Annnnddddd….I’m back!

Look at me! I’ve been through a mid life crisis and I’m back now! Actually, I think it must have been a PRE mid life crisis because if it were a mid life crisis, I’d die at age 68, and I am hoping to live longer than that.

I soul searched, I climbed a mountain and meditated, I started doing meth, I went on a spiritual retreat, I did some experimental electroshock therapy, I balanced rocks and I created a Zen garden, and now I’m all better! Actually, no, I didn’t do any of those things. I didn’t even balance rocks which sounds like fun now that I’m thinking about it. What I did was lie in bed for very long periods of time wishing that my cat would stay on my bed with me instead of leaving every few hours. I also slept a lot. This gave me a lot of time to think about all the things that I figured were wrong, so let me say this right now, if you are planning on having a pre mid life crisis, the best thing to do is NOT lie in bed and give yourself time to think about all the things you are crisis-ing about.

In the midst of my crisis, my cousin Shannon needed to find a way to move all her belongings from Ohio to Virginia, and she did not want to drive a U-Haul. Being the experienced U-Haul driver that I am, I volunteered to drive it for her. And I really did drive one once, too. My friend Mary and I drove one from Cleveland Heights to Aurora to pick up a couch and a chair to put in my basement apartment that I lived in with Catharine. We got the stuff in the truck, drove to the apartment, and promptly got the couch stuck in the doorway of the apartment building. We didn’t know what to do, so we sat on the couch in the doorway for awhile. I can’t remember if I called my friend Jason who lived a few streets over, or if he happened to be walking by and saw us sitting on a couch that was stuck in a doorway, but either way, Jason showed up and shoved it through the door for us. So anyway, I clearly am skilled at driving a U-Haul. The problem was figuring out how to get me back to Ohio, because I certainly am not going to live in Virginia. I’m sure it’s nice, but it gets hot there, and I hate hot. Also, you know, it’s Virginia. I’m sure it’s very nice. Anyway. Getting me back to Ohio. Lots of plans and ideas, but we settled on Shannon buying me a one way ticket on an airplane back to Cleveland. I went to priceline.com and had William Shatner fight for my ticket price, and then naturally, I bought a one way ticket from Richmond, Virginia to New York City. This was when I decided I was going to take a vacation and go to New York City by myself. Yes, after I bought the ticket is when I decided. Don’t judge me.

So now I’m flying by myself into JFK International airport. Have I mentioned I’ve flown a handful of times in my life and most of those times had something go catastrophically wrong? The first time I was 5 and I had the chicken pox and my family was going to Disney World. My parents said “We had that vacation planned for months, we weren’t about to cancel it just because you had the chicken pox”. So I spent my Disney World vacation crawling on the floor of the hotel because I had chicken pox on the bottoms of my feet and couldn’t walk, and going to the Denny’s that was next to the hotel and eating pancakes. The one day I made it to Disney World I spent the entire time repeatedly riding “It’s a Small World” until my mom’s head was going to explode. And then my brother got the flu and threw up all over the place. I haven’t been to Disney World since.

The next time I flew I was 16 and we were taking a lovely Easter vacation as a family to Las Vegas, the holiest of all places to go on Easter. This is when I discovered I get motion sickness. Very. Severe. Motion Sickness. At a layover in Minnesota I freaked out, cried and begged my parents to either leave me in Minnesota or send me on a bus back to Cleveland, I absolutely refused to get on another airplane. Plans were made, bus schedules were looked at and then I was drugged, knocked out, put on the plane and the next thing I knew, I was in Vegas. Then a guy tried to give my 19 year old brother a prostitute flyer and my mom yelled at the guy and chased him away. And then we went to Circus Circus and my family dispersed all around the building and I was asked to leave because I was 16 and not with my parents, so I spent a good few hours standing outside waiting for someone to realize I wasn’t there.

