For Your Consideration - #1000Speak

Today is the day. Can you feel it? 

That warm feeling spreading across the internet today. It started with an intimate group of friends (namely Yvonne Spencer & the adorable Lizzi Rogers) and took off like wildfire. It spread here and I'm giving it to you. Don't worry it doesn't even burn when you pee. Much. It's #1000Speak day, the day more than 1,000 writers unite! But separately in our own homes like that introvert meme, to put something into the world that feels in short supply:

Before we can expect to suddenly find compassion just magically flowing along the river of molten evil running underneath society that is the internet, I feel it's a good idea to start with empathy. Or at least consideration.

Relax, you know I'm not going to make you actually do anything, or even promise to be a nice person. That sounds like a lot of work, that I'm not cut out for. 

All I'm asking you to do? Is consider.

Consider another person's point of view. 

Just consider.

Consider that perfectionist at work. The one always half an hour early for work, correcting people's grammar, and pointing out every little flaw while wearing his ironed jeans with the perfectly straight line down the front on Casual Friday. 
If you could go ahead and iron
YOUR jeans, that'd be great.
from voanews.com

Consider whether his parents were extra tough on him. Consider the struggles he may have had in school, which was never as easy as it was for his younger sister. Maybe if he were personable or musically talented, or if anything he ever tried went well, he wouldn't have to constantly double-check every piece of work he comes into contact with, to relentlessly over-achieve. Maybe if his father just once told him he was proud of him, like he does to everyone else, he could give himself a break. He could sleep at night. He could make a marriage work. 

Consider the Clean Freak. The neighbor with the sparkly clean car, parked in her meticulously clean driveway next to her perfectly manicured lawn. The one who obsessively washes her hands, and carries her own hand sanitizer everywhere, and has recurring nightmares about public bathrooms. 

Maybe all that hand sanitizer works like a child's "Monster Spray" to make her feel she is finally taking control of her fears in some small way. Maybe she wasn't sent here by the devil to make you feel inferior. Maybe she's covering up her own feelings of inferiority. Consider how hard she works to paint that perfect picture, and what's she is trying to hide with all of her constant efforts. She must really have something terrible she doesn't want anyone else to see.

For your consideration, think about the woman who is up on all the gossip. She always has the scoop, will be glad to tell you every moment she's witnessed of other people's misery. Because maybe if she fills her life with everyone else's problems, she can distract others and herself from her own miserable life. And all of her personality flaws that are becoming overwhelming, beyond her control, chasing everyone away. 

Consider that woman wearing sooo much makeup, bronzer, or self-tanner she actually looks like a caricature of herself. 
My inner goddess? 
Is also hella ratchet.

She may not have had a role model to explain that she has more to offer then world than her outer appearance. 

She may not have siblings to tell her how ridiculous she looks. She may not have a good mirror, or any working lighting in her home. Or a vision plan to get those eyes checked.

Maybe it's soul-crushing low self esteem, maybe it's Maybeline. 

Maybe the process of putting all of this on, sometimes again and again before she can go out and face the world, is what she needs to mentally put on a protective barrier over herself. Consider how afraid she must be for the world to see the real her. All of this makes her feel safe, and more comfortable in public. Instead of adding to her insecurity, it would be nice if someone could recognize something positive and tell her about.  

Consider why someone would face actual surgery to change their physical appearance. What could make a person hate themselves so much they would pay the price and risk their lives just to change the way they look? Maybe someone who claimed to have loved them worked very hard to take away their confidence, carefully working at their weaknesses, beat them down over time and made them feel ugly beyond repair.

Consider someone who grew up watching what they were given as role models live that kind of life, bringing others down, instead of supporting each other. Meanwhile they paid so very little attention to their child that said child has to go to great extremes just to interact with them. Just to get them to even talk to her. To notice her, or him.

Consider that child, finally getting attention from some other adult, maybe a teacher. The first person that ever made him feel special. An adult who should know better, but is battling their own demons, so loud and so determined the person gets lost, and can no longer make proper decisions. This child and adult connect in a way neither has experienced before. They get the attention each craves, and start an inappropriate relationship.

Consider the series of unfortunate effed up events that could bring people to do something like that with their life. 
*shudder forever* from abcactionnews.com

Consider a life that has somehow driven a licensed professional to a point where they feel like being with another person is so much better than every other thing in life they risk their job, their very freedom for this relationship. Nothing can keep them from it. 

Except for being locked in jail, that is. Locked up with a lot of other people looking for 'love' in all the WRONG places. Sad life doesn't excuse breaking the law, I'm just asking you to consider what atrocities people must have had to endure to get to these places.

You know that terrible waitress, who has been distracted and inattentive throughout your meal? Before you go all Kate Goslin and demand to 'talk to the manger' 
We know someone IRL who has this cut
and is TOTALLY like this. F'real.
She would get you fired for anything.
from Reddit
or  demand she be fired, consider whether she may be going through some personal turmoil. She may be waiting for a call regarding the health of her father in the hospital. 

