Questions I Found on the Internet (AKA Avoiding Camp Nano)

July 3rd and I’m on Day 3 of avoiding my NanoWriMo Camp. As you do. But I did consider writing today, and I promise myself and my camp I will work on my never ending novel this afternoon, but I have decided to brush off the old blog before I do because, you know, procrastination.

Also as a side note that bears mentioning but is in no way related, I haven’t written a post in so long, everything here is different. I don’t know what all these changes are to wordpress so I’m probably doing this wrong. I mean, I was doing it wrong before but now I can blame it on my inability to understand change.

Anyway, so in looking through my mess of notes for the novel I’ve been trying to perfect for years that is essentially just several badly named and organised google docs, I came across a list of random questions that I had saved long ago to maybe use as character prompts or scene prompts and I thought they would be fun to do as blog posts while I’m hiding from my novel, but I just realized that if I do these, I’m actually working on my novel, which YAY!! But that also means that now that I’ve made the connection, I’ll probably ditch this project in a few days soon as well. But this is a good idea because while a lot of these probably won’t actually make it into the story, they will definitely be good jumping off points.

On to it! Question of the day is:

Do you ever doubt the existence of people other than you?

source: someone somewhere on tumblr

I think everyone has at some point. Like I think that’s a philosophical bullet point everyone hits eventually. Like the time I thought I was a horse in a human suit in 3rd grade and then made an invisible trap in a tree to catch mean kids at recess. I mean, that’s totally normal kid activity.

And then there was middle school which we called junior high back then but no one says that anymore around here now so this is also another thing I may have imagined, anyway, I remember thinking that everyone was in on a joke that I didn’t know. And they were playing a game with me to see how far I would go before they broke me and could point and laugh at me. Like, the whole school was in on this inside scam to make me look foolish and I thought I could trick them because I figured out the joke. But I couldn’t figure out the joke, probably because in reality it didn’t exist. I don’t think. Because that would be a huge undertaking for a bunch of 12 year olds to plan and perfectly execute. I mean, right? This isn’t Carrie. Did I mention that I currently live with crippling anxiety?

And then when I got my driver’s license, I was so weirded out that I actually existed out on the road, like, other cars would have to actually stop if I had the right of way. And then I hoped they all saw me. That I really existed, they they actually could see me, and I wasn’t some ghost car traveling a deserted road at night in mist that local teens would warn each other about on sleepovers.

I don’t think I actually answered this question. Because as far as people not existing, I’m clearly more on the Bruce Willis end than the Haley Joel Osment end in this scenario. Spoiler Alert. If you don’t get the reference, don’t blame me if you google it.

So unless you mean like, ghosts, which yes, obviously I believe in them, then I’m not sure I have actually believed that other people didn’t exist. I mean I have wished for it. I’ve also wished that ghosts not exist, but that didn’t work out so well either and I ended up sleeping on a loveseat for a year so a ghost could have the bedroom.

Alright, off I go to work on the novel. Wish me luck.

Camp Nano Challenge Day 2: Shelfie

I don’t think I’m sure what this even means. Am I supposed to take a picture of my books on a shelf? A selfie with my books on a shelf? Listen, two things prevent this from happening. First of all, I moved over the summer and Marie Kondoed my all my books. Also Kondoed my bookshelf. I do have a few books left but my phone is at CAPACITY and will not even let me check my mail much less take a picture so we’re stuck. Trust me, I see the irony.

I can tell you what I’ve recently read, though.

I just finished He Said She Said by Erin Kelly. That was a fun book and a pretty quick read. I have Tosh by Tosh Berman and In a Time Never Known by Kat Michels on deck and I’m very excited to read them both.

I don’t have a whole lot to talk about today but I made a promise to myself I would blog every day this month. I’m mostly just upset that someone had the NERVE to unfollow me on facebook of all places after I blogged yesterday about how great I am. I must have intimidated them but they could’ve at least had the nerve to fight me in the streets like a proper nemesis. Unfollowing is fool’s business. I will find them and I will fight them.

