Thursday, December 5, 2013

Happy birthday, soul sister.

On Tuesday I panicked because I realized I hadn’t sent my friend Nicole a birthday card.

Her birthday was still two days away, but she lives in Canada and it takes, like, weeks for the Pony Express to deliver their mail. Plus I thought her birthday was the next day, since all day I thought it was Wednesday.

She’s going to have to settle for a joint birthday/Christmas card from me this year, which will probably be late for both occasions. It’s too bad, because she deserves a birthday card, and a Christmas card, and all of the presents. Nicole is a special one, with a big heart and the best outlook on life who has the uncanny ability to always put everything into perspective. No matter what it is – matters of the heart, matters of your own neuroses, verb choices, toenail fungus – she nails it, every time. And I can only imagine that if we were discussing these things in person she would have the best accent. The strange thing is, I’ve never heard her voice, and we’ve never met.

Through some spectacular twists of fate, Nicole and I “met” virtually a few years ago when we both started writing for the same comedy site. I was a newbie at Bareknuckle Writers and they suggested bringing in another chick, some Canuck that Mike (another writer on the site, and a Real Life Friend of mine) knew some way or another. I was a little irked that I wasn’t woman enough for the rest of the Bareknucklers, and then I read some samples of Nicole’s work and was really pissed that they had brought this writer of far greater talent in to upstage me. She immediately became the star of the show, and deservedly so, and God damn it if I didn’t fall in love with her instantly.

Bareknuckle Writers eventually faded away, and we all went our separate ways creatively, but Nicole and I were bound together. It wasn’t long before we started plotting a new venture for Drizzie and Nina, our writing alter egos, and while I can’t tell you about it quite yet I can tell you that it’s been in the works for a year and a half so by the time it gets off the ground it better be the best fucking thing to ever hit the internet.

But Nicole is more to me than a writing friend - although she is the best writer I know, and a poetess of the highest order. She’s always there for me, always got my back, always there with an email or a Facebook post or a picture or a card that makes me cry and smile and feel uplifted and inspired. That’s what she does, to everyone around her I have no doubt – she uplifts, she inspires, she makes you better than you are simply because you know her.

She’s the Rocky to my Bullwinkle, the Diana to my Anne, the Thelma to my Louise (I’m speculating - I’ve never actually seen that movie), my kindred spirit, my soul sister, my bosom friend.

Today she turns the big four-oh and I wish so badly that I could be there to celebrate with her. I promise you that someday I will.


Happy birthday, dear friend.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Not feeling it.

I love NaNoWriMo and had taken a three-year hiatus, so I was eager to get back into it this year. In previous years I haven't thought anything out beforehand; on November 1st I sat down and started writing, whatever my little heart desired. I've never had a problem reaching my word count because I didn't have anything invested in my story. I could usually tell in the first couple days that I was writing complete crap (usually something of the chick lit variety, although one year I did venture into a weird YA fantasy story) and that made reaching 50,000 words even easier. It's easy to write something that sucks.

This was the first year that I went into NaNo with A Plan. I didn't have an outline, but I did have a pretty solid idea of what I wanted to write and in fact was expanding on an idea I'd started writing when we were in Buffalo last month. I toyed with the idea of keeping what I already had and expanding on it, and decided at the last minute that I was going to start from scratch. I don't think I should have.

Now we're six days in, I'm at a little less than 5,000 words, and I don't know if I want to continue. I have no doubt in my ability to churn out another 45,000 words this month, but since this story might be something I actually care about, I don't know that I want to. I'd rather hang onto what I have and start carefully rewriting it without pressure of deadline and word count than write "the rest" just to say that I did.

I'm at a crossroads. I've never not finished NaNo before, so there's part of me that wants to finish for that reason alone, to say that I didn't give up. But there's part of me - a big part - that thinks not completing NaNo this year is the right thing to do for the integrity of the story I want to tell.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Burn.

To date, I have read twenty books this year. I am a little disappointed in my book consumption. This morning I finished Fahrenheit 451, a book that is only 190 pages yet took me over a month to complete. (I would like to point out that it is not because I am a slow reader, but because I have been watching too much TV and spent too much time wrapped up in football and not enough time reading.)