Sure there's a chance she may just be a loser crackhead working for cash to avoid the drugsick. But just maybe? 

She is just a regular person having the worst day of her entire life and just need someone to give her a break for once.

Now that I mention it, consider the crackhead. 
from sodahead.com
Really any drug addict/alcoholic, a person so addicted to whatever substance it is they are willing to sacrifice everything, ruin every relationship, even sell their own body and destroy their entire lives just to avoid going through the sickness of withdrawal again. Consider the pain a person must go through physically or mentally to wind up at that place. 

Consider the bartender who keeps disappearing, instead of attentively refilling your drink while you're out with your friends. WTF? Where is she? I need a refill, and she's just gone. Consider that maybe she has to run back and cook food, also, because the deadbeat fry cook is late again. She doesn't want to fill in for the cook, she hates that guy and hates frying bar food. It's smelly, you don't make tips, or even get double pay because if you tell the manager stupid Jay was late again he'll get fired and he has a sick kid he's trying to help care for.

She hates this whole job and this whole place, but she makes enough money to pay her rent by herself, without loud, partying roommates that steal her food. That's more than she can say for all the other 'real jobs' her family keeps trying to make her get. She tried, she did. The copy place paid crap, and that receptionist gig her dad 'pulled some strings to get for her' was a complete nightmare of women hating her, and sleezy guys in suits ogling her and staring at her chest whenever she tried to ask them a question. Only offering to help her with the system if she would have a drink with them after work. Sure, eventually she would get those precious insurance benefits if she stayed, but at the price of every shred of her dignity. And she doesn't even get paid tips. Thanks for the obvious disappointment with my decision though, Dad.

Consider the kid parking  your car, or serving your fast food, or selling magazine subscriptions door to door. Consider what series of events made him go from a person who had parents willing to pay for college, to a person out on his own, refusing any help, working for minimum wage just to be able to make his own decisions, and live life on his own terms. Consider quickly as he decides whether it's worth losing his job to punch you in the face for treating him like less than a person. If you're lucky, he will want to keep the job. Do you feel lucky, punk?

Speaking of feeling lucky, consider before you make comments about someone's weight ask yourself if that person may be going through something. Will your words be helping or hurting? Definitely consider whether that person has access to you when you're sleeping, or if that person prepares all of your meals. 

Consider the writer who rambles on and on endlessly. Consider whether the environment she has to write in is very loud, and she is doing the best with what she has. She is.

Okay, last one. This is more of a favor for me.

Consider the homeless. 

When you see a homeless person, consider them as just that: A person. A person who is most likely struggling with a bigger problem, joblessness, addiction, mental illness, etc. This may just be a hungry person looking for some food. 

Consider the homeless young man with perfectly straight teeth, and very beat-up brand name jacket. He may have come from an upper middle class family, but consider that for one reason or another he's no longer welcome to live with them. His mother may be fighting her demons, moving from town to town not telling him where they are this week. 

He may be one of the 40% of homeless youth (according to study in 2012) that are part of the LGBT community. Imagine that struggle as a teenager, on top of everything else humans go through at that age. Just imagine your teenager, or your niece/nephew/cousin's kid, consider yourself at that age, trying to deal with homelessness*. 

That's all I ask. Put yourself in another's life for just one moment, and consider what that must be like.

Just consider.

People may not always share the reason for their situation, or opinions. They may not even fully understand them. If we just start by considering another person's point of view, where they come from, why they think the way they do, we can begin to understand why their opinions are so different from ours. And just maybe, one day, give them a break.

This post was part of the #1000Speak movement. 

Please feel free to write or share anything you've written about compassion and go to here to link up and join in!


I stand by my earlier promise of not expecting you to do anything, but for your further consideration:

If you think helping people won't work, consider Utah's program for the homeless. They provide shelter for everyone who needs a home. This system is working. In just 8 years, they have cut the number of homeless by 78% and predict to end homelessness. 

By building someone up, giving them a chance, they have something to work for, feel like the human being that they are, and work hard to stay where they are, and keep the chance they've been given. 


What Up With The What Up

It's Monday, time for brain-to-hands pilates. It's work for me, too, let's just get through this shall we?

I wanted to watch the 400 year anniversary (not a typo that's how long it's been since it's been funny imho) celebration show of Saturday Night Live to write a review, but I didn't have time to watch it. Actually, I didn't have the strength of character or intestinal fortitude to sit through it. I knew there would be a lot of humor I didn't.....get, let's say.

I don't want to take a steamy one all over the show for not entertaining me for the past few years, because a lot of people seem to like it. Maybe I'm just too old to understand the rich, modern complexity of the humor, like every Adam Sandler movie. I am definitely too old to enjoy the musical guests, whoever those loud whippersnappers are.