I flew to Atlanta when I was 32, and with the correct combination of a stuffed Moose, Klonopin and Dramamine, I was juuussttt fiinnneeee. Oh wait, I flew to Vegas one more time before Atlanta. That was also a good combo of drugs and a Moose, and it featured noise canceling headphones. Steve, Mary and I took turns wearing them, and when Mary had them on, I ate a bite sized Hershey bar, and she turned to me and YELLED (she had no concept of how loud anything was with the headphones on), with a Southern accent (she’s not Southern and doesn’t remember purposely doing an accent), “YOU SMELL ALL CHOCOLATEY” on an otherwise very quiet airplane.

So what was I saying? Probably something about going to NYC by myself. Oh yeah, on an airplane by myself to one of the largest airports ever in the universe. By myself. Klonopin, Moose, Dramamine. I’m good. I hope my luggage doesn’t get sent to Haiti or something.

I have been taught how to check for bed bugs, which I had not thought of until I told Mary I was going to NYC and she said “But Darcy, what about bed bugs?” and now that’s all I can think about. If I find bed bugs, my plan is to gather all my things and run out of the room before any of the bugs can jump on me or my stuff, and proceed in a calm but quick manner to the lobby where I will yell “THERE WERE BUGS ON THE BED I CANNOT POSSIBLY STAY IN THIS HOTEL”. I will then proceed to a much fancier hotel and max out my credit card if I have to, because fancy hotels can’t possibly have bed bugs. I’m not exactly staying at a crap hotel, it’s a Hilton Garden Inn. Ok, technically I haven’t made the reservations yet, but that’s where I intend to stay. And the reason I will shout my preplanned sentence is because I figure they won’t charge my credit card for ditching my reservations if I yell that.

The moral of today’s story? Don’t lie in bed while you are having a midlife crisis, maybe plan out your vacations before you buy plane tickets, and never go to Disney World with chicken pox. And if you are a 19 year old boy and go to Vegas, don’t take my mom or she’ll yell at all the foreign prostitute card hander outers and embarrass you.

Leave of Sanity

To the five people who read my blog (thank you for reading my blog, five people!), I apologize for not posting anything lately.

I believe I am having a pre mid life crisis.

If I survive it, I can guarantee it’ll be funny as hell and I’ll write a great blog all about it, but until then, instead of falling into the trap of posting depressing, wallowing things about my life, I’m just going to wait until I can be somewhat funny again.

Don’t give up hope! Keep checking, or better yet, subscribe to my blog so you know when I’m sane (what qualifies for sane in my world) again and then you’ll know it’s safe to come back and read!

And I’m still not sure whether the proper title is “Leave of Sanity” or “Leave of Insanity”. My sanity has taken a leave, so there’s that. But I’m taking a leave because of my insanity. I’ll leave that up to debate.

Puttin’ on the Ritz

I was driving today and the song “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Taco came on the radio (yes, the radio – not Sirius, not my iPhone – the actual radio). This brought up horrible images from my childhood of the many things I was scared of that no one else was. One of them was, you guessed it, this song. And more importantly, robots.

Puttin’ on the Ritz sounds like it is sung by robots. Robots freak me out. So there I was, my little 80’s self, being terrified of this song that I assumed was being sung by robots. And then I saw the video. Go ahead, find it on You Tube. It’s horrifying. If I had any idea whatsoever how to put a link on here to the video, I’d make it easier for you. Rest assured, it’s terrifying, especially if you truly believe it is being sung by a robot to begin with.

Another song sung by robots that freaked the hell out of me? Crimson and Clover. And Boy George. Ok, Boy George is not a song and he does not sound like a robot, but I was terrified of him as well. I think I was too young to appreciate him – not that I appreciate him now, because I don’t, but I am less scared when I see him.

People don’t understand that they need to be very scared of robots, whether they are robots that sing, play games, dance, or whatever. Some day they will animate themselves and kill you in your sleep. Don’t give me this crap about the Zombie Apocalypse, it’s not going to happen because the robots will kill us first.

