Her name is KNIVES. But only when we’ve been drinking.

Number one…you guys are fantastic at naming dogs.  Tallulah Barkhead?  Jane Pawston?  Louise L’Amour?  Virginia Woof?  You need to start a dog-naming business because your talents are wasted, people.

Number two….After several days to trying out lots of names we seem to be leaning toward Dorothy Barker (Dottie for short) but at the last minute I thought, Hang on.  What if we call her “Knives”?  Because that might be the most useful dog name ever (if said in the required, vaguely-threatening tone).

“I’m sorry.  You can’t let me into the bar because my purse is moving?  Ridiculous.  Do you know what I have in my purse?  KNIVES.  I have KNIVES in my purse.  WANNA SEE?

“No, you answer the door.  I’m holding knives.”

“The postman refuses to deliver to me because he always ends up getting chased by knives.”

“Hey, I don’t want to be a bitch but it’s 2am and your drum solo is keep us all up.  Who is ‘us’?  Oh, just me and my knives.

“Yes, I’d love to hear about why you think I’m going to hell BUT I’VE LOST MY KNIVES.  HAVE YOU SEEN MY KNIVES?  WAIT WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”

“You don’t believe that Anxiety Disorder is a real thing?  Fascinating.  I actually have Anxiety Disorder but I carry around a secret cure that helps.  It’s called KNIVES.”

“You don’t make this dress in my size?  No, I’m not mad.  I just need to spend some alone time in your dressing room.  With my knives.”

“There’s a limit to how many pets I can have in my house? No worries. I just have some cats.  And my knives.”

Then again, Knives would probably get me arrested.  But on the plus side, when my intimidating cellmate asked what I was in for I could say “KNIVES.  I LOVE KNIVES.”   But when the judge asked the same thing I could say shrug innocently and say, “Just this little doggie” and I wouldn’t be lying to either of them.

knives

Dorothy Barker agrees with me and I suspect she will go by Dottie when she’s trying to make a good impression, and Knives when she’s been drinking.  It’s a good system.  In fact, I’m thinking of using it myself.  I just have to come up with a good name now that “Knives” is taken.

PS.  How about “Extra Knives”?  No.  That doesn’t sing.  I’ll keep working on it.

It’s how the light gets in…

So, yesterday we got a dog.

Most people would end that sentence with an exclamation mark, but honestly I wasn’t looking for a dog. I’ve said “no” to hundreds my daughter has begged for (and even a few I wanted myself) because it hurts too much to lose one. When Barnaby Jones died  four years ago I said “never again“.

And then Hailey fell in love with this tiny dog. And then Victor fell in love with this tiny dog. And then I said, “No.  Get it away from me.”  But the puppy ignored me and curled up in my lap as Victor explained that this dog was practically medicinal, and is well-suited to being an emotional support dog, which he thinks  might help with my anxiety disorder.

So I said yes…and it was very sweet to watch her frolic with Hailey, but my heart is still broken from dogs so I kept my distance.  (Much like Hunter S. Thomcat, who was similarly reserving judgement, as you can see below.)

puppy

Then last night she whimpered as she was put in her crate, so I moved her next to my bed and put my hand on her until she was comforted enough to sleep. I told myself not to look, but at midnight I turned on my phone so I could use its glow to check on her.

She’d curled into a small, content ball and the odd markings on her side smooshed together to make a tiny perfect heart. Well, not perfect exactly, as a small line broke the heart in the middle.

heart3

Then, as I watched, she snuggled up tighter and the heart became whole. And she was mine. And vice-versa.

So now we need a name.  These are the contenders to far:

  • Dorothy Barker
  • Louise L’Amour
  • Lola
  • Little Sheba
  • Happy
  • Valentine
  • Rabbit
  • Charlotte
  • Penelope (pronounced PEE-nuh-lope)
  • Rocket
  • THE MONARCH
  • Little Edie
  • Bunny
  • Dixi
  • Gracie

PS. I just read that Marie Antoinette had a papillon and carried it all the way to the guillotine as a comfort to her.  Conclusion: I think Marie Antoinette invented the first emotional service dog, and look how well things worked out for her.

