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Day 28:

I don’t really have a blog post in mind, but I’m coming to say that I’ve been working on my novel which has let me forget about this project. So yay! on the one hand, and boo! on the other. I mean, yay because I’m actually making good on my novel, but boo because I’m so close to the end of this camp nanowrimo question of the day project that I feel like I’m failing. Okay, I have some time so I’ll look up a question on the google and see what happens. Be right back.

Do you talk to yourself? What kinds of things do you discuss?

Source

I am unable to shut up. I mean, there are times when I can’t think of things to contribute to a conversation, but there are a LOT more times when I am unable to stop talking. About everything and usually it’s embarrassing.

If I’m talking to myself, I’m usually either acting in a movie or accepting and award OR I am full on owning someone in a verbal altercation. None of these things have worked out the way I’ve imagined them, but I have to keep sharp.

If I’m talking to other people, I am full on in on a conspiracy theory within minutes. I realize that this places a lot on the shoulders of the people I’m with, but that’s just how I roll.

Conspiracy theories are my favorite, whether I’m full on in or debunking them. There’s so much research and thought that goes into them on both sides, so If you want to or not, I’m usually talking about them to you at a party and asking you questions to gauge what side you’re on. These topics include but are not limited to: the Paul is Dead thing, and if you want my thoughts, it was originally a joke thing that the Beatles, mostly John, decided to play on their fans with help from all kinds of people, including the Stones and then the Manson murders happened and they had to go on record saying that they had never put anything subliminal in any of their songs or records and that was that. But Paul was never dead and replaced for real, but they thought it would be funny to create a theory about it. There is WAY too much evidence to convince me this wasn’t a real hoax. This is my favorite conspiracy and I will talk about it for hours if anyone is interested. What else do I like to drunkenly discuss? Larry Stylinson. It’s real. It just is, look it up. What else? OOH the moon landing!! Okay. This obviously happened but the debunking of the whole thing is fascinating. Also now that I think about it, the whole moon sounding like hollow tin? I’m down with these theories. I don’t believe in them but I’m so interested to hear others that do and why they do. ALSO, 9/11 being an inside job. I’m not 100% sure on where I stand on this because there are things that don’t add up. And I’m seriously on this Russian scam that’s happening now in the US and globally to be honest even though I don’t know that much about what’s happening outside of my own country’s nightmare. But listen, my grandpa was a die-hard democrat who enlisted in the Navy and was yelling about the KGB and the Russians since I’ve known him (he died 2 years ago and got a posthumous letter of gratitude for his service signed by the orange plague and I need to remedy this and write to Obama and see if he’ll rewrite the tribute. I can’t have my grandpa done so dirty). Anyway, was the original conspiracy theorist in my life and he was SO convinced the Russians were behind the republican base, and we’re talking Reagan era, that seeing everything coming to light makes me high-key paying attention.

Anyway, now that I’ve said too much… What are your favorite conspiracy theories? AND if you want to talk to me about any of these, the Paul is Dead one I have any leg to stand on as far as research, talk to me!!

Either that or I’ll be over here talking to myself.

Day 26:

Earlier today, I came across a question on one of those old facebook surveys that we used to fill out and then post in the notes section or whatever it was called way back in the beginnings of facebook before the Russian bots and racist family members took over and ruined it all. And this question I found has awakened this memory that might as well have been Eternal Sunshine‘d out of me, but now I so vividly remember fondly that it’s today’s Camp Nano: Question of the Day. Day 26.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Once upon a time in my foolish early 20s, I had a friend named Ijah who lived way out in Sylmar, which feels really far away when you live in Studio City and have an old car that doesn’t have a/c in it. Ijah and I were in a band (I know, this is what I do, I make bands with people and then don’t learn how to actually play music) and we would practice in her garage, and by practice, I mean, Ijah playing piano and singing really loud and me writing songs and pretending I could play guitar.

Me in Ijah’s garage pretending I could play guitar.

Ijah wasn’t your typical, early 20s, Southern California girl. She was loud. She was brash. She ate the apple all the way through, core, seeds, stem, all of it. She drove like a maniac. She walked around naked. She once got fired from her job and still showed up the next day in uniform and clocked in and started working until they sent her home. She had bright red hair that was completely natural, it just grew from her head that way. And to top it all off, she wore these really not in style, wire-rimmed glasses. Non-ironically. And we didn’t even say that back then.

During our garage band practices, we would practice for about 15 minutes and then we’d usually end up doing other things like drink tea and have her mom read our tarot cards and then we’d go explore Sylmar on foot. Sylmar is actually where the high school scenes of Encino Man were filmed so if you want an excuse to go watch the movie again, here’s your excuse. You’re welcome. Anyway, Ijah and I would just walk around and talk about stuff, people we were crushing on, the band, I don’t even remember, actually.

I remember one day we were at the bottom of the hill that went into her neighborhood and we didn’t want to walk back the whole way, I remember it was really warm that day. An ice cream truck slowly passed us with that music playing, so we ran up to catch it and flagged it down. We bought some ice cream cones, I think mine was strawberry for some reason, and then Ijah bribed the guy to let us hop on the back of the van and take us up the hill.

Okay. You know how they won’t let you do a bunch of adult things when you’re young like, rent a car? Well, this is why. Young adults don’t make good decisions.

