We’ve got them.  LOTS of them.

will1          will2

will3          will4

  • Neither of us suffer bullshit gladly.

estrogenius1         estrogenius2

estrogenius3         estrogenius4

  • When it comes to the success of the family, we both can get some crazy ideas.

bladefoot1          bladefoot2     bladefoot3    bladefoot4          bladefoot5

  • We’re both honest about where we came from.

creepyguy1         creepyguy2

moms ok 1         moms ok 2

  • We do what we want.  So shut up.

shrimp1         shrimp2

shrimp4         shrimp5

  • We both know how to create a good distraction.

diversion1         diversion2

diversion3         diversion4

  • If some punkass ever, EVER happens to be dumb enough to cross us…

louise earsy rider

  • we will NOT have that shit.

revenge1         revenge2

revenge3          revenge4

  • WILL NOT HAVE IT!

fury1         fury2

  • Louise’s first crush on a member of a boy band is eerily similar to how I feel whenever I like someone (give or take the slapping part).

crush2        crush3

crush4       booboo whats he into

booboo1       booboo2

booboo3       booboo4

  • And finally, both of us are not afraid to go after what we want.

slap1      slap2

slap3      slap4

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In which our heroine presents 23 Great MERICA! moments & (some genuinely awesome American things).

I love America. I’m proud to be an American. There’s no country I’d rather be from & be in.

I’m saying this now so no one gets me twisted. I LOVE MY COUNTRY. Warts & all, greatest country ever.

That said, we all know that there are actually 2 Americas: America & MERICA! . This graphic perfectly outlines the differences between the two for those who are maybe unfamiliar with the subtle nuances:

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Now, I do not identify as a MERICAN!, but I have a deep appreciation for those who do. Every diverse, beautiful tapestry of needs some coarser, rougher strings to hold it together. That is the function of MERICANS! in our country.

In honor of Independence Day, I humbly present (in no particular order) 23 Great MERICA! Moments.

23. This girl who LOVES her some iPhone.

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22. Bacon: The National Fruit of MERICA!

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21. This classy lady & her jacuzzi roman candle.

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20. Budweiser. The official beer of garage drinking patriots.

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19. Some facial hair made of LIBERTY.

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18. This t-shirt that sums us up nicely.

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17. Deep fried money. Because eff em, that’s why.

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16. We have no shame in MERICA!

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15. This grill.

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14. MERICA knows how to rationalize.

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13. This rocket surgeon.

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12. STEAK. BIG STEAK. MERICA.

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11. This man’s patriotic ass canoe.

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10. PROUD SPOKESMAN OF MERICA.

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9. Overalls for the win.

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8. MERICAN ingenuity exhibit A.

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7. MERICAN education exhibit A

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6. And exhibit B

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7. Equal rights for all MERICANS.

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6. All the freedom in this picture.

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5. National security.

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4. FIREPOWER!

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3. MERICAN wit.

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2. How we celebrate our MERICAN FREEDOM.

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1. MERICAN beauty.

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And as a palate cleanser, a some things I truly love about America:

Ron Swanson

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This gentleman.

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Our rebellious nature.

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My future husband Joe.

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My friend Travis, who is clearly repping hard for us in Sweden.

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These patriots.

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Our amazing military.

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This cowboy who held a stranger’s ARTERY in his hands as he tried to get him help post-Boston bombing.

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Whiskey.

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Woodchuck.

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That we made someone as awesome as Channing Tatum.

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And this guy.

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In which our heroine gives long overdue respect to Alex Mack.

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Hello all! I wrote this for another blog but not sure when or if it will ever be posted, so I’m going to share it here as well. Prepare yourselves for a nostalgiaquake:

Women in your mid-20s to 30s: take a moment & think back to your youth. Go back to the days when your biggest stress in life was getting stuck on a particularly difficult level of Super Mario 3 & when Nickelodeon ruled your world. Name the TV character you thought was the coolest person on earth. The girl you would have killed to be best friends with. Who was that fully rad chick you admired more than anyone else on TV?

If you answered Clarissa, you’re wrong & you made my heart sad. The correct answer is Alex Mack.

The Secret Life of Alex Mack is possibly the most underrated series Nickelodeon produced in the 90s. Ask any mid-late 20 something to list their favorite SNICK lineup shows & you may not hear about Alex until they hit around the 5-7 range. But, for my money, Alex Mack was maybe the most meaningful live action show Nickelodeon ever made.