 ******************

And now, the weekly wrap-up of awesomeness:

sid

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-awesome:

Shit you should buy or steal because it’s awesome:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by CAMP TxSC, a weekend retreat for lady bloggers and business owners with a focus on networking, renewing creativity, and eating a crop ton of s’mores.  Plus, I’m a keynote speaker which means these people have made the questionable decision to give me a microphone.  Register now and use code BLOGGESS for 25% off until Feb. 1.

Why don’t we just call it “sauce”?

So, turns out I’ve been saying the word “ragoût” wrong for my entire life, but that’s fine because I’ve never actually said the word out loud until I had to help Hailey practice a million spelling words, and then Victor was like “Seriously?  Did you just say ‘rag out‘?  That’s not even a word.  It’s pronounced “ragú“.  Which seems insane, because I was like “No, that’s a brand-name” but turns out that “ragú” may have come from “ragoût” and they’re pronounced the same, which is just intentionally confusing if you ask me.

Anyway, today Hailey competed in her second spelling bee and she did fantastic. She came in 4th, and by round 20 she was the youngest person left and the last girl standing.  It was farther than I’d have gotten and we were very proud.

That's my kid.  She's a bad-ass.

That’s my kid. She’s a bad-ass.

The mom sitting next to me patted my arm consolingly when Hailey left the stage but I shrugged and said, “Meh.  It’s not her fault she didn’t know the word.  Frankly, I blame drugs.”  She looked a little uncomfortable, but in my defense, the word Hailey missed was “hydroponic” and I only know that word because of pot.  Maybe if pot was legalized in Texas she’d be exposed to it more and would have won.  After all, exposure to illegal drugs can limit your learning potential, but apparently so can a lack of exposure to illegal drugs.

I guess my point is that I blame myself.  And drugs.  And Texas.

PS.  Victor thinks it’s weird that weed is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear “hydroponic” so I asked twitter, and (aside from several people venturing “Water pony?”) most everyone else is saying “Pot.  Please share.”  Also, quite a few people are saying “DISNEYLAND” for some reason.  I suspect that means they’re high already.  Or very, very sheltered.  Much like my daughter, who now wants a water pony.

PPS.  I was just looking up “ragout” and wikipedia gives two recipes.  One starts with “Take a quantity of pig’s ears and boil one half in wine and the other water.”  The other recipe includes lamb’s testicles and boiled cock combs. It ends with the instruction: “Use it when called for.”  Who is purposely calling for this?  

Ghost dog

This is a weird post so ignore it if you like.

Without getting into the weird details, I can feel things.  Like, things that aren’t there.  I’m not psychic and I’m not gifted but I can tell when I’m not alone.  It doesn’t bother me and I end up doing lots of ghost-hunting and staying in haunted hotels but I almost never see anything.

That being said, I think we have a ghost dog in our house.  I realize that sounds insane but we’ve all seen it so often that we’re used to it. (Not a full dog or noises…just the shadow of a dog passing by you, usually upstairs or on the stairs.)  It’s not a bad thing and we usually just say “Good dog” and leave it at that but this morning I was taking videos of Hunter S. Thomcat and Ferris Mewler playing with their toys on the stairs and when I watched the video I saw a ton of weird little light artifacts.  I’m sure it’s just camera crap but it’s weird so I thought I’d share it.

Also, I took this with my shitty, outdated iPhone and uploaded it to youtube.  If you see nothing then you’re probably more sane than I am.

Around the 14 second mark there’s a bluish glow near the cat toy.  At the 25 second mark you can hear me talking over me. I don’t know how that happened but I don’t think a ghost dog is involved so it probably speaks more to how unreliable videos are. At the 36 second mark a light moves from Ferris’ back foot up the stairs.  At the 50 second mark a half-moon moves from where the toy is to the right of the screen.  1:08 mark.  Same weird blue glow on the cat toy.  1:15 orb moves up the wall near the hot air balloon painting. 1:23 When I move on the stairs the lighting changes to a foggy white for a second.  1:33 almost imperceptible but something flashes before the camera in a downward motion.  1:45 Cat’s eyes glow because they are possessed by Sata-oh hang on.  That’s just normal cat stuff.

