Looking at DNA from someone who knows absolutely goddam nothing.

If you don’t do genealogy ignore this post.  Also, I’m not a reporter so this is just a blog I wrote at lunch.  Not a fact-checked news story.  Please don’t ask me DNA questions because I don’t know what the shit I’m doing.  I didn’t even spell-check this because I have a deadline on something else I’ve been procrastinating but if I don’t write this now I’ll forget.


I am a bit addicted to genealogical searches.  I’ve traced some family members as far back at the 1600’s and (if records can be believed) I have in my family a wide range of reprobates, farmers, immigrants, traveling preachers, prisoners, and a Native American chief who was famous for putting curses on people.  But of course records can’t really be believed because everyone has in their family a hidden adoption, or a child that wasn’t by the person they claimed it was by, or someone who changed their identity for some reason, not to mention all sorts of stories made up to cover the terrible (at the time) things that no one wanted known.  And it was very easy to hide until DNA testing became available and suddenly everything changes.  But this isn’t that story.  That’s going in my next book.  Probably.  This is just a thing I was looking for when I did my Ancestry DNA test and it didn’t give me exactly what I was expecting.

I gave my parents DNA tests last Christmas (not a good present if you think they might not be your parents) and turns out that they are my parents.  YAY!  But my DNA ethnicity estimate wasn’t what I expected.  It’s not an exact science since different siblings may inherit different DNA from each parent so I knew it would be a bit iffy, and it’s even more off because the part of Bohemia my dad’s family is from is in the venn diagram between Eastern and Western Europe that is never listed as a real place when it comes to ancestry stuff.  But it gave me some weird stuff I didn’t expect (and possibly could have been erased from our family history since there were more prejudices when my family came to America) and there were some things I’d wanted to find but didn’t. Like, no Native American DNA but technically it was so far back it might not have shown up anyway.  But where did all this Irish come from?  And my mom was crazy Irish on her test.  And there’s African and Jewish and it’s just small amounts, but still…weird.  Like there are stories out there from ancestors that I don’t know and desperately want to.

(Note: If you do your genealogical research fully and look for the real stuff instead of just the nice stories told to you by family, expect to find a shitload of bad stuff. Relative marked as “dead” who are actually in prison, relatives who were slaves or indentured servants, relatives who were slave-owners, relatives who died in mental institutions of the same problems you have.  It can be a bit traumatic if you’re not prepared.  Just be aware that the stuff written in the family Bible should be taken with a pound of salt and keep in mind that you make your own future and you are not responsible for your distant ancestors tragedies, failures or successes.  At best they are stories to learn from.  And if you do DNA research expect to find people you should not be related to but are -and vice versa – because flings happened even in the “good old days” and that’s life.  It can be a bit jarring though and it happens way more than you would imagine.  In fact, some of the DNA sites specifically let you opt out from knowing who you are related to because it might be upsetting to you.  Personally, I think it’s fascinating but I found a relative I should not have been related to and it was a bit hard on all sides to realize that your ancestors are far more complicated than you ever imagined.  That’s another story.)

Aaaaaanyway, in 2015 I did my DNA test on Ancestry.com and it came out interesting but not entirely what I expected so this year I did my DNA test on 23andme.com to see if I’d get the same info and it was close but fairly different.  The 23andme.com test is more expensive but also tells you if you’re a carrier for some diseases, special traits you might have, etc.  I’d wanted to know how the test differed so I thought I’d share some of my results with you in case you were trying to decide which one to do.  Also, note that your DNA report can be updated as they get more information or refine their testing so it can change a bit each time you look at it.

According to Ancestry.com this is my approximate estimate of my ethnicity:

33% Great Britain

26% Eastern and Western Europe (Where they overlap is Bohemia/ Czechoslovakia.)