Yes, I am disappointed that it took so long to read Fahrenheit but the most disappointing thing to me is that I had never read this book before. How did I go nearly three decades without reading this? It is the quintessential H book. It has jumped onto my list of favorite books of all time. I will reread and reread and reread this book to make up for all the years I should have been reading and rereading it.

One passage stuck with me:

"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there. It doesn't matter what you do, he said, as long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will have been here a lifetime."

I think this is why I write.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Shalom.

I am frequently mistaken for a Jew.

There is nothing wrong with that, of course; I simply happen to find it confusing on a number of levels. I am very white and very blonde with a very average-sized nose.  My last name is a little Jewish-sounding...if you misread it.  Otherwise it is, like the rest of me, very German.  In fact, I am so German that I feel bad when people wonder if I am Jewish.  "No," I want to sob, "I'm German!  And I'm so sorry!"

It is possible probable that I have told this story on this blog before, but I am too lazy to go back and look at my own archives, so I think I'll just rip myself off right now, thanks.  At my previous job, there was a receptionist that I worked with for several years who brought me my mail every day.  One day as I was walking out, I said good night and she said "What's your last name?"

When I reminded her of my last name, she said, "Are you Jewish?"  And when I said no, she said, "Are you sure?"

I can say with complete certainty that I am not Jewish, but I will admit that lately I have been thinking about how much fun it would be to be a little Jewish boy.  The bar mitzvah experience seems very enjoyable; you get to say things in Hebrew and have a party and everyone gives you money.*  I decided I wanted to be a Jewish teenaged male while watching the final season of Weeds; little Stevie is getting bar mitzvahed and I decided that I would like a bar mitzvah, too.  This led me to send the following text to my friend Andrew:

I kind of wish I was a little Jewish boy

to which he responded:

Top ten strangest texts: this is coming in at number 6 right now.
Can I ask why?  Or is that just kvetching?

He gently reminded me that I don't have to be a teenager to have a mitzvah, nor do I have to be a boy; I could have a bat mitzvah, after all.  But I think the appeal of the bar mitzvah for me is the yarmulke.  I want to wear one.  What do girls wear, I asked?

Shame?  A sheet with a hole in it?

I guess I'll pass.



*I was confirmed into the Lutheran church and people did give me a lot of money.  So I guess I didn't miss out on that much, but there was no Hebrew spoken.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Soccer, schmoccer.

Last week a Twitter friend and I got into a small discussion about how boring soccer is and had our conversation hijacked by a crazed soccer fan desperate to convert us - she's currently writing a book on soccer fans (seriously).  Her tactics included: saying that if I thought soccer was boring, it must mean that I am boring; telling us we must not be "sophisticated" enough to understand the sport; and asking for airtime on the station where my friend works.  Uh, yeah.

I'll spare you the rest of the details, but I can tell you that trolling soccer fans is an entertaining way to spend an afternoon.

Look, I don't like soccer, and I don't think that specific fact makes me boring, nor do I think I am not sophisticated enough to understand it.  Soccer is easy to understand.  You run around and kick a ball into a net and if something looks like a foul, it most likely is.  There.  I wrapped up the entire sport for you.  The reason I don't like soccer is that it bores the fucking shit out of me.  If you like it, that's great.  I'm never going to want to discuss it with you, just like people who aren't Vikings fans will probably never want to discuss the Vikings with me.  If you're passionate about something, that's fantastic!  There are plenty of other people who share your passion.  It's why I follow the people I follow on Twitter, and why I read Black Heart Gold Pants and not Wide Right Natty Light.  If I wanted to spend my time being argumentative with people, I could troll Cyclone fan sites and try to convert people to Hawkeyeism.  But I don't, because I have better ways to spend my time.  I don't need to be "saved" - not by Jesus, not by soccer fans.  I'm doing quite alright the way I am.