The ice cream dude waited for us to hop onto the bumper and grab on to these poles that were on the back of the van and then the music started and we were off. I was on the driver’s side, meaning that my dominant hand, my right hand was holding an ice cream cone while my ridiculously weak arm was trying to wrap itself around the pole and not fall. My left arm was shaking and I could feel my Chuck Taylors sliding off the metal bumper as we started climbing the hill and I kept trying to scooch my feet back closer to the van, but this was a normal sized bumper so standing sideways, one foot in front of the other was as close to scooched as I was going to get anyway.

We were probably only going 15 miles an hour, but it’s uphill. I have ice cream running down my elbow on one arm, the other one is trying to keep it together and not let us fall us, while whimsical, ice cream man, clown music is playing the theme song to my bad choices. And I’m sweating.

It was the longest 2 minutes of my life and I don’t know how I didn’t die that day, but life lessons were learned. One of them is that I am not as cool or carefree as a tardy Marty McFly, and especially when he was that werewolf and got on top of that van to surf.

Day 25

I just came across a question for Day 25 of Camp Nano: Question of the Day that makes me want to write a short story. Except, the Freeway Series (Angels and Dodgers, go Dodgers!) is also on and I keep getting distracted, so if this posts tomorrow, now you know why. (I wrote this yesterday and then today was the Mueller thing and so THAT thwarted my motivation, and I was so caught up on my Nano numbers too!!! and now, I’m hopelessly behind.) Okay, so let’s go. I’ll never make up time sitting here with a glass of rose’ watching Ellen’s Game of Games. Let’s do this.

15. How Would You Quickly Dispose Of A Dead Body In A Hotel Room?

source

Let’s lay this scene out. Where is the body? In the bathtub?? Where?? Should I be wearing shoes? Is there blood? Is this like a murder scene? Do I have anything to do with it or have I been entrusted by a friend to get them out of a situation…? Is this a set-up? Am I being set-up? Okay, make sure to leave no fingerprints or loose hairs or cigarette butts, I have watched way too much Dateline to be a fool in this game.

Um, well my first inclination is to stuff the body in the bed like in Four Rooms HOWEVER, the body would be found and eventually, there would be a situation in which, people would want to know who put a body in a mattress.

Um, well my first inclination is to stuff the body in the bed like in Four Rooms HOWEVER, the body would be found and eventually, there would be a situation in which, people would want to know who put a body in a mattress. Could we fake the death? Like, that would buy us a bit of time wouldn’t it? Like throw it out of the window or something?

Okay, who’s the dead body? If this is a Clue situation, do we pretend they’re drunk? Make out with them when the police arrive? OOH! Could I frame someone? Do I wrap them up in the shower curtain and throw the body into the back of the trunk of the victim’s car and then mop up the blood and then throw them into the lake???

Remember when that woman was found in the water tank in that Los Angeles hotel? Was that ever solved? Oh my god, I don’t know. Here’s the thing, you gotta make it look like an accident and you gotta hide all evidence that you were involved. Those guys always get caught though. Maybe hide the body down the … laundry shoot? No, won’t work. First of all, I don’t think hotels even have laundry shoots anymore?

Here’s what you have to do. If you’re not going to blow the entire hotel up with the boiler like the book version of The Shining SPOILER ALERT, then you have to either dump the body and entire car and all towels and evidence in a swamp, OR you have to be smart enough to stage the whole weird scene in the elevator beforehand like with that exchange student from Canada or wherever that was found in the water tanks after days of other hotel stayers complaining that the water tasted funny. Make it look like a haunting.

But then how do you get the body from the hotel room into a 20 foot tank or however big? Without anyone noticing you’re carting a body around??? Do you Weekend at Bernie’s the body up to the roof on a golf cart? Back to Dateline, let’s Dateline THIS. How!! How do you get a body ALLLLLLL the way up into a tank?? Because, I haven’t had to pick up a dead body even (If you don’t count any hamsters *sad face emoji) but I HAVE had to try to pick up a toddler in the middle of an epic breakdown and if a dead body is anything like a three year old that is mad and self-thrown on the floor of a restaurant, well, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.

I really wish people won’t call me for this, because as much as I wrote about the perfect murder in 6th grade (Stabbed with an icicle. Then it melts without fingerprints. I mean, right???) However, I don’t have the ability to stay cool under pressure. If questioned, I would fold like a fish or accordion or whatever that idiom is.

What would you do? AND If someone asked you to hide a body, would you? I think I totally would, I mean, the drama! Right??

Day 15: Hollywood

We’re going to rein in what is quickly becoming an angsty diary instead of what was supposed to be a fun Camp Nano project. See? This is what happens. I overshare and then I get anxious that I’ve overshared and then I don’t want to share anything because I figure that the whole world now hates me and wishes I would shut up. But we’re in the middle of this project and I still have a ways to go. So let’s pretend my 15 year old emo self was never even here. Camp Nano project: Question of the Day. Day 15.

What fictional character is amazing in their book / show / movie, but would be insufferable if you had to deal with them in mundane everyday situations?

source: here

Character tropes are fun. As a writer, you get to flesh out a “person” into a 3d living, breathing entity, the quirkier the better. As readers, we get to get inside this character’s world. Hang out with them. They seem really cool and we want to be friends with them. Maybe it’s the “manic pixie girl”, maybe it’s the “tortured artist”, maybe it’s not a character in a book at all! Maybe it’s the stand-up comedian, maybe it’s a rockstar, or a movie star. Personalities set to 11.