19% Irish

17% Scandinavian

1% African

1% European Jewish

1% Middle Eastern

1% Italian/Greek

1% Iberian Penninsula

Today I got my 23andme results and this is my approximate estimate:

28% British and Irish

21% French and German

2% Scandinavian/Finnish

20% “Broadly” Northwestern European (Counties rimming the North and Baltic Seas)

17% Eastern European

4% “Broadly” Southern European (Sardinia and the Iberian, Italian and Balkan Peninsulas)

7% “Broadly” European

So basically they both say “You’re pretty European” but they certainly aren’t an exact match.  The Ancestry test breaks it out a bit more and I’m not sure if it’s more accurate but there it is.  What was interesting is that the 23andme test also gave me a bunch of other data about how I’m probably not a carrier for the diseases they look at (Whoop!) and gave me a list of a lot of weird traits and such that are somewhat true but not entirely.  Like they say I’m probably not lactose intolerant and my bowels would disagree heartily.  They were right on eye color and facial features and lots of other traits and variants though.

These, however were a few of my favorite things that made my DNA unique, according to 23andme.  I should point out that I am not making these up.  They are direct screenshots from my report:


This doesn’t feel like something I should want to succeed in.


Some people have natural rhythm or perfect pitch..  This is my gift.  Apparently.




Disagree.  I’m very attached to my earlobes.


NO, YOU ARE.  (Is this an insult?  I don’t even know.)




Finally, some good news.

In the end I preferred the Ancestry.com test because it seemed more accurate to me and I got more DNA matches to other members I was able to contact and share information with, but the 23andme test was cool too.

But what do I know?  I’m mostly Neanderthal.  Apparently.

Playing with toys.

I’ve been making a lot of tiny models lately because when I’m feeling stressed I can focus on the tiny little world in my hands rather than the terrifying and sometimes overwhelming one outside.  I usually make ferris wheels that I leave in parks but this week I moved to a slightly larger model because I found an AT-ACT and I thought maybe Victor would question me less if I ended up with a something that he could play with.

I can’t figure out how to embed it but click here to see a 30-second video of me making it.  Including putting the legs on backward and then having to rip them off and start again.  (Inadvertently starring my boobs.)

But apparently Victor is too cool to play with toys so I decided to play with it.  And it was awesome because it was SO flexible.













You are never too old for toys, Victor.  Just takes a little imagination.

PS. People always ask where I get my stuff so it’s $14 right now.   But Amazon changes up the prices a lot so if it’s more than $14 when you click on the link then ignore.  Also, it looks a bit plasticy for my taste so I’m antiquing it but all I had was brown paint and now Victor says it looks “like it fell in a turd.”  Always a critic, that one.

And that’s why you can’t trust vampires.



And that’s why you can’t trust the vampire patriarchy.

PS. If this is confusing to you you should start here.  Or just ignore.  Totally up to you.

You can be anything you want to be. Unless you want to be a vampire with a vagina, apparently.

So, if you’ve been following the ongoing vampire scam saga you know that it’s still continuing even today and that ZuZu Petals isn’t being allowed to buy tainted blood bags and is now being blackballed from the Vampire Lord Brotherhood.  (If this seems weird then you probably haven’t been reading the updates in the last 12 hours so go here and catch up.)

I assume this is all because I pushed my Feminist-Agenda a little too hard and the male-dominated Vampire society is now running scared and is discriminating against me and my imaginary dog, so I’m going undercover to see if I can get some vampire blood by posing as a man.

This man:


Also, I’ve been asked for LadyHood of Vampires merch so here you go:



Also available in flasks, notebooks, journals, and shirts.

All proceeds go to dismantling the vampire patriarchy.  The usual.

UPDATED.  Click here for a whole lot of bullshit.

UPDATED: I’m gonna be a vampire. Maybe.


I always get spam comments on my blog about weird stuff like voodoo spells and contacting the dead, but a few days ago one came in telling me that I could become a vampire.  One of my favorite things to do with these sort of comments is to actually respond and see how far I can take the conversation into the strange and ridiculous.  Usually I only get one or two emails back before they give up and realize I’m not actually going to give them my personal information and/or money but this one went on longer than usual so I decided to share it.  (You can click on any of the screenshots to embiggen.)