"But soccer is the fastest growing sport in the U.S.!" soccer lady said.  This is probably true, but why do you think that is?  Because it has never been popular in the U.S., so any increase in popularity is going to be amplified, and because other sports like football and baseball and basketball and even hockey really don't have much room for growth.  They're pretty big already.  Yes, soccer is becoming increasingly popular among youth.  Why?  Because it's a sport that anyone with two legs can be decent at, and because parents love the idea of getting their kids to 1) participate in an activity that will teach them some sort of focus and discipline; sports are a great way to teach kids about rules and structure and 2) run around outside for a long time to burn energy.  It has nothing to do with any of those people actually giving two shits around soccer.  I guarantee a vast majority of those parents feel exactly the same way I do about the sport but if it gives little Johnny something to do to, great.  Little Johnny will forget all about soccer in a couple years and life will go on.

And if he doesn't?  That's great.  Soccer can become the most popular sport in the U.S., but it won't make the sport any more interesting or make me any more inclined to watch it.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Judgy wudgy.

I saw a shared status on Facebook spouting off some Bible bullshit that finished with, "I'm here to say that I love you, no matter what your life choices are!"  Here was my response.

"While I appreciate the sentiment, she should have chosen her words more carefully.  Veganism is a life choice.  Being overweight is a life choice.  There are a lot of "life choices" out there, and sexuality isn't one of them.  Did you ever sit down and make a serious decision to be straight?  Saying that you don't discriminate based on people's life choices tells me that you're still judging, even if you aren't."

I am fired up this week and yes, I changed my Facebook profile picture and my Twitter avatar.  A lot of people think it's stupid and that's fine.  I think a lot of people are stupid.  Especially the ones who think being gay is a "life choice."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Letter to Lolo.

Apparently because I am from Iowa, I am supposed to love Lolo Jones just like I am supposed to love Kurt Warner and Zach Johnson.  Spoiler alert: I do not like Kurt Warner or Zach Johnson.  I do not like Lolo Jones, either.  I think it is wonderful that she is a tremendous athlete and that she has been so successful but I also think she is annoying and acts like a spoiled child.  I've written a letter to Lolo.


Dear Lolo,

We get it.  You're a fame whore so desperate for an Olympic medal, any Olympic medal at all, that you'd consider maiming yourself if it would give you a shot at the Paralympic games.  So desperate that you'd take up the sport of bobsledding, something you yourself have said you'd never dare do otherwise, and then make fun of it.  Bobsledding, so easy a monkey could do it!  All I do is text people and pull the brake at the end, derp derp derp!

Imagine how athletes who've actually dedicated their lives to the sport of bobsledding - as you have dedicated your life to running - feel watching you come in and steal their thunder, knowing that you don't have any attachment whatsoever to the sport.  Imagine how they feel watching you take their dreams away so someone who doesn't care an stand on an Olympic podium.  Imagine how you'd feel if some lowly bobsledding brakeman decided to take up sprinting, came in and stole your spot on the team, then said they didn't give two fucks about running; all they wanted was a medal.  I bet you'd be pretty pissed off, wouldn't you, Lolo?

I don't know why you think you're so entitled to an Olympic medal.  If bobsledding doesn't work out, will you take up synchronized swimming?  Perhaps rhythmic gymnastics?

Look, I'd have a great deal more respect for you if you'd taken up bobsledding as a means to obtain an Olympic medal and fallen in love with the sport.  But you didn't.  To some extent I appreciate your candor and your ability and willingness to say any God damn thing that comes to your mind, as those are characteristics I too possess.  The difference between you and me is that you're famous and millions of people hear all the bullshit that comes out of your mouth, and no one cares what I say.

I have a feeling that if you do make the Olympic bobsled team and do win that medal that you've coveted for so long that is GOING TO COMPLETE YOUR LIFE AND MAKE EVERYTHING AMAZING *SQUEE* it's going to make you feel pretty empty, even emptier than you do without the medal, and it's going to feel like a ton of bricks hanging around your neck.

But what do I know?

-H

P.S. I think what you really need is to get laid.  Seriously.
P.P.S. Like lose your precious virginity that you talk about all the time.  Because having oral and anal sex aren't having sex.  You're not having sex until you get it in the vag.  Keep telling yourself that.
P.P.P.S. If you're not having oral or anal sex, then ignore what I said in the P.P.S. section.  But I highly doubt it.