This whole post is boring and I blame the challenge. What is a “shelfie”???? And in the event of a showdown with the above new nemesis, I’m going to need a posse. Do I have anyone’s support? This is a very serious matter, I have been provoked! My name has been soiled.

Now that I think about it, the unfollow may or may not have just been that girl I knew from college that might have died. There was a weird facebook post in first person around Christmas insinuating she was in the afterlife and we don’t have any mutual friends I can get the scoop out of. So, if it was her account being deactivated, lowering my friend count, well then I stand down. RIP Benilda. If not, challenge accepted.

Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?

If anyone knows me at all, they know that I own the entire Monkees tv series on VHS that I spent a ridiculous fortune on when I was dumb and broke and 20. Not only that, I own their tv special 33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee AND two copies of their masterpiece movie, Head PLUS a whole bunch of embarrassing stuff they did in the 80s. All of it on VHS tapes that I still own and will not part with even though can’t even watch them because I haven’t owned a VCR in 15 years. Sorry, Marie Kondo, but they do kind of bring me joy. I think. Not as much as if could actually watch them…

The Monkees was my favorite show on television, being rerun on MTV everyday after school at 4pm. I didn’t know they were reruns and I was planning to move to some beach in Southern California and marry a 19 year old Davy Jones. And while all my friends were obsessed with Madonna and Michael Jackson, I was learning the dance moves to She Hangs Out (probably around the same time Axl Rose was) and my sister, Julie and our neighbor, Kelly and I would go out and perform the Monkees’ dances for no one using the wooden frame of the house being built next door to us as our grand stage. In fairness, this was the 80s and no one seemed really that concerned about a bunch of preteen girls at a construction site dancing to The Monkees on unsecured plywood resting precariously 15 feet above a concrete basement hole. With rusty nails.

Best summer on record.

July 7, 1987. I was 10 years old for another week and a half and in my second concert experience ever, The Monkees (minus Mike) descended upon Red Rocks Amphitheatre and my mind was BLOWN, not only because Weird Al opened the show, not only because they rolled out in a bed, but a lot because Davy wasn’t 19. Like, WHAT???? I had been lied to!

My obsession for the Monkees didn’t die, but my marital plans changed a smidge when I discovered the Coreys and I started writing variations of “Amy Haim” in glitter gel pens on all my Pee Chee folders. (Spoiler alert: That “marriage” didn’t work out so well either).

Okay, skip ahead 10 years, I own about half of my above-mentioned Monkees’ tapes. It was a subscription service so I spent a literal fortune and got sent to collection several times over, ruining my credit because I was broke and subscription services don’t care if you pay them or not. They will send you to collections, ruining your life in overdraft fees but will continue sending you tapes. Thank god. Anyway, in the middle of all of this financial ruin, I packed up everything I had (mostly just Monkees tapes) into the back of an ’85 CRX and moved to Los Angeles, California where I see an ad in the local paper that they need audience members for a video shoot mini-concert of the Monkees at Universal CityWalk. “No Pay, but you get to attend the mini-concert and potentially be seen on camera”. Heck yes! 20 year old me and about 50 other people that were at least twice my age stood in the hot sun while Micky told jokes and Mike still wasn’t there and they played 2 songs over and over and over again and then they were done. And it was AWESOME.

I met another Monkees’ friend, Vanessa and once a week for the next 20 years we would get together and gossip and eat Jack and the Box and binge Monkees’ episodes. And once we went and saw a showing of Head at El Capitan Theatre (I think?) and Micky Dolenz was there and for some reason I can’t remember if we met him or not. You’d think I would remember this, we were so close to him and he was in a white hat and I just can’t remember. It must be stress induced amnesia or something.

And then Davy died and I cried for like a week. Probably longer. My heart was broken and then I got irrationally angry at Mike Nesmith when he decided that maybe now he would like to rejoin the band. Too late, Mike. (Insert “Atta boy, Mike” gif). And I never went to see the Monkees in concert again.

At that point, I thought I had emotionally detached from anything current that came from The Monkees, finally. And then I went on twitter today and saw “Peter Tork” trending and my stomach sank. And my heart broke again.