At At’s from Star Wars – terrifying. Horrifying, even. To this day, I panic when I see them. They are MUCH Larger Than Anything Should Be, for one thing. They move in a creepy manner. They fall dramatically and, once again, because they are Larger Than Anything Should Be, when they fall, it’s that much more terrifying. They look like they could almost be cute, like coyotes or wolves or cats or Falcor if you just look at their faces, but then you see their size, and the world feels wrong and your heart starts racing and everything seems the wrong size because they are LARGER THAN ANYTHING SHOULD BE. I have this same problem with parked construction equipment, but not nearly as bad. Also, dirigibles. Back to the point, At At’s are basically robots – sure, they have a driver inside their head controlling them, but what happens when they wise up and eject their driver and just do what they want? Do you think a few freaking zombies have anything they can do against one single At At? I was originally going to put an At At as the picture for this post, but I just couldn’t do it, so if you aren’t sure what they are, Google them.

For those of you who own the charming and entertaining RoboSapien – do you think he just sits there at night doing nothing while you are asleep? He’s plotting your death. And that robot they used to advertise from Honda or Toyota or something? That thing gets your mail for you, sure, but it also reads it and memorizes every detail so that it can not only kill you, but assume your identity as well. Then it starts wearing your clothes and acting like you, and no one ever realizes you are gone. And if you aren’t lucky enough to be killed by it, you end up being HIS robot butler and believe me, he will not treat you well. People will come over to your house and he’ll be hosting a party as you, and you’ll be serving drinks and finger foods, and you’ll try to convince people that you are human and they will be all “Wow, what a clever robot!”, and the robot version of you will then punish you later for trying to escape.

The Electric Grandmother. I saw it on tv when I was 6 or 7. Possibly 8. It made me scared of my own grandmother, and then I felt sad that I was scared of my grandmother and I cried a lot. All I actually remember about that movie is her serving a beverage from her finger, but she was a ROBOT. I distinctly remember performing tests on my grandmother to see if she was a robot, but there is no definitive test, that’s how much they can fool you. Ok, I totally just found a picture of the robot grandmother pouring a beverage from her finger, so I’m putting that as the picture for this post instead of Taco, which is what I had originally. I also just found out it was based on a story by Ray Bradbury, so that explains a lot.

All this is to say, Know Your Robots. If you suspect a friend or family member of being one, perform tests until you are sure. Do not buy robot toys or robot butlers, because they will kill you and take over your life. Be careful out there.

Cheesecake

First of all, I looked up “cheesecake” on Google images and this picture is one of the first that came up. If anyone can tell me what beach balls, a Vespa scooter, and a scantily clad woman have to do with cheesecake, you will get a prize. I can guarantee you that woman does not eat cheesecake and never has in her entire life. She might have taken a bite once, but I bet she threw it up. Also, it is unsafe to ride a Vespa scooter without footwear. At any rate, that’s what you get when you Google “cheesecake images”.

The first time I had cheesecake I was about 16 or 17. I went with my manager and assistant manager, and possibly some other people but I don’t remember, to…Olive Garden? I don’t remember where. All I know is that I ate fancy pasta and had cheesecake for dessert….and then spent the next two days throwing up. There was no doubt in my mind that it was absolutely the fault of the cheesecake that I was sick. I was extremely angry and vowed never to eat cheesecake again.

This leads us to a time in my youth when I ate Pigs in a Blanket and the next day developed strep throat. Guess what I never ate again? Obviously you don’t need a million years of medical school to figure out that Pigs in a Blanket cause strep throat.

Time passed, and I still have not eaten Pigs in a Blanket. I have, however, had strep throat since then, but I’m pretty sure it’s the lingering effects of the Pigs in a Blanket I ate when I was 6. I have eaten cheesecake. It took me a really, really long time. I think the first time I ate cheesecake was about two years ago, so that would be about 18 years with no cheesecake. To make up for what I missed, I have eaten a lot of cheesecake since then.

It is 2am, so I thought, hey, I should eat some cheesecake. I went downstairs and there happened to be one piece of cheesecake in the refrigerator. I didn’t know where it came from, but I didn’t care. My mom was in at her usual post, in front of the computer playing games on Pogo.com, so I said, “HEY. Is this cheesecake spoken for?” For the record, if the answer were “yes”, I would have cleverly cut off part of the cheesecake, making the piece smaller, but not noticeably smaller, and I would have eaten some anyway with no one being any the wiser. But the cheesecake was not spoken for, so instead I ate the whole thing, standing up in the kitchen out of my mother’s view so she could not judge me.

