Not So Bah Humbug

I always do what Heather tells me.

Okay, not always.  And this wasn’t even directed at me, specifically, but I know her and she’s very sneaky about getting what she wants…so it probably WAS directed at me, but she won’t ever come right out and say that.  Because that’s how she is.  Except for when she’s not.

So, by now I’m sure you’re all wondering just what I’m on about.

If you’re not already following the fabulously talented Heather D, pop on over to her blog today and read what she’s got to say about getting into the Christmas Spirit.

Now, I’m never full of holiday cheer (see last year’s post on the subject here) so, frankly, trying to come up with something for #6 on Heather’s list has had me in minor panic mode all day.

If you’re too lazy to click over there, this is what I’m referring to:

6) Share your memories. I love to talk about favorite Christmas memories. Bringing back the magic of my childhood warms my heart. Find someone to share your stories with, and listen to theirs. In fact, what I want most for Christmas is for my friends and loved ones to write out their favorite memories for me.

I had a mini-meltdown (they happen frequently when I’m sick) trying to come up with happy Christmas memories.  I don’t have many from my childhood, which is probably one of the myriad reasons I don’t care for this time of year.

See?  Magic.

See? Magic.

I almost decided to talk about the few years that we had season passes to Disneyland when my boys were younger, because the Magic Kingdom truly is magical in the winter, but passed that by in favour of a different story.

I’m warning you, now, though, it starts out a little sad.

5 or so years ago, I lost my job the week before Christmas.

At the time, my husband was recovering from an injury he’d received while on the job, and mine was our only income.  He stayed home with the kids, and I had a really good job that I’d been at for close to 6 years, but there were issues that I don’t need to go into here and now that led to my being fired right before the holidays.

Strangely for us, we’d already gone a bit overboard for Christmas that year.  We don’t generally go all out, but this year we had.  Most of the gifts we’d purchased ended up being returned or exchanged for their less elaborate counterparts.

I was totally distraught.  I’d been expecting to have a great Christmas (for once, something better than what I’d grown up with) and even though I’m usually not a commercial BUY ALL THE THINGS, BUY THEIR LOVE! type of parent, I’d wanted my boys to have ONE YEAR where they actually got the things they’d asked Santa for, damnit.

Anyway.  Fast forward to Christmas morning.

The oldest, of course, ripped into everything and exclaimed how much he loved everything (but this is the kid that was excited for receiving a BIG TUBE! one year, because he didn’t even think to look INSIDE the tube).

The littlies were mostly enthusiastic about the paper (smallest boy was only a little over a year old at the time)…until middle son opened what was LITERALLY the last thing purchased and wrapped.

A box of crayons and some colouring books.

He started colouring immediately.  He spent the ENTIRE DAY in his chair with his “colours” and didn’t want to eat or take a nap.  He just wanted to colour.

I’d been in tears the night before, not only because of the stress of losing my job, but because I felt like a crappy parent that couldn’t do anything nice for her kids for the holidays.  Watching his excitement and intensity with what amounted to a $3 gift is what brought me out of my holiday depression that day.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly down at this time of year, I look at this picture of him and remember how very little it takes to make him happy.

And then I try to be more like him.

It’s good to have a turn to be a king for a day…

 …or for a week or for a year or for a year and a day.

So, a year ago today Heather was putting on the pressure.  For, like, the 20th time, she was emailing me about participating in NaNo.  Even though it was already 11 days into the month she was all “JUST SIGN UP!  We will write together and it WILL BE FUN!”

Okay, maybe I’m taking some liberty with her words.  I’m sure I still have the emails in my inbox (because I’m an email hoarder and I never delete ANYTHING) but I’m way too lazy to go digging for them.  You have no idea how many emails Heather and I have sent each other in the last year, and we can just keep it that way, thank you very much.

But I digress.

A year ago today I was trying to come up with some way to get Heather off my back.  I really didn’t want to do NaNoWriMo, and I had no really valid reason not to.  Heather has only one less kid than I do, plus she’s got that whole job at the zoo thing going on, and all I was really doing at the time was moderating a game forum.

That night, I thought of something else she’d been bugging me to do.  Blog.  I’d been putting that off, too.  “I have no idea what I’d write about!”

“Books.  You’d rant about books like you always do in chat.  You’re funny.  People will read it.”

So the next morning I secured booksnobbery at wordpress for my very own.  I had other names at first, but they were TAKEN and I never really thought anyone would read this stuff, so I didn’t think there would ever be a chance for people to get upset at the name.

My first post was this Harry Potter Rant (which I meant to do a series of [but then kind of forgot about until JUST THIS MINUTE AS I TYPE THIS], which is why it’s called THE FIRST, dur).  The beginning doesn’t make much sense because I was already referring to my About page (which has since kind of changed, because at the time all it said was “I hate everything, except books.  And music.  Sometimes I hate those too.”) and I don’t know why I thought referring to something people wouldn’t have read first was a good idea?  As of this writing, that post has had 51 views.  Which is a little less than 1 view a week, and that’s how I’m choosing to think about it, so don’t take that away from me.