So today I’m going to just listen to Monkees’ songs all day and watch my Monkees’ dvds (I only have the first season, which is upsetting and I need to fix that) and, I don’t know, cry and be completely unproductive.

Maybe I’ll fire up a dance routine.

RIP Peter.

The Nineties

The husband and I started watching this series streaming on CNN (I think?) and it’s called The Nineties. The first couple episodes were about the television shows and how “the slackers of Generation X started driving what people watched, which is hilarious because I haven’t been called a Gen X slacker in awhile.

But then we got to the third episode; the music episode and I have several thoughts that I need to get down here somehow. I graduated high school in 1994. I remember when we got MTV. My generation, Generation X is the first generation that grew up with MTV. Generation X grew up with gaming systems. And computers in schools before we thought computers could be much more than a glorified typewriter that you could play video games on. Email was brought into homes when I was in highschool. But the most important thing to me and every single one of my friends was the music.

We grew up as the “slacker generation”. We were spoiled, latch-key kids, with no work ethic, raised on MTV, and ridiculed for losing, ridiculed for not having what past generations had (we did it first, Millenials. Stand down). And then we got older and got jobs and went to junior college and spent all our money on rent and concerts. Because music in the 90s was amazing and diverse and everywhere. And it was so accessible. And parents were trying to shut it all down. Nirvana and Green Day and weezer and Beck and Salt-n-Peppa and TLC, Kid N Play, Fresh Prince and No Doubt and BRIT POP!!! and now there’s this show on CNN of all places, documenting it all. And it doesn’t seem possible because it all happened so fast. Why would adults talk about 90’s music? Why are adults discussing Biggie and Tupac with sincerity?

And then you realize it’s because the adults talking about it with respect are us. The Gen X slackers. We kind of grew up when no one was looking. We somehow got wedged between the Baby Boomer/Millenial war with a little shelf talker that says “Reality Bites” on it as if that’s all we have to show that we existed. We were Reality Bites but we were also F*R*I*E*N*D*S and kids these days LOVE Friends. And that’s what we did. Instead of settling down and starting careers and having 2.5 kids, we hung out with our other single friends and worked crap jobs and laughed and listened to music. Oh and swing dancing. We did a lot of that too.

Anyway, watch this show! The forth episode is about the Clinton impeachment and if you don’t think you need to relive that now, in this day and age, you’re wrong. It’s horrifying to think that people that impeached Clinton are so…. relevant today. Anyway….

The Ghost of Christmas Past

So, I’m sitting here on the couch, minding my own business, scrolling tumblr before it gets shut down, you know, as you do and an old timey bell rang from the direction of my Christmas tree like I’m George Bailey or more likely Frank Cross or some kind of nonsense.

I’m the only person home and the cat, who I had hoped was climbing the tree causing disturbance, is asleep in the other room like we don’t have a Poltergeist situation happening here.

I have no non-paranormal explanation for my tree to be ringing, oh my god, what do I do?? My first thought was to pull up one of my ghost apps, but upon further reflection, I don’t really want to be inviting ghosts in to talk to me at all hours. Like, just a little jingle and I don’t respond, maybe old ghosty there will get the hint, but if I actively engage, I’m opening a whole world of the underworld and I don’t know that I want that. I saw Ghostbusters, I know how this plays out. 

If I ignore it, will the ghost get the hint and go away? Or will I upset the ghost and cause ghost dramatics? I don’t need drama ghost. Is it trying to tell me to be nicer to people? Am I about to witness my future death and how no one will care? Or did an angel get its wings? Both?? I’m so confused. 

Maybe I get over my fear and use it to my advantage and start asking it questions like it’s a Magic 8 Ball. Will I win a whole bunch of money soon, tree ghost? Ring once for yes, twice for no….

This probably means a bad omen. I haven’t heard of good ghost omens, except maybe for the bell ringing bit at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. I did hear a bell, so I will hold out hope until I’m ankle dragged down the hall in the middle of the night by a demon pretending to be a Magic 8 Ball angel. 

It could’ve also been the humidifier turning off. I hadn’t thought of that… 

Amy P.I.