I lived in Los Angeles for 21 years up until last summer. I love Los Angeles. I love the culture of Los Angeles. I love the people in Los Angeles. And a lot of people in Los Angeles have hiked their personalities to 11. Sometimes, it’s wonderful, other times, it’s plain awful.

Los Angeles doesn’t exist on the same plane as anywhere else. Possibly NYC but I can’t speak to that as I was only there once for like a day, although I’m going to assume it’s still not. My outsider view of New York is that people don’t put up with your nonsense. People in Los Angeles encourage it. A whole town of people encouraging other people’s dreams. It’s glorious. To an extent. And let me preface this with saying that this is young Hollywood. This is “haven’t made it yet” Hollywood. Once someone gets a touch of fame, people come out of the woodworks to grab onto their coattails and instagram selfies with their new bff, and leverage their relationships to build up their xp points. (Did I use that reference right? I always hear the kids playing Fortnite or Sea of Thieves or something and yelling to their friends about xp points. I think I’m right. Let’s go with it.)

Then there’s the middle tier people and a lot of them are amazingly wonderful and just trying to do a job but a lot of them would also drop you like a sack of potatoes if need be. Then the absolute worst ones are the ones that have bought into their own fame whatever level that is. And then you get the STARS. The people who don’t think twice about picking flies out of your wine for you and rubbing lipstick off your teeth in the middle of a sentence and envy that you live in an apartment. And not one of these people act like your standard midwesterner. Even though most of them are from there.

My favorite are the two on the ends of fame; the haven’t made it set, and the famous that doesn’t need to act famous set. Obviously, I’ve met and known a significantly higher number of the never made-its. But the innocence of both sides of fame is fascinating.

A few years ago, my kids and I were at a neighbor’s birthday party. It was in a party room at the Dave & Buster’s at Hollywood and Vine overlooking the black carpet premiere of Ghostbusters. I wish I would’ve taken a picture of it, but when there’s a movie premiere or an awards show, they close Hollywood Blvd to traffic, (obviously) but people can still walk the Walk of Fame and the stores are all still open, but it’s all barricaded off and they put up bleachers and big fake walls that say E! on them or whatever and make Hollywood look glamorous, and limos are rolling up and glittery gowns are stepping out onto the carpet that’s covering up the boulevard and cameras are rolling and big lights with filters are making everything look perfect. But what you don’t see on tv is that 10 feet behind the wall that say Chris Hemsworth is being interviewed in front of, the guy that actually works Hollywood Blvd dressed as Miss Piggy is puking into a trash can next to a dj passing out club flyers to tourists in fanny packs. And none of this is probably new information, but to have an aerial view of it, split screen and in real time is AMAZING.

The other time I remember noting the dichotomy of Hollywood was a few years after I moved to LA. I went with my friend to an audition to be a phone sex operator. And I’m sitting in this office building with other voice actor hopefuls with an unobstructed view of the Hollywood sign. It felt VERY Pretty Woman.

I haven’t even answered the question yet, this is how I get when I think about Hollywood. Anyway, all of this to say that there are a lot of people that would make great characters that live in LA. I had a neighbor who was a clown and she would answer the door in a clown suit and she drove an uber. I don’t know if she combined the two, but it’s Hollywood so it could go either way. And then there was the girl that video recorded everything, every conversation she had and claimed that she was was friends with Ray J and he wanted to produce her reality show. That was like 10 years ago, I’ve never seen her on tv.

I hung out with artists and comedians and writers and actors and some of them have actually found fame. I’ve been at those parties in West Hollywood with all of these personality to 11 people, you’ve seen those parties. Someone runs by naked, and others are sleeping in the bathtub, while someone is playing the guitar on the toilet, and people are painting in the corner and there’s loud music and everyone knows everyone and people are talking about their scripts or their headshots. The kind of parties that you see in movies about Hollywood. They’re real. A nerd like me has been to a bunch of them. And they were fun. But much like characters in book or a film, most of these people don’t stick around for longer than their story. Sometimes I’ll see one of the people I know back then on tv, or scrolling tumblr, there’s another one holding an emmy. But we never bonded over friendship the way you normally do. We bonded fast and quick like a makeshift family because we all came here alone. And we all supported each other in our dreams and then our dreams took us on a different journey.

Then there are the ones that are the embodiment of wacky love interest, unconventional girl in some movie written by a dude. These girls are a hot mess in real life. All of them either move back home , wind up in jail, or are dead from an overdose in 6 months. Let this be a lesson to all my Hollywood hopefuls, don’t ever allow yourself to become a trope out of some guy’s version of romance. Hollywood will eat you alive.

Los Angeles. I love you with my whole heart.

Day 11: The Hurting

Day 11 of this Camp Nano project was thisclose to being about baseball because I have A LOT to say about the importance of the meaning of baseball and because of the Angel game last night and the tribute to Tyler Skaggs being more magical than a scripted movie about the the tribute to Tyler Skaggs written by and starring Kevin Costner could possibly be, and I still have a LOT to say about it, but it felt cheap to use that as a talking point today. So I sat on it. And I did my day, which included petting puppies at a wine tasting and I thought I would just not write anything today, take a day off and try again tomorrow, and then I was scrolling tumblr and saw a post about Songs form the Big Chair, the sophomore album from Tears for Fears hitting the #1 spot for the fifth week in a row today back in 1985 and I became that meme of the dog with the birthday cake that focuses in on his eyes like he’s having an existential crisis. So we’re going to leave the baseball romantics for another day and focus in on my pain. Like birthday cake dog. Welcome.