Heather pimped me out on twitter and I had, like THREE FOLLOWERS the first day.  ZOMG, so exciting, right?

But then the only people to read my next few posts were Heather, Em and Meg and while that was nice that they were reading, I wasn’t entirely sure about whether I wanted to keep doing it.

I kind of thrive on feedback and approval.  If this isn’t something you know about me, we haven’t known each other long enough.

SO THEN!

Then I got the not so brilliant idea to start Trashy Tuesdays.  The first Trashy Tuesday post was Zombies vs Unicornsand I’m not going to lie and say that it was a huge success right off the bat because it wasn’t.  I mean, it kind of was, but that post still has less than 100 views.  Listen to me, acting like 100 views on a post is nothing.  It’s not, don’t think that.  The majority of my posts are still under 100, so – even though we’ve come a long way, it’s not like we’re big time or anything.

Trashy Tuesday was fun for a while, but zomg, it was so tiring.  My first post to break 100 views was a Trashy Tuesday (the one for Clan of the Cave Bear) and I know you’re all probably like “WHAT THE SNAPE, SJ?!  WHERE’S TRASHY TUESDAY NOW?” but I stopped doing them on the regular back in April.  I’ve read some trashy books since then, but they’re best when Megiggles is around to do illustrations (don’t even lie and tell me they’re not cos I’ll call you out for being a Liey McLiarson) and since she’s kind of super busy and junk, it’s not as much fun.

MOVING ON.  Trashy Tuesdays brought about the Dodisharkicorn.  Dude.  Dodisharkicorn is pretty much (other than my kids) the thing I’m proudest of creating.  I didn’t do it by myself, though.  Nope, that was Megiggles and I both.  She joined the blog as a contributor in the spring (I know, she doesn’t post much BUT SHE IS SO BUSY and she still totally draws things for me when I ask nicely) even though she started drawing things for me long before that.

Also, there are still some links on here from when Meg had her own blog.  Please ignore those, she deleted it when she was only being visited by me and Russian Pr0nbots.

Holy hell, this has become much longer than I intended.

Okay.  So.  Things I never thought would happen with my blog.

  • That people would actually read.  As of this moment, WordPress says there are over 500 followers, but that’s a lie, because a lot of those are twitter.  Whatever.  I have close to 300 ACTUAL BLOG FOLLOWERS and while they may not read every day, that’s way more than the 10 I thought I’d end up with.
  • That I’d become friends with some of my favourite people ever.  Before I started this blog I did not know Amy or Susie or Mandy or Heather…um, I’m drinking right now so I’m terrible with coming up with other people I didn’t know before.  I DIDN’T KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE, OKAY?  But now I know a ton of you and I read your blogs and goof around with you on twitter, and you guys are so completely effing awesome, it makes me smile just to think about it.
  • That people would want me to write stuff for them.  I’ve guest posted for Shouty Men in Shiny Armour and Angelique at Sappho’s Torque and I’m an actual contributor for Insatiable Booksluts and I have more books specifically for review than I could have dreamed of a year ago.
  • THAT WE WOULD HAVE ACTUAL FANS!  No, not just any fans.  Fans that would CREATE THEIR OWN DODISHARKICORNS AND BUY DODISHARKICORN STUFF!  (um, if you want your own Dodisharkicorn stuff, there are links in the sidebar and once enough people buy things that there is any money to do anything with, we want to host giveaways and junk)

So, that’s how I’m ending this post.  There’s some really cool Dodisharkicorn stuff out there, and it makes me smile just to think about it.  That’s the best part of this year.  You all rule.  Thank you.

Dodisharkicorn by Art

Dodisharkicorn EATING Art

Cut Paper Dodisharkicorn by Nikki

Dodisharkicorn Gets Political by Nicole

Em calls this the Puffinarwacorn, it’s the Lisa Frank version of Dodisharkicorn

Kate takes Dodi to work with her EVERY DAY!

Aw, Angelique takes Dodisharkicorn to the gym!

Okay, so – that’s really all I have.  Thanks to every single one of you that has read, commented, liked or shared over the last year.  I appreciate you all and I’m so glad to know you.

<3 <3 <3

Do You Know Where Your Towel Is?

On the Importance of Towels:

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass:  know, be aware of, meet, have sex with;  hoopy:  really together guy;  frood:  really amazingly together guy.)  - The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

May 25th, 2012 (hey, that’s today!) is the 12th celebration of Towel Day.  For those of you not familiar with Towel Day, let me sum up.

That hilarious quote up there was written by the incredibly talented Douglas Noel Adams.  He passed away on May 11th, 2001 and one brilliant fan suggested that we all pay tribute by carrying our towels with us all day on the 25th (two weeks after he died) and that it be known as Towel Day.

It stuck.

~o~

When I was a freshman in high school, there was this boy that had a crush on me.  It was such a rarity, that you’d think I’d have been all excited about it, but no.  J was firmly stuck in the friend zone, at least in my opinion, anyway.  That didn’t stop him from trying, and one of his ways of showing affection was making me mix tapes (obvious choice, I know), bringing over anime to watch (he had made a good impression on my mom, so she kind of encouraged him) and giving me copies of books he thought I’d enjoy.