I figured out what my dream job is. Old Timey Private Eye Detective. Like the kind that spied on people from a tree and then flashed a mirror to your partner in the ice cream truck down the street when the subject enters a building. You’d get your own office, your own cigar, your own voice-over. There’d be telling shadows, cool clothes, rain. My own jazzy theme song??? I hate the saxophone normally, but it’s essential to the overall scope of my vision, so, cue the saxophone emotive background music.

She smoothed her gladrags down her getaway sticks, and then lit a cigarette. As she opened her cherry stained lips from the kiss of her drag, smoke billowed underneath her large hat, hiding her cold and calculating eyes. I’m assuming her lips are cherry, but we’re in black and white so it’s hard to tell. 

A jalopy horn honked in the distance and some Hard Boiled started yelled obscenities into the night. The rain beat down harder on the window pane as the dame wiped potential lipstick off her front tooth with with her polished, manicured pinky finger. 

 “Look, I need you to do somethin’ for me.” She sat back on the corner of the desk and swung her long gam back and forth like a child’s swing. “I need you to get down to the bottom of some crimes,” she says.

She tosses a manilla envelope on to the desk with the ease and grace that comes from no longer caring. Or maybe caring too much. I’m intrigued by these crimes. Seeking out and solving mysteries is my passion. I pick up the envelope and she gives me a smile. The moody saxophone swells in the room as she takes another drag off her cigarette.  

Or maybe I’m not a P.I. from the 30s. Maybe I’m from the 80s and I get to solve some mystery art theft in a fancy suit with big feathered hair like on Moonlighting or Miami Vice or that movie with Renee Russo and the brown haired James Bond. Oh I like a good truth hunt in a smart, knee-length pastel, pencil skirt with matching shoulder-padded suit jacket. Someone is snorting cocaine as the happening saxophone wails on the yacht. Our attention is taken off the boat as a crocodile briefly chomps and trashes in the waters below. That doesn’t seem right but we’re going to go with it because I’m pretty sure I saw a crocodile snap in the Phil Collins episode of Miami Vice

No matter what it is, as long as there are shoulder pads, cool clothes, and a saxophone to dictate my moods, and mysteries to unearth, and some shenanigans for me to make fun of, I’m sold. 

Day 23.

Does this mean there’s only a week left of NaNoWriMo???? Yikes! I am in serious trouble if I plan on finishing on top and on time. I was going to blame my laziness on Thanksgiving but really that was only one day and I’ve been behind most of the month. And it keeps getting worse. 

The problem is me and my procrastination and my love of looking things up on the internet in case someone challenges me to a battle of trivia wits. I need to be up on my conspiracy theories and pop culture and whatever is happening on TMZ at the moment. 

So now I’m 7 days out and 11,444 words behind goal. That’s a lot of words. I need to hunker down and get serious about this. According to the NaNo site, I need to bust out 4,000 words a day from this point out to finish on time. I can do this. I am currently pretty much immobile anyway because I fell down the stairs like a fool on Wednesday and my tailbone feels like it’s the one in charge of my entire life right now. I might as well use this time productively. I just need someone to bring me a mimosa and a string cheese. And an epidural.

Dramatic recreation

NaNoWriMo: The Halfway point?

Today is the 20th. Way past midway at this point and I might hit 25,000 words of the 50,000 word goal today. I mean I should, but I’m in a slump of epic proportions. 

Did I mention that I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year??? I am. 

Okay, see, I’ve been “writing a book” since I don’t know, forever. It’s changed form and content over the years but the main character is the same. The voice is telling the same basic story. And everyone I know has encouraged me to friggin’ finish already. I was manhandled into NaNoWriMo this year, which I’ve been scared to participate in for ages because I didn’t know how the whole thing worked and I thought I was writing in public and the thought of a rough draft out in the word for everyone to read makes me want to hide in a cave forever and hope everyone forgets they ever knew me. BUT! It’s not like that. At all. And I’m so happy that I’m doing it. HOWEVER, I’m struggling to hit goal. I’m in my head too much and instead of contributing to my word count over there, I’m here whining about it in a blog post.