What album defines your childhood?

source: Probably buzzfeed or a myspace quiz

Songs from the Big Chair is THAT album for me. I was 8 nearly 9 when, according to a tumblr post, this album was the #1 album in the US however many years ago today.

One night in August 1983, my parents sat at a restaurant with my sister and I while they signed divorce papers. I was 6 (or 7? but the math on this isn’t adding up and I’m tired and I hate it because I always assumed I was 7) anyway, I was tired and I didn’t know what adult things they were up to and I just wanted to go home, so I threw the only fit I remember throwing out of “teenager” age. We ended up leaving the restaurant, because of my dramatics and we all got into the same car and a few minutes later, as Metro by Berlin played on the radio, we slammed into and then went over the hood of another car in an intersection near my dad’s new apartment.

I will be 43 in a few days and while I know full well none of it has anything to do with me AND it was like a hundred years ago, I’m not lying when I tell you that I still feel somewhat responsible for the car accident, my parents’ divorce, and ultimately, the entire breakdown of my childhood.

Yeah, I know.

So what does this have to do with Tears for Fears? you ask?? NOTHING and everything. My dad was always into the newest, coolest trends, music included. And he had been playing this album called The Hurting by this new band called Tears for Fears for awhile at this point (of the car accident). And I remember learning that Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal (the Tears for Fears guys if you didn’t know) met each other at school and they both came from broken homes and supposedly a whole bunch of The Hurting album was about dealing with your parents’ divorce which became REAL relevant to my interests.

I loved listening to records with my dad. He had his finger on the pulse of music while my mom was listening to old Wings albums and Journey. Now, listen. If you know me, you know how I high I place Wings in “greatest bands of all time”, but when you’re 7, 8, or 9, 10, etc, Wings is at the bottom of the cool barrel. Journey was even lower. I also had a lot of resentment towards my mom because of the divorce but that’s a whole other book.

In Summer of 1985, Everybody Wants to Rule the World was the song we were all singing, from my best recollection. My sister and I, along with a boy named Jamie from Iowa that I had a crush on, and a few more kids I can’t even picture, were all in some kind of summer day camp babysitter situation and the only things I can remember from it are Jamie from Iowa who I was going to marry, us being teased by a bunch of boys because we (my sister and I and another girl) weren’t in training bras yet, and walking through some wooded areas looking for an abandoned house that had Farts in a Can on the shelves. Oh, and singing Everybody Wants to Rule the World as we walked around and balanced on logs like we were in a movie, and it seems like it was unsupervised. It was the 80s. My mom, who had, up until the divorce, been a mostly stay at home mom, had to get a full time job which meant we went to babysitters. I hated it and I felt anxious and socially awkward the whole time I was at someone else’s house and thank god I had my sister with me. I VOWED if I ever had kids, I would never make them go to an all day babysitter. This, by the way, was the beginning of the worst of my childhood when I was with my mom, and the best of it when I was with my dad.

My first concert ever was September 8, 1985 when Tears for Fears played Red Rocks in Golden, Colorado. My mom was livid that my dad took my sister and I to our first concert claiming that my dad didn’t even like Tears for Fears. And then to one up him, she took us to a Berlin concert with her then current boyfriend.

And when I listen to Tears for Fears, I get this sense of calm. Like a hug from my dad’s dimly lit living room that I’m going to be okay. That someone has my back. That I don’t have to protect everyone all the time.

I don’t feel that feeling very often. And I talk about it even less. But anyway, not to bring the party down…

What’s your favorite album? How did it define your childhood?

Day 9: The Internet

The internet. (To be said with a deep sigh). Day 9 of Camp Nano Question of the day and I’ve decided to tackle a question that is currently a source of my mood. I woke up today and for no real reason, I felt, and still feel like I don’t want to deal with the internet. No, it’s not the internet, it’s social media. It’s such an invasive drain on my emotional and mental health and it has been and I know this, but I don’t stop because with the bad does come the good, and most times there is more good than bad, but at what cost? So let’s get on with it.

How long could you survive without the internet?

source: the internet

I grew up during an interesting time, one where we had computers in elementary school but all we could do with them was play games or type. It wasn’t until I was in high school that we ever got one in the house and we were one of the few because they were very expensive and kind of useless unless you were doing bookkeeping or playing Solitaire and Myst.

The internet arrived sometime in the early 90’s on floppy drives through the mail. And then you were charged by the hour. We didn’t have Google back then, Yahoo wasn’t a thing, there was no such thing as a search engine. You just put your disk in the drive, punched a phone number into your modem, waited awhile to see if you could connect and you had one homepage to direct you to your mail or a chat room. And you had one hour. The timer was set. I think it was actually less than that. I think you got 25 hours a month and then they would charge you by the hour. I remember I had a friend in high school get ADDICTED TO THE INTERNET and it was this big scandal because her parents got a $900 bill from Compuserve. “And who spends that much time on the internet?! What could you possibly do?!

25 hours a month, can you imagine?? I spend 25 hours a day on the internet now. And it wasn’t even that long ago. I remember in the late 90s when Colgate got a website and we were all like, “Why would Colgate need a website?” and one of my friends goes, “Well, there goes the internet. You know it’s not cool anymore when corporations get onboard. It’s going to ruin everything.”