Also, I used youtube to slow it down so you could see it better and I’m not sure if it’s really that helpful but it’s creepy as shit starting around the 40-second mark.  Like if that “It-puts-the-lotion-on-it’s-skin-or-else-it-gets-the-hose-again” guy made cat videos.

Is there a point to this?  Not really.  Just wanted to share what is almost certainly nothing at all.  Blogging at it’s best, y’all.

Couple of screen shots:

Glowing ball.  Probably just contrast against shadow.

Glowing ball. Probably just contrast against shadow.

Click to embiggen.  Traveling semi-circle across the cat's butt.

Click to embiggen. Traveling semi-circle across the cat’s butt.

Glow in left corner.  Not in next frame.

Glow in left corner. Not in next frame.

Orb on wall.  Dust?

Orb on wall. Dust?

Click to embiggen.  Light traveling across bottom.

Click to embiggen. Light traveling across bottom.

White spot moving for a split second across the TARDIS.  Probably some sort of tear in the time/space continuum, or maybe a moth.

White spot moving for a split second across the TARDIS. Probably some sort of tear in the time/space continuum, or maybe a moth.

Thoughts?

CrapScrabble (UPDATED! Now with more gravy!)

My friend, Dr. Pants, just pointed out that I’ve never been on TableTop before, and that’s true, but it’s also true that the games I’m really good at are mostly made up by me and my family.  But that’s sort of nice because it makes it easier to win if I’m the only one who knows the rules.

My favorite game is Drunk-Catchphrase, which is just Catchphrase but…you know…drunk.  Basically, in each round of play you have to drink for different things.  Like a drink every time you think you’re explaining one word but really it’s a different word but you’ve been using it wrong your whole life.  The other team drinks if you’re using the wrong word but your partner also has been using the word wrong and guesses the answer.  Then the next round you have to drink every time you say the word “Um”.  Then you pass out.

CrapScrabble is my second favorite game and was invented by us when my parents came to visit.

BuARgxmCIAAPH8A

Everyone grabs a handful from our giant bowl filled with hundred of old scrabble tiles (and stray dice and some runes for some reason).  Longest word you can bullshit wins.

On our last game of CrapScrabble my dad won with “rigortotoise.”  (The second stage of turtle death.)   He also came up with “ereptiledysfunction” (when your cyber lizard won’t reboot).

My father is dangerous at CrapScrabble.

Full rules of CrapScrabble:

  • Points are given for creativity, lying with confidence, and stealing tiles from other players without them noticing.
  • Points are subtracted for subpar puns, getting caught cheating, and not getting me a drink when you got one for yourself.  
  • If the cat lays down on your tiles they are no longer yours and you must play around the cat until she leaves.  
  • If the cat jumps on the table and scatters all the tiles you have to yell “JENGA” and grab up all the tiles near you.  This is your new hand.  
  • Tiles knocked to the floor are out of play (unless it’s your birthday or you’re under 12, in which case you get them all, but only if you get them from the cats before they knock them under the refrigerator).  
  • Tiles under the refrigerator stay out of play until we get a new refrigerator.  
  • Tiles may be exchanged for a new set, but only if the player does a funny dance first or tells an acceptably embarrassing story about themselves or someone else at the table.  
  • Rules are subject to random change at any moment as long as the new rule is accepted by the majority of the table.  
  • You can turn any tile over to make it a blank tile, but only if you first do that knife trick where you splay open your hand and quickly stab in between each finger.  If you succeed you get as many blank tiles as the room thinks you deserve.  If you fail we get to replace your tiles with our extra Q’s for however long it takes you to apply the tourniquet.
  • Cats can never be banned from the game, but a live ferret or a particularly angry bird may be used as a substitute cat, if medically necessary.

So, this post is my official challenge to TableTop.  Let’s do this thing.  (But you have to come here, because my cats get travelers’ diarrhea something fierce and you do not want that.)

UPDATED:  The brilliant KWadsworth just shared the best thing ever with us and now it’s going in the game too.  I’ll let her explain:

It is time to tell you about Surrealist Poker.

This was something that my college friends came up with (I’ll explain how shortly) where the twist in the rules doesn’t apply to the game play – rather, it applies to the BETTING. It’s just plain old, straight-up, five-card-draw poker; but, you can bet anything. And I mean literally ANYTHING.