I also know I couldn't do any better right now, so I don't want to become a Kanye critic like everyone in my Facebook feed who could apparently write "such a better book than 50 Shades." Because it's just that easy. You see a book that sucks, so you make fun of it and all anyone has to do is put letters on a page to write a best-seller that gets turned into a movie. That's why everyone we know is so stinking rich. I'm about to know a LOT of famous writers, apparently, based on Facebook rants. All of whom would definitely "represent the BDSM community more acccurately." 

Those people should definitely write comedy because that made me laugh harder than anything I've read in a long time. Yes thank you for thinking of the sensitivities of people who like to insert sharp objects into their orifices. 

That kind of sensitive person obviously takes what others think of them very seriously. I look forward to reading your fan non-fiction non-fantasy very politically correct porn. It sounds intensely stimulating.

Someone did send me a video of Celebrity Jeopardy, my favorite SNL skit pretty much ever. I'll post it at the end, so funny. If you like that kind of thing.

If you're not familiar it's a comedy homage to Celebrity Week on the trivia game show Jeopardy, which normally is rich with information from history, geography, culture and home fragrance delivery. That show is really interested in all things potpourri for some reason, it's a category quite often for something that is made from floral scraps to cover disgusting odors. But, to each their own. This is a clip from the actual Jeopardy of the "sexiest potpourri ever" and it's already better as porn than 50 Shades. Listen to his VOICE!

Celebrity Week on the show has different kinds of questions, since that week is dedicated to celebrities playing and winning money for charity, and not any people who have ever decided to read a book. 

It's the only week I can actually answer any of the questions, so you know they're pitching softballs. 

SNL didn't miss that.
The categories in the reunion show, according to the clip I watched include: 
"The Letter G"
"State Your Name"
"Famous Oprahs"
"Who Reads" which Sean Connery says as "WHORE ADS." 
"Let It Snow" or "Le Tits Now" to Sean. Good stuff.

They also feature some hysterical celebrity impressions, and their eccentricities. I usually have no idea if they are accurate, but they're usually funny for some reason. Norm McDonald does a great Burt Reynolds and sometimes tells Trebek to call him "Turd Ferguson." There may be a story behind it, but the word turd is funny enough apparently, because I always laugh like a 9 yr old boy.
from funnyjunk.com
My favorite is Sean Connery, who for whatever reason on the show hates the host and keeps talking about sleeping with his mother. In the "Let It Snow" category the question is, 
"The color of snow."
Sean says,
"Yellow," and explains he knows because he made some yesterday, spelling his name in the snow, "...in your mother's handwriting." Maybe you have to picture that for a sec.
No? Just me?
That's top dollar comedy. It's one of those things I can't explain why it's funny, you would just have to see it. I'll post a video below, you be the judge. If you think I'm stupid, you don't have to tell me. Comedy is as subjective as porn apparently.

Jim Carrey as Matthew McConacooky was pretty funny, he riffs the babbling nonsense of the Lincoln commercial that has provided sustenance to many a comedians' stand-up routines. I have no idea if the commercials were successful, but they are so fun to mock. Fun to do, fun to watch. Try it. Here's Jim Carrey doing it:

So much fun. It's why we love comedy.

I don't know how to wrap this up, but my kids are up so I'm signing off until next week, or the next time something ticks me off to do a long, weird rant. Have a great week!

Here's the clip I promised:


50 Cents on 50 Shades

I feel the need to address something I'm seeing. Right now it's the reaction, let's call it, to the 50 Shades of Grey movie. If you haven't heard it's a new movie based on the popular books of the same name.

I will first admit I have not read the books, nor do I have any interest in reading them. Or in seeing the movie(s) most likely. However, I'm a little confused by the reaction on social media. I'm seeing all kinds of people, good, smart people, really getting angry about the movie and books. 

I know, I know, opinions are elbows and a-holes, everyone has them. We're all entitled to them, but one thing I just wish people would consider is this:
1. Why is what YOU think of a thing more important than fans of the thing that spent their money to buy it?
2. What gives you the right to decide what should or should not be made/created?

I get that a lot of people don't like the books. I was sent an excerpt and when I initially saw the subject matter, it totally seemed like something I would like. Books about sex? Yeah, I'm down like a clown. Wait, I am not down with clown sex, I just say that because it rhymes. Not that there's anything wrong with clown sex, it just seems loud with the honky trumpets, and messy with all that face make-up, you could get a pretty bad infection. #TheMoreYouKnow

Anyway, I read the little bit and I didn't like the writing. I like porn, don't misunderstand me, I just didn't like this writing. 

So you know what I did?

I didn't read the book.

I know people get uptight about porn, but we shouldn't. If you like it, it's great. It's glorious actually.

A lot of other people did read the books, and they really enjoyed them. For whatever reason that is none of my business. If there's one thing I never want to have an open discussion with people about, it's what turns them on. I don't need to know that, unless your my partner, and you're not.