Overall I think the internet is an amazing thing. People know more about the world, people are able to connect with people all over the world. It’s made more of us more socially aware, more politically aware (or misinformed…), it allows us to to connect with the world and information and our passions in ways we never had before.

There’s also a lot of bad about the internet and mostly in form of whatever drew me to it in the first place. Social Media. It wasn’t called social media back in the day, and it wasn’t the horrible place it’s become. It was fun, it was supportive, it was a creative outlet. When MySpace happened, I went from using the internet a couple of times a week to using the internet a couple of times a day. It was addictive. Everyone you knew had their own mini website! What a cool way to keep in touch with everyone and to let them know what you were into, what you thought was cool, what song you needed them to hear immediately upon opening your page. But it was still safe because you controlled it. You were in complete control of the information you chose to take in.

Soon everyone moved to Facebook. I remember this vividly. I had a Facebook back in 2006 because my sister-in-law was in college and she knew my love for social media and invited me in. That is when I became Colgate. This was back when it was meant for college kids only and you had to be invited to create a page. I was 30 and everyone was still on MySpace so I didn’t even try to figure Facebook out. Until 2 years later when I was alone on MySpace because everyone had jumped ship to the next biggest thing. Facebook.

At first Facebook was alright because you still had to actually go to someone’s page to interact with them. But then Facebook decided to Twitterize and soon, you got to read every single thought everyone was having, every single moment they were having it. All day. And you would scroll and scroll because you had to know why Sheila was having such a bad day you weren’t allowed to ask about it. And everyone you have ever known was there airing their dirty laundry like a soap opera in real time. It was addicting.

You got to know people in an intimate way that you never got to before. It was very voyeuristic. But there’s a limit to everything. My social media breaking point came in 2010. It was the mid-term elections and republicans swept up a bunch of seats in the house and senate giving them a majority. I am very liberal and I have a lot of liberal friends, but I also have some conservative friends, probably not as many anymore, but that’s the environment we live in now. But back to 2010, I could not believe the casually racist things I was seeing out of people in my “friends” from Facebook that just escalated from Obama’s first 2 years that when the GOP took over majority I was done with facebook for awhile. And actually, to this day, I have never gone back completely. For the past nine years, I log on to Facebook to say something that makes me laugh, scroll the suggested posts until I see one that makes me want to hit my head into the wall and then I close the app. In doing so, my mental health has skyrocketed when I didn’t even realize it was so bad. I was so angry at everything. And hurt by things I perceived as slights. I hated people. I took mental notes of who was liking what and whether or not they were liking my posts. And now I don’t even know. I can’t be bothered to care. And it’s so freeing. But even in limited form, I keep going back.

My husband got a new phone a few months ago and never installed the Facebook app and he says he feels so free. And he never had a Facebook problem. Can you imagine?? Not going on social media???

I keep ALMOST getting to the point of ditching Facebook, but for one, my birthday’s next week and you know how popular you feel on Facebook on your birthday, it’s like you’re the prom queen! Also, who’s going to laugh at my jokes if I ditch Facebook? Nobody else thinks I’m funny. How am I going to know my friend from college, Benilda died if not from an ominous post from her page talking about it in first person from the afterlife? How else will I get invited to join a pyramid scheme?!

What do people do without the internet all day? What are you going to get mad at? The outside? Well, actually, I am able to curse the outside quite a lot. Like right now. It’s too hot and I have to go to the store. I don’t want this.

I don’t see myself ever going internet free. Not even social media free even though I have cut way back. I keep going back because I miss the fun parts of social media. The good parts. The seeing friends part. But I can’t get as invested as I was. It’s not good. It’s even worse than your parents getting a $900 bill from Compuserve.

Day 7: Girl Meets Rider

Oops. I forgot to do Day 7 because yesterday (day 7) I was so worried about the appraiser from the bank that came into our home this morning and I was on Operation: Hide all Undies and Other Signs that we Live Here AND it was also the MLB All-Star Game and well, I didn’t finish this one. I’m going to try to do two of these today. Day 7 (pretend that it is) is exciting because this is basically how I live through all my relationships. If we’re friends, I’ve already assigned you a tv show character. Or a Beatle. I don’t make the rules. I do make the rules, actually.

If You Had To Compare Yourself To One Fictional Character, Who Would It Be?

Source: I don’t know.

My biggest problem with this question is that it says to chose one. I have several. This is one of my favorite sorting systems. Some of you use Harry Potter houses which I find fascinating and also confusing because I have only seen the first couple of movies and I never read the books and I’m kind of overwhelmed with the whole research needed to understand it and the closest I have ever gotten to using the houses as a personality measure is when I’ve told my husband to “stop getting all hufflepuff” over something. I don’t even know what hufflepuff means in the Harry Potter universe but it’s now become an actual word in my house that roughly translates to getting all worked up over something ridiculous. Which actually, now that I think about it, maybe I can’t learn the real meanings of the houses because “Hufflepuff” has its own life living as an adjective in my house and I’m sorry, JK Rowling, that’s just how it is now.