Now, I already hear the sounds of derision coming from all corners of the internet. “ALEX MACK?!? Have you forgotten about the gem that is The Adventures of Pete & Pete? The hell is wrong with you, lady?!?”

Calm down, yall. Take some cleansing breaths to avoid hyperventilation & allow me to explain.

As anyone woman will tell you, being an adolescent girl is hard. I’m not saying adolescence is a walk in the park for either gender, but age 11 to 17 is a particularly horrific time for ladies. One minute you’re climbing trees & rolling down hills without the first neurotic thought about your awesome, agile little girl body. Next thing you know, your body is leading a revolt against you, charging towards womanhood well before you’re ready for it. You’re the ugliest you’ve ever been and probably ever will be. You concoct crazy nonsense anxieties about how fat your knees are & what ugly toes you have & why can’t your fingers be just a little bit skinnier, is that so much to ask?

Let’s not even get into the things that go on with your lady waterworks. There are no words for how weird THAT experience is the first time it occurs.

Oh & your brain is all hormone addled making you simultaneously hate everything & love everything all at once. Not only are you ugly, you’re a full blown crazy person.

All these factors come together to make you feel completely stuck in a weird ass body that can’t make up it’s mind about who it wants to be from day to day. And you’re completely powerless to change it. Best thing you can do is pray that 18 comes quickly & that you make it there unscathed. In this God awful mess lies the genius of Alex Mack.

Alex was a teenage girl caught smack in the middle of the unpleasant phase of life that is puberty. First day of junior high, she’s minding her own business, walking home from school when she comes thisclose to being squished by a truck. In the process, she gets covered in the chemical goop the truck was hauling. Now, for your average teenage girl, nearly getting hit by a truck would just be another traumatic experience en route to adulthood. She’d go to therapy & move on. But for our girl, the accident is just the first of many potentially traumatic experiences.

You see, ALEX GETS SUPERPOWERS. Telekinesis! Electricity in her fingers! The ability to melt into liquid & ooze into hard to reach places! While she looks the same 90% of the time, the chemical exposure makes Alex a full blown mutant. Not only a mutant, but a mutant with woefully unpredictable abilities. If Alex got freaked out, her skin would start glowing. Her ability to control her powers went hand in hand with her ability to deal with her emotions. She was a little teenage Incredible Hulk-esque girl, minus the green skinned crazy strength & with the addition of bib overalls & cool hats. So now, in the midst of all the terrors biology is generally subjecting her to, the GC-161 officially made her a circus freak.

That freakiness is precisely what made Alex Mack so great. Did she hide away in her bedroom for the rest of her life, lamenting that she never got to go to the spring dance because she was a chemically mutated freak? Hell no! With the help of her sister & closest pals, she set out on a mission to get answers. She learned to use her powers to help her get information about the chemical she was exposed to & the company behind it. All the while dealing with the standard issue problems for girls her age, like boys & school & the bizarro stuff going on with her body. If that doesn’t make her a role model for tiny feminists everywhere, I don’t begin to know what would.

Alex Mack was meaningful because she stood for something much deeper than most TV shows directed at preteens during that time. Watching her go on adventures as a completely kickass teenage mutant chick somehow made my own adolescence more tolerable. I mean, I may have had braces & chubby knees, but at least I didn’t glow when I was nervous. I was nervous ALL THE TIME. That would have been a nightmare! Alex Mack ultimately taught me that no matter how awkward I may feel, I can always use the things that make me feel awkward to my advantage. My weirdness is my greatest asset because it’s what makes me unique & powerful. To an odd little girl in the midst of a puberty tsunami, that lesson meant the world.

In which our heroine really hates the Kardashians, but actually hates society more.

Let’s get something out-of-the-way right now: I hate the Kardashians.

Now, I am not a hateful person.  I don’t use the word hate lightly.  I dislike a certain things, I get frustrated by a lot of things, & I may even rant about something from time to time…but hate is not a word I use lightly.  That’s because, despite the fact that I may do the above things sometimes, I’m a generally nice lady.  I work at a wayward girls’ home for goodness sakes.  Were I a truly hateful human being, I wouldn’t be able to do a job like that.  But, I’m also a woman who stands for some things, like hard work & class, & becoming well-known because you’ve done something meaningful with your life.  The Kardashians, in my eyes, are the polar opposite of all those things.