A LOT of women (and probably some men) read and really enjoyed this book. I mean really enjoyed them. According to Dave Barry, women world-wide were so turned on by the 50 Shades book that were (quoting) "wanting to have sex with their own husbands." That's a beautiful thing.

And guess what?

I didn't get angry that other people liked the book, I was actually happy that people found something enjoyable, especially something that may have helped their love life. Good for you, America. I didn't spew my opinion about it all over social media, I didn't put down the writing, I just didn't pursue it and went on with my day.

At least take the DOCTOR part out of the show title.
While I'm the first one to poke fun at stuff, or sometimes full-on rip on stuff that ticks me off, like Dr. Oz pretending as a doctor that diet pills won't kill us, I mean that's abusing your "doctor" title, for your own profit. Or Fox News pretending it's made up spin on reality is an actual thing that is real, but hey, how about we don't take a steamy dump all over something that obviously other people enjoy?

I hate reality television, I do. I'm a fan of scripted comedy, or even live comedy. I really do NOT enjoy the drama of putting people in difficult situations and then making those situations increasingly stressful so that people will fight. And then calling that entertainment. This reminds me too much of my actual life, so I'll pass on watching this as entertainment. 

However, I stopped complaining about it and putting it down because it seems like it's here to stay. People love it. I don't know why, I don't want to spend my time and energy finding out why, I'll just tune out and go on with my life. 

Someone somewhere likes it, a lot of people actually, and as it turns out, some of my actual friends enjoy this stuff. 

If I complain about how stupid it is, does that make me look smart? No, it doesn't. It makes me look like a judgmental asshole who thinks I'm better than everyone else because I like this instead of that

Ever heard of a judgmental man by the name of Kanye West? He pretended to take an award away from Beck, then later said he wasn't kidding, and social media blew up with people calling him a myriad of wonderful swear words to numerous to name hear. But guess what? If you mock a book or a movie, you ARE Kanye West. You're doing the same thing. You're saying this book didn't deserve to be made into a movie just because you don't like it. Even though other people do.

Am I jealous because I can't write a book that everyone will read, or a show that everyone will watch? Yes, a little.

Does that make me angry? No. 

Do I want to stop being friends with everyone who enjoys things that are different than what I enjoy? No. I want to stop being friends with people so I never have to go to places and wear actual pants, but that's beside the point.

I don't get to tell people what they are entertained by. 

I also want to stop question-talking while we're at it.

It doesn't matter if you think it's stupid, or even if it's actually stupid. Have you seen the comedy movies of the 80's? Yes, I know but we found them hilarious. 

So what? 

I also like Stephen King books, and The Daily Show, and Adventure Time, and NPR, and Howard Stern, and coloring with crayons and reading blogs that include a lot of swear words. And that's okay because it's my America, too.

How does that hurt you? 

How does that keep you from being the best you that you can be? Please tell me, in your own words. You can use swears if you want. 

Please do not, however, tell me that my shows or magazines or anything else is "responsible for the dumbing down of society" because society was dumb long before I was even born, Mister.

People have been horrible and flawed and violent and shitty to each other since caveman days. What do you blame that on? Violent cave paintings? Come on, man.

Just because you find a thing stupid doesn't mean everyone does. And just because television shows are increasingly stupid doesn't mean you should constantly complain about it on social media. 

If it bothers you that badly, write letters and/or emails to the networks that run the shows. Use your words. 

Keep your children from watching. Talk to them about what you think is important. 

It's not television's job to raise your kids, it's YOUR job.

It's not the entertainment industry's job to make society smarter. More smart? Brainer? I don't know. 

If you can create better, smarter content, how about you do that.

Then it will be there, and we'll all be better, right?

It's all of our jobs to enlighten ourselves and those around us. Books, radio, television, internet, whichever you chose, is yours for the choosing. 

You chose.

For yourself. 

Not anyone else.

You don't get to chose for me.

If you find something offensive, contact the creator, the network, the newspaper that printed it, whoever is responsible. Don't subject us all to your sensitivities. 

Sometimes people make mistakes, and sometimes humans are overly sensitive. Work that out behind the scenes. If you're offended by something, first think about why. Why are words making you feel angry?

Please don't come at me with 'rape culture' about this book. This book/movie is a work of FICTION. Google that if you need to, but please know that no sane person would change their actions based on a work of Fiction.

My favorite thing that ever was is the books series "Song of Ice and Fire." Those are the books that Game of Thrones is based on. The books are chock full of delicious sword-fighting and brutal, bloody death. I've read the books over and over, and listened to the audiobooks over and over, and watch the show over and over I will continue to do so, and not once has it ever occurred to me to chop someone's head off with a sword. I've never even priced a sword.

If it ever does occur to me, it will be my responsibility to seek professional help. 

NOT to tell HBO to stop airing the show.

