In twitter, much like life, there is no rhyme or reason

I’ve never noticed it before, but apparently now you can look at your Twitter Activity Dashboard to see which of your tweets are actually being seen.  I could already guess which of mine would be the highest ranked this year because I can see which ones get retweeted or favorited, but I thought I’d check to see if I was right.

According to twitter analytics, in the last 28 days I’ve had a few million impressions (Impressions = # of times people saw tweets).  That seems like a lot but I’ve written a ton, adopted a new member of the family, captured a possible ghost phantom on camera, joined Instagram, and live-tweeted an unexpected visit to a ghost-town where we were escorted by a bossy emu and several llamas.

I expected that my highest ranked tweet would be the ones I wrote during a particularly terrible night, because they were retweeted and favorited the most:

“90% of the people I know right now are falling apart physically or mentally this week. Be kind. To others and yourself.”

“You’ll get through this. I promise.”

Surprisingly, the actual tweet which blew everything else out of the water (according the analytics) was apparently much more important….

enchilda on plane

Conclusion:  Twitter is just as baffling as Facebook now.  Also, enchiladas are more dangerous than expected.  And now I’m hungry for enchiladas.  Thanks, twitter.

PS.  Seriously, does anyone understand the actual algorithms for Facebook and twitter regarding which updates actually get seen?  Why do I never see some of my friends updates but see others constantly?  Why do I see things on my timeline days after they’ve been shared?  Is it witchcraft?  Because it feels like witchcraft.

The perfect valentine: my heart in my hands. Literally. Sort of.

I always forget about Valentine’s Day because it’s not really something we celebrate, but this year I’ve decided to get Victor something special:

budget jumbo heart

It’s a jumbo bargain heart.

Because my love for Victor is enlarged and dangerous.  And also thrifty.

But then he saw it in my cart and was like, “WHY DO YOU BUY THESE THINGS?” and I was like, “WHY DO YOU RUIN SURPRISES?” Then he accused me of buying it for myself, which is ridiculous because I already earmarked something for myself for Valentine’s Day (because I didn’t want Victor to feel bad that he got something and I didn’t). It’s an anatomical ear.

“THE BETTER TO HEAR YOU WITH,” I explained.  Because love means listening.  Or something.  He was not impressed.  But I still think it’s an awesome present and one most normal people would treasure.

Then he was like “Why is there a sack of human bones in your wish list?” and I was like “FOR YOU, ASSHOLE.”  Although technically the bones aren’t for him.  I just put them in my wish list so that I’d remember to show Victor that #1, there are weirder things to ask for for Valentine’s and #2, I want to be best friends with whoever left this review:

Yes.  Very helpful.

Yes. Very helpful.

Victor didn’t think it was funny and I wished I had my anatomical ear so I could hold it up and say “I CAN’T HEAR YOU WHEN YOU’RE BEING ILLOGICAL.”

I also made a note that maybe I should buy that real human rib so when we have a fight and I storm out I can be like “WE’RE DONE.  HERE’S YOUR RIB BACK”.  Admittedly, this would make more sense if we were more religious but it’s hard to stay reasonable when you’re considering buying human ribs on the internet.  (Although, the price is very reasonable.  $10 for a human rib?  How do you even stay in business that way?)

My guess is that you get the customer hooked on ribs and then they move up to heads.  Because yes, now you can buy a human head on Amazon from the same people.  It’s $2k and does not qualify for Amazon Prime.  No reviews, but there is one customer question, which reads simply “Is it female? Is it Asian?”  I can’t tell if this is a fetish thing or not but I’m guessing so.  This is the same company that sells a grab-bag of real human remains, which is odd, but not quite as unsettling as “Kay”, the woman who told the seller that she had enough human teeth and wanted to make sure her grab bag had larger bones in them.  I think we’ve all had that problem, right?

No.  No we haven’t.

And that’s why I wrote this post.  So that Victor could read it and realize that compared to Kay I am a mighty fine catch.  And compared to the guy selling human ribs on Amazon, Victor is an amazing specimen.  No pun intended.  And I’m going to tell him that.  Because I have a big heart.

Or I will when it arrives in the mail.

PS.  Victor doesn’t want my enlarged heart so instead I’m buying this pig that Amazon suggested I would like.

pig

Amazon knows me better than Victor does.

The importance of checking when your copy breaks.

I sent my friend Cat a link to these tiny metal models I love to make.  This is what Amazon passed on to her phone:

harshAnd that’s why it’s important to test how much of your ad copy shows up on a cell phone.

PS.  The missing part: “…emble them and enjoy!”

Yeah.  That does change the tone a bit.

Seeing things

I’ve been sick this week with the same upper respiratory crap that everyone has, but then it got weird when I had an episode of what I thought was either a flashback, a detached retina or hysterical blindness. Basically there were blind spots and dark shadows all around, and then a snowy, glittery ball showed up in my peripheral vision and started moving across my field of vision.  It was like I was being stalked by a disco ball.

After a ton of tests my optometrist said she thinks it’s “migraine with aura”, which seems odd because I didn’t have a headache, but she explained that aural migraines don’t hurt, which seems sort of the opposite of what a migraine is.  The “seeing auras” thing is nice though because I think I can charge for that, right?  Want to know what your aura looks like?  Glittery.  Send me a dollar.

“Stay away from LSD” is the take-away here, I think.

I don’t have a good picture for this post but Ferris Mewler did a fairly strong impression of me in the middle of the episode:

"Are you guys seeing that?  No?  Ah.  Me either.  Never mind."

“Are you guys seeing that? No? Ah. Me either. Never mind.”

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