Now, if you think I’m being too hard on the crazy K’s, please take a moment and objectively consider how the Kardashian zeitgeist got started.  The only reason this family has become infamous is because Kim Kardashian had sex on camera with Brandy’s little brother & the video became readily available for public viewing.  Rather than respond like a half decent mother, Kris Kardashian saw an opportunity to make a few bucks & pimped out her whole family to Ryan Seacrest.  That is factual information.  That’s the series of events that made Keeping up with the Kardashians happen. Disgusting, eh?

Now, with an understanding of how much I truly dislike these people on a fundamental level, you can imagine it would be a little hard for me to feel sympathy for any of them.  They’re exorbitantly rich and famous for no good reason; woe is them, their lives are hard. HOWEVER, while checking Buzzfeed this morning with my coffee like always, a story came across that made not only feel some empathy for Kim Kardashian, it actually made my guts hurt.

The story is titled: Kim Kardashian Covered in Blood & can be found for your reading displeasure here.  This is the picture she put out on instagram after the procedure:

Kim K's vampire facial

Kim K’s vampire facial

On the list of gross things people do for the sake of beauty, between the fish pedicure & foreskin facial cream, I really thought there was not much left people could try that would truly horrify me.  But, the vampire face lift officially wins the blue ribbon prize for crazy. For those of you not brave enough to click the links, allow me to briefly explain the procedure.

The Vampire Facial involves taking an injection of blood from the arm, mechanically separating the platelets from the rest of the blood, then injecting the platelets back into the FACE in hopes of stimulating collagen production in those pesky fine lines & wrinkles.

First of all, that’s gross.  Fully gross.  At what point in a discussion with your dermatologist does THIS procedure not only come up, but seem legit?  Who came up with this idea?  And then who listened to that weirdo & said “This is the BEST idea I’ve ever  heard & it’s not creepy at all! Here’s ALL the money for your business!”? Also, this procedure is $1,500 a pop.  I repeat $1,500.  One of these icky bloody face treatments is equivalent to 7 months of my car payments. There’s so much wrong with the existence of this procedure that it blows my mind. But that’s not even the thing about this story that makes my guts hurt.

Kim Kardashian is 32 years old.  Not 102, not 72, 32.  She’s also gorgeous.  I mean I hate the whole sluttastic “dat ass” Maxim centerfold stink that rolls off of her most of the time, but under all the spray tan & liquid eyeliner she really is an attractive woman.  Why in the sweet name of Jesus did she feel the need to do this AT ALL?  When’s the last time you saw a picture of Kim Kardashian while standing in the checkout line & said “Geez, she looks haggard, she needs to get some work done.”?  Never, that’s when.

I may have a litany of other complaints about Kim K.  However, at no point has one of my gripes been “She is looking leathery, maybe she should consider getting blood drawn from her arm & injected back in her FACE?”  It makes me sad that a woman living in the public eye would go through a procedure like this to keep the aging beast at bay.  How intolerant of women older than 22 have we become for a 32 year old to be THAT WORRIED about the collagen in her face?  Point of information: 30 isn’t old.  In my little redheaded opinion, you don’t really become an adult until you’re about 27.  That’s just how it is.  I’m 29 & until today I hadn’t given the collagen in my face the first thought.   And when’s the last time you heard about Pauly D (or some other douche on Kim’s level) doing some crazy medical thing to keep his face flawless?  He’s the same age, so they should have just used the buddy system & gone in for vampire facials together, right?

No, not right, because that’s not how it works for dudes.  Men become “distinguished” with age where, for some reason, women just become ugly old bats.  Apparently that’s how stuff works for us ladies. So, in summary, because she’s reached the age of legitimate adulthood & about to be a mom, Kim Kardashian is officially an old bag.  She needs to pull crazy stunts  like this if she wants to save the dwindling life force she has left.  Because, in America, what’s less attractive than a 30 year old?  Or a mom?  Let alone a 30 year old mom?!  Eww!

That’s why the story made my stomach hurt.  It’s not just a story about a celebrity being cray cray bananas, it’s a story that symbolizes the value we put on women past a certain age.  If you’re 21 & super hot, we love you & you should run around topless all the time.  If you’re 30 & super hot, you’re no longer hot ENOUGH.  Go do everything you can to look like a 21 year old.  Until then, you’re just gross & sad, so get the crazy foreskin cream & blood facial ASAP if you want us to keep paying attention.  That’s the sad reality hidden behind this weird ass story: Kim’s not the crazy one this time.  Our society is.

In which our heroine explores pop culture icons that could potentially be used to reach world peace: Volume 1, Bob Ross.