One day he brought a copy of the Guide to school and handed it to me.  I started reading in Study Hall.  By the time the bus pulled up in front of my driveway, I’d finished it.  I headed into the house and called him immediately.  He was thrilled, and I think he thought he was being all coy and flirty, but really I just found it annoying.

“Yeah, yeah.  How many more books did you say there were?” I asked.

“Four,” he replied.

“Um, can you bring me the rest of them tomorrow?”

“Wait, what?  You just got home, and NO I won’t bring you the rest of them.  I will bring you ONE.”

This was not acceptable.  I think I might have promised to let him come over and watch a movie, or something, if he’d bring me at least the next two the following day.

Yes, at the tender age of 14, I was essentially whoring myself out for books.

He brought the next two and I finished both of them the same day, then called him AGAIN and asked that he bring me the final two volumes.

There was much hemming and hawing.  If I read ALL of them in a matter of three days, what was he going to have to hold over my head?

At that point, I’m pretty sure I agreed to actually GO to a movie with him, but I made it incredibly clear that there was to be no hanky panky of any kind.

I don’t think I ever followed through on that?

But I did get the books AND he gave me all of his Algebra notes from the year before so I totally won.

That summer (when I had babysitting money) I ran out and bought my own damn copies so that I didn’t have to borrow J’s anymore.

~o~

Fast forward a few years (after high school), husband and I had just started dating.  Now, I say this story happened at the mall, but he SWEARS it happened in a car and neither of us is willing to budge on the matter, so I’ll tell it both ways just to make sure.

We were standing on the second story of the mall, looking down at everyone OR we were in his car on the 91 freeway.  He started laughing and pointed at something on the ground floor OR off the side of the road.  I did not see the thing that he thought was funny.  He kept pointing, and when I insisted that I had ZERO idea what he was talking about, I finally said:

“Huh.  Guess it has an SEP Field around it, then.”

He laughed.  Like, really really laughed.  Hard.  So hard that if he’d actually been driving, I’m pretty sure he would have had to pull over, or I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this sappy post today.

He got it.

I didn’t have to explain the joke to him, he knew exactly what I was talking about.

That was the moment that I knew he was The One.

So, Happy Towel Day to all you hoopy froods and froodettes.

To Mr Adams, so long and thanks for all the fish, the husband and the amazing family we have together.

Now Is the Spring of My Discontent (Don’t Leave, Winter!)

I hate spring.

To give you a frame of reference, on a scale from the song Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah* to cheesecake, spring falls dangerously close to Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.

*Side note: When I was around ten, I (and everyone else on my log, but most importantly me) got stuck on the Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland. For those of you who haven’t been on the ride/have been and remain blissfully psychologically unscarred by it and don’t remember, Splash Mountain is a log flume, and there’s a bunny right at the end of the ride that sings Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah on loop.  I was stuck next to that demon bunny.

I sat there for a solid half-hour, staring desperately at the sweet, sweet sliver of light quite literally at the end of the tunnel while we were repeatedly told to remain in our log. Br’er Rabbit gleefully wailed into my tender ears about how wonderful the day was, and how there was plenty of sunshine heading his way. I may or may not have told him where he could stick that sunshine, much to the horror of my grandmother, who was on the ride with me. I also may or may not have tried to jump out of the log, much to the amusement of my twin brother, who was also on the ride with me, and to the consternation of my grandmother and various Disney employees.

I have never fully recovered.

I think this may also explain why I have a weird thing for lumberjacks.

At any rate, I really am not a big fan of spring, and so I’ve composed a handy list enumerating my completely irrational totally valid points of hatred.

~*~

 The Top 4 Reasons Why I Hate the Springtime:

1)   It’s Not Winter Anymore

I love winter. It’s festive, there are presents, and it’s cold enough that I can wear my trench coat around town and pretend I’m an undercover special agent without looking too suspicious.

2)   Plenty of Sunshine Heading My Way

In the wise words of Neil Gaiman, “… my people we stay indoors. We have keyboards. We have darkness.”

I’m not a big fan of sunshine. In the winter, on a cloudy day, I can almost pretend I’m inside even when I’m outside. In the springtime, it’s bright, and there’s an increased likelihood that I may, horror of horrors, get a tan.

3)   A Time of Renewal (Of My Prescriptions)

Ah(…choo), the great outdoors. You name it, I’m probably allergic to it. Grass, pollen, exercise – all things I tend to avoid, and all things that seem inescapable in the springtime.

I will spend most of the season alternating between snorting nasal spray and accidentally stabbing myself in the eye with an eyedropper. Additionally, I will personally keep the tissue business afloat. In case you were wondering, that’s not my idea of a good time.

4)   It’s Hot Outside

This is what I look like when I’m hot:

~*~

And there you have it.

But for now, it is still, technically, winter. So, for a few more weeks, I will rightfully continue to funnel hot chocolate down my throat with great enthusiasm, as I listen to Christmas music, and wait once more for the wintry, blissful months when I can comfortably wear thick, ridiculous holiday sweaters once more.

~*~

 What’s your favorite season?