What I mean is – the dealer for each hand deals out the first five cards like usual. The dealer also has a piece of paper and a pen. And the first person opens the bidding by stating what they are going to bid – and it can be ANYTHING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. One opening bid I remember was “three cacti”. The dealer writes that down. And then everyone else has a turn betting, and they too can bet ANYTHING. And the dealer writes all that down.

The fun comes in with the discussions people have negotiating the comparative worth of each bid – does “a herd of stampeding Mogwai” MATCH the current bid of “1953”, or does it RAISE the bid? Because if it raises the bid, everyone has to go around and either ante up with something else, or fold. And of course their new bid could end up unintentionally raising the bid again, which sets off another round of discussion, and often another round of bidding.

Once you’ve all settled on all the bidding and are finished, it’s time to show your hands – and the winning hand is ascertained the same way it is in regular poker. And then the dealer reads off the ENTIRE LIST of all of the random shit that’s been bid over the course of that hand before presenting it to the winner. Then you get another dealer, another piece of paper, and you start over.

This was PERFECT for a bunch of arty and nerdy college students who had more creativity and goofiness than they had money or shame. And I did actually win 1953 in a hand once.

(I said I was going to explain how this happened – it’s actually even more ridiculous; a couple in our ranks were apparently playing strip poker once, and played to the point where they were both sitting there naked – and yet, for reasons known only to God and the two of them, decided that instead of doing anything naked-sexy, they wanted to KEEP PLAYING POKER. But they had no more clothes to bet, so they started betting sex acts, carefully keeping track of their ongoing bets on lists. One of their roommates found one of the lists one day and asked about it, and that’s when the idea of keeping track of poker bets on a list got adopted for more general and less salacious purposes.)

Conclusion: This is the best thing ever and must be adopted immediately. I think we just found our lightning round, people.

In the event of a CrapScrabble tie (or whenever someone farts audibly) the challengers get a new handful of tiles,  and five minutes to create the best thing they can come up with (which will be hidden from their opponent) and they then move to Surrealist Poker-style betting on who has the better word/words/miniature Eiffel Tower made of tiles/whatever.  Then the opponents reveal and explain their creations, and the winner is rewarded with the paper list of prizes.  (The list should be pinned on their homemade CrapScrabble sash or crown, which they can wear to all future games and most black-tie events.

I want to play right now just so I can say “I see your sack of sloths, and I raise you the gravy. ALL THE GRAVY.”

That’s probably the most bad-ass thing anyone has ever said.

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

We’ve come far, but we have so much farther to go.

Sometimes I get mad about how far we are from equality, but I can’t recognize that truth without also recognizing that the ability to see racism, injustice and inequality is something learned…and that being able to see how far we are from true equality is a gift.  A terrible, but important gift…one that we’ve been given by past generations who struggled to create the history we now have the privilege and pain to learn from.

It’s hard to write about something as serious and difficult as injustice, and harder still to have conversations which often end with hurt and raw emotions so I’m not asking you to speak, or comment, or anything else.  Just to do one thing today.  Look at your life and think to yourself, “Could I do one thing better?  Could I do one thing today to help?”  And if so, do that one thing.

Maybe it’s forgiveness, maybe it’s listening to something that makes you uncomfortable but needs to be heard, maybe it’s just allowing yourself to realize that everyone in the world has prejudices but that we can’t truly grow until we see them and confront them.  Maybe it’s reading To Kill a Mockingbird or Brown Girl Dreaming to your child, as you try to find a way to show them life that exists beyond themselves.

Maybe it’s writing and rewriting a few awkward sentences on a blog that isn’t built for this sort of heaviness.

One step at a time.

 

thetimeis alwaysright

Bloggess Life Hacks that might get you arrested, part 87.

bloggess life advice

PS.  I put this on twitter a long time ago but people keep asking why it’s not on the blog.  So now it is.  It’s sort of a rerun if you follow me on twitter, but it’s still good, solid advice.

National Dress Your Cat Up Day

It seems like it was JUST National Dress Your Cat Up Day but I guess it’s here again.  Let’s celebrate, motherfuckers.

hstbloggess

hst2bloggess

hst3bloggess

Books are always bigger on the inside.