NOT to tell George RR Martin to stop writing the books.

NOT to tell you to stop reading the books.

See how that works?

Don't start dramatically wringing your hands and "Won't someone think of the children?"ing.

Don't hide behind the human shields of your offspring just because you don't like something. None of this is intended for children. 

I have children, and they don't watch porn and porn has every right to exist in our society. And if my girls want to, as grown consenting adults, watch or even make porn, that is their choice. Even if it makes me uncomfortable, that is their choice and I would support their choice. 
(And no, not watch it, are you kidding me?)

Just because you like say, mob movies, but you don't like Game of Thrones that doesn't give either of those any more right to exist. And your children shouldn't be watching EITHER of those things. That's your job, as a parent. Not society's job, to make sure nothing with adult themes gets created and shown to adults. How about we stop using "the children" as pawns in places they don't belong, okay?

And one day, if I ever get my head on straight and decide to write a book, and you think that my book really sucks, and oh, you probably would, I would be okay with you telling me that but not everyone would be.

It's tough to put your thoughts into words that make sense to someone else. I know what I think about a thing, but how can I make YOU know and feel the feelings and know the thoughts? Seriously how, that's all I need to know to write a book.

It's not as easy as it sounds. As a content creator, I know this.


This top portion of this post is the gist of what I wanted to say to everyone. The bottom portion, which I will leave because it's ramblingly funny and some comments refer to it, but the rest is the slighty crazy-sounding ramblings of someone who doesn't have time to edit, or proof-read or have complete coherent thoughts. Proceed if you would like a laugh, but the top portion more than makes my point.
Thank you for reading! 

When I see other content creators bashing another creator's work, I wonder what they're thinking. Mayhaps they have their own, special reasons but I wonder what is the goal in tearing another writer down. Does that really make you feel better? Because it doesn't make you sound better, or seem smarter. It really doesn't.

We know how hard it is to take something that wasn't there, whether it's a painting, or a song, or a poem, or a blog post, or a sculpture, or WHATEVER, and bring that thing into life. After all the things that are already created, trying not to duplicate something, trying to craft your creation so that it represents to everyone what you so see. Getting an idea out, making it just so, bringing it to life. 

If you've actually taken a cell of an idea, fertilized it and nurtured it through the gestation of doubt and fear, growing it and fighting the demons in your own mind, to take that baby of an idea, coax it out with the forceps of determination and force it to life in this cold, cruel world, how can you just murder someone else's thought baby? Tell them after everything they've gone through to get that out, that it doesn't deserve to be here, just because you don't like it?

And that last horrible paragraph is a fine example of writing I thought would go one way and went another, creepy way entirely. This is harder than it looks, with the noise of life both real and imagined, and it's not something you would write but it's what I came up in the time I had. I hope I at least made my point about not crapping all over each other. 

If something doesn't have the right to exist because smart people think it's bad, there goes 99% of the world's creative content, including and especially this blog. And your Facebook page probably.

Not to say we shouldn't laugh at ourselves or others, I mean that thought baby paragraph is a steaming pile of fecal matter and I will laugh for a long time about it and that's all good.

Just know that before you say a book or a show or an article is "stupid" keep in mind that someone you know, maybe someone you love, enjoyed that book/show/article, and maybe they don't deserve to be put down because you didn't enjoy it. 

We all like different things, have different guilty pleasures, and different opinions. Let's remember that you don't learn a lot from people who agree with you all the time. Let's give each other a break for trying to put stuff out there in the world.

Unless you have some really funny material, then hey, you write a book you're asking for public opinions, am I right?

I mean, unless someone is spreading straight-out false information as reality, for their own profit or for any other reason. Then you let that mother effer HAVE IT. I mean, we all have to look out for each other.

l have no idea if this even makes sense, and I really want to go back and make it better but I don't have time. Small humans are asking me for candy, because they did Valentines in school and want to eat all the candy. And so do I, but it's my job to talk them out of candy and into something like oatmeal. I'm not mad that parents gave out candy. I'm not mad that Valentine's Day is a commercialized day. That's just how things happen. 

Right now it's my job to teach kids the importance of balancing the good stuff with the junk stuff. There will always be things we don't agree with. We can't fight the whole world and make the whole world not create things we don't like. We just teach the children, teach ourselves, to make the right choices, no matter what's out there. 

It's my place in the world right now, and it's the most important job in the world, so forgive my weirdness and struggle with words. Writing words gooder is not part of my job right now, and I hope you at least got the message of what I'm trying to say. 

And it really is okay to make fun of my weird writing, I will re-read this a couple hours from now and probably laugh right along with you. It's all good.


Too Granny For Grammy's

So there was a music industry butt-kissing festival on the idiot box last night. If that sounds like something an old lady would say, it's because I just did. I give up on keeping up with the music or anything else, but I do enjoy reading about on 'The Twitter.'  
Great googley moogley I love the Twitter.
I feel like I should call it based on the low amount of people I even recognized in the 5 minutes of show I caught at my sister's house. I didn't even recognize Tom Jones, and I feel like I should have.