The original comment:


I was a little concerned that the word “vampire” was misspelled on their email address but vampires aren’t known for spelling so I still had hope.   The following is a direct screenshot of our conversation.  I used my ZuZu Petals account because I’m pretty sure you don’t give your real name to people who might be vampires..  Also, I was late-night drinking when I wrote some of these responses, so please forgive the typos.

Here you go:





It’s been 12 hours since the last response so I think I may have scared him off.

I’ll keep you posted if me and Lil Schnitzle get in.


I kept everyone updated on the vampire situation via twitter:







And I thought that this would mark the end of my adventures but THEN I GOT ANOTHER EMAIL FROM THE VAMPIRE LORD.  Coming as a complete surprise to everyone involved, he wanted money.:

My response:



To be continued…

It’s been 24 hours so I suspect I’m being ignored by the vampire lord but I’m not giving up so easily.  Email I sent tonight:




No response so far, but Lil Schnitzel hasn’t given the dream up yet.


To be continued…

UPDATED: It’s been 12 hours and I think ZuZu is being blackballed.  But I’m not giving in that easily.  Click here for the next step because this post is getting too long.

And you can tell everybody that is your song…

Yesterday I wrote about how 2017 is going to be The Year of the Pillow Fort and you were all in so we’re gonna need a bigger fort, or probably just good internet connectivity since most of us are too introverted to leave our own homes. And in the spirit of encouraging ridiculous laughter about very stupid things no one else gets, I’d like to nominate this as our song of the year.

Turn down your speakers if you work in an office. Or turn them way up because it might mask the sound of you laughing hysterically. It might just be me.

PS. Victor says it probably is just me, and he’d appreciate it if I stopped blasting this song and doing the robot in his office while he’s on conference calls but I believe in sharing the magic.  Also, I’m not doing the robot.  I’m doing The Cabbage Patch.  Just, really, really badly.

Welcome to 2017…The Year of The Pillow Fort.

Hello, and welcome to 2017.  This year is going to be good.  Sometimes.  Sometimes it’s going to suck.  But I’m in a good place about it in that way where you’ve broken up with someone and you’re finally feeling okay until a sad song comes on and suddenly you’re doing the ugly cry and drinking too much and calling your girlfriends who later think maybe they should have an intervention but then don’t because your fucked-up life is a very entertaining thing to talk about and it’s keeping the gang all together.  Wait.  I forgot what I was talking about.

Oh!  Right.  2017.

So I am proclaiming this year The Year of The Pillow Fort because I am officially insulating myself from the pointless bullshit of life as much as possible.  And while I’m in the pillow fort I’m going to do some things to make life better.  Things like heroin.  Wait, no.  Not that.

Things like finishing the book that I’ve been staring at with anxious paralysis whenever I start to doubt myself.  Things like making one good decision a day.  Things like walking away when someone on the internet is wrong.  Things like waking up before noon and seeing the glorious, ridiculous and fantastic things that are happening all around.  Like yesterday I saw this kite stuck in a tree and I thought, “Wow.  That’s…really pretty.  And probably it super-sucked for someone but look at this lovely accidental art installation that was created from utter disaster.”  Then I decided to take a picture of it to remind me that fuck-ups can be beautiful and so I got out of my car to take a picture but while I was doing it this dog ran past me really fast and it scared me so I turned around and apparently he was being chased by this other dog and I accidentally kicked that dog in the face.  Then I felt really bad and I was like, “OH MY GOD.  I AM SO SORRY.  COME HERE AND LET ME PET YOU BETTER” but he just glared at me and kept chasing the other dog so I guess he was okay.  This story doesn’t wrap up well.  I should have stopped before the dog-kicking stuff.


Long story short, I’m still going to be a total fuck-up but I plan on being a slightly different version of fucked up and if things get scary I’m going to hide in my pillow fort.  The one in my mind.  And also in living room most of the time.  And you are invited too.  And when things get scary, and they will, you can come hide with me in the pillow fort of my mind.  It’s going to be messy and crowded and there are gonna be a lot of animals and books and leftover chinese food in there but there is always room for you.  Come on over.