I’ll extend this out to to two posts because I have a lot to say about all of it. And I don’t think I’m going to properly answer this question because I have grievences to air. Day 8 will be categorizing everyone I know, but today, I’ll chose the one. If I was pressured to hone it in, a narrow it down or die situation type thing, I’m going to have to go with my fave, Lucy Ricardo. Because, number one, the schemes. Two? Being celebrity obsessed. Three? Looking like a fool a lot. Four? Stubborn. And! I can’t believe I almost moved on without mentioning this!! I’ve had a real life I Love Lucy episode happen to me. You remember the episode where Lucy sees William Holden in the Brown Derby? Well…

Summer of ’97, I had just moved out to Los Angeles (to be a rockstar) and I got a job at a retail store at Universal CityWalk. The store isn’t there anymore, it’s now a Sephora, but before that, it was this really cool bookstore/gift store/cafe called Upstart Crow.

Me (glasses), Claudia (blonde, owner), and Vanessa (the Ethel to my Lucy) at Upstart Crow during New Years Eve Y2K and kind of a little drunk and scared that someone was going to try to bomb CityWalk, because security told us to be on the lookout for suspicious people or unattended baggage.

So back to the story, sometime in ’97 or ’98, I was standing behind the register and there was a guy looking at the bestseller shelves right in front of me and I swore I knew him. And I could not for the life of me figure out how. So for like 15 minutes, I followed this guy around the store because it was killing me, where did I know this guy from???? Did I go to high school with him? (which would be weird because I went to high school in Colorado). I couldn’t figure it out.

A bit later I went out on my lunch break to the patio that was part of the cafe. So I’m out there, minding my own business, reading my romance novel, eating my mac & cheese and I could feel someone staring me down. I look up from my book and it’s the guy. He’s at the other end of the patio, sitting at an empty table staring me down. Creepy, but yes! He knows me too! Right? I’m a little thrown off because he’s staring at me, like intensely and purposefully staring me down. He obviously came out to sit on the patio with the sole intention to stare me down. So, I try to ignore it and go back to my book when it hits me. I don’t know this guy from high school. No. I know him because he’s Shawn Hunter on Boy Meets World and I’ve just completely been a creep following him around the store and he’s now paying me back. I got Bill Holdened by Rider Strong. I felt my face go red, I slammed my book shut, grabbed my lunch while simultaneously dropping my fork onto the concrete with a loud klank and spilling what was left of my coffee onto my shirt. I ran inside the store and hid in the back corner until my coworker assured me that he left.

I wish I could tell you that this embarrassing part of my LA story ended there, but it did not.

Most nights after a closing shift, my coworkers and I would drive 5 minutes up the road to Bob’s Big Boy where we would hang out for hours and laugh and eat french fries and drink multiple cups of coffee. I lived a very wild life. So a couple weeks later after the “incident”, we’re at Bob’s doing our thing, when the entire cast of Boy Meets World walks in and sits in the booth behind us. And I am once again eye to eye with Rider Strong. I tried to play it cool like I didn’t even see him, but I did. And so did all of my friends who have heard this story about 75 times. And whether he remembered who I was or not, I totally swear he was staring me down again and I wanted to disappear forever through the crack in the light brown vinyl booth I was on. Which I might’ve. Or maybe I fainted, or astral projected out of there immediately, who knows, but I could not tell you how that one ended. I have seriously blocked it out. Because it’s awful. And it’s all I think about now when someone mentions him or the show or bowl cuts.

I have never felt more hufflepuffed in my life.

Day 6: The MySpace Survey

Way back in the 2000s, I spent way too much of my free time filling out those MySpace surveys and tagging friends or whatever we did to make sure our friends read them, commented on them, and then also did the surveys. And that’s kind of what this Question of the Day project I’m trying out for Camp Nano reminds me of. And I LOVE IT. So today we’re doing things a little differently. Let’s roll back to a simpler time, a time when I could make you listen to whatever song I chose to autoplay, a time before social media became the worst place in the world.