I don't fault anyone for getting plastic surgery or turning themselves into a human Ooompa Loompa with spray tan if it makes you feel better, what do I care? I just can't recognize anyone anymore.
I don't know who this lady is, but she makes me want
to say "Barbie's husband Ken wants his hair helmet back."

And spoiler: She never does get sawed in half in that outfit.
We saw Pharrell give a speech, missing most of it thanks to my loud children. No seriously, thank all the gods for them because his speech seemed boring, and I swear I heard him say the word 'awkward' but maybe my mind put that there. He also said he was going to moonwalk off the stage in his tuxedo shorts, and then he DID NOT DO THAT. WTF? We were almost about to be entertained, why tease us?
I low-key love this look though. It's better than that giant Smokey the Bear hat. from Baltimoresun.com
People were really ripping on poor, sweet ole Madonna and AC/DC, but at least I can recognize them. I would recognize Madonna's ripped arms anywhere. You know how people who are afraid of tattoos always do that thing where they talk about how your tats are going to look when you're 80? Like that really matters at all at that point, but imagine what Madonna's bulging veiny arms are going to look like. 
So pretty. And healthy. That's healthy, right?! from dailymail.com
Can I just give a quick shout out to Sir Paul McCartney for at least looking like a PERSON?! Thank you, Paul. 
HOW VERY DARE YOU, whoever did this. from yahoo.com
You don't make Sir Paul sit down while he's dancing. After all that work Kanye did to make people know his name. *eyeroll*
from thewrap.com
Ugh Kanye. How I LOVE to HATE him. He's one of those people that make it hard not to hate people you don't even know. He's a media whore, and so he's mean and terrible you can't help but openly mock him. It's okay, he wants you to. It's part of that Michael Jackson lesson on PR: NO SUCH THING as negative press. You don't want his little stunts to work, but they do. I'm almost embarrassed to admit he is one of the few younger artists I can visually identify, just because he is so fun to hate. As a humor writer, it's kind of nice to have a 'bad guy' to just openly hate and mock without feeling bad. 

He paid homage to himself for that time he tried to take away Taylor's grammy with Beck this year. Watch Beck react like anyone would, like Kanye's about to mug the shit out of him. Kany-@$$ (what his name should be changed to) thinks Beyonce should have won whichever award he got a shiny gold award for, I think album of the year, according to the sign in the background.

I feel like Madonna could take a lesson from Beck. Every one of his albums has had a different sound, and he's had a new/different look. Madonna always has the same pop songs and scantily-clad no longer shocking weird outfits. She's good at that, but what ELSE can you do, Madge? 

I want to look into this person called "Sia." Do you know of her? She is a song writer, my sister says you WOULD KNOW her songs, but somehow she was forced (I guess) into semi-fame and like myself she hates the idea of people looking at her, so she performed, kind of, yesterday, while facing a wall and having a dancer and a comedianne dance to her song. I'm researching this as I have time, if you could clue me in I would appreciate it. This is her. I think it is anyway, facing the wall. I super love her for this, the opposite of Kanye.
from hollywoodreporter.com
Other things happened, more from Taylor Swift (yawn) but I didn't watch and I don't know who any of the new whipper-snappers are anyway. Just thought I would share a few chuckles this morning.

Did you watch?

Or were you tuned in to The Walking Dead? (NO SPOILERS, I'm like 3 seasons behind.)

If so, what stands out in your memory?

If not, why not?

You can play the Old Card, no one ever faults a person for that!


Beware of the Flim-Flam

Remember when you were younger and you would hear older people say things like, "...that's how they get ya!" and you would think how awful it must be to grow up and be paranoid about everything all the time? I think I'm about at that age.

I feel like everyone is always out to 'get me.' Whether it's commercials on television, ads everywhere you turn your head, or every person on every internet who is selling "the best product in the world." There is a catch, a gimmick, a flim flam. And usually, in my semi-paranoid defense, there is.

I had the nerve to make an appointment with one of the home-repair sales peole who come around claiming their 'team is doing some work in your area' and they are seeing if they can HELP anyone else in the neighborhood. I know, I know, believe me the Bullspit-O-Meter was off the dial. I'm somewhere in between the guy in Insomnia who is constantly staring out his window, aware of every neighbor's move, and a semi-nosey citizen just keeping an eye out on the happs of the 'hood. 

Leaning toward Insomnia because while watching small children is definitely busy-all-day work, the mind really tends to wander. And there is not much going on around here. Definitely not any home repairs, other than the already-completed work on an abandoned home 2 houses to the West. I know, I hear the elderly already creeping it's way into my aging bones, but I've had old-lady tendencies for decades. I'm just finally aging into a time when I don't have to hide it anymore.