Welcome to 2017 you beautiful, broken things.




Hello!  And welcome to my birthday!  This post almost didn’t happen because last night the visual orbs that show up right as I fall into a depression started closing in and this morning I felt horrible, but then suddenly it all went bright again.  Welcome to my broken and unpredictable brain!

So I’m writing this quickly since my serotonin is real asshole and I want to get it all down in case this happiness is a trap.

So for my birthday I got juggling balls because I’m not talented enough to tap dance and juggling seems like the next best thing to be able to do to entertain people at parties when you don’t want to have awkward small talk with them, but turns out that to juggle you need to be able to both throw and catch things and I can’t do either, much less at the same time.  You’re supposed to start with just throwing a single ball back and forth (which is the least impressive juggling) and I dropped the ball half the time and then I managed to hit myself in the face with the ball hard enough that I suspected I’d have a black eye.  But I don’t because my balls are soft and that’s good because no one’s going to believe “No, no one is abusing me.  Honestly, I just punched myself in the eye with my ball.”  Unless they know me, in which case they’d be like, “Well, that sounds like you.  At least it isn’t two black eyes because those things usually come in pairs.  Balls that is.  Not eyes.  Although they come in pairs too.”  In their defense, people who hang out with me are weird and also awesome.  And sometimes imaginary.

Basically when I’m juggling I look like those otters that play with rocks.  You know those otters?  Hang on.

200w_d-1 tenor raw-3 raw-1 giphy

This is why otters are my favorite animals ever.  I’d like to go visit some today because I live next to Sea World but I can’t because I saw Blackfish so I’ve been avoiding it, but I just heard that Sea World was discontinuing their whale stuff so can I go now?  I don’t know the rules anymore.  I wish Sea World would call and say “Sorry about that whale stuff.  We didn’t know.  We’re fixing that shit now.  Wanna come play with otters?”  Because, yeah.  I totally do.  Also, it’s my birthday so you can’t yell at me for saying I want to go snuggle otters.  You can say “Totally do that!” or “Um…I wouldn’t if I were you” but you can’t yell at me.  (Strangers on the internet are laughing intensely at me right now for this logic.)

There’s actually a place in San Diego where you can swim with otters but they (for real) won’t return my calls.  Probably because they know I’ll sneak out with some otters and I’ll be like, “Oh, this lump in my swimsuit?  That’s a growth.  How rude of you to ask.  Now you made it embarrassed and it’s running away.  Like growths do.”

Anyway, if you want to do something for me for my birthday you can either leave a comment with something on it that makes you happy because it makes me happy to see you happy, or you can go buy one of my books.  For you or for someone else.  And then when your spouse is like, “What’s this charge on the credit card?” you can say, “Oh, I had to buy a birthday present for someone” and they’ll be like, “Wow, I’m glad you remember all the birthdays because I suck at it” and you’ll be like, “I KNOW.  YOU OWE ME” but really the gift is going to you.  EVERYONE WINS.  And if you already have my books then you can preorder the new one because half of it is drawings I made and you’re going to need several because you’ll either color them or rip them out and pin them on the wall and then you need another copy that you can lend to friends.  That’s how books work.  I think.

Thanks, y’all.  Happy birthday to us.

Stay afraid. But do it anyway.

So…Carrie Fisher has gone to the great beyond.  And I’m sad.  But also happy.

Let me explain.

Carrie Fisher wrote honestly about her battles with mental illness and inspired me to do the same.  She was strange and funny and kookie and weird and broken and fascinating and I was always following her.  Literally and figuratively.