“Why are you standing up like a hobo? Sit down. It drives me crazy when you stand there eating standing up. And you never reheat anything”, said my mom.

“Cheesecake is not meant to be reheated” I responded.

“That was not my point, you look like you are about to take off running, sit down. Why do you take everything so literally?”

I didn’t sit down. I also misplaced all of the punctuation in the preceding sentences, and I don’t really care.

I never sit when I eat, I stand in the kitchen and get in people’s way. And it’s true, I don’t reheat things. It’s hard to believe, but I actually don’t eat frequently, so when I do, I want it IMMEDIATELY, so I just take something out of the refrigerator and eat it standing up. I’ve been called a hobo, a person with no class, a fugitive and quite a few other things, but nothing can deter me from eating while standing up in the kitchen. My lack of reheating things applies to cans of Chef Boyardee as well. Straight out of the can, no bowl necessary. I do use a fork, though, and not my hands, which I feel gives me some level of class.

I have been known to stab things with a fork, not cut them, and bite at them off the fork rather than put it on a plate and cut it like a normal human. I am unable to think of an example right now of what I’ve done this with. A sandwich isn’t really a good example because I do not eat sandwiches with forks. A potato. There you go. I will stab an entire potato and gnaw off of it like a hamster rather than put it on a plate, put it in the microwave, sit down and eat it with a knife and fork.

I have a theory about all this. My people (what do you mean, “you people”) (if you haven’t watched Tropic Thunder, that was lost on you. Also, you should watch it). My people were nomads, I believe. Think of how much this explains. My mom claims the Irish weren’t nomads, and my dad claims his kind of Jews weren’t nomads, they were from Cleveland, but there is some question as to whether or not I’m actually related to these people or not. I have no proof of that. Although I guess my dad is actually the grown up, male version of me, so there’s genetic proof right there. But he’s really good with finances and opening the mail, and I’m not.

Anyway, nomads. So I rock back and forth a lot, right? This is because at any moment, my ancestors may have been attacked, so the rocking motion provided them with good momentum to get a running headstart. If nothing was attacking, then they just rocked, waiting for something to attack.

Standing and eating, same idea. You never know when a wild boar or a member of an enemy tribe (perhaps the Jews or the Irish?) were going to attack, so if you were standing in the middle of your caveman kitchen, eating a potato off a fork and rocking back and forth, you were in the ideal position to take off running and still have your potato with you when you are ready to stop running.

Survival of the fittest. And everyone thinks I do these things because *I* am not the normal one. We’ll see about that when Armageddon comes and I’m the only one with a potato, running fast enough to escape the four horsemen because I had a headstart by rocking. Won’t you be sorry then?!

Let’s not even start with the fact that I now have two weapons – a potato and a fork. And if I don’t need weapons, I will plant the potato and rebuild society by growing potato shrubs. Or trees. Or whatever. What do potatoes grow on? Do they even grow or were they scientifically manufactured? Are they like crackers or like oranges? Potato trees, that is not something I’ve heard of too often. I’m not too sure about potato shrubs. ANYWAY, I will have one and whoever is left after Armageddon will have to make me their King because I will have the fork and the potato treeshrubbush.

I Am Not A Sellout!


Ok, so we all know I have issues buying books, right? I mean, I’ve covered that in other blogs. I now face the wrath of people calling me mean nasty names because I have a Kindle. This is my defense of myself and of the Kindle!

First of all, there comes a time when one has no more space for physical books. This does not mean one stops buying them, it just means one has to hide them in various places until one can find a place to put said books.

As I previously mentioned, if I like a book, I buy it on the Kindle AND in hardback, because I MUST HAVE BOTH. I want all my favorite books with me wherever I go, and I want to have the hardback on my shelves. And still, I get mocked and ridiculed and my status as a Book Person is questioned and even denied completely. There are tee shirts that tell me I am a bad person for owning a Kindle.