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Welcome to planet Earth – population approximately 7 billion. A small carbon based planet wrought with suffering, all of which originates at the hands of Earth’s dominant species: the human being.

Humans are masterful creatures when it comes to making both themselves and their fellow beings miserable. Bloody wars based out of overzealous religious belief run rampant. Ideology and greed hijack and corrupt even their most noble systems of basic governance. The rich get richer while the poor get poorer and the suckers in the middle just want to be left alone. Yes, human beings have made an art form out of developing new and creative ways to bring one another down.

However, all is not lost. I submit to you that there is a balm to soothe the many of the aches and pains of humanity. It isn’t a distant pipe dream of the future; our miracle cure already exists. Nor is it a radical political revolution, a transcendent religious movement, or a wondrous feat of modern science. No, our last and best hope for peace with our fellow ladies and gentlemen of Earth exists in popular culture.

A foolish brag, you say, pop culture solving the problems of the world. But I come armed with the first of many iron clad examples of the power for peace we already unknowingly possess: The late Bob Ross.

Born October 29, 1942, Bob Ross became famous as the host of an instructional art program on American public television called The Joy of Painting. With a canvas and easel his lone set pieces, Ross’s program was the definition of low budget. Ross was also not the world’s most compelling television host. With his cartoonish afro and soothing voice, one would imagine the most common reaction to watching his show would be uproarious laughter followed by about an hour long coma. But despite these things liabilities, during the Saturday afternoons of my early girlhood, what would you find on my television? The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.

On the face of it, there is no good reason for a relatively normal child to sit enraptured in front of the TV as a strange man paints mountains and trees (most of whom were, according to him, very happy). But enraptured I was. You could not pull me away from the screen for anything less than my weight in ice cream when Bob was on. What was it that held my attention? Why did I not fall asleep immediately when he discussed techniques for loading your brush with just enough prussian blue to get the happiest little clouds? I loved Bob Ross not because I loved art (even though I do) or because I found him likable as a person (even though I did). I loved him because Bob Ross, I think, was the gentlest being that we as a species ever created.

Ross didn’t live in the realms of geopolitics, world religions, or high finance. If he did, you wouldn’t know it from watching his show. The show was just an almost alarmingly mellow man slapping some paint on a canvas, trying to teach housewives and grannies how to do the same thing. He was warm, kind, and nonjudgemental. If you messed up on your little tree or cabin and it didn’t look just like his, it was OK. It was your painting after all, Bob was just there to help. It would always turn out ok. If there is a better spokesperson for kindness, self-determination, personal freedom, and creative expression, I haven’t come across him/her yet in almost 30 years wandering the planet.

If we could somehow pull off twice daily showings of The Joy of Painting in war torn parts of the world , who knows the good that Ross’s soothing, watching an aquarium-esque influence might have? Best case scenario, the people fighting would put down the guns, pick up paintbrushes, and flood the art world with landscape paintings. Worst case scenario, it would chill a couple people the hell out. I imagine it would be hard to throw rocks at your neighbor after Bob Ross has worked his magic and made you mellow as a happy little tree. At any rate, I doubt a little Bob in their lives could possibly make things any worse.

In which out heroine answers the question, “A whah?”

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In Which our Heroine is the collected exploits & opinions of a woman who’s life is (through no real effort of her own) a walking, breathing Chuck Lorre sitcom.

In short, funny (& bizarre, awkward, unlikely…I could go on) things happen to me. When I tell people about the strange circumstances I routinely find myself in, they tend to laugh. A lot.

After a quarter-century & some change of stumbling through life in this manner, I decided to gather my experiences together in all their silly glory & submit them for public consumption &/or ridicule.

What you can expect from this blog:
– True stories that range from the heart meltingly endearing to psychically horrifying.
– Opinions. On everything. You can have them. They’re on the house.
– Laughs, had both at me & with me.

What you should be warned about in advance:
– This is my website. There are many like it, but this one is mine. If you don’t like it, don’t think it’s entertaining or find it offensive, you are free to go away.

(Or better yet, get your own corner of the internet & make a site you DO enjoy. Not hard to do, they just give em away.)

-The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily the opinions of…well anyone really. The lenses I see the world through are well educated, well informed, multicolored, and frequently cracked. I take full responsibility for the bizarro ramblings that may show up on these pages.

That said, all my posts are cooked with love & served with great care. I hope you enjoy them (or worst case, hope they don’t make your brain hurt).

– A