So, back to the story at hand. A nice young man, perfectly dressed in casual-end business casual approaches the door. We see him because the kids and I are having our mandatory winter "10 minutes outside" time of day. My 3 yr old marches up and says "Hi friend, you come-a my house?" (we may need to have the Stranger Danger talk with this one) and we all laugh. 

He very nicely, wisely, not even really salesman-ish-ly at all LAUGHS heartily and tells her, 
"Yes, I come to your house! My name is _____ [already forgot because: OLD] and what is YOUR name?" 

She tells him, they chat it up, and he's really good at being the nice guy at the party, who every girl immediately thinks will be a GREAT father because 'look how great he is with kids.' This kid has got it DOWN. He even asks if she is mine, and responds,
"You are so blessed!"

Mothers, hide your daughters. Voters, meet your future mayor.

So, long story short (too late) I agree to schedule an appointment with his company. For several reasons, not just the abundance of charm. Our house is old-ish and is definitely overdue for several repairs. We suck at this in a big way. Our knowledge of homes, repairs, what keeps them together, could find shelter in the shade of a snow pea. 

We mostly just really need a real grown-up to come in and tell us which things are urgent, and which things can wait, and which things are just aesthetic and we can just knock off some money from the price of the home when we move. I figure if we actually have someone in the business come and look at a few things, they will share their wisdom. 

Specifically, we have/had a mold problem in the attic. Mold is no joke, so we did kind of take care of it. And by that I mean, my husband let me, while I was pregnant, go up and spray the spots with bleach water and wipe it. Yeah, I know, welcome to my life. But obviously we're not worried enough to get a loan to get the problem completely, properly mitigated. Just worried enough apparently to wait for someone to come along and try to schedule an appointment, and maybe tell us if we're going to die a horrible death or not. I know, it's crazy we're in charge of the well-being of 3 human beings. Anyway, he tells me to expect a call and to go ahead and confirm and schedule an appointment.

The call came in almost immediately, which should have been my first clue. And whattayaknow, they just HAPPEN to have someone 'in my area' that VERY DAY, at the EXACT TIME I said would be a good time to reach both me and my husband. I KNOW, okay? But there are always tons of kids around and usually if I can knock something out sooner rather than later, the chances of it actually getting done are better. 

I probably should have called my husband to check, but it's one of those things he never wants to do, even though we really need to look into some options. Plus it was Wednesday night. Long story short, Wednesday night is one of the few nights he's not busy with his Bowlin' Night for nerds. Which means Tuesday & Thursday he schedules time with other nerds in a Star Wars Old Republic guild to play video games as a group. Yes, he's a grown man. 
That 'type' would be, easily manipulated by a small amount of charm.
Anyhowdy, through kids making tons of noise I schedule an appointment for that very evening, 7:30. I assume this appointment will be for some nice person to come out, hear what kind of work we would like to talk about and get some details from us. I also (foolishly) assume this is going to be a really quick appointment and they'll have to come back out to look at everything another time. When it's say, light outside. What a fool I am.

This person, another extremely polite young man who talks to the children, shows up on time and is slicker than otter snot without even seeming to be. A very young man in casual clothing, asking all the right questions and saying all the latest buzzwords about 'customer service' and 'recommendations from clients' and 'awards won' by their company in industry categories he knows damn well we have no knowledge of, and also no interest in really checking up on. 

Am I really going to contact Door and Window Magazine if that is even a thing (I think it's an e-zine b-the-w) and ask them,
"Excuse me, did you award Power Remodeling the Blah Blah of the Year Award last year?"
I mean, wouldn't it be incredibly ridiculous for them to pay to print up literature that says that, just to hand out to people, if it weren't true? Again, who really cares.

We talk to this guy for what feels like forever, and in my defense, he DID look at the mold issue in our attic and assure us it's not one of those 'you have to get out of the house NOW' type situations (knew it) and he did point out some interesting things happening in what is called in the industry the "decking" of our roof. That's what I gathered from him, when I was kind of paying attention, in between tending to the children, to be the inside wood-work just under the roof. 

Our decking is seeping sap, and that sap is growing lichen. Gross, for sure, but probably not immediate-horrible-death-causing. Phew! 

Of course as part of his pitch he told us if we don't mitigate that like really soon, we'll have to pay tens of thousands more to replace that as well as the roof, that he also assures us needs to be replaced. 

Even though it was dark outside before he even arrived. 

Incidentally, and of course I mentioned this to him as well, the inspector and selling real estate agent also told us we would need to get a new roof "right away" when we moved in to this house 7 years ago, and it literally does not look any worse today than it did then. 

The mold is new-ish, that is from the Polar Vortex shitting of snow we got last year. It snowed so much in the Midwest last year, in November and stayed until March, that we had snow IN OUR ATTIC. 

That's how much snow we got. It snowed inside our house. Why do people even live here?