Name: Amy
Birthday: July 18
Birthplace: Denver
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Brown
Height: 5’6
Right handed or Left handed: Right handed. But this just made me think of a story my great-grandma used to tell us. When she was in school, they used to hit her hands with a ruler if she tried to write left handed. So she actually could write with both hands. This was back in Scotland though so maybe that’s a Scottish thing or she was lying to us. Both scenarios are highly likely.
My Worst Habit: Procrastination
Zodiac Sign: Cancer
Shoe Size: 6.5
Pants Size: I’m a medium in lounge pants. I don’t know how that translates in real people pants.
Innie or Outie: Innie.
Parents Still Together? Nope. They got divorced when I was 7
The Shoes You Wore Today: my black Skecher running shoes.
However, I would like it on the record that I don’t run unless I think I’m about to be murdered.
Your Weakness: Physical strength.
Your Fears: Being murdered
Your Perfect Pizza: Cheese pizza. Especially if it’s from Barone’s in LA
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: Finally finish that novel
Thoughts First Waking Up: I don’t know that they’re thoughts, but I’m usually cussing out the cat.
Your Bedtime: Around 10:30 or 11. I’m an old lady now.
Your Most Missed Memory: I don’t know that I have one.
FRIENDS AND LIFE
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? An old Hollywood era diva so I can dramatically throw myself upon the staircase at the slightest inconvenience, complete with fur lined dressing gown and a sparkly chandelier
How Do You Want To Die? Well I know how I don’t want to die and that’s murdered in a cabin in the woods.
Who Makes You Laugh The Most? This is when you need access to your friend list so you can answer based on who has you in their top 8
Who Have You Known The Longest? I have a friend named Heather who I’ve known since we were 2 years old
When Have You Cried The Most? When my sister died. This is a boring answer.
What Is The Best Feeling In The World? Laughing
Worst Feeling? Anxiety.
Where Do You Want To Live When You Grow Up? In the house with the dramatic staircase and the chandelier
If You Could Change One Thing About You What Would It Be? The anxiety thing.
FINISH EACH SENTENCE
What a nice young man!
Where did all the cowboys go?
Silly, little snails
Never under any circumstance open that drawer.
I wish that people still did these surveys
Everyone has a secret
I am tired.
HAVE YOU EVER
Been In Love? Yes.
Been To Juvie? I had to go to juvie court once to act as a witness against the girl from Notre Dame High School that stole my car. She didn’t show up because she was in labor. This is a true story.
Mooned Someone? No on purpose
Been Rejected? Yes
Ran Away From Home? Once when I was like 8. I packed a bag and ran out and hid in the backyard for like a half an hour and then came back in because it got dark and I was scared.
Skipped School? No
Slept Outside? I have blocked it out if so.
Laughed So Hard You Cried? That’s the best way to laugh
Cried In School? Probably
Thrown Up In School? I threw up on the school bus in like 1st grade or something. It was embarrassing.
Wanted To Be a Model? I did. I went to the Barbizon School of Modeling too. I am not a model.
Cheated On Someone? No, unless you count board games, because then yes.
Done Something Really Stupid That You Still Laugh At Today? That pretty much sums up my 20s
Seen A Dead Body? Only at a funeral and I’d like to keep it that way.
Drank Alcohol? I’m 42
Smoked? I did I quit like 12 years ago when I found out I was pregnant
Eaten Sushi? Nope.
Been On Stage? I have! I was in choir AND I was a nerdy theater wanna be kid in high school. I failed every audition.
Gone Skinny Dipping? No! I don’t know what’s swimming around down there and the last thing I want is something touching my butt.
Shoplifted? Yeah. But it was way long ago, please don’t call the police.
Been Beaten Up? No. Surprisingly.
DO YOU
Sing Well? No. That doesn’t stop me.
Shower Daily? No.
Want To Go To College? I’ve been to college but sometimes I do want to go take some more classes.
Want To Get Married? I am already married, but here’s some life advice. Skip the big expensive wedding. City Hall it and use the money you saved on a down payment for a house.
Believe In Yourself? Sometimes
Get Motion Sickness? Yes.
Think You Are Attractive? Only under very specific circumstances in the bathroom mirror at like 10 pm.
Get Along With Your Parents? I do.
Like Thunderstorms? Sometimes.
Play An Instrument? I do not.
Own An IPOD? I actually do. I think it’s a second or third generation. It’s turquoise.
Pray? Only if I think I’m dying.
Go To Church? I’m not religious.
Sleep With Stuffed Animals? Only when they’ve made their way in with one of my kids in the middle of the night.
Keep A Journal/Diary? I used to. I reread them recently and that was a mistake.
Dance In The Rain? No, usually I’m running inside
Sing In The Shower? I do

Alright, that was long and probably boring which is likely the reason no one does MySpace surveys anymore. Okay, I did it, now it’s your turn.

Day 5: In the words of Harvey Dent, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Day 5 of my Camp Nano project: Question of the Day. I’m enjoying this little project. I feel like it’s keeping my brain active, writing-wise without bogging it down in the details of all the things keeping me frustrated about the novel itself. So on to today’s question that I saw on Pinterest like 75 times so I have no original source. I think it’s one of those questions though, that manifested itself into being like a mist of self-reflection.

Do you consider yourself to be the hero or the villain of your own story?

source: Pinterest mist

I like this question because I think it’s the ultimate theme to my unfinished, above mentioned novel. Because everyone sees themselves as the hero, right? I mean, that’s what they say. Everyone identifies as the hero. But what if we’re wrong? What if we’ve burned every bridge in town for the dramatics, because we think we’re taking a stand against injustice, but maybe also because we’re leaving. Because if we don’t down burn all the bridges as we leave, we have to face the reality that we’re walking out alone. That life will go on exactly the same without us and not one person will notice.

I don’t know where I’m going with this exactly. I think that while we all identify with the hero, we’re all secretly scared we’re the villain. We’re so scared that someone will notice and call us out on our abhorrent morals so they can cast us as the new villain for the pitchforks of the community, that we are one accusing sounding question away from throwing the first stone. And regardless of all of it, I think if we’re trying to insert ourselves into the story in the first place, we’ve already chosen to be the villain whether we recognize it yet or not.

My son is the biggest Star Wars fan I’ve ever met and has been since he was about 4 or 5 years old. So, probably because I have had a Star Wars movie on in the background for the better part of 6 years now, I have noticed some things that parallel my current thoughts, so pardon my rudimentary Star Wars analogy that someone’s probably going to tell me I’m wrong about but, I don’t care. I can easily block out rude opinions on Star Wars so save your breath unless you genuinely want to have a proper discussion about Star Wars philosophy. Unless it’s about Jar Jar Binks. This is a Jar Jar Binks-free zone.