To the naysayers, I say…I say…well, I say something inflammatory and insulting, that’s what I say! Yes, I like having hardbacks, and yes, I have a ton of them. My dad’s exact words were “What? You put more books up there? The floor is going to cave in! Someday we are going to come home and find you in the living room when you meant to be in your room because you fell through the ceiling because those books weigh thousands upon thousands of pounds”. My response was that a) they don’t leave the house very often, so they aren’t going to “come home” to find anything, it will happen right in front of them; b) it will be my books that will fall through the ceiling, not me – I will probably have noticed creaking or a major dipping in the floor and I would have grabbed my cat and run by the time the floor actually caved in; and c) my library is not above their heads directly, it would just take out the couch and possibly part of the tv, so they really have nothing to fear. I digress.

I am more of a Book Person than someone without a Kindle. I can have as many books as I want at my disposal no matter where I am. Say I’m sitting in a room waiting to be interrogated by the FBI, and I’m with a Kindle-less person who mocks me for having one and not being a “true” Book Person. You know what I do? I take out my Kindle and read any of the thousands of books at my disposal while they sit there and watch me read. I will not deny that I must OWN BOOKS, but the thing that makes a Book Person a Book Person is that they READ THE BOOKS. Owning the books is a big part of it, but even bigger is the reading of the books. I can read more books at more times in more places than a non-Kindle user.

Are e-book readers going to put bookstores and real books on to the endangered species list? No! Duh! First of all, there are enough of us who MUST OWN BOOKS that we will continue buying them. Second of all, not everything is available as an e-book, unless you are my friend Tiffany who finds ways to make every single thing ever published be an e-book. Thirdly, the reason bookstores are closing is not because people aren’t buying books or because they are only buying e-books, it’s because Borders opens a store 2 miles away from another Borders, which is 3.5 miles away from another Borders, which is across the street from another Borders. Barnes and Noble does the same thing. They are competing with themselves, not e-books, and they are running themselves into the ground. They open more stores than they can support. So yeah, duh, they are closing stores. Not to mention, have you ever bought a book at Borders and then looked for it on Amazon.com? It’s always going to be less expensive online. I hate seeing any bookstore close. Well, I hate seeing any store at all close because I anthropomorphize things and think that the store must feel really bad and be sad that it is closing.

Now let’s look at a company like, oh, say, Half Price Books. This is where I say that yes, I am an employee of Half Price Books, but my opinions and comments do not reflect that of the company, they are only my own opinions and comments. I also don’t necessarily have facts, just guesses, as to why HPB is such a success. But my guess would be that it’s because we don’t open 45 stores in one year, all within 10 yards of each other. We sell awesome books for cheap. We sell out of print books that you can’t find at a new bookstore. You can find things at a Half Price Books that you haven’t seen in 35 years because we depend on what people sell us, and people sell us some cool ass shit. They also sell us some dead mice carcasses, spiders, and unmentionables – but mostly they just sell us really cool books. Because we aren’t dependent on brand new books only, people keep coming back because you just never know what you are going to find. It literally changes on a daily basis. Oh, and one time someone sold us a box that was filled with live mice who decided to Run Free when they got to my store. I’d be totally cool with a live mouse, or a rat, or a pig or a ferret or a cat or a hedgehog running out of a buy, but one time I was looking through a buy and there was a roach this big:

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I am not even kidding. I screamed like a girl and normally I’m not that bad, I can maintain my cool exterior while freaking out on the inside. But I screamed when I saw that thing and I had to run before someone smushed him because I didn’t want to hear whatever sound it made when it got smushed. And yes, there was flapping involved. Did you really even need to ask that?

So all that is to say, it’s not e-books putting anyone out of business, and I am not a sell out. Also, you should definitely check out the video that hopefully posted of my books, because it’s neat. I still have about four boxes of books to get onto the shelves, but that doesn’t seem like it is going to happen any time soon. Especially if I fall through the ceiling and land in the living room. My dad would be WAY pissed off if I fell through the ceiling and interrupted Judge Judy, oh my gosh. He actually probably wouldn’t acknowledge that I’d fallen through the ceiling until a commercial.