Did I mention it was my birthday a few weeks ago?  Because it was but we don’t really celebrate it because it’s right after Christmas and everyone is too tired.  But Victor assured me that he’d actually gotten me a present, although I’d have to wait until it was finished, and I assumed he was a tremendous liar because that’s the sort of thing I’d say if I forgot someone’s birthday too.

Turns out though that he actually did get me something.  Or…well….he got me something to give away, but that’s nice because that’s one of my favorite things, and ranks somewhere in between the smell of a good library and the sound of the TARDIS (preferably circa David Tennant.)

And that’s what makes this present so perfect.

This is when I screamed a little bit.

This is when I screamed a little bit.

It’s a Little Free Library.

They’re tiny neighborhood libraries you put in your front yard…An outdoor box full of books where anyone can stop by and take a book and bring back another one to share.  This kid explains it better than I can.

They’re popping up all over the world and they are fabulous.  I highly recommend getting one.  The only problem I have is that my neighborhood is really hard to get to so instead of putting it here I want to put it somewhere it’s easy to access.  I’m the steward for this library so it needs to be somewhere in the San Antonio/Central Texas area, close enough that I can visit it and keep it maintained.  It needs to be somewhere we’d have permission to install it (on a pole or bolted to something  permanent).  The light on the top is solar powered and lights up -dimly- at night.

It looks small, but it's bigger on the inside.

It looks small, but it’s bigger on the inside.

I’m going to check into local parks, but if you know of a place that would be perfect, let me know.

There is no frigate like a book to take you miles away.  Bonus if that frigate is a space ship/time machine.

As they say, there is no frigate like a book to take you miles away. (Bonus if that frigate is a space ship/time machine.)  No one says that last part.  But they should.

I’ll keep you posted.

“Books. People never really stop loving books…  …You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books are the best weapon in the world. This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!” ~ Doctor Who

“Are cannibals always mermaids?” It’s what we’ve all been wondering. Apparently.

You know when you google something and it autocorrects to EXACTLY what you want?  No, you don’t.  Because that doesn’t happen.

Like when I was trying to figure out if women were ever cannibals, or if it’s more of an all-male profession and Google was all, “I’LL HELP YOU!”

are

First of all, you are not going to guess what I’m googling based on just the word “Are”.  Secondly, who is googling “Are you here?”  What are you expecting as an answer?

Then I kept typing and this happened:

are ca

Google:  “Oh, my bad.  You were looking for something else, obviously.  I’ll just let you finish -WAIT – IS IT, “ARE CARROTS GOOD FOR DOGS?“”

No, Google.  Of course it’s not.  Just.  Stop.   I don’t need your help.

are canGoogle:  “Oops.  Sorry.  I fucked up.  I’ll shut up and – “ARE CANDY CORNS GLUTEN FREE?“”

OMG, stop it, Google.  They aren’t even called “Candy Corns.”  What is wrong with you?

are cannibals h

No.  Just…  I didn’t even mean to type that “H” and you’re all “You know who’s a cannibal?  Hamsters and hillbillies.”  That’s so out of left-field.  Where are you getting your information?

are cannibals al

First off, albinos are not cannibals and why are you even saying that?  Frankly, it’s offensive.  And your fifth suggestion is  “we are all cannibals”.  Because I don’t think we are.  Same for hamsters and hillbillies and albinos.  Just stop making assumptions.

Who is teaching you this?

are cannibals aways

My God, Google.  Who did this to you?

are cannibals always meYou know what, Google?  The first one?  I’ll give you that.  But then you move straight to “Are cannibals always meerkats“.  Is this what you’re doing with your time?  Is this the question you think we’re asking?

Someone hurt you, Google.  Someone hurt you.

 ******************

And now, the weekly wrap-up of awesomeness:

madebyroundtablecompanies 2

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-awesome:

Shit you should buy or steal because it’s awesome:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by the fantastic Crumple + Toss. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and you know what that means: a bunch of ugly, lame cards that offer no acceptable sentiment for your special someone! HOORAY!  Crumple + Toss to the rescue!  Even if you want to just tell a friend they rule so hard. No one said we had to sit in front of Netflix with oreos alone, y’all.  (My personal favorite.)