Well, anyway. After a really long time of talking with my husband, he goes over options, specific items which need to be replaced, versus the items that we just really should replace, and goes over some options. Most of which I walked away from to 'deal with the children' (mwu-ahahah.) My husband thanks this kid for his time and information, and tells him he has to think this over and call him back to discuss further another time. 

This is where the sweet young boy slowly changes from Nice Guy to Evil Snake-Oil Pitchman. 

Like that scene in the last Harry Potter book when sweet, old Bathilda Bagshot morphs into a horcrux.
from www.tumblr.com/tagged/bathilda-bagshot
The guy wants to quote him a price today, because as it turns out their company offers this very special "First Appointment Discount" which could save us thousands of dollars. Because everyone knows having this young kid come out one more time would certainly justify padding a price thousands of dollars. That just Business, Son. *eyeroll forever* 

He not only quotes us the low-low price of $30,000 for a new roof, but wait, that is without the First Appointment Discount (barf!) He will not accept that we need some time to digest this information, this crazy high price that may as well be a bazillion dollars, and the fact that oh I don't know, maybe we don't just HAVE THAT MUCH MONEY sitting around. 

Like we have piles of cash everywhere just like the Simpsons. I'm surprised you didn't trip on one of them in the attic, actually...
See? We NEED people with power tools to get up in there.
from www.simpsoncrazy.com
We were just waiting for someone like you to tell us how to spend all this cash. How lucky you just happened along, really.

During this time, the childrens' bedtime has come and gone. I've brushed their teeth (which Daddy normally does) and done the night-time aniating of the stuff animals (which Daddy does way better than I do, as they pointed out) and I've read them books, do I really need to repeat it at this point? And he's snuck away from his pitchman to kiss the babies goodnight, and apologize for being busy, and tell me whisperingly (because our house is pretty small) how this guy is turning up the heat, and has been classically trained in SELLING and CLOSING 2.0
from wealthartisan.com
Time ticks away, I hear them chatting. I'm always really tired right after the Nighttime Ritual. I think it's the singing that does me in. Well, that and the Getting Up Early and Running Around After the Children as well. So I could go into the kitchen and join in the discussion, but I vaguely overhear tense voices and decide that maybe I need to go to the bathroom real bad. 

And then brush my teeth. 
And wash my face. 
Hey, I haven't flossed in quite a while. I should do that now.

At some point I decide to just go to bed. Selfish yes, but you should maybe know that lately my husband has taken to pointing out just how much weight I've gained, as well as my poor choices in clothing, and that kind of thing. Typically we would totally approach these things as a team. We usually take a "Good Cop, Bad Cop" approach, and it may (or not) shock to find that I usually play Bad Cop. You work with your strengths, people. However, being the old, fat person my husband claims I am, I just left him to fend for himself. 

He came looking for me in the final rounds of the battle, I believe that was about the 2nd or 3rd time he thought Bathilda was leaving 'any minute.' He told the guy in no uncertain terms 'we're done here' and then he pulled the old, 
"I'll just go get you a business card out of my car" trick. He must have called his boss, because he was out there for about 15 minutes. 

This man had already gone to his car to get a bag full o'tricks, samples and some huge model of a section of gutter, all of which was spread over our kitchen table and floor like the worst LARPer game of all time. 

At one point I hear the boy asking, "Have I done something to offend you?" Later my husband told me he answered him, "Well, I told you I' done discussing this for today and then you went to your car and got your computer."

He tried a few other tricks, and eventually 6 days later he got the hint and went home. After over 2 and a half hours. My husband was pretty upset about the end of the situation, and proceeded to tell me all about it. I mean, I did make the appointment.

The next morning I finally had the chance to look up the company on Yelp and I saw many other people said the same thing. I gave some neighbors a heads-up and got some similar stories. This is obviously why they insisted on coming in for a meeting that day, before we had a chance to do any research. 

I should have known at the insistence of the quick meeting that there was going to be a catch. I'm not saying that's always a waste of time/money, but I have found that when I've gotten an offer that "ends soon" it's usually because they don't want to give you time to figure out what a bad idea it is. 

When someone offers a quality product, for an honest price, they don't mind when you have time to check with past customers and do some research. When a company RUSHES to get into your house immediately, and offers you a "first-appointment discount" just think about WHY they're in such a hurry. Give yourself time to consider all the options.

I have no idea if they do good work or not, and I never plan on finding out. If a new roof really does happen to cost $30,000 we will just move. If we EVER have to talk to anyone from this company ever again? I'll learn to build my own home, out of sticks and wet newspapers. Mold issue? We'll move and I'll build a new home out of sod. 

Have I mentioned lately how much I miss my little condo??

Do you have any experiences like this? I mean, besides with used car salesmen. Have you ever been suckered into the time-share scam? That was really rough. I think I've just about completely mentally blocked that from my memory.