But this is the actual plan. I’m going to blog about the nonsense in my head, get it all out here so that I can go into my novel clear headed and maybe encouraged or something. I don’t know. Also it will hold me accountable if I’m blasting my embarrassing word counts here which as of this very minute is 24,373 words. Ugh. 

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How are you doing? Are you keeping up with your word counts? Are you suffering from a block because your story is supposed to be “satire/humor” and it’s the most boring story ever told? Like mine? 

If you want to be NaNo buddies, find me here

I Googled: Lifespan of a Squirrel

I did not like what I found.

I am in a continuous and contentious argument with a squirrel. Several times a day, he climbs up the back of my fence, perches himself on the corner post, yells at my cat, Marty, and then runs up the roof in a racket like he’s Chim Chim Cheree-ing up there with Dick Van Dyke. And I have had enough.

At first I thought the squirrel was cute, drinking from the birdbath, sunning himself on a rock, but as the summer months have turned into fall months, my indoor cat that likes to sun himself on the fenced-in patio (but only if the sliding door is left open) is obsessed with being outside now because of that menace squirrel, and it is chilly. And not in that Southern California fall way that I’m used to, where it’s like 68 degrees at 5 am and I might debate bringing a sweater to drop the kids off at school, no. It is currently 51 degrees outside at 10:45 am and I am chilly, and in several layers of clothes, and under a blanket and the cat is howling at the door to get out and yell at the squirrel. I don’t know how I’m going to survive the winter, to be honest.

All of this is fun and games but one major factor that plays into my squirrel feud is the potential for bloodshed. In all honesty, Marty is a scaredy cat chicken baby and probably won’t actually do anything but run if the squirrel got brave, HOWEVER, I can’t guarantee that and I am not cleaning up after any murders, I don’t want to touch a dead squirrel body, I wouldn’t even know where to dispose of a dead squirrel body so there’s that. And what if he didn’t kill the squirrel?? Then what do I do? Take the squirrel to a vet?? What if he bit me? What if he bites Marty? What if Marty gets rabies and I have to lock myself in the car and hope someone comes to rescue me? What if we both get rabies and we terrorize the town like zombies?

This is a real fear, not just “Amy’s overreacting again”. See, about 2 weeks ago I hear that squirrel doing that evil squirrel laugh that they do and I go out there to see him climbing down the fence slowly, looking right at Marty and he’s laughing at him. I go out and Marty runs in the house and that squirrel looks me in the eye, and goes, imagine a squirrel voice, he goes, “Hah!” right at me! I yelled, “Shoo!” cause I’m an old lady, and he didn’t move! He didn’t even break eye contact! I imagine this is what it was probably like in the Wild West just before a saloon fight broke out. So I did what any one of you would’ve done if you were looking down the nose of a brave squirrel. I ran as fast as I could back into the house and slammed the door. I lost a shoe and stubbed my toe and it’s that squirrel’s fault.

I’m pretty sure squirrels hibernate. I saw a Spongebob episode about it once. When do they do this? I’m a prisoner in my own home. That squirrel is going to come inside and then what do I do? He’s mad at me because I squirted him with a squirt gun the other day because he was teasing the cat again. He ran away the first couple times I had to squirt him, but the last time he looked at me and I think he was taking notes. So I googled how long these guys live. I need to know how long I have to look behind my back when I leave my front door. How long this squirrel has to plan an ambush.

10 years. Squirrels can harass people for 10 years! This is bad news. In other bad news, I also found out that they will take over a home and live in the walls. This isn’t your typical mouse or rat living in the walls that come out at night to eat your bread and poop in your cabinets. Squirrels are like little demons that laugh at you in the night and bite your face and give you rabies.

This is worse than that Cujo lady’s situation. Something must be done! I don’t want him to get swooped up by a hawk or anything, I just want him to go take a nap or something. He’s very aggressive and he’s crossed a lot of lines and it’s getting too chilly out to comfortably handle a squirt gun. I would imagine he would feel the same about this and yet, he’s out there now, cackling away, taunting and pestering.