When I’m on book tour I spend a lot of time with drivers who take me from airports to bookstores to hotels to new cities.  They usually work for the book companies and they see all sorts of interesting people in their work so I always ask them, “Who is the best person you’ve ever driven?” and “Who is the worst?”  I always promise not to share the worst but frankly there should be an entire book written by drivers who have seen entirely too much of the worst of people (because it is fascinating) but my favorite stories are always the ones about the best people.  I’ve probably asked over 100 drivers who their favorite person they spent time with was and so far only a single person has been mentioned more than once…Carrie Fisher.  She’s a favorite of a lot of them and every time I hear her name I settle back for a wonderful and strange tale.  Each driver had a different story.  Some were entertained by her wild personality and crazy tales.  Some were taken on bewildering and wonderful adventures with her pointing the way to some strange place she wanted them both to go.  Some found themselves revealing personal and difficult stories to her because she really wanted to know and didn’t have a filter when it came to asking questions.  One driver told me she asked him to bring sacks and sacks of barbecue to her hotel room at midnight and then wouldn’t let him leave until he’d visited with her and the other people she’d picked up along the way…hotel maids, taxi drivers, old friends.  Then when she’d had enough she wasn’t afraid to say, “DONE.  I need sleep now.  Everyone out.”

The Carrie Fisher stories were my favorite.  And every time I heard them I’d lean back onto the same seat she’d ridden in and think about how one day I’d tell her what she meant to me.  I never did, and now it’s too late.  But I know she knew how much she touched others, and maybe she heard stories about me from those same drivers…about the odd girl with the dead animals on the covers of her books who loved hearing the Carrie Fisher stories because Carrie was always blazing a trail that made it so much easier to follow and speak out.  She never lost her battle with mental illness.  She lived a life.  A good one.  Flawed and honest and inspiring and filled with mistakes and lessons learned and shared.

That phrase.  “Blazing a trail.”  In real life it referred to pioneers marking paths with “blazes”, notches and arrows carved on trees to point the way.  But in my head it’s different.  Carrie Fisher blazed a trail by setting fire to everything blocking her path, to all the debris and overgrowth that stood in her way, leaving open ground behind her that made those of us following behind her so much easier.  She blazed and burned and lit the way for others.  She lived fully and touched many.

She burned brightly and I’m so happy I was able to see her fire….even if it was from a distance.

Image via fusion

Image via fusion

Thank you, Carrie.  For carrying the torch and for using it so brilliantly.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! Good things, mostly. Well done, you.

Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!  Jolly Festivus!  Insert whatever is necessary here!

I tried to count up all the toys and coats and books and blankets sent to children through this year’s Jame Garfield Miracle and I lost track after a few hours so I suspect it’s much more but I estimate that over $75k in clothes and toys were sent to children this year by our amazing community.  That includes over $25,000 in donations to Project Night Night to help homeless children.  (From Project Night Night:  “We are floored and so, so grateful!”)  I can’t share them for privacy sake but I’ve received so many pictures of small, beaming faces surprised with unexpected things under the tree.  You really are full of magic.  Thank you.  Thank you to those who helped and those who asked for help and those who stopped by to send love and encouragement.  In the last 7 years we’ve given over $400,000 to make sure that kids had a happy holiday.  No sponsors.  No marketing.  Just people working together for the good of others.  That’s insane, y’all.  

(And a very special thank you to a young lady who was herself helped during the very first James Garfield Miracle and who this year was so thrilled to be able to pass on gifts to a child in need.  Your email made me cry but in such a good way.)


James Garfield and I love you.


And now…time for the weekly wrap-up!



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


This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Melt: massage for couples. It’s an instructional massage video that teaches how to give kick-ass massages with a simple, step-by-step video guide. It costs less than one professional massage and you’ll have it forever with unlimited access. You can watch the trailer here.  Christmas vouchers are on sale today so if you fucked up and gave your honey a terrible gift you can go now and buy a voucher right here and be like, “I was totally kidding about that machete I gave you for Christmas.  THIS IS MY REAL PRESENT.  I’m gonna give you a bad-ass massage.  PLEASE PUT DOWN THE MACHETE.”  Seriously.  Put down the machete.  Pick up some massage skills.  We all win.