And, as you know, if you’ve ever taken Philosophy 101 or an English Lit class in college, Star Wars is an epic example of hero vs. villain and self-insertion into your own story. And if you haven’t seen Star Wars and don’t want spoilers, stop reading. Okay, so jedis, or is jedi already plural? I don’t know, I’m not going to look it up. But! The force finds them. They’re not trying to be heros, you know what I’m saying? They just are. They already have the force and instinctively use the force for good, like Obi Wan and Yoda* and Rey. I mean, Luke wasn’t looking for the force, he just wanted to go Tosche Station to pick up some power converters! but it found him anyway.

And then you have Anakin. I’m going pause here to deep sigh and eyeroll about how emotionally RIDICULOUS and DRAMATIC all Skywalker men are. And it’s specific to the male Skywalker gene. Anakin’s mom? Sacrificed herself for the betterment of her son; didn’t whine. Padme? Sacrificed herself for the betterment of whiny baby Anakin and baby Luke’s future; didn’t whine. Uncle Owen and Aunt Baru? Took in baby Luke only to be sassed at by him and his whining and then burned to their deaths; didn’t whine. Leia? A goddess; told everyone to stop whining. But the Skywalker men? Anakin, Luke, and the worst of them all, Kylo Ren? They all need naps and a reality check.

Now that that’s off my chest, where were we? Oh Anakin. Now, the force found him, same as it found Luke and Rey and the rest I imagine. Anakin wanted it too much, though. He wanted the fame and recognition and found himself burning in lava. Villain. Kylo Ren, wanted the fame and recognition, ended up gutting his dad. Villain. Also, both of them wanted to choke out Luke and I get that. I do. However, we let Luke live because he made better choices. Until he didn’t, and a Skywalker fit was thrown. And people died.

And here’s the point I’m trying to spit out. Everyone can be a hero, but when you start deciding that you need the recognition and the fame and all that for your heroic deeds, you’ve become the villain by default. Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t redemption. Look at Anakin/Darth Vader. When he chose to help Luke rather than sacrifice him for the clout of it all, he hero’d out of his villainy. And then he died. And then was worshipped as a villain anyway. Karma, dude.

*Stop it now.

Day 4: The Bucket List

I woke up from a dream this morning and in it, a woman older than me was squatting down in front of a bench crying because she had just found out that she was dying in a couple of months or days or something and she goes, “Well, there’s 10 minutes of my life I wasted crying and I can’t get back,” and then she said she didn’t know what she wanted to do with the rest of her short life and asked me, if I found out I was dying in a couple months, or even weeks, what would I do? So I’m going to take this question from the dying lady with the messy hair from my dream and use it for today’s post.

If you found out you were dying in a month, what would you want to do with the rest of your life?

source: Dream Lady

Part of me would want to actually do all the things I’m afraid of, like camping and traveling and ordering a pizza over the phone and deleting Facebook and wearing a swimsuit in public. But then there’s the realistic part of me that thinks that things would probably stay the same. I’d probably sit around all day in my lounge pants watching stuff on tv like I Love Lucy and When Harry Met Sally while I scroll through the internet like I’m getting paid by the hour. And I’d probably still yell at the kids for fighting and the dog for barking and the cat for waking me up at 6am. And I most certainly wouldn’t clean anymore. I’d need to delete my internet history and probably go through my things and burn the diaries I wrote when I was 16 but kept so that my loved ones could find one day and publish them when I die once they realized the genius prose and intellect I exhibited at such a young age. Unappreciated in my own time, and all that. But here’s the thing, I read one of them about a month ago and spiraled into a week long depressive state of shame and embarrassment that anyone knew who I was at 16. So I’d burn those. I’d make a point of hanging out with as many friends as I could get to answer my texts, and then I’d drive to California and put my toes into the sand again and drink wine and talk about things that excited me with my friends and I’d go look at the Hollywood sign, I’d hike right up to it. Well, no, that’s a lie. I wouldn’t. Snakes and fear of the law would stop me. But I would go see it. And I would walk down Hollywood Blvd and still not make eye contact with the Superman and Miss Piggy (they’re not the real thing, don’t buy into their scams). And then I would go back to the beach again and put my feet in the sand. And I would close my eyes and listen to the waves and the seagulls that I’ll probably have to fight off later and I would feel the sun on my face. I would drink and laugh with my people again.

It sounds ridiculous and corny because the first thought I had when I thought about this bucket list question was traveling and seeing the world and all the stuff that people put on their lists, but I think that I would just live the life that I know. With the people that I know. And the places that I know. In my non-pants pants. I would hug my kids and my husband and my family and my friends. I would see and experience everything that makes me happy. Nothing new. No skydiving or roller coasters. No rock climbing or bungee jumping. No thrill seeking. I want to feel love and security and hugs. I want to talk about thoughts and ideas and jokes over candles and wine and brie. I want to sing and dance badly and laugh.

And yeah, if I found out I was dying, I would probably cry crouched on a bench with messy hair like dream lady. I would allow myself those 10 minutes. And who knows, in 30 or 40 years, I might have a different view on my life goals. And hopefully Dream Lady wasn’t giving me a death sentence, because jokes on her, I made a deal with the devil to live a million years so, sorry Dream Lady.

I don’t know how to end this because I feel like I’ve left us on a really strange note. This is way more serious than I ever want to be and that’s as embarrassing as my 16 year old me journals. Go back and read this in glitter gel pen voice. And instead of this, I should’ve just finished my draft from yesterday about dogs and cats. So… I’m going to go drink a glass of rose’ and pretend this blog post doesn’t exist. Hug your people. Do what you love. Ignore what you